ROBIN WYATT DUNN – NEW MEN

New men

We’re designing new men

macerated men

cut to length

arbiter of luck

maker of stage

metal men

flesh men

 

huge and triumphant

unable to remember or feel

 

men made out of iron

and lace

 

men who whistle

and club words off of pages

and the names out of children’s mouths

 

what luck with forgetting

the forgetting men

 

made new and bright

made out of everything you’d seen

from the lighthouse in Windsor and Bohemia

and older places

 

watching them move into the light and out of it

while you shouted their names

to see if they could move in time

~

find Robin here

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Barbara A Meier – BREAKUP

Breakup

The layer of cold between our bodies,

unspoken words in the space

Between breast and buttock,

withholding the aural glow

we used to bask in, the warming

friction, now grown cold with layers

of hate, the concerted effort to not touch.

~
Find Barbara here. 

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Wanda Deglane – 2 POEMS

Goldfish

I didn’t realize I liked girls until I was 16

because my catholic upbringing never allowed

that part of me to ever see the light of day. Nearly every

adult I ever looked up to said, why would we let

the gays marry someone they love when they could

just suppress their feelings and make it easier

on the rest of us, and that sunk in somewhere

deep inside and it snapped out at every part of me

that wanted to explore those untapped feelings,

pushing them far, far down in the hopes i wouldn’t

find them again. It never mattered how far I pushed, my sin

always came bubbling up to the surface, starved and

half-drowned but alive alive alive.

 

When I was 17, I kept my mouth shut. So many lovely

girls around me wrapped hot coils around my heart but

I heard the way they spoke about those muslims

those transgenders those gays and I painted my

damned lips shut with the strongest glue. A boy

approached me then, quiet and subtle, and he snuck

in somewhere I never thought I’d let anyone. I never

noticed how his hands seemed to wander constantly and

how his eyes always lingered on my ass, but his rough fingers

grabbed hold of the corners of my mouth and pulled

and pulled until my secret came prying loose. When

it went flying in the hostile air he caught it with the smack

of his hand and he roared, what the fuck do you mean?

don’t you know you’ll burn in hell?

 

I’ve thought about it forever and ever, I cried, and I know

god loves me whether I like girls or not. and he screamed,

no no no you’ll burn you’ll burn you’re a nasty fucking sinner.

my words fell flat in an endless void, saying over and over

he made me this way he loves me he loves me,

until the void eventually swallowed them whole with bitter, hot shame

to wash it all down. Rotten with hatred,

I watched as my carefully-guarded secret spread like tongues

of wildfire and the eyes of judgment fell on me, cracking

tar-black, hot whips on my head to fold me farther into

the neat box I once came out of.

 

A week later, my family called to me from downstairs,

you’d better come see this, and out my front door

every organ inside me sank to my toes when I saw

streaming white covering every inch of my house,

my home, my only safe haven. What a silly prank,

my aunts and uncles said, pulling toilet paper from

the branches of our tree, overlooking the fact that

17-year olds don’t TP anymore, or at least not for the fun of it.

This wasn’t lost on my parents. Who would do this?

And why? Tears fell quick down my cheeks as I said,

I don’t know I don’t know, only proving that I did and they

said, What have you done? What did you do to make them do this?

 

Wanda, come look. I was called to the porch again to find

a bucket filled with water, two goldfish swimming inside,

lost and scared and unaware they were being used

as the strangest statement of hate. Scooping them out into

a bowl of fresh water, I watched them swim in confused and

endless circles, murmuring apologies as the sky outside

turned violet and gold. Who told you to be sorry?

one fish said to me with a gurgling, deep voice. Will you

keep being sorry as they spit at you forever? I stared at his wide,

gaping mouth as he said, You’re everything their god can only

let them hope to be, and they’ll destroy you for it.

 

So are you going to let them?

Or are you going to tell them to kiss your ass?

~

Paranormal

The ghost who lives in our dorm room is named Kimberly. She died after going head to head with four bottles of vodka one bleak, crazy night in January, 15 years ago. She’s kind of a bitch, but not enough so to possess me and make my head spin around like an owl. She mostly likes to move our things from place to place to fuck with us. Some days, my roommate finds her snacks hidden underneath her pillow, and when we look at Kimberly, she shrugs and says, I was saving those for later. But as far as ghosts go, she’s really not so bad. On days where the air outside is a sweltering 115 degrees, her presence keeps the room comfortably chilly. She spends all our time sitting by our beds and watching as we do homework and occasionally say, This shit is so hard. I wish I could just drop out or pull a Kimberly. One night in January, we all curl up on the couch in the lounge to watch a horror movie about a ghost living in an old lady’s wall, while Kimberly sits next to me. She likes to watch horror movies and take notes on how else to make us shit our pants, but thirty minutes in, we realize this particular ghost is pretty terrible. The film plateaus into a boring lull, and Kimberly falls asleep, her head dousing my shoulder in ice-cold. When the movie finally crashes and burns, I shake Kimberly awake. Hey, it’s over. You really missed out, I tell her, and she genuinely seems bummed. I miss my mom, she says, her voice a pathetic, whispery breeze. I hate this. I hate everything. I miss being alive. I stare at her, helplessly trying to form the right words, but what is there to possibly say? Kimberly gets up and walks straight through the wall into our room. From that night on, our room is especially, bitterly cold.

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JOHN D ROBINSON – THE SLAVE

THE SLAVE

In the back-streets and
public conveniences, in
amongst bushes and
bus shelters, in
abandoned buildings,
slums and plush
apartments,
she’d give head and
hand-jobs for the price
of a bag of heroin,
Joanna would sell her
clothes, her self-respect,
her dear mother’s
soul, her father’s
eyes, her sister’s heart
for a bag of heroin,
she’d blind the sun,
confiscate the moon
and rip the blood
from your veins
for a bag of heroin
and she did
until a fucked-up
batch of heroin
beat her down
forever.

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JOHN D ROBINSON – UNNOTICED

UNNOTICED

I’ve left the best of my
poetry unpublished,
to be discovered after
my death: poems about
love and betrayal, of
drugs and alcohol,
poems about cats, of
their majesty and
mysterious wonder,
of living in poverty,
of fighting and
fucking and of family
holidays and abortions
and rejections and of
loss again and again.
I’ve left the best of my
poetry unread,
to be left in the hands
of those more gifted,
more driven to the
love of life to ever
let a single moment
go unnoticed.

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John Dorroh – “Missed Opportunities”

“Missed Opportunities”

1.

There were missed opportunities with your sister

that I no longer regret. I did for a while because I

love her homemade chili the stuff with lime and

cilantro and those those little flecks of ghost peppers.

Any woman who can make a bowl of chili sing like that

deserves to be honored. And believe me, I wanted to

honor her before she changed into a man.

2.

The miracle was not in the fact that she always knew

that there was a man living in her house, but the fact

that she carried through, unafraid to tell her family

and friends that she was planning on tossing her

vagina a farewell party, complete with midgets,

tattoo artists, and kittens dressed as baby possums.

3.

The surgeon took her scissors and made a nip tuck

then a tuck nip and pushed God out of the way.

“He’s mine now, so you sit over there and close

your eyes and mouth. I will call you if there is a

moment of distress.”

4.

Those opportunities are now memories of things

that could have been: a little family moving with the

rhythm of the ocean, water grinding itself across

the sand to make changes that all of us can feel.

~

This poem was originally published on April 9, 2018, by Piker Press.

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