A Collection of Poems – by KATIE LEWINGTON

Pick and Mix


My poems  barely reach the end of the page

All my poems are on a word docx now

I hope I have backed them up and they are fully secured

It’s weird to suddenly have one less notebook to look through

When compiling or revising

My poems are different on a word docx

More like Allen less like

Whoever x


I find it difficult to not be envious

Envious of those who seem to know

Envious of them that win money prizes on a game show

Why am I watching this shit anyway

What else is on


You don’t need a clutch bag on your wedding day

You do not need a handbag to accessorise

All you will need is faith

Faith that your husband won’t cheat

Unless he has already of course

Yeah OK mum

I’m just telling ya

Alright mum you’ve told me


Cough cough germs germs from your bj mouth to your clenched up fist

I see that smile

You’re only pretending to be polite to cover your mouth

But polite you ain’t

You’re a germ carrier your mission is to spread and divide



I haven’t done anything but I still apologise

Jumping when that drain cover is trod on

It’s right outside my alley

I hear it I think it’s the police

I pee first and change my pad

Deleting old texts that might be found suspicious

OK I’m ready police man


I’m so sexy

I’m that chocolate dribble on your chin I’m that tight bulge as a man lowers himself to help his child put his or her shoe on I’m the wobble of the jelly I’m the thigh and knee I’m a note being played the drop noise of coins in an arcade machine I’m a gift I’m a silly text

I’m so sexy



 My man


You’re a player

You know what for

And appear like I am man

You are woman

Yet you see how she is besotted


Trapped now in your bell jar

You don’t like them like that but you make them so

I get you years after

The bargain bin blowout sale

You a ruin


Still enough to send me head over

Lord knows how you were then

Hard to deny,  I imagine


 Beyond limits


Respect for your parents

And the teachers at school

For the cops that keep

Non respecting citizens in jail

And then you hatch

And you are old

You can think well perhaps

I can break one of those rules

I’m not at school anymore

And why do drugs – alcohol get sold

If people are that worried about their health, in losing control

Well, 3 lads died that day

In the stolen Ford

On the motorway

They had taken smack cocaine

And were doing shots


There’s people looking out for you for a reason, you know?



 More than that


Redbull will give me wings

The swing will give me lift off

And too much vodka will make me


Fly high


Dazzling greens blues

And a clear white bulb


An ambulance

You lay unconscious



 Private dancer


Strange shadows jut out across the wooden surface of the floor

The dresser creaks as I put down my palms on it

I watch my face in the mirror that confronts me

The glass is cracked

My face is fractured

You grab me by the waist and you spin me

The music starts and we dance

Throwing shapes with our bodies

Tapping rhythms and beats

Creating our own shadow’s onto the wooden surface of the floor.



Katie Lewington loves her boyfriend, bacon sandwiches, poetry and reality TV. She is a published poet. She also writes book reviews and the odd (very odd) story, which she shares on her blog https://katiecreativewriterblog.wordpress.comDon’t be shy and get in touch, she likes to hear what people think about her work. Or if you have a book you think she would be interested in.



The Pitch – by C. C. RUSSELL




In the knee, bone scrapes against bone.  Quick zoom to close-up of man walking – x-ray vision of the leg.  We see impact.  His gait wobbles.  His face is a topography of pain not hidden well.  He is approaching the store while the morning sun burns off the clouds behind him, a slightly salty breeze coming in off of the ocean.

How to give the impression of this saltiness, stiltedness in the humid air?  Maybe mist his skin right before rolling.  Make him shine under the lights.  We’ll want droplets just below his hairline, rolling towards chin, lost in the cracks of his skin.

He fidgets with his keys.  Show the keys here, a great ring of them – his fingers sliding over and through them.  This is important.  We want it to show a responsibility, but make it a little sad as well.  Maybe a slow swell of timid music as he searches for the right key.

He unlocks the door, enters the store which is dark and quiet other than the tinny, repetitive sound of the motion detector alarm.  He walks to the keypad, fingers in a simple code.  Do we want meaning in the numbers?  Would the average viewer notice?

The next scene has to be slow, rhythmic.  Pull in close on his shaking fingers.  Make this scene count.  It has to be powerful – this is how we will know him before everything changes.  We have to learn him from these simple movements.  This is his ritual, his day.  We have to know this 100% before anyone realizes that today is different, that something is about to happen.


IMG_7729 (2)

C.C. Russell lives in Wyoming with his wife and daughter.  His writing has appeared in such places as the New York Quarterly, Pearl, and the Cimarron Review.  His short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and Best of the Net.  He has held jobs in a wide range of vocations – everything from graveyard shift convenience store clerk to retail management with stops along the way as dive bar dj and swimming pool maintenance.  He has also lived in New York and Ohio.  He can be found on Twitter @ c_c_russell

Demon Inside – by ROB TRUE

Demon inside



Here I sit, sick again, looking down at my ravished flesh.

Bruised, bloody and swollen. Broken veins and scars of old


Trousers round my ankles, looking for a vein as I shiver and

cough. Claret all down me from failed attempts, my veins are all

fucked, useless.

I’ve been sitting here half an hour now, sweating, sneezing, the

bile rising in my throat, stomach cramped up and so fucking

cold, so hot, feverish.

A stinging tear rolls down my cheek (don’t get many of them). I

realize how fucking pathetic I am.

A man no more, never have been, I entered adulthood in this

god forsaken, yet heavenly trance.

Not even half a man. A ghost. A ghost of myself, haunting this


A half arsed attempt at pretending some sort of normal. I’m

trying to live like a normal human since I pulled my self

together. Even though I use huge amounts of heroin and I am a

drug dealer, which between the two take up most of my day.

In between shooting up, laying barely conscious and dropping

off gear to other desperate cunts, I pretend to live some sort of normal, whatever that is. A normal drug addict? A normal criminal? A normal lunatic?

I am fucking ghost. Undead, a zombie with a demon inside.

Yes, a demon! And that is why I feel so pathetic. I just realized

I’m a fucking slave. A slave to this demon inside.

All my life I rebelled. Against parents, teachers, the law, all

those brainwashed, unquestioning, mindless pricks who lied so

much to me growing up.

I didn’t believe a word of it, still don’t. Fuck off and my middle

finger to every one of them.

What a rebel! What a wanker!

Look at me now, a slave to an invisible demon, a bit of brown

powder. I’m looking out these same eyes, but from a long way

back. I ain’t in charge. No, I’ve got to feed the demon and my body’s just the vehicle. That’s how I’m looking at my arms and legs right now. Just tools to feed this bastard demon.

My sole purpose, to acquire brown powder, melt it into water and inject it. To feed my demon.

The demon hands hold my heart in frozen time of no feelings,

no sadness, no joy. I am controlled by this entity. I have no


It’s funny though. I’ve loved this gear for years now, always

seen it as my savior from an unbearable madness, that consumed me before.

But in this moment I have realized. My heart is sunk, my illusion shattered and I’m in a dark hole.

But eventually, after I dig around a while in broken skin, I find that vein after clogging up the needle twice with congealed blood and having to put it in a new syringe.

And I shoot home to peace and comfort, ah that’s better.

It hits me in the back of my head, the warmth spreading, like


A little dose of heaven, it feels like God is giving me a

cuddle. Nothing fucking matters. Free from pain, I smoke a cigarette and lie back.

Some time passes by and there’s a knock at the door.

Fucking hell, I just want peace. I just want to be left alone to float around

inside with my demon.

It’s an old friend. I let him in,

“Sit down, make yourself at home. I’m ganna lie down for an

hour and then we can talk.”

How fucking rude, but I don’t care. This quiet in my mind is

what it’s all about for me, nothing else matters.

This is the day I realize. The day that I know I’m going to stop.

I never really wanted to stop before. Tried to a few times, but

didn’t really want to. But now, now I know that I am a slave and

that just don’t seem right to me.

I’m not that weak. I remember my inner strength. I’ve survived

things that most people don’t, against all odds, mind over


In fact, I am powerful, in my own way.

More powerful than a bit of fuckin’ brown powder.

More powerful than this demon!

I’m in here somewhere. Somewhere deep inside this wrecked

body it’s still me.

I decide that I have had enough. I’m going to get clean, change

my life. But not yet.

I don’t know this now but it will be more than a year before I

rediscover my power and defeat this demon.

I’m not ready.

Not yet.


IMAG1850 (2)

***Rob True was born in London 1971. He left school with no qualifications, dyslexic and mad, in a world he didn’t fit into. He got lost in an abyss, was sectioned twice and spent the best part of a decade on another planet. He returned to earth just in time for the new millennium, found a way to get on in life, married a beautiful girl and lived happily ever after. She taught him how to use paragraphs and punctuation and his writing has been a bit better ever since. Find him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/robjtrue  ***


Poetry from – PRERNA BAKSHI

A Tale of Round Rotis


Ever Since I was growing up

I was told just how important it was

to cook round rotis.

Perfectly shaped

soft, round rotis.


I hated them

for their supposed

‘perfectness’, in a world

full of people

far from perfect

who would judge

a woman’s worth

by her ability to make ’round rotis‘.


I hated them

for what they put

countless women through

with women slogging in the kitchen

kneading, rolling dough

making, unmaking, remaking

to escape from being judged.

All for that ever desirable

perfectly shaped round rotis.



No I don’t like them ’round’.

I like them Tedhi-Medhi. Thank you!

Far from what’s regarded

‘perfect’, I know.

But at least, this way,

they resemble our lives.

The lives of women.

Lives which are

far from perfect.

These imperfect, unsuitable rotis, then

are much more realistic, after all,

don’t you think?


Author’s note:I dedicate this poem to the memory of Aniqa, a 13-year-old girl in Pakistan, who was recently killed by her father with the aid of her brother after she failed to make a round roti. http://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/pakistan/13-year-old-girl-killed-as-she-fails-to-make-round-roti/


(First appeared in Indiana Voice Journal and then reprinted in Kyoto Journal, Japan)


Childhood games


I used to like playing games

with little toy guns until

one day, while the elders talked

downstairs, he snuck me into

his room…

My interest in toys ended

that day and with it ended

my childhood, though not

my interest in guns. That grew.


(Originally published in Misfit Magazine)


Sometimes the simplest words are the hardest to say


Does language determine thought?

Or, does thought determine language?

This debate is still not settled.

Still it’s fascinating how quickly

does our language change,

how quickly does it accommodate reality,

as soon as someone dies.

Our tongue, suddenly,

rolls out verbs in past tense

before our mind

could even form thoughts.

It’s as if our tongues have a mind of their own.


Sometimes, in the race between

language and thought,

language finds a way

to get ahead.

But not always.

It’s been 11 years since I’ve lost

my sister to blood cancer, and

yet it’s one of the shortest words in

my language, I find

impossible to use.

I guess, I refuse to use.

ਸੀथीthi – Was

(Feminine, singular, past tense)


(Originally published in Wilderness House Literary Review)



***Prerna Bakshi is a Sociolinguist, writer, translator and activist of Indian origin, presently based in Macao. Her work has previously been published in over three dozen literary journals and magazines, most recently in Red Wedge Magazine, Yellow Chair Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Kabul Press, Misfit Magazine, Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture and Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature. Her full-length poetry collection, Burnt Rotis, With Love, recently long-listed for the Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UKis forthcoming from Les Éditions du Zaporogue (Denmark) later this year. She tweets at @bprerna ***



I heard a tapping last night,
when the house was quiet,
was it,
a dripping faucet?
footsteps in the garden?
windblown branches upon my window?
it was just the clock,
counting the hours,
that I have wasted.

The city
is a drenching of honey
that seeps into nooks,
like melting bricks of butter.
Pungency twirls,
oversalted like it’s the spice of life,
zesting in galactic purples.
Between the buildings
You hear waves
Crashing of culture
tongues click
eleven ways
and skin swatches range from
blue-black to
The port to history
lies nestled here,
nudged in between the mountain
and metropolis.

he slurps
from the fountain of youth
and spills
as if it is ever-flowing
a hasty devouring
an inhuman consumption
of a water too heavy for the stomach to bear
which ultimately pours from his body in excruciation
the zenith of wastefulness
pinnacling gluttony
only a man
and his humanity

A courtship of stimulation
Garnishes the body
Healing in scrapes of terminal pleasure
Smothered skin washes in red
Convulsing from the sugar rush
A fever
Pools at the dip like a gutter
Sweating fixation

Gaze onto the cold deceitful morning
The blue garden
Dusters its skin
In a cushion of winter sheeting
And the terrarium – brewing syrup,
Sits bathed in sleepy morning light
The terrace doors
Droop from the early hour
Inviting mendacious whispers inside
Of sunrise soaks
Under the maple tree.

He speaks
Of hurting skin,
And his head pounds
From realisation
The hot wind,
That twirls in from the window,
Sweats an obligation from his cold body
Like the lump they can’t cut
And as he walks ahead
The fluorescent reflects off his bald head,
That drifts down the hallway like a tiny moon.

The straying cat
The straying cat
Only calls for a home
When it rains

Daryll Williams is a 21-year-old born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. He hopes his writing does not persist in distracting him as he enters the last leg of completing his communications degree.
You can find his tweets @Finitelyblogged (https://twitter.com/Finitelyblogged)


Synchronicity – by JEN ELLERSON




The suffering hot-end of July 1983. A beige house in a second-rate city was sweating from the inside. Breathing felt like smoking, without a reassuring death-kick. She was trapped inside. It’s like this every year on her birthday.


This was her seventh. Dawn sat alone, cross-legged in a sleeveless striped overall, for the obligatory dress-up. Its straps took turns falling down. The acrid carpet beneath her was a dirty green, or grey, or inexplicably both. Her fuzzy blonde curls were short, still Shirley Temple. The melting cake sat in the corner, and no one was there.


“It’s the summer. Everyone is away on vacation.”, said her mother, who probably didn’t bother to invite anyone.  When the doorbell finally rang, it was Larissa. Dragged by her own guilt-prodding mother, she was a popular girl at school, who lived around the corner. How inconvenient, for everyone. The girls sat there gazing at the walls and pretended to wait for others to arrive, confident none would.


Dawn’s godmother reported in, keeping the adult quota. She brought with her two gifts. Dawn looked at them, not recognising their shape. Their alien square form was not a toy, not a book, not a five dollar bill in a tacky envelope. She opened her first two vinyl LP’s with confused hesitation. These weren’t for her, were they? Records were for big people. As she peeled off the plastic wrapping, she could smell the ink on the fresh cardboard sleeves. Her little hands carefully held the fragile dark masses, each perfect black with mysterious incisions. They felt heavy, and masculine.


She used her still-forming phonics to spell out the printed liner notes and lyrics to Larissa, who now embedded herself to the palm under her chin, and didn’t move. She thought Dawn was odd, and was secretly hoping to be walked home as soon as possible. The new Education need not apply.


Things didn’t get better, but they had begun. There were to be a tidy sum of beds to lie down and die in. Each one will curve to Dawn’s back as she mouths the escape, song by song, year by year. So much to lonely-learn. A blend of noise warned that her love was an addiction, and the recovery even worse. That the fork in the road will turn into a knife. That nothing would ever cool her blood, or make her sober again. These two even shapes formed an audible window that she could crawl out of, with scraped knees, bruised hands, and a solid howl.



***Jen Ellerson is a Berlin-based Creative Director, Designer, Promoter, DJ and Writer – and not necessarily in that order. Her 2012 publication, “Modern Movement”, is a document of Berlin subculture. She is currently working on a compendium of short stories. To this date, she maintains a perfect sense of trouble.www.jenellerson.com ***

The Value of Edges – by ANA PRUNDARU


Many generations attempted to leave the village. Sooner or later though, they returned to their mothers’ warm polenta and cheese dishes, stuffing their mouths to avoid exhaling broken delusions, the ambivalence of growing up to the promise of a promising future, a once potent potential undone. Alina used to curse them for abandoning their roots and now she clenched her fists and called it growing up when friends pointed out the hypocrisy.

Back in the days, Alina’s father used to warn her not to step foot past the edge of town, so naturally, she proceeded to do just that. Aged six, she crossed into the next village and then the next. She decided edges weren’t anymore real than spells and spirits.

That changed when Răzvan snuck Alina in his room ten years later. The Fray was playing on his grandfather’s car radio when their lips brushed in the dark. Răzvan said she smelled like daisies, which was funny because daisies were repulsive to her. She thought his hair smelled like death. A shudder traveled through her, when she found her own edge. On the way home, the stars opened up above, inviting her to spread herself bright and dark.

At the airport, Alina fingered for her plane tickets and passport. Watching the planes land and take off, the realization settled that the village was utterly unreachable. The entire village wanted Alina to make them proud. In a way, her story was the people’s hymn, a clocking battle song spreading hope on a capsizing boat. All she had achieved was earning a scholarship at a Swiss University.





She couldn’t decide whether Switzerland was seducing her, or if she was flirting with travel sickness, much less if her Romanian village was ever going to welcome her back. For all she knew, Switzerland was a place people went to retire and die.

Unfamiliar voices crowded around, drifting here and there. None seemed to be from anywhere. During boarding, The Fray’s Wherever this goes started to play and as she arrived at hear seat, Alina closed the window frame, realizing that Irrespective of where she was, she’d never edge out of herself. And just like that, something seduced her, beyond edges and borders.





***Ana Prundaru is the author of two poetry chapbooks, 1L4S3T (Etched Press, 2015) and Unstable Constellations (Dancing Girl Press, 2016). Her work appears in SOFTBLOW, Kyoto Journal, CALYX, and 3:AM. She lives in a forest-side home near a zoo in Switzerland and will probably never get used to being awakened by lions’ roars. ***

The Belly Flop of Regret – by RICHARD GREEN

The Belly Flop of Regret

The cold yellow morning brings another untidy day.

Birds crooning their absurdly joyous songs as I go along,

I have the bearing of a man with tight underwear.

I have the spirit of a fat man who has lost the race.

Some ill-lit mornings I hoodwink myself I am handsome,

A dimly appealing Adonis from the early eighties charts.

Those are frequently the most terrible of all days,

Bubble bursts mid afternoon and I relapse to defective,

Oh, people never mock me; to my face at least,

They smile an elasticated smile but their yes never stir,

I rumble down the aisles at Asda, trying to look slender.

Add to this a stodgy serving of hopelessness and failure.

A malfunctioned life, bursting with grey regret,

Liberally add a double helping of never-do-well,

And the proof; as they say of the pudding, is in the eating.



***Richard Green is a northern wordsmith, living in self induced exile in Plymouth. Richard cites Seamus Heaney and Sean O’Brien has his literary heroes and is fortunate to have been taught by the latter. Richard’s work shameless carries echoes of his northern roots, fused with an eye for the obscure and a love of people watching.***

You can follow Richard Green’s blog here: 

And follow him on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/yorkshirepoet1



Debris – by JEN ELLERSON





It is getting dark, and it is damp. The padded wall of clouds remind Laure of old days on Hampstead Heath, but that was another life. This time she doesn’t know where she is, and she is barefoot. She smells earth and feels soil under her feet, surrounded by dewy emerald grass. She could almost touch the painted mist, littering the sky in a dark blue haze. It appears as if she is in a type of glen, deep between uneven hills. She has no idea that she is here, or why. Reminded of how little she appreciates nature, she knows she has no means of survival down here.


Laure walks. She trudges forward, ignoring what is already behind her. There are no paths, no signs, no people. The air is completely still. She smells burning, as if there is a camp nearby, but no sign of it. The soil is turning to mud. Her long, limp knit is draped over her, revealing her shoulders, and her skin is marred from use. Covered in comfortable filth, this ill-fitting, bare-faced peasant chic has a cleansing effect. The breeze tickles her as if there were an ocean nearby.

There is no ocean nearby.


As her left leg slowly aligns with her right, she stops. Finally, she is not alone, but she sees Debris. Laure knows it is him, even if she cannot clearly see his face from here. She fixates on his lengthy, peerless legs, symmetrically straddled on a towering static horse. The elongated charcoal-clad torso is in perfect posture, and his hands are bound behind him. Tin-man shoulders form a heavy wide shelf, and he cannot move. Debris is staring forward, in her exact direction, but she doesn’t think he can see her. His face is stone with dark sticks of stubble, framing the lower lip emerging from wide mandibles. The black discs of his eyes are draining light, and he has a state of motionless panic that only she would recognise. He stares on. There is a crown above his brow which intermingles with the locks of his sinuate chocolate hair. Stretching from it, on each side, are antlers. Long, brooding antlers forming a span from west to east, encompassing his north and south.


At shorter range, she sees uncountable articles hanging on the antler rack. They are heads. Human, beauteous, female heads. Cleanly severed, and placed carefully on each extending stem. There is something sinister about the lack of blood, superb preservation and upright positioning. As if mannequin. But these are genuine individuals, delicate. Their graceful mouths rest with a look of desire, of fulfillment, as if each of their exterminations were consensual. Their ageless skin is luminous, and immaculate. Long patches of brown curls, blonde tresses mesh into a fibrous decor that falls in varying lengths from the steep height. Debris is trapped in a statuesque pillar of blooming obliteration.


Laure studies what she can from her position across. She suspects the horse would soon sprint, sending Debris and his passengers into an unknown, infinite horizon. As if they were being prepared for a ritual, an execution. But it is quiet. So quiet. She affectionately traces him with her eyes, every edge familiar. She wants to see his hands.

She has missed his hands.





Shortly after tender conversation and the fresh uneasiness of meeting someone unrelentlessly handsome, Laure found herself being kissed by perfect lips.


Indiscernible, unpleasant pop music blared in the distance while drunken youths pranced around them. But they weren’t there. They were in this facial embrace, and it was the only natural thing to happen yet. Before, he was conflicted, cryptic, unpredictable. Seductively arrogant. So naturally, she was surprised by the way that he stood up, walked over to sit beside her, placed one of his tree branches around her, and did this. Her right hand rested on his left, and they were faultless.


Soon, he would slowly guide her by her shoulders to his pale blue room. He put on a song, embedded with a sharp repetitive note. It would be the soundtrack to this memory, later to rip at her chest. Laure was memorising the collection of images on his wall, before he reminded her that she should look at them in the morning. There were ships, and death. But first: skin, mouths, teeth. The indefinite, flickering trance.  Loud, and light – she was being touched without being touched at all. Only one of them was groping, leaving marks on his flesh before eventual collapse. Resting in his arm, he shyly revealed an ink inscription: Regret. She curled her body, sleepless, breathing in tandem. The only sounds left came from the slow clacking of tongue against her skin, his susceptible whimper. He took her hand and firmly placed it under his warm chest, over his human heart, where it would numb in stasis. As morning seeped in, his entire weight pressed into the entire her, left dead for a time; a welcome monument to the longest search.


Laure resisted, but her arteries had invisibly opened. She kept her head forward, yet it wandered into an inexplicable spell. For days, her neck gladly burned, ached, from his bristle. The trembling started, and never stopped. For months, he became a dark figure pontificating with a cheshire smile, surrounded by smoke and elusive question. He deserted her by kindly walking backwards, swiftly and carefully, with his hands over her eyes.


Stalks of cigarettes were sacrificed to the gods of chance. There were others, faceless others, but this one was full-featured and crawling beneath her skin with no warning. Time could not extricate, weaken the hold. Laure gleaned a counterfeit smile, but he remained within her like a blister on her tongue. One that she would squeeze against her teeth in self-torture.






The horse is alive, this much she could tell, as its tail begins to brush. Something is starting to move on the other side; something startled Debris. Laure knew his weapons were stripped from him, he had told her in another place. His lips began to move, but she is too far away to hear. She wanted to comfort him. To stroke the angles of his face, release his hands from the wires, enable escape. From where Debris stands apart, nothing can be done. Without further movement, he knows she is there now. A black spot on the field, featureless. His eyes never look down. She stays where she is.


Laure hears a deafening sound. Coming from behind her, it quickly pierces both of her lower legs. She falls to her knees, her eyes still sewn to Debris. He mouths: “Ich will nicht anklagen, ich will nicht einmal die Ankläger anklagen.” * The shots must have been fired from where she started here, somewhere back there in the dusky past. She doesn’t bother to turn. There is no one to see, and no prevention. The third bolt arrives at her back, and crackles through her human heart. It punches her front to the ground. She feels her blood seep out, press into the earth, a black-shaped body.



* ”I do not want to accuse, I do not want to even accuse the accuser.”



***Jen Ellerson is a Berlin-based Creative Director, Designer, Promoter, DJ and Writer – and not necessarily in that order. Her 2012 publication, “Modern Movement”, is a document of Berlin subculture. She is currently working on a compendium of short stories. To this date, she maintains a perfect sense of trouble.www.jenellerson.com ***


a summary of the incident of rape


splayed on earth

gossamer silk

binds hairless skin.


smell of crotch

as bold as Ratatouille

half cooked

half singed.


spinnerets spinning still

on body of youth

toe across feebly

after throes


a summary of the incident

of rape by a spider

imbricating silk weaves

onto the body of


woman bellows from the pit

of woven crossroads woven



conflating organs

becoming one

arachnid organ of

blood webbing –


on the seventh day

when all was spun

with eight eyes

he saw


gossamer of youth’s body

meting away


gossamer of youth’s dreams.


Soaping Someone You Love;                                                                             for Beginners.


  1. Wash your hands;                                                               let it hold your soul.


When you touch him,

parts of it will erode.


You will lose.


Saliva to masticate

haphazardly broken

umbilical cords;


manure for pasture,

new tendrils on his skin

to climb and rope.



[You will not lose by the end of this, newbie.                                       Soaping someone you love

who will never soap you

is mulch

for the remainder of your soul.]



  1. Say grace.

Thank you Father

for this blessing.


  1. Bless him.

Crumble mountains

in the eye of your mind.

Call forth their gold, sapphires,

gemstones without names.

Give them all to him

before your eyelids bat

in second thought.


  1. Bless him more.

There is

no second thought.


  1. Look him in the eye.                              Pupils dilating, shivering,

crypts and furrows of the iris making way

for his reflection,

now, safely ensconced

inside your head.





  1. Bend your head to his chest.

‘One doesn’t defend one’s god;

one’s god is in himself a defense.’ *



  1. Embrace what’s left of him.

He’s fought you away.

Chipped you off him

one grain at a time.

Parts of discarded you

hold parts of him

that tear away

with you.

In this room

is all he knows

as him,

as all of him.

Hold it, tight.


  1. Water him.

Lift each pot before you water,

slowly moistening his soil until full

running out the bottom.


[Move away; this is not for you]



  1. Soap him head to toe.

Your palms

your fingertips,

with and without


your tongue,

cheek, bones –

scrub him with all these.


  1. Erase him.

His dead skin

caked in your nails

is the second erasure

you’ll cause him.

Loose hair

goes down the drain.


  1. Talk to him in your head.

Remember running

through unkempt meadows

feverishly kissing

hidden in overgrown grass

of curious childhood?


[Give him the echo]


  1. Rinse him.

Pay attention to his underarms

where soap sticks in lines.

Inside and behind his ears.


[Stop only when asked]


  1. Towel him.

Pick the towel off the radiator

where you hung it for warmth.

Make a joke running fingers where he’s ticklish

so there’s laughter even if the joke fails.


  1. Say, I love you.

He won’t say a thing

even in your head.


Soaping someone you love

who will never soap you

is mulch

for the remainder of your soul.


[If it remains at all.]

*The Aspern Papers, Henry James


A and Another You.



A photograph of you, folded eight times to fit his hands

he opens like a flower, petals breathe to unfurl in his

palm, a you.




He smiles because it’s you. It was you. This was you.

He cannot shut up. His bangs jump with him.

This is the first time they’ve used the legroom.




You don’t do anything. You’ve never done anything

but become, stop becoming. Walls and places

that don’t move. He says settled. You say stagnant.




Why did he find a photograph of you in this house?

In the attic where you lay half face paralysed

a curly piece of metal pulling it in place by your lips.

It still pokes inside.




You’ve been there twice in the last two years and

it wasn’t to mop or dust or flick through these pictures.

You go to talk to all the yous you’ve left there.




The time you had a pox you scratched your plagued tongue

on the roof of your mouth wanting to retch

the blood, flesh, pus and when this wasn’t enough

you wanted to retch your mouth, your tongue, your jaw.

Spit out everything that may follow as consequence.




You never let him up the attic. It might

give him a run for his money to see your pox marked half

stands as half, guts, throat and other things in hand.




He called it the zombie apocalypse once. Rushed to put

his face between your breasts and you did what you knew

well to do, put your nipple to his mouth, to tears leaking

with milk drops down your belly. He sleeps standing

at your breast.




They said the pain’d go away if you gave birth.

You’ve done it thrice but every month a crippled you

lies on a scarred stomach in river blood.

His bangs grow on these three days.

He knows but still sits on your back.

A you in the attic told him to do so.




He reads to you through these three days. The same story,

the last story you wrote, about the lizard that fell every

day on your face in the morning when your tall hands

opened the door. It went on to say how its tail broke,

almost fell into your mouth.




He cuts your hair in front of the toilet mirror.

He is smaller than your head, stands on a stool with a blade

sawing your tresses because there’s no time to look

for scissors which is inside a box in the attic but

there’s no time to go fetch it because there’s no time

to console, weep with or breast feed, again.




There’s a you with the scissors who thought it right

to untangle a seemingly knotted vein with it.

She’s still trying, you know it.




The photograph of you is eighteen, a pot head,

a virgin who claims otherwise. You dated a sleazy

old professor who took pictures of your breasts

in the parking lot inside his yellow car.




You see his wife two days later, she throws this

at you but you cannot claim otherwise.

You look around before admitting it.

You’re a virgin.

In the photograph.

She doesn’t believe you. You tell

her he fingered you to break you. He didn’t

break you but went to claim that you were

already broken. You’re a liar of your body.




If I were your body, I’d send you out.

Ask you to find my hymen, give it back to me

so when the Professor fingers me

it’d break,

flow blood down my skirt, a little on his seat.




You want to believe you broke you.




You take the photograph of a you from him,

tuck it into a pocket. He’s asleep on a chair

when you walk to the attic of the home you

were born in, grew up in, fucked in, fucked up in,

and are fucking in. You return it to the you

who wanted to keep things in a box, safe.

All things of you. You look for the hundredth time

in it for your hymen. Still not a clue.




You break your knuckles. All ten of them.

In all the rearranged pasts and present yous.




When you go back and now it isn’t the same you

when I began the poem. Not even the you who

gave away the photograph or the you who got it.

But another who found the scissors and is so quickly

chopping, not cutting, golden straight bangs to fall

onto your legs, as he sleeps leaned in suckling.




This too, is one of you.


Nelly called the other day,

two beers in hand, the Green Hornet

and a seven month old.

Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee

she screamed at the door.

I thought twice to let it in but did,

no way to take only Nelly.


Two beers weren’t enough.

Soon Nelly’s boy friend

showed with two six packs

and I said I didn’t drink it.

She shouted at him and said

she’d already told him.

The mutt doesn’t remember anything

about me or you she says.

He left to buy some more

and didn’t come back,

the baby slept on the couch.


Nelly thought we were drunk

shouted Bruce Lee in a mask

Bruce Lee in a mask, black.

When the big screen was shaking

she turned to close the door but

hit the baby on the cheek with

her elbow.

It didn’t wake up, she hit it again

to see if it was alive.


I wasn’t comfortable.

Hadn’t been since that night

when the baby was in their couch

and I was there stripping like

a wild child in front of another

big screen to her boy friend

who wasn’t coming back

or never will.


Nobody gets these things these days

but it has intuition. It has sense

uncorrupted it can wake up one day

and say, she was there in front

of that man shaking and gyrating

a flabby tummy in a Persian

imitation of Nava Aharoni.


Kato says, excuse me, please let me,

the music goes tun tun tuh-duh da

tuh-duh-da, tuh-duh-da.

On the third kick the door gives away.

Nelly claps in exultation, the baby

wakes up, shoots a shrill cry to us.

I in fright pick it up, run out the door

Nelly still goes Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee, like before.

In the wake of all things


that have happened to us,

we will cower into ourselves


without supplying space

for our spine’s breath.


From coccyx to atlas,

we will remain folded


till we hear dog chains

removed from around


our necks. Even then,

we will unfold only


in pieces unsodomized,

unraped. In count,



a few left.



Avrina Joslin writes fiction, poetry and travel essays, usually, about her childhood memories, sexuality and the body – all in fragments or new versions. She’s currently working on a novel which her best friend called ‘grossly erotic’. Her work has been published in Elsewhere Lit, EQView, Cadaverine, Four Quarter’s Magazine,  Miso Magazine, Coldnoon Travel Poetics, etc., She writes at www.avrinajos.com and tweets @AvrinaJoslin