November 23, 2014


i dreamt last
my own

he stung

like his father
before him

elizabeth m.k. neilson (Branson, MO, 1986)

November 21, 2014

food stamps

This is us going to church
In our black Mercedes Benz Kompressor
The beautiful, elegant C230 Sports Coupe

We're not here to pray
Nor attending the service
We're just here for the food stamps

On the basement of that awful church
We become officially poor
The subject of scorn

This wasn’t supposed to happen
To people like us
Yet we do the paperwork and stand in line

This wasn’t supposed to happen
To white, educated, affluent people like us
Yet here we are, scraping the bottom of the barrel

We get the weird looks
The pitiful gazes
And passive aggresive stares

How come you crawl out of that car
The black, beautiful Mercedes Benz Kompressor C230 Sports Coupe
And dive into this hole, they ask

For the food
It's all about the food
We all need it, don't we?

They tell you to sell the car
They tell you you don't fit in their statistics
They tell you so many things

So we get about our business with whatever dignity we've got left
Feel the scorn from the comfort of the soft beige leather seats
Driving back home

And we hold on to it
Because that Mercedes
Is the one reliable trustworthy thing in our lives

Thank you for your hard-earned wisdom
But we don't need anybody's pity
We're just here for the food stamps

emily thompson (New York, NY, 1990)

November 13, 2014

not complaining, just saying

for Tracy

i'm not complaining, just saying
you were the worst girlfriend in the world
a pro at making me miserable, a magician
giving me all that shit and passing it as gold

you lied
you cheated
borrowed money and never returned it
but worst of all: you finished breaking bad without me

i'm not complaining, just saying
you were uncool with my friends
distant and cold to my family
so full of yourself

i never asked you for rent money or anything
when you were in between jobs
i walked your dog alone in winter
you were always so tired

lest we forget
the visible panty line
the i'm-not-wearin'-a-bra confidence
always ready to flirt with strangers

i'm not complaining, just saying
because, jesus, this was happening
on all occasions
once at my very own birthday party for fuck's sake

but i'm not complaining, just saying
you were the worst girlfriend ever
a pro at making me miserable
a really really bad, screwed-up person

they should have awards for people like you

greg boghossian (Ann Arbor, MI, 1981)

November 10, 2014

onychocryptosis (the feet trilogy, part iii)

gosh it's you again
carving the flesh
your favorite pastime
making it blush

mother of pearl
daughter of pain
pain and swelling
as it grows forward and nasty

deal with that then
as it bleeds from the tap
what you lost I lost too
it was pus and I drained it

podiatry is not cheap
but you better try harder if you want to kill me

j. g. laszyck (Columbus, OH, 1976)

November 8, 2014

pes planus (the feet trilogy, part ii)

gaining momentum
circling the answers
a hollow conundrum
sticked to the wall

dear you, dear me
we all got way way more
than what we bargained for
a pain in the ass has turned itself into a major accomplishment

in all sincerity, at this stage in life
you would normally ask “what for”
and I would typically say “look around, look inside”
so you can go figure it out for yourself: the answer, dear, is always a new question

just as plain as that
just as plain as flat feet
and on humid days
the pain gets even worse

j. g. laszyck (Columbus, OH, 1976)

November 7, 2014

corns and calluses (the feet trilogy, part i)

pretend that nothing happened
pretend I was not there
pretend the hills were watching
and kisses were thin air

pretend you never liked it
the vision blurred, lens flare
lest we forget the tantrums
provided at daycare

impaled on your own spear
pretend you could not bare
being razed without much ado
while no one really cared

pretend you sailed the oceans
and death was well aware
pretend the liability
of whom a fate has dared

mobsters, crooks and petty thieves
eyeballing what you share
and then all hope was lost
barricades and warfare

pretend the end is hollow
pretend you don't compare
pretend it's now or never
you vanish, I declare

pretend a world of sorrow
a tear here, a smile there
pretend, for god's sake, just pretend
under the knife, forever

j. g. laszyck (Columbus, OH, 1976)

November 6, 2014

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nigel pendleton (Syracuse, NY, 1977)