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Sunday Service

Sunday Service

Montana Ray

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Bio: Montana Ray is a feminist writer, translator, and mom to Amadeus who is five. In 2015, Argos Books will publish the first full-length collection of her concrete poetry, (guns & butter).

Sunday Service

Sarah Schweig

THEORY OF ASH

Behold the THEORY OF ASH!
shouts the woman in the public square
whose face is a carnival mask.
Some spectacle is surely about to take place.

What will you do when your mother is dead?
What will you do when your mother is dead and you come
face to face with the woman whose face is a carnival mask?

The Man of Good Questions asked.

What could I say to The Man of Good Questions?
I lay down with the Injured Thing in the grass.
And that’s when the crowd gathered. They gathered
in refutation of all refutations. They gathered in the absence of

anything else. What is the meaning of the THEORY OF ASH?
The Man of Good Questions is asking now. (Ascending the stage
is the woman whose face is a carnival mask.) I don’t know, I tell him.
I cannot even begin to describe the beauty of what is about to happen.

Bio: Sarah Schweig is the author of the chapbook S (Dancing Girl Press), and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Atlas Review, Black Warrior Review, BOMB, Boston Review, Maggy, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Philadelphia Review of Books, Verse Daily, The Volta, and Western Humanities Review, among others. A graduate of the University of Virginia and Columbia University, where Ben Lerner awarded her work the David Craig Austen Memorial Award for Poetry, and former Ruth Lilly Fellowship finalist, Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference, and Emerging Poet Resident at Poets House in Manhattan, she works as a senior writer at a criminal justice think-tank in New York City and studies philosophy at The New School for Social Research.

Sunday Service

Brendan Flaherty

People Think I’m Disgusting

People think
I’m disgusting
because I have
a huge house.

I’ve got
restrooms to rest in,
washrooms to wash in,
and water closets
to hold my water,
while I shit
in the yard.

Bio: Brendan Flaherty is an LA-based freelance writer, originally from the Hartford area. His work appears at Fast Company’s Co.Labs, McSweeneys.net, the LA Fiction Review, among others. You can read more of his short writings at BrendanFlaherty.net.

Sunday Service

Lisa Ciccarello

from Don’t be like that.

From behind the tree you can see her mouth. She can see you & the mouth says help me. You could. There is a basket, a blanket, a skirt.

You think of the field stripped beneath the power lines. You return with scissors.

A light shines on slices of wood. A light shines when you shut the door. You use the branch to cover the mouth.

*
& the blanket spread beneath them. Truly, they don’t know yet what they are weeping for. The sound of stone on skull is like a kind of crying: everyone closes their eyes.

He puts a chocolate in each hand, loose but useless. When he looks at them, he sees himself.

It was bound to happen, you know. It was only natural.

*
They are going to lie a long time now.

What you’ve done so far, you’ve only done to their bodies. They have one last place left in them to reveal to you. Little by little they remove the dress of your grip.

They do not go very far.

Bio: Lisa Ciccarello’s first book of poems, At night, is forthcoming from Black Ocean. She’s the author of several chapbooks, including Worth Is the Wrong Word, recently out on Black Cake Records. Her poems have appeared in Tin House, Denver Quarterly, PEN Poetry Series, Handsome, Poor Claudia & Corduroy Mtn., among others. She edits poetry at draft: The Journal of Process.

Sunday Service

Emily Present

Vaping Hole

the holy thought can’t kill me, it can only burn through me at a steady pace. fastened to an electronic lit- parade. bad thoughts + cool chicks. come find me. but leave me mounted. crystals randomized. parasites setting me up for a ritual rolling of the dice. don’t let me be maaaaagik. this time. I hear postpartum depression is trending. but I’m transcending valves for fun. talk to me please. somebody, I can’t hear you. there is laughter in this magazine and it’s eating all the content they told me I am allowed to have. this is a primitive kind of transition. a kind where you lust. tell me about your palm. I want to eat it. consume the feelings. but I’m not sure how to, yet. yet. I am running tassels gold through my fingertips and counting sideways. 7, 5, 9, 6….I’m starting to get into ritual vaping and cinnamon lost bread as it falls through me. don’t test me.my my disruptive innovation is taking a toll on my insides and I’m trying to be someone who works with their hands but I’ve lost all the brick to the mortar. I’m going to bow down and insert dirt into my kneecaps, and shake my my body sideways. and when the futuristic Hasids look at me they will be jealous of my brows. this is what it means to daven. I am really only in it for the artifacts and jewels.

Bio: emily is getting into radishes. she also writes poems and co-edits the online journal glitterMOB.

Sunday Service

Laura Romeyn

What We Make of Her

Happy Meal Barbie wears two-inch heels.
Hair pulled up in a yellow pile and hands
on her hips in a swaggering way, I’m lighting

the match to her plastic narrows and then,
I’m lighting it again. Eyes grow wide as she begins
to flux, to soften, and blue is a sink in a pool

then it pours. Rereleasing my strike, I illumine
her pucker, replace kiss for a smear. In my mind
mopping away stains, blood lips from her face

like a plaster wall set to come down two weeks,
one week, now, followed by a bandaged attempt
at smoothing over. Features come back or don’t,

the way a house turned salon is still a house,
Nesquick and Fun Dip are still a diet, but not.
Barrettes, pinkpants and a big blonde bag puddle

to the side in their own shock and I let them,
body a fizz. Face cools, face hardens, and I take out
my Sharpie and I fix her myself.

Bio: Laura Romeyn is pursuing her MFA in poetry at Columbia University. A poem of hers most recently appeared in Leveler. She lives in Brooklyn and can be followed on twitter @LaRomage

Sunday Service

Elizabeth Clark Wessel

Everything Will Be Fixed by Love

Everyone woke up hungover
Everyone woke up in the wrong bed
Everyone had the wrong shoe
on the wrong foot in the wrong weather
Everyone was so hungry
then everyone ate too much

Love me everyone said
Love me first everyone said
Fix me everyone said
Fix me first

Bio: Elizabeth Clark Wessel is a founding editor of Argos Books & co-editor of Circumference: Poetry in Translation. Her poems and translations have appeared in DIAGRAM, A Public Space, Guernica, Sixth Finch, Lana Turner Journal, and Boston Review. She is the author of the chapbooks Whither Weather (GreenTower Press, 2012) and Isn’t that You Waving at You (Big Lucks Books, forthcoming in 2015).

Sunday Service

Marty Cain

Every Blessèd Day I Feel a Gun To My Skull

I was crapping in an outhouse by a Mississippi highway
I was wishing for a fog that could raise the dead
I felt free from my body for a waking second
The traffic sung but my face was hidden
In my dreams I sleep in a stranger’s house
I see Death rise in the darkened window
He knocks on glass, his pale face shining
He leaves his horse painting by the door
Listen, he says, I’ll tell you a secret
He chokes the handkerchief around my neck
He moans the name of someone else
We hum like a beehive in the dark
We make love with his clammy hand at my throat
My blue-threaded self then wisping out softly
Death never mistook me for a man
O every blessèd day I feel a gun to my skull
O every day when I’m against the wall
I want to exhume my voice from the back of my throat
I want raise it up from the base of the well
& let my corpus rot at the bottom
Allow my spirit to bellow loud
O make me a woman on all fours hissing
Her black hair wild & eyes gone white
The spirits swimming like ink from the sockets
O Lord shake me awake from my livelong nap
Make me a newborn steaming in a foggy pasture
Make me a split-open night-crawler foaming over
With the popped-off head & a new one growing
O every blessèd day I feel a gun to my skull
O every day when I’m against the wall
I wish I was doe in the morning dew
I dream of the sky for the sky can shake you
I dream of the dagger for the dagger can shake you
I dream of the bed for it has no ending
Wish I wasn’t a guppy with a knife in its gills
Wish I wasn’t a gator playing dead
Wish I was a thresher who could cut through the tide
I hear the cornfield sway like an ocean on fire
I wish I was a knife in the forest flying

Bio: Marty Cain is an MFA candidate at the University of Mississippi, where he reads for PANK and The Yalobusha Review. His poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Rattle, The Journal, The Minnesota Review, Word Riot, and elsewhere. Find him online.

Sunday Service

Michael Credico

Tom

Tom woke up thinking it was the apocalypse.

Nobody worried until Tom became indifferent.

“Far as you know, we’re done for, and you couldn’t care less?” his brother said.

“Yes,” Tom said.

His brother drove him to the hospital.

The receptionist gave him a form.

“Where should I sit?” Tom said.

The receptionist pointed to a row of chairs in the waiting room.

Tom said, “I thought they’d be bigger.”

“There’s a bed in the examination room.”

The receptionist was also a nurse. A blouse on top, scrubs on the bottom. You only saw them when she stood up, which she did to show Tom the row of chairs.

Tom filled out the form with two words: It’s over.

The doctor saw him half an hour later and said, “What do you mean?”

Tom said the world is ending.

The doctor was checking Tom’s reflexes. He said, “How?”

Tom said, “You’ve never watched television?”

The doctor said, “Do you watch a lot of television?”

“I dreamed of a television last night. I turned it off. I didn’t want to spend my last day like that.”

The doctor called the receptionist/nurse into the room. He said to her, “What if he’s right?”

“I don’t want to spend my last day like this,” she said. She tore off her blouse.

Tom didn’t notice before, but her left arm was a prosthetic. She tore that off too. It landed in the sink. She reminded Tom of a plastic soldier. When they broke, he’d melt them with a magnifying glass and reshape them into something else.

The topless/one-armed nurse/receptionist sat on the bed with Tom.

“Can you tell us?” she said.

Tom said, “All I have is a lighter.”

He flicked it and her scrubs burst into flames.

This was not at all what Tom thought it’d be.

The doctor began to douse the burning/topless/one-armed nurse/receptionist with water, still asking, “How?”

Bio: Michael Credico’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in MonkeyBicycle, Necessary Fiction, TheNewer York, Word Riot, and others. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, where he edits Whiskey Island.

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Will Roche

Baby 4 Lyfe

Here’s a baby
here’s a pic of my baby
just ate my baby
on vacay w/ my baby
baby’s first dance, death;
baby updates baby on baby
baby’s first car crash erased by
baby’s first second car crash
eternal and irrepressibly stale like pound
cake, my baby’s b-day is better than baby
baby grows up so fast
click or you will miss it,
baby on teevee baby glory
baby so hot right now
baby burnout
foreign talk-show circuit baby
she-drinks-too-much baby
baby rehab boo hoo
itty bitty baby pyre
so long

Bio: Will Roche is from Smyrna, GA but lives in Brooklyn, NY. You can see more of his work on his website.

Sunday Service

Feliz Molina & Ben Segal

from The Middle

Infer, no, inferno. Gather the facts before inferring that
we are living in an inferno. A war on many things;
they want to kill you for any reason, make money off
you, lick you bone white and dry. They would rather
see you poor, imprisoned, uneducated, sick, hungry.
They want to keep you alive.

* * *

Practically all things are related in one form or
another. What kind of boy is unboyfriendable? What
kind of girl? Not in words are we like our parents.
Only in words are we like our parents. Language is
premise enough to begin. You will always be between
your mother and father, regardless of if you never
met them—a bloody and fleshy edge of comfort and
discomfort.

* * *

Translation teaches that stanza means room. Bakhtin
wrote of literature’s architectonics. A book is a static
and constructed space through which a reader moves
at will. It is rooms and passages, design decisions.
Ought the same wood floor to flow from the dining
room to the kitchen? Where should we place a
doorway? Does this blotch of blankness cry out for
carpet? I should have studied architecture. The way
through might have then been less jarring. Let’s begin
again as always.

* * *

Things are said to fall apart – thank God. I split my
day into parts just to manage. Whole hours at once
overwhelm. Days come as waves or weights to rend.
But dissolution’s only normal. Cells want to split.
And dismal couples. Hot legs and hot dog buns. The
double doors of the city bank lobby. The seams of
tight pants desire this, the lips of hungry mouths. We
break bread and promises. We cut film. We split
seconds and sides and the rent. The trees branch out
just to live.

Bio: Feliz Lucia Molina is the author from UNDERCASTLE (Magic Helicopter Press) and co-author of The Wes Letters (Outpost19). Her poems are published and forthcoming in Gauss PDF, The Volta, Electronic Literature Organization Vol. 2, comma, poetry, Coconut, and others. She is currently gathering material for HANDS: a journal of poems typed & handwritten and makes chaps for Museum Of Expensive Things.

Ben Segal is the author of 78 Stories, co-author of The Wes Letters, and co-editor of the anthology The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature. His chapbooks Science Fiction Pornography and Weather Days were published by Publishing Genius and Mud Luscious Press, respectively, and his short fiction has been published by Tin House, Tarpaulin Sky, Gigantic, and Puerto del Sol, among others.

Sunday Service

Matt Margo

from When Empurpled: An Elegy

XI.

Amazing how every home be a
haunted house with gables like
the deadliest of sins and witches
tied to Corinthian pillars pilasters
splintered like firewood hahaha
how my flesh be the heretic and
my body be bewitched and how I
will be the one to burn it like a
smoldering pile of embers a
moist cigarette pinched between
the lips of all loneliness O
astonishing how a leaf does fall
as does the long night moon after
the winter solstice when people
sleep in pursuit of solace of love
longevity and lowliness lowly as
those angels fallen from the
graces of God as does fall a leaf
from the canopy of our habitat
inherited from the bravest of us
human beings being human
seeking refuge in Allah from the
devil the rejected my poor
harmless child protecting you
from those who seek to have you
dead I take refuge bat at hand and
ask you O God my hearer you
mighty man near my homeland O
my thy might and thy power you
are not incapable of seeking
refuge speeding far beyond this
world in perforated lines that
from the desk of elsewhere go
and and and
AndAndAndAndAndAndAndAn
dAndAnd I swear to God that we
will not forget the dead who walk
among us useless and flailing
marinating autumnal colors
crumpling beneath our feet
birthing a pattern a rhythm a
dirge for the fallen anyone of
everywhere some supportive
setback or burial of the
bloodened continues to beg for
the forgiveness of God no power
but in God no pedestrianization
but in this place this place of
overpopulation and carbon
monoxide inhaled deeper and
deeper down daintily now down
from my ancestors down the field
of fever dreams coming to
fruition flourishing amongst the
flowers the seeds of promise
planted for the sake of a
prosperous land and your
crumbling cookie eyes and your
museum mouth opening wide
wolfing down disintegrated tape
loops on holiday the most
difficult task of all so far insofar
as not yet having had the chance
to get to know any individual
having taken leave from the
crowded marketplace of the
world with this thunderous
swarm of pedestrians all about us
all everywhere and at once upon
a time in the remotest reaches of
a darkened village miles and
miles beyond where we now
stand there stood a harrowing
house with a roof steeply pitched
and cornices sated and columns
of a certain Greco variety
attempting to embody the ideal of
rationality the revival of some
fantasy and in this house there
lived and burned a homely harlot
at home with omens and without
a name O God to live and burn
without a name to bear to wear
upon one’s shoulder as if it were
a badge an expression of
nationalism of identity of the
mythical ideal of rationality of
solace of love longevity and
lowliness lowly as those angels
fallen from the graces of God but
I O I am calling off all falls from
grace and I O I will stop words of
I into stir the stirring of the
melting pot like the melting flesh
of floundering witches flailing so
uselessly amongst the flowers the
seeds of promise like the seeds of
everything I could be but
mmmmmmaybe may not be just
as be proven false cannot be
proven false just as it cannot be
proven false that every dog be a
god and every god be begotten
and every body be bewitched and
every home be a haunted house
hahaha!

Bio: Matt Margo is the author of the book-length poem When Empurpled: An Elegy (Pteron Press, 2013) and the poetry chapbook what i would say (Peanut Gallery Press, 2014), among other works. He edits the blog experiential-experimental-literature and the magazine Zoomoozophone Review.

Sunday Service

Bryan Coffelt

Person

It looks around after it pokes its head out and it sees that it can still make McDonald’s breakfast if it hurries.

Person

She goes to school, she fingerpaints the universe, she responds to stimuli, she fits her responses in her lunch box, she talks like “I am embarrassed of this lunch box,” she twinkles and thinks of what a gaping asshole the future is. She does karate on a classmate, she goes home, she does karate on the darkness.

People

If you really want to know someone, watch how they cut meat.

People

“Here is my lighter. Don’t look at me, and don’t fucking hurt yourself.”

“Here is my fucking Gmail password, don’t look at me.”

“Here is my favorite book in the world, fucking read it. Don’t fucking look at me.”

“Here is my fucking full external hard drive, don’t look at me.”

Person

She likes chicken on her salad. She hates the impermanence of lettuce. She has thoughts like, “I can feel it moving through me. My body is a level of Donkey Kong.”

People

“In five years, we will have at least one,” she said. Then, five years later, we had a squirming, sloppy little child. He swam out of her backwards, which made me nervous. When he dropped into the doctor’s thinly latexed fingers, I choked on my spit and coughed, trying to struggle out that I loved him.

The doctors wiped grayness from the Tonka toy of a man. I felt, for whatever splash of seconds fucking minutes, that he would be the one thing that would not drag or be dragged through it all. I thought of my own undoing, the way I look at myself in the mirror now and consider myself as a piece of gutted history, a product, phallic, a fuck ton of haircuts.

People

Someone will eventually say, “I remember when this was a Denny’s,” and everyone will feel like they’ve been shoved.

Bio: Bryan Coffelt lives in Portland, OR. These pieces are from an as-of-yet-untitled book that is forthcoming from sunnyoutside press.

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Kenny Jakubas

Her Space Circle(s)

From our brief chronology of time it appears that first
he briefed his job about the current inadequacies
of forgetful behavior & lit some marijuana as he was talking
& got fired right then for speaking what words he thought were true.
It could be said he fell terribly for the roses that fell from the balcony
of her MySpace after that call. The new look of her page was like being in her.
Her space even smelled like roses & see here he scrolled forever one night, etc.,
because she had presence. Even I used to wonder specifically about spaces
& the matter that destroyed & created. Check this out.
If you look closely enough & back your eyes away from this screen
real quick you can see the trickled space of white between these words that
would allow rose petals to slowly drop between these sentences. & symbols
are space circles that can be galaxies too. That would be
a poem. This is what he saw: the absence of this Space dissolving into a million
empty catacombs. He wished upon roses built of code
because they were the only roses he would ever receive & they were
beautiful to him. This was no game that Called to Duty
it came back with a story about infinite disappearance, it was real
& empty at the same time, the same representation of bird and bee:
is there matter in the lost message to a girl from the woods?
Somewhere in space there must be this message bouncing between stars,
& after a long time the stars return with a typed story about a boy
with the world at the tips of his fingers who had brought the rose petals
that fell from the screen of her MySpace & presented them as proof
that she existed to him
then.

Bio: Kenny Jakubas came from the inside of a little mitten under a bridge in Michigan. He graduated with honors from Western Michigan University, where he received his BA in Creative Writing. While there, his poetry and prose appeared in the literary journal ‘The Laureate’. He currently has creative non-fiction forthcoming from ‘Niche’ lit mag. Kenny lives in Kalamazoo, MI with his son and will be attending Western Michigan University’s MFA program in the Fall of 2014.

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Ashley Opheim

Killin’ It

Candida, candida,
I soak a tampon in apple cider vinegar and push it up my

lavender candle, lavender candle.
Tilikum, Tilikum,

people do awful things to make money in the name of entertainment.

Sea World is a fucking horrible place.

Entertain me, entertain me,
soft world.

Fuck Sea World.

Are you captive in a place just a little bit larger than your body?

I fall into a very deep thought about the conditions of vanishing
in the well-lit, but not too well-lit change room.

I buy fluoride-free toothpaste because I’m trying to
activate my pineal gland.

Some people say evil people who work for powerful people
put fluoride in the water because it dumbs you down.

Candida, candida
I am self-medicating with pure cranberries and apple cider vinegar.

I buy chocolate eggs and tea light candles.

Everyone’s tongue is pink la-la-la.
I am craving sugar so much.

Candida, candida,
I do mountain pose in yoga and kill it.

I kill that pose.
I dream that I dance with Beyonce on AstroTurf.
I kill that dream.

I dance like the best I’ve danced ever.
I sip my cell phone, mistaking it for a glass of water.

I breathe out of my ears.

Bio: Ashley Opheim (Ashley Obscura) is the author of the poetry collection I Am Here. She lives in Montreal, where she is the founding editor of Metatron and co-director of the reading series This Is Happening Whether You Like It Or Not. She can be followed on Twitter @hologramrainbow.

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: J. Hope Stein

Chapter 7.
Ballad of your Boss

Don’t hesitate to serve your boss.
Sit quietly and he will come to you.
The blessing of an employee
is in the corners of her mouth.
The blessing of a plot
is in its time of being worked.

When a great boss says “I kill you”
lay your head across his laptop.
Throw your documents in the river.
This is how we measure time.
The blessing of a plot
is in its time of being worked.

Do not despise small documents.
Do good for your body, but
there is no one who does not die—
Do not delay in your office.
The blessing of a plot
is in its time of being worked.

Be a cat in your boss’s presence.
Do not give a wary look
towards the elevator door—
You do not know the length of your life.
The blessing of a plot
is in its time of being worked.

Do not hesitate to serve your boss.
Do let linger without enquiry.
Put myrrh on your head, dress in fine linen.
Sit quietly and he will come to you.
The blessing of a plot
is in its time of being worked.

Bio: J. Hope Stein is the author of the chapbooks Talking Doll (Dancing Girl Press, 2012), Mary (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012) and Corner Office (H_ngm_n, 2011). Her work is published or forthcoming in Verse, Tarpaulin Sky, Everyday Genius, Ping Pong, Web del Sol, movingpoems.com and Poetry International. J. Hope Stein is also the editor of poetrycrush.com and the author of the poetry/humor site eecattings.com.

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: oscar bruno d’artois

(WATCH THIS FULLSCREEN THX)

bio: oscar bruno d’artois used to have a job selling meatpies. he lives in brooklyn, new york. follow him on twitter @brunoartois

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Zach Schwartz

haiku about the biggest question of my youth

should i masturbate
tonight? i thought as i puffed
on a black n’ mild

haiku i thought of while hooking up with my ex-girlfriend

i knew you would find
a way back into my arms
like a homing pigeon

haiku to my ex-ex girlfriend

you keep coming in
to my life and finding new
ways to hate me

haiku about being depressed and single

nobody wants to
date a depressed person
why did god do that

haiku i wrote after seeing a guy and a girl talking provocatively on a bench outside of a party

can’t deal with the
pressure of “getting a girl,”
where’s my ex-girlfriend

haiku i thought of after waking up with my ex-girlfriend after spending a night together

woke up and thought
“i finally have a real
human in my hands”

Bio: Zach Schwartz is from Cleveland, Ohio. His work has appeared in Vice Magazine, Thought Catalog, Rap Genius, and more. His website is www.zachtwotimes.com and he can be followed on Twitter @zach_two_times.

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Natalie Eilbert

Man Hole

I left him unfinished. I just wanted to.
The snow outside fills the sewers
and like my drive for power will stop abruptly
     and soon. Starting now, I’ll drop picture frames
down the hole. Drop food processors and Le Creusets
and my chaste little letters. It’s due to my interest
in godless practices that undoes the ritual.

I have a hole where I store my absent typographies,
I have a hole that will never move outside my body.

When he is beautiful, he adapts to a you-state,
thous his way into my pants to mortify my skins.
He draws me over in charcoal, my dull empty sternum
pinks with creation. I have a hole capable of erasure
and his jaw hangs like a mantis there, there.

Then I make him just once pierced with hundreds of holes.
I make him to preen and prick and prune his skin til he bends in his beautiful stalk.

Then I make him to crave my every sustenance as I fill him with clay and stone and ink.

Here is a mirror to wander through, a hallway to crack over his knee.

I make him to tender my strong arms as I spread him open with my knee.
I give him bloomers. I give him diamonds. I give him my desiccated brainstem
and ask if he’d like to go home now. He digs a hole in the ground and gets in and this makes him mine forever.


*

One definition of a hole is
     When men accidentally kill endangered wildlife
    they fill the beasts with holes, sew in rocks, sink them in larger holes.

One definition of a hole is
     I used to use maxipads against my hole, and I could smell
   the perfumed cotton-rot when a man slipped in through my window.

One definition of a hole is
     The men have been wiped out. I’ve been given certain allowances
     to provide for my species. I miss them. I am Ursula fat and witchy under the sea.

One reason I fantasize about the re-creation of men is because they always admit having loved me when they’re done with me, the heartsick goat in my stomach slaughters itself I am so grateful to fill myself with godawful certitudes as I bleed out. I don’t hear them in the vents. I don’t hear them over me in the dark, emptying. I starve my body still in case it drives them back.

I store them in the hole outside my body. This isn’t my hole but it’s a decent one, keeps them veal-dark and veal-alive. Vials and vials worth of DNA. All these sad engorged wads of dead ocean.


*

My poor man, so full of addendum,
driven through the asphalt to occupy the space
of a shit lake, shit river, shit rat god.
When you are mine you become animate
only capable of burning selfies in the shit lake.
        I say when. I say.
And when I close the sepulcher it is done and
you are he again, the agnostic whimpering he.
I place a hole over you, under you, fill it with rock.
Can’t wait to return to my dumb bitch couch
where he is the empty border outside where he is the hole.

The dog presents her dead
to an amnesiac who claims
she was touched by a man
and the touch felt like power
Power is a couch that covers a great hole

The holes I poured you in are becoming legible,
can be read from left to right, up to down, under to over—

The beauty of holes is that I cannot enter one without ceasing to
exist in the seen world. That a body can disappear and become
subsumed by a space suggests that the body is nothing but an act
of spectral negation. My cunt is a star with its darkness pressed to the floor to temporarily light me, to lighten me.

So the channels of men close. The lines of the men close.
I have a sample of spit from the hate of my history and I hock and
I hock and I hock in the holes of my men.

To call a woman a hole is to suggest immediate use.
To call a man a hole suggests grave incivility.

Incivilities I place like a knife at the windowsill to cool.
I’ve set a wishbone in boiling water to watch its holes appear.
When I weep, my calcium brittles. My men limn in sinkholes
until they are again important, until their duress makes me faint in my delicate sovereignty.

*

History is a papertrail that leads to a hole.
My personal history is always such that and that which, a dreadful taxonomy of raining men.
Hallelujah I’ve dug up this adorable patriarchy and it wants to live!

The classrooms of girls offend me with their careful thinking.
Thinking is an act of dipping your hands into a hole that you hope will form a skin.
I have crowned my foreskin a philosopher its rhetoric is so dry.

When he is homely, he is a leader of men and glimmers a brawny integument of he.
He is drawn from the rocks. He rapes a hole in me to fill me with rocks.
My consent is my sinking to the seafloor. Sally sold seawhores by the seashore,
I hum and I hock to the bottom.
The hooked descending albatross is a beauty to behold and I place its carcass like a key
     in his gray bloated sternum to bloom itself dry.

When he is homely, a hole forms in his throat for him to speak.
Stones fall out of his crude syntax.

I make him hundreds of times, drill holes behind his temples to make his future exterminations simple. I make his cock hundreds more times, I freeze them mid-revision.

I make him hundreds of times for he is homely and I’ve made him to desire the keen white    scalpel again and again.
I make him hundreds of times, let his holes grow dusty from lack of speech.

I make him hundreds of times and he sits on a rock all bashful and glitz.

I make him hundreds of times until he is pretty and worth his weight in flesh.

And in his flesh, I see him, the delicate sovereignty of his limbs.
And when I see him, I scoop out his throat, I take it in the hole and the look in his eyes tells me   he’s grateful. I thou him so hard I can feel his fingers wrapping their worth round my   neck.
My love is a hole I can only make once. I make it hundreds and hundreds of times.

Bio: Natalie Eilbert’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Tin House, Handsome, Guernica, West Branch, Spinning Jenny, Sixth Finch, STOKED, and many others. Her chapbook, Conversation with the Stone Wife, is forthcoming from Bloof Books. She lives and writes in Greenpoint, where she is the founding editor of The Atlas Review.

Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Stephen Michael McDowell

high profile search and seizure: a compendium of bizarre hazing rituals the fbi never wanted you to know existed

i am currently a very different type of heartbroken and alone
compared to when i was heartbroken and alone in the jungle
or heartbroken and alone drunk in the mouth of a volcano
or heartbroken and alone in a city i’d lived almost a year in
or heartbroken and alone on drugs in some field in a storm
or heartbroken and alone on a street with a high murder rate
or heartbroken and alone in bed with someone in a mansion
or heartbroken and alone with no smartphone, different mansion
or heartbroken and alone with no money in a desert
or heartbroken and alone in an empty high school skipping lunch
or heartbroken and alone in bed, two weeks pneumonia
or heartbroken and alone at night in the catacombs of a church
or heartbroken and alone playing sega in a basement
or heartbroken and alone being forced out of a womb
i am a very different type of heartbroken and alone
heartbroken and alone on the internet with you

Bio: Stephen Michael McDowell curates Mammal and edits Habitat

Editor’s note: This poem initially ran as an FB post, so it is technically a ‘reprint’, but it is so fucking good that who cares?