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One Flash – Ren Martinez

Ren Martinez is a procrastinating writer, fairy punk, and distracted geek. Her aesthetic is “would be suspected of witchcraft by local villagers.” She has been published in Potluck Magazine, Margins Magazine, The Mary Sue, and The Quotable, and is also a regular contributor for Quail Bell Magazine. She currently reside in Richmond with a cat who thinks she’s a princess. If you love snark and pictures of cats, you can find her at @renthemusical and itsrenmartinez on Instagram. For more witchy writings and glitterature, head to renmartinez.com.

Her

I stood on a beach in the middle of July and knew that I would not live another year.

***

I met Her on accident when I was twelve years old. There was a path curving along the back of my neighborhood, a twisted, winding thing that the local kids would venture down only a few steps before running back, giggling to mask the breathlessness of fear. The trees seemed to lean in closer there, as if they were listening to every word. Sounds tended to disappear into the deep green, interrupted only by the occasional whistle of no bird you’ve ever heard before.

The sun had barely filtered through the leaves as I stood at the curve of the path. My best friend was beside me, tittering into the curve of her hands.

“I dare you,” Geena whispered, pointing forward. “I dare you to go further than anyone else.”

I was not the kind of child who couldn’t say no. Even before I was born I was contrary, refusing to leave the womb until two weeks after the due date. My lateness was a character defect, my stubbornness a genetic fact.

The woods seemed to part, allowing a little light to shine through onto the path, flickering gold.

“Fine,” I said. “I will.”

My feet crunched over leaves and dirt, stepping over roots but never leaving the path. I no longer heard Geena calling out my name, only that humming silence that grew louder and louder. Shadows stretched longer, like hands reaching towards me. When the trees broke open, spilling gold like an egg, I had to shield my eyes for one bright moment.

When I recovered, I saw the beach.

The cove was a tiny one, and obviously forgotten, overgrown and cluttered with rocks and shells. The water was shimmering like fire as the sun set. It squeezed into a narrow clinch, like threading a needle, and beyond I could see where the ocean swallowed it up. It was like a tear had fallen, kept secret by the forest’s protective hands.

It took me a moment to realize I wasn’t alone.

“Hello?” I called out. My step forward cracked a shell beneath my shoe.

A girl stood at the edge of the shore, watching the water sweep up and away, up and away. She had long black hair, a little longer than mine, and her skin was a nutty brown. She was wearing a blue dress I almost recognized, and I squinted for a second before recognizing it as one I had seen in my favorite store just the week before. I had asked my mother about it, and she had said maybe when I was older.

“Hey!” I shouted, walking forward. I nearly tripped, my hands catching me before I fell. The sand was pale and soft against my palms.

When I stood back up, the girl had turned around, and I stared into my own face for the first time.

“Who…” Words hesitated to pass my teeth. “Who are you?”

She smiled. “I am You.”

***

We made each other a promise. Every year, on that July day, we would walk that path through the forest and spend the day at the beach.

“I’ll always be here,” She swore, taking my smaller hand in Hers. “I’ll always come for you.”

“But, what if you’re not?” I asked.

She didn’t answer, but Her hand gripped mine even tighter.

“I’ll see you next year,” She said.

***

Every year, we met on that beach. Some years, we would talk for hours, sharing memories and telling tales. She would sometimes divulge bits of the future, but always carefully, like shards of sharp glass.

“Don’t talk to Michael Hitchins,” she told me the year I turned sixteen.

When I heard his name called in homeroom that September, my curiosity got the better of me. In October, I said hello. In December, I fell in love. In July, he nearly choked me to death on the kitchen floor.

When I saw Her, the bruises were still fresh on my neck.

“I told you not to.”

“I know.”

One year, She mentioned that she’d never seen a meteor shower. I spent ages researching, mapping out where I would need to be and how to get there. One winter night, I drove up all the way to Edge Peak and laid on top of my car as the sky fell down. When I saw Her at the beach that year, She pulled me into a hug.

“Thank you,” She whispered.

***

“You never answered my question.”

She was sitting beside me in the sand, Her long hair knotted on top of her head. Her hair was always just slightly longer than mine. I could never catch up.

“What question?”

“What happens if you’re not here?”

A moment passed, and then She glanced at me, the red bindi between Her eyes glinting in the sun, like a wink. Like a secret.

“What answer are you looking for, Devi?” She asked. “What are you hoping for me to say?”

I didn’t say anything. The question still burned in my gut, but only because I knew the answer, and the two of us refused to speak it aloud.

Fingers slipped between mine, and I remembered it was still summer, and She was still here.

“Tell me about that teacher again. Mr. Fitzer?”

She laughed, the same way I laughed, and told me.

***

I waited on the beach.

The tide came in and out, the sun sank lower beneath the tree line, the sky burning to blood orange, and She never came. It was only me, alone on the shore, even as darkness fell. I stood there, watching the tide sweep in and out, fists clutching the fabric of my blue dress as I stared at my feet. If I turned, if I moved, if I took even one step from this spot, it was towards a future I didn’t know. Terror kept me rooted; grief kept me still.

Somewhere behind me, a shell cracked beneath someone’s shoe.

“Hello?”

I knew that voice.

“Hey!” Someone shouted. I heard them nearly fell behind me, but I knew they caught themselves, their hands dark against the pale sand.

When I turned around, She had just gotten back to her feet. Her face was young, but Her eyes were the same.

“Who…” She hesitated. “Who are you?”

I couldn’t help but smile. “I am You.”


“Her” is previously published in Fuck Art, Let’s Dance Issue #012.

 

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Gas Jugging N.Y.C. to This Lil Lit Fest

Shooting for Denver

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The NYC Poetry Festival rolled out well enough for us to kick-start our journey to Denver comfortably (asphalt sunrise standards). Our NYC process was corrugated & dense, sopping wet with rain & cop wary, but we almost sold out Books & Shovels, covering out desert bills + New Jersey gas (thankfully) + snagging up new lit to distribute @ This Lil Lit Fest in Colorado, a multi-day lit crawl of sorts thru the Denver metro.

We had 4 days till This Lil Lit Fest kicked off.

Eric & I dipped quick outta Bushwick late at night, trying to dodge the worst of N.Y.C. traffic, excited to get 2016’s Chapbook Series to Denver.

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“You can’t jug Jersey.”

Bullshit. Damp rattled like a lil orchestra of drunk tap dancers thru a series of convenient wrong turns thru an under construction sign-littered Bronx, stuffing the greedy gut of the E on our gas meter.

We escaped traffic into dead Jersey night. The gas light flicked on like a lil ugly orange star. We pulled off the highway for gas to a dead lit station. Well, alright. We pulled back on. & off to another dead station. & on & off to another. & another.

Nowhere was open, sign-less & happy to be in business. Nowhere laughed as we pulled on & off the empty highway. We ran outta data on maps. A lil polishing of the taste buds for digital privilege here.

At the next dead lit station refusing our cards, a cop stopped us, telling us off the lot we’d been banging our heads against. “Gas stations are self serving in Jersey. Most close early. Follow that road 3 or 4 miles & there’s one open.”

A sad man with sad eyes and a fat belly pumped our gas in that lil town’s green & brown twig tangled armpit.

With remorse, we pulled into a motel for the night. An inch of progress had been made. We parked our unsuspecting Damp between two other unsuspecting cars, & crashed for an early morning rise, cursing Jersey uneventfully exhausted.

Dope Taquerias & The Road to Kansas City

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There are no photos of that dope lil taqueria buried in rural Pennsylvania. It was a desert sweet gem Nowhere spoon fed us with cheap burritos & good salsa.

There are no photos of the gas jugging after Pennsylvania. There’s no photos of the “move along”s or “get outta here”s. There’s no photos of the mileage clocking us thru Ohio + Indiana + Illinois & into Missouri.

There is a photo of this beautiful view rigging us up out of bodies into a lil woodland fantasy:

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There are no photos of the beaten Kansas City smile. We kicked it w/ long-time Books & Shovels homie Ezhno Martín & cracked beers over jokes of the baggage Nowhere throws & burns & rewrites for you.

Ezhno threw us some much needed lit for the Denver gig. Our stock was laughingly low. We closed out our time in Kansas City @ Prospero’s Bookstore, a dope literary habitat we lost ourselves for hours between the margins of.

We do have photos of those books.

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The road from Kansas City to Denver was stippled with rain & purple lightening lighting Kansas dark stretched over black fields concealing any possibility of horizon.

We pulled into Denver with a pocketful of hours to rest before the first This Lil Lit Fest event.

A Gathering of Internet Folk

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Everyone was anxious meeting each other. Beer & wine & chain smoking were common as handshakes. No one was out of control. Everyone was coping.

Folks talked about comparing online presence & projections w/ the realities of each person. We talked about writing & performing & our tours. People peeled back confessions & dug around on & off stage.

I function best irl. Digitally, I feel more awkward & compressed. IRL, I feel more free to communicate & probe & share ideas. It was good to see the flesh behind the profile pictures.

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This Lil Lit Fest crew

Shout out to Ctch Bsnss, founder of Witch Craft Magazine, for coordinating this gathering.

Shout out to Evil Mtn & Taryn Andrews for reading w/ Witch Craft !!

Shout out to Ctch Bsnss, Khayree Billingslea, Alli Simone Defeo & Steve Roggenbuck for reading w/ Spy Kids Review !!

Shout out to Austin Islam, Addison Herron-Wheeler, Ellie Swensson, Justin Ryan Fyfe, Jonathan Simkins, Erin Taylor, Louis Packard, Gabby Joy, Azia DuPont, Jake Grieco, Frances Amiama, Joseph Parker Okay, Paul Hanson Clark & Precious Okoyomon for reading @ This Lil Lit Poetry Party !!

Shout out to Sunday’s Book Exchange !!

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Books & Shovels

Huge artery finger snappin’ shout out to Ctch Bsnss, Emily O’Neill & Elle Nash for reading w/ Nostrovia! !! Thank you for getting vulnerable & representing🙂

Shout out to Emily Sipiora, Precious Okoyomon, Elijah Pearson, Jeremiah Walton & Blake Wallin for reading w/ Bottlecap Press !!

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Jeremiah Walton featuring for Bottlecap Press

Shout out to Monday’s byebye brunch !!!

Oh, & weird side note :

I don’t smoke bud. It makes me anxious. I was a lil stoner in high-school, & those days have passed. I’m more apt for what represses.

Our first night in Denver, I exchanged Mexican candy to a friend from Korea who had candies from her country. After a couple hours of drunken dialogue & sweetened taste buds, our lil crews parted ways. We met up the following day, & she assumed I smoked bud. Her not thinking to ask, & myself not thinking to ask (shit, we’re in Denver), I wordlessly ate the gummy she handed me, assuming it was another Korean candy.

Nawp. Had to bail on the poetry party & lay down in the back of Damp listening to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for the next couple hours till passing out into the most restful sleep of this tour yet.

Amped Miles

We were gifted a couple energy boosting stimulants of sorts before our departure. Ingested & ready to read the odometer home, we gas jugged Denver’s outskirts waiting for our new lil blood boiler homie to settle in.

While we waited, a kind soul with a thin white nose kicked us down a full tank of gas & a gaggle of groceries :

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We weren’t keen on the fried chicken, but the man insisted on ‘protein.’

We fed a bunch of stoners in Tucson when we pulled back in.

To summarize, that night got restless truck stop weird.

“& to NOLALALA!!

New N! homies gather. Sonoran desert rat Sid & her 2002 Chevy Malibu, Siouxsie Sioux, are joining up w/ us for the remainder of the Books & Shovels tour !!

& here we’ve run into a myriad of problems uninteresting to write, the sort of lil details writers leave out of the tale due to their mundane nature, or at least this writer is going to. I don’t want to speak for ya’ll.

Initially intending to depart 8/15, we’ve pushed back the next leg of our tour to departing 8/22 to New Orleans & up the East Coast to New England & out out out to Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland, Detroit, out Glacier out Yellowstone out Seattle down Portland, & chasing that Pacific South to San Diego, & finally, that much needed Tucson desert sun nap.

So yeah, bye Damp, descansa bien. Well, till I get back & scrap your guts for rent.

& bye Eric. See ya in Flagstaff. Much love for helping out thru the first leg of 2016’s traveling bookstore tour.

Write soon,

w/❤

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Two Poems – Rosalie Wilmot

Rosalie Wilmot is a transient poet and educator from Seattle, WA, who lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She is the author of the chapbooks “Portal” and “We grew weeds,” and has been published by Zoomoozophone Review, Moloko House, and Electric Cereal.

Divine In Blindness

fooling around she says simply
her hair whispies and butter toned blouse
a sensuous sistine anemone
graced with genetic code
whisper
fill up the qualms of avenues
of boardwalks
for the listeners of last years
wonder
begone in the firefly’d gloom
sweet morning of our running moon
our often swallowed remorse for what came after
he was swaying in the sounds of her flute
to the river bodies and aquatic life
nibbling gently on the bread crumbs
beneath the water she greets him
her skirt a pile beneath the sand.

Sometime

before the earth we were
finned swimmres of no afternoon

no morning just
space

This is a
place

that calls you often
when you are abot to fall
asleep

you start to fantasize
about a simpler time
a time when you weren’t
bothered with
consumer culture’d milk
or employment corn
color’d with commentary

there
is a
place
inside your body
where this swimmer
still swims
still moves about
and in some of us
it is very
large and
in others
it is so very
very
com
press’d
and
hidden

still the
swimmer
swims on

 


“Divine In Blindness” + “Sometime” are both previously published in Fuck Art, Let’s Dance Issue #012.

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Two Poems – Jessie Janeshek

Jessie Janeshek’s chapbooks “Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish” and “Rah-Rah Nostalgia” are forthcoming from Grey Book Press and dancing girl press respectively. Her full-length collection of poetry is “Invisible Mink” (Iris Press, 2010).

We Build You A Fire    of Your Prior Hunger

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Remember Us Mixing      Cement So Thick

1.12.13


“We Build You A Fire     of Our Prior Hunger” + “Remember Us Mixing    Cement So Thick” are both previously published in Fuck Art, Let’s Dance Issue #012.

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Two Poems – Soeun Seo // Art – Minseon Kim

Soeun Seo is a poet/translator from South Korea. With poet Jake Levine, she translated the Korean poet Kim Yi-deum, some of which are forthcoming at Hayden’s Ferry Review. Soeun’s original works can be found at Potluck Magazine and Witch Craft Magazine. She lives in Santa Barbara, CA for 2016

Minseon Kim is a philosopher and an illustrator with an emphasis on pen art. She has worked as an editor and photographer for Blue Ribbon Survey, the Korean Michelin Guide. She was born and raised in Seoul, on alcohol.

Letters To The Abyss #3

Darkness, you are always the big spoon—half a dozen drinks too
late to bedtime your hairy leg gets under mine
I shaved today, feel my shins, follow me under my sheets–
greedy pubes heavenly, O so heavenly on my ass—I’ll read you
some JoAnna Novak and baby, we can chat all night
smoke all this leftover innocence—in a sense, it is another drug
or all of them—although, does light even kill?–
and I’ll skin the cold off your back if you peel the empty off mine
and eat it too—and oh let me show you my new face
swap app, let’s take a selfie together and switch faces
Darkness, you can have my face and my face can have shadows
warm and wet, dozens of them—sorry, is my head cutting off
your blood flow, you know, you don’t have to be my pillow
here, the most comfortable chair—sit and stare
remember what you said on loop upon my 348th rejection–
say it back to me now: Failure is an exacting art

For The Woodfairy Elk of North Bay, Ontario 2013

by minseon kim

by Minseon Kim

we dive bloodfirst into metal
cans and leave open our hands
for paper cranes to fly into
but skins cling to the carpet
where we expand sacred
(we’re so high we collapse/
nothing more is meant)
encased in a snow globe
of bobbing vests and more fires
in the black lake that we shared
that could never for all its stones
harm us or warm us
when the beach freezes I break
hearts on the sand and erase my name
so I will forget it was me
but have you ever seen a beating heart? almost
a Travel Voombox losing battery fast
we lock only our pinkies while our other hands
each grope old cities for something, something else
my lips caress all the walls to find concent
all this just to realize that I never hurt you
I say this because I now dance
lightly lightly away and again
the stars in these waters
there is no torrent we must fear


“Letter To The Abyss #3” + “For The Woodfairy Elk of North Bay, Ontario 2013” are previously published in Fuck Art, Let’s Dance Issue #12