Escape from the Intergalactic Lunar Prison
Four suns hang in an alien sky.
Suddenly it’s Thursday.
My heart feels transplanted,
feels like four hearts humping
away on a desert floor, and as if
I hadn’t surrendered enough this week
I go to the bar. Obviously my nemesis
there thwarts me at karaoke, seals me
forever in the intergalactic lunar prison.
So I learn to meditate, to long
for myself so completely I vanish.
This whole town weighs less
than a bird’s heartbeat anyway:
no one will care what the snow plows
carve on the wrong side of the moon.
Either I’ve run out of things to conquer
or they’ve run away from me.
Perhaps I am not fit for murky water.
I am a cruel governor craving
tropical getaways, solutions clear
as a boiled ocean. Most of all I want
to box the shark with hammers for brains
to death in a seafloor cage.
Nowadays everything I police scatters
to plankton, outnumbering the stars.
Nowadays I fight the skin cells
I lose each night, tiny aboriginals
shoving me out of bed, shadows
making puppets of my weighty gestures.
Nathaniel Duggan used to sell mattresses, now he is unemployed. He lives in Maine.
been earnin these blisters on our fingertips
with sweat in our dad’s wool socks
been stackin up these antlers – these elbows –
all this driftwood in the front yard.
been huskin our lungs out thinkin about tomorrow
after they’ve all dried out in the sun
how we’ll just steep em in gasoline –
toss in our big cigs to light em all up.
that’s one big fire ya got there!
neighbors comin in from all around
been just sittin here really, warmin whiskey
bottles in the embers – watchin their labels rust.
Anthony Kelly is a writer living and working outside of Toronto. His work has appeared in various publications, the most recent being BARNHOUSE Journal. He is the co-founder and co-editor of Jam & Sand Journal.
Living for Two
For someone who doesn’t believe
In god, I ask about you a lot
Always hoping I might be wrong
And get an answer
I tell myself the lie:
There’s no way I could’ve known–
But maybe I did
In the way you walked
Head hung low, weighed
Down into the Earth
I just didn’t know how to help
You couldn’t bear it,
Now I’m gonna carry that weight
The hint of a spark
Hungering to burn
This forest of palms
To ash, to Dust
In the waste bin of heaven
Caressing me like a child
In a blanket
Take a minute
To lay in the grass,
And flow in the wind,
in a stream
We don’t have to go back.
Aaron Adkins is a senior at the University of North Florida. He is an English Major with a minor in Film Studies. His poetry is forthcoming in Badlands Literary Journal. For more follow him on twitter @MikeyIsAaron.
TONIGHT NOTHING’S WORSE THAN THIS PAIN IN MY HEART: FOR MARTY ROBBINS
I move pretty quickly when I am giving distance / between myself and the man with the gun / he who is giving more value to the ground he stands upon than I do / that man being anything that doesn’t have a definable face / a people, a tremble, a machine / I can keep everything I know to be holy in my mouth / names, fingers, stray strands of chocolate hair / my life exists in their thin and frail shadow / and I open my eyes each morning / only to kneel in wake of their breath / if you sculpt a monument from sand / that too / I will revere and call to be moist and tame beneath my tongue / if you call me to be, I will flow outward / and become a river—a terribly raging thing / almost always a pair of starving hands cannot finish what they wished to begin / almost always something is left half-alive and writhing / almost always / I once cowered within danger’s shadow as it stood, rapping at my door / but now I have become that which knocks / I called distance to be a sea / and drank an entire ocean / I have become that faceless thing guarding hallowed ground / I imagine a bullet is fired each time I take a breath / and it is hard to believe there is enough dirt to cover and fill every hole a pair of healthy lungs creates / in the same way, that could be said about loneliness / that there aren’t enough hands for everyone to keep / but even just the idea of the drawers between our fingers overflowing / is enough to decorate one’s self with holes / just as the sound of igniting gunpowder can drown out an entire religion / the shriek of air splitting / to make way for me will take back the name / I have ever given to any god / and I never knew dying would call me to move the quickest / in its direction
that first person who saw the / Andromeda Galaxy / referred to it as / ‘little cloud’ / little cloud / breathing somewhere in infinity / orbiting around its own beating / so far off one could not spot the rivers / painting gullies in the palm of the night sky / grief / is observed in this same way / given a name that defines it as small / as something with the potential of being / both beautiful and fit to sustain life / fantastical & gleaming / an entire atlas of constellations / a gravitational pull driving to the center / a spectacle a race / buried too deep in wonder to ever become an idea / the opulent comfort of visiting from a safe distance / must one feel to know / simply by seeing I am / we do not remember the name of the person who first saw this / little cloud / only that, in the cool air of twilight / they could not turn their gaze upward / stare passed the atmosphere / and feel nothing any longer
William Bortz is a husband, poet, and editor living in Des Moines, IA. His work appears or is forthcoming in Okay Donkey, Oxidant Engine, Empty Mirror, honey & lime lit, Turnpike Magazine, Unvael Journal, the Lyrical Iowa Anthology, and more.
Outside, stress grows fat and noisy in
my stomach. A moment’s distraction,
I watch my cat gnaw on rangy blades of
crabgrass. Experts say animals do this to
aid in digestion. Soon, she hacks violently,
her long body spasming like a tube of
shaky toothpaste. In a moment, she
unrolls her rough tongue to reveal a green
fibrous glob, courtesy of the enzymes
that refuse to build within her. The cat
resumes her al fresco supper. I too wish
I could settle my nerves with teeth.
Lannie Stabile (she/her), a queer Detroiter, often says while some write like a turtleneck sweater, she writes like a Hawaiian shirt. A finalist for the 2019/2020 Glass Chapbook Series and semifinalist for the Button Poetry 2018 Chapbook Contest, she is usually working on new chapbook ideas, or, when desperate, on her neglected YA novel. Works can be found, or are forthcoming, in Glass Poetry, 8 Poems, Kissing Dynamite, Monstering, Okay Donkey, Honey & Lime, and more. Lannie currently holds the position of Managing Editor at Barren Magazine and is a member of the MMPR Collective. She was also recently nominated for Best of the Net 2019.
Killed a deer
clawing a lumberjack blanket
conditioner on Feeling
tires treaded by
of a carcass across
the dry heated
His antlers scraped
the road Standing over him
I pointed at his temple
with a squirt gun Washing
blood was getting in his eyes
Drunk on the mattress
alone No sleep Thinking
what I’d do if I ever killed a deer
The party in my basement was a hooked fish
struggling to jump
Kyle Kirshbom lives in San Marcos. His poetry can be found at Silent Auctions and Sybil, as well as the forthcoming issue of SCAB. Currently working on a collection.
I have been skipping meals lately
(I know it doesn’t look that way,
bear with me)
just to feel those little rodents
circle inside my stomach —
a little centrifuge, a little
child I could have had.
You remind me, sometimes, of a mirror —
(I’m sorry, I’m too afraid to continue
I don’t think hell is coming but
I don’t think this can be solved.
I want to talk about something
else now, this isn’t fun anymore.
It’s always love and money
and bodies with me, isn’t it?
Let me look at a parking lot
and see a bed of roses.
Nick Wort is feral and stupid and lonely. Follow him on Twitter @DollarTreeVegan