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COMING HOME

DECEMBER 2021

INCLUDING THE WINNING POEM
OF OUR FALL CONTEST

CRAFTED BY


AMY-JEAN MULLER

cover art by Kip Knott

READ WITH CARE

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cimmone

SUNDAY PRAYERS

AMY-JEAN MULLER

         The gravel tore my back

as the Pastor spread my thighs

and I wondered if he spoke of my resistance

to his Saviour

         Who seemed to forgive Him  –  Every time

THIS POEM WON THE VERSIFICATION FALL CONTEST 2021 JUDGED BY POET, JAMES LILLEY

Amy-Jean Muller is an artist, writer and poet from South Africa who lives and works in London. Both her art and writing explore culture, memory, mental health, identity, and sexuality. She has exhibited her art in South Africa and London. Her writing can be found in various publications and is a regular contributor for Versification and The Daily Drunk. Her book, Baptism by Fire, was released in January 2021 through Close to the Bone. She also writes transgressive fiction and is currently completing her first novel and collection of short stories. | amyjeanmuller.com | Twitter: @muller_aj | Instagram: @amy_jean13

Amy-Jean Muller
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Unsuccessful Raid

 

HOSS CHAPMAN

He stepped back in from pissing-

"There were red dots pointed at me."

Right before pigs kicked in that flimsy side door,

they got word we were cooks, but we were just addicts,

who smoked it all yesterday.

Hoss Chapman is a worker and poet from Southeast Missouri. Holler at him on Twitter @ChapmanHoss or leadbeltchapman@protonmail.com

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Poison rolls into the rainy street &

clem flowers

 

nighthawk on the fence post tries 

to warn the drunks stumbling out 

the happy hour overtime, 

but they all get caught up on

old sounds of their mother's lullabies

Clem Flowers (They/ Them) is a poet, eldritch horror,  & soft spoken southern transplant living in a mountain's shadow in Utah; Nb, bi, and queer as the day is long, they live with their wonderful wife & sweet calico kitty. Found on Twitter @clem_flowers. 

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LAST FRIDAY

m. roanoke

Dad’s lawyer called to say he’d asked for a mushroom and sausage pizza, coffee, and chocolate cake. The pizza was my favorite, when I was a kid. Dad hated mushrooms. I didn’t tell the lawyer this.

She said I was on the list. He’d said he didn’t want me there, but he’d put me on the list, and the prison said OK. So I could watch, if I wanted. Next Tuesday.

 

I thought of that song, Wayfaring Stranger. Would he be going home, to meet my mother? Maybe, but I sure as fuck hoped not.

M. Roanoke is a queer folk artist based in Kansas City, Missouri. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rejection Letters, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Bullshit Lit, and elsewhere. Find them on Twitter @GangyRothstein.

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cimmone

a solid possibility
 

ALLISON BLACK
 

the corner of the cabinet 

is sharp

so hard and so promising

perhaps I could orchestrate 

a

fall

to take myself out

death by furniture

satisfaction guaranteed

Allison Black is a queer, disabled writer with a dark and twisty brain and a BA in Creative and Professional Writing. Her latest words can be found at Rough Diamond Poetry and Sledgehammer Lit. She currently resides on Dja Dja Wurrung land in regional Victoria, Australia, where she spends way too much time on Twitter (@crashing_silent).

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kip knott

settling the estate

 

KIP KNOTT
 

Everything feels too big for the house now. The sagging couch where my mother used to sleep to escape my father. The large-screen TV my father would curse whenever his teams lost. The marble kitchen table and over-stuffed chairs that never once hosted a family meal. The four empty dog bowls that weren’t put away even after all the dogs had died. And the shadow of the childhood I worked so hard to leave behind. I hear it lumbering across sun-bleached floors upstairs as I navigate the cluttered landscape below. When it falls silent, I know it has hidden itself, like all the monsters that used to live under my bed, just waiting for the right moment to spring out and reattach itself to me.

Kip Knott's most recent book of poetry, Clean Coal Burn, is available from Kelsay Books. His first collection of short stories, Some Birds Nest in Broken Branches, is forthcoming in 2022 from Alien Buddha Press. You can follow him on Twitter at @kip_knott and read more of his writing at kipknott.com.

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cimmone

Formicidae

 

mikki aronoff
 

My aunts were formidable — one confined to her bed, her family tethered to her hypochondria. The other floated and spun in unpredictable directions. No one could catch her.

Mikki Aronoff’s writing pops up in odd places! A two-time Pushcart nominee for poetry and one for short story, she is also a nominee for Best Microfiction 2022. She has an unsettled relationship with ants, but not with dogs.

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kip knott

the moment
john lane

Fresh out of high school and a month into their anniversary, eighteen-year-old Jack was hired as a stockroom boy for nine dollars an hour, which made Janet, his eighteen-year-old bride, ecstatic, so they celebrated with a bottle of stale Muscatel from the state liquor store and a forty dollar a night hotel room with holes in the wall and a vibrating bed, and feeling a little tipsy, the newlyweds explored their bodies well into the night until sunlight peered through the torn blinds, when the moment passed changing the family dynamic from “husband and wife” to “one on the way”. 

John Lane has fiction published in Boston Literary Magazine, The Drabble, Six Sentences, 101 Words, The Disappointed Housewife and other venues. John's fiction has also been published in several horror anthologies. His story about a tragic playground incident was featured in the Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai: 100 Stories, 100 Supernatural Stories podcast. John is a member of Horror Writers Association and an Army and National Guard veteran.

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mark danowsky

two pieces by,

            JULIA RUTH SMITH

Between Front Doors and Kitchens.

We have no bruises but our bones are Bic Biros in tin cans.

189,9 Kilometres to Tirana 
 

There’s that photo of the dead boy; his leg scratching behind his ear like a cat; the sailor’s monument, an anchor that couldn’t keep him still.  

Guess it isn’t only mariners and mermaids who are lost at sea.

Julia Ruth Smith is a teacher, mother and writer of small things who lives by the sea in Italy. You can find her in Sledgehammer Lit and Full House Lit; scribblings elsewhere. Emotional and exaggerated in real life and on Twitter @JuliaRuthSmith1 

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mark danowsky

When the aliens came down

Eleanor May Blackburn

we descended so gently
we hardly made a whisper
the whisper descended as
I snapped and snapped and
crack

Eleanor is a mentally unstable northern English lass. She likes to think of herself as an actor and a writer- but sometimes she's unsure of either. 

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mark danowsky

Wiedersehen

DANIEL SCHULZ

We haven’t seen each other in ten years. He asks me about all the things he did to me when I was a child. The soap in my mouth. The belt across my back. The times he dragged me under the shower, fully clothed, like an inmate of the asylum, five years old. He saved my life, so he tells me. Once. I remember the coffee and the burn.

How convenient that he forgot all the other times he tortured me, so he could pose as the hero of my life.

Daniel Schulz is a U.S.-German writer, researcher, and factory worker known for his short story collection Schrei (Formidabel 2016), his work as curator of the Kathy Acker Reading Room at the University of Cologne, and as editor of the book Kathy Acker in Seattle (Misfit Lit 2020). His work has appeared in journals such as EbR, Mirage 5, Gender Forum, Fragmented Voices, Versification, Café Irreal, L'absurde, Cacti Fur, Mono Fiction and The Wild Word, as well as in the anthologies Tin Soldier (Sarturia 2020), Corona-Schnee (Salon29 2021), Jahrbuch Lyrik (AG Literatur 2021), and Heart/h (Fragmented Voices 2021). Lliterarywise he cannot help but be a misfit. IG @DanielSchulzPoet

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Colorful Indoor Playground

Sandwiches

 

HLR


No, ​I don’t mind making the sandwiches for the picnic—it’s strangely satisfying to slice the cheddar

for your Ploughman’s using the same knife I hack at my wrists with, the one I keep hidden

up my sleeve on days when I’m not safe in my own skin, the one I sleep with on nights when you’re away

and I don’t trust my own heartbeat, the one I reach for when I need clarity to shine through the insanity,

with its unfailing black handle and mirrored serrated blade, that I grip and use to jab and twist

when I need to feel Something other than This—honestly, it’s no problem!

I don’t mind making the sandwiches at all.

HLR (she/her) is a prize-winning poet, working-class writer, and professional editor from north London. She is the author of History of Present Complaint (Close to the Bone) and Portrait of the Poet as a Hot Mess (Ghost City Press). Twitter: @HLRwriter

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cimmone

NARCO XMAS CARD

KIM DENNING

dizzy-faced thin glassy-eyed boy

cheesing for camera 

busted shielding in his mom’s stringy arms

her smile beams high as fuck 

she’s real god damned proud of her son

Kim Denning is a Latina poet from Texas who loves loud guitars and teaches at The University of Texas at Austin. She murdered romance by winning Versification Zine’s 2021 Kill Cupid contest. Her poetry is featured in Last Stanza Poetry Journal, FERAL, OpenDoor Magazine, Pareidolia Literary, the Valley International Poetry Festival’s Boundless Anthology, Adanna Literary Journal’s Women in Politics special edition; and will soon appear in Essential Voices: COVID-19 Anthology.

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cimmone

void

v.m.t
 

she retreats to her bedroom

filled with sadness

peaks through curtains

the lots of vacant motels

empty like her womb

Victoria Toykkala (v.m.t) currently resides in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She is currently spending her days writing and reading poetry with her two cats, Quincy and Raya. Besides writing, she  enjoys coffee, hiking and photography. You can follow her on Twitter @vmtpoetry. 

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David Calogero Centorbi
 

presents,

Consider Now The Logic Of Loss

 

And be filled with the sparkling water

Of why…or

 

Consider the stone shards of loss,

Filling you again with the same wet light.

 

Consider now, how why loses its voice

When logic and shard come together,

 

And the sparkle will be your blood-tear scream

The still night embraces,

 

And at that moment says,

“Welcome, I have been waiting.” 

David Calogero Centorbi is a writer that in the 90's earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. Now, he is writing and working in Detroit, MI. He is the author of  Landscapes of You and Me, (AlienBuddha press.) AFTER FALLING INTO DISARRAY (Daily Drunk Press) He is a regular monthly contributor at Versification. He can be found here on Twitter: @DavidCaCentorbi. Blog: davidcentorbi.blogspot.com

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mark danowsky

december

JAMES LILLEY
 

Can you feel it? 

I do, slowing seeping away  

I am so cold, we die together 

On the concrete floor, empty house 

Hollow soul. Won’t see January.

James Lilley, 33, is a married father of three from Swansea, Wales. He works as a network engineer by day, is a retired professional boxer, and an active Bareknuckle and MMA fighter. Lilley has been writing as a hobby since he was young, recently deciding to take the hobby more seriously by beginning his degree in Creative Writing.

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cimmone

weird science

AMIE MCGRAHAM

 

 

Miami. The night my father walked through the sliding glass door and broke his hand. The night he gave up drinking for ten years. The night he became a Christian Scientist.

 

The air thick with the mildew of humility. The metallic tang of blood in my nostrils. My mother reciting the 91st Psalm, little-girl-me at the table repeating the only prayer I knew—there is no spot where God is not, there is no spot where God is not, there is no—

 

Glass chunks clattering on the tiled floor, my father gliding through the door like Jesus walking on water.

Amie McGraham grew up on an island in Maine. After 18 years of roaming the beaches of California and fjords of Norway, she finally got a damn degree in English. Her work has appeared in a shit ton of lit journals you’ve probably never heard of. She can be found @senior_moment_, tweeting a novella: #thisdementedlife.

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cimmone

my father keeps up mother's garden after she dies

ANNIE MARHEFKA

 

My father still keeps up the garden surrounding the weathered planks of the front porch, his tomato plants towering six feet tall, feathery leaves weeping over the tops of mother’s old hydrangea bushes. She would never have let him plant them so close to her hydrangeas, would never have let the waxy red orbs cast shadows over her pastel blossoms as she watched from her rocking chair. But he is no longer governed by her, and I wonder if he ever takes pleasure in the emptiness of the rocking chair as he clips his juicy tomatoes from their shackles.

Annie Marhefka is a writer in Baltimore, MD who often wallows in deep, dark, swirly feelings, and is occasionally pleased to find them leaping out onto the page in the form of creative nonfiction or poetry. Her work has been featured in Capsule Stories, Coffee + Crumbs, The Phare, and more. You can find her on Twitter @charmcityannie, Instagram @anniemarhefka or read more of her work at anniemarhefka.com.

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cimmone

an untitled micro by

                                             
jrm

you told me
I could have said anything
I wanted

but the pills
fell from my mouth
and I did not ask
for you

jrm said everything she wanted. She is an MFA student at UC San Diego.

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mark danowsky

Then Ring the Bell

SLAWKA G. SCARSO
 
Breathe, picture yourself holding an umbrella, large enough so that even if it pours, and it will, though not rain, but remarks, you'll be dry.
Breathe, picture yourself wearing a raincoat – a warm, festive one. This will also protect you from the rain.
Breathe, imagine yourself smiling, with loved ones all around you, everyone saying you look good, you don't need a boyfriend, a husband, or children. And have you lost weight? You look younger, what's your trick?
Breathe, close your eyes, and search for the pointy screwdriver in your pocket, should the umbrella break. Then ring the bell. 

Slawka G. Scarso has published several books on wine in Italy and works as a copywriter and translator. When she's not writing, she's explaining how to pronounce her name (Swafka), hacking some piece of IKEA furniture, or trying to take selfies with her dog, Tessa. Her work has appeared in Funny Pearls, Bending Genres, Ellipsis Zine, and elsewhere. More of her words on www.nanopausa.com. She tweets as @nanopausa.

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cimmone

Wherever You Are

bob carlton

The question always
comes down to this:
why the fuck
would anyone choose
to live here?

Bob Carlton (Twitter @bobcarlton3) lives and works in Leander, TX. Living a life of no outward incidents worthy of note may be why he writes. Or not. At any rate, his meager publication record and two Pushcart nominations have turned him into an insufferable bore to those who must listen to him, especially unwary editors attempting to solicit interesting and exciting bio notes.

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