Like A Truce by Tianna Hansen

Like a Truce

Backstage blindfolded trust exercise
fall back, he says. Throw your arms to
each side and release —free fall.
Expect to hit the floor, lead ballerina
posed behind you, chocolate eyes,
smirk as she lets you tumble…
but you teeter back and she meets you
open arms like a truce, catching you.
She lifts you in her arms, this flaming
phoenix, magnificent, and you feel
as if you could fly. You feel as if you
can soar. Admiration from the start
destined for friendship or more,
you turn to her, remove blindfold
and look into her eyes, smiling at this
woman glistening before you.
Wrap thin arms around her, whisper
let’s call it a truce— trusting
she will catch you again.
Pull her to the dressing room
and say, can we be friends
abusive pasts we now share
secret keepers, confidants,
she extends her arms, an offering.
fold into her breast, feel tears
well into your eyes and you are
again that little girl, staring up at her,
smell of smoke wrapped in hair,
adorned in silken charred nightgown
wanting nothing more than to find
friendship, everlasting. Wanting
nothing more than to find a light
amidst all this darkness.

 

Tianna G. Hansen has been writing her whole life, specializing in poetry and creative nonfiction with a sprinkling of fiction mixed in. You can find her published work on CreativeTianna.com or check her out on Twitter @tiannag92. She founded Rhythm & Bones Press in June 2018 and continues to work for progressing the idea of turning trauma into art, which is what much of her work focuses around. Find them at RhythmNBone.com or on Twitter @RhythmBonesLit

Savior saves something to destroy by Kristin Garth

savior saves something to destroy

a ten-year-old in corduroy, pink tights
hide peacock bruises, older, new, green,
black, purple, yellow hued. trace thin thigh, bright
outline through pink cotton, aquamarine
dance dressing room where you are seen by eyes
ice blue, carried to you, untouchable one
he would rescue, placed her yawning inside
your bed, “my savior,” just some dumb
half-conscious thing she said, you can’t excise
months later from your head. wet pillow scream
though nothing’s said. resent this spy —
her glimpses, your befouled thighs, mottled cream.
destroyer brought a witness to your grave.
despise this blue eyed child he chose to save.

 

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart & Best of the Net nominated sonnet stalker. Her poetry has stalked magazines like Glass, Yes, Five:2: One, Anti-Heroin Chic, Former Cactus, Occulum, Luna Luna, & many more. She has four chapbooks Pink Plastic House and Good Girl Games (Maverick Duck Press), Pensacola Girls (Bone & Ink Press, Sept 2018) and Shakespeare for Sociopaths (Hedgehog Poetry Press). She has another forthcoming, Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Press March 2019). Her full length, Candy Cigarette, is forthcoming April 2019 (The Hedgehog Poetry Press). She has a collaborative full length A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony forthcoming (Rhythm & Bones Press) in June 2019. Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie), and her website (kristingarth.com).

Love with Lemony Twist by Frank DeCanio

Love With Lemony Twist

It isn’t that your balled up fist
subverts my sensibilities
to revel in the pugilist
you imitate with perfect ease.
More hedonist than masochist,
I’d just as fondly shoot the breeze
or let myself be sweetly kissed
as be thus pummeled to my knees
by some virago acting dissed
to tease out passive fantasies.
But though I understand a tryst
would tender me more pleasantries,
precluding this I must enlist
your penchant to do as you please.

 

Born and bred in New Jersey, Frank DeCanio works in New York. He loves music from Bach to Amy Winehouse, World Music, Latin, opera. Shakespeare is his consolation, writing his hobby. He likes Dylan Thomas, Keats, Wallace Stevens, Frost , Ginsburg, and Sylvia Plath as poets.

Three poems by Rebecca Kokitus

cicatrix

no, I still haven’t let myself heal—
hair tie doubles as tourniquet
collecting the blood of my tiny traumas
unsaturating my fingers

induce frostbite,                      pressure
on the throat of my middle finger
fuck you              in bruise blue
I’ll bleed wherever I want

ask me how it feels to tear
the soles from my feet             then run
I’d say it feels like being born
from myself           feet first

I am molting as we speak,                 I am
always                         and never healing

 

teeth

let me tell you about my
perfect teeth
and the bite scar my
sister still carries

about the time I chipped
my smile on a
beer bottle at age 19

the time I flawed my
only        flawless part for
the sake of some boy-blur

let me tell you about my
old friend’s dog and
how I loved him more
than I loved her

and the way I was patient
with his bloodlust
because even humans
are born                       with canine teeth

 

rose honey

I bandage myself up, watch
the honeycomb bloat

rose honey overflow, I
read them like a palm reader

these are my lifelines,
proof that I am alive

when he touches me, I
miss being touchstarved

when he’s in me I’m a
swordswallower, I bleed
from the mouth down

searing like shearing,
he shears me, sheepish

bald as a newborn,
he likes me helpless

 

Rebecca Kokitus is a poet residing in the Philadelphia area. She has had poetry and prose published in various journals and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2018. Her poetry chapbook, Blue Bucolic is forthcoming from Thirty West Publishing House in 2019. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @rxbxcca_anna, and you can read more of her writing on her website: https://rebeccakokitus.wixsite.com/rebeccakokitus

Two poems by Marisa Silva-Dunbar

Stay

I.

When you tell me, there is no point—
you don’t belong here, I become the wailing
woman, La Llorona. You don’t want me to cry
—it isn’t necessary, but you need to know
the depth of devastation your absence will cause.

For you, I will turn into Scheherazade—
except it’s your life I’m trying to save (and yes,
I think it’s worth extending into old age). I don’t know
what stories my head will spin to distract you
from desiring death. I create a list of cities and villages
we have to explore together. You need to see the temples in Thailand,
and get tattooed in New Zealand, you had dreams we wandered
the palaces in Turkey, and I dreamt we spoke French on a corner
bistro in Paris. Give me a chance to weave this into our reality.

II.

Should you go, I will find ways to summon you
back; I don’t fear necromancy nor the fallen,
and even Hades couldn’t live without love—
he’d understand if I came begging and sobbing
about how I don’t want this life without you.

 
After the maelstrom

Every morning the wound is fresh,
and I’m afraid to be alone—I want
to cut a hole under my rib cage, allow it
to become a whole avulsion so I can breathe
again, and the infinite stream of blood that tries
to choke me has somewhere new to go. Nothing is hidden.

Questions cloud my mind so I can’t sleep:
Will she be a big deal to you? Will you curl
against her when she sleeps? And promise
you’ll be a better man so she’s never disappointed?

I need to regret you for a little while;
I can’t try to save you every Sunday,
and I can’t absolve you from this chaos.

 

Marisa Silva-Dunbar is a Pushcart nominated poet. Her work has been featured in: Royal Rose Magazine, Pussy Magic, Bone & Ink, Amaryllis, Midnight-Lane Boutique, and Constellate Literary Journal. She graduated from the University of East Anglia with her MA in poetry. Marisa is the founder and EIC of Neon Mariposa Magazine. She has work forthcoming in Honey & Lime, The Charles River Journal, Dark Marrow, and Apathy Press

Two poems by Shannon Phillips

Her heart is a bird trapped in her chest

She releases the bird because holding onto it isn’t right.
The time to tell the truth is now. Don’t look over there.
Looking within is the right way to find out why someone
must find a way out. Someone could return there and grip
her, choking out an ache from a can’t-do-without wound,
a wound that speaks in song, a wound begging the tongue
to heal its exact hurt, the loss of whose shape aches to the tune
of her eyes as she lets go of your bird-heart beating out words.

 
Dearly Beloved

He feeds her raspberries
dipped in cream.
His tongue, precise
as a diamond, traces
triangles until he
deciphers the code,
allowing him to enter her
purple mood.

Her permission, more
precious than pearls,
than doves’ tears, reflects
in her eyes, and wearing
a strand of dreams, her mind
fills with warm rain and sky.

 

Shannon Phillips is an aspiring translator who earned her MFA in creative writing from California State University, Long Beach. Body Parts, her most recent chapbook, was published by dancing girl press in 2017. She is also the founding editor of Picture Show Press and she recently received the 28th Moon Prize from Writing In A Woman’s Voice.

Vaginismus by Lauren Davis

Vaginismus

Sugar on the tongue,
we have many hours to waste
without complete touch.

Nothing can touch the way
you could if I could
take you without pain.

What is this body if I cannot—
when full of desire—join with a man.
I have waited so long to find you.

I told the sky prayers. And the sky
listened. When I fell out of the trees
strangers showed me

where you dwelled. Now that I
have brought myself to you
I cannot bring myself to you, fully.

Sugar on our lips. No nourishment
in my teaspoon. It does not matter.
Beloved, one day I will open

and I will be so open. You will hear
the rush of my footsteps approaching,
though you lie beside me.

(previously published in Each Wild Thing’s Consent, Poetry Wolf Press)

 

Lauren Davis is the author of the chapbook “Each Wild Thing’s Consent” (Poetry Wolf Press). She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and her work can be found in publications such as Prairie Schooner, Spillway, and Lunch Ticket. She is an alumni of Hypatia-in-the-Woods. She is also an editor at The Tishman Review, and teaches at The Writers’ Workshoppe in Port Townsend, WA.