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vin; androgyne

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A member registered Oct 20, 2018 · View creator page →

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unsurprisingly, i knew i had to go and make something green for myself.  i call this one "Leafy Greens", its really soothing and makes me happy! so glad this customization is an option.

[0]
name=leafy greens
authorname=@hologramvin
0=0c2f27
1=18483b
2=cfefde
3=95d5ba
4=5cc393
5=339d70


Thank you so much! I am sososososo glad you liked it!! At least one other story in this timeline (though the timeline is quite spread out) is up for free on my Patreon & more are behind the paywall :) https://www.patreon.com/hologramvin

Gotcha, just wanted to make sure. Theres a lot of poets out there who write about mental illnesses they don't have/have never experienced for a kind of edginess or aesthetic so i had to check

send me an email at vincenthemself@gmail.com and ill send you my discord so we can chat better! (or whatever works best for u)

of course! i really really love your work! im actually trying to write a game right now during quarantine and id love to ask for your advice about code for specific features your work had? if that's cool!

i genuinely have no idea bc of how nuts everything is rn. hopefully next year at least

"my body is a hellhole and you know how i feel about hellholes" by Zøe Axemarsh (twitter). "This chapbook is about my own feelings towards the dysphoria in my body and is meant to hopefully be the only full project I focus on the topic. I'm thankful that in the present tense I can appreciate this collection as a statement to where I was at and see them for the art I believe them to be; I hope you enjoy them.". hellhole is a somewhat longer chapbook in that it comes out to about 41 pages. The design of it is very minimalist with a thin more modern font throughout. It definitely is a really personal, really frank exploration of the author's dysphoria.

It's one of those situations where you feel it really deeply, maybe almost too deeply. You can tell how much pain the writer is going through and then some. It's hard to know what to say. That doesn't mean the writing is poor or too much or disinteresting. It's really really good. In that hard way. You want to praise it but not make light of the suffering that has gone into sharing it, and the difficulties with living the life behind the words. Trans/non-cis writers all become very well versed in exploring what feels like new ways to discuss and explore their own relationships with gender and transitioning. Still, there are always those moments of reading other people's writing about it that make you go "wow" and try to sit with the actualization that someone else has pieced together. This is very much Zøe's relationship with her body and nothing and no one else can ever truly get it the way ey do. Does this mean this is "just" a gender or "just" a dysphoria book? Not at all. Even when trans people are writing about gender and transness, we are always so much more than that.

Sometimes she'll say something like "linking bodies to violence / is only natural among a population obsessed with war" and other times gift you a poem written and directed like an indie film (loved that). The story here is desperation, but one where the author either has come to terms with it or is in the process of doing so. It's hard to describe. It isn't hopeless. It's just so understandably frustrated that you know the same dull pain throughout your bones better than any other sensation at this point. There's also some really beautiful exploration of spirituality, parental or familial roles, human existence, nature, and so on. Generally a well-balanced and hard-hitting submission that shouldn't be underestimated.

"your brothers and sisters are carriers of precious knowledge some know of snakes and constellations, herbs and tides what do you know? what do you want the worthy to learn?"

[CW // dysphoria, bodies, mental health, etc]

"my body is a hellhole and you know how i feel about hellholes" by Zøe Axemarsh (twitter). "This chapbook is about my own feelings towards the dysphoria in my body and is meant to hopefully be the only full project I focus on the topic. I'm thankful that in the present tense I can appreciate this collection as a statement to where I was at and see them for the art I believe them to be; I hope you enjoy them.". hellhole is a somewhat longer chapbook in that it comes out to about 41 pages. The design of it is very minimalist with a thin more modern font throughout. It definitely is a really personal, really frank exploration of the author's dysphoria.

It's one of those situations where you feel it really deeply, maybe almost too deeply. You can tell how much pain the writer is going through and then some. It's hard to know what to say. That doesn't mean the writing is poor or too much or disinteresting. It's really really good. In that hard way. You want to praise it but not make light of the suffering that has gone into sharing it, and the difficulties with living the life behind the words. Trans/non-cis writers all become very well versed in exploring what feels like new ways to discuss and explore their own relationships with gender and transitioning. Still, there are always those moments of reading other people's writing about it that make you go "wow" and try to sit with the actualization that someone else has pieced together. This is very much Zøe's relationship with her body and nothing and no one else can ever truly get it the way ey do. Does this mean this is "just" a gender or "just" a dysphoria book? Not at all. Even when trans people are writing about gender and transness, we are always so much more than that.

Sometimes she'll say something like "linking bodies to violence / is only natural among a population obsessed with war" and other times gift you a poem written and directed like an indie film (loved that). The story here is desperation, but one where the author either has come to terms with it or is in the process of doing so. It's hard to describe. It isn't hopeless. It's just so understandably frustrated that you know the same dull pain throughout your bones better than any other sensation at this point. There's also some really beautiful exploration of spirituality, parental or familial roles, human existence, nature, and so on. Generally a well-balanced and hard-hitting submission that shouldn't be underestimated.

"your brothers and sisters are carriers of precious knowledge some know of snakes and constellations, herbs and tides what do you know? what do you want the worthy to learn?"

[CW // dysphoria, bodies, mental health, etc]

"notes regarding this hole in the wind" by Mathilda Cullen (twitter/podcast/press/books). "Some poems collected from a while ago and some recent stuff, also an erasure I did of Rilke's sonnets to Orpheus for someone special.notes is also similarly longer like the previous submission, and also clocks in at about 40 pages. Mathilda is a friend I am blessed to know and work with and what she produces herself as a writer and through her micro press is just some really amazing stuff. Unsurprisingly, everything about this chapbook is just wonderful too. It's full of taste, skill, good execution, and enjoyable design. The cover itself really points to the aesthetic in a lot of what she puts together. A very almost architectural approach not just to the feel of her work (and here I mean true architecture. Not modernism or contemporary design. Architecture used to be a show of flare or esteemed flamboyancy, but it does require calculation and structure and her breakdown and analyses of poetry itself also tends to do just that.) but also to her understanding of the medium she operates within; comes through. The first sentence done and you already know you're getting something special. Some of the work in here I believe I may have read parts of previously, but it doesn't matter. The collection is carrying her belief in both non-traditional anything but that writing can do and be more than it is. She is one of my cherished and trusted communist poet comrades and this really is a story of life within capitalism and the power of language to address and motivate against it.

There are a lot of one-liners that stick with you from already amazing poems. It's impossible to pick a pulled quote with such a variety provided. "A country is only / as large as the cops maintaining it.", "Soundless, a warship sits / in the harbor, another ornament / of empire to dress the deaths of this:", "i have taken shape from supposed visions, accidental collages, and family photographs; all of which were never mine and never could be, but which i’ve since lost;", and "do you have any idea what that flag has done. the planes i consume on my morning commute are nothing if not cancerous. grasp for air. yeah, choke it." just as examples for the playground of literary composition she provides in the first half. It's difficult for me to do it justice because I think it's such an intricate and significant construction you really have to focus and reread it to give it the full attention it deserves. When someone uses every beautiful word already, so thoughtfully, what are you supposed to say, when you don't even know if you have that same mastery over words? I know she and I both think of "genius" as a eugenicist concept, and that words don't belong to any one kind of person and shouldn't be forced anywhere. It's hard to convey what "ownership of true talent" means when you're someone who is rather against the endless stream of individual ownership of anything. I think that makes sense, at least to say she really feels like a woman raising poems as her children and that her influence has shaped them devoutly yet on the page they exist as their own entities. Distinctly hers and yet not simple extensions of herself.

The second half gets into erasure sonnets and they look amazing. They're scanned in images from a slightly aged book then crossed out to form new poems. They look amazing within the composure of the book, and they're also very pleasant to read. The pages have yellowed in a greenish way, but are not yet brown. The digitally[?] placed sharpie helps it feel really straightforward and clean, which is a smart choice as physical erasures can be really difficult to read or understand the formatting of sometimes. The lines also aren't constrained to being traditionally done simply straight but really do tell a story when they aim as slashes or emotional crossing out's as opposed to only lines through and through. It's always so beautiful to see how poetry redone in someone else's hands can make it completely new and even more intriguing. It's very much her style to wed the concepts of a poetic essay, anti-capitalism, trans lesbianism, and old school sonnets into a combination presented like a journal. I don't know how she does it, but I do know that I hope she doesn't stop!

"she made herself a bed.  And slept in me."

"notes regarding this hole in the wind" by Mathilda Cullen (twitter/podcast/press/books). "Some poems collected from a while ago and some recent stuff, also an erasure I did of Rilke's sonnets to Orpheus for someone special.notes is also similarly longer like the previous submission, and also clocks in at about 40 pages. Mathilda is a friend I am blessed to know and work with and what she produces herself as a writer and through her micro press is just some really amazing stuff. Unsurprisingly, everything about this chapbook is just wonderful too. It's full of taste, skill, good execution, and enjoyable design. The cover itself really points to the aesthetic in a lot of what she puts together. A very almost architectural approach not just to the feel of her work (and here I mean true architecture. Not modernism or contemporary design. Architecture used to be a show of flare or esteemed flamboyancy, but it does require calculation and structure and her breakdown and analyses of poetry itself also tends to do just that.) but also to her understanding of the medium she operates within; comes through. The first sentence done and you already know you're getting something special. Some of the work in here I believe I may have read parts of previously, but it doesn't matter. The collection is carrying her belief in both non-traditional anything but that writing can do and be more than it is. She is one of my cherished and trusted communist poet comrades and this really is a story of life within capitalism and the power of language to address and motivate against it.

There are a lot of one-liners that stick with you from already amazing poems. It's impossible to pick a pulled quote with such a variety provided. "A country is only / as large as the cops maintaining it.", "Soundless, a warship sits / in the harbor, another ornament / of empire to dress the deaths of this:", "i have taken shape from supposed visions, accidental collages, and family photographs; all of which were never mine and never could be, but which i’ve since lost;", and "do you have any idea what that flag has done. the planes i consume on my morning commute are nothing if not cancerous. grasp for air. yeah, choke it." just as examples for the playground of literary composition she provides in the first half. It's difficult for me to do it justice because I think it's such an intricate and significant construction you really have to focus and reread it to give it the full attention it deserves. When someone uses every beautiful word already, so thoughtfully, what are you supposed to say, when you don't even know if you have that same mastery over words? I know she and I both think of "genius" as a eugenicist concept, and that words don't belong to any one kind of person and shouldn't be forced anywhere. It's hard to convey what "ownership of true talent" means when you're someone who is rather against the endless stream of individual ownership of anything. I think that makes sense, at least to say she really feels like a woman raising poems as her children and that her influence has shaped them devoutly yet on the page they exist as their own entities. Distinctly hers and yet not simple extensions of herself.

The second half gets into erasure sonnets and they look amazing. They're scanned in images from a slightly aged book then crossed out to form new poems. They look amazing within the composure of the book, and they're also very pleasant to read. The pages have yellowed in a greenish way, but are not yet brown. The digitally[?] placed sharpie helps it feel really straightforward and clean, which is a smart choice as physical erasures can be really difficult to read or understand the formatting of sometimes. The lines also aren't constrained to being traditionally done simply straight but really do tell a story when they aim as slashes or emotional crossing out's as opposed to only lines through and through. It's always so beautiful to see how poetry redone in someone else's hands can make it completely new and even more intriguing. It's very much her style to wed the concepts of a poetic essay, anti-capitalism, trans lesbianism, and old school sonnets into a combination presented like a journal. I don't know how she does it, but I do know that I hope she doesn't stop!

"she made herself a bed.  And slept in me."

"e d e n" is a submission also by nurbrun. Unlike shining they aren't that into this one, and it's a lot shorter and less interactive. Regardless I still think the writing and atmosphere provided is amazing. They've shown they have a real talent for making these kinds of poetry games and I sincerely look forward to whatever they may write in the future. They described this one as a "Short poem feat. are you mad at god? Are you bitter about your life? Do you feel like you lack agency under the scrutiny of an unyielding universe? TURN THE SOUND ON and use headphones if you can, this was an exploration of the sound component of a poem, so lmk what you think. Honestly didnt want to post this and share it wth the world, i dont like it, I dont like what it says, but ehh its a thing so." and I think that really makes sense for what it says and does as a poem game. It's not a long sci-fi-ish story though it does still follow a very pleading unusual source of information and uses the poetry of prayer to build the world around it.

This one doesn't have ending(s) or an ending you can really reach at all. That's fine, I also think that makes perfect sense for what it's telling or the atmosphere it's building. I agree the soundscape put together is definitely the aspect of this story you should really tune into. It's a symphony of human breathing interspersed with other bodily sounds. Maybe you'll find that a bit gross, but if you're in the right head space for it, you'll easily agree how audio artwork like this really lifts something to an entirely different level. It's a very short poem game, but it's still one you should play. There's nothing more interesting than ominous pleas to the heavens when it feels like the end of the world, and you just want to make things better again.

"the stones and your hands are one"

[CW // body, injury, the unknown, evocative sacrifice, religion & spirituality, light ecopessimism?]

"e d e n" is a submission also by nurbrun. Unlike shining they aren't that into this one, and it's a lot shorter and less interactive. Regardless I still think the writing and atmosphere provided is amazing. They've shown they have a real talent for making these kinds of poetry games and I sincerely look forward to whatever they may write in the future. They described this one as a "Short poem feat. are you mad at god? Are you bitter about your life? Do you feel like you lack agency under the scrutiny of an unyielding universe? TURN THE SOUND ON and use headphones if you can, this was an exploration of the sound component of a poem, so lmk what you think. Honestly didnt want to post this and share it wth the world, i dont like it, I dont like what it says, but ehh its a thing so." and I think that really makes sense for what it says and does as a poem game. It's not a long sci-fi-ish story though it does still follow a very pleading unusual source of information and uses the poetry of prayer to build the world around it.

This one doesn't have ending(s) or an ending you can really reach at all. That's fine, I also think that makes perfect sense for what it's telling or the atmosphere it's building. I agree the soundscape put together is definitely the aspect of this story you should really tune into. It's a symphony of human breathing interspersed with other bodily sounds. Maybe you'll find that a bit gross, but if you're in the right head space for it, you'll easily agree how audio artwork like this really lifts something to an entirely different level. It's a very short poem game, but it's still one you should play. There's nothing more interesting than ominous pleas to the heavens when it feels like the end of the world, and you just want to make things better again.

"the stones and your hands are one"

[CW // body, injury, the unknown, evocative sacrifice, religion & spirituality, light ecopessimism?]

I suppose kind of before I write the review of this whether or not you deal with mental illness yourself? If you do not deal with mental illness personally I would find the approach of this chapbook a little inappropriate and would remove it from the jam. Of course if you're speaking from personal experience it's totally fine, just want some clarification thanks!

"the sun is shining" by nurbrun. "Collection of poems designed for the digital platform. i'm obsessed with the form of the art being inseparable from the art itself (why submit something that can be printed to a jam that will never leave the interwebs?) so here we go; enjoy". Now to be fair, a big goal and intention of mine is to help some entries from this "leave the interwebs" and that the concept of jams should and can translate to physical and local spaces, but I get what is meant. Part of the limitation of digital publication is that it can't always connect with the millions of people not within specific loops exposed to its existence. I do think that what we do in digital spaces follows us into our physical experiences, but many people participating in this probably don't intend to port this kind of work over to physical copies. The point is, nurbrun designed sun to be a purely digital experience. It's a color-coded game with great piano music and a very 2000s web feel.

This is an interactive poetry game through and through. In a certain way you can influence the form and shape that the nightmarescape/dreamscape has to offer you, but only to a certain extent. You do have to think and pay attention to access some of the game's options, which I always love to see in interactive fiction. Click through stories are amazing, but even small things that make me feel like a full participant in the story really take it a step above. When you stumble onto the first interactive poem it really almost sends you into the perfect place to help form it. That has a magical game-like beauty that anyone can enjoy. You aren't always sure what's real and what isn't, but that makes an intriguing read. Are you a character in a fictional story, or is this the artistic embodiment of a real person's life and memories. Maybe it's science fiction, but maybe it isn't.

You are forced to dream to pass the time. All you want to do is [leave? escape? stay?]. I kept trying over and over to unlock the answering machine to listen to messages, but you have to follow the path and you can't just guess it. This is a game with unlimited mix-in's for a bowl of cereal. An endless stream of names for the person you must be. You have to dream, and you have to take your time. You could play this a million different ways, and see a million different poems in every page. That's beyond impressive. That's an unforgettable experience. You know, I wrote down every possible complicated word and number sequence I came across as I played to try as the password to the answering machine? I loved how wrong I was when I finally figured it out. The messages are worth waiting for. What a game these poems are. I can't wait to play this a million times over. 30 minutes flew by like nothing. I'll be thinking about the children I had with some frosted flakes for forever.

"grandmother where are your earholes are they like mine do we have matching vulvas did you leave me your orifices grandmother do i have your orifices do i have your mouth grandmother can i climb into your mouth, grandmother to search for the children, grandmother where are the children"

[CW // memory, history, family, needles, body parts, nightmares]

"the sun is shining" by nurbrun. "Collection of poems designed for the digital platform. i'm obsessed with the form of the art being inseparable from the art itself (why submit something that can be printed to a jam that will never leave the interwebs?) so here we go; enjoy". Now to be fair, a big goal and intention of mine is to help some entries from this "leave the interwebs" and that the concept of jams should and can translate to physical and local spaces, but I get what is meant. Part of the limitation of digital publication is that it can't always connect with the millions of people not within specific loops exposed to its existence. I do think that what we do in digital spaces follows us into our physical experiences, but many people participating in this probably don't intend to port this kind of work over to physical copies. The point is, nurbrun designed sun to be a purely digital experience. It's a color-coded game with great piano music and a very 2000s web feel.

This is an interactive poetry game through and through. In a certain way you can influence the form and shape that the nightmarescape/dreamscape has to offer you, but only to a certain extent. You do have to think and pay attention to access some of the game's options, which I always love to see in interactive fiction. Click through stories are amazing, but even small things that make me feel like a full participant in the story really take it a step above. When you stumble onto the first interactive poem it really almost sends you into the perfect place to help form it. That has a magical game-like beauty that anyone can enjoy. You aren't always sure what's real and what isn't, but that makes an intriguing read. Are you a character in a fictional story, or is this the artistic embodiment of a real person's life and memories. Maybe it's science fiction, but maybe it isn't.

You are forced to dream to pass the time. All you want to do is [leave? escape? stay?]. I kept trying over and over to unlock the answering machine to listen to messages, but you have to follow the path and you can't just guess it. This is a game with unlimited mix-in's for a bowl of cereal. An endless stream of names for the person you must be. You have to dream, and you have to take your time. You could play this a million different ways, and see a million different poems in every page. That's beyond impressive. That's an unforgettable experience. You know, I wrote down every possible complicated word and number sequence I came across as I played to try as the password to the answering machine? I loved how wrong I was when I finally figured it out. The messages are worth waiting for. What a game these poems are. I can't wait to play this a million times over. 30 minutes flew by like nothing. I'll be thinking about the children I had with some frosted flakes for forever.

"grandmother where are your earholes are they like mine do we have matching vulvas did you leave me your orifices grandmother do i have your orifices do i have your mouth grandmother can i climb into your mouth, grandmother to search for the children, grandmother where are the children"

[CW // memory, history, family, needles, body parts, nightmares]

"Bedroom" by Emma (twitter). "A requiem for lost hours, unmade beds, and all the broken things I can never repair.". Anything starting out with the imagery of both one's bedroom and being unmade, you know you're likely to experience something intimate and understandably disorganized. The first poem blows away any thoughts of that personal aspect being something Emma will build up to. For me, it felt like really reading about the way I feel so disconnected from my own mind. I don't know exactly why focusing is the hardest thing in the world for me. It could be ADHD, autism, or the fact that both apply to me working together at the same time. All I know is that I never fully feel awake, and very little around me feels real. Emma's writing is similar. The perfect capture of the way living with neurodivergency constantly makes everything around you feel like it's 10x MORE of something no one else ever seems to get or talk about.

There's so much here that really digs deep and clearly into the reality now that comes with coming of age alongside the internet. In that it's always been a part of our lives and has informed our relationships with our bodies, our sexuality, with sex, with sexual assault . . . and the frequency we develop symptoms of trauma. Social media may be an amazing way to stay connected with other marginalized people, but nearly everyone I know has had a digital experience with being in an unhealthy dynamic with an adult as a minor or very young adult. People don't seem to realize how widespread that reality is, regardless of gender, and they don't seem to get that we're all growing up with some sort of sexual trauma one way or another. People always have been, but the way digital spaces enable this to happen and then also enable the development of poor coping mechanisms in response is such a common story among anyone my age or younger it's to be expected even if it's never spoken of.

Emma crafts poems that maybe aren't exploring that message specifically, but the theme and point is there all the way through. What a fucked up world we live in, and there's very little outlet for exactly what we're dealing with. WE still have a responsibility as survivors not to enact harm into the world around us. That's the story we don't get to tell. That we aren't always good, and we aren't always okay, and that we can do harm too and we shouldn't do that harm. People want to use trauma as an excuse for a lot of things, but at the same time traumatized people are given two options. To stick to the narrative of "all" victim's goodness and purity and sweetness, or to become a terrible horrible person. We aren't given middle grounds or constructive options to help with recovery. Only the survivors who play into the "soft and cute" roles get rewarded and always believed. What I appreciate more than anything about this chapbook is the fact that it talks frankly about the ways in which trauma can make you a fucked up person and that you won't be perfect but you can and should try to not harm others. The world has so much work to do before it stops these cycles for perpetuating for eternity. Emma is telling the stories people don't let people tell. That there is more than a black and white world of bad and good, but that there is always responsibility even in nuance. It's heartbreaking to think about the way trauma changes people, but there is always time for us. Time for us to grow up into surviving responsible imperfect adults.

"i. let’s start here: age, sex, location. I don’t remember how we got from there there as curiosity there as in snuck moments there as in before I am trying to make this something

v. to be autistic is to be a puppeteer of your own body only able to control it from an imprecise heavens."

[CW // sex, rape, trauma, sexual assault, therapy, addiction, recovery]

"Bedroom" by Emma (twitter). "A requiem for lost hours, unmade beds, and all the broken things I can never repair.". Anything starting out with the imagery of both one's bedroom and being unmade, you know you're likely to experience something intimate and understandably disorganized. The first poem blows away any thoughts of that personal aspect being something Emma will build up to. For me, it felt like really reading about the way I feel so disconnected from my own mind. I don't know exactly why focusing is the hardest thing in the world for me. It could be ADHD, autism, or the fact that both apply to me working together at the same time. All I know is that I never fully feel awake, and very little around me feels real. Emma's writing is similar. The perfect capture of the way living with neurodivergency constantly makes everything around you feel like it's 10x MORE of something no one else ever seems to get or talk about.

There's so much here that really digs deep and clearly into the reality now that comes with coming of age alongside the internet. In that it's always been a part of our lives and has informed our relationships with our bodies, our sexuality, with sex, with sexual assault . . . and the frequency we develop symptoms of trauma. Social media may be an amazing way to stay connected with other marginalized people, but nearly everyone I know has had a digital experience with being in an unhealthy dynamic with an adult as a minor or very young adult. People don't seem to realize how widespread that reality is, regardless of gender, and they don't seem to get that we're all growing up with some sort of sexual trauma one way or another. People always have been, but the way digital spaces enable this to happen and then also enable the development of poor coping mechanisms in response is such a common story among anyone my age or younger it's to be expected even if it's never spoken of.

Emma crafts poems that maybe aren't exploring that message specifically, but the theme and point is there all the way through. What a fucked up world we live in, and there's very little outlet for exactly what we're dealing with. WE still have a responsibility as survivors not to enact harm into the world around us. That's the story we don't get to tell. That we aren't always good, and we aren't always okay, and that we can do harm too and we shouldn't do that harm. People want to use trauma as an excuse for a lot of things, but at the same time traumatized people are given two options. To stick to the narrative of "all" victim's goodness and purity and sweetness, or to become a terrible horrible person. We aren't given middle grounds or constructive options to help with recovery. Only the survivors who play into the "soft and cute" roles get rewarded and always believed. What I appreciate more than anything about this chapbook is the fact that it talks frankly about the ways in which trauma can make you a fucked up person and that you won't be perfect but you can and should try to not harm others. The world has so much work to do before it stops these cycles for perpetuating for eternity. Emma is telling the stories people don't let people tell. That there is more than a black and white world of bad and good, but that there is always responsibility even in nuance. It's heartbreaking to think about the way trauma changes people, but there is always time for us. Time for us to grow up into surviving responsible imperfect adults.

"i. let’s start here: age, sex, location. I don’t remember how we got from there there as curiosity there as in snuck moments there as in before I am trying to make this something

v. to be autistic is to be a puppeteer of your own body only able to control it from an imprecise heavens."

[CW // sex, rape, trauma, sexual assault, therapy, addiction, recovery]

That's fine, no worries

"Skein" by Waverly (twitter/website). They said "Skein is a series of poetic games I designed over the course of 2019 while I was thinking about how the current state of American capitalism normalizes disconnections between bodies. Some of them were played, some of them never have been played, some of them cannot be played." What's better than this? Poems as games. Some of these are presented as text, and some as photographs. All of them are poems and games that symbolize either the author's experiences or actions they were trying to figure out how to take. Sometimes it's easier to outsource thinking about how to do things and get through a day when we conceive of tasks in alternative formats. In a way it almost is like something that could end up in Atlas Obscura someday, if you were really to publicly place games like this everywhere you went. More people would participate than you think. People love to feel like the protagonist of a film.

Reading this made me remember a documentary I can't find any evidence of existing. I remember vaguely recall that it took place in maybe New York or California or both, where an unknown group or person made mysteries and clues via art installations that random people tried to solve. Many individuals ended up in the same office room with only a television and the television would play a fake documentary. I remember that they couldn't figure out who did this, or why, and some people thought it was either a cult or an elaborate hoax. [No it wasn't Cicada 3301 either!] Either way, I couldn't track down what I was remembering but I did find "Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles" as a documentary that was once on Netflix instead. It captures the same vibe, so there you go. The point is, that reading this felt like that. I definitely think Waverly has the talent and ability to maybe make more projects in their future that really focus on playing with the fact that people go nuts for mysterious scavenger hunts? Be your own SCP entry is a great motto for living life. But what does that tell you about these poems and games that they wrote? Not much, but that they were so interesting they sent me down an urban legend mystery rabbit hole really is a great example of impact.

Most of the games are secretly lessons for accepting certain aspects of life. There's a game where you're supposed to not be other beings, a game where you have to be okay with being quiet, and a game where you have to be honest. The chapbook is accompanied by some of the traditional "old footage photographs" you associate with this kind of thing, a fucked up screenshot, modern digital pictures of scavenger hunt art installations, and an intimate indoor low-light game of chess. It's not like cheesy creepypastas or "~digital mysteries~" for conspiracy theory youtube, but it does demonstrate a fantastic ability to captivate a curious reader, and the potential for some amazing games and real world interactive fiction. They're poems of the strangest sort, in that you feel them itching weird forgotten memories you absolutely must remember as soon as possible.

"It’s interesting you chose this space because it was rumored to be one of the locations of a notbeing spotting years ago. You should explore it, see if there is anything left behind from the previous notbeing."

(1 edit)

"Skein" by Waverly (twitter/website). They said "Skein is a series of poetic games I designed over the course of 2019 while I was thinking about how the current state of American capitalism normalizes disconnections between bodies. Some of them were played, some of them never have been played, some of them cannot be played." What's better than this? Poems as games. Some of these are presented as text, and some as photographs. All of them are poems and games that symbolize either the author's experiences or actions they were trying to figure out how to take. Sometimes it's easier to outsource thinking about how to do things and get through a day when we conceive of tasks in alternative formats. In a way it almost is like something that could end up in Atlas Obscura someday, if you were really to publicly place games like this everywhere you went. More people would participate than you think. People love to feel like the protagonist of a film.

Reading this made me remember a documentary I can't find any evidence of existing. I remember vaguely recall that it took place in maybe New York or California or both, where an unknown group or person made mysteries and clues via art installations that random people tried to solve. Many individuals ended up in the same office room with only a television and the television would play a fake documentary. I remember that they couldn't figure out who did this, or why, and some people thought it was either a cult or an elaborate hoax. [No it wasn't Cicada 3301 either!] Either way, I couldn't track down what I was remembering but I did find "Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles" as a documentary that was once on Netflix instead. It captures the same vibe, so there you go. The point is, that reading this felt like that. I definitely think Waverly has the talent and ability to maybe make more projects in their future that really focus on playing with the fact that people go nuts for mysterious scavenger hunts? Be your own SCP entry is a great motto for living life. But what does that tell you about these poems and games that they wrote? Not much, but that they were so interesting they sent me down an urban legend mystery rabbit hole really is a great example of impact.

Most of the games are secretly lessons for accepting certain aspects of life. There's a game where you're supposed to not be other beings, a game where you have to be okay with being quiet, and a game where you have to be honest. The chapbook is accompanied by some of the traditional "old footage photographs" you associate with this kind of thing, a fucked up screenshot, modern digital pictures of scavenger hunt art installations, and an intimate indoor low-light game of chess. It's not like cheesy creepypastas or "~digital mysteries~" for conspiracy theory youtube, but it does demonstrate a fantastic ability to captivate a curious reader, and the potential for some amazing games and real world interactive fiction. They're poems of the strangest sort, in that you feel them itching weird forgotten memories you absolutely must remember as soon as possible.

"It’s interesting you chose this space because it was rumored to be one of the locations of a notbeing spotting years ago. You should explore it, see if there is anything left behind from the previous notbeing."

EDIT: a follower figured out i was remembering the 2013 documentary The Institute

"A Firetruck Is on the Moon" by TOR WAR (website/instagram). This is a book you read magnified to 200%. It's certainly interesting in being a unique and short collection of poems 3-5 lines long, centered, and in size 6 font - but that still means you'll want to make sure you can read it. In his words "A celebration of two years being and having a boyfriend." and I would say that's very true. It's great and wonderful to have a submission from a gay trans man about his experience with love and his gay relationship. It's an under-represented perspective in published work by trans men, and even when the work from a trans man is about his gayness, it often still comes from a white writer. TOR WAR however, is a mixed Vietnamese-American man and I know there are many unrecognized readers out there who are hungry for work from people like them.

Each poem focuses on a specific piece and aspect of the story of the evolution of his relationship. In that way, it's very intimate. It's almost the gift sort of chapbook you would make to celebrate time together with your partner. While the formatting may initially seem drastic or unusual, if you take it as a reflection of the topic and content it really begins to make sense. His boyfriend is the only thing that matters in this story, and the story is the center of attention. They really are just snippets of a story only they two can understand. But you can feel it, and you can feel the evolution, and you can feel that romance in your mind. I think I can remember having felt similar things now and then once before. Sometimes all you want is to tell that kind of love story. It makes sense; the world pretends these stories are impossible. It can feel silly or over-indulgent to pen simply something pleasant you're grateful for, but the small pockets of happiness are the occasional reprieve we all need now and then.

"I run up the stairs to the train after we start a promise, and you text me while I'm on the way home because you can't wait to finish it. You tell me you ran up the stairs to your apartment because your legs were electric, and it makes me laugh."

"A Firetruck Is on the Moon" by TOR WAR (website/instagram). This is a book you read magnified to 200%. It's certainly interesting in being a unique and short collection of poems 3-5 lines long, centered, and in size 6 font - but that still means you'll want to make sure you can read it. In his words "A celebration of two years being and having a boyfriend." and I would say that's very true. It's great and wonderful to have a submission from a gay trans man about his experience with love and his gay relationship. It's an under-represented perspective in published work by trans men, and even when the work from a trans man is about his gayness, it often still comes from a white writer. TOR WAR however, is a mixed Vietnamese-American man and I know there are many unrecognized readers out there who are hungry for work from people like them.

Each poem focuses on a specific piece and aspect of the story of the evolution of his relationship. In that way, it's very intimate. It's almost the gift sort of chapbook you would make to celebrate time together with your partner. While the formatting may initially seem drastic or unusual, if you take it as a reflection of the topic and content it really begins to make sense. His boyfriend is the only thing that matters in this story, and the story is the center of attention. They really are just snippets of a story only they two can understand. But you can feel it, and you can feel the evolution, and you can feel that romance in your mind. I think I can remember having felt similar things now and then once before. Sometimes all you want is to tell that kind of love story. It makes sense; the world pretends these stories are impossible. It can feel silly or over-indulgent to pen simply something pleasant you're grateful for, but the small pockets of happiness are the occasional reprieve we all need now and then.

"I run up the stairs to the train after we start a promise, and you text me while I'm on the way home because you can't wait to finish it. You tell me you ran up the stairs to your apartment because your legs were electric, and it makes me laugh."

"gravedigging" by Roy (twitter/podcast). Roy is a pal and we actually did a podcast episode together about Poetry Jam and it was great! I've also really loved other work by Roy such as what he's published publicly and his books "Sent from my iPhone" and "some instagram poems". There wasn't really a description for gravedigging so I really didn't know what to expect, except that I had a premonition I was going to love it. As usual, Roy really delivers on anti-capitalism poetry. It'z not just in the background or implied or reliant upon buzzwords. Even when it's short and simple there is an experienced and well-crafted rhythm to the word play. Often taking specific sounds or words and morphing it from one piece of a sentence to an evolved and different part of the next. Why the sincerity within Roy's work stands out is that he doesn't just reflect critique upon the usual suspects people can easily agree to hate. He also thoughtfully points out just how vapid figures within our own circles can become when they don't take the time to consider how they engage with the world and with their own art. To a certain extent this critique is also something that reflects onto himself in that he makes an effort to not repeat what he critiques in others. It's mature and aware, but anything from boring or cliche.

gravedigging captures a different kind of west coast exhaustion; aka the eternal purgatory of Los Angeles. This is a different frustration than what you'll find alongside Pacific Northwest companions. L.A. eternity is dry, arid, yet sun-filled repetition to Seattle's grey, passive aggressive, technocrat dystopia. Not that they never contain the other's qualities, but that the same engagement with big cities killing you with the same shit every day results in two very different types of reflections, despite bordering the same ocean. It's difficult to explain exactly where the west coast drains the life out of you, and how this is any different than how capitalism drains the life literally from millions everywhere, but poetically it's true. And that's what Roy does best. Directly engaging with the poetics of his own poems, and the poetry of poetry itself, and whether or not it has meaning within the grander scheme of things. What can a poem do? What do poems do that they shouldn't? What aren't poems doing that they should? Why has so much bullshit been constructed into the perpetuation of poetry and what a good poem is. Why have we made skyscrapers, commutes, interstates, and bumper to bumper worlds of poetry. Is there nothing better?

In a way, the protagonist and villain of gravedigging isn't just capitalism, but also the concept of "the poet". "The poet" of course can be literal and figurative. What is "the poet" doing? These are narratives that don't read like prose at all and that's a good thing, but it's always a clear message that you leave with. The form is also a dual enemy/comrade because how can you engage with any sort of work or writing without considering or acknowledging the western thought and imperialism that has certainly informed and shaped the existence of it. You can feel the continual stringing together of thoughts that are far less disjointed than they seem at every turn. So much is about specifically the repetition we fear we will live and die in over and over again and what if things don't change? The finale opens up to door into pointing out the hypocrisy of publishing, and that opposing it is simply opposing what it factually does. Some people may try to play the superiority game, but really Roy is a poet who just doesn't want to partake it the space and industry that works against what being anti-industry in your writing is all about. He finishes it in an essay, expanding clearly on the thoughts and theory behind his poems and the mindset itself. There's nothing better than the deeply self-aware work of another. It's a fantastic introduction if you're still not sure where "anti-industry" comes from, and what the point may or may not be.

"heard that a Publishing Person said to the American Dirt author “you can wipe your tears away with money” ameen wrote ‘don’t forget you can also write on money’ feels like the only medium to speak to the wealthy is money been writing on twitter a tweet fits on a bill a little reminder profits are measured in lives bc they are measured in dollars levied in bills money is not a debt it is a promise to collect a threat holding money is to hold a threat banks create them trade them and the government stamps them with the faces of "

"gravedigging" by Roy (twitter/podcast). Roy is a pal and we actually did a podcast episode together about Poetry Jam and it was great! I've also really loved other work by Roy such as what he's published publicly and his books "Sent from my iPhone" and "some instagram poems". There wasn't really a description for gravedigging so I really didn't know what to expect, except that I had a premonition I was going to love it. As usual, Roy really delivers on anti-capitalism poetry. It'z not just in the background or implied or reliant upon buzzwords. Even when it's short and simple there is an experienced and well-crafted rhythm to the word play. Often taking specific sounds or words and morphing it from one piece of a sentence to an evolved and different part of the next. Why the sincerity within Roy's work stands out is that he doesn't just reflect critique upon the usual suspects people can easily agree to hate. He also thoughtfully points out just how vapid figures within our own circles can become when they don't take the time to consider how they engage with the world and with their own art. To a certain extent this critique is also something that reflects onto himself in that he makes an effort to not repeat what he critiques in others. It's mature and aware, but anything from boring or cliche.

gravedigging captures a different kind of west coast exhaustion; aka the eternal purgatory of Los Angeles. This is a different frustration than what you'll find alongside Pacific Northwest companions. L.A. eternity is dry, arid, yet sun-filled repetition to Seattle's grey, passive aggressive, technocrat dystopia. Not that they never contain the other's qualities, but that the same engagement with big cities killing you with the same shit every day results in two very different types of reflections, despite bordering the same ocean. It's difficult to explain exactly where the west coast drains the life out of you, and how this is any different than how capitalism drains the life literally from millions everywhere, but poetically it's true. And that's what Roy does best. Directly engaging with the poetics of his own poems, and the poetry of poetry itself, and whether or not it has meaning within the grander scheme of things. What can a poem do? What do poems do that they shouldn't? What aren't poems doing that they should? Why has so much bullshit been constructed into the perpetuation of poetry and what a good poem is. Why have we made skyscrapers, commutes, interstates, and bumper to bumper worlds of poetry. Is there nothing better?

In a way, the protagonist and villain of gravedigging isn't just capitalism, but also the concept of "the poet". "The poet" of course can be literal and figurative. What is "the poet" doing? These are narratives that don't read like prose at all and that's a good thing, but it's always a clear message that you leave with. The form is also a dual enemy/comrade because how can you engage with any sort of work or writing without considering or acknowledging the western thought and imperialism that has certainly informed and shaped the existence of it. You can feel the continual stringing together of thoughts that are far less disjointed than they seem at every turn. So much is about specifically the repetition we fear we will live and die in over and over again and what if things don't change? The finale opens up to door into pointing out the hypocrisy of publishing, and that opposing it is simply opposing what it factually does. Some people may try to play the superiority game, but really Roy is a poet who just doesn't want to partake it the space and industry that works against what being anti-industry in your writing is all about. He finishes it in an essay, expanding clearly on the thoughts and theory behind his poems and the mindset itself. There's nothing better than the deeply self-aware work of another. It's a fantastic introduction if you're still not sure where "anti-industry" comes from, and what the point may or may not be.

"heard that a Publishing Person said to the American Dirt author “you can wipe your tears away with money” ameen wrote ‘don’t forget you can also write on money’ feels like the only medium to speak to the wealthy is money been writing on twitter a tweet fits on a bill a little reminder profits are measured in lives bc they are measured in dollars levied in bills money is not a debt it is a promise to collect a threat holding money is to hold a threat banks create them trade them and the government stamps them with the faces of "

"[My] Body" by Olive Rae Brinker<a href="https://raethedoe.itch.io/my-body" target="_blank" ]<my?]="" body]<="" a="">(</a>twitter). Olive is a good friend and the creator/artist of the Rae the Doe webcomic. She's not done poetry before, and was really worried about submitting this one poem and nothing else, but it's a really great one. Especially from someone who hasn't done poetry before. "[My?] Body is a poem about  body image issues. Over the years small things, like a stranger buttoning your blazer because you're "wearing it wrong" and big things, like being told I shouldn't transition all added up to this feeling that I had no agency over my body. This is one of the first poems I've ever written so forgive me if it's a bit amateur. It's personal and dark and real and came straight from my heart. I hope you read it with an open mind." It's a four page poem that's really cleanly compiled and very readable. As she said, it really is very centrally focused on feeling like your body doesn't belong to yourself, and instead that even complete strangers feel entitled to controlling it. Transitioning can often be quite disorienting at first if you've been singled out in such a dehumanizing way all your life. It can also mean it takes you longer to recognize your body issues as gender dysphoria, because you both have such an estranged relationship with it already, and because you may believe all it is is simply processing the side effects of fatphobia.

I think I probably could've been in a place where I called myself nonbinary by the time I was 7 or 10 if that had been an option for me. I definitely would've started to consider it before I was 15 if it was possible and the language culturally present. Instead I delayed for two extra teenage years of questioning, because I was certain I was simply dealing with internalized misogyny and a need to be comfortable with the fact that I'm not small or skinny. This didn't help the fact that I was surrounded mostly by the kinds of trans people who felt that if you didn't at least partially align with being transfeminine or transmasculine and following a traditional western path in response to that, you were just cis and trying to escape accountability. In her own way, Olive tells her particular experience of coming to terms with her body and the fact that it is actually hers and not other's. There are so many fucked up things we hear, see, and are told when we're in the early stages of transition. It follows you for a very long time until you get to the point where you don't even feel like the person you used to be at all, and where those doubts seem meaningless after everything you've been through. That doesn't change the fact that the journey to those points is an immense undertaking that is often left unaddressed in published works about bodily autonomy. You either have people talk about fatphobia or transition, but the people who get published to discuss transition and their bodies are overwhelmingly very skinny and easily fashionable.

Some people both don't want to be fashionable, or can't, or recognize that 'fashionable' is defined as something dependent upon a certain degree of thinness to be true. More than anything is is an exploration on living as the sort of person people have zero respect for. I don't know what it is that causes these situations - because I've had them too - that makes people who don't know you think they can just touch you or say and do whatever they want, but I know that it can really fuck with you. I've gotten so much better at saying no, and that really helps, but the fact of the matter is is that when people have done that to you your whole life it will take just as long to let go and unlearn what that kind of behavior teaches you to think and feel about yourself. In just one poem, Olive summarizes all of this perfectly, in a straightforward narrative about bodies and healing. It may be a work all alone for now, but it shows both a lot of promise for her future writing in this genre and for her recovery on the path of recognizing what she's been through.

"It was never just about my weight, though. It was every time someone asked me, “When are you getting a haircut already?”"

[CW // body image issues, fatphobia, self-harm, bullying, disordered eating, transphobia, and sexual situations]

"[My?] Body]" by Olive Rae Brinker (twitter). Olive is a good friend and the creator/artist of the Rae the Doe webcomic. She's not done poetry before, and was really worried about submitting this one poem and nothing else, but it's a really great one. Especially from someone who hasn't done poetry before. "[My?] Body is a poem about  body image issues. Over the years small things, like a stranger buttoning your blazer because you're "wearing it wrong" and big things, like being told I shouldn't transition all added up to this feeling that I had no agency over my body. This is one of the first poems I've ever written so forgive me if it's a bit amateur. It's personal and dark and real and came straight from my heart. I hope you read it with an open mind." It's a four page poem that's really cleanly compiled and very readable. As she said, it really is very centrally focused on feeling like your body doesn't belong to yourself, and instead that even complete strangers feel entitled to controlling it. Transitioning can often be quite disorienting at first if you've been singled out in such a dehumanizing way all your life. It can also mean it takes you longer to recognize your body issues as gender dysphoria, because you both have such an estranged relationship with it already, and because you may believe all it is is simply processing the side effects of fatphobia.

I think I probably could've been in a place where I called myself nonbinary by the time I was 7 or 10 if that had been an option for me. I definitely would've started to consider it before I was 15 if it was possible and the language culturally present. Instead I delayed for two extra teenage years of questioning, because I was certain I was simply dealing with internalized misogyny and a need to be comfortable with the fact that I'm not small or skinny. This didn't help the fact that I was surrounded mostly by the kinds of trans people who felt that if you didn't at least partially align with being transfeminine or transmasculine and following a traditional western path in response to that, you were just cis and trying to escape accountability. In her own way, Olive tells her particular experience of coming to terms with her body and the fact that it is actually hers and not other's. There are so many fucked up things we hear, see, and are told when we're in the early stages of transition. It follows you for a very long time until you get to the point where you don't even feel like the person you used to be at all, and where those doubts seem meaningless after everything you've been through. That doesn't change the fact that the journey to those points is an immense undertaking that is often left unaddressed in published works about bodily autonomy. You either have people talk about fatphobia or transition, but the people who get published to discuss transition and their bodies are overwhelmingly very skinny and easily fashionable.

Some people both don't want to be fashionable, or can't, or recognize that 'fashionable' is defined as something dependent upon a certain degree of thinness to be true. More than anything is is an exploration on living as the sort of person people have zero respect for. I don't know what it is that causes these situations - because I've had them too - that makes people who don't know you think they can just touch you or say and do whatever they want, but I know that it can really fuck with you. I've gotten so much better at saying no, and that really helps, but the fact of the matter is is that when people have done that to you your whole life it will take just as long to let go and unlearn what that kind of behavior teaches you to think and feel about yourself. In just one poem, Olive summarizes all of this perfectly, in a straightforward narrative about bodies and healing. It may be a work all alone for now, but it shows both a lot of promise for her future writing in this genre and for her recovery on the path of recognizing what she's been through.

"It was never just about my weight, though. It was every time someone asked me, “When are you getting a haircut already?”"

[CW // body image issues, fatphobia, self-harm, bullying, disordered eating, transphobia, and sexual situations]

"This is a book full of poems" by Enrico Tavagnutti (twitter/instagram). Enrico says this is "a collection of 14 poems I have written in the last 2 years which is about growing up, nature, mythology, university and society. In this collection, you'll also see the evolution of my style, which began two years ago, when I had decided to write poems in English, to a week ago." What I really love about so many of these submissions is that they cover very long periods of time in the evolution of the writer's work. You can really see how people grow as poets when you have an observation of their style, whether it's across a few years or an entire decade. I also really enjoy reading poems from writers whose first or primary language isn't English. Not just in the form of translations and the significance they hold, but also because it's a different perspective of the same words. It results in different arrangements or considerations that you often wouldn't get otherwise.

Enrico's style seems to combine and create relationships between science fiction concepts and classical Greek mythology. It's an interesting combination as they are often considered distinct aesthetics, although several aspects of Greek mythology could be considered early science fiction. In a way it almost tells a ballad tale of the poet himself as someone wandering alone. Not necessarily facing dangerous beasts, but certainly experiencing an internal struggle as he seeks a better understanding of himself. This wanderer feels very alone in the world, and that the ways he feels out of place both make it feel inescapable, and like a uniquely solitary lonely experience. It transitions into a bit of ecopessimism, but not so explicitly focused on climate change per say. Mostly a frustrated reflection on nature both on and off-planet, and that the people who believe themself both brilliant and average who explore it will find themself no different than those they look down upon when they die.

It's an interesting little collection, in that you can try and put a story together with it, but it really hasn't finished yet, and they cover so many different things with the consistent voice of someone angry in a sad way who's trying their best. There are a lot of sentences that end up standing out as one liners about self-discovery, self-questioning, self-loathing, self-acceptance, and self-evolution. This, alongside a general regard of the surrounding worlds, cries out in that universal exhaustion we're all combating as we trudge through each day.

"We live on the planet of dead living-things. Was it necessary?"

[CW // slight  NSFW, death by suffocation]

"This is a book full of poems" by Enrico Tavagnutti (twitter/instagram). Enrico says this is "a collection of 14 poems I have written in the last 2 years which is about growing up, nature, mythology, university and society. In this collection, you'll also see the evolution of my style, which began two years ago, when I had decided to write poems in English, to a week ago." What I really love about so many of these submissions is that they cover very long periods of time in the evolution of the writer's work. You can really see how people grow as poets when you have an observation of their style, whether it's across a few years or an entire decade. I also really enjoy reading poems from writers whose first or primary language isn't English. Not just in the form of translations and the significance they hold, but also because it's a different perspective of the same words. It results in different arrangements or considerations that you often wouldn't get otherwise.

Enrico's style seems to combine and create relationships between science fiction concepts and classical Greek mythology. It's an interesting combination as they are often considered distinct aesthetics, although several aspects of Greek mythology could be considered early science fiction. In a way it almost tells a ballad tale of the poet himself as someone wandering alone. Not necessarily facing dangerous beasts, but certainly experiencing an internal struggle as he seeks a better understanding of himself. This wanderer feels very alone in the world, and that the ways he feels out of place both make it feel inescapable, and like a uniquely solitary lonely experience. It transitions into a bit of ecopessimism, but not so explicitly focused on climate change per say. Mostly a frustrated reflection on nature both on and off-planet, and that the people who believe themself both brilliant and average who explore it will find themself no different than those they look down upon when they die.

It's an interesting little collection, in that you can try and put a story together with it, but it really hasn't finished yet, and they cover so many different things with the consistent voice of someone angry in a sad way who's trying their best. There are a lot of sentences that end up standing out as one liners about self-discovery, self-questioning, self-loathing, self-acceptance, and self-evolution. This, alongside a general regard of the surrounding worlds, cries out in that universal exhaustion we're all combating as we trudge through each day.

"We live on the planet of dead living-things. Was it necessary?"

[CW // slight  NSFW, death by suffocation]

"Buku Coretan Umar; A Poetry Zine" by Umar Aziz. This is a sizable 64 page bilingual chapbook written both in English and Malay. Umar is an accomplished poet who practices a few different styles, and the layout and composition of the book is very professional. It's got a classic black and white photograph cover, and really amazing modern typographical arrangement throughout. "The contents of this book are poems that I wrote from who knows when. I tore out 68 pages worth of poems from the first copy because I didn’t want to subject you to verbiage diarrheatics. I am also working with a group of poets to develope Baloh! A poetry debate format for spoken word poets, a reply to berbalas pantun, running parallels with Balagtasan. I prefer performing Chaos based spoken word and improvising with musicians, dancers and other Makhluk Seni and am now curating spoken word shows for various causes and organizations." is just some of the context surrounding his work and what he does. The point of this chapbook, I believe, is to show the progression of his poetic work over time.

Every poem is meant to be a conversation or about conversations. It makes sense to focus on communication in a medium and an art form that is based in the written word in its default state. This isn't a translation chapbook where each poem is presented fully in both languages, but it doesn't need to. It's the way the author speaks, and it makes sense that in a large collection from a poet who prefers rambling or spoken word formats that it's a fluid back and forth between the two. It doesn't need to be perfectly composed or calculated, because the way we talk to people rarely is so perfectly thought out all the time. This focuses a lot on his family, and his grandmother in particular. This book is interesting because it feels like a transcript of an entire spoken word set. That's a great thing, because people often want their books to come across as clean and organized and then the set that is spoken is a separate entity from the harvested texts. Why not make both the same? Why not have a book which is a spoken set? There aren't rules. Readers will feel like you're actually talking with them, and not just talking to them. It's not too casual at all. It's particularly human, in a way industry standards can never be.

He opens up even about the difficult and embarrassing, though he doesn't share everything. This is not a collection of many short poems, but a collaboration of varying long ones. They come with preface and  context I don't need to give you, and tell many different stories of one man's life. And then for all the consistent rambling formatting it gets into messy visual playgrounds. Whether or not it's a pleasant kind of fun, it recognizes it isn't just a transcript. A lot of his poems are about his (now) fiancee, which is very wholesome, but he also doesn't pretend to be a flawless lover . . . no matter how much he loves her. It's ultimately just a very human collection about love, growth, performance, change, and time. I wish Umar luck in all his future projects!

"Tok Puan selalu tegur pantang hidangkan makanan yang sejuk kepada tetamu so instead I will serve you love and show you what you've been missing out on"

"Buku Coretan Umar; A Poetry Zine" by Umar Aziz. This is a sizable 64 page bilingual chapbook written both in English and Malay. Umar is an accomplished poet who practices a few different styles, and the layout and composition of the book is very professional. It's got a classic black and white photograph cover, and really amazing modern typographical arrangement throughout. "The contents of this book are poems that I wrote from who knows when. I tore out 68 pages worth of poems from the first copy because I didn’t want to subject you to verbiage diarrheatics. I am also working with a group of poets to develope Baloh! A poetry debate format for spoken word poets, a reply to berbalas pantun, running parallels with Balagtasan. I prefer performing Chaos based spoken word and improvising with musicians, dancers and other Makhluk Seni and am now curating spoken word shows for various causes and organizations." is just some of the context surrounding his work and what he does. The point of this chapbook, I believe, is to show the progression of his poetic work over time.

Every poem is meant to be a conversation or about conversations. It makes sense to focus on communication in a medium and an art form that is based in the written word in its default state. This isn't a translation chapbook where each poem is presented fully in both languages, but it doesn't need to. It's the way the author speaks, and it makes sense that in a large collection from a poet who prefers rambling or spoken word formats that it's a fluid back and forth between the two. It doesn't need to be perfectly composed or calculated, because the way we talk to people rarely is so perfectly thought out all the time. This focuses a lot on his family, and his grandmother in particular. This book is interesting because it feels like a transcript of an entire spoken word set. That's a great thing, because people often want their books to come across as clean and organized and then the set that is spoken is a separate entity from the harvested texts. Why not make both the same? Why not have a book which is a spoken set? There aren't rules. Readers will feel like you're actually talking with them, and not just talking to them. It's not too casual at all. It's particularly human, in a way industry standards can never be.

He opens up even about the difficult and embarrassing, though he doesn't share everything. This is not a collection of many short poems, but a collaboration of varying long ones. They come with preface and  context I don't need to give you, and tell many different stories of one man's life. And then for all the consistent rambling formatting it gets into messy visual playgrounds. Whether or not it's a pleasant kind of fun, it recognizes it isn't just a transcript. A lot of his poems are about his (now) fiancee, which is very wholesome, but he also doesn't pretend to be a flawless lover . . . no matter how much he loves her. It's ultimately just a very human collection about love, growth, performance, change, and time. I wish Umar luck in all his future projects!

"Tok Puan selalu tegur pantang hidangkan makanan yang sejuk kepada tetamu so instead I will serve you love and show you what you've been missing out on"

"Braided Channel" is a split / EP chapbook by Isobel Bess (bandcamp) and Amy Marvin (website). I was very excited for this submission because both Isobel and Amy are very spectacular poets I've known a short while who I really admire, and because I know they both do really interesting work with poetic mediums. [Isobel's poems "FAIRDEALING"/"SEATTLE" and Amy's poem "Shopping Malls" for example]. Isobel specifically makes a lot of audio material that end up being experiential spoken poetry collections. She believes in creating work that goes beyond just written visual formats, as this is also something that suits her wants and needs better sometimes. This is how we have gotten the amazing soundscapes of "Deep New Unstable Against" & "What The Ocean Felt Like Bursting". Intentionally as I read this collection I did something I don't usually do; I listened to one of her EPs while I read. [Focusing with audio can sometimes be difficult for me depending on the context, but this was fine]. This collection is presented as something with an A side and a B side, so it only makes sense to involve Isobel's audio work alongside this reading. I picked "Pleistocene Megafauna" as the accomplice to this chapbook.

This chapbook has some really wonderful fonts. I've expressed I love writing in "Consolas", and I believe that is the font that most of this entire .pdf is in as well. Since a lot of Isobel's music feels like the grand sci-fi film soundtracks you can never forget, the terminal-like font only enhanced the experience. You're gunna notice some numbers are "missing" but that's definitely the point. Cassette tapes were so easy to lose segments of. You don't need the full picture or the rules of numbers to get this story. What does Braided get into? The usual. The fact that landlords are scummy leeches. Outer space. The Pacific Northwest. Fighting against those who steal the life and labor of the poor. Hating cops aka common sense. The fact that "A gender fluid / system for fashion retail is exploitation." Hypnosis that makes you less a practitioner of trans-liberalism, and more someone willing to do what it will take to change this system. The academy, the university, and their roles in this mess.

It's a collection that leaves you wanting more. Not just because Amy and Isobel are fantastic writers both in poetry, prose, and essay . . . but because they both tell a story of genuine and understandable frustration with the places they've been and how people have treated them. Amy is a trans philosopher, and she's got a better more aware grasp on theoretical engagements with gender than most other people in that field I've ever been aware of. Combined with Isobel's knack for honesty people then unfairly paint as angry because they find critique and self-reflection "threatening", this creates a story that you can actually feel is palpable. You know the movie scene where someone tells the protagonist that most people are full of bullshit and living in this fake world where only the rare taxi driver tells the truth or whatever? And then the movie goes on with the protagonist agreeing this is bullshit, only to have the ending be a creation of a new and different and even more invisible type of bullshit people will call "progress"? Yeah, this is the opposite of that. It doesn't have to tell you this is bullshit, because it assumes either you know or you don't. They don't need to fucking teach you. Also, so what if they are angry, even if they aren't? Anger in this world is entirely understandable. This is not something where the ending is a new take on the same old nonsense. This is something that does leave you hungry; hungry for the first meal of a better world without oppression. 

Some people write stuff like this as metaphor, or an aesthetic. I've watched them assume I and writers like Amy or Isobel are also writing for the insincere art of it. We aren't. We're serious. We aren't playing the game that the industry convinces you to play. There will be more of this hungry writing over time. Maybe it will instill some actual hunger in the bellies of the people who have never truly known a foodless house, but it doesn't need to. It's not the responsibility of those who suffer to gradually patiently convince others to be decent people. Sometimes the only way to improve a space is with force.

"What good is a poem if it can’t / kill a landlord? What if / I stopped writing poems and started building guillotines / with elaborate names?"

"Braided Channel" is a split / EP chapbook by Isobel Bess (bandcamp) and Amy Marvin (website). I was very excited for this submission because both Isobel and Amy are very spectacular poets I've known a short while who I really admire, and because I know they both do really interesting work with poetic mediums. [Isobel's poems "FAIRDEALING"/"SEATTLE" and Amy's poem "Shopping Malls" for example]. Isobel specifically makes a lot of audio material that end up being experiential spoken poetry collections. She believes in creating work that goes beyond just written visual formats, as this is also something that suits her wants and needs better sometimes. This is how we have gotten the amazing soundscapes of "Deep New Unstable Against" & "What The Ocean Felt Like Bursting". Intentionally as I read this collection I did something I don't usually do; I listened to one of her EPs while I read. [Focusing with audio can sometimes be difficult for me depending on the context, but this was fine]. This collection is presented as something with an A side and a B side, so it only makes sense to involve Isobel's audio work alongside this reading. I picked "Pleistocene Megafauna" as the accomplice to this chapbook.

This chapbook has some really wonderful fonts. I've expressed I love writing in "Consolas", and I believe that is the font that most of this entire .pdf is in as well. Since a lot of Isobel's music feels like the grand sci-fi film soundtracks you can never forget, the terminal-like font only enhanced the experience. You're gunna notice some numbers are "missing" but that's definitely the point. Cassette tapes were so easy to lose segments of. You don't need the full picture or the rules of numbers to get this story. What does Braided get into? The usual. The fact that landlords are scummy leeches. Outer space. The Pacific Northwest. Fighting against those who steal the life and labor of the poor. Hating cops aka common sense. The fact that "A gender fluid / system for fashion retail is exploitation." Hypnosis that makes you less a practitioner of trans-liberalism, and more someone willing to do what it will take to change this system. The academy, the university, and their roles in this mess.

It's a collection that leaves you wanting more. Not just because Amy and Isobel are fantastic writers both in poetry, prose, and essay . . . but because they both tell a story of genuine and understandable frustration with the places they've been and how people have treated them. Amy is a trans philosopher, and she's got a better more aware grasp on theoretical engagements with gender than most other people in that field I've ever been aware of. Combined with Isobel's knack for honesty people then unfairly paint as angry because they find critique and self-reflection "threatening", this creates a story that you can actually feel is palpable. You know the movie scene where someone tells the protagonist that most people are full of bullshit and living in this fake world where only the rare taxi driver tells the truth or whatever? And then the movie goes on with the protagonist agreeing this is bullshit, only to have the ending be a creation of a new and different and even more invisible type of bullshit people will call "progress"? Yeah, this is the opposite of that. It doesn't have to tell you this is bullshit, because it assumes either you know or you don't. They don't need to fucking teach you. Also, so what if they are angry, even if they aren't? Anger in this world is entirely understandable. This is not something where the ending is a new take on the same old nonsense. This is something that does leave you hungry; hungry for the first meal of a better world without oppression. 

Some people write stuff like this as metaphor, or an aesthetic. I've watched them assume I and writers like Amy or Isobel are also writing for the insincere art of it. We aren't. We're serious. We aren't playing the game that the industry convinces you to play. There will be more of this hungry writing over time. Maybe it will instill some actual hunger in the bellies of the people who have never truly known a foodless house, but it doesn't need to. It's not the responsibility of those who suffer to gradually patiently convince others to be decent people. Sometimes the only way to improve a space is with force.

"What good is a poem if it can’t / kill a landlord? What if / I stopped writing poems and started building guillotines / with elaborate names?"

"shapes my body cuts into the surface of the water" by Scout (twitter). To summarize Scout says, "I wrote some pulpy poems on swimming, summer, fruit, existing-while-trans, and beautiful moments that spring out from the despair and break through the isolation.". And indeed these are pulpy. This collection is hers and for her, but engages a common theme pulled up by many trans women, transfeminine, or nonbinarily-adjacent writers; the thought of swimming as yourself. America specifically has an obsession with the production and marketing of a swimsuit. There's a lot of modelling, fashion industry, travel industry, and marketing industry history that can be observed specifically in studying swimsuit design and marketing over the years. Especially after the (cishet) "sexual revolution" some decades ago, it became a popular western trend to use cis women's bodies to sexually sell the fantasy of the bikini, and the experience of a swimsuit. Of course, this was framed as a move of bodily autonomy, a woman's choice to wear what she wants, and that she wasn't being sexualized for an advertisement to make money for terrible men . . . she was Happy and Representing Normal Women who Just Want to Have Fun. [What the fuck is a "normal woman"? What the fuck is a "woman"? What the fuck is "normal"? I don't know, but the deep cultural coding these messages have tried to program us with are extremely things to be tossed out the window]

This created a very cissexist and alienating culture around swimwear that doesn't benefit anyone except the people who make money off of people's insecurities about their bodies. It's a collaboration between hundreds of industries from diet, to food, to athletics, to gyms, and so on. Of course, factoring in the way the world sees trans bodies you can easily intimate that most people assume once their transition passes a certain point physically . . . they'll never swim again. While poverty, race, and other barriers are also related systemic factors that prevent trans people of even considering going to the beach, the fact of the matter is there has been some really deep and amazing writing specifically from transfeminine perspectives about exactly this topic. It may seem minute or hyper-specific to you, but nearly every other trans person who has ever been intimately a part of my personal life has expressed fears about even hypothetically swimming. Summer can be a fear for trans people too, as more of our bodies have to be on display to the heat, and we can't hide under layers. Scout says "fuck that!" and then she went and wrote a beautiful chapbook just about (trying) to let her body exist with no consequences. (It should be permanently consequence-free for everyone)

Writing by trans women and those affected by transmisogyny is essential in recognizing and respecting what you're not seeing if you're someone who isn't intentionally affected. I don't experience transmisogyny, and unfortunately much of my experiences in "popular" nonbinary spaces is that when you point out to other people why trans feminine people aren't around, or that their mentalities are just as harmful as cis mentalities they really freak out even if you deliver such criticism more gently than you should. It's a real problem, and serially unaddressed. As Scout put it, "If I dont go to the anarchaqueerfeminist / meeting tonight, / there won't be a single trans woman there. / This poem tells you all you need to know." and she is absolutely right. In the face of this unique sort of experience, she has crafted something short and simple and honest and true to her own experiences. It isn't ashamed, or trying to pretend these dynamics and insecurities and deep hatred of transfemininity by everyone don't exist. Scout and I share very similar dreams from different directions. A world where all trans bodies are loved, fucked (if that's what one wants), respected, and free to just fucking swim ... and where trans women are no longer treated like shit in everything except their own words.

"There's a science fiction in the space between / You and me / A fabrication of a grand scheme / Where I am the scary monster / and so are you."

[CW // food, illness, light body horror, metaphorical genitals]

"shapes my body cuts into the surface of the water" by Scout (twitter). To summarize Scout says, "I wrote some pulpy poems on swimming, summer, fruit, existing-while-trans, and beautiful moments that spring out from the despair and break through the isolation.". And indeed these are pulpy. This collection is hers and for her, but engages a common theme pulled up by many trans women, transfeminine, or nonbinarily-adjacent writers; the thought of swimming as yourself. America specifically has an obsession with the production and marketing of a swimsuit. There's a lot of modelling, fashion industry, travel industry, and marketing industry history that can be observed specifically in studying swimsuit design and marketing over the years. Especially after the (cishet) "sexual revolution" some decades ago, it became a popular western trend to use cis women's bodies to sexually sell the fantasy of the bikini, and the experience of a swimsuit. Of course, this was framed as a move of bodily autonomy, a woman's choice to wear what she wants, and that she wasn't being sexualized for an advertisement to make money for terrible men . . . she was Happy and Representing Normal Women who Just Want to Have Fun. [What the fuck is a "normal woman"? What the fuck is a "woman"? What the fuck is "normal"? I don't know, but the deep cultural coding these messages have tried to program us with are extremely things to be tossed out the window]

This created a very cissexist and alienating culture around swimwear that doesn't benefit anyone except the people who make money off of people's insecurities about their bodies. It's a collaboration between hundreds of industries from diet, to food, to athletics, to gyms, and so on. Of course, factoring in the way the world sees trans bodies you can easily intimate that most people assume once their transition passes a certain point physically . . . they'll never swim again. While poverty, race, and other barriers are also related systemic factors that prevent trans people of even considering going to the beach, the fact of the matter is there has been some really deep and amazing writing specifically from transfeminine perspectives about exactly this topic. It may seem minute or hyper-specific to you, but nearly every other trans person who has ever been intimately a part of my personal life has expressed fears about even hypothetically swimming. Summer can be a fear for trans people too, as more of our bodies have to be on display to the heat, and we can't hide under layers. Scout says "fuck that!" and then she went and wrote a beautiful chapbook just about (trying) to let her body exist with no consequences. (It should be permanently consequence-free for everyone)

Writing by trans women and those affected by transmisogyny is essential in recognizing and respecting what you're not seeing if you're someone who isn't intentionally affected. I don't experience transmisogyny, and unfortunately much of my experiences in "popular" nonbinary spaces is that when you point out to other people why trans feminine people aren't around, or that their mentalities are just as harmful as cis mentalities they really freak out even if you deliver such criticism more gently than you should. It's a real problem, and serially unaddressed. As Scout put it, "If I dont go to the anarchaqueerfeminist / meeting tonight, / there won't be a single trans woman there. / This poem tells you all you need to know." and she is absolutely right. In the face of this unique sort of experience, she has crafted something short and simple and honest and true to her own experiences. It isn't ashamed, or trying to pretend these dynamics and insecurities and deep hatred of transfemininity by everyone don't exist. Scout and I share very similar dreams from different directions. A world where all trans bodies are loved, fucked (if that's what one wants), respected, and free to just fucking swim ... and where trans women are no longer treated like shit in everything except their own words.

"There's a science fiction in the space between / You and me / A fabrication of a grand scheme / Where I am the scary monster / and so are you."

[CW // food, illness, light body horror, metaphorical genitals]

"Roots Water Concrete" is a book by two contributors; writer Brice Woodcock (twitter/website) & artist Jonathan Zachary (instagram). Brice says that they "wrote these poems over the course of ten years. The anthropocentric planet sometimes feels like something huge, lonely, and invasive, and it is hard not to fantasize about buildings and roads being swallowed up by the ground. Then I soak my feet in the dirt and smell the sunlight so I can see my fellow humans as more than parts of an unfeeling machine, as people as lost here as I am.". 'Anthropocentric' apparently means "a belief that human beings are the most important entity; before animals, nature, and before (any) God". It's interesting I never knew that, but it's a good word to describe the mentality that capitalism pushes us towards. Nothing matters except human success. Not survival, not equality, not safety - success. I appreciate the work that this book puts into not becoming nihilistic or cynical despite the norms of society. Think of this as the opposite of Grimes's latest album. Instead of a fascist, accelerationist, or eugenicist response to the rate that CORPORATIONS and the WEALTHY are destroying the earth and blaming it on the entire population, this chapbook addresses the reality that many humans do care, and human life still does matter, even if it isn't superior to the point of being justification for harm done to all non-human life.

Something that I love about what they do is that they put the title of the poems at the bottom of the page. Small stuff like that isn't new, but you don't see it often and I definitely think playing with poetic format is really great and fun. That they collaborated with an artist to give every poem a unique illustration as a companion really stands out. Several of them are of an extremely impressive quality. It does take awhile. The book starts out angry at other humans, almost blaming them for things that are truly the fault of a much bigger system than individual actions. But it matures as you go through the story it tells you. It talks about architecture, cities, technology, populations, vehicles, chemicals, emissions, and all the urban aspects that serve as reminders to the altercations we've made to living. In a certain way, the way we "live" now is more a different type of "death" but that isn't a permanent fate, and hopelessness can't save us. It's important to read these ten years of "imperfect" or even "concerning" fantasies, because they show a maturity of realizing that the engagement with climate change is necessary but that nihilistic-assholery only comes from the people who never valued their own lives or the lives of other people outside their small (western) world anyways. 

It looks great and it tells a VERY needed alternate mentality to the reality of environmental focus in the development in the future. Here's to facing the fantasies of human elimination, and coming out understanding the significance of all the lives we can't see.

"Once between some walls where they pay me to masticate and spit food up into the open mandibles of twitching scaly creatures for less than a living wage A man in a beige cardigan said I was gifted at scooping his ice cream into a cup I wanted to stab him with the ice cream spoon"

[CW // ecopessimism, car accidents. vomiting, suicide]

"Roots Water Concrete" is a book by two contributors; writer Brice Woodcock (twitter/website) & artist Jonathan Zachary (instagram). Brice says that they "wrote these poems over the course of ten years. The anthropocentric planet sometimes feels like something huge, lonely, and invasive, and it is hard not to fantasize about buildings and roads being swallowed up by the ground. Then I soak my feet in the dirt and smell the sunlight so I can see my fellow humans as more than parts of an unfeeling machine, as people as lost here as I am.". 'Anthropocentric' apparently means "a belief that human beings are the most important entity; before animals, nature, and before (any) God". It's interesting I never knew that, but it's a good word to describe the mentality that capitalism pushes us towards. Nothing matters except human success. Not survival, not equality, not safety - success. I appreciate the work that this book puts into not becoming nihilistic or cynical despite the norms of society. Think of this as the opposite of Grimes's latest album. Instead of a fascist, accelerationist, or eugenicist response to the rate that CORPORATIONS and the WEALTHY are destroying the earth and blaming it on the entire population, this chapbook addresses the reality that many humans do care, and human life still does matter, even if it isn't superior to the point of being justification for harm done to all non-human life.

Something that I love about what they do is that they put the title of the poems at the bottom of the page. Small stuff like that isn't new, but you don't see it often and I definitely think playing with poetic format is really great and fun. That they collaborated with an artist to give every poem a unique illustration as a companion really stands out. Several of them are of an extremely impressive quality. It does take awhile. The book starts out angry at other humans, almost blaming them for things that are truly the fault of a much bigger system than individual actions. But it matures as you go through the story it tells you. It talks about architecture, cities, technology, populations, vehicles, chemicals, emissions, and all the urban aspects that serve as reminders to the altercations we've made to living. In a certain way, the way we "live" now is more a different type of "death" but that isn't a permanent fate, and hopelessness can't save us. It's important to read these ten years of "imperfect" or even "concerning" fantasies, because they show a maturity of realizing that the engagement with climate change is necessary but that nihilistic-assholery only comes from the people who never valued their own lives or the lives of other people outside their small (western) world anyways. 

It looks great and it tells a VERY needed alternate mentality to the reality of environmental focus in the development in the future. Here's to facing the fantasies of human elimination, and coming out understanding the significance of all the lives we can't see.

"Once between some walls where they pay me to masticate and spit food up into the open mandibles of twitching scaly creatures for less than a living wage A man in a beige cardigan said I was gifted at scooping his ice cream into a cup I wanted to stab him with the ice cream spoon"

[CW // ecopessimism, car accidents. vomiting, suicide]

"last november" by d. (twitter/website). What an amazing zine and playable chapbook. You could play this for hours and generate thousands of poems from all these entries and prompts. I know I had fun making these;

But it's not just the functionality, novelty, or thoughtfulness of this submission that feels so developed and complete. The visual and literal design of it is superb. It's "a collection of erasable poems, erasures made from those poems, & a few odds/ends. Built in twine for the jam, adapted from a personally important but poorly executed zine I made last year. It's about being anxious & being a lesbian & being in love & being overwhelmed & being traveling constantly for days.". The anxiousness comes through in spades as the poems are often filled with repetitive restructured sound bytes twenty times in a row that convey the loop of an anxious mind as well as giving you an endless opportunity for precise combinations

You click a work to erase it or bring it back, and can do this in a limitless fashion to almost any word you see; even in the conclusion. There are also presets that give you secret visuals or take you to obscure links. Click them. It's an essential part of the adventure. Clearly this was not a fun or a pleasant time/experience for the author depicting what they were going through and feeling, so I don't mean my praise to come across as a platitude-esque "This is great! Mental Health! John Green!" or whatever twee pop-psychology YouTubers are up to these days . . . what I can appreciate (as someone with mental illness issues who plays a lot of games "about mental illness" where I don't actually often relate to the way mental health is depicted in said games) is the authenticity of the sheer unfortunate mundane-ness of it all. Sometimes our breakdowns and freak-outs don't feel like mysterious evil unspeakable monster-creatures we have to fight and triumph over that come from nowhere as far as we can tell. Sometimes we know where they come from, sometimes we can feel them coming, sometimes we know how to handle them and this time we just don't, sometimes we get angry because where they come from is the dynamic of society that's not our fault. It doesn't matter. There's no one way to experience difficult or negative emotions. It doesn't always make sense, and it doesn't have to.

What can I say? There's nothing better than poetry that exists in a way that lets you create even more poetry.

"When waiting for the object of my affection to speak, each moment is a hundred, ambiguous subjunctives—it could be wonderful, it may be terrifying, I would be angry, you should have said something, anything, it can be tragic, it might be interesting at least, perhaps it’s finally over, we could get some food in town if you like—each with as much weight as whatever is actually happening."

[CW // mental health, the usual]

"last november" by d. (twitter/website). What an amazing zine and playable chapbook. You could play this for hours and generate thousands of poems from all these entries and prompts. I know I had fun making these;

But it's not just the functionality, novelty, or thoughtfulness of this submission that feels so developed and complete. The visual and literal design of it is superb. It's "a collection of erasable poems, erasures made from those poems, & a few odds/ends. Built in twine for the jam, adapted from a personally important but poorly executed zine I made last year. It's about being anxious & being a lesbian & being in love & being overwhelmed & being traveling constantly for days.". The anxiousness comes through in spades as the poems are often filled with repetitive restructured sound bytes twenty times in a row that convey the loop of an anxious mind as well as giving you an endless opportunity for precise combinations

You click a work to erase it or bring it back, and can do this in a limitless fashion to almost any word you see; even in the conclusion. There are also presets that give you secret visuals or take you to obscure links. Click them. It's an essential part of the adventure. Clearly this was not a fun or a pleasant time/experience for the author depicting what they were going through and feeling, so I don't mean my praise to come across as a platitude-esque "This is great! Mental Health! John Green!" or whatever twee pop-psychology YouTubers are up to these days . . . what I can appreciate (as someone with mental illness issues who plays a lot of games "about mental illness" where I don't actually often relate to the way mental health is depicted in said games) is the authenticity of the sheer unfortunate mundane-ness of it all. Sometimes our breakdowns and freak-outs don't feel like mysterious evil unspeakable monster-creatures we have to fight and triumph over that come from nowhere as far as we can tell. Sometimes we know where they come from, sometimes we can feel them coming, sometimes we know how to handle them and this time we just don't, sometimes we get angry because where they come from is the dynamic of society that's not our fault. It doesn't matter. There's no one way to experience difficult or negative emotions. It doesn't always make sense, and it doesn't have to.

What can I say? There's nothing better than poetry that exists in a way that lets you create even more poetry.

"When waiting for the object of my affection to speak, each moment is a hundred, ambiguous subjunctives—it could be wonderful, it may be terrifying, I would be angry, you should have said something, anything, it can be tragic, it might be interesting at least, perhaps it’s finally over, we could get some food in town if you like—each with as much weight as whatever is actually happening."

[CW // mental health, the usual]

of course! any time! if you'd ever like to collab or desire any assistance with printing hit me up. ill be in philly soon so irl meetups looks hopeful

"בין הערביים: between the blendings" by Ezra Rose (twitter/website). blendings is from "A queer, trans (non-binary) Ashkenazi Jewish artist/creator living on a small farm in Western Massachusetts. This is their first collection of self-published poetry. A chapbook of 10(ish) poems, illustrated with public domain images & collages. Content includes queer/trans experiences of Judaism & living with trauma." The ten poems are wonderful; just as every collection from any Jewish trans writer this jam has been. The moment you open this you can tell that the visuals and the design work that's gone into this is just superb. The titles of every poem are in Hebrew, the font choices are spectacular, and the collages and use of public domain designs is beautifully tasteful. The writing is brilliant, but even just visually this is a gorgeous chapbook. It's not a collection surrounded by traditional Judaism, as it happily explores "Jewish magic and mysticism" [such as their online community QUEERKEIT COVEN does] as well. It's a unique and very well-done read that you can return to over and over again to reconsider and re-observe. The poems sound amazing if you read them aloud because the words just flow into each other with careful intention. They are almost like individual carefully crafted meditations or protections. They do all of that while finding and expressing the relationship between transness and faith. They cover very classic themes and historical aspects of accepted magical practices within sects of Judaism.  Lots of topics get fleetingly brushed upon, but all of them in the right ways. This is the sort of work that is ready for print and wow, I sure hope Ezra prints this because I know it would just look and feel amazing in physical form. I wish them and their found family good luck on their farm, and hope to see more poetry from them in the future.

"this longing to be something “less” than human: pure mineral might, an enviable singularity of purpose. deep riverbed clay holding aeons of quiet earth-memory, bedrock bones moved only in service to we who ask the difficult questions.

there is no asking or answering for stones. they know that “truth” is the state of being filled with the breath of the One, and “dead” is just another word for waiting."

[CW // symptoms related to PTSD, anxiety & depression. violent imagery & allusions to trauma.]