Monthly Archives: July 2015

Origins by Allie Marini Batts

Because I had no interest in learning
the art of blowjobs, practicing skills I saw no use for
on an acned and unappreciative audience,
I made myself a target.

Defending that virginity
like it was a goddamn lottery ticket
taught me better than AP English 11
the definition of irony:

When what happens is the opposite of what’s expected—
WHORE scrawled on my locker
four times in four years,
painted over to hide what’s written beneath

Ignore it; they’ll lose interest if you don’t react to them,
but my mother didn’t seem to understand that
ignoring it only made it worse, upped the ante:
DykeFreakBitchCuntSlutWhassamattergonnaCRYnow?

Spitballs clinging to my hair, I terrified myself
as I leapt up like a dog gone blood simple,
whipping my desk across the room
like a prairie twister, bearing down towards Jason-or-Josh

Caught at the cuff of my long-sleeved shirt by Mrs. I,
revealing to her in a flash, the map on my arm
dotted and cross-hatched in cigarette burns and shallow cuts
silvery scars and half-scabbed attempts to Just Ignore It

After class, she finds me behind the portable,
hands me a blank notebook, a detention slip,
and a skinny volume of a book that’s not on the reading list—
stark white with jet-black capital letters spelling ARIEL.

I’m tired of writing you detentions for smoking back here,
she says, I’m not going to tell your dad what happened today,
and motions toward my arms—
But we need to figure out a better way for you to get through this.

In detention on Saturday morning,
I stabbed at the page with the sharp nib of a Pilot pen
and learned that in order to forge a sword that is sharp and strong
you must first suffer through the burning.
________________________________________
allie
Allie Marini (Batts) holds degrees from Antioch University of Los Angeles & New College of Florida, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. She is managing editor for the NonBinary Review, Unbound Octavo, & Zoetic Press, & co-edits for Lucky Bastard Press with her man, performance poet B Deep. Allie is the author of several books of poetry which will not fit into 50 words or less. Find her on the web: https://www.facebook.com/AllieMariniBatts or @kiddeternity.

Ruminations by Na-Moya Lawrence

Wake

Broad swaths resting warmly. Tingle where tingle is welcome, unwelcome. Come. Flicker,
flicker darting gamely. Alive, mist before mirror. Write the name, curving perspective. Image is
soul, stolen totem. Devil on the chest. Respite in breathing. Devil in the nuance. Wake wake.
The lights are no brighter. Stumbling, tripping over ribs. Slick, what does it mean.

Slow, succumb to gravity grasping at your center. Magnet at your navel. No, lint.

Morning Light

Tell me something no one else knows. Lies. Soft shelled crab don’t scream like the lobster.
Strive for prescience. Press deeply the vault until it shudders open. Soft shelled ear, peach
smooth. In one out the other. If my tongue goes in, does that make you any truer? Look down,
look left, don’t look in, mirrors suck and expel. You’re prettier in theory.

Cube

Touch me and perhaps I’ll believe the cold press of your tip. Climbing an iceberg without
protection is impossible. Frostbite my lips. Maybe then a secret will be secret. Anything you
want. Wet floors breed cruel hands. Mop, mop until the floor is gone, until we sink into the
center of the earth and burn up our eyes.

Refuse

Take. Take what is taken in the giving of what? Like marshmallow blackening and
sweetening and hardening and melting primordially over a fire. Containing a high amount of
acid, pineapples will burn you with their sweetness. Cutting out the core is the suggested
remedy. Would that it were so simple. Waste not want not. Glue the shoe back together and
weather the leaks.

Anticipation

Christmas lights never looked so romantic. Perilous shelf, knowledge is tumbling and breaking
and waking only to fogginess. Sharp and bitter, sometimes spiced, rum is produced on
plantations. Chills up your neck, hands, hands so close. No touching. Press cardamom to
your nose, inhale. Wake.
____________________________
namoya
Na-Moya is a senior at Western Washington University studying Creative Writing and American Cultural Studies with an emphasis on African-American and Queer experiences. She loves Oreos eaten with cheddar cheese and sleeping on the floor right next to her perfectly splendid bed.

The Answer Understands its Question by Kami Westhoff

In the quieter moments, perhaps when the knit and purl
have led her far from the lifeline, or during the snap and shuck
of this season’s corn, its sweet stickiness silking
her fingers gold, she pities his mother. The realization
must’ve slammed into her like a mudslide: the pre-dawn
thud and whimper reasoned away as stray-cat feuding;
the squirm of her daughter under the blanket in the backseat
the fuss of motion sickness; even the night she found her son
slinking from her daughter’s bedroom his woolen footsteps
quiet as a ghost’s, a sleepwalker like his father. And then, the moment
the answer finally understands its question.

Pity passes quickly. She notices a mis-stitch and the yarn
unravels like a nervous system. She discovers an ear of corn,
deformed by genetic flaw, kernels in a scatter.
His mother is again just a mother that failed to protect
one child from the other child. She’d once told her,
If his father had known he would’ve killed our son.
I had to think of my family
, her voice like a high tide,
eyes slick as a seal.
__________________________________________
kami
Kami Westhoff‘s work has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals including Carve, Meridian, Sundog Lit, Third Coast, Phoebe, Stone Highway Review, Prism Review, The Pinch, and Passages North. She teaches Creative Writing at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.

To The Fascist Fundamentalist Editor by Scott Thomas Outlar

I used to agree with Nietzsche
about having no pity for fools,
but you’ve blown a hole
through my philosophy with this one.
Your opinion is so bad –
(of course, that’s just my opinion)
[but my opinion is better than yours]
{much better, in fact, by far}
…and so is my style…
– that I cannot help but feel sorry.
Right brain, left brain – some of us
like to use both hemispheres, leaving your
literal, classical interpretation
in the mud
with the rest of the extinct fossils
that forgot to evolve
when the natural selections were being made.
To favor a particular aesthetic over others is one thing;
to suck its cock eternally
like a blind religious ceremony
is quite another.
This is the New Age, baby –
This is the Renaissance Revolution –
This is an artistic orgy –
Better get you some
while the fire’s still hot
before you’re left in bed
cold
all alone
jerking off to that sonnet
you just can’t get out of your head.
__________________________________________
scott
Scott Thomas Outlar survived both the fire and the flood…now he spends the hours trying to survive himself. His work has appeared recently in venues such as The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Oddball Magazine, Dissident Voice, The Haunted Traveler, and Snapping Twig. More of his work can be found at 17numa.wordpress.com.