So Moist by ML

so moist

so moist
this cake of rose cream
and pistachio
when we meet
to share vanilla lattès
on wobbly stools

for a moment
she wears a frothy moustache
and we laugh
and talk of diets
and glass ceilings
and low-hanging fruit

I lick the soft-sweet icing
from my fingers
and lose myself
staring into the space
between her lips
for just a moment

 

ML lives in the UK and writes short poetry, medium poetry and prose (all lengths). ML has had work published in the excellent journals Black Bough, Twist in Time, and Bleached Butterfly.

Two poems by Susan Richardson

Shards of Cherry Blossoms

I fortify the foundation of my mind,
shellac the cracks to keep
the ghosts out,
but I will always be breakable.
I paint my eyes with shards of cherry blossoms,
pull the ache of memory from my bones
to make myself hollow,
but the weight of grief stains my hands.
I hide the burdens of sorrow behind my teeth,
sew the taste of loss into my tongue,
longing for a feeling of fullness,
but I will always be empty inside.

 
The Writer

Light flits off an empty screen
taunting me,
throwing doubt into my eyes.
Why must I always break through the waves,
only to find my mouth full of ash.
My feet are less steady each time I stand,
heart hollow from the effort.
I try and shake the brittle ink from the pen,
but the emptiness is piercing,
painful to the touch.
My words become frail in the heat,
all sense of myself siphoned into the sun.

 

Susan Richardson lives and writes in Los Angeles. In addition to poetry, she writes a blog called, Stories from the Edge of Blindness. Her work has been published in Rust + Moth, Amaryllis, Riggwelter, The Writing Disorder, Dodging the Rain, Chantarelle’s Notebook, and Toasted Cheese, among others. She was awarded the Sheila – Na – Gig 2017 Winter Poetry Prize, featured in the Literary Juice Q&A Series, and her poem “Letches” was chosen as the Ink Sweat & Tears March 2018 Poem of the Month. Her poetry has also been nominated for Best of the Net. You can read more of her work on her website.

A Play-by-Play of Queer Seduction by Marisa Crane

A Play-by-Play of Queer Seduction

The sweet silk of after
noon coils around your thighs.
Sun droplets scatter.
Day moon stirs.
Tongue songbirds,
enters your mouth.
I come
away with pieces of you
stuck to me. These winged
desires. Do you know
what you do? Do you know
that your body bests
all other bodies?
Our hungers harmonize.
The echo bites back.
Isn’t it nice
to love someone so much?

 

Marisa Crane is a queer writer whose work has appeared in The Rumpus, Hobart, Jellyfish Review, Wigleaf Top 50, and elsewhere. She is the author of the poetry chapbook, Our Debatable Bodies (Animal Heart Press, 2019). Originally from Allentown, PA, she currently lives in San Diego with her wife.

I breathe you in by Janna Grace

I breathe you in

like someone else’s flowers,
like boat gasoline…
like I know I shouldn’t.

You’ll be the death of me
leaning over a subway platform or
in summer
when the sun is high and we only skim
the surface of yesterday’s waves.

 

Janna Grace lives in a half-glass barn and her work has appeared in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Plastik Magazine, and Red Eft Review, among others. She has pieces forthcoming in Otoliths and Horla and she teaches writing at Rutgers University. Janna is the editor of Lamplit Underground and her debut novel will be published through Quill Press in 2019.

Two poems by Marisa Silva-Dunbar

Echo

Hear me on the wind,
this wanting never ceases.
We aren’t strangers to each other
even after a decade in and out of this desert.

I’ve known since we were seventeen,
how you dream about being surrounded
by constellations, tangled up in galaxies—
how you only feel free at midnight
in the cool mountain air, sleeping
as stars fall around us.

I held hungry words for you then—
longed to get my healing hands on you,
before I knew what kind of power they possessed.
Now, I am branded—yours; feel what bliss you bring.

 
Hive

Every woman I know has been storing anger for years in her body and it’s starting to feel like bees are going to pour out of all of our mouths at the same time. — Erin Keane

You want a constant supply of honey.
A simple craving, you do not want to know
how it is made. Cradle the honeycomb,
on your tongue, savor this moment—
lie to yourself and say this treat
is only for you—it cannot exist without you
wanting it. Forget flowers, and pollination—
greenery is a distraction anyway. You want the bees
manageable, to follow orders—find purpose
only in you. Hum this tale to yourself.
Ignore the approaching swarms.

 

Marisa Silva-Dunbar’s work has been published in Apathy Press, The Hellebore, Horny Poetry Review, Dark Marrow, Dear Reader, and Marias At Sampaguitas. She is a contributing writer at Pussy Magic. Her work is forthcoming in Sybil Journal, The Charles River Journal, The Cabinet of Heed, and Silk + Smoke. Marisa is the founder and EIC of Neon Mariposa Magazine. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @thesweetmaris.

Unlove poem by Amber Auslander

UNLOVE POEM

Cloak my salvation in bath-water, blood lover.
Your second row of teeth has gone too long unnoticed.
Teach me to floss those gums to bleed.
Teach me to notice mouths again.
This painted beach swarms with krill carbon, mineral shapes
Staining bleached coral on your bathroom floor.

You only know how to speak in lavender, you accuse.
You only know how to bring out the worst in me.
I watch your breaststroke turn to sink.
Hesitating dive as I follow you under.

Beneath the waves, we propel ourselves through opposing lights.
Your skin, blending into blue. Mine, a target.
I cannot tell when your eyes find crimson,
Only that a passing flounder whispers a warning.

When did this happen to us? I cannot ask, swallowing you first, propelled from floodgate.
You reply without question, When jellyfish took up residence in your neck.
We dissolve in slow motion against this current,
Divisions taking their place in our guided drift.

Back then, I could not separate my blood from the salt.
Now, you cannot separate the wound from the healing.

Proposal. Let’s engage in an exercise: three laps.
Interspliced. My buoyancy balancing.
We wonder: why not float open.

 

Amber Auslander is a nonbinary poet with a passion for clowns. They wish they were kidding. Follow them on Twitter @corpsedroid for some poetry updates and even more screaming.

Two poems by Mick Theebs

It is an incontrovertible fact of science

It is an incontrovertible fact of science
that people are born with
holes in their hearts and
that over time these holes
seal themselves up.
However,
there is a substantial segment
of the general population
whose hearts do not mend.
These poor souls wander the earth
with chest pains and indigestion
in search of a miracle cure
to seal up that gap inside them.
They go from doctor to doctor
rattling tin cups
searching for something
to plug their hole.
Passersby will drop whatever they see fit
into dust-caked cups─
mostly rosary beads and religious tokens
but among the sacred baubles
some of these wanderers are fortunate enough
to get something else.
Maybe a couple of dollars or
a tube of lipstick or
even some PYT’s phone number.
If they can’t count on someone else
to fill these holes
they’ll use bits of chewing gum
or chunks of steak (medium rare)
or if they’re really in trouble
a cigarette butt and
a few drops of vodka
will be just fine until
they find something more permanent.
Sometimes these travelers succumb
to the emptiness inside them
but those are rare instances and
more often than not
they fall to whatever
patch they have jerry-rigged,
whether its bacon grease,
high quality personal lubricant,
or good old fashioned
Mexican black tar heroin.
A heart can’t beat properly
when it’s clogged with all that refuse.
It might get along in the short time,
but that’s no way to play the long game.
The rub isn’t that these holes can’t be filled,
but that there is no single cure.
We have not found
a master key for these many locks.
Rather,
a key must be handcrafted
with tender touch
and caring caress
for each individual hole.
There is no easy way out.
Denying the very existence of these holes
will not put blood in your veins
or oxygen in your lungs.
There is only one way
to fill that hole in your heart
and you probably
saw this coming
but it’s

 

 
How it feels to lose your hair

It’s a lot like falling out of love.
It doesn’t happen all at once.
It’s an insidious
gradual thing
You pretend it’s not happening
but it’s as slow and inevitable as a glacier.
Each day you lose
Just a small piece
A little here
A little there
Leaving a trail of it
Wherever you go.
Sometimes it will make you
Curse the world
And wish for it to burn.
Other times it will be
a benchmark of the past
that will make your heart twinge.
In the end,
It’s best to just
cut it off
entirely.

 

Mick Theebs is serving as the Poet Laureate of Milford, CT until 2020. In addition to poetry, Mick also writes prose, satire, and scholarly articles. His work has been featured in a wide swath of books and publications, including Massachusetts’s Best Emerging Poets, Tiny Flames Press, and P.S. I Love You. More of his poetry can be found in his book Somnambulist. For spicy takes and dumb jokes, follow him on Twitter @MickTheebs.