“Science news: Octopuses came to Earth from space as frozen eggs millions of years ago” by Caroline Grand-Clement

Visitants
by eric persson

Image by Eric Perrson

(after an article by Ciaran McGrath in Express)

i am too colorful for their
fragile eyes so i
hide in empty
vases, shapeshift into
silent pride.
they have called me
too complicated
on eight different occasions
& eight times i have
screamed back coward.
afraid of what they cannot
figure out they have broken
my hope to ever find
a home again. i orbit
around this planet of blues,
seep into its belly,
resurface only to wrap
my arms around their
sorry throats.
i am an alien
with too many arms &
not enough bones in my body
to call it a graveyard.

 

 

 

Caroline Grand-Clement is a seventeen years old, half-time poet, half-time student at an international school in Lyon, France. She dreams of art in any form, falling stars & late night conversations. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Beyond the Shallows, an anthology by L’Éphémère Review, Rose Quartz Journal, and elsewhere. You can find her on Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram @octopodeshearts.

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“and god said: no gods” by Grey Burnett

Visitants

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before punk was Punk,

before even she was “street

urchins” or “worthless”

she was “rotten wood

used as tinder”

 

before god took her safety pins

and pierced the world

she was already

promised to the flame

 

(i too

am kindling)

 

they say rock and roll’s

post-war anxiety headache

got so bad he took his ax

and jack-nicholsoned Punk

onto 1974’s pavement

fully disformed

she decrees:

“NO DECREES”

and chugs a molotov

she is beautiful

like a burning cop car

 

(“faggot” is also

made to burn

from the tinder

of witchfires

i rise flamboyant)

 

this god is not dead

this Punk is not dead

she resurrects in the flames

black leather phoenix

burning in the small places

every day by every show

she is very much like me

 

(and sure that’s

why i thought

i wrote better

drunk like hey

this alcohol is so

damn flammable

you know

we spent three

whole months

on fire that hot

summer

and it’s the same

chemical in

cars too and

we drove fast and

we drove loud and

oh god we ran and—)

Punk grabs me by shoulders

lovingly socks me

across the face

“HEY KID, NOW YOU’RE

JUST OVERTHINKING IT”

 

 

 

 

Grey is an ill omen currently manifesting as a flock of blackbirds in Salt Lake City, Utah. She currently serves as managing editor for ellipsis…Literature and Art and in the past has fulfilled the roles of poetry editor and productions editor. She is a judge for the 2018 IronPen competition at Utah Arts Festival. You can find her interactive poetry at https://greyb.itch.io/

“morning reflections” by G F Harper

Visitants

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morning reflections

say it with me
in cadence:

what place
is this
called
the land
of the free
what place
is this

pulled from as you would
from the depths
of your lungs to spew
trumpet sketches
to find support in song
in resolute inflection

say it with me
in cadence:

what place
is this
called
the land
of the free
what place
is this

 

to be a brown man
a black woman, unequal
not entirely a servant
but never the same
protecting what little is
mine, in this ever present
modernity

say it with me
in cadence:

what place
is this
called
the land
of the free
what place
is this

I have nothing to give you
my loves, my dears
while you are planning adventures
and campaigns, and victories
our Don Quixote
our abandon America
don’t forget about us
your befuddled laborers
your faithful squires
we who bear the brunt
of your behavior

say it with me
in cadence:

what place
is this
called
the land
of the free
what place
is this

maybe we should ride the horse for a while
maybe our mothers should draw the way
maybe I know how the way homeward
townships await our return from La Mancha
tall glass of water triumph
earth delight
heavy-illume footsteps
out of this desert

say it with me
in cadence:

what place
is this
called
the land
of the free
what place
is this

 

 

 

 

 

G F Harper is the author of Savage Yard: Revised Edition, with individual pieces in La Bloga: On-line Floricanto (2016), Raw Paw: Alien (2015), Dark Lady Poetry (2012), Refined Savage Poetry Review, (2008), and Farmhouse Magazine (2009). Harper attended Saint Edward’s University for a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with a specialization in Creative Writing, minor in Psychology.

 

“What It Means” and “Nocturnalist” by Betsy Housten

Visitants
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Still from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

 

WHAT IT MEANS

It means I walk the world in a shape I’ve only known
since age twenty-four. Or, by a different calculation, since
age eight, kneeling in my parents’ closet, of all places,
hunting for Christmas presents, struck by sudden terror –
what if I was gay. It means my relief was short-lived.
That I didn’t realize just how bad my heart could crack
with such heavy water until the first girl took it in her hands
and broke it. It means I feel a compulsive need to say
things like I used to love men or I’m no gold star, as if everyone
I meet is entitled to a play-by-play of my evolving life.
It means after five years single I sometimes wonder
if I still count. That’s how deep it runs – the way the thing
about me I hold closest can feel like an unending quest
for legitimacy, even in a mind that calms itself with
reason, a body that’s never understood anything more.

 

 

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Still from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

 

NOCTURNALIST

 

 

 

 

 

Betsy Housten is a Pushcart-nominated queer writer and massage therapist. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Cold Creek Review, Vagabond City, Bone & Ink Press, Burning House Press, Longleaf Review, Glassworks Magazine, and elsewhere. She lives in New Orleans, where she is pursuing her MFA in poetry.

 

 

“End of the World Memory” by Jen Rouse

Visitants

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We sit at coffee discussing
what it means to meet
at abject vulnerability. Everything
catches in my throat, like hearts.

I avoid your hands. The link
that binds my conscious mind
to the mind I might meet
on the other side of the table.

If I have brought you through
from another life, I want
to know why. I don’t believe
in cosmic jokes. But I

believe I know you. And if
I brought you here from stars
or seas, I will not leave you.

If the end of the world
plays out in the background,
I will still choose to see only
you, across from me,

our hands tearing into
chests, ripping out those wondrous
hearts, and trading—
to remember when we

can’t remember the last
time we met or if I kissed you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jen Rouse directs the Center for Teaching and Learning at Cornell College.  Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Poet Lore, Wicked Alice, Southern Florida Poetry Journal, Yes Poetry, Up the Staircase, and elsewhere. She was named a finalist for the Mississippi Review 2018 Prize Issue and was the winner of the 2017 Gulf Stream Summer Contest Issue. Rouse’s chapbook, Acid and Tender, was published in 2016 by Headmistress Press.

“The Invert,” “Flawed Song,” and “Scrapbook” by Lydia Friedman

Visitants
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Image by Yikartu Bumba Turlapunja

 

The Invert

Again she’s on the prowl.
See the whisper of a whisker
above her lip, the monocle’s claw
tigering her eye, the silk silence
waistcoating her hips – each button a fang
on which a lover may catch.

Which lipsticked voice will catch
mid-croon as she prowls
in tonight? Which saxophonic fang
will she blunt with a whisker
of smoke into silence?
Which brick wall will shy from her claw,

her moonbeam-sharpened claw?
And from what sorry bedbug did she catch
this Charleston influenza? Even in silence
her black brogued foot will tap and prowl
the dancefloor, whiskering
out some newfangled

rhythm as makeshift as her paycheck. Fanged
with a crisp deck, her lobster-claw
Queen of Hearts plays coquette with a whiskered
Joker. But watch her catch
a flapper by the waist and prowl
a gloved hand through that bobbed blond hair in silence:

how much such silence
speaks! Love with its million fangs
shadows her into each speakeasy. Wherever she prowls,
her swaggering mug bears Cupid’s claw
marks – it’s not just lust that catches
this poor cat by the whiskers.

Oh America, you’ve singed many a whisker.
Sauntering home in streetlamped silence
she whistles an old-country catch,
its Yiddish rhymes ribboned to bits by memory’s fang
like those Sapphic fragments half scratched out by history’s claw.
In the sky, dawn’s on the prowl.

Worldwide she prowls, immigrant whisker by vaudeville claw,
steeled with silent-film fangs. This butch sure is a catch.

 

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Flawed Song

 

1.

Consumption’s kiss was impossibly tender.

Like an anglerfish you pulled me under.

 

I have not wit enough to woo.

 

Bewitch me speechless, oh wizard of want.

Call the police on this heart of flint.

 

These youthful terrors are not very pure or true.

 

On Good Friday I gave my last promise away.

With my last match I burnt down Troy.

 

I’m perfectly, bloodily daggered in two.

 

The tarantella ruined my best boots.

An epidemic of silence conquers the streets.

 

2.

Pity poor me, a mute and forgetful Jew.

 

Like all small tragedies, I drag on and on.

No love can unbutton this soft jail of skin I’m in.

 

Desire deludes worse than the flu.

 

Of all sordid creation you’re the utmost harlot.

Look at this laughingstock, this love like a silver bullet.

 

The baker’s daughter sleeps in a coffin of yew.

 

Solstice vampires into eclipse.

Into sweet dreams I relapse.

 

Neglected, my heart beats askew.

 

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Scrapbook

 

 

Lydia Friedman once went on a blind date with a marble statue in Vienna. She lives in New England and can be reached by howling into the void, or at www.crookedbutinteresting.wordpress.com.

“Programme Terminated” by Gervanna Stephens

Visitants
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Image by Anna Price Petyarre

 

 

And when / the sun sinks / into the ocean at nights / turning it splendid / blue / and purple / and orange / and rainbow / and gay / does it wake / the Merfolk? is Ra’s definition / of a second job or volunteer work or magic / do the tides / splash faster / their slippery sandy shoes / kiss both shore and midnight / and when the sun / drowns / in Poseidon’s bathwater / still warm / home / to portals / and life / and endless moisture / does it lure / the siren / or is it / the call/ which sets the sun?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gervanna Stephens is a girl from the Caribbean with congenital amputation. She is a poet, educator, and a proud Slytherin. Gervanna has had poems published in several print and online magazines, including WusGood.blackWhirlwind Magazine, 12 Point Collective, Spillwords and Anti-Heroin Chic. She hates public speaking, has two sisters who are way better writers than her, and thinks unicorns laugh at us when we say they aren’t real.

“Use” by Chad Musick

Visitants

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I already know the use of the user,
of mealy-mouthed blandishments, of white lies
spoken by nimble tongues that reek of bleach.

In the nighttime hovels, the net cafes
with webcams duck taped to goose-necked lamps
in private booths, we gather, users and used.

The luckiest don’t sell their hope.
They pay their rents, instead,
by selling the past at pawn shops, the future
at payday lenders’ usurious rates.

Hope is a hungry child with a full set of teeth.

I already know the use of the user,
and he of me, and she of me. Of us.
And if — just if, I swear — sometimes I snort
or smoke or shoot, just a bit. Well. It’s not
the worst thing done to a body today.

The ladies of the day —
who hold their scalpel-shaped noses,
sneer, adjust their sunglasses to give
cutting glances, hide hangovers and fond bruises —
tsk tsk to their older men, who grasp them
with calloused knuckles, shuffle them away
from shame on the sidewalk. They’re mistaken.

Shame is luxury, is pissing through silk panties.
It isn’t when you sell them online after.

I already know the use of the user.
It stalks me in my dreams, threatens exposure —
to cold, want, unrefundable deposits
on wide rooms I would never occupy.

Work hard enough, the Titans bellow down each morning,
even you could reach Othrys’ peak, look down
and see the masses squirm beneath your heels.
Teach them all the use of the user.

But I know: they already know the uses.
Atlas’ shrug would not topple the planet.
It has always been us who bear the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chad Musick is an epileptic, autistic editor with a PhD in mathematics and several published poems. He lives in Japan with his family and is working on his third novel, though none are (yet) published.

“Cornsequence” by Kristin Garth

Visitants

 

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{Editor’s note: we encourage you to listen to the audio file of Garth reading “Cornsequence” here.}

 

The spirit took your eyes away. They did
not blink once yesterday. Contemplation
a mirror lake, self reflection, morbid
mistake. Blind maternal insurrection.

A husk, your body, in cornfields, was grown
for children — brittle mommy/yellow corpse.
Cornsilk brunette, for meadow smiles alone,
the spirit takes your lips. It leaves remorse.

You did not know you were a sacrifice —
harvested hollow to play nice. Cracked skin
still scented of the wild — aroma vice.
The spirit takes the nose, last scents of sin.

A crafted warning is a cornhusk doll.
To love a child requires no face at all.

 

 

 

 

 

Kristin Garth is a poet from Pensacola, a knee sock enthusiast and a sonnet stalker.  In addition to TERSE. Journal, her sonnets have stalked the pages of Rag Queen Periodical, Occulum, Drunk Monkeys, Ghost City Review, Luna Luna, Anti-Heroin Chic, Faded Out, Mookychick and many other publications.  Her chapbook Pink Plastic House is available through maverickduckpress.com

“Verum, n.” by Erin Emily Ann Vance

Visitants
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Image by Lina Kusaite

 

Verum, n.

This rough star crackling in the
broken pot, slipping the acrid red fumes,

into my eyes
jags in the flow of hot
syrup, like the long nails of a delicate
and unwashed child
trailing her fingers across the glass
of a cool lake
covered in moss,

moss-covered.

The hard bark spiny and
alert, the banks like wounds,
along the mud-red shores,
my nose burns with the acidic
blood lake, the slow spin of the
star singing
‘Oh sink, sink,

sink.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erin Emily Ann Vance’s work has appeared in numerous journals, including Contemporary Verse 2 and filling station. She was a 2017 recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize and a 2018 Finalist for the Alberta Magazine Awards in Fiction.

Find her at www.erinvance.ca and @erinemilyann on Instagram and Twitter.