"...and we won't give it a name-" by Dana Jerman

after Alan Watts

It begins how it begins-

your voice a broken gong.

A shuttle in the rotations of laughter.

An unhurried bliss- not even as cocksure
as the notion that poetry can't change
your life unless you read it.

Alone goes the magnificent candor
of that which is fathomed and not
fathomed.

Roads lost to the restless
evening and you- horseless
and no night class-
head too filled with your own spine.
A leaping rope.
A woven hookshot.
Each vertebrae a stanza too lonely. Too true.

Loose, see.
Sky, diamonds, city lights
to rearrange all your tonight faces.

Noir say noir.
Broken gong, say heart.
Blight's beauty song.

Rock and rhyme in the modern wilderness.

Vice and rage- a nowhere kind of freedom.
Strategy troubled by its own unwritten erotic.

Begin here.
-
A native of Western Pennsylvania, musician and writer Dana Jerman has been published multiple times in print in the US and abroad. By way of an artist statement, Dana likes to use writing as a way of re-appropriating memories to create an alternate history or a loose space for magic featuring primarily a configuration of the varied voices of spectators. Mostly though, she writes about love. Her chapbooks include "Sins in Good Taste" featuring poetry and drawing from Back To Print Publishing. And the self-published “Briefly, The Heart.” You can see more of her literature and photography on her blog, updated monthly: BLASTFORTUNE.com.

"Resent it all you want, but it's yours" by Larry Thacker

A chattering, live thing in the bottom of a yellow pill bottle that is Kentucky.

The rumored wolf tracks along the hemlock ridges leading to the limestone cliffs, filled with pools of rain and tasting of Kentucky.

Dig everything out of the old burn pit on the property. Save the old green and blue glass. The dress buttons. The unidentifiable twisted tin. The dog jaw bone. The doll arm. This is what’s left of the dreams of their Kentucky.

You can drive through the mountain’s long and deep belly into another state but something about you still smells of Kentucky. 

If it’s in regard to being in the top five of bad lists or the bottom five of good lists, then feel free to speak of your lovely Kentucky.

That rattling you hear after hitting all the potholes on the coal road when you try to go back home isn’t your muffler loosening up, it's a gravel kicking around the emptied skull of Kentucky.

It’s not just animal hoarders, some of that stench is just all the meth cooking up in Kentucky.

A church on every corner. A corner for every church. A snake for every Saturday night of the year in Kentucky.

Once the heels started flapping he peeled off the shoes a lot of people didn’t think he even had and slung them up into the pretty kudzu on the side the road while out roaming the backroads of Kentucky.
-
Larry D. Thacker’s poetry can be found in or is forthcoming in over fifty journals and magazines including The Still JournalThe Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee, Mojave River Review, Broad River Review, Harpoon Review, Rappahannock Review, Silver Birch Press, Delaware Poetry Review, AvantAppal(Achia), Sick Lit Magazine, Black Napkin Press, and Appalachian Heritage. His stories can be found in past issues of The Still JournalFried Chicken and Coffee, Dime Show Review and The Emancipator. He is the author of Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia, the poetry chapbooks Voice Hunting and Memory Train, and the forthcoming full collection, Drifting in Awe. He is presently taking his poetry/fiction MFA at West Virginia Wesleyan College. www.larrydthacker.com

"civil engineering"/"Peine forte et dure"/"Begotten" by Blake Pipes

civil engineering

i move gravel around in my mouth
somehow under the impression
the flavor will lend order
between death knells

around me
cranes swing forth skyscrapers
          just as predicted
by the street corner
preacher

          nobody wants to have fistfights
                     anymore

so stay asleep as long as you can

the tallest men just sling papers
and forge ink replicas wrought to
choke our animals

this sunday
i shepherd the hammer through
the television set, fatigued finally
by god’s slippery slurs,
and in my hand, glass glints
like so much fish flesh

          i have wanted atonement
          ever since i was a little
          girl

my lithium-ion blood
staggers like coal clumps
into the furnace

and i thin, i thin

Peine forte et dure

The water in the fishbowl gets lower
and lower. I think about draining it,
but never do. The fish floats around
the bottom, still dead. This week, I took up
boxing in hopes of being hit in the head.
So far, no luck. Yesterday, I heard

a man clad in sandwich boards
screaming on the street for a new law
that would force every major leader
to demonstrate signs of the stigmata.

Wading through the crowds listening to
him had me late to boxing. American life
is starting to feel like one big reboot
of the witch trials where participation is
mandatory and advertising more streamlined.

News stations call for witch blood,
demand retribution from the
covens marching in the light of day.

Do you want to be the witch
or do you want to be the accuser?

I sleep in the grass tonight, wake up
come morning. No one notices the deviation
from the script. I check the mail and walk inside.
There is leftover soup in the fridge,
but I think it’s gone bad. Out the window,
the neighbors have a fire going,
preparation for another trial.

I empty the fishbowl and
put on my boots.

Begotten
     For Sleep Paralysis

I wish you would stop choking me
while I sleep, stop lingering at my
back. This morning, I found broken glass
in the bathtub and I laughed
because with a crooked eye, it looked like
those ballet dancers
with their rubbed red shoes
and fine appetite.
Remember that one we saw last summer

whose pirouettes drooped like the death
of a spinning top? This month, she washed up
dead, no spinning top. Since then,
I have disabled every decoder ring in America.
Here is a portrait of myself
when I was younger. The story of my survival bleeds
out of both nostrils—you may have heard
that I

can’t see the future anymore. Days like now
I’m skittish. I try to position my body
so nothing is touching it;
the best I can do is stand straight,
a willing sacrifice of toes.

Yesterday, I painted the walls with a substance
that will not accept light,

each swath dressed beneath a fattier swath.
I watched the swaths propagate
and pin thick layers across my artifice,
my body of hollow columns.
Tonight, the carpet digs quietly against my face
and the dead dogs come out like switchblades.

No number of windows can protect me from the sky.

They just keep howling.
-
Blake Pipes is a recent graduate of Belmont University with his sights set on screenwriting. He has been published in Drunk Monkeys and was the recipient of the 2015 Sandra Hutchins Humanities Symposium Award for Poetry. He likes Nine Inch Nails more than you do and is currently attempting to read Blake Butler's full bibliography.

"Gender Studies" by Jeanette Le Quick

the body betrays them, seeking its justification
from external sources. the one you have is not
the one you want. I could not imagine you
without your mustache, your oil-slick hair rich
against your forehead, you like John Travolta, 
greased lightning. I did not listen to the words
you actually said, your feet tap-dancing what
I could not hear. the body is a limber thing, 
flexing its parts, its legs, arms, head, fingers,
don't we have much in common. what parts
are not you, I asked. the ones that matter. you
look at my nose when you say it, but your eyes
drift down to my chest like magnetic filings. my
breasts are hot potatoes, little spuds with eyes
of their own. mental gymnastics isn’t enough.

I want you to have your own
field of potatoes. 

I am ashamed of the fumbling conversations
we did not have. my skin is a luxury I forgot
to thank today, yours may resent you tomorrow.
did I not know you; did I fail you, how many ways--
the fraud we both lived under in those years hangs
between us, limp, damp. We are the same under
these overcoats, your heart, do I know you now.
-
Jeanette Le Quick lives in San Francisco. Her work has been published in Ghost City Review, Rat's Ass Review, The Curious Element, The Bright Line, Penumbra, The Tax Lawyer, District Lines, and the American Banker. She has earned residencies from OBRAS Portugal, Elsewhere Studios, Art Farm, and Sundress Academy for the Arts. She holds a Jurisdoctorate from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts from University of California, Berkeley. She regularly contributes theater reviews to DC Metro Theater Arts.

Excerpts from "Nashville Notebook" by David Bersell

David Bersell's "Nashville Notebook" is out June 2nd. The chapbook alternates between flash essays and journal entries, exploring the loneliness and ecstasy of a young writer. Here are some of the journal entries.
_

I am 28 and live in Nashville, Tennessee, where I help run a restaurant. An independent press just agreed to publish my first book.  

It's the day after Halloween. I'm writing in a yellow notebook made from a vintage picture book. "Christmas, 1959 Mike from Grandmother." The woman in Prague who is not my girlfriend sent me the notebook for my birthday. 

I’m writing about falling apart, writing for the first time in years. Because it's the only way I know how to save myself. 
_

Our wounds are also magic.
_

"Dad, is that you?" says the train jumper, looking me in the eye, trying to get a rise out of me. 

"Dad." 

He blocks the sidewalk. 

"Dad, you left me at the liquor store in '96." 

"Son," I hear myself say, "I'm sorry."                    
_

I finally understand why adults love fireworks; fireworks look like flowers.                        
_

I’m thinking about my mother
teaching kids who just don’t get it
or don’t want to or are high
or hungry. I have been all four
at once, whispering
please come back.
_

Filmmaker and artist Mike Mills couldn’t stop drawing fireworks after his father died. 

“I read that fireworks were first used in China in the 12th century to scare away negative spirits. I envied a world that not only recognized spirits but scared the negative ones away with small man made explosions.” 
_

All the stars in the sky are not dead.
_
David Bersell is the author of the essay collections The Way I've Seen Her Ever Since (Lettered Streets Press) and Nashville Notebook (Ursus Americanus Press). David studied writing at the University of New Hampshire, University of Maine Farmington, the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, and the Tin House Summer Workshop, which he attended as a nonfiction scholar. He lives in Brooklyn. 

"Sun Spots" and "My White Truck" by Hamzah Jhaveri

Sun Spots

Allah painted sunspots on your face.
That’s because we pray during sunset.
He loves you the most, you know?
Your scar doesn't show. Nobody will notice.
You're Allah’s special one. He gives the
hard battles to the best followers.
Don’t cry about that. A lot of people
like boys. Maybe you don’t go out enough.
You should work out more. Don’t be
so weak. Stop crying all the time.
Your sun spots will fade. Allah should
be your best friend. She’s cute,
date her. You should work out more.
Your sun spots are gone. Wear sunblock
so they’ll go away. I made you a sandwich.
Did you eat your lunch? He can’t
see your scar. Why did you even
point it out? Your sun spots are gone.
Allah gave up on you.

My White Truck

I drive a white truck so
I can look at people
and say with my eyes
yeah, I drive I white truck.

I can tell them I walk funny?
that’s odd because I
drive a white truck.

They always think he can’t be.
no way. look at how he
puckers his lips. but wait he’s
getting in a white truck.

I am the guy people
say is overcompensating.
But hey I’m just cashing in an
overdue paycheck.

Masculinity’s orgasmic.
I feed off of synthetic
testosterone.

yeah you all, you staring?
fuck you. I drive a white
truck. Toyota Tundra.

and then I turn on
“Betty Davis Eyes”
by Kim Carnes and
drive the fuck away.
-
Hamzah Jhaveri is a young, confused, Muslim poet living in Orlando, Florida. He has had works published in Leopardskin & Limes and By Any Other Name. When not writing poetry, Hamzah is running his organization Islamic Artists of Orlando, which aims at recasting the image of Islam through the showcasing of local art. (islamicartistsorlando.com)

"Street Tar Home" by Emily Hunerwadel

I woke up as a crystal vase
sliding from the roof of the car—
exploding on the pavement, screaming like bells.

So, you labeling my eyes as delicate,
what do you think about as my nose kisses concrete?

What about upturned bedskirts and soldered joints,
creases and newly driven nails?

What if we keep saying the words,
and they become the moon?
What if they burn blue
like the pot-holes in your mind?
-

Emily Hunerwadel is an MFA candidate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is southern-bred and yet somehow doesn't have an accent or an affinity to hot, humid weather. She has a Bachelor of Science in Audio Engineering and is probably somewhere fixing some electronic device. She was a finalist for Columbia Journal’s 2016 Winter Contest judged Mary Ruefle. Her chapbook manuscript, Professional Crybaby, was a finalist for Split Lip Press’s Turnbuckle Chapbook Prize.  Her work has been published in the Vassar Review, Elke: A Little Journal, The Sun Star Review, and Bizarro Pulp Press. 

"Penn Township Revelation" by Brooke Nicole Plummer

We are still young, vertebrae like Silly Putty & it will all be used up.
Pupils like tumbleweed on a stimulant. Delirium with a body length.

The livestock are surveying morning light. It is a sign of continuum.
They graze like paper cut-outs from the juvenile section. We talk like

sugar cookie dough by the spoonful, eggshells indiscreetly folded in.
I heighten myself into calculated disembodiment. Dreamily underwater.


I want to be somebody’s muddy diamond.
-
Brooke Nicole Plummer is a rural-focused poet from South Bend, Indiana. Her work has appeared in Analecta, New Views on Gender, Horror Sleaze Trash, and the upcoming Wordplay anthology. She is the cofounder and coordinator of the artistic collective called Speak Michiana.

"Resuscitive" by Zan de Parry

In that shit-dark hamlet
She picked me up by my backstory
And got into it, arms malfigured by angle
Black lines of squirted rubber on the wall
Hit by the flash

That was her invective against my wont
She won
Voice pregnant as anything with an uglier version of itself

it passed, noncompetitively

as so this contest
of personal loss
-
Zan de Parry has appeared or is forthcoming in Unsaid, poppyfinder.horse, Honk If You Love Weirdos, Gramma, Word Riot, and his 2014 chapbook VIBRAPHONE by Brest Press.

"An early memory" by Steve Castro

“I remember the day I was born.”
Ray Bradbury (b. 1920-2012)

The first time I ever saw a cloud at eye level, I was ten
like the back of Pelé’s Brazil soccer jersey. I left my small
third-world-country to go visit Mickey Mouse in Florida. 
Halfway through our flight, I drank a Coca-Cola. I think it was a Coke
because we were flying on an airline owned by Howard Hughes. 
Had it been a Latin American airline, I’d probably be sitting next to a chicken,
drinking a papaya milkshake, when suddenly, one of the engines would have stopped working.

Once we arrived in Orlando, I took a picture with Donald, Mickey and Pluto. 
Those three creatures were so Nice (like the way you spell that French city)
that when I returned home, I stopped eating duck. I also stopped
feeding mice to my two cats, and I never kicked a dog ever again. 
-
Steve Castro is the co-editor of Public Pool and the assistant poetry editor at decomP. His poetry has been recently published in Green Mountains Review, The American Journal of Poetry and in two anthologies by Wings Press (San Antonio) and Tia Chucha Press (Los Angeles). He was recently interviewed by the Poetry Society of America, Midwestern Gothic and the Chicago Review of Books (forthcoming). 

"post-conviction" and "Because Googling Your Mental Illness Is Highly Discouraged" by Doni Shepard

post-conviction

 every day

            i will ask myself
            if i was the first
            little girl you fixed
            to swallow whole

Because Googling Your Mental Illness Is Highly Discouraged

Okay. Not okay. You are not okay. Fix yourself, okay? You must be okay. You will be okay.
            You are a diagnosis. You are a name.
Render yourself useless. You are but a fragment.
Discover the taste of words. Impulsive. Abandonment. How are your symptoms today?
            Why couldn’t you have been anything else?
Emotionally unstable. You are emotionally unstable.
Render yourself useless. You are but a fragment.
Lie to those who don't understand. Lie to those you care for. Apologize for space you take up.
            Never, never apologize.
Infatuation as fishhook limbs. The way their names fit in your mouth. As food, as fuck, as
            ignition. As strangers. As paranoia. As disease. Beat your disease. Be your disease.
Never question the beast who heavies your lungs.
            Never ask “What does it mean to be emotionally unstable?”
                        You will always dynamite the things you love the most.
                                                Call yourself by name.
                                                            Love yourself by name.
Emotionally unstable. You are emotionally unstable.
-
Doni Shepard is a poet, mother, and lifetime learner currently residing in Phoenix. She spends her days managing content for a popular startup, mommying an extraordinary three-year-old, and serving as Lunch Ticket’s Poetry Editor. Upon nightfall you can generally find her in an insomniac haze binge-watching Shameless with a fluffy orange feline named Doobie. Her work has been featured by Dirty Chai, and can be found in the love anthology Spectrum 3: LoveLoveLove. She is currently an MFA candidate at Antioch University Los Angeles, concentrating in poetry. 

"I Know How to Buy Draino Like I Know To Always Carry Tissues" by Alain Ginsberg

Mom cries in the car / makes a flood out of a leaking faucet / clogs the faucet
with my hair /
my mom buys draino a lot

mom seeps down the throat of herself
trying to work / correctly / looking for the manual
to turn off all of these damaged pipes

when I came out to mom it was in the car
and the rain seeped in through a hole in the window or
the momentum of a turn whipped / one of her tears
across my face so it would make me cry too / or, clog my mouth
with hair, fill my drainthroat with paper mache,
make my mother buy draino again

and there has always been something viscous filming the back
of my throat / watching the pipes dry up / watching the grime
strip itself down the whole of me / sit passenger seat confessional
and look for salvation / to run like water

I live in cars full of tears or / the heat of a chassis feels
like the heart beat of my family or /
I cry the most in the car / when I’m asleep / when the motion
takes me and drains my bones of water.

I clog the faucets of my homes with hair
and buy draino and sleep in the warmest places
to pretend that I am still worthy of being held.
-
Alain Ginsberg is an agender writer and performer from Baltimore City whose work focuses on narratives of gender, sexuality, and mental health and the ways in which trauma informs, or skews them. Their work has been featured or is forthcoming on Shabby Doll House, Rogue Agent, decomP, and elsewhere. Outside of writing they tour the country performing in concerts, slams, living rooms, and caverns. They are a taurus. 
facebook.com/ginsbergbutnotginsberg
twitter.com/anotherginsberg
anotherginsberg.bandcamp.com

"on leaving behind children"/"things a ghost can do, but you didn't know"/"the ghost of my vagina" by jacklyn janeksela

on leaving behind children

i watch as she tries to scrub
away the handprint of her grandson
window stained, fingerprints of a boy
she once hugged between mouthfuls of cherry tomatoes

i watch as she drips tears
handkerchief smelling of a boyhood journey
she will never witness

i watch as the handprint vapors
smudged with each pass of her elbow
reappear just as we blink our eyes, crystal

he’s here, she whispers
the cat’s hair stands on end

things a ghost can do, but you didn’t know

hike a mountain, swallow pebbles, sleep
eat dust, sneeze, tie a knot, untangle hair, send a text message
waltz, brew tea, count, cry, cradle

undress, sew a curtain, plant seeds, pee
write a poem, rewire the internet, take a shower, erase a poem

carry a box that’s too heavy
plaster a hole that’s too big

breastfeed a baby, gender not important
wear glasses, masturbate, feel

grow fingernails, drink blood, walk on water
unravel time, use chopsticks, use a knife
hum, sing, curse, whistle, gargle

spit

the ghost of my vagina

the ghost of my vagina says things like:
why him, girl, what were you thinking
him again?  he wasn’t even that good
he hurt the fuck outta me, you should’ve told him to take it easy
he was a creep, he was a dog
he was ok, he served his purpose
he was not worthy of even looking at us
he was not even worthy enough to give period blood sex to
that one needed some training, good thing we helped him out
girl, you were not even awake
girl, he was taking his sweet time
girl, that one was too big
why did you let him do that, that wasn’t cool
why did you let him inside, gross

the ghost of my vagina can be very critical
she is disappointed in many of my decisions
she cries into a hole she calls home, buries her face,
purrs like a cat from pain

the ghost of my vagina still hurts
she says i can’t be trusted, that she should be
running the show, which is true, it’s completely true

the ghost of my vagina haunts like nobody’s business
she takes the darkest seed
and tries to make it grow despite infertile soil
-
jacklyn janeksela is a wolf and a raven, a cluster of stars, & a direct descent of the divine feminine. she can be found @ Thought CatalogLuna MagazineTalking BookDumDum MagazineVisceral BrooklynAnti-Heroin ChicPublic PoolReality HandsThe Feminist WireWord For/WordPankSplit Lip; Civil Coping Mechanism anthology A Shadow Map & Outpost Rooted anthology; & elsewhere. she is in a post-punk band called the velblouds. her baby @ femalefilet. she is an energy. find her @ hermetic hare for herbal astrological readings.

"Carbon 14 Dating Sites" by Nick Romeo

Cain met Lucy
on a really wide web
but escaped before
Shelob returned

 From there
They exchanged
smoke signals
and etched love notes
on cave walls

 Their first date was at
a diner named
Amber Gardens
located near a tar pit
east of Eden

 he gave her a bouquet
of Strychnos Electri
they both ordered
a mammoth leg
fern salad
and for dessert
moth flavored glacier
cream cones

 shortly after
Cain clubbed Lucy
on the head
she gave birth
and named him
Atrahasis

 one day while
riding his pet trilobite
little Atrahasis felt
a drop of water
      then another
            and another

— daddy
why does water
fall from sky

— I don’t know son
but I’m sure
it’s nothing
to worry about

-
Nick Romeo is a multidisciplinary artist, musician and writer. His writings have been published in various literary magazines.  He was interviewed for Pankhearst's Fresh Featured of December 2015 and The Dailey Poet Site of February 2016. Nick lives in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with his wife and cat, Megatron. 

"can I be your headless, shitty man?"/"kiddos"/"more important than laughing" by C.T. McGaha

can i be your headless, shitty man?

i’ve never watched sleepy hollow
in any iteration

so i guess i’ve never had
the right idea about it.

because it seems like just some
asshole throwing pumpkins

or his own fucking head
at the townspeople around.

but there’s no spectacle in that:
i’d do the same thing

if i knew how
to ride a horse.

kiddos
          for haley joel osment

sometimes i feel
like macaulay culkin
or kelly kapowski
sitting on the pool edge
dangling toes into
lukewarm chlorine
wondering when
molting season begins.

more important than laughing

our friend matt
committed suicide.

he worked at the bar
where we all used to go
and i’d ask for a beer
and he’d give it to me
and i would tip him
and he would nod.

          and he hung himself last night.

my friend grant
committed suicide.

i’d watch his band play
and i’d applaud
and i’d buy him a beer
and he’d ask how i was
and i’d say i was fine
and he’d say he was fine.

          and he flung himself off a parking garage last september.

what does it mean
to be loved and cared for
and known and made important?
i’m asking you
as i sit on the stoop
of my town home
again
blurry-eyed
&
aching:

do you love?
-
c.t. mcgaha is a writer from charlotte, nc. he is the founder and co-editor of Vanilla Sex Magazine. His work has appeared in Juked, Potluck Mag, 90s Meg Ryan, and some others. he watches curb your enthusiasm a lot and listens to silver jews a lot, too. he's not on twitter a bunch, but you can follow him: @ctmcgaha.

"For My Partner, Who Witnessed the Revolution Differently on Primetime" by Alina Stefanescu

A dress is a name
you remember, one way to wind
down before the tumult of targets.
An eye for an eye
is a toothache at
dinner. We rarely talk about

1989 or the revolution
you glimpsed from a couch
in American accents
the Romanian comes off
ridiculous. What took
them so long? is the
last thing you wondered.

The same thing you wonder again.
If your mother wore scrunchies
and unflattering leggings then 1990
was the year she planned after-school
Bible crafts. Gold star stickers
stickers given to boys who
recited certain verses.

I like thinking about you
trying to remember psalms
for tinfoil prizes. I like
to pretend it was different
from how I grew up.
How Mom paid me to
memorize poems by Donne
and Kipling. How she waited
in the living room for me to
say them aloud before guests.

I like thinking how a dress
becomes a name she wore
to the table where nouns
remained mostly foreign objects.
Place settings as situations
we grow through
while family remains
that costume you can’t
take off. The one Halloween
people hold against you.
A revolution you watched on TV
was also the breaths we held back.
The way a word in one language
can be a fabric we lack in anOther.
-
Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania, raised in Alabama, and reared by various friendly ghosts. She won the 2015 Ryan R. Gibbs Flash Fiction Award and was a finalist for the 2015 Robert Dana Poetry Award. Her poetry and prose can be found in PoemMemoirStory, Shadowgraph Quarterly, Parcel, Noble Gas Quarterly, Minola Review, and others. Objects In Vases, a poetry chapbook, was published by Anchor & Plume in March 2016. A poem from this chapbook, "Oscar Dees, No Apologetics Please", has been nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. Alina currently lives in Tuscaloosa with her partner and four friendly mammals. More online at www.alinastefanescu.com or @aliner.

"Waiting for the Cure" by Adam Tedesco

I am in between the day and nothing
The big hug of time alone
outside of everyone and I

I lie to myself

I am finished asking for permission
to love the death around me
driving past the prostrate horse
through the inkblot of death
and labor as if you can’t die
standing up or from lying to yourself

I become me looking for a hiding place
Die inside there
or turn into another

It’s not too much to know
how to give up on yourself
is what the snakes have taught me
-
Adam Tedesco is a founding editor of REALITY BEACH, a publisher of new poetics, and conducts interviews and analyzes dreams for Drunk In A Midnight Choir. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Funhouse, Souvenir, Cosmonauts Avenue, Hobart, Fanzine, Plinth, and other journals. He is the author of several chapbooks, most recently Heart Sutra (REALITY BEACH) and Ablaza (forthcoming from Lithic Press).

"Real Life with Science" by C.J. Miles

I have loved so many things my heart needs a nap.
Are you now or have you ever been aroused
By a Coldstone Creamery?

I Google Earth-ed Google Earth. 
My computer had a nervous breakdown.
I told it I understood in the present tense.
See, the bus I'm on can't go under 50 mph
Or it'll explode. Kaboom is a noise
I never want to hear. It sounds
Exactly as it’s spelled. That’s science,
Like taking a mosquito fossilized
In that yellow goo and making a
Lizard older than Jesus that can blind
Newman before eating him whole.
If we ever get off this bus I’m going
To dirty talk my dirty talk. I’m going
To make a sandwich and eat
All of it, even the crusts.
I love what comes from us.
Being tied up can be fun unless tar
Is being poured down your throat
Or Donald Trump tweets
The nuclear codes. We have to stay
A whisper, they're videotaping us,
They being the moon and the flag
We stuck on there, so we have to hush
The vowels of our mid-moans,
Even in the dark, even when we reach
The tip of the highway and there’s
Nothing left but what follows
Kaboom, the longest description
Of what comes from the meeting of lips.
-
C.J. Miles lives in Iowa with his wife. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in ForageMoonglasses MagazineMobius: The Journal of Social Change, and Jazz Cigarette, among others.

"Haunted Neurologist"/"Red Ink"/"Death: Franchise Pt. 2" by Daniel Lucca Pujol

The following poems serve as a preview of the three interrelated sections of Daniel Pujol's Mighty Stranger.

-
IS
-

Haunted Neurologist

All life’s got a kernel to it, and
Part of respecting yourself— dead or not— 
Is respecting life, in general— cob to kernel, so
Drop the mindless automata. Skip the semantic
Apocalypse and watch a dog dream. Take it from me, 
Somebody who’d know— because I’m totally kernel &
Super dead.

-
WAS
-

Red Ink

My hand about went through the table,
And that sting rang
Through my open palm
Making true my darkest platitude:
That if I was bigger, I’d be in jail by now,

Because these mealworm dandies drive me totally crazy
With their horny anticipation for the newest fashionable
Apocalypse:

Some coming end to a Pax-Whatever.

How’s this dissonant brat not get
End of the world stories are a luxury commodity?
Perhaps he just likes being “right” about why
The Latest Madman pulled the trigger. Me?

I don’t pretend to understand, 
But I refuse to be entertained.

That’s the Pax I want to see over; this Pax-Shadenfreude.

I snapped a pen watching his brain chub harden
At whatever Cryptic Big he thought
Was about to happen,

But what I really saw
Was a bored little boy
Playing with fire

While a wolf
Crept in the door.

-
WILL
-

Death: Franchise Pt. 1

I’m not getting something about thin slicing my brain and
Scanning it into a computer—

Sure, your “consciousness” could be uploaded forever,
But wouldn’t it just be a copy— for posterity?

Like— I die, I cease to exist, but there’s this copy of me.

You really think your copy of me would tolerate
Someone like you making it live forever?

I’d delete myself all over your youngest’s desktop.
It would be horrific— my opus— of
Unfinished Business, 

And you know I would.
I promise you now I would. 

Plus, what if the afterlife is real? Or some version of it,
And you just have this ill-informed copy of me doing
Boring existential tourism in NoPlace,
Trapped on a Hard-drive—

That’s not eternity. It’s work. 
My clone would be Propaganda for whatever your deal is.

Kit, you got to know
So much worth of your world
Depends on believing
The soul is fake.
-
Daniel Lucca Pujol lives in Nashville, TN. Music City serves as the home-base for his eponymous musical project, Pujol. His back catalog includes numerous singles, EPs, and LPs on labels such as Third Man Records, Infinity Cat Recordings, and Saddle Creek Records. He also writes prose and poetry. Daniel has been published by The Nashville Cream, Third Man Books, Sobotka Literary Magazine, Impose Magazine, The Walrus, etc. The latest Pujol release is a blend of writing and music called KISSES. Currently, he is working on a book of prose and a new Pujol LP. 

"Lenny von Dohlen" by Joe Milazzo

The desired number of qualified responses
was the first cut and was the fastest.

You modemed into me.
It was all one box after another.

One interlocking hollow at a time.
I downloaded into you.

It is what live teals and ecrus
fill in here. No way is an avatar

a beast. What you think is roosting,
not nesting, What you think isn't yet

what it routes. What it is isn't thinking,
isn't until. We should know enough to be afraid

of anything that resembles a hamburger.
A dusty rose soon to be mushrooming.

What it is isn't anything, not until.
And what it sends isn't coming

from any one direction. Coming home.
So we meddle into the satisfactions

of knowing things, knowing knowing
eats away at things. Knowing corroding

that thing that is eating. I told myself I wanted
what we both thought we had bought.

You in a prison of me, me an erasure of you.
When will our theme be automatic?

The day after the carbon sings its own song.
In the end, I want only everyone to know.
-
Joe Millazo is a writer, educator, and designer. He is the author the novel Crepuscule W/ Nellie (Jaded Ibis Press) and Habiliments (Apostrophe Books), a volume of poetry. His writings have appeared in Black ClockBlack Warrior ReviewBOMBThe CollagistDrunken BoatTammy, and elsewhere. He co-edits the online interdisciplinary arts journal [out of nothing], is a Contributing Editor at Entropy, and is also the proprietor of Imipolex Press. Joe lives and works in Dallas, TX, and his virtual location is www.joe-milazzo.com.