Previous Feature: Kristin Garth

Kristin Garth is a poet from Pensacola. She used to strip in a schoolgirl outfit, and now writes sonnets about that amongst other fun and terrible things. Her poetry has been published in Anti-Heroin Chic, Fourth & Sycamore, Infernal Ink, Moonchild Magazine, Occulum,  Quail Bell Magazine, and many other fine publications. You can read more of her poetry—posted almost daily—on Medium, and follow her on Twitter @lolaandjolie.

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Good Girl

“How do you know if you’ve been good?” He will
not touch me even though he could. He asks
this question like a father would, to fill
a space in me he knows he should. His task
to teach in ways he’s done before, but just
with words this time and nothing more. Response
comes easy: “Men like you,” who license lust,
approve all that I do. You see it haunts
me that I have to please. You long to lift
me off my knees. Words you wield to break a spell:
“I want to see you selfish,” parting gift
delivered from the lips that knew me well.
A man who took and teaches me to take,
still calls me good girl though he has no stake.

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Accidental Friend

A friend you make by accident—because
he tears you down, you chase his whip. You kneel
the way you do for all of them. He does
not take your common currency. You feel
abandoned here beneath him on the ground.
You hide your eyes and wait for him to go.
He will, you know; a man requires his pound
of flesh. It’s what you have to give or so
your maker taught, across his lap, just shy
of five. He taught it with his belt and hands
in places you cannot forget. It’s why
this one will stay, not touch or make demands.
He’s what you found while looking for an end;
a man, but more an accidental friend.

*

The Moment

You wake to arms behind you, blindfold tight,
a mind like melted ice cubes. Just one drink?
You’re nude against some concrete. Day or night?
Your head too full of chemicals to think.
A drink that tastes so salty still you sip,
A rush of light and nausea that goes black.
Your mind’s discarded somewhere on the trip,
and then you hear a voice that brings it back.
Remember how you planned this, you and him,
a game that ends in rape and starts with drugs.
Your purchase made this ache replace a whim.
The reason? You’ve forgotten what that was.
The moment you remember it’s not real.
Pretending does not mean you will not feel.

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All Hail! To stay apprised of all things Kristin Garth, please visit her blog by clicking on her legs below . . .

Previous Feature: Elisabeth Horan

Elisabeth Horan is a poet, mother, student, lover of kind people and animals, homesteading in Vermont with her tolerant partner and two young sons. She enjoys riding her horses and caring for her cats, chickens, goats and children (not necessarily in that order). She teaches at River Valley Community College in New Hampshire. Follow her @ehoranpoet.

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Ghost Hunting Season

If I could be anyone, I’d try to be you.

Because you are the thickest ice.
Because you use the sharpest knives.

I’d be like— “I have no idea how to do this.”
You’d calm me down, say: “Don’t worry, you’ve got this”—

There’s nothing to it. Nothing. Just breathe. In and Out.

Then, denude a tree with only your eyes. Eat a
pear—silence its fleshen-screams from the inside.
Walk with demons from your teen-age years,
as they pull sharpened teeth from your tongue.

Bite through glass; pretend it didn’t break!
Drink from oil pump, chase it up and down—
like the bunny hops along a made-up trail.

Eat me—grow big; eat me—shrink small;
till the queen sees nothing at all.

Don’t be spotted. If they spot you they will
shoot on site. Very trigger happy, these men.
It’s a terrible time: hunting season for ghosts.

Few go free. Few are not guilty. Few,
which scraped at my marrow—the few,
which sucked at my teat. They have no idea
they are venison meat.

Lastly, don’t close your eyes. It’s good advice,
it may be the best given. Because your eyelids
won’t show you the crimes I have committed.

I know they won’t, if I could be anyone—
if I tried to be as thick and as sharp as you.
If I tried to run from men; in this unimaginable
ghost hunting season.

*

I Know You From Before—

I know you from before—
we met in the hall by your locker.

All braces and metal belts; high-top Air Jordans
Mohawk rainbow, lip pierce straight-laced—
queer as fuck.

You loved me as best you knew how
from watching others/you learned from
bruising easily/how to avoid the burn-hot love by others.

Formed of sharp metal and tacks, I’m all Tara and Brittney
you were Rubix and Motley/Def Leppard
didn’t hold a candle to you. Tattoo, gel and combat.
A certain whiff of skunk.

I sneak out of cobwebs to meet you again
but something looks different this time at 42.
slant/shadow/Golem/arthritis/chanting.

You’ve stopped singing or something.
No longer folking or punking—
instead trained classical.
Couldn’t afford any tuition though—
I know. I hear it in your poems.

But there is still a something—
It lurks behind your eyes, pulses
like behind blood clotting.

I’m still slave to it: you’re messy,
shattered and heavy-duty danger.
And I like it.

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All Hail! Care to read more poetry by Elisabeth Horan? Then check out [Insert Yourself Here]: an Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (2017), published by The Paragon Journal, and available via Amazon. Just click on the cover image below to learn more . . .

Previous Feature: J.J. Campbell

J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) is trapped in a suburban hell at the moment. He’s been widely published over the years, most recently at The Beatnik Cowboy, Horror Sleaze Trash, Mad Swirl, Winedrunk Sidewalk, and Your One Phone Call. You can find him most days on his highly entertaining blog, evil delights.

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humans are the disease

the sun
is setting
over a
barren
wasteland
that once
was
beautiful

humans
are the
disease

they don’t
even realize
they are
creating their
replacements

and i know
once i see
a robot cry
or pound a
fist through
a damn wall

the end
is near

*

a halloween prank

someone hung
a skeleton off
the bridge as a
halloween prank

you wondered if
the rope was strong
enough for a husky
lost kid dreading
his teens

under that bridge
was the first time
you saw a rusty
needle and a
burnt spoon

there’s a train
you never had
the courage to
ride

it’s not that you
wouldn’t buy the
ticket

apathy has a way
of killing the soul
quicker than any
drug

*

if you dig deep enough

go seek utopia in the
bottom of the dumpster
behind the bar on fifth
street

if you dig deep enough
you may find a body

or you could find a way
into another universe

one where cars are
shaped like unicorns
and ugly guys get all
the pussy

or you could stumble
into a homeless man
searching for clean
piss to pass a drug
screening for a job
at arby’s

the lucky ones will
come out with a half
full bottle of something
strong enough and
just enough marijuana
laced with whatever
to take off the edge

*

All Hail! Care to learn more about J.J. Campbell and his poetry? Then, be sure to listen to this great interview, conducted by Marcia Epstein on “Talk with me,” as featured on LawrenceHits.com. Just click on the image below to learn more . . .

Previous Feature: John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Columbia Review, Studio One, and Tau, with work upcoming in Examined Life Journal, Midwest Quarterly, and Naugatuck River Review.

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The Tough Times and The Bad Times

She’s seated on stage,
at least the makeshift kind
that only a coffee house can provide,
in a simple black dress,
gaunt face, pale lips,
her hair cut women’s-prison short,
a pile of papers flopped across her lap.

Half the tables are occupied.
Some people chatter.
Others try to be courteous, hold their tongues
while she reaches for the first poem
of the evening’s reading.

Her voice is high and shrill
and the work is the closest words ever come
to self-flagellation, raw and bitter,
miserable, suicidal even.
Men are like cat o’nine tails in disguise
is a typical theme.
It’s the first time anyone in the audience
has ever heard “penis” used as verb.
Even women are no more than torture implements.
And family are a penal colony
so good luck with that.

After a half hour of this,
the talk becomes louder,
the attentive ones are ready
to slit their own throats.
She then thanks the audience
for their scattered applause,
gathers up her papers,
slips out of the coffee house and into the night.

“Imagine going home to that,” somebody says loudly.
Everybody laughs.
Chalk one up for poetry’s feel-good effect.

*

A Night Out

trailer silver
in the moon—

Jenny lolls on the step,
stretching her legs

so that her sequined shoes
can snare a little of that light—

her past is parked on blocks
but her future’s made for dancing

for tonight at least—
no day would be so foolish

*

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