Time and Sticks

By Aakriti Kuntal
Time and Sticks
My legs elongate
into uncertainty,
their uneven shapes masquerading
a rather even formlessness
Prickly clouds hang
with shaven heads
and Clot
the artery, the pace,
the rhythm of this slovenly existence
I tap the round edges of my calves
and meet the rising color of age,
a darkened maple hue,
accumulation of multiple days
cemented boundaries of blurring worm cells
fountains of tension and pain
Occasionally I think
I could bury myself in space,
Swallow vacuum like food and create a gaping hole,
a minute, a day, a lifetime
Anything that spells ‘ Okay ‘
Occasionally I think
I could burn onto the side table
and nothing will take notice
not the cold sheen of blue curtains
not the clocking lights in my room
That nobody will take notice
And suddenly I will be sliced into two,
two equally nonexistent dimensions of time and space

image courtesy of Aakriti Kuntal

Aakriti Kuntal is a 25-year-old emerging poetess from the country of veritable colors and stratified rainbows, India. A Network Engineer by profession she has been writing for over a year now. She enjoys nature, music, all things geeky and all things art.  Aakriti writes for the Writings of Aakriti Kuntal, and her work has been published in 1947 Literary Journal, Duane’s PoeTree blog, Visual Verse and Indian Periodical among others.

Death Knell – Sarah Doughty

“Then, like a death knell, you arrived.
My monster. In the flesh.”

It was the thump, thump, thumping of your uneven steps, as you made your way in my direction. I knew those footfalls like they were alarm bells going off during a fire drill. They pierced my eardrums like thunder. There was nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. And there I was, helpless to do anything about it. So I did the only thing I could.

I counted the steps — thump, thump, thump — each one growing louder. Closer. By the time I counted to ten, the night seemed darker. As if the stars closed their eyes and refused to shine. Twenty. With every beat, my heart pounded, pumping battery acid through my veins faster and faster — thump, thump, thump — until the last step. Thirty.

Then, like a death knell, you arrived. Thump. My monster. In the flesh. Darkening my doorway. It was then that my torment would begin.

© Sarah Doughty


 

[Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed novels and novellas of the Earthen Witch Universe. Good news, they’re all offered for free, right here! To learn more about how awesome Sarah is, check out her website, stalk her on Goodreads, or both.]

Anachronistic Rant – A.G. Diedericks

History void of sapience

I am the spectre

of regurgitated fallacy

I carve the crevice

in impregnable absolutes

the blood-splatter in the crevasse

of your ice sculpture

where i birth postmodernism

and cut off the crimson springs

of solipsism

 

Children raised by the idiot box

extinction of libraries

words replaced by letters

A climate change

bonfire of trees

A nation impeached

acclimation to a blue bird’s speech

 

Hubris draped in white cloth

 the sloth that doth not protest

Suffragettes suffocating

for egalitarianism

 

Robots dictate pedestrians

look to your alt-left

look to your alt-right

I know where I left my keys

can you help me find

my fucking mind?


 

A.G. Diedericks is a cinephile in the midst of being gentrified into a bibliophile… colonized by mediocrity. He moonlights as a clandestine writer. You’ll find him in a dark alley over at the cuckoo’s nest, where he often lays to rest in Cape Town, SA. ]

‘Shoo, fly.’ – Collaboration – Kindra M. Austin & Samantha Lucero

Fly guy—bar fly with Roman nose and sake soaked tongue buzzing in my ear; shoo fly, don’t bother me.

 

like a sip instead of a gulp,

the spider is on the cliff of my knee,

it spreads no further with

its unshaven jowls scratching the walls

of my mind; i remember camel turkish royals,

hard pack, you thanking me after i sucked

your dick,  

begging me to stay when i said goodbye.

men just want a woman in their bed, any one will do.

and i like pooling alone, like a puddle of rain outside,

dreaming my chaotic dreams.

 

You’d followed me out to the parking lot

after my Karaoke set; ‘Rolling on the River’ was my best yet.

I let you feel me up, under the bra, under lights catching bugs,

while my hands worked overtime, pulling down your drawers.

 

and what wet dreams may come on the upper lip,

against graffiti on a basement wall

or into a fireplace or all over my young,

stupid skin – in cupid’s bow – where you

press a finger, and say shhh.

like a benediction in the dark.

the broken arrow, the watery eyes

and lies i combed through my hair.

i keep them like an amulet.

i loved those lies.

 

Men are feeble characters in constant

requirement of a woman’s sustenance,

but too damned proud to kiss the ring

and swear fealty.

So they advertise their cocks, their prowess in bed,

and make us believe we need them.

You’d followed me out to the parking lot,

and told me I was pretty.

 

that dark matter hisses between us like static

in the stomach of a black hole, invisible as your

love, boiling on my brow, california as my religion.

the world going bang inside my ribs. 

my hands still empty from what you stole,

and when i stare at them i wonder how i

ever loved before, how i hadn’t noticed

that love’s dead. it fell off the tree, popped like

an ornament on the floor.

it drown inside distilled water with baudelaire on a sugar cube,

trickling over a latticed spoon into a neon throat.

 

I’ve wept into my wine, oh!

Red, red, bittersweet, the taste of your tongue

clinging to my buds, and the fusty scent left to

stain my nipples that you sucked raw, like an

infant clinging to life—I’d wanted to swaddle you

in the fine fibers of my being. But you are not a babe;

you are a man-child with a predisposition,

and I am a grown ass woman worth more than you have to offer.


Kindra M. Austin is an author (information on her book can be found here), artist, and a Sagittarius Valkyrie from the state of Michigan—Go Detroit Red Wings! She likes her drinks corpse stiff, music loud as fuck, and classic big block muscle cars. You can find her filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs.]

 

&&&

Samantha Lucero likes… uhhh… cats, and can never think of what to say about herself, she writes at sixredseeds, sometimes.]

Nathan McCool – Response to Mick Hugh’s Proper Disturbia:

I’m just gonna puke it up. All the worthless
words. The studies that didn’t mean
a fuckin thing. All the ways I was
taught to think. The shitty, remedial
lessons I learned in school
that were so pointless.

“Let’s focus on some boring writing that
says nothing, isn’t worth a damn, and most importantly… was given high praise by people
all conditioned to clamor to the classics
and the worlds of happy endings.”

My A.P. English literature
teacher was always so determined to
analyze what every poem meant.
But only in line with what the textbooks
told her it meant.
Things in my stomach still turn to rot when
I have to breathe in the words of people like that.

Our tiny little advanced placement class,
(Mostly just people who could offer
advanced payments for their A’s)
we were supposed to write our own poem
to be analyzed. A poem that fit some bullshit
rhyme scheme that I didn’t give a shit about.
But I did it anyway, cause I’m a sucker for
making a point.

And at the last minute I wrote a poem
titled “Prayer That Nothing Spills Out”.
And after the clichés and happy endings
and sad attempts to rhyme “good” with “God”, that teacher read my poem out
loud to the whole class.

And they all got to figure it out.
Take their turns at firing off assumptions about
what I really meant. Until it was determined
I wrote about all my internalized emotions
and the hopes that I never showed anyone
how much I suffer.

And when I was asked to explain my poems intent,
I told them. I proved my point about their
shit method of assuming what someone
is trying to say. And then I laughed uncontrollably
until I puked on the floor and walked out.

Because “Prayer That Nothing Spills Out”
was about anal.

 


 

[Nathan McCool is the dark lord over on Instagram at God Of Dregs.]

Staff Picks – David Lohrey

I don’t want the staff to pick for me.

I go to the other side of the store, looking for a good remainder.

I don’t even like getting books for Christmas.

I don’t want anyone to make a selection for me.

I don’t want to wear underwear bought by my mother.

I prefer to cut my own meat.

I don’t want to smoke a cigarette lit by a stranger.

I don’t want to wear a tie that’s been chosen by a friend.

I don’t want to use a fork that’s been in someone else’s mouth.

I can’t share a tooth brush, can you?

I’m like Madonna: if it were up to me, I’d just as soon sit on a brand new toilet.

I’d just as well not flush for you; and whenever I forget, I regret it.

I’d just as well clean up after myself. And I sure as hell don’t want to clean up after you.

I don’t want to smell another man’s breath on my wife, but that’s something else, isn’t it?

I’m sorta funny that way, but I’d prefer not to share my cookies.

I’d just as well leave my leftovers left over, and not picked over.

I like being on my own.

I never liked tearing my sandwich in two, not even for my friend.

I never liked it as a kid when another kid mooched my potato chips.

I’ll take the check, just the same. Thank you kindly.

I don’t want to be alone, but I want to be left alone.

I don’t like it when someone sips my drink or wants to try my dessert.

I couldn’t bear it if my wife ate my ice.

I just don’t trust a man who can’t dress himself. I’m just saying.

I’d prefer to wipe my own nose.

I don’t want anyone to pick things off my plate. I’m like a dog; I snarl.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll get back to work.


 

[David Lohrey was born on the Hudson River but grew up on the Mississippi in Memphis. He currently teaches in Tokyo. He has reviewed books for The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register, has been a member of the Dramatists Guild in New York, and he is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. His latest book, The Other Is Oneself: Postcolonial Identity in a Century of War: 20th Century African and American Writers Respond to Survival and Genocide, is available on Amazon. A book of his poetry, entitled “Machiavelli’s Backyard” is soon to be released.]

Critical Mass – Nathan McCool

There used to be a lake here but
it too is just drained now.  I may have once
been a ghost of water
able to enter and exit places without recognition,
able to touch a mouth and not leave a
taste or a mark – just
the sensation that something has been there
to calm a need.
Some days now I’m more just the spirit
of fire.
A ghost of smoke
A ghost of echoes
A ghost of ghosts
And I could truly be of the same amount
of use. My grass is overgrown.
Hasn’t been cut in weeks and I just
don’t give a damn. All my guitar strings are dead.
My Social Distortion vinyl skips on all my
favorite parts
because that’s where I’ve accidentally placed myself
again.
My fingers pressing in involuntary, pushed
by the weight of all I’ve done and failed to do.
I’m so full of everything. I’ve taken in so much
of what the world has to give, and I’ve
tried to take back so much of what life has
stolen. But sometimes I still can’t feel it.

There used to be a lake here but
it too is just drained now. I break in
in the middle of the night and step right
into its tomb.
This crater overflows with me
and I think maybe nothing and no one
will ever be able to hold all that I am now.