2 Poems by Ryan Bry

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Greenland

I’m crying about Greenland again,
and it doesn’t have anything to do with you, the mountainous static
has nothing of me, its buzzing snow crackle in Greenland
where everything happens.

My water coils in clouds
above Greenland, flinching at the incestuous pop of the hilltops.
Another day for my water to be above Greenland,
which I know nothing of and yet harbors my love
for you.

A sweetness is somewhere
there are rivers of sky for deja-vu canoes and I’m crying again, Greenland,
knotting my water over you.

 

 

A Brief History of Electricity in Chicago (while listening to Wire’s Pink Flag)

My electric death-flinch brought me to Chicago
and left me.

The buildings couldn’t let me go and the summer thunder
couldn’t take me.

I’m a little bit lost living without
my electric death-flinch.

 

Ryan Bry, currently residing in St. Louis, Missouri wishes to bless all his readers with a mysterious grace that they can carry with them. The fool, jack-of-all-trades, a dreaming piece of work on his way to glory. Author of Information Blossoms out on Expat Press and member of the outsider artist band Penis Grenade.

2 Poems by Josh Sherman

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HOW TO TELL STORIES TO CHILDREN

How to Tell Stories to Children
was originally published in 1905
Sara Cone Bryant wrote it

She was an author of children’s books

Sometimes I think my life is being written
by an author
of children’s books
like Sara Cone Bryant

Things are oversimplified
dogs play a disproportionate role in the plot
there is whimsy that just seems sad
to normative adults 

Anyway, you were reading
How to Tell Stories to Children
on April 19, 2017, around 9:45 p.m.
while riding the streetcar

Your pants were pea-green and wide-legged
Your hair brown-like blonde
You were probably an art-school student
Your major, probably conceptual

You’d just sat beside me
because there was an empty seat
But maybe also because I was reading
But maybe not because I was reading

The streetcar driver was a comedian—he asked
“What kind of room has no windows or doors?”
And right away you replied:
a mushroom

It wasn’t rehearsed at all
Your brain just worked like that
Nobody else had answered or even tried
Then you went back to How to Tell Stories to Children

I continued reading Landscape With Traveler
A novella by Barry Gifford published in 1980
I wanted to get to know your brain

I wanted to be a streetcar operator
But you got off at Dovercourt

And I took the streetcar to Lansdowne

 

BODEGA

I feel like sad corner-store fruit
I’m a little bit expired
I’m a little bit bruised
I wasn’t always like this
but it’s how I am now
You’ll find me beside the Lays chips

and the gummies
You’ll find me under unflattering light
You’ll find me at unexpected hours

 


Josh Sherman is a Toronto-based journalist with fiction previously published online in Hobart and in print in the Great Lakes Review.

 

Art by Julienne Bay

“Transmutation of Waste” by Leah Mueller

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Recycling your IRS
pay or die letters
is an essential part
of being a good American. 

They were made from trees,
ground into pulp, flattened.
Emblazoned with words

like “forfeiture.” Sent
through the hands
of dutiful couriers
from the US government–

postal carriers in
year-round shorts,
sturdy men and women

who avoid your eyes
while they command
you to electro-sign
their sinister plastic devices.

Never keep these notices,
you don’t want your
friends to see them.

Don’t burn them,
it causes global warming.

Don’t throw them away,
they’ll end up in landfills.

Reuse the letters by
putting them in your
blue recycle bin

beside those spent bottles
of wine you couldn’t afford
but drank anyway.

The letter will leave
your hands and travel
to a facility for its revival.

Its smooth, mended surface
beckons false promise,
reincarnation as toilet paper
or perhaps a love letter.

Instead, it will be transformed
into yet another postal edition
of terrible news, since

nothing good ever comes
in the mail anymore.

 

Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Tacoma, Washington. She has published books with numerous small presses. Her most recent volumes, “Misguided Behavior, Tales of Poor Life Choices” (Czykmate Press) and “Death and Heartbreak” (Weasel Press) were released in October, 2019. Leah’s work also appears in Blunderbuss, The Spectacle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and other publications. She won honorable mention in the 2012 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry contest. Her new chapbook, “Cocktails at Denny’s” was published by Alien Buddha Press in November, 2019.

3 Poems by Leah Mueller

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Why You Won’t be Getting a Refund

Thanks for leaving
my rental house
trashed with your emotions.

You can’t have any of your
security deposit back. 

Those many ersatz moments
when you mentioned loving me
will all count as damages.

I’ve kept track of each one,
in case you want
an itemized report.

The carpet cleaning bill
from your meltdowns
was bad enough, 

but then you put your fist
through my window,
jumped into the yard
and took off running
before I could catch you
and hold you accountable.

Rest assured; I’ll make sure
I find you, even without
a forwarding address.

Meanwhile, I’ll take comfort
in knowing your reputation’s so poor
that even the landladies
in your hometown

would rather see you starve
then ever rent to you again.

 

 

Lullaby

Someday
you’ll understand

what it means,
and then you’ll forget:
like when the sun
comes out 

right before sundown:
brilliant half hour,
then darkness.

Sleep, and wait
for the next one.

 

 

Metastasis

One wish:
to go backwards

in time, and
stop the army

from invading
your skeleton

before it captured
your cells:

that wish
never granted,

your chance forever
blown into shrapnel,

scattered like
bits of detritus:

burnt sacrifice
to indifferent gods.

 

Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Tacoma, Washington. She has published books with numerous small presses. Her most recent volumes, “Misguided Behavior, Tales of Poor Life Choices” (Czykmate Press) and “Death and Heartbreak” (Weasel Press) were released in October, 2019. Leah’s work also appears in Blunderbuss, The Spectacle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and other publications. She won honorable mention in the 2012 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry contest. Her new chapbook, “Cocktails at Denny’s” will be published by Alien Buddha Press in November, 2019.

“A Methodical Approach to Sleeping Alone” by Hallie Nowak

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Step 1: Light a candle. Break some incense.

Step 2: Admire the pile of dirty clothes at the foot of your bed. (Look, but don’t touch.)

Step 3: Turn off the lights to hide the pile of dirty clothes at the foot of your bed.

Step 4: Sit down on your bed that is too big for just you and barely close your eyes.

Step 5: Remember the fingertip of the first snowflake of winter on your eyelash.

Step 6: Remember the time that you locked yourself out of your apartment on Christmas Eve.

Step 7: Forget that you’re alone.

Step 7: Forget that you’re alone.

Step 7.5: Remember that you’re alone under the swollen moon and the pinpricks of stars and the cold, clear voice of winter. Everything leaks through the hairline crack in your window. A breeze bursts against your sallow midriff.

Step 8: Pluck the petals from your skin and carefully stack them on the corner of your bedside table. Admire the way they wilt, that dusty scent of your loneliness.

Step 9: Are you alone,

Step 10: Brood about the way you squeeze the toothpaste the wrong way.

Step 9: Or are you lonely?

Step 11: Get out of bed. Check your dim reflection obsessively. Note the discoloration under your eye. Note that the discoloration under your eye is the ashen scarf tangled in the bare fingers of branch in Moody Park. 

Step 12: Stroke the sad subtle indent his body left in your memory foam mattress.

Step 13: Make yourself cry.

Step 14: Weep until you feel a spirit leave your gasping mouth. 

Step 15: Flip the damn pillow over.

Step 16: Remember that the human capacity for love is infinite. Remember to lock the door to your house. Remember that your roommate makes breakfast for dinner. Remember to watch for shadows of men in the street. Remember that IHOP is open 24/7. Remember to brush your teeth. Remember the inky kindness in your cat’s eye. Remember the warm breve latte in your hand at Old Crown. Remember to feel everything. Remember to feel nothing. Remember that you are a Scorpio. Remember that everyone is alone: that no body is alone.

Step 18: The snow outside the window collects onto the glass pane next to your bed. The portable heater says 79 degrees. Your loneliness collects thin shards of ice. Your bed is warm. Your pillow is cold. How beautiful it is to be warm in a room collecting snowbanks. How beautiful it is to be not lonely; to be completely and irrefutably alone: 

in dreams; in sleep; within; without; alone.

 

Hallie Nowak is a poet and artist writing and residing in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she is in pursuit of her undergraduate degree in English at Purdue University Fort Wayne. She is the author of Girlblooded, a poetry chapbook (Dandelion Review, 2018). Her work can also be read in Anti-Heroin Chic, Honey & Lime, Okay Donkey, and Noble/Gas Qrtrly where her poem, “A Dissected Body Speaks,” was awarded runner-up for the 2018 Birdwhistle Prize. 

Twitter: @heyguysimhallie
Instagram: @hallie_nowak

 

“Hot Lunch Program” (poetry & visual art) by Cyd Gottlieb

Gottlieb_9_Hot Lunch Program_2019 - 300dpi.jpg[Hot Lunch Program; 2019; Ink, graphite, watercolor pencil, pastel, and charcoal on toned tan paper; 6 x 8 inches (15.3 x 20.3 cm)]

 

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Cyd Gottlieb works out of Toledo, OH. Her creative contributions have channeled themselves by way of the ICA/Boston, ChaShaMa (Brooklyn), the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Toledo Museum of Art, Harvard University Press, and Instagram (@pischonk02). Presently, she tends bar through tone and serves face with an eye.

3 Poems by Mike Andrelczyk

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The guy that drew the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner Cartoon

He was probably often ridiculously sad 

like all of us get sometimes

drinking a beer looking at a yellow wall

and then he would spend endless hours 

at a drawing desk drawing cels  

that slowly moved the Coyote

closer to some inevitable cartoon cliff edge or fake mountain tunnel 

to some hilarious not-death

and that was his job


Oyster No. 1

The first person

To ever eat 

An oyster

Was probably


Also


The first person

To eat a rock


School

I was walking

To the purple school

The purple school

Was far away

And small

And as I walked 

The school

Never grew

And I started to run

Still

The school never grew

It was after midnight

And I was late for school

And I’m 36.

 

Mike Andrelczyk lives in Strasburg, PA. He is the author of the chapbook “The Iguana Green City & Other Poems” (Ghost City Press, 2018). Find more work at neutral spaces.co/mikeandrelczyk.

New Book: “Dissolving” (Alien Buddha Pres) available here.

twitter: @MikeAndrelczyk