person Ajay Kumar Nair, two poems

Ajay Kumar Nair is a student and writer from Chennai, India. His work has appeared in Isacoustic, Rattle, The Bangalore Review and Muse India among others.

~

Grey, & other inflammable objects

It’s Diwali & there’s a feast. Snake tablets grow
into black unwanted things, bitter molasses-like
statutory warning-like, visuals of oral cancer

& other burning birds. Conversation-like,
like conversations, louder words, smiles put on
bright rivals for the rocket clawing at the night

with its final breath. Its final breath a whistle.
Chakri, whistlingly, spins like an angry little galaxy.
On third street, a car honks before a 1000-wala

both strange to waiting-
honk, boom.
honk, boom.
honk. boom.

All of this, of course, you cannot eat
the mound of plain steamed rice is golden brown now
the way you pour curd over it-

first the peak, then the fringes
& wait for them to meet.
The day after- newspaper bits blown off

ash & other grey feelings, & a sighing rain
sweeping everything away, dousing the lakshmis
the sparrows, Hercules Deluxes, Two Sounds
that rolled off, fell off, unlit into the grass.

~~

Where two things meet

do you remember all the bodies you’ve entered
I remember the house my grandparents moved
around in & by the house I mean the place where
the gabled roof met the sky in a line so distinct
that kingfishers perched on it waiting – waiting
by the house – I mean the rain on me & the rain
I wanted to be – I mean my grandma, her bones
firewood, snake-gods in her name & thighs &
the girl for whom the sun rose – by the house
the day I had not slept but had waded with frogs
& fireflies inside those frogs, to see the girl for
whom the sun rose drag a fallen palm leaf – her
eyes which saw mine guiltless – anywhere the leaf
falls, wherever the sun is vision my eyes are citizen.

~

person GJ Hart, one poem

GJ Hart currently lives and works in London and has had stories published in The Molotov Cocktail, The Jersey Devil Press, the Harpoon Review and others. He can be found arguing with himself over @gj_hart.

/*****

Raw

Nothing between
the coffee I share
with the snail pressed
against glass
and trade deals,
and borders – on TV
an octopus tucks light
in its pockets, becomes
that moon we ran to
and still ache from –

I watch its muscles land
like gulls as my gaze
foams through
its heart – that night
I ate sushi
in a restaurant
on Battersea Rise –
I remember
Allegro Non Molto
and each bored
mouthful.

*****\

person Michael Prihoda, one poem

Michael Prihoda lives in central Indiana. He is the founding editor of After the Pause, an experimental literary magazine. His work has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net Anthology and he is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently Out of the Sky (Hester Glock, 2019).

//

America as ever-burning forest

can you see
this from the moon?

if something is out
there, tell them

turn around
before

we witness
the light

that indicates
they’ve already died.

i’d rather see wet,
blank expanse,

not wonder at
salvation’s timing.

\\

person Juheon (Julie) Rhee, one poem

Juheon (Julie) Rhee is a 15-year-old student and is currently attending International School Manila. During her free time, she enjoys reading Agatha Christie’s mysteries and hanging out with her friends. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in K’in Literary Journal, Indolent Books, 580 Split, Lunch Ticket, Cleaver Magazine among others, and has been recognized by Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs.

///

Frostbite in November

It snows
for the first time
in November.
Today
is the twenty-ninth
and snow
is only brittle,
like white cold
breadcrumbs watering
in the heat
of mother’s hand.
I do not leave the house
on the twenty-ninth,
cattle in hand,
to sprinkle boiling water
on our driveway,
because today,
is only the second
last day of November,
and snow only
offers deathbed kisses,
and has not learned
to bite.

\\\

please join the witnessing of Donna Vorreyer’s ‘To Everything There Is’

To Everything There Is
by Donna Vorreyer
Sundress Publications 2020

Faisal Mohyuddin, author of The Displaced Children of Displaced Children, has said of this collection:

“As Donna Vorreyer’s masterfully crafted, music-rich poems traverse the often disquieting and anguish-heavy terrain of aging, illness, and death—particularly that of her late parents— they remind us of our own mortality, of the ‘winless war’ of survival. ‘Somewhere in my fu-ture, my death hums / toward me in a ghostly fog,’ Vorreyer writes, speaking on behalf of all living things. But instead of allowing herself, or the rest of us, to descend into despair, To Everything There Is grants our hearts the chance to be pried open with sorrow, generously filled with vast stores of compassion and courage, then sewn shut with such tenderness that we find ourselves feeling not only more alive, more able to brave the tolls of time, but also more forgiving of our imperfect selves, our countless frailties.”

pre-order the book, here

check out Donna Vorreyer’s website here

 

 

 

person Aimée Keeble, one poem

Aimée Keeble has her Master of Letters in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow and is represented by Ayla Zuraw-Friedland at the David Black Agency. Aimée lives in North Carolina with her dog Cowboy and is working on her first novel. She is the grand-niece of Beat writer and poet Alexander Trocchi.

~*~

This right

“If you are against abortions, don’t have one.”
– Scott Andrews

Unbidden – compelled as a cart-horse
in the month when most deciduous
I am unspooling
fraught because my stuffing is being snapped over
by white teeth
and so jaunty in the hips
grail bearing mutineer stripped shrill
slopping body-water singing:
the performance of our gift/curse not for you not for you not for you
when in the early dawn was it decided?
a boundary set leg to leg- a law on what comes in and out
these- my featherless wings, hunched deep abdominis
and I feral colored in the den, one raw eye on Venus
digging a little, half-sovereign blood shine and free

~*~

person Doeun Kim, two poems

Doeun (Jessica) Kim is a 14 year old, born in South Korea and currently studying at the International School of Manila. Her work has been recognised by The Heritage Review and Austin Poets International. She enjoys writing flash fiction in her spare time, inspired by her culture and identity. She loves modern ballet and making pancakes.

*

How to Nurse a Wound

Courage is not made of bullets .
It could be the spring
but instead, it’s the sweltering summer.
I could say that the wound
on my knee came from falling
at my grandmother’s backyard,
along the array of flowers placed in pots
which are painted in a royal blue.
The overgrown shrubs stand
on the field of grass
as I crouch down, because I am scared
of the dragonflies.
I say this, while I think about the boys
in Korean school,
telling the girls to lose weight.
The unspoken consensus
that make the women cry,
not because they are weak.
It is like the mother cradling a baby
on a wooden swing,
waiting for her drunk husband
to come home.

**

Tangerines

The girl peels tangerines on the countertop
in the kitchen.
Her mother and grandmother
sit in front of the TV,
eyes closed and hands held together,
following the prayers from the priests.
The girl doesn’t listen to the television
but looks out the window.
The Seocho neighborhood is empty,
only wafts of mist hover above it.
The grey streets are quiet,
an unfamiliar lull.
Shadows linger around the mannequins
in shops and empty chairs in cafes.
She recalls going outside,
the warm restaurants brimming with people,
lights from tall office buildings
and lamps from street food vendors that sold fishcakes
brighten the city.
Tourists held shopping bags
and wove through cars,
people left bars drunk.

The prayer ends and the girl
eats the wedges of the tangerine,
savouring the relief and the absence
of fear.

***

 

Koss, two poems

Koss is a writer and artist with an MFA from SAIC. She has work in or Diode Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Hobart, Spillway, Isacoustic, Spoon River Review (forthcoming), and others. She also has a hybrid book due out in 2020 by Negative Capability Press and work in Best Small Fictions 2020 anthology. Keep up with Koss on Twitter @Koss51209969 and Instagram @koss_singular. Her website is http://koss-works.com.

~~~

Why I Live on the Floor

Some people wonder why I live on the floor. Why I crawl out of my green and red plaid womb each morning and back in at night. Why I crawl on the wooden floor and over two small throw rugs to the refrigerator to get a glass of juice. Why I crawl over to a milk crate, pull out a book, and curl up on the floor to read. Why I write on the floors and sometimes on the walls above the painted baseboards. It is not an eastern thing, living on the floor, it is simply that I cannot live on the ceiling.

first published in Lament

~~~

Chinese Master Number > No Mistakes in Numerology

one

how I arrived

shedding mess of mother

lived often as echo

when Grams left

just me

then

and

now

and when

I leave

again

two

shoes not misplaced

Birkenstocks with peels and scents

all the mistaken duplicate orders

always gave one to Max

each brush

paint tube

gratuitous error

a we way of . . .

sum of us

no longer alone

in numerology, luck

when doubled

on itself

two humps

two bumps

twin flames

girl faggotry

lavender menace

too-too

tou-tou

-you

two

other half of lucky

the aborted twins

the evil ones arriving later

eating mafé with Max

on a small rubber tree table

two children left

two eyes no longer see

unlucky twos

anomalies

separated

too early [22 = master builder > masturbator > dream-heavy-darlings]

no glue for magic

one

off-key a capella

from an androgynous

hazel-eyed boy

echoed in a tiny white

church

chamber

decades ago

the important boy

younger

the gifted one

not me

yet like me

faulty, we

sing

brother

chosen

nine

carried me in anxiety

sack, not quite

what we count on

in utero

arrived early

miraculous escapes

pregnancy is

causal

casual

a casualty

karmic

cats have

nine also

live

not Max

six

divided by three

is how to get lucky

five

kids fathered

father time

had a good time

x 5

also lucky, him

odd

numbers

don’t

make

even

children

~~~

person Benjamin Harnett, one poem

Benjamin Harnett is a poet, fiction writer, historian, and digital engineer. His poetry has appeared recently in Poet Lore, Saranac Review, Juked, and ENTROPY; and is forthcoming in Hobart Pulp and the Evansville Review. His short-story “Delivery” was Longform’s Story of the Week; he was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in Poetry; and he has been nominated for a Pushcart. He lives in Beacon, NY with his wife Toni and a collection of eccentric pets. He works for The New York Times.

//\\

THE COINS IN THE GRAVE OF KING CHILDERIC

There are some new birds in the yard.
Among them a pair of goldfinches.
Yellow as flowers or as precious gems.

They land on the catnip: It nods as they do.
Are they eating the seed? We have
attributed it, jokingly—this new avian opulence—

to “the plague.” I work from home now. Instead
of going out, I study. In the pile
a monograph, “The Coins in the Grave

of King Childeric,” what was it, friend,
just an oval in the ground, cocooned by stone:
richness, alone—bones, arched ribs,

grinning skull, some diadem,
a crown. He looks dopey
in the image from his signet ring,

big eyes up, yeah, that’s right, to God!
Isn’t history odd? But no, it was stunning,
what was found: all gold coins, garnet,

and the bones wrapped in a cloak,
three hundred winged insects
fashioned in gold; King Childeric’s

bees. They buzz through the catnip flowers,
on our Russian sage. Insects of memory,

birds, and age.

\\//

person Austin Davis, one poem

Austin Davis is a poet and student activist currently studying creative writing at ASU. Austin is the author of “The World Isn’t the Size of Our Neighborhood Anymore” (Weasel Press, 2020) and “Celestial Night Light” (Ghost City Press, 2020). You can find Austin on Twitter @Austin_Davis17 and on Instagram @austinwdavis1.

/*/

I’ll be the Ocean if You be the Wind That Makes me Curl

I’m so close to sleep,
my feet are leaving my legs for another body.

You’re underwater,
twisting on the faucet in the bathroom

as the gargle of traffic sews a sweater of exhaust
down 9th Avenue.

It’s that time of night again where young people
play the piano and take off their clothes

and you’re making me want to compose a song
about the slow way you brush your teeth in the dark.

I’m so close to sleep,
the car alarm outside our window

is nothing but a mouthful of bubbles
floating to the surface, popping at the skyline.

\*\