person Rhienna Renèe Guedry, one poem

Rhienna Renèe Guedry is a Louisiana-born writer and artist who found her way to the Pacific Northwest, perhaps solely to get use of her vintage outerwear collection. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Empty Mirror, Bitch Magazine, Screen Door, Scalawag Magazine, Taking the Lane, and elsewhere on the internet. Find more about her projects at rhienna.com or @chouchoot on Twitter.

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Transportation

Our rescue dog thinks we are people who never go anywhere. When we do: faces covered, shoes a novelty; one of us to do the foraging, the other finds the outside world a challenge. Would you agree? This poor no-tooth Papillon thinks this is who we are and always have been. Babe, it’s summer already. I have meandered only a small footprint, mostly walking the dog as the buses rattle by—more like a flatbed truck dragging chains than a chariot; neon fuschia makes it look and sound like a rave. I used to be into that, only now I don’t want to sit near anyone, I dance alone in the attic with the party light I stole from an office cabinet before quitting. I miss my body moving in that way: in motion, and in theft. But we have always had a rule: no talking about transportation when we’re drinking, or otherwise. Bus stops give me a pang of FOMO; I miss a commute that doesn’t matter, I miss a vessel that’s now rendered a vector for danger. Now we drink and list all the planes, buses, and trains we’d get on if we could. I miss strapping down the luggage of you: destined somewhere together, doing it so well we have caught past-life streams of ourselves. Now it is you in the kitchen, and I in the garden or back in the attic feeling sorry for myself. I still hear when the bus passes by. Our dog wonders where you’ve been when you’re only out back. I wonder what our first city will be. Every thirty minutes, by my count; we will embark.

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person stephanie roberts, two poems

stephanie roberts is the author of rushes from the river disappointment (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020). She enjoys the reclusive life where she is finishing her third poetry collection. Contact at http://www.oceansandfire.com

~*~

THE CAN

we who shivered in the wind
of one another as a fireweed field
travelled the scrub waste places
in Canarsie
and also scaled the urine stairs
of a tenement building
with broken elevators
trying to arrive under
identical brutal sky.
you rose first
and I after.
my fingers typed the bannister
your desire burnished
turning every landing
to dream the top
where I find you missing.
You got yourself off a floor beneath me
while stair after stair
three cards shift with nothing under
I can choose.
the door hung open
closes.
I missed you
missed
you
moon ached open
can of darkness.

~*~

TO A JUBILANT CONSCIENCE

Joy most transient river droughtingup come June when it summers it dries without aftertaste not how winter carves inside gut out ice memories set you shaking in your seat painremembersyou like a virus you will bed in your coffin so now I (who trust you) am afraid to say I trust you and am more mortified at the prospect of asking you to trust me oh god no no please do not trust me don’t burden me to remain faithful to you (I beg) treat your every unconfirmed unjustified unvalidated fear of how I might hurt you as a DEFINITE POSSIBILITY if not inevitability who am I to come between people in committed relationship with suspicion yes and yes of course I am a scorpion (better) a rattlesnake hear what I’m shaking diagnose the burning tower of my devotion as portent that I’m about to fang you yes to projection anything but my asking you to trust me molecular fear can’t bear it no matter how ardently joy is the bona fide good dug up as my black truffle heart trustme activates siren to take anchor head for high seas so diligently has this truth been beaten into me I vessel steroidal reverence for silencing such passions respecting the power of the softest words to repel the Ones loved most from this abominably frank altar do not trust me.

4 march 2014

~*~

two poems by Koss

Koss is a writer and artist with an MFA from SAIC. She has work in or Diode Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Hobart, Spillway, and others. She also has a hybrid book due out in 2020 by Negative Capability Press and work in Best Small Fictions 2020 anthology and Kissing Dynamite’s Punk Anthology. Keep up with Koss on Twitter @Koss51209969 and Instagram @koss_singular.

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Sad Navigations of Passerines

The weightless magpie
yaws my dream,
that damn feathered
ghost harbinger,
or neuronal flash
going off
in my dull skull?

A poem,
a black spinnery,
I’ll unbind its twine
from around me,
write myself,
out of it, up, around
and out the devil’s
centrifuge
like an inverted
maelstrom or a tired old
vagina—not imploding,
spiraling the edges
as a swallow
ascending silo decay
threshing ghost grains
sieved through rib cage
black bursting lung
gusting into a fleck
of white-blue light.

Obsessed with the tremor
of your voice,
I replay your message
as if hope-sounds reecho
pinning songbird throat
to time’s pining.
I’d give my future
for that voice
and did,
but did you notice?

~

11-Month Post-Suicide Vacation Poem – Things are Measurable, Sort Of

Day 1

1. Aspheric wide angle on the browned forest floor
2. Cabin musty of smells hanging
3. Harley women warped on wall poster—30s—both long dead
4. Man with short brush cut and beach-ball belly / fanny packed in stars and stripes feigns straightness along the shoreline as his girl becomes one with driftwood
5. Dogs couldn’t pee there
6. Mammals couldn’t walk there
7. I was tolerated but paid no money to get in
8. I’m only partially a mammal and then, barely
9. I should really have a garage sale when I get out of here
10. Broken snow shoes make nice wall décor
11. Soggy pretend barbecued chicken paired with flaccid yam fries
12. I fucked you in my dream on invitation only
13. Ophelia photo in cabin a bad idea
14. Ophelia photo anywhere a bad idea
15. Nothing happens for the best, so stop saying it
16. Anne Sexton comforted me when you died; she looked so YouTube-happy talking about death, smiling
17. Suicide is the ultimate jilting—really
18. The frogs all start singing at the same moment
19. In Australia, the cane toads fuck each other dead as jeeps drive over them, amassed as toad-road-sheet abundant afghans
20. Some things countries should never import: cane toads, ladybugs, Americans, Budweiser
21. There were other possible endings to our story
22. A choice is a fiction

Day 3

1. You people won’t break me
2. Cashier dripped nose onto my grocery bag
3. Lately, I only dream in written words others write
4. Memory is pine resin sticky
5. Memory does not stick
6. You said you loved me
7. Freckles, just a smattering
8. A whole galaxy, gone
9. You should be here with me
10. You should be somewhere
11. I should too, be a somewhere-thing
12. A magpie sits on the lampshade
13. Even if it isn’t a magpie, I make it so
14. Crow, on the light switch cover too
15. The light won’t glow behind the magpie-crow shade: opacity
16. I talk to you even more now that you’re gone
17. I hope you’re getting some rest over there
18. I still worry about you finding me attractive or not
19. Humans look better in clothes
20. There’s no one here to keep you alive
21. Someone else drives your car now

Day 4

1. Inner self
2. Inner tubes
3. Floating
4. Yellow weeds grow out of sand, browning flowers, no assists
5. Sun beats smooth like a skin drum
6. Her short black dress sways opposite her skeleton
7. A man runs up the sand, catches up and wraps around her
8. Mine, says the hand, the hand on the handy wrap man
9. Her white skin shocks through black straps dropping
10. Beach lovers, silent picture
11. July is our anniversary
12. Some July. A previous July. Better. We met.
13. Some August you die
14. Some August you will always die
15. Flies are still biting my legs
16. They will die for a bite as I slap absent-mindedly
17. Their lives tiny

Day 5 – What Remains?

1. Sketched a map of your lavender in the fire rings, so when I’m old, I’ll find them
2. Why is that woman traveling alone
3. Not happiness, something underneath the sand, beneath feet
4. I can’t believe you forgot your body
5. The horse-headed boy gallops back and forth along the platform
6. The old dyke at rock shop was cold—does she think no one knows
7. I should feel happy for the beach lovers but don’t
8. A Mexican-American woman transformed her life with tomatoes
9. She saved her suicidal friend with beaches, free ones, and screened-in porches
10. I wish we had gone to the beach like we intended
11. Wish you had known her
12. Wish I had known her
13. That couples’ footprints along the shoreline look like one, yeah like that Jesus-God story
14. Those straight people do get carried       and carried away       the Christians
15. Men are gods
16. I found two shells, two halves of us, I thought, then lost them in the sand
17. Took a picture first
18. Thought a lot about twos when I knew you, splitting everything like a child learning to share
19. You were splitting, away
20. Snake emerging from the water is only a stick
21. I’m a tape recorder Eyes Windows Camera Obscura
22. My house is a head

~

 

person Jeremy Nathan Marks, two poems

Jeremy Nathan Marks lives in London, Ontario. Recent work can/will be found in places like Muddy River, Wilderness House, Mobius, Rat’s Ass, So I Goes, Chiron, Apricity, and Literary Orphans.

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Aral

Aral means eye to me

One trawler hunting this dodo
sea a mote on the sea’s desert

Grain marring a former blur
as if the sky were plaster.

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Salton

Famed orange orchard
apricots dance cabaret
along a shoreline
resort
trailing white
blossoms
for fragrant thighs
take a salt
bath
your own mirage
a caress

Salton Sea from the heights
is a prune
lettuce left to dissolve
in the sun

Our present is eternal with no footprints.

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person Jaewon Chang, two poems

Jaewon Chang is a high school junior living in the Philippines. His works have been recognized by the Scholastics Art and Writing awards on a national level. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cleaver Magazine, Austin International Poetry Festival Youth Anthology, National Poetry Writing Month Anthology (2020), Ilanot Review, Passengers Journal, and elsewhere. During his free time, Jaewon enjoys traveling the city on foot.

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To the East of Sinhyeon-ro 12-212

There exists a space where the pavement
cups the feet of marigolds, like words
waiting before they are spoken.

On another side, carnations distance
themselves between each other, the way
mother and I lived when people

in plastic gowns took father away. Perhaps
a man will hold a stethoscope against
appa’s chest, and that will be enough. Perhaps

eomma won’t have to leave me and stay
next to his bed. How we dream
when we don’t know.

*

The Exposition of Images

Your fingers coat a land of
photographs: possibly a red horizon
of bodies, where brightness floors
the dark, teaching war and peace
to unlearn their differences, or
maybe a walking stick, the
remnants of grandmother’s only
asset. Some images bruise the scenery
longer than others, but soon, a coda
will hunker us below our skies.
A musician, and
a piano underneath.

*

person Ojo Taiye, one poem

Ojo Taiye is a young Nigerian who uses poetry as a handy tool to hide his frustration with the society. His poems and works have appeared in journals like Frontier Poetry, Palette, Stinging fly, Notre Dame Review, Vallum, Crannog, Argot, Brittle Paper, Glass Journal, Elsewhere, Eunoia Review, Lit Mag, Juke, Praxis Magazine and elsewhere.

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Simple Children or Wild Stars

in the widening field, i become a scholar of persuasion. i have done
things i shouldn’t discuss in a poem: wild stars and a fragment of
dream that arrows in the mist. i don’t want to spend the rest of my
life planting salts, seeding the ground with memories, if the road to
a safe tomorrow is what i’d rather do without. today, i am burning the
names of boys shot at noon. to wake when it’s possible is a good
thinking. each year, my nights pour through me like complaints & the
day becomes harder to live within. we all have reasons for leaving and
i go skyward. i will change your life, a little emptiness says, to
which i say please. it’s hard to know the right way to write the same
poem over and over, i mean i must leave this animal of my body,
without touching the furniture.

~~

 

person D.C. Wojciech, one poem

D.C. Wojciech is the founder of Silver Pinion, and is the author of The Longest Breath (Anvil Tongue, 2020). He resides in the Sonoran desert.

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THIS WORLD

those who sought humane interaction
wherever it can be found
those who chanted the end of art
in flickering rooms of hosanna, out of body & completely alone
those who stood for hours days years on downtown fire escapes without a fire or an escape
those who hummed spirits back to life on the corner of Oak & Everett against the traffic in many dimensions at once
against the time in red on bus transfers
against the bulldozers on Broadway
against inflation, alienation, theft, against the wicked history of cash crops
against themselves if need be
against anything that isn’t love
allow me this one moment of idealism—
for all utopian visions
that begin with the carpals & the femur—
“this world doesn’t know how to end”

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person Howie Good, one poem

Howie Good is the author of THE DEATH ROW SHUFFLE, a poetry collection forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

~~~~~

Chili Con Carnage

I wake up in bed alone, with drool and sweat and worse on my pillow. There are crumpled dollar bills and a couple of bucks in change on top of the dresser, enough for cigarettes and scratch-offs, maybe a bottle of Italian Red. History is dead. Scum is all that’s left. The sun keeps showing up regardless.

*

The train was crowded, dirty, excruciatingly slow. I had boarded with the idea of arriving that night in time to be a character in someone else’s dreams. It doesn’t have to make sense, but, for a while, the train ran parallel to an oily black river in which naked corpses floated. None of the passengers traveling with small children even attempted to shield the children’s eyes. And that was just fine with me. Growing up, I spent many hours watching TV alone in the basement in the dark.

*

Still sitting fully clothed on the exam table, I said to the doctor, “I’m dying.” He said, “How’s that my fault?” I’d been in agony for at least a month. The doctor said it was my body attacking itself. “It’ll scald you,” he said in the same cold, calm voice, “peel the skin and muscle right off your bones.” I wondered if this was a joke of some sort and decided it must be. When I opened the door to leave, a man with a bloody face, his hands bound behind his back, was just standing there waiting his turn.