This issue is dedicated to all poets, artists, and creators of all kind. Despite the rejections and pitfalls, we continue creating and producing meaningful and beautiful art. We believe in our art, and we believe in each other.
some readers may find subject matter disturbing | read at your own risk
untitled haiku by kelly moyer
his dead wife's
now where did
I put my member—?
here it is.
On my knees, with a ponytail
Up and down, I go
Fingers down my throat,
Head on a toilet bowl,
What? Were you picturing something else?
I know what
a human arm
No need to tag it
sitting in the corner...
sitting in the corner
drinking all alone
the crowds crowd
the crowded bar
i should be at home
I’m obsessed by mannequins, those teenage bodies dressed in women’s clothes, their rock hard faces, hips jutting to capture my attention. Clothed or naked I can’t stop looking at them, knowing I’ll never achieve their bodily perfection, not coming from Lithuanian Irish Polish French peasant stock. If I had a tool to reshape my body, cut it to mannequin size, without pain or blood loss would I do it? The answer is no. I’d be scared I’d damage myself if I fell on hard ground, my brittle limbs shattering on impact.
poster art by
untitled by anonykris
Brick house, oh so red,
Awkward romps, more like charades,
Rinsing the dishes.
Hurried hands seize her hips—
my wife jolts in place.
POSTER ART by
An empty glass/and a full bottle await/
my decision in/this dark empty room/
I sit, staring at a voice-mail from 3:12am-
Knowing that a message at that time
would not be the news I hoped/
A numbness has overtaken me/
the sound of a cork being pulled/
from the bottle is deafening this dark room/
A life time of memories/and lessons/flash before/
Time stands still/I hold the bottle in my hand.
No ice/to dull the bite/of the bourbon/
It will take the numbness away/or I will feel it all/
2 fingers worth should do the trick/
That man taught me everything/But
missed how to handle this/A man who's simple nod/
meant more to me than any trophy or award/
That phone notification/still awaits and/
I'm praying these 2 fingers/of Kentucky's finest/will numb it all/
Two fingers of Kentucky/One finger on/as the voice-mail/plays
committed by committed
MORNING AFTER ONE NIGHT STAND
TUESDAY MORNING AT DISNEYLAND
poster art by
AS IF ZEUS HIMSELF DIED
the world prunes. In all that is taught, no one warns there is no life for the living after the death of a god. Two wired finches’ cheeps go silent as this raised red broom considers destroying their home. The new lawn man’s mower starts its grind slicing cracked earth; his sweat sours the dust. I pull breath deep into lungs while praying the particulates pack them, close them.
The lady at the checkout is short on cash and can’t find her credit card so she starts triaging her items off the conveyer belt at the speed of ketchup while her little brat with his avant-garde hair screams himself red in the face and the line grows like a weed because this is the only goddamn store open on a Sunday evening in this hodunk town and all I want to do is shove her to the fuckin’ ground so I can pay for my bottle of Jack and diet Coke and be on my merry way.
untitled haiku by
Like a throw pillow.
james croal jackson
the carcass hangs
try one on
THE REDBUD LEAFS OUT
You again─ -eating air, drinking rain, peeling back bark like skin. I am not impressed with your struggle of buds, nor do I buy your anguish when they’re caught between branch and bloom. I know the truth about death and so do you. Below my sun-struck window you stand in blue weather with no flesh to wither, no bones to break, no blood to spill, and spread out to bless the tulips planted in the dark loam at your roots, their bright cups opening now, as if in prayer, as if you must be the one responsible for all this.
Wait, so where’s Jesus
david earl williams
On the Cross/
In His Diaper
THE DEVOTED READER
Your ensnaring pages bear the wear and tear of cracked lips that crept upward. Starved. Smudged, dirt darkened surfaces coax the devout to trace your hallowed text.
Pilfering scraps, rousing your malign generosity (you like your adherents to ache), you bid me gorge myself. Such appalling tastes, but nothing else will do.
I know the fairy tale quirk of your gospel—the double power of your fruit as a poison and a cure.
Ripe, sugar-baited words fill my mouth. Blasphemy and blessing. Brazen anthems—bitter honey to the throat—nightly fend off famine.
Bodies flung onto the street
like car accidents,
sleeping in the entrances
of luxury stores.
A TEENAGER AT THE BEACH
and the salt bitter waves
will not be enough to wash away
the moody shame of this day
lying on mouldy sand
brooding on fat arse
and lack of girlfriend
cock wanting to drill warm grit
pinking fast full of hate
for the lashing burn of sun
The cat had an
This is kind of it when the guy tells ED he’s suicidal and is told to take a seat. When you take the seat beside him, near the doors opening to the street. When he shares your candy bar, tells you no-one’s at home. When hours later you hear him tell a triage nurse, he’s got a plan. When hours later ED say they’re doing their best to get to him, and you believe them. When hours later an orderly wheels you away, leaving him alone. Near the doors opening to an irreversible night. This is kind of it.
Mr. and Mrs. Disagreeable Neighbor
won’t take down their chimes, which
assault my mind all summer long
when I am trying to write or think,
and wake me up when the wind blows.
Why ever would the demonic spawns
of Satan want to listen to those?
I’d rather hear the cries of the damned
(soon to be them) rolling across my lawns.
The Uber Driver Whisks My Teenage Daughter And I Away
“I feel hopeless every day,” Erica says, barricading herself in her room.
I buy her daisies, set them outside her door.
“There’s no reason to live,” Erica says, making her cameo at dinner.
“Things will get better,” I say.
“You never hugged her as a child.” My wife packed her suitcase last Sunday. “You’re a cold, cold man.”
In the Uber’s rearview, our house explodes, the flaming roof, windows shattering.
I’m in the backseat with Erica. She’s shaking.
“I finally understand,” I say. “The hopelessness.”
Dog days run the streets.
howling drunk in the cafes,
we bark at authority,
everyone a little mad.
A lift answered my prayer. I homed in and jabbed the button for the basement. The guard bouldered into view. Extended his right hand like a relay race runner. Twelve Days of Christmas muted his boots. Going down, admitted the lift in his voice. Fingerprints stained the closing glass doors. Five centimetres to go. The button outside squealed when he slammed it. I turned around and raised the iPhone 13 Pro Max for a selfie. Face detection lit his bulging blue eyes. My woodpecker finger shook the shutter. Frame by frame, the lift doors opened. He smiled for the camera.
. . . and by the time they were gone,
there was blood all over the porch!
ONE NO TOO MANY
I’m a cliche driving down Highway 1 in a red mustang convertible to meet my married lover.
Cliffs of jagged teeth bite at the back tires, waves splash across the trunk like over enthusiastic saliva, chasing an ear worm of he's using you he's using you he's using you.
Kissing is off limits, each rejection sucked into my gut where it fizzes like Mentos in Diet Coke.
My mouth widens, jaws extending, at another No to my proffered lips.
Flesh & bone create a satisfying melody. I floss my teeth with his hair, my lips red with yes.
WHAT IF I’M THE GLASS
full & empty
are the same
i hold my breath
it’s something to hold on to
still wearing my easter dress
look at you, honey,
pretty as a picture
wearing your easter dress.
the bear inside his honey jar,
his swelled head gets stuck
— gluttonous bastard …
poking in the cave,
dank and dense and deep;
there’s no further to go.
please don’t poke no more.
but his whisper slits my throat.
bloody bubbles languidly erupt,
unhurried to burst
and release me.
tiny petals split like posies,
spilling pungent crimson through my dress.
a murder lands in the field.
a dark-feathered figure
skips over a fistful of ragweed and taunts,
I-SAW, I-SAW …
pretty as a picture,
still wearing my easter dress.
When the boil opened, filling the bandage
with pus and blood, I kept the gauze three days
as a reminder of the relief I felt, and
wonder now how much of human happiness
isn’t just respite after suffering ends.
POSTER ART BY
From the spirit of truth,
he reveals to me
his astounding sincerity.
MISSING THE SHOT
One photographer caught her smile. A second the back of her head, the morning sun tangled up in her curls. Another focused on the shoulder sneaking up out of her open-collared blouse. The two who faced the one who got the smile ignored the fan, even though it was her pupils that dilated and reflected the sky, smoke piercing through like a darning needle in a half-knitted sock, waiting to be pushed out the other side.
the kitchen window
prisms in shards
of the broken glass
you threw at my head.
kip defeated our ANGRY ROBOT with this poem
i watch molasses flow from me into the porcelain
watercolor swirls of crimson red
a steady stream
FOGGED AND SKEWED FOREVER
Suddenly, I get the strangest feeling that the only way anyone experiences anything is through their own little windows. Windows that continuously fog and skew until closing. And I become aware of the most magnificent multi-dimensional puzzle, encompassing everything that’s been or will be. And I am comforted to realize that when our universe is abruptly erased from space and time, each experience of its past and present occupants will persist as infinitely critical fragments of one finally reconciled energy. How beautiful it is never to have been the center of anything but always to remain a piece of everything.
untitled by Chineloromiheoma
The ninth man is the one
Who got to the middle of the sea drunk
and realized it was too late to turn back
jason sebastian russo
The sun makes it hard to see, it’s still chilly on the porch, and my parasympathetic whatever is engaged. The frost line was at the top of the path last time I looked. Now the long grass is green, the trees are emailing birds back and forth, and you’re probably heading to the city. The parts of each other we tolerate are at least equal—if not touching—again. I’m going to chop the shit out of that branch that fell over the path like the goddamn arm of Christ. It’s too wet, but we can burn it anyway. Slowly.
Anonykris is bored. Despite having no credible education, experience, or respectable accolades, they find a clever way to manipulate the alphabet for your entertainment.
Noah Berlatsky's dog is named Goose. Good girl, Goose.
Julia Biggs is a writer, poet and freelance art historian. She lives in Cambridge, UK. Her work has appeared in various print and online literary journals, including Hungry Shadow Press, Divinations Magazine, Streetcake Magazine, The Crow’s Quill Magazine, Green Ink Poetry and The Primer. Her current research explores haunting seascapes and the delicious excesses of the Gothic mode. Find her via her website: www.juliabiggs1.wixsite.com/juliabiggs
E. L. Blizzard lives in Bowling Green, KY. She values having photo poems, short form and prose poetry, flash fiction, and/or creative nonfiction in many journals and e-zines. Recently, she had a photo poem anthologized in Red Moon Press Contemporary Haibun Volume 17 and a haibun, ‘A 21st Century Season of Illumination’, nominated by Sleet Magazine for a Pushcart. She spent many years in advocacy nonprofit work, allying with immigrants/refugees, cis/straight/LGBTQ+ survivors of intimate partner violence, and those experiencing homelessness.
Chris Bullard is a retired judge who lives in Philadelphia, PA. Last year, Main Street Rag published his poetry chapbook, Florida Man, and Moonstone Press published his poetry chapbook, The Rainclouds of y. His poetry has appeared recently in Jersey Devil, Stonecrop, Wrath-Bearing Tree, Waccamaw and other publications. He was nominated this year for the Pushcart Prize.
Chineloromiheoma is a content writer and poet who spends most of her time creating words out of the unknown and visiting nature. When she is not doing any of those, she is making candles or loving a food bowl. She has her works on several platforms and a blog where she shares parts of _herselves_ as they come.
Shannon Clem is an elusive creature currently rumored to reside with their progeny somewhere in California. In addition to Versification Zine, they have work published in Rat's Ass Review. Along with writing, they exist to experience music, Netflix, and dreaming.
Colleen is an author and artist who sometimes speaks to the ugly because the concept of truth is pretty.
Tinamarie Cox has spent the last year expanding her tiny universe through writing. She has an unhealthy obsession with composition notebooks, which she fills with nonsense. Some of that nonsense has actually gotten published. You just read it. If you liked it, follow her on Instagram @tinamariethinkstoomuch.
Clive Donovan is an English poet with two collections published: The Taste of Glass [Cinnamon Press] and Wound up with Love [Lapwing]. Though not a teenager any more he still remembers the angst. He specialises in telling the world how the world is and often gets into trouble for it.
E. Elizabeth is a Brazilian creative writer with coffee and stories running through her veins. And just like a bird needs wings to soar, and a tree needs roots to stand, she needs to write poetry to think. You can find her on twitter @sleepintherain4 and instagram @emycustodio.
Clay Ennis is an Astrophotographer from Texas. He likes to take a stab at poetry when he isn’t taking pictures of deep space objects. He lives in the Texas heat with his family.
Ly Faulk has been obsessed with reading and writing for as long as he could read and write. He
still believes in the power of the written word to change lives.
Colin Gee (@ColinMGee) is founder and editor of The Gorko Gazette (@GorkoThe), a humor daily that publishes headlines, cartoons, reviews, and poetry. He is from Wisconsin but has been in Mexico for more than 300 years.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Stand, Washington Square Review and Floyd County Moonshine. Latest books, “Covert” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, Santa Fe Literary Review and Open Ceilings.
Charlotte Hamrick’s creative writing has been published in a number of literary journals and anthologies, recently including Still: The Journal, Atticus Review, Louisiana Literature and in Best Small Fictions 2022 and 2023. She is Co-EiC of SugarSugarSalt Magazine and is Features Editor for Reckon Review where she also pens a column. She writes intermittently on her Substack, The Hidden Hour. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets where she sometimes does things other than read and write.
Chester Holden is from Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania. His writing has been published or is forthcoming in Door is a Jar, Across the Margin, The Bear Creek Gazette, Misery Tourism, The Helix, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Lit Camp, Primeval Monster, Alien Buddha, and others. Find him on Twitter @ChesterHolden9.
James Croal Jackson never thought he would live in Pittsburgh, love cats, and write poetry steadily for over a decade. Alas, here he is.
Jennifer Lai enjoys writing about regular people going about their everyday (or sometimes extraordinary) lives. She drinks way too much coffee and hates standing in line, but uses the opportunity to write microfiction on her phone. Some of her tiny pieces can be found in 50-word stories, The Drabble, 101 words, and Five Minute Lit.
Louella Lester is a writer & photographer in Winnipeg, Canada. Her Flash-CNF book, Glass Bricks, is published by At Bay Press (April 2021).
Eliot Li is deathly afraid of exploding houses. He's on twitter @EliotLi2.
G.L. Maverick (she/they) is a being, just like you, and would like for you to remember that your days are numbered... but there's no sense in counting down. Feel free to monitor their nonsensical musings on Twitter @gracenleemav.
Kelly Moyer can often be found wandering the mountains of North Carolina, where she resides with her husband and two philosopher kittens, Simone and Jean-Paul. Her latest book, Hushpuppy, a collection of experimental ku, is due out this year.
Caleb Perry Murdock is 73 years old and lives in Rhode Island, U.S.A. He spent most of his life as a word-processing operator for law firms. He has written poetry since his twenties but didn't lose his chronic writer's block until his mid-sixties. He is now writing up a storm to make up for lost time
Ruth Niemiec (she/her) is a writer of non-fiction, fiction and poetry in English and Polish. She received her BA with a major in Professional Writing from Victoria University. Her latest work has recently appeared in Dumbo Feather (aus), Mamamia (aus), ABC Everyday (aus) Neon Literary Magazine (uk), Coffee People (us), Parliament (us), Rhodora (in) and others. Ruth was the first place recipient of Brimbank Writers and Readers Festival Microfiction Award for her piece Dumplings in 2022. In 2022 Ruth's story Just Us was shortlisted for the Rachel Funari prize for fiction.
Jason Sebastian Russo was born in Yonkers and started writing on Twitter. His work appears in The Southwest Review, Hobart, Forever Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, and beyond. He has toured and recorded with Mercury Rev, Pete International Airport, and Hopewell, among others. Find samples of his work on jasonsebastianrusso.com and follow him on social media @retsoor
Penny Sarmada is from Ontario. Recent stuff in Cotton Xenomorph, Pithead Chapel, Dust Poetry and Bullshit Lit.
Daniel Schulz (he/him) is a U.S.-German author, academic, factory worker, and Pushcart Nominee for 2022, known for his publications in journals such as Fragmented Voices, Word Vomit, A Thin Slice of Anxitety, Dipity, Flora Fiction, the catalog Get Rid of Meaning (Walther König 2022), and his editorial debut Kathy Acker in Seattle (Misfit Lit 2020). His chapbook Welfare State and No End to Abuse will be published by Book Room Poetry at the end of 2023. IG: @danielschulzpoet
Jamie Seibel earned a Master's Degree in Creative Writing with a concentration in poetry from California State University, Sacramento. She has been writing poetry ever since she was young and is now starting to submit some of her work. Her poem "Portentous" was recently accepted into Wingless Dreamer's Dream Anthology. She also likes to draw and take nature photographs.
Josh Shepard is the author of Inside Voice: Poems Overheard (Ghost City Press 2022). His work has appeared in Waxwing, Bureau of Complaint, The Daily Drunk, HAD and elsewhere. He lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he works for the public library. He tweets about poetry and professional wrestling @JoshShepard.
Cheryl Snell is a poet and writer with several collections of poetry and a few novels in circulation.
Ryan Tan studies English Literature at the National University of Singapore.
Steve Turnquist is a daytime wanderer and a BBQ master from Texas. When he's not smearing sarcasm, he can be found secretly penning short fiction.
Tori VanProoyen lives an imagination-filled life in New Mexico. Her creative endeavors are inspired by: playing with her black, possibly demonic cat named Vlad, slaying pixels during video game adventures, and lovingly torturing her foolishly-trusting friends as their dungeon master in Dungeons and Dragons.
Karen Walker's writing is in Janus Literary, Reflex Fiction, Bullshit Lit, FlashBack Fiction, Ellipsis Zine, JAKE, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Flash Boulevard, and other places.
Rachel Wild lives in London. She spends most of her time reading and writing. She is published in Ellipsis Zine; Ink, Sweat and Tears; The Honest Ulsterman; previously in Versification and elsewhere. She is an editor at The Forge litmag. She loves anything experimental.
Find her on Twitter @politicsofspace