on being in love

being in love is like……….doing a presentation in class……
while you’re naked………….then you wake up from
the nightmare………just to go to class and do a presentation……
and suddenly you’re naked……then you do it again and again…
……love doesn’t necessarily make you do stupid things but
……it makes you want to do really stupid things like……
drink a bottle of nail polish……steal from your mum to buy a motorcycle
……tell your girlfriend you love them so much you want to be alive.
stupid stupid………stupid but worth it somehow……
is it even a romantic gesture to say…“you are so cool and smart
you make being alive a little less unbearable”
or is it just really weird………i love you i flushed my last xanax
it’s so humiliating to be in love i feel like an oversized toddler…
…………have you ever eaten a family sized pizza on your own
then immediately felt bad for eating a family sized pizza on your own
but also kind of victorious because you proved………something
……not sure what maybe that nothing can stop you…
your hunger has no limits you can make yourself sick you
……can do everything as long as it means flirting with death…
being in love is like your parents……catching you having sex…
and staring till you cum……but you can’t cum with them staring…
so it never ends……being in love i don’t know……i don’t know…

 

~~~

helga floros likes pepsi max and baking muffins. they have work in occulum, peach mag, witchcraft magazine, & elsewhere. they tweet @helgafloros

Strap-On

The strap-on rested between my legs. It was weighty. I pretended I could feel it when I moved my hand up and down the whole length of it, like it was really part of me. In the mirror I couldn’t help but admire it. It was beautiful in a way; soft pastel pink and long, a flamingo neck or milkshake straw, an extension of myself. I liked the angle in which it hung away from the rest of me; straight out with slight droop . In OSHA they advise you to position ladders at 45 degree angles to make the climbing easiest. That was my strap-on too; 45 degrees and it’s the first time I’ve ever felt sturdy enough to be considered a wall, proud to support whoever would take that climb. I liked how little my body looked and how powerful the strap-on made it appear, becoming a thick knot of muscle;capable, a pitbull, or jaguar, all prowess and strength.

All of the people I’ve known to have a real one had been drenched in taking, and I had been what was took. There is something about being the one who enters that says pioneer and the one who is entered that says room; the door knocked down and boot-marks on the hardwood floor. But I don’t want to pioneer or conquer; I want to enter on tiptoe. I want to cum with tenderness. My strap-on can be as gentle as my pussy and I need you to know that. There will be no taking here, I will not take anything from you. When you lay down for me I do not see a buffet in the way men have made a feast of me.

~~~
McKenzie Hurder is a new poet just beginning in Boston! She’s interested in the interiority of the self and how feminity shapes experiences. She believes writing is  a healing process as well as a gratitude process. Follow her on instagram @elwyn_esque

Afterburn & Girl On Top

Afterburn

I pop cinnamon Altoids
In my mouth at the stop sign
before your house.
In three minutes it will taste like alcohol
or maybe the memory of that time I got drunk
on fireball after learning
that you hit on my friend
when we were not actually together,
when we were nothing.

We are still nothing
but even more than nothing now
and I bite the Altoid between
my teeth, feeling it burn the soft tissue
of my cheek as I turn:
into your driveway,
the key in your lock,
the deadbolt behind me.
I take off my shoes and climb into your bed.

We have always been nothing, I think.
Cinnamon-flavored saliva stings
the back of my throat and I remember
the sting of wanting all of your somethings,
but not knowing how to be around you,
not knowing how to be what you wanted
of me. Now, I am exactly that girl,
but not exactly your girl.
I hear the shower door slip in its track.

We will always be nothing
in the existential sense
but in the sense, too, of this void
we live in, this space where we lay,
this little box we keep handy
and in the sense 
that we are solid, sweet, necessary
but the moment mouths touch
we begin to melt, to dissolve.

Girl On Top

this is the most vulnerable
I will ever feel:
my knees pressed tight
against your thighs.

it is no power position;
I can look nowhere else
but in your watered-down
brown eyes.

this is feigned intimacy: my hands
on your chest, searching
for a support they will
not find.

your fingertips resting between ribs
drawing yourself in
to what feels like home but
cannot be.

how is it that you are
still in charge,
even when I have you
pinned down?

 

~~~

Isabella’s “official” bio will tell you that she listen to a whole bunch of 90’s alternative, that she hate poetry rules and writes a lot about sex and anxiety. It’ll tell you, too, that she lives in Michigan and has a chapbook coming in January from Finishing Line Press. You can find a whole lot of that information on her website, and her social media pages.

Drunks in a library

some nights

we just lean

against each other,

fitted

like books on a shelf. we lie in bed,

closed off

but communicating, comfortable,

inspiring

thought

without words.

other nights

of course

we bang like bottles,

bought

and carried home

in plastic bags,

bruising

apples

and smelling

freshly

of fish

in torn wrappers.

we bang

against

one another,

break our seals

and rattle the banisters,

sloshing with stale

vodka,

clumsy

and easily smashed.

~~~

DS Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working maintenance dispatch for a bank and his nights looking out the window and wishing he had a view. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

born again virgin

yeah i guess it’s too late to kill myself.

at this rate, i’ve spent so much time keeping

myself alive that i might as well bandage

my wrists and take the rocks out of my

pockets. the way my skin rests on my bones

makes me nervous. the knowledge that someone

else has touched me, has seen me, knows about

me — it’s unbearable. but science says

in seven years i’ll have all new skin and

it’s been 1 month since anyone else has

touched my body. i guess i could

elaborate and say i’m thinking

about going to a gay bar to hook

up with strangers ever since things got called

off, but that should be expected of me

at this point. the best way to get over

someone is to have someone new to spill

all your secrets into, to put your mouth

between someone else’s legs, to have

a stranger’s number light up your cell phone

screen. i know i’m, like, ugly, but i’m funny

enough to get laid, and good enough in

bed to forget anyone else has

ever slept with me.

~~~

Lizzy Ann is a New England poet that often writes about New England and the horrors that come with living there.

Men forget everything

Show me u!!!
Must I peel myself again
like a soggy Florida navel
falling through your open fingers
without my armor, my white
spine splitting like your willing thighs?
Or are you thinking bananas
and eggplants?

You’ve seen me naked. Twice.
Men forget everything
except ache and other slights
perceived, and with additional age
they sag like a scrotum elongating or
a no, oft repeated, because gravity
is cruel and cruel is inevitable.

ur profile makes me wsh I wuz age apprprate
Fifteen over, fifteen under and it’s
the plot of a truck stop paperback
in any direction on the grid, meaning
more to gird down, matches a game
of tense disagreement, like bees
swarming from a splashed nest,
seeking dry flesh to inflame.

Who said you aren’t?
But he makes no reply, his green dot
goes orange as if the aren’t were
inadvertent code-switching,
as if a moth alit his tongue
mid-sentence, as he was not
about to say i loved u, once…

~~~

Ben Kline lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, writing poems and telling stories, drinking more coffee than might seem wise. His work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in Pidgeonholes, Graviton Lit, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Risk Magazine, petrichor, Riggwelter, Grist Online, Trailer Park Quarterly, Rappahannock Review, Toe Good and many more. You can read more at www.benkline.online

WHEN IN FACT THERE IS NOTHING LIKE THE RUB OF THE GHOST AT MIDNIGHT & Water

WHEN IN FACT THERE IS NOTHING LIKE THE RUB OF THE GHOST AT MIDNIGHT

I am threatened

at once by fog

desire & feel

have never

done anything

to a ghost

the modesty of

mybeing & immodesty

of mychoices

have never

done anything

to a ghost

not that I forget

that I remember

only flattery

have never

worried

there is no disciple

have not accosted

your little smile

that baby seed

of petulance

enveloped as it is

in the silk

your stomach

your intestines

& interest

yes you too

are a velvetpink

valuable & not

sofar from

the surface

of the skin

the cutis yes

largest organ

thatmuch is true

               I can be

but often amnot

of the living

I drag & insist

I am ________

incapable of ________

please dontyoucover

I am only a mirror

of one dimension

however you

or the two of you

are gen tle

in reac tion

of bod y

to outer stim ulant

meaning skin thin ner

meaning thi ck skin

meaning yo u

are much more

a body than I

a bodythan I anticipated

Water

after I spill my guts to you

as if

when into the wind

your breath

comes back

as foreign

/ here again

little boy afraid

of anything / anywhere

pissing the bed

at kitchen noise

same boy

& whether

you know it or not

you love as he is / root of man

you know

who leaps from bedside

prowls nude / aroused

about the night house

ready to pounce

whatever whisper awakens

you / the man

barely humming

above a fifth /

the man

too scared to change

the lightbulb

here is a glass of water

here is a towel

~~~
Jon Conley is a writer and musician from Cleveland. He is cofounder of Long Long Journal. Find him @jonnnnnnnnnnmmm