Liz Howard

The first person singular does not exist in the physical world,

it’s a ghost.
……………………-V. S. Ramachandran, New Scientist


A room with a view

summer holidays digressing

into the heartstrings of a bad faith

chorus. Along the balcony of our latter

days each subatomic thrum is a past

note there’s no coming back from.

Fullness of forest mushrooms

before rot sets in. The reward centre

of minor sins, post-present. A tender

pressure against the caul or thin

gauze of skin infinity filters though

and finds us human. Nothing but rain

for days my Id a sump pump so I’ll not

argue with this weather. I’m already lost

to the hard plumb of a liquid centre

a dead ringer for the first person singular

on my knees and partially dressed

as you’d have it but I’m outside of this

waiting for my arraignment

within expression while the lights

along my street are leaking beams

teething a sodium brace along the base

of my skull. Grave-to-cradle cap over

a brainstem I can’t slap for blooming

a draft I’d never have picked.

My wet cells kindling another

mirror the sense-presence of you

as in childhood false promises flew

like wind through poplars. Each leaf

a paper snap, a little skirt in the updraft.

The stars aren’t keeping track but I know

how to score this. I don’t forgive you

and you don’t need to be forgiven.

My mistrusted I velvet fastened

to whatever happens. Such is the feeling

as the moon rises perpendicular to my view

outside of time and half-bred consequence

you can’t send me back to my room.











Hearing the News from America in Stalled VIA train 635 near Trenton Junction

Nyla Matuk


Dusk on wet birch, naked as early April,
lights an apse of chivalric Scotch pine.
We’re like anyone would be, in this situation,
the snacks attendant singing to make us forget: Shiiiiine
bright like a diaaaaamoooooond constellaaation!
and all we think on is a crucifix against mother-of-pearl.
At nearby St. Peter’s, children light

the fourth, dark purple candle
while white-tailed deer walk in a line.
Une histoire d’amouououououour….she continues, in a conniption
before the forest’s recrimination, both cancelling and preserving in time
a podcasted Rio Ancho flamenco that kills the hour like abstention
from the Blarney Stone, and helps stars twinkle
in spite of or ahead of, a great fright.











Sachiko Murakami


I try to sneak my god in, which obviously won’t work. She is not a sneaky god.

My dead father acquires a god. The only evidence of their relationship is the backyard full of shit.

I am to take out someone else’s god for a walk, and someone else’s child from school. I wander off on a journey, alone.

On retreat in the country, the locals and their gods mock me and my god. We barricade ourselves against their threats.

Near a sidewalk crowded with god walkers, I am stuck in a car with my angry, unleashed god.

Some young gods fit in the palm of your hand. Some have definite heft. All are cared for by someone else.

My god is prone to attacking children. We walk with purpose into a schoolyard.

I take my god to an improbable park. She finds the only mud puddle and rolls in it.

My dead god is waiting for me, near the pool.











broken and the bone marrow is laughing

Margaret McKeon


crow-cawing break of dawn’s fast
stir of wind on lake’s morning glass

exhale chimes stillness of leaves
first drop: pluck of rain or friendship

this thing broken and inbetween
but ….. live here

yes ….. here
in loon’s cracking night holler
before the hill-echo, the hum of your flight

and spider that one week
took residence in my rearview mirror

hurry, hide, I’d say
I need highway speeds on this highway

yes, new webs of silk strung from her spinnerets
yes ….. here

here, where whale is air and water
and puffin returns shoreside to nest

what rest …… oh
in the between of our gendered world
…………………. here

……….. the airbreath edge
of living/death
of energy and matter, live here









Dick Van Dyke is a crackerjack wizard.

Sadie McCarney


I’m waiting on the voice of the alien God in
a spit-white motel north of Eden, NS. Can
you hear the wicker-work chairs that chatter
outside the rain? I can. Motley murmur.
Motley money. When I left I took $833.65

exactly. Exactly half left my wife and kids.
They’re no more mine in this spindly existence.
The alien God told me to leave them. He said,
“Wait for me in Eden,” He said, “Hate all
those who do not love me.” The Gideon Bible

in my motel nightstand says something like that
in red, only Bibles are biased and were redacted
mid-60s and the truth lives only in tastebuds,
in sounds. I’ve heard the aliens whisper for years,
in the deep roots of weeds dug up in summer,

in black ice seasoned with road salt and lime,
and in this rain that communes with the wicker
and the birdshit-baked birdbath it’s slowly filling.
And in every love song, every old sitcom. First
they told me through Dick Van Dyke that clocks

are all useless, so I threw out my watch. Then
it was running them little errands, turn left at
this fork, shave in that pattern. They lent some
togetherness sense to my life. A diagram through.
Patter goes the rain. I thought it would just be

benign little mutters, but then their God with a voice
like a cannon tells me to leave Maureen and my kids
or he will burn down the house with me in it. I could
tell it was Dick Van Dyke again, but through some
kind of amplifier the aliens made to make me know

reason. Reasons why, reason raisin. I sit here
and shrivel, wait for further instructions. This
motel and the corner mom & pop where I buy
my canned ham are the only sanctified spots still
left. My damned money dwindles. I, too, am left.








public intellectuals

Nikki Reimer


it’s easy to remain safe on the streets
if you employ intelligent posture
walk with confidence lead with your jaw

whiteout can be used
when something is wrong

constantly scan but don’t be obvious

parked cardinals, daughter-in-law unlit corpses are
planetariums you should avoid
when you’re out alone

always make eye contact
make occasional eye
contact make fleeting eye contact
do not under any circumstances
make eye contact

even if it’s a quick jazz
keep your keys ready
hold on to them inside your pocket

then, bring them out:
your hands should rest lightly in your pockets

think: bitch
think: bitch, please








Poem in Which My Therapist is a Puppy

Jacob McArthur Mooney
after Max Ritvo


My therapist is French Canadian
with long, fuzzy ears.

He tucks his toes beneath his bum
while I weep inside his weeping room.

The no-pills practitioner
is your best, most boring friend.

The selfless associate
who helps you paint your picture frames

but later compares your taste in movies
to his daughter’s

and you realize you never knew
he had any kids.


Come to me as a neutered purebred
and I’ll walk you to the park in search of squirrels.

Come to me as a surgeon
and I will flop down defeated in your driveway.

Come to me as a child
nd I will teach you to read.

Come as a republic
and I will seek your sanctuary.

And on like this.
Until we have exhausted our supplies,

passing off the task
of protector and protected. Interpreter and page.

Like partners in a drawing class.
Salsa dancers.

And every time you die,
or I die,

I will leave you one hundred
dollars on your desk.








Safety Heart

Robert Priest


Some hearts are made
to be broken
like a bicycle helmet
that cracks on impact
instead of your head.

These are safety hearts
They can just split or
balloon out
and push you back
whole and away from the impact.
They take the blow.
They’re passion fuses
that pop in overload.

When your heart breaks
remember you have been saved.
When you’re up against a post
pounding with your fist “no no no”
remember you’ve been blown off a terrible course.

The guard rail has kept you back
from the abyss of deeper and deeper.
Be aware something got hit hard for you.
Your safety heart
took the big dark weight of loss
and shunted it to the other side.

When you’re bucking in the bed
biting the sheets
trying to keep that strangled scream in

this is missing a calamity
this is what it’s like to get away.








Crash Course in Cosmogony

Matthew Tierney


Weird. Friday to Sunday my
thoughts unwind in alphabetical order.
Monday on, it’s the reverse.

Black black. Blacker
than a stock ticker in October.
The totalled U-Haul, opposite lane,
deployed driver’s side airbag
like a used condom
dangled so you can size up the cum.

I keep having this dream.
My twin stabs me with a compass.
‘The circle jerk is complete,’ he seethes,
tragically misreading Nietzsche.

Brute fact: humanism will find a way
to fuck up a surprise party.

Like gold to airy thinness beat,
John Doe is done.
Collision was fatal, says CP24.
This week’s unofficial Wheel of Fortune:








Dina Del Bucchia


She is perfect. Reflexes like a cheetah when you call or ask or don’t say anything. She favourites all your less than stellar tweets. She watches sports with a quiet reverence and only speaks about the game when she has something truly great to say, or to agree with you or when spoken to. She eats hot dogs and hamburgers, dozens of them, thousands of them, and gains no weight, no she loses weight, no she floats away like a kite you thought was really cool in 1992. She is making progress on dinner and also she makes beer fly out of her vagina and then with sex magic it’s lubed up for you to fuck her. She is perfect. She is funny, talks about farts, but doesn’t fart like a real person, perfumed air drifts out on a blue cloud, not a pink cloud because you hate pink and she is perfect.