Now and Then

She disappeared for a week.

Waiting for the bruises to fade.

The she disappeared inside herself.  

***

A dark satin ribbon

against her milky white skin.

Up against the crease where

thigh melts into her pelvis,

where no one will see.  

===

WEEKDAYS

Wake up

Breathe

Repeat 
 +   

WORK

hours on the internet

looking up the price of flights

Places she knows she’ll never go.  

Places with names that melt

like spun sugar
 +         

WEEKENDS

sleep that eludes weekdays

falls like a deluge

Sleeping. Ceiling. Netflix. Ceiling. Sleeping. 

@@@

HIM

Pretending it’s normal.

That she is normal.

That nothing has changed.          

_____

THEN

smoky darkness

waterfalls of liquor

a trickle

then a torrent  

a guy, not her guy, watches her

the guy isn’t handsome,

isn’t charming,

isn’t smart;

but what he is,

he thinks…

is here.

blurry face she shouldn’t have kissed

wanting to go home

hands around her throat

streams of silent tears

coursing over her temples

into her hair.

####

HOW

it begins:

A birthday.

Moth emerging

out of a cocoon

of lethargy and apathy.

Lather, rinse, repeat.  

She picks up the razor.  
Back of her knee –

a shifting mountainside

contours and indentations.

The razor slips.

She hisses.

Blood trickles

There it hangs

a Rorschach test

wherein she sees herself.

She smiles.

For the first time in months

^^^^^

NOW

the razor

or pin

or her nails

into her palms

 

This is real,

she thinks.

I made this happened.

 

It’s okay,

she thinks.

I only do it now and then.

–Kylie Goetz

When Kylie was five, she wanted to be either a nun or a lounge singer. Luckily (for the church and lounge patrons everywhere) she discovered a love for storytelling around the same age.  This eventually translated into a B.A in theatre from Florida State University and a MA in creative writing from Macquarie University.  You can buy her book here and follow her Word of the Day Poetry Project

The Well

upon which cup of thirst

should i pour

beverages essence of dhkir

rinsing to cleanse the conscience?

 

gulping various

potions of sentence

to slumber of sanity,

fantasy jostling

in positioning

space unknown to nuance,

unattainable is the light

of enlightened and knowledge of self,

in between the distance and proximity

at the peak of nirvana’s love

tribulation in substantive sufferings

 

upon which cup of thirst

should i pour

beverages essence of dhkir

in facing the shadow of Allah?

–Noor Aisya Buang

Aisya has been writing poems since 2011. Her poems and short stories have been published in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia newspapers. Her first poetry book Kastil Aisya (Aisya’s Castle)  has won book prize in Malay Literary Award, Singapore 2015 and shortlisted for Singapore Literature Prize 2016. Her second Malay poetry book Cahaya Dalam Sunyi (Light in Loneliness) has been published recently. She is now in preparation to translate her poems in English and publishing her first Malay short stories. She can be reached through email kastialaisya@gmail.com

 

Three A.M. High

By Nicole E. Woolaston

There’s a certain element of New York City that can only be seen between the hours of one and about five a.m.  The deeper into the city you go, the more interesting the crowd becomes. Around 42nd Street used to be a hellhole: sex shops, prostitutes (both male and female), twenty-four-hour DVD stores. Then Mayor Edward Koch cleaned it up. Now, it’s just another tourist trap.

I found myself wandering around the Village around a quarter to three. There were a lot of young people out; college kids with no place in particular to be. And tourists….you can spot the tourists. They’ve got “from out of town” written all over them. They just look out of place. Sometimes I think about going up to one of them and asking them what the hell they’re doing out in the city at such a late hour? Are they completely unaware of how dangerous the city can be, especially to one who doesn’t know anything about it? It was the same way, when I went to City College. You could always tell, which students were from New York, and which ones were from Montana or some damn where.

I moved past all of the tourists and college kids, and entered a tattoo parlor. I knew the guy at the front counter: a burly guy named Jerry. He nodded his head when he saw me. “Hey, man,” he said. “What’s up?”

“Not much,” I said. “I was wondering if you could work on my tattoo?”

“Sure,” Jerry said. “Your wife’s middle name, right?”

I nodded. “Yeah, I wanted you to fill in the letters.”

Jerry gestured for me to follow him towards the back of the parlor. Another one of his artists emerged from behind a curtain, and nodded towards me as he walked past. I turned in time to see him walk behind the front counter and stand.

I took a seat in Jerry’s chair, and sat back. Jerry got all of his tools in order, and pulled out a small, yellow cigar box. I’ve seen this cigar box many times before. It’s where Jerry keeps his “good shit”. He removed the contents: a dime bag and some rolling papers. As he carefully rolled a joint, he looked up at me, and asked, “You want?”

Of course I want. “Sure, man,” I said.  He passed the joint to me, and dug into his pocket and pulled out a lighter. He lit it for me, and I took a drag, and leaned my head back. I rolled up my sleeve, and exposed my half-completed tattoo of “Delcina Marie”. Weed and ink are my new things.

Jerry went to work, and I tried to pretend that needle he was using to fill I the letters didn’t hurt like a mother fucker. The weed helped a little…a little. It’s one of those pains that won’t kill you, but it hurts just enough for you to acknowledge its happening. Like a minor toothache. You may not need to see a dentist yet, but the pain is there.

Jerry asked me how my band was doing. I told him, we weren’t doing anything at the moment.

“What’s the matter?” Jerry asked. “Writer’s block or something?”

“Yeah, you could say that,” I said, taking another puff. “Nick is the one who writes most of our songs, and he’s been having some trouble lately. We’ve all got shit to deal with. I found out my father isn’t really my father.”

Jerry paused, and looked up at me. “Say what?”

I forced a smile. “Yeah, man,” I said. “It’s complicated, but it explains a lot of things, you know?” I took another puff. “My whole life, my father treated me like shit, and now I finally know why. I’m not his son.”

“Wow,” Jerry said. “That’s heavy, man. That’s really heavy. You okay?”

“I’m getting there,” I said.

Jerry finished my tattoo, gave me some A&D ointment, and covered my arm with gauze. He does really good work. I shook his hand, and told him I’d probably be back again for something else. I had already finished my joint about an hour ago. I walked out of the parlor, onto the street, and looked around. There were even less people out now. I knew if I walked to Astor Place or Union Square, things would be busy. I took a deep breath, and started walking. A homeless guy stumbled up to me, and asked if I had any change. I dug into my pocket, and handed him a ten. He smiled at me, and thanked me over and over, before wandering off into the night.

I thought about my tattoo. Delcina Marie.  Dee was probably wondering where I was. At that exact moment, my cell phone rang. It was Dee, calling me as if she was telepathic. I cleared my throat and answered her call.

“Hi, honey,” Dee said, with a sigh. “Just making sure you’re still alive.”

“I’m alive, all right,” I said. “Sorry I didn’t call you sooner. I’m just walking around the city, but I think I’ve had enough, now. I’m gonna head to the subway.”

“Okay,” Dee said. “I’ll be up.”

“See you in a little while,” I said. “Bye.” I ended the call, and I knew she was pissed at me. She won’t stay pissed at me for very long, but I do shit to make her worry about me and that’s not fair to her. I’m an ass sometimes. Then again, I guess every guy is an ass.

As I headed down into the nearest subway, I decided to stop at the all-night convenience store on my way home, and pick up some gum. I’m pretty sure my breath still smells like my three a.m. high.

Nicole is an author and artist from New York. She has been writing and creating since early childhood, and is the author of four different series. Most of her work is a reflection of her interests in Japanese anime, manga, and punk rock. You can check out her website, find her on Facebook or Twitter, or email her at woolent@hotmail.com

Mute

 

It’s easier

with the volume off.

Simpler to just not

hear you talk.

 

The sound of your voice

is the catalyst for the explosion

that I must express

under duress.

 

If I could do anything,

I’d go deaf.

I’d do that to erase the touch of your breath

on my back

on the morning you went to class.

 

You won’t learn anything

you don’t already know.

You won’t learn anything

I haven’t discovered for myself.

 

I sipped from your Holy Grail,

but you cut my hair, Delilah.

And the shit in that panacea

can’t stop the nausea or the throbbing heartbeat.

Naked and afraid,

I see the locks strewn across the room.

 

It will all grow back soon.

But ’til then, I’ll ignore the calls

And I’ll stay mute.

–Janni Raychuk

Janni’s favorite hobby is writing. If you want to contact her, do so at jraychuk1@gmail.com

Untitled

Ich liebe dich
I still cannot believe you love me
Wo bist du?
Come be with me.

Te quiero mucho
You’re beautiful
Te necesito
Stay by my side.

Mahal kita
My heart screams your name
Halikan mo ako
Promise me that your love is true.

Ya lyublu tibya
I yearn for you
Padari mne svayu lyubov
You’re near and yet so far.

Je t’aime de tout mon coeur
Say you’ll never go
Tu es ma joie de vivre
You are my muse.

I love you
Take my heart and keep it.
I need you
I am yours.

–Sarah Montenegro

Sarah is an NYC professional by day, a writer by night. She writes horror and tragic stories, and sometimes, about past lives. Recently, she tried dabbling into poetry. You can email her at sjcm1721@gmail.com  and you can check out her short stories at sorenlysander.wordpress.com.

Broke as a Joke

This is me.

Broken by the trusting of black-hearted commissions.

The decision has become my economic submission.

I’m a fish on dry land.

The donkey chasing the carrot.

Grasping for a needle in a wet haystack.

My intuition gone.

Replaced by the brace of the handheld drone called my phone.

Leading down alleys and doors.

Made to look even more deplorable.

I scrub at the dirt of my oppressive force.

Hoping it won’t keep me consistently sore.

I’d like to say I’d rather be poor.

But look at my bank account and your eyes will see the red score.

I’m not poor, I’m broke.

Everyone makes me the bunt of their jokes.

–Carlton Rolle

Carlton has had the opportunity to observe and live in various lifestyles. These places influenced the core of what made up his value system. Throughout all of the experiences, he began to understand that everyone has a story to tell regardless of their socio-economic, religious, racial, sexual, historically based beliefs, etc. Carlton wants to enrich the world with artistic forms of expression from the mind, body, and soul of an experience. You can see more of his work on his blog

Welcoming New Featured Contributors

By David Castro

It is always good to welcome new people into our Featured family, and this month, I get to welcome the largest crop yet, three new writers. Without further ado, lets get into it.

Harry Ricciardi is a boat-maker from a wonderful sounding place called Vineyard Haven. When not building boats, he writes amazing and brief poetry such as the “Whatever” series of micro poetry and “Nevermind“. He has a lot of new posts coming up, including another run of “Whatever” poems, so keep an eye out on the horizon for him.

Michael Lee Jordan is a known quantity on the online poetry scene, having one Best of the Net in 2016 and 2 Pushcart Prizes for poetry in 2015. We are glad to get to have his work on our site, in pieces like “Give Me Booze or Give Me Jesus” and “Everything Red for the Queen”, and many more to come. This award wining writer is a great addition to our family.

From Southeast Asia, Noor Aisya Buang graces us with her words in one of the fastest jumps to Featured status we have seen in our history. She constantly sends us amazing poetry and it is amazing to see work from her unique view point. She has had poetry and stories written in multiple languages and published in many countries, and we are so very proud to be counted as one of the places she is published in America.

We love the work that our Featured Contributors give us, and if you would like to be join them, feel free to contact us at submissionsboti@gmail.com to find out how.