Category Archives: Taurus

reluctant lovers by Zoe Christopher


Photography by Maria Kazvan | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Flickr

reluctant lovers

our longing
demon-possessed
draped in veiled
intentions
it snickers
we gasp
we blush
and fidget.

(i said forget me/ call me
said i loathe you/ meant I love
please go now
don’t leave)

we skirt liminal land mines
like fireflies
shed our thin skins
naked and shy
they gasp
we blush
and shiver.

(you said come now/meant go
touch me here/ not here
said forget this
meant please
remember)

fearless and foolish
our hearts
do their bidding
they sing
we weep
we blush
to forget.



Zoe Christopher

Zoe has been writing all her life in an effort to understand what she’s thinking. Over the years, she’s put food on the table as an ice-cream truck driver, waitress, dental assistant, counselor, astrologer, art installer, bookseller, breathworker, and trainer of psychospiritual crisis support. While raising her son in California, she earned her Masters degree in psychology, and she’s part of the SF Creative Writing Institute community in San Francisco. She avoids talking so much today by using photography and the written word to say what’s left of her. : hermeanderingways.tumblr.com



Dear Crime Shows by Kelsey Taylor


Photography by Maria Kazvan | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Flickr


Dear Crime Shows

Thank you
for showing the world
a glamorized version of trauma.
For making rape
a fun mystery
for viewers to solve
because bad things always get fixed

on TV. Failing to accurately portray
the nights without sleep,
the triggers. For every trauma casualty
has something that will bring up an unwanted
flashback that places us back
in time, even if just for a moment.

It took me years
to stop scanning
the lettering on white vans, to stop
my heart from racing
anytime a floorboard creaked.

A friend of mine says
she wishes for a more tragic life
one with stories
of sexual or physical abuse
because that’s the way you help
people. That’s the way you get
people to listen.

She did not know
that most victims
spend our whole lives
in silence. Too afraid to speak
for it’s only real
if we can say it out loud.

People like me don’t
confess. Don’t admit
to what happened. I spent years
of my life learning
to not talk. Learning to
forget. I forgot how to speak
with any substance. Forgot
that I wasn’t supposed to
remember, this is the part you don’t
tell your viewers.

Actors solve crimes
with easily packaged evidence
that always adds up,
always points to someone, but

real monsters aren’t caught
within the parameters of 42 minutes
they hide behind
disguises like father
or brother

and most of us wait
our entire lives
for a verdict that never comes.



Kelsey Taylor

Born and raised in the PNW, Kelsey Taylor is a former figure skater, with a fear of falling, who has traded in her skates for poetry slams and leotards for leather jackets. She has been known to sticky note peoples cars, climb up 50ft of sand and occasionally post videos on Youtube under the screen name Kelsey1393. She holds a Creative Writing Certificate from Berklee College of Music; convinced she was going to be a singer, but along the way she took a detour in writing workshops and never looked back. Kelsey runs a fiction writing group where she is the youngest member.



I Only Smoke by Massey Armistead


The Bride by Ioannis Lachanis | Facebook | Etsy Shop

I Only Smoke

when someone dies—
like when I’m on the porch
of my childhood home
surrounded by close friends
and family after my grandmother’s wake,

or when I’m with Jonathan’s family celebrating
the life of their patriarch.
Jonathan says give me a cigarette!
even though he never
smokes. We cover the ground
below us with ash
and he gives me a kiss that tastes of old oak.

I only smoke when my best friend Lilly
comes over and we drink not one
but two bottles of wine
and reminisce about our past
errors in judgment
like when she threw
weed out the window
and I threw
a pool party
when grandmother was out of town.

I only smoke when Alabama plays Auburn
and with 15 seconds left Auburn scores
a winning touchdown.

I only smoke when I’m home
alone on Friday nights.

I only smoke on car rides to Atlanta
and in that case it’s three in a row
and Led Zeppelin plays the entire 4 hours.
I only smoke when my friends offer me one.
Or it’s been a month since I’ve had one.
Or the weather is so nice— 70 with a breeze.
Or I’ve had a fender bender on Old Hickory.
I only smoke when I finish a to-do list 50 miles long.

When I see the doctor I know she’ll ask
Have you quit smoking?
I’ll give her the short answer—
I only smoke when I’m drunk.



Massey Armistead

Massey Armistead lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she sells real-estate in the fast paced “it city.” A graduate of University of Alabama with a focus on English and creative writing, she is a former intern of Slash Pine Press, where she helped with guerilla style readings, chapbook making, and program development. Her work appears in DEWPOINT. A past participant of Writers in New York at NYU, she is currently studying poetry in the low-residency program MTSU Write.



I’d Be Lying by Rachel Nix


Print by Bright Room Studio on Etsy

I’d Be Lying

if I said I wasn’t nervous. My sister, concerned:

I’m afraid Christians may hurt my son.
I’ve been up all night trying to decide if we should go
.


When I say Christian, I don’t mean Christian; I mean
those who say amen when it isn’t right.

Is it more important to be seen, to show ourselves in the light – 

where darkness protrudes to swallow good? Should we cower,

allow those who holler hatred to mark us apathetic?

All this worry, all this fear, all to decide: is it safe to hold a candle
in the park to mourn people we know in a way only our empathy allows?


The argument: was it a Muslim or should we blame the gun?

I know that people are afraid – not so much of what they do not understand,
but that which they cannot control.



There are no Muslims in my town – little diversity at all.

I do not fear those who do not exist here. I fear those who do,

those who outnumber me and those who lean on falsehoods;

I fear their guns and their tempers,
their blind hatred and their snap reactions.

I know those who are victim to a misshapen faith do not understand
love as it is: without preconceptions.

I know those who fight for this generation’s musket do not know

they are the ammunition for the weapon they believe protects them,

the weapon used to kill their neighbors.

They do not know that with every belly-ache argument
to hold on to these guns they pull a trigger; someone dies.

They do not know intolerance is genocide.
They shout: sinner, abomination—
not knowing the heaviness of words, of slurs.

They define: bleeding-heart liberal;
not knowing the truth of it.

They do not know this fear:
watching folks bleed to be remembered as human.

This is:

a baseball game / a grocery store / a first date / a dog park / America / a marriage
ceremony / lunch with friends / an argument at work / the internet / a public restroom /
church / business as usual / a quick walk down the block / prom / Orlando / home /
where you want to be / a bar / a safe place / Pride Month / a dance floor / war / a funeral /

a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral /
a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral /
a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral /
a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral /
a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral /
a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral / a funeral.




Rachel Nix

Rachel Nix is a native of Northwest Alabama, where pine trees outnumber people and she likes it. She is the Poetry Editor at cahoodaloodaling, Associate Editor at Pankhearst, and aunt to a little boy who’ll never be taught to hurt or hate. She can be followed at @rachelnix_poet on Twitter.



A List of My Failed Love Affairs with Various Numbers, Or Today In My Math of Social Choice Class I Accidentally Told The Teacher Out Loud That I Thought Her Theorem Was Stupid by Hannah Nahar


Geometric by Bella Harris
Website | Etsy Shop | Tumblr | Instagram | Facebook

A List of My Failed Love Affairs with Various Numbers, Or Today In My Math of Social Choice Class I Accidentally Told The Teacher Out Loud That I Thought Her Theorem Was Stupid

  1. i’m nineteen years old and i didn’t mean it,
  2. what i meant was i don’t believe in divisible objects.
  3. nothing is divisible, like a chocolate cake that’s decorated so beautifully, or a plot
    of land where i’ve hidden seventy five seeds in secret places, or my attention span
    as i sit on the couch watching you watch me read.
  4. on a quiz i forgot to simplify the fractions, or forgot how,
  5. but honestly, 12/40 seems very different from 3/10, even though they are the same
    percentage of the object~
  6. maybe it’s because the things that i have lost do not always taste the same once
    they are found.
  7. i believed my teachers when they told me zero is not a number, that it is an
    absence, only because i’ve watched my mother cry fully twice in my life out of
    loss and it is terrifying,
  8. and so i know that zero is not a number, it is a thing felt.
  9. according to my calculations, adulthood does not happen at 365 days multiplied
    by 18 birthdays, and i still have not figured out when it will happen for me, or
    whether it will happen at all.
  10. when i cook rice with the wrong amount of water i do not count the number of
    extra times i have to chew, i’m just proud of myself for not setting off the smoke
    detector.
  11. the only way i know how to measure angles is to look at my elbow when my chin
    is in my hand. it’s in my peripheral vision and
  12. sometimes i see a beautiful human and i just want to look at them instead.
  13. when my teacher said she wouldn’t take it personally and the whole class laughed,
    i counted on my fingers the difference between here and there and i got the
    answer wrong.
  14. there are 26 letters in the alphabet, and i guess we just have different value
    systems.




Hannah Nahar

Hannah Nahar is a writer and student in Boston. Her work is published or forthcoming in Sixpenny Magazine, One Sentence Poems, and Palooka. She is a prose reader for Transcendence Magazine and a senior editor for Siblini Art and Literature. She likes hybrid forms, yoga classes, and drinking tea in coffee shops.



The Greatest City In America by Alain Ginsberg


Wading thru the bullshit like… by Mercedes Hazard | Shop | Tumblr | Instagram

The Greatest City In America

We are not fast walkers,
                              cross walk stoppers,
                              or look left then righters,
and if you hit us with a car
you better kill us, or we will give you
a fucking problem. WELCOME,
to the greatest city in america,
or so says the benches.
Home of the big rats, land
of the push it under the rugs.

People always ask if it’s like The Wire
and yes, it’s like The Wire, I mean
no, it used to be like The Wire
but everything that was The Wire is being
wound and bound up, boxed and collected
to be thrown to the east, or west, or south,
because the only Open Walls in Baltimore
are reserved for artistic imports being used
to bring gentrifying hands in to choke out
any last breath before Charles Village is
strangled and reupholstered,
to make those benches a little less
of a joke. To make those benches,
a little less of someone’s home.

People tend to say it must be dangerous
living amongst
addicts and thieves,
but no, we’re not all addicts
or thieves, and no, we’re not
dangerous either.
We do, however, know the sight of danger
and are friends with the addicts we know.
This is Smalltimore, where the enemy
of my enemy is someone I do not know,
but five or ten people I do
know them perfectly.

This city is not mine though,
I am as much of a cause of gentrification
as I am against it, a transplant
of already damaged goods.

There is roughly 13,000
abandoned buildings in Baltimore,
and nearly 5,000 homeless in the city
annually. But people don’t talk about that.
And if they did more,
I would call those numbers too low
to mean anything.
I would say there’s a one legged man
that frequents the blocks between
Penn Station and my college campus.
He’s living on kindness and sympathies,
and mine never came with a dollar sign
but I shared lunch with him
and he told me about his brother,
stabbed to death twenty years ago,
how there was no funeral, no buried remains to place make peace with.
But people wouldn’t attend that funeral anyways,
they don’t talk about names that aren’t headlines like
          George King
          Anthony Anderson
          Tyrone West
          Freddie Gray
          Mya Hall
Because those names are as close to HBO that they can get
without taking an actual stand
and
when I had to leave, he said “god bless”
and I’m not a religious person but I know
the power of getting by, and we all
are getting by. We are strength
under pressure, and we are all
constantly under pressure, under each
brick they continue to pave over top of us.

This, is Baltimore City.
Home of the blue light lullabies,
                              wired fences,
                              holding fast.
The greatest city in america, so says
the benches.




Alain Ginsberg

Alain Ginsberg is an agender writer and performer from Baltimore City, MD. Their work focuses on identity and the intricacies which create it for us. Alain has been an Individual World Poetry Slam competitor, Capturing Fire finalist, and has had their work featured in great weather for Media, Persephone’s Daughters, and Transcendence. : anotherginsberg.bandcamp.com



He by Constant L. Williams


Passing Dark, #78 by Kris @ EcclesiastesOneTen

He

He, boot-footed stomper on the wrinkle-skin grapes of life,
crusher of the war-wounded, the wanting, the wasted,
waster of the weak, waning moon falling upon the planets,
again and again.

He, stick-poker of the corpse, pryer of the cliff-finger, hangnail
bleeding upon the digits, blood-slick floor slipping the rescuer, ladder-
lurch and ladder-break, breaking like the body of Christ between
communion teeth.

He, unforgiving unkillable messenger who letter-bludgeons receiver,
paper cut from the Bible, ink-stain on skin that cannot be washed,
wet glue-tongue sealing hate-mail, mailman slot-stuffing payment
stamped: return to sender.

He, pain-reliever of the unrelenting pain, merciful brainer of the deck-fish,
aspirin of answer-askers, of the ankle-sprain lonesome, the rot-tooth agony,
agony-ender and puller of the end-plug that should have been pulled
long, long, ago.

He, right-handed inevitable, He, seven-armed fury, He, world-destroyer,
flesh-feaster, scent-follower, fox-hound, heron-beak, clock-breaker,
brick-maker, swamp-muck, tree-shade, shadow of the shadow. He,
Robin plucking worms from thawing grave-soil each morning before dawn.



Constant L. Williams

Constant L. Williams is a student, poet, artist and proto-human from Los Angeles, California. His poems have appeared in a variety of magazines such as FishFood, Ikleftiko, and Paris/Atlantic. He has traveled and lived all around the world, involving himself in literary communities from Paris Lit Up and Spoken Word Paris (Paris, France), to Da Poetry Lounge (Los Angeles, USA). He currently attends the University of Southern California and continues to work on his first full length collection. For more information visit constant-constant-williams.squarespace.com



Untitled by Heaven Fay Hagans


sunset over water by Inna Mosina

Untitled

The end of the earth is this
big open field where something is shedding light
and the light says “honey,”
the light plays the part of spilled milk
and we, on hands and knees, lap it up.

The light says “gently but hungrily.”

Quietly, our feet to the pool
where the moths go to die.
They were trying to say something
to the water…

Something like,
“I am yearned for by the moon
but here, with you—”
Something like,
“Flood me until I burst.”

The end of the earth is this
bed of soft thorns which we spend the entire afterlife
picking from one another’s backs.
It is this crumbling sound somewhere far off,
the smell of glaciers resting their heads on midsummer.

That I have known you since the light became.
We have been here before, with the tree in the center
and the dog running across.
That our chests save cabins inside for this day in every life.

That this jutting lip
of big jellyfish mouth
knows nothing of soil or of splinter—
takes us alive and together,
teaches us how to say “I love you” all electricity and vulnerable stomach.




Heaven Fay Hagans

Heaven Fay Hagans is an eighteen-year-old poet who is still growing into her writer’s skin. Her work can be found on her personal blog, heavenfay.tumblr.com.



Sex Education by Caroline Walton


At Marietta’s by Natalie Voelker

Sex Education

My father laughs when he tells the story
he says defines my and my sister’s personalities.
I’m six, she’s eight. There are two dogs
in our front yard. Aww look, they’re in love, I say.
My sister corrects me, No they’re not,
they’re just having sex.
It hadn’t occurred to me there was a difference.

My mother fumbles as she tries
to talk to me about sex. I have questions –
about masturbation, pregnancy, the blood
in my underwear. She sighs and says, finally,
Honestly, it’s not that great.

In school, we are separated by gender
to learn about sex. Shy, we look
at pictures of the reproductive organs.
This is a penis. This is a vagina. The penis
goes here. This is sex.
When rumors of two girls
getting too close follow them down the halls
while they walk each other to class, when they are found
kissing in the locker room,
their basketball coaches smirk
and say girls sometimes experiment.

We have borrowed each other’s bodies
for years. He calls, I stumble
out of the bar and into his bed.
The first time I said no, he coaxed
my virgin body open, a closed bud
he pushed to bloom between
his fingers. I cannot do this sober
without crying. He cannot comfort or make me
come. Once, I woke up in his arms
and my own urine. Once, he told me
he loved me – another accident
spilled across his bed.

I dream of kissing her long before
we ever do. In my dream we were taking turns,
push each other against a wall, pressing
hard. We match.
The reality is a rainy day, she walks me
to my car before asking if she could. My yes.
My please do.
Hard. Urgent. We smell of campfire and cold.
Her mouth is the summer
I’ve been waiting for my whole gray life.



Caroline Walton

Caroline Walton teaches high school English in Central Arkansas where she tries to convince teenagers that poetry is actually cool. She represented Arkansas at the 2013 Individual World Poetry Slam and placed second at the 2013 Arkansas Arts Center Ekphrastic Poetry Slam. Her work can be found in Germ Magazine and Words Dance.



Love Letters Written in Textbooks by Mercedes Santiago


Adam and Eve by Natalie Voelker

Love Letters Written in Textbooks

My mother believed that come 2012, we would
           transcend our physical forms and exist in the ether,
                as the great consciousness.
My father believes that there are cosmic records
           of all that we are and could possibly be.  

Some child, raised by kooks, raised in the haze
of high and not quite so mighty, keeps
all the stories she hears stored
away in her library of skepticism.
Labeled: ways to make sense of this world,
which does not make sense.

I want to whisper to you
how four billion years ago one (pre) alphaproteobacterium
           made a mistake and was eaten;
how four billion years ago one (pre) cyanobacterium
                made a mistake and stopped eating;
how somewhere around two decades ago,
                           the great human mess made you
(thankyou thankyou to all the atoms in all the universe).

I believe in omens and patterns,
things that take shape over years.

Galaxies colliding. You and I,
           like two stars who can’t quit. Orbits. The way
                      particles want each other.
Names again, again: falling in love
           with the same person. Always wearing a different face.

My best friend has the face of another girl
who (ten years ago) moved across the country,
who pressed her raw hand against mine and said
this is a promise.

I believe in keeping. Slipping past,
transient. I will likely die with a thousand untold secrets
on my tongue. I will speak puzzles and prophecies
before I break free of this vein,
this track I am passing through again.

Again: ways to make sense of ourselves, and how
we do not make sense.
And how we become our parents,
but with a different jargon. This one is biology.

This is not the first time you and I will meet.
           There are so many times we have met, and
                      we are never the same.

Scientists make strange romantics–the fact of you
keeps me wondering if the facts of us are really so sane.



Mercedes Santiago

Mercedes Santiago is a 22-year-old biology student, writer, and flower enthusiast from Kansas, who spends most of her time pipetting chemicals and plant DNA into test tubes while listening to RadioLab. She digs connecting with others in a funky-intense-brain mesh kind of way and her life is mostly losing things and other small accidents, but she figures life is about stumbling into experiences anyway. She has an unshakeable certainty that things will be fine, and they usually are. Find more of her work at illbepeter.tumblr.com