I Turned Into Bright Carbon! I Became for You a Diamond!

REMEMBER that time I     flick  wrote something on your      flick     hand as you were
leaving and   flick   you said why are you writing on my  flick  hand and I didn’t say
Anything   but just kept   flick   kept inking your hand into   flick   constellations   that
caused a riot in your blood   match  you have no clear recollection of when   flick   my
mouth became a pack of matches and    flick    you lit my     flick     you lit my mouth
flick  you lit my mouth with your mouth  flick  and turned into the brightest flash  burn
of carbon denouement

Michelle Sinsky is an interdisciplinary artist and MFA in Writing candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has appeared recently in Everyday Genius, Midwestern Gothic, elimae, Red Lightbulbs, Metazen, ANOBIUM, and in collaborative works at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Academy of Fine Arts, Prague. She reads for Gigantic Sequins Literary Journal, translates French, and works, among other places, as an arts criticism editor and contributor. She co-edits the forthcoming journal Matter Monthly.

In Lieu of Body Parts

A high-speed car chase & a half-
on-purpose boob graze: sometimes
my heart feels like both, only
the vehicle in question is an ice

cream truck & the half-graze
is more of a full-on punch & both
sound like “POP Goes the Weasel”
until my ears burst daisies

& my throat sprouts biceps –
I can’t breathe through the chicken-
bone beach crossing its legs
in my nostrils, tanning the span

of my kneecaps as rainbows
come of age and blow away
their hurricane nemeses – I see
the red and blue lights in your eyes,

oscillating in the ebb of your go-away
face – no, come hither, no:
your earlobe has its own language
& I can’t conjugate it anymore.

Kati can’t figure out what she wants to be. Currently, she’s a torn fiction / poetry graduate student at the NEOMFA and a teaching assistant at The University of Akron. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Gesture, among others, and her fiction has appeared in Rubbertop Review, where she also works as co-editor-in-chief. She is a reader of fiction and poetry for Whiskey Island and the Web Manager for the Big Big Mess. Born in Muncie, IN, she was forced into Northeast Ohio on a dare when she was four, and only looks back now if you ask her to.

Knot Hinge

Knot Hinge

Knot Hinge

M. Pfaff is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan, where he is currently finishing a dissertation that explores “postmodernist classicism” in American experimental writing, tentatively titled “Strange New Canons: Classical Reception at the Margins in 20th Century Poetics.” His literary translations of ancient lyric poetry received the Platsis Prize for Work on the Greek Legacy, and his poems and translations are beginning to appear in publications such as Asymptote, Prick of the Spindle, Counterexample Poetics, and Ezra.

Silk Flowers, Trussed

Strapless, you slip into the suicide seat. We swipe bicyclists and barn doors barreling detours. The highway knows which way to turn. Forked road, forks, and a flask for a picnic. I read to you from a cereal box. Here’s plastic sushi and candied lemon, fallen apples and dandelion tea. Your hair covers your eyes. You twist statements to questions. Confession: I’ve never kept orchids alive. Down Main Street, mannequins proffer bouquets: carnations, stitched. Your duct taped lips.

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of eight books of poetry. Her work has been honored with fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, the Santa Fe Art Institute, and the Ragdale Foundation, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation. Kristina is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Poetics at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo, where she holds a Presidential Fellowship.

Carol Guess is the author of eleven books of poetry and prose, including Tinderbox Lawn and Doll Studies: Forensics. She is Professor of English at Western Washington University, where she teaches Creative Writing and Queer Studies. Follow her at carolguess.blogstpot.com.


Do you see? If you don’t force it, it will come, rising as tender shoots of asparagus rose from their crown of roots in spring, each stiff shaft bearing a purpled tip. Mornings, Papa would clip them from their haze of fern, these myriad scepters of an infant king. Do you see? I was a good girl. I never thought twice about growth that spiked through earth like—I was a good girl, helped my father rinse spears with ice, pack them in crates for market. Out in groves where plants pried themselves shyly forth in shade, my sister and I listened to warblers trill, got dizzy from their gazouillis, conjured nests from trees that shook with song. At night when he’d take us, first me and then her, upon his lap—jiggle, jiggle, we’d jerk to his rhythm—we thought nothing of the club in his pants, except—God’s rod and His staff; His seed breeding from the soil each green thing; the asparagus swelling with the season. A good girl. Eating them steamed and served with sauce hollandaise, unbothered by the stink in my piss. And when I became a bad girl, woe betide me if I looked back on the vagrant vegetable lifting skyward its face like a scaly glans. Woe betide me if I thought Papa’s penis brought the pleasure of God’s good pageantry—

Gillian Cummings‘ poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boulevard, Colorado Review, The Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, Front Porch Journal, PANK and other journals. Her chapbook, Spirits of the Humid Cloud, was released last August by dancing girl press. She currently teaches poetry workshops at a hospital and is also a visual artist.


Warm and soft. I’m inside the warm and soft. Mother’s hand is moving over me in smooth after smooth. It’s a round feeling. It’s a yawn of falling inside. Mother’s hand has a rhythm like rocking. I don’t know what goes up and down and what presses, only it’s warm. Mother makes a breeze in my nose. The breeze is sweet and heavy. I want more. I want it, but it comes and goes, like her hand. All of this is to say I remember how mother untied my bonnet, stroked my hair, how she tucked a lavender heart pillow where I lay my head. Only later could I say, This happened. Only after we cut long stalks, tied them to rafters to dry upside-down, crushed flowers from stems with a rolling pin to fill sachets with the scent of sleeping. One day, stitching lace to heart’s rim, I had a moment of Oh!: mother’s touch, the lull and lure of drowse, me so little in the cradle I couldn’t know the strange smell’s source. And if I saw something as a baby, it was the same as the singing inside. And if I heard singing, it was as one hears in a dream, a song from faraway, a surge of tides, warm water washing the dreamer the way dusk dims the purple gardens glazing the hills. Mother, lover: lave-moi comme les fleurs ont lavé mes sens. Teach me to bathe in such beauty—

Gillian Cummings‘ poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boulevard, Colorado Review, The Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, Front Porch Journal, PANK and other journals. Her chapbook, Spirits of the Humid Cloud, was released last August by dancing girl press. She currently teaches poetry workshops at a hospital and is also a visual artist.

Elliot Smith

The amber-brewed afternoon
Plays across the table
We’re living in the golden age of coffee
The golden October morning
When he moved through
I was fat and decorated
On the porch later with our dumb bottles raised
But at least I was trying
We’re living in the golden age of money
Donald Trump is still alive
Through the pinhole
In this open empty store
I’ll buy a golden everything
Though I have nothing with which to
Aretha Franklin is still alive
In the car with the departed
Never again on that little low mountain
Never again at my door
In the bathtub at 27
Like wearing a new style of shoe
That shining time behind me
I might as well do it too
Lindsay Lohan is still alive
We’re living in the golden age of living
I’ll sit here unprotected
Captain are we moving do you know
The sovereign future
Is still so out of view

Lucy Biederman is a doctoral student in English Literature/Creative Writing at the University of Louisiana and the author of two chapbooks, The Other World (Dancing Girl Press, 2012) and The Hardest Part Is Done (Grey Book Press, forthcoming 2013). She has poems forthcoming in RHINO, Handsome, The Literary Review, The Tusculum Review, Bone Bouquet, and other journals.

Antonyms for Reticence

Having breathed the invisible glass
having forfeited my gas mask, last chance
before the sea levels everything
in its way—killing it with contrast

To cough up an excuse, a vow, a word for how
eyes are still the vulnerable vowels
through which slip a soul: sound fury burning salt and me
not getting any of it down: the un-crying shame

Of a beached whale bathed in wailing gulls,
little Sally selling seashells by the sea-corpse
in the dream I lost my voice
screaming Has anyone seen this pearl?

Lines cast out from tired poems and tied to lime
stones too fragile to make a dent
in anything, get wasted on this window,
shattered on that heart.

If broken, call me a liar. If bleeding, call me Ishmael.
If god’s blade dulls, if gunmetal blue rivers
never lap crimson forth, would not even Moses slit his
to prove the Nile sentient?

Where is the grain of truth in these fool’s gold waves—
these days that find you waiting on the Furies
to sweep down and disperse
your silver lining into acid-black dusk?

When they come you set the island on fire
with your glory-torch: a fist-full of words
my photo cloned and posted
all across the flaming hillside—I saw it

With my own eyes, and only my own eyes
know how many oil spills I counted on
that quiet drive, which, because circle, felt endless.
Feelings are toxic or they’re nothing

And I’m banking on the former and I’m drowning
on the shore. If some secrets aren’t lies
if confessions can be true
I’d slay I’d for you.

Adrian Silbernagel‘s work has been published in The Columbia ReviewRufous City ReviewPainted Bride Quarterly, Fruita Pulp, Two Hawks Quarterly, and elsewhere. Visit his website: www.adriansilbernagel.com.


Todd Mattei is a visual artist and musician residing in Chicago. His visual work (video, video installation, photography) has been screened and exhibited at places like the Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee; the Green Lantern, Nightingale, and Chicago Filmmakers in Chicago; ATA and Berkeley Film Archives in California; and Pittsburgh Filmmakers in Pittsburgh. Todd received his MFA (2005) from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and has since taught film and animation at the University of Illinois and DePaul University. With musical groups Joan of Arc, Male, and Sharks and Seals, and alone as Litesalive, Todd has contributed to almost twenty full length albums and toured the U.S., Japan, and Europe several times over.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Don’t Shoot the Messenger from Anne Elizabeth Moore on Vimeo.

Anne Elizabeth Moore is the author of Unmarketable: Brandalism,
Copyfighting, Mocketing
, and the Erosion of Integrity (The New Press,
2007), and Hey Kidz, Buy This Book: A Radical Primer on Corporate and
Governmental Propaganda
and Artistic Activism for Short People (Soft
Skull, 2004). Co-editor and publisher of now-defunct Punk Planet,
founding editor of the Best American Comics series from Houghton
Mifflin, Moore teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
when she’s not traveling the globe lecturing on freedom of speech
issues. Recently, Moore mounted two single-person exhibitions of her
conceptual art, has been the subject of two documentary films, and her
work has appeared on the radio program Snap Judgment and in the
Progressive, truthout.org, and the Boston Phoenix.