3 Poems by Deirdre Cardona

 

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How’s Therapy?

 

It’s like I’m two different people.

I make Jekyll and Hyde
look like children.

I drink until I drown.
I smoke until I burn.

I can’t come—
to bed I’ll get cemented in.

I’m a monster because I have said so,
a rusty truck stop where lovers go to die

or shoot up in the bathroom.

Or did you mean to ask
“What’s wrong with you?”

Ask the stars.
Ask what they’ve heard.


 

One Day:

 

Lover, I will leave you in the same sluggish way
a fly leaves a swollen, oozing, stinking carcass.

In the same way golden clouds gradually pull
from a snow-capped mountain.

In the same way a half-assed breath hacks phlegm
from the lungs of a smoker,
like a machete against envy-green jungle leaves.

I will leave you
just as you’ve left God,

as you’ve left the dust to collect
on your writers’ desk.

I will not be the one
to hold your drunken frame,

your tar filled heart, your

promises like empty water
bottles at the bottom of the ocean,

 

your impossible smile,
your impossible smile,
your impossible smile.

 


 

Ghosts:
after Anne Sexton

 

Some ghosts are my fathers
neither selfish nor selfless
their guitars wahwahwahing
through the neighborhood.
Not artists, but ghosts
who frowned and shook their heads
at the Billboard top 100.

Not all ghosts are fathers.
I observe them at the music store,
thumbing through records with a high brow,
like they could ever come close.
Not pretentious, but ghostly.
This one’s playing Stairway.
But that isn’t all.

Some of my ghosts are lovers.
Not all there. Not too stable.
Like a swimmer in a glimmering lake
moments before jaws grip onto my ankle
and drag me down, down, down.

 

Deirdre Cardona is a turtleneck aficionado who often fantasizes about owning a really big chair so she can greet guests with a slow spin while petting a lop-eared bunny. She’s worked as a poetry editor for Cypress Dome Literary Magazine and her work has appeared in Roseblood Magazine. Send her love letters at twitter.com/queengizard

 

2 Poems by Susie Fought

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Liquid Gold

 

If I had to describe her skin it would be deep gold liquid
spilling fire
spilling danger like a super nova
an explosion of arrows aimed to maim
but when she slept next to me I could almost cry with the weight of her anchoring my life into a snug corner
as long as she slept in my bed she was mine
my own wild horse
tethered
if only in sleep if only in my imagination
because all these years later it is so obvious
I would never be hers
not like I wanted
the truth is she slept in my bed simply because it was there
halfway through her day and her night
she stumbled in and flopped here beside me
not mine
not belonging to anyone
liquid gold
warming my bed for a while

 

 

♦◊♦

 

“When You Left”

 

When you left you took the floor with you

The cross beams. The concrete. And even the dirt underneath
I was floating on fear
I nearly drowned in anxiety

My father brought houseplants
When the dark got too thick to breathe

When you left you took my frame of reference
My mirror
My who I am
My why I am here

I painted myself onto you and then you left

Susie Fought’s words have been published in various small collections put together by friends including three volumes of BREW, available on Lulu Press. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she now lives with too many dogs in Berkeley, California.

website: http://www.susiefought.com

2 Poems by Frank Karioris

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Sometimes, life is really good

 

Sometimes, life is really good.
A warm and sunny late spring early evening.

The roof is the perfect place to have a beer. Overlooking
the neighborhood, all its peoples,
                                                     buildings, places.

The massive tree at the edge of the parking lot looks fuller
from up here, two red birds flirt
                                                     among its branches.

The church bell’s ring, across the railroad, rings a little clearer
from this height. Street noise a faint but intermittent hum.

The fire truck’s siren echoes on all sides; two of them.
converging towards an unknown point;

yet the echo still trembles through the air, song birds
sing for each other, awaiting their meeting.

 

 

♦◊♦

 

Awning

 

Tiny tears in the awning look like stars
raining down.

Shedding cloth and cloak for heaven’s
lights.

Even the rain falls through it like angelic
drops of joy

that is the way that the tears in the awning
remind me

of the tears in my self that need to be mended,
rain washes it all away.

 

Frank G. Karioris (he/they/him/them) is a writer and educator based in Pittsburgh whose writing addresses issues of friendship, masculinity, sexuality, and gender. Their work has appeared in wide ranging publications, including the Hong Kong Review of Books, Burning House Press, Truth-Out, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Maudlin House, and the Berlin Review of Books.

“$200 Super Sandwich” by Christine Alexander

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“I’m a newlywed and an insurance secretary and I live

in San Fernando Valley.”

If I were a different girl, with a different face, in a different time

that might’ve been me

Nestled happily into obscurity, my fifteen minutes in matching sweatshirts

on Supermarket Sweep.

I am yanking hairs from my face in the Star Market parking lot

I am meeting a man who’ll give me some money

I am untethered by motherhood,

plumes of venomous smoke swirling around the front seat

But you want a woman you can take care of things.

I can pose prettily, I can arch my back willingly

I say to you “fill me,” and I mean it.

She is inside filling up the cart

She is making you a $200 Super Sandwich

But I know you’ll still be hungry.

 

Christine Alexander is a writer from Gloucester, MA. Her work has appeared in Barren Magazine, The Penmen Review, and High Shelf Press. 
twitter: @d0llypop 

‘where the heart ends up is a kind of funny place after all’ by Kyla Houbolt

 

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the heart
is a great pilgrimage toward God
a muscle the size of a caravan
an endless story told to an evil tyrant
in hope of something like escape
or at least a meal and a dry bed

on pilgrimage the heart
hears many stories, believes them all
and then believes only some
and finally believes none
because the path goes on
and on and on

and the heart is weary
of all this brouhaha about itself and about
the God it has ceased to seek
yet it can’t seem to just stop and simply
melt into the side of the road

and the awareness comes to it
gradually v. gradually that that
can’t-stopness may itself be
the sought God the electrical
pulsing of something that is not time
but an alive ongoingness

and what does the heart do then?

The heart laughs
and says

God
only
knows

 

Kyla Houbolt lives and writes in Gastonia, NC. She’s got various words published online, some in Black Bough Poetry, Barren Magazine, Juke Joint Magazine, and other places. When she’s not writing she can often be found spacing out somewhere, under a tree if she can find one. You can follow Kyla on Twitter @luaz_poet.

“Reunion/Rebellion/Refusal” by Kai Edward Warmoth

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Mother, throw out your black pearls
and smudged the rain will make them.
Their shine become like our shine
under the dirt and hooves of anabasis
where we are the sodden and soiled;
balanced scales.
New wardrobes that convert office lighting
to pure vitamin MDMA
and new costumes
so that we may ritually beg for treats,
guised as the Imago Dei.
These are what Mother will bring
from the conference
in another state.
It’s all the same State.
Gathering now around that oak stand in
the kitchen. What ever was it for?
Here grandfather would act
as if memory reserves seats.
“We shall weigh sod and we shall weigh soil.”
Iron wrought scales know fuck all of anything
but the presupposition of balance.
Order? That comes
through the bark of a dog on
the television.
A hunter-gatherer picks at
Marlboroberries and he gives little heed
to black pearls,
partly obscured in the ashy loam,
smudges left from the oil of a Thumb.
Leave it to the police;
they have a database for this
type of shit.

 

Kai Edward Warmoth lives in central Indiana where he patiently awaits being cancelled or Waco’d, whatever comes first.

“where the good sod dies” by Lance Milham

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my father spoke from a grin
behind a muffincrumb beard
about his backswing and traffic lights
and whatever-whoever-said-to-who-cares
while I peeled grains of sleep from my eyes,
but then I noticed a freckle
a thumbwidth above his ear
that his hair used to hide:
a tight brown circle
like the eighteenth green,
of an abandoned course,
the sod withering silently, defeated,
like the rest of the golfer must be

 


Lance Milham is an MFA candidate at the University of Central Florida. His fiction and poetry has appeared in Soft Cartel, Pinkley Press, Aurore, and the late Anti-Heroin Chic.