Poem in Which You Are the Church

By CJ Strauss

Real boy the love I have made to you is unremarkable,
as it should be in a perfect world, impossible to tell
where you end and I begin.

Real boy I have recessed in your nation,
your looted land, pronounced it dead,
& closed the borders I once bled for.

Real boy I dream of fist un-flung,
forever boy, I have wept on your behalf,
I have wept for the rifle that fires flowers.

I have wept for your father, his secret sorrow
I have wept for your god locked in a bottle
I have wept for the ghost you never knew.

Real boy what do you call a wolf without teeth?
a wolf without fur, exiled by bigger wolves,
a wolf greater than the lack of his parts.

What do you call the boy refracted? His salted sea,
his rivers Jordan, John, and Luke
he who must be touched to be known.

What do you call a cancer by any other creed, that
which consumes the flesh, consumes the need,
what do you call a boy by any other name?

Real boy I have missed you every morning,
your funeral of a face, your
box of shattered pearls, your

mourning for the sake of
all real boys.
No house worships you, no house builds itself.

Real boy I have prayed for your forgiveness,
I have prayed to change you,
I have divided art from artist, divided

truth and nature,
I am bruised blue and pink,
my stomach soured by the fruits of your labor.

Real boy I have been the kindling,
the kerosene, I have been the underbrush,
the evergreen, I have been the root of your disdain,

your soiled seed, Real boy I have taken you
as Hades took Persephone, made you queen
for sake of starving, made

your mother ill with worry, brought
you to the edge of ruin.
Real boy

I have imagined you in the mirror,
I have imagined our bodies intermixed.
I have disguised you

for fear of reckoning, quieted you
for fear of possibility.
I have made you the object

of my unrest. Real boy,
the boy of my invention, the boy
with ten fingers and ten toes,

always I will be here,
stirring the same pot, wearing the
same shoes, missing the same people.

And you will be here, too
regretting nothing, not even
the hair you grew. Fantastic boy,

with your edgeless axe, your petty thunder;
I hold your breath anchor heavy in my arms
and let the burden bring us under.

Come see CJ Strauss in action as a Pride Month Micro-Resident
@ Books Are Magic, June 29-30.


By B.A. Van Sise

The written word is, at its core, not a word at all, but an unmouthed, unheard image- the idea of a word, itself the idea of a thought, itself the idea of a person: some stranger trying to turn a glimmer of fleeting conviction into a forever-thing.  No, the written word is not a word, but a pressed impression of ink, set with weight into paper, that we view as we view one another: a series of abstract lines and curves, that we interpret into something we feel we can understand.

When the Poetry Society of New York offered me a residency at the New York Public Library, I struggled to understand just what I might do with such a thing.   I am not a poet. I cannot tell you the first thing about iambs or enjambments, let alone know what to do with them if you threw them at me by the bagful.  However, after three years photographing poets, I know a thing or two about translating poetry into visuals, and about translating total strangers into new media.

So, for one day this spring, I took over the New York Public Library at 42nd Street -or at least a small corner of it- and dragooned several dozen New York City library patrons into my service.  I used projections of pages of the books they themselves had with them as my light, and as their story, casting their learning and entertainment onto them, creating jumbled pieces of found poems on the patrons themselves.

In the end, I found that I had created a sammelband-  a book, as it were, comprising a number of separately printed, unrelated works, subsequently bound together, a portion of which is presented here. The people, it turns out, are poetry.


why I pierced my nipples

an explanation for my father (who never asked)

by Calvin Claudio

In short, I want to moan harder than you ever, ever will.
I want to moan so loud that the earth arches its back
and quakes with pornstar begs of mercy.

The long version. I pay forty dollars for a tattooed man
to flick my tit and stick a needle in deep,
a hot blue bullet catching fire to my bile.

The long version. I want to know if you’ve ever seen
a man and bawled over the landscape of his lips.
I want to know if you’ve ever tasted another man’s tears.

In short, I write to you in threes.
The father, the son,
and the ghost between them.

The long version. I want you to know that when I seem to
blind you, like Saul was blinded, it gives me a god complex,
and I must sacrifice myself on behalf of your ignorance.

The long version. The tattooed man tells me some do it for
the pain, cleansing chaos to gleaming silver. I want you to know,
I am not in pain. I am good. I am holy.

In short: When I spread myself on crisp white sheets
and tell a man to worship my nipples,
all night long I see white lights.

You can find Calvin at @calvin_claudio

Mirror of Multitudes

By Armoni Boone

A shutter can seal timelines like *click*

we can measure time with light

conversation. We were always just

kids, right?

We understood blood sacrifice early on

*click* Sure, different masters, but we both believe in honest work.

To see a new destiny on the other end of a lens

is to hold hands with God across an unwritten stanza.




Artist Statement:

Lately, a lot of my work has been tied in building a creative universe, something as ambitious as Tolkien's or Pratchett's across multiple mediums. As a result, exploration has always been a key aspect of my work. Whether that is the exploration of concepts or merging mediums, much of my publicly facing works are either filled with questions or trying to flush out my universe.

You can find Armoni Boone @im.armoni and @armonionly


By Kaleem Hawa

There’s a bulldozer on the beach!,

and it’s not making itself any friends.

Its crisp staccato gagging the rush

of wind, the crash of synthetic on

mineral flattening the salted chew, shoving

the grit into their mouths, until

no one has a choice, until

they grind up the granules, spit-coating

the mulch until

it’s a sandpit after the rain,

Sullivan’s dessert, a brine-saturated treat

for a starving family, served sous-vide.

What did you say? There’s a bulldozer on the beach!

I have to remind myself, before I jump in

that the ocean’s not their friend,

that it’s a death sentence for a bulbous people

bobbing up and down its neck,

that under the skin, there’s a dripping reef,

the feet struggle to avoid, seeking out firm ground,

generations who’ve forgotten how to swim,

the Akka fishermen, the Haifa seamstresses,

lives gutted and cleaned and sold

so the creature can continue its purring

progress—goddamn—there’s a bulldozer on the beach!

It’s hard to walk, when you’ve stepped on anemones

—they crack the skin, break sensibilities,

puncture tires, even, rewrite stories, often—

but walk I must, for when my teta

passes I’ll return her to that

plot, I’ll repurpose

that black machine, carve out a piece of her

land, I’ll bend her earth to my will,

yell out across the indifferent light, crying salt,

chewing stars, begging the world to look, to finally

stop it, because: there’s a bulldozer on her beach!,

and dead bodies in the water.

You can find Kaleem at @kaleemhawa

The Power of the Click


By Lala Drona

Titles: Clickbait, Ctrl+click / Cmd+click, Ctrl+V / Cmd+V

Can a click on a virtual body invite transgressions on real body? Do we exploit ourselves in exchange for clicks, and does that exploitation manifest differently across age/race/sex/gender? This triptych examines the actions we take on women’s bodies in the digital world, and their impact on the real world. The seemingly inconsequential act of clicking while interacting under the mask of anonymity, behind the screen. In a world where clicks are the new currency, how do we avoid inflicting or perpetuating suffering on others though our clicks? Is it possible to empower ourselves through the action of clicking?

A mouse click on a virtual body can be an act of affirmation, an act of curiosity, or an act of violence. However, above all, a click today represents an exchange. One sees this in our tendency to value ourselves and content through the “likes,” “friends,” and “followers.” In a world where the virtual overlaps with the real, it is vital that we become more conscious of the impact of this value system on our daily lives.

Artist Bio:
Lala Drona (b. 1988) is a Venezuelan-American painter and videaste, born in Denver, Colorado. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado, Lala Drona has since published and exhibited her work from North America to South America, and from Western Europe to Asia. Her paintings, videos, and writing explore the themes of identity, women’s bodily experience, and the Internet's effect on society, all media combining together to create a cohesive universe. She is currently based in Paris, France.

Louise Bourgeois’ sculptures are full of legs

By Tali Cohen

Louise Bourgeois’ sculptures are full of legs

and I’m not thinking of the spiders right at
this moment but more specifically of SEVEN

IN BED — all of them with their pink plush
patchwork bodies, all their complicated limbic

entanglement — and what is greedier than legs
bending just to say I need you a little bit closer?

Maybe mouths, open and panting, or hands
closing to a fist. It doesn’t matter — what

I am saying is the body is greedy. It is always
asking to be fed and taken for walks. Washed if

you can remember. Loved and adorned. It doesn’t care,
it just wants touch. Stimulation. I am so bored of my body.

It’s not good company. It’s too selfish of a lover.
Louise Bourgeois’ sculptures are full of desire. Even

THE SPIDER who sits on a birdcage. Yes, even her
— who left the birdcage door cracked open, placed

an armchair in its center. Even the cold wire of it says,
come inside. Be selfless. Put your body on display for me.

You can find Tali Cohen @tatatatatali

Pressed Upon a Pane

By Anna Gregor

Oil paint on Canvas
36 inches x 60 inches

Gregor’s paintings suggest interior architectural spaces that enclose the viewer – walls and windows, corners and doors – that teeter on the edge of dissolving into abstraction. At moments like these, when the idea of a represented object and the perception of the material collide, the suggestion of architectural space transforms into swathes of paint in the imagination of the viewer. These uncertain “spaces” that refuse comprehension foreground the act of mental construction fundamental to seeing: one attempts to understand what is depicted but is ultimately frustrated. The viewer is left with the sensuous beauty of paint applied to ground and a self-awareness of a mind that wants to understand. These paintings beg the question: what is really real — the material from which we construct our ideas of the world or the ideas at which we arrive? 


by Sophie Gregory

Glued a voice to the ear. Left its shoes on the mat. My father’s Japanese movies. Imprinted

stomach scars. Showed the thing what was there. Not much. Blue ripples. Oars in an Italian

canal. Two blind pianists. A bucket of Elmer’s. Far from the factory laughs were miracles.

Sounds of pasta boiling over. The brakes were shit. Cave cases. Instruments of brass. Made

forts. Kept together with glue. The roof got sticky. If it dripped the moon was giving us milk.

Summers went. Everything was beautiful. Winters went. Tied false with the perfect bow.

Layed in the snow. Quiet. The head voice even in the stillness. Falling in the fishing hole. Got

buried in frozen water. Wet glue. Even kids know to keep water away from fresh crafts. Took

ill in the bathtub. Sometime between glances. Changes happen. Cheaper stuff. A month. Glue

peeling off your palm. A person’s fleshy funeral. One meant for the corn snake. The days that

wilt. Chrysanthemums. Real pirates. Didn’t think much kept its beauty anymore. Sunflowers

have been off the map for weeks. Don’t need it to see. Water over the ribs. From bathtub to

bed. Sun shined on horseshoe prints in my skin. Repeat. Turned nocturnal. Name means

wisdom. Invisible ink glows through highly lit eyes. I am the insomniac detective. Needle

coffee in the morning. Nights too. These days. Dizzy. I am. I am still. Thank space. The Owl.

This piece previously appeared in Jet Fuel Review.

Cat on the Ginger Carpet with Playmobil


By Gavin Shepherdson

Shepherdson is a designer and artist from Lanchester, Durham.

His paintings aim to capture memories and moments from his everyday life as a way of documenting the little parts he might otherwise forget. The paintings so far are mostly of his cat and looking for cars with his son.

His artwork has recently featured in print in Porridge Magazine Issue 2 and Penny Thoughts Issue 9.


By Fanis Papageorgiou

The day A she hung her smile from the sill
and he inhabited the door
the day A she touched him with such a waste
and he dissolved before getting in the grater
the day A she showed him the white of her eyes
and he lost the thread that was consolidating him
the day B he looked at her sleeping
and she got into necrophany
the day B he chirred up
while listening to the knocks of her feet inside the skirt
and she filled the space


If life
had found them
they would likely get into

Cherry Sundea

By K. Carlton Johnson

K. Carlton Johnson is a visual artist living on the shores of Lake Superior. Her work has appeared in Connecticut Review, Barley South and Muzzle, to name a few. She has been a visiting artist to the American Academy in Rome and a fellow at the Anderson Ranch Art Center in Red Wing, Minnesota.  


By Raisa Tolchinsky

why is it that i did not know my no
until i had already said so many quiet yesses

and why now, in a small room, does the woman
ask: where are you still carrying it

when she means, i think,
did you barter away your collarbone for some quiet?

there is never a secret passageway
there is never a quick way into the light

so let me try again.

when stars appeared in a city-bleached sky
i was sure it had to be a sign—

of something, anything, being right.
but if there hadn’t been stars, i would have found a reason

in the rain. if not the rain, then— a stray mosquito, or the glass in your hand.
to exist in an ending for so long is to see only the signs to continue.

my eyes at half-mast, there were so many of you in the
world to keep loving. but smoke is not the same as weather.

to be able to withstand both the beginnings, and the endings,
is how someone once described love to me.

what type of thing is worth more when it is damaged,
flattened by grief?

let me try once more.

i crouched in the grasses,
i set a penny on the tracks.


By Gregg Emery

The works and the world of Gregg Emery are inherently imperfect: purposefully paradoxical marriages between simplicity and complexity, clarity and confusion. Emery uses each of his works to complicate his two recurring forms: the circle and the rectangle. He uses sheer physicality to drag his paint into these two shapes, allowing the colors and individual marks of each bristle to interact with one another on his muslin base in ways that are both entirely intentional, yet also left slightly to chance. Each of Emery's pieces contains a unique, yet often limited, color palette, often inspired by unexpected sources. Derived from his everyday life, a movie scene, sunset, food or even a rusted dumpster.
Through his powerful color selections and movements, Emery awakens something primal within his viewers. He triggers associations both intended and unexpected, allowing the viewer to continuously enjoy the works with their own, ever-evolving interpretations. 
The past couple of years have been particularly strong for Emery as he has received critical acclaim for his exhibits around the globe.  From Brussels to Beijing and back again.  This past year alone Emery was commissioned and completed an 8,000 sq ft mural around a pool on Roosevelt Island that was featured in Time Out NY, the Gothamist and was listed by The New York Post as one of the top instragrammable places of the summer.  He was selected to exhibit in the 10th Annual Governors Island Art Fair, dubbed by the New York Times as the Art Fair of the 99%. From there it was off to Brussels and the Cube Art Fair, where Emery’s paintings could be viewed alongside the work of Chuck Close and other American greats.

3:30 AM

By Yasuaki Okamoto

Yasuaki Okamoto was born in Japan and lived in England, Spain and Canada before settle down in New York who is working on oil, watercolor, mixed media and recently printmaking especially lithograph.

His paintings perform a kind of surrealist that incorporates animals, plants and everyday objects as an icon of a death, life, and/or nature. The artwork is metaphorically based and inspired by his interest in the ecology of animals/insects and travels.

The Lights Go Down at the Angelika

By Donna Masini

and you press into the dark, imagine
the stranger two rows back, that fragile
chance you’ll forget in the second trailer.

Now it’s quiet, still
this burden of being watcher and screen
and what floats across it–light pouring out

its time and necklines and train wrecks.
What a relief to yield to the EXIT
sign red “I” blinking like a candle.

Soon the enormous figures moving
across rooms, the emphatic narrative
arcs. (There’s the thrum of the subway,

its engine of extras.) Here now
the beginning of trivia tests. Warning puppets
with brown-bag faces and fringy hair.

You’re almost here. But what you want
is the after. How yourself you are now
walking into the night, full moon over Houston Street,

at the bright fruit stand touching the yellow
mums. Here you are: Woman with Cilantro
listening to the rattle of the wrap,

the paper sound paper makes after you
have heard movie paper. Apples are more apples.
Paper more paper. Cilantro, its sweaty green self.


 Donna Masini 4:30 Movie.  WW Norton and Co. 2018