12 Ways of Looking at the Being that Lives Inside My Daughter 1. In the mornings, she just stares at her cereal. 2. She doesn’t breathe like she used to. It inhales for her, and exhales, like a pump. 3. I kissed her forehead and felt it move under her skin. 4. She asked me, “Papa, what is this?” and held up her most treasured possession: a photo of us laughing at the beach. 5. Her voice sounds like your voices sounds when you hear a recording of yourself. 6. “That’s us,” I told her. “At the beach. Don’t you remember?” 7. “What is the beach?” she asked. 8. I hugged her, and she just stood there without moving.
In my embrace, it felt suddenly like she had too many arms, but when I stumbled back, it was just her, same as always, but dead behind the eyes. 9. When her skin started peeling and sloughing off, exposing the blue-black membrane underneath, I hid in the bathroom, hands clamped over my ears, trying to muffle her agonized wails. 10. Quiet now. Morning. I peek out into the hall. Still. 11. A translucent film has formed over her bedroom door, gluing it shut, and, 12. though I spent the night wracking my memory, I cannot for the life of me recall what we found so funny that day at the beach.
We’re Dealing with a Lot Right Now We are all saddened to hear, in the very near future, via the global neural news feed, beamed garishly over building facades and against the backs of our eyelids, that Ben Affleck has turned into a pillar of salt. This is perplexing, say the biblical scholars, without looking up from their yellowing, expired e-readers. To where must he have been fleeing, and from what divine immolation? Brentwood is fine. This is intriguing, say the scientists, distorted behind their stained beakers. Thermodynamically it tracks, but catalytically, it is quite troubling. This makes perfect sense, say the gossip writers. Did you see him ogle J-Lo’s daughter? “But that’s not even how the story—” the bible scholars reply, “Oh… never mind.” Me? I have nothing to say. The rest of them, enticed by the mystery, pulled like screaming virgins to the volcano of an explanation, have lost sight of the salt. Of the gleaming, six-foot, four-inch tower of you. Of your simple, essential objecthood. Ionic. Crystalline. Motionless. And I am overcome; overwhelmed by this singular, driving desire, this impossible urge to lick you, top to bottom, inch by inch, with an endless tongue and oceans of saliva, like God licked the world.
Josh Logue is a writer based out of New York. His work has previously appeared in Kugelmass and Aphelion.
The universe is a box of paradoxes The way opposites attract — every night, darkness and light collides, the moon bulbs the sky My doctor tells me: Man is mostly a body of water Now I understand why I am always at sea Now I understand why I am going through hell
Abu Ibrahim Ojotule popularly known as IB is a socially conscious poet whose work has caused tremendous influence and change both locally and internationally. His debut spoken word album “Music Has Failed Us” got a Grammy acceptance, and was in line for a possible nomination by the Recording Academy for the 2022 awards. This body of work is available on all major music streaming platforms. He sees poetry as a powerful tool to cause positive change and redefine society. When he is not writing or performing poetry, he works with brands and individuals across different sectors as photographer and brand strategist/storyteller.
I am delivered. I have arrived, organic embodied, physical breathing, bleeding flesh and bone, feeling human, skin stretched / muscles tensing
relaxing sleep-deprived / sleep-needing consuming, hunger chewing, / / digesting, growing, / / ingesting contemplating / reaching, growing, achieving, moving would you believe h u r t i n g . the tension, tendon, tortured laughter, wells deep of joy crinkling eyes, confused bursting w/ life and energy, pulsing, alive, here, hands conscious, height- ened, crashing.
l e a r n i n g . b r e a t h i n g . e x t e n d i n g . g r o w i n g. l i v i n g.
m o r t a l . e m b o d i e d . s p i r i t .
conscious. human. organic. authentic. what is this life I have been given this compact concentration of genes and stardust and earth of information and spirituality makes up the shape of me. What an accident that I was created in their sex. What a miracle. All that is natural is supernatural.
Retired Matchmaking God
Imagine a man so focused on God that the only reason he looked up to see you is because he heard God say, “That’s her.”
I’ve imagined it. And he’s dumb as rocks.
I imagine a God tired of telling every creature which one to eat for lunch; every moth which mate to flutter in the air with; every octopus which lumbering other to dance in the sea with; every lizard, amphibian, mammal, which encounters to end their lives on a high note with; every mutation to every happy painting accident, happy sculpting accident, guiding evolution along to get just the right cells and sparks and DNA in place.
What if God is tired of being asked to account for for every appearance possible to be mutated into reality? for the uncanny valley, too, for the Neanderthals were His creation too, that He loved and folded up into later use, a creation that had its run.
He is busy, mandating every mate, sparking every love and for the birds, it’s a lot of pressure, because they do mate for life you know; and for the bees, it’s a lot of pressure, because one date means an entire colony; and for the humans, well, he tried to give a different story—
tested if they could be the first asexual aromantic creatures, actually to conceive anew from sole spiritual love, to create from outside, beaming but the world was not ready for that. It only saw miracles in breeders.
And years later, they will divide up a tale of how man must not be alone and limit that only to monogamy and all the rest of unloneliness to but temptation.
Finally, God gave in and gave the humans sex just as the creatures before them and though He emphasizes Adam chooses Eve and though Eve is, just as much, loving Adam
they will add that her love was submissive, while Lilith’s unmatch was rebellious though Lilith and Eve were friends, perhaps. They never fought over Adam. (Can Liliths and Eves ever be friends? Can Adams and Eves?)
And now the people, how they cry out for matchmaking; and how they plan love for political gain; and how sometimes marriage is the only thin thread keeping peoples from killing one another.
Tired matchmaking God adores when His beloveds meet at last but delegates to the angels all this nonsense about going to hell for singleness too long for ungratefulness for being attractive; for selfishness of not mixing DNA every chance they get; for cheating on future husbands, spare a thought for people who will never exist, as if God could ever neglect to make a single soul.
Meanwhile, single souls are shot down in the land of the living, too, every survivor not pitiable enough.
Tired matchmaking God delegates to the cloud of witnesses: all that cry of losing heaven’s pass for horrors of loving more than once, and not bundling up all their hearts and feelings; for the sin of knowing their own created body and what feels like comfort to them; for the spit in the face of creation for loving truly, healthily, with full adoration if they have too much in common, like anatomy, or talk too much beforehand.
The ancestors themselves struggle sometimes, to be more than ancestor, to call them more than descendent. What else can we call them? they ask God. They can barely hold themselves up, and worry too about failing generations down the line. How to tell them it’s okay, souls already shall be, outside of time? We exist either way? How to tell them, God knows? God has not answered yet.
Tired matchmaking God wants to turn to the cosmos and heavens keep on creating there, for God does have others to tend to but something keeps calling Him back, sweet children He cannot leave crying out when they get to be loved, when they get to be loved, when they get to be loved in a world so full of love, so crammed with heaven, that they buried it, and misplaced their treasure, and damned the earth that holds them up.
In the deepest dark where you’d think is colder than the poles, where food is a blue whale carcass stocked for years, or none at all Where light hypnotizes, and jaws snatch in a world without our eyes; Where the smallest may feast making clean this world [unseen] and oceans, too, without skies— In this deepest dark, close to the earth’s heart where sun is a myth and the surface unheard of (is such ignorance bliss?): If light filters not from above falling to serve those below— then let my light be from within and in this universe, glow.
Ellen Huang (she/her) is an aroace lover of the whimsical gothic and spec-fic. She reads for Whale Road Review and is published/forthcoming in K’in, Resurrection Mag, Serendipity Lit, Brown Sugar Literary, The Sock Drawer, South Broadway Ghost Society, miniskirt magazine, warning lines, Moss Puppy Magazine, Messy Misfits, Persephone’s Daughters, and more. She is currently working on a fairytale chapbook and an asexual horror anthology.
I’ve been given a new task chosen for my proclivity to cry for no direct reason. couple years ago, except for my mother’s death, i only cried at movies, a couple songs always brought tears
But now i just cry, 3-4 days a week; i hope there’s not something wrong with me that my tears are helping somehow thousands of us, crying without knowing why whether for those who have a reason to cry— poverty, violence, disease–and can’t, or won’t, or for extinct species, melting glaciers, dying reefs and forests
So far i haven’t had to pull over while driving because of tears. many people at the gym. pause between reps, but probably none because they’re crying. we’re all invisible at our machines, working for longer lives without wondering if that’s what we want
Dan Raphael’s new poetry collection, Out in the Wordshed, will be published by Last Word Books in November of ’22. More recent poems appear in Unlikely Stories, Mad Swirl, Pangolin, Otoliths and Synchronized Chaos. Most Wednesdays dan writes and records a current events poem for The KBOO Evening News.
What about the days I don’t wanna be pretty in pink. All dressed up for everyone to see, not my choice, no one can hear my voice. It’s not fair, I can’t bear it anymore. I look at my mother in her gray eyes and give a pleading look.
“I don’t wanna wear pink anymore.” I whisper. “Pinks what you’ve got. Suck it up.” She replies.
I nod and accept my fate, sucking in a deep breath before stepping into the baby pink dress. My brown hair is bouncing as my chubby feet find their way back to the floor. Does everyone have to be forced into a color like this or is it just me? It’s not fair, I don’t want to hear it anymore. I no longer wanna be pretty in pink. My grubby little fingers grab the bottom of my dress and begin to lift it up gently before I get frustrated and tear it off. I hear the tears and so does my mother. We stare at each other and her mouth is wide open.
“What did you do?!” She scolded. “I said I didn’t wanna wear it anymore!” I stated.
Emma Giammanco is a 16-year-old junior at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. She’s on the school’s literary journal ‘The Siren.’ She’s from Beaver Pennsylvania and in her free time volunteers at Ready Yourself Youth Horse Ranch and the local Center. She loves to write fiction mostly and sometimes poetry.
in a silhouette of time as of a nation. glooms and leadership attrition breezes in, chiming. entertainment easily jogged to. a nation trudging into the abyss of gloom, youths celebrate idiocy in pictures. none penitent parliamentarian echoes stateless as a polity after many thousands of births. crimes easier than crowns, thugs, thrones traditions mired. norms, ethics; reverse for gains, as crimes are wearing naked eyes.
one street after another they walk unharmed, as we applaud no labour wealth.
John Chinaka Onyeche “Rememberajc” (he/his) is an author of three poetry collections “Echoes Across The Atlantic”, a husband, father and poet from Nigeria. He writes from the city of Port Harcourt Rivers State, Nigeria. He is currently a student of History and Diplomatic Studies at Ignatius Ajuru University Of Education Port Harcourt Rivers State. John Chinaka can be reached through the following means: Rememberajc.wordpress.com Facebook.com/jehovahisgood Twitter.com/apostlejohnchin Apostlejohnchinaka@gmail.comhttps://linktr.ee/Rememberajc
Seedlings sprout from stumps and from charred trees.
Cancer cells eat everything in sight.
New life bursts from old, we cannot stop it.
Life is stubborn, it will not be denied.
Nolcha has written all her life, starting with poop and crayons on the walls. Her poems have been published in Lothlorien Poetry Journal, The Red Lemon Review, Dark Entries, Duck Head Journal and others. Her chapbook, “My Father’s Ghost Hates Cats,” is available on Amazon.
Море белое. Мы ничего не видим. Желание не имеет никто. Солнце ходит вниз гора как мяч. Дверь открывается. Входит тень и проходит через комнату перед проходит через стену. Я тебя никогда не знал.
The sea is white. We don’t see anything. There is no desire. The sun is going down the mountain like a ball. The door opens up. A shadow comes in and walks across the room before going through the wall. I never knew you.
Горизонт в коробке. Рисунок карандашом, не похож на тебя. У тебя рука в кармане. Но это чужая рука. Голос за дверью, это твой. Ничего не имеет смысла. Мозг – странный орган.
A Strange Portrait
The horizon is in a box. A pencil drawing, does not look like you. You have a hand in your pocket. But this is someone else’s hand. The voice outside the door is yours. Nothing makes sense. The brain is a strange organ.
Ivan de Monbrison is a poet, writer and artist living in Paris born in 1969. He has studied oriental languages there after high school, not with great success. Ivan has autistic and schizophrenic tendencies that he has been trying to cop with through art, in the past twenty years of his life. His writing and art reflect maybe also the feeling of the decadence of today’s society, centered on its own vacuity and its lack of real purpose. He has been published in literary magazines globally.
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By Frances Huffman
My first word, my mother says.
I pointed at the big, shining bulb in the sky
and met for the first time a new friend.
The Man in the Moon.
was the first book I ever read.
It was my favorite too.
Every night before bed my mother would tell me to rest my head
and say goodnight to the man in the sky.
The moon is so comforting,
a beam of white in the dark of night.
I began to talk to him, The Man in the Moon,
my celestial diary, keeping me awake with his light.
My need for the Man soon ran out,
a total eclipse of my life.
New friends, new people to tell.
I left all of my secrets with them instead.
How lonely he must feel,
without our daily talks.
No one’s secrets to keep.
The loud silence of space, alone, a floating rock.
I hope someone else shares their life with him,
because he is a very good listener,
A wonderful friend when you need one.
The Man In the Moon.
Frances Huffman is a gazebo-loving junior at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. She enjoys writing poetry and creative nonfiction. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA and loves taking her dog for walks.