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

Car Trouble

The problems you attract
follow you home,
laughing behind
your back,
making you
angry enough
to fuck
how I like it.
When you couldn’t pay to fix your car,
I offered
my neck
for you to dig
your teeth into
during those lean times,
feeding
on my acceptance.
When someone slashed your tires,
I let you carry
your revenge
out on me,
your eyes
knives
flashing
in my gut.
Soon I’ll be sneaking into your heart
while you sleep
to cut your brakes
if you keep it up, eager
to see you kick into gear
as we fly
screaming
     into the night,
engines burning
with hunger.

~~~

Irene M Vallone is a transgender poet and writer, originally from Pennsylvania but currently based in Washington state. Examples of her work can be found at neutralspaces, and she tweets at @Irene_M_Vallone.

mid March in the arctic

my ribs
hum honey

your fingers
marimba mallets

this dance our
springtime touch

curled reach in
my hibernation

the sky fumbles,
hitches out of me

chases my lungs
painting watercolor

auroras unfurled
left suspended

& breathing so
we do not forget

~~~

Madeleine Corley is a poet by internal monologue. When she is not writing poetry and songs, she cuddles her roommate’s dog and dances at bus stops. She is currently serving at the Poetry Co-Editor of Barren Magazine. Her work has been published/is forthcoming in The Elixir Magazine, The Hellebore, Moonchild Magazine, DARK MARROW, among others. You can find here on her website, wrotemadeleine.com, or on Twitter @madelinksi

Name

I.
She said my name tastes like a mango;
what’s it like on your tongue?

There are nights where it is your mantra—
is it cinnamon that lingers, sweet cream,
or starfruit? Is it a flavor you want
on your lips forever—whispered
in the cold dawn under thick covers,
when the first dusting of snow has fallen?
Echoed in stone cathedrals, called across
crowded souks at dusk when the sky is rose gold.

II.
Your name is indigo velvet, wrapped around me
at midnight. Watching Aurora Borealis curled up
next to the fire—safe in it’s delicious warmth.
It’s amber perfume—makes me think
about licking honey from my fingertips. You are fresh
ginger and sweet mint in my mouth—a balance
I constantly crave and hold onto.

III.
Our names entwined, we swim in the Aegean after the sand burned our feet.
Late night drives through small towns to abandoned roadsides where we
can see the Milky Way. Your smirk when I bite my lip—my back rolling
into an arch like Stoya’s when your hands press light bruises into my hips.

~~~

Marisa Silva-Dunbar is a Latina poet. Her work has been published in Dark Marrow, Dear Reader, work to a calm, Chanterelle’s Notebook, and Marias At Sampaguitas. Marisa is a contributing writer at Pussy Magic. Her work is forthcoming in Dark Marrow, and Apathy Press. She is the EIC of Neon Mariposa Magazine.

Manhood

After “Portraits of Beasts: Alebrije” by Ángel García

I learn first to say yes. You. Driving stick down the mountain. Your fingertips purpling the fat of my left thigh as you park. I make little noises, soft and guttural like a piglet. You zip up. Tell me I’m bleeding. I look at myself in the rearview. Slick my front teeth with my tongue. Bare them in the darkness. Growl. I let you think this was your idea.

Then this: I clench the thick roll of belly heaving beneath my Pendleton. I am no better than any animal. Including you. The mama spider on my ceiling laughs at me. Spits on me. I vomit my breakfast into the pink fur rug. Detach my skeleton from the mattress and start the shower. The cat left a mouse, decapitated, in the tub last night. The water washes it’s fur clean of blood. I lay down beside it.

Here, take it: this apology. This grave. This tribute. This thing. Homegrown. Loved, sometimes. Beaten and starved. Suck the flavor out of me. Tough piece of meat. Burnt. Cooked to death. Chew me. Swallow me. Digest.Truthfully, I can hardly remember the taste of myself. I can hardly remember the sound of your breath, wet like a river stone.

~~~

Emily Clarke is a Cahuilla Native American writer, activist, photographer, Zine artist, and Traditional Bird Dancer. Emily graduated from Idyllwild Arts Academy in May of 2018 with a certificate in Creative Writing and is now continuing her study of writing at University of California, Riverside. Emily’s work has been featured in News From Native California, Four Winds Literary Journal, and Hoot Review. She has been a featured reader at events such as Indigenous Now, And The Earth Was Shaken, and UCLA’s Environmentalists of Color Climate Justice Forum. Currently, Emily is writing poetry exploring modern Cahuilla identity, feminism, and human intimacy. 

LEAD IN BOATHOUSE RINSED

on the boat everybody was on dancing

there was two more people climbing each other

in a movie     they were sitting down

and one person came up an punched them in the head and I

was wow I was    overwhelmed and I felt it I did in my head

I felt it in my head feel the ground because my eyes were closed but

then I asked somebody what

they felt and they told me to pull my pants up

then laughed but I could not     understand this boat because of all the bodies

in the cups that we all had one big one and it was metal

but then they made me go upside down to drink it I did not

understand why I love this so much and everybody was cheering I hate

who they are but they are there right then and we are not on a boat I am sorry

if I confused this with something else like a boat

it was in the shape of a boat that is what it was the shape like

how it looks like it keep you warm if it is over turned

a bottle and you can have to pull on all these things so that the enemies or whoever

the crew knows that you are a pirate

and I noticed while they were dancing this that I hadn’t

ever wanted to be sitting     down while we were loud

whoever they felt they told me to pull my pants up and I was drinking

a bottle of water and saw inside of it this note that said something

and then I looked inside of  it and I saw a ship in it

while everybody illegally fought dogs in the basement or people I was one

of them and I was     did not want to be a pirate

so they hit me with the pipe

~~~

Angelo Maneage is a famous grocery clerk and 2017 recipient of the Academy of American Poets’ Alberta Turner Poetry Prize. He has work on Hobart, in Sprung Formal, coming to FIVE:2:ONE, and around other places. He is co-editor and founder of Long Long Journal and poetry editor for BARNHOUSE. He lives in Bedford, Ohio. 

Sonnet

What’s ordinary now? Bees? No, they’re going. Licking

Pictures of pretty boys’ faces you found online but printed

Out for company? No, why would you need to print them.

And who has a printer with that much color ink? Plus,

They wouldn’t be just pretty, either—some’d be menacing

And some’d be women because multitudes can’t contain

Themselves until they’re tied down, lovingly but firmly,

The leather around their throats putting a little hitch

In every fifth breath. Imagine singing to them like this—

Even blindfolded they’d know if you used a recording—

Their only clue of where you might touch them next being

Wherever it sounds like you are. And as you watch them

Strain to listen, as the harness tightens around their chest,

You’ll feel the thrill of unanswered need, and time flowering to extend it——

 

~~~

 

By Nathanielle Dawn