Murk is Hellish
After Saul Kripke and William Shakespeare’s Macbeth
A non-complicated sentence ends abruptly at 9 am, and a woman rises
from bed with her satin-chic nightgown. She who unnames
the universe becomes the first metalinguist. She looks in the cheval
glass of the cosmos and shouts a mouthful of disgust: Out, damned noun;
out, I say. One thousand, two thousand—at 5 pm the woman chooses to stay
awake rather than waking up and this sentence ends as unhinged as a night-
horse dream. The dictionary provides this simile to show if she
who unnames the universe exists, then the first metalinguist is working
under terrible conditions at some possible world, a canonical tragedy
which brings us to the much-contested question: without adding
a tail, face and ears, is it possible to draw a rabbit with 62?
Yusuf Akman (they/them) is a disgrace to humanity. They don't have the vernacular they think that they possess. Somebody LIED to them SEVERAL times and told them that they were fly, hot, and sexy, and beautiful and they are NOTHING like that. they're nothing of the sort.
The Moon at the End of the Street
After evicting the dog
from the bed—she puts two paws
on the floor, stretches, and goes
uncomplaining to her chair--
I turn off the light, float
on the surface of sleep
for awhile before I sink
all the way in and I’m walking
along a street at night, full moon
gliding with me. I stop for
a moment but the moon
keeps going until it reaches
the end of the street and rolls
itself upright on edge
like a coin about to be spun
and flares like a searchlight,
I stare until my vision is
milky white, moonblind.
I close my eyes and all
is still white, reopen
and the moon has a dark blue
aura and is sinking almost
imperceptibly as the lightening
sky rises around it. Soon
only the rim remains and then
it too has disappeared.
The light is sunlight
and I’m awake.
Previously published at Fledgling Rag
If your hands tremble
it doesn’t matter, you
can still strike the match
and light the candle
on the shrine. No matter
if your back hurts,
you can still bow
and if your legs are
too stiff for the lotus
that doesn’t matter either,
you can sit on a chair.
Spirit and matter
are not opposed, they’re
like light and darkness.
One carries the other
as needed. You carry
yourself is what matters.
Previously published at WWPH writes
Gregory Luce is the author of five books of poems, including Riff & Improvisations, from Kelsay Books, and has published widely in print and online. In addition to poetry, he writes a monthly column of the arts for Scene4 Magazine. Retired from National Geographic, he is a volunteer tutor/writing instructor for 826DC. He lives in Arlington, VA, but his heart is divided between Texas and D.C.
A clearing in the thicket intrinsically a void
a vacuum I can’t tolerate must push my way
into it through hallucinations
standing guard take my place
within but off-center boundary penetrated
a stand within a stand.
Patient I stay
toes extend into roots so long unmoving
the soil begins to make room
my spine calcifies toward the sky
skin dries out flakes away bark
charges up and through more new layers, new hues
Pencils are made from wood and so you take
my arms for a stylus hew a tablet from my side.
Follow the path of my ellipses
as I become the story you write…
I began my poembox project when I was in a marriage I needed to leave in a town I needed to leave but it wasn't time to go yet, and two dimensions—poems on a flat page or screen—were not enough to get lost in. So I began to make poemboxes, or sculptural interpretations of my poems in box format.
Jesica Davis is a poet and technical writer from Chicago. She’s an Associate Editor/Managing Editor for Inverted Syntax literary journal whose work has appeared in Storm Cellar, streetcake magazine, The Laurel Review, Kissing Dynamite, Zone 3, and other places. Sometimes she makes poemboxes, which are sculptural interpretations of her poems. See j3s.net for more.
elegy for medusa
CW: sexual assault
it always comes back to grief and rot and skin heals eventually, right?
i wonder if anyone ever looked at you before the curse.
i already know the answer. every woman does.
since they could no longer ogle you, you sublimate from girl to monster.
a woman’s life is just a series of traumas. near-deaths.
the best thing a girl can be is beautiful. the next is dead.
did you even want to be seen in the first place?
you wanted wings. wanted to be sharp as a blade, to flick your pitch-black hair,
to destroy. turned prey while praying.
even dead you’re still a body.
victim / weapon, used as men see fit.
dying, the last thing polydectes sees is the tear tracks
down your lifeless cheeks, your mouth still open to scream.
in hades, he makes a comment on your O face.
a girl is a body. a dead girl is just something that won’t make a sound
when you force her into this or that position.
darling, μέδουσα, my feminine protector.
even when they can’t see you, they find a way to fucking kill you.
you should’ve been spring princess. should’ve been crowned prom queen
& married a girl & opened up a flower shop in rural hydra.
we all get swallowed in the end. it’s okay,
it doesn’t hurt so much unless you let it. love is never gentle,
is it? sometimes i wish the whole world would just stop.
but it never stops. it never stops.
childhood is a phantom pain,
a ghostlike shadow,
i still jolt at loud noises.
when i am not kindling myself,
i’m thinking about you
& all the things i want to be.
listen, i might be a carcass,
remains of maternal arson,
something born to be killed--
but as the lamb is led to the rite,
don’t you think it dreams
of something better?
i want to be too beautiful to die.
i want you
to let me eat your heart.
helga floros lives and writes in berlin. she has work in occulum, peach mag, witchcraft magazine, & elsewhere.
Say I Held a Revolver to Charlotte’s Web
I say I am afraid of spiders, but secretly
I am jealous of all the ways life
has granted them eight exits. The choice
to get gone
and stay gone. How escape is the best
revenge. My legs have been dying
to flee through the cracks
unannounced. How spiders are spirits
and their legs
have many lives—all say something
about the web they’ve stitched, the many meals
with their abundant hands;
thread and tie up the threat for later.
They’re all the same—wasps and bees,
things with wings
and multiple escape plans. Damn
the freedom to burrow in the floorboard
and leap out the window.
Stuck—I scream and swat their flight--
eliminate the choices. A shoe
zapper, newspaper, and revolver, they’re all
How spiders are spirits and their legs
have many lives.
How it has what it needs to leave/live
and uses it. I am
emerald-eyed and foaming
that I can’t trap that escape.
The Sun Goes Flower Picking
Cut stems at an angle with a sharp knife
Add room temperature water
Sprinkle in fresh flower food
Display flowers in a cool spot
Point their petals toward the sunlight
Remove any dead foliage
Be mindful of which flowers
need shallow or deep water
Research which species
need cool or warm temperatures
After months of reluctant sheltering
the sun grew tired of turning its body
toward the beauties;
countless bouquets wilted
I lack the patience to keep these fragile
Every day she passed a luscious garden
of Begonias and Camellias covered
in rich soil-- their fragrance luring
her to lean in. She grew closer to their wide-eyed petals and thought,
How easy to snip their unattended necks.
Late one evening, when no one was looking,
when the houses and streets were silent,
she plucked a handful
with no remorse.
She whispered in the sweetest voice,
Beautiful creations with a twisted grin.
Back at home with her bouquet, sun stroked
and fluffed their petals,
inhaled their aroma, and petted their stems. Placed them in water, then attempted
to replant them in their beds.
But nothing grew.
What she didn't know--
flowers ripped from the soil will
not survive. Eventually, they will wilt
and return to the dirt from which they came.
Khalisa Rae is an award-winning poet, activist, and journalist based in Durham, NC. She is the Gen Z Culture Editor at Blavity News and the author of the debut collection- Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat from Red Hen Press 2021. Her articles appear in Vogue, Autostraddle, Catapult, LitHub, Bitch Media, NBC-BLK, and others. Her power-packed poetry in Electric Lit, Pinch, Tishman Review, Frontier Poetry, Rust & Moth, PANK, HOBART, among countless others. Currently, she serves as Asst. Editor of Glass Poetry, co-founder of Think in Ink and the Women of Color Speak reading series. Her second collection, Unlearning Eden is forthcoming from White Stag Publishing in 2022.
Uncovered logs from the distant past and the future beyond.