"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.

          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

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.

"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.

"Non Pearl Body" and "Quilting" by Nathan Wade Carter

Non Pearl Body

God’s eyes are yellow.

I peer into them
in my celestial bed.

The color of god.
Heaven is yellow.

The stars spell things
whether we want them to or not.

Whether they mean to or not.
Whether it matters or not.

Words mean things.
I didn’t think I’d need to say this.

This very long tunnel.
An electric light every so often.

This underground bend
through the mountain.

My eyes get used to this dim.

I have yet
to connect

enough dots
to make a picture.

I stay in bed for days
boring a hole in this spot.

I am surrounding
my foreign body in nacre,

making my own iridescent mother
and being her.

I have this hard object
within my soft tissue.

My mantle has made something

My immune response
is beautiful.



A tectonic inch
My oceans jostled
A cup of water
On a bumped table
An earthly hiccup
Waves pull away
To rush in
Cities reclaimed
I am a new landscape
After fishing the lake dry
After wearing holes
These knees
After spitting
This wind
I sit in a puddle
And pretend I am
A gold fish
All forget and yellow
I use the last pencil
Down to its ferrule
Which holds a finished eraser
One cannot erase what
One cannot record
I survive
A quilt
Assembled well
Even I say thank you
But there’s a gap
An ocean
I worry
I broke
Without noticing
I am built different
Too many years of feeling I need to be
Fucked or never loved
A sand castle erected so proud
So bound to fall down

I will not sleep with you
I will not live with you
I will not have sex
I don’t want to


Nathan Wade Carter is a queer, grey-a poet, musician, and artist living in Portland, Oregon. His poetry can and will be found in Heavy Feather Review, Horse Less Press, Souvenir, Powder Keg Magazine, The Fem, and others. He is editor and founder of SUSAN / The Journal. He writes and performs songs under the name Purrbot. He is recording a new album called DNR. Find him online at nathanwadecarter.com.

"2 Portraits" by Kevin Gwozdz


 ‘don’t forget the béchamel’
and enjoy the magnifying glass
a mention to some sort of searching

musk rat grapes

what relevance is there found in spring?

     motorcycle interruption

bleeding hearts. Hummingbird tree. Spring forgives
the abuses of nature

provisional but new opportunities
soil, air, foliage

Cuban food.
A thank you card exemplifies more flowers
slow to lower the anecdotes found
or the slight of brain

the boast of a routine that is absent
and its absence
becomes causative to subject
and object

The paint is drying
and then rewet

painterly from a photograph

An object to transcend written
remember: ghost plant
magnet for ghosts
the insipid humming
return to disillusion

What will become of the words?
A painting became its painter

An exercise in self-restraint—                                             active words of inaction

a lapsing of time sufficed.


in ultramarine
sexual tension
is taking shape

and color: peanut and walnut
could be senseless narcissism

narcissist: don’t force the words

they just come,

‘you can’t hold onto


                                    a wisp of smoke


                                                                                    not for very long’