2 sonnets by Kristin Garth

Kristin Garth, Poetry

Voltaic 

Cut out a diamond of charcoal toile. 

Sacrifice black ribbons from your own hair.

Hand stitch satin lengths of tail.  The squall 

against sash windows announces it’s prepared

to share its primordial sparks.  Heavens, 

mutating black and blue, even rumble 

while you dare pause before a mirror, question 

appearance one last time in lieu of being humble 

on nights, electric and divine.  The bolt 

will trickle down the silver twine you wound 

yesterday with care.  If you deserve its jolts,

they will find you everywhere.  Crown 

of twinkling gigajoules, luminescent teeth,

at last voltaic as what you survived beneath. 


Survival 

Her toes are dangling off a stone fence post 

encircling the sinkhole that swallows  

parents, reposed, bottom half of their house, close 

to all of their yard.  Rainstorm which follows

fills her hollow along with the boulevard 

abutting the hovel with precipitation

until the alligators arrive.  She stands guard,

mewling kitten in hand, shrewd calculations

made to survive.  A free hand unbuttons 

the black cotton dress that hid the shame 

of a belly she could not express when 

the world was unbroken, she was to blame.

She quiets the kitten with milk at her chest.

First problem solved in a new world she loves. 

The Pathaphysics of Our everyday Fears by Lazlo Aranyi (Frater Amzon)

Heist, Poetry


                     From armour to barbour
                            or from the operating room to the ice room.
       The order comes and we’re deprived of oxygen.
              The Mengeleesque nurse selects the patients
                     under the spell of labor market demands:
       “Stay put” or “It’s a cripple!
              And he’s drunk! Come on, Mr. Body-Tray! “

The hospital has become an execution site
                     Where the master of the ultimate things knows how
              to squeeze tens and hundreds of millions out of death…

       William Burke hangs on the gallows. Undisturbed.
(his denture has submerged in water.)
       His pal, Hare
is now being lynched by the mob for his vile plea bargain,
              but Dr. Knox is not even on trial… 
                            Our waking Sun is a goggled, broken-purple eye.
                            A toad with a slit belly lurks at us
from the foul pork jelly of our Celestial Order.

Steaming bowels: greasy Medusa snake-clusters
                on the clothesline of the zodiac,
       and Saturn staggers backwards in Scorpio… “He is Psermes. Human in form, but better resembles
       a goat; a curved tiller hanging from a rope.
       He rules over Cappadocia, Galatia, Phrygia.” “God be with you!” (soon comes the “be against you”…)
“I’m the skinner from the mink yard… I was sent for you…”


Laszlo Aranyi (Frater Azmon) poet, anarchist, occultist from Hungary. Earlier books: (szellem)válaszok, A Nap és Holderők egyensúlya . New: Kiterített rókabőr. English poems published: Quail Bell Magazine, Lumin Journal, Moonchild Magazine, Scum Gentry Magazine, Pussy Magic, The Zen Space, Crêpe & Penn, Briars Lit, Acclamation Point, Truly U, Sage Cigarettes Magazine, Lots of Light Literary Foundation, Honey Mag, Theta Wave, Re-side, Cape Magazine, Neuro Logical, The Daily Drunk Mag, Unpublishable Zine, Melbourne Culture Corner, Beir Bua Journal, Crown & Pen, Dead Fern Press, Coven Poetry Journal, Journal of Erato, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Spillover Magazine, Punk Noir, Nymphs Literary Journal,  Synchronized Chaos, Impspired Magazine, Fugitives & Futurists, The Dope Fiend Daily, Mausoleum Press, Nine Magazines, Thanks Hun, Downtown Archive, Hearth & Coffin Literary Journal, Our Poetry Archive (OPA), Juniper Literary Magazine, Feral Dove Magazine, Alternate Route, CENTRE FOR EXPERIMENTAL ONTOLOGY, Bullshit Lit Magazine, Misery tourism, Terror House Press, Journal of Expressive Writing, APOCALYPSE CONFIDENTIAL, WordCity Literary Journal, Wilder Literature Magazine, Roadside Raven Review, Death’sDormantDaughter, Rasputin, Amphora Magazine, Dope Fiend Daily, THIN SLICE ANXIETY, Dark Entries, FLEAS ON THE DOG, Dumpster Fire Press, DON’T SUBMIT!, Horror Sleaze Trash Magazine, Outcast Press, DOGZPLOT Magazine, All Ears (India), Rhodora Magazine, Arc Magazine, ShabdAaweg Review (India), Utsanga (Italy), Postscript Magazine (United Arab Emirates), The International Zine Project (France), Swala Tribe Magazine (Rwanda), The QuillS Journal (Nigeria). Known spiritualist mediums, art and explores the relationship between magic.


Cold Blood by Miles Rowe

Poetry

Miles Rowe is a primary school student and wrote this aged 10 as a homework assignment.

Children scared, children crying
War planes fighting, bombs dropping
The sky filled with fire and smoke
Everything was destroyed, this wasn’t a joke

As the soldiers looked up into the sky
They saw millions of Nazi planes go by
The sound of war was like the air was squealing
The ground was shaking and the earth was screaming

‘‘GAS! GAS! Quickly boys’’
I woke up to my commander’s noise
I fumbled around and grabbed my mask
Now I was ready for my next task

Away from the gas and into the new trenches
Me and my friend were in the deepest ditches
After 3 my friend looks over the ledge
This was so scary, it was like being at a knives edge

Then I saw my friend’s head got shot off
I would never be able to turn this moment off
I lay still in the soggy cold mud
Completely covered in my best friend’s blood


A selection of poems from Aaron Lembo

Poetry

Last Rites

My grandfather pulled at his sovereign ring
with a sigh; his calloused hand beckoned me

and I obeyed. His breath was heavy, hot.
Clutching my lapel he drew me closer

so that his wrinkled lips brushed my earlobe.
I listened as his parched, thick tongue lashed

a fierce monosyllabic homily.
I shuffled out the room, gold ring in hand.

A short distance from the car-park I smoked
from the clay pipe he gifted me, years back.

The crescent moon appeared to be grinning
at his passing. I kissed the jewellery.


Boozer Man Blues

I said, forgive me, I’ve got a problem…
She said, you’re 28, get a solution…

She’s not wrong, and that’s the truth.
She’s heard it all before and rolls her eyes.
It’s not a major problem,
it’s just a cycle I’m trying to break.
Sobriety, relapse then I break.
Let’s go on a break, that’s what I thought she’d say,
No, listen: let’s go our own separate ways…
Damn, really? I drank for days…

I splash my face with cold water in the sink and
attempt to run and jump on that steady wagon.
Yeah I know, I know have a problem,
a drinking problem; show me someone who isn’t broken.
Depression can last for days but I’ve got to get to work.
It’s cool, my tongue’s hot.
I light a smoke and stare at the clock,
it’s time to hydrate; I’ll take a pew;
pull my collar up, Whisky-soda on the rocks.


Afternoon Delight

Reclined on her leather settee she ate
juicy, green grapes off a silver platter
that rested on a redwood table stool.
Toujour gai darling; now crawl towards me…
But before you do unbuckle your belt,
carry it in your mouth and prowl with purpose.
Totally naked, yes; that’s my command.

Stood next to her grand piano he obeyed.
With a raised eyebrow he unbuttoned his shirt.
She sat up, untied the bow on her gown.
As he approached she pointed her right foot
so that it pressed against his cool forehead.
Now, sweet-thing, you know what you must do.
Salivating, he rose to the occasion.


The History of History

The nature of people is first crude, then severe,
then benign, then delicate, finally dissolute.


Giambattista Vico

The incantations of sages explained
nymphs by brooks. Divine thunder reigned.

The Elite owned empires and traded jewels.
Men wrestled in mire; bloodshed ruled.

Run-down polling booths hijacked civic halls –
neglected illusions of change – the populace fooled.

I stood on Woolwich thoroughfare:
it blazed and burned; I murmured a prayer.

The air stank of asphalt; debris and shop-fronts fell.
A powerless policeman ran like a spooked gazelle.

Balaclavas adorned feline faces;
hungry predators patrolled the streets.


Portrait of a Greasy Spoon
for A.N.

At the ass end of a big county town,
where used needles and empty lager cans
decorate maroon cobbled streets,
resides a row of bookmakers, pawnshops
and a semi-abandoned, boarded-up old sex-clinic
(homeless huddle round makeshift fires
on icy evenings, smoking synthetic Spice).
A two minute walk on from the yellow skip,
outside a terrace house on Gooch Street,
stands an ever busy, brilliant café
that serves cooked breakfasts from dawn ‘til dusk.

Inside, battle hardened waitresses serve
patrons who lust after deep-fat-fried food,
Alfredo coffee and the physical form
of the female staff, dressed in tight blacks tees.
The only male waiter serves the priest
who grins like a Cheshire cat when ordering
buttered scones, black tea and a single sausage.
The holy customer speaks of Confession
whenever he sees the tousle-haired worker
bend down, spray and wipe the dirty tables clean.
One miserable, rainy day this male waiter
was informed, by an elderly woman
dressed in a black shoal, that she’d shoot him dead
were they in Texas; she heard voices that said
he spread rumours that she was the whore from Babylon.
She speaks of devils and unfaithful men ad nauseam.

A group of guys (infamous in the town
for being caught on camera trying to con
widowed women into buying phoney fascias
at a ‘discounted, once-in-a-lifetime price’)
like to order their ‘Gut Buster Breakfast’
with pints of sweet OJ, from concentrate.
These lads now specialise in the sale of toilet seats.
How their eyes widen when they’re served by the girl
with the straight brown hair and prominent bust.
She’ll be finished with school by summertime.
From young she’s learned to smile (then shake her head)
at blokes who blatantly ogle and drool.

Legend has it one of the regulars
was once was a semi-pro football player,
back in the 70s; while on trial for England,
he broke his leg in three places and
the operation left him all but brain dead.
Bless his gentle, lost soul as he babbles
incoherent words, vacantly stares, forgets to pay.
He carries a wad of cash wherever he goes
and tours the many cafés in the town
until his minder coaxes him back home.

The self-proclaimed Queen of the café,
a woman a year shy of being a century old,
orders the same dish, day after day after day:
two thin slices of roast chicken, carrots,
peas (well done), two Yorkshire puds,
two jugs of thick gravy and four roast spuds.
She revels in sexual innuendo
and barks at staff and customers alike.
She is guarded by two brutish daughters
who mostly scowl at their lowly subjects
while their great-grandchildren guzzle milkshakes
and curse with the grace of common royalty.

Many suspect mentors bring their mentees
to dine and learn the decorum of the civilised.
One does this by encouraging his teen
pupil to practise his saccharine ‘pick-up lines’
on the female staff while he pays for his ‘burger
and chips, remember thy coke, thy damsel’, by the till.
‘Oh you must be Juliet, let me drown
in your violet eyes, let’s tango together at noon’.
His cackle disturbs all privileged to hear it.
Others simply roll their eyes as they watch
their challenged subject spoon their tomato soup.
Some are good and kind and don’t pester
about ‘provisions for the future’, savings accounts.
And many families love to bring their clan
to eat out on the weekend, a luxurious cuisine.
Many more could be analysed but HURRY
UP PLEASE ITS CLOSING TIME
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME.

When the shop is finally free from customers
the staff smoke cigarettes, out the back,
and drink big bottles of strong Polish beer.
Each, I’m certain, holds the rank of seraphim.
Each recounts anecdotes of the shift in question.
Once the cash has been counted, the floors mopped,
they go home to cook dinner; they strip out their work clothes.
They reconvene at a pub, and make merry


Aaron Lembo has taught English in China, Spain and Vietnam. His debut poetry pamphlet It’s All Gone Don Juan is published by erbacce-press (2020). His libretti have been performed at the Leeds Lieder Festival and at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and his poetry podcast, Verse Amor, can be found on Youtube.

before you leave by Ilana Drake

Poetry

stare out of
the third floor
window to
glimpse at
the forest
which has
not been
explored

watch as
the sun
changes its
position &
let the light
flood the
room

dance around
like there is
no one there,
the room is
your stage &
the audience
are your stuffed animals

& yes, you
know that
you are
growing up
but savor
these moments because they
will be gone
so soon

run around the
long, wide street
for the last time
before you drive
away from the
cul-de-sac
& look at the water
lillies resting
& staying in place.


Ilana Drake is a first-year student at Vanderbilt University from New York. She is an internationally recognized student activist and writer. Her work has appeared nationally in Ms. Magazine, PBS NewsHour, and YR Media among others. Additionally, she has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Teen Vogue on social justice topics. She has won numerous Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for her work and is an alumna of the Rising Voices Fellowship (2019-2020). 

2 poems by David Hay

Poetry

Faith

With my Da’s heart and my Nannies’ wig in each hand,
I follow the trail illuminated by moonlight;
another angel is falling down the creases in the sky
carbonising with white flame –
blink and it’s gone.
No matter how old I am,
trapped in this mood,
that courts memory,
while licking in the subtle hues of each future;
In the quiet
I call for your presence.

Why does God, illusive even when the mind
is conjoined with the unity of the stars,
not reveal itself to me at 7 years old,
when prayers were as necessary as breathing,
and each thought was a note I sang to
the black holes of his ears?
But my silent tones never joined
your hidden melody that like gravitational waves
gently emminates
from the centre of your heavy heart.

Death entered, fleshed out,
hanging loose off those slow-creaking bones,
stinking of carcasses,
full of sickly lillacs.

Not a single sheet of gauze
collected the lightest dew
which would have abated my sorrow
with the promise of your eternity.

Nothing. Always Nothing


Just get us some drinks from the shop

In shadows measureless, a man whose bald head absorbed the few faint lines of moonlight that brushed through the branches Of summer garmented trees, stepped forward into a clearing so that his eyes, whiter than Victorian virginity seemed illuminted by a light within, powered by a rage clearly depicted by the tenisity of his muscular limbs. He screamed as if all the long years of pain were excotcised into the midnight wind. Such a cry I have never heard from man or beast. Ice crawled like woodlice across my skin. I kept walking. To run or confront seemed to finalise brutality if not death. I realised I was prey and that my 5 11 frame was nothing. He held me in this moment with his gaze, which did not falter. I clenched my fists, imagined I was Butch Cassidy who with two moves Knocks out a man with the genes of a giant. But all I could see was a skull broken on a curb, blood erupting out of what was an ear until it drained down the gutter.
I ran. Thinking of death and how absurb everything is, muttering fuck as I ran, realising I’m a lot slower than I was. I turn round. His legs make short work of the distance between us. Before reaching my door horror movie fumbling with keys, dropping them. Remembering every claim of how unrealistic and stupid those films were. Until inside, safe. I tell my girlfriend. She rings Neibourhood Watch and looks at me like I’m an idiot.
The next day I’m described on Facebook as a fearful young man. All my friends take the piss. It is funny though, so I don’t mind too much. But what is a man to do? Charge at the man built like a monument who is at least 6ft 7, which is true but sounds like I’m making excuses. Should I fight him to the death? Just carry a knife and stab him I guess, then I’d have the respect of men who are too dumb to be police. But that’s unfair.I was scared and am ashamed of being so. When I’m walking home at night, I see him there in the middle of the clearing and that scream and that stare makes me feel far too human.


David Hay was inspired to write after discovering the Romantics, particularly Keats and Shelley, as well as the works of Woolf and Kerouac. He has  currently been accepted for publication in Dreich, Abridged, Acumen, The Honest Ulsterman, The Dawntreader,The Babel Tower Notice Board  Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Lake, Selcouth Station, GreenInk Poetry, Dodging the Rain, Seventh Quarry and Expat-Press among others. His debut publication is the Brexit-inspired prose-poem Doctor Lazarus published by Alien Buddha Press 2021. 

Here, and Gone by L.A. Sklba

Poetry

Dreamt of a shark infested lake last night,
the lake we went in all the time.
And in the dream, people still swam.
Only this time, they got bit.
We didn’t go in that day.

I take a shower and forget for a moment. My feet are touching ceramic tub. The drain is clogged. Water pools up to my ankles. I tip my head back, forget for a moment, eyes closed, that the brown couch from my childhood home is waiting on the other side of the too-thin curtain and the old wooden door. You can’t see these things with your eyes closed.

Only feel the pooling, the wading, the water.
The metallic rain blurring reality.
The sharks gnawing closer now.
The metallic rain, the sharks,
swallow me whole.

I forget for a moment
that I am not gone,
only gone back
to swim one last time.


L.A. Sklba is a writer currently living and working from Colorado. Her poetry is either published in or forthcoming from Eco Theo Review and Zoidspace Zine. 

Medusa on a Mountain by Simo Srinivas

Poetry

Medusa on a mountain:
you wouldn’t think to find her there,
but she fled her temple and turned the gods to stone. Now she hovers
between the weft of thin air and cloud,
between the needles of sharp and ancient pines,
and her stone mountain gods
are ground to gravel.

A pebble rolls,
runs exuberantly to sea. The snaky lash of lightning
turns sand to glass.
Cut fingers bleed seafoam.
Cut feet fester.

In winter she gains substance. Strolls
down the gravel paths to tread
the ice-rattled thread between sea and sky. That pale white mirror,
that shining underbelly of a dead man’s shield
The black mountain a mote
in his unseeing eye.

In summer she evaporates.
Slithers into ether carried
by winged serpents
to rain on distant waters.
To armor tender frogs. To harden hearts
with mineral deposits.



Simo Srinivas lives in Colorado with their spouse and two senior, standard-issue tabby cats. Their short fiction has previously appeared in The Archive of the Odd and Decoded Pride. When not writing about all things weird and queer, Simo can be found on the trail intently counting pikas and other wildlife. Follow them on Twitter @srinivassimo. 

W/r/t that fire at the abandoned mill by Clem Flowers

Poetry, Punk Noir Magazine

please, let me explain –

it was an accident

I know, I know

just, when I saw

You

I felt all the finch feathers & wine-drenched dandelions you put in me ages

ago all go flooding back up & into my throat

when You asked if I wanted to go look at the fairy garden You had helped make out in the hub with all the rotten hay bales & hunks of metal that look like cybernetic wagon wheels

a little miracle You managed with a flick of the wrist and some menchika booleroo

& then I go and throw up all over everything

You were so nice

to help

& pat me on the back

& tell me it was okay

I didn’t even notice I’d kicked over that forgotten Standard Oil can

& yes it was a thick sludge that more resembled congealed Golden Corral gravy then something to lube pistons & gears that came belching out that little tin of tetanus & hepatitis out in the backyard but

when it was met by the lit tiki torch that had been felled during the wind that had come up & felt quite nice as my face went all flush while I was hunched over

“Wow. That’s pretty.”

Then we screamed.

Then You called the fire department

You were so nice

to help

& pat me on the back

& tell me it was okay


Clem Flowers (They/ Them) is a poet, soft-spoken southern transplant, low rent aesthete, & dramatic tenor living in a mountain’s shadow in Home of Truth, Utah with their awesome wife & sweet kitty.
Hella queer & Nb poetry editor at Blue River Review, with publication credits including: Olney Magazine, Blue River Review, The Madrigal, Pink Plastic House Journal, Bullshit Lit, Corporeal, Holyflea, Anti-Heroin Chic, & Warning Lines Magazine. author of chapbooks Stoked & Thrashing (Alien Buddha Press,) Two Out of Three Falls (Bullshit Lit,) & eating rain// matchstick graveyard (Alien Buddha Press.)
Found on Twitter @clem_flowers

3 poems by Sage Ravenwood

Poetry

Corncob Sinners

 

There’s a cornfield beside a slim two-lane road.

On the other side a massive graveyard.

The dead siphoned into groundwater,

loamy soil enriched with organic matter.

Corpse sins crawling up cornstalks 

like a swarm of armyworms and grasshoppers.

There are no saints among those buried.

It’s a hope deserted cemetery far side of a living field.

Dispiriting stalks of growth feeding want in crates 

at the local roadside vegetable stall.

With every buttery crunch and squelched

mouthful, a sin eater is born.

‘the ease and rest of the soul departed,’

Life pawned in dead remorse.

Guilty usurpers consecrated past lives

laid bare in maize staked fields.

They’re familiar with purgatory, beyond fear.

Frightened only by how haunted the living truly are.

Heaven is their earth bound prison, overflowing 

with ‘this can’t be all there is’ revenants.

They all take their turn in the soil, solemnly 

promising to get it right the next time.

Everyone is dying to live. 

We all eat the corn.

 


 

 

Grandma’s Wearing Fredericks of Hollywood

 

Seven marriages in she had a closet

full of empty chocolate heart shaped boxes.

Momma often had to fetch 

grandma off a barstool after school.

In a gloating mood she’d blow smoke,

making momma tap dance across the bar.

Only girl of six with Shirley Temple curls.

Dance lessons don’t pay for themselves.

Here come grandma’s gentleman callers,

merry-go-round screen door slamming

past grandpa number, I don’t remember. 

My uncles were never around, to be found.

One died in Vietnam; He loved

The Little Drummer Boy, I did too.

Uncle Terry had an ex-wife who

slept with a gun under her pillow.

Another uncle was split 

in half on the railroad tracks.

Don’t bring up the remaining two.

They’re all grandpa porch sitting, 

with a cigarette dangling from his lips.

Grandpa number three arrives 

with petrifying porcelain dolls.

He’s trying desperately to woo 

grandma away from Grandpa Slim.

I’m her favorite bartering chip.

Liquor and smokes gave her 

two heart attacks, a stroke, and a scar 

between her silk negligee holstered breast.

The weight piles on and grandma is fond

of licking her over medicated lips; parading

the latest slinky Fredricks of Hollywood see through 

unkind to a woman’s aging sagging bits.

Tall mad hatter Grandpa Slim wrestled

marriage number seven through the door.

He’s the tootsie roll giver, even though

the wrappers smell of burnt cigarettes.

She died wearing Fredericks lacy underwear.

Grandpa Slim died a month to the day.

He’s the one who gave grandma

a closet full of heart shape boxes of chocolate.

I liked him best, she loved him best of all.

 


 

 

Laughing Lovers

 

It had to be scissors for precision

There was no guarantee the string imaginary or not

would be taut enough to use a knife

Who wanted to be a laughingstock 

sawing through a measly piece of twine

She had already soaked the whetstone in cold water

Practicing on multiple older pairs of shears

Five to fifteen pulls on the inner side of each blade

She was done being Yue Xia Lao’s talisman 

A nothing lunar matchmaking deity with the useless ability

to create an unbreakable bond tied to pinkies  

Forced bondage between lovers

Regardless of time or place    Interference at it’s finest 

She knew a deep cut would bleed a scarlet dripline    

apply direct pressure     you’re not dead 

and you make a liar out of destiny

Unless love’s viscera got yanked by some demiurge

Numen gambling with her fear of being alone 

siphoning her selfhood

All because some omnipotent being wanted a pawn

A daemon who tied people together out of boredom   

with an invisible marriage license

She was going to save herself    No more godheads

snaking a red tether around a mythical lover

Affairs of the heart left a writhing mess 

entangling inamoratos and husbands

Her red string was a mass of fraying knots 

Didn’t Yue Lao know if you pull a knot tight enough 

it breaks    She was yanking them tighter by the day 

No more blasé folklores    she wasn’t falling for it this time

The scissors were finally sharp enough    

She cut off her little finger    the one with the red thread 

wrapped around it like a promise ring

Her hitching post was gone    

The Hindu called it lehnu

Buddhist pratitya-samutpada

    Judaism bashert

The Chinese called it the red string of fate    Love’s unfortunate    

She didn’t give a damn what anyone called the twin flames

Soulmates were an archaic folly to her  

Somewhere in the distance she could hear

Aphrodite and Eros laughing heartily

Ares chuckling at his little warrior cutting off her finger

Their day was coming


Sage Ravenwood is a deaf Cherokee woman residing in upstate NY with her two rescue dogs, Bjarki and Yazhi, and her one-eyed cat Max. She is an outspoken advocate against animal cruelty and domestic violence. Her work can be found in Glass Poetry – Poets Resist, The Temz Review, Contrary, trampset, Pittsburgh Poetry Journal, Pioneertown Literary, Grain, Sundress Press anthology – The Familiar Wild: On Dogs and Poetry, The Rumpus, Lit Quarterly, PØST, Massachusetts Review, Savant-Garde, ANMLY (Anomaly), River Mouth Review, Native Skin Lit, Santa Clara Review, The Normal School, KHÔRA, Pinhole Poetry, and more forthcoming.

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SageRavenwood

FB – https://www.facebook.com/sage.ravenwood

Email – ravensquietscreams@gmail.com

https://sageravenwood.blogspot.com/