Outside my window is a hole.
They will fill this hole with a building.
The man guarding the hole
tells me what to wear each day.
Whichever direction the crane points
is the direction I walk the dog.
I grab the mail
take it for a walk too.
This time next year
it will probably be the same temperature
outside. Rex likes this temperature because
it is so much cooler than the temperature inside
Buildings like being in holes because
being in a hole is so much warmer than
not being in a hole.
Back at the house, I pour
Rex a cup of tea. Rex is
sick all over the front porch.
As I bend down to clean it up
it takes on the shape of a perfect hole.
Ben Robinson’s recent poems include the tale of a young boy who has fallen in love with Princess Diana as well as a guide to starting the conversation about vegetarianism with your dog. Last October, Bird, Buried Press published his first chapbook Mayami. In 2018 he was named the Emerging Artist in the Writing category at the Hamilton Arts Awards. The Walrus called his work, “barely legible.” He has only ever lived in Hamilton, ON.
The angel of the lord
Appeared on TV sets
All over the world
People woke up
Expecting to see
The usual suspects
A stern visage
A stern old man
In a dark suit
He had a salt and pepper beard
And long, dark black hair
And piercing blue eyes
From his stern face
Piercing the soul
Of all who listened
Of the angel of the lord
Was like thunder
And all over the world
People tried to turn off
Their TV sets
To no avail
Twilight light Zone
The angel of the lord
In a calm
People of earth
You know the lord
By a billion names
I am his spokesman
There is the age of the TV
And we must be able to reach
Before one or a million
Now no one hears us
For you are convinced
We are dead
You all can go to hell
And an evil grin
Appears on his face
As he says
Can a fraud do this?
Thunder and lightening
A star comes down
And houses were blown away
And everyone was
The TV set
Was in the sky above
The voice of the angel
Of the lord
The end is near
No more TV
No more booze
The rights to you
Have been sold
For to quote Frank Zappa
You are all assholes
You are all assholes
All of you
Little, mean little assholes
Let me introduce
My new business partner
Satan, also known
As the prince of darkness
God and Satan
Have agreed on a deal
A thousand year Reich
A thousand year of slavery
My little human assholes
For your sins, your arrogance
Your foolish pride
After a thousand years
Of pure torture
We will return
To judge the living and the dead
Most of you will remain in hell
Some will be redeemed
And allowed into heaven
And now, back to your usual station
Welcome to hell
And laughed and laughed and laughed
And the usual crimes resume
The usual lies and deceits and shames
For most people
It made no difference
They had been in hell
The few decent people
Left on earth
Were condemned to join
For another thousand years
Of toil and misery
The bosses were happy
Satan appointed them
To continue to rule
But no strikes
And as much abuse
As they could give out
And so the world turns and turns
Following its way
Around the sun
And the sun
Turns and floats
And the end was here
No one could tell
The difference anymore
Hell was here to stay
John (“Jake”) Cosmos Aller is a novelist, poet, and former Foreign Service officer having served 27 years with the U.S. State Department serving in ten countries (Korea, Thailand, India, the Eastern Caribbean (lived in Barbados but covering Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts, St Lucia, and St Vincent) and Spain. Prior to joining the U.S. State Department, Jake taught overseas for eight years. Jake served in the Peace Corps in Korea. He grew up in Berkeley but has lived in Seattle, Stockton, Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia and Medford, Oregon. He has traveled to over 45 countries and 49 states. He has been writing poetry, fiction, and novels for years. He has completed four SF novels and is seeking publication. His work has appeared in numerous literary magazines online. His poetry blog can be found at https://theworldaccordingtocosmos.com
If you tell my boss he can’t fire me for wearing a dress I will piss
on your ex-husband’s dog
every day if you want, every time I need to go.
I will stay out of the women’s bathroom
and even the men’s so your son doesn’t catch the gay
I will put a lock on the gender neutral bathroom in my house
and I will give you the key
if my landlord can’t kick me out when he notices my new breasts.
I will piss directly into the face
of the soccer coach who kicked your daughter off varsity
if you tell the doctors in the emergency room that my sister’s heart attack
is not too trans for their help
if you will pay for her hormones
for the blood she lost to a man on the street
if I don’t have to see any more of our names in the headlines
you will never have to wash your hands next to me at a McDonalds ever again.
Jenny Fried is a writer living in California. Her work has appeared previously or is forthcoming in Jellyfish Review, X-R-A-Y, and the New York Times.
As does my father in my mind, my mind father,
I want to live in the prime of my hair, be absent
only in the nakedness of my hunger, as hunger,
for a glutton, is a ravenous arm of existence.
Just last night I sat with a rich brioche,
half smile with browned butter, then pizza rolls,
ice cream, cold fudge. Late July too—again,
too many ribs and brats, shortcake of bland
and hard, but I do. Then outside Benny’s room,
yes, again, just one week ago, with torchon
and sea glass and charcoal milkshake.
The following morning always heat,
as in humidity, stuck, as in the pressure
in my heart and head—but there is a space
for this, in my head is where. I will keep it
where my mind brother exists, he too
in the prime of his hair with good thumbs
and round face, wide legged jeans, a smoker.
Is that the arm? You should see the body.
Jon Conley is a musician and writer from Cleveland. His work has appeared with Hobart, Bodega, Hello Horror, Soft Cartel and others. He is a co-founder of Long Long Journal and can be found on twitter @jonnnnnnnnnnmmm.
laughter at trivial jokes, and I saw death in your eyes
Your dagger-stung retina shone darker than the depths of your own Africa
In your breast-full hugs, a thought
of unhuggable parents
of high school girls lining up for lines
Your hesitant cheeks don’t even allow for a smile to fully blossom
Trust has been molested out of your aquiline visage
And your trembling fingers clutch the pint
harder than they clutch the unwinding strands of childhood
Your impotent lover gets his kicks
outta watching your hips click in and out of balance
and drowning in foster care,
you scrape up that senile delusion and call him “Daddy”
On his chest breathes
the misspelled name of a mother
whose plight for a softer pounding was silenced behind a slamming door
And there you are again begging “Harder! Harder!” to feel mother flow in your veins
In post-coital haze you toddle along the streets
looking for the man who shouts: “Childhood for sale, only ten bucks a hit”
Khashayar Mohammadi is an Iranian-born, Toronto-based writer and translator whose first chapbook "Moe's Skin" was published by ZED Press in 2018. His Chapbook "Dear Kestrel" is forthcoming with knife I fork I book and he's also working on a translation anthology of contemporary female Persian poets.
Between what is cyclical
and ends, I wear a hole into my foot.
I am a baby gaining
sideways. What we swallow and conceal
for treats, for a beer
the size of a human head,
for a pigment that isn’t a bank, a means
of extraction. We bear
the unbearable, filmic heat,
tonsils of this day. Where before, knees swung
and out sank. Where before, I took
the small park right into me
and now, several birds are frantic and disbelieved
on account of their size. Now, the world
affects but does not invade.
Lindsay Miles is among the winners of the 2017 Blodwyn Memorial Prize. Her work has appeared in Plenitude, The Maynard, Self Care for Skeptics and Emerge, a Vancouver-based anthology. With a Creative Writing MFA from the University of Guelph, Lindsay is the author of the chapbook, Aloha Motel. She lives in Toronto.
In the mirror, my mother’s eyes
assess my chest, the taffeta
with dark skin, the dip of flesh, they
are not pleased, or they cannot see
glossy goal held up at all ages,
burning the back of my neck,
revelling in the yellower ones:
their thin bodies, thin lips
who no doubt had their own
I stood no chance, but what I asked for
changed constantly, turning
inward and onto itself,
painting with tears, digging
a cavernous grave
we both live in
In this deepness, I have made stone fruit:
a dark berry projecting itself
from the tree, and clawing to
a different earth
I so want to reach out from behind
the glass, and kiss her face
Terese Mason Pierre is a Toronto-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in print and online in the Hart House Review, Collapsar, Verdancies Journal, the Brasilia Review, and more. She is the poetry editor of Augur, a speculative art and literature journal, and a co-host of Shab-e She'r, Toronto's most diverse poetry reading series.
I am the Knight of the sad face,
This is the cream of the cream.
I am the light emitted from Zeus,
The total glow of the dad-bod.
You are the god of the bathhouse,
Bacchus, the lounger and reveller.
For my wife and I, one entry price
To spice up our middle-aged marriage.
It won’t be a stylish wedding, lord
Stuck down here with the mortals.
From the open bar on the golfing green serving
Help me ascend, oh Love, to the bed,
Of you and Blake and I,
Where the mountain streams of metrical feet
And fountains of meters and wine
That pour like the saddest Knight in your honour
Who sees you then bathes in his tears;
Each time I hear you I sit at the piano to
Test your ineffable voice.
Torben Robertson is writing from Toronto. He is a cook. His poems have appeared in Hart House Review and Trinity Review.
Lines lines, spinning like the lasers in the photo, grabbing out
and lassoing like the slow exposure of old digital cameras, well,
exactly just exactly that,
wrapping around me, the lights wrangling me,
the flash bleaching me, making me into a ghost of a baby,
a white stain on a dark October night, a child alone on plastic.
Concern me. Concern me until the wrinkles of my brow
demand a prison’s worth of you
to dig out
garbage — to beautify
the highway ditches carved by a life;
by all the prior.
All I know
Or wanted to know
Of human desire or hope
Has been cut and spread out from me
Like my beard along the barber’s floor
On the day of your wedding.
Zak Jones is studying at the University of Toronto in the Creative Writing program where he has completed a manuscript of poetry and is working on his thesis, a novel about isolation, trauma and myth the Southern United States. His writing appears or is forthcoming in PRISM International, Palimpsest: Yale's Graduate Literary Arts Magazine, Milkweed Zine, Half a Grapefruit Magazine, Hart House Review, Acta Victoriana, Echolocation: UofT's Graduate Literary Arts Journal and elsewhere.
Ludwig Wittgenstein. The Blue Book.
Immanuel Kant. An Answer to the Question: ‘What is Enlightenment?’
Clausewitz. On War.
Victor Klemperer. I Will Bear Witness, Volume 1: 1933-1941.
E.T.A Hoffman. “The Sandman.”
Elfriede Jelinek. The Piano Teacher.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The Cost of Discipleship.
Theodor Adorno. “Culture and Administration.”
Hermann Broch. The Sleepwalkers.
Heinrich Böll. The Train Was on Time.
Hans Fallada. Wolf Among Wolves.
Thomas Mann. The Magic Mountain.
Martin Heidegger. “Letter on Humanism.”
Hermann Hesse. Steppenwolf.
W.G. Sebald. The Emmigrants.
Martin Luther. As Educators.
Max Frisch. Man in the Holocene.
Daniel Paul Schreber. Memoirs of My Nervous Illness.
Karl Marx. Grundrisse.
Peter Handke. Slow Homecoming.
Ulrike Meinhof. “New German Ghetto Show.”
Stefan Zweig. Beware of Pity.
Herta Mueller. The Land of Green Plums.
W.G. Sebald. “Poor Summer in Franconia.”
Hans-Georg Gadamer. Truth and Method.
Robert Musil. The Man Without Qualities Volume 1.
Frank Wedekind. Spring Awakening.
Klaus Mann. Mephisto.
Arthur Schopenhauer. The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics.
Friedrich Schiller. The Robbers.
G.W.F Hegel. Phenomenology of the Spirit.
Ernst Jünger. Aladdin’s Problem.
Sigmund Freud. The Joke and Its Relationship to the Unconscious.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Elective Affinities.
Friedrich Nietzsche. The Anti-Christ.
Georg Lichtenberg. Aphorisms.
Franz Kafka. Diary entry, 24 September 1913.
Günter Grass. The Tin Drum.
We should say that someone has pains in another person’s body.
Families, having to live in separation, become strangers
to each other, and subsequently look for great decisions
in great battles— inherited illusions, perhaps,
but to attempt to refute them seems pointless.
The family couldn’t just return Father for a subtler form
of self-glorification or enjoyment. Nothing escapes
the attention of a radically socialized society.
The old man had ruined a project of marriage
and the happiness of his son with a happy smile,
as if he were some sort of criminal. He felt relief,
which however bore the nearness of Being,
the little arts and lighter sides of life. His face
had become a mere shadow, a dominion
over children which had grown of itself.
His plan is workable. All he sees he enjoys
as fruits of his creative power, not only the use value
it produces but also loving encounters in lucky times,
intellectuals whose statements conform too closely to government
directives, and the leave-taking of his Fraulein yesterday.
I photograph them from my office. My last aspirin dissolves gently,
makes the special nature of moral knowledge an over-salted cuisine.
How can I even walk upright? I have a strong instinct
that tells me guilt lies with the creator.
My voice will do its duty. I will compel him
to annihilate me, that mind whose self is absolute,
insular, an erotic nihilist. I can call on the fact
of interconnections between everything in the psyche,
mysteries and symbols referring to the worship of nature,
a king who is a good soldier and an upright judge.
Every man has his moral backside
which he refrains from showing— Father
should have been living in the toilet.
Joel Robert Ferguson’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications, including Lemon Hound, Prairie Fire, and The Capilano Review. Originally from the village of Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, he now divides his time between Winnipeg and Montreal, where he is pursuing his Masters in English Literature at Concordia. His first book of poetry is forthcoming from Signature Editions in 2020.