December 25, 2015

ADVENT DAY TWENTY-FIVE: Marina Blitshteyn!


don't go with a heavy heart, no, go

with sure steps, go with solace

knowing anywhere you go you are

yourself there, knowing anywhere

you go you go there knowingly, go

there knowing yourself, go there

knowing you've earned it, go there

underestimating the risk, like a new

wild animal into the wild, a wilder

version of yourself, instinctual and

calm, go there willingly with your

free heart or go there not at all, no,

do not go timidly into that ancient

wildness leaping in yourself, go now

Marina Blitshteyn is the author of Nothing Personal from Bone Bouquet Books. She works as an adjunct instructor. 

DAY 25: Annie Won!

Annie Won operates at the intersections of mind, body, and spirit, more particularly as a poet, yoga teacher, and medicinal chemist in the Boston area. Her chapbooks are available from venues such as Horse Less Press (Once Upon a Building Block, 2014), Nous-Zot Press (so i can sleep, 2015) and Dusie Kollektiv (did the wind blow it, 2015). Her work has appeared in venues such as New Delta Review, decomp, Entropy, TheThePoetry, TENDE RLION, and others. Her critical reviews can be seen at American Microreviews and Interviews.


NAT RAHA is a poet and queer / trans* activist living in South London, UK. Her poetry includes '[of sirens / body & faultlines]' (Veer Books, 2015), 'radio / threat' (sociopathetic distro, 2014), countersonnets (Contraband Books, 2013) and Octet (Veer Books, 2010). She has performed her work internationally, and poems have recently appeared in Dusie, Datableed, Asphodel and We Have Always Been Here zine. She is currently undertaking at PhD on Marxism in queer theory, and contemporary poetry, at the University of Sussex, UK.


MELISSA ELEFTHERION grew up in Brooklyn. She is the author of huminsect (dancing girl press, 2013), prism maps (dusie kollektiv, 2014), Pigtail Duty (dancing girl press, 2015), the leaves the leaves (forthcoming 2016), green glass asterisms (forthcoming 2016), and several other chapbooks and fragments. Her work has recently appeared/ is forthcoming in Entropy, LUNA LUNA, Lunch Ticket, Negative Capability, Pith, Queen Mob's Teahouse, So to Speak, Tinderbox, & Vector Press. Melissa is a librarian with Mendocino County Libraries where she creates programs & manages the Teen Services department. In the wee hours, she manages the Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange which she created & developed for The Poetry Center at San Francisco State University. More of her work can be found @apoetlibrarian &



the bar’s red lights        I glamorize, lean back in my 
sat aside        sauvignon blanc

the parquet flooring and        Nancy Sinatra’s boots
amid the cocktails        the barman’s flourish

I inhabit        the shaking ice, the clash of glass
it’s about        periphery

the observation that is also        a woman’s long ponytail
a man’s chin in his hand        here

neither in nor out        to hover and quicken
amid        among        a me

An American expat resident in England since 2001, Carrie Etter has published three collections of poetry, most recently Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014), and edited the anthology, Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets (Shearsman, 2010). She has been blogging since 2005 at


The laboratory was a frightening place.

All over the walls: hanging white coats, safety posters, warnings.
On the long black counters: test tubes, Bunson burners, flasks, bottles, coffee cups, sample jars (water, soil, acids), Petri dishes, microscopes.
And in the corner there was an eye wash station which scared me most of all.  
With a cup to put your scalded eyeball in, then flush it out for twenty minutes and hope you could still see.

Six stories underground: this secret place is where my father worked.
We were allowed into his lab once a year, for the Health Department's Christmas party.
In the threadbare lobby outside the laboratories (there were many, we could only go into our father’s) all the jowly old chemists sat in square brown chairs (it was 1985),
ignoring the party, muttering about the bureaucrat currently making their lives miserable.  
We had to dress up but they just wore their lab coats like a pack of cartoon scientists, horn-rimmed glasses all.  
My father wore these too, but he was younger: his hair was black where theirs was white.

Before the party, the chemists’ assistants filled beakers with M & Ms; easy to pour them in your mouth if no grownups were looking (and they usually weren’t) and this was the only fun to be had,
besides sneaking off, opening drawers, and rearranging their contents.
After three painful hours in this windowless place, we left as a sullen family unit.
My sister and I complained the whole way home.

My father—who spent eight hours a day at the lab, five days a week, fifty weeks a year—gripped the steering wheel
and ignored us.

ERIN VIRGIL is a poet and illustrator. She has an MFA from Naropa University and her work has been published by Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Fast Forward Press, Indigo Ink, Wolverine Farm, and Colorado Life Magazine.  Her first prose book, memory holes, was published by Monkey Puzzle Press in 2014, and her latest poetry chap is Fantastic Voyage to the Ordinary Planet, out from Dancing Girl Press.  She keeps up a movie review blog at

ADVENT DAY TWENT-FIVE: Daniela Olszewska


It's almost Christmas + there's a mystery mammal  in my rearview mirror.
It's almost Christmas + I am pretty sure I am late. 
It's almost Christmas + we're headed towards a pinkly beaded city.
It's almost Christmas + historically, you're someone's mistress. 
It's almost Christmas + ignore me if we happen to fall into the same security line.
It's almost Christmas + ginger or cesspool. 
It's almost Christmas + for once, I am not broke. 
It's almost Christmas + there's too much mistletoe extract. 
It's almost Christmas + you've finally started acting like every other else, of course. 
It's almost Christmas + I am immediate in my sequins. 
It's almost Christmas + how tiresome, these pre-wives. 
It's almost Christmas + we're both stubborn in our skulls. 
It's almost Christmas + for once, I am not breaking. 
It's almost Christmas + you're looped into some Baba Yaga type. 
It's almost Christmas + here's a spiked boat.
It's almost Christmas + by definition, this is more than half a cult. 
It's almost Christmas + there's no such thing as an unnecessary boundary. 
It's almost Christmas + you're either an egg or a very tiny star. 
It's almost Christmas + I get ridiculous amongstest this briar patch. 
It's almost Christmas + oh Chicago, yeah, Chicago, YES. 
It's almost Christmas + let's get checked-up daily. 
It's almost Christmas + you're an evergreen-like devotion.
It's almost Christmas + we're crystal grieving again. 
It's almost Christmas + asymmetry's all accentuate.  
It's almost Christmas + LIPS. 
It's almost Christmas + a vessel made for two. 
It's almost Christmas + crucifixed. 
It's almost Christmas + hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. 
It's almost Christmas + reindeer paints.
It's almost Christmas + here's a calculator made just for cakes.  
It's almost Christmas + I've over-actressed. 
It's almost Christmas + the same birthday for all twelve elves. 
It's almost Christmas + bring forth more SCIENTIFIC PROOF. 
It's almost Christmas + I'm hung up under a dumb Massachusetts moon. 

It's almost Christmas + hashtags or bust.

Daniela Olszewska is the author of three full-length collections of poetry: cloudfang : : cakedirt (Horse Less Press, 2012), True Confessions of An Escapee From The Capra Facility For Wayward Girls (Spittoon Press, 2013), and Citizen J (Artifice Books, 2013). With Carol Guess, she co-authored a collection of prose poems titled How To Feel Confident With Your Special Talents (Black Lawrence Press, 2014). She teaches ESL, composition, and creative writing at several Chicago colleges and is currently at work on her first novel.