Acid Poem

By Lucas Herrera

Far from now

Anywhere to ever be spoken of

My contrary calls

Gleaming back through the spectacles

Hold up light truth it shines in its utmost robust and hoping never know for words hit the page

it is grounding so much more than any quick serenade.

Radiant the night time shouts at me

The screaming of the taxi lights

The burning of the apple bee

Steep there and sip your tea

For god

Who is it

Wheres the world of wisdom

A book

A monologue

A carpentry fatality

With these disheveled

Just take to the page some son

For all we know?

Ferris wheel of your memory remember?

Back and forth up and down and all upside down with the most you looked onto me with gooey brown eyes,

where your feet have been have never touched the ground.

You skip through the never ending celestial is you gaze back you feed me across planet earth.


Acid Poem

Untitled Poem by Veronica Levels

 By Veronica Levels

My mind once held so much confusion, I wasn’t able to speak a word.
No words flowing out of my mouth
But the silence,
It spoke the unheard.
Tear stained cheeks, I couldn’t even begin to describe the pain.
I had been thru hell and back and I doubt things would ever be the same.
They’d ask how I’m doing, I’d respond with I’m doing just fine.
Being weak is not an option so that’s my favorite line.
Throughout the many months, Jada was my helpful eye.
Promise being my best friend helped me to point out every lie.
Saliha, you’re the one that taught me not to give every situation a reaction
Unless well needed.
Well unhappiness was sentenced to death,
Guilty it pleaded.
I knew no matter how hard I tried, I wouldn’t be able to do this alone.
But I also knew I needed peace and couldn’t be knocked off my throne.
I had left the negative behind and set my main focus on the positive.
The moment I did so I knew it was time to move on
I had to forgive.
I had forgiven those that hurt me in multiple ways, I had forgiven those that treated me as an option most days.
After years and years of held in hate I had forgiven my father. To hold in so much hate I thought why bother.
I had forgiven those friends that turned their backs on me but I swear I’ll never forget how they would ,
Sneak around
And deceive
I forgive you for walking away when things got tough, and I forgive you for misleading me to believe it was love only knowing it was lust.
As I’m looking at the person who hurt me most in the eyes I find myself reminiscing about the pain hurt and lies.
Forgiveness is the key you need to defeat your enemy and once you do so they’re no longer draining you taking away all of your energy.
Forgiving was the hardest, yet most rewarding thing that I ever had to do. I mean how do you forgive someone who didn’t give one care about you ?
Well you do it for you .
One thing I said to myself is whoever put me last, I’m going to put them first.
But I no longer want them to feel what I felt and that includes
The pain
The loneliness
And the hurt.

Untitled Poem by Veronica Levels

It has come to a point

It has come to a point, where writing only happens

if the clock is way past 2

and the neighbors must be sleeping

it has come to a point, that half full wine glasses

seem to stay on the coffee table

just a day or two too long

time has taken me further, I’m older than I can remember

last time I saw myself I still wore a coat, I think it was green

while my music should be playing

for at least a year or three

God, do you remember

the first time I spoke to you

even though I believe

think there’s a place

worse than this

It has come to a point, where we as people

accept our failure, label it as routine

and think that this is what we are

intended to do, all along




It has come to a point


By Clare Flanagan


Forgive me my inaccuracies please it’s only that

I haven’t written about this (let alone felt it) in so long &

I was not expecting it now. I tend

to anticipate the worst such that

I’m never disappointed but then

when nothing changes I keep my chin above water when

the cloudbanks break my toes find

the cool silt floor of the lake and when you

appeared before me I began

to know the depth of all

I’m swimming in. You

in five fathomless shades of black, you

in glasses and low-pulled hats, you far

and incomprehensible shade of

that thing I felt last time the days lengthened

in this way – are you all that

in a different shape,

another epinephrine specter, tall crooked

dance partner for full-moon music? We,

tactless, swimming unsteady circles

around the kitchen – do you see

how I scour cast-iron, chop garlic

and day-old onions? What about

the bruise above

my collarbone, or how I watch, foolish

for you, halfway up the stairs? Let me tell you

what I’ve done and seen

for a minute. I can recite to you

the alphabet of my loneliness, the barefoot

pre-dawn soliloquy, high heels

in one hand, dislocation

in the empty other. Let me tell you all the words

I know for losing –

the one for locked-up quadriceps, salt heart surpassed

on the backstretch, the one

for the dark drive home, the resonant cold, the one

for at least now you know

how it feels, it’s done, spools

of interstate tangled on the floor

between you, but at least you know

what it’s like to be in love. Forgive me

again – I don’t have

a term for that. But if that word

could ever become flesh, it might

be you –

dwelling among us, close and bright

as the moon that forgets waning, you

who existed before me, voice broad and

eyes blue, with whom

I now share a roof, by some

holy accident. I don’t know

who to thank for this, how

to give shape to this yearning. Take

my hand again. Testify, cry out, tell me

stories in your dialect –

speak until I know

your very language.



Manzanita Park

By Clare Flanagan


How did I arrive here

from where I came —

the tree limbs, the cold lodestone rock

that pulled me as a child, called to ascend

til the branches bent? I named

every hoof-beaten path

in the backyard woods, stalking birds

& berries through the dusk hours, grown voices tearing

through the box-elders, calling out

to me. I labeled maps

in thin script, hidden still

in a Midwestern basement, slipped

between half-

finished canvases and pipes

exposed. My blood ran

with the knowledge

that I would become someone. So how

did those winding trail-lines

take me here, where I feel

I have forgotten all intention? It’s a nice patch

of grass, sun-saturated. They ringed it

with buildings, named it

for the small apple trees, drought-

stunted, frozen somehow

in girlhood. In their thin shade

I read the same sentences

over and again. I am learning

how memories are encoded – traces, sketched

in neural pencil, brain-buried,

smudged bolder when  they’re called

to the surface. Or perhaps

they leave the hippocampal bowels, float finchlike

to the cortical branches, sing clear

and independent of time. I think of this

as I gaze through the twig-fissures

at the California sky, sift

through decade-old networks –

buckthorn-woven, strung

with cattails, near-embalmed dreams

of being President, or

a vigilante queen. These days

I want less for myself. Before I leave here, before

I read the chapter on forgetting,

I think I’ll become Ophelia –

sink small under the lush square

of manicured grass, the green pool

deflecting voices that say

come back. Flesh

falling away like a wet dress, bone exposed

as the stark backyard granite, the boulder

ringed with tiger-lilies. How I

would strive, thin-armed, to pull my weight

to the rock’s crown, slip

down. How

I would try again.


Manzanita Park


By Clare Flanagan


I’ve come to recognize, under the untouchable boughs

of this live oak, that loneliness

is a fundamental frequency.


Between the roaring chord

of the highway & the sound

of the sky, I hear it humming,


thick and black

as the line between what could have been

and what was. They say,


given the stark bounds

of the root and the fifth,

you can hear a note that isn’t present –


like the sun’s afterimage

seared onto the eye, or the way, when I stand alone

in the cold lightless evening, I can sometimes feel your hands


as they found each other once

at the small of my back, pulling me into you, away

from the wrong edge of August – don’t open


your mouth. I know the places

to which we cannot return. Why is it, then,

that as I shut my eyes


to the high tangle of  branches, I see it all so clearly —

the overturned milk crates in the alley,

smoke from American Spirits


winding skyward, or before you, even,

the single-track trail by the ageless lake,

the salt taste of the miles I ran


that wore it deeper? It’s February in California,

all the solitary maples slender

under drought, but I smell rain in the air,


millefoil, musk,

hear red-winged blackbirds & leopard frogs

from Julys ago, telling me it was. It was

and I was, I was and


I am

there’s the song

that carries

through the summers.





By Clare Flanagan


From age twelve & onward I was warned

about them – notelong departures

from the prevailing key, hanging stealthy

between staff lines, barely heralded

by some arcane mark. Accidentals

stretched my knuckles to gristle

over stiff-sprung valves, derailed

whole melodies, hammered breath from me

til the true sound came into being. It’s been years

since I last read music, but today

on the commuter trail behind the Knollwood

Super Target with its wayward shopping carts

like loose cattle & empty apartments

metastasizing by the highway, those were the kind

of notes tearing through me –

teasing unready fingers

on the left handbrake, a rough reflex

half a beat behind. I’d seen the car

too late, but I was wheeling, coming in

sun-blind and hot, and in a single slow moment

I spiraled forward, a body-nautilus, back wheel rising

over wordless mouth. Curled before the hatchback

that stopped feet short of me, too-long shoelaces tangled

in the stilled pedals, I saw open skin hash-marking

my elbows and knees, road-carved sharps

across a measure of skin –

bloody blue-notes like the ones

I used to pencil in, meaning

don’t make that same mistake

you keep making. Even as I took

the hand of a stranger, who helped lift me back

to the world, the only word I could say

was sorry. But now, my legs being

less pavement-shaken, I want to examine

these bruises, let water sting the gravel

from the wounds. I want an ablution, a blessing

for white knuckles grasping

the wrong brake. I want to hear

the wrong note in the right place, a divine slip

from the key of speed, my still face feet

from the short-stopped vehicle, the voiceless

two-ton warning that all this momentum

is temporary. What I want most now

is to learn the best and most difficult song —

the chord that sets the wheels spinning again,

rate regardless, the one sung in gratitude

for being given one more mile

to fly forward, another day

to fall.