Posted in 2017-2018, Poetry

Expired Symbiosis

By Aevin Mayman

Once, I was your
leaf, you were my
stem. I gave you everything;
love, light, time, hope,
and you held me up
to the light and through it
I let myself pour everything
down to

I thought that was how it was going to be.
That we would be locked
in this symbiosis of devotion
until the brilliant end.
But now it has changed.

Always blindly moving forward,
trying not to care as much,
you decided to leave your
exquisite nature in that last
fallacy of a hotel room.

The you I used to know is gone.
It was left behind when you decided
long-term-love wasn’t as exciting
as it once seemed.

Maybe you’re too loose in
your skin to find meaning behind a

Do you remember when you used to love me,
or the trip we took to the desert–
before you thought me too uneventful to love?

On the sand you also wore on your skin,
I traced patterns of a life we could have lived.
The life I thought we would.

Greedy waves of air curled in from
outside our window,
plucking away this love of ours
with long, selfish fingers.

The CD spun and called out
to some indifferent God with its song:
together forever.”

Do you remember,
under more of a sky than we had ever seen in our city,
how we verified each other’s existence
with star light?
How we used to be able to read the curves
of each other’s bones
like maps to salvation?

But time has passed.

This Infinity Knot of ours has broken.
We have grown.
We have changed.

I am strong.

Your life is marked with nothing but

Posted in 2017-2018, Poetry

Syd Barrett Is Still Alive In Bosnia

By Nathanael Retherford

We can’t take this,
or young boys squatting in creek beds
with kalashnikovs.

A folk song
that chops back and forth with its rhythm
like a butcher.

Never again, we said,
while Republika Srpska
laid sieges over birdsong.

While church bells rang in
sudden dissonance—
While the world smiled on
with cold detachment—

A horror so fresh you would think
it would be unforgettable, but
faded into VHS background
and scan lines…

Distorted guitar that pierces
still hollow silence in Sarajevo.
Syd Barrett is still alive in Bosnia,
where his voice cries out
umiremo, bosnia pati
You and I and Dominoes
The day goes by.

Posted in 2017-2018, Poetry

Dissociation and Light of the Wishing Mind

By Aevin Mayman

Heaven in Your Side View Mirror

Raindrops shining in
your side view mirror like hydrogen
balls of fire, like those
damn-near-too-many-to-count stars.

If you could make wishes
on those tiny fireballs maybe for once
you’d feel as there as
the sky that holds them.

Roads of shadow and twisting
trees line the road on either side of you
under polluted skies of light and somber,
is it dawn or just downtown?

The celestial line has been broken,
cracked by the lightning that once formed its arches,
reality is currently less of a concept
and more of a “wish-I-may, wish-I-might.”

Streaks of fluorescent building signs–
neon life choices pass you by–
long roads and too-close clouds;
Heaven in your side view mirror.


Twilight Delights

Maybe the rain blinds you.
Maybe it blurs your vision, or
maybe it darkens the sky that is held
in the prism of your windshield.

Maybe you can’t see the stars.
Maybe you never could, or
maybe your perception of this world
has been skewed to hide them from sight.

Or maybe it doesn’t.

Maybe it illuminates the world that you’re crying to.
Maybe she is crying too, the sky, or
maybe she is trying to make reality a little more exciting,
to say:

Look, look over there, do you see that?
Over there? On the other side of the highway.
I made Christmas lights for you out of the headlights and the fog,
Do you see them?

Posted in 2017-2018, Poetry

A Friend of Death’s

By Emilea Huff

You have an obsession
with the darkest street corner.

A full-speed tire, you go to bridges
where faith took its last leap.

You read obituaries of people
you have never heard of just to
know them in their last breath.

A breath of dry air,
a corner or crease,

a plateau on a mountain of

You love to hear about the newest
drug, but you only drink water
and smoke city street exhaust.

You have an obsession with death,
but you never want to die.

Posted in 2017-2018, Poetry

True or False

By Derek Frazier

After Dean Young

  1.  I have over a dozen love letters that I mean to send to her when she has a bad day.
  2. My father was barely around when I was growing up because of work, so I joke that I was raised by my mother.
  3. I believe in the existence of more than one “deity.”
  4. When drinking water you might actually be drinking a glass of purified dinosaur piss.
  5. A morning shower mixes with tears cried last night by a woman who found out she had been cheated on.
  6. I call random strangers ma’am and sir not because it’s polite but because it’s a habit.
  7. I am a proud Roman Catholic.
  8. My least favorite color is yellow.
  9. I am terrified of the idea of being a father.
  10. Tea is better than coffee.
  11. Everything’s better with closed eyes, i.e. a first kiss, massages.
  12. I have hundreds of scars on my body.
  13. Walmart is the ninth ring of Hell.
  14. One of my favorite words to say is “rendezvous” because of the way you have to purse your lips when saying it aloud.
  15.  The best car ever made is the Mustang Torretto.
  16. Gunpowder is a mixture of charcoal, potassium nitrate, and saltpeter.
  17. I’m scared of the blackness of night.
  18. I am a dog person.
  19. The Romans conquered the Greeks because math was confusing enough before they added the alphabet.
  20. No matter what anyone says, the scariest thing you will ever hear is, “There’s nothing you can do.”
  21. Atheists can neither prove nor deny the existence of an existential being named “Jehovah”.
  22. The most common weapon I am killed with in nightmares is a metal spoon.
  23. In the time it took to read this, a young man finally plucked up the courage to ask a girl on a date.
  24. Slurpees.
  25. Tai Chi is overrated.
  26. No one wants to grow old.
  27. Japanese cheesecakes are surprisingly very easy to make.
  28. Germans are the only people who can make “I love you” sound like a murderous threat.
  29. People who sleep with their bedsheets tucked under their feet are weird.
  30. I am terrified of snakes.
  31. My favorite musical instrument is an electric cello.
  32. Saying something over and over again makes it lose its value.
  33. The one thing I hate about my body is the texture of my elbows.
  34. I despise the word “retarded.”
  35. Given my family’s medical history I most likely will die around the age of eighty from blood or heart problems.
  36. Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
  37. The best advice is told through the ticking of old grandfather clocks.
  38. The best culinary innovation was the grilled cheese.
  39. I grew up thinking that if I was hit by a car I would be flattened into a pizza like a Looney Toons character.

40.You’ve only got a hundred years to live.

  1. I refuse to be buried below ground because my life will have been too eventful to end as worm food.
  2. There is no such thing as being over prepared.
  3. Peanut M&Ms are the closest thing we have to ambrosia.
  4. Thursday is my favorite day of the week.
  5. I write my best work when I have insomnia.
  6. Millions and billions of years from now the sun will explode and wipe everything out in an event bigger than a Kardashian breakup.
  7. Silver is the most beautiful metal.
  8. I have read and agreed to the terms of service.
  9. My favorite girl names are Vivian, Scarlett, and Hope.
  10. The Earth is kept in its place by the world tree Yggdrasil, right?  
  11. The world would look better if everything was in shades of blue.
  12. Sometimes I drape a blanket over my shoulders and pretend I’m a superhero.
  13. I sleep with a knife on my nightstand.
  14. The moon is beautiful.
  15. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
  16. My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer almost two years ago.
  17. Perfect is an adjective unattainable by the human race.
  18. 日本語は美しい言語です。
  19. A number has been repeated.
  20. English accents are attractive.
  21. Frank Sinatra is a god.
  22. I’m fascinated by the concept that the air bubbles in a piece of fossilized amber were exhaled by dinosaurs.
  23. Hospitals make me nauseous.
  24. Doctors make me uncomfortable.
  25. Migraines suck.
  26. I hate the fact that I was born too early to explore the world and too late to travel the universe.
  27. Growth is impossible without pain.
  28. When going on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.
  29. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and the one.
  30. Jazz will never die.
  31. Lucky Charms are good just because of the marshmallows.
  32. When I die I want every piece of my work that is unpublished to be burned, so no one else steals my ideas.
  33. I wear my heart on my sleeve just because I never can find the time to wash it off.
  34. My sister is a terrible driver.
  35. The exclamation point has been stolen
  36. I refuse to join a fraternity in college because I am tall and blonde and that is cliché enough.
  37. Jenny, I’ve got your number.
  38. Quiet people have the loudest minds.
  39. Life is pointless if you don’t sleep in once and awhile.
  40. Letting someone go is hard because you know their velcro was the only kind that matched yours.
  41. Second-hand cigarette smoke is sweeter than the first puff.  
  42. The best chess piece is the bishop.
  43. Thunderstorms have a dangerous beauty to them.
  44. Ladies first.
  45. We all have monsters inside us.
  46. James Bond is better than Jason Bourne.
  47. Anything that requires a second thought is not worth doing.
  48. With great power comes great responsibility.
  49. “Normal” is just a setting on a washer dryer.
  50. If life can exist on this tiny rock then there is a good chance that it can exist somewhere else.
  51. Cows kill an average of twenty-two Americans a year.
  52. If governments utilized sassy grandmothers we would have fewer wars.
  53. I brood.
  54. I like guns.
  55. But swords are better.
  56. It doesn’t matter how deep a hole you dig yourself, or how many walls you fence around you, your demons will still come running.
  57. One hundred years after I’m dead I want to be more famous than Charles Darwin.
  58. Rattlesnakes are delicious.
  59. When I was in middle school my life’s ambition was to be an international mercenary.
  60. Chivalry isn’t dead.


Posted in 2017-2018, Poetry

More Than Living

By Elizabeth Mcfarland

I want to make art even more than I want to breathe,
I want to promise everyone I am enough,
That I will turn pain into prose,
And hurt to Haikus.
That I will be good entertainment for the masses,
Like the Classics.
I will carve stories into my arms with green fluorescent ink,
if it meant I could be art.

Test me,
I beg you,
I will do anything

I would hear the gasps in the hospital room
like a symphony,
after I realized it could be done.
The notes,
all different tones,
would hit me like a freight train,
shattering glass all at once,
like a car crash,

Maybe that is inspiration enough?

Just tell me I did it well,
That I exist,
give me a slot in the list of the classics,
the Fantasticks,
I want to know what it is that they have
that I don’t.

I wonder if it is the feeling of being turned inside out.
Of dissolving and becoming
All at once.

I really don’t care how it feels.
Even if it’s like dying,
Or like bliss.
Does it really matter?
I just want to feel it more than living.
I want to be art more than living


Posted in 2017-2018, Poetry

It Started with a Coffee

By Julia Pryor

I didn’t know your name, but I didn’t need to.
With brunette, shoulder-length hair parted to the left and chestnut colored eyes, you stood behind the counter with a crooked smile.
“What can I get for you?”
You looked young, could only be a few years older than I, which surprised me considering most of the baristas looked to be in their 20s or 30s.
I told you my order and handed you a twenty dollar bill.
“There ya go.” You placed the change into my hand before I dropped it, the change falling onto the counter with a series of ear-piercing clanks. We both went to grab the change causing our hands to awkwardly collide and fumble together. I pulled my hand back at the action and waited for yours to move too before I grabbed the change myself—two quarters, one dime, and two nickels. I dropped the change into the tip jar, which prompted a smile and a “thank you” to pass through your lips.
I waited patiently by the counter as you attempted to blend my drink, stopping halfway to look to me and say, “Sorry for taking a million years to make your coffee. I think the blender is broken.”
I laughed, “It’s okay, I don’t mind.”
I watched as you rushed around behind the counter and chuckled at the blush of your cheeks after you tripped. It was obvious you were still getting the hang of this, and I was glad I had gotten the chance to witness it all unfold. Watching you was like watching a baby learn how to walk for the first time; failing most times, but still getting back up and trying again.
After minutes of blending the coffee, accompanied by sighs full of frustration, you poured the mixture into a plastic cup and piled whipped cream on top. Your eyes flickered to the door as an elderly man slowly walked through, depending on his walking stick to stay balanced.
You looked to me one last time and smiled before walking to the cash register to greet the man and take his order. I smiled back and walked to a different counter a few steps away from where the straws and napkins were. I felt a sense of sadness for having to leave you behind as I turned towards the exit. Taking a sip of my coffee and being satisfied by the taste, I yelled, “thank you” before walking through the door. I heard a faint “you’re welcome” on my way out and knew it was you. I smiled.

Posted in 2017-2018, Poetry

em ▴ pa ▴ thy

By Aevin Mayman

em ▴ pa ▴ thy n. 1. The way I look at you when you smile / The way you never smile, so this is like a blue moon / the real kind 2. Us in your basement, 2am: as in we both need to stop feeling / stop giving 3. Why I know your tears apart from my own: the rain / Your bottle of not-vodka / Under these stars¹ / that neither of us can see 4. Distance / I cannot let you go, / the string that binds our / souls together, / it is not something tangible / Not something that anyone can see. / This star dust / This burning bond 5. Something only I feel burning / Not love / more than friendship 6. The way I want you to come back / how I want to pull you back / like maybe if I think hard enough the wind will bring you here / Back in this basement² / At 2am / Away from 7. The edge

Synonyms: I’m here, tired, trying, not to let go



Posted in 2017-2018, Poetry

Praying by Your Bedside

By Summer Finkelsen

The bathroom mirror dances with me
When I wash you out of my mouth

Her reflection sings a
song of triumph
lovestruck trills of infatuation
which wither into sadness

and into an emptiness
that collapses in my ribs.

Words about you and what you did march out of my mouth
and stomp on anyone who tries to reason with me.
I know.
This isn’t healthy.

Because of you.

You have me in your freckled arms,
watching the T.V flash violet fractured light.
You trace your name on my side
as I fall heavy and away from you.

tomorrow you will be with another.
Stroking her barbwire hair and
you bleed
as she falls asleep.

You tell me,
you are no good for me.

Your whole facade is based around this.
And trust me,
I believe you.

But that doesn’t forgive the thoughts
tinkering in my head
screaming like a wild boar
at 4 am
when you are fast asleep
with someone else.

Someone that’s not me.
And I’m not jealous of her
or her hair in between your fingers.
I’m jealous of you
and the freedom you have
to do as you please

having me
still begging on my knees

Posted in 2017-2018, Poetry

A Conversation I Worry About Far Too Often

By Sara Malott

Of course I love you,
and of course I will miss you
to the moon and back,
but I can’t stay here.
There’s nothing left for me;
nothing at all.
I want to go away and make new memories.
Momma, this town follows me around like a disease.
I really need to get away.

I am scared of getting stuck.
Like a little oak tree in a forest of oak trees,
I don’t want my roots to get too comfortable.
I think the longer I stay,
the harder it will be to go.

No, I’m not sure where I want to go.
I want to write,
and I want to have kids to tell stories to,
but I don’t want them to be raised here.
To most of the people in this town,
I’m just someone’s niece
or someone’s granddaughter.
They see my last name and they know who I am.
It’s like a title
that wasn’t meant for me.

I see the old guys at the football games.
Graduate class of ‘73
They talk about old Coach Hammer
like they just had his class the other day.
They never leave.
Why would they?
Their whole lives are here.
This is all they have to hold onto.

I will never be just here or just high school.
That’s why I have to go.
I might come back to visit though,
because as much as I hate to admit it,
this town raised me.
These people made me who I am.