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By Charlotte Newbury

When God first approached me in the joinery aisle of the hardware shop, I was twenty-four years old and very tired and thought she seemed somehow both too tall and not at all tall enough for a cosmic being, but when I opened my mouth to say something to this effect she held up just one finger and laughed (like the sound of a train brake screeching a whole town away) and I knew she’d already understood, so instead I said “I don’t know what I’m doing here,” somehow already on the verge of tears in that stupid, brightly-lit store filled with people all consulting their incomprehensible lists of 25mm copper-coated and w56 h76 and aluminium 50 per s/m while I stood and stared longingly at the wooden planks and prayed for some kind of divine intervention to show I was even in the right aisle, despite knowing I didn’t belong here at all, not in this spot or the shop as a whole; I wasn’t prepared, hadn’t even measured the space I needed to fill, had arrived with only the hope that I’d intrinsically understand the perfect measurement and end up back home a hero of DIY, an unexpected talent - and during all this pondering, God handed me the timber I needed (quite large) and said, “Darling, you must simply cut it to shape.”

Charlotte Newbury is a queer writer from England who knows next-to-nothing about DIY, life, or everything in between - though it doesn’t stop her tweeting @charnewbpoet.

Art by Jay Baker, an artist from Colorado living in Oregon, by way of New Mexico; he records music as Tom Foe.

By Rabbitfeet

I kill every bug I see in the house now (just in case) because I can’t have another infestation, won’t have another and he tells me you weren’t the type to kill bugs before, and my fear has made me violent, a bad dog like the one I have in my chest, wet and shower-shiny but I tell him I don't care, can’t have this happen again, but I’m lying and afraid to have such a shoe-wielding temper, to have fear that drives me like the cart drives the white-eyed horse, to have a restlessness that refuses to die, legs curled like an insect and helpless, to have needs I don't know how to meet and to have a control problem - as in, a need to be in it, always; 

I have a ring from my grandmother, and I have messages from her ghost and I have the ashes of my cat on the mantle, and they claw at me like she did and I can’t help it, I wear fake pearls and a turn signal for a haircut and I tell people i fuck girls and it’s true though I haven’t for so long and I like the way pretty girl asks me about it, but I don’t have the courage to press my sprawling queerness against the fresh bloom of hers to see what we might have so I have my want, and it feels so good in its terrible familiarity and it furs my brain when I should be writing good poems for good reasons but I don’t have good poems, and I don't have good reasons, I have only desire, and fear, and shame, and the specter of a feline crone telling me it’s fine to beat bugs to death with a shoe, just like I did when you were a kid, remember: it kept you safe, then. 

Rabbitfeet (they/she) is a queer, non-binary writer who enjoys exploring gender, queerness, and nature and you can find them on Twitter: @rabbitfeetpoem.

Art by Jay Baker, an artist from Colorado living in Oregon, by way of New Mexico; he records music as Tom Foe.

By Nick Riccardo

sometimes i wonder what was in the water in the town i grew up in, because most of us turned out real fucking weird, and you might say that “grew up” is a strong phrase to call, well, whatever it is that i did, & yes i know this is pseudo-science, but i may as well look into it because speaking of life, i am currently digging to find the body of who I once was, & i’m getting closer every day, but the nature of digging is such that the closer you get — that is, the more you’ve dug — the dirtier you become, but you can’t clean a house without getting your hands a little dirty; you can’t shut off its pipes without expecting some sediment you’d rather not run your hands under in return, which is to say, i am in the ‘brown water’ phase of self-correction, and to say, i wrote a poem (or something) about the sputtering of newly closed pipes in a house, dry & vacated, and it wound up being both my most laughable & most personal work, so i am treading on questionable terrain with this metaphor, but american poet john mulaney once wrote, “i always thought that quicksand was going to be a much bigger problem than it turned out to be,” and it is only logical to believe he intended this as an extended metaphor to say, “it’s okay, you can trust the ground” (or something) — which reminds me, by the way, that at the end of last year, as i was leaving a bookstore, a stranger among a crowd of strangers looked at me and — unprovoked & so casually — chose to say, “it’s going to be okay,” and all that ominous shit did was make me wonder for weeks what was going to go wrong, so on christmas, american scholar john mulaney presented a special intended for children that wound up hitting me harder than most things i had seen that year, and i don’t want to spoil it for you, so i will just tell you that it was about home invasions & pasta, but if you’re cool with another conversation about mental health, and you don’t mind your eyes rolling to the back of your head, i will tell you that it was a special about anxiety, and it exists because american thinker john mulaney has anxiety, and so i am surprised that he once said that he has never encountered quicksand, because i’m pretty sure the human brain in people like us is quicksand.

Nick Riccardo is a writer whose work has appeared in Maudlin House, Bullshit Lit, and the New York Times' Metropolitan Diary.

Photo by Nick Riccardo.

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