Parapraxis by HLR

I worry that you lie awake beside me,
listening to me breathe, wondering
with whom and where I’ve been,
and I am afraid that it’s his name that I speak
out loud, into the darkness
when my brain is steeped in drunken reverie.
He features so regularly in my dreams now
that the odds of his name escaping from my mouth
are stacked against us on the nightstand
with the unread books, the stolen looks
and the conversations you don’t know we have.

*

Does his name hang above our bed,
a mosquito net with human-sized holes in it?
Have my drug-induced murmurs hurt your heart,
his name a subconscious stab in the dark?

*

When I wake from my intoxicant-addled sleep
your side is empty, you have already gone.
I don’t know what damage has or hasn’t been done,
so I send you a message saying,

I had horrible dreams last night 😦

hoping that if indeed I did say his name aloud
you’ll think that it’s all okay
because I meant it in a bad, bad, nightmarish way.
But really, I think my dreams about him are horrible
because they’re not reality
and I really want them to be.
(I’m so sorry).

 

HLR is a 20-something writer of poetry, short prose and CNF. She writes primarily about her own experiences with mental illness, grief and addiction. Her work has featured in streetcake, Dear Damsels, In Parentheses, Lunate, Re-side, Constellate, Anti-Heroin Chic, and others. HLR was born and raised in north London, and is yet to escape. Read more at www.treacleheart.com and @treacleheartx

Another Rain Poem by Richaundra Thursday

It has not ceased to rain for even a moment today.

I am in my comfiest sweater, thickest jeans, a scarf

I wear in defiance of the pangs it gives my heart,

And I cannot seem to get warm.

Watching the puddles colonize every walkway,

I think of pots and pans placed by plush friends

When the Hundred Acre Woods threatened to flood.

Thirsting pots and pans leads thoughts to a boy

I never knew, his memory an undulating

Shadow across family history.

I tell myself I would construct an ark

If only I wasn’t so tired and maybe

It’s even true.

But with the shoreline so far,

The sky so close,

All lighthouses mirage iridescent,

Easy to choose the storm,

If only for proximity.

Days like today, I wish

To live in a reverse globe,

Looking up at water shaken by tragedienne

Winds. Perhaps the pressure will condense

All the heavy in me to carbon fiber angel hair,

Or perhaps even this deep, the roar of

Zephyr waves will swirl like escaped gales

Through this clarity

To orchestrate duet with my own wailing

Head.

Mother’s Ache by Natalie Marino

Standing in the garden of my childhood,
the sea of flowers had drowned in sand,
and I saw only a destructive world.

My womb became an empty genderless basket,
mother a minuscule black dot
on a forgotten past horizon.

Your upcoming arrival was written
on a surprise invitation in a foreign language.
Your needy cry was a giant bell tolling.

Giving goosebumps on my skin, your
clinging arms assured me of nothing,
but your caterpillar soul slithered slowly

and the hot ache melted me inside out.
I wanted to protect you from shame, vomit
erupting from mistakes you can’t erase.

I watched you on the play yard
running with the happy wind,
and a butterfly blossomed.

Natalie Marino is a writer, mother, and physician. She graduated with a BA in American Literature from UCLA. She lives in Thousand Oaks, California with her husband and two daughters. Her twitter handle is: @n_marinopoet.

 

one last dance by Linda Crate

phoenix tears may heal,
but my fires can also destroy;
illuminate nightmares
for who they truly are—
i will rip your charming mask off
make them see you are not
an angel but rather a devil,
but not just any demon but the one
that goes by the name
armand;
maybe they’ll still defend you
insist you are their hero—
you are not mine,
but perhaps it is because i am
the female lestat;
i wish only salt in your wounds
not death but salt and salt and salt until
it breaks you and then perhaps more—
they say i’ve got to hide my crazy,
but let me put it on display;
and burn the whole town down when i take
you beneath the flames
and we’ll dance one last dance as i kick
your ashes to oblivion and you come face to face
with your bride:
death.

 

Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of six poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019). She’s also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). Recently she has published two full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020) and The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020).

Scroll In, Breathe Out by Juliette Sebock

I came across a picture of you
with some girl I don’t know
and I wonder why
I may never be enough.

Within half a breath,
I remind myself that I have
no reason to be jealous,

to be mad at you
for not realising that,
when I look at you,
my brain screams,

“mine!”

I take a full breath,
deep breath,
breathe in these
thoughts of you

to press deeper
into my chest,
my lungs,
my gut,

and push it down.

When She Calls My Name by Milton P. Ehrlich

I melt like an avalanche of butter
drowning in a pile of blueberry pancakes
at the Dysart’s truck stop on the Maine turnpike.
How could she possibly remember my name
In her busy life filled with the rain of confetti
for all of her creative accomplishments?
I thought she took my presence for granted
like a buzzing fly on the wall of no matter.
When our bodies finally did meet, she remembered me.

 

Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 88-year-old psychologist and a veteran
of the Korean War. He has published poems in, The Antigonish Review,
London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin
Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, and the New York
Times.

Oversized by Cara Bovaird

Remember that navy sweatshirt,
Embroidered “Brooklyn” in bold,
Mustard font?

My hands were never cold in it.
The sleeves dangled well beyond
My fingertips, holes chewed in them
Post-argument.

And your huge raincoat,
With the fur hood?
It kept me almost as
Warm as your arms did.

But my mother always said
Oversized clothes drowned me,
And you did, too.

Cara Bovaird is an English Literature Masters student from Donegal, Ireland, currently studying at Ulster University, Coleraine. She enjoys spending time by the sea, and both reading and writing poetry. She is also known as the resident Sylvia Plath fanatic to her university classmates. Cara has previously been published in Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest (issue 3), and Sage Cigarettes online literary magazine. 
Twitter: @JanuarySun12 (poetry account) @Cara_Bovaird (personal account).

perhaps it is safer by Linda Crate

i want to tell the truth,
honesty is the best
policy;
but i am terrified
of revealing who i am
because what if that means
rejection?

people say those who matter
won’t mind, but what if they do?

my mother twice told me
“you better not be a lesbian”,
how do i tell her that i am pan?
i want to be proud of who i am,
but i am also terrified;

perhaps it is safer
to hide in this closet—

but a comfort place is no place for me
to grow, and i want to bloom into
the most beautiful flower
i can be.

 

Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of six poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019). She’s also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). Recently she has published two full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020) and The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020).