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13. Featuring: Misti Rainwater-Lites

+ Joanna M. Weston + Jenny Adamthwaite + Linda L. Bielowski
+ Clarinda Harriss + Daniel Wilcox + Karl Koweski + Kate Noakes
+ Alessio Zanelli


somehow we sparkled that December
melting into January
like the snow I took pictures of
with my new camera phone
that New Year’s Eve
I kept walking the few steps
to the convenience store next door
buying bottles of cheap champagne
there was candy in the bowl
and a fake Wal-Mart tree
with your toy train making circles
around it
no family
no friends
no place to park
no way of knowing
we would go on shining
our resolute incandescence
goofier than British claymation
and more reliable
than Hallmark birthday cards

I Knew I Was Alone When

daddy spanked me for walking in on
him crawling toward mommy in his underwear
and mommy could not soothe away
my choking sobs

I crossed the highway after school
and let myself into an empty apartment
with insipid television programs
for company
and nothing
to snack on

the girls gossiped and giggled about cotillion
in the bathroom
and I was in the stall
farthest from the door
too shy
to flush

my peers mocked my lack of improvisation skills
as I stood onstage pale and shaking
with a bright red exclamation mark mouth
I was too young
to wear

he had turned off his phone
leaving me with the silence
of an empty bottle of jack daniels
and dirty panties wilted like
the flowers he never sent
a sad trail from the futon
to the toilet

Empathy My Ass

spread that cream cheese fakery somewheres else
‘cause i know deep inside my gut
that there is no way in hell
you could understand or appreciate
my shopping mall freak outs
my ego mania’s flip side (constant second guessing)
my falling in love addiction
my needing and hating the familiar
my waif with nose pressed to candy shop window despair
my tornado nightmares
the ground always tilting
the sky always falling
my ass splat humiliation
it’s eternally lunchtime in the junior high cafeteria
and there is no place
for me to sit
you’re on the student council
you will never get it
you’re on the yearbook staff
and have no use
for pictures of me hiding on the potty
during pep rallies
once an alien
always an alien
spare me your tabloid hungry stare

dripped on like rain

this is what i do i come to you without
rhyme a writer without the crutch of pen
and paper where are my words they won’t
come they don’t do verbal tricks you’re the
master of bullshit all things senseless and
trivial lukewarm and shallow ha ha i laugh
you paragraph paragon paradox meat box lovin’
fool so cruel you throw things i told you over
the phone in my face what’s that knife you
wield so well you psychopathic playboy oh a
toy used in rituals for sacrifice not the
devirginizer i jokingly said it was to throw
you like you threw me use it on me cut me to
shreds i want to bleed at your feet be the death
you always escape with a grin freedom ends here in
your arms open sesame i have no magic words to
offer up no wiles no nothing just my brave face and
my breasts the cherry pie you don’t really crave
I’m not your girl I’m not your girl no i don’t
look good enough talk coy enough feel good enough to
undulate beneath your solid sweaty masculine flesh god
you are real that is what you are to me the beauty of
earth the sacred healing properties of mud i would immerse
myself in your semen if i could and die if that was the
plan you man you boy you demi-god human who will someday
rot in a cheap grave covered with roses i saw through the
blooming stages and dripped on like rain.

Black Ink Stains on my Left Thigh

went to bed with the muse again
grappled & bit
indulged in bridge burning
headboard banging
guitar screeching sex
there is no glow after
no epiphany dawning
sun spilling butter
on pancake flesh
it’s always cigarette hacking
instant coffee swilling
peppermint gum spitting
‘cause, yeah
it loses its flavor
on the bedpost overnight

More Guilt Like a Quilt

memory heavy
why not just throw it
off the bed
because I am naked
I would shiver without it
I would look in the mirror
and see sociopath in my irises
brutality in my nipples
killer cunt in my smirk
evil in my pubes

so I snuggle miserable
telling myself
this is what I have to keep me cozy
and this is what I deserve
the faded patchwork mocking
my martyr’s choice
the loose threads tickling
the tears
from my eyes