Mail Slot
Ben Robinson

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

of Rex.

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.

Hell is Here to Stay
Jake Cosmos Aller

The angel of the lord

Appeared on TV sets

All over the world

People woke up

Expecting to see

The usual suspects

Talking heads

Talking drivel

Talking trash


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

Staring out

From his stern face

The eyes

Piercing the soul

Of all who listened

The voice

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

Stopped swearing

And said

In a calm

Deadly voice

People of earth

You know the lord

By a billion names

I am his spokesman

We’ve realized

There is the age of the TV

And we must be able to reach

You directly

Before one or a million

Could understand

Now no one hears us

For you are convinced

We are dead


Washed up

A fraud

Frankly speaking

You all can go to hell

And an evil grin

Appears on his face

As he says

Can a fraud do this?

And outside

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

And now

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

For you

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

Satan said

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

For centuries

For some

It mattered

The few decent people

Left on earth

Were condemned to join

The masses

For another thousand years

Of toil and misery

The bosses were happy

Satan appointed them

To continue to rule

But no strikes

No salaries

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

Through space

And the end was here

And now

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

I will piss wherever you fucking want if you will just stop fucking killing us
Jenny Fried

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

her prep

for the blood she lost to a man on the street

I promise

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.

Night Eater
Jon Conley

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.

Dear Kestrel II
Khashayar Mohammadi

Dear Kestrel,

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.

What We Swallow and Conceal
Lindsay Miles

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.

Terese Pierre

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

righteous targets.

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.

The Tragic and Comic Masks
Torben Robertson

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

Aftermarket ambrosia,

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.

Fair Photo
Zak Jones

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.

Mother’s Worry
Zak Jones

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.

A Shave
Zak Jones

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.

Source Materials
Joel Ferguson

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.

That Irascible Teutonic Father Cento
Joel Ferguson

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.