Giovanni Mangiante

abuse

the sun branches out

its rays of light towards your throat

to burn away the traces of hope

left in you,

and the weeping moon

watches as you plunge the knife

into your chest

while the sun, still there,

watches over her back

to make sure she knows

who is the one

in charge.

John Zedolik

Community Convalescence

Those abrasions on her cheeks

were said to be the result of being

fucked from behind and rammed

into the rough shag fibers en vogue

in 1978 by her father’s friends

in her own home on a school-year

weekend so full but empty

with the mother gone

through the decade’s attachment to divorce

and no mention of the mustachioed

father—looking like the era’s TV cops—

but Facebook heals all wounds

even to the face, all the way to the depths,

so she smiles with a daughter

as a “friend suggestion”

among the hundred possible pix

and opportunities to post

every mild success and hope for a toast

by the virtual audience

for whom deep-napped carpets

and their burns have cooled to ice

with a chuckle at a style so passé.

Ian Copestick

I’m Lucky, I Guess

I sometimes feel like a misanthrope
and the world seems an unbearable horror.
I’m glad I’ve never been able to purchase
a gun, or I doubt I’d still be here now.
At times like this, life seems at best pointless,
at worst it feels like a cruel form of torture.
As soon as I wake, the self loathing
and humiliation come in wave after wave
of sickness. Intoxicants are my only
hope, and oblivion is all that I desire.
I’m lucky, I guess because every time
it’s happened so far, something has
woken me up and dispersed the black clouds.
Shooed away that fucking black dog.
I’m lucky, I guess. What else can I say ?

Ashley Fernandes

THE CALL OF NATURE

I hear crickets chirping in my bones,

Cicadas humming in my brain.

Roots grow through my skin,

Weaving in and out like a tapestry.

There are dandelions on my tongue;

They taste like the sun in my teeth.

You may say I’ve gone mad,

Gone with the fishes and the birds,

But I have lived with my head in the clouds,

Since I heard the call of nature –

Of peace, of solace, of tranquility –

Of madness and solitude,

But awakening still.

And so I’d rather be mad than asleep.

Alex Salinas

Woman disguise

 

When the sky is gray, Parisian,  

Sip coffee and zip it, 

Your iris speaks to the tune of

Coltrane, Yo-Yo Ma,

The space between my breath— 

If meaning lies there, 

Let philosophers argue,

Your lap is better 

For my paws to mine

The wolf inside you

Caged, wrapped in an ugly red

Beautiful bow. 

Theresa C. Gaynord

Vertigo

Fresh ruffles
of surf, rising, pattering against beams of steel

saturating
the sky with treble interjections; convulsive gyrations

of effortless
rage, lightnings on waves, cold and bare, gather

together
under a spring moon.

He wanted
to tell her between the stretches of electricity that

made the
tulips bleed with poignant scent, filling the air with

sadness;
the thought of it a simple thing, the solid paces of

silence,
God’s own calmness.

What kind
of witness would she be? The rain whispers, intimidates

the dying
to lie down with the dead, disappearing into vapors,

tugging
and sealing down edges of brick and mortar, desperately

seeking
to become eroded.

She stops,
spreads her arms apart, his heroic figure of comfortable

subjectivity
catches her breath between the metaphors of sunlight,

his words,
swirling wants against frozen lips; she knows. Loneliness

reaches
her soul as she looks down suffering vertigo.

Donna Dallas

Wretch’s prayer for Every Dismal Day

If I get through this one day
that spills into
the void
where I am continually lost
always left
for dead
if I get through this
pattern of screw-ups
this one last bitch smack up
if I get through this blowtorch high
cradling that needle
like Mother Mary cradled baby Jesus
if I get through this Chinese water torture
on my veins
if I live amongst people who
DON’T
shoot up
people who fuck up
but don’t hit it
if I promise I will let every
oozing sore dry up – I don’t want that infection
within me any longer
if I kiss this needle tip
the end
and wake up tomorrow
with just my Newport’s
will you float me a few more good years?