Archive for January, 2016

this is what heaven handed us
the blood that trickled
down your knee after you
fell down the stairs or the dark star-shaped
scar that remained afterwards,
a memento of morbidity’s
magic, the ash after
the candle burns and melts
to a resinous emptiness,
or perhaps heritage
is only a bitter memory-
a hanging man
who will not surrender himself
to fate’s slippery fingers
but wrestles with the noose
for a series of muffled moments
until his neck snaps
and his life severs
like a dropped call; he sways
from side to side, dangling
like a cat’s toy… silence,
the heritage we will hand
our children, along with the tattered
carcass of a planet
we allowed to languish
in neglect. maybe
heritage is the echo
of a whale’s wail
when a harpoon pierces its side
or the sauce we
never forgot… hunger
a hunger for a language
that lives without words.
we must realize in a way
only the blind can visualize
that before the veil of lies
there is a bed, and on it,
a lady named truth,
an ugly woman who bought,
tied, and shackled life
with the arrogant audacity
of the first weed to sprout
from an otherwise pristine lawn.
watch. she rises,
an ocean of her own design.
the bed creaks. she walks
and her dry bones speak.
traveler, kiss her cankered lips
and the veil will rip.
Kenneth West is a writer from Monroe, Louisiana. He is a student at Louisiana Tech University, and his work has appeared in The Quatrain.


they said
the old
man was
not a
though he
never bathed
said dirt
his power
he wore
overalls and
a cap
had a
long beard
like Moses
and always
spoke about
energy and
power fields
as he
old saw
blades and
Christmas lights
tin foil
bones and
copper wire
old paint
by number
kits and
model parts
and anything
shiny it
was a
hobby that
over time
became an
and years
later when
he was
very old
he showed
his friends
a large
room off
his tool
shed full
of what
he called
a healing

the result
of years
of assembling
and painting
and sculpting
all his
treasures into
a room
that captured
light and
created sound
with wind
and small
motors that
he claimed
could harness
the earths
energy and
could heal
cancer could
heal anything
a local
news reporter
asked him
how it
worked and
he said
I don’t
know but
it does

I watched
this story
tonight on
TV after
another dead
soldier amputated
baby war
I was
still sweating
and the
show distracted
my tears
well enough
and I
have no
idea if
it could
work but
I made
coffee early
and looked
at road
maps and
flight schedules
as I
what it
might be
like to
walk barefoot
into that
Matthew Borczon is a writer, nurse, and Navy Sailor from Erie, Pa. He has 4 children 3 cats and a dog all of whom he loves completely.

Patient Zero by Nathan Tompkins

Posted: January 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

Editor’s Note, Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

Patient Zero

Sometimes, I wake sweating,
still hearing the pants
convulsing behind me,
the ghost breaths touch
the hair on the back of my neck,

(lie naked, face down)

I fear that I will spread this disease,
to fuck a life, like he fucked mine,

to make another child cry at night
like I did, to make another child hide
like I did, to make another child rage,
like I did, to murder a childhood,

like he did.

(his weight pressed in me)

When the nieces and nephews want to sit
back on my knee as we sit in the easy chair,
watch Disney cartoons dancing on the tv, I’d love to,

but the paranoia of others’ perceptions

yeah, sure, but not too long.

(hot grunts on my skin)

Or my reluctance in changing my daughter’s nappy,
just take it off, wipe the tissue once or twice,
don’t touch her skin with mine, not even by accident,
put a fresh one on, quick now, quick now,

don’t look!

I know I could never do what he did to me,

but I still wake up sweating, hearing you,
petrified that I am infected with his paedo disease,

(dirty, filthy, pervert)

the patient zero.
Nathan Tompkins is a writer living in Portland, Oregon, though his heart will always be in North Idaho. His work has been published in many publications including Poeming Pigeons, NonBinary Review, and Crab Fat Magazine. He is the author of four chapbooks, the most recent of which are A Song of Chaos and Lullabies to a Whiskey Bottle.

Half an hour after our phone call,
I feel like an unattractive middle-aged woman
who was talking to an unattractive middle-aged man
whose disfigured middle aged body is drawn towards youthful
vaginal openings and who thinks every other man feels the same.

Never mind the brains of individuals. Never mind unstandardized
people who don’t identify themselves by standard gender roles.
Never mind minds that focus on more than tight pussy holes.

It all boils down to young females lifting up their shirts in public
to show him their taught stomachs. Him jerking off
at home in front of porn stars who look like sexy teenagers
young enough to be his daughter or his granddaughter.

Women close to his own age might as well be grandmotherly
porcelain bisque doll torsos with broken down heads
or no head at all. All he really does is look at their outer shapes,
while pretending to listen to the poems there mouths are reading,
while his head rates the lines of their bodies instead.

He visualizes their bodies insides. Replays their lines
to sound like little girl voices chanting C is for cookie,
then moaning P is for pussy. He breaks them open.
Listens to them drip with wet frosting.
Juliet Cook is a grotesque glitter witch medusa hybrid brimming with black, grey, silver, purple, and dark red explosions. Her poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications.