Amy Elisabeth Smith
Cathleen Allyn Conway
María José Giménez
Dylan Krieger & Vincent Cellucci
MY OTHER LIFE
taught me I can
take a beating
a fist burning
with my blood
raised in the night
like a banner
I know what it’s like
as in The Fall
no pills for that
I learned too
how to hide
which I knew already
even in a crowd
the trick is
to say nothing
like the corpse
in a stage play
we’ve trained our-
selves if someone
he isn’t there
Amy Elisabeth Smith
THE PASTOR'S SON LIGHTS THE CHURCH ON FIRE
The pastor sometimes taught me to sing
in the house across from St. Peter’s. Sometimes,
he taught me how to breathe with one hand
on my back and the other on my ribs. Sometimes,
his thumb would circle the space between
my fifth rib and the sixth. He breathed
on my shoulder, his chin inches from my neck,
and I kept inflating my diaphragm, my stomach
rising over and over for him. On an exhale, I saw
his son’s head reflected on the wall in the glass
of a framed bible verse. I watched his shoulders
shrinking down the hall and bobbing out of sight
down the stairs. I watched from the window as he ran
to the church. I watched with the pastor’s hands
strumming my rib cage, I watched myself in the window,
my white face, my little eyes, my squared-off jaw,
my measured breathing: if I took in too much,
his thumb inched upward. Too little,
he pressed harder. So I watched what I said.
How I moved. Where my eyes landed
on the music, how I bent my mouth
on words. How I wet my lips to shape them.
Cathleen Allyn Conway
A MOMENT'S COURAGE AND THEN IT IS DONE
composed of lines from Bram Stoker's Dracula
Strike the blow that sets her free.
A blessed hand.
A blessed hand shall strike the blow.
Arthur saw what we all did –
that his should be the hand:
his hand that sent her to the stars;
his hand that loved her best;
the hand she herself would have chosen.
There lay Lucy, trembling.
Van Helsing said to him,
“And now you may kiss her.”
He stepped forward,
struck the blow that
restored Lucy as holy.
Arthur bent and kissed her.
She is not a grinning devil now.
Fascinated by the challenge to capture the human form and psyche, I stylize the curves that define and distinguish women. By concentrating on the minimal, yet still recognizable form, I strive to express universal experiences as well as personal associations.
The selection of pigments, and manipulation of them to create texture, is a salient factor in my paintings. Drawn to simplifying forms, especially the female one, I create and experiment with detail within the shapes. Creating tactile dimension, by cutting, weaving, sewing, and gluing the canvas, I distinguish the works from digitally built images. Often representing words with graphic bars, I place the focus on the visual experience, allowing for varying descriptive interpretations by the viewers.
You can contact Jana Charl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TAKE ME OUT LAY YOUR GLASS EGGS INSIDE ME
This is bad flashback
past like a dark chain or a rash
Chinese music blue rafts or black spruces.
This is the summer of thirteen sleepovers.
I follow the tall men into the forest
with foxes to stab and get licked.
Swallowed alive by my lack of plasticity
I can’t even answer hot hands and wax
the smooth soothe of rituals cheap etymologies
commodities starlet-orange movies.
The cat crippled grasshoppers’
weak confirmation barns and regret.
You said you’d do anything for me.
and you sunbathed on the porch like a corpse
as he pulled me past old cars through the backyard
to act out your nightmares.
IDENTIFYING THE DEAD
On June 23, 1973, someone set fire to the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar in the French Quarter, killing
thirty-two individuals in sixteen minutes. It is considered the largest mass-killing of gay people in the U.S.
"Identifying the Dead" contains quotes from police reports, set off with single quotation marks.
Bodies #1, #3, #8 through #12, #13
through #16, #22, #
25, #27, and #30 through #32
were a cinch.
Others took time:
‘Body #2 had a white metal
chain around its neck, with
Body #4 wore blue pants with gray
stripes, a blue button-
up shirt, black boots, purple
socks, a white metal
wedding band on the left ring
finger, a brown leather
change purse with two quarters
and a $1 bill in the right
front pants pocket
Body #5 also wore blue
pants and a blue shirt, a white
belt with a silver button,
blue and tan shoes
that had 2-inch heels, gray socks,
and a white metal
bracelet on its left hand
Body #6 wore a yellow metal ring
on the left index finger
Body #7 wore black leather shoes, green
socks, brown pants, a black
belt with a large metal
buckle with antique flowered
designs, and a pink and white
Body #13 wore a white metal neck
chain with a religious medal
Body #17 wore a ring with the initial H
Body #19 wore a yellow wedding band
Body #20 wore a ring with the initials
G.M. and a yellow neck chain
Body #21 wore a white chain
and a religious medal
Body #24 had a Country Club Motel key
Body #26 wore a yellow wedding band
Body #28 had an address, that of Tina
Terrell, 300 Ponce de Leon St., the word
“Son,” and then the rest of an address,
P.O. Box 417, Scottsdale, GA
Body #29 had a belt buckle with a silver dollar.’
They dug a pauper’s grave for the trio
who went unnamed:
‘Body #18, No. 173-6-284’
‘adult white male’
2-, 3-, and 4-degree burns
across 70% of his flesh
wore brown shoes
scraps of his pants fringed his legs
fingers wrinkled and charred
face swollen, red and black blotches
‘Body #23, No 173-6-285, police I.D. tag #1849’
slender, adult, white male,
3- and 4-degree burns
covered 90% of his skin
wore brown shoes and black socks
fingers melted away
and his face
‘Body #28, No. 173-6-286, police I.D. tag #1848’
male: adult, white
extensive 2-, 3-, and 4-degree burns
covered 60% of him
chest and face charred
‘and the feet also.’
2am in the reeds and river-mud,
you want to kiss, I want my cunt
back. You won’t let go and I’m ready
to fight: fists double jammed
knuckles spiking palate,
teeth falling like flint and spit
—my eyes closed.
Four years I’ve been limping,
my sciatic your pendant.
I want my walk straight.
I want to wear your jawbone
two jagged hooks from my belt.
María José Giménez
I will hold you gently above my head.
The slanting autumn gold will bathe your body.
A sideways glance may feel less threatening.
Yes, the angle of the sun is dangerously
low in the sky. It is November, after all.
The rays warming your diaphragm only seek an opening,
something soft. No one is asking anything of you.
As you take flight, I will look up at the deepening
crepúsculo darkening your underwing feathers.
Yes, I know your northern wings are not actually crimson,
the colour of arterial blood after it’s cleansed by bloodletting.
But to relax means to open your wings.
To take flight, you must show me your belly.
To ask that I part my lips to answer questions
is to consent to staying in my peripheral vision.
To write me a love poem when you
barely know me is playing with fire.
And to let me stuff my panties in your mouth
leaves me no choice but to sharpen my blades.
Take a deep breath before you take off.
The first cut will smart but soon you will be free of
that feathered carcass you used to call your body.
Your back will feel strong and your belly soft
with black-and-white polka dots of laughter.
Brighter, fuller, lighter.
Your blood won't go to waste.
WE FLESH PERCH
This collage is part of a series titled we flesh perch. Using Ansel Adams' Yosemite as a foundation, these works assert what it is to be female and have agency, what it feels like to become whole & reclaim a wilderness, a wildness.
GABRIELLE ILLUMINATES FAMILY DISSONANCE
I see her in the fire
that burns our house
by train tracks where
we excavate spikes and
flatten pennies under steel.
She wears a mask of tragedy,
black wolf crying tears
that evaporate on her eyelashes
and her antler-winged body
leaps and turns with the flames.
And while my stepmom blames the social worker
and my father lights a cigarette
and my step siblings blame my brother,
Gabrielle rejoices in my sight
an imp of flame, green eyes,
square shoulders, flapping antlers
giving lift to her bare feet
and she opens her mouth of char,
and her smoke-blackened teeth,
and a shrieking laugh like crows
circling my family's heads
reaches, covered in flame
and touches my breast
and I enter our burning house
where her toes draw in the soot
and I take her ash into myself,
singed by the fire of her lips
I rise like crow feathers
and I am lifted so high and so far from there
I don't remember what it feels like to burn.
Dylan Krieger & Vincent Cellucci
HERO TIED UP W/ BUZZ SAW MOVING TOWARD JUNK
freud would have a / phallus-laden field day / afraid of castration /
of course we wanna / watch our hero freak / out for his manhood /
safely tucked away / behind peek-a-boo / hands camera lens /
hunching operators / playing up the way / we’re all wired to see /
our sex lives as crucial / to the continuation / of the universe /
its generational pulse / vibrates hero’s brain / back into action /
there’s a vas deferens / between a man’s / purpose & penis /
but at this splitting / second they’re working / in tandem intentions: /
reaching down toward / the power cord / in knick-of-nightmare /
all-is-lost mode / the spinning blade / already fraying jeans /
whatever boxers / or briefs brand name / sponsored this scene /
& when the machine / sighs to a standstill / we find ourselves /
sighing finally too/ evolution’s just greedy / a madcap director /
demanding each of her breeders / to keep the seed / flowing even after /
8 billion individual disasters
This poem is part of a collaboration (tentatively titled Re:ACTION!) based on the common tropes of action films. The authors think these tropes are symptomatic of our escapist and violence-saturated culture, to the point of becoming an undeniable portion of American folklore.
TO FEEL LIKE A GIRL
You know what it is
to feel like a girl
with a skipping rope
To be had
bidden to come
bidden to stay forbidden
A vulva on the dinner plate —
awful, I know, but
we were invited
we’re meant to be
polite though all I ever
want is to say the truth
which sometimes lies
more in the frame than
in the picture
If I told you my naked body is nearly
invisible covered in emoji
a smiley face on my left breast
an okay thumb-and-forefinger on my right
eggplants & guitars & hearts where it counts
would you know what I’m talking about?
If I said I was walking forward
arms stretched outward
head turned back
would you understand
I don’t want the elevator
when the apocalypse comes
I want the stairs
two at a time
to the roof
I’ll want to know
what took so long
Issue Ten Contributors
Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish WasNot Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). He is an ex-con, ex-husband, ex-reporter and completely exhausted by all the things he isn't anymore. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, North Dakota Quarterly, RATTLE, River Styx, SouthernHumanities Review and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.
Jana Charl is a native of Los Angeles and a dual US-Swiss citizen. Her creative process is defined through a combination of practices, predominantly painting and sculpture. Communicating through visual means, in both the commercial and fine art worlds, has led to Jana’s particular style of self-expression. Capturing the human form and psyche with minimal, distinguishing curves is the thread that weaves her artwork together. From 2013 through 2015 Jana has been in over 25 exhibitions globally.
Cathleen Allyn Conway is finishing her PhD in creative writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is the co-editor of PlathProfiles, the only academic journal dedicated to the work of Sylvia Plath, and the founder of Thank You For Swallowing. Her work has appeared in Bitch, Well Versed (The Morning Star), The Mary Sue, 3:AM Magazine, Magma, South Bank Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, London Grip and in anthologies. Her pamphlet Static Cling was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2012. Originally from Chicago, she lives in London with her partner and son.
Melissa Eleftherion is a writer & visual artist. She is the author of five chapbooks:huminsect, prism maps, Pigtail Duty, the leaves the leaves, & green glass asterisms. Recent work appears/ is forthcoming in Entropy, LUNA LUNA, Lunch Ticket, Negative Capability, Pith, Queen Mob's Teahouse, Tinderbox, & Vector Press. Melissa lives in Mendocino County where she works as a Teen Librarian & manages the Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange. More of her work can be found at www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.
Jim Elledge’s most recent books are the poetry collection, Tapping My Arm for a Vein (2015), and the biography Henry Darger, Throwaway Boy: The Tragic Life of an Outsider Artist (2013). He has received two Lambda Literary Awards, the first for his book-length poem A History of My Tattoo (2006) and the second for Who’s Yer Daddy? Gay Writers Celebrate Their Mentors and Forerunners (2014), which he co-edited with David Groff. He lives in Atlanta.
María José Giménez is a translator and rough-weather poet with a rock climbing problem. Born and raised in Venezuela, she is currently based in Western Massachusetts and Montreal. Her work and translations appear in The Fourth River, The Apostles Review, Drunken Boat, Palabras errantes and Cactus Heart, and in the anthologies Cloudburst: An Anthology of Hispanic Canadian Short Stories (University of Ottawa Press, 2013) and Cuentos de nuestra palabra en Canadá: Primera hornada (Editorial nuestra palabra, 2009). Translations include poetry, short fiction, essays, screenplays, a mountaineering memoir by Edurne Pasaban (Mountaineers Books, 2014), and the novel Red, Yellow and Green (Biblioasis, 2016), winner of a 2016 NEA Translation Fellowship. She is contributing editor at The Apostles Review and Assistant Translation Editor at Drunken Boat.
Emily Jaeger is an MFA candidate at UMASS Boston and co-editor/co-founder of Window Cat Press. A Literary Lambda and TENT fellow, her poetry has appeared in Four Way Review, Soundings East, and Incessant Pipe Salon among others. Her chapbook The Evolution of Parasites is forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press July 2016.
Jessie Janeshek's full-length book of poems is Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). Her chapbook Rah-Rah Nostalgia is forthcoming from dancing girl press. An Assistant Professor of English and the Director of Writing at Bethany College, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers (KWG Press, 2008). You can read more of her poetry at jessiejaneshek.net.
Dylan Krieger & Vincent Cellucci are partners in crime and poetry in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they each earned an MFA in creative writing from LSU. Dylan has published work in Deluge, Juked, So and So, Small Po[r]tions, Smoking Glue Gun, Psychopomp, and Art Nouveau Magazine. Titles from Vincent include An Easy Place/To Die, Fuck Poems, come back river, and _A Ship on the Line.
Amy Rosenberg writes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction; teaches at John Jay College about writing, environmental disaster, poetry, and justice; and earned her MA in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She lives (or tries to) in New York City.
Amy Elisabeth Smith studies poetry in the MFA program at Northern Michigan University. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from cream city review, Hippocampus, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Up the Staircase Quarterly and Yemassee.
Jennifer Wolfe was born in Virginia where she spent most of her childhood. She moved to Idaho at age thirteen and received her MFA from Eastern Washington University. Her poems have appeared in Aaduna, The Talking River Review, and Abramelin. She lives with her wife and two cats in Minnesota.