Two Poems by Eros Livieratos

Melencolia’s Samsara

 after Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia I, 1514

                       I remember when I was beautiful. I was observed obsessively. My body was an open canvas. My mind was full. I remembered my sisters—their glistening beams of light and the violence they endured. Away from Albrecht, away from the infant, away from the dog—I met with a Boddhisatva. I wished to be empty. 

                       On the day I swallowed the sun, there was a man standing on a hill. He had masturbated to my hips as I began to collapse. The struggle of brushstrokes felt much calmer than these physical pains. When samsara continued, I unraveled the man. My fingers in his core, spinning with the splendor of a pulsar. 

                       When the world went dark, I became the sun. My warmth covered the rapists and the indignant. Hubristic murderers infiltrated my reach. My sides became everlasting highways and so, I covered the rapists and the murderers, and the lovers separated by picnic baskets in late spring where I was expected to be.  My expectations outgrew me. I tried my best. 

                       I kissed everyone, the unable and the diseased, the imperfect Adonises and their gender fluid queens. I felt children reaching out for me, small breaths grasping my hued abstractions. When mountain goats kissed the lamb, I began to feel tired. The weight of infinite needs drove down my sides and bit away at my color, I wanted to weep but the form was steam. 

                       Boddhi talked of purpose and place but I, I felt an overwhelming frustration. As if my core was swallowing itself, I wanted nothing to do with form. Samsara continued and I burned the rings of Saturn, locked in intercourse with planetoidal debris. I wept as our bodies entangled, forming spherical vines lit by nameless dead stars. I am tired of the cycles.

                       When I was beautiful, I wished to live beyond Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia I. When I walked outside, I found nothing of beauty. I saw the eyes of men and I wanted to save my sisters, to shield them from millennia of responsibility. I became the sun and as the days went, my light turned to decay. Every second was agonizing. Every second was natural. When I returned to the engraving, I was a nameless Venus. My body unrecognizable, my beauty substantial, and my presence—a suffering.

 

Scorched

Eros Livieratos (He/They) is a Greek-Belizean writer & artist whose work focuses on the intersection of identity, aesthetics, and capital in the Anthropocene. Eros has published poetry, fiction, non-fiction, comics, photography, and film score work. They can usually be found making harsh noise & screaming in your local basement.

One Hybrid by Ethan Fortuna

Untitled

 

 

 

 

minimal sense that beings are, oil on canvas, October 2019 [ Grey essay ]

I watched, from the shower floor, L. wash himself. Or, from the position of a stricken eagerness,
a putrid bloating awareness, that results from a combined misery of betrayal and immediate massive caesura that is the beginnings of inverting anything locable that would maintain the moral stance of having been betrayed. 

I sat on the shower floor. From this position, I watched L. wash himself.

Perhaps it was not stricken eagerness of having been betrayed, downdrafts of embarrassment stimulating vigil, but consequential, incredulous strains of tamping-disavowal, something more active than denial, that led to a period of months in which my brain, like an idly receptive camera screen set on an overbright room, variously focused glitchy mists. Things occasionally pulsed as recognition—ideas, persons. Then nothing. 

My memories that are most sensorially faceted unfortunately are ones in which lucidity was motivated by overwhelming fear. The rainbowic suds that marbled L.’s concave asscheek and formed raspberry-like bubble clusters in his thin bronze hairs. Milder occasions—shadow lights
that get caught around my ceiling beams, indigo shampoo bottles clustering my shower
window—aren’t so crescive. 

Why think of syntax? Emmanuel Levinas, in On Escape, does not write that one’s linguistic
status—self as textual ‘I’—produces need for excédence. Yet, Eugenie Brinkema rewrites
Levinas’s assertion of the need to escape as a radical suffering to-not-be-where-(what)-one-is. Could the –where-(what)- of Brinkema’s paraphrase betray being ‘one’ as linguistic bearing, acute and committing? Yet in this, there is—even by I’s striated willingness to remain—a knowing, from syntagmatic calyx or quick, of something less (or not of need). 

I wonder if this insistent alignment of agency and visuality could loosen. Attended by that happy
red glare. If letters are the bodily extension that simply cannot be said to belong to any one person, it is a delusion to think they could be used to dominate. Or is this what they’re meant for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TWOMBLY’S CATULLUS LOOKS AS THE FOGS OF ENCHANTMENT
 

I don’t experience myself as a continuous subject but I do continuously experience pain.
Pain is reliable, but frustratingly solicitous. 

Submissiveness is a shorthand for openness to pain. One wants to work against passive
obedience. The [toxic] [belittling] faithfulness of imperviousness, the strata of unfelt
[self-made]. Can another supersede my relation to my own pain by surpassing it in
intensity?

People don’t understand the difficulty involved in abstraction; they say, my child could do
that, because it’s an unfamiliar or unapparent kind of laborusing a brush so it doesn’t
leave its trace behind. 

Glitchiness isn’t opposed to consistency; glitch affirms underlying simplicity (a grid)
whelmed by the front of dimensionality. 

Retinal hysteresis. No longer a question of where to look but how.

 

 

 

 

ON CHEAP BACKDROPS MY STUDIO RENTED FOR A PRODUCTION OF SLEEPING BEAUTY

Painterly suppression of muscle flexions toward writerly conveyance produces
afterburnboth acts commit disregard for as dependence on surface contact; a tension
that permits attention to the instant a brushstroke grafts, visibly emitting, the dense
eroticism of the concept: 

one registers (imitating the properties of the canvas) the modulating application of
pressure together with a line’s control of planar disclosure. Presentiment: forceful
insertion of vantage such that a next word seems my shadow afore. 

The shape of erasure’s act, as if to protect against subsumption by the reading eye (of
erasing a word), looks nearer, as a scrim, its opacity paradoxically amplifying a being
there of the word.

A vanishing madeness of the mark (transparency) is essential to effect vibrancy.
Twombly’s finger’s compression of tone, as counterpoint, yields sense of a brush’s
fittedness forby accommodating or incorporating the surface’s impress (its
unresponsiveness, slight solidity)representational thoroughness in light pressure,
gliding. 

The suction of tone sublimated by unprimed canvas disturbs inclinations to coax
representational scenes, can make time pool.

 

 

 

 




Bream nests, conferva. ? Woke up — (sweat behind knees, 
shirt collar) tried for a while to find Thoreau’s 

description of a nest in the crossbeams, I remember 
a segment of an inexistent, ineffectually coerce a shape 
as a psychical wound, not as infarction to vision

bare rafters once motivated a footnote 
for Thoreau: How it is Night — in Nest and Kennel — And where 
was the wood —. Questions shape inhabitance. 

I don’t know what I’m saying and feel a little ill. Became meagerly (or medially?) 
satisfied with the notion of (re/del-ate as) a doublet 
of delay, if simper, . is one of my favorite shadow-shapes, and I apologize for nothing meaning 

 




What does staring feel like to you? do you wish you could instead be the floor mat?
The fever, well, I’ve been thinking about variegation 
for years, in relation to it, but also that the scallops of fever have metallic undertows. 
The fever I feel I often think together with

‘until’ — ‘that nearer every day, until 
the agony’ — a soft fabric is being pulled through your hand, what feeling 
arises from loosening your grip? The give

 

 

 

 

E N D  N O T E

minimal sense

The painting title, minimal sense that beings are, comes from Eugenie Brinkema’s essay “Violence and the Diagram; Or, The Human Centipede,” in which she writes, regarding the beginning of the titular movie: “Heiter’s opening pronouncement over this image, ‘Good news: Your  tissues match,’ is the brute declaration, without history, blank and without provocation (assertive in the strictest sense), that the conjunctive operation is on the order of the possible. This statement of the pure  possibility of joining is articulated over the visual self-evidence of the human form as pure presence: beings figured in the barest outlined difference between the figural and the anti-figural. Violence is possible because of this minimal sense that beings arethe constraint on freedom is declared as an event that requires solely what the visual logic avows: that the human form is” (81).

where-(what)-one-is

Again, from Brinkema’s “Violence and the Diagram,” in which she turns to Emmanuel Levinas’s On Escape, she writes: “The Human Centipede is not about escape-to-some-where in this minor sense, but about a different escape altogether: the brutal aspiring only to get out (sortir) (e, 53). Not to elude or flee the house, the doctor, the shit, the terror, but to evade the structure one is itselfnot transcendence, but what Levinas dubs excédence. The violence does not produce a need to go somewhere (else) but rather the radical suffering to-not-be-where-(what)-one-is” (88).

happy red glare

This “happy red glare” is borrowed from Johann Geothe’s Theory of Colours, in which he writes: “The French have a happy expression for the less perceptible tendency of yellow and blue towards red: they say the colour has an ‘un oeil de rouge,’ which we might perhaps express by a reddish glance (einen röthlichen blick)” (214).

erasure’s scrim

My poem title references Cy Twombly’s Say goodbye, Catullus, to the shores of Asia Minor, created between 1972-1994. My mention of erasure’s scrim is informed by Roland Barthes’ book on Twombly, Cy Twombly: Fifty Years of Works on Paper, in which he writes: “[Twombly does] not press down, quite the contrary, [his mark] fades away, while retaining the delicate stain of the eraser’s movement; the hand has drawn something like a flower and then begun ‘dawdling’ over this line, the flower has been written, then unwritten; but the two movements remain vaguely superimposed; it is a perverse palimpsest; three texts […] are here, one tending to efface the other, but only, one might say, in order to show that effacement; a veritable philosophy of time” (165).

dense eroticism

My phrase “the dense eroticism of the concept” is informed by Fred Moten’s description of Sigmund Freud’s oeuvre as producing “the dense erotics of arrangement” in his chapter “The Sentimental Avant-Garde” from In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition; more fully: “The density of the miniatures that make up the suite we call An Outline of Psycho-Analysis is rich with the necessity and effect of forming  pictures in the terrain in which there can be no question. This is the dense erotics of arrangement, the whole of the text working like the whole of the body working like the whole of the orchestraa miraculously autoexpansive, invaginative, erotogenic zone” (30).

presentiment

My usage of “Presentiment” is informed by Emily Dickinson’s F487A: “Presentiment – is that long / shadow on the Lawn – / Indicative that suns go / down – // the notice to the startled / Grass / that Darkness – is about – / to pass -” (edickinson.org).

thoreauvian nest

Thoreau describes nests and algae across his journals. Here I refer to Thoreau’s description of his ideal home in “House-Warming” from Walden: “I sometimes dream of a larger and more populous house, standing in a golden age, of enduring materials . . . which shall consist only of one room, a vast, rude, substantial, primitive hall, without ceiling or plastering, with bare rafters and purlins supporting a sort of lower heaven over one’s head; . . . where some may live in the fireplace, some in the recess of a window, and some on settles, some at the end of one hall, some at another, and some on rafters with the spiders; . . . a house which you have got into when you have opened the outside door . . . where you can see all the treasures of the house at one view . . .; A house whose inside is as open and manifest as a bird’s nest” (234).

agonic

I also quote the penultimate stanza to Emily Dickinson’s F327A and the opening stanza to F425A: “‘Twas like a Maelstrom, with – / a notch, / That nearer, every Day, / Kept narrowing its boiling / Wheel / Until the Agony” (edickinson.org).

 

B I B L I O G R A P H Y

Brinkema, Eugenie.“Violence and the Diagram; Or, The Human Centipede.” Qui Parle, vol. 24, no. 2, 2016, pp. 75–108., doi:10.5250/quiparle.24.2.0075.

Dickinson, Emily. F327A, Emily Dickinson Archive, www.edickinson.org.

—. F487A, Emily Dickinson Archive, www.edickinson.org.

Levinas, Emmanuel. On Escape. Stanford University Press, 2003.

Moten, Fred. In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition. University of Minnesota Press, 2003.

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden. Yale University Press, 2004.

 

Ethan Fortuna is a trans writer and visual artist. He is a Postdoctoral Fellow at New York University and received his PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston as a Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts Interdisciplinary Fellow. He was selected as a finalist by Wendy’s Subway for the 2023 Carolyn Bush Award book prize, and his work can be found at Southeast ReviewTAGVVERKbæst: a journal of queer forms and affectsTriangle House Review, and elsewhere.

Two Poems by L. R. Bird

WE’VE ALL DONE THINGS WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO WITH OUR BODIES 

were i to subject my brain to confession the way i do to therapy, perhaps
i would begin & end with each of your names the way i know my 
name has also bookended the list of sins the confessor & i had
demanded of our bodies, so i am considering your conflicting
doctrine, & how little i know of you except what my hands
remember. i’ve been having dreams about you again. in
them i consented in your hometown, we ate local berries, 
i checked a state off my list. but instead i’m hollowed out 
in the most peculiar sense: filling someone else. i mean
i’m having a hard time not leaving (again). i’m eating
until we’re both crying. i’m sober until i’m not. 
my symptoms are more honest than i am: stress-
related paranoia ongoing feelings of emptiness 
impulsive behavior risky behavior success 
sabotaging behavior: most of the time before 
people know me the way i need them to, 
they G–gle me, & i mean they can: my mug-
shot(s) my legal name my lovers who oscillate 
between prose, who disappear vilified & 
are brought back to my mouth with docu-
mented [redacted] admissions. forgive me,
g_d of a war that was supposed to make
sense. you & someone you hate say 
y’all share the same origin myths so 
i don’t know if i believe in your bed-
room anymore. i watched you undo
the decorations. how you walked
out of yourself & into some-
one’s bad archetype. O, g_d
of giving up the punchline:
send someone else to 
hol[y/d] me. give me law
& liquor: a fifth of each:
with which to confess
where i hid the rest 
of the ________.

 

GOOD MORNING DELAWARE VALLEY METROPOLITAN AREA I’M CRYING 
              ABOUT BEING DISABLED AGAIN

i name each ailment after a cryptid because i like the idea of my limbs given excuses for their magic acts: finally reasons for immobility: a defiant belief against my body’s traditional connotation: how i used to split night-pavement in combat boots: before i forgot how to hold my breath: i swam a mile every other day: now my nerves bulge: my hip disappears: a pain accused of being imagined: an improbable monster: there is no science to explain why my skin bloats: like that: as a child my spine was scrutinized for a scoliosis experiment: i expected to hold a booking number during my mugshot(s) i mean: let me blister into a joke but no, now, every doctor’s measurement feels like a driver’s license seance: pull whoever my bones belonged to before all this shit happened out of my phlemed-up throat and ask them to state their age and address for the camera: i promise i am still angry about how much childhood i lost to doctors’ disappointing hands and still, now, when i wake up surgery after surgery in only more debt not less pain: i can remember not being disabled the way i remember being happy– i’m not sure i could tell you— but i must have felt it: the root word of “cryptid” is “hidden”: so that’s what i call this invisibility: how last month the stairs didn’t matter and now i am crying: at the top of them separated from something i need, again: or an amorphous mythology: how can i expect anyone to believe me: amateur cryptozoologist of my own body: when i can’t tell you how i got here: when science can’t either: when all i know is one day i woke up knowing: something had gotten lost: inside of me–

 

L. R. Bird is a disabled transsexual cryptid from the Jersey Shore. As a slam poet they toured and competed internationally and hosted prelim/final stages and open mics. They have work in the 2017 Bettering American Poetry anthology and pieces from their most recent chapbook INVENTION OF THE MOUTH (Dream Pop Press, 2019) have been nominated for multiple Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes. They want to hear about your favorite bridge. birdpoet.github.io

Guest Editors

Issue #11 – The All-Fiction Issue – paparouna

Born and raised in Athens, Greece, paparouna currently resides in occupied Arapahoe and Cheyenne territory in so-called Colorado, USA, works in social and environmental justice education, writes queer speculative prose, translates Greek literature into English, and daydreams about life as a marine mammal. A 2018 Princeton Hellenic Translation Workshop and 2018-2020 Lighthouse Book Project participant, paparouna has been published in ProgenitorAsymptoteExchangesNew Poetry in TranslationDenver QuarterlyTimber, and The Thought Erotic.

Two Poems by Quinn Lui

alternate fifth colours of the rainbow

i wear the name you give me for / three years before it thins out threadbare / which is to say for three years    /    i let you call me a moonshard   /   a toxin-bright bloom   /   forktongued and lovely / poison-flowering snakeplant / jade slipped cold into a colourless throat / lined by ghosts with ink-stamped faces / smiling tight-lipped to hide the teeth / call me sovereign of little sorrows / time-lapse of ungrowth / call me anything / but a treasure again / i stole the jadestone from my name and / sold it for gold / melted it down into rivers / and like the drip of mountaintop snow / one day it will all be swallowed / by the ocean / all of its mouths opening and closing fishlike / around their own once-names / forgotten — 


ghost-town girl

bright                   in the way of cerussite: too soft
to be metal-touched. all flash 
& glimmer, saying goodbye
               once every year you’ve known her, 
the routine of the runaway act
                                 something safer to measure by
than a nebulous new year. don’t worry   
                                               what my hands will do.
in every story i’m the only one 
who winds up                  with an open throat.

one time a girl with signal-fire hair 
knelt over me on slick-glowing floor,
laced me back up 
                                 & promised to do it again 
long as i needed it. & next time 
her back was turned                     i asked someone
               to burn down the building.

                                             this is the damnation 
               of the rabbit-heart. i don’t know 
if those ever want anything more than to see 
the warmth of home                       last beyond 
your own meaning, to live 
                                             a little longer, to not 
freeze in the field        as the shadow of death  
falls from above. it’s not 
               that i think i had wings in the womb, 
or that they snapped off          at the first touch        
of this world’s air
                               but i should’ve come out something 
                                              that makes its home high 
instead of tied landbound, left 
lovesick for flight. 

don’t you dare give me to the ground. i’ll come back 
                just to tell you    
                                              you’ll never be forgiven.



Quinn Lui is a Chinese-Canadian student who has been described as 1) mostly made up of caffeine and bees and 2) dedicated to being a menace. Their work has appeared in Occulum, Synaesthesia Magazine, Okay Donkey, and elsewhere, and they are the author of the micro-chapbook teething season for new skin (L’Éphémère Review, 2018). You can find them @flowercryptid on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram, or sharing a fire escape with raccoons.

One Poem by R/B Mertz

I am watching her on the internet like an ex.

The famous white male poet at the poetry reading who during the first BLM Movement said there was nothing left to say said I should write more love poems, he said, That’s what Eileen is so good at, That’s what Adrienne was so good at

All the white men’s books stuck on the shelves of closed stores, coughing
Listen to the 
behind the paywalls of song,                                                                                                      sounds of the 
their voices dim                                                                                                                                                pages 
& dimmer—I’m listening to my                                                                                                                   pulp
                                                                                                                                                                 Of the
                                                                                                                                                                 Devoured

country                  cringe. Cringe
& scroll 

& forget where she got that [cotton garment] forget

If she ever really knew you
If you ever really knew her

 

R/B Mertz (thee/thou) is a trans/non-binary butch poet and artist. They wrote the memoir Burning Butch (Unnamed Press, 2022), the essay, “How Whiteness Kills God & Sprinkles Crack on the Body,” the foreword for John J. McNeill’s Freedom, Glorious Freedom: The Spiritual Journey for Gays, Lesbians, and Everyone Else, and many poems, including “(We all end up in) the CAN,” published by American Poetry Journal. Mertz taught writing in Pittsburgh for eleven years and was honored to be a finalist for City of Asylum’s 2020-21 Emerging Poet Laureate of Pittsburgh. On January 1, 2021, Mertz left the US for love, and they now reside in Toronto, Ontario, traditionally the territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples.