Confessions from the Garden By Emma Bleker

Confessions from the Garden

Bring your flowers with you.
Keep them sticking out from
underneath your jeans,
let them reach from your waistband,
with their bodies pressed against
yours until you are a fossil of them,
if even for only a moment.
Show them how it blooms from you.
Answer the question before they ask it:
“Can you believe the howl of a thing if it has
not yet been picked dry?”
That is to say:
“Do you imagine when you are alone
that soft things have empty voices?”
Let your body, stuffed full of
unashamed life,
grow so hard
they have no choice but to
press their foreheads against yours,
and repeat it,
“You blossom;
You Do,
You Do.”

By Emma Bleker

Biography:

Emma Bleker is a 20 year old writer working for her English degree in Virginia while attempting to live a true and convincing life. She has previously been published, or is forthcoming, in Electric Cereal, Cahoodaloodaling, Penstrike Literary Journal, Yellow Chair Review, Persephone’s Daughters, Skylark Review, and Rising Phoenix Press, among others. Additionally, she released her first collection of poetry, Here’s Hoping You Never See This, in November of 2015.

I HAVE A STORY BUT NO ONE TO TELL IT TO By Venetta Octavia

I HAVE A STORY BUT NO ONE TO TELL IT TO

Everywhere your fingers have been,
I’ve scrubbed myself ten times over.
As if my body could forget.
Every few days,
my skin is new but
bones remember, baby, and mine are
moulded to the shape of your hands.
Ah, those hands.
What i would give for them to never touch me again.
What i would give for them to be cold and dead and gone.

By Venetta Octavia

Biography:

Venetta Octavia is a poet from Singapore who spends far too much time eating ice cream and lying down with her dogs. Her work has been previously published in Wildness magazine and her debut collection of poetry is being published by Platypus Press. You can find more of her work at http://venettaoctavia.tumblr.com/

HURTING ON THE HIGHWAY By Esther Liv

HURTING ON THE HIGHWAY

i’m on a highway going twenty-two
above the
speed limit and i’m thinking of that time
a couple years back it’s just like that
except this time it’s not a hot guy behind
the wheel there’s no babygirl ‘cause babygirl
shed the girl and turned ghost she shed
the hot guy too and all his snark and
wicked hot eyes and it hurt and she
misses him sometimes she misses the
hurt but she can hurt herself too he’s not
the only one who knows how to cut up
a girl she can do that herself so really
there’s no need for him anymore
his guns and his cigarettes and his
vodka she can finger herself if she wants
to she doesn’t but if she did she could
she can get drunk by herself and she can
drive twenty-two
above the speed limit
she can shed skin and limbs and reinvent
herself completely who needs a killer
when you can turn girl turn ghost turn gun

By Esther Liv

Biography:

esther liv is a moon lesbian and pretend-poet from denmark, really into dark chocolate & purple tulips. her work has previously been featured in words dance magazine, and elsewhere. she hangs out at estherliv.tumblr.com

ON THE QUEER GIRL FANTASY By Natalie Wee

ON THE QUEER GIRL FANTASY

I say I love women & men’s faces crack open
like a jawless throat to swallow me

whole. They say, that’s hot. They’re thinking
sultry eyes, pay-for-more-action, queer

cured by cock. Body as sport. Eyes on everyone
but each other: a spectacle of choice.

Isn’t real unless a man is done proving he can
make a door out of an unopened envelope.

Question: if a girl kisses another girl with
no witness, does that revelation make a sound?

The catch in throat, trembling wrists, terror
blooming into wreathfuls of ribs, wearing

the future around her neck like a noose
— or the bullet caged behind front teeth

when gutted with a pistol in the mouth,
taught a woman’s place is with a cock

-ed gun in the belly if it won’t fire between
her thighs. The difference is when

the bleeding starts. Splintering drowned by
on-screen applause or dark-alley backhand.

I love women. I mean in the way that one
chooses her own murder over men.

Body softened with gasoline & ash. To be
unearthed by hands searching for rain

& crawl out of that grave into the story where
there’s no one else. Just her smile

set on bend of my skull, a coronet. Her eyelashes
the curve of two wings in flight.

I will always love her like walking into fire.
She will always be the kind of pretty so sharp

it feels like loving a knife.

By Natalie Wee

Biography:

Natalie Wee is the author of Our Bodies & Other Fine Machines (Words Dance Publishing, 2016). Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Drunken Boat, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Prairie Schooner, The Adroit Journal, and more. She has been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and two Pushcart Prizes.

Bill Murray Walks Into A Party Somewhere By Alain Ginsberg

Bill Murray Walks Into A Party Somewhere

and does the dishes, scrapes them clean of any mess made,
how he knows the way a thing can be made clean again
with enough pressure. If the right person uses
enough force anything can disappear.
How a plate can become fresh again, but will never
not be dirty, just less tarnished.
Bill Murray goes to the party and throws
everyone’s phones off the balcony, scrapes
any trace of himself from the scene,
how he knows the way a record can be kept
if the dirt dries and sticks to the porcelain.
Bill Murray goes to the party like a haunting
and tells everyone how they won’t be believed,
does this enough that everyone knows to take
him in with a grain of salt, hoping for a story to go well,
for an empty sink at the end of the night and
someone to believe you when you say how a ghost
has graced your bones, how you want to think
this as paranormal and nothing else, how
my rapist enters the concert and I disappear like smoke.
There’s something to be said about magicians, and their
ability to escape clean, how no one goes looking for them
to turn up as if they will regardless of if you want a return
or not. My rapist enters the concert and starts doing the dishes,
cleaning the palate of the people who call my name-song,
a bird call, a dead thing resurrected again.
They know how you can’t let something sit out to dry if it bled,
how it makes things harder to clean, how you need to address
the problems with soap and water and elbow grease.
How if you use enough force anything can become Not dirty again.
Bill Murray enters the park and covers your eyes, whispers
in your ear “in 2008 in Charleston my now ex-wife
filed a suit against me in court regarding
the domestic violence I committed toward her,
how in the latest account she was lucky that the god of me
did not murder her, how I say all of this because
I know you will never believe me, and no one will
believe you.” He then walks, or evaporates into a movie
you’re uncomfortable watching because of the way
the director portrays women.
Bill Murray’s face on a t-shirt talks to me as I walk
through neighborhoods I don’t feel safe in, I mean
neighborhoods I spent in your clutch, I mean
places where I never return to. The body’s disbelief
that it happened, or that people will believe me,
or that they believe me anyways and don’t care.
My rapist walks into the concert and stands behind me
and I am a phone thrown off the balcony,
how any picture taken is a blurred image,
how the worry of those who know
comes after the show is over,
how I am not dirty anymore, but it’s hard
to get all of the grime off a plate if you let it sit.
How it chips and dries, and holds onto an idea
people are unwilling to believe to be true
or, are ready to believe it and not care.

By Alain Ginsberg

Biography:

Alain Ginsberg is an agender writer and performer from Baltimore City, MD whose work focuses on gender, sexuality, and trauma. Their work has been published or is forthcoming from Pressure Gauge, Black Heart Magazine, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere. Outside of writing they are most commonly found watching dogs or dog related content.

Boy By Jade Mitchell

Boy

Say the boy didn’t leave the room.

Say he learned to love you
like language.

Baby steps, broken teeth, eyes brimming
with tears as he held you in the street.

Say the boy learned to open up
like the skies did at night.

Say he learned to live in the walls
of your home so you didn’t have to.
Learned how to canvas the palms
of your hands like the cracks in the
pavements you fell through.

He always knew which way to go.

Say the boy broke down.
Cracked the clock to drink
the time you could’ve had.
Burned down the bed your hollow body
rested in to find a way to sleep at night.

Say he turned a room into a pyre.
Fire licking the linings where
your back used to bend.

Our mouths don’t exist like
archways anymore.
We are bare to the bruising
this love burdens us with.

Say the boy hurt. Peeled back
his bones that built his frame
just to feel the burn again.

Say the boy died.

By Jade Mitchell

Biography:

Jade Mitchell is a writer / poet currently residing near Glasgow, Scotland. She is currently studying at Strathclyde University and runs her own poetry society for fellow students. Her work has been featured in The Grind Journal and Words Dance Magazine, of which she is a contributing editor. Her work can be found on her blog at vagabondly.tumblr.com

the ocean writes a letter to the moon By Jessie Lynn McMains

the ocean writes a letter to the moon

Dearest, most beautiful baby,
I am writing to tell you that I am
bloated with death and extinction

Everything I am is rotten, heavy
with decay or on the way to its
ending, and before it ends I will
swallow the rest whole, though
I don’t want to, though I am
already sick from being
full of this necrosis

I could tell you about the things that
have been done to me to make me
the way I am, but everyone does
that: points the finger, fingers
someone else, so I won’t

I wonder what you see when
you look at me, from where you are
I must look much the same as I
always have
Glimmering, shimmering, oozing
with embryos, seeds, lifeblood

But let me tell you, it is not like
that anymore
My belly is a nest of spiders
My heart is a tsunami the size
of my fist and my fist is an
atom bomb the size of the
world

The only thing I am oozing is
the milk of wreckage, and if
I appear glimmering, still,
I swear to you it is only an oil
slick and the decomposing
luminescence of Aequorea
victoria

Most beautiful baby, I can feel
you tugging me toward you
Dearest, I wish I could join you
You get farther away each year
and I have to stay here, alone
with my appetite for annihilation
which grows and grows though
I am already full to bursting

I envy you your distance more
than anything

They’ve always said I was a cruel
mistress and I get more ruthless
by the day but no matter what
happens I hope you can look
upon my body and see me as I
once was

Someone who loved everything
she held within her and took
only what she needed to
survive

By Jessie Lynn McMains

Biography:

Jessie Lynn McMains (aka Rust Belt Jessie) is a writer and zine-maker, and the 2016-2017 Poet Laureate of Racine, Wisconsin. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee for fiction. Her words have recently appeared in The Chapess, New Pop Lit, Rising Phoenix Review, Voicemail Poems, and Paper & Ink. Forthcoming publications include: The Girl With the Most Cake (a self-published chapbook), What We Talk About When We Talk About Punk (a prose collection from Pioneers Press/Punch Drunk Press), and a poetry collaboration with Misha Brandon Speck.

FRENCH FRIES & OTHER GREAT WAYS TO EAT POTATOES By Trista Mateer

FRENCH FRIES & OTHER GREAT WAYS TO EAT POTATOES

On the phone,
my mother laughs and says I might be
taking the starving artist thing a little too far.
I do not tell her about how I am Googling all the ways
I can eat russet potatoes without getting sick of them
because it’s only $3.99 for a five-pound bag,

or about how I am researching “ramen hacks”—
teaching myself how to turn a ten cent bag of instant noodles
into a meal with leftovers
because this month I prioritized booze over food
and I still feel like it was worth it.

See, I don’t have mouths to feed
or people depending on me
so I’m just yo-yoing with my own existence
and depression makes that feel more like a game
than a life decision;
so most of the time

growing takes a backseat to staying,
feels less like savings accounts and budgeting,
and more like doing whatever it takes to get through,
to peel myself like gum off the bottom of my own shoes,
to clean the blood out of the carpet
while the bills change colors like mood rings.

Don’t misunderstand me:
the mess here is not romantic.
It’s not even logical.

Survival rarely is.

By Trista Mateer

Biography:

Trista Mateer is a 25-year old writer from the Baltimore area who could be living anywhere by the time you read this. She is the author of three collections of poetry: Honeybee (2014), The Dogs I Have Kissed (2015), and Small Ghost (2015). She believes in lipstick, sleepytime tea, and owning more books than she can ever possibly read. She is currently working as a contributing editor at Words Dance literary magazine.