january

DISTURBING WORDS

GRAPHIC CONTENT

Blake Bell

 

i’m worried about the man behind me in line.

probably staring, thinking unthinkable things. 

probably wanting to put things inside me. 

body parts, utensils, dolls, bottles, animals 

who knows what people think about these days

TARGET CROWDS

Sara Dobbie

Danny Collier

 

 

 

Danny Collier

 

The schizophrenic

screaming in your face

about vaginas

has a lot to say

about vaginas.

ON VAGINAS

Flamingo

M.P. Powers        

 

She’d just sat down to breakfast when she noticed her ex hanging

in the grapefruit tree in her backyard.

Three days later, the tree was gone – all evidence of it –

eradicated, raked up and sodded over.

Now all that stands in the spot is a plastic flamingo,

its beady little eye glaring straight in her kitchen. 

M.P. Powers

Chris G.

a mother's love

CLAIRE TAYLOR

They want to know do I think about hurting the baby

are relieved when I say no. I don’t 

tell them I think about opening all the windows so the neighbors will 

hear him cry when I lie down on the bed and 

slit my own throat

five do's and don'ts for a better suicide note



1.     Start with your name so the wrong family doesn’t waste their time mourning.
2.     If you choose a gun or a razor to end it all, use any color ink but red.
3.     Don’t bother with apologies; no one can forgive rigor mortis.
4.     Write your note the night before; the desire to revise should not be discounted.
5.     Never end with thank you; if you hear you’re welcome, something went terribly wrong.

kip knott

                        Sara Dobbie

HRG

Butts

Jay Miller

in my rolled up blue jeans cuff

wordless glorious

the morning after furious

the first five minutes

a wake

VIRGIN

Fizza Abbas

Blood spilling in our courtyard

father sacrificed a cow for Eid ul Adha

A blossoming deathbed of a religious ritual

A woman butchered for not bleeding the first night

HRG

on a body meant to make more bodies

dylan sauer

the beekeeper packs wax and bloodied linen into the guts,

into the cavity of the pelvis. 

"you will be so beautiful," she says. "so full of life." 

the bees do not say anything--they are busy 

eating.

                        Sara Dobbie

 

 

 

Jeremy Scott

Puking up my insides

onto the page,

swirl my finger

in the sick

to make something pretty.

HRG

CARNIVORE

 

Alyssa Arns


Munching mistakes,
Chew, chew, chewing regrets.  

Sara Dobbie

HITS DIFFERENT

KDK

Smoke snakes my skin like serious sex

As I crush hot incense between my teeth.

A divine ounce allows delicious orgasms

And I feel no need to pleasure men.

A Cannabis Queen can come whenever, she says that shit is spiritual hunger.

Sara Dobbie

a poetry double feature

with author

Charles J. March III

Wispy Moments of Pleasure

 

Like when it’s cold out, and you’re washing your hands in hot water, and you wish you could stay there forever.

Shadow

People

 

The CIA is starting to survey the rehab owners, to see who’s watching over the tweakers and paranoid schizophrenics.

Charles March

election

melissa ashley hernandez

9 PM Election Night; red and blue

bite fingernails while shit-posting

on Facebook, watching states

light up on the map until 6 AM,

fear ferrying us into a restless sleep.

cimmone

free dental

thushanthi ponweera

She pressed the ice pack to her jaw, waiting for the throb to freeze into submission.

The tooth would have had to come out eventually.

It was slightly angled, and causing a cavity.

Even a dentist would have done the same, she tells herself,

moving the ice pack to the bruises on her chest.

HRG

the body

and the power it holds

Jay Fraser

 

Talons perched on my temple, a raven's beak pierces the

Taut film of an eye; it opens me and peers inside, searching.

 

Spores open their umbrellas beneath my skin and divide me.

 

I am chained to this rock, rotting and devoured; 

The beak grates against porous bone.

                             HRG

after you (left)

Kate O'Driscoll

The daffodils slump
on their crucifixial stalks.
Their little necks snap
and they suffocate;
chin on chest, they wilt.

Sara Dobbie

Sara Dobbie

Thousand Palms

mackenzie moore


Went east to inject my batteries like cleaner to the fuel injectors—
90 into the middle of nowhere, hoping the tach shaking
like spray paint meant it'd burned out the corrosion, blow out

the chalky leftovers settled into the crevasses between the seats

blue hour

melissa boles

 

in blue light she pressed against soft skin

broke herself open for strangers

came apart over screens, in harsh embraces

said she wanted love, chased release

awoke alone, gratified, paramount

Sara Dobbie

Dealing in Sanity

 

             My health insurance ran out 

so my therapist asked me about 

            Drug use?

Suggesting I get my medication 

on the black market 

             Instead 

amy-jean muller

                         Sara Dobbie

things to think about

Claudia Lundahl

I think about being a mother but can’t imagine it at all. 

I picture myself made out of marble, cold and carved.

I pull down my skirt, tights, grey cotton underpants 

Still no blood. Instead I think about catastrophes

Disasters, walking home alone at dusk.

                         Chris G

I can't tell you every secret

emily m. goldsmith

 

When I was a young fire-headed girl,

I pummeled the hot bare asphalt with my bare feet.

I would clutch the dirt,

shovel it into my throat            tirelessly.

I took the ashes of men, wet and swirled,

when I needed eyeliner.

I couldn’t find anything else     so dark and black.

                             HRG

The Limits of My Love

Travis Cravey

 

If I could love you, I swear to Christ I would. 

You don't know what it means 

to have this sickness, this trial, this ghost. 

I am limited. In my soul. In my heart. 

Limited.

                             HRG

DOUBLE OCCUPANCY

 

Jerica Taylor

We shared laundry money and bottled water and email passwords and a personal massager
because you insisted that was what girlfriends did
and I was trying to shrink myself to fit into your twin bed.

                             HRG

Midnight

Don O'Cull

 

Your eyes are rocks with my hand around your throat.

You unfurl when I crack your wings.

We stop breathing together and I unlock the strap, 

our final dim form in the mirror is peach melba and vanilla kickshaw.  

Sara Dobbie

 

Ragi/ni Gupta

now, I still have the same wiring in my brain
electricity doesn’t sprint at its old pace, these days
it’s a spark there, a sizzle here: reminding me
where I come from, I can never forget
how to short circuit when needed

[   ] months after I almost killed myself

Ragi Gupta

Sara Dobbie

Memory, Lost

Amanda Crum

 

I can't remember 

a winter 

that didn't blister

over the scars

that summer left behind

Michael Stipe Is On The Fucking Radio Again

 

Kevin Richard White

"Losing My Religion" blares again as I drunkenly cut off a Forrester.
Catholics! I curse. As I weave to stay in the road.
Jesus! I yell as I approach another intersection.
God. If you can cut a loaf for a bunch of believer idiots,
make sure I stay straight enough to get back to work  

Anna E. Fullmer

 

You try to divide Earth’s frozen dirt,

but Earth rejects your spade, 

refuses to fold over 

another dead cat in a shoebox, 

suggesting: stop taking in strays. 

In Search of a New Year's Resolution

Sara Dobbie

Sara Dobbie

Right time, your place

Abigail Swire

 

We jumped out of the frying pan

 

into the car. Full-speed into spike strips.

 

Roll.

 

Sirens fly by. Slide on ice.

 

"It was only ever...".

 

Missile tests shook the ground.

 

Lightning came down.

 

Now we're on fire.

 

We come. We go.

 

You know everything has to break


for a house to feel like home.

AES

HRG

BAD TIMES

Rami Obeid

-holes in the air

from cheap cigars-

I toss painkillers into coffee-

-Keep food to a minimum;

we have to eat tomorrow-

HRG

breakup haiku

L Scully

 

exvangelical

southern twink sucked my sugar

until I turned sour

untitled

Jessica Bonifacio

 

You exited the one-person bathroom first,

Before I did, lips curling into a grin - 

An old Christian couple stared and murmured.

We were, after all, in Burger King

                                       HRG

Sara Dobbie

ONTOLOGICAL

Jack Bedell


I am much less interested
in how many angels fit
on the head of a pin
than I am in how much god
can hang from the end of a rope. 

sting

Cathryn McCarthy

 

The day Mum left, I swallowed Dad’s hornets’ nest.

Throat swelled closed, guts broiling,

I poked the wasps, too—finger right in, buzzing, frying,

vomited me across the kitchen.

Sara Dobbie

Dutch Simmons

 

I can still make out

The faded scars on my back

Where you clawed me like you had been buried alive

As we fucked in the back seat

Of your husband’s Porsche Cayenne.

SCARS

                           HRG

I may have wanted...

bob carlton

I may have wanted
love

once.
Now

all I want
is you.

Sara Dobbie

night terrors

 

My sister slept with a bible underneath her head.

A non-believer, she thought I was possessed. 

Helen McKinney

                                       HRG

Lisa Lerma Weber

RECONNECTING

James Lilley

I sought help in lockdown,

Zoom sessions only

Waiting to connect, I felt the disconnect

A stranger on a screen

Asking about my past

How many secrets can a stranger keep?

Reconnecting. Please wait.

Deliberately dishonest discussion

She asks, I reply

Calculated admissions

No one had noticed I wasn’t okay

‘Open up’

‘Connect’ 

replied the shape on the screen

Reconnecting. Please wait.

Anyone close you can talk to?

Strange world restrictions

She waits for me to continue

(Or is she buffering?)

Reconnecting. Please wait.

Not the help I wanted

For 40 an hour.

authors exposed

Alyssa Arns is an interdisciplinary storyteller whose poetry has appeared in Glass Poetry, The Daily Drunk, and Moonchild Magazine. Her work has also been performed in collaboration with local theatres in Arizona. You can follow her on Twitter (@chronicmaybe).

Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. Jack’s work has appeared in Southern Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Pidgeonholes, The Shore, Cotton Xenomorph, Okay Donkey, EcoTheo, The Hopper, Terrain, trampset, and other journals. His latest collection is No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, 2018). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.

Blake L. Bell is a writer and teacher from South Louisiana who also enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending inordinate amounts of time digging around in her own head. Sometimes someone else’s, if they’ll bite.

Melissa Boles is a writer, storyteller, and impatient optimist from the Pacific Northwest who recently relocated to Tennessee. Her writing focuses on art, mental health, love, and the human connection. Melissa has been published in The Daily Drunk, Emerge Literary Journal, Stone of Madness Press, and at Fanfare and Sexology on Medium. Her forthcoming chapbook, We Love in Small Moments, will be published through ELJ Editions, Ltd. in May 2021. You can find her at MelissaBoles.com or at @melloftheball.

Jessica Bonifacio is an 18-year-old artist from Manila, Philippines. That being said, she's angst-filled, waist-deep in schoolwork, and trying to get by one day at a time. She pens poetry and prose when she's not writing for nonprofits or posting about her sketches at her ig account @dye_si_ka

Bob Carlton (Twitter @bobcarlton3) lives and works in Leander, TX.

Danny Collier lives in Washington, DC and chainsaws in West Virginia. He runs the web project An Abbreviated Family Dictionary. Past projects include documenting the syllabic adventures of an abstract cop and expressing trauma through poems about chickens and/or chicken parts.

Jay Fraser is a poet and general nuisance from Lincolnshire in the UK. He takes most of his inspiration from anarchist politics, the real movement to abolish the present state of things, horror movies, and French philosophy: Hellraiser and Georges Bataille are a recommended combination. He has writing either published or upcoming in The Tide Rises, Dwelling Literary, and Lumpen, and is currently writing about the political philosophy of industrial music. If you're a Twitter kind of person, you can find him @JayFraser1.

Anna E. Fullmer is a Library Assistant at Cleveland Public Library in the Youth Department, slinging story times and songs about the ABCs. She’s the lead singer of a band and misses playing shows. She writes songs, poems, and to-do lists. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Rat’s Ass Review, Uppagus, and Dreams Walking. Twitter: @anna_fullmer

Emily M. Goldsmith is a Cajun/Cadien queer poet, witch, pagan and part-time barista trainer. Living in Lexington, she is an MFA candidate at the University of Kentucky whose work has appeared in Variety Pack, Vagabond City, Fine Print, and elsewhere. She enjoys cooking complicated dishes in her spare time and making a mess. Twitter - @emilymgoldsmith

Ragi/ni Gupta is a poet and journalist in the process of weaving themself into being. Their work explores mental health and gender and has appeared in Stone of Madness Press, FAIRY PIECE MAG, and Ayaskala. They're working at Pixstory, a social media platform committed to the truth. Connect: @RaginiGupta__.

Melissa Ashley Hernandez is a Latinx writer and the founding Editor-in-Chief of The Minison Project. She is published in The Minison Zine, Fahmidan Magazine, and The Daily Drunk Magazine. Her chapbook, The Love in Between, is to be published by Lazy Adventurer Publishing in January 2021.

James Lilley, 33, Married Father of three. From Swansea, Wales works by day as a network engineer, is a retired professional boxer and active Bareknuckle Fighter and MMA fighter. Have been writing as a hobby since he was young, deciding to take the hobby more seriously this year enrolling for a Part Time Degree in Creative Writing.

Claudia Lundahl is a writer from New York. She is a graduate of the City University of New York at Hunter College where she studied Language and Literature. Her work has been published in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, So to Speak Journal, and other marvelous places. She lives in the United Kingdom with her partner and two rescued hounds. Find her on Twitter @claudrosewrites.

Charles J. March III is an asexual, neurodivergent Navy hospital corpsman veteran who is currently trying to live an eclectic life with an interesting array of recovering creatures in Orange County, CA. His various works have appeared in or are forthcoming from Evergreen Review, Atlas Obscura, Litro, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, Lalitamba, 3:AM Magazine, Ink Sweat & Tears, Fleas on the Dog, Dink Press/Problématique, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, The Recusant, Taco Bell Quarterly, Storm Cellar, Terror House Press, Horror Sleaze Trash, Harbinger Asylum, Madness Muse Press, Maudlin House, Misery Tourism, BlazeVOX, Blood Tree Literature (prize), The Babel Tower Notice Board, Bareknuckle Poet, Anti-Heroin Chic, Synchronized Chaos, The Beatnik Cowboy, Points in Case, Expat Press, Stinkwaves, Young Ravens Literary Review, The Writing Disorder, Literary Orphans, Otoliths, Oddball Magazine, et al. Links to his pieces can be found on LinkedIn and SoundCloud.

cathryn mccarthy has adored words all her life, writes queer romantic fiction, and has recently developed an all-consuming crush on poetry. Her inspiration ranges from her inner city life and customer service job to rural landscapes and their ancient folklores (occasionally jumbling them all up at the same time.) Publications include Acid Bath Publishing's "Wage Slave" anthology, "Odd Magazine" (September 2020), "Floodlight Editions" (October 27 2020) and "Pens of the Earth" (forthcoming November 2020).

Helen McKinney is an English Language teacher, mother and poet. Originally from England, she now lives in Northern Italy where she will forever be searching for herself and inspiration. She can be found on Instagram and Twitter @ellie_pages

Jay Miller is better than all right. He also writes.

Mackenzie Moore is a writer and illustrator based in Los Angeles who currently writes for television and podcasting. Her chapbooks Alms Basket For Your Heart (Variant Lit) and Bento Box (Kelsay) are out now. She believes bagels heal most wounds.

Don O’Cull lives in St Petersburg, Florida with a good-thinking wife and two lean sons. Poetry kicks his ass every morning. Middle schoolers kick his ass every day. His favorite color is bourbon. His work has appeared in Don’t Talk to me About Love, and he was once named Barnes & Nobles’ “Poet of the Month.”

Thushanthi Ponweera is a full-time mom and an aspiring writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Her poetry is usually typed hurriedly on the phone, before her kids wake up. You can follow her writing journey on Twitter at @thushponweera  

Kathryn O'Driscoll is a spoken word poet, writer and activist from Bath, England. She talks openly about disabilities, mental health, LGBTQIA+ issues and joys and gender politics in her wide range of poems. Aside from performing poetry across the South West, she’s also a Bristol slam champion who has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, at multiple UK National competitions and on BBC Radio Bristol. She has a first class degree in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University.

M.P. Powers gets people high for a living - he rents out scissor lifts, scaffolding, ladders, etc. In his spare time, he writes books and does artistic things. He tweets here: @mppowers1132

Jeremy Scott is from Albany, Georgia. He has been enmeshed in punk culture since cutting his teeth in its music through the local scene in Albany that popped up in the early 00's. He has been published in eris & eros review, Beyond Words Magazine, Sad Girls Lit Club, Surreal Poetics, and Tempered Runes Press.

Dutch Simmons established and taught a creative writing program for his fellow inmates while incarcerated. He is a finalist for the Texas Observer's Short Fiction Award and the Julia Peterkin Flash Fiction Prize. He is an awesome father, a former felon, and a phoenix rising. Presently lurking somewhere in the woods of Connecticut. @thedutchsimmons on Twitter

Jerica Taylor is a neurodivergent queer cook, birder, and chicken herder. She lives with her wife and young daughter in Western Massachusetts. Twitter @jericatruly

Claire Taylor (she/her) writes about motherhood and mental health. She has written roughly a dozen picture books that nobody wants to publish. You can read most of them in her monthly newsletter, Little Thoughts. She lives in Baltimore, MD where she spends most of her time biting back profane screams after stepping on Hot Wheels cars. You can find Claire online at clairemtaylor.com or Twitter @ClaireM_Taylor.

Kevin Richard White's fiction has appeared in Hobart, X-Ray, and Rejection Letters among others. He is not a fan of Jonah Hill. He lives in Philadelphia.

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