All rights to the works included in this magazine remain with their respective authors. All rights to this issue’s cover art (“Excerpt from Shadowbox Vendiagrams,” 2015) remain with the artist Myra Lilith Day. Zoomoozophone Review is an online literary magazine dedicated to publishing contemporary poetry. It is edited by Matt Margo. http://issuu.com/zoomoozophone_review http://facebook.com/zoomoozophonereview firstname.lastname@example.org
Our fifth issue features female and gender-nonconforming poets only and is dedicated to the memory of Marsha P. Johnson, co-founder of the Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries.
Joshua Jennifer Espinoza holding on tight to the sound of womanhood remember when your body used to work.
Rosalie Wilmot noted cyanide kaleidoscope I am reason two
10 12 13
Alix Rax Love Poem Begrudgingly Spat Out on a Saturday Night (#1)
Sonya Vatomsky Rosa x damascena Milk or lemon and honey The traditional method for cultivating rice is flooding the fields
15 16 17
Carolyn DeCarlo Cosmic Rays Spirit Animals
Lo Poholek The Bear and the Sun The Boy and the Vase
Eli Castro Return to Body River Broke Down Twenty Thousand
Jane Joritz-Nakagawa diurnal (12) diurnal (13) diurnal (14)
24 25 26
Barbara Ruth Call It Sunna Vilde Chaya: Eve Beyond the Borders
Sheila E. Murphy Over Undertones Americano
Kristina Webster Shue intuition taxidermy
Manuel Arturo Abreu performance 2 performance 3 performance 5
36 37 38
Penny Goring xulc 0o tqe ikxer corpse flower unfuk the luv
Chevy Chekov http://poem.com/whereshegoesigo Lessons
Dom Schwab My bike has earned its keep by now.
Hannah Frishberg Insomniacâ€™s Soliloquy
Jessica Wiseman Lawrence Ephemeris
Susan Sweetland Garay Skin
Krystal Sierra Soak Steam
Bianca Martin How It Used to Be/How It Is
Cody Cannot Untitled
Alexandra Naughton [poem from MY POSEY TASTE LIKE] [poem from MY POSEY TASTE LIKE]
Cand Torrance Folly
Die Dragonetti TRAN & QUEER FEELINGS DUMPSTER
Warning: Many of the following poems address subjectsâ€”such as sexual abuse, body/gender dysmorphia, and genital mutilationâ€”that may be triggering for some readers. Please proceed with caution.
holding on tight to the sound of womanhood i cleave myself in half and half and half and half and half. i cry when i see pictures of dogs and i laugh whenever i die. i die so much and i love it. there are my ghosts in walls of buildings and floating down storm drains always searching for the next rain. it happens once a year and my voice comes out sounding the way i’ve imagined it should. like silk. like blood on ice. i’m spitting in the sink and dreaming of the day my body will make sense to itself. i’m thinking of never. i’m thinking of nothing. all my feelings prism against your hands. all my love kaleidoscopes down the drain.
remember when your body used to work. the prickliness of the air between winter and spring built a house in your lungs. prayer was like a breathing exercise. there are breathing exercises for everything except learning to love yourself. the body is a nightmare come true. you have dreams about being naked in public because nakedness is wrong. the body signifies so many things. almost desperately so. all you want is air and to walk outside safely but there are rules about that sort of thing. it has to hurt for people like you. you once baptized your head against a warm car window and now you eat the sounds that come out of passing cars as you adjust your running clothes. thereâ€™s always time for more life probably. no one blinks when your hands go numb because they canâ€™t see it. no one feels your chest tighten under the weight of not having a name.
elk water washed a home brew a synergetic apricot decaying on the tongue of Les Claypool and Wayne Coyne holding out his hand as I trapeze the midnight string of dental floss elaboration for elaborations sake sake less naming for sake less hours of state less restlessness I cannot argue with yung expatriotism it is surely the most natural thing Iâ€™ve ever done born with place less ness or place FUL ness I have been building houses out of cardboard with the hands of our children and the humans we met once quietly expecting thunder ful watchfulness I am expecting the lonesome talisman of 10 years ago on your bedside table families burned through the trembling pages of hill locked manner whose cows are stomping out the tune of all tomorrowâ€™s parties minutes dreamed for become garish in astutely human presence when the place beyond a place again shows her face
and you are home here in skinny anchor wiggling out of this hallow was.
lying there a while we thought the world would move within us decorative a fancy afraid of this angle you are afraid of what happens after lightly painted you are friend divinely intertwined friend divinely drawing near lucid in our old time pieces the caveatsâ€™ of ramified rainbows wet lingering tiger spotted flowers on the necklace of the sea.
I cannot wash off this sanity what are the essential elements of conversation? yes my mind could never slow down for the keys or my fingers could never speed up but that was just a quirk and these days quirks are interesting so we fill our basements with them and maybe one day they’ll walk in with a video camera cause you sister invited them but she isn’t the one to blame that is okay it’s okay to build from nothing yes we will all be building from nothing be seeing from the inside of gas masks the way unto what does your art mean? nothing really but I think sort of everything all the essential elements color rhythm and voice this voice of many this exacerbated spirit who puts me into the veins of stars to track down disclosure statements we’ll never see we will never see any of them anymore its hidden in the free verse it is the while waiting god sending freedom close your eyes and let it roll that’s what they said that is what she said something happened again clicked and the time went something moved again in me it wasn’t you and you aren’t the reason to return but there are reasons still and I am two.
I am crying tears that are honor-bound to my eyes; I am shiny and shimmery but not wet, not visibly. I’m crying, I tell you, and you inspect my face suspiciously and you say No, you’re not. You’re not crying. When I really do cry at that, you look victorious, like you’ve caught me in a lie. I told you you weren’t crying. I send you pictures that I don’t think you like. I send you poems that I know you don’t read. I sing prettily in the shower and pretend I’m embarrassed when you mention it. I force-feed you my goodness like a screaming resume. I think I hear you speak to me when I’m sleeping and it wakes me up, what you say, so clear and loud in my ears that I know it’s been spoken aloud, and yet I am alone in my bed, it was a dream, you never speak to me that way, your voice conspiratorially warm in the tones of welcome admissions everywhere. You’ve never admitted anything a day in your life. I send you pictures that I don’t think you like. I send you poems that I know you don’t read. I glue macaroni to my naked body in rudimentary patterns and beg you to put me on the fridge. I throw tantrums and I sulk into juice boxes. My hands both carry the rank bitterness of an old sponge. I can’t stop smelling them. I haven’t touched a sponge in weeks. I’ve been ordering plastic containers of delivery food just for the pleasure of throwing them away when I’m finished. I send you pictures that I don’t think you like. I send you poems that I know you don’t read. I make you into a poem and tear you into pieces. I flush you down the toilet and cry at my talentlessness. You think that I don’t understand the gods you think are grand, the Jack Kerouacs and the Ernest Hemingways, but you’re wrong. I understand everything about you and you get away with nothing. I send you pictures that I don’t think you like. I send you poems that I know you don’t read. I purr and I stretch and I nuzzle and bite. I wait for the day that we have a real fight.
She says anger is a house you’ve lost the plans for, a sprawling thing with a missing groundskeeper and rooms you’ve forgotten the purpose of filled with furniture handed down from relatives so distant the shared blood feels like ash in your limbs, a thick paste plugging up your insides as you walk the halls like a panicking ghost. There aren’t enough keys for all the doors, though the ring is massive and heavy enough to make your breath catch -- some open for you regardless, slide like buttered loaves across wood floors to beckon you in. A few cluck at the latch like old friends exchanging secrets; the rest ignore you and that’s fine when the yardwork is unfinished and vines everywhere, the garden overgrown and a small fountain looking like something you might have held in deep memory once, sculpted smooth but beaten back by rain and left alone in a place that’s on no straight line to anywhere; not even crows fly above.
I’m left with drawers of pre-revolution silverware when you vanish, a kitchen full of linens embroidered with traditions and overbearing advice, warm ovens humming their white noise as the kettle pours out over tea-leaves in a motion I am barely controlling. It’s just birds for winter, birds for winter. To head south is a seasonal thing, to go below where it’s warm and the food is plentiful and the tears rise to my face like my body’s a spout and I can read them like tea-leaves which cling to the cups in their usual shapes: nothing, nothing, nothing, something slightly resembling your face.
Old bones in the freezer and the mind’s abacus clicking hopefully past each grain of rice -- one of those days when you can only think about food and remembering quod me nutrit me destruit across milk-white stomachs like a prayer, the sun claustrophobic inside herself. She’s shrinking in and covering her burns with swaths of cloud, wringing out the sweat of fever-dreams as the moon lurches home drunkenly, viscous egg-white frame held up by will alone and hollowed eyes staring ahead, hoping that this time this time this time this time this time the mirage is sizzling on the sidewalk’s tar with each hiss a promise, a hand reaching towards like a safe thing and not a threat. One of those days when it’s food and water, the soft hum of a boiling pot, the salt, the sad repetition of another hour waiting for another day. Outside it’s wet, white, closing in and around.
Our bones are radioactive. If we were made of plants, we might be more radioactive but all of our radioactivity is secondhand, a product of ingesting plants for days and days and days. Our bones show our age like trees. Cut us open and you will see our rings, cut us open and you will see our plants. We are living free of carbon dioxide. We are practicing radioactive decay. In 50,000 years, we will be ageless. As a tree grows, only its outermost ring inhales carbon. As a tree grows, only its outermost ring is made of bone. As a tree grows, only its outermost ring knows bark knows skin knows air. Trees grow from the inside. Some rings will never reach the surface.
Outside of time, the spirits slink. A thread is a thread is a thread I pull it and it’s still a thread. Dirt and nails and bones are the only things keeping me together. Dirt and nails and bones do not apply here. I can tell a lot about a person by the way their carpet smells. I climbed a hill for seventy days on the seventy-first day I reached the top on the seventy-second day it all got easier on the seventy-third day I was a dead thing. Seventy-four ways of looking at my own nose. I timed myself jumping off the Empire State Building forty-six times in a row. By the forty-fifth time I could do it in under 12 seconds flat. The trick didn’t have anything to do with aerodynamics. It didn’t matter whether I kept my legs together or not all I had to do was swallow eight pennies on the way up. Someone is swallowing a catfish in a forest in Germany right now. Someone is walking on top of the Salt Lake. Someone is having a seance in their backyard in Rotorua. Today I bought an urn that will turn me into a tree. Tomorrow I will buy a cat that can turn me into a cat that can turn cats into dead things. On Wednesday I will turn a cat into a tree.
The sun looked so beautiful that day and the bear decided that he loved it. He didn’t take the word love very lightly, but there he was, with the sun, doing nothing to stop it. So began his pilgrimage to get the wood to build the ladder to climb to the center of his love. The bear knocked on every door in the town but the humans turned him away, shouting through the house to their families that there was a monster outside, oh no, a monster outside of the door to their very own home. But the bear needed the wood to climb to the center of the sun, so he began to gnaw down the trees. With each one that fell, the sun shone heavier on the ground and the bear yelled up to it “I’m coming pumpkin, I’ll be there soon bright pumpkin.” It was ten years before he had stolen enough trees to build his ladder, and then ten more before it was constructed. He climbed to the highest cliff with his infinite ladder beneath bear arms and pushed the filed ends into the dirt. On his paws, the bear lent his head to the wood and prayed to his sun. “I’m coming for you pumpkin, I will be there so soon. You are the most beautiful sun and I am forever in love with you.” The bear rose and bathed his body in his lover, then put the first thick leg onto his twenty-year ladder, and then the next leg, and soon he was in rapid ascent, climbing and roaring and yelling “I’ll be there soon my bright pumpkin!” The bear was halfway to the sun and laid his weight against the wood to rest, just one moment, and he felt the ladder begin to shift and tilt towards the emptiness of air. He threw his body backwards to try and stall the shakes, but the ladder continued to creak and the bear began to roar “My sun! My sun! I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” The twenty-year ladder loosened from the dirt and the bear fell through the mountain air, screaming for his love until his body thudded into the earth. The sun looked down at him then continued to shine.
When I was a little boy, my father told me that I needed to fall in love with a vase. I didn’t know exactly how to do this, so I put flowers in it and called it done. He said, NO NO SAMUEL, YOU NEED TO FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS VASE. I smashed it into the ground and he said, NO SAMUEL, L O V E I T. So I packed up all the little bits of vase, nice and tight, into my mother’s purse and went down to the river. I used a fish scale to cut my arm open and pushed the shards in one at a time, very careful Samuel, until I felt like I was almost porcelain. I went home and said, FATHER, DO YOU SEE NOW? I AM PORCELAIN LOVE! He looked at me and this was the first time that I saw pain. In the night, I went back to the river and found my surgeonfish, I said, FISH, WHY ARE YOU A KNIFE? And Fish said, GIRL, WHY ARE YOU A BOY? I looked down into myself, then to Fish, and said, YOU ARE COMPLETELY RIGHT. So I picked Fish out of the water and used his scales to cut off my little child dick. I bled a bit, but pushed porcelain beneath my skin and held a firefly to the wound. CAUTERIZATION, I said to Fish, and he swam away singing God Bless America. I walked home to Father and said, FATHER! I’VE DONE IT! I’VE CUT OFF MY LITTLE CHILD DICK AND NOW I AM A WOMAN! ARE YOU HAPPY, FATHER? Father looked at my blood stained trousers and tried to unzip them, but I skipped away. My name is Jessica. My name is Jessica.
I will not wade out. The geography of what my hips hold is still far too treacherous. A rolling bloom eludes me. I pick at the rotting fruit of dissatisfaction, the root of unbalance in my body’s flora. It is a stench that attracts only carrions. Is it too blunt for me to say I’m fucking scared my flesh is faulty? I don’t think there’s a good return policy though. So I wait every night for sleep to compress me; wait for something more baleful than dreams to come over me, wait for cognizance to ebb away, wait for a plane to descend and crush me. Because even the fate of poorly written plot would be better than another night spent eyes pressed against the wet dark existing in this set of organs and bones. It is all wrong. All bow bent in the wrong places, all ill fitting. A sarcophagus cast poorly, a casing too small; even when I slip into a more comfortable pronoun.
There is a monster living in me. He is rude, always eyeing people he shouldn’t. He calls me things like honey and baby doll. He likes to wrack my ribs, run an empty tin can against them so when I open my mouth all people can hear is that clink clink clink. Stop that everyone is going to hear you. Baby doll, they can see right through you it don’t matter. His name is Alex. Alex thinks of doing things my momma told me are all wrong; things Father Greer promises will send me to hell in a hand basket. Our parish is made of abandoned cars. We kneel on pews carved from red-hot dust. Alex wants to kiss all the wrong kind of people, hold all the wrong hands. At dinner momma asks me what’s wrong with my face, looks at me like I’m all heat haze. You’re not my daughter! Don’t talk like that momma I swore Alex was separate from me; something I could never be. He was the king of all that is tar, road kill, ugly dresses that don’t fit but momma makes me wear anyway, fruit at the bottom of the bin at the 12th street market rotting from the inside. Today at broke down car church I meant to sing psalm 23. Instead heat lightning strung straight outta me. Alex wailed real loud during the homily; so loud I broke all the churchgoers into bits, smashed them against the shag carpet and parquet floor, and shoved them through gaps in my skin to hush him. I did this for ten thousand years screams smash shove screams smash shove sc re a m sm as h s ho ve I did this until everyone existed in me. Wailing like Alex. Wailing like heat lightning. Telling me what a stupid, irresponsible shit I was. I threw my dumb body onto the hot concrete of this earth, now void of anyone outside of myself. And Calliope appeared, slick and silver said I am Calliope. I said Are you a boy or a girl? Calliope said no. I am in love with the tiny click of their eyelids. They look at me but don’t see no heat haze like momma did. Calliope says things like, You’ve got a bloom and Your body is not wrong the way people look at it is. They fold words real nice. Fresh pressed, folded smooth by their tongue. I’m not as good as them yet cause I’m this awful aching specter. They hold Alex’s hand when we walk the smoky turnpike. Another ten thousand years pass. Now I’m real panoramic in form. Alex doesn’t scream much anymore. His mouth isn’t as rough. Calliope doesn’t leave him out of the conversation like Father Greer did. We live in a house made of abandoned cars.
shameful wreck mental strata lathering scars words inflict damage anonymous rocks vigilante reunion thankless rapids je suis charlatan political palette chorus of frowns aimless torture good pair of bones phantom disorder tangential frontier
folklore of sky canyon of the mind first tremor entwined with touch belly in the journey maneuvers the wind even the world nothing follows direction of the body grass full of consolation skin and sky hidden in logic stench of moon uneven emblem
rude launderette floating in cavities velocity of diagrams unforgiving wall follow up visit passer-by expenditure contracting brick pleasant steady girl pension calculation epilogue of objects sad grammar drunk by mistake linear destruction pattern of vines
call it call it call it call it
sunna excision infibulation pharonic circumcision
call it call it call it call it call it
tradition nationalism anti-colonialism their culture none of our business.
Nigerian women call it “monkey de work baboon de chop” & it means men steal our sex as they steal our labor at the age of 8 days or 3 years or 6 or 15 the cutting of the clitoris or both sets of labia or the vulva sewn together - surely no one does that anymore with knives & razor blades & glass the details vary - it can’t be very many tens of millions of babies little girls women living today in Somalia, Egypt, the Sudan in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mali Senegal, Sierra Leone Kenya, the Ivory Coast, Zaire the followers of traditional African religions & Muslims & Christians & Jews
an infibulated woman bleeds when she’s fucked. for an infibulated woman penetration is unsafe sex. African women are organizing to stop the cutting the way women have always organized, home to home stopping another along the road, to talk call it
African women don’t need our analysis African women don’t need this poem they could use some material aid a projector, film, a loud speaker they could use a video camera. they need a kind word like your friend who works the rape hotline needs a kind word someone to say hey, I know the work you do makes you want to scream I know you have nightmares I know sometimes you think you can’t go on one more day but you do. they need a sister to notice. call it
the love of women.
Fatima Mutanga Susana Muteyo Alice Nahula
Cecilia Alberto Miriam Lukelo Judith Joshua
Lovina Surkina Gloria Bowar Bose Onotoso
genitally mutilated and dead of AIDS.
up til the 1930â€™s North American women had our clits cut off by surgeons to cure us of masturbation, nymphomania, lesbianism. call it
She spits in public, scoffs at Newton’s laws. The clockwork universe does not compel her. She licks chaos from the muddy creek, fashions children from the silt. Amphibious, ambiguous, she loves them for their messes. Some say they’ve heard her spawn indulge in glossolalia, incant the bubbe loshen. It’s in the mud the blood the mother’s mother’s tongue. Her table manners are appalling; they set no place for her at shabbos, she breaks the plates, but Vilde Chaya does not starve, she shifts her shape: in winter she’s an evening grosbeak, her nose and mouth fuse into cartilage so tough it pierces frozen hawthorn berries. She does not starve. Vilde Chaya bites the hand the hand-me-downs; her wings wink through the blackjack oak, she shifts again. In summer she’s a moray eel dining down between the sponges and the coral. Her current alternates, she lights and shocks, she shocks the hand the handsome prince she will not wed. Vilde Chaya’s wily ways defy analysis or nomenclature; Freud could not persuade her to render up her dreams, Linnaeus could not pin her down.
Vilde Chaya slides between the buildings, she has no fear, no need she cannot satisfy. She charms the rats and ATMs. Bullets turn to music within her ectoplasm, they sing along her synapses sheâ€™s got the constitution of a cockroach, genetically resistant to radiation, pesticides. Shifty-eyed she sees the world between the atoms. Shifty-shaped she knew the world before the Adam bomb and she remembers.
She chaperones all morning. My vitality undresses sapling after strenuous behavior. So I guess you want to work, I really say. I guess I do, you say and may I ask why (asked the same way you expect your pay). Intend, provide, unless you just prefer to run through my rehearsal in the time it takes to rustle up some capsicum and glug, so no one wants to take you out, yet no one wants to stack up points. Youâ€™re on your own, nobody states, although your history is on your sleeve. Thus, I refuse to trot all day in the direction of no direction I can name to see where you have gone.
Dark wood secludes affection for a while as we listen to ourselves on earth be nimble in the forebrain and deserve our ordinary furlough until darkness seems a pratfall and a positive distress, some lame authority will rise to factor in and own, until anyone would rather drift than we lobotomized as such, earning a pathway to the reputable habit of portraying answer after answer in our sleep until sheâ€™s lost the zeal to let go places she believes would want her, knowing all the while nobody wants to watch the rich get richer and bereave a poorer self alone along the rodeo performing tricks undying.
Capillaries furl like freeze-dried petals as my glass globe spiderwebs and stills. Convexity lifts leg crane-like, gasping, empty: suddenly sans the ticking film clips, harsh sibilance of consequenceâ€”sound that filled my head like bodyâ€™s self-aware yapping unsourceable imagery of intuition I turn to silhouette. Every bite leaves a mark: I eat electrons and split storms. Am a lit fuse beyond extinguishing. An everything unlike anything. No embellishment will enslave me.
maybe i need more potassium—muscle contraction. maybe my walls would wring themselves out, empty of betrayal. observable dissectable controllable body: no one lives in their perfect temple, but few are wrapped like/warped like this. bad taxidermy: visibly uncomfortable, incongruent, inauthentic. forced pretense exterior; stapling an imagined soul into starched uniform. when all that we are is chemical and electrical—how can such contentious waves exist together? how can they not force apart? like magnets. or is it that we are hovering, atom of our anatomy moving to bond—to the other with whom we’ll divvy our pieces? negatives of femininity pulled away by and into an Other and leaving me: transformed, and whole. i used to love raccoons before i learned that their excrement carries nervous system-debilitating pathogens. i used to love my body before i learned that it would not be stable. that it would not acknowledge me. that it would not be mine.
upside-down kissin my fingers plague bones it hasnt been fun for ages my face on swarm girl kitchen sinking red hand red hand black sky meets your ankle i break your legs n carry you to the scaffold on a very ornate chair a very ornate chair stuffed with saints hair and your fingernails cuz u asked 4 it cuz the crowd wants it cuz it was decreed in my walls the ghost of scratchin susan told me her lies r the bestest this is what she sez: blah blah blah anything. my poor darlin anything.
http://sleepisonlyacondition.org http://dreams.com/seepingfrompillows http://sometimesinthemiddleofthenight.co.uk http://istopandmatchyourbreathing.gov http://buddhistmeditation.com/at-its-finest
the air changes when you leave a room you canâ€™t buy soccer hooligans in italy shower head descriptions are walmart porn galaxies are ruthless cannibals the slight grooves on your teeth remind me of the cliffs in the grand canyon the universe is made of red strings tied to mischievous gods who fear radio waves pass through mountains through me through you holding up a camera so you wonâ€™t forget how good things were before the strings began to unravel invisible dogs run away too proverbs can be found in phonebooks poems can have punchlines (smack)
My love is worth its weight in gold If you can read the dodecahedron Face I chance to play today. Beware! I’ve lost my share of lovers— Potential partners all of them—to Idiotic words and deeds/perceptions They performed/I obtained, maintained, Withheld. Go not their way, Comrade; Learn from them if thy goal is gold.
In an effort to never be forgotten I planned to shoot up my veins with life until it leaked out my fingertips and there could be no doubt I was alive I made a promise not to go home until I’d so filled myself with existence the shadow of the tracks were embedded in my skin like a tattoo of ephemeral motion I became convinced I’d been put here to wander and fill my addiction for human energy in a city where no one ever sleeps because we are all constantly dreaming And somewhere between the Bowery blues and the Harlem highs I ended up on top of the Brooklyn Bridge and there was a woman sitting on the northernmost turret and she smiled at me and said “Everyone always forgets that this is an island And that there is a certain loneliness in every human soul I know for fact that everyone in this city has cried But the truth is When you stuff 8 million people on an island That island tends to explode with light and love and when you look up at night you don’t see stars because we are all star stuff in this oversaturated harbor town And we brighten the sky from the ground And your bones are made of the same material as skyscrapers And I stand up here and watch this city that never sleeps Always knowing that if I fell the smack of my body on the East River Wouldn’t wake a soul but those who were already awake But I don’t care Because one day, I know, the waters will rise and the waves will come down not in anger but in a hushhh and blanket this city, tuck us under their sea foam and give a goodnight kiss to the top of the last high rise as New York, New York, Filled with all my neon beauties and moon babies, who I watch every night, Sinks into a watery sleep, after being awake for so very long.” And then she tumbled off the bridge but I didn’t hear her hit the water and when I looked down there were fireworks dancing on the surface and a ship roared by And then I went home and slept.
When there is no room for anything else, there is always writing at the kitchen table with the window open, watching far-off rain dry up the idea of the sun. There is knowing that to someone out there, we are earthshine igniting the darkness. When there is no room for anything else, there is always a reflection in a glass of water, and there are leaves to write about. There is the memory of black and white to humble us. There is knowing that to someone out there, we are bright variable stars, steady and forever.
She goes down for her nap peacefully while I watch hopefully on the monitor, soaking up every second. Quietly I sneak outside and feel the warm sun on my sensitive skin which protects me and carries a record of my sometimes difficult past. Scars and freckles and sun spots collected slowly over the years. I pull off dead leaves and carefully save each living broken piece. I lay them down gently amidst dark brown dirt. I take care to give enough but not too much water. I watch things grow to try to heal a part of me that was broken. Turns out I have more patience than I thought. When she wakes we both go happily back outside onto the porch.
There is so much color. Greens and blues and yellows flood the rooms of our houseâ€”summer. We face west and soak in sun. Our children run out of the open front door, letting the metal screen smack the frame behind them. In the spare bedroom, you arrange your collections, lost in stacks of magazinesâ€”a city of stories. It smells like cut grass and wood burning. I am moved to sweep the front-porch.
My body does not belong to me. It belongs to the family at breakfast. And to the rush-hour radio talk show host. Excluded from and the primary concern of conversation. I am eggs, coffee and depleting ozone, my steam rising. My body does not belong to me窶馬ot its girth nor the spread. Taken. A conquest. My orgasm. At thirteen. It could have belonged to me. I pierced my body with a sewing needle. After, I was tenderer than I had ever been. Finally feeling. Finally connected. My body, finally, belonging to me.
remember when we stayed out late and got stoned and you showed me the constellations on that clear winter night and here we are now the stars bright with fireflies stirring and you canâ€™t even meet my eye
every single thing about life is far too precious to be constantly running away from it
his choke stained heart drips slow, thick and sticky. his cold cuddymouth covered, faced down. my sheet tended sighs. such a cold cold child. if only we knew what we want, what then. as if any one knows. what. make me unfussy. make me small and quiet. make me into no thing. make me acceptable. make me into no thing some more. leave me in the sheets. his chest getting bigger, every month every bump, but no potable room. unlivable. unmovable. unstuck. i’d like time to be concrete. like breathable. like behavior. there is all ways space for little water. every thing he loves is diminutive. every thing he loves is dead. like we used to know. you can make any thing sad because it’s easy to do. it’s literally so simple. it’s sweeter, and glides like treacle. like picayune. that spot on your tooth.
she and i go out at night and play the game and play it well. we wear leather boots and shorts, crop tops and cock tail dresses, looking like girls who know every thing. we drink from the well and act like it’s no thing. we like to be watched but don’t like to talk. we wander alley ways and sit on curb side and gawk at the newmonied class. we act better than. we move from past to party and keep moving to stop from dreaming. she and i know better than but it’s not a factor. she says i want a nother and i say i want to dance and we do both. she says is this for ever and i say it’s not enough.
I’m moving back in to my parent’s place But it doesn’t really feel like I left. We grew up in a city of strip malls. Growth isn’t inherently anything. I mean, People stopped by the water and got comfortable. The busses are never where they need to be. I have too many friends without homes. I’m 20, Gangly, Irrational, Ambitious. My family has grown along with me. I let my relationships ferment in hopes that I can pull them out of their cardboard boxes But I didn’t pick them up at the liquor store. I don’t see empathy as a commodity. I’m a professional apologist. I’m packing up my belongings because I can’t afford to go into work, Take another call, And say “I’m sorry to hear that” As a complete stranger uses my average handle time to talk to me about 4 a.m. conspiracies While I reboot their modems. “Sorry” has been diluted by their grandiose expectations. I get too paranoid to leave my house some days. I thought my brother stole all of the cash I’d been hoarding. I can’t remember what I bought with it But I went to a house party And crashed at a shelter. “Sorry” depreciates the same way my friend’s Pontiac Sunfire did after graduation. I can’t afford the argument. I take out these loans to try and dole out life lessons. “Borderline psychosis.” I come back. My spine dissolves into cotton. I want to turn into my backpack. I don’t take my Lithium. I abstain from apology. It’s not public domain. I’m in a perpetual state of confession.
“You’re a smart girl, aren’t you?” “You’re misbehaving” “You’re just bitter” “You’re dead to me” “You’re mine” “You are like a child” “You are what I want you to be” “You are like a whore” “Please” “I am still fond of you” “I don’t care if it hurts” “Of course I love you” “I didn’t rape you” “I own you”
✞ Soldier Up Be A Man Whipping Boy Of The World
Soldier Up Be A Man This Is How You Learn
✞ AND YOU ARE BLEEDING YOU ARE A PIECE OF MEAT YOU ARE BLEEDING YOU ARE A PIECE OF MEAT YOU ARE BLEEDING YOU ARE A PIECE OF MEAT
✞ In the aftermath feel fucked Trapped beautiful useless as the dead Leopard frozen up on Kilimanjaro Blood suffusing air the white Is tainted the ice Does not melt
✞ G-d, please take me home, G-d, please take me home. Please take me home, G-d, please take me home. Please take me home, G-d, please take me home.
✞ “I should have left you long ago” “I am behaving fine” “I am not bitter” “I am alive” “I belong to no one” “I am not a child” “I am not what you want me to be” “I am not a whore” “No” “I don’t care” “I never wanted this” “I don’t believe you” “I know what you did to me” “I belong to no one”
Alexandra Naughton doesn’t give a fuck what you think, but she still doesn’t want you knowing her business. She has a few books coming out this year: you could never objectify me more than I’ve already objectified myself (Punk Hostage Press), I will always be in love (Dig That Book Co.), and my posey taste like (Bottlecap Press). Alix Rax is a queer, gender-fluid poet from Washington, D.C. Their interests include eating Russian food, crying alone, and canceling plans. They regularly write their phone number on a slip of paper to give to a cute stranger before growing embarrassed at how disgusting sex is and leaving the room entirely. They are much cuter than this bio gives them credit for. Barbara Ruth is a cis female, long-time radical lesbian feminist, multiply disabled, Jewish, Potowatomee, longing for the peace and justice for all her relations. She is also a photographer and fiction writer and enjoys easy walks in places of fierce beauty. Bianca Martin is a writer and musician living in Melbourne, Australia. She plays drums in a feminist punk band and has been published in Electric Cereal, The Bohemyth, and Lip Mag, amongst other publications. You can find her writing at oldcarsdontgoveryfast.tumblr.com and tweeting @beeeeonka. Cand Torrance is queer and in constant flux. She can’t tell if this is a byproduct of psychiatric treatment or manic pixie redemption. She writes and self-deprecates an hour north of Toronto. She has been featured in The Continuist, Electric Cereal, and Anime Dad Review. She updates her personal archive (candtorrance.tumblr.com) from friends’ homes and at the public library. She hopes to become a feature columnist or chrysalis someday. She’s currently late. Carolyn DeCarlo is an American writer living in New Zealand. She is the author of Strawberry Hill (Pangur Ban Party, 2013) and, with Jackson Nieuwland, has written an ebook, Twilight Zone (NAP, 2013), and a chapbook, Bound: An Ode to Falling in Love (Compound Press, 2014). She tweets @carodecarlo. Chevy Chekov is a gender-fluid poet who is currently a Creative Writing MFA student at Truman State University. Cody Cannot is an artist from Denton, TX that really needs to slow their roll. Named a “queer lit luminary” by Flavorwire, Die Dragonetti is an angel boy, co-editor of Be About It press, through which he co-founded Empathlit and curates the series “In Fear of a Trans Planet,” and contributor/social media manager at Enclave. In addition to No Greater Love (Punk Hostage Press, 2015), he has another chapbook of poetry, Tangier (2012). Find him on the internet @angelboyangelboy on Tumblr and @_dieangelboy_ on Twitter. Dom Schwab is a reader/writer of poetry/prose; GQ w/ no pronoun preference; gay; & living in Chicago. They were most recently notably published in the anthology JUNKYARD KOOL, presented by Kool Kids Press, & Boscombe Revolution, Issue 3: Revolution & Gender.
Eli Castro lives in Tallahassee. They are a sophomore at Florida State University and can be reached at email@example.com. Hannah Frishberg is a freelance writer and photographer whose work has previously appeared in The Huffington Post, Gothamist, Narratively, Curbed, Atlas Obscura, and Urban Omnibus, among others. She is a fourth-generation Brooklynite and is working on a book about the Gowanus Batcave. Jane Joritz-Nakagawa lives in Japan. Her eighth full-length collection, “distant landscapes,” is forthcoming with Theeeenk Books. Email is welcome at janejoritznakagawa(at)gmail(dot)com. Jessica Wiseman Lawrence lives in rural central Virginia. Her work has recently been featured by Silver Birch Press in their “Where I Live” series, and she has poems currently upcoming in Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal and The Activity Report. Her work focuses on current events, motherhood, poverty, and nature. She also has an interest in earth science and biology. Joshua Jennifer Espinoza is a trans woman writer living in California. Her first book i’m alive / it hurts / i love it was released by Boost House in 2014. More of her work can be found at joshuajenniferespinoza.com and on Twitter @sadqueer4life. Kristina Webster Shue is a writer, artist, musician, creator, Capricorn, semi-androgyne, eccentric, babysitter, and human from Ohio whose work has been featured in the literary publications The ReCap, The Blue Route, Literary Sexts Volume Two, OxMag, and Midwestern Gothic. Krystal Sierra’s work has appeared in Scene Magazine, Belt, Cellar Door Cleveland, and The Review Review. She is the editor of Guide to Kulchur Creative Journal and lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her son. Lo Poholek lives in Tallahassee, Florida. They can be found at lopoholek.tumblr.com. Manuel Arturo Abreu (b. 1991, Santo Domingo) is a poet and artist from the Bronx, as well as managing editor of Civil Coping Mechanisms press. Their work has been in The New Inquiry, MCA Sydney, Tactic Cork, the American Comparative Literature Association, Gauss PDF, and other places. They currently live and work in Portland. Myra Lilith Day is a Sculptrix and trans woman living in Portland, Oregon. She studied Fine Art at the Evergreen State College and worked in jewelry and foundry production in California, where she specialized in fine waxwork and moldmaking. Myra has since returned to the North West to take a position as Sculpture Laboratory Technician at Portland Community College, where she has returned to her roots as a stone carver in her series entitled Shadowbox Vendiagrams. The series is a relational exploration of simple freestanding forms on a minute scale and varies with each installation. You can follow her work on Instagram @ http://instagram.com/mymyday or on Tumblr @ http://lilithlilting.tumblr.com. She loves questions, comments, derision, and adoration.
Penny Goring lives in London. She makes things. Rosalie Wilmot is a woman from Seattle, Washington now living as an expatriate poet and English teacher in Thailand. She has been published in Similar:Peaks::, Zephyr Press, and Electric Cereal, amongst others. She is the author of Portal and We grew weeds. You can find her on Wordpress and Twitter. Sheila E. Murphy has been writing poetry for many years and has several published volumes to her name. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheila_Murphy Sonya Vatomsky is a Moscow-born, Seattle-raised feminist poet and essayist. Her first chapbook, MY HEART IN ASPIC, will be published by Porkbelly Press in 2015 and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in No Tokens Journal, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Bone Bouquet, Weird Sister, and elsewhere. She is an assistant editrix at Fruita Pulp and can be found online at sonyavatomsky.tumblr.com & @coolniceghost. Born and raised in Portland Oregon, Susan Sweetland Garay received a Bachelorâ€™s degree in English Literature from Brigham Young University, spent some years in the Ohio Appalachians, and currently lives in the Willamette Valley with her husband and daughter where she works in the vineyard industry. She enjoys finding beauty and meaning in the everyday. She has had poetry and photography published in a variety of journals, online and in print. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014 and her first full-length poetry collection, Approximate Tuesday, was published in 2013. She is a founding editor of The Blue Hour Literary Magazine and Press and relishes the work that she does there. More of her work can be found at susansweetlandgaray.wordpress.com.
Contributors: Alexandra Naughton, Alix Rax, Barbara Ruth, Bianca Martin, Cand Torrance, Carolyn DeCarlo, Chevy Chekov, Cody Cannot, Die Drag...
Published on Apr 5, 2015
Contributors: Alexandra Naughton, Alix Rax, Barbara Ruth, Bianca Martin, Cand Torrance, Carolyn DeCarlo, Chevy Chekov, Cody Cannot, Die Drag...