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.


The Magician from Kate Greenstreet on Vimeo.

Kate Greenstreet's books are Young Tambling, The Last 4 Things, and case sensitive. Her videopoems can be viewed here.


For Claire, Aged Six

You smelled sweet, like whistling
prairie grass and peat loam.
Little meadow, autumn-lit,
spun sunlight hair, big brown eyes
shining bright from the chase.
You ran the turkeys back to their pen
& when I had my back turned
you bounded back for a kiss
and a hug that made joy seem easy. 

EMILY PINKERTON is a technologist and poet. Previously an editor at Twitter, she is currently an MFA candidate at San Francisco State University. Her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Noble/Gas Qtrly, Transfer, Gravel, LEVELER, Electric Cereal, Lemon Hound, and The Bold Italic, among others. She can be found online on Twitter at @neongolden and at Her favorite color is fog.


There I Was Unrequited

Your door
is like a
war plunked
between us.
It is true
and horrid,
it gets in
my vision
of you
so tell me,
don't you
agree you
never look
mucked up.
Tell me
what you're
reading in there,
I want to hear
your sweet
throat tell me
what's on
every page.
I want to hear
your train voice
You get me there
like a single
night of rain.
There are
birds out here
forever and we
will wait
while you lick
your fingertips.
I promise
I will never stop
writing poems
outside your door
and making
everything up.
So I guess
I am your
Before there
was rain
I started off
blasé feminist but
I grew prouder of my
writing you
your door treaty.
I have less
clothes now
and it never
rains more than
when I want
to hurt near you
and share that
with you.
I hope for
in your breath
pauses are
your lips.
You are
the sexiest
bird I have ever
stood outside.
You get me
on a wet page.
I need to
hear you
say it. Press
your naked
little bones
to the other side
and tell me
these birds and
rain and pages
are war.

KATE LITTERER'S Ghosty Boo, is forthcoming from A-Minor Press in early 2016. Her website is


I am far behind
A foregone conclusion
The last leaf of fall.
The way she spoke to me
Left fire between my thighs.
I wanted and loathed her
She knew my secrets
Broke my carefully honed portrait
With a whisper and a knowing smile.
I walk in flames with my head held high.
Traceries ride the  pyroclastic bounce of my hips 
on night winds..
For a moment as seen 
against the fiery night sky 
I am the beauty I was promised.
Girls smile at my shadow.
Boys back away.
The night gives me freedom to show my real face.
In the dark; on the street I am real.
I am not inside the cold glass box of your gaze.
Inside your eyes I burn-
  burn Black and beautiful.
Bright and blinding.
Only so you will not see-
be blind to my fire.
And I remain unburnt.

SHANNON BARBER an author from Seattle Washington where she lives with her partner and a small collection of oddities. Her work has appeared in The Establishment, Shotgun Honey, Gorgon Poetics and various other places. Find more about her work at


Getting Ready for Christmas

Tonight, Liz and I drive home.
We are still laughing about some stupid song--
the sky is nearly pink--

she says something about how it's too late for us.

We take the wrong exit.
We take the wrong exit, again.

I roll my eyes
at the house on the right
with the ungodly light display.
Stop being so Jewish she barks,
because I am still hoarding pumpkins.

Through the window,
the purple is palpable,
and I'm ready now
for the sky to open wide

like the promise no one
ever expected
would be kept.

SARAH MARCUS is the author of They Were Bears (forthcoming in 2017 on Sundress Publications) and BACKCOUNTRY (2013, Finishing Line Press).

Her other work can be found at The Huffington Post, Cimarron Review, Spork, among others. She's an editor at Gazing Grain Press, a VIDA volunteer, and the Series Editor for As Is Ought To Be’s High School Poetry Series: Gender, Identity, & Race.

December 24, 2015


Mint Box #1

I am in your image
A foreign face the form of torture
Avalanches of knives into it

Unforgiving fingerprints
Unconscious excoriations
Superficial reactions
Tied empty routine

Tongue-twisting yesterdays
Closed demolished future
Intimate distillation

Pillows bleed masturbation
Hands perform intimate permissions
Mercy waltzes adultery
Paradise leaks exotic virgins

Father Abraham is tongue-tied into my clit
The state is tongue-tied into my clit

Ankles chained to the cathedral

Ash Di Pasquale is a third year university student. Some more of their old work can be found at and"

December 23, 2015


from Wet grass is where the Atlantic meets the Indian ocean

swim the
            delight & hurt not

where glass is enough / & thorough / & wet
            in the

different finding waters

that clear on one side & clouds on
            the other

thorough mine / through looking

thorough your / thru waving

& the through / the sea-grass
in the finding / the clear / in the
at last clashing

            is full
            about mine

in the
/ yours through that that is different energies dropping
coral leaves

invisible reaching
of same then bodies

sweet energies

fields in the / delight
            that dreaming

or the swimming / thru finding
the swimming / thru finding
the humming sounding
/ the dream-waking

with me there.


in the finding / the swimming / the through-ing

where sweet
            you can really
            have always

& the reaching the reaching the reaching & still

in bodies (waters) of coral
            / same clear wet grass

as before
that play of that
dreaming or humming finding

/ thru of those bodies

/ wet coral while

Emily Critchley has poetry collections (with Arehouse, Bad press, Dusie, Oystercatcher, Torque, Holdfire, Corrupt, Intercapillary and Barque – forthcoming) and a selected writing: Love / All That / & OK (Penned in the Margins, 2011). She is editor of Out of Everywhere 2: linguistically innovative poetry by women in north America & the UK (Reality Street, 2015).