Oh My God Did You Say Pooh Bear You Did So Said Pooh Bear

I’m like the center of my gravity. So far I’ve lost like five air hockey games. You failed your driver’s ed test oh * my * god I failed my driver’s ed test too. My boyfriend says I’m too aggressive. I drove on the wrong side. Shut up. Ding dong bitch. You heard me ding dong bitch. She thinks I’m Japanese. That’s because I am Japanese. I don’t know where I am. I had a water gun. Look at all that steel. It’s like a junkyard out there. It’s like zombies. I’m so gonna fail. It was horrible. It was so horrible. Here say hi to my boyfriend. Are you jealous. Seriously I so suck at volleyball. Me too I love the letter J. Not unless I’ve got like six inch heels on. Yeah I want some pop rocks. I’ll beat you there. Say it. Say it. Second hand smoke you mean. Sugar Daddy. Muffin. Baby. Sweetie. Pumpkin Pie. Whatever at least I’m proud of it. Pooh bear. Oh my god pooh bear. Do you live by the place with the big chopsticks. I love that place. Shut up. You can buy me a cheesecake. I so too won you over with my sweet charms. I won you over. I’m your flower I’ll wear red. I’ll make you wear my dog’s head. Are you underground yet.


Derek Owens directs the Institute for Writing Studies (St. John’s University, NY) and is enrolled in the Transart Institute’s MFA in creative practice. Information on his artwork, writing, and teaching can be found at derekowens.net.

Julius Eastman

Stay on it. I’m here to show you a new system of love. All the codes have new rhythms, new silences. There is a clean beat. People are usually tamer on the floe of music, so you can be needlessly violent; speak boldly when they question you. You can’t do what you want, but anything goes—as long as they are alert, you are on repeat, making blood with your voice, cowing them into position, or undressing a man. Stay on it. I’m here to show you a new system of love. All the codes have new rhythms, new silences. There is a clean beat. Love is embarrassing for all of us. To be only a composer is not enough. You must give note to understanding, and hold it. Performers should listen intently to one another, and respond at any time; though there are wrong times. Heed the clef. I try to imagine a listener as a force field of senses, a flare of freeform reflexes indefinitely raging; always too small or too vast. Never enough attuned. In exchange, I sought basicness, a fundamentalness, packed at the tiny flyspeck where success and revolt are one. Because every time you think yourself loose from the stony forms … perhaps you are just too preoccupied. Stay on it. I’m here to show you a new system of love. You must give note to understanding, heed the clef. Sometimes, when you are up late, the sun feels like hard luck—the earth’s natural tempo machinery that disconcerts. But every sun contains all of the information from the suns before. Recursion, that’s the riff, ride it, light like desire charging the air. Meanwhile, a whole armada of risks, what I am to the fullest, kept approaching. And I retreated to the undergrowth, because who gives a shit. The gentry embezzle art, they keep it, and presence is sly. Stay on it.

Nic Leigh‘s work has appeared in The Collagist, DIAGRAM, UNSAID, Gobbet, and the Atticus Review.

Bill Traylor

Everyone is pointing to exemption. To the sky, the blue asylum. To the man, who must work. The birds are all-knowing—to the point of disinterest—but the drinking man is off balance, his spirit is exposed. He is confused by his own jeopardy; when something strikes from the clouds, believe me you will want your hat. Bring me deep red, and deep browns, and deep blues … and plenty of deep, deep blacks. I will create an archive and a prologue. I will draw a man in fever, pointing, he arches from the sky; the only knowledge in each of our breaths is that the sky cannot contain everyone. Even the doughty bird can fall, only a pellet. I wanted to be plowing so bad today. I wanted to put my hands in the dirt. I wanted the dirt to be mine, and the horse haunches, heartier than anything in the city—except machines. I paint a blue goat stretching for the moon. You can rein a goat, but it’s no use chasing a bird. Birds are the oppressors. It’s from a bold thinking they know the sky. No way except by cudgel to reason with that: pride. The dog has dignity. The dog has a dog inside, and he is sheltered from the light that splits seams. I begged them to let me go out the way I came in, but I came in with two legs and I’m not leaving that way. Of all my suffering, and now I must greet my wives on such unequal footing. Even though we unowned, equally, our limbs. Only bright color can truly express darkness, a feathering knife driving snug through leather, and if you’ve seen all of man’s angles, from the ground all the way to the heart, then you know that too much line is barbaric. Never be sorry, or it may just happen again the next time around. At the periphery of the circle, no man is the right size. But the man in the center is alone.

Nic Leigh‘s work has appeared in The Collagist, DIAGRAM, UNSAID, Gobbet, and the Atticus Review.


The line destroys, leaps from the point, bold; stretches out bodily to sketch a world: an open plane of bliss, brilliant and civilized. Mankind inhabits this patience of light. Each one, given luck, may find his locus here. With my internal geometry, curling carefully round, firm I capture space: a steel cascade as fragile and fluid as our knowing. The sure angle is wrecked, and the slightest move re-vises. So the mirror drifts; you must see your reflection by faith, where it is most precise. You can lean on dreams from the very first third of your life. Hamburg: I knew the coming havoc, hyenas in our living room, an elbow lodged right where the vase patterned with tiny amber pears, but I locked the house anyway. I threw the key in the Alster. And I leapt. I dug into my inky under to begin again. I started drawing without paper. My memory split off, traveled like the cool line on its imperturbable way, merging back with itself only sometimes in dreams—for instance officers, heaven crushed in their teeth, trudging La Capilla de Lourdes. Women in grand hats and collar patches. An explosion into many many-faced shapes, kinetic and tangled, a structure of spaces, transparent, sheer like our shimmering fears. Un dolor. When I’m in reality, where life is pleasant, students and children are pleasant, the garden is pleasant, I build vacuums to contain. I build volume with lines: nets of emptiness. Homes. Reticules weaving space into new worlds. I’m interested in the nothing between the lines and the sparkling when they cross, when they are interrupted—where our eyes catch. Where we see in a flood the intersection of matter and feel a regular assurance before slipping to weigh the invisible, the uncharted holiness. There is no danger for me to get stuck, because with each line I draw, hundreds more wait to be drawn. I use my hands: an operatic spray of lines, vaulting, each one sprung and free.

Nic Leigh‘s work has appeared in The Collagist, DIAGRAM, UNSAID, Gobbet, and the Atticus Review.

You’re Afraid and You Should Be

I’m levitating above you in the early hours of the morning.
I can clap my hands and crack your sleep in two.
I’m so high above you when I fall, I’ll fall hard and smack our bodies
into a flattened
panqueque in your sheets.

Cuidado, cuidado

Who knows what incantations my assimilated tongue
will waggle into existence? I let it cluck back as far as its needs to.I am not one and
I am not two thingsbut I am above your bed.

Mira! Mira! Mira! Mirror!
The joke’s on you.

I’m looking at your neck longingly like a third gen Puerto Rican Dracula,
and I want my blood back.

Those hairs on the back of your neck,
I call them to stand,
and I brush them back down with a Barbie comb
and I’ll do it again and again.
is how you turn cute
into creepy.

I just want to whisper to all my selves
in the dark while hovering,
and I know it’s hard to be afraid,
to bear witness,
and while I’m not interested in rescuing you,
I’ll make a wager:

I’ll show you my guts if you
show me yours.



Cathleen Bota is a multimedia poet, librarian, and Sailor Moon scholar in Orlando, FL. She is co-founder of the interdisciplinary reading series LITEROCALYPSE and poetry and graphics editor at specs.

Enhanced Hostility

She’s shy in an advanced
way, and holds up her
end the conversation

neatly arranged in a solitary
whorl, dismantling as you
hold her, sweating blood
and soft feelings.

This leads to improved
aggression, a black eye,
smashed ribs, rug burns;

an array of florets arranged
in a violet spiral circling
the limits of her cautious



Olivia Grayson creates prose and poetry that combine pop culture with autobiography in an effort to explore the often times startling experience of being part of the family of women —alternatively thrust into, or dumbly participating with a culture that sells the promise of absolute beauty, sparkling romance, and ideal interventions; she finds herself writing from a tension that surrounds this system.

Olivia teaches Developmental Reading and Writing at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her two cats, Molly-Molly and Emily.

Like Your Favorite Drums

As she approaches retirement, she thinks it is for the best that most of the people and memories from the days spent in the shimmering safety of their galaxy-jar-world have paled into far-off places. There are exceptions of course. Like images of them sitting on his veranda, with two mugs of coffee between their legs and how she wrestled with telling or not telling him that he sucked at songwriting and singing, but would definitely make it big as a drummer.

He was the one dancing his fingers on his beer-stained jeans to the rhythm of Seven Nation Army, by the White Stripes. She went up to him and whispered: love me like your favorite drums. He pretended he couldn’t hear her. She could tell he did, because his fingers lost the rhythm for a bit and later he offered a ride.

They drove through the mouth of the forest and listened to half of Jellyfish’s Split Milk album. She didn’t spare a single thought then on how the lake and the forest had outlived their ancestors and will outlive them. How they must be sensing one another, despite never touching.

In the morning, she threw a shirt on and he handed her a mug filled with coffee. They knelt on the veranda, observed a pair of ducks combing the bottom of the lake, butt-up. He played the conga for her and then shared some of his freshly written songs, even though she hadn’t asked.

She almost told him he was never going to make it in songwriting, but then he pressed his hand on hers and she drew fragility from his touch. And so she took in the calming smell of coffee, his questionable music, the quarreling ducks and the fog sifting into the lake.



Ana Prundaru is a Romanian-born translator, writer and visual artist. Her work appears in DIAGRAM, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Kyoto Journal and elsewhere. She lives in Zurich, Switzerland.


We don’t remember the days before Aurora Borealis. How we’d scoured weather reports for months and left for Abisko only when conditions were perfect to see her. How some compared her light to biblical fables but we wanted to see for ourselves. How they told us she would appear in an inky, cloudless sky. How Aurora wasn’t really Aurora, but an amalgam of solar particles and gasses and magnetic fields.

We don’t remember the time. How the sun shone brightly at midnight and made clocks an inconvenience rather than a necessity. How we counted hours by the progression of ports on our journey around the Swedish coast. How we hiked with supplies on our backs through mountains and forests before we reached that point. How we went days without seeing a local. How it didn’t matter because neither of us spoke the language well and each person we encountered eventually threw up his hands in frustration. How we considered the act a rejection. How the rejection stung like paper cuts, hundreds of small paper cuts. How, after some time, we thought we’d found the perfect spot in the marshes and waited. How Aurora took four long days and nights to arrive. How we read about the ancients, who reasoned Aurora’s delay was punishment for digressions in a past life. How we dreamed of Aurora’s reflection in the sea. How we prayed. How we loved her before we met her.

We don’t remember the legends. How the ancients revered Aurora and named her mother of the sun. How they believed her fingers pink as roses painted the clouds. How she kidnapped Tithonus from his father and made him her lover. How she’d petitioned Jupiter to grant him eternal life but neglected to ask for eternal youth. How Tithonus, tortured by time, turned into a withered, gray cicada. How Aurora watched in horror from the sky. How she wept.

We don’t remember the stillness before Aurora came. How her light pierced the sky with no warning. How we jumped up and down in vain attempts to touch it. How Aurora drowned the moon and smothered the stars with shades of blue and green and pink. How we fell to our knees in reverence. How fragile we believed she was, how we feared even a sneeze was enough to make the light disappear. How we whispered to each other because we thought she couldn’t hear. How the cool air punched at our lungs. How we were so close to the Arctic Circle, we felt small as dots on a map at the edge of the world.

We don’t remember what happened to the film. How we’d left four canisters in a bin near the lip of the x-ray machine at the airport and can’t recall whose fault it was. How we argued. How we settled for photographs taken by others and illustrations we found in small gift stores. How they could never replace the pictures we’d taken. How we didn’t hold on to many things from that trip—not even a receipt, or a postcard. How neither of us felt it necessary was once the light was over.



Esme-Michelle Watkins is an attorney from Los Angeles. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Indiana Review, Word Riot, Voices de la Luna, 4’33” and elsewhere. She is a Callaloo Fellow, a Kimbilio Fellow, and the fiction editor at Apogee Journal.