December 18, 2014


Ordeal by Water
All the quiet Jackies don
shaggy sweaters and gather
stones, press their palms
in their pockets, roll the rocks around.
The weight feels right, pulls
their shoulders down. They speak in
undertones long after the taste
of trashcan punch and cum
dissipates. Thigh welts start  
to yellow still murky memories
of blows rise. All the muffled
Jackies climb
into the dunking chair.
They do not fight
or float. Their bodies seek
bottom currents. All the secret
Jackies know fault lines lie
in the sea bed. They give
themselves to the undertow.
Ordeal by Water was associated with the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries: an accused who sank was considered innocent, while floating indicated witchcraft. From Wikipedia,

JANEEN PERGRIN RASTALL lives in Gordon, MI, population 2. She is the author of the chapbook, In The Yellowed House (dancing girl press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared in several publications including: Border Crossing, Dunes Review, Atticus Review, Midwestern Gothic and Heron Tree.

Curatorial note: The following poems are a response to a call for poetry about rape culture for the annual Delirious Advent Feature; the call is in turn an immediate response to the Rolling Stone story “A Rape on Campus” about rape culture at the University of Virginia. However, they are also part of a larger conversation about rape in poetry communities. Curated by Jessica Smith and Susana Gardner.


First Signs of Hunger
Caldera Poetry Collective

Try not to imagine it     a shark in the deep
                                         of chlorine aftersmocks     little nubbly toe-nips
a flirtation     a terror    I slip     furrow my way

rather a lake     rather anything
                             to put my suited body underneath    cloven

I find myself becoming the spoon     self-propelled machine
                       when I wanted a wave    
I host a mass for mouths     cherish these unconscious activities    
                                                                               vital     dire
each breath     apart from huffing     awaits my stroke
                            with arm      with out   beating back   meniscus lip
sudden as the heart     sudden as the body says no longer    
         apniatic : balletic         

eyelet of water     let me be     who you are     let me douse       
                                           the rubble in my olympic     wetness
nothing branches inward but red     radial pain     lumps
                under skin offer the same

my sweat slicked off     a shiver     the shark too     her teeth too          
                                            my neck stiffened with consequence

The Caldera Poetry Collective comprises Colleen Coyne, Meryl DePasquale, Opal McCarthy, and Molly Sutton Kiefer. Individually, their poems have appeared in numerous journals, including alice blue review, Crab Orchard Review, DIAGRAM, Drunken Boat, Handsome Journal, Hayden's Ferry Review, La Petite Zine, Tarpaulin Sky Literary Journal, The Collagist, The Pinch, Southampton Review, and Women's Studies Quarterly. Members of the group have published lyric essay and poetry collections with Astounding Beauty Ruffian Press, dancing girl press, eohippus labs press, and Ricochet Editions. The Caldera Poetry Collective has been writing collaboratively since 2010; more at

December 17, 2014



There’s no blue distance to the whole machine. nostalgia for the present in the form of fragrant avatars gawks from human frame. I’m We’re now set to frolic until we achieve total .  &
                                             all of us its 

shadows Haters gonna hat-trick. Drop-kick 
the colossal punter. Body bags by the bye & bye. All animal wants are supplied profusely in these gossiping pages, this pudendum 

      HISTORY OF A DAY’S TANTRUMS The first a fashion crisis involving dresses & things mistaken for dresses in a total & universal want of manners. 







KNOCK INCESSANTLY FOR LOVE'S TRAUMA IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM OF TIME. lure displays reserved parking spots at the Western Hemisphere                      For some reason I couldn’t communicate that before without dripping, but now I’m totally okay 
with duration
except in taverns & bored rooms, where I’m fighting with a despot over the size of the soul & I know the despot is already me & I am really not-me in some kind of postponed 
allegory on personality engorged & then look out to see how it supports such pretensions. There were also t                                                                     a green colloidal intensity as if the a fern conspiracy or something              to tarry there was not to feel at home through which we travel is to
all we have left. Engine cocktail total 

silence superficial 
glacier special 
needs legitimate 
rape comparison
not withstanding
what’s the use 
of a ramrod
a laborer
a mothert, 

ELISABETH WORKMAN is the author of seven chapbooks, including Opolis (Dusie), ANY RIP A THRESHOLD (Shirt Pocket Press), and with Michael Sikkema TERRORISM IS WHAT WHALE (Grey Book Press). Her first full-length collection Ultramegaprairielanwas released by Bloof Books in 2014. She lives in Minneapolis with designer/typographer Erik Brandt, their daughter, a boxer, and two cats of the tuxedo variety. “History of a Day’s Tantrums” comes from a longer work You Always Live Again, forthcoming in 2015.

Curatorial note: The following poems are a response to a call for poetry about rape culture for the annual Delirious Advent Feature; the call is in turn an immediate response to the Rolling Stone story “A Rape on Campus” about rape culture at the University of Virginia. However, they are also part of a larger conversation about rape in poetry communities. Curated by Jessica Smith and Susana Gardner.

December 16, 2014


Wrestling with Gender Norms: The Fighting Cholitas of Bolivia 
Courtney Szto

"Men ate the cake and left us the crumbs, but now we are united and advancing.  The idea is to show that women can do this on their own." - Carmen Rosa

Hidden away in South America’s poorest country is a vibrant example of female empowerment through physical culture.  The cholitas luchadoras, known in English as “The Fighting Cholitas,” are professional women wrestlers who have carved out a new space for women’s liberation in Bolivia.  The entertainment-sport of lucha libre is a form of freestyle wresting that is derived from both Mexican lucha libre and American entertainment wrestling such as WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment); however, the common tourist assumption is that lucha libre exemplifies Bolivian tradition and culture rather than the global popularity of wrestling itself.  As Caroll and Schipani (2008) from The Guardian point out, “This macho sport in this macho country, South America’s most impoverished and conservative, has been flipped into an unlikely feminist phenomenon.”

In an attempt to boost attendance for this traditionally male dominated sporting event, organizers added women’s matches and fighting dwarves in 2001.  I don’t know how the dwarves were received, but the women quickly became synonymous with the sport.  The luchadoras fight in outfits resembling the clothing of rural Bolivians and women who work in the market, known as cholas.  Despite the vibrancy of the large colourful petticoat-type dresses, cholas are symbolic of an oppressed underclass and strong patriarchy; they are the indigenous women who have historically been silenced.  But with the popularity of women in lucha libre there has been “a resurgence of pride in the skirt” (Carroll & Schipani, 2008).  The Fighting Cholitas represent a unique opportunity for female empowerment to challenge the abuse, humiliation, and oppression generally associated with women in Bolivia.  By fighting their way off the ropes in the ring, they are also moving away from the margins of Bolivian society.

Even though the money earned from wrestling does not equal a full time job, cholitas are able to supplement their regular jobs with anywhere from $4-$30 USD per event.  This encourages some of the husbands to accept their wives’ participation in this non-gender conforming activity. Furthermore, what The Fighting Cholitas lack in economic income they gain in social mobility.  The popularity of the sport, and women such as Carmen Rosa (aka The Champion), has enabled these women to travel the world fighting in Japan, Europe, and other areas of South America.  These women are celebrities in La Paz where, literally, everyone knows their names.  Carmen Rosa has even had a documentary made about her (Mamachas del Ring [2009]), which she has expressed as her proudest achievement. When these women are featured in media ranging from local papers to National Geographic they make it hard for the world to forget about them.

Wrestling in their pollera skirts is an interesting contradiction because the pollera itself is a symbol of oppression and a traditional construction of femininity but wrestling in these outfits represents a rejection of passivity.  What I find particularly intriguing about the luchadoras is that they have appropriated the pollera skirt to challenge not only gender norms but also cultural stereotypes often associated with countries of the Global South.  Most tourists who attend a lucha libre event assume that this form of wrestling is to Bolivia what baseball is to America, and hockey is to Canada. We, as tourists, often have preconceived notions of what other cultures look, sound, and smell like in our imaginations and the cholitas use this to their advantage.  The luchadoras use their iconic skirts to attract tourists because they know that is what is expected. They capitalize on our desires as tourists for “authentic” experiences for their own economic gain. 

The Fighting Cholitas have come to symbolize the strength that exists in Bolivian women. They have found a way to empower themselves and change their local context.  Even though the fighting is dramatized, the effects on the local community (and injuries) are very real. What began as a novelty and a sideshow has now become the main attraction.  What other women’s sport can make that same claim? Certainly neither women’s mixed martial arts nor women’s soccer can make this claim. Women’s tennis and golf may be able to claim equal billing on certain occasions but even they cannot contend that they are the main draw.  Western feminism often positions itself as the benchmark of success and achievement but perhaps we should look South of the equator more often to find examples of women who have created space and agency for themselves in a world that generally considers them universally disempowered.  In a world where opportunities for resistance seem increasingly few and far in between, the cholitas demonstrate that power is a constant struggle and that opportunities can arise in surprising arenas.  So if you are ever in Bolivia and looking to take in some “culture,” consider attending a lucha libre match.  The cholitas will be waiting for you.


Carroll, R. & Schipani, A.  (2008, August 30).  Bolivia: Welcome to lucha libre – the sport for men making heroes of women.  The Guardian.  Retrieved from

Courtney Szto is a PhD student in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.  Her doctoral research focuses on issues of citizenship, ethnicity, and immigration as they manifest in ice hockey.  She writes for Hockey in Society, Interrupt Magazine, and her own blog, The Rabbit Hole.  Courtney also runs Offside Plays, a social media campaign working to expose everyday racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination that take place in sport and physical activity (@offsideplays).



The babysitter lived across the street from me.
I wasn’t more than four.
It was his mouth I felt there.
I cried.
I told my parents and they filed a restraining order.
His name was Jordan.
I said it sounded like the word drawer because you keep secrets in a drawer.
He was an adopted crack baby.
It made me look at him with a little more compassion,
because I had to look at him for another eleven years. 
When I played in the front yard with my brother.
When I came home from school and his eyes followed me inside.

I don’t know why I agreed to meet a man from chat room
I was talking to after I had studied Plato,
or written a poem in response to Adrienne Rich
for my first ever poetry workshop’s final portfolio,
or whatever good girls at a Jesuit university should do
at the end of their freshman year.
My friend drove me to a bar in Torrance.
She wanted to give me a knife, but I could handle myself.
I was eighteen and nobody carded me.
I don’t remember what I drank or when it was roofied.
I remember there were pool tables.
Then his house.
Then him pulling me on top of him and expecting me to
know what to do with my drugged body.
Then him dropping me home.
I didn’t allow myself to be touched for over a year.

I tell a male friend of mine I was almost raped in a San Francisco hotel room
by a friend of a friend I didn’t so much as say hello to,
who starts undressing me as my friend slept beside me,
tells me to follow him into the bathroom so we can finish this.
I shove him off me and sit up all night keeping watch
because BART doesn’t run at 3:30 in the morning.

I haven’t had sex in three years.  
It reminds me of the fiancé who kicked me and slammed
his fist on my chest when I found
images of women tied up and beaten bloody
in his browser history.

My friend says it’s best not to share hotel rooms with strangers.
Now he posts on Facebook about rape culture.

The joke never wants for new material.
Insidious, it waits for the punchline.
It waits for you.
You are the punchline.

So laugh.

CARLEEN TIBBETTS  is the author of the e-chapbook a starving music will come to eat the body (FiveQuarterly, 2014). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Coconut, H_NGM_N, Sink, inter|rupture, Dusie, Jellyfish, Thrush, Ilk, Fact-Simile, The Laurel Review, and other journals. 

Curatorial note: The following poems are a response to a call for poetry about rape culture for the annual Delirious Advent Feature; the call is in turn an immediate response to the Rolling Stone story “A Rape on Campus” about rape culture at the University of Virginia. However, they are also part of a larger conversation about rape in poetry communities. Curated by Jessica Smith and Susana Gardner.