‖:Reset By Ashely Adams

‖:Reset

After Undertale

This first time we played,
I held your buttercup-stained smile
between my ribs. We were a god
that broke the crust on our kingdom.
But I lost your heart in the garden,
my body in the arrows

*I watched you return,
a hollowed corona.
It smelled like
rattling bones and dust.

Promise not to laugh
when I tell you this world
is kill or be killed.

*Remember the blind dogs; the snow
is so deep. Your face was meant
to be stitched with tears,
not this fractured science.

Here, I find you again
under angel rune, flowers echoing our new

*name—the fallen human,
a  c h a i n  o f  p u l s i n g  l e t t e r s
you could never arrange into truth.

I shatter the king
in the mountain. Swallow
these jarred spectrums all
for you.

*My rusted blade
can’t cut through your
SAVE FILE 3
stop this
SAVE FILE 3
ecstatic megalovania.

This metal LoVe pulls me
down through
folded timelines. A cinnamon mercy

*will bury us.
Let me share this weight
at the end of the world.
if only for a moment
Our DETERMINATION
breaks the mirrored sky.
A sunset crowns our

happy
ending.

I

don’t want this to be over.
*to let go

Are you sure you want to reset? :‖

‖:Reset originally appeared in Koru Magazine

By Ashely Adams

Biography:

Ashely Adams is an MFA candidate in nonfiction at the University of South Florida. Her work has appeared in Flyway, Heavy Feather Review, Fourth River, Anthropoid, Permafrost, OCCULUM. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was selected as Best in Show for the Antioch Writers Workshop Fiction Fellowship contest.

Ode on Hannibal Lecter that Ends with a Reason to Live By Jacqueline Boucher

Ode on Hannibal Lecter that Ends with a Reason to Live

I heard once that fear gives meat
a bitter taste, acid bath in bone. How,
then, do these numb and clumsy
ligaments deliquesce on the tongue,
if not to make a meal in the ash of it.

It started on a plane. No. It started
with a gauzy heartbeat somewhere
over the shoulder, with untumbling
in sleep. It started with sleep fanned
outward like the tracks of a skeletal

train, the kind that dot the horizon
on a long country drive, gone to rust,
gone to stillness. And the sleep, stretched
to stillness, stretched to floral stitch of quilt
made a cave, that we may trick mid-afternoon

night into thinking there was any choice
but to fall. This naked dust—not vulnerable,
but folded and nude—this hucklebuckling
toward disrepair. What a waste it must be,
to discard a body so pickled with despair.

When I die, swath my body in garlic bulbs.
Wrap me in lotus leaf & set me to roasting
in clay. Let the fat of me mask the electric tang

of paroxetine, and we will know a thing like peace.

By Jacqueline Boucher

Biography:

Jacqueline Boucher lives and writes in Northern Michigan. Her work was a finalist for the 2016 Write Bloody manuscript contest, and has appeared in BOOTH, SmokeLong Quarterly, Hobart, and other magazines. She can be found on Twitter @jacqueboucher.

A Response For Orpheus By Dorothy McGinnis

A Response For Orpheus

HOW CONVENIENT OF A METAPHOR IS MY MENTAL ILLNESS?
YOU MILKWEED OF A POET, YOU SHROUDED GLASS OF A MAN,
HOW SWEETLY DOES THIS NIGHTSHADE
LINE UP IN YOUR NARRATIVE STRUCTURE?

DO YOU GET MY TRAUMA STUCK UNDER YOUR GUMS
WHILE RECITING THE VOWEL SOUNDS OF THIS HORROR THAT TUCKS ME
INTO BED AT NIGHT ? MHM, I BET
“VICTIM” JUST LOOKED SO NICE AROUND MY COLLAR
YOU COULDN’T HELP BUT MAKE IT A SIMILE
FOR WHAT A GREAT MAN YOU ARE.

I SEE YOU PLUCKED THE SCARS RIGHT OFF MY ARMS
AND PUT THEM IN THE LAST STANZA OF YOUR SLAM POEM.
I BET THE GRASSHOPPER SYMPHONY OF SNAPS WILL
REALLY EARN YOU THAT 10.
GO ON, HOLD UP MY CROOKED LIMBS
FOR THE CROWD. JUST
WIPE THE BLOOD OFF YOUR MOUTH, BOY.

OH HOW SWEET THE FRUIT OF MY LABOR
TASTES LICKED OFF THE MICROPHONE.
WHAT A GOD OF THE VERSE YOU ARE.
SUCH A WORDSMITH.
AND ALL YOUR BEST LINES
ARE SHAPED LIKE MY CASKET.

By Dorothy McGinnis

Biography:

A poet from Salt Lake City, Utah, Dorothy does her best as much as she can and also confirms she is definitely not twenty two very small baby ducks disguised as a 19-year-old woman. Dorothy has represented Salt Lake and Sugar house at the National Poetry Slam (2016, 2017) the International World Poetry Slam (2017), the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (2017), and has been chosen as the representative for the 2018 Women of the World Poetry Slam. Dorothy teaches poetry at Skyline High School, a role she loves. Her work has been seen in the Rising Phoenix Press, Feminist Thread, and the her two chapbooks, titled “On Becoming a Volcano” and “O Bless Rivers Even When they want to Overflow.” Her work has been nominated for Sundress Press’ Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.

 

Budding By Amy Lauren

Budding

girl made of flowers
woman made of moonlight
when you are fourteen
when you are twenty-four
and hiding your smile
and full-faced grinning
through rose lenses
as she sets your glasses gently
but quiet nights
on the nightstand.
and warm blankets
this quiet midnight
make you tremble
makes you tremble
in the worst way:
within each other’s embrace
scorching nightmares,
living your dreams:
fearful of who you are
wholeness in who you are
and why a girl
and how this woman
has made you blush.
answered all your questions.


By Amy Lauren

Biography:

Amy Lauren is an organist in Jackson, MS and recipient of a Pushcart and Best of the Net nomination in 2017. Her chapbooks include Prodigal (Bottlecap Press) and God With Us (Headmistress Press), the latter through the semi-finalist prize in the Charlotte Mew Contest.

Natural? By Josh Dale

Natural?

Natural? fluorescence.
Natural? flavors.
Natural? extracts.
Natural? coloring.
Natural? ingredients.
Natural? humans.
We smile at the artifice
and the artificial flavors
without a real-life dinner
and a kiss of cancer
Goodnight!

I never feel the need to catalog
because Whitman did it for me.
Grab the hilt and walk with me,
And don’t apologize,
empathize.
You’re dying too.
Everything has been through me,
Fucked up and contrived into me.
And exhaled from me,
aspirated off me.

I don’t deal in absolutes
but I advise you to stay off
the Astroturf.
It is not Whitmanian,
it does not breathe our air.
The plush isn’t authentic,
But it is so enticing,
and smells like deceit.

By Josh Dale

Biography:

Josh Dale holds a BA in English from Temple University and has been previously published or forthcoming in 48th Street Press, April Gloaming Publishing, Black Elephant Literary Magazine, SickLit, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Your One Phone Call, and others. If he’s not petting his rescue Bengal, Daisy, he is perfecting his stir-fry recipe, hunched over in the dark like an alchemist. He is the founder and current editor-in-chief of Thirty West Publishing House and Tilde: A Literary Journal.

American Bullets By Eric Allen Yankee

American Bullets

Is it a system?
Is it a revision of bodies?

It puts men in suits
Briefcases weighed
Down by respirators
You’re gonna need that
At the board of trade, son

Lay down on the plastic sheeting
Just a little cut in your welfare
A small slice
Let your blood spill
Your killers Blame the other guy
You know
Your killers Blame the other countries
You know
American bullets fall
In the shade of the cross,

Right…?

Just a small slice
Roll up the sheets
We wouldn’t want
Anyone to see the picture
Painted by the blood
On our very own sidewalk

They just say the poor
Need an exorcism
But Congress can’t afford
The pea soup


By Eric Allen Yankee

Biography:

Eric Allen Yankee is a member of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade of Chicago. His work appears in The People’s Tribune, Calamus Journal, Five 2 One Magazine, RISE (2017 Vagabond Books), Overthrowing Capitalism Volume 2 & 3, The Good Men Project, and others. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He is the author of RIOT (2017 Finishing Line Press), American Bullet (2017 Atomic Theory), and Bees Against the War (2017 Locofo Chapbooks).

Deep Security Breach Cripples N.S.A. By Devon Balwit

Deep Security Breach Cripples N.S.A.

Putting World in Danger, and this before
coffee, the nation

already teetering or having long wobbled,
me unaware,

the same way my telomeres have been unraveling
while I threw sticks

to the dog, or the way my husband got a parking ticket,
four quarters splayed

in his fist, having crossed the street to greet
a friend before dropping

them in the meter, the meter woman hiding
behind a tree to do

her dirty work, then slapping it on the windshield,
triumphantly refusing

to listen to reason. Or me learning that a new medication
costs $40 for six grams,

a month’s-worth, my soul only three times heavier,
and priceless.

Should I be grateful for the bargain or glad not
to have to purchase my spirit

like a fast-food worker her uniform, or a coal miner
goods paid for in scrip

at the company store, everything twice as dear
but no helping it?

I speak to my son’s college counselor and fight
tears already overwhelmed

by the threat of debt, the either/or of it—
my child’s future

or my own—of course, I’ll pay through the nose,
am already stockpiling

morphine from dead relatives to save
on end-of-life care.

Perhaps the Shadow Brokers can do double-duty,
hacking and shellacking,

whacking opa and oma to give families
some elbow room

while holding big-data hostage. I make myself
read the story

to the bitter end: It may be years until the full fallout
is understood
.

By Devon Balwit

Biography:

Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and two collections out/forthcoming in the world. Her poems have appeared here in The Rising Phoenix Review, as well as in The New Verse News, Poets Reading the News, Rattle, Redbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat’s Ass Review, Mobius, What Rough Beast, and more.