Tag Archives: tbp

Iota Difference

by A. N. Irvano

I am sitting here
on cam girls
watching people
how they are
watching me
“you ok?”
comes up on
the chat screen
“you look paler
than usual”

As a little girl
I drew lines
on my thighs
whispering to a God
“this is where
I want my body
to be gone”

As a little girl
I told someone I was anorexic
they asked how many
meals I ate
a day
two meals a day
was too much to them

I eat no meals now
one of my customers said,
women have better orgasms,
I ask if they know
that men
have better opportunities
so who wins


by A. N. Irvano

It scares me
to talk about
my ex is
because young
girls listen to his
or maybe because
I still do—

I reminded him
that it hurt when
he wrote an album
about the end of us
I wish you had stayed—

had asked him if he
had meant
he wished I
had stayed
I had
never left

Every I Love You Lied Through Your Teeth

by Sarah Frances Moran

Within your image of me
I am frozen
A masterpiece prodigy
and you have no regrets

I’m forever beautified and brilliant
inside your eyes
And I’m drowning
while you waft by dreaming
of a picture-perfect me
that lit up
every one of your sick fantasies
And that… deifies me, doesn’t it?

A small sector of a religion
Powerful I guess,
I needed to feel so craved

You cherished that glorious girl
legs wide-spread
expressionless but wide-eyed
and paranoid
Your award winning brain polaroid recorded

You’ll die thinking of me

Your old man, young boy
wet dream


by Mike Jewett

We fall hunting for laurels,

our purple bruises
into rose hips.

Our silversmith rings lose their fingers,
cracked irreparable.

Our lives of lavish luxury
lives as lapis lazuli.

The banks of the Ipswich
call out:

silhouettes behind birch bark.

how we used to swim
her waters;

tread her auric ebb?
We aim at deer, at ripening

persimmons. They chew
the fruit pretty.

We aim at killdeer.
Kiss a wasp.

We were dead fireworks
under Laniakea eyes.

As midnight, we are
films noir:

we imagine fucking
Lauren Bacall from behind,

speaking and kissing in tongues,
her mouth tasting

of unfiltered smoke,
breathing the snow

down her rose hips.

We stuff the stuff of nightmares
into a cardboard box.

We howl at solar winds and polar vortexes.
We are a vesica; both/and.

We fall hunting for laurels,
adolescent pulsars with persimmon eyes.

I like a woman with scars

by Eleanor Franzen

I like a woman with scars

they give her an air of mystery
this was said to me by a friend’s father,
a man perhaps thirty years older than I was,
his eyes stroking the scar down the side of my nose,
caressing that perfect broken skin that followed exactly the line of the bone.

you need a better story than that
how can any scar-story be improved?
it has already given you this: skin-child, flesh-cradled.
let no one ever tell you
you need a better story.

instead of hurting myself I dream of being found

with red silk lines slipping down my arms like a nightdress
with the mark of the wolf on my breast and belly
with the point of the knife at my throat

scars are history’s sigils
the last time I made love to someone new, I wanted him to see
two thin white curving lines on my chest. he did
and asked exam stress? and I said no
he said a boy? I said yes
and having made myself that melancholy woman,
won the prize.


by Claudia Lee

I wonder how you look
5 in the morning
Tousled in your sheets
If the red-crested cardinal chirps
outside your window too
And if the dawn
makes you feel lonely

like how it makes me
Does the silence trouble you?
Does it make you wish
I were there in your cocoon of blankets?
Does the subtle light
through the cracks of the curtain
make you love the yin yang
of the outside white
and the inside black

Hunting for the Aurora

by David Atkinson

A coronal mass ejection
caused me to wake my son
at a quarter past midnight,
on a school night,
and wrap up him carefully,
to shut out the cold,
to keep an cosmic appointment
with electrons, plasma, and protons
that had travelled a hundred million miles
to meet us.

At Magheracross
we huddled for an hour,
hats pulled down, coats zipped up,
squinting at the horizon
for green, and red, and blue
arcs and curtains spiralling to the pole.
The groundswell of a distant
Atlantic storm, searching for a shore,
slammed on the cliff below,
and we saw nothing.

Then we stopped
looking north,
and looked up,
and I gave him Orion,
and he gave me the Plough,
and I gave him Jupiter,
gifts that had travelled more than
one hundred million miles.

His last words
before he fell asleep,
“If it was easy to find
it wouldn’t be so special”.

The Woman Made of Flowers

by Robert de Born

Did they weave a woman? A wife for him, winding
thin stems on a sturdy stone table,
muttering magic, make… legs?
make midriff, make arms
from lily stalks, lain awkwardly
down to draw dainty cuffs
from the tepals, to string the stamina into
fragile fingertips, flowering in Catholic


did they whittle sweet william down
to be the pale pinkish pads under toenails,
deadhead red dianthus, neck
carnations for her nipples, craft
eyes from impossible pale poppies…

red roses for her cheeks, dark tulips for her hair…

Did they weave a wife, a woman for him, whispering
incantations in late answer to his prayer?

He thought they had;

bound her in a bed,
picked her petals to pieces, pared,
plucked out new colours, drew calendars…
loamy soil for the roses

and wire


And then Autumn.

He stood stock still to see

the teasels and the nettles
the yarrow and the campion
the burnets and the knapweed
that spilled themselves sunwards,

as she walked away
like a shadow from sunlight.

Did they weave a woman from the flowers?


I wait,
with my cards, the magician, the fool,
less real than a dandelion’s bristles,
bewitched by wild orchids,
and the thorn

and the thistle.

Lullaby, and Goodnight, Go to Sleep Little Baby

by Bonnie Roberts

(In the Holocaust, classical music was often played as people marched to their deaths in the gas ovens. The symphony was usually made up of fine Jewish musicians from the camps. The musicians who refused to play were murdered.)

Love, the tall mirror
we use
to see our little selves
all big and pretty.

The brute prison guard
we hire
to bring others in line,
to keep them locked up,
or away.

Love, the brass knuckle
that splits our lips when we tell the truth,
the unsanitary needle to thread cat-gut
for stitching lies together.

Love, the shiny ring that cuts off circulation.

The greatest lie ever told.

We are happy when she loses her right eye.
We are happy when it’s the other guy.
Just as long as it’s the other guy.

Love is the sweet, false Sunday croon
that eats windpipes
like cancer.

Love, the chocolate-chocolate cake,
fat with marshmallow poison.

Love is the hammer to the back of the head,
the love tap you never see coming.

The dime store towel to wipe up the mess.

Love, the head-shot coyote
who meant no one harm.
His brains hang out, spell L-O-V-E.

A nicer word for self-aggrandizement,
self-liking, self-licking.

Love, the obese who weep for the starving.

Hitler loves us all.
Hitler loves all the little children of the world.
Hitler did what love will do.

Love, the gas oven.

Today’s ashes rise
on a Brahms lullaby.

In Honour of General Obasanjo

by Yomi Habib

I have fought so many wars in a cloud of blood
Where soldiers refuse to dance on weapons
And rejecting to attack the souls on grounds of genocide
of which I saved the earth,
As hunger and the cries of motherhood save the walking corpses,
The wars have made me drive through the turbulent famished road,
Yet I have escaped the horrors of my brothers
In the nemesis of secession and ethnic cleasing,
Kill them all and make them lick their wounds
As the silence of breaking up stares at my face,
And I cannot behold the scandals of war memories
of those who survive the rivers of death
And the gods are crying in the graves of a brave men
who stopped the bloodshed of innocent ones
As I became a messiah in the hand of terrors.