Yellow Chair Review: Issue 1

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Issue #1

June 2015

Yellow Chair Review


YELLOW CHAIR REVIEW ISSUE #1

Edited by: Sarah Frances Moran Co-­‐‑edited by: Mike Jewett COPYRIGHT © 2015 YCR Publishing Published by YCR Publishing Waco, Texas All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the author. Each work is copyright © 2015 the respective writers and artists. Cover art: The Absentee Copyright © Kushal Poddar

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Editor’s Note: Welcome to the very first issue of Yellow Chair Review. I want to personally thank the many writers and artists that took a chance on sending their work to such a new publication. It is the goal of YCR to give space to a multitude of voices. We want work that is demanding and work that knocks the air out of you. This first issue does just that. From Donna Snyder’s Voice to Jocelyn Mosman’s Wrestling Match; the words reach up at you and refuse you look away. For information on submissions please visit our website at www.yellowchairreview.com and to keep up-­‐‑to-­‐‑date on the latest YCR news follow us on Facebook. Thank you again and dig in… Sarah Frances Moran, Founder/Editor

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CONTENTS On The Cover:

The Absentee – Kushal Poddar

6-­‐‑7

Voices -­‐‑ Donna Snyder

8

Nature -­‐‑ Zelda Chappel

9

The Muscle Feast -­‐‑ Zelda Chappel

10

A Drink With A Drunk -­‐‑ Nancy Davenport

11

Girl Scout -­‐‑ Erin Redfern

12

Summer 2009 -­‐‑ Emily Jalloul

13

When A Woman Makes Herself Come -­‐‑ Emily Jalloul

14

dressing up, dressing down -­‐‑ Beth Schneider

15

Crazy -­‐‑ Glen Armstrong

16

Familiar -­‐‑ Iva Montgomery

17

Refrigerator -­‐‑ Barbara Ruth

18

Vestibule -­‐‑ Larry Narron

19

The Eating Makes You Stronger -­‐‑ Charles Darnell

20

Class of 92’ -­‐‑ Robert Whiteley

21

“Why Not Cold Water and a Bottle of Rum?” -­‐‑ Ace Boggess

22

Body Language -­‐‑ Alan Harris

22

Honoring the Nun-­‐‑resuscitated -­‐‑ Alan Harris

23

Please Rob Me -­‐‑ Ashlie Allen

24-­‐‑25

Two Completely Different Things -­‐‑ Mike Jewett

26-­‐‑27

Eat Me -­‐‑ Shane Allison

28

A Basket of My Own -­‐‑ Debangana Banerjee

29

This is How I Know -­‐‑ Logen Cure

30-­‐‑31

College Station, Texas -­‐‑ Logen Cure

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you say what you want… -­‐‑ Gary Lundy

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The Sound of Smashing Glass -­‐‑ Matthew Duggan

34-­‐‑35

Birthday Poem for Jarret -­‐‑ Shane Allison

36

True Bromance -­‐‑ Jerrod Bohn

37

Red Diamonds -­‐‑ Jodi Sh. Doff

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Yellow Chair -­‐‑ Jodi Sh. Doff

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Yellow Chair -­‐‑ Sarah Frances Moran

40

Melee -­‐‑ Scott Thomas Outlar

41

Sapiens -­‐‑ Reuben Woolley

42-­‐‑43

Ever After -­‐‑ Aida Bode

44

Chess By Night -­‐‑ Kyle Hemmings

45

A Challenge -­‐‑ Matthew Toll

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Tea Party; Table Six -­‐‑ David Williams

47

You Can’t Paint the Moon -­‐‑ Sarah Lilius

48

Then -­‐‑ Holly Holt

49

Ether -­‐‑ Malkeet Kaur

50-­‐‑51

Hemlock -­‐‑ PW Covington

52

It Happened This Morning -­‐‑ Chris Billings

53

Talk -­‐‑ Annis Cassells

54

Airport Terminal -­‐‑ Lori DeSanti

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What You’re Left With -­‐‑ Alyssa Yankwitt

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Ellipse -­‐‑ Janet Snell

57

Ellipse -­‐‑ Cheryl Snell

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Drown -­‐‑ Caroline Wilson

59

Reproductive FAQ -­‐‑ Barbara Ruth

60

Everything is Strange -­‐‑ Luis Neer

61

Tainted Growth -­‐‑ Tyler Lizaola

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Did I Dream? -­‐‑ Allison Grayhurst

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Eternal Peace -­‐‑ Dustin Pickering

64

In My Dreams -­‐‑ Amaranthia Sepia Gittens-­‐‑Jones

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Lemonade -­‐‑ David Ishaya Osu

66-­‐‑67

Give Grant Laptop -­‐‑ Serra Ota

68-­‐‑69

Etre -­‐‑ Joanna Schroeder

70

Let Me Out -­‐‑ Rich Boucher

71

Strange View -­‐‑ Louis Staeble

72-­‐‑73

Wrestling Match -­‐‑ Jocelyn Mosman

Please visit www.yellowchairreview.com for contributor bios and information.

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Voices By Donna Snyder

_________________ Someone said Anne Sexton wrote poetry so Kurt Vonnegut could conquer fear coerced confessions never the most reliable you want truth then look at Botero’s art stick my head in a latrine and call me Rover leash me beat me send photos to your friends I'ʹll tell you every truth that never existed shackle my hands to the dungeon wall fetter my ankles and dress me in a red bra be sure to match the panties painted on me show my hairy arm pits my hairy knees my face and belly and disgusting arms what you want me to be what you’re afraid I am soon I'ʹll confess both my sin and your own I am a spy who bears incendiary thought the hand of an angry god ready for retribution put a collar on my throat sing cantatas of jeers I call Lowell mama and Plath was my daddy Sexton became my lover on the asylum path I got no poppa and momma doesn'ʹt want me I'ʹm not a normal woman I have needs she breathed into my ear I want it all the time at least I did before these new little pills Dear Abby got it all wrong at least about me she says women think about sex only rarely while she claims men do every other minute she’s wrong or I’m not natural the votes are in It'ʹs not that I see people as walking dicks or cunts I'ʹm no kvetching Portnoy either I don’t complain it'ʹs not like I'ʹm even very good anymore I fear the way they all leave I must have lost my touch but still I have my needs my needs my needs I hear your rhythms in words inside my head put your hands around my neck inhale my breath

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she confessed my madness in lie after naked lie she chronicled my strife in every precise detail torturous connections described everyone’s fear her breath in my ear made me want to be her poppa hold her in my arms and carry her to a sturdy bed listen to her prayers and lick her throat with kisses hide my excitement behind a mask of care but I knew exactly how it would all turn out standing on the path behind a cold stone wall she'ʹd forget me as soon as she found another that’s if she'ʹs ever able to forget me at all she was running for the streets when she found me I was running from the streets when I moved in she told me stories about family but nothing real she sang Jim Carroll lullabies throughout the night a song about people he knew who died so young she let me sleep by day against the doctor’s order she didn'ʹt like how wet I get didn'ʹt like my smell I left her to be Edward Hopper’s waiting redhead and now live on the always lonely side of the pain condensation on glass my paper and flesh my pen blood for ink scrawled across a threatening wall a rhyme on my lips I'ʹll jump into my own grave and I shall die sullen no one knowing my name split me in threes with your spite part poppa part meat-­‐‑hook part the me that lurks in sordid glass since I'ʹve already been to Brooklyn as she said there’s nothing more to expect from this life but it'ʹs not her I want now that she’s left me it was the thrill of meeting her on that path I gaze into the mirror like a Botero beauty I always hear her rhythms inside my head I’ll forget about her as soon as I find another that is if I’m ever able to forget her at all I don’t think about her now except sometimes those random dark hours when I call her name

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Nature By Zelda Chappel

_________________ You tell me the wind is words we never said. Sometimes I am surprised by the lack of it. I have thought about this too much the place of unseen thought and unnoticed action where a twig'ʹs snap is temporary and permanent all at once and today that'ʹs hard to make sense of. Your skin could be leaf mulch in forgotten rain dark silk between cold fingers. I want to smell you and know the season want to know just how ripe we are how far we'ʹve got to go

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The Muscle Feast By Zelda Chappel

_________________ Break my shell, reveal the green of weathered copper, thin mother of pearl in full rainbow split. Show the air the softness of my flesh but don'ʹt forget to let me outline it for you first. Expose me to the gulls. I cannot wait for sun, nor the salt of her. Be sure to breathe slow as you do it. Don'ʹt pretend this is not deliberate. Embrace your poise. It'ʹs the middle months that mean the most, their wait. It'ʹs anticipation. The way I'ʹve balanced on the cusp in fear and trust is worse each year, I know. I am more brittle in this age now sand works hard to do its thing and you are happy with its scratch. The pulse of dead muscles is too subtle for your tastes. She'ʹll linger, acrid in the drive of blood by heart and breath by lung—a slow ratchet click until I am wound and you are tighter. One day, I'ʹll be fiercer.

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A Drink with a Drunk By Nancy Davenport

_________________ there is something uncomfortable about drinking with a drunk you either chugalug to catch up and end up wasted or you slow down to be an example either way if a drunk has a drink in their hand this is what they are thinking about (this try changing a pickle back to a cucumber a mummy back to life try changing history making the sand in an hourglass go up

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and the next one)


Girl Scout By Erin Redfern

_________________ The whole troop volunteered for the fashion show. It was 1958. Her father drank. Her mother had been sick since always. God made her brother smart, so what could she be but good? Not-­‐‑quite-­‐‑good-­‐‑enough girl who couldn’t bear the thought of being on display. At rehearsals, scouts were put through their paces. The day before the show she took the dog for a walk. Beneath madrones and bays the light was soft. The woods were hushed. She strayed into a thicket of poison oak. Parting the thornless canes, wriggling farther in, feeling the shade-­‐‑cooled air on her sun-­‐‑browned skin, she hid her face in the blushing leaves again and again.

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Summer of 2009 By: Emily Jalloul

_________________ We couldn’t afford an apartment with air conditioning so we took cold showers as a reprieve. We kept the bananas in the fridge because they got too warm on the counter and left the sliding door open, hoping rain would break the humidity. The car horns and loud neighbors heard through the walls all night meant nothing to us—we were already awake, playing backgammon on the bed and drinking lemonade with drops of rose water. In the afternoons, you’d nap and I’d watch your chest as you breathed. When I’d get bored, I’d hold your balls like the soft yolk of an egg in the middle of my palm until you woke. This was the summer I knew the time of sunrise and sunset for everyday in August, waking early to eat a large breakfast, preparing to fast until sunset. We went to my parents’ house for Eid, where my dad had prepared kibbeh and cabbage salad and knafeh with hard sesame bread. I counted the minutes until my freedom. This was the summer you asked me to marry you and I said no, but we stayed together for three more years. This was the summer I threw the fan at you as I was getting ready for Mosque—what were we arguing over? I can’t remember. I can’t remember a lot of things—what you put on your burger, what position you slept in, what you wrote your dissertation about. But I remember you’re going to turn thirty-­‐‑two in two days, and what would’ve been our twelfth anniversary passed a week ago. One day, we were walking in a park to escape the apartment when my mom called and said Michael Jackson is dead. I’d just put my hand to a cactus to feel its spines, coming away with tiny splinters in my fingertips. We didn’t argue for the rest of the day. We went to three different Blockbusters to find Free Willy, and then we drove along A1A, windows rolled down, blasting “Man in the Mirror.”

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When A Woman Makes Herself Come By Emily Jalloul

_________________ When a twenty-­‐‑four year old makes herself come for the first time, she knows she’ll never again remain in a six-­‐‑year relationship without orgasms. She knows she’ll start to plan time between work in the mornings and class in the evenings for herself, and she knows her double-­‐‑AA battery purchases are going to increase. She feels successful, independent, and free from the need of another body— she is enough for herself to enjoy. She lies back on her bed in an apartment she decorated without asking anyone, “Do you think this mirror should be hung here or in the living room?” or “What color rug do you prefer?” Her muscles still twitching, she smiles to herself, surprised at the sweat accumulated on her forehead and her swollen labium: all her own work. The flesh of her stomach and thighs is sexy to her now; she admires the stretch-­‐‑marks on her ass like tree-­‐‑rings, indicative of her maturity. When she starts again, she notices that as she breathes deeply from her belly, the reverberation inside her pulses outward and expands, like undulations from a stone thrown into water. She notices each ripple, each capillary wave as they settle and rise again, repeating with each inhalation. She doesn’t think about her ex-­‐‑ lover, or her next lover; she doesn’t think about the paper due next week or what groceries she needs. She doesn’t think about her sick mother or aging father. She thinks about all the time she’s got to make up for; she thinks about all the orgasms she’s faked, the times she thought something was wrong with her, the times she went to sleep, bitter and resentful, next to a pleasured man, while she was still aching for something they couldn’t give her.

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dressing up, dressing down By: Beth Schneider

_________________ i used to wear my mother’s nightgown to bed, teal and wrapped in silk. at eight, i found myself building shelters out of men. visions of love stormed my brain and i dreamed of him taking me away when i was old enough to kiss. at twenty-­‐‑two, i’ve stripped down to less. this time, i wear black lace, teasing at my hips. it’s pointless, i know. you will use your words to remove me from them anyway, dressed now just in flesh where you can touch the wounds i’ve inflicted out of love.

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Crazy By Glen Armstrong

_________________ The sweet, sweet cherry calls its pit “crazy,” each of our hearts a little bit crazy. She screams as she searches for middle c, eyes to the sky, having a fit, crazy. I drink whiskey near the jukebox soaking in every note of Patsy Cline’s hit, “Crazy.” The interest drawn is emotional depth. The initial deposit? Crazy. From where I sit, Ms. Cline is a genius – from where those devils in white sit, crazy. Princess ‘Xandra thinks I’ll survive her song, but Princess ‘Xandra is bat-­‐‑shit crazy.

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_________________

Familiar Photograph

By Iva Montgomery

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Refrigerator By Barbara Ruth

_________________ When I was five I loved to swing on the refrigerator door. Of course my parents told me not to: “Somebody could get hurt!” but no one ever did, and they never punished me for it. Hot midwestern summer, my cupped fingers over the white edge, I swayed, back and forth, the cool on my front, my back, my knuckles gliding to where the freezer began. I loved the pull of my stretched out muscles, the sweat in my armpits evaporating in the humming chill. I wanted to let my legs hang long, but my feet banged against the vegetable crisper -­‐‑ one large drawer in 1951 -­‐‑ so I bent my knees and tucked them up and let the cool air turn my neck and shoulders all shivery as my body neared the shelves. Perhaps I wouldn’t remember this at all, over 60 years later, except for what happened at my grandparents’ house in Topeka. I ran indoors, hot from chasing around with my bratty cousin Jimmy. No one was in the kitchen so I opened the Frigidaire and started swinging. A different height, different smells; I pushed off with my right foot, trying to find the rhythm of my familiar ride on this unfamiliar swing. Mom came in, walked around the open refrigerator door. “Didn’t I tell you not to do that?” she muttered distractedly. I didn’t answer, didn’t get down, just hung in suspended animation, waiting for her to find what she needed and leave. My hands, my body felt the tilt. Why didn’t I bring my feet to ground? I’ve wondered a hundred times. Instead, I hugged myself to the slanting door. The refrigerator lunged and somehow I flew out of its path. I jumped, I hopped, I propelled myself to the side of the refrigerator and watched in horror as it crashed onto my mother. She screamed. The snakes of cobwebby black coils on the back of the fridge were ugly and scary. Kids weren’t supposed to see them. Kids weren’t supposed to see their Moms under the fridge as though she were the Wicked Witch with the house landed on top of her. Except she wasn’t the Wicked Witch and I was the reason the refrigerator landed on her and how would she ever get out? “Mommy, I’m sorry I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do it,” I sobbed as everyone rushed into the kitchen. My uncles lifted the refrigerator off her body. I held my breath, expecting to see her covered with food and blood. Mom had one cut, on her leg, from the pickle jar, the only thing that broke. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe that wasn’t how she got that trail of blood on the side of her calf, but I remember the tart pungent smell of the pickle juice as my father and grandfather pulled her up, while the uncles plugged in and put back the refrigerator back where it belonged, and the aunts and my grandmother mopped up the mess and put the food back on the shelves. Jimmy stared wide-­‐‑eyed. Maybe he stuck out his tongue at me after that, I don’t know, my head was hung in shame. “You kids get out,” someone said. “There’s glass on the floor.” Whatever punishment I received is long forgotten and inconsequential. I will never forget the sight of my mother buried under the Frigidaire.

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Vestibule By Larry Narron

_________________ If my body is a temple, my mouth is its vestibule. I could drink wine, holy water, or both. I could breathe in the smoke from this incense & feel my prayers float up to the domed roof of my skull, adorned with its paintings of archangels. My prayers keep unraveling in the dark high above these candles I have to light over & over, staring into their flames that are always snuffed out by a draft that seems remotely controlled, that never quite dies. I keep the doors of this vestibule closed, but unlocked in case somebody wants inside. Mostly it isn’t salvation they’re after, but shelter. I try to get here early so I can loiter awhile in the front pew before the altar. Later, sometimes I hear words recited from a book, sometimes silence, sometimes the murmur of others, kneeling. Sometimes people wander in & hang back in the vestibule, walking in circles on the tip of my tongue. Once, a crow flew in by accident & beat its wings in a panic against my teeth. I was careful not to bite down. I tried to spit it out but it got into the sanctuary & dove between the pillars of my ribs where the Stations of the Cross have been etched. It darted up through the rafters, thrashing its feathers against the glittering mosaic of Gethsemane, against a stained-­‐‑glass window where sunlight is dyed blue by the sad eyes of a saint. As I watched it struggle for sky, words I wasn’t able to utter hung there among motes of dust as they twirled, illuminated.

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The Eating Makes You Stronger By Charles Darnell

_________________ They divide in secret Until their multiplication Makes it plain. Rogue cells stack One on one, Eating the energy Meant for the normal. Fingertips find them In a shower check Sending a message Of dread and denial. The surgeon says She has to do it, “It’s for your own good.” She says, But how can this Be good? In ancient myths They seared the breast Of the baby girls That later there Would be no obstruction, So you cry, sigh, String your bow, And draw it back Like an Amazon.

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Class of 92 (For K, October 2, 2014) By Robert Whiteley

_________________

love looked the other way today but I turned around and followed her anyway past the shuttered good looks of a matinee idol past the glass seraphim and flowers made of dust past the anabolic anime gracing me with immortality into the pharmacy next to the puppy mill I followed inhale: incontinence exhale: pain relief cough: nothing cough again if there ever was an answer to my question time has sat it down next to me on this bench while I watched her walk away

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“Why Not Cold Water and a Bottle of Rum?” [anonymous questioner] by Ace Boggess

_________________

A man who loves his misery loves sleep best, loves the cold feel of a stone behind his head. He says, “Let’s raise a glass to emptiness.” He collects seaweed in a paper bag, when he gets home, worships the hole he’s made, the mess, trail straining back like a railway line of slime. Boss or wife lancing with their scalpels of words, policeman on the corner waving his pistol as a robber would, the customer who brings along her goose-­‐‑stepping Nazi dog in spiked collar, canine scowl— he pleads with them, “Make me small.” He wants what hurts most: a good lie, stubbed little toe, broken belt on an alternator, brimstone sermon from a stranger passing on the street as he wonders if the rain ever ends.

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Body Language By Alan Harris

_________________ after my father had his stroke we never spoke again but that didn'ʹt stop us from reading each other'ʹs faces recognizing the punctuated pauses periods and question marks etched in eyes, sighs, and sad smiles It took both hands to hold one of his that first day in the hospital as my eyes whispered how much I cared and his smile replied, Thank you but before I left his side that night our sighs acknowledged the painful truth that despite how well we finally understood each other it became regrettably apparent of how little time we had left to talk

Honoring the Non-­‐‑resuscitated By Alan Harris

_________________ Friends gathered in the dining room of the nursing home to share whispers and suspicions Was the old girl dead when the nurse’s aide found her slumped over her hospital bed-­‐‑rail? It’s no secret that the nursing home staff adheres to a strict Do Not Resuscitate policy Could she have lived another day? Would she have wanted to? What were her dying words? Was she alone? These are the topics that crisscross the dining room tables as each resident takes their turn honoring the latest escapee who found her way home

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Please rob me By Ashlie Allen

_________________ I climbed through the window with you. You were excited to find old clothes to steal. On the way inside the house, you cut your knee. You denied the bleeding, but I grabbed your hand and pressed you into my ribs. When I plucked out the glass you moaned. I was malicious with longing. I bowed to taste your wound, letting the tips of my hair scatter in the wet mess. You cried for awhile, not because you were in pain but because I was. There was nothing to rob in here, only if you wanted my depression.

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Two Completely Different Things By Mike Jewett

_________________ I. I swallow three birds to digest what you say: a shorebird, a raptor, a songbird. II. Near the beach in a white house with drunks inside; then, the second-­‐‑story window on the right where you tried to kill yourself. Such a pretty lawn under the snow. You can still see yourself passed out when you sleep there. I. You like me. II. You won'ʹt talk to me. Swallow your birds, they'ʹre for the taking, migration routes winding in between your legs. Passerines. Take my head.

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I. Do you like me? II. When did we become secrets that people whispered? Sharp dances in the moonlight? Take my hand. I. Punk and dubstep don'ʹt mix but you'ʹll say yes, yes it does, I downloaded three versions of a punk dubstep song. Mockingbirds can learn to sigh just as solemnly as people. II. There'ʹs not even a cord of wood in your name. I. Have a good night. II. (It'ʹs not me it'ʹs) You too.

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Eat Me By Shane Allison

_________________ Wonton pussy Spring roll pussy Steamed pussy with spicy pussy sauce Barbecue boneless pussy Pussy dipped in hot sauce Honey-­‐‑sweet pussy Spit-­‐‑roasted pussy Fried or steamed pussy with your choice of pussy, pussy or pussy Shrimp pussy Sesame pussy Hot & sour pussy Chicken & noodle pussy Pussy with pickled pussy Soup Bean Curd pussy Corn beef pussy Shark’s fin Peking pussy with garlic sauce Moo Shu pussy Peking pussy Roast pork pussy Chicken Chow pussy Orange-­‐‑flavored pussy Pussy with pepper sauce Pussy with cashew nuts Pussy with walnuts Pussy with black bean sauce Pussy with curry sauce Pussy with snow peas Moo Goo Gai pussy Lemon crème pussy Crispy pussy Sautéed Triple Delight Pussy Cream pie pussy

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Sautéed black pussy Sautéed snow pussy & water chestnuts Mo Po Bean pussy Yang Chow Pan fried pussy Yang Chow Lo Pussy Low Mien Pussy Singapore style curry pussy Cantonese style pussy Pussy soap with steak Non-­‐‑alcoholic pussy Crispy corn pussy smothered w/melted cheddar Beans and jalapeño pussy Cheese, tomato and onion pussy Sour cream pinto pussy Chorizo pussy Super-­‐‑size the pussy for only 39 cents more Chicken Caesar pussy Chicken nugget pussy Chicken fajita pussy Chicken finger pussy Filet-­‐‑o-­‐‑pussy Diet pussy Apple pie pussy Veal parmapussy Oatmeal raisin pussy Chocolate chip pussy with chewy chocolate chips

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_________________

A Basket of My Own Mixed Media By Debangana Banerjee

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This is How I Know By Logen Cure

_________________ We clean the house together, because my friend is visiting for the weekend. You mop the floor and let me have the easy job: folding the laundry. After she arrives, I watch you, your easy grace, the way you carry a plate of fresh cinnamon rolls on your fingertips, the way you make our house feel like the blanket you folded across the back of the couch. Later, in the warm dark of our room, we undress under the covers. You press your body to my body, your sweet hips move against my bones, your hands remind me what it is to no longer feel empty, that it is good to be possessed. I press my face into your hair to stifle the involuntary sound of my voice – politeness for our guest – and as my breath comes faster I notice your hair smells like cinnamon.

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College Station, Texas By Logen Cure

_________________ How clear that rumble and cry of the train seemed in the hush, when all of campus slept around us. The steady, unfailing interval of street lights illuminated everything – antiquated buildings lined with bas-­‐‑relief animal skulls, the wide face of the clock tower, austere, masculine statues. We could never see the stars when we walked alone at night. I never minded. I remember that Sunday we rode the bus all the way around – you looking out the window, me looking at you, the dull copper gleam of the Academic Building’s dome, bees drifting around vibrant flowers, the post oaks, the manicured grass we weren’t allowed to walk on. It was different after skeletons of cranes materialized in the overcast skyline. The roads were broken to bare jagged concrete teeth. The hum of campus became a cacophony of back-­‐‑up beeping, metal-­‐‑on-­‐‑metal sparking, the hammering of progress. The noxious odor of hot tar stung my throat, permeated my clothes. The buses rerouted, the 03 stopped taking me anywhere I wanted to go.

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Our lives stopped beating and started ticking. I wanted to tell you, I went back – the stadium still yawns wide above the slate horizon, the streets are smooth and accommodating with fresh-­‐‑painted lines, the golf course green died of drought, everything was quiet, except for the trains.

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you say what you want. easily as night slips under our covers. By Gary Lundy

_________________ i sense a smell of you on dirtied towel. afterward you lie still as a breathing love. i cannot sleep encumbered as i am in different distance. this motel room. our clothes the unused words between us. when the drummer took his solo it was clear to everyone. the intimacy of head and cymbal. talk on the phone. my friend washes her hands compulsively while making sandwiches. i listen to a wall of voices separating the alive from other art forms. notice a pristine moment as you pull me back against your chest and stomach. a growl tidying up the moments in order once again to enter pleasure.

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The Sound of Smashing Glass By Matthew Duggan

_________________ I walk on the dirt and rubble While you stroll on the pristine path, I like my rustic made surroundings You like the sound of smashing glass, Imposter of any human empathy A creature that thrives on the past, In long flowing robes in Strawberry red You dictate the rules to what you believe to be the lower class Why do you like the sound of smashing glass? A champagne flute filled with life Thrown then scattered on the floor in pieces as we crawl to your feet and ask “Why do you like the sound of smashing glass”

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Birthday Poem for Jarret By Shane Allison

_________________ Jarret, will there be an ice cream cake with your name written in tomato ketchup at your birthday party? Will there be trick candles at your birthday party, Jarret? Because I hate trick candles. Will there be any balloons at your birthday party? If that’s the case, I’m not coming. Will there be gifts in gift boxes? Will there be Pin the Tail on the Donkey? Big boxes wrapped in fancy paper make me nervous. There won’t be any show girls at this party right, Jarret? I don’t like any of these things. I don’t like canary diamonds or inkwells, either just so you know. Will there be any prosthetic limbs lying around at your birthday party, Jarret? Prosthetic limbs are scary. Jarret, will there be nitroglycerin at your birthday party or monkeys dressed in three-­‐‑piece suits? I love chimpanzees in three-­‐‑piece suits. Will there be Vic Tayback impersonators at your birthday party, Jarret? I can live with impersonators impersonating Vic Tayback, but not half eaten bags of pistachios. Jarret, will there be any live nude guys at your party? You know how I feel about live nude guys and Vic Tayback impersonators eating half eaten bags of pistachios. I will be there as long as there aren’t any rednecks wearing ponchos. Jarret, this birthday party you’re throwing, Will there be board games or shoe boxes filled with stamps? Will you be giving away edible motorcycle jackets? I’m leaving if I see a dust mop or a preliminary report. If I smell lemon-­‐‑scented furniture cleaner, I’m leaving. If I see an orange bathroom rug, Brian, or burnt gingerbread cookies, I’m on the next plain out of Ohio before you can say…liver cheese, which I hate by the way. Will there be rock salt, Jarret? I’m history if I see purple construction paper. If I see a widescreen TV or a six disc CD player, you better call me a cab because I’m leaving. I love you like the white adopted brother I never had, but if I see any maximum protection panty liners at your birthday party, I don’t know what I will do. I’m just telling you. I’m just saying. Who are you inviting? Will Craig T. Nelson be there? Will Marla Gibbs be there, Jarret? What about the surviving member of Milli-­‐‑Vanilli? Will there be any Yugoslavian mail order brides at your party, Jarret? Will Jimmy Smits be there or Cheryl Ladd? Jarret, will there be any Solid Gold dancers at your birthday party?

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Will Richard Simmons be there, Jarret? Will there be white bengal tigers? I love white bengal tigers. Jarret, will a poetry reading be held? If so, I just might read a poem or two. Hell, maybe three poems if cured honey ham is going to be served. Jarret, will the punch be spiked? Will I have to take off my shoes? Will there be a sushi chef at your birthday party, Jarret? Will there be Buffalo wings? If I see stridex pads and panda bears wearing low-­‐‑riding jeans, I’m walking home shoeless in the snow of Kettering, Ohio. If I see a PTA mom I’m leaving. I’m allergic to Yugoslavian rappers just so you know, Jarret. Macaroni salad breaks me out in bruises bigger than homemade ashtrays. Will there be any step aerobic videos at your party? I like friendship bracelets but hate blue eye shadow. Jarret, will Beau Bridges be there? I’m just asking, because I love Beau Bridges.

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True Bromance (For Victoria W.) By Jerrod Bohn

_________________ I’m just another guy dreaming for a Transamerica an ordinary man’s man wearing plaid snapshirts who wants sparkling mineral water when the vending machine only has non-­‐‑bubbly artisanal water, so I take my change & use it to write a poem, still dreaming to be cat-­‐‑called from the street to play footsie under the table w/ my best friend’s straight boyfriend the editorial advice—“show them you’re just a dude writing dude poems” he used to text me pictures of his cock called it accidental America is so dude so bro let’s buy another craft beer & end the night staring at each other before the street sign not sure if we want to fuck or fight where our walks diverge one time you told me two androgynes were in the alley one on knees, one grabbing head you weren’t sure you just perform the part that preserves you long enough to unlock your front door.

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Red Diamonds By Jodi Sh. Doff

_________________ She leans close to the mirror, layering on the makeup. She’s getting older, her eyesight is getting worse and the light of a gas station bathroom isn’t very kind. I sit on the toilet, watching her, like always. Trying to figure how that same mascara, rouge, and eyeliner looks a whole ‘nother way on me. She speaks, and her words are meant for me, but she talks to herself in the mirror, never looking my way. She doesn’t have to. I’m always here. Always right behind her. She says, “You’re lucky—plain as you are—other women don’t take much notice of you. Men don’t need to own you. You can’t imagine how hard it is. How hard I work. It’s exhausting to be beautiful even when you don’t want to. Never get a day off it. You’re smart, honey, and they can’t never take that from you.” I say, “You could take a day off. Give the makeup a rest, just be...a mom. You don’t always have to be the prettiest...” “Honey, when they stop trying to own you or kill you?” my mother says, “That’s when a woman really needs to start worrying.” Outside, in the sunlight, I plunge the knife into the hard Arizona dirt two or three times to clean off the blood. I love her too much. Too much to let her realize her looks are fading. Too much to let her struggle with who she is if she isn’t the pretty one. Too much to watch the years tick by. Too much to ever be free while she’s alive. I leave her lying on the floor of the Gulf station on Route 160––her throat’s cut, her makeup is perfect. I pull the Chevelle onto the highway, checking my lipstick in the rear view at the same time. Red Diamonds. Her shade. But, prettier now, on me.

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_________________ Yellow Chair Photograph By Jodi Sh. Doff

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Yellow Chair By Sarah Frances Moran

_________________ Hey baby on the yellow chair I never understood the evolutions of your hair Daddy did it My Daddy did it you said and they never understood what they read. Your pain is backseat to their need It’s the fire between her legs that they feed. Hey baby on the yellow chair he’ll never understand your lack of care it’s so hard when you feel the need too It’s hard to comprehend what a little girl can do it’s hard to comprehend how she’ll satiate her need and compensate for all the tears she feeds And I bet that there spot is a love-­‐‑bite stain but hey baby… you seem to enjoy the pain.

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Melee By Scott Thomas Outlar

_________________

Upset the apple cart and red juice spilled like honey maple vodka down the diluted drainpipe with secret wishes for a fallout with holding pattern propaganda with missile fortune to the heartstring with sold out system failures You are an alcoholic… There is no way to get around it – Thus spoke the choir Well, at least I got one thing right this time around – Thus spoke the asshole Suck my cancer dry lest it take these lungs before they’ve had a chance to breathe in all the holy pollution in the air I don’t want to die of just one cause I’d rather go down in a melee I killed my mind four times but it’s like a fucking cat so I’ve still got five more to go

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Sapiens By Reuben Woolley

_________________ burst wet the red flowers the ugly here i haven'ʹt travelled & bleeding see the strategic exchange the debriefing of ants ollie call ollie ollie ollie oxenfree i'ʹll call you home unravelled the loss , i'ʹll meet you in the evening the legitimate silence unsigned & remember a first cell division a thumb opposed

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Ever After By Aida Bode

_________________ I saw her white body half hanging on the bed where we had made love so many times. We had rented that apartment room and it had been our sanctuary. Now it was an open grave where she ended her life. I was numb as if death had captured me too. Why did she come here of all places? Why did she call me and didn'ʹt wait for me? Why was she so desperate to die like this? Her arms had been cut and the blood was crispy dry. For a moment I wished it was wine and that she'ʹd jump up on me, hug me and kiss me. Yet, life didn'ʹt make a move on her. It remained still and sad reminding me that death is not the opposite of life, or the absence of it -­‐‑ it is eternity, empty and lonely. I stopped looking at her and took a look around the room. Her clothes were on the burgundy carpet, taken off carelessly as if she was there to make love, the arm chair was moved too, as if she wanted to remind herself of my presence, the beige curtains were shut, yet the window was opened. I was numb again. She was there, red and white; lifeless. I felt the power of revenge in the room and moved myself back. I wanted to go out, but forgot that I had locked the door after I got in. As I was turning the key I took a last look at her. She was holding something in her hand. I walked toward her body and touched her. I was cold, just like her. It felt as if eternity with its loneliness was entering into my veins, too. I opened her hand. She had written on her palm: "ʺTake it!"ʺ and I noticed the ring fall on the floor. It didn'ʹt make a noise, as if that too was falling in a void taking me with it while I tried to reach for it. I felt my hand shake as I picked the ring from the floor. Life had come back to me, punishing me with her last good-­‐‑bye. I remembered when she once said that the ring is not the symbol of eternal love, but the eternal void that it holds within.

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I ran outside and got into the car. She was there, in the back seat. I drove and saw the reflection of us in the rear view mirror. It was raining and we were making love covered by the flow of rain on the windows. The clarity of that watery curtain gave me peace and I kept looking at the mirror. She was kissing me and I was touching her breasts. I was drowning in her body. She was my ocean, my abyss… my woman, yet she died again and I felt as if I fell on rocky ground and broke like sand out of an hourglass. However I didn’t hurt. I felt naturally grained, dry and hot. The rain was over. All that was left was the mark of our breaths on the windows: the last fog of life. The mirror reflected a golden glimmer of something that I had long forgotten: it was a small cross. It had fallen off her neck. It didn’t have a chain. I pulled over and stopped the car, and reached to take it. It was so light, like a flake. I wondered if she had taken all the weight of gold with her! The mirror reflected nothing anymore. All that was behind was the empty road. I drove to the place where we made love for the first time. She was there. It was a nice park by a creek. The water flowed slowly making a soft murmuring noise. She drew near to me and put her arms around me. She was alive again. I kissed her on the shoulder and put my hands on her lips. They were red and moist with love. She looked me in the eye and sat on the grass pulling me to herself. We laid on the ground and were looking at the trees above us, listening to the eternal song of water. She closed her eyes and suddenly everything became dark. The water turned into mud and the trees vanished as if a tornado passed by. I was alone and she was dead again. She died here where she first kissed me, where she first gave herself to me, where I first promised love to her. She died three times today not giving me a chance to hope that she will return. She died in everything where she lived and made sure I was lonely, just like she had been, ever since she had met me.

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_________________ Chess By Night Photography By Kyle Hemmings

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A Challenge By Matthew Toll

_________________ I dare you, Mona Lisa, to frown on me today.

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Tea Party; Table Six By David Williams

_________________ they`re like a bag full of angry double negatives with x-­‐‑tra big rattlers but only one yellow fang/ apiece/ who/ don`t/ won`t/ tip

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You Can’t Paint the Moon By Sarah Lilius

_________________ Her face, his canvas, nothing delicate about shades of changing red, maroon, purple and when she passed out the color was black behind her eyes. He wakes her often with brush strokes, concrete, force, and tongue, Bitch, get back here, make me dinner. Liquor mouth and sweaty, wicked artist, frames his work with bones of his dead ex-­‐‑wife, the sharp angles, elbows, knees, ragged juts are blanched from sun, cracks filled in with garden dirt, rich brown earth looks to the sky. She just wants to be his moon, she wanes when necessary. Feeling brave, once a month, she’s full on—bright and ready to leave, car packed, baby on her hip. He begs. He unpacks the car. He gathers the baby. She cries into the wounds, the paint runs onto her collar, she stays.

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Then By Holly Holt

_________________ barefoot, running free across a Georgia field grass tickling, rocks jabbing while a brown dog leaps at my heels youth was never a chore because we knew the sun would find us, somehow and at night, whispering when we were sent to bed, we found each other even now, quiet moments alone, where the same familiar sun shines like an old friend’s smile, I still think of then, but the whispering is gone and the dog is long buried

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Ether By Malkeet Kaur

_________________ I live in a suitcase like a contortionist, A tiny life in circadian rhythms, the tattered non reality, a salacious scandal within the cracked shanty walls. These cracks will come undone soon With the slime in a furious downpour. I am turning into mass of silver over the hairlines on the forehead like consecrated birth smudges. I am ether now. I live on air. I live in a Pollock maze in my head.

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Hemlock By PW Covington

_________________ This evening, I am ordering hemlock Over ice In a rocks glass From the bar at the hotel Compromising with the barman, Agave will do Poisoning myself with south Texas With denial With faith and flags and family I am poisoning myself with poetry Poisoning myself with the cheap highway stuff 93 octane Poisoning myself with the company of women That I will never fuck I’m not even sure what mirrors are for Anymore Poisoning myself with vanity Sweet, sweet pride in mid-­‐‑Spring swelter This is not New England Poisoning myself on promises made decades ago On other continents I am poisoning myself with the patience Of a snake tail rattling Poisoning myself with cheap, counter-­‐‑top condiments With vending machine ice At the Echo Hotel I am poisoning myself with walls And rifles…And checkpoints Surveillance blimps tethered with Long White Cords

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I am poisoning myself like a peacock, Shooting the Rio Grande River Into rolling, shy veins A bump of smack backstage Then on with the show Tonight, I am feeling familiar, forgotten Untrusted I am poisoning myself with embossed credit cards Transfixed by my name pressed on plastic Poisoning myself on the streets of Austin Somewhere south of the river And north of Ben White I am poisoning myself on Craigslist Sucking cocks in a Zilker Park mens’ room I am poisoning myself, looking for Venus Through Army-­‐‑surplus binoculars In an era of Don’t ask Don’t tell Don’t share I don’t know I am poisoning myself with muddy Houston steam And in smoky backrooms in Dallas Poisoning myself with passions and dreams Lessons and schemes With poems written on napkins Like plea-­‐‑bargains Trees shed leaves and serpents Slough skin It’s in places like this, I poison myself Kill off What does not belong Gun stores and tequila Offend me But, I’ll drink with you All Night Long.

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It Happened This Morning By Chris Billings

_________________ “Did you lose someone you loved?” she asked, looking at the tattoo I have just above the ankle “I noticed the footprints” she added I explained that I go barefoot a lot and the tattoo symbolizes this She nodded, then said “We lost our son, I have a tattoo to remember him” and she pulled up her pants leg to just above her ankle to show a tiny hand print and foot print her son’s name her son’s date of birth/death and I was moved to silence She smiled and went back to the table to join her husband and baby girl who had blue eyes full of life a smile to melt your heart and on my way towards the door I told the woman her daughter is beautiful And I thought no matter what personal battles I’m waging with the man above it’s pretty cool that He gave this couple a second chance…

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Talk By Annis Cassells

_________________ What kinda talk is that My mother'ʹs moon-­‐‑wide hazel eyes shine harsh light on my unacceptable grammar We don'ʹt say ain'ʹt in this house It'ʹs That'ʹs not right And I don'ʹt have any I yearned to please Learned the code Knew when not to say Ain'ʹt got no And when to talk proper Learned double negatives negate Tacked on the i-­‐‑n-­‐‑g'ʹs Precise, equalizing speech a life-­‐‑long saleable commodity Cash language She talk white Like a col-­‐‑lidge gurrl She think she bettah den us

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Airport Terminal By Lori DeSanti

_________________ Vegas, Las Vegas. My father liked the craps tables, bled them dry. We’d always come back winners. He taught me to gamble when I was sixteen, never touched the dice though. He told me you have to wait ‘til you’re twenty-­‐‑one, you blow on the die and I’ll roll, we’ll hit it big. I believed him. I won him a few hundred bucks the first time. Once a year we’d take a father-­‐‑daughter trip to Vegas, just him and me to get away for a while. He liked to travel and flew a lot for work. It was two summers ago, I picked up some pomegranate seeds from one of those over-­‐‑priced snack stands waiting at our gate. Frank Sinatra’s Feet of Clay seeped from the speakers; I could barely hear it over the chatter of people— vacationers, children, businessmen on cell phones discussing stock, my own teeth popping pomegranate seeds. I made my way back over to the airport chairs, August heat sticking to their tearing blue leather. Frank Sinatra, he says. I lower my brow, what? He repeats the singer’s name, says your grandmother used to call him Franky, used to get free tickets and dress in expensive fur. She wore gaudy gold rings and diamonds to his shows. Used to fly all the way to Vegas to see him. She knew Frank Sinatra? I asked. My father chortled, says she knew him pretty well. Tells me his uncle grew up with him, he even baptized his children. I ask him if he was a religious man, he says all mobsters are. Says he has photos of him wearing a big cross with a cigar hanging from his mouth splashing holy water across his cousin’s forehead. The song was still playing; I sat in disbelief, crunching sweet pomegranate seeds. It felt too much like church, the priest preaching the holy book, me chewing on the bread of Christ, still trying to figure out the plot of it all. Frank Sinatra, huh? Yeah, my dad said again. Franky.

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What You’re Left With By Alyssa Yankwitt

_________________ Beneath that thin, white cotton sheet my body opening against your thick, coital tongue I wanted that little death to drag me out from between the dark branches of your thighs, lay me down. You hoped I would sleep, I wanted to. Instead, I watched the rise and fall of your chest trembling inside my non-­‐‑sleep to the rhythm of your slumbered breaths each one a tiny death.

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_________________ Ellipse Drawing (charcoal, pencil, ink) By Janet Snell

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Ellipse By Cheryl Snell

_________________ My before followed your after your down and out your without within. Despite or because, you moved around and about. I wanted you behind, with me inside among. How to get beyond? If became when and then right now -­‐‑-­‐‑ the present was where I moved past you.

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Drown By Caroline Wilson

_________________ When you died, Carlos broke from the arms of three camp counselors. He ran across the lawn to grab a wooden cross around its throat until “his hands were bleeding,” as the pastor put it, a voice on the phone. I received the call in the florist’s shop and walked away without the peonies, which I had planned to send to your mother that Sunday. I changed the ringer on my cell to Flight of the Bumblebee— Fur Elise got my stomach to reverse. For the rest of the summer I let Carlos sleep in our bed beside me, like he once did when he had night terrors. He filled up the space you usually occupied easily; his shape became your shape. Still, I felt compelled to shove all the books you had been reading under the mattress. Together, we decided on a grief therapist who wore a pentagram around her neck and asked us about the process of guilt while your favorite cat sat on her lap and kneaded her skirt, as he once did your thighs. It’s normal to feel this way, she said. When I was twelve and Father died, I had nightmares for weeks about a yellow man coming out of Mother’s room wailing for me. I was so afraid I’d see your water-­‐‑logged body and the way your features twisted up in the autopsy photos like rotted rope. I don’t. Sometimes instead I dream at night of sliding into a hot bath, limb by limb.

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Reproductive FAQ By Barbara Ruth

_________________ Q: What is missed abortion? A: Passing scarlet clots hallucinated embryos uterine agony. Ache in the cervix, the tug, the pull of this rebellious zygote refusing to be my baby.

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Everything is Strange By Luis Neer

_________________ I was at school yesterday I walked into the bathroom Two guys were sitting In adjacent stalls, talking To each other Their fingers also tapping cell phone screens— I went to a urinal, unzipped— They were talking about an older teacher— “She’s kind of hot in a freak way, I’d hit it”— “Eh, she’s old, man”— “I don’t give a shit, I like the sex”— I pissed the Seine, listened To their mouths Echo on the tiles Washed my hands with cold water And left In the hallway I passed that same teacher She flashed bedroom eyes at me She said “I read those booklets, Matt, Your poems are pretty good”— She yelled “pretty good” and I wasn’t sure why Nor did I know Why she called me “Matt” I tried to put it all away In a filing cabinet of the mind But my name isn’t “Matt” This life belongs to somebody leaping In a watercolor in rain The fluorescent lights are just bright enough To burn the shadows of my hands Into the walls

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Tainted Growth By Tyler Lizaola

_________________ We solicit change While our actions stunt progress Alas, hypocrites

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Did I Dream? By Allison Grayhurst

_________________ Did I dream the broken flesh upon my wrist or only tell the story I gathered from my stay in Hell? What meaning is contained in the pavement stones or from a solitary searchlight? Do I answer what I see or only that which bends my blood to mourn? Somehow I felt the shadows burn and watched a butterfly rise up like a leaf from the earth -­‐‑ yellow. Sometime I was changed, and saw the patience of God and the over-­‐‑rated bliss of power. Do I remember the day I lost my curtains? Yes. And I remember that first evening star.

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Eternal Peace By Dustin Pickering

_________________ I sift the dust of this earth after a great violence. War is no longer declared, boundaries are not drawn. Humankind is one. And because majorities did not rule before and masses refused to call out oppressors, accurate histories were not written. We do not know who we are. How do flowers grow in such boasting light, now, when our deceit only hurt the deceiver we became? And mathematicians searched for a new number— to calculate the moments between the flight of a Phoenix, and her descent.

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_________________ In My Dreams Watercolor By Amaranthia Sepia (Eternal Brown Flower) Gittens-­‐‑Jones

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Lemonade By David Ishaya Osu

_________________ you enthrone me as your daughter a sister to gardenias when I’m hot I lean on your liquid fingers as they make my bed smooth pat my waist to the veins till I’m rolled up in your magic you croon me scriptures from rains bring the moon to our room at night when we’re alone bathing in curds drinking jazz from afar in the terrace I film your smile as my scents waltz across easts and norths to oil your locks; I am ripe in the window where I nest I weave my flowering green husk into blankets where your bones winter in

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Give Grant Laptop By Serra Ota

_________________ As if I’m five years old again, I run to my room rolling up in my comforter into a soon to be perfect burrito. I poke out my arms, trying to grab the nearest pillow to cover my head and complete my perfect disguise, but I spot my brother who is seconds away from taking a picture of my burrito masterpiece. “Dad’s going to be mad,” my brother says. “I don’t give a shit,” I whine. “Don’t be such a wimp. I’ve been on three planes and it’s not that bad.” I ignore my brother and wriggle around in my comforter. To some people flying is an exhilarating experience. Slowly drifting higher and higher into the unknown, being on top of the world. I have friends who do it for sport. On the other hand, there are people who hate it. People like me. “Hurry up! We have to get you to the airport,” my dad yells. “Do I have to go?” I shout. “Yes.” I know that tone. The tone that if I talk back would result in some serious ass whooping and this ass is not in the mood for whooping. With all hope lost, I finally admit defeat and get into the car that will take me to the gates of hell. The minutes feel like seconds as I pray for one more red light. My hands are sweating, possibly hard enough to end the drought in Africa. I try to speak but my throat is so parched I sound like a dying dinosaur. After the time span of what feels like the total of three blinks, we arrive at LAX. I grab my suitcase and give my dad one last pleading look. I should’ve watched some puppy dog begging face tutorials on YouTube because this lip needed some serious practice. “I’ll see you in two weeks,” my dad says, hugging me. “Or in two hours after I catch a taxi and come home,” I say with utmost seriousness. “I know you’re scared, but this trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You’ll regret it if you don'ʹt go,” my dad sighs, leaving me. I scream internally, my eyes scanning the overcrowded airport for my family, finding them instantly. Not only do I have a fear of flying, but I’m going to have to spend the next two weeks with these hooligans. These hooligans include my triplet cousins, aunt and uncle, and grandparents. I cry out for my brother, the only sane member of my family other than myself. “You’re here,” my family cheerfully says to me as I meet them at the terminal. After greeting them, I plop myself down in the nearest seat. Looking at my surroundings, reality sinks in. I’m about to face my greatest fear. As a child my ears wouldn’t equalize when changing altitudes. The tubes inside my ears are smaller than normal; hence, I have an extremely difficult time equalizing the pressure in my ears. So whenever I would be in a situation where the elevation changed, like a road trip for example, I’d be crying out of pain. I even went to the doctors and had surgery for it. I’ll never forget my first appointment. The doctor took a long tube that looked like a spaghetti noodle, lubed it up, and stuck it up my nose. It was one of the weirdest and most uncomfortable experiences of my life. I mean at least buy me dinner before sticking your spaghetti noodle tube up my nose. “Flight to Tokyo, please begin boarding at gate eleven.” My head goes numb and I have sweat coming out of places I didn’t know existed. I am in legitimate fear that my eardrums are going to explode because they won’t be able to equalize and then I’ll die a slow and painful death. Half way to gate eleven I panic. “I can’t do this.”

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“You’ll be fine,” my grandmother consoles me. If only my family could understand the pain I’m about to put myself through. My cousin Karisa, sensing my intense discomfort, tries to assure me that everything would be fine. After finally finding our seats on the plane and settling down I attempt to have some kind of mental composure which ended with me just crushing my cousin’s hand past repair. To top off my overwhelming anxiousness, there is something wrong with the airplane’s door. I’m barely sane due to my pending ear explosion death and the fucking door is broken. With my mind already in an irrational state, the whole plane scenario from Final Destination plays in my head. Now I was convinced that not only was I going to die, but also everyone in the whole damn plane was going to die. Not a second later, a crying baby runs through the isle on my left. Could this flight get anymore ridiculous? There are ear explosions, broken doors, and babies running amok. I feel tears rolling down my cheeks. Confronting my greatest fear in life ain’t easy. Noticing my glimmering teardrops, my cousin Grant says something I’ll never forget. I imagine he’ll give me some encouraging words on how get through this moment. Instead he says, “If you’re going to die, die with style and give me that new laptop you got since you won’t be using it.” Letting out my first laugh in hours, I finally feel somewhat calm. Continuing his twisted ways, he hands me a paper and a pen. “Write a mini-­‐‑will, and sign it. All you got to write is Give Grant Laptop,” he laughs. “Shut up,” I smile. Ding. Ding. Ding. My heart sinks and my body stiffens. “Hello, ladies and gentlemen, we will be departing in a matter of moments. Please fasten your seatbelts and be ready for departure.” Tears start to form once again, but Grant nudges me and teasingly wiggles the pen prompting me to sign his ‘mini-­‐‑will.’ “Dude, stop,” I laugh as the airplane begins to move.

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Etre By Joanna Schroeder

_________________ The most beautiful verb in any language is etre, to be. Part Hamlet, part limitless. To be. Be a blank page, be the lines of the last telegraph transmission, the frantic mountains and valleys, the landscape of your heart monitor. Be the ink of your next tattoo, the picture from a dream you haven’t had yet. Be arms flung open wide to embrace anything, everything that is and ever will be. Be the prayer of your wingspan, be your shadow so large it becomes the whole sky. Be dragon, be a mouth on fire, be scales on your back that are mistaken for mountains when you sleep. Be fireworks, be joyful explosion, be sparks drawing awe on the night. Be the face of God in your own mirror be I am, be the scribble at the end of the eighth day, be the dry riverbeds, eraser marks on the rough draft of creation. Be the notes of a new anthem, be the wind that composed it be the ghost town piano it plays on, the crooked smile of its missing keys.

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Be a pocket full of lighter fluid in the face of the next Ice Age. Be a palace made from dinosaur ribs. Be the telescope we are building to see past the edges of this galaxy. Be mighty even when you know you are small. Be the final boarding call, the blinking silhouette of the last spaceship out of your hometown, the future that is not here yet, but will be. Be the moment we invented language. Be the first lips that ever formed I love you, be the ear they whispered it to. Be every mother fucking curse word you know, be the last magic words we have left to us, be yes.

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Let Me Out By Rich Boucher

_________________ There’s so much red in all the Target stores and I don’t understand it. What are they trying to do to people? I’m sorry about yesterday; I’m sorry I told you that I didn’t like you anymore and that I wasn’t going to split the cost of the snacks with you; it seems like every time I go into a Target I get really angry. Why do they have to fill the place with so much red color? Why do they want to do this to me? I don’t even know why we were there and I don’t know that anybody knows why they go there. I think we were there to either buy some ginger ale and a chair, or a picture frame, or you needed to get some tampons or I needed a video game and some aspirin or else we needed to buy the idea that our future was going to be ok or else we wanted to find out if it was possible to have church anywhere or else have some dessert or else hold me now but all I could see was red. That bright angry red that says you’re not leaving here until you buy some electronics and Milano cookies. That sweating tomato on the vine, shaking and about to burst like a throbbing brain, those holly berries like little crazy eyes. They make me think I’m capable of terrible things. Those red stone spheres in front of the Target give me the bad dream feeling that I’m going to lose control and become the first man who ever lived and donkeypunch someone’s grandmother on the stairs, chainsaw everything in half. Every other breath I take in that place is an exasperated sigh and I want to chokeslam an elderly greeter right into the wall. Target makes me feel like I’m about to learn how dangerous nature can be, in the way that cavemen found out which of the colored sweets were the deadly berries. I feel like I’m about to be the dangerous nature when I’m there. All of that murder everywhere, all of that Target welling up inside of me like bile. I feel like I’m about to dropkick the nearest dachshund into next week. I can see myself backing over a soccer mom with my car because I don’t want to check the rear-­‐‑view mirror for fear of seeing all of that exciting goddamned merchandise in my eyes. I can’t believe how big my eyebrows are. All that bright emergency ambulance red in the signs over every aisle, all that infuriating red has become a pulse in my skull and I want to leap over the counter and go after that cashier with his stupid bloody shirt and his way-­‐‑too-­‐‑tight khakis. I can’t stop thinking about it once I start. Am I in a Target now? Is that where I am? I need to get the hell out of here.

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_________________ Strange View Photograph By Louis Staeble

Yellow Chair Review 71


Wrestling Match By Jocelyn Mosman

_________________ Round 1: It came to you in a dream and you never questioned God'ʹs plan to name me Jocelyn. Champion. There was no doubt I would grow up a fighter. Round 2: You gave me ambition, but called it passion. I was to be a lawyer, you said. It was perfect for your daughter who loved to argue. It was perfect. I wasn'ʹt. We wrestled our way through long disputes. We held our ground, despite the pain. Round 3: Every time I fell down, you picked me up. Keep fighting. Bruises fade. You faded when I moved north, and my heart was too heavy a suitcase to unpack.

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Round 4: If you peeled back the tough love and admitted you were proud of the woman I had become, you'ʹd notice my battle cry, you'ʹd listen to my barbaric yawp, exalted. you'ʹd hear my tribal chant, victorious. Round 5: My sins look like yours when you tuck them in at night. I have your temper and your rage. Now, we wrestle our way through silence. We still hold our ground, despite the pain. Love me, human. Neither of us looks holy when morning comes.

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