Category Archives: Poetry

Fum(I)gation in Four Parts by Brad Baumgartner


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Fum(I)gation in Four Parts

i. an intention
the self-knowledge required
waxes and wanes
between an old wise man’s laments
and a young buck
rubbing its antlers
against a tree

ii. break-fasting

bees are the servants of time
their honey—taste’s rhyme.
so glorious, I want to kiss
the face of God tonight.

immanent—
the looms of soaking honey,
the sanguine honor
of consumption.

if there are two breaths capable

to sustain this life
in the esoteric hive of might,
those breaths are the true
breaths of life.

iii. cow-er[r]ing

their attachment to the herd mind
is the clown-cum-Ahriman,
a degenerate and soulless play—but,
in the hive mind
of God’s behest,
you’ll find a divine storehouse,
wake to a sovereign day.

iv. facticity

I now hover, but linger no longer.
doubled, a person-a,
the conduit and the metaphor,
the inverted lapel of a disembodied body(suit)—
the de-personalization of a pineal thought
vis-à-vis the en(I)gma of Love,
the non-experience of an
hermetic allusion to myself.




Brad Baumgartner

Brad Baumgartner is a writer, theorist, and Assistant Teaching Professor of English at Penn State. His creative work has recently appeared in Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Vestiges, Minor Literature[s], Black and Grey Magazine, and others. He is working on a scholarly monograph entitled ‘Weird Mysticism’, as well as several creative projects, including a hybrid work entitled ‘Stylinaut’, a Zen novella called ‘You Might Be Mistaken’, and a book of poetry, ‘Ailis of Fintona’.



bougie as fuck by Timmy Chong


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bougie as fuck

I.

by august we hadn’t set
an alarm since spring and
nothing could be warmer
than us in all our privilege.

the somedays to live for, you
and I wearing down thin soles.
the somedays to die for, taking
in stride each excuse to sin more

clearing every dark
rooftop and sinkhole.

II.

in our wandering we found that
the primrosed promised land
wasn’t fiction, by friction
of sin on skin on skin on

earth as it must
be in heaven.

and you had still stayed though i
smoked cigs so i threaded needle
through these bars, stitched
up your scars until harmless.

III.

you, broken in, soft-spoken
and i, smitten so brazen, us
brave as fuck and glowing
like the six o’ clock sun

laughing until numb as
the cold kitchen floor.
breathing in traces
of kimchi and rum

left our shoes and our
shame at the door.




Timmy Chong

Timmy Chong is an east coast millennial with an addictive personality. He’s a senior and the only frat boy studying journalism and poetry at the University of Maryland. His work has been published by Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Rising Phoenix Press, Atticus Review, New Pop Lit, and Stylus, and he’s looking to publish his first chapbook Suburban Filth in 2018. You can find his writing at theadventuresoftim-tim.tumblr.com



Lessons in Leaving by Cody Vesley


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Lessons in Leaving

ONE

Your Grandmother was a magician.
She could breathe underwater,
she could fly,
and she could even change colors.

She taught you all of her tricks,
but the magic was never lost.

The last thing she taught you;
death is the greatest vanishing act.

Death creates a vacuum
where everything you love disappears.
Her absence was a top hat you hid emotions in,
because they made the tricks too painful to perform.

TWO

You were raised by ghosts.
Your parents perished to depression, drugs, alcohol, and abuse.
Their demons left nothing behind, but sunken skeletons
hollow like empty bottles.

You watched your mother drink herself into the ocean.
The more the world took,
the more room there was for liquid forgetting.
She became a sinking ship.

For the longest time,
you thought you belonged at the bottom of the sea.
The absence of love held you there like an anchor.
You swallowed numbness
trying to drown all the anger, pain, and self-loathing,
watching yourself drift away like air bubbles.

THREE

You fell in love with fireworks.
The way the sparks flew into the air
and lit up the night sky
made you feel like beautiful things
could appear out of the darkness.

The explosions made being destroyed look so colorful
and the smell of burning cardboard
reminded you of home.

You didn’t realize how fleeting the lights were,
or how playing with them could get you burned,
or how explosions would leave people in pieces,
or how cardboard boxes aren’t good places to live
and can catch fire so easily,

or how after all the fireworks are gone,
the silence of the night sounds like mourning bells
ringing in your ears as dark spots dance in your vision.

The quiet always sounds loudest once the party is over.

FOUR

Hearts are like open doors.
People you love will come and go
like the swinging of a pendulum,
or a carrot at the end of a stick,
always running after something you can’t have.
People will walk into your house to make a sandwich,
but when there’s no more food,
it’s time to go back to their own home.
Always lock the door behind them.

FIVE

Leaving is never hasty.
It is meticulous like the folding and unfolding of a paper crane.
You do it so many times that the creases become bones,
and when you try and straighten yourself out,
you always curl back into that bird that is so good at flying away.

People will try and put paperweights on you,
because you’ve become a flight risk,
but you are also steel, and fire, and storm clouds that cannot be pinned down.
No hurricane has ever had your name,
because no one will ever want to remember you.

SIX

Run.

Run faster than your doubts.
Run faster than your heartbeat.
Run faster than you can breathe.
Run faster than your memories.
Run until you forget why you’re running,
and then remember you had a reason.

Do not let regret weigh you down.
Do not slow down so they can say sorry.
Do not look back unless you’re looking at the sunrise.

There will always be a new day,
and endings birth beginnings.

SEVEN

You either leave first,
or you get left behind.

If you love something do not set it free,
because it will walk away eventually.

Appreciate what you have,
but never love something more than yourself.
It’s okay to walk away.

EIGHT

Burn all the bridges on your way out of town,
because the lesson in leaving is knowing you should never return.




Cody Vesley

Cody Vesley is a queer written and spoken word poet from Texas. His work centers around same-sex relationships, trauma, and mental health. He has written one collection of poetry, Usually About a Boy, and is working on his second. He recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and works in HR. Some of his favorite things include dogs, Tex-Mex, ranch, coffee, beaches, indie/alternative music, pokemon, and young adult fiction. More of his work can be found at usuallyaboutaboy.tumblr.com



Nostalgic Hate by Sergio A. Ortiz


art by Michele Maule | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter


Nostalgic Hate

My ears listen to you lovingly
until the very end of love.

At the finish my hatreds harken,
my mind figures it is a weapon

made of paper and tattoo ink.
I’d journey to East Asia and do us

love-making in origami.
Listen to the paper fold finely.

Imagine my ears there,
where hate is nostalgic

finalization of affection,
where the only thing that’s heard

is me disassembling, each time,
every time, at the end of tenderness.




Sergio A. Ortiz

Sergio A. Ortiz is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a six-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016/17 Best of the Net nominee. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Loch Raven Review, Drunk Monkeys, Algebra Of Owls, Free State Review, and The Paragon Journal. His Chapbook “An Animal Resembling Desire” will be published by Finishing Line Press.



PopMaster Fabel Saves The Jam by Karl Iglesias


art by Michele Maule | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter


PopMaster Fabel Saves The Jam

The whole block was present reppin’ their crew. A tribal council of brown folk. Speakers beatin. We rallied like warriors around electric drums. Little kids tryin to hang. Askin questions. Quick feet, sparks in their eyes. Harlem was on fire and we had the gas. It was goin down.

Until the police came
                                                talkin bout,
                                                                                     “Go home. Too loud. We’ll lock you up.”

Then, all of a sudden, out of the fog came Fable and it was like the whole world froze. Mad whispers took over like faint scratches from the DJ. But there was no more music.

His hair was full under a cap turned crown. Red tee. Puerto Rico on his skin. Planted in ADIDAS flowers. He stood there still. Loud and silent like a bombed wall. We all waited. An explosion ticks away. Behind him was Harlem. Spanish and burnin to feel freedom. Fable was no different.

The cop looked at him like he was crazy.

With no music, Fable popped into his electric boogie. We all watched with quiet smirks glidin over our faces. A bashful laugh. A lost officer. Then the kids caught his pulse and started copyin him. The whole jam is dancin in silence to a beat we felt and owned. See the Po’ didn’t know we was locked up already. Now we were exercising our right to remain silent.

Speechless,          he got in his squad car
                                                                                                                              and faded away.




Karl Iglesias

Karl Iglesias is a Poet Mentor at Urban Word NYC originally from Milwaukee, WI but currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. He recently performed in and facilitated The BARS Workshop at The Public Theater in New York, where writers/performers develop new verse for the stage. His poetry has been featured at festivals such as Summerfest, Freakfest, Brave New Voices, Collegiate Union Poetry Slam Invitational, Hip Hop Theater Festival of NYC (currently Hi-Arts NYC) and the Contacting the World Theatre Festival in Manchester, England. His work can be read on Apogee as well. Hip Hop. @OYE414



The Unfolding by Jessica Mehta


art by Michele Maule | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter


The Unfolding

I don’t know what’s coming next,
but god, I can’t wait to live it. I told you
years ago,
that I just knew—it wasn’t foolish hope
or drunken wishes, but a fact. You and I
are a given, just as my eyes
are green and your hands too big.
What took you so long? The ride’s
been idling, chortling exhaust for years
in the waiting for you. And now,
the tickets are punched,
the baggage stowed (it was overweight
and we paid for that, of course). Now we,
clasping hands over Asks or tells, bolt
whip fast stupid to the unfolding.




Jessica Mehta

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a Cherokee poet and novelist. She’s the author of six collections of poetry including the forthcoming Savagery , the forthcoming Constellations of My Body, Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo as well as the novel The Wrong Kind of Indian. She’s been awarded numerous poet-in-residencies posts, including positions at Hosking Houses Trust and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, Paris Lit Up in France, and the Acequia Madre House in Santa Fe, NM. Jessica is the recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund in Poetry. She is the owner of a multi-award winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karma yoga movement. Visit Jessica’s author site at jessicamehta.com.



Chai by Kait Forest


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Chai

I bite
an urge and
my tongue stops
a name
–on a hot day
in June he slides
up my dress and I smash his
hand on my thigh. I think
about my words before I speak.
if not I will say
what I habituate
like warmth and
skin and names.
don’t you like it? he asks.
I like chai. I ask
the barista what she likes most
and she says, I don’t know,
have you had matcha?
it’s earthy. I imagine eating
dirt. not bad, she says, and sometimes
it’s sweet. I order chai. everyday
I order chai. at home we open
the windows and let the wind blow
the heat over our bodies
like a slow fan, but there is no fan,
I tell him to buy one and
he says maybe. maybe instead
we could read at a coffee shop
across from each other in the
cold. and I could rub my hands on your
legs and you could kiss me.
while there
the table separates us and
he can only touch me
by reaching. his hands tire and he
reads and I drink chai,
move a name around my mouth
but don’t let it leave. in any life
I am a liar. the lie is
always
a name and
after long
smokes the body
of reason.




Kait Forest

Kait is an obscure riverside city dweller with a useless fiction degree. Sometimes she writes but most times she sleeps. Fond of corner tables in coffee shops near windows and foreign dramas and tossed paperbacks. She has been featured in Persephone’s Daughters, and currently resides on their editing and film devision teams. : kaitwrimo.tumblr.com



Scars by James Roach


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Scars

I never used to walk around shirtless.
Not until surgery gave me a flat chest
and two six inch scars
reaching across like two smiles.
And even then,
my shyness kept my shirt on
as a piece of armor
from possible curious eyes.
It’s been 9 years
and I still feel awkward
having my torso bare
in front of my family.
Like I’m somehow inconveniencing
their notions of what my body should look like.
My body is still unfamiliar to them
and sometimes even to me.
I have no problem
being shirtless around friends
or strangers at the beach.
My scars are two stories
I don’t mind telling
without having to speak.
I’m proud of their
messy and uneven lines.
I’m proud of the body
I took apart to create.



James Roach

James Roach has been writing for years but only in the past few has he realized he might be amazing with words. He’s originally from the midwest and has been living in the Pacific Northwest for 13 years. James is inspired by the weather, heartbreak, beauty, ugliness, and more than this text box can fit. : impatienthands.wordpress.com



another roadkill poem by s. osborn


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another​ ​roadkill​ ​poem

the first time we drive past the
dead dog, we both cry.

you talk about your father
and the backyard deer. the gun
and your fist. the guilt, swallowing
you whole and never stopping
to lick its lips.

i tell you i know what that
much blood feels like on my hands,
that sometimes we deserve forgiveness
when the knife is forced into our hands.

see, we weren’t always an un-soft thing.
it’s just that your body never unlearned the
violence of that winter and mine was
never taught when to stop fighting.

it’s just that the warning lights came
and all i got was another poem
about the antithesis of survival,
about how easy it is to flavor
a good thing rotten.

the dog on the side of
the road, my heart in the palm
of your hand. two dead things, forever
resting with the thing that killed them.
and every day, remembering. every
day, the quiet. every day, handing
you the same knife and
kissing its cold edges.

lips, still bleeding, even so long after.



s. osborn

s. osborn is seventeen and just trying to stop the bleeding. she stands firmly against capitalism, capital letters, and most things that don’t involve chai tea. a north carolina native, she loves mountains, good books, and reading her best friends’ poetry. in another lifetime she was probably a woodland sprite, but in this one she’ll settle with just putting words together.



Myrtle Beach, Spring 2011 by Jay Douglas


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Myrtle Beach, Spring 2011

Sometimes I go back
to the sea
and imagine you there
with me instead of her

stern, solemn frown watching me
watch the dragons
chase each other from cloudy sky
to rolling surf

the vast expanse of black
blending the horizon with the blank of space
cold sand hard against our toes
footprints licked clean by the rising tide
Suppose we are all infinite

Suppose in this imagined memory the wind blew
fishtailing your red-brown hair
around your face and whipping it
into your eyes

Suppose we found a peace and understanding
Suppose the sand castles built themselves
half kicked-over, walls caved-in

Suppose there were falling stars
pretty as a postcard
instead of homeless, barefoot beggars
and it all came easily
effortlessly

these are the sorts of wishes I make
on birthday candles
things like: to know the name of the Sea

and by that I don’t mean the word “Sea”
or the names the ancients gave
to various expanses of water
but the name the Sea calls itself
when it lays down to sleep
We all have secret names

When our layers of identity are stripped away
the names are what we have left
Suppose you knew mine
and I yours
The names no tongue can form to speak
that the Sea whispers
to the Wind
and the Wind to the clouds
so that they might divine our fortunes
for those who know how to read them
as the dragons race on
under a bright spring moon
sprinting from shore to sky to shore
again
cresting foam on the horizon




Jay Douglas

Jay Douglas is a recent graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Jay has a dual degree in Religious Studies and English, an affinity for odd music and found sounds, and an intimidating yo-yo collection. Jay’s work has previously been published in Words Dance, Rising Phoenix Review, and Red Flag Poetry.