Category Archives: Poetry

Swallow the Moon by Jennifer E. Hudgens


A Heavy Halo To Wear by Caryn Drexl
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Swallow the Moon

I never asked Mama to hand me the moon
or swallow the moon, she was busy
swallowing gallons of salt,
gallons of seawater she felt responsible
to carry, to carry the heaviness of it,
bent backwards to measure,
Mama just wanted to be a woman, not
so much grit and leave me to the moon, her
children learned abandonment, she forgot
joy, forgot dreams of flying, fly me
to the moon.

We always return to the moon,
she weighs heavy, gravity pulled at
her knees, ankles swell with a sad
stream of violence that terrorized
her every night as a child, I never
asked Mama to grapple with
stars in her pocket, or forgive gods
non-existent in the sky, the sky
ruled her cursed, thrill of flying forgot
her name-
they became strangers with no sense of
duty.

Mama swallowed matchsticks so her
children would recognize their own
fire, taste flame and sacrifice.

She knows she bore me wild,
she bore me broken hearted,
kissed my forehead with so much
sadness-
drowning became genetic,
swallowing the sea became
what saved me, salt still heavy
in bone, admiring our bellies,
full with the moon.
 


Jennifer E. Hudgens

Jennifer E. Hudgens enjoys dressing like a pirate, pretending to be a dinosaur and laughing until it hurts. She falls in love with the oddest of things. She hopes you like her poems and hates talking about herself in third person.: charliewortham.tumblr.com

The Night She Died by Holly Salvatore


Fundamental Elements by Caryn Drexl
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The Night She Died

Old books
yellowing in the lamplight
pages rustling
then resting
quietly

And I went upstairs
to bed
 


Holly Salvatore

Holly Salvatore is a werewolf. She has finally worked up the nerve to submit her writing to publishers, reviews, and online journals, with hopes that they will be kind to her. Holly is a fan of westerns and jogging with her dog. Keep an eye on the horizon as she journeys out into the literary world. Follow her adventures on twitter @HollySalvatorem.

Groundless by Gregory Luce


Clouded by Caryn Drexl
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Groundless

5:47 and already
one of those mornings when
I wake after four hours sleep
snatched from eight hours in bed,
light trickles weakly gray
through the blinds,
the pillowcase is soaked
and my legs are tangled
inextricably in the bedclothes,
and the cat has jumped on
and off the bed three times already.
I’m barely clinging to one
of the 5000 fingers of Lokeshvara
and must remember if my hands slip
I will free fall through space
but happily there is no ground
to hit.
 


Gregory Luce

Gregory Luce, author of Signs of Small Grace (Pudding House Publications), Drinking Weather (Finishing Line Press), and Memory and Desire (Sweatshoppe Publications), has published widely in print and online. He is the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the Arts and Humanities Council in Washington, D.C., where he lives and works for the National Geographic Society.: enchiladasblog.blogspot.com

Blood and Bone by Meggie Royer


I Can Feel It In My Bones 2 by Caryn Drexl
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Blood and Bone

Strange how elbows could turn someone on.
Yours like milk already folding over into wrinkles, beautiful,
how they support you and all those humble bones,
a museum skeleton stitched together into a person I could love,
spilt crumbs, impatient sighs, and all.
You fit inside me like a pulse that first night together,
so nervous the nape of your neck vibrated like a hummingbird,
jeans and blouse coming to rest on the floor
like meat freeing itself from the bone.
Now, I hold onto you like twine in a game of telephone,
waiting to feel the tug on the other end of the string
to signal you’re still with me, never left.
Freud spoke of the collective unconscious, the mind unaware of itself;
you hid there in mine years before we met
the same way small joints of the jawbone eventually migrated
into the ear region in ancient mammals.
To think, you and your elbows were always part of me
before evolution came along and fused us together.

 


Meggie Royer

I am a writer and photographer from the Midwest who mainly writes about survival, healing, and love. My work has been published in Words Dance Magazine, Winter Tangerine Review, Hooligan Magazine, and more. In March 2013, my writing portfolio won a National Silver Medal in the 2013 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and my poetry collection won a National Gold Medal. : writingsforwinter.tumblr.com

Poetry by Andrew Collard

MISTAKING HOME

I can’t go back to last night anymore

I watched her
holding up her severed lip
as if to speak

at any moment blind
between the pillars of whatever
we mistake for home

I always used to live
somewhere else

The first time that I saw her naked
a farce of lingerie

I was shaken loose
removed in body

whistling songs
old enough to be my dad

her face like a fucking mother’s

Why can’t
those times be delivered

knowing now the steeping
won’t complete

Our fingers trace
pell-mell wrinkles toward
new living rooms

newer
living rooms

without lips
carrying a milkshake never drinking

holding hands anonymously
at the movies
 


Andrew Collard

Andrew Collard lives in Madison Heights, MI with wife/cats/Outrageous Cherry albums. He attends Oakland University and kind of wishes he had a pet lobster. Recent work can be found over on Exfic.

A Little Prayer by Aurelia Lorca

Ask I still love you,
and I will write you a poem.
Because sometimes it is not just the moon, you know,
or even the quotidian of good morning,
how was your day, no, it’s ok,
I will clean the dishes.

Ask if I still love you,
and I will answer
with the shock of a fevered scribble
that is stolen from the airy nothing
of a lunatic, lover, and poet.

Ask if I still love you
and I will answer
with how I want to be the mouthpiece of wildness,
and spin forever, forever, forever
from my fingers.

Ask if I still love you,
and I will tell you how
I want to live with you in a windmill of the imagined,
     ultimate good,
where we forget one another and anyone else,
and create from the divinity of faithful fantasy.
 


Aurelia Lorca

Some say Aurelia Lorca needs to be bitch slapped by the present. However, the past is never dead and Dali and Buñuel need to be bitch slapped even more than she does for characterizing Federico as a priest dragging a piano and a dead horse: There is nothing more surreal than being Andalusian, other than being from an Andalusian family in Monterey, California.

Books in a Digital World



Along with our paperbacks, all of the books in our book shop have digital editions! You can read them on your desktop computer, laptop or on most any mobile device, including Kindle!

I get the sentimentality that surrounds small press books & books in general, believe me– I used to painstakingly handcraft the zine + all of Words Dance’s books & I loved everything about doing it. Since going digital though, it’s opened up so many different doors in my artistry plus it’s given me the gift of more time & for that, I am beyond grateful.

Though I love building upon my tangible book collection (except when I find myself in the midst of moving!) I’ve become quite fond of my Kindle & the space it frees up! While I love holding books, the smell of books, touching & dog-earring the pages of books, I also love the instant gratification that the digital world allows & let’s not forget the trees that it saves! Here’s a peek at some of our current & planned titles in all their virtual glory:


We are currently taking submissions for Literary Sexts Volume 2, check out Volume 1 here!


Love and Other Small Wars by Donna-Marie Riley


Split Book #1 : I Eat Crow + Blue Collar at Best by Amanda Oaks + Zach Fishel


Shaking the Trees by Azra Tabassum


Coming Soon : Belly of the Beast by Ashe Vernon


What To Do After She Says No by Kris Ryan


SparkleFat by Melissa May


What We Buried by Caitlyn Siehl


It doesn’t matter how you choose to feed your head & heart, by way of paper or screen, all that matters is that you do!

Be Moving & Be Moved,
Amanda


Poetry by SaraEve Fermin

WHAT YOU CALL ONE THING I CALL ANOTHER
After Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz



In my defense, a poet once told me ‘poets make the best liars.’ In my defense, I slept with a painting of jesters above my childhood bed. In my defense, the painted lady and the razor in hand.



No, he never pried me open, never saw the blade fall from my fingertips. That was my truth. Still, I saved the best of myself for him—when the anxiety of lying with a woman who loved him began to soak through his clothing, I reassured him in kinder tones than I have ever used on myself. I was not a sin, I was a celebratory feast and he was no gentleman. He was a hungry fool with the meat of his last kill still hanging from his teeth. ‘Wipe your fucking mouth.’ I said. The mistake was letting him think I was prey. The mistake was letting him think he chose me.



In my defense, my favorite rides are the ones that spin you around the fastest. In my defense, I love when the floor drops out. In my defense, second place is first runner up.

Distance does not make us stronger, does not make us safer. It breaks down lies so that 
they are digestible by the time they reach the other party. I have loved harder apparitions that 
I have never met the ghosts of people’s quickly whispering fingers. I am a collection of late
 night confession and open door dreams, find myself attracted to old souls and wandering stars. 
When you allow the dreams of married men to unfold into your miles away life, when you start 
to drink just so you can turn your computer on, when the insomnia creeps in, know you have 
simply become a placeholder. It’s time to turn celebration. String memory from neuron to neuron like crepe paper and become welcome party to the grief.



In my defense, I’ve never met a carnival I could just walk away from. In my defense, I’ll always read your letters. In my defense, I tattooed my wrist to keep it safe.

 


SaraEve Fermin

Born and raised in New Jersey, SaraEve is a performance poet and epilepsy advocate from Union City. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Wicked Banshee Press (2014) and has competed in the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She now features and competes locally, regionally and nationally and is a regular volunteer at National Poetry Slam events. A member of the Poetry Slam Inc. Advocacy Group, SaraEve has facilitated workshops on Performance Poetry and Invisible Illness on both a local and national level. Her work can be found in Ghost House Review, Red Paint Hill Quarterly, Free Verse, Transcendence and Swimming With Elephants ‘Light As A Feather’ Anthology. A Stephen King nerd, she is currently involved in a 100 submissions challenge. Learn more here!

3 Poems by Brianna Albers


THIS WEEK’S HOROSCOPE

You’re going to fall in love this week.
There’s a good chance he’ll hurt you,
but then again,
there’s a good chance you’ll hurt him,
so pain is neither here nor there.
Point is,
the universe is doing a new thing,
and you’ve got front-­row seats
to the grand cosmic opening.
Pull up a lawn chair,
bring your own beverage.
someone’s about to get whipped.
Cue laugh track, cue fireworks—
either love is your religion,
or you’re afraid of getting burnt.
We’d suggest sunscreen,
but we can’t really predict the future.
We’re just doing this
for fun.


STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
after teamcaptains@tumblr.com

No cosmic horror.
No We have to stop loving like we’re hungry.
Only wolves, here.
Only howling
at the corner of Saint and Sinner,
at the corner of Melancholy
and Hope.

Here, all plants watered.
Here, all fish fed.
Here, admission granted
to those with softness on their sleeves.
Here, no height discrepancies,
only men like gods,
only men like gods reaching.
only men like gods undulating.
Here, there is only potential.
Here, there is only light.


AND AMEN, AMEN, AMEN
after Shinji Moon

I. Backyard boy comes to me in the middle of the night,
his teeth like spotlights, stop signs, moonshine.
I pause at his entrance, wait for the universe
to bow at our feet. It is all an exercise in
refusal. I am escorted off the premises,
and not because the security guard’s been
at the wine again, but because the doors
are locked from the inside and, once upon a time,
backyard boy swallowed
the master key.

Our orbits shift south, a rearrangement of a
deranged arrangement. I’m thinking there is truth
in this, in how I opened my eyes
and out came water; how I opened
my mouth and out came
a flood.

II. My heart’s a holy war, or so
the universe tells me. I am trying to turn
backyard boy into a percussion of prayer—

and amen, amen,
amen.

At night,
I press my palms to holy ground.
After some persuasion, the universe
spreads her legs for us, peels back the night.
The universe watches us explode
in mouthfuls of light.


Brianna Albers

I’m a poet, writer, and storyteller, located in the Minneapolis suburbs. I am currently compiling a collection of my poetry, and my début chapbook is forthcoming in 2014. When not writing, I pretend I’m good at video games and try to sing along to Julie Andrews. I believe in magic, red lipstick, and you. : briannahopealbers.com

2 Poems by William James

RECLAMATION

Call me backwoods. Call me small town,
seven-churches-and-no-museums, call me
trailer park. Call me summertime, back yard
don’t-come-home-till-the-streetlights-turn-on,
call me kickball in the empty lot. Call me
tire swing. Tree fort. Call me boot stomp,
creek mud, call me playing hockey
in the street with asphalt and a broomstick.
Call me brown-bag lunch, mayonnaise & bologna
sandwiches on white bread. Call me
too poor for picnic lunch on field trip days,
call me I brought my own from home, call me
leftovers. Food stamps. Church donations
& government cheese. Call me white trash.
Call me No TV, call me Sweaty Palms,
call me eww don’t stand next to him
his hands are gross.
Call me repulsive.
Call me church on Sunday. Church on Wednesday,
church every night one week in summer,
call me altar calls instead of fireflies. Call me
camp meeting. Revival service. Call me
separate shower after gym class, call me
note from parents, call me religious freak.
Outcast. Call me hey fat boy, hey Jesus freak,
why ya always readin’ a book?
Call me
everyone hates you, you know, call me
Hey man, what’d you get on question six?
Call me not letting you cheat off me in class.
Call me teacher’s pet. Suck up. Kiss-ass. Call me
Fuck you, call me honor roll. Principal’s list. Call me
example of academic excellence, call me unwelcome.
Call me you don’t even belong here, freak. Call me
restless. Wanderlust. Call me getting the hell out,
call me escape. City life. Streetlights, lock your doors,
call me restart. Call me not dying in your
hometown, call me 600 miles away from high school.
Call me success story. Call me happiness is
a new life in a new world.
Call me living free
instead of dying. Call me homesick. Call me
home.


CURMUDGEON

I don’t even know what bands are cool anymore
& the ones I do know, I can’t stand. I want everything

to be 1996 again. I remember what sounds make me
feel safe. I don’t want the latest hype – give me

yesterday or give me death. My waistline hasn’t
expanded since 9th grade, but all my t-shirts

have gotten smaller. I should start working out
or at least replace one or more meals a day

with coffee & existential dread, but I fail to see
the point. All my favorite songs are about things

that used to be, or old factories, or how
there aren’t as many railroads as there used to be,

I belong in a museum. Or a hardware store
full of things I can’t identify & certainly don’t know

how to use. I’ve never believed in the Apocrypha
no matter how many of my professors swore

that it was truth. A girl once told me she thought
my poems are too loud, right before I kissed her.

I don’t want to stop screaming until my lungs are
full of blood.


William James

William James writes poems and listens to punk rock – not always in that order. He’s an editor at Drunk In A Midnight Choir and a two-time Pushcart nominee whose poems have appeared in Word Riot, The Bohemyth, RADAR Poetry, and Potluck Magazine, among others. His first full length collection “Rebel Hearts & Restless Ghosts” is forthcoming from Timber Mouse Publishing.