Poetry Demon by Kristin Garth

Listen in on a reading by poet Kristin Garth by visiting the video above. 

 

Poetry Demon

A poetry demon won’t clean a house.
It burrows in clutter, writing it out.
Language is legion. Words only espoused.
Diabolism requires fingers devout.

A poetry demon does not have friends.
It listens to troubles, locating a pen.
Seeks clarification. Won’t condescend.
Emotions, details its ghoulish godsend.

A poetry demon might get you read.
Knows how to write its way into a head.
It charts your cerebrum once it embeds.
Conquers mass consciousness without bloodshed.

When life’s chaos, but words are refined,
a poetry demon’s devoured your mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kristin Garth is a poet from Pensacola and a sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked the pages of Occulum, Luna Luna, Moonchild Magazine, Mookychick, Anti-Heroin Chic, Drunk Monkeys and many other publications. Her chapbook Pink Plastic House is available through maverickduckpress.com. Follow her sonnets and socks on Twitter: @lolaandjolie.

 

 

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“if there were water” and “Frameshift Mutations” by Shastra Deo

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Image: Sleep Sparrow “Bloom”

if there were water

in lieu of hyacinth garden my
kingdom is a heaven of spilled lilies
-of-the-valley, dead lands empty
is the sea : silent but for breath of

my beloved(forbidden
sight and sun
break)hoards prophecy

of the world and its remaking : years

he has since grown
deciduous—sloughs lashes like fall
teeth, whites
of his eyes sap-speckled with singe : my

shadow no shelter though his
roots still clutch my stone-dry
tongue: in the rivermouth

where they left the king(my

father)the
fish shiver apart, jaws stretched
out of being : omen and
ossuary : all

through the reeds things
no longer
living sink to earth-rot

and wait for spring

 

 

Images by: Ines Longevial

Frameshift Mutations

she did not ask you for jaw and lip
you foe yet kin for era
but you awe the men who ate her
raw roe gut doe eye wet
god his maw and pax was bad for her
nix the rib but you are not her ilk

she can not ask him for jaw and lip
her foe yet kin for era
but hea wes the men who ate her
raw rob gut elk eye dry
god His paw was pox was bad for her
saw the leg but hei sno the ril k

hec ann ota skh imf orj awa ndl ip
zhe rfo eye tki nfo rer a
uth eaw est hem enw hoa teh er
xra wro bgu tel key edr y
god _is was pox was for her
awt hel egb uth eis not her ilk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shastra Deo was born in Fiji, raised in Melbourne, and lives in Brisbane, Australia. Her first book, The Agonist, won the 2016 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and was published by University of Queensland Press in 2017. Shastra’s work deals with the intersection of trauma, memory, and self-hood, with a particular focus on corporeality and embodiment. She likes brook trout, Final Fantasy XV, and tea. Learn more at  www.shastradeo.com and on Twitter @shastradeo.

For Someone Who Doesn’t Have to Believe in Monsters by Chloe N. Clark

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I play my cards so close to my chest
they might as well be tattoos
when people ask me for my past
I tell them the things that chase away
the truth, the secret to not lying
is to never get close to needing to
I say I’m scared of horses
and silverfish and leopard seals
I distract with the things they’ll find
funny or if they ask what I want to do
with my life and I change the subject
say some random fact from history:
that Edgar Allan Poe may have died
from rabies, that there were ships
in WWI called “razzle dazzles,” that onions
make you cry because sulfenic
acids are unstable and can rearrange into
gases, that each of a person’s eyes has a blindspot
that is never noticed because the eyes work together
to correct the gap
but here’s the thing, if you were the one who asked me
for some truth
I’d tell you my life, unravel it between us
so that you could see it from above, every
secret I’d give you, until you held them all
in your hands
I think you might tell me
where the gaps are

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chloe N. Clark‘s poems and fiction appear in Booth, Glass, Hobart, Little Fiction, Uncanny, and more. She is co-EIC of Cotton Xenomorph, writes for Nerds of a Feather, and teaches at Iowa State University. Her debut chapbook, The Science of Unvanishing Objects, is out from Finishing Line Press and she can be found on Twitter @PintsNCupcakes

 

 

 

SAD SANDWICHES: Baloney & Plastic Wrapped Cheese, no mayo by Moriah M. Mylod

Seeing my mother standing there with all of her grandchildren looking more infantile

Walking around, carrying the infant that is me

Wishing I had a dad that took us fishing not teaching us anything about how to fish

Wishing I had a dad…

Finally in time, I have created a family

A family I have always needed

Though I sought out glimmers of it in friends’ homes

Nobody celebrates the victories that were overcome

But, I did…

Nobody will acknowledge the injustices that were lived through

But, I will…

Connecting it to all of humanity’s sufferings?

So…

No, I am not unique

I am not profound

I am not special like a child

Knowing now what it is like to be a woman as I witness my mother

Applying her makeup as tears drain from her eyes

Reapplying her gritty mascara as it smears her sandy foundation

Readjusting and pulling up her “big girl panties”

Maybe, it was just an Arizona Oppression

Peering outside from inside of the nail salon window

Seeing that we were in a strip mall parking lot

There were brand-new cars spilled over like apple carts

Yes,  SPEND & CONSUME

Because buy shiny, you’re dull

You’re shiny, buy dull

Getting my nails polished the color of Ivy Green Walls requesting to have a golden dot of the Phoenix Sun in the corner of my ring finger nail

In honor of the burn I’ve endured from trying to thrive in this desert land

I served my time here, Arizona, I mean

I  remember a prison that was my home, 12 years long

Where I died

To travel back in time, then slowly re-birthed 8 years later in a nail-salon

Smelling the offense of mercury laced strawberry lotion from China

The middle-aged woman beside me tripped and said that her “middle name is Grace” as she almost met the ground

Wasting my time here was like too many evenings organizing a junk drawer

Wondering if these thoughts I am having were from the Acetone leaking onto my brain;

“What if Santa Clause was Buddha?”

Giving us gifts to remind us that all suffering stems from desire

Want more…

Gratitude, now?

Happy New Year!

The Great Depression Coffee in here tastes like eau de toilette

We fight ourselves

In 4th dimensions

Measurements

Juices iced-down

Then, sized up

Smoke break?

Air break?

Which is it?

One or the other?

Or both?

Hyper-cubes

5th dimension

Taking data

Knowing nothing

Stuck in space eating mental breakdowns for breakfast in forms of sad sandwiches

AND Stuck in here with Danny, asking me for my socks

I’m glad I gave him a pair of clean ones for Molly

But I didn’t know they weren’t for her

He gave them back to me an hour later

Oh Danny, may God be with you and all the feet you sniff, lick and taste

ARIZONADESERTMYLOD

Sketch drawing in ink by MMM

“Pest Control” and “Dissociative Amnesia” by Kristin Ryan

Kristin Ryan Poems

Pest Control

I.
There are always roaches
in the corners of my mind.
I’m in the kitchen washing cups
at the sink and time skips.
Skips as in: I’m six and splinters
are in my back. Skips again:
roaches crawl over me. Skips again:
the sink is overflowing and
soap suds run down my arm.

This happens more and more.
When I walk down the hallway
to the bedroom, in the shower,
the nights where I’m brave enough
to be touched. My husband’s hands
are always gentle, they always will be.
I know this like I know windows can
be opened and closed. It’s my fault.
I’m the one that triggered you.
I feel like a predator. How do
I tell him hearing this hurts
more than what I remember?

.

.

.

.

 

 

 

II.
It’s during a therapy session
I learn kids mistake hands
for roaches and other bugs
when recalling memories.
The realization stings.
My trembling rattles
her office windows.
My sobs startle both of us:
“I wanted to be wrong.
I wanted to be wrong.”

When I come home,
my husband is packing up
the kitchen for our move.
How was therapy?
I shake my head and cry as
he wraps his arms around me.
“I didn’t want to be right.”

 

 

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image: Ashley Goldberg

 

 

Dissociative Amnesia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kristin Ryan is a poet working towards healing, and full sleeves of tattoos. She is a recipient of the Nancy D Hargrove Editor’s Prize in Poetry, and was a Write Bloody Finalist. Her poems have been featured in Glass, Jabberwock Review, and Spider Mirror, with work forthcoming in Five:2:One, among others. She holds an MFA from Ashland University and works in the mental health field. She tweets @kristinwrites

“Burn” and “Salt Water Haibun” by Courtney LeBlanc

Poetry Courtney LeBlanc

BURN

I sit in front of the fire, the wood so dry
it pops, embers rain out, a small burn
marks the rug, evidence
of the offense.

When I met him the spark glowed hot.
How quickly I reacted, knowing to let it smolder
could mean a home in flames. I don’t
always do this, extinguish the fires that burn
low, snuff out the desires before they can rage,
burning everything to the ground.

By the end of winter the rug is filled with tiny
black holes, embers leaving their mark,
a reverse constellation. By the end of winter
I have let desire burn hot enough to melt
all reason.

 

 

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SALT WATER HAIBUN

On my last day there he calls, tells me we’re going on an adventure. I throw my clothes into my suitcase and head his way.

The sun is blinding,
blue skies stretch infinitely,
trees verdant and bright.

He gets in, towel in hand, directs me into traffic. He doesn’t say where we’re going and I don’t ask. Twenty minutes later we arrive. We’re going into the Mermaid Caves, he says.

Water pummeled rock,
the sea surging, careful –
one must check the tides.

He lowers himself into the water, through the hole in the ground. I can see the waves crashing, the glittering sun through the water. I follow and we wade further into this strange watery world. Eventually he boosts me out of the hole, follows behind me. I kiss his salty lips.

Relentless waves roll,
the ocean never stopping,
no mermaids appear.

 

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Courtney LeBlanc is the author of the chapbooks All in the Family (Bottlecap Press) and The Violence Within (Flutter Press) and is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Public Pool, Rising Phoenix ReviewThe Legendary, Germ MagazineQuail Bell Magazine, Brain Mill PressHaunted Waters Press, and others. She loves nail polish, wine, and tattoos. Read her blog, follow her on twitter, or find her on facebook.

“The Devil of the Thorns” and “1981” by Lorhenz Lacsa

Lorhenz Lacsa Poems

The Devil of the Thorns

 

I am the Devil of the Thorns–

with my eyesockets filled with only

the darkness of the evilest typhoon

 

And pores of a juniper fern.

So bear with me as we entice the kings

of the world to think and turn

 

Against each other.

I already perfected my facial bones

because they will slap back harder

 

Than the truth that’s been waiting

to be unveiled; a sweet drug

covered in a crimson linen.

 

Running, always running, they are now

far from the paradise I once fought for.

The valleys were always on fire, I know,

 

But theirs is also chilling cold.

Are they living in a frozen hell?

How will I know,

 

I am just the Devil of the Thorns

and of the forest of merlot trees.

The twisted minds, they worship me.

 

But what is the state of thinking

to what you believe in?

It’s better to have a mind unwired

 

Than a heart that’s not pure

but pebbled grey, filled with the smoke

of the bonfire they used

 

To burn the witches they accused.

They are raging with hatred! Drenched

in blood! Their hands are colored ruby!

 

I felt the inferno in my skin too;

it scathed my skin and it curled as it was peeling.

Yet our dignity scorned is more harrowing.

 

They were taught by the gods they never knew.

So I creeped from the crack

of a parched, frosty detritus

 

And hissed and fought back.

To avenge against the kings of the world

and their gods who sent the fire

 

To my father and mother,

to my brothers and sisters,

to my myself and my lover.

 

I will continue to crawl

in the boundaries of your good and their wrong

of their odes and your songs.

 

Look at my horns and relive

the violence of the saints and the priests

then ask yourself who again

 

Strived for the angels’ freedom in heaven.

I, the Devil of the Thorns,

have my roses blooming too.

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1981

It is because of his eyes
that I fell into this roily trap
and hated and scorned,
spray painted red and groped.
It is his eyes and the roses
reflecting to them
that yet brings me hope.

It is because of his hair–
the silky curls with an attitude
that I am tied in a choking rope.
Chained, even so, to their rules
and conception. I fight to breathe
amidst the heavy blush smoke
to freely touch his hair with an attitude.

It is because of the way he talks
that I’m being stabbed by their eyes–
the same eyes of their god–
and whipped by their whispering tongues.
The communion table is where
they sacrifice our body parts
like crushed apples.

It is because of his wits and mysteries
that I was played like a rodent
inside a laboratory.
With all their techniques and radioactivity–
and lots of blood– that we don’t understand
as laymen
loving another laymen.

It is because of his kisses
that I always miss the turkeys and sweets
by staying behind the cracks and the walls–
“Hide me, hide us. Is it alright to hide? Should we show up now?”–
hiding and searching
from them and for myself
and his cherry kisses.

It is because of his passion
that I wet my pillows every night.
Sweaty and drunk, we dream of a day
when our children
will enjoy a drink in the bar
without the poison of fear
in their red wine glasses.

It is because of his love
that I fell into this trap
that I adore– I won’t even try to get up.
For if there is something that will bend,
it is not us,
but their mahogany walls and their church bells.
We will not end.

It is because of him–
my scarlet mage, my psychedelic lover–
that I grew a little further
and I will not try to let go
even if the whole world hates
every bit of us.
We will not end.

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“Pine” and “Tuileries” by Kristin Garth

Poetry by Kristin Garth

 

Tuileries

 

Twilight, Tuileries, trembles, tulips, then

tomfoolery. Cafe au lait, collar new

beneath her trenchcoat, navy blue. Her yin,

the silver links his yang, the gold. She flew

to him nineteen years old. His growl

“good evening,” telephone — a voice

with fangs, a face unknown. She’s hotel howls

with bit, licked lips, stilettos, nude — his choice;

she’s wrapped in whips. She’s strung and strummed, starlet

du jour. In bows and stings, this lust matures.

First love a chain that buckles, chokes. Ardent

affirmations rosé, azure procure.

No ring such decadent desire denotes —

their bond, Louis Vuitton, around her throat.

 

Lotus by Stephanie Ledoux
image: Stephanie Ledoux “Lotus”

 

Pine

 

Incarcerated in her head, black oak

staircase, wrought iron bed. She’s put away

each night to pine, your babydoll, her broke

down mind. Secret the staircase, sky slate gray,

descent to darkness, as you say. Projects

a prison with restraints, padlocks — a toy

returning to its opened box. Perfect

she ponders, mental cage; supine, such poise,

that’s part refined/teenage. A needy girl

you teach to wait. Daybreak delights she dreams,

anticipates. Her arms entwined above

her head, pulled taut ribcage, ropeless regime;

bedspread sunbeams your coniferous grove.

Seedling selected for her fertile mind.

Inside, each morning, your exquisite pine.

 

Ronell Ferreira Pink Protea
Image: Ronell Ferreira “Pink Protea”

‘Please Hear What I’m Not Saying’: A Short Interview With Editor Isabelle Kenyon

Please Hear what I'm not Saying

terse editor: In the introduction to Please Hear What I’m Not Saying you mention how limited mental health services are in terms of funding and support. When did it first occur to you that you’d make the focus of your collection mental health in order to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity? Can you tell me what drew you to their organization specifically?
Isabelle Kenyon: The focus of mental health came about both from my observations of the poetry being shared across social media platforms, the themes of mental health emerging from those, and my desire to create a theme which was both broad, inclusive and would ignite a passion in writers to submit to the project. It had to be something people would feel passionate about – and so simply on principle of supporting Mind, people submitted their work. Mind, to me, has the largest profile of mental health charities in the UK and their money and the work they do reaches the largest audience. However, I am looking into also donating part of the profits of the book to other UK charities, perhaps smaller organisations who the proceeds from the book could really help.
terse editor: While sifting through the poems for the collection, as the editor, what were you noticing in terms of connections between writers? Mental health is their common theme, but any images, feelings, experiences bonding these writers together in solidarity through their craft?
Isabelle Kenyon: There were definitely themes emerging – in terms of style, distancing of mental health conditions through different tenses and in some cases personification of conditions such as depression. In terms of topic, themes of motherhood, Alzheimer’s, family, sarcasm, and self-reflection emerged. I have tried to group each section together in way which complements the work of each writer in the collection.
terse editor: Has compiling this collection opened your eyes or changed your approach to mental health discussions?
Isabelle Kenyon: I think the overall impression it’s had on me is: mental health is no small feat – conversation needs to become commonplace. This book has proved to me how wide spread and urgent it is for support to be in place for those who struggle with their mental health.
Please Hear What I’m Not Saying is now available in paperback and ebook format.

Yum Yum Time by Elisabeth Horan

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Image by Becca Stadtlander

Hello shattered baby. Lie down – and come, I want to be free with you – I want to be something new for you – to be your new pet. I’m so fun: you drinking / me drinking fun. I want our party to be the kind they love – they covet our things, our makeup, our thighs, our non-existent pantilines. We are goddess lovers / we are body-snatchers. We are what love wishes it could be – calls us up and asks for advice on her asymmetrical nasal profile and pesky mustache whiskers. Bitch. Serves her right. Took yum yum from us all that 90s time. We are the light bright ponies lip sync karaoke twins – short skirts Timbalands hot as hell white light black jack tattoos Rosie Rivet – holsters for our whips on hips – Lesbians? Hell yeah. You butch, me femme, all tongue. Both of us, both of them. Canigetayesma’am? Shattered baby, Lisbeth lovely, tongue pierce kitten purr, purr lilla whisker pet – come, to momma, one more time and stay here: safety arms get paid in sex to protect you. Fun times love times come n get me some of this yum yum time.

✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨