ALLEGORY OF THE BIRD by Shine Ballard

the birds stirring,
chirrup, pitched
outside, snow falls
skirring

and i’ve no clue
why they’re so rest
less

through my picturewindow,
a rouge regard, stoically
alit, sits seen, un
ruffled

it, through the pane, i do perceive—
am i seen, as well
refracted


Shine Ballard, the loucheluftmensch, currently creates and resides on this plane(t).

SNOW by Howard Moon

With apologies to Carl Sandburg

Snow covers the slain
At Wounded Knee
Old men
Women and children

Snow covers the trail
Over 1,000 miles
Nothing but hardship
Over 4,000 dead

Snow covers the gallows
38 hung
As 4,000 watched
In the Mankato square

Snow covers our lands
Snow covers our graves
Snow covers your murders
Snow – so white so pure


Howard was a professional corporate writer most of his life. In retirement he writes poetry and flash fiction. He identifies as BIPOC – he is Native American. Follow him on Twitter @halfblindpoet and on Instagram @halfblindfloridapoet.

DISSECTION OF A NANNY CAM BEAR by Kristin Garth

after Servant

Lacerate cheap seams, cobalt blue fur,
ribboned fluff around electrical veins —
extraction of camera demure.
Even the small in this house are not spared pain.
You live with a miracle, credit unclaimed
by the stranger whose name you know to be feigned —
chiseled on slate by two surnames the same
inside a cemetery in a town
she is supposed to be from. Your child in
unknown arms, you under her thumb, is grounds
for plush evisceration, invasion,
crawl spaces, camera in her bedroom wall.
You’re past the cute espionage protocol.


Kristin Garth is the author of eighteen books of poetry including Flutter Southern Gothic Fever Dream, The Meadow, and Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir.  She is the Dollhouse Architect of Pink Plastic House, a tiny journal and has a weekly sonnet podcast called Kristin Whispers Sonnets.  Visit her site Kristingarth.com and talk to her on Twitter @lolaandjolie.

THREE POEMS by Molly Andrew

Blackberries in Autumn

You’re a deviation from the season,
like picking blackberries in autumn.
Or fishing at a frozen lake,
snowflakes powdering my hair and arms
like the dust of old books.
You’re an early morning thunderstorm,
tearing the sunrise like crushed tissue paper.
You draw me towards you
and I finger paint with lipstick on your face,
tracing a constellation.
Then we’re up on our feet,
darting along the ridge of a hill
and tumbling down to the bottom again.


Little Red Inside the Wolf

I was swathed in scarlet.
Everything was dark.
I would go fearlessly,
counting all the seconds if I died.
But I would tear my way out
to plant you heavy with rocks,
dragging you down, crippling you.
Enticing you off the path you drew for me.

Enticing you off the path you drew for me,
dragging you down, crippling you,
to plant you heavy with rocks.
But I would tear my way out,
counting all the seconds. If I died,
I would go fearlessly.
Everything was dark.
I was swathed in scarlet.


Persephone

Pulled beneath the crust of the Earth,
the dread Persephone, Queen of the Underworld,
still wearing the garlands she forged above.
Hypnotised by the fruit of his country,
inexperienced girl craving a barbarous man,
she abandons the vegetation of her blood.
He’s a shadow, that sentient hieroglyph:
“bow down, pretty lady, tell me you love me,
sit here, rule beside me, hold me and fuck me”.
She trails a black silk train down the aisle,
doused in crumbs of grain for confetti,
and is swept up in his arms for a second time.
Kneel for the goddess,
kneel for the queen,
plant seeds in her name in springtime.
She crushes the jeering pomegranates,
dominates the dead with one hand,
and while she’s no lily of the valley,
she’s a cornfield of Hell.


Molly Andrew is a 20-year-old English Literature student at the University of Exeter who enjoys writing poetry in her free time. She finds inspiration in both the personal and the imaginative. Writing is an incredibly cathartic pastime for her.

TWO POEMS by Ash Slade

Brewed Symphony

washout roads clutching pounding
pulses. cars dribble down waterslide
streets, a percussion ensemble
thunders nightlife songs.
raindrops
tap-dance on cobbles.

pelted ice balls thrash a rickety,
tumble-down deck, pea soup blocks
the light-up strands. winds of cargo
trains blowing through sundown,
wildcats sit on tips of houses looking
at golden torches. bolts clap together
like claves, electrical eddies flare up,
no earplugs.

leaves trampled and mangled to bits, feet
hacky-sack tins from curbsides to asphalt
walks. shoes find their beats as washboards
batter windowpanes. twenty-four hour
laundromat machines in a tailspin, daily rags
float around sunken cellars lost to
clogged up storm sewers.


Flying Fortress (Nine o Nine)

This poem was originally published by The Common Breath.

the world paused and
suspended motion on
October third, when a fireball
explosion lit-up old nine o nine.
like burned-out house lights on
the edges of cul-de-sac roads,
seven wicks were snuffed out
in plumes of smoke. the de-icing
building collapsed, the runway
turned into a messy morgue.

like a bomb struck by a match chaos
erupted in the clouds. a soldier’s roots
stripped to scrap, strewn wild on the
cold burial ground that houses the sap
of loss.

the chiefs read off a hotline number for
families to call. responders set out to lend a hand.
mothers and fathers on their knees
no pills to curb the edge. at the podium,
the governor echoed a lunch meat speech to the
newsroom sea. pencils scratched on pads when
asked about the crisis, he sealed his lips.

the bucket above poured out, as the seraphim
blew into their wings like tissues. a place in black,
waiting for the next flash bulletin.
lives incinerated like bonfire ash dragged by
a whirlwind gust. training to put back together
bits you can’t mend.

as the world takes a nap, families mount a
restless guard. their core crumbles and
creaks, and the floor caves in. a glowing
light is lost at record speed. their biography told
upon burial in the brittle ground. clans move on
from stolen lives, remembering the loss.


Ash Slade lives in a small Connecticut town. He enjoys collecting poetry books, journals, and pens. In his spare time, hobbies include: spending time with friends and family, reading, and shopping. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

TWO POEMS by Cassandra Finch

BODY AS A METAPHOR

This body is a junkyard, a haunted house.
Skeins of mouseholed muscle, ligaments rusted stiff,
Watching the others dart by, limbs obedient and obliging.
Trading like for like, salvaging what can be saved,
Dragging the redeemable scrap away
From weariness like a blanket of snow.
A shipyard of wrecked vanities, skeletal, scuttled,
Left for the wind to tease, and to slow ruin.
The rust creeps, sleepless; the rags
Bow to the breeze. At the bottom of the sea
The barnacles offer their testimony, their final affinity
For smoothing shattered and forgotten things
Offering no prescription for these jagged ribs;
The broken parts accumulate, turn Queen’s Evidence,
Testify against the carefully meted untruths
Of their owner, who lies for safety
And not for gain. The compulsion
Is an old one, worn out by use,
And no longer fooling anyone.

Slowly I have slipped my obligations,
Scattered like snakeskin, uninhabited
By caution or responsibility.
The body fails, time and again. I
Inhabit it only when other options are unavailable,
Which is always. I make excuses for it,
Even to myself, even when I know better.
It offers me a future bright with needles,
Shored up with aluminium, and with so many pills to take.
It offers me no future at all.
It marks time, month on month, dosing at intervals
To ensure I do not forget the immense unlikelihood
Of it existing to begin with. It
Will kill me as surely as fire, as drowning,
But it will do it slowly, allowing me
To note its various intricacies,
Marvel at its irreducible complexity,
Asking the questions that time does not allow.


UNDER

Subterranean London conceals a family
Of inbred pigs, huge and blind in the darkness,
And pale, their bristly hides
Scraping the filth from the walls.
A tiger paces beneath the Edinburgh cobbles,
Twisting, furious with waiting;
Below Dublin, a monstrous snake coils.
Paris is the plaything of a pack of gigantic dogs,
And a colossal moth, wreathed in smoke,
Pupates under Amsterdam.
Berlin, naturally, shelters a bear
Of astonishing bulk, with claws like sickles,
And Madrid’s unfeasible monitor lizard
Is Cretaceous in its size.
New York’s great king rat has predated
Even the sewer alligators,
The vast coyote of Los Angeles curls its tail
Beneath El Capitan in the coldness of night,
And the rangy, hungry wolves under Seattle
Rattle the pines with their howling.
The cities pulsate, live and breathe,
Flood in resentment and glory and fear;
Bathe in failure, preen in hazy dawns,
Kick sunsets away across rivers and beyond horizons,
Warm the worn stones, tenant empty galleries,
Smooth the wooden floors of the museums,
Haunt night buses, wait alone for the train,
Devour lovers and losers and drunk businessmen,
Exhaust metaphors, frustrate poetics,
Ride the blue night and glimmer,
Winking at the cameras in space


Cassandra Finch (she/her) is a writer, artist, and zinemaker from Essex. Her work sits at the crossroads of disability, queerness, class anxiety, and life in the suburbs. She is currently currently working on her first poetry chapbook. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

UNSPOKEN DILEMMAS by Sumaiya Sharaf Bidisha

My eyes talk more than my lips
when I am with you.
When I am trying not to speak,
don’t misunderstand me but
I disagree with you the most.
You remain in my great mistakes
yet you are my incredible happiness.
How long I have been yearning to
open my heart to you.
But I keep shutting my doors
with the fear of losing you.


Sumaiya Sharaf Bidisha is a clumsy social weirdo who never means what she says. Her unnatural dreams push her to write even more. She believes everyday is new challenge and we should stop worrying about future to make our presents better. Follow her on Instagram.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by Luca Massimo Lombardo

You wake up early in the morning
and it’s already raining
can’t even understand how
and you find yourself in a crowded train nice girls in their fancy tights
newspapers talk about debts, markets, television
it is too much.
Someone is reading The Catcher In The Rye still, there is hope.


Luca Massimo Lombardo lives in Milan, Italy. He writes short stories and poetry. He’s the author of “Rats Chewed Up My Doormat” published in Italy. He’s interested in everything that happens after 2am. You can find him on Twitter @VinicioLombardo and Instagram @inpistachiowetrust.

THREE POEMS by Tina Lamoreux

day drunk

she’s lying in the spare room

drinking in lovely days with

alcohol

sleeping in daylight

with counterfeit company,

she recognizes them, their lazy shadows

she can feel them,


the weight of

them.


heavy with dismay.


Self L-O-V-E

I must know 

myself, 

every inch

curve 

space

between my thighs fully 


before I allow you deep within
me 

so you do not discover

and lie to me with me

and tell me, 

what my body

says. 


I must know 

the difference

between

my voice and 

yours

so you will not 

take up

residence and 

claim

the discovery of 

pleasure

for yourself.

 


Shitfaced.

It’s a sobering moment, sitting with a trash can between my legs. Naked. 2AM. I think about everything that we wrote to each other. Dry eyes. Dry heaving. I drank so so so much of you away. I can’t feel my lips. But I can feel the fluid in my head swish and swirl and release through my mouth. You don’t have a right to make me like this. But you did. I let you. It’s not even that it hurts, it’s that I’m trying to get rid of you. You refused me, mind, body and spirit. I have to expel you like all the other demons.


Tina is a freelance writer and poet. She found her magic forest in Central PA where she is currently finishing her BA in English. You can find her staring off into space or drinking at a local coffee shop while pretending to be mysterious. Follow Tina on Instagram and Twitter.

INDIGENIZE TASTE by Rida Akhtar Ghumman

My nano could weave intricacies
in the kitchen, on the shelves, in hearts and clothes
Women “they” just buried as mothers
Bibi A and Bibi B
Unnamed yesterdays

I went to school
Learnt to pronounce c-a-p-i-t-a-l-ism
But I was never taught to inherit
Even from nano, her taste
To touch and persevere
To teach and enrich

She bore a daughter and she gave birth to me
I was taught to inherit in hierarchy
Respect for Nano and love for mama
While systemic hegemons taught me
numbers, unfair systems, ecology, and race
But nothing taught me Nano’s taste

As if crosia lace, mother tongue, and balanced biryani spice
Could only be poor or exotic
But not worth wearing: as exquisite indigenous taste


Rida Akhtar Ghumman is a student of English Literature working in creative corporate marketing. She can be reached on Twitter and Instagram at @RidaAkhtar_