Lit

“wet leaf dance” – Hannah Kenyon Lair

i am the smell of rotting leaves and i am the moist soft ground beneath them. you are the joy in jumping and i, i am the rotting.   the sweet peace of falling asleep and forgetting this body rings with the wind like a chorus. will you tell me a story while i go?   you are the bright leaf’s dance as he falls from the tree and i am waking to watch the tree: yellower than the sun and much louder.   on mornings like these, i cannot distinguish between regret and gratitude. i think they must both swing wild in a banjo’s holler.   so i am missing wild brown hills and wild dogs and your voice. i am dreaming of sleepovers and of lives well built.   in these dreams, i meet friends in kindness and patience and i meet strangers with love.   in this...

“monster / creature” – Hannah Kenyon Lair

the words that i have to describe what happened here are not mine, have no value to me: slow dissolution before a rupture. the recognition of pain when the surge fades.   even now, i cannot feel. too frightened, or strong, or alone. all feeling lives in relation to you. how did you manage that, world-builder?   how does it feel to know you’re a god, a mother, a fleshy divinity? is speaking for you something sacred? or are you fertile like rotting fruit – pungent and profane?   ice floe or no, the tide rises. the memory of limbs quiets in the cool dusk. i am using only what you have given me. this is all that i have. daddy frankenstein, i am begging you: look me in the eyes and tell me   you don’t want me to live without you.

“Feather Cut” – Karen Almendra Byk

  taking teeth out is far worse than crying, and he is a feather that’s cutting me because it’s far away. my job consists of opening cardboard boxes and every time I get hurt my fingers bleed for days, it’s the spill of the accident following me even when I’m away. from today on I’m going to make efforts for things: that’s how it started, the e-mail I was about to send him  

“My Arms Are Weak” – Karen Byk Almendra

L. told me that many years ago and now I cannot lift the cardboard moving boxes. I do the same thing with you: I’m six years old again and I trust a man who explains that I’m a sweet girl. My girlfriends love each other. They kiss and they hug in decadent places and we don’t care that the roof is dripping or that people are throwing up all around us.   L., for example, assured me that she knows me for real, that I don’t need to seduce her. I believe her because all men want to save me when I have nightmares but none of them think that my poems are good. It’s different with L., I call her when I leave your place, she cries on my shoulder while I kiss her through her hair.   We know each other for real, so much that we can...

How I Stay Alive: The Poem | Voices of Berlin – January

You come into existence, your brain comes online, you become a functioning unit then you’re like… the fuck? Today is the best day of your life… Just in a dream. Wow, this is a bit of a tightrope we all live on. I’ve thought many times about suicide… This repetitive, mind-numbing, soul-killing experience… I keep goin’ on, I dunno. I found little tricks, little things to do and really nothing helped. I didn’t want to ask anybody for help. It’s always work a day here, work a day there. There’s the sketchier, I-need-rent, Craigslist segment. Let’s go out every night and get fucking wrecked I don’t do ketamine so I really don’t fit in A foot fetish job, then… Can you translate my book? I keep reminding myself of my own self-worth. What’s going to keep me happy? It’s useless to protect people- the worst thing you can do to...

“Rock Pools” – Craig Teatime

As a child I searched rock pools left aside by the tide, tried to redraw picture books in real life, from the shelf I could reach up to, which divided to a full page double spread of a watercolor a child painted, better than I could draw. The escapades of an Ann or a Barry if the book was Irish, or a Tom or Harry if they were English, telling the reader, still reading slow in big print of the bounty living in ecosystems out there where mum or dad might drive you if you’re good.   Though it was only a harbour in Dún Laoghaire, but still here where the pier sloped lay pools of warm water, held up to inspection in rocky palms, living with strands of electric green seaweed deathless in air, but filled foliage in the glassy water there, and held tight to the water lips...

“Joan Is My Mother’s Name” – Craig Teatime

The night of our life, And the home that could be, It’s mostly just a room, With enough beds for a group of sleazy English lads, Or the accounting department catching a weekend off, To quench that age-old ambition Of a weekend bender abroad.   Ha-ha, see – It’s less of an apartment and more of a factory, Our Airbnb. I’ve heard of the Czech spring rising — Until the tanks closed in on those soft children And the Vltava was stripped of all its blue, Closing tight and killing any chance of life, The way that those who can close, do. Yet still for us, This is Prague in autumn, The music from the greasy bar rising up to the window sill that’s Broken and doesn’t close, Mind the shower’s cracked tray, Skin oils cold on bed clothes. The host knows, But what’s there to say – it was...

“/ʔ/, /θ/ & /ð/” – Ziska Killat

Your first language is nostalgia. When I learnt to spell at school They told us not to say “SS” But “double S’’. What do you know about mouths? You have to stamp your little letters With spit to send them out. Who got to pick the sound of your voice? Do not say “SS”. “S”s require spit. They draw attention. How old is all this intention? Just born and full of sounds Your first language is nostalgia. Be observant of the stops. This one is full of stops. Do not say “SS”. Do not say “socialism” anymore either. Obstruct the airflow in the vocal tract Before vowels. Prevent vibration. Mouth dry and pausing. Wait, neatly – accommodate – attention. Your first language is nostalgia. Your first language comes with stories. So make good use of your teeth. Fought, sought, thought – Thinking, thoughts. Cause turbulence, Plot holes and dental friction:...