Peter Burzynski is a first-year PhD student in Creative Writing-Poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a M.F.A. in Poetry from The New School University, and a M.A. in Polish Literature from Columbia University. In between his studies, he has worked as a Sous-Chef in New York City and Milwaukee. Peter’s poetry has appeared on The Best American Poetry, Kritya, and Bar None Group websites, as well as in the Fuck Poems Anthology. He has poems forthcoming from BORT quarterly and the Great Lakes Review.
If I were a woman
forged of tin, smote
in an oven with hair
of barbs and toes
of hinge, I would
want a parasol.
Here is the river,
here is the sun,
tell me you feel
me, love. I can tell
that I’m late
I guess that’s why
You Have Teeth, Too
Sunsets are a moot point
in the schedule. They bear
the weight of tube-hearted
trombones and yet still falter
through puddles. Collections
of marred concrete, rubber
bones, cracker-thin placard—
you call them home. You left.
You spat tin into our garden—
a brass furnace. Heard bluebirds
cracking. We’d sing broken
heartedness to the stars,
measure the consistency
of our bones. Skin is pricey.
You had filled our world:
every petunia a parabola,
each house key a colossus,
a scarf a sarcophagus, every
telephone a thunderstorm.
Now it’s empty—deflated
of the last blips, of memory,
dregs of sunlight, of our star.
Lisa Marie Basile is the founding editor of Luna Luna Mag and the micropress Patasola Press. She co-edits Diorama Journal. Her work can be seen in Best American Poetry, PANK Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Nervous Breakdown and others. She is the author of the chapbooks Andalucia and Triste. Her first full-length, APOCRYPHAL, will be released by Noctuary Press, run from University of Buffalo. Lisa Marie teaches poetics and was named one of the top contemporary poets in New York by NY Daily News and Relapse Magazine. She is a graduate of The New School’s MFA program for creative writing. She is also a freelance writer and citizen journalist.
the letter says,
show me your most honest self
but I don’t want to be a body today,
it doesn’t feel right,
like something stuck up inside me
that wasn’t meant to go inside,
a whole life, fermented,
green as grass pale as flesh
a darkening, the ankle tied to the chair,
the wrists tied too knotted
for abandon. this dimension of you
so horrible, as leopards lounging
upon a leopard print chaise, I desire it. I put the photograph in a glass box
beneath our summer cellar and look at it,
I am afraid of photographs.
I am ashamed they will show where I really came from.
From particles of light, a slow holding of breath as if I
were filling with dirt & I am, because where I come
from is a place outside and it is not natural.
I use my body to tell stories, though not the ones of being
left or rolling in sand near the sea.
Javi knows I am scared to murder
that old me, and the bodies living inside of it, scared even
without pistols, even if I kill it organically, maybe by only
looking at it, maybe by saying you cannot have me. this is what
you do with pain.
you stand naked with the sun behind you. every silhouette
says death. every breast says death.
every time I show my breasts I die.
when the robe falls down I let it and then prop it over the
armchair and say, this is for everyone who hurt me. I get paid for
the naked, but I feel ashamed. I let him have me so I can
When we are done I wear the curtains and the light likes
me like a child. Javi says it is not in our nudity, but in the
covering, that we find sex. It makes no difference
Javi is enchanted by the room’s secrets, a gallery where
photographs have reduced people to their place upon
furniture & he captures me in an afternoon darkness
so saturated I become a pillar of ivory and smoke.
you are a castle of a woman he says, opulent. and this makes me real, o really weeping real
a slowburning sigaretta down my throat.
I am in 1967 Balenciaga.
because in me there is an inauthenticity hoping
for spectator [to be seen is to be real] & the speckled light of dusk is slicing the excess of me. what is left is
the venom-bodied apparition you will hard and hardly fuck. I am not a skinny girl. I will destroy you.
If I knew why we kill I would tell you. If I knew why the sun moved here the way it does [a blinking eye] I would tell you. There is no splendid reason
I live here now. I am damaged
I live in a small mustard room
the bed is shaped as heart, a reminder
to stay alive.
I live on the first floor, without the balcony,
so I can gaze up at the palm trees from their roots,
as if I am rooted.
As if I am rooted
but I am not, not I.
Not here. Unhinged as a doorway
for a faceless crowd.
I like to live with animals.
Men, I mean,
who drills holes for their body parts.
Let me be clear: I mean glorious holes,
for beasts of glory. Sometimes I wide open my mouth
I get scared at the last moment
I leave a pair of pink panties for the glory instead
I don’t know why I do it.
Soft light warm sand beach chatter
like clinking glasses
the sea is a conversation a girl should have.
They beasts they keep this place in business
as a beast does when hungry.
I do my part.
In this issue, I asked each poet what makes them uncomfortable. If I could only ask one question for my entire life, that would be it. Exceptional writing comes through revelation, and that insight only results from duress. What would humans learn through complacency? We learn most about ourselves, and our world, when we want to change it.
Anthony, Karolina, & Aaron use language so eerily that their ghosts follow me around no matter where I go, pushing me to find the different parts of myself.
Joanna C. Valente
In this issue:
”I always thought it was about / the music but it wasn’t.”
”It whispers, but only / to its own emptiness. / Filled with ghosts, but unburdened.”
”When I said ghosts are assholes I meant dogs are smelling at the ghosts of assholes.”