Dinner On Sunset Boulevard By Nora Hart

Dinner On Sunset Boulevard

By Nora Hart

there’s this visceral hunger I get
driving just before sunset
I want to claw at the world
tear off chunks of mossy flesh
rip at them with my teeth until
they cram into the crevices in my soul
absorb every rock and river
until my blood bubbles crystalline over slate
until my skin is blue sky
and my bones are birch trunk
until I am the rain hitting foggy glass
in a peculiar thunderstorm in late January
until I am a moth’s wing
fluttering over a swing set in July dusk
until every blade of grass I pass on the interstate
is a nerve in my thumb
and until every bird that blinks at me sees me
as the feather it shed mid-March.
until I am over and under and beside myself
the same way that sunlight is
over and under and beside
a maple leaf.
until I am endlessly present
and infinitely extant,
until I am everything—
until I am to the Universe
what it is to me.

By Nora Hart


Nora Hart has written poetry- in various interpretations of the word, including the very loosest- since before she knew how to sharpen a pencil. She is currently a high school student in the colder corner of the Upper Midwest, and looks forward to writing creatively through and beyond any and all diplomas she may or may not receive.



Splinters in salty heels on timber walkways
twisting through Mid-century homes on pilings

like sculptural gestures to days bygone, sequestered
from the default world, preserved in sand & sea,

our bodies framed by mirrored walls, vaulted ceilings,
& shag carpeting. We lie in repose in conversation pits,

sip planters punch at high tea, or congregate naked
in the makeout loft – subversive rituals turned routine.

We travel by foot or water taxi, from the Grove to the Pines
& the wilderness in-between, sun beating on bare skin

as sweat begins to stream, collecting in a pool on my desk
in health class – I’m 14 again & sick to my stomach,

the ghostly bodies on screen rousing the realization:
They could be me. Born a few years earlier, in the grim

brutality of pre-AZT, it would be almost a certainty. Now,
we bury inherited memories in modernist buildings

on this barrier island Elysian, weathered by an interminable
cold season. In winter, eerie calm, empty houses

like erect skeletons, memorials to mentors long gone,
so that we may frolic in the sand next summer – unburdened.

By Sal Bardo


Sal Bardo is a Los Angeles-based poet, journalist, and award-winning filmmaker. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Village Voice, and Slant Magazine, among others. Sal began writing poetry as a teen and won several awards for his early work, including a contest judged by queer folk icon Ani DiFranco. Both his writing and films often reflect on themes of queerness and memory.

冥 By Ziyun Peng

Under the fragile light of the Buddha’s lamp
The skeletons of an infant witness how the world drowned by the islet,
and then been given birth by
tears, tears, tears.

Springtime, white cloth burns itself into salt
I stand at the last salt marsh just trying to find one reason to die.
My only kingdom excludes purity, I endow a hole into me.
Far away an ant knocks through the night sky
and constellations are drunk.
So the quest ends. Return home to boil some rice.
Perhaps only at the other end of my bowl does death ring a sound.

When I was 13 or 14, I laid on railways and cried Byzantine purple tears.
None fell to earth, they
patterned like tiles on the bathroom floor.

Droplets of rainbow-colored syrup flowed down her cheek.
Could the truth be me, the one actually crying,
or is it the last Buddha’s lamp on this road
had too fallen,
had too went cold.

Continuing the past, we favor a helpless tragedy:
a deity walks into the great blackness. Martyrdom breads madness,
his hands are scorching, I’m pushed into fire.
And before any of us could escape, bustlingly
we all decay in sweetener.

There are a million different ways to avoid a drought.
The easiest might be folding up the constellations’ organs.
I stitch my tears into you.
when your vessels are frozen.
One end is land, the other is the ocean.

I eventually let go of every heart back into the black kingdom,
running in vortexes they
cry in their smiles.
Only one pair of eyes is distanced from blackness
One named as death, the other one reincarnation.

By Ziyun Peng

[冥] The dim underworld that people go to after death in Chinese superstition.


Ziyun Peng grew up in China. Previously unpublished, she is currently seeking to deconstruct the beautiful East Asian culture and staring into the plights created by modern politics. She loves reading, writing, and feeding her jellyfish.



I’ll wrap your sound in a blanket
and give it back to you, my music
muse. Just to see you lying in the

leaves talking to me the way I lie
in the leaves and talk to you.
An instant connection masked as

a tell-all telling you nothing. We
are the particles 2,000 miles apart.
I keep coming back to the birch

trees in the moonlight. The flood
lights from the deck. My whole
body in the evening grass.

In my dreams, I move thoughts
easily. I do with you what rappers
do with words. I’m getting better

at cutting my own hair, I guess.
The innocence that sees myself
everywhere in everyone.

The electricity stretched so far
apart. You don’t even know me.
I tell myself it’s magic. Your ribs

move deeply. You’re breathing
or rapping. I don’t know which.
Our lives so separate, yet sticky.

My dress so sheer. You see my sigh.
Unwrap it, I say. Please rap it.
It hurts like a hummingbird.

By Amanda Adrienne Smith


Amanda Adrienne Smith is a poet and actress living in Los Angeles, CA. Her work can be found in Ghost City Review, Right Hand Pointing, and One Sentence Poems. You can find her on social media @amandaadrienne.

Diagnostic By Helen Chen

for Wendy

All questions are mandatory. Given:

set A
mandarin (peels into a circle of similar sized selves)
Mandarin (language you speak at home)
Mandarin (you don’t know how to respond to the Cantonese lady at the bakery)

set B
English (Anglo-Saxon)
English (language you speak everywhere else)
English (class you loved second most)

High Potential Individuals on the B63, we calculate
cumulative grade point averages (GPA).

Swallow raw heat & let it take root.

2 pts.

Attempt 1
intersection of A & B: It is June and I am tired of being brave.1
Ø: lacking A or B, this particular quality is nonexistent.
Scoop the insides of an overlapping circle and get eye-shaped
emptiness. I’m trying really hard to be good at this

Partial credit.

Attempt 2
Let warmth wipe your brows from the inside. On the street corner
of 5th Ave, I always thought the world was a single line drawn
from your home to mine. It’s June and I’m trying to be honest.

By Helen Chen


Helen (she/her/她) is a Chinese-American writer based in NYC. Her works are featured/forthcoming in 45th Parallel, Lumiere Review, Beaver Magazine, and others.

  1. [“It is June and I am trying to be brave.”] comes from Anne Sexton’s poem “The Truth the Dead Know

Night Thoughts By Robert Dorsett

Night Thoughts

I walked through the pine barrens,
the moon caught in a crib of oak branches.
Above me, the constellations ranged.
The night grew darker, more funeral
than the spaces between stars. I knew
someone long ago stood here, felt threads
of light tether him to a living God.
But I know those stars, purposeless in their
orbits, come and go as showers of event.
And in this dull, sublunary world, am only
aware of the unreliability of love. While above,
pass Arcturus, Orion, Cassiopeia, those
eternal fires to which I cannot pray.

By Robert Dorsett


Robert Dorsett is a physician who lives in Berkeley. He was a naval officer during the Viet Nam War and studied Chinese in the Yale-in-China program at the Chinese University in Hong Kong during the Mao years. His latest book of translations, Ai Qing Selected Poems, has been published by Penguin/Random House.

Art Left to Fester By Joana Gama

Art Left to Fester

there are difficult weekends when
I paint my legs in watercolors
tie red ribbons around my thighs and hips
make myself delicate despite it all

none of my friends say I look different
maybe that’s what hurts the most

to be good, to be good, to keep being good
and be reminded of why you wanted it, to be
better than you were, lovelier than is natural

so on this weekend I make myself wrong
chase myself to paper thin edges
waste away with water greens beneath my eyes
wind and wind until I tie my limbs ribbon sick

today there are more bruises on my body
marks on my thighs where silk wound too tight
and pieces of string I forgot under my nails
I should not be surprised, but alas—
I am left alone with all the beautiful things I’ve done

By Joana Gama


Joana Gama was born in 2004, in Rio de Janeiro. She is a college student currently majoring in Marketing and Communications. Her favorite pastimes include reading, playing video games and thrill-seeking. She lives alone in São Paulo and enjoys visiting new places in the city, preferring to return home once it is past four in the morning.

Feast By Stella Platero


When I was newborn and pink-fleshed,
long before restlessness weaponized my teeth,
my hands must have been beautiful,
my fingers and nails unscathed.

I despise the taste of my own blood
yet I peel my cuticles back into potato skin ribbons
and lap up the vermillion pearls that bloom there.
Claret rivers pool into the carved crevices.
I am the anxious landscaper of my own body.

Thumbs bloody and gory,
pillaged by my two front teeth,
I carve myself like a Halloween pumpkin
until it is misery and tissue slivers
down my wrist on a crimson slide.

My shredded cuticles fall to the ground,
fragile as first autumn snow.
Robotically, I shear the flesh of my fingers,
moving layer by layer to what’s beneath,
the raw and meaty score.

I recognize it’s destruction
and ponder the skin I have lost and regrown since beginning.
My skin between my teeth, I pretend it is the first time.

By Stella Platero


Stella Platero is a lesbian writer with a BFA in Creative Writing from Marymount Manhattan College. She won the Dymphna Leonard Award for Fiction and her stories have been featured in The Carson Review. She enjoys horror movies, transgressive fiction, and hanging out with her dog.

In Duas Barras By Caro De Sa

In Duas Barras

you twist an orange away from its branch.
peel it with a pocketknife. the rind comes out
in one chunk you toss out the car window.

citrus-scented silence is how i think
to ask you to stay this time.
let us drive through muddy terrain

until you become Papai again. i want to see you
through honey-colored eyes like Kaká.
we’ll drive through orange blossoms in the spring

for long enough to forget what Mamãe said
about you. erase Regina and are you coming back?
and silence

so i only have to grieve once this time.
maybe if we keep winding through these hills
i’ll start to recognize them.

i’ll start to recognize you again
as if i didn’t remember the feeling
of absence and the way we both knew

that this was silent goodbye. real goodbye.
pang-in-our-stomachs, teary-eyed goodbye.

and we’ll let silence smell like citrus again.

By Caro De Sa


Caro De Sa (they/them) is an emerging poet from Miami, FL. Most of their writing focuses on grief, queerness, and imagining elsewheres/otherwises. They are currently pursuing their undergraduate degree in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity with a minor in Creative Writing at Stanford University. Outside of writing, they enjoy spending time with friends, dancing, and eating hot cheetos.

Driving on the M6 on a clear night with a dying phone By Emily Buckley

Driving on the M6 on a clear night with a dying phone

There is a point on the M6 between junctions 33 and 32
where the 12 mile stretch opens into the ink black night
and you’re driving through constellations of LED headlights.

The stars out of your window become the beacons
that over-caffeinated drivers navigate by,
like argonauts sailing by moonlight.

Fleetwood Mac flows through the car as the light
from your phone tucked into the cupholder ebbs away,
your partner’s voice dies, and you’re left alone in the dark.

And as you get closer to end of the midnight stretch.
you wonder if you’re about to drive off a cliff in the dark,
and end up swimming in the void of starlight.

By Emily Buckley


Emily is an English Literature and Creative Writing undergraduate student at Lancaster University, and a passionate poetry student taking classes with Eoghan Walls and Paul Farley. She has been featured in Flash Literary Journal, and won second place in their 2020 Freshers Writing Competition with her hybrid piece She Stood on the Doorstep. Originally from Manchester, Emily’s poetry focuses on sexuality, religion, and chronic illness.