Wednesday, April 30, 2014

a poem by justin sherwood

The Future

I got nailed
by a pram
on Broadway working
my way to Prince
where I discovered
the toilets aren't
what they used
to be. The stalls
are impossibly
small. I wanted
something sticky
and permanent, all
I got is this
bruise. We have
no fight left, traded
in for license
and luck. Let me
remind you it was
on this corner
that John Giorno
fucked Keith Haring
before they were
famous. Only John
survived which
should temper my
desire but I'm
furious and bored
who's with me?
Let's fuck for
posterity. Take
a spit test
if it turns out
blue I will know
it was you.

"The Future" originally appeared on MOMA’s INSIDE/OUT blog

Justin Sherwood's poems have appeared in ILK, H_NGM_N, The Mackinac Review, and elsewhere. His essays and reviews have appeared in New Criticals, The Poetry Project Newsletter, and Construction Magazine. He is a graduate of The New School MFA Creative Writing program, where he was selected for the 2012 Paul Violi Prize in Poetry.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Another Tuesday, another playlist.

a poem by cindy e. king

To the Virgins 

Painters wear white
just to spite their paint—

Some wear it to weddings, even when
they are not the bride.

Most have turned down more beds
than a hotel housekeeper, take

one night stands
lying down—

Many place faith in champagne
pledges: the bottle’s broken

promise to become beach glass—
But few have learned that divorce

can undo a marriage no more
than a freezer can unbake a cake.

"To the Virgins" originally appeared in New Plains Review: A Journal of Social Commentary

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Cindy E. King currently lives in Lancaster, Texas. Her most recent publications include poems in Callaloo, North American Review, the African American Review, American Literary Review, jubilat, and Barrow Street. She can also be heard online on American Weekendat, and at

Monday, April 28, 2014

a poem by cynthia atkins


         after Philip Guston, Untitled, ink and acrylic, 1980

The store clerk was gone in ten seconds
after the 30 rounds—blood spattered on
the welcome mat, soda coolers, cash register.
From the manhole in the studio, Brian Williams’ voice
seeds my living room—(Brian, who I know so well
but have never met—).  The blood so thick
in that storefront it makes me think
about brushstrokes piled in a heap
like draped  klansmen—Then I see
detainees at Abu Grahib, fowled
in brown paper bags.  The silver screws
and gawky nails that turn to fists,
if you stare long enough
at the painting—Guston’s cartoon
versions haunting all my worst fears.
Every night, The News stock-piles
in my living room. The pink rubble
and gray maw of Japan floating off
falling rocks, buildings dislimned.
White clouds that aren’t clouds at all.
Dust flaring off the TV from muddied
combat boots, that have brazed and combed
hillsides in the folly, fog and boredom of war.
In the Sabbath light, the Guston’s hills
become the torah scrolls that my son
will read from, holding the sweat
of thousands before him—All their tolls
that remind us of what is worth keeping,
what we take at a moment’s notice—
The hand of a loved one,
the prayers in the hills.

"Hillsides" originally appeared in The Del Sol Review, Winter 2012 #18

Cynthia Atkins' poems have appeared widely in journals such as  Alaska Quarterly Review, American Letters & Commentary, BOMB, Caketrain, Clementine, Cultural Weekly, Del Sol Review, Denver Quarterly, Harpur Palate, The Journal, Le Zaporogue, North American Review, Tampa Review, Valparaiso Review, and Verse Daily, among many others.  She is the author of Psyche's Weathers and most recently, In The Event of Full Disclosure. (July 2013, Wordtech). Atkins poems were nominated for a 2013 and 2014 Pushcart Prize.  She was recently interviewed about her new book on the Huffington Post and Bill and Dave's Cocktail Hour.  She holds residencies from the VCCA and Breadloaf Writer’s Conference and is currently an assistant professor of English at Virginia Western Community College. She lives in Rockbridge County, VA on the Maury River, with artist Phillip Welch and their family.  More info at her website of author page: and on Facebook.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

a poem by niel rosenthalis


He showed me the minisculeness that sex is.
Also its largeness—it can fill a day, a life.
There were other cautions, caught up as branches

In a mind too blue to be other than the deep it  wasn’t
Prepared to fully be, not even as green was to me
The side of any noun that rolled before me to a halt.

Hilt. Silt of the inexpert yet adamant, clueless with
Miscordium, pale strum of paler guitars where
The meanings are—they make such high brights fall.

Fall unbelievably. He was, he was, he was.
Now clamped to the tense whose tension I knew
Would come and yet like a shopping mall—albeit very

Green with new trees—spring up as shock,
Interruption, bang in the brighter fang of time.
All my words gone from me in other directions than

Even I can pull together, to show you what I mean by
Pain, plenty, beauty; beauty the plenary string
Whose suspension must cost almost nothing, and this

From me whose arm has been holding it up here all
This time—pre-made example, sample. He was,
He was, and yet the founded coil of us meant great

Pleasure, leisure whose ends would mend when
Brought together. That I could, have to, weather him.
He was. The sanctified purr of the gone—amen.

Niel Rosenthalis lives in Brooklyn, NY. He has a critical essay forthcoming from the Los Angeles Review of Books. In the fall he will begin his M.F.A. in the Writing Program at Washington University in St. Louis.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

a poem by michael broder

Nursing Home: Courtyard 

These blossoms mark this time
as the people here mark time;
it is sculptural, like a figure carved out of stone,
but we cannot see the shape of a life
from within a life,
so we watch the blossoms,
how the buds swell, the flowers unfold,

spread, spread beyond their limit,
and then the petals begin to drift,
as strength begins to drain from these limbs,
memory from its mysterious repository,
blood slows, fails to warm these fingertips,
the river a dusty bed, sand blowing
in its parched mouth, drifting,

wind rasping in the brown leaves,
papery veil stretched over the cheekbones,
pink toothless gums, hair like straw,
crevices lining the skin,
Paleolithic gullies,
the soul echoing in the canyon,
clinging to the prison of the ribs.

Michael Broder's first collection, This Life Now, is out this spring from A Midsummer Night's Press. Michael has a BA in Comp Lit from Columbia, an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU, and a PhD in Classics from CUNY. His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in BLOOM, Court Green, Columbia Poetry Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Classical World, and other journals, as well as in the anthologies This New Breed, My Diva, Divining Divas, Rabbit Ears, and Ancient Obscenities. He has taught at Brooklyn College, Hunter College, Queens College, York College, and the Graduate Center (all CUNY), as well as at NYU, Montclair State University (Montclair, NJ) and The University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC). He lives in Brooklyn with his lawfully wedded spouse, the poet Jason Schneiderman, and numerous cats, both feral and domestic. You can find out more about his beings and doings at

Friday, April 25, 2014

a poem by rachelle cruz

Imelda is an electrified snail

Imelda Snail sips glucose from a mug fireworking Reno, The Biggest Little City on Earth!!!  Her shell is electrically taped and hooked up to an external grid lined with moss and lines of coke. Scientists proclaim her electrical output while squeezing their toes in the mud bath beside her. They even replace the gel masks in the freezer.  She can produce 7.45 microwatts by the hour, while charging and reserving her power. No need to lift an antenna.  Cockroaches no longer squirm to compete.

Rachelle Cruz is from Hayward, California.  She is the author of the chapbook, Self-Portrait as Rumor and Blood (Dancing Girl Press,2012).  Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in As/Us, New California Writing 2013 (Heyday Books), the Los Angeles Review of Books, Yellow Medicine Review, Jet Fuel ReviewThe Lit Pub, The Bakery, Stone Highway, The Collagist, Bone Bouquet, PANK Magazine, Muzzle Magazine, Splinter Generation, KCET's Departures Series, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, among others. She hosts The Blood-Jet Writing Hour on Blog Talk Radio, and is the Podcast Editor at The Collagist.  She is a recent recipient of the Manuel G. Flores Scholarship from PAWA (Philippine American Writers and Arists, Inc).  An Emerging Voices Fellow, a Kundiman Fellow and a VONA writer, she lives, writes and teaches in Southern California.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

a poem by curtis rogers

Coastal O

My done work is here.
Before any talk of withdrawn really
kicks in, I’m swinging from a canned chandelier.
I no-brainer the footsteps I’ll retrace. Pull the weather
it shows a rando hearth around its seams. The player
breaking huddle is my element I’m out of. Helmet of gloss
through a bubble I blow. The way I see it, I could have been
the Spirit of St. Louis of my family. The shout that dovetails,
before & more before, around the bullet I bite. I’m blowing
a bubble with the bullet I bite. Emotionally available
to dry mouth, dizziness. A camera-shying clarity overtakes
me, how a diving board swipes at what it promotes.
I tense & something hothead & motherly
is exposed. I break form when I pull
for the home team. My breath
upvotes pop in its excess.

Curtis Rogers received his MFA in poetry from NYU's Creative Writing Program. He has pieces appearing of forthcoming in The Literary Review, cream city review, DIAGRAM, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Atlas Review, and elsewhere. Currently, he works and lives in Washington, DC.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I'm doing a reading Thursday night. Music & dance is also featured. Should be an amazing time!

two poems by will stockton

Duane Asks for my Thoughts on Walden

I want to start forest fires –
my dearest darling darling Duane kills
as we leash dogs and walk to the woods
to front only the essential facts of life.

My dearest darling darling Duane kills
on these barbed acres, shot from a tree stand,
to front only the essential facts of life
as dogs pull against leashes leading

on these barbed acres, shot from a tree stand,
a river red and barbed, no swimming,
as dogs pull against leashes leading
to a windowless cabin good for raping.

A river red and barbed, no swimming,
a backyard playground of decoys and darlings
I want to start forest fires –

to front only the essential facts of life.  


Fred Phelps Dies in My Arms While Watching Cosmos

Aligned, we are bad at math. I never took calculus, I confess to Fred,
who points to the celestial rings of Saturn. I took College 
Mathematics. My professor said I was bad
at pattern recognition. Fred’s not
listening, still pointing
at asteroids.
Doppler shift.
Fag, tell me
a story. / Noah, an end 
of all flesh. On TV, an animated
Edmond Halley predicts comets. Fred’s not
listening. Repeats, Knowledge conquers fear. / Natural
causes. Windbreaker sleeve reaches for the cup as rain swells gutters.

Will Stockton teaches English at Clemson University. He has written several books and many essays about how people in the Renaissance had sex, and a lot of poetry about how modern people do. With D Gilson, he is the author of Crush (Punctum Books) and Gay Boys Write Straight Porn (Sibling Rivalry Press). His poems have appeared in journals including Assaracus, Bloom, Fourth River, PANK, and Weave. He self-promotes over at

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

libby's post-coachella tu(n)esday!

Well, as always, I'm back and sick as a dog.  Isn't this always what happens post-Coachella?  I'm sad and reliving the best parts of the weekend.  Here is what I found to be the most amazing parts of Coachella weekend 1:

Duke Dumont

JESUS.  CHRIST.  The Yuma tent was absolutely packed for him and he showed why it was filled to the brim.  Seamlessly mixing his original material into a 90s house-laden groove, Duke was not to be missed.


They brought out Angel Haze right when I was about to run over to Duke so I stayed a bit longer.  The energy!  The overflowing tent!  Dan's hair at new heights!  Pretty freakin' awesome.


How could I count out Aluna?  She slithered around that stage in a mesh oneside, pretty much not giving a f*ck what people thought of her.  She even performed White Noise despite coming back out to do it all over again with Disclosure a few hours later.

James Vincent McMorrow

The first act we saw on Sunday was a stunner.  His falsetto didn't waver once and I was in shock with the caliber of his performance.  Amazing and what a gorgeous, lush sound.

Calvin Harris

I know many people are annoyed that Coachella feels it's being too EDM-oriented, but this guy had the second biggest crowd in Coachella history.  For a solid hour he had what felt like every single person at the festival going bonkers.


DUH.  Unfortunately, everyone else decided to go see them and we were stuck way in the back of the 40,000+ deep crowd.  But from what I could see, they were spot on and having a blast.  Having Mary J. Blige come out to perform F For You was a crowning touch on their set.

Aloe Blacc

THIS GUY.  He was tooting his own horn while performing "The Man" and then he goes and has the audience create a Soul Train line!?  Unreal.  And looking quite snazzy in a 3 piece suit.


Another perfect performance from the synth-pop group.  And watching the crowd witness Martin's dancing was awesome.

Future Islands

Witnessing Samuel T. Herring go completely apesh*t on stage during each and every song was something I will never forget.  His moves!  Dear God.  I was screaming-laughing during every song.  And then his stage banter: "let's ride or die, motherf*ckers!"  What!?

Bear Hands

If their performance is any indication, they have a bright future ahead of them.  Great first showing and they definitely picked up newfound fans.

Ok, back to dying on my desk!

-Libby Hostetler

a poem by steven riel

Pigeon in Subway

I followed the popcorn
constellation but
lost the sky
hopping down.
Far-off squeals
talon my ears.
The grounded ones with turkey
legs crowd this shiny ledge.
Do they know the way out
but wait for crumbs?
I keep underfoot.
I mark their moves.
No one fakes as if
to kick me. Today
they stare down--
sad-eyed storks.
I pity them, their naked wings.
I bob along the yellow edge:
it’s no great drop,
but reeks of rat!
Can their whiskers smell me?
A huge snake with four
red eyes pops out of its
windy hole.  I flutter back
with time to spare.
Mouths split the snake’s side,
spitting out more herons
in a hurry. My adopted flock
crams inside the snake’s throat,
leaving me with time to preen
while rats grind their teeth below.

Steven Riel's first full-length collection of poetry, Fellow Odd Fellow, was published by Trio House Press in 2014. He is also the author of three chapbooks of poetry, with the most recent, Postcard from P-town, selected as runner-up for the inaugural Robin Becker Chapbook Prize and published in 2009 by Seven Kitchens Press.  His poems have appeared in several anthologies and in numerous periodicals, including The Minnesota Review, International Poetry Review, Evening Street Review, Christopher Street, The G.W. Review, St. Andrew’s Review, The James White Review, and The Antigonish Review.

Monday, April 21, 2014

a poem by javier zamora

The Shatter of Birds

           after Abuelita

Javiercito, you’re leaving me tomorrow
when our tortilla-and-milk breaths will whisper
te amo. When I’ll pray the sun won’t devour
your northbound steps. I’m giving you this conch
swallowed with this delta’s waves
and the sound of sand absorbing.

Hold it to your ear. I’m tired
of my children leaving. My love for you shatters windows
with birds. Javiercito, let your shadow return,
alone, or with sons, but soon. Call me mamá,
not Abuelita. All my children learned the names of seasons
from songs. Tonight, leaves fall.

There’s no autumn here. When you mist
into tomorrow’s dawns, at the shore
of somewhere, listen to this conch.

Don’t lose me.

"The Shatter of Birds" first appeared in Four Way Review

Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador. At the age of nine he immigrated to the United States. He is a CantoMundo fellow and a Breadloaf scholarship recipient whose work was selected for inclusion in Best New Poets 2013. His chapbook, Nine Immigrant Years, is the winner of the 2011 Organic Weapon Arts Contest. Zamora's poems appear or are forthcoming in Connotation Press, Four Way Review, New Border, OmniVerse, Ploughshares, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. He is an MFA candidate at NYU.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

a poem by dan rosenberg


Our bed is elevated. The serval hunts
on wires. Breaks open a butterfly. Dust
crushed in a vertical pounce. Lovemaking

on the proscenium. And lovemaking
in the hardware section. Our bed,
strung on wires. Our serval makes

a proscenium of love. We break
open the butterfly with a vertical
crush. Our eyes closed in deep grass

for up to fifteen minutes, the stillness
before the leap. Your paws clamp down.
Break open our lovemaking: the dust

crushes out. What else so honestly
powders itself to our paws? Butterflies,
hunted. Make do with the wares

we have offered each other. We receive
a proscenium closed in deep grass.
Your serval breaks open her hardware,

dusts our bed. And at my pounce
a proscenium closes. Your paws clamp
our bed: a lovemaking. The hunter

sleeps a hunt in our bed. The feline
twitch and flex of hardware. We elevate
our hands, the bed, we hunt the butterfly,

a vertical pounce. This lovemaking
breaks open. What dust crushes out
from us. What dust on wires we are.

What dust so honestly itself in deep grass
for up to fifteen minutes. The eyes clamp
on wires. The butterfly, dust-hunting.

The proscenium closes our lovemaking.
What else on wires, what else breaks
open: the hunter the hunted loves making.

"Serval" first appeared in Conjunctions

Dan Rosenberg's second book of poems, cadabra, is forthcoming in 2015 from Carnegie Mellon University Press. His first book, The Crushing Organ (Dream Horse Press 2012), won the 2011 American Poetry Journal Book Prize. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in jubilat, Salt Hill, Conjunctions, and Blackbird. A PhD candidate at the University of Georgia, he co-edits Transom.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

a poem by alicia rebecca myers

The Untelling

I was a well and then I wasn’t.
I shook a rainstick. It turned out to be a telescope.
I put it to my eye anyway, grew accustomed to distance.
A client writes to say he needs to go to Gnats, France.
You mean Nantes?  I reply.
This uptick in luck was really just a fluke.
We’re looking at what once was and where it once was.
That blithe star, whose light of death has reached us.
I must have said this time a dozen different times, just to take it back.
My barista asked why the sudden switch to decaf.
You ask if blue can be a naturally occurring color.
Maybe in stones, I say.
I lied when I told you that I didn’t hide the egg timer.
The recipe called for jujube, not plum.
Summarily, my belly knew.

"The Untelling" first appeared in jubilat

Alicia Rebecca Myers received her MA in English from UGA in 2001 and her MFA in Poetry from NYU in 2007, where she was a Goldwater Writing Fellow. Most recently, her work has appeared in Cream City Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology: Georgia (Texas A&M), and jubilat. In March of this year, she was awarded a residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska City. Her chapbook Greener was released in 2009 from Finishing Line Press. Rebecca lives in Athens, Georgia, where she is at work on her first full length manuscript and a son due in August.

Friday, April 18, 2014

a poem by robert siek

Cartoon Bears and Cotton Briefs

Following my hand wave and evening hello,
the doorman looks up from his latest drawing,
like a grade-school doodler called on in a classroom
when a teacher asks a question about Mesopotamia,
the river-valley civilization between the Tigris and Euphrates.
I press the elevator button. A couple enters the lobby,
a red-head girl in her twenties and a blonde guy carrying a pizza.
I see his tightie-whitie waistband above his low-cut denim waistline.
I’m holding a roll of gift-wrap paper decorated with animated characters—
multiple pastel colored bears playing in clouds and tossing stars.
I stare at the numbers lighting up, signifying each floor from twelve to one.
The doorman mentions holes in the street out front, shooting steam
like Mount St. Helen close to blowing up. Con Ed is working on it.
I think it’s been twenty years since that volcano last erupted.
I imagine lava in the sewers disintegrating rats and garbage,
or valves like truck tires leaking boiling hot water,
borderline launching half of 47th Street,
like mines set off beneath asphalt and traffic.
The elevator door opens, and I say, “Good night,”
following the pair inside. The girl asks which floor I want
to which I reply, “Five.” She says she likes my wrapping paper.
Her boyfriend with the pizza just stares at the ceiling.
“I bought it at Rite Aid. There were more rolls in the card aisle.”
She smiles, remembering bedspreads covered in cartoon bears,
her flannel nightgowns she wore as a child in the ’80s.
And I picture my fingers undoing the button on his jeans,
feeling the warmth of his bulge through white cotton briefs,
as I kneel below and press my face into it
like an ancient ritual not covered in history textbooks,
maybe child games in Babylonia, naked boys in the Hanging Gardens.
Crayon-colored bears fall from the sky while monster-truck tires
are shot past Hawaii. I need an accident in an elevator—
his smell on my nostrils and lips. The door starts to open.
I look away from his crotch. He continues to read
the top of the pizza box, and the girlfriend says, “Good night,”
while playing with the curls in his hair.

“Cartoon Bears and Cotton Briefs” was originally published on Velvet Mafia and appears in Purpose and Devil Piss.

Robert Siek's first full-length collection of poetry, Purpose and Devil Piss, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2013. Some of his poems are forthcoming in the publications Painted Bride Quarterly, The Gay and Lesbian Review, and VACZINE. Other poems have previously appeared in journals such as Court Green, The Nervous Breakdown, and The Good Men Project. He lives in Brooklyn and works as a production editor at a large publishing house in Manhattan.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

poems by aaron delee

Questions Are Keys 

  for Terry Gross

Questions are keys, turning A into B;
when this woman asks on air, she deceives
with honest inquiry into tiny locks,
moving them with a silvered, soothing voice
and sounding the clink of metallic joints
made of art, made with points well played.

You have something to say behind the door
and past the frame of simple conversation
where the ring she carries, comes, pricks, expands
investigation of what you contain;
when this woman asks questions, she feigns

since she already knows which way you'll sway.


Selfie: The Size of the Opportunity

Waste as I am wont, there went a week-end
where the phone followed me into the bath
again. Babbling, I lather, rinse, re-send.

Stranger-men have asked me questions, to bend
over, see where I am.  Tramping a path,
waste as I am wont, there went a week-end.

Outside, a couple walks by, kids pretend
to be X-men; one is a telepath.
Again, babbling, I lather, rinse, re-send.

No moving mouths have come to meet or spend
the afternoon with me.  Lonely like Plath,
waste as I am wont, there went a week-end.

Pasting recycled phrasings that I’ve penned,
Into? You looking? the phone knows my wrath
again. Babbling, I lather, rinse, re-send.

Coffee, lunch, dinner, and the sun descends
How many have passed? I’m no good at math.
Waste as I am wont, there went a week-end
again. Babbling, I lather, rinse, re-send.

"Questions Are Keys" first appeared with VOX3 Collective

Aaron DeLee graduated from Northwestern University with an MFA in Creative Writing in 2013. His poems have appeared in Court Green, Assaracus, Rougarou, and various other publications. When he’s not writing, or in the bathtub, he’s often running along the shore of Lake Michigan.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

a poem by sarah dohrmann

Whether Love is Parallel or Perpendicular

Straight lines. Road that goes and does not cease. Road that
asks, "Where to?" Road that sees, and wide. Road made of
asphalt, road of tar and fumes, road of man's hands and women's
knees. Road that came upon you in a dream. Those lines,
those lines man, they came to you in the night like a heat
like a fever like a milky-eyed troll looking for you. A troll
that knew your number, love.

This road is not the hi the hello the how are you the what
did you have in mind for tonight. It is not, even, the ask me
anything you want, anything you want, just ask. The goodbye
was not the savagery. It was this road that goes nowhere and
its lines. Nothing but our breath on this road, our selves of
meat and gristle, and our lines, lines, lines.

You won't forget the tight jeans, the hole in the wall
staring you down. It is clear now that love is not
the road we sowed. Love is this road, this plain
and potted road, our lines, my continuous yes
to your dumb dog darkness, and the day
break after, fading
in the rearview.

Nothing but children on this road, too little to fix a flat.

Sarah Dohrmann is a Brooklyn-based writer. She has been a Fulbright fellow (Morocco), a New York Foundation for the Arts' fellow of Nonfiction Literature, a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study grantee for Literature, and is currently a Workspace writer-in-residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Sarah was co-recipient, with photographer Tiana Markova-Gold, of the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University for their joint project on women and prostitution in Morocco; their collaboration, which includes a long-form essay by Dohrmann and images by Markova-Gold, is forthcoming in Harper's Magazine. Sarah's work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Iowa Review, TIME, LightBox, British Journal of Photography, Joyland Magazine, LUMINA Journal, Some Call it Ballin', Teachers & Writers Magazine, and Bad Idea (England), among others. She is currently at work on a book of creative nonfiction called Point of Departure.

paintings by jeremy olson

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

a poem by d. gilson

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Dating App

In God we trust, all others send data.
No fatties, no femmes. Dick pics?

Can you host? Can you bottom?
Can you get into roleplay? Sodom

& Gomorra? Teacher & Student?
Doctor? Patience, it could be fun.

Networking. Looking for friends.
Here's a selfie in my Mercedes-Benz.

President: John Wayne Gacy Fan
Club. Seeking Granddaddy: Fixodent,

Bengay, 401(k)s turn me on.
Allergic to cats. Allergic to latex.

Undetectable. Discrete. Tie me up
and tickle my feet. Where do you want

me to cum? The sum of two parts
is greater than the whole. Are you my soul

mate? Is your hole clean? Great.
Be there in ten. Your looking for a hookup?

Gross. You're looking for an apostrophe.
The heart, a muscle, begins to atrophy.

Let's makeout. Let's get takeout and cuddle.
Piss on the floor. Now lick the puddle.

D. Gilson is the author of Crush (Punctum Books, 2014), with Will Stockton; Brit Lit (Sibling Rivalry, 2013); and Catch & Release (2012), winner of the Robin Becker Prize from Seven Kitchens Press. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, The Indiana Review, and The Rumpus. Find D. at


Monday, April 14, 2014

a poem by morgan parker

The History of Black People

  after Jean-Michel Basquiat after White People

The saddest triptych
is in our blood.

Once I said, Our troubles
are passed down.

I would rather
dance hoodwinked

with the devil than be
alone. I would rather know

the moon without
seeing the moon.

Florida, Kentucky hemlocks
grow—this isn’t

a dream— and they lose
the word for white. We make

our enemy disease
in our blood.

If you cut open my heart
it’d be midnight at the greatest

party of all time: a small
Shawn Carter, Audre Lorde

A black boy’s hairline
feasting on difference.

On the first page of every library book
there’s a question mark

for us, backs bent out
of exclamation. We don’t know

any of your words
but our children have licked

them up in pools of sweat.
Have you ever felt

like a square peg in a round hole?
Do you sometimes dream

of a handful of Skittles
sprawling on the February lawn?

Imagine the fear of night’s sugar.
Imagine your bones are damned.

Do you ever wake up fevering
the dark, ashamed of trusting?

If our legend was allowed
it would sing alligator’s scales.

It would be written in red clay.
In the beginning was red clay

warming in my hands
vibrating Blue Train.

It was an open and shut case.
It never lived to shuck for gems.

Or, it could be joy
stinging womanly

of slippery crescent.

Sometimes I feel teeth
in the grass below my feet.

I think my body could live
somewhere else ultraviolet.

A version of this poem originally appeared in Issue 3 of Spook magazine.

Morgan Parker's first collection of poems, Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night, was selected by Eileen Myles for The 2013 Gatewood Prize and is forthcoming from Switchback Books. Recent poems are forthcoming from Tin House, jubilat, and Forklift, Ohio. A graduate of NYU's Creative Writing MFA program and a Cave Canem fellow, Morgan lives in Brooklyn. She works as Education Director at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) and Poetry Editor of Coconut Magazine.

west coast

Lana Del Rey's long awaited single comes on strong and throbs with some killer tempo changes.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

a poem by lauren neefe


I do not want
the Earth and everything
that’s in it

Unless I want
a thing a little more

fur, want ermine
please a burlesque me
in habit

or want for
mortal corsetry, laced
lined, fitted

Unless my want is
jars of piquant mystery
in the fridge

fewer napkins, fewer keys
fewer lockets, fewer peas

Unless the want I
want not tries the heart
I won’t

for sympathy, won’t
pave a road with comfort, no
beat, beat

Ask not me for
favor, love, respect, or change
to pocket

Unless it’s free,
I have no use for virtue,
take it.

full house, a stooping mind,
two pair, or turned-out hips

I lay me down
I wield and own
I give the ground I walk on

Lauren Neefe has an M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins and a Ph.D. in English from Stony Brook University. She is a Romanticist who studies letters and letter writing in the interplay of manuscript and print. Her poems have appeared in Kenning Journal and 1913 and are regularly featured in Emotive Fruition’s poetry-performance collaborations.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

a poem by margarita delcheva

[ from The Cold Slavic Heart]

XXVII. Praskovya Fyodorovna

They said she was floating in the shallows
of the Moscow river when they found her, her head resting
on a foreign instrument. Even the violinist from out of town
suggested it should dry in the sun before it can be played.

Praskovya woke up speaking old Slavonic, could walk only on her hands,
the skirt covering her face like a fountain of velvet rags.

The first thing they said was her left ankle was no longer beautiful,
that the freckles on her cheeks had migrated to her hairline,
that she could be a lost circus artist, that the Praskovya they knew was afraid
of plucked domestic chickens, that the third painter had already moulded
the ankle of a Bolshoi ballerina who would never appear
with a necklace of mosquito bites.

When she coughed up the caravan tea, the priest stopped translating
her long tales of a rusty blade hidden in the ribs of an accordion,
the hole through which accordion kept breathing out
when her sisters played it, breathing out the dust from the childhood attic
of her future offspring.

The villagers crossed themselves and turned the other way
to listen to the violinist scrape a tune out of the strange instument,
which sounded just like the fourteen-year-old choir beginning
to crack at its last recital.

Margarita Delcheva’s poems have appeared in Fugue, Ep;phany, Sixth Finch, BOMBlog, and Tuesday: An Art Project. Margarita currently resides in Brooklyn, and teaches writing.

Friday, April 11, 2014

illustrations by rebecca mock

Loving these illustrations & cinemagraphs by Rebecca Mock.

a poem by brian francis

Our City

elephants on parade
jasmine’s silver and
jade bracelets
move in unison
sketched words
whisper soundtrack
headphone clutch
still pray the old
fashioned way
mean it
moving further
from sequins
on the gown
our city without
sleep always
conversation halves
whomever answers
soft power
pulse march elephants
on parade     lover  
I am coming home

Brian Francis is a Cave Canem fellow from New York City. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Creative Nonfiction and is currently an MFA candidate at NYU.