Categories
Issue III Poetry

[DAVID HARRISON HORTON]

Model Answer (Language)

It’s the motherfucker problem. In Chinese, it gets translated
as stupid dick. Well, that’s not good enough. And if you’re
a bad motherfucker? A cool cow? Idioms, the eternal goat-
getter. My maternal grandfather had a goat that he milked
daily. The splash sounds against an iron pail punctuate my
vague memories of any childhood not spent in urban fear.
Hide from the mailman. Never let anyone know you’re
home. The Derringer is taped under the end table next to
the door. Just point in the general direction; it’s not an
accurate weapon. Knock, knock.

Model Answer (Sports)

My uncle has a genuine Honus Wagner at home. He’s got it
wrapped up like a piece of the True Cross or a saint’s tooth.
Of course, he doesn’t know his ass from his elbow when it
comes to baseball. He thinks the Dodgers still play in
Brooklyn. But that’s the beauty of the game – I’m talking
metaphorically here about life – it’s a commodity, like soup
cans. It’s all in how you sell it. Hey Andy, take my picture!
Mark “The Bird” Fidrych died when his tractor fell over on
him. Now, that’s a story worthy of baseball.

[about]

David Harrison Horton is a Beijing-based writer, artist, editor and curator. His work has recently appeared in Otoliths, Variant Lit, Ethel, Version 9 and Acropolis, among others. He edits the poetry zine SAGINAW.

Categories
Issue III Poetry

[EMILY FAULKES]

Moths

Two of us, either side the kitchen counter,
the light above us buzzes over the dead night’s quiet.
And outside there’s nothing but a dark void
that the moths keep floating in from.

The oven clock is three minutes behind,
and ticks over to 2:17am.
We swirl tea around big mugs and
whisper between mouthfuls of toast.

The only time I’m not afraid of moths is when I’m sitting here,
slightly drunk, listening to Mum’s gossip.
They hover at the ceiling and around her head
as if she’s admitting light.

[about]

Emily Faulkes is a queer twenty-year-old writer based in London and is currently studying a Creative Writing Degree. Previously, she has been published in her university’s online magazine ‘The Brunel Draft.’ While she has no current genre preference, she enjoys writing thought provoking pieces of both poetry and fiction.

Categories
Issue III Poetry

[GRETA HAYER]

Exposure

Inside of me, there
is hair, wound up and balled
And knotted tight.
It is the thing that fills me, makes my stomach soft.
It tickles against the underside of my skin when I laugh or cry.

Once I pulled out a hair from my eye.
I thought it was an eyelash, but it kept coming and coming.
I cut it off and tucked it back beneath my lid.
I barely feel it anymore.

I tell you this story
And you seem to listen
But you see a hair on my belly, poking through my skin.
It is still wet from my insides
Dark and thick as thread.
You pinch it between your fingers and pull.

I unravel quickly.
I deflate.
The hair pulls tight around my vocal chords
So I cannot even tell you to stop.
You don’t realize what you are doing.
It is just so fun to discover!

[about]

Greta Hayer received her MFA at the University of New Orleans and has work appearing or forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Booth, Maudlin House, Cossmass Infinites, and Flint Hills Review. She received a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of Wooster, where she studied fairy tales and medieval medicine. Her column, “In Search of the Dream World,” can be found at Luna Station Quarterly. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and their two alien cats.

Categories
Issue III Poetry

[ANDRE F. PELTIER]

Injuries in Time and Space #3

One time,
playing at school,
I was young and
invincible.
There was a wasps’ nest
in the railroad ties
that terraced the grounds
creating a border garden
around the swings, monkey-bars,
teeter totters.
I stuck a stick
in their doorway;
they swarmed.
That morning at mass,
Mike turned and said,
“Your face is so big!”
Sister Mary Ann
dragged my stupid ass
to the office;
I was whisked to the ER.
Seventeen stingers
in neck and face.
Sometimes we learn
our modest
vulnerabilities early;
other times
we don’t learn
them at all.

[about]

Andre F. Peltier is a Lecturer III at Eastern Michigan University where he teaches literature and writing. He lives in Ypsilanti, MI, with his wife and children. His poetry has recently appeared in various publications like CP Quarterly, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Version 9 Magazine, About Place, Novus Review, Wingless Dreamer, and Fahmidan Journal, and most recently he has had a poem accepted by Lavender and Lime Literary. He has also published and presented papers at international conferences like AThe International Conference on Narrative, MMLA, Midwest PCA/ACA, and the Mid-Atlantic PCA/ACA relating to history, society, and politics as they interact with comic books. In his free time, he obsesses over soccer and comic books.

Categories
Issue III Poetry

[DAMIEN POSTERINO]

This is no holiday

She hated her mother so joined a cult.
Just turned up one day in her thirties
and told us she had seen the light;
Be praised! No more holidays, birthdays
and no blood from another.
It reminded me of the day a heron swooped
into the garden and ate all the goldfish in the pond.
Within a few years her black hair turned white
like my mother’s Avon night cream;
I wondered if she was morphing into a ghost.

Her son and daughter,
bloated like pufferfish
and dressed in black
would sit on wooden chairs
devouring the good book.
Her husband only conversed to us drunk,
slurred the same question three times
then stumbled into suburbia to sleep it off.

I looked into her eyes
when she was talking about her rebirth-
I could see a small girl
inside those deep green pools .
She told me that she follows god’s law now.

[about]

Damien Posterino (he/him) is a Melbourne born poet in London. His poetry explores themes of characters, commentary and capturing moments in time. He has been published in recent editions of Fiery Scribe Review, Neuro Logical, Analogies & Allegories Literary Magazine, Abergavenny Small Press, BOMBFIRE, Jupiter Review, Fairy Piece Magazine, Poetic Sun Journal, Green Ink Poetry, Zero Readers and Melbourne Culture Corner. More are due to be published until January 2022. You can find him on Twitter at twitter.com/damienposterino

Categories
Issue III Poetry

[ALEXANDRA ARADAS]

K.F.C.

when i was eleven we got eight chickens.
cloud was my favorite, with only white feathers
in a year majority of them were killed
a lethal team—raccoon and possum
one morning before school my brother and i
had to let them out of the coop
the chicken wire was torn into and
we found one of my beloved birds
with its head torn right off. all i remember
is blood and feathers—my brother cried a lot.
my father shot the possum in our backyard
i sat with my mom in the living room
as she held my hand waiting for the gun shot
signifying the end to an animal’s life.
the racoon was next. i pitched a fit
we can't i said, it has a heart i said, a family i said.
so we put it in a cage. and my father—supposedly
took it away. five years later i found a picture
i had taken of the raccoon trapped in its cage
with nowhere to go. i felt bad, my family
seeing the creature as a monster
it killed my chickens—clawed their skin open
leaving nothing but feathers to clean up.
yet i wanted it to be my pet. i wanted to protect it.
change its instincts, my young mind not understanding
leave it alone. still trying to learn that some things
are just dangerous. the beginning of my toxic affection,
wanting to protect and care for
those who don't deserve it.

[about]

Alexandra Aradas a rising senior in the creative writing program at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. They enjoy exercising, rambling about Taylor Swift, collecting incense, being with their pets, watching Studio Ghibli/horror, and putting up Halloween decorations. They’re a poll worker and have previously written for Luxe Kurves Magazine as a Politics Contributor. Their artwork and photography have previously been put on display and won awards. They’ve been published in their former high school, Northwestern’s, literary magazine and received an honorable mention in the 2021 Ringling College “Storytellers of Tomorrow” Contest. In the summer of 2021, they were named Rock Hill’s Youth Poet Laureate and the first for South Carolina. Through this role, they’ve organized library tours that are associated with a branch of activism. For their main initiative, they’re planning and hosting a body positivity fashion show where each model will have a poem read for them that incorporates self-love.

Categories
Issue III Poetry

[ZOE REAY-ELLERS]

Text Messages Sent from Traverse City to Hong Kong

Delivered 2:18 AM, EST

 |Sometimes the distance burrows
 |into my top-left-rib
 |because I can’t stop
<thinking

 |about seeing your fingers
 |splayed around a cup
 |of tea, fingernails
<bitten, maybe

 |jagged little half-moons
 |hung, weeping
 |at a hot mug, fingerprints
<molding back

  |into place
  |after quickly tapping
  |once. twice you told me
<that piano was an art:

  |ivories stretching
  |from week to week
  |but I play organ, riffing
<on appendixes
 
  |and appendices. ACGT,
  |TGCA, thread my paper
  |cuts above the space in-
<between, spacebar,

  |where’s my space-
  |suit, I want to steal
  |your crescents. Too
<bad, too far, you

  |and your ten slivers,
  |silvers, slip-up? I can’t
  |even scuba
<dive, deep-dive

  |into what-ifs, wikipedia instead
  |because sometimes I wonder
  |if time-travelers
<can be trusted, time-

  |zones, trains. twelve hours
  |behind, I’m tired
  |of being
<late, last place

  |is for losers,
  |am I losing
  |you? Here: critical failure
<turned fool
  
  |or massy mess
  |or messy mass
  |don’t go, going, gone
<this isn’t grand

  |piano this isn’t
  |perfect. Please
  |listen, I want to hear
<your voice.

[about]

Zoe Reay-Ellers is a 17 year old writer from Washington State. She edits for a host of literary magazines, and her work has appeared in a number of different places, including The Blue Marble Review and The Eunoia Review.

Categories
Issue III Poetry

[JACK REID]

Birdman

Naked, you lay
in the kitchen floor’s crater,
your body spread

like a map: clusters
of black chicken feathers.
duct tape. and papier-mâché.

Shrapnel
crackles in the mouth:
“better. we can do it. fly higher”

and yet, I peel away
skin upon skin of hardened wing
to reveal

your back
swelling its bruise patterns: blue
as murdered birds. Icarus,

the unreachable wounds.

[about]

Jack Reid resides in Waterford where he currently studies English and Theatre at the local Institute of Technology. He began writing as a teenager and has remained dedicated to his craft ever since. His work often uses myth and legend to explore issues of identity, alienation, and strained relationships. Previous publications include celestite poetry.

Categories
Issue III Poetry

[MAGGIE PETRELLA

soft

you’ve got the kind of heart
i could settle down in.
i don’t know why i said that.
i mean, really cozy into and let
myself be wrapped up in.

it takes a special kind of person
to get me to fold myself up into
a paper-pebble love note and tuck myself
into your breast pocket.

you’ve got a snowfall voice,
in that everything sounds gentler when
you’re saying it.

you soft thing. i don’t
know how to tell you
that when i wake in the middle of the night,
i put my hand on your chest
— just to check.

harbors

for baltimore

when i left home, i blinked fast.
i fought hard against the heart of it –
the churning, tugging, sinking.
i set myself in motion again and again,
woke up along new waters so often that waking felt unfamiliar
in familiar yards.

i loved my city and i know she loved me. back then,
she greeted me each morning with sweet
far-below beeps and golden arms
reaching to meet me. we tangled
in sheets of snow, rose each day together,
hummed harmonies effortlessly.

i’m stubborn in my chest now,
call this leathery shell home like the tortoise calls
his own. a bit of an echoey hull.
trudging along yet another foreign terrain of potholes
and gazing blindly across new garbaged harbors,
indifferent. i can make anywhere feel like home.

this city feels like a stretch. she reaches in every direction
away from me. the harbor cannot stop the city
from bending out over it, the highway from crawling
underneath. she’s nearly unstoppable. tenacious,
scrappy. she has a stubborn chest like me. she knows
how to dig her feet into the mud.

and i, foolish i, i thought i left my lungs
back in buffalo. never to feel rest again.
i should have guessed that this earnest body
would make a fool of me. i thought myself unanchorable
but god – i fall in love so easy.
i can make anywhere home.

[about]

Maggie Petrella (she/her) is a Buffalonian poet based in Baltimore, MD. Her work has appeared in Back Patio Press, Dwelling Literary, Variety Pack, Southchild Lit, and others. She is online at maggiepetrella.com or on Twitter @maggie_425.

Categories
Issue III Poetry

[LILA DUBOIS]

Quedo Blvd.

The boys in my
neighborhood
like to pick oranges
from trees in
their front yards
they throw them as
boys would
and boys do
and the oranges explode in
spectacular fashion
just the way
you’d expect
they would
and do
Glorious creamsicle pulp
flings through the air like
dynamite
or actually
maybe
like
moth wings
held up to dusk
because near dusk
makes kaleidoscopes
of pulp
so like moth wings
if moth wings
were oranges that grow on
streets without
sidewalks
with
yellow lawns
like wheat blonde hair
like my sister’s hair
and inflated plastic pools
of boys
who leap out
sopping of
hose-water cool to
throw oranges
and watch them explode
They’re sweet
7 or 8
but they could be 17
or 18
too, rattling
by with their friends
always
Pruis the color of pantyhose
that
can’t reach
85
suckling pens
pineapple
like veterans
suck cigars
laughing
always
with the reckless wreckage
of being 17
or 18
and knowing
sweet nothing
popping oranges beneath
tires
incidentally
for sopping boys
high-fiving
so awesome
wide-eyed at the future
which rattles off
again
as Priuses would
and Priuses do
always
The streets are left
plastered with ivory
rind
smashed so deep
into the
crags
the whole scene
will smell like heaven
for days
Then the sun falls
as suns
would
and
do,
incidentally,
behind the houses and the
freeways and the
lawns
till telephone wires hang
loose against a
purpling sky
always
purple
and never quite
black
or starry
its the San Fernando Valley
where
violet air and oranges
simmer into the blacktop
at the end of the day
like milk into a paper napkin
or like
stain glass
in a
melting church
boys run home with
citrus underneath their
fingernails
and
we all know its impossible
to be unhappy
falling asleep
with
citrus
smelling
fingers

[about]

Lila Dubois is an 19 year old waitress, musician, and student at the University of Pennsylvania who writes to explore the kaleidoscope of humanity in the seemingly mundane of everyday life (and also, for her own personal sanity). Her writing has been featured in various journals and recognized by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards; her music can be found on all streaming services. She works out of Los Angeles and Philadelphia.