There is no magic in healing. It starts with an equation
in the bone, a fusing of this to that. I will never have
nothing left to gain. If I’m born in August, if I’m born in June,
if I’m born on a Friday night, both lion and twin, each month
worthy, collapsed. If you strip me from my fur, will you at least
wear the winter for me? Breath implodes in the dark of your chest,
the moon petrified at the top of the night. Your father’s busted
gut, your father on the floor. It is a Friday now, your father’s
bursting bag in your mother’s stubborn palms. The beginning
of real life. There are only scars. There is never you. Just roll
me into bone or birth. Dissect you until I’m all that’s left.
We have no map to the front lines, no tip to the trenches
where sun bloats the earth and newborn shrubs cower.
I’m not afraid to stay with you—I’ll improvise.
Skin is skin no matter what’s buried in it.
Bailey Share Aizic
WHEN WE FINISH PLAYING COOTIE
He pulls my bug’s blue head off of its red
body and laughs until his breath runs out.
I flash to him laughing and knocking me
to the kitchen tile in a hug that tears the tissue
in my knee. The sudden smash of his skull
on my nose when I lean in for a kiss. The red
trails cut by fingernails across my face, white
scars across over-stretched skin. I put this
head and body back together and laugh
when my son tears it apart again.
When my Mother dragged me out
I wasn’t cold.
My breath was blued
By the light, seeping through
Trees, black as night
With all that nothing in-between,
Mother already grieving
For the other who drowned.
Tonight the storm broke,
Clouding the colour of
Mother’s necklace with the broken clasp.
The wind whittles your apologies
To blue bone beads
Small enough to swallow.
If you were anti-love then I
was annihilation, both
of our tubes frothing and held
by the big insulated tongs (use
two hands) next to the glistening
apparatus that created our
selves, one drop by precious
drop, then mixed with the long
and sterile wand and brought
to the boiling point of some
late-discovered element. Kept
in our polar wings
of the lab—crystalline for you
and mine untouchably molten—
we waited for the hour
of mutual immolation,
the clock’s steel hand
excited by the seconds.
after D. Scot Miller’s “Afrosurreal Manifesto”
i see black and creation disjointed
[it] sounds inner-outer,
pied rind and surreal heart.
prophet persona: see myself as a mask of shades,
make you act like smooth tongue, heartless heart
enter world, fool world, fluidity, the Invisible!
i See wonder, but no name for it.
a term creating world—seen it, named it.
mystical that art of “others” the root meaning
what was once collapsed. diaspora
that turns tomorrow’s-tongue to recall. the future?
the future past. a “future-past” called
genuflections, twists, “browning.”
this is a sign outcast. no means
all you yet-untouched in the museums, galleries.
kool blue lost legacies and cities, invisible invisible.
the words you are reading right now,
drifting a rowboat with no oars, invisible! wonders!
emerging origins, gods with new faces, new gods
with old faces. the lyrics emerging mosaic mix
with the visible world, the invisible world uncover
new-eye “madness” as visitations, magic. we take up the murk,
dreams called collage. we want to body life fluid,
filled mixing, melding, remnants of this apocalypse-smooth tongue
collapsed en masse, with blood and boots.
THE EXORCISM TRIPTYPCH
It is human nature to place certain meanings to objects, ideas, and moments in our lives in order to compartmentalize our histories and stories so that we continue living and moving forward. By contextualizing the female body, hair, feathers, and crows into surrealistic compositions, I am creating my own mythology through these corporeal re-imaginings. My body is the landscape where double self examinations occur through portraiture and self ruminations of the negative and positive aspects of hair and crows.
August 5: Mine releases 60,000 Bathtubs Full of Heavy Metal Filled Wastewater into Animas River. - CNN.com
An aneurysm has burst. Human greed makes trout
glow tangerine; electric tongues squirm in the belly
of the bear. Birds teach their young to sing and tumble
in metallic vapor. Farmers downriver sit up in bed, hear
three million gallons of human greed rumble toward
their fields, loud as a meteor. Irrigation systems have it coursing
through their veins. Humans spray mercury on heartsick fields.
Snails leave iridescent comet-tails on blacktop. Worms
slither through viaducts soaked with its drizzle. We
go on to feed our babies pureed human greed for lunch,
to scrape it from cheeks and chins. All that arsenic blood
pumping through valleys and plains. On the evening
news, the governor fills his water bottle and enjoys
a long, hearty swig. And just look at him. See?
He’s just fine.
Bailey Share Aizic
SEVEN IN THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS
lavender walls queen
sized bed white
carpet white sheets no
place for empty cans no
place for calls to mother
connected bathroom whispers
balled up tissues flushed
down the toilet no
place for crying coasters
mostly hosting party guests
happy happy happy no
place like home no
place for a child this
is not a home this is
the collision of mutually
HORROR IS THE SINUS LEADING AWAY FROM THE ABSCESS
How do you react make art with lamé
with the knowledge that the bad flapper
snaps her neck at the end with the new year and shiny balloons?
We’ve always had deer ears and luck
pink pills prescriptions delivered.
We had faces then a horror addition
Val Lewton told the suits
our message is death.
You can’t help politics
you can’t worry about it she says as writes the bad candidate’s name
in soap on the window.
Once I mixed nostalgia with my neuroses.
I had a face then wore scarves and volcano-red lips
too lazy to bring my ancestral fears to fruition
and what could be more paralyzing
in times of victory red
than standing in the yard frozen in a white cloak
watching the spider vein feeding the cyst?
Notes: “We Had Faces Then” is the name of a Pinterest board; “We had faces!” is a line spoken by the character Norma Desmond in the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard. This poem owes a lot to the You Must Remember This podcast on Val Lewton, (YMRT #3, "Happy 110th Birthday, Val Lewton”), written by Karina Longworth.
THE EIGHTH STEP
In the Twelve Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, the eighth step is one of the major steps to forgiveness. Those in recovery are asked to make a list of those who they have harmed in the past, a tangible, visible plan that displays the way their addiction has enabled destructive behavior. The ninth step requires confronting those individuals.
Name them. You might not
make it much further.
a little bitch you were
is enough to make you
want to drink.
Try it like this:
name them the way
you’d list the men you love
to swallow: Georgii, Johnny,
Jack. But it’s not as easy as that
is it? Afterwards, at least,
the bottle still exists. Sweet
elixir of fabrication. If it weren’t
for the liquor, you don’t know
where you’d be. It’s killed you
as much as it’s helped you
survive. Maybe that’s hard
to see. Maybe it’s just you,
addicted. Here’s the thing:
You don’t love it. You don’t need it.
You like to think you even have control.
But desire outlasts time, and these days
you pour a glass of wine
just to have it sit by your side.
Name them. You can’t. And it’s not
because your heart is empty
or cold or full of sin. More. You suffer
like the wind, in silence,
unseen, felt only in gusts that flush
the cheeks. To speak it means
you did it. Do it. Quickly. Name
them. Like a shot of vodka before
work, when the names hit your throat,
let them burn.
You came to look for my breath hidden in the ribcage.
You flayed me and found a hummingbird perched as a
pendant amid my ribs, swinging delicately over the
blood vessels, turning them into wild roses and nocturnal
butterflies. As I sigh wings waver, words turn into light
breeze that rustles the corollas, lines of intoxicating
velvet breathe in and out, till the scarlet bones sing.
Issue 24 Contributors
Bailey Share Aizic Bailey is a student, comedian, and Oxford comma enthusiast based in Los Angeles. Read her work in Calamus, Right Hand Pointing, Quatrain Fish, and Wizards in Space. She hopes to leave the world better than she found it.
Alessandra Bava is a poet and a translator. Her poems and translations have appeared in journals such as Gargoyle, Arsenic Lobster, Plath Profiles, Thrush Poetry Journal and Waxwing. Two of her chapbooks, They Talk About Death and Diagnosis, have been published in the States. A third chapbook, Love and Other Demons will be published later this year. She is currently writing the biography of a contemporary American poet.
Natalie Crick, from Newcastle in the UK, has found delight in writing all of her life and first began writing when she was a very young girl. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in a range of journals and magazines including The Lake, Ink Sweat andTears, Poetry Pacific, Interpreters House and Jet Fuel Review. This year her poem, 'Sunday School' was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Laurin DeChae is a Ph.D. candidate in Composition & Rhetoric at SUNY Albany, where she acts as the poetry editor for Barzakh. She received her M.F.A. in poetry from the University of New Orleans. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, burntdistrict, Rust + Moth, Crack the Spine, and elsewhere.
Mary Harpin s a poet and content marketing writer. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Creek Review, Juked, Terrain, Fourteen Hills and elsewhere. She is at work on a nonfiction project with Pen Parentis about the lives of writers who are also parents. Read more at maryharpin.com.
A Southern California native, Stephanie Inagaki received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University's College of Fine Arts and her Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. After studying abroad in Italy and living in major cities around the United States, she has returned to her roots to establish herself as a multifaceted artist in Los Angeles.
Jessie Janeshek's second full-length book of poems, The Shaky Phase, is forthcoming from Stalking Horse Press. Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press), and Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming), and Supernoir (Grey Book Press, forthcoming.) Invisible Mink (Iris Press) is her first full-length collection.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York Abriana Jetté is an internationally published poet and essayist. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Seneca Review, River Teeth, Barrelhouse, The Moth, and many other places. She teaches for St. John's University and for the College of Staten Island.
Katie Manning is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Whale Road Review and an Associate Professor of Writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She is the author of Tasty Other, which is the 2016 winner of the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, and four chapbooks, including The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman. She has also collaboratively created two tiny humans. Find her online at www.katiemanningpoet.com.
Amy Miller's poetry has appeared in Nimrod, Tinderbox, Willow Springs, ZYZZYVA, and other journals. Her chapbooks include I Am on a River and Cannot Answer (BOAAT Press) and Rough House (White Knuckle Press), and she won the Cultural Center of Cape Cod National Poetry Competition, judged by Tony Hoagland, and has been a finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize and 49th Parallel Award. She lives in Ashland, Oregon, and blogs at writers-island.blogspot.com.
Kami Westhoff lives in the Pacific Northwest, the landscape of which features prominently in her work. She teaches Creative Writing at Western Washington University, where she encourages her students to examine various iterations of captivity and power in literature and contemporary culture. Her chapbook Sleepwalker won the 2015 Minerva Rising Dare to Be contest and her fiction has appeared in various journals including Meridian, Carve, Third Coast, Passages North, Redivider, The Pinch, and West Branch.