by A. St. John

one day
We, beasts
began to speak
Tho didn’t we         Mean
With an ear, just what
gets messhered?
source     filter
Message        how you dress it up is everything
so the question is

the vessel
is it justified in its duty
if a tongue’s tip sits up
on the ceiling of his or her house and
The Muscle-in-the-Mouth make dat
sethy rhyxmic          wave motion
Dudat dance then u finna
gemmein tha mood ta understan
but, uh

A. St. John
 is a full-time graduate student and part-time employee whose interests include communication and swallowing disorders, world languages and linguistics, politics, social justice, and food.

Fifteen Days Have Passed

by Andrew Kaiminthang Hangsing

They said it’d be a surgical strike,
Yet, a carpet bombing have we witnessed;
Fifteen days have passed since
And not much talk is heard of success.

As they, in desperation, take steps
To lessen the casualties,
Their rivals smack their lips with relish
For all they see are opportunities.

The people, torn between two poles,
Watch on, albeit not in absolute silence,
As both the day and the queue shorten
And the nation slips into a trance.

And, as the debate rages on
And the blame games criss-cross,
The blunder lies not in the intention
But in the means of putting it across.

Of course, never will us commoners understand
The nuances of running a motherland;
Yet I, for one, wouldn’t burn down the house
Just to eliminate a menacing mouse.


Andrew Kaiminthang Hangsing is poet and writer from Haflong, India. He is currently gearing up to publish a collection of his poems. More of his work can be found here.


by Vivian Wagner

He carefully sliced the cancer from my skin,
one thin piece after another, finally extracting
the last bit of hardy weedroot.
If my face is a garden, it’s a strange one,
pocked and hilly, various in its shapes
and sections, unkempt and unpredictable.
In the end, though, he stretched the skin
over the hole and stitched up the suture.
He held up a mirror for me to see the tiny,
even stitches, and they seemed not so much a
surgeon’s work as that of secretive, midnight fairies
intent on making a faint but sturdy path through
planted lilies and unplanned dandelions alike,
on mapping a trail they might or might not take.

Vivian Wagner
is an associate professor of English at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. She’s the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel Kensington), and a poetry collection, The Village (Kelsay Books). For more information, visit her website at www.vivianwagner.net, or follow her on Twitter, @vwagner.

Top-Tier Molding

by Chad M. Horn

top tier of wedding cake molds in freezer
recalling when she was a newlywed
once served as a real-wedding-crowd-pleaser
honeymoon lingerie with silver thread
a good reminder of great yesterdays
porcelain skin as taut as a drum-head
wonderful icing with caramel glaze
with cream cheese filling as smooth as mayonnaise
thread-bare sheets, but she crashes, exhausted
high praise! to cake-making gourmets!
freezer, top-tier, and marriage defrosted
vows she once screamed now echo in murmur
molding top tier serves as sad confirmer

Chad M. Horn
is a Kentucky author and artist.


by Rebecca Bowman

Wet bedding can be heavy enough to rip
The speaker is accused of seeking closeness
a shoulder out of its socket
Momma was tough enough to take it on the chin
Though male figures are rare
and full enough to feed a family
they tend to be characterized by an attribute or activity

What’s sexy is reckless syntax
Characterized by particularly full legs and buttocks
Her guts are jewels
undoubtedly indicative of fertility
Keeping that secret could feel good

Here   in their madness
Baby’s belly rumble bottoms out
they have unpinned their clothes and stand partly naked
He rolled like a whistle downhill   east
A door left partly open is seen by the speaker as an invitation

Rebecca Bowman
is a writer working in Brooklyn, NY.

excerpt from Heathers

by Marissa Anne Ayala

You can take your things upstairs, let me show you / tires spun / gravel kicked dust / her saddle shoes nearly touching beneath the maple tree/ through the screen door she saw his pregnant cat / Uma / Uma / Uma / he called standing in the door’s light / Pierre Boulez / the screen door shut behind her / light sifted through lace curtains / draped near a bird-shaped lamp/ a hawk feather / books leaned on the wooden dresser / her feet sunk in the rug / lingering refusals / no no no / the thin line yesss / her Aunt’s voice / an echo in tires  / the Tennessee plates disappeared / & Max placed the suitcase by the bed.

Heather / looked looks looking / a way to fit into the piece of day / arriving / a violet tulip / Vancouver’s Bay sparkles / shadows tilt / mountains / morning / heels & car keys & street lamps still lit / in the beating of wind / she / Heather / approaches / an old bank / now a gallery/ dressed like a blood clot / pushing her muscles forward / sun ripples / her vision softer / catching the structure / the slant of light & shadows / like he taught her. Enter the gallery / Heather? Is the painting for you?/ No, for a friend / Cash or card? / Cash/ Would you like to see it first?/ No / Susan, wrap Heather / Wait, yes / she yanks at every nerve ending / wanting / needing / to cut / a cicatrix from her body / What is  / cellular / ? / What is / memory / ?

The wind chime / curtains shook / Uma on her ankle / Pierre Boulez / again / softer / louder / softer / footsteps / screen door unhinged / in this room she heard / wind creaking wooden slabs  / one exposed beam / a cross hatched roof  / sun / yellow / grains in fields / a maple tree shook / an oak dropped / bounced / rolled into the gutter / in the bathroom she splashed cool water on her face and combed her hair back / it was the only image of herself she really liked / in that oval mirror/ her eyes clear / her face no longer swollen / she arrived at Max’s home / she belonged / somewhere / to clean & care & learn just like her mother.

Heather is on the heels of her shoes by the entrance to the Backroom / dusty citron hues / the florescent glow pulls / at her hair / penetrates her gaze / seeps into her skin. Easily persuaded / she pushes off the wall and enters the light / her coat slips off her shoulders / dragging nervously forward / the hallway: seven footsteps, a tin ceiling, the slight undulation of light /  the dim swallows her shoes / cloaks her figure in muteness / when she enters the room she hears unhappiness dismembers you  / a film projected in the gallery next to this one  / alone, she pushes forward.

In the mirror was her undeveloped self / an open letter on the dresser:  structured like a notebook are our refusals / handfuls of cotton dresses folded / creased  / tucked beneath the metal buckles / Cynthia was a red canvas / in the living room / downstairs / Max pointed does this look like your mother? No need to answer. Let’s begin / Enter the studio/ through a doorway / off the kitchen / ochre and brown easels / blue splattered sheets / oversized drafts of portraits & brushes & jars & a farm sink / he showed her / ran her fingers through the horsehair / gently / bits of green pigment in ribbons / in water/ until the water ran clear. / She watched him maneuver around paint cans & followed his footsteps. / Heather explored the room with her fingers / you pull the canvas like this / the canvas was stiff / difficult to stretch / you mix & pour & when you pour it is steady / the body will tell you when to start / when to stop & we will know when you do not listen. / See? / Chunks of indigo in the pigment / he poured it on wax paper / too thick. / Her fingers ached / and she twisted the rags & thought / no, that does not look like her.

Heather reaches the threshold / light traces the guttural space / she finds the walls and wants to measure their distance / instead she notes their color as ivory, but no, she settles for eggshell with a touch of fog. Half-light brushes / scratches / dull incandescence onto her skin / hair / into the cotton fibers of her sweater / there is a clutter of objects: an old sink / a mannequin / a dead moth pinned to the blue canvas / a 1/2 empty box of film slides / Heather steps deeper into the cold room / the gallery strikes her / dark pools of unlit gaps / the impression of a night-lit sea / a puddle of oil / she, Heather, was born in Sleepy Hollow / a place that is a gap, lacuna, fissure & understands the birthplace as if she is subject to the same monstrous void. She steps into the hollow.

They drove the coastline to Cape Cod / it was summer / in the cabin was his collection of broken lamps / when he was anxious he arranged the washers, dusted the reflector bowls, polished the finials, and coiled the wires tightly. / That summer he asked her to get affected by the sun & in turn she grew wild / Max fed her theories of Bernard Berenson  /  “Painting is an art which aims at giving an abiding impression of artistic reality with only two dimensions.  The painter must, therefore, do consciously what we do unconsciously,- construct his third dimension…His first business is to rouse the tactile sense  / She let her young mind consume / & he controlled the consumption.

Have you heard of Max? A woman’s voice startles her / rich / with a deep crack when she crosses the X with her tongue & teeth / I don’t follow art / It’s an odd piece – very yellow / I suppose / she was getting closer / to Heather / it’s right this way.

Scrawled across the beach studio was white calligraphy / ink is the throat of memory / it’s my favorite inscription / she stepped on piles of hardened glue & paper / I had a dream / this came out of my throat / out of my spine / & when I woke I wrote it.

Why does her body feel split/ between the doorway and backroom / she stares / again / at the dull bulb / feels the pull / enters / the dim cloaks her figure in muteness / not all objects rest in a state of disconnect  / I know / annoyed at his voice still intertwined with her own / the air ripples away from her / crashes against walls / returns to graze against her / automata develops in this space / the walls/ a second body / harvest the palpitations of florescent light / flickers imprint a becoming / a pliable/ biological / psychotic / growth of spatial dimensions that control her / Heather / this illusory peristaltic movement.

Heather adopted his teachings/ reduced the Cape Cod coastline / brilliantly lit / into geometric / abstractions; shapes / shapes that moved with internal freedom / no need to conform /  They have no direct association with any particular visible experience, but in them one recognizes the principle and passion of organisms.  /  The landscape transformed into a grid of opposing & complementary multiform images / orange buoys in an aquamarine sea / a red violet birdhouse in a cerulean field filled of golden rods / Heather practiced / the art of placement / adjusting the view.

The walls contract / rebuild her / autogenesis / again / this time / it is her wanting / needing / tappet lucid / rebuild sight/ again/ this time its a bright tapestry / of light / to reflect / visible light / back through the retina.

In Cape Code buoys reduced to orange cylinders / sea was an aquamarine rectangle / a birdhouse was a red-violet square / a field with wildflowers  / transformed into a cerulean rectangle with deep yellow highlights / a seascape with a sailboat:triangle / the smooth ocean:flat-indigo / a cream lighthouse:cylinder/ let the sun stain your body / the sea’s salt coated / wind twisted / sun bleached  / her hair into yellow knots / her feet thickened / crossing / broken-shells / barnacles / rusty nails / & this landscape, it ravaged her.


Marissa Anne Ayala is a poet and visual artist based in Astoria, NY. She studied at Naropa University, The New School, and recently attended the Home School poetry conference. Her work is featured in Connotation Press, Handwritten, Kolaj Magazine, and an upcoming print edition of Glassworks Magazine. You can find her on Twitter @MarissaAAyala.