Categories
Issue 4 Poetry

[TRACEY FOSTER]

Yin Yang Pond

My aunt once knew all the Latin names for flowers
Rosa Rugosa, Helleborus, Alchemilla.

Built a garden out of love with a Yin Yang pond
till she overfed the fish and they floated.

First the nouns went became that thing, this thing
laughed it off as old age.

As the walls came in
the words went out.

The music stayed and played inside her head
held my hands to dance in silence.

Last word she said, as she cupped my chin in her hands
was, ‘beautiful’.

[about]

Tracey Foster started off in a long career as an Art teacher in the middle of England and wanted to refocus her creative energies into writing poetry and prose. After helping others find inspiration in the world around us, she took an MA course in Creative Writing at Leicester University and has not looked back. She finds inspiration in the past and the events that shape us. Previous work has been published by CommaPress, Ayaskala, Bus Poetry Magazine and The Arts Council and writes regularly for the Everyone’s Reviewing website.

Categories
Issue 4 Poetry

[B.A. O’CONNELL]

Moonstruck

The moon watches me undress
and I pretend she is you—
pretend the light coming softly
through my curtained window

is the path of your vision
on this muggy nearly autumn night
and if I hold my breath
and ignore God’s creatures making music in the dark

I can hear your voice.
Hear it lifting through the empty yard between
the last steps you took.

Sometimes, in my dreams, a
rose garden grows in place of you
and a golden bell rings out over and over,

“I love you—I love you.”

[about]

When a pivotal moment in B.A. O’Connell‘s youth caused them to turn to poetry with serious intent it changed their life. Today, they often pen four to eight poems a day. B.A’s poetry and their blog (https://hellishrebukesystem.tumblr.com) focuses on poems and art centring around trauma, recovery, and mental health. B.A also touches on themes of abusive, obsessive, and unhealthy relationships and the pain of moving on from them. Find out more on their twitter @OnceIateataco.

Categories
Issue 4 Poetry

[COURTNEY HILDEN]

Immigrants Are Like

View this document on Scribd

Inventing my Mother Self

When I gave
            birth, I felt like I had been
gifted a civilization
in progress. Slowly

the disquisitions came and were
eventually handed
over to the preschool.   Then,
A Series

of Firsts:         Every kindergartener needed
                       an enemy.

                       We needed
                       a tooth
                       fairy, so she had
                                  to be
                       invented too.

                       Your faith
                       in passion, coming
                       early.

                       The five
                       dream
                       jobs.

                       The first
                       time you got fired.

                       The unclear
                       hallway where you had
                       either fallen
                       in love the day
                       before or Loana had broken
                       your heart.

                       When you began to “lose”
                       library books, happily
                       paying the library if it meant
                       the removal
                       of offending
                       titles,


the island materializing out

of the long, white
cloud.

                       When you hit
                       rock
                       bottom because you lacked
                       sideburns,

the island
metastasized, or perhaps merely
revealed itself, now that the clouds had
given way.

And now, shredding
my values like a molting
bird so that I can better
parent you, the island is so

real I realize
that I have been lying
on the shore this entire time.

[about]

Courtney Hilden’s recent work has been featured in Voice of Eve, More of Us, Panning for Poems, and Coffin Bell: An Anthology of Dark Literature.

You can tip Courtney on Paypal: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/CourtneyHilden

Categories
Issue 4 Poetry

[JENNIFER MACBAIN-STEPHENS]

The Tyrant Whispers to His Victim

silence / don’t / say thank you / finally / get your girl home / too suspicious/ with your big sad eyes / too innocent / you’re viral / you have potential / the change isn’t instant / ya know / to slither / into a body / tag and colonize / listen for your name on the radio / it’s not my fault

This is a found poem. Text taken from: Grant, Mira. Symbiont. New York. Orbit, 2014. Print. Pages 107-108. In a symbiotic relationship: sometimes one species benefits at the other’s expense, and in other cases neither species benefits.

[about]

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens (she/her) went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and now lives in Iowa where she is landlocked. Her fifth, full length poetry collection, “Pool Parties” is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press in 2023. She is also the author of fifteen chapbooks and enjoys exploring how to blend creativity with nurturing the earth. Recent work appears in The Westchester Review, Cleaver, Dream Pop, and Grist. She is the director of the monthly reading series Today You are Perfect, sponsored by the non-profit Iowa City Poetry. Find more of her work at http://jennifermacbainstephens.com/.

You can tip Jennifer on Venmo: @jennifermacbain-stephens

Categories
Issue 4 Poetry

[SIMON NAGEL]

Newsfeed Update

Another species 
of Chinese river dolphin
that we always hear 
are going extinct 
went extinct again.

[about]

Simon Nagel is a writer from California that now finds himself in the United Kingdom. His work has appeared in HAD, Hoot Review and Taco Bell Quarterly, among others. He recently finished his debut novel “Gates to Nowhere.”

You can tip Simon on PayPal: simon_nagel@hotmail.com

Categories
Issue 4 Poetry

[SARAH GROUSTRA]

Strawberry Moon

I am trying to honor my impulses.
When I am alone in the kitchen I play music,
I dance,
I bump into cabinets and I am trying to fall in love
with the way movement leaves bruises.
There is a transitory blankness at night
without you there to punctuate it.
You are the first parenthesis,
the soft curve,
and I think maybe I have seen this metaphor before,
but these feelings are an old refrain so how many ways can I say it?
In the kitchen I think about you.
I think about how we have to eat three times a day.
Last night there was a full moon, and we talked about it over the phone.
Cyclical: it’s all cyclical.

[about]

Sarah Groustra (she/her) is a senior at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, originally from Brookline, Massachusetts. Her writing has previously appeared in or is forthcoming in Funicular Magazine, HIKA, Lilith Magazine, Boats Against the Current, Moon Cola Zine, and Spires Literary Magazine. Her plays have been workshopped or produced by Playdate Theatre, the Parsnip Ship, and Playwright’s Workshop at Kenyon (PWAK). She plans on pursuing writing and theater of various sorts after she graduates. The other thing she loves as much as books is breakfast food, which you can tell by her Twitter handle: @ladypoachedegg.

You can tip Sarah on Venmo: @sarahng28

Categories
Issue 4 Poetry

[KENNETH POBO]

WHEN YOU LIVE IN MIDDLETOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

it’s easy to forget how to fly. So much
takes off without you. I’ve seen roofs rise
to meet birds in mid-air. Steam

from pancakes cooking rises—
so do the pancakes. They form
a chorus line against the kitchen

window and dance.
I used to fly. As a child,
my wings took me everywhere—

by the way, Saturn is nice in February.
Little by little my wings weakened.
Feathers fell, and try as I might,

I got no heft.
I said I may as well go to school:
gradebooks, assignments,

no flying allowed. Someday
I may fly again. It’ll just happen.
I’ll be eating pancakes, the dining room

a private airport. Look up
beyond the pine. That will be me,
flying, no destination.

[about]

Kenneth Pobo is the author of twenty-one chapbooks and nine full-length collections. Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), and Lilac And Sawdust (Meadowlark Press). His work has appeared in North Dakota Quarterly, Nimrod, Mudfish, Hawaii Review, and elsewhere.

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.