When Pornhub Had Sex With My Boyfriend Instead Of Me

Nothing will ever alleviate
the chore that is turning
my body over, bird-thin heels
and all, so that my boyfriend
can come at me from a different angle.
At least the cushion on his futon
offers reprieve of the carnal
blunderings television never
bothered to show me when I
was a child. Now I know to have
sex with men who can flip a bitch.
Why is it that eyes close shut
just as balloon-popping pleasure
expands between your legs,
like some sort of window-shade
that falls down after sunset?
They pry open when his fingers
fist in my hair, yanking on
the Latina curls in the way
I sometimes ask him to,
but today is different and it is sad
that he cannot see the tension
building the curve of my scapulas.
You’re my little slut aren’t you he
breathes. My hips smash flat,
forward upon his own and I am choking
on a trachea that wants to rip
itself free of the carotid roommate
it never wanted, just to inflame
destruction. Don’t call me that
is says instead, but I don’t think
he can even hear me through
the animal noises he makes, like sex
is an Olympic sport and he is a gold
medalist in place of the childish
spectator I know him to be. Okay
he answers without hitching the thrusts
of his own hips, because getting some
is the real trophy here, and I know then
that this is not sex and I am not his girlfriend
and I will pretend that this never happened,

because I do not want to remember
what it feels like to be fucked.

Olivia Torres is a senior at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. She is an English major and has a concentration in writing. Olivia has been published in the Merrimack Review and her work has also been accepted by Open Minds Quarterly. Currently, she is working on her first chapbook, which she hopes to publish in the summer of 2018.

Diego and I

when Frida comes to life via
some prestigious museum

The fat man sits on her forehead
she blinks and peels off his body
Holds him in her fist like Kong
Gazing down like the Aztec god
That she is, she says:

The only reason you here
is because you fucked me
The infidel bloats with pride
He looks like a pig roast.

Frida, she eats him.

Chews him slowly
he pops like a gusher
Beige & black & sienna & firebrick
burst across her lips
part of his overalls get stuck
in her teeth
His third eye gets caught in
the corner of her mouth.

The tears on her face perform a rain
dance in reverse
She swallows him, and gives birth
to the child she always deserved.


Gabrielle L Randall is a writer-filmmaker from Columbia, Maryland and based in New York City. She is a recent graduate of Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Directing. Gabrielle’s poetry has been published in SVA’s literary journal, WORDS, and her poem, “Angel’s Trumpet,” won first prize in the Fourth Annual SVA Writing Contest. Her poem, “Minty Full of Grace” will be published in Glint Literary Journal issue 9, due for release in Fall/Winter 2018.

The Game of LIFE

For birthdays, my kids are getting old games,
The ones people say are  retro classics.
Flat long faded colored boxes with names
Like this: Trouble, Sorry, Perfection, Risk…
You know the ones I mean. The games you find
Marked “all pieces here” for about a buck
Or so at church rummage sales…Mastermind,
Battleship, each of those great Sears-Roebuck
Christmas Wish-Book giants: Operation
And Life.  Plus both the variations there
Are of checkers—Chinese and the plain one–
(One comes with a round board, one with a square).
I’m not trying to pretend they’re something,
They’re not. We’re poor, so…it’s them or nothing.

Juleigh Howard-Hobson’s writing has appeared in many places, including The Lyric, Mezzo Cammin, Verse Wisconsin, and The Raintown Review. As well as garnering other awards, she has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her fourth and most recent book is Remind Me (Ancient Cypress Press).


It was never a dress, they say
As if a cape were somehow more practical
For fighting than a dress
(Though both are still preferable to heels
I should know – I’ve worn them all
Throughout my various incarnations)

Still, a true warrior
Takes what circumstance
Throws her way
And uses those supposed detriments
To her advantage

A dress? Beguile your enemy
Enchant them
Stash a sword
A cape? Entangle your enemy
Confuse them
Bind them as if with a lasso
Heels? Kick your enemy
Trip them
Make sure they stay down
With your foot at their throat

(Though it’s always better
To first extend a hand in peace
Before raising it in battle)

The fight is not won
By focusing on the costume
Or even the weapons
(Though sometimes those are
One and the same)
The fight is won –
And lost –
In the hearts and minds
Of the warriors
Whatever they may wear

Those who don capes and swords
Those sporting power suits and cell phones
Those in spit up-stained shirts
And a baby on each hip

We all fight the same battle every day
Superhero, executive, stay-at-home mom
Let us not ridicule one another
Over our choice of attire
But join ranks and march forward
Side by side
Facing a world that sees us only
As capes, or dresses, or heels

That is how we win
A skirmish
Then a battle
Then the war
My sisters
Heels and all

Marsheila Rockwell is a multiple Scribe and Rhysling Award nominee and the author of twelve books to date, the most recent being a novel based on the popular video game Mafia III (written with husband/writing partner Jeffrey J. Mariotte). Her work also includes the acclaimed H/SF novel 7 SYKOS (w/Mariotte); a Xena: Warrior Princess trilogy (w/Mariotte); The Shard Axe series, the only official novels for the global MMORPG, Dungeons & Dragons Online; two collections; dozens of short stories and poems; and multiple articles on writing and the writing process. Find out more here: http://www.marsheilarockwell.com/.

Wherever You’ve Gone, Joe DiMaggio

I turn my eyes, in desperation, to you,
because the current situation is simply too much.
Will anyone say of the nation’s 45th president, as was said of you:
He represented the best in America.
It was his character, his generosity, his sensitivity.
He was someone who set a standard every father would want his children to follow.
Will anyone pronounce him, with sincerity and a straight face,
to be among our most beloved heroes?
Who will think of him as someone who
gave every American something to believe in,
representing the very symbol of American grace, power and skill?
How many can believe, for even a fractured moment, that
when future generations look back at the best of America
his will be among the faces that surface?

With appreciation to Biography.com: https://www.biography.com/people/joe-dimaggio-9274899

Erika Dreifus writes poetry and prose in New York City. She is the author of QUIET AMERICANS: STORIES and is currently at work on a full-length poetry collection. Visit her online at http://ErikaDreifus.com.

This poem wants to be an ode

As a Jewish child who was also female I loved Portia
—and, like every other Shakespearean heroine,
she proved a treacherous role model
. —Adrienne Rich

This poem wants to be an ode, to sing. Sing how you master each scene, praise how you arrange your own marriage despite a dead father’s constraint, how you tip off your love with a musical clue so he picks the right chest and chooses: you, a prize. This poem wants to applaud your clever court disguise, your elegant plea for mercy—though you show none, a bloodless stone. This poem aches to appreciate your power, you the dead man’s savior, and regard your ring trick with delight, the way you trap your love into giving the ring he promised never to part with. It wants to say, Quick-wit wife! This poem longs to pour wine libations at your feet and cap your crown with laurels, sprinkle pale petals where you pass. But your temple’s defiled with ash. This poem itches but cannot scratch. It ends with holocaust and a cordial of tears. A net with a lamprey catch.

Dayna Patterson is the Managing Editor of Bellingham Review, Poetry Editor for Exponent II Magazine, and Editor-in-Chief of Psaltery & Lyre. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Hotel Amerika, North American Review, The Fourth River, Literary Mama, Weave, and others.

Hat Envy

            —Wearing a large hat, Aretha Franklin sang
            for President Obama’s Inauguration, 2009

Aretha, people were talkin’
—a profusion of poems, a billion blogs—
they saw your hat as a political statement.
They might’ve been right, but I have my own views.
I bet you wore that hat for the natural woman in you.

We’re not like birds,
where males get the pretty plumage.
Women like to strut
for the envy of females, the eyes of men.
In that dove gray, winged and crystal wonder,
you were as queenly as your voice.
In that hat, you must have felt
goldfinch gold, peacock grand.

Among the cold, bundled crowd
no one else wore a fashion hat.
Did you wear it because, like many women,
you have a little crush on Barack?
But only you had enough pluck.

Ever since, women flock to your Motown milliner,
except poor Michelle, who can’t wear one
now without being compared
to the First Lady of Soul.

I have a gray chapeau too—
wore it twice, twenty years ago.
Men loved it; women wished they could pull it off.

For white women like me, hat wearin’s a lost art.
We hanker for your style, hate you a tad
for exposing our hatless state.
Mostly, we give the respect you command,
way beyond just a little bit.

Karen Paul Holmes has a full-length poetry collection, Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press, 2014). She was chosen for Best Emerging Poets (Stay Thirsty Media, forthcoming). Publications include Prairie Schooner, Poetry East, Atlanta Review, Slipstream, and Poet Lore. To support fellow writers, Holmes originated and hosts a critique group in Atlanta and Writers’ Night Out in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Dear John Cusack

Thank you for age sixteen when I, bashed apart by loneliness,
curled up in your dark hair and white skin and the spaces
between your crooked teeth.

We expected more of you, us dollar-store girls, dictionary hoarders,
cat-eye marble, library lovers, trapper-keeper, SWAK, pleated skirt,
tattooed snake, rebel lolitas without a cause.

It’s one thing to tell me, “You’re not ready for it,” on the night I threw
my body out of a limelight cab on the highway of tenderness
and instead of fucking me, you sucked the city streets from my
skinned knees and told me, “You’re so young,”
—it’s another thing to ask forgiveness.

We know now sixteen is a battlefield and these are proving grounds.
Fifty-yard lines, cream-colored Volvo backseats, concrete basement
floors, shitty dorm rooms, public displays of poetry
where we ask your opinion, still seeking your approval.

Holly Lyn Walrath‘s poetry and fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, The Fem, Literary Orphans, and Liminality among others. Her poetry was recently nominated for a Rhysling Award. She wrangles writers as a freelance editor and volunteers with Writespace, a nonprofit literary center in Houston, Texas. Find her online @hollylynwalrath or hlwalrath.com.


The possessor is desolate without me: a picture:
                a pickpocketing where the pocket is stolen,
its contents left intact. This is almost about
                            something but then not as I shift to another thing:

another picture: little box like a pin cushion but not
                prickly: lacks tacks. Little box exactly like a mouth,
a compiling of probes, a spattering of spits,
                            clunky clever, and spear empire: except I put it

in my hair: hairbrush now as knot of wood,
                measuring time, wildly wound up self-snarl,
compacted single tangle where the tangles transferred,
                            head to head: half-thief: little half-limbs of its teeth

holding my little hoax-limbs forever lost to their host.
                Every morning, every evening, I endure, indurate
the disquieting comfort of unloaded strands littered
                            in the whisk’s incisors: it’s least of all me, this looped

polluted feast, furred pyre (my excesses are animal)
                plentiful but hunkered in its crenellated pit,
silver-plattered skin-lint caked on but not seen.
                            Still, it’s loaded with me not meaning, just look:

the pawn in action: Topical (touch), internalized (touch),
                I tend to you, you tend to me. We get put together,
tethered together: a picture. What possesses who:
                            who possesses what: in ritual, the object owns you.

A bust: in my palm, not a portal, not a blotter,
                but just a handle, anodyne, a small bundle to hold
on to, calm you. Its tracery nonplussed—down-slick
                            of the nestling spikes then an untouched up (little

nest tasked with the build-up of itself)—undrawing
                the drawn-on. Not a dupe, not quite doubling not unless
I say this brush and this brushing press, trammel, cradle
                            wield, arrest like a reliquary its remnants: of mimicry:

of strata: my motions; unless I say the receptacle
                bottles up its fondles, my fist-givings, these filaments.
Ceremonious and amniotic, what’s more maimed
                            than the miracle of birthing worth. Preened moments

aren’t whole if you picture them, take their picture. You take
                a step back—a scalping lacks tact—lacerations are never
exact except in the bull’s eye, the surgical eye, the camera
                            snap. The deeds I do every day are flotsam, off-floating

in a shrill feed of filigreed pictures wherein I forget them
                instantly. I lance them with my half-self, my sequential
objector: yes, to save time, this is about time. It’s about time
                            to say I’m obeisant to my little boxes, my watches,

the numbers that tick on the wall, these shiny tresses.
                I love the clutter of curls. But before you know it: you get
careened into the routine of touch & go: I reach into my
                            pocket for meaning, for something familiar to my finger-

tips, a key or coin, a ready token to momentarily believe in,
                something all core, a discombobulated pearl whose shape
is thorough enough, burrowed well enough for warmth
                            though you don’t have time to fully recognize its round

ness, its balled-up body, so go on, and on with blind findings:
                a picture of a picked pocket is just a pocket: I get ready here
for the metaphor where there is none. Where there is none,
                        I get ready to go and go out and I’m going and (I’m) unraveling

and here I am.

Kristina Martino is a poet and visual artist. She studied at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Some of her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in BOAAT, Third Coast, Bennington Review, and elsewhere. Some of her drawings can be viewed here: www.kristinamartino.com.

An almost imperceptible percussiveness

What is the decibel of a sigh? How loudly
must disappointment teakettle before you
clap hands to ears and cringe? The rasp of a
rasp, a long obsession. Daydreams thunder in
wild herds. You breathe like one setting
down a colicky baby, finally still, still, you
hear each exhalation, dry fingers drawn down
silk, a catching and a tearing. Your whole
being pants against you, the most faithful of
dogs. Listen to regret, welling like a glass
rim, a wet finger circling round.

(after Doug Wheeler’s Installation “PSAD Synthetic Desert III”)

Devon Balwit is a mother/teacher/poet from Portland, OR. She has two chapbooks: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press) & Forms Most Marvelous (forthcoming with dancing girl press). Her work has found many homes, among them: Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Peacock Journal, The Cincinnati Review, The Stillwater Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Red Earth Review, Panoplyzine, and The Inflectionist Review.