XXXVIII Written by Tullia d'Aragona & read by Skye Cleary
I thought, fleeing my beloved Sun,
to diminish (O misery!) this constant fire
by seeking clear rivers and staying in the shadows
in the most leafy, the most lonely woods;
but the further away extend his shining rays the stronger, hour by hour, grows my flame.
Who would believe that this flame increases with distance from the sun?
And yet the further extends this divine ray,
the more it redoubles its fire.
It does me no good to haunt fountain or wood;
worthless in my pain are breezes, waves, and shade.
I no longer seek fresh breezes, waves, or shade,
for my blazing and fierce flame cannot be quenched in stream of wood;
always will I follow my beloved Sun,
for as a salamander lives anew in fire,
I love in joy, thanks to his divine ray.
Then why does it not illuminate me, the living ray,
wherever I go, in sunlight or in shadow?
With pleasure would I suffer such a sweet fire
and die content from its great flame.
But I do not hope (alas) to see the sun
unveil so bright a day in these woods.
I will hold in hatred the mountains and the woods
that hide from me the light of this bright ray,
which shines and burns more than the other sun.
Blame me if you wish, flee these rays for shade,
but as for me, I'll always seek and praise the flame
that burns me, and be consumed in such a potent fire.
Therefore, so gracious to me is this fire
that unkind are the mountains, stream, and woods
where I cannot see my Sun, but feel his flame.
If only I could come nearer to the beloved ray
and of my own body make for him a shade
both at the setting and the rising of the sun.
But the sun would become dark, and cold, the fire,
and never would there be a shadow in the woods
before this lovely ray no longer burns in me, this flame.
Written & read by Dan Chung
lonely islands untouching
swift fated journey
careening waves undulate
plans upturned by luck
pattern of suffering
disrupting higher intent
rain's destined to fall
as sun and moon dance amidst
shifting tender stars
when doubt is banished
abundance flourishes with
you can be just fine
alone all your life but why?
it is nice to need
it is fun to feel
sand sifting between your toes
laughing with loved ones
joy is a breakthrough
love begins where wanting ends
be happy and have their peace
it is our birthright
Ghosts Written & recited by Gracie Bialecki
You want to sound smart? We can have convos filled with words that you don't know. Oh, you want real talk? I'll take my gloves off, see a side that I don't show.
You want nice scenes? Go pose them.
You got pipe dreams? I've been smoking.
You want good times? Get them rolling. I had high hopes. Don't blow them.
'Cause we've been out here for years now and things are no different. We talk and we talk, but we never once do shit.
You're still chasing greatness. Spend money to make it.
Fight like it's painless.
Blame me and then split. You want my time? I don't buy it.
You got lifelines.
You want to choose sides? Just try me.
And when I'm down to my fighting weight, see the look on your face. You keep painting lies. We both know that true stays. Let time do its best work another slow fade.
You're watching? I don't misstep. You got issues? I could care less.
You wanna go home? We're not even there yet.
And we have to keep walking. There's no turning back. You're still always talking. Could be fiction or fact.
Was shooting straight arrows. How'd you dodge them like that? Get up off the ground, and we'll get back to the facts.
If my heart is a muscle the size of a fist.
Sew me back up and see how it fits.
Keep shoving your foot in the shoe never fits.
You'll get your fairytale ending if you keep re-writing the script.
Or you can stop reading between lines and just live with it.
And I was out with my princes in the streets all day, then woke up half drowned, turned down on PKs.
I was out with my princes acting royal and rich, searching the kingdom for treasures we missed.
No, I was out with my princes just trying to stay lit 'til we can't see where we're going through the thick heavy mist.
And the coke made me sleep. I'm ready for bed.
You're talking so dreamy. Let's lay down like you said.
We've been up for ages. Promise we'll sleep when we're dead? And all my exes are jokes. They don't live here no more.
Just laugh at my faults. Sunrise to night fall.
All my exes are ghosts. They live in the walls.
And watch time do its old tricks and fade all of our flaws.
Written & read by Elana Seplow-Jolley
Crestfall to my heartwood
before the end is here
claw back all the hours
burn the kerosene of fear.
Change out my lantern lover
before the flowers close
stir the heather hornet nest
before you pluck the rose.
Hold back the—I know. I see you shaking your head.
But how else to say all this?
It’s like listening to a map.
I can’t circumscribe my heart in prose.
Why? That’s a good question.
Oh, I see—you meant it. I guess…
I rhyme because I’m terrified
I rhyme because I’m sick
I rhyme to break me down from you
and build the loveliest high-thorned wall.
I rhyme because
moon brilliant blue
I rhyme because beltane
bellchime and cowry
foxes and fractals—you see?
Isn’t it kind of shitty to listen to me
just listing the words that make me love?
Much better to hide them in their twins.
The hart in the woods makes the warmest of skins.
I rhyme because I’m tiresome
I rhyme because I ache
I rhyme because this is just how I communicate.
You see, lark and loam and leaf and liver
will teach me to help you cross the river
in which I set my words.
Nettle sting sungwoven spun into thread
help me to silence the doubt in my head.
Evergreen echo and thrice-gotten home
this is how I learn to give you my loam.
I see you shaking your head, I do. I’m sorry.
All I know is on that cold day
in our wet orchard
I dug up my rotted roots
so my leaves could finally drift free.
So I suppose—
if you can wait for me—
Hang the screen I wove for you
above your eyes to dream.
And if you’re a fucking asshole,
stare until the sun is full
of moon light at its seam.
Written & read by Caleb Garling
In a city of jacks I hoped
to be the joker balanced at the edge
but the razors had other plans
insisting their truces upon me.
Taught on the line between costume
and uniform, a wash of nostalgia
for a prank long over.
This peacock stuffed still noble
at the edge of this bar, on this street;
the candles catch herl
as if that’d been the plan all along.
Panes in my hand on the wall
on my chest under my drink,
the night screaming for light;
bad tapestries draped over still nomads
uncaring caring while the speaker goes on.
Written & read by Caleb Garling
I want a parcel of land
in the smoke of a black lagoon
with soft grass and skies;
you in the moon.
What tender wagers I’d place
to step in cool woods
and streams, following you close
Take my talons and why I stand,
holding the damage to court;
rules in sand.
I court fire in jest
but find myself burned;
tend to my wounds, oh please,
ignoring their merit.
Written & read by Caleb Garling
And when a tenth tide washed the body
did he realize no debt of earth or time
would spare his grinning glance
from unanswered calls or broken seams
in the places he’d come to recognize.
Even with their sharp breaks
did the frothy metronome
scrape at the oils and salts
face up in the surf.
Heave oxygen over, over;
catch the feeling before it returns to sea,
and the kelp grabs,
and the beach turns a dream
left behind, torn away
when a moon leans to the horizon.
Poem One Written & read by Rebecca Geiger I’m getting married. Getting married. He is so happy. dancing me ‘round, swinging me in his arms.
But I’m settling. My black cat. I scoop him up, Hold him close, Yet he wiggles away, like some wild thing, Then it’s “goodbye” everyone, “goodbye.” And there’s my mom, naked and hunched in a box, so weary. “Don’t eat everything at once,” she says. “Live normally, while you can.” And there’s some sense in this, I think as I pick up my cat once more , and again he jumps from my arms, though not so wild now, meowing in a long drawn out sound That I understand.
Poem Two Written & read by Rebecca Geiger We’re going to jail. My father and i. The short, little man in the corner insists, so mean, But how dare he. this is our house. And there’s my brother again Acting like he owns the place Thinking...he’s in charge now. Funny since the house is a mess The rooms all forlorn Our animals have not been fed And my dog is in the bathroom shivering.