Associate Editor

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As you browse around and see we are on break perhaps you will stumble upon this posting soliciting an associate editor. Wonderful!

We are looking for someone who would like to volunteer about 10 hours a month to vote/provide a short amount of feedback on submissions.

Our work flow is a large review every two weeks. We get multiple submissions a day most days and would like a third person to weigh in on final choices.

We are also looking for someone who is a moderate to heavy social media user so they can spread our literary propaganda.

What will make me a good candidate?

We’d like to see, more than anything, that your interests and experience align with our vision. As you will see on our editors corner page, we are focused on what we feel needs illumination and discussion namely: mental health, narratives that center queer people, conversations about the U.S. carceral state + carceral logics, body positivity, civil rights, challenging respectability politics, small press culture, and in general ways to creatively highlight these sociocultural issues. Esoteric topics are also of interest to us and we’d like to bring more of that flavor here as a lot of our readers are interested in survival practices. In addition we are also just looking for a creative person who feels deeply and passionately. The people who run this pub are both air and fire dominants (an Aquarius with a Sagittarius moon and a Libra with an Aries moon) so a little water and/or earth would probably be good for us.

In your creative work we’d like to see that you engage with one or more of these above topics. You can send a resume if you’d like.

How much time will I devote to this project/being an associate editor?

As mentioned above we’d like to keep it to 10 hours per month. To break it down further it’d be 5 hours every two weeks. To be honest some months you may only spend about 2 hours with TERSE. reviewing, but it’s better to tell you the maximum time you’d be spending just so you know. Again, we’d also like whoever works with us to help us share on social media which will take up a bit of your time.

What will I spend doing in that time?

It depends on the submissions we receive in our two week work flow. Certain weeks we might need help reviewing one piece (as you see we also accept a range of genres so the type of piece may vary–poetry, prose, visual art, audio). We might just ask you to promote works on social media during our publishing cycle.

Do I send out acceptances and rejections?

No, don’t worry about that. We just need your help voting 🙂

Is there any compensation?

At this time we are volunteer run, not for profit. We will write you recommendations for professional opportunities and say amazing things about you until you are the praised associate editor of yore for the future generations. This is not enough, but if volunteering is your thing we might be for you.

How do I apply?

Send us a note (terseeditor@gmail.com) letting us know why you think we’d be good together. We will start sending responses out when we get back from break in September.

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THE SHAPE OF YELLOW

Trifling with your inadequacy

Your imagined idiocy

Satan speaking in your eye as his spit quenches yet stings your ice speckled blue eyes

Telling you dear, “You’re quite unfit.”

Splintering into the dollhouse that rivets and bends at the sound of your step

You are as cold as a witch’s tit by the 8th degree

To be peered up at closely as your buggered legs quiver at the touch of a child’s gentle curiosity

You think you are something because you have a self-coordinated name

Tripping over your indecisiveness, skipping to the next song, then skipping again

Tryin’ to drown it out, turning up the volume, and lulling your head like a rocking bassinet

Are the demons gone, yet?

Perhaps, they vacation for a bit before retreating back into the memory-foam of your mind

You are quite restless tonight

Maybe it’s from the whiskey

You toss, turn and your legs kicking up

It is the cool and bitterness of spring’s breeze

In the midst of happy flower and the sadness and starkness of your ex’s hollowed out eyes

From a poison too steepening like shouting into a bottomless mossy-brick well

No answers, endless blackness

Quiet stings as with each blooming daffodil and naïve lil’ daises

A screaming yellow pitching into your blanket of normality that is a cloak of an un-broadcasted TV channel’s heavy static

Black, white, gray

Ssshhh

The flashing light fades the pre-existing blurred composition

Gray, white, black

Ssshhh

Moving around the screen

Can’t keep track

Sunshine’s onto your bleak and calloused heart

Chipping away at the overgrowth of your disparity

Exposing your masochism and apathetic love notes

It leaks and sops into a bile of a beast’s gut

Dripping down from his mouth in a language of regurgitated words

Sticking like tar to the bottom of your soles

You walked away from it, but your soul didn’t

Sometimes the body of your heels double click when trekking well-known territories

Now barefoot on the sterile sandy shore

The water cerulean blue, the crests truest to sea foam green

And there

You are….

Melting

We are fused together even after the darkened fuchsia smoke

When approaching Summer’s welcoming end

There will be a slight yellow tinge to the tips of the sharp Silver Maple leaves

With the whispered finally of sleeping birds and the closing of lilies

Nobody spoke

022

Mixed-Media on board by MMM

“morning reflections” by G F Harper

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.black, Whirlwind 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

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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

 

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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