Rodolfo Avelar

Creation Myth

jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) (crypt) trans (burst) memory caustic humidifier (¡!¡!) (of estrogen) aqueduct (creek) data (wipe) jubilee jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) (crypt) trans (burst) memory caustic humidifier (¡!¡!) (of estrogen) aqueduct (creek) data (wipe) jubilee jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) (crypt) trans (burst) memory caustic humidifier (¡!¡!) (of estrogen) aqueduct (creek) data (wipe) jubilee jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) (crypt) trans (burst) memory caustic humidifier (¡!¡!) (of estrogen) aqueduct (creek) data (wipe) jubilee jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) (crypt) trans (burst) memory caustic humidifier (¡!¡!) (of estrogen) aqueduct (creek) data (wipe) jubilee jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) (crypt) trans (burst) memory caustic humidifier (¡!¡!) (of estrogen) aqueduct (creek) data (wipe) jubilee jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) (crypt) trans (burst) memory caustic humidifier (¡!¡!) (of estrogen) aqueduct (creek) data (wipe) jubilee jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) (crypt) trans (burst) memory caustic humidifier (¡!¡!) (of estrogen) aqueduct (creek) data (wipe) jubilee jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) (crypt) trans (burst) memory caustic humidifier (¡!¡!) (of estrogen) aqueduct (creek) data (wipe) jubilee jubilee (wipe) data (creek) aqueduct (of estrogen) humidifier (¡!¡!) caustic memory (burst) trans (crypt) 

End of transcription.


Ghost | Girl | Cypher

i think i’m mourning
in my dream, my dad is dead
my dad his hija

trans girl & her wrath
in the dream land, needles
puncture toward ghost

something out of time
how can i be okay tonight?
bones weave & i awl

a vine of uvas
& i don’t know why i feel
love-but i do love

the valley woman
solders into wrist a pair
trans girl & her dad

flo werg hostca sket
woozy woozy breasts appear
something out of time

shapeshifting casket
glamor a home to sleep in
my skin clean of him

de-gloss all the wrath
like i owe him anything
this fantasy land

i wanna be / am
a single point in spacetime
flower ghost casket

& divine femme juices
or at least the dream of them
shapeshifting mutant

puncture a question
build a papier-mâché hut
de-gloss lips to eat

so i’m left with zinnias
i can be a woman i
an ancient valley


Rodolfo Avelar is a poet and visual artist from Fresno, CA. Their poetry projects queer people of color into science fiction, the future, outer space, and queer liberation. They hold a Bachelor of Arts from Fresno State, where they studied English Literature and Creative Writing. Currently, they are an MFA candidate in Poetry at UC Riverside. As a Milkweek summer intern in 2019, they designed and edited book length poetry manuscripts. Their poetry can be found online at the Acentos Review and COUNTERCLOCK, and forthcoming in Até Mais: Until More, an Anthology of Latinx Futurisms, and Pleiades. They hope to publish, edit, & teach poetry, perfect their desk set-up, and play some video games along the way.

Jose Hernandez Diaz

El Tío in a Mars Volta Shirt

A tío in a Mars Volta shirt played tetherball at the park with his niece. He was proud of being an uncle. His niece was dark-skinned Mexican, like him and their abuelita, too. The tío in a Mars Volta shirt played tetherball with his niece and then they went to In-n-Out for burgers. When they finished eating, they went to an old record store. The tío in a Mars Volta shirt showed his niece a guitar. She liked it. They bought one.

Within a couple of weeks, his niece was enrolled in guitar lessons. Her favorite band was Pink Floyd, like her tío. It was kind of boring to her, honestly, but she liked that they shared that. The tío in a Mars Volta shirt showed his niece how to play a ranchera on the guitar. They laughed and played until sunset.


The Fairgrounds in the Rain

A man in a Chicano Batman shirt and sunglasses went to the fair in Southeast Los Angeles. It was late summer. He rode the bumper cars. He rode the Ferris wheel. The man in a Chicano Batman shirt bought a hot dog on a stick and a glass of lemonade. He tried to make a large ball into a small hoop but was instead swindled for $5. He laughed it off.

Then it began to rain. Most folks went home. The man in a Chicano Batman shirt decided to wait it out. He sat beneath some palm trees and pulled out a sketchbook. He drew the fairgrounds in the rain. It brought him peace and pleasure to draw. It didn’t stop raining, though, so he eventually went home. The next morning, he painted the drawing from the fair onto a canvas. He used rather dark tones for the clouds and the rainfall juxtaposed with bright colors for the rides and concession stands. He titled the piece, “The Fairgrounds in the Rain.”


An Ode to the California Burrito

A man in a Chicano Batman shirt surfed in the ocean. It was late summer. He grew up driving the hour and twenty minutes distance from Southeast Los Angeles to the coast. Instead of wearing a traditional wet suit, today, he wore a Chicano Batman shirt, because it was a hot summer day, and the water wasn’t too cold. He caught some decent waves and then laid out on the sand to read a book of poetry by the Uruguayan writer, Marosa di Giorgio.

After he finished reading, he went to a taqueria across the street. He had a California burrito. The California burrito consists of carne asada, fries, pico de gallo, cheese, and guacamole. He had an horchata alongside the burrito. It’s the man in a Chicano Batman shirt’s go-to meal when he’s looking for comfort food. When he finished the burrito, he drove home. The sun began to set. When he got home, he showered and then wrote a song about his day. He called it: “An Ode to the California Burrito.”


Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is the author of The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020). His work appears in The American Poetry Review, Bennington Review, Conduit, Crazyhorse, Georgia Review, Huizache, Iowa Review, The Journal, Los Angeles Review, The Missouri Review, Northwest Review, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Southeast Review, The Southern Review, Witness Magazine, The Yale Review, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading Anthology 2011. He lives in Southeast Los Angeles and teaches creative writing online.

Dylan McNulty-Holmes

Masc for Femme

It’s a lot, this wanting 
to keep sweetnesses, exist outside 
of conservative status quo bedrock—
to be loved, respected and desired—
Devil Moon, I have no idea
about feel-good, or making-the-most, or bra-sizes—

But these sparks rise out of the ground—
climaxes, anti-climaxes, the glory of
delicate silver chains, loud brassy fake jewels,
deviant afterlives, mysterious treasures,
slugs with bold black etchings against pavements—
a glossary of resistances.        there’s something
lost, singing—

The Devil Moon
presses her fingers deep into my dimples, 
making me forget sweaters, curse love terms
embedded into me like chunks of terracotta— 
works me over, leaves me dressed
in flowers, sprayed across my chest.


Ordinary Talk

Writing as investigation: how disabled bodies mark us out, 
but invite us into dreams of different futures.

Dreaming that feels like foraging, 
like an occupation.

This year has been tiresome, overlaid with struggle,
pain singing right through it.

If yelling is an inquiry into the resentments of others,
afterwards: how long must we rest?

Is it death to accept exasperation, 
to run on a streak of take take take?

Working on poems, which neighbour the
all is well. alles ist gut.

Writing as learning how to open, to love so fiercely, to understand the 
all is well. alles ist gut:

              (1) to pay in carelessness; to capsize;
              (2) to push prams, use fancy moisturisers; to be spritzed with pleasure;
              (3) actions modifying clamouring egos; to sleep in a bed assured of one’s     work;
              (4) to be competent in the challenges of this time; to struggle;
              (5) open up, open to me; tell yourself you can, then recognise me; let us spin together in the cool water;

fear fogs my thoughts
but I shan’t forget the drop of anguish,
the blood, the mask thrown down,
the angers I try to somehow unfeel
in the back of my throat.


Dylan McNulty-Holmes (he/they) is a writer based in Berlin. His writing has been hung in a corner store as part an art exhibition, live-scored by a disco band, made into a T-shirt, and performed in book shops, sex toy shops, galleries, and burger bars. It work has also been featured in publications including Visual Verse, Femsplain, and DADDY Magazine. These poems are from a chapbook-length collection, for which he is currently seeking a publisher.

Greg Luna


The seasons were punctuated by extremes. Long, bitter winters with endless snowfall and hot, summer days giving way to monsoon and torrential downpour. Though they called it a valley it was really a slope, an upland mesa, formed by erosion over millions of years, since the earliest days of the planet’s existence, carving out mountains and cliffs made of metamorphic rock, rugged and craggy, casting deep shadows when sunlight descended below the horizon. 

And the sun shone a lot. The land was first green though eventually they named it yellow. But it was also often golden, when the aspen trembled and changed colors beside the spruce and evergreen. Truthfully, the land was mostly brown. A color no one likes to talk about. Rich with mineral, viscose and muddy. The animals certainly didn’t care: grazing even-toed ungulates that were splendidly horned, packs of canines, and birds aplenty.

Many people were born there but more just showed up, or were brought – by their husbands, or as captives, or forced by the will of their god. They claimed, and intended to cultivate the soil but over time only choked it with tillage and crops, stealing water and making dams, with beasts of burden trampling the land. Eventually boundaries were drawn, barriers arbitrary and destructive, gifted by monarchs on other continents. Those who were born there defended it but the boundaries changed hands, different owners maybe but still the same old thing. 

The people blended and blended and forgot how they started. Names and cultures persisted but many more were eradicated. Isolation was pervasive. And most of those who remained never thought that inaction was a form of collusion. A courthouse was built, emulating a society purporting to rid itself of excess, without ornamentation, with the insistence that empire was the birthplace of living. A new identity mounted under the banner of freedom, flagpoles proudly displaying their inclusion into a culture that does not want them. 

Nowadays it’s a ruin – just decrepit, old houses forgotten. A ballroom with no ceiling. A barn that’s collapsing. The people used to proclaim, Land, or death. But I think it might be and.



July fizzles. It languishes and snaps, then ends, again and again. So you pursue moisture. Rippling off of your skin, packed into venues, incessantly sweating. You are overdressed and ashamed to be wet. But you’ll never be younger and just love to dance.

Dive into the ocean, its warm buoyant waters. Trust your body to float; become the girl from Ipanema. It curls around and within, lowering defenses, letting a man suck on each of your toes. But spit is mostly water too, so be careful. Sickness follows you.

It surrounds you. Nearly eight-hundred thousand gallons at once. But it’s still not enough. So you hunker down and stay in one place where the tap water is celebrated, traveling through pipes where there’s nothing to waste. 

But you’re restless, you know. You head north to the tides, sinusoidal and flat, to a place like New Brunswick that gives while it takes. Learn what it means to prevent your escape. 

Choose to go without and retreat back to drought. Take it wherever it can be found. Watering holes, brackish and green. Sneaking into hotel swimming pools. The Sunset Marquis. You try not to be seen. House-sitting. Your high school friend’s wedding, cigars and cheeseburgers in a jacuzzi.

Some islands unnerve you, saline reminders of absence, while glacial lakes fold and envelope, water too cold to provide for your body. 

But eventually you learn how to make do with what’s what. Shorter showers. Less is okay – it’s still a lot. Daily hydration, don’t forget. You are a fish with horns. Sweat is just sweat.

Some merciful rivers continue to flow, cascading off granite – reminders each summer that you are a visitor still. And when July returns, you come to a hole, jack-hammered through a foundation, and are told all about an artesian well. Sources of water that can be nearly infinite. And you stop to think, Can you believe it? Abundance.


Greg Luna (he/him) is a queer Chicano writer and filmmaker. His work has been supported by the Kenyon Review, Tin House, i-D Magazine, Interview Magazine, and NewFest: The New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival. He is a graduate of the Kanbar Institute of Film & Television at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and lives in Los Angeles. He is currently at work on his first novel: an intergenerational family saga set in the American Southwest. He can be found on Twitter at @gregluna.




Allison Thung

Which of course makes me a hypocrite for only falling in love with people unbothered by clothing tags

As a child buying new clothes I had to be told repeatedly to note just the fit and material when asked if I was comfortable, because otherwise (and really, even then) I’d jump to no, I don’t want it, because XL (100% Polyester) was digging into my back, and the security tag into my side, and no amount of exasperated assurances that they can and will be removed would be enough for me. But the truth was that I just didn’t trust my judgment, because what if the dress still sucked even without the tags? Then I’d never hear the end of how it was a complete waste of time and money, and nobody needs that, so it just seemed easier to fixate on the ephemeral scratchiness and say no altogether. I mean for god’s sake, I was 6, and $44.95 could probably buy a house. And I mean for god’s sake, I am 30, and what if I looked past the surface irritants and took a leap and it turned out to be a complete waste of time, honey? 


Twice my mother doesn’t speak her mind


I am washing my hands for the fifth time this afternoon. While they announce the loosened restrictions and celebrate The End of Covid, I receive a delivery from a polite courier with his mask hanging below his nose, and now I am washing my hands as if they are stained with blood and faeces, like I am trying to polish my bones. My mother looks like she wants to comment on the handwashing, but all she says is “Remember to drink some water.” I will, right after I almost apply for this “work from home” job that will turn out to require 10% international travel and regular in-person meetings with clients. It’s been two years since I’ve left the house for fun. Sometimes I think about that Friday I cut my lunch short so I could stop by the Kuan Yin temple ten minutes from my office to get my fortune told with sacred oracle lots. Did you know they call it lottery poetry? I didn’t, until I was writing this poem.


My face does that thing it does where people can’t tell how old I am, which is a good thing in this case because nobody needs to know I am three from thirty waiting seven hours in the cold to get barrier at a gig. The wind is chilly enough that my hair looks good, but damp enough that running my fingers through will rip strands out. My mother drops off grilled fish from a fancy restaurant down the road and cutlery from the hotel, and comes back again later to hold my spot in line so I can do a toilet run. The person behind me remarks that my sister is nicer than hers would ever be. Some girl on Instagram with a seated ticket/more sense than me asks if I’m the one in the leather jacket. Some guy who looks like he should be backstage with the band joins the queue. A few metres away, some bomb-sniffing dog does its job. The lead singer/love of my life doesn’t reply to my DM, but he does accidentally drool from opening his mouth too wide to catch my favourite note, and nobody but me and two other girls at the front notice his surreptitious glance down at his shirt. I don’t remind him of it when he comes out to meet fans after the show, and he thanks me for following this leg of the tour. My mother says he looks best in our last photograph together. 


Allison Thung is a poet and project manager from Singapore. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Emerge Literary JournalBrave Voices MagazineRoi Fainéant Press, and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @poetrybyallison or at




Leon Barros


GLAMOUR / I harvest for an altar /
snowbush clippings / Dutch still lifes /
Brooklyn Barbies / discarded condom /
cloaked in glitter / my eidolons /
o,a,blation / to fashion / “technologies of
self” / to cohere / slow as salt / a cur,ation
of / straw dolls / golden ring / light above
/ which defies / the blur of extinction /
“tarot as mirror” / a shifting practice /
stems from / the vase / f,unction / in f,lux
/ I want to be / elsewhat / flotsam /
haunts the throat / I whistle / my
antiphons / green kundimans / the ‘ō‘ō
call / one-hit wonders / yes / some ghosts
are welcome                


GLAMOUR / I figure an object into
being / a ceramic jug / which bears / nub
teeth / googly eyes / a garbled mouth / it
chews / speech spits / back profanation /
listen / it’s an imprecise alchemy / to
en,chant / points in a series / which
in,dic,t,ates / what encodes / a toad and
its stools / a forked tongue / whisper of
flesh / I throw my enemies / a parade /
why deny myself / a new desire / blooms
/ an arrangement / broken tulips / lemon
peels / bale of wools / costume jewelry /
the male feathers / golden calves /
skincare routine / larva / rendered fat /
my bubble machine / my pleasure circus /
how best / to sublimate / to be sublime



GRAMMAR / who is at the door / to
map / a shifting terrain / a hermeneutics
of self / a heretic / a “physical website” / I
repeat to myself / knowledge which falls /
out of my body / and intuit / arches /
towards a locality / bends air / or
descends upon it / a threshold of trees /
what hinges on / my proximity to capital /
empire / I am edging / the lines here / I
furrow / in the creek bed / I look for / my
corner / I look / dumb / struck across the
body / of water / the ferryman / inside I
reach / for a coin / to bite / which leaks /
a string / of Janus words / that which /
means its opposite / to weather / to splice
/ to c, leave                                                          


GRAMMAR / moonphase / illus,trat,ion
/ what obscures a body / of work / process
/ maintenance / labored breathing / I sift
valences / find many teeth / arrive at many
/ im,ports / medicinal bark / oils / rare &
rarefied / pomander / against all manner /
of contagion / language of shame / to
sanction / against silks / Gov. Dasmariñas
/ the friars / their illuminations / which
state / our prurience / for food / & drink /
& clothes / & gold / & fucking / & not
property / my people / knew how to live /
damn / the land / gives endlessly / to those
who tend it / what use is there / in
punishment / or paradise both / are here    


GRAMMAR / correct / what the lens fails
/ moon’s immensity / in the eye / was it
the rivers I placed / sipped from the collar
creek / mistook for veins / or bones I dig /
plasma-cracked / licked for syntax /
bramble of star / thistle / darling /to
decorate / decollate / a bird / which
appears to me / imperious signs /
overdetermined auspice / pleats / replete
/ my runic skin / or comma splice /
“language of my oppressors” / is at times
my own / pocketknife / is there any /
undeterminate limb / locus of power /
insect vistas / re,peat into / libidinal
machine / old gods in the now / alien
spaces / remember the enemy / is often



GRIMOIRE / the ceramic jug / has
returned to kill me / I let it / know that
parenting / is unmiraculous / every
generation / should be aimless / the leaf /
varie,gates / touch-me-nots / uncoiling /
a totality of bodies / endless & queer / the
intext of survival / our learned brush /
stroke of / foxtail / wild orchids / inner
thigh / hanging from my ribs / a bending
light / a joint probability / escapes us /
what leaves / dried & bound / induce an
astral state / memory fails our magic /
does not contain / a plurality of / worship
/ a stylish fringe / a sacred study / of
faggots / be,hold me / unfollow the line /
into another / a meteoroid / inertial /
refractory / I stab at the sky / re,in,cite /
incoherent factory / infinite perf,orations
/ multiversal gl,itch                        


Leon Barros (he/they) is a Brooklyn-based Filipinx poet whose work is featured and is forthcoming in Annulet, diaCRITICS, beestung, and more.





Ngaio Simmons

The Dude

My dad says a famous gunslinger is our ancestor

I still don’t know if it’s true

I once read the last part of a letter he wrote
before his murder

I wouldn’t be able to write you
anything half as eloquent,
paint a world in which this string
of words and em dash are enough
are all

I wish that when you looked up the old west
this was all you found
love sealed in ink sealed in wax
gun parts melted, sweethearts’ promises abound
whites never feeling the urge to build a ship,
one sturdy, able, thick pulse of a thing to withstand the non-Atlantic

Land never having left the hands of those who come from it

Who do I go to with this one?
I grow up with some Annie Oakley crap
and lies about the praries while perched near the Ala Wai
when 4,389 miles away 
half of my heart is missing me
my ancestors have been holding it and waiting
but don’t know where I’ve been stashed away

Can’t call me home with pūtōrino or pūrerehua
when I wouldn’t be able to recognize the sound

Does anyone else know that kind of feeling?
You know the one
where the blood is knotted so close together
it starts fighting itself,
a petition to move across the body, another limb
a different artery,
away from the parts that it finds savage
strayed from God

What a strange life it is—
the offspring of Anglia digging generations deep
into Texas soil,
a meeting house just minutes away
from where Horouta beached in Te Tairāwhiti

Beneficiaries off the butchers for the New World
a people who saw home fires snuffed out in succession
both lines burn hard in me
a mixing
a legacy in two parts
an attempt to reconcile
so as to unearth some sort of beauty


Ngaio Simmons (she/her) is a Māori/pākehā spoken word artist and educator born and raised on the island of Oʻahu on Kānaka Maoli land in the unceded nation of Hawaiʻi. Now permanently residing in her ancestral homeland, Aotearoa, she is still writing about diaspora, identify conflict, and what it means to be Indigenous and queer in a world that repeatedly rejects both. She has been published in Contemporary Verse, Flux Hawaiʻi, Literary Hub, Ora Nui, Hawaiʻi Review, and Bamboo Ridge, among others. Her poem “Whānau” was recently featured in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series for AAPI month.




sterling-elizabeth arcadia

estrogen, progesterone, spironolactone, estrogen, progesterone,

I need a new tattoo. A bird in the shape of an angel on my back, a form that rolls and folds against my own – that moves both with and for me

What has preserved me these last few years is the feeling of being stitched, point by point, into a new body, one made up by the body of my body and the hands of another. To feel a foreign art carefully attached to my own

And if I am in this moment, it is not those wings that brought me here. My first respite from the world was not my mothers womb, but a trap: a snare that gnawed and gnawed until I was no longer whole. I have scars across my shoulders from the things I have escaped, and I am ready to see them burned

I want to be abandoned by god in reverse


I need a new tattoo. A bird in the sh
ape of an angel on my back, a form that rolls and folds the feeli
point by point,
into a new body, one mad

the hands of another To fe
el a foreign ached to my own
brought me h My first respite
from thnot my mothers womb, bp:
a snare that gnawed no longer wh scars across mythe things I have escape

d, and I am ready to see them burnedtndoned by god in reverse


,. I      a   m            a             body                      
.,.foreign          to my own          mother  :  ||
    a     scar  across         god                        I /


sterling-elizabeth arcadia (she/they) is a trans poet and lover of birds. her work has been published in, HAD, New Delta Review, and elsewhere. she is a first year MFA in creative writing at Rutgers–Camden. this poem is part of a series of burning haibuns (a form invented by torrin a. greathouse), the first of which can be read here:




Eros Livieratos



       1) Autodidactic  

orange rinds and hoops after school 
wandering hands in that void of a closet 
got big teeth like a beast, sinking— 

fires in my chest; I am eating the last 
of you. Little pounding nymph. Boxing gloves 
against the caverns—these damned walls are thick. 

You’re straight like an octagon. A million tiny dots  
on that globe                                I can’t shoot. You’d laugh,  

you ever hit it from the back?

       2) Database Animal 

                                                                                                          I am [ ] 
I’ve been chewing at the moon—barking. 
Fucking on Wednesdays. Resting on Fridays. 
On one at the Turkey Hill—drinking 
gasoline                          some guerilla shit. 

Eat till full, molars crush rinds.  
Seraphs too, wings and horns, 

all bodies are [mine] 

Y2K deathmachines; factory farm  
sonata.                          You better meet me in the middle. 

            Listen                        moment                static hits. I’ll meet you there.                 Bring the  goods.
                                                            You’re a god today.  
            Bring everything.  
                                                bring the goods to the drop spot.  

                                                                                                                                                                   // error

            4)                               trauma maps

                                                                     a)    ontologies










                                                                      b)  [memorytype]
                                                                                   the gig
                                                                                 oldheadwithhands               onmyback


5) Repeat

                                            does the void speak in tongues or the queen’s English?

             a)  Autodidactic

orange rinds and hoops after school
wandering hands in that void of a closet
got big teeth like a beast, sinking—

fires in my chest; I am eating the last
of you. Little pounding nymph. Boxing gloves
against the caverns—these damned walls are thick.

Been drinking gasoline in the mornings
fucking on Wednesdays, resting on Fridays—
watching market trajectories like blood-sport.

                I am [  ]

Eat till full. Molars crush rinds.
Seraphs too, wings and horns,

all bodies are [mine]

Y2K deathmachines; factory farm
sonata. The hot silence pre-Disaster Engine.
Machinelearning into hyper-capital—

technoanimalia, I am
a legion on the face of advancement,
the vanguard to a dying day.

              1)   Café
Let’s fuck during the Zapruder film.
We can drive a ‘74 Cadillac off desert roads
till your trauma catches up to you.
If we unravel, I call dibs on the brain.
The font of the organs spread like
                                                         d r e a m s

              2)   Home
Singsong advertisers, sing me to sleep.
Tear me into quarks, spread me thin;

eat me whole as I whistle that church bell
melody, the death tone.

Guide me down the roads where
I found love on blacktops and

you—are one, and all bodies subsist
in their solipsistic glow—O’ melodrama!

Got four walls and I’m screaming—
head into plaster, chewingonthumbs.

             3)   The City
                           fuzzy                                   warm 


             4)   Everywhere
             5)   Nihilism
                    fuck that.
                           a) Ontology
                                                                      Love                      Body

                                                                                     Rest                                      Labor


[start up: init //002]

What’s the harm in lips?

I read an article on the calisthenics of communism and the inherent freedom from capital that comes with lifting oneself via branch or bar. Parallel bars rooted in concrete utopias—where the body defies gravity, where each second is a fight. It’s all in the control. The tearing

of muscles, when shoulders become planets—when the body, reacts to the abuse. A feeling of flight in the muscle-up, a communal celebration in the park across the elementary school where shells sleep on pavement like an ocean landscape in the evenings.

X-ActoTM knives, boxcutters, and anything with some grit—it’s all in the control. The tearing of epidermis. Those fascists want blood. Predatory opportunists, they slept in backpacks and drawers, cunning friends when his hands grasped my face.

It’s all in the control—of breakbeats and vibrating fluorescents. Make the people dance. Kiss the boy with long sleeves and hands tucked in pockets. What’s the harm in lips? Repeat these words. Talk about time like liquid and not like a carved out stone.

In Calisthenics, one aims for hypertrophy, growth from the conjunction of time and tearing.
It’s all in the control of repetitions, of breath. The control of repeated pain in hopes of accessing

something new. More control, more strength, the shaping of the self into something else—
it’s all in the control of etymology to create long words like calisthenics. The conjoining of
beauty and strength, the image of Plato wrestling boys before his hands spun sophistry down their chitons—the definition of justice is justice and the world is a series of shapes like puppets

in a cave where control is key to the shadows they make. You are not like Plato and your hands still move. Like shadows in a cave—I’ve been seeing you in the evenings. The silhouettes of time shapeshifting on my walls. My hands move differently now. No longer grasping sharp

edges, or any boy with some control fantasy. My hands curl into fists clutching rings and
branches and bars. It’s all in the control of moments, holding my breath, engaging my core as the blisters form and your face starts peering in like the violence in daylight or an email, something

so normal. Out of my control. I found a picture of us, two pleather jackets and my half-smile, a face like a car wreck. You still make people dance. The boy in that photo would leave and dig into drawers and backpacks, the normal things. He would reek of the cheapest bodega liquor.

He wouldn’t really read Plato, he’d carry some dialog sometimes. He’d dig into himself without the growth, just fascist edges and a marked up outer layer. He wouldn’t expect to spend days in the sun, grasping at branches— totally in control. Trauma mapping, not deconstructing—

init[repeating error][error] [error] [error] [error] [error] [error] [error] [error] [error] [error]


In 1998, Serial Experiments Lain debuted. The series featured a series of adolescent suicides. Children abandoned their bodies to become one with “The Wired,” an early symbol for the world wide web. The first time I thought strongly about suicide was in 1999— I was four years old.

I read a chain letter on AOL and believed that if I took my life first, I would be saved from the haunting an adolescent suicide victim would bestow on me (per the email). My breathing accelerated, my mind was racing, I spent an evening in the ER with my first panic attack.

Recurring thoughts into catatonia—my time in the self-harm haze was controlled. Household objects repurposed—I became one with space. Evenings spent in thrash den paradises, learning to socialize in isolation. I met flame with

hazy eyes, greasy hair and love which only flowed outward. Everything passes.
Mitigated voids, held hands through the worst of it. Vomitfire nights—talked of songs, hummed melodies under motel moonlight, cigarette butts in the parking lot ballroom.

Mixed Lexapro with clear liquor and concave brain—smashed my head into walls until the lights went out. I wanted so badly to swim. Nerves at white corners, all my connections are fractured. Tying knots, trying to tighten my connection—every second is a reminder—is a stall tactic.

Every time I pass a diner, I think of a friend who used to bus tables. She took her leave at
twenty-eight after a man systematically maimed her. We met in Pittsburgh; smoking cigarettes outside of a Super-8 when I was young and taking the long road to decay. While having coffee or

when a morning breeze is too calm, I think of hanging bodies. Like the swaying of leaves, or Suzuki Izumi alone in her apartment. Dissociating in motion or mid-conversation; I have yet to find words grounding enough to keep me here. I wonder what she thought of before the leap?

Before me, my father served time in solitary confinement. The minutes kept adding up like
centuries. When I was five, he told me he tried to starve himself to death. I pictured his big hands smashing against concrete; his face gaunt, and my body disappearing.

My body is a survived future. My hands are automated machines, they clutch at my neck or
pinch at thumbs, I paw for a pulse to remember something about autonomy while someone,
somewhere else is abandoning themselves entirely.

There is a targeted ad promising
to press cremation ashes
into a record with all your favorite
songs burned to the remnants
of your loved ones.
I heard Facebook is working on a deceased
section: and I think I am still alive
on a Myspace page or AOL chatroom
where a man wants to fuck my seven-year old
brains out. I am alive everywhere
eternally, and with my feet
on the ground and my throat wilting—
do I need to have a body?
My flesh might fertilize honeysuckle
on a patch of green or glutton
the plastic-full seabream
off the coasts of some island,
only one maxxxed out credit card away.
Do I need to have a body
in order to subsist on a heating globe
or for my loved ones to remember
my face now that my prints
are digital, should I wait for the revolution
in virtual reality when my sprawled out flesh can be re-
animated. How many times does a symbol
have to shatter
before the simulacra
is enough?
Do I need to have a body/

//exit initiated.


Eros Livieratos (he/they) is a currently an MFA candidate in creative writing at The Ohio State University. Eros’ writing tackles topics of identity, capitalism, art, and the Anthropocene—their poems seek to deconstruct theoretical and systemic frameworks. Eros is a harsh-noise artist and can often be found yelling about aesthetics & automation in your local basement. They’re on Instagram and Twitter, as well as his website,




Zach Goldberg

The Plane Lands at Ben Gurion and Every Passenger Bursts Into Song


from the mundane root. an oyster plant.
a spiderwort. its variegated purple across
nearly every flowering inch of the world.
sweet Moses-in-the-cradle-lily. amethyst
Angel of Doubt. o Lucy, Saint of Sight,
blind me to etymology, the perse plum pit 
in every story about G-d. what wildflower
deserves this wandering? to be buried in
a grave so violet? a name so violent
it once curbed the crucifixion. yes, cursed
to roam until Christ returns. sisyphean
in our ignorance. my aunt gave cuttings
away each winter as a Hanukkah gift
(we all need a little Jew in our lives)
terracotta exodus. tangles of it end-
lessly growing. creeping across oceans.
spreading over continents. the lurking
of a lesser theology. o Lord, leave us
to our legs, our purple leaves. Lord,
where we grow, so do the conditions
for surrender. look us in the root. o Lord, 
Lord, let even the seed of affliction bloom 
into a blessing.



Zach Goldberg is a writer, educator, and arts organizer from Durham, NC. He is the author of XV (Nomadic Press, 2020) and is a 2021 MRAC Next Step Fund grantee. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in AGNI, Washington Square Review, New South, and elsewhere. He lives on occupied Dakota land in Minneapolis, MN. Find him online @gach_zoldberg.