Katie Noble

The world is a funeral, but it thinks it’s a party

Today, the weather is fine.
Bouncy clouds of sweet whipped cream,
a downpour of fruit scones, ripe strawberries
fresh for the picking.

(picking one by one,
looking for the juiciest victim,
the one with the reddest skin,
the one with the weakest lungs)

Neighbours line the streets
seeking distraction and a slice of sponge,
a glass of wine to wash down the news,
a pint of beer to toast the red white and blue

(blue are the bodies,
their lungs red, their faces
white, when it gets them)

The busy street reverberates
with laughter and Vera Lynn—
We will meet again!
Clap for our NHS!

(If you clap hard enough then
maybe you can drown it out,
the sound of coughing—of dying,
just for a minute)


Katie Noble is a writer and researcher from Essex. She is currently a first-gen doctoral
student in English at the University of Oxford, researching the mediation of women in
eighteenth-century ephemeral print & performance. You can follow her on Twitter
@kaatienoble.

Michael Edwards

Home where the hearth is

I.

Let’s explore the root cause of your ruffled feathers.

It might be that the radiator leaks puddles
of small worry or that watercolours melt,
then stain window sills sap green

or palms rubbing rain-thin panes,
to expose our family
drama, to the agora of morning.

Or it might be my shower hastened
by mildew-scented drains, reaching for a towel
I find silverfish crawling
river-bottom,

cascading downstairs to the street
in this Eureka! moment.
It might be that I have the answer.

II.

What’s it like raising kids in climate oblivion?

It’s like talking to yellow roses
because I’ll miss them when they go.

Companions in bone-cold days,
their petals wilt, excrete frozen dew.
excretion or exertion

like when I drag myself
through hours after children sleep,
dredging basal brain,

It’s like covering the reptilian basics
of unwiring steel
to cook copper, following
corrosion recipes over radio waves.

It’s like that wobble of birds unravelling
their nests as they watch me and chirp.

III.

We all go south from Galilee
to keep home fires burning
while steam boils
white walls dry.

Radiators substitute for fireplaces
like the earth bubbling in a vacuum-sealed bag,
fully contained,
no possible escape.


Michael Edwards is an emerging poet, writer and busy dad living in Vancouver, BC. His creative influences include his small children and also poets like Seamus Heaney, Philip Levine and Kayla Czaga. He is editor of the brand new Red Alder Review (twitter.com/AlderReview) and has work forthcoming from Cabinet of Heed. You may follow him on Twitter, where he is an active member of the online poetry community (twitter.com/michaelwrites1).

Three Poems by Neil Surkan

Unbecoming

Night advances like molasses,
creeping over the carton-white
mountains. Next to this foreclosed
casino, a dormant bog shallow

breathes. Mealy ornamental apples
snick in tiny, frost-shocked trees
potted around the patio.
Across the valley, a last worker exits

the quarry, headlights glowing between
shale piles like a skull
placed on a candle. We’re due
for some luminous thinking –

this very early snow and all –
but why plan when you can gamble?
There’s only one guarantee:
nests naked without leaves,

vomit on the paving stones,
the world appears, exceeds, and un-
becomes too quickly for certainty,
just enough for love

to burn, burn with cold,
then go so numb –
blackening toe
we’ll salvage or cut tomorrow.

Reservoir

Carp lurk through suburbs
when runoff jumps the dam, sucks
manhole covers up like corks, slops
wallpaper with septic hands.

I mostly keep my body close – rove,
but rarely quit, its cul-de-sacs –
save in, say, a dense flicking
stand of thin birches, their tigered

stalks quivered by the spring
wind, cool light trickling
through the tossing stems.
Then, if lifted, if moved

to swim among the future
sprigs, balled now in burgundy-
armoured buds like tiny
minarets, I see it all

without me – abandoned nests,
old anthill dents – and am re-
minded that the verb to be
gears down but never loses speed

completely. I am not undying,
nor ever pre-bloom, just
a reservoir of energies
that pour in, spool around me, stream

in floods of words that,
like fish scales on furniture,
cling for a while and shine
the dull way dried tears shine.

Death Perception

and depth
perception
are pretty
tight fields
of vision –
near, far,
an in-between
that lurches.
In the dim
gallery, I
tried to
eye Simon
Starling’s Infest-
ation Piece –
a replica
of Moore’s Warrior
with Shield
that, plunged in
Lake Ontario,
grew shingly
zebra mussel
patches – but
she, stooped like
my dead
grandmother,
kept standing
in front
of me, moving
when I moved, so
close the sculpture
fogged. Her tin
hair, still
pillow-dented,
glittered with
skin flakes
as did
her cable-knit
shoulders, shingly
with invasive
time. The rest
of the vast,
nebular room
shied
from view,
save a lurid
exit sign.
The sculpture
has no
head. The ghost
could not
hear. I
saw clearly
there’s no
turning back.


Neil Surkan is the author of the poetry collection On High (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018) and the chapbook Super, Natural (Anstruther Press, 2017). A new chapbook, Desire Path, is forthcoming from Knife-Fork-Book (Fall, 2020). His most recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in THIS Magazine, Prairie Fire, The Literary Review of Canada, PRISM international, and Riddle Fence, among others. He lives in Calgary, Alberta.

Three Poems by Stuart Ross

SONNET 45

first line by Kim Fahner; last line by Robert Hogg

These wings of theirs,
they are nailed on
with nails of theirs.
I don’t know the exact
mechanics. They curl
their bleeding lips
into the wings of the wind.
Their eyes water.
From beyond the trees:
a roar of flames.
Whose wings sailed into
the broken chimney
curling from a burned book
curling from its chimney.

RESURRECTION

“Today I am practicing animal stares.”
“It’s an air ballet for migrating birds.”
“We owe it a resurrection.”
– Dag T. Straumsvåg

I reach into the sky and pluck two stars.
I jam them in my face for eyes.
A fox and a gestetner walk by and shrug.
Today I am practising animal stares.

On the stove, the sauce is bubbling over.
The cat’s cancelled her subscription to Debt Magazine.
The house rises up past the telephone wires.
It’s an air ballet for migrating birds.

The election results are indeterminate.
Every child is entitled to gum.
Judy Garland’s portrait falls to the floor.
We owe it a resurrection.

MY LIFE AS A CARTOON

I became a cartoon
depicting a tin of tuna
whose lid rolled back like a tongue.
My parents chose not to prolong
my suffering and woke me, crowing,
“See, we put you to bed in a crinoline
netting, and told you not to crinkle
your thoughts, to focus on a single freckle.”
Behind Yosemite Park in Fresno!
I reached into the snow and formed a snowball,
beaned them, and out into the world did waddle.


Stuart Ross is the winner of the 2019 Harbourfront Festival Prize for his contributions to Canadian literature and literary community. His 20 books include A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent (winner of the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry; Wolsak and Wynn, 2016), and Buying Cigarettes for the Dog (winner of the ReLit Prize for Short Fiction; Freehand Books, 2009). His poetry has been translated into French, Slovene, Russian, Spanish, and Estonian. Stuart lives in Cobourg, Ontario.

Madison Zehmer

your mouth / as other things

like pollensmell / or pouring lukewarm pepsi down the drain / or kissing chapped lips / stir crazy 

           sleepheaving / absinthe or arsenic / in pulpits of raised palms / did you know /

the puritans were mystics in their own ways / their fervent invocations in a world aflame / still on your tastebuds / and on mine too / 

           were we descended from witches / incinerated in sanctuary atriums / edification of combustion / eating ergot to prepare for the pardoning /

              would it change anything if at the end you knew you were destined to burn /

    maybe you would like it / becoming pure heat / licking sunbeams / just to feel your face molt / 

              ceaseless 

solstice of arson and abyss / and your silvery breath left over from the kindling / cinders burning redgold / like confessions that move the muscles of gods /

like revelations / summoning a rapture / scouring celadon waves / into froth /

                          seafoam on your lips /


Madison Zehmer is a poet and wannabe historian from North Carolina, with current or
forthcoming work in Gone Lawn, Déraciné, Drunk Monkeys, LandLocked, and more. She is editor in chief of Mineral Lit Mag, and her first chapbook, “Unhaunting,” will be released by Kelsay Books in 2021.

Noah Farberman

Impossibrittle

I’m fighting this title
Its got two fists and it’s using them
My friend says to kill it
Cut it out, no contest, hollow victory
no bruises, or, as they say
Battle Trophies
If we fight we fight according to me
Its got fists
I’ve got
a big knife
Paste its face on the sidewalk but not
too far onto the street
we can’t afford
a crash


Bio: Noah Farberman is a Toronto writer and comedian. Noah has performed in Toronto Sketchfest with his duo Bad Tattoo and has had his short films screen in festivals across Canada and the United States. Noah is one of three winners of the Yolk Literary Flash-Fried Contest and has been published by The Online Journal of Thought and Perspective (both forthcoming). Currently Noah studies Creative Writing at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.

Three Poems by Torben Robertson

Selective History

The poem as flue, the past as fumes
—whistling—passes through.

In changing state from flammable
to gas, what’s overlooked?

—what equally deserved events
does this ash-cloud occlude?

Why Your Voice Sounds so Bad Recorded

The singer hears their voice played back:
I hate the way it sounds!

They write an instrumental:
Let me hear a voice—but not my own!

For what have I to say that’s not
preferably expressed—
in the impersonality
of tone tone semitone

After the Card Trick

So let these cards like petals fall
and atomize again;

even Heaven shall, like them,
eventually end;

& don’t lament their paling tho
they took all-time to make;

like the temporary flourish
they were made for making’s sake.


Torben Robertson started writing poetry as an adult, and must therefore take full responsibility for his mistake. His poems have appeared in The Maynard (forthcoming), long con magazine, BAD NUDES, Hart House Review, & The Trinity Review. He lives in Toronto.

Sarah Hilton

Fuck-It List
After Kirby

The sex that started as dessert-after-dinner and went into the rise of morning

The day when the tally doubled down on the box spring

The time(s) in the backseat of the Ford Explorer dipping into sex with finger with tongue with the hunger for a better position

The moment handcuffs snap overhead the cheap kind slipping around neck and off wrists

The empty house your nephew’s bottom bunk listening for keys the door vibrator muffled under the comforter

“No one’s going to see” heard in the front seats at The Turning (2020)

The William Small Centre bathroom heat left behind on the wall next to the tampon dispenser

Time we came close at the Horseshoe Tavern

Driving 130km on the 401 eyes on the road hand off the wheel

The sex we would have had on the balcony 14 floors high over Mississauga’s center

The sex you wanted at the drive-in and the sex I wanted in a canoe

The ones on the list you will seek with someone else the lengths never reached between us

The places never checked off the spots yearning still to be filled with edge with sweat with love with drive


Sarah Hilton is a queer poet from Scarborough, whose work examines the deconstruction of bodily reclamation, familial trauma, and the nostalgia of home. Her work is currently featured or forthcoming in Hart House Review, Feels Zine, FEEL WAYS: A Scarborough Anthology, CV2, Ithaca Lit, and elsewhere. She is beginning a Master of Information at the University of Toronto in Fall 2020, and is currently compiling a collection of poetry.

Kristine Esser Slentz

an extraordinarily intermediate trip

become bite size hazy
mist enters along bottom
soft orange pink and blue
but maybe mostly green
more mint green – not neon

sitting still then
starts to glide to
slow – quick space

lie very stationary
feel the ants rise
above the ground
and into hand next
to burned mouth
don’t worry they
won’t hurt right
away – that
takes awhile

close the sockets
that hold eyes in
feel the emotionlessness
vibrate teeth nose knuckles
ya know how pins do
or lines turned to runny –

away! that favorite place
sink below the belt of
upholstery with crispy
leftovers attached to
cotton mouth messes

people hate that
lifeless happiness
ping of codependent
debts circling
some kind of blow
jobs and carjacking

waking up is a bitch. and so is the alaskan cold.
but the money wife and responsibility is pleasant.


Kristine Esser Slentz is a queer, experimental poet from northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland area. She is a Purdue University alum who double-majored in English literature and creative writing. Currently, she is earning her MFA in creative writing (poetry) at City College of New York where she is an adjunct professor and a co-organizer of the MFA Reading Series. KRISTINE has also been long-listed with Rhythm & Bones Press and will be completing a residency with Poets Afloat. Some places her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming include Yes PoetryMoonchild MagazineThe Shallow EndsGlass PoetryPink Plastic HouseBarren MagazineCrab Fat MagazinePhilosophical Idiot, and Flying Island Journal where she was nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize.

Two Poems by David Ly

Green Man

I once heard to walk in the direction moss grows
on boulders and trees to reach civilization,
to reach home. But I’m pretty sure we’ve been
lost in these woods far longer than I want to admit.
If we keep walking forever, I’ll know not to trust moss
to lead us anymore. Will you still want to follow
once moss begins growing on me?

 

Boy with a Decision

Crying and clawing
at your wings to rip them out.
What are you more afraid of—
that you have never been
this sure about anything before,
or how small the world will be
when you can no longer fly?


David Ly is the author of the chapbook Stubble Burn (2018) and the poetry collection Mythical Man (2020). His poetry has also appeared in PRISM internationalcarte blancheThe MaynardPulp LiteratureThe /tƐmz/ Review, and others. David has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and he has been long- and short-listed for the Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence and the Magpie Award for Poetry, respectively. He is the Poetry Editor of This Magazine, and he is part of the Editorial Collective of Anstruther Press. Twitter: @dlylyly.