December 18, 2023

Monologue in a Room with the Portrait of My Dead Father

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto


―for Dad



Dad, I’ve safe in my chest those bright years of spring flowers.

I’m listening to Wayne, Burnaboy, Yeezy, Kendrick and Rozay,

and writing this piece in-between. I carry every memory of you

everywhere I go. I am a piece of you that is whole. b.

I see you in everything I see.

I see you in each of my prayers and dreams.

And somewhere I read that when one prays for

long, silence becomes a prayer too.

I see you in my silence.


I bear your thin legs. Two radiant poles.


June 5, 2023

helen of troy on the affair (vii)

Maria Zoccola

       Musée National Gustave Moreau: Helen at the Scaean Gate, Gustave Moreau


on the night i knew was our last, we sat down to a feast in the smoking section of the perkins beside the city walls, which differed from the perkins in my town only in the number of dead men who ate there. the air con was running pretty good, stiffing up the hair on my shins and souping the windows thick enough to hide what the sky was doing outside, a mean mess of clouds tinting themselves yellow and gray and

April 12, 2021

40 East to Knoxville

J. C. Jordan

a grieving fortune teller who reads death in every palm my mother says, to make me ache, you’ll never come home again

I know that I’ve been careless in my truancy I’ve been wayward, hoping to drift, Odysseus’ least successful protégé, but when I left I didn’t mean to leave forever

take back your stinging accusations— I have not been unfaithful to my mountains or my southern dirt; no other land has laid its grasping hands on me

I still dream of hazy summer like a fever, your lilting tongues, and some goddamn peace and quiet; even

February 25, 2020


Seth Brady Tucker

He picks scabs, won’t answer questions; he’s still in a cave in a jungle, swamp water seeping up into the musky leather of boots, like a wasp sting, the soft tissue under the scab a pudding, skinned, oozing thin as red Kool-Aid. ?                        His mother, class valedictorian, then unwed teen, ?                        then prostitute, then dead. His father, wealthy son, happy, happy, happy, a whole other

December 18, 2018

Cause of Exit

Terese Svoboda

?                        The Ark Tablet, written 1000 years before Genesis, remembers it  2 x 2 unclean/clean pairs, with ?            noisiness or wickedness the cause of exit,


the houseboat’s interior bituminized ?                                        with the blackest tar, Babylonian creosote

April 10, 2017


Nina Charap

I hollowed out my skull and let you swim about Let you piss and laugh and dance Let you fill me up with every disgusting thing inside you Inside me Inside you To think that I loved and loved and loved you I cradled my skull in my hands Hunched over it like a mother Humming lullabies To the cracked and worn remains Pieced back together The finished vessel Unfit to be filled Like swiss cheese Like the syphilitic skeletons you took me to You held my hand and you said look Look what that disease can do

April 10, 2017

The American Ruse

Gerry LaFemina

My first guitar was a Japanese Les Paul wannabe with a warped neck I’m certain was manufactured in Staten Island, in Paul Majewski’s basement,

circa 1982. We knew the best ones were built in the States, Gibsons & Fenders we couldn’t afford. The best amps were British Hiwatts or Marshalls,

hand wired, tubes glowing like party lights, those parties we never attended. We were poor children of poor parents. Our heroes made do, made music from distortion—

Wayne Kramer, James Williamson, Ron Asheton, names so ordinary they might have been written under a

April 10, 2017

Ask Me About Love

Ojo Taiye

i look into your eyes each morning and find


through all the syllables of love

brimming with words i can say

and cannot spell

half-illiterate in my mother

tongue                  half-silent in         my         purchased         f———luency

at the age of five i watched my mother fold her breath

into birds         until they found


in a stranger’s arms

and yes

what of all the green blessings

in my mouth—the shadows

that keep me company

when my