speak a straight word

By Afieya Kipp

I am a violently beating heart / in the hand of a pauper / swallowing my sadness / to stay alive for my family because we haven’t got enough money for a funeral / America has taught me / that to be soft is my virtue / and that womyn need access / more than protection / and in the wake of a new / dawning / fiery world order / brought on by the change in seasons / humans have created / with their stiff garbage / is the courage to call things / what they are in your native tongue.

Monastic Living

By Jamie Jonathan Ball

Oil on canvas
7x8 in

'Monastic living' is part of a large on-going group of works entitled 'The Chaos State', which studies a form of dystopia based on the idea that Western society is now so deeply embedded in its own infinitely complex histories that a downward spiral has been set in motion which cannot be reversed. This situation has elapsed, and is elapsing, over such an immense time-frame that an overview seems almost impossible. The painting itself focuses on the psychological condition brought about by isolation.


By Niuniu Zhao

the night
intoxicated via new album & smoky light you are definitely out of your mind
gastronomic explosion of inner raspberry ice cream world and obscenities in different languages except your own and dance! dance more & body electric &
pop beats that pop and bob and throb and flow and glow and throw

utter exhaustion from the cloudy rhymeless day but there are beautiful poisonous stories that fall on silky bedsheets and spongy mattresses cool to the touch soft to the drop

the demon in your dreams says take a walk with me into carbohydrate heaven the banana bread is quite vegan
indeed vegan-er than your skinny jeans priced at a little crumpled man’s kidney
ketchup or mayonnaise with your potato fries Why I must have ketchup and loads of it
Are bathing suits or birthday cakes more frightening O you are a woman that is frightening “in a thousand years there will be no men and women” so the movie says but you don’t believe in feminism because they don’t sell it on the streets

the angel says try everything carpe diem! carpe diem! car---pe---di---em---!
and the boy dies with grape juice in his mouth.

experience, accumulate your experience is good for jobs are good for life but don’t smoke don’t do drugs don’t fuck around not all experience is equal not all animals are equal not all of us are equal an egalitarian is always somehow found out to own slaves
“I don’t care about the individual” he says and he loves you so you have to love him although you do care about the individual you say you gotta go right at the heart of politics the machinery so that you have the capital to be secretly against it all but O it’s hard to opt in harder to opt out once you join you can only be against it all secretly because you have no better alternative.

I am a communist in a private girls’ school in a liberal western country on first nations soil

Father, I confess to atheism perfectionism and the cult of avocado the girl has an ego O but an id and superego too no bigotry all one and whole the body is the soul the high is the low

mind is physical love is physical like the sun is physical
Aren’t you ashamed that you have so much money
Aren’t you ashamed that you have so little money
Aren’t you ashamed you can’t even figure out what to be ashamed for

when you remember you might die
you remember you might die the next day but you still try to lose weight and save money
When you wake up
the world is your sandy salty slippery fat oyster

the world is an oyster which means when it closes in on you you are shelled and the bombardment has a rhythm at least better than the droning and droning and droning of lunch table conversations
climb into the shell
get towers of power and showers of flowers
pay everything its due price
and the community will remember your sacrifice.



By Amy LeBlanc

the space between her hips
is furnished with dandelion
seedlings and mud.

wisteria scales the walls
curling its vines around her torso.
to aid her recovery
it pricks her fingertips,
then makes a holding space.

With rye in her pockets,
she stretches her vanishing point
far beyond the birch tree
and the rope.

she abandons her half formed
footprints in the snow
and sways.



Call to Fire

By Isabel Theselius

Medium: Colored Pencil
Size: 24x32 inches
Year: 2018

"Call to Fire" is part of a series that revolves around a diner called The Red Mill, that Theselius' husband's great grandparents used to own in Detroit in the 1950s and 60s. The diner burned down twice under mysterious circumstances, once during the time of the Detroit riots. Through old photographs and postcards of The Red Mill, Theselius has been drawing images of the interior of the diner as the fire begins. These drawings will be part of an installation at a gallery called Detroit located in Stockholm, Sweden, in February 2019.

Her work can also be viewed at the Milk Press Gallery at the 8th Annual New York City Poetry Festival.

Zeus to Semele

By Rob Dennis

unsettling: to admit after all our ifs and I-nevers, after all our singing about lust: certain borders become porous. I’m all amygdala up late extracting patterns from the noise: how a mind stutters, lisps on mania and grandeur and rangy you in your bronze repose.

suppose: before the night does: I can’t rescue you. Time again for yet another costume change? Your eyes: shutter; a full pantheon I become: a horde. Contains me: a knowable universe. It’s not so easy being out of character. A lack of. But you’re one, too: on you

I act out the enormity of my fantasy. A little rage goes a long way, Semele. Out of twelve: one, and you: the loveliest, the better best of Ios and Europas: never did they crowd my head with such amo, amas, etc., with such beating: a like: a than: an as. As if to open

a box or the floorboards splinter, expose the low & dull & quick of it. Inside: only trouble: an ache so loud the neighbors tremble. Rumble of thunder, dark drums, earth tremors: this aching gap, its maniac rhythm, the divine terror of this second heart inside me.

Even spring has nether gloom I climb its roof and check Orion's posture lean over lonely friend my head aches a shoulder

By Danielle Pafunda 

Where you stud your huntsman belt where you carry with you the burden words for celestial bodies exits no nunh I grab / I grasp night air almost a yard of damp fiber ache to braid into rope is lasso is / is the O quite large enough to encompass but tight behold does my O tolerate the stars' loose sword and heat as well I wasn't / kidding I was knowing / I knew a lot about softening to capacity and then / the belief that every day must include pain might sometimes be hypnotized fledgling speckled sand between thirsty junipers fluttering hurt or new hurt or new say it again spell it say it in the careless raked mirror fresh downlike fur pull my daughter's hair so she'll know how not to live


crash my body / on some rocks I chill and call my dad / to mind I really love him not because he's a god a lot of people know / he's a god they were there when I was born of woman and also the gold crud that issued from his / joy, I have always made men joyful then disappointed their arms the hilts and the dates of their hilts and jilted nunh I was never so / jilted I made them dislike me capsize me I swam home deep through thick crust layers of home you think it's solid but then you soften and the ground softens to you underground the day under the grave under the meadow that shifts its weight beside the road to the sea that everyone and river ferries avec the island murder wind mountain scree running down my cheeks crumble a slew of things keep going back to stone / get stoned / wonder if anyone loves you like: does anyone love me the way I want to feel it right now the sun doesn't burn this place down and change its name for all the shit we talk about it getting dark now our corner private our sheer greens and aqua travel against the night's buck the harbor's fluttering eyelids don't mean sleep / pick sleep over / pick a tarantula off the low beam where ceiling meets habitat sin ride a little pony all the way to town clasp fur to cheek clasp hands not a clapping no one wants your praise tonight it's a quiet ode for us who got no nurses on duty for the still-white failure skin and bone for a long song I'm singing hardwrong with my hands up up up the back of your shirt buttons taking / I'm not willing to spend time here but neither am I sure where to take you it turns out every party is a sacrifice my tender friends are scared my thighs are shook where empty my cup comes back filled with a bright taste I'm certain I like it in my name is salt my tender friend's name is dusk we come from the center and we sell / destined labor


charm them with your stylish magic charm me think about without wanting to how easy to / too easy it would be / to burn yourself among sleepers not care if anyone dreams speak your name into the whorl while a crummy band lights up feeling and your people lay out to either side a channel of how you be and become remembered / remember none of that is here now a cult you member I've got my hands up what looks like prayer might as well reach into the dirt grab my wrist and I'll grab yours back and haul and haul like hell