“I SLICED INTO MY NAIL BED WITH A RAZOR BLADE BY ACCIDENT WHILE LISTENING TO RANCID AND WASHING OUT YELLOW HAIR DYE, AND DESPITE THIS BEING POSSIBLY THE MOST PUNK ROCK THING ABOUT ME, I STILL SCREAMED AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS, ‘OH FUCK'” by Kate Wilson

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Image: “Oak Creek Canyon” by Kim Knoll

of course this is all to say I collected the droplets of blood in a little glass vial with a cork lid and added plant growth hormones to stop it from

growing stagnant

it smelled horrible like all those times my dad made me go on long, awkward walks with him after it rained and the earth was wet and full of life and I tried to stop smelling it but it became

ritual to open the jar

again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again until the cork

broke off

and I had to do something with it to keep myself from throwing it against a wall or drinking it so I considered

burying it

But didn’t like the ramifications of littering my own blood-jar and burying things makes me very, very sad because I am terrible at letting things go so instead I dumped the blood in the river and I know that makes me a

                        Really Bad Person

Because now of course I cannot stop thinking about where the stream runs to and the final resting place of that water and how maybe I just

poisoned the entire world

With my own blood but I guess it will be filtered out if our tap water comes from that particular steam and my mom used to tell me about how when her dad died they spread the ashes in the ocean so I guess the fish drink enough death anyway but then humans eat the fish so I guess we also

consume our own rot

And I can’t help but imagine all the PETA pamphlets I’ve been handed after punk shows and then subsequently thrown them away and how terrible of a person I am for still eating

other being’s flesh

But when I tried to become a vegetarian it became so hard for me considering I can only afford to eat at my school’s one cafeteria which just reinforces that I am a

Really Bad Person

And also a quitter but my mom also always told me overcommitting oneself is dangerous and also that overthinking things isn’t going to solve anything and I think maybe she was right since my aunt always called me a worry wart which of course is to say a

Very Anxious Person

But it can be very rewarding to worry for example I always finish my homework on time and I usually try really hard but sometimes I think it would all be easier if I just didn’t try at all because then I probably would not be so concerned about where the fuck

my blood ends up

When I dump it into the river just to get rid of it so I can stop thinking so damn much about how fragile we are and how much we all bleed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate is from Mammoth Lakes, California, and currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah where they are working towards a BA in English and an MA in teaching at Westminster College. Kate is a Virgo and lesbian who loves swing sets, their dog, and their girlfriend. Their work has previously been published or is forthcoming by Pressure Gauge Press, Write About Now, Rising Phoenix Press, and Rag Queen Periodical, among others. They are currently a poetry editor for ellipsis… Literature and Art. You can send Kate photos of the ocean on Twitter at @pasta_slut.

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“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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2017 Fall Reading List by Jordannah Elizabeth

I’m literally sitting writing this reading list in a Hugo Boss jacket that’s a bit too large for my small feminine frame. I found it barely worn in freshly dry cleaned in a “giveaway” box in my neighborhood. Everyone in the neighborhood leaves books, clothes and appliances out to share and trade. Some neighbors are a bit more well off than others. It’s not uncommon to find a wealthy student’s small collection of hand-me-downs that are clean, expensive and barely a year old. I almost like men’s jackets more than I like books, but as the season begins to change, and Fall makes chills the air crisp and chill, I can enjoy both at the same time. No need to choose.

These books are a combination of favorites, like my friend China Martens epic zine anthology, Future Generation and the enthralling Womanist literary effort, Hope is in the Holler: A Womanist Theory and a collection of books I’ve compiled while preparing for my feminist lectures and writing workshops like “Masculinity Studies & Feminist Theory: New Directions.” I rummage through libraries and independent books stores like Red Emma’s Books to find just what I need for my never ending literary pursuits.

The fall season is perfect for learning new things and growing our minds and perspectives, especially since school is now in session.

Future Generation: The Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends & Others
By China Martens

One Dimensional Woman
By Nina Power

Role Models
By John Waters

Listen Up: Voices From the Next Generation
By: Barbara Findlen

The Concept and Measurement of Violence Against Women and Men
By: Sylvia Walby, Jude Towers, Susan Balderston, Brian Francis

Eros and Ethics: Reading Jacques Lacan’s Seminar VII
By: Marc De Kesel

A Brighter Coming Day: A Frances Ellen Watkins Reader
Edited By: Frances Smith Foster

Listen Little Man
By: Wilhelm Reich

New Black Man
By: Mark Anthony Neal

Masculinity Studies & Feminist Theory: New Directions
By: Judith Kegan Gardiner

Sex, Drag, and Male Roles: Investigating Gender as Performance
By: Diane Torr and Stephen J. Bottoms

Hope in the Holler: A Womanist Theology
By: A. Elaine Brown Crawford

The Violence of Care: Rape Victims, Forensic Nurses, and Sexual Assault Intervention
By: Sameena Mulla

Sister Outsider
By: Audre Lorde

On the Pill: A Social History of Oral Contraceptives, 1950-1970
By Elizabeth Siegel Watkins

High Lonesome: New & Selected Stories, 1966–2006
By Joyce Carol Oates

Shotgun Seamstress Zine Collection: Six Zine by and for Black Punks
By: Osa Atoe

Freedom Challenge: African American Homeschoolers
By: Grace Llewellyn

Braving the Days: Stand Back by Jordannah Elizabeth

The question is: is there a separation between life and the liver? Lately, life has been happening to me. Every day has brought an acute opportunity for me to take a path of action or caution. Caution would allow me to withdraw from opportunities to interact with invitations, opportunities to travel and moments to bond and break bread. I have the choice to write or to sleep. I have the choice to touch or to sit alone, I have the choice to relate with my family or to never call.

Specifically, in the arts there are two phases of one’s career:

The season where you pursue and the season where you are pursued.

These seasons after the first inception become interchangeable. Many times a new or emerging artists much must pursue opportunities to create their art before they are offered opportunities to create, simply because the initial pursuit affords an artist the ability to be seen, thus attracting the result unsolicited offers.

Maybe I am in a phase where I have chosen a formidable aloofness out of a fierce attempt to maintain privacy in a culture and governmental structure that find public behavior and interaction to be a new, usable and profitable way of interacting.

This is all okay. I don’t mind receiving opportunities. In fact, I quite appreciate them, but there is this light amount of flailing I experience. A quiet flailing. A flailing I find to be natural as a human being who took much of her life to pursue and now finds it appropriate to stand back.

If I do not stand back, and take stock of my position in the balance of the experience of “pursuing or being pursued,” I can never truly understand who I am as an artist. One who drives forward without reflection will not likely find themselves in a position to be pursued.

____________________________________

It’s been 12 days and I am returning to this piece to complete it.
I feel the same way I did two weeks ago.

There have been times when I’d take a break and return to my writing for the column and I’d feel differently. Today, I just feel like moving steadily and privately, and maybe I’ll live my life that way, forever.

 

 

DARK MATTERS: DECAY by Moriah M. Mylod

I like to think of my worries as such:

A decaying tree that lays in the entrance of a walking path

Where it vanishes at the edge and stings like a thorn bush stab

From the Sycamore that rests here on the brim

Between the feminine Ted Bundy and the reincarnated Hitler

If it weren’t that fucked up now…

Wait…

See…

Where the wars of Evil vs. Evil

Drop into its own pits of Tyranny

cut eyes

Mixed Media by MMM

Braving the Days: It is of No Consequence by Jordannah Elizabeth

je

I’m sitting in Boston, holding my palms to my chest.

I pitched this column to be of the existential persuasion, which brings a slight bit of pressure for me to insinuate something deep – every month.

I tried to write this piece a couple of weeks ago, referring back to the debut essay, “Braving the days: using a few words devoid of superfluity” to pick up where I left off. Unfortunately, I realized that I cannot deliver what I promised: to follow up that essay by writing on the topic of “Giving people a loophole to demoralize you.”  I realized I didn’t want to write about that anymore because I am in an significantly better state of mind then I was in December.

I had gone through a heavy bought of holiday depression. I always go through holiday depression, but last year’s experience was different. It felt forced upon me as I have grown old enough to not internalize my sadness, but to let it go, allowing it to run its course. 2016’s holiday depression took a couple of months to run its course, moving in on me from when I returned home from an extensive tour in early November right on up until New Year’s Day. I felt helpless with this depression because I couldn’t shake it with my optimistic powers. Coupled with me dawning on my 30th year of life, I went through a “What is it all about??” phase for a little while, questioning the path I had taken in life, wondering if taking on a public career was the right decision as I was craving privacy, a quiet cabin in Aspen and the warm breath of a horse’s moist nose touching mine, breathing with me, giving me love and energy of its quiet wisdom and ancient responsibility.

I didn’t want to be Jordannah Elizabeth anymore. I had fantasies of moving to another city and changing my name and never mentioning my books, articles, travels, modeling photo shoots, Rolodex of successful musicians, publicists and artists. I fantasized about being a school teacher – and even more so, I wondered if I would be able to make friends easier and I wondered if people would treat me differently, knowing I had nothing to offer but just some simple company. I wanted people to love me for me. And it was a very scary feeling because I felt my actual life was very so far from that reality.

People say I’m “down to earth,” but where am I supposed to go? And with the power I do wield, I don’t feel it is an excuse to for me to be in any way rude or abusive to people. Being rude or abusive comes from deeper issues, not a fancy job.

On top of all that, my tour had battered my body and I came home with high blood pressure and a couple of other issues. So, the whole mortality thing was going on too, oy.

Nonetheless, I had worked through all that once New Year’s came, the weight naturally lifted off of me and I had changed my diet to essentially nothing but avocados, granola, oatmeal and almond milk for two months, so once my second’s doctor’s appointment came around, I was healthy again….

So, my deadline for this essay was January 15th and I wasn’t angry anymore. Suffice to say, I had to think about what I wanted to write about…now my deadline is 17 days late and all I have to say is that:

I went through all of that and I sit here writing, essentially the same as I was last fall. I don’t even know what all that stress and anger was for – except for my anger with Kanye West. That has waned a bit as well, and morphed into more of an understanding and even validation.

I was able to foresee his entire episode play out, right up to him taking photos with Donald Trump, sending prophetic revelations of idiocy to my editors. None of them actually wanted to admit Kanye has become a right-wing poster boy and that he is the epitome of male privilege, so maybe I’ll write my thoughts on that next month. Maybe I won’t, because next month, I’ll probably be the same person… going through some existential issue only to realize it was a waste of evaluation because we don’t change.

Our core, our purpose, our relationship with God.

It is of no consequence.

Jordannah Elizabeth is an writer, musician and educator. She’s the author of Don’t Lose Track Vol. 1: 40 Articles, Essays and Q&As.