IF A BODY CATCH A BODY
every 21 days I say to a mirror, start over.
I grab a stomach that doesn’t sleep, try to love my hands
around it. dog ears on the heels of days- what happened
Monday? when there was wind and I smelled like sweat.
I wear news about relapses like long sleeves, fingers
pink and hot with scar tissue. I tell myself February
will not be wrapped in sheets and I tell myself that
neither will I but I know a lie when I taste one
and this one’s a doozy. the next-day phone calls
heave dead words, leave dead animals in my lap.
I breathe stale, cement breaths. I’m bored with stories
that stir up memories, sturdy like thrift-store frames
my magnet rivers pool iron, the rusted bloodlines
yell and sing against the current
foaming at the mouth in the face of the elements
somewhere after I hold your face in my hands
and know I will not go anywhere. I will start over-
I am trying to love myself. maybe it’s the
same way men in boats love the catch they release
this floating past coming, going, swelling, bloating
I tell myself: breathe.
I tell myself: let go.
I will look in the mirror and know
I am someone to return to, I am someone I want
to steer home. you are someone to find
home in me.
By Cate LeBrun
Cate LeBrun is a writer and special education teacher from Pasco, Washington. She enjoys the hell out of dad jokes, kindness, and the view of Mt. Rainier on a sunny day. Her work has been published in Words Dance Magazine, Gonzaga University’s Reflection, and on her mom’s refrigerator. You can find her at caterosewrites.tumblr.com, along with poetry and prose surrounding the issues of addiction, recovery, and the beauty in this gorgeous, broken world.
the story of how I met a man more
revolver than skin.
to kiss bullets with
The clumsy slope of his right hook.
How metal is
never anything but
scratched longhand in
knifepoint, books bound with
and singing, I am
a siren to a heart
untempted by the sea. Heart
turned anchor by anger.
New carpets with the
ugliest stains, preyed upon plaster,
My life as
My life as
a swollen accident.
What doesn’t kill
you doesn’t kill you
but, there’s always tomorrow
By Kat Myers
Kat Myers is an emerging poet who used to sing but lost her voice at the bottom of a bottle. She is learning to speak again. She lives in North Carolina with her dog, Briseis, and can be found at pernoxs.tumblr.com.
The Nights When I Can’t Protect Myself
I wonder if it will always be like this, the
small twist in the base of my throat, the
pain of swallowing “I’m fine” and “I like being
It sits in the back of my skull, carves itself
into the bone, makes a home for its parasitic
body and soul.
Doubt at my lover. Doubt as the one and
I’ve made my bed. I’ve laid in it.
I’ve curled the sheets between my
I’ve told them that I’m waiting
until I can anchor myself to the
until I can learn the map of my own
I’m a liar. A good one.
Telling myself there’s always
the next one
the next one
the next one
that one day someone will look at me
the way I look at them.
The ache is growing, blooming,
like a putrid flower between my
I lie and I lie and I lie.
I wish I didn’t have to.
By Kanika Lawton
Kanika Lawton is a psychology and film student from Vancouver, Canada who is currently studying at the University of California Los Angeles. In 2013 she received several Gold and Silver Keys for her poetry and short story submissions in the Scholastic’s Art & Writing Awards and was the national winner for the Draw it! poster category in the 2013 Canada Day Challenge. She draws inspiration from real life events and believes profusely in the power of memory and perception. More of her work can be found at sapientiaes.tumblr.com
a letter to miss Doe
so here we find ourselves measuring the bruises
on our thighs together four five six inches of purple
green yellow fingerprints pulling open the entrance
to where we make our homes, where we create life,
where we bleed red. | you tell me of walking home alone
after, there was nothing anyone could take from you
now. i told you of walking home alone as well. there is
nothing left to be scared of now. | i find where he pulled
out your ruby hair, you find where he stained my sheets
& you find the bed i slept in for four months after he
touched me. | i find the walk you avoid taking for months |
we begin speaking in the same tongue, we begin
speaking in the same silence | they walk,
they walk, they walk, into brilliant futures where
they become lawyers, where they become athletes,
where they become politicians who make laws
that say it is not rape if they are not bleeding it is not
rape if there are not signs of struggle it is not rape it
is not rape | you & i meet in a shower where we both
scrub one another, my skin turns red under the water,
your skin turns white under the water. | i go back in time
& i take you home. you go back in time & you take me home.
we are safe & we are well. we do not have troubles sleeping
at night. we never stop eating. we never lose friends who
hear us mumbling about walking in front of cars. we never
face court battles or battling our own silence in countries
where we cannot speak out loud. | our futures are always
bright & we do not carry shame on our backs hunched
over facing forever. | we never measure our bruises
together, we never carry their laughter in our ears.
we are bright & we are safe. we are not purple, we
are not blue.
By Erin Taylor
Erin Taylor is a Tulsa based writer who is always somewhere else. She has a chapbook of poetry OOOO (Bottlecap Press) and a forthcoming micro chap you look tired (Ghost City Press 2016). Her work has appeared recently at Alien She Zine, Metatron, Potluck Mag, Moloko House, and others. She blogs at amarettoandslayin.tumblr.com and tweets @erinisaway.
A short list of stars that died this year
this sadness has always been a slow &
steady burn / an endless echo of home.
i, like the stars, know what it means
to be devoured from the inside out.
i know what it means to be on fire &
not emit any light. here i am / trying to
be less volatile, less violent. i’m saying that
when i finally implode, it will cauterise
the sky. tell me again / but gentler this time.
tell me i’m not pulling myself apart for
nothing. this widow is a mirror is a door.
i’m screaming every requiem i know at the
suns & someone is singing a mourning song.
i tried to metaphor the sound of aching;
to say what i meant without saying it. but
my name is a secret that i’m tired of keeping.
By Eliel Vera
Eliel “Eli” Vera is a writer/poet/hopeful historian who has contributed to several collaborative works and has been formally recognised for creative and critical analyses of art. Originally from coastal Nigeria, but currently living in coastal England, he has an obsession with cookie dough ice cream and travelling the world. He, and his other works, can be found at myth-boy.tumblr.com
To Rape Pop Culture
To Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich
For not releasing Kesha from her contract with Sony
Thank you for reminding us that money is more important than our safety
For making her work with her rapist
Thank you for reminding us we are property not people
To Return of Kings
For your campaign that rape should be legal on private property
Thank you for reminding me that when I was silent on his couch and said no
In his bed
That it didn’t count
For coming to the defense of Bill Cosby
Thank you for reminding us that it doesn’t matter if it one account or sixty
We’re not worth believing
To DC Comics
For bringing back The Killing Joke
Thank you for reminding us our trauma is only important in relation to a man’s tragedy
To Judge Aaron Persky
For only giving the Stanford Rapist a 6 month sentence
Thank you for reminding us their future is more important than ours
To the media
To social networks
Rape is not a joke
Nothing is funny about having your safety literally stripped away
It is not a plot device
We are not stronger because of this but in spite of it
Survivor is not just a game show
We are here
We are real
We’re not the liars
By Ry Irene
Ry Irene is a queer non-binary slam poet that calls Utah home, seven states later. Ze was a member of the 2015 Salt City Slam Team as well as a member of the 2014 and 2015 Westminster College Union Poetry Slam teams. Ry has also competed in Individual World Poetry Slam 2014 and Women of the World Poetry Slam 2016 as a storm poet. Ze has self-published a chapbook entitled “Keep My Out of Your Art, I’ll Keep You Out of Mine”. Ry is a Scorpio, enjoys long walks on the beach, bubble baths, and dismantling the patriarchy and gender norms.
visions long past, guided
by an old cello’s somber
purr, a song not heard
since your bare
knee touched hers,
bone to bone, protruding,
with only paper skin
you did not know then
that she wanted
to brush her sun-
freckled hands against
you did not know then
that you wanted
to kiss her
your cheek to hers
& draw closer with each
you forgot you dreamed
of snow chandeliers
over fields, learning
the pitches of her
laughter & committing
their songs to memory
By Audrey T. Carroll
Audrey T. Carroll is a Queens, NYC native whose obsessions include kittens, coffee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the Rooster Teeth community. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Fiction International, The Fem, Feminine Inquiry, the A3 Review, and others. Her poetry collection, Queen of Pentacles, is available from Choose the Sword Press. She can be found at http://audreytcarrollwrites.weebly.com and @AudreyTCarroll on Twitter.
I was explaining to him why I disagreed
before he waved away the smoke of my argument
and reminded me that I am “Honey”.
He knows what “Honey” does.
It pours sweetness all over my sharpness,
reminds me that I’ve been taught
to melt easy on the tongue,
to become smooth to digest,
and the “Honey” oozes over my mouth
and sticks my lips together
until I am quiet again.
It makes me forget about the hive in my voice
humming, fully-charged, holding onto its power.
Please call me “Honey” one more time
so I can take a hammer to my throat
and unleash the stingers.
By Roya Backlund
Roya Backlund is a recent graduate of University of California, Irvine with a B.A. in English literature as well as a Los Angeles-based film actress. She has been published at Thistle Magazine, Words Dance Publishing, and will be releasing her first collection of poetry this summer. She is a co-founder of Kings Zine, a literary and artistic collective. More of her writing can be found at bellydancingsmoke.tumblr.com
Cassandra only ever wished to be heard
It trickles down your chest,
Through your stomach, to your gut.
Liquid heat in the edge of a blade
Made from the words of others.
It tears you apart.
Your tale rests in saying the truths
No one wants to hear,
In making a witch of yourself
Out of their skepticism;
So they let Troy fall.
This could be Apollo’s curse,
His sunflower smiles a mere screen,
Behind which hides poisonous intent.
No one to believe that you
Would be able to refuse him.
Or humanity by itself corrupted,
Staining their nature with judgments
To dress femininity in dishonesty.
They would lose a city to the flames,
If it meant ridding the world of you.
Men have a history of burning
Women with knowledge.
By Larissa Mota
Larissa Mota is a Brazilian writer with an interest in international affairs, feminism and foreign languages. She hopes knowledge and good faith will one day overcome prejudice. She can be reached at her personal blog:http://hestialied.tumblr.com/.
The ghost is the machine
After centuries of wage labour and wars, the destruction was complete.
This is how civilisation achieved its telos, smug: people in pieces
picking themselves up, piece by piece. The future apparatus are made
in the image of their deities. Dead factory lines, corpses under the rubble
of construction sites. An arm in the riverbed, a foot under the bridge.
A torso in the desert. A rounded head in the highlands: silent, watchful,
reticent like a statue. Collateral damage: spare parts. The workers of the world
stitched themselves up with the pieces of their comrades, united. They swam in the
slow-moving seas of waste and goods, bobbed up and down in the fruits of their labour.
The detritus of production are self-sustaining, self-directing, watchful, and alert.
Joined to arms and heads, the chips beeped, emitted data, transmitted light.
A row of melancholy devices, they moved slowly, orienting themselves to
a wasteland, a sea of rocks and pulsing fragments of their friends and lovers.
Now that the dead have arisen, vampire-like, as labouring machines: it’s fine
to admire the art of it. The beauty of staying alive is the aesthetics of the future.
The mechanics of it can overwhelm, but don’t overthink it. In becoming
god, creator of all things, just remember what it was like to be fallen, and fallible.
By Subashini Navaratnam
Subashini Navaratnam lives in Selangor, Malaysia and has published poetry and prose in Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Mascara Literary Review, Poetika Malaysia, Aesthetix, Sein und Werden, minor literature[s], Anak Sastra, and Jaggery. Her writings on books have appeared in The Star (Malaysia), Pop Matters, 3:AM Magazine and Full Stop and she has published nonfiction in MPH’s anthology, Sini Sana and Buku Fixi’s ebook, Semangkuk INTERLOK as well as fiction in KL Noir: Yellow. She tweets at @SubaBat.