All About Slime: Poetry Journal Regarding Counterfeit Love by

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You are too beautiful to lie to.

It would be like lying to a sunset. So yes I mean to leave. I also mean to stay summer memory hazy, the one story, maybe a faint scar you never tire of explaining. I plan to live like this always here and not here. A murmur. Dying but not dead. Fucking but not fucked. Just gets up and goes. Backseat delights. Old fries and loose coins attach to the underwear, shifting from garbage to ornament in one motion. The moment we sized each other up on the dancefloor — Two vultures mistaking the other for dead. And what does it mean to love him? And what becomes of the skin, once the snake has shed it?

And if it is, is it so hard to imagine it loving itself? And in that desert you are water. She opens her mouth and out sputters a song, few live to hum later. A tune passed on from a gut instinct gone wrong. An old affection that has aged into cruelty. A young desire rotted into adult demands. A disgrace only the mother could love. She is for sure a friendly neighborhood hope dealer. She is a touring artist and has been published a few times. She likes to eat. Up the Staircase Quarterly nominated one of her poems for best new poet I can picture the resulting tangle of our legs, ritual, no real meaning, the same way headphone wires find each other inside of a jacket pocket.

You walk around back and catch a frame of me undressing it in the second floor window, bathed in shitty, flickering light. I pretend not to see you. You pull everything out, so innocent. Each layer of stale gauze is soaked through and rancid, reeking of egg rolls and flat beer, sweat and crusted over coffee-mug bottoms. For a moment you just squint into the blood-caked border of the thing, consumed by some kind of sick awe. This is the worst part, the being exposed.

Slice by slice you slough off the layers of yourself. I shut my eyes but still hear each piece slopping onto the floor, onto the other pieces. I can tell the cuts are clean. You plug the cracks with the stringy excess, wasting nothing. I only hear you struggle once, when you tear the gauze wrapping from the roll before winding it around my trembling body, using the extra on yourself.

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I wake up in a half-empty bed, but while making my breakfast I notice the tiny paring knife has already been washed and left drying in the rack. Claire crumples foil, watches neighbors bend and sag over so much care—well-cooked meals, clean floors, sex twice a month. The woman next door watches Claire spread her selves across the yard. A black lace bra, ripped below the nipple; a red thong blooming; a pastel floral push-up; a pair of thin, cotton panties. Lights whir on. Televisions groan.

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The microphone swells towards her mouth like the men she brings home from work. No more drinking kamikazes or smoking on the sly. She dreams of crystal catching the rose of her spotlight, the smell of gardenias, a three-piece band, and the soft ache of hand against hand. She smells the raw salt decay. She cries on the way home, stops to buy flowers. They buy her Appletinis and cheap wine. Lori Gravley grew up in Niceville, a small town in the panhandle of Florida.

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These poems are from an unpublished chapbook titled Interior Designs. She is still recovering from the madness engendered by what she saw as she watched Southern women live their loves. Justin Hyde lives in Iowa.

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Kamryn Kurtzner is a poet residing in Palo Alto, California. Later, when at lesbian U-Haul speed, I packed my things, called my friends, collected my cats, and moved out after committing a moving in violation: finding out we were incompatible. Twelve years later, when I was sitting off the side of Ormond Road, Michigan blue lights flashing in my rearview mirror.

I smiled at the implication. I was traveling too fast on my way to see Kathy — maybe this ticket is worth the price knowing that speeding to see her is a much better omen than speeding away.

I try to peddle slow with you into this new territory: an almost familiar touch, a sexy smile. Then you call me honey or darling and I feel like letting go of the handle bars trusting this new balance will carry me safely onward. Lylanne Musselman is an award winning poet, playwright, and artist. In addition, Musselman has twice been a Pushcart Nominee.

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Musselman is the author of three chapbooks, with a fourth forthcoming, Weathering Under the Cat , from Finishing Line Press. I want to tell you that he ended up paying for my time. I want to tell you about a time outside that motel room. I want to tell you that I know I would have taken it.

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Sarah Nichols is a co-editor for Thank You for Swallowing , an online journal of feminist protest poetry. A wimp. Lydia is shocked to hear the familiar voice. Real Lydia shouts now, I want to hold him, I want to know him. She screams at Lydia, Stop pretending to be Real Lydia. Help me come out. Help me! So long, best wishes. He loves books and Anime in that order. He has had some of his muddled thoughts published in a few e-magazines. But I want you as if these thousand yesterdays were simply seconds, as if I can feel your fingers from only last night. Virginia Archer is the pen name of a very busy lady who has a BEng.

She was born in the UK, but has lived most of her life on the tropical island paradise of Saint Lucia, where she currently resides with her tween daughter. I got it the day we went swimming, the last swim of the summer. You had me hold your wet boxers like a flag on the back of your bike, flowing in the wind as we drove home.

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But my knee scraped across the rocks and now I have this mark, I have this scar. It was the day you told me you loved me, the only time you voiced it. And the two weeks that it lingered with me before you took it back, before you made it seem like less than, it washed over me, through me, and I finally felt at ease. The way I thought you felt for months, possibly more than a year, had finally been confirmed. At least for those two weeks, until you were too scared to let it be.

Until you had to go back on what you said. Because, that, being out in the open, is earth shattering. So now I look at this scar, and I fear that it will fade. It was just a light scratch. I want it there. I want it forever. To remember the day you told me you loved me. You already took it back, but the scar is my reminder. I need that reminder. Or is what I feel for you a special breed?

Because one second I feel my heart swell when I see you, and the next I feel crushed beneath your words. Does all love make you feel insane? Or are you just great at driving me that way?