Issue Thirteen

Voices

She hears voices, but not clearly. And not in the other room, either, but from outlying districts. They seed themselves in her mind: Whiny and nasal, like early Woody Allen. Flat and affectless, teenage girls tamping down fires. Rich and scurrilous, rappers choking on...

Sombreros

That's how you sell sombreros, from the bottom up, truth to tell, Where a neighborhood girl with fine big thighs in little shorts[1] And a Mona Lisa face has one foot up on the second step Of her row house, her ass pushed out to traffic as she alternates Trying on her...

Ice Floes and Bipolar Bears

A piece of junk mail flutters in my hand, but a few of the words are already feathers torn out and sifting in the air somewhere between the floor of my consciousness and the floor I am standing on. Like the wings of a dead bird, the ripped envelope still hugs the...

The Stranger Inside Me

I’m having a boy and Daniel is over the moon but I’m scared because I have no brothers and Dad left when I was two and how am I supposed to know anything about raising a boy even though Daniel says don’t worry I have four brothers so trust me you’re worrying about...

Fifty- Five

There is a mountain you come upon that no one tells you about, sudden watershed, and once you crest it, the dead people you read about in the paper are no longer some people but your people, actors from your production, not your parents’, so the wakes and the funerals...

Beast File No. 22

The night lights up like lightning. Not a single cloud in the sky. Only fireworks: red, white, and blue as far as the eye can see. Pop. Fizzle. Sizzle. Boom. There are lights on the tombs. Graves in the middle of nowhere. An old cemetery still in use. The lights on...

A Body Parts Comedy

Do you remember ten springs ago? Back in that season of renewal, I remember gulping down IPAs at a now-closed dive bar with my roommates. At Market & Fremont, we wobbled onto the crosswalk in a pack of testosterone as a klatch of estrogen strode toward us. Under...

Normal Objects

When my daughter and I came to visit you, the razor in the bathroom was just a razor to you. A reminder of last weekend when your son came home from college. Maybe you wished he’d put it away because it cluttered the sink. Maybe you were glad he’d left it out, like an...

Blue

Weeping indigo seeps across your skin in needle-pricked ink. His anger spills over the page; he cannot hear your voice. You try watercolour comfort. I find blue in your words, your bruised tongue lying peacefully. Forget-me-not kiss bleeding indigo into me. You’ve...

Stepping Out

My second first steps are like a walrus in stilettos. Quick, slow, quick, quick, slow. Jelly legs buckling at the knees. There’s a picture on the wall of a Caribbean sunset as if I might just waltz off into it. Slow, quick, quick. Phantom sand between my toes. No...

Five Painful Memories

1. Two men in splattered white coats are slaughtering a Velveeta. It screams and screams and screams. Its voice unravels like a yellow stocking thread. I am choking. One man holds a giant gleaming hook with a wooden handle. They are smoking cigars. I run home and...

What Art Thou To Me

To be honest, I may not be much better than an insect, masturbating while my son cries himself to sleep. What art Thou to me? Twists of cirro -stratus, wisps and twists, a string of geese unraveling below the moon’s better half, nothing stationary. You cut in and out,...

From the seat/ Cricket clock bus

From the seat That night, at that point of time, three sounds: a cricket, a clock and a moving bus Cricket: End of the year agony or entertainment or just a competition? There may be a paramour nearby, a boyfriend. So, will she fall in love with a mosquito?  Is...

Said to Godhead: Poems

#44 Jockstrap my ego, that fragile package of antique ambitions that never got sent. At a certain age, we are who we are going to be. You must feel that way about the entirety of the whole enterprise, creator of all-for-naught. Sure, as a species we’re taller now than...

Between You and Me and the Bedpost

We had sex on someone else’s waterbed. This was maybe 45 years ago.  It was our first date, and in those days, I kept my thighs clamped tight, but your mouth was everywhere, and yada, yada, it didn’t take long before you finagled your way in. You were in grad school...

Many Are the Dark Places

Recognize and be recognized. No one burns for that anymore. Beyond that, don’t you just love rivers? Particularly the Styx? Beyond that still, there goes the hand helped make superstars. You stuck it out, stayed awhile and got it on. Now you’re draggin’ wood and your...

Reincarnation

It happens when you can’t swing more than five hundred a month in the city; they don’t put screens in your windows.  One bedroom, no air-conditioning, hotter than average summer, so the window had been open all that day and into the night.  It was the only...

Cottonmouth

Colin woke up strapped to a cold, steel table, wrists and ankles bound with thick leather. Bleary, he squinted to see beyond the mucus-yellow halo beaming down from a jerry-rigged fixture, his mouth crammed and eerily hollow. He wondered how they looked. How much had...

Gen X Suite

We are Gen X we never get old I mean we get old but we never crack like the rest we’re Gen X we look younger than millennials - sorry millennials - why don’t you plug in your car and cry - it’ll be just a sec til both your parents  / still married come help we...

Spike

Tripp Towers, male porn star, sat on the bench, his penis in his hand. It was late afternoon, and his dick had been hard since that morning, when he’d injected it with the drug so he could get it up and get through the performance that he was about to do in the next...

Animal Shapes

Situational awareness is just so important. Even a momentary lapse can result in a 9-year-old in a black-and-white striped Halloween costume being mistaken for an actual skunk and shot. Now crime scene technicians in full-body coveralls are photographing the...

Woodcutter

Once upon a time there lived a woodcutter. Married well. Married up. Married into family of riches. Luck of right place, right time: out chopping wood, heard a scream and went running—all chest out and ax. Cut open wolf. Out came grandma and future wife, Red. My my,...

The “I” Poem

The I is the one who drives down a two way highway in autumn. This is the future. The I is a member of the LGBTQALMNOP+ consortium. Guess which one. The I is the one I never see but other people do. Because he is different. The I must write he is disabled. Sees...

Voices

She hears voices, but not clearly. And not in the other room, either, but from outlying districts. They seed themselves in her mind: Whiny and nasal, like early Woody Allen. Flat and affectless, teenage girls tamping down fires. Rich and scurrilous, rappers choking on...

Sombreros

That's how you sell sombreros, from the bottom up, truth to tell, Where a neighborhood girl with fine big thighs in little shorts[1] And a Mona Lisa face has one foot up on the second step Of her row house, her ass pushed out to traffic as she alternates Trying on her...

Ice Floes and Bipolar Bears

A piece of junk mail flutters in my hand, but a few of the words are already feathers torn out and sifting in the air somewhere between the floor of my consciousness and the floor I am standing on. Like the wings of a dead bird, the ripped envelope still hugs the...

The Stranger Inside Me

I’m having a boy and Daniel is over the moon but I’m scared because I have no brothers and Dad left when I was two and how am I supposed to know anything about raising a boy even though Daniel says don’t worry I have four brothers so trust me you’re worrying about...

Fifty- Five

There is a mountain you come upon that no one tells you about, sudden watershed, and once you crest it, the dead people you read about in the paper are no longer some people but your people, actors from your production, not your parents’, so the wakes and the funerals...

Beast File No. 22

The night lights up like lightning. Not a single cloud in the sky. Only fireworks: red, white, and blue as far as the eye can see. Pop. Fizzle. Sizzle. Boom. There are lights on the tombs. Graves in the middle of nowhere. An old cemetery still in use. The lights on...

A Body Parts Comedy

Do you remember ten springs ago? Back in that season of renewal, I remember gulping down IPAs at a now-closed dive bar with my roommates. At Market & Fremont, we wobbled onto the crosswalk in a pack of testosterone as a klatch of estrogen strode toward us. Under...

Saltwind; When You Come Home

Saltwind Saltwind is like acidburn in the nose and throat. but feels cold in your stomach like rain in the breeze of an August day that is just warm enough to make you forget what page it is on the calendar. When you’ve realized,...

Normal Objects

When my daughter and I came to visit you, the razor in the bathroom was just a razor to you. A reminder of last weekend when your son came home from college. Maybe you wished he’d put it away because it cluttered the sink. Maybe you were glad he’d left it out, like an...

Blue

Weeping indigo seeps across your skin in needle-pricked ink. His anger spills over the page; he cannot hear your voice. You try watercolour comfort. I find blue in your words, your bruised tongue lying peacefully. Forget-me-not kiss bleeding indigo into me. You’ve...

Stepping Out

My second first steps are like a walrus in stilettos. Quick, slow, quick, quick, slow. Jelly legs buckling at the knees. There’s a picture on the wall of a Caribbean sunset as if I might just waltz off into it. Slow, quick, quick. Phantom sand between my toes. No...

Five Painful Memories

1. Two men in splattered white coats are slaughtering a Velveeta. It screams and screams and screams. Its voice unravels like a yellow stocking thread. I am choking. One man holds a giant gleaming hook with a wooden handle. They are smoking cigars. I run home and...

What Art Thou To Me

To be honest, I may not be much better than an insect, masturbating while my son cries himself to sleep. What art Thou to me? Twists of cirro -stratus, wisps and twists, a string of geese unraveling below the moon’s better half, nothing stationary. You cut in and out,...

From the seat/ Cricket clock bus

From the seat That night, at that point of time, three sounds: a cricket, a clock and a moving bus Cricket: End of the year agony or entertainment or just a competition? There may be a paramour nearby, a boyfriend. So, will she fall in love with a mosquito?  Is...

Said to Godhead: Poems

#44 Jockstrap my ego, that fragile package of antique ambitions that never got sent. At a certain age, we are who we are going to be. You must feel that way about the entirety of the whole enterprise, creator of all-for-naught. Sure, as a species we’re taller now than...

Between You and Me and the Bedpost

We had sex on someone else’s waterbed. This was maybe 45 years ago.  It was our first date, and in those days, I kept my thighs clamped tight, but your mouth was everywhere, and yada, yada, it didn’t take long before you finagled your way in. You were in grad school...

Many Are the Dark Places

Recognize and be recognized. No one burns for that anymore. Beyond that, don’t you just love rivers? Particularly the Styx? Beyond that still, there goes the hand helped make superstars. You stuck it out, stayed awhile and got it on. Now you’re draggin’ wood and your...

Reincarnation

It happens when you can’t swing more than five hundred a month in the city; they don’t put screens in your windows.  One bedroom, no air-conditioning, hotter than average summer, so the window had been open all that day and into the night.  It was the only...

Cottonmouth

Colin woke up strapped to a cold, steel table, wrists and ankles bound with thick leather. Bleary, he squinted to see beyond the mucus-yellow halo beaming down from a jerry-rigged fixture, his mouth crammed and eerily hollow. He wondered how they looked. How much had...

Gen X Suite

We are Gen X we never get old I mean we get old but we never crack like the rest we’re Gen X we look younger than millennials - sorry millennials - why don’t you plug in your car and cry - it’ll be just a sec til both your parents  / still married come help we...

Spike

Tripp Towers, male porn star, sat on the bench, his penis in his hand. It was late afternoon, and his dick had been hard since that morning, when he’d injected it with the drug so he could get it up and get through the performance that he was about to do in the next...

Animal Shapes

Situational awareness is just so important. Even a momentary lapse can result in a 9-year-old in a black-and-white striped Halloween costume being mistaken for an actual skunk and shot. Now crime scene technicians in full-body coveralls are photographing the...

Woodcutter

Once upon a time there lived a woodcutter. Married well. Married up. Married into family of riches. Luck of right place, right time: out chopping wood, heard a scream and went running—all chest out and ax. Cut open wolf. Out came grandma and future wife, Red. My my,...

The “I” Poem

The I is the one who drives down a two way highway in autumn. This is the future. The I is a member of the LGBTQALMNOP+ consortium. Guess which one. The I is the one I never see but other people do. Because he is different. The I must write he is disabled. Sees...

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