“If you’re happy and you know it” by Nicholas Alti

grow more hands if you’re happy and you know it become a monstrosity   If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it give me the skeleton of everything that’s gone extinct   give me the fossil of optimism   If you need water or will wilt and you know it sit still and pray for water   feel yourself wilting and wilt   Look into the night sky tell it I want to put you in a bowl as if you were a fish to illuminate my room as if you were the night … Continue reading “If you’re happy and you know it” by Nicholas Alti

“ligament (loose triptych)” by Lianna Schreiber

Artist Statement Somewhere between a poem and an internal monologue, “loose triptych” is a contemplation of life, life beyond life, and the meaning in it all. (“What is a legacy?” “Planting seeds in a garden you will never see in full bloom”, to paraphrase; but also to cite a late night conversation, “Before you’re trying to be something, make sure to be.” I find that I’m often stuck on the conundrum of that maybe-false-maybe-true dichotomy of person / artist — I want to leave a legacy as a writer, an inheritance for those I will become a forebear to, yet I am … Continue reading “ligament (loose triptych)” by Lianna Schreiber

“Ghost Writing: Carceral Legacies, Haunted Bodies and Spaces” by Mauve Perle Tahat

One of the most terrifying ghost stories the U.S. has is incarceration. The prison is a haunted grotto. Prisons and prisoners are haunted by traumas caused by white supremacy. People admitted to these spectral spaces are part of its phenomenological architecture. When prisoners leave they are forever escorted by phantasmal histories. Most tangibly they will be cursed by restrictions like probation, employment and housing discrimination, voter suppression; the philosophical underpinnings of the prison itself are part of this ghost story. Prisoners, then, become ghosts themselves, observing society without a place in it, destined to float around disembodied until something sets … Continue reading “Ghost Writing: Carceral Legacies, Haunted Bodies and Spaces” by Mauve Perle Tahat

THE SNAKE BRIDE

When I came into myself, again Yet another awkward re-awakening of this body I saw an imprisoned cage of where a young woman was residing, It was right behind my Mother’sss eyesss A tiny fire lit between the iris of two gazing hazel stonesss One of yearning Death and one of burning Honor Where ssshe might consssume the esssence of the temerity of one’sss own contentment Ssshe dissspels and expelsss the very thought of joy’sss inner dwelling It is an echo to Her very calling That is utterly denied Ssshe awaitsss in the agony that is a finely feathered & … Continue reading THE SNAKE BRIDE

“The Power of PYNK // Logging Off” by Vanessa Maki

“Pynk, like the lips around your… maybe Pynk, like the skin that’s under… baby Pynk, where it’s deepest inside… crazy Pynk beyond forest and thighs” – Janelle Monae   Much like the vast majority of Janelle’s work – “PYNK” was radical in the most unapologetic way.  The music video is most importantly the most controversial aspect of the song. Just listening to the song isn’t necessarily enough, so you have to watch the music video. The most simplified description of this song is that it’s about vaginas.  It’s about being bold about having one (if you happen to). All of … Continue reading “The Power of PYNK // Logging Off” by Vanessa Maki

“A Clove Scented Winter” by Zeny May Dy Recidoro

83. To Make Poor Paper not Flow When You Write on it.      Dip the paper in alum water.  I, Hohman, will hereafter pour a little water on the alum and moisten the paper. Then I will see whether one can write on it.                                                                From “The Long Hidden Friend”, Journal of American Folk-lore (1904)   Again, some kind of alchemy at work retracing speech in the turning color, in the sighing snow.         Dream of the mirror house on another shore,         where a direct gaze is evaded         where one speaks in the winding steps         of a shadow on the far … Continue reading “A Clove Scented Winter” by Zeny May Dy Recidoro

The Embodiment of Hyper-Reality and Healing (A Reading List) by Jordannah Elizabeth

“…would that you could live on the fragrance of the earth, and like an air plant be sustained by the light. But since you must kill to eat, and rob the newly born of its mother’s milk to quench your thirst, let it then be an act of worship.” – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet “The quality of mercy is not strain’d, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice [blessed]: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.” – William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, sc. 1. “Falling is simple, if you don’t think … Continue reading The Embodiment of Hyper-Reality and Healing (A Reading List) by Jordannah Elizabeth

“IN A LITTLE ROOM WITHOUT WINDOWS” by JOE BONGIORNO

You, patriot. Yes you with sweaty hands on a smooth trigger. Do you appreciate the privilege of your position? The Bureau sends its regards. Right choices are rewarded in this world, don’t you know? We trust your Guantanamo-blue eyes to do the right thing. Where would we be without loyalty? As a family man, you must certainly understand. We’ve taken the liberty of blindfolding and binding Mohamed Doe to a chair. Rest assured he is guilty of something. We have statements from accomplices, witnesses, former maids and disgruntled lovers. They’ve testified directly to the Bureau. Give Mohammed Doe over here … Continue reading “IN A LITTLE ROOM WITHOUT WINDOWS” by JOE BONGIORNO

“another self-deprecating joke about my criminal record” and “Why Quit When You Can’t?” by Nicholas Alti

        Nicholas Alti writes with and about trigeminal neuralgia, depression, addiction, and an affinity for strangeness. He’s an assistant editor for fiction and poetry at The Black Warrior Review. There’s more of his work at Dream Pop Press, Hypertrophic Press, The Hunger, Pretty Owl Poetry, and elsewhere. Continue reading “another self-deprecating joke about my criminal record” and “Why Quit When You Can’t?” by Nicholas Alti

“Evocatoria or Stories of Grace” by Zeny May D. Recidoro

On paper, she was Carmen but for us, she will always be Mameng. Decades ago, the entire family lived with Mameng in the mansion at Balic-Balic in Manila. It had three levels. The base was made of adobe stone, and served as the garage and granary. The two upper levels were made of kamagong wood later fortified with concrete and steel, and capiz windows later framed with ornate wrought iron. There were twelve rooms, five baths, a kitchen, an out-house in the garden where we kept chickens, a pond where Mameng cultured tilapia, a prayer room and a library. We … Continue reading “Evocatoria or Stories of Grace” by Zeny May D. Recidoro