You Would by William Doreski

Who does what in New York behind a whitewashed facade doesn’t concern me. Your graffiti style beckons, but I can’t respond in tonalities rich enough to deter you. The two rivers draw you equally. You would if I would first, but I can’t. You claim I did, but I didn’t. The stink behind the façade proves me right. If I opened that latch someone uglier than a demolished building would emerge, dripping flavors. You wouldn’t recognize me behind that mask. Too many bristling retorts, too thick a film on the smile. You’d still claim that I did what you would do, but the gaping hole in your favorite building would cough up bats and ghosts. None would praise or even thank you.

how many times must i write about god before a heaven grows from the strange sky? by Lucas Peel

the sun sets on another wicked summer, 

a thousand dead things jump 

from buildings or branches & birth a mosaic 

of color on the lonely earth below. 

like this the mouth speaks everything into goodbyes. 

like this the space we speak of is just that. 

the face of something lost in the distant wind, 

the difference between weather & climate, 

the home you once made in repetition.

i think that existence is something like this:


Lucas Peel is a big mouth moonlighting as an adult. His work has appeared in a handful of shelves on his mother’s dresser. Lucas currently lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. We do not know what he is yelling about. Tweets @lookchrlz

Starved by Courtney LeBlanc

Do not mistake my silence

for absence: every day I think

of you and every day I say

nothing – no message sent,

no phone call made, no

letter mailed. With you it had

to be – has to be – all or none.

I loved you once, I think

you kept part of my heart

tucked into a pocket,

held close to the warmth

of your body. Even though 

we no longer speak, look

between the silences, find 

the quiet meaning in the spaces

between the words, small enough 

to swallow whole. Language

is a kind of hunger and I am 

always starved.


Courtney LeBlanc is the author of Beautiful & Full of Monsters (forthcoming from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), chapbooks All in the Family (Bottlecap Press) and The Violence Within (Flutter Press), and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She has her MBA from University of Baltimore and her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. She loves nail polish, wine, and tattoos. Read her publications on her blog: www.wordperv.com. Follow her on twitter: @wordperv, and IG: @wordperv79

This poet, by Michal ‘MJ’ Jones

This tall glass
of freshwater
from river’s edge,


makes memory my magic
looses locked logic
into gilded dust.


Whittles me
down to a writhing rag
wrung & wrung which remains wet.


I’m a knee-knocked
goddamned drunk juggernaut of
bunched nerve endings,


French braided fingers on neck napes,
a deep-sleep susurration at darkness
billowed into dawn that


jostles the willow’s whips, gathers
glacial eyes closed like
contented curtains.


Let me be your lilted line,
a zephyrous sigh –
I’ll make it wine.


Michal ‘MJ’ Jones is a Black queer, and non-binary poet and activist living in Oakland, CA. MJ’s work has been featured at Foglifter Press, Terrible Orange Review, Everyday Feminism, Black Girl Dangerous, The Body Is Not An Apology, and Wear Your Voice Magazine. They are currently the Community Engagement Graduate Fellow in the MFA program at Mills College.

Happiness by Jared A. Carnie

Happiness eludes me like a

simile.


Sometimes it’s a sharp crackle

and sometimes it’s a wall

painted like a dark window.


There is warm skin

on my cold skin

and smiles

like baskets of guilt

through the trapdoors

of my eyes.


Jared A. Carnie’s debut novel, Waves, was released in 2016. His first poetry release, LYME, will be available soon from Paper Swans Press. He can be found at www.jaredacarnie.com.