Thursday, 25 July 2019

the rose water that sits on my desk by Karen Breen

Rose in Pose 23 by Rajesh Misra

the rose water that sits on my desk
next to iris and periwinkle
in a glittered, jelly bulb
jiggled slightly when your husband
fisted the downstairs wood paneling.

a bathroom that should be pretty, a milk-glass tub,
its vertebrae down the middle a cowhide:

the door is yours now.
you’re the house with the perforations in the walls now.

and somewhere between Oklahoma and Japan,
his knees under a desk of recycled air,
half of me pleads, via phone call,
to erase sorrow “or roses are—”

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Airport Protest (January 29, 2017) by James Croal Jackson

Photograph by Daniel Arauz from Flickr

Planes have stopped searching the air for answers
as the crowd gathers into the terminal, fists up.

For once, we are made of metal– wings to give
the silenced flight. We mobilize on the ground

with footsteps of thunder, voices of titanium.
In rising, we promise to fly, scan the landscape

for green landings. Drop the ladders down,
worry about the pressure– not the altitude.


James Croal Jackson edits The Mantle ( Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. (

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Our Movie by Matt Dennison

Melted Candles by Scott Feldstein from Flickr

Conceived, as it were,
on the back deck, of a man
and woman drunk, giggled
to oblivion to think of a random
one to tease then wakened to horror,
their unremembered deed splashed
across screens, screamed, so it seemed,
by the hot-lacquered monsterisms of us all
in deviled reverse, they began, of necessity,
to cleanse their stolen things. Fetal-posed,
the flirty fucking birthing of now on the floor
where the music and their mouths were as one,
the pre-puke moan of the hair-balling cat’s
filth and blither calmed their nerves. They
will save this man, victim of the shallow
sins of their retaliatory child, mumbled
the reason-chant, the sadness test. Or is this
one of the rough games God must play,
they wondered, for when their god-gears
were engaged they couldn’t hear the
toilet-gulp of life in the weakness
of whoever they were. There will be
a car crash. She will be tranced, ladled
into bliss fever with a rotten heavy noose.
He, kissing the womb-air, will close the candle-
closet as the curtains bark with blue faces.
But the man, the object of their torment,
will suffer further, and they will snub
the butter-softenings of life. (It moves like a
horse, a slow horse, he said. Like this? she
asked, her hand moving up and down. Yes,
like that, he said, and proposed a songbird
of hollow chants.) Add screams and listen
to the syrup of applause. Marvel at how much
wince is soaked up by the man boiled with life
awakened in a sleep of cat vomit, filthy mad
decrees through the black-out doors. Suddenly
the ceiling fan weeps. You don’t just cough up
parents and dreams five-four-three-two-wound,
horripilations, ends of debris, the speed bland center’s
brutification, right? The reflect figure vanishes, the huge wax
of youth stiffening like a belt-loop looped backwards—
just a pin-scream of ether between worlds. But the man,
the random they chose to torture, is now embraced,
knocked on the coffin, so to speak, spoken unto the lid,
the magnificent flame never sparked but swept by the path
of elephants so god-mouthed, pustuled in early circuses,
neither soup nor medicine’s empty tit collecting
the roof-boil of last night. (Ramp the ashes,
for the wind is the greatest storyteller of them all.)
The etheral of different roles woke them, ignorant
of their abuse unto salvation, and they moaned,
wondering how well his urine fed the lawn,
her thanking the moon for self-accidents.
The tit-bells rang. Animosity spilled like grains
of pepper, grey doves nestled in the porch fern,
all the slop excellence of brief and simple rites.
“Years ago one of my testicles grew swollen,”
he said, bandaging his tongue as the man
they had wronged flung his arms open
upon reincarnation’s embrace, the whisper-thing
bleeding like a miracle: “I don't want to sell my hands.
I won't sell my hands. I've sold my hands.”
But even ghosts have thieving fingers, and the man
they wronged, forgotten until now, rose upon
his burning pyre to thank them for their grace.
Heaven couldn't hold such greatness. Had to drop
it from the sky. He thought: method-box lost my thieving
idiocy in a pennyful of pockets. Blood-happy to shave
my whiskers, spit into the milk and drink half a tree enflamed,
that lonely thing born inside a person's white goat, inbred
and flipped, the dwindling increase. (My feet deserve
brilliant shoes, my shoes deserve brilliant feet—I stride
the world unshod.) Why do historical revelations require
masturbation? the wronged man wondered as the recipients
of his torture’s newborn reflected their mother’s speech. Only
mice hear the wild ape-shrieks of the sleeping cat, he reminded
himself, fixed in the cheeks of the fresh mistake. Upon the pregnancy
of tiredness within the wrapping up, they conspired themselves
to sigh: “The sun is watering the pigs, practicing for us.”


After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon, River Poetry Review and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made short films with Michael Dickes, Swoon, Marie Craven and Jutta Pryor.