Week 61: Marina Kazakova

Above the Babylon of Europe


The Ropewalker
was strolling all the day
above the Babylon of Europe,
the stone waves
and choppy waters
of Brussels,
escorted by birds and clouds,
civil servants,
uncivil sculptures.
and sleeping bodies
of homeless –
both victims of hate crimes
right in the heart
of European justice.
On the skybridge of
busy and bubbly
Rue Belliard
the walker paused
enchanted by the escape
of Ariadne –
the foot misstepped,
the walker laughed,
opened the wings
in a second
took off
towards the
melting sunshine.



Marina Kazakova is a Belgium-based poet. Her literary works deal to a large degree with confrontation with the past and explore the challenges posed both by memory and grief. She has an MA in Public Relations and Transmedia. Currently, she is a Communications Officer at ‘Victim Support Europe’ and working on her practice-based PhD in Arts “Lyric Film-Poem. A research on how the unique characteristics of lyric poetry can be expressed in film” at Luca School of Arts (KULeuven). In addition to poetry, Marina has written essays and articles for such publications as “The Word” Magazine (Brussels), Culturetrip.com, Seanema.eu.

Week 60: David Bankson

Dark of Winter


Despite the pines filled with needles,
I run across their aisle of whitebrown carpet like a groom.

Despite the black silk curtains falling in a smooth cascade of lines,
I crush them in my fist and think of my mother.

Despite my mother’s brown hair falling in a helix
Like a staircase, I walk straight by her.

Despite my running taking me forward,
I gather memories like rotten berries to cover the darkness.

There, with them, I went nowhere. The Spring’s emerald grass
Has blemished the whiteness like a thunderhead beneath.

Above the pine needles, above the shrinking
Whitebrown ground, I take on the clouds from tomorrows

And uncover my face to the dark of Winter.


David Bankson lives in Texas. He was finalist in the 2017 Concīs Pith
of Prose and Poem, and his poetry and microfiction can be found in concis,
(b)oink, Thank You for Swallowing, Artifact Nouveau, Riggwelter Press, Five
2 One Magazine, etc.

Week 59: Alexis Smithers

Conversation with my Body

I ask what happened to me? and
my body says ​it is not easy
housing crime scenes.

No one picks up the violence,
just leaves it in the middle of the living room to fester
climbs all over the furniture and snuggles into
beds without invitation like it don’t got no goddamn manners.

You try keeping people in here when you can’t have a conversation
without the fucking ghosts chiming in.
They scare so no coming back
the kids don’t even ding dong ditch
this horror story.
every window
every door a howling.
Don’t matter that this mouth can tell a good joke or two.
Who wants to hug wounds?

I ask what happened to me and
my body says
I’d tell you to piss off

but men in church suits and
other swirled in faces have made it impossible.

I ask please don’t tell me and
my body says ​you have no choice.

You are eight years old and
the blood hasn’t dried on your wallpaper yet.
You can’t shut yourself from the evil you are.
Call is coming from inside the house and
you dialed the truth.
Don’t matter how it cold case your hands.

I ask why can’t I be better and
my body says
the last time we gentled

the worst got the best of us.
I wish they had destroyed this house
but that would’ve been too kind
and we are not talking about kindness here.

I ask please can we love them better and
my body says
the police tape strangles the good

we’re trying
to do here.

You’ve got to horrify love
to keep it.

I say no no, nevermind, don’t tell me and
my body ignores
someone reached inside

and you still cannot get them out.

I say I don’t believe you and
my body says

you’re still waiting for her to hit you.
Aren’t you?

I say nothing and
my body says
trauma has riddled our skin

Rip us apart
so you can let the ghosts out.

I say The ghosts are still here
and my body shrugs

the ghosts come back stronger.

I say How do I get rid of this and
my body howls and claws

and monsters:

Don’t you know
there is no cure.

I say I don’t know but this body breathes
even the healing haunts.



Alexis Smithers is a queer black creator and web development student. 2015 Pink Door Fellow, 2016 LAMBDA Literary Emerging Writer, and 2018 #GrowWithGoogle Scholarship Recipient, they are a staff writer for Autostraddle. Their work has been featured in Shadewusgood.black, and Glass: Poetry among others. You can find their work here, support them on Patreon, and follow them on Twitter.

Week 58: Erik Fuhrer

after your death


holes in the tongues of neighbors
speaking the tale of the watchtower
the blue peal of jets overhead



Erik Fuhrer holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in BlazeVox, Crabfat Magazine, Noble/Gas Qrtrly, Dream Pop Press, and Crack the Spine.

Week 57: Patricia Walsh

Bouncy Castle

No such thing as altruistic food, perhaps.
Ripped from origin, self-care still excellent
competition for irregular beats, ever again
secret life of the moon, a non-existent trip,
as the conspiracy goes, other people working.

Classic, but is it any good? Guiltily tripping
photocopying marriage once promised, away
distant histories burdened in the midway sun
to get things done is paramount in this universe
slipping inside this arcana a musical happiness.

The possession of fruit trees, declarative, away
dying from serial abuse, richly rewarded,
under cover of happy marriage, scarified
performing light music on over of the computer
anything can be bad, even covert talent.

This mysterious lady, shouting the odds,
goodly abuse, blessed on exit, blow on impact,
butcherly, to find a suitable daughter
saving flies like vermin, rescinding address
collapsing in love, replicating another success.

Happiness in literature, murdering any slight
performing for every passers-by, an assassin’s death
triplicate God relaxed for another year
coupling for entertainment, anchored in spite,
once beloved, serially forgotten, bleached.



Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Ireland. To date, she has published one novel, titled The Quest for Lost Eire, in 2014, and has published one collection of poetry, titled Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010. She has since been published in a variety of print and online journals. These include: The Lake; Seventh Quarry Press; Marble Journal; New Binary Press; Stanzas; Crossways; Ygdrasil; Seventh Quarry; The Fractured Nuance; Revival Magazine; Ink Sweat and Tears; Drunk Monkeys; Hesterglock Press; Linnet’s Wing, Narrator International, The Galway Review; Poethead and The Evening Echo.

Week 56: James R. Gapinski

There Shall Be Xylophones

Your nose bleeds. Your gums bleed. Your teeth wiggle and jiggle and jangle. Your teeth implode and become seedlings. You plant them in the backyard. These tooth seedlings grow into skeletons. You hit their ribcages with small mallets, hoping to produce a xylophone effect. Instead, the ribs shatter. You grind up the shards and snort them. Your nose bleeds again. Your eyes bleed. Your blood bleeds. Your bloody bleeding blood congeals into a golem-like creature. This bloody bleeding blood golem towers over you and points a drippy finger. The creature’s mouth opens, and it shrieks and says Look what you have done, and you inspect the wounded skeletons with their broken chest cavities. You know you do not have the capacity to repair them. You place your fingers on your flesh and feel your sternum and promise a ribcage that you cannot deliver. You tell these skeletons it will be okay, just like the doctor, just like the nurse, just like your rabbi, just like yourself. You tell them what they want and need and beg of you. The golem is satisfied and becomes a scabbed statute. You take your small mallets and beat a lively tune until there is nothing left but music.



James R. Gapinski is the author of Edge of the Known Bus Line (Etchings Press) and Messiah Tortoise (Red Bird Chapbooks). His work has appeared in The CollapsarJukedMonkeybicyclePaper DartsPsychopomp, and other publications. Find him online at http://jamesrgapinski.com and on Twitter @jamesrgapinski

Week 55: Faiza Anum

Two tones



I would let
my index finger
swim in the residue
of red-chili sauce
and would draw
zigzag patterns
tracing the track
of my life


The flimsy
curtain of cream
that weaves
on the surface
of tea cup
is the shore
I would rescue
my being



Faiza Anum is an educationist, poet, researcher and occasional translator. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Transnational Literature (Australia), Illumen (Alban Lake Publishing, USA), Yellow Chair Review, The Lake (UK) and Open Road Review (India). Her poem “Travelling Tales” was one of the finalists for Open Road Review Poetry Prize 2015.

Week 52: Christopher Hivner

The Last Street

I take the electric,
phases change from blue to red,
hey petunias
grow until the sun shades white,
my garden flashes
all the colors.

I’m not like the others
in this way or that,
pin a medal
to my chest,
the war is over,
marching home down
the last street.

Feathers make the bird,
I’ll stay here
for the night
if the band plays the blues,
rest up
for the long day tomorrow,
finding the criminal who made me.

I survived
without your help
even though
I think of you often,
it doesn’t mean
I need you,
you wouldn’t have been around
even if I did.



Christopher Hivner writes from a small town in Pennsylvania surrounded by books and the echoes of music. He has recently been published in Children, Churches and Daddies, and Wax Poetry. He has had 5 chapbooks of poetry published, the newest is “When Science Collapses” published by Writing Knights Press. website: http://www.chrishivner.com, Facebook: Christopher Hivner – Author, Twitter: @Your_screams