Karaoke

Poems

By Kathleen Radigan

Image: “Flexible/Fractured,” by Sarah Schechter, 2016. 

Karaoke

An elevator up to a cruise ship karaoke bar
is a ride to the next universe,
where vacationers chug cocktails
blooming with paper umbrellas
under low-lidded eyes.

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Six Poems

Poems

By Zoe Kurland

Image: “Sea Salt,” by Charlotte Pierce, 2015. 

Exponential decay

That feeling of shame when you’re too fancy for the occasion
that “I am overdressed for this party, So much so that I can feel
the slick complications of my waist” feeling.
and the ways in which I’ve tapered
are crushing the cave where
possible heartbeat
sonically strums.

why is Y a hook between legs why is X arms and legs

Clothes puddle at the foot of your bed.
an infinite stain shrinks, an anemone head
into dermal layers then fluid pools then
poof and cackle to melt
soft and wrinkled as
the wicked witch, I am

one more smudge
on your Ikea
                          rug.

Most things in me have a half life.

It began as a surmise on memory
but now it’s whatever goes inside.

so

yours or mine

Lean

Poems

By Danielle Cohen

Image: “Untitled,” by Bryan Schiavone, 2016. 

Lean

There was nothing lean about it, because it was earth-shattering,
the way she tipped
her torso back, opened
her palm welcoming
all the energy of the universe and letting
it pulse through the feathers of her red dress,
(which leaned with her spine as it
curved into a backwards C, or a sideways U, depending
on how you look at it),
no,
it was rich with color with rhythm with soul,
it was rich with zealous with sultry with bold,
it made everyone forget about the trumpets,
the trumpets with their shiny brass, and
the midnight hands that moved up and down those
polished buttons, but the trumpets,
those didn’t even matter because she,
she was the melody, the beat, and the lyrics, and her
pointed pumps held up the one leg,
the one leg she leaned back on as her outstretched arm kept
her balance, so she didn’t crash into the bar
that separated me from her,
and I watched from behind those six inches of wood,
over a motley set of
tumblers,
martini glasses, and
empty bottles,
I leaned forward onto that bar
to watch her, and
the men leaned back on their chairs
to watch her, and
the martini glasses leaned back towards mouths,
to spill
their clear contents onto
desperate tongues, and
the whole room leaned
into the present and
tilted with her.

Three Poems

Poems

By Rachel Godfrey

Image: “Arthropod,” by Sara Wallace-Lee, 2016.

leprosy

your skin begins to fade and you cannot feel pain

it is ugly
but i was told that the afterlife would be beautiful
being drained of my color seemed
a death so magical
it would break my own heart

i think of this:
denzel doing malcolm doing a conk
i think of
watching him praise and sway in the name of the white beauty lord
hallelujah
i think of
knowing that burn all too well
chewing the skin off my lip and playing it tough
my kinks burning from the chemicals of the [ironically named] relaxer
i think of
not thinking of
the dead flesh left behind
lies in lye

my skin was fading
and i could not feel pain
no barbed tongues
scraping their tips past my ears
with sinful whispers of “good/bad hair”
i thought i saw light in a burdenful darkness

my skin was fading
and i could not feel pain
but lord
why did it hurt so much to die this way
[hallelujah]

Four Poems

Poems

By Justin Greene

Image: “Nana bleu,” by Niki de Saint Phalle, 1987. 

Nuclear Family Bricolage

“The dog dies
if I don’t feed it.”
A woman finds family

in dependence. A man’s mother
is carried on his back. He jumps and
the bones jangle in his bag. They clamor

an aftershock. A crisis rhythm suspends
in the wake of disaster. There are no bodies
but salvaged slabs of drywall, eyes and ears cut off
at the edges of photographs, dog bones, bones of dogs,
of your dog, your dog who may now be your mother when
things all look the same. Scrub the relics clean (when did this
become an archaeology?). The waterspot becomes a watermark;

the soiled polaroid becomes a new family history. “I’ve come to feel
narrow in this low-ceilinged room.” “When we sat we never actually sat
at square tables or even octagons, only at circles. This was to avoid all of

the edges that divide us.”