Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Photo Finish

Nerves terminally frayed
like fiber-optic threads
broken off at the ends,
jangling spurs
working their way
up and down
your spine.

A little prick
here or there (especially
there) to let you know
you're awake
still crunchingly conscious
of the soothing background

creaking across the street.
Scrape of a pair
of worn-down dress shoes.
A whining that seems
to be coming
from somewhere much too
close by.

You take another
of frazzled filaments,
stroke them
across your virtual whetstone,
admire the way
they glitter
under the neon lights.

--Jeffrey Park

Monday, December 17, 2012

Two by Anita McQueen


Something's wrong

you're doing
what you said you'd never do
teasing men
for a date and dinner

at the restaurant table
inspiring him
to take a peep
at your cleavage

then as he glances away
you hide a chunk of steak
and bread in your purse

saving it
for home and your hungry father.


I was a flower
showing my inner colors

not worrying what others think
sun caressing my petals

no man moaning blasphemies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

When Scars Speak

I live on a midriff.
I'm a souvenir of a birth
twenty five years ago.
I zigzag down a cheek.
I'm the evidence
of a knife-fight,
just last year.
Once I could burst
into flame with just a touch
but I'm calm now.
The embers are faces.
The ashes are spread
throughout this world 
I'm a story teller.
I say to you tough guy,
I can eat pain.
I'm supposed to grow
more invisible with the years,
though maybe that's indivisible.
I just say that
as long as I live
I will be the unsmoothable join
of anger and terror.
And I've got brothers and sisters
up and down two arms,
I've got a second cousin
crisscrossing a heart.
Better than that,
I've got a body hanging off me
that was a billion or more scars
in the making.

--John Grey

Monday, December 10, 2012

Relief on the Eve of the End of the World

December twenty-twelve and if the Mayans got it right
I can stop fretting about my bi-polar suicide
attempts. I'm happy now, thinking of disaster (outside
myself!), the unequivocal joy
of swift and certain annihilation. Gone the agonizing
dilemmas of just how to do it (gun, blade, pills, gas…
rope, bridge, booze, risky sex or radio in the bath)…I'd
considered both razor and rat poison, an anchored dip
in the frigid black lake at midnight. Meteor,
earthquake, asteroid. Hail big as the moon (come soon!).
Take my mom, too….she owes me money, whoa,
this is getting good---so many problems solved
in the blink of an eye. DEAR WORLD, if you read this
(hopefully in some exotic poetry magazine) we have survived. I remain, no doubt, screwed-up as always
and fantasizing my own demise. Me, me, me,
on a globe of you. Forgive my narcissism, petty thieveries.
Come Valentine's I'll be jolly again, really manic,
Hell-bent on chocolates and red-velvet cake,
my mind a complicit marshmallow (taking my meds),
little zombie me swimming in all the hearts I can handle.

--Kallima Hamilton

Friday, December 7, 2012


Anxiety swirls within my bones and fills my fingertips with poison
And my feet with a beating, a bleating,
A wanting something to quell the pulse,
To still the beat that brings the restless sense
Of darts rushing towards me, through me, in me.
And I am sure one of those darts will pierce my heart.
I tap my foot and my voice shakes.

But to be manic is to be fully alive; to feel each pulse
Coursing through my veins and want to feed from it
Want to move, fly, smile, cry for joy.
Work and mere thought becomes the simplest of tasks.
You can do anything. You are a king, a president, the master of your
Universe and the stars line up to praise you when you are around.
You stop the dart with your eyes, catch it in mid-air, and send it back to where it came.
You make a bull’s-eye.

Then comes the crash. Depression takes the wind out of you
like an embalmer removing all of your fluid. You can’t move.
Your limbs are weighed down by the very air you breathe.
Everything hurts – even the sheets from the bed that you lie beneath.
It seems to be the end of everything – your life, your work, your happiness.
You focus on breathing and watch the walls. Time has come to a standstill.
You would break the damn dart in two if only you had the energy.
You cry because the dart reaches you and you don’t feel a thing.

--Janet Doggett

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Joint Custody

You were gone
when I got home
at midnight
from a double shift.
Now you’re back,
two years later.
I had no idea
where you went
so I packed up
and got a room.
Long ago,
I begged you
not to leave
but that was then.
You can keep
the house, the car.
I'll come by
some starry night
when the moon is bright
and you're asleep.
I promise not to
wake the dogs.
When you get up
you'll find
I used my key
to take the kids.

-- Donal Mahoney

Friday, November 30, 2012


such profound pronouncements on personal
disfigurement, I wonder if once
you were pretty, perhaps, prepubescent, a child
angry at adults who adored the doll
with all the bumps and scars on the inside.

did friendly hands, friendly eyes, friendly voices
chuck you beneath your chubby chin
look into innocent eyes and lovingly only
see a happy, beautiful  baby?

struggling to stifle the screams, the dreams,
labored breath clinging to damp, dying lungs,
I wonder, when you were young, with this limp,
these twisted bones, did loving voices coax you along
give you hope?

--Holly Day

Thursday, November 29, 2012

on (somewhat) consensual sex

although affluent and
before permitting entry
she was left quite
after he
broke in.

it was a sordid
of checkmate.

--Jocelyn Crawley

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Both our houses are damn fine places

You’re dark and pretty
and I’m too blonde.
You’re petite and
             probably a
   little shy.
              And I’m gaudy and
                               rough enough not to
You’re no-doubtedly elegant and
                                but I have sturdier wheels.
Even your man would probably
                                           drive us
He might kiss you more.
He might beat on me a little harder.
--Misty Rampart

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


ziggy knows
the lack be-hind
my starless eyes
the zombie addiction
& flinch
checkmates me
in bad super-
i am meat or
my own mother
would have said
returned me
to produce
saved her hop-
for a second
in a back

--Kyle Hemmings

Monday, November 5, 2012


i so badly want to stick my fingers up my vag
i mean it. i would trade anything in the world
my new suit, my freshly blown hair and this
whole set-up of murphy's law -
my nice house and this air of culture i have to
put up around other women with the same
coifed mane. i just want to dig around the old bush
and scratch the itch with my index if not for the bloody fact that
i just did my nails today. manicure. red as rubies
gleaming evilly at me under the light whilst
someone passes me a glass of red wine in which
i am dying to break the stem with, upon his pompous head.
i would go to jail right now just for that
just for the chance to feel up my blubbery lovely labia.

--Euginia Tan

Friday, November 2, 2012

Holy Interview Batman!

Want some dirty little secrets on what makes us tick? (And purr? And hiss?)

Check out our smashing six-question interview conducted by Jim Harrington!

Yours in love and darkness,

Ms. Taylor Adams and Ms. Jennifer Patterson

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Some Other Parents' Yes

The doctor says the o-word and it hangs like a guillotine in the air. Your father asks, If this was your child? The doctor says, Yes, of course. Without a doubt. Do I have your permission? Your mother, exhausted from delivering you, is crumpled on the bed, her open-backed gown still pushed up around her wet thighs. Your father looks at his wife, at her damp curls slicked back. She is too scared to cry. That's when your father says it. Yes. You imagine that tiny yes fluttering down from your father's lips like a falling maple seed. Sometimes it is a helpless yes, a grasping yes, a choking yes, a yes that wraps itself around his throat until it squeezes the last drop of air from his soft esophagus. Sometimes it is a mean yes, a cruel yes, a yes delivered in relief, a yes uttered simply so the decision will be behind him. And sometimes it is a no-yes, a yes that might have been conceived of as a no, a no that might have morphed into a yes, spontaneously, on his lips, like a butterfly breaking through its husk. And sometimes--sometimes--when the doubts pushing on your mind at forty-five thousand pounds per square foot are more than you can take, you wonder if, perhaps, the word that tumbled out of his mouth was a no after all, a tiny one, light as rice paper, and maybe a cross breeze from a door swinging shut sucked it away and it was some other parents' yes the doctor heard.

--Megan Pryor

Monday, October 15, 2012


Black tie-dye canaries stall the
hands of time cradling infants
still umbilicalled in the
hanging garden’s euphemism
Cataclysms and Catholism
may be the answer to a self-imposed
self-apocalyptic junk-alcoholic veering
down the tracks @ a 125 miles per hour
but I can’t see the moon trying to 
the sky for it is fucked as I am fucked
LA must be a logical place harboring
my body as an epileptic earthquake
the Richter scale reads: 10+10+10, and
I wished my superficial girlfriend would stop
reading me bedtime stories gauged with
animalstic fairy tales of skid row; I feel
barbaric and I want to conquer Germania
just to fuck with the demon dogs in her head
but she constricts and I have flash backs of
birth of contractions of gestation of copulation,
and I can see my mother poetically broken by what took
an eternity to create merely took seconds to destroy-
and the roses smell pretty, still

--Devlin De La Chapa

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Gothic Neanderthal

I listen
Will it ever end?
Her gentle, velvety voice
mimicking childish sobs
amidst animal grunts
Head under pillow
Camping in Africa
on a space ship in Galactica;
an unseen witness to murder
in an abandoned
graffiti-coloured crime district
I cradle my teddy bear,
close to my chest,
covered head to toe
in my feathery nest.
I stroke it

You’re not alone
I’m here. Shh, don’t cry

Fingers in ears
so hard
it hurts
to avert
my ache—her cries—his
screeching—the insufferable thunderous thump
through thin floor
I climb out of bed,
creep down the hall,
peer through the crack
of the kitchen door.
Grey netting hangs
from naked papery breasts,
dark purple tulle
fastened round her waist
black smudges
smeared ’cross her face.
patterned like lace
wet stringy hair
to her brow
her neck
wet cotton
toxic breath
menstruation blood
the onion soup we ate for lunch—
I dry-wretch
It stops—silence
Her arms hover in the air.
Twisted grace, fit for a coffin
Did it die?
Daddy strokes her like the cat
she nods—
whispers and purrs
Behind her come chants
Push, push! Push, push!
It begins again;
She screams—
note shrill against the beat
droning voices of back-up men
Gothic Neanderthal giving birth
Giving life
To song...
-- Jessica Bell

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sex With My Father

           Animal sounds exploded
from my parents’ room late at night.
From the bottom bunk, I could
hear my sister’s breathing, quiet
and steady as my own.
I covered my head with a pillow
and waited for it to be over, for the sounds
to stop. He’s going to crush her,
I thought. I waited to hear my mom’s voice
or her footstep, light, in the hallway.
She never came.
My father walked heavy
to the bathroom, running water, coughing.
No mom. She was still
alive in the morning, but tired. The circles
had purpled under her eyes.
           Today I can see her then,
eyes turned to the ceiling, searching
for some pattern, waiting for the light
to come. She is holding her breath,
being forced against the sheet,
mattress springs in her back.
Where was it before her?
Where is he taking her and when
will he get there?
Her face has turned
toward morning drifting through
the window. Maybe she is waiting for me
to save her, to meet her in the bathroom
to nurse her wounds.
I would lick her clean if I could I would
carry her in my mouth and deliver her
to my bed to hide. I would hold her
and kiss her and let her sleep in peace.
-- April Salzano

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


What if I were to
reach the height of life
Aged, alone, unmarried
rotting with the walls
eating their pet rats
in my New York New York apartment
awaiting a vicious horde
of angels to
sweep me off my feet
infect my lungs with cosmic dust
rather rationalizing reality
an indivisible banner
ravaged by Gale of Perspective
What if I were to be
Aged, alone, unmarried
-- Jeremiah Walton

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Twisted Velvet Chains

told me
I was ugly.
You told
I was cold.
You said
my surface beauty
meant compassionless.
called me
selfish bitch.
You called
trashy slut.
You stuck your fingers
in your cunt,
ran them through my tangled hair,
spat in my face --
I let you.
You liked to
slap me.
You needed to
choke me.
You encouraged me
to drive a knife
into my trusting arm.
But still I stroked your cheek
when you’d overdose,
because I loved you
like a child
who had no where else to turn.
But, Mother
can you please
release me
from your twisted grip?
I know
it’s not a prison cell,
but heavy grief grows mould.
I need to
clean these chains—
these strings of
velvet woe,
before these

stimulate one more
masticating echo.
-- Jessica Bell

Monday, October 1, 2012

His Last Supper

For 48 hours, strangers paraded up cold, 
concrete steps, investigating a lifetime 
of collectibles, fishing lures, marina sketches, chopped 
bits of animal pelts he had placed inside boxes 

like trophies. Dusty books about ancient aliens, 
Yukon prostitutes, and PCs for Dummies 
bordered the edges of each room, showing off 
those subjects that had consumed his mind 

in private. The procession continued after the burial,
each visitor anxious to get their hands on a piece 
of his life’s work, odd figurines, food choppers, Hummels 
with missing body parts, and miscellaneous books 

on how to be a millionaire in secret. 
A blue-haired lady wearing a tight 
bun gaped in disgust. The man who’d fed her family 
40 years of fish dinners was a disgrace, his home gutted, 

his skeletons laid out on the table for all of the hungry 
bargain hunters to see.

--Linda G. Hatton

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


On rental bed in the apartment
where her drunken boyfriend peed on borrowed
living room furniture late
one fall, she gripped
the phone with moistened hand, wet
from the news that you
were marrying someone else,
knowing she deserved better than getting
pissed on,
knowing still
it was all she had left
-- Linda G. Hatton

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Two by Amy Pajewski

You’re no longer my lover

not since you twisted
that speculum inside me,
to examine my connective
tissue.  Revision: fuck.

Watch the blood and
filaments and flipper-
feet expand then
contract when untimely
ripp’d.  Black specks.
bulbous brain cavity

swimming in an
air-less bucket,
seeing and not
seen in the
amniotic fluid
within the

you walked out

this morning.  Pacing
as you turned
your panties inside-
out.  Slid one hole
up your leg,
then the other.
Cloudy silhouette,
still now – you
look at me.
Are you

When our
eyes meet, this time-
I feel
And I didn’t
even get
to tell you, how
pretty your dress
looks, when
you’re on
your knees,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Already lived
in too many places-
could make a necklace
with all the keys.

So many faces blurring into one,
some man-god stuck-up and stupid.

Only one I don't want to forget...

After a while he saw past me,
what I would probably become.
He told me and left
before I could beg him to take me.

Probably the years between us
would widen too much.
This is what I tell myself,
when the night stretches me out
on my bed,
comfort of his words still in my head.

Long nights
hanging heavy around my neck,
those keys staining
a rust river
running between my breasts,
dripping into emptiness.

--Anita McQueen

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ode to Pussy Riot: We Are All Hooligans

A Pussy Riot masque--
Faces tucked beneath cowls
They gyrate madly
Awkward Elaine-dancing-sisters
Weeble and wobble
To punk rhythms,
agitated dys-syncopated
sixteenth notes of protest.

Freedom dances in their heads
head-clanging freedom songs
Thirty seconds of cause célèbre
Joyful kerfuffle
Marshall McLuhan would have relished.

Congregants sizzle,
nuns shackle themselves to the foofaraw
elders shoo them from the altar.
Police indignation
hies them from the scene
where they languish in cells.

Soft-shelled crab,
Vlad the Impaler,
skin so sere
blood flows like lava
just below the surface.

Put in chains--
Free speech, they learn
Has its limits.

--Sy Roth

Ease is a Pair of Stockings Torn Away

anxiety encumbers the soul   
melancholy+depression—colour of coal
     life is tiring
coal in this regard is the antonym of ease
the way
a tight pair of black stockings    [wraps]
     chubby thighs
tearing the pair of s/t/o/c/k/i/n/g/s away  
                              is the synonym of ease
liberation+euphoria—colour of light

--Ali Znaidi

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Three by A.J. Huffman


I wish I knew you or understood you when you speak to me or even when you don't speak to me when you say don't go don't stay don't talk don't think don't speak don't walk don't wait don't feel just fuck just fuck just fuck you say the words like fists strike me batter me batter my mind batter it hard until it drips with thick golden goo and drops to the steaming pavement in a bubbling ball smashed flat with an old wrought iron plate that probably belongs in my head grey and cold like the lock on my belt my chastity belt your toy you like me to wear you know so only you can fuck me or maybe so only I get fucked I never could get that right or straight as the way to hell that's where I'm going nowhere else to go but down down but only when we fuck then go down way down on a spiraling slide of darkness that spits me out regurgitates that sticky white wad of me right back into the misunderstanding of your arms.

Response to a Bittersweet Love Story

I let you fuck me.
Not because you wanted to,
but because I felt like it.
I could see the red glow of rage
consuming you when you looked at me,
the photo-negative of some cracked-out Barbie doll,
and your blinding need to punish me
for being anatomically correct.

So I let you fuck me.
Not because you wanted to,
but because I welcomed the prick of your vile needle
as it sealed me with sticky thread.
I obediently whined
when you scratched at your handiwork,
wanting the given pain back inside you,
and playfully wrapped your knuckles.
"Tomorrow . . ." I began,
and the laughter of your assumptive arrogance intercepted my words
as you dressed yourself in the pre-conceived pleasure of my fall.
"We'll see," you tease before telling me good-bye.

But I let you fuck me.
Not because you wanted to,
but because I enjoyed watching the shock of understanding
overtake your branded body
when I pulled the apple from beneath my pillow
and placed it in your trembling hands.
"Tomorrow," I began again,
shouting over the room's resounding emptiness.
"Tomorrow, I dare you to fuck me."

Temporary Orifice

You stifle my desire with your presence,
filling my mouth
to dissipate the words that lubricate
your penetration.
My voice is lost --
crushed beneath your pleasure.
It drips down my throat,
a four-letter reflection of myself
ringing through the mirror in your eyes.

I shatter beneath the inspection.
Suddenly, I am your echoing vision,
covering my ears to stop the brand overriding my conscience,
already weak from colliding with the truth.