person Kari A. Flickinger, one poem

Kari A. Flickinger‘s poetry and short stories have been published in or are forthcoming from Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Ghost City Review, Eunoia Review, Riddled with Arrows, Moonchild Magazine, Quiet Storm, and Panoply, among others. She is an alumna of UC Berkeley.

/

Misophonia

You broiling repetition.
Each little sound is
too much to take today.

I want to be the crook
of a tree branch
with a silent

swish. I have
to be locked
in space, instead.

I wait
only
so many days.

But, nothing ever occurs.
In this space
nothing ever occurs.

In my head everything is trying
to occur all at once—the big bang

has always been that moment of delay.
Nothing occurs. Sound waits for

space to catch up. Measured
folds do not quite match up.

If I screamed out here—every
fleshspine would fill
with roarsound

in my space. I need
headphones to cover inside
sound with strings. Cover chewing

and television—the expansive need
of internet

with the touchless nature I cull
from inside this glass ball, inside this glass

earth—that is—repetitive motions
and swirls through dust expanse

quiet this remorse. Screaming
dust is nature. Not the loud chewing bear

or the electron-driven conjunctions. Not the deer
at the barrel or the slicing
of water droplet from leaf—from

tangible skyward beasts—from metal
droning decibels which arch through
molecule-made malady.

All life is loud
repetition. Nothing occurs.

Again, I have been
waiting too long. We have all
happened before.

We keep spinning
digging
on repetition.

O we set our
dust down
on more clay.

Affix shovel. Affix
expansion.

\

Forgive the Body This Failure – poems – Blas Falconer

Forgive the Body This Failure
poems, Blas Falconer
Four Way Books, 2018

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A poet who communes with absence that we might gauge how much space it deserves, Blas Falconer is a constructor of the spiritually perfect poem. In Forgive the Body This Failure, poems born to vigil and event become lullabies that sing from doom its preordained spontaneity. That ask form what form it assumes. This is a work of response, so kindly imagined, that it enters the world as a wound does- carried in its own making. Be finality the blood of origin, so bless Falconer for these tertiary balms of answer and inquiry and so praise this voice for adding its removal to songs that reveal the withheld.

~

reflection by Barton Smock

~

book is here:
https://fourwaybooks.com/site/forgive-body-failure-blas-falconer/

person Adedayo Agarau, one poem

Adedayo Agarau is a student and poet hoping to make the world a little better with his words and photography. He has works up at Barren Magazine, Geometry, and 8poems. He is the author of For Boys Who Went. His manuscript Asylum Chapel, is coming to light for publication and looking for a good home. One can connect with him via twitter @adedayoagarau and Instagram @wallsofibadan, where he documents the beauty and pain of his Nigerian city home.

~

broken cross.
for olawale ibiyemi

                there must be a god // in a house

a boy sets himself ablaze // you smell like goings

are you the mile?             there must be a god.

of water & the attraction of the body               what does the fire

say about rapture?           what do the angels say about demise

how a boy leaves home to become a book on a dusty shelf

how you are an incense // a candle waxing in the sun

              you tell your mother you will love to be named after a grave

              you love the dogs when they bark         the night howls in your body

there must be a god riding a horse in your flowery soul           saddling you into anguish

hozier’s voice creaking on your skin       black ghost black ghost

open your chest               there must be a god hanging down

your beleaguered city                 there must be a god

half nailed to a broken cross                 asking itself how the end first showed

~

person Justin Karcher, two poems

Justin Karcher is a poet and playwright born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He is the author of Tailgating at the Gates of Hell (Ghost City Press, 2015), the chapbook When Severed Ears Sing You Songs (CWP Collective Press, 2017), the micro-chapbook Just Because You’ve Been Hospitalized for Depression Doesn’t Mean You’re Kanye West (Ghost City Press, 2017), Those Who Favor Fire, Those Who Pray to Fire (EMP, 2018) with Ben Brindise, and Bernie Sanders Broke My Heart and I Turned into an Iceberg (Ghost City Press, 2018). He is also the editor of Ghost City Review and co-editor of the anthology My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry (BlazeVOX [books], 2017). He tweets @Justin_Karcher.

***the below poems are part of a project which also includes the poets Kristin Garth and Tianna Grosch***

~*~

The Unfamiliar Music of Mermaids in Snow Globes

This one time I was wandering in a different hemisphere
came across a seaside pawnshop on a Japanese isle
the man there was selling these hypnotic snow globes
inside each snow globe was a tiny mermaid crying out for freedom
when you shook it, the mermaid’s eyes would flare up with hope
it was quite beautiful, thinking your optimism is what cracks glass
thinking your dreams of the future breaks the bars of your cage
the demented pawnbroker told me the mermaids were only taking naps
naps with their eyes open, naps that would protect them until the world was a better place
naps that lead to maps, maps that you wear on your feet to get you to where you need to go
because the world right now doesn’t understand beauty
doesn’t understand the delicacies of curves you can’t feel
we must turn the living into ghosts and tear down the houses that haunt them
then we must take that rubble, grind it into dust
use the dust to make skins that the ghosts will wear and be alive again
I was blown away, the idea of shrinking beautiful things to hide them from an ever-growing ugly
an ugly world always looking for them, always looking to straitjacket their lip-breaths
always looking to shove their sunset slides into a sanitarium of stillness
I turned the pawnbroker into a starfish, shoved him into a cannon and shot him at the sky
now he’s a part of a constellation that whips fishermen and young lovers into frenzy
I really hope he thanks me, I really hope he appreciates the glow I stuck him to
after I disposed of him, I took all the mermaids in snow globes and one day I’ll let them loose
into bathtubs of flower spit
or maybe an antidepressant lake of rock where all the tears have hardened
maybe that’s why I shrunk down the dancer, used magic to confuse that girl with disloyal hair
I never thought it would work, these shrinking spells, but they did
and now here we are
the naked dancer who shrank through her clothes
sleeping in the master bedroom on the top floor of my dollhouse
the girl with the changing hair starting at a wall in the basement
I have to ask myself, “Am I a monster?
Am I a sociopath? Should the world get rid of me?
Why hasn’t it yet?”
I don’t have time for such questions or maybe it’s all a lie and I’m scared of the truth
anyway, I should get a tiny brush for the one
something classy for the other
maybe the choker with the velvet collar
with a cameo
the one of Medusa with the snakes
the snakes that look like wings
I’ll put her in it, maybe she’ll like that
it’s funny how big your fingers are when your world gets smaller
they run like monsters across hardwood floors
they shake like an earthquake, a song you think you’ve heard before
but you can’t remember the title and you worry you’ll take that mystery to the grave

~*~

Orphan Dust, Stardust and Angel Dust

I never planned for any of this and I know that sounds like a cheap way out
but it’s the truth and now there’s this tiny dancer hiding in a dollhouse armoire
now there’s a woman in the basement dancing with herself as if in a trance
I gave her a single rose and I don’t know why, maybe an exit strategy or one last dance
but she didn’t budge, maybe a mirror on the wall I couldn’t see or maybe I’m losing it
the one in the dollhouse is frightened to death, I’m not sure why I even made her small
I didn’t think it would even work, magic is strong, but it’s getting weaker by the day
I’m probably dying, I don’t know even know old I am, one last gasp before the ocean
becomes an obituary, before tenderness gives way to sandpaper, before bone betrays flesh
and marrow betrays bone and the yesterdays in our brains suffocates the tomorrows
in our hearts, when there’s no future anymore, just pyramids, strip malls and cafes
just orphan dust, stardust and angel dust, a splattering of regret on the painter’s canvas
no more enchantment, just a long walk through the dark until we’re done, what to do
but shrink a bouquet into something she can grasp, maybe then she’ll see I’m not all that bad
present her with that haunted cameo, put it around her neck, maybe a nightgown for her to wear
this isn’t the wilderness, no Genesis aftertaste, no purity in exposure, this is a world
where cruel men still pull the strings, obsessed with vulnerable things, nothing left to share
I thought I was different, now I’m not so sure, she’s frightened in the armoire
she probably thinks I’m a monster, why did I concoct a drink that makes beauty small?
why didn’t I die centuries ago? An orphan like me should never have lasted this long
I got ambitious with magic and now feel bad about it, I should be burning in hell, gone
like the empires of old, her tears will be the end of me, as it should, can I turn this all good?
and the one in the basement is staring at the wall, not really a basement, more like a dungeon
where I store all my hungers that have imprisoned me, not really a dungeon, more like a museum
where I store all my possessions, artifacts from golden ages, fairytale taxidermy, oh nonexistence
aquariums and kiddie pools full of water from rivers that don’t exist anymore, mermaids
having parties in the bellies of dead whales, blood-covered turntables plucked from pirate ships
whatever down there should eventually see the light of day, newborn babies in a million cribs
I can’t horde all the beauty that’s left in this dying world, but who else will protect it?
no government in any hemisphere, certainly no politicians straddling equators, priests who perish
bros who bludgeon, and what of the orphans of today? tattooed onto flash drives, digitally lost
abandoned by history and floating like ghosts through the pages of spell books, new ghosts
fossilized ghosts, poets below the earth, supermodels on high and here we all are and it’s hard
trying to keep the light alive, having to do the tough thing to make the goodness last, I ache

~*~

person Li Xiaohang, one poem

Li Xiaohang is an artist and writer from Shanxi Province, in The People’s Republic of China. She is currently a university student in Jilin Province, where she continues her studies toward publishing and art.

~~~~~

Moonquakes

Time is a slippery thing:
lose hold of it once,
its string might sail out of your hands forever.
So chances of saying I like you are.
Do you happen to know that?

What do we call visible light?
We call it color.
But the electromagnetic spectrum
runs to zero in one direction
and infinity in the other,
so really, mathematically, all of light is invisible,
just like my love.
Can you see it as any light now?

Sometimes, the eye of a hurricane is the safest place to be.
I stand directly in front of you,
and watch you to walk into my eyes.
Do you know the moonquake?
It happens more than one thousand times every year.
Moon is at the far end of the moonlight,
and we cannot feel that quake here on earth.

~~~~~

person Michael Akuchie, one poem

Nigerian-based Michael Akuchie lives in Lagos Nigeria. His works have appeared on Barren Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, peculiars mag & Vagabond City Lit Mag. He is Contributing Editor for Barren Magazine.

/\

STILL FADING

I crawled out of the moon to hear my heart weep

streaming down the sky, I leave God lonely as a shadow

I can not feel my face through all that light

every muscle inside hides underneath skin

my family hates the wreckage living in the attic

wrapped with unsaid words, the language remains unfriendly

cold air seeps in from the unclosed window

I know it wants me because it starts digging out wounds

unconcerned about invasion, I long for silence

It is never okay to inhale hate

& return home where regret stings most

I estrange this body by backing off from existing

I simply want smoke clouds fussing over me

unseen hands starting a glow this flesh will see

I am next to drowning & I do not know its taste

the river engulfs me to prove a point

calling out my name so I will bask in desperation

a longing to carve body from the death of a voice

every place visited carries different colors of rejection

My body is talked about like a gruesome punishment

saddled up, I navigate through hallways black with grief

Salvation is slippery when I make trouble for calling God

& loss walks down the aisle to become inescapable

\/

persons Kelli and Nicholas Christian, poem

Kelli and Nicholas Christian are internationally published poets and fiction writers. They currently live in Changchun, China teaching literature and rhetoric. When not working on their next full-length collections, they spend their evenings watching Cutthroat Kitchen with their two cats, Sharkbait and RV Winkle.

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Even Hutongs have their Minotaur

There are fourteen balls of twine
between your calf and Crete.
A man unrolls each into one
language—exile means never
sleeping. Every night the smith pounds
flesh for silver just before the sun
tucks ash into sea. Misshaped, the old
feet know the story of our ugly labor.

When we ask the monster to bow
his head, it is necessary to consider
that prayer is not without tariff.
What is in him is in us, this difficulty—
amber-cast—preserves the builder’s plans.
Lemon trees planted in the morning
say this way, and by night? Dark ripens

the fruit into a double wind. Friends, hearts
are wood and sail. Our cupped palms, laden,
take water, still salty, from boat to mouth.

~