alternate love letter

dear ________________,

with you i have learned love
is utopia & dystopia at the same time.
so love is Earth
& we are highly skilled to kill
it. like damn, what did you think? 
all the god in the gold
chains round our necks 
could make us beautiful, & holy 
& not human? we are
just bodies, drums
of water & chemicals & constructions, paper
-skinned. little marbles
of World rubbing
against each other, how
acid leaks from a cloud’s 
cheek more than rain. all this,
to say: we are ending.

 

Painting by Georgia O’Keeffe, “Two Calla Lilies on Pink”, 1928

Monster in My Bed & Others by Paul Anagnostopoulos

Paul Anagnostopoulos is a New York City based painter who graduated from NYU with a BFA in 2013.

“This series focuses on telling queer narratives in a similar sense to mythological legends. I use ancient imagery, patterns, and landscape to present visual representations of a memory or dream which may or may not have been experienced. Conceptually I explore intimacy as a way to celebrate tenderness and emotive actions.”

The Demon I Cling To
2019, acrylic and oil on canvas, 30 x 22 inches
Monster In My Bed
2019, acrylic and oil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches.
Don’t Have The Time For Another Lie
2019, acrylic and oil on canvas, 16 x 14 inches
Now My Heart Is Gone
2019, acrylic on wood panel, 7-7/8 x 5-7/8 inches

When We Go

By Bhrigu Kumar Bhatra

we
start
small, with
walks around the
perimeter and
we get a feel for the art of
stewardship magic, flora in our steading breathing
in gales of ozone storm breath and salt sea breath, whispering out cool velvet oxygen
we raise a cairn together, next to fairy forts at the cliff, whose chalky body gleams
in the dying dusklight, waiting for the dawn when the
coracle comes and we’ll find at
the beach ambergris,
hopefully,
before
we
sail.
and
come
come back
back westward
home for the stark night
travels done, dandelions picked
and placed between paper leaves, sort of a live grimoire
set in the shelf and half burnt logs poked in the cobblestone fireplace, coaxing the fire
we breathe in a spurt of choking ash breath heaving up the chimney and we start to talk
again over muddy tea, the fight forgotten
and when we pad over to bed
hopefully darling
our hot wet
faces will
be
dry.

Artwork by Yoshiki Hase

he is a town

the town is quiet when you first meet. houses don’t all look alike but each one contains something tangled inside: a necklace or perhaps some yarn. the townsfolk are both wary and warm. they aren’t cat or dog people, but will tolerate the occasional retriever.

waking children is difficult, they complain with mussed hair and sleep-pulled eyes, but the adults enjoy their morning-time and mixed-fruit juice. neighbours skirt each other on their way to work, pretending last night was full of sleep instead of secrets. eyes glittering.

there is a high petty-crime rate here, courtesy of the charming thieves. they will talk the average man out of his own watch.

all the buildings are on wheels. some nights the strong men push each building to a new place. chatting, thigh-muscles straining. townspeople wake up on new streets, wave to new neighbours, then continue on with their days. new maps reflect the change and old maps lay forgotten in a damp cardboard box.

this place is full of stories. short ones graffitied. long ones carefully documented and bound. the town storytellers have permanent lights in their eyes, and can develop night vision as they grow older. prime tales are told on bonfire night, or at the pub, and each child dreams of being one of the tellers.

the music teacher carries a trundle of instruments on his back. he knows how to play every one, and his voice is like water. it carries over the pavements and makes people pause. sometimes his songs are lonely.

there is a place where people in business suits go to work. they debate around the water cooler and the bosses find them hard to control. sometimes they disappear into cities and return with briefcases full of cash. at night they sneak out to play poker.

there are temples on the outskirts of town that are treated politely. sometimes god shows up.

it is always summer here. unless two people fall in love. then the sky gets heavy with snow and the children rush out to feel flakes against their eyelashes and cheeks. old couples are bundled in wheelchairs. they hold hands through mittens and feel the delicious frost again.

hot chocolate is free when it snows. the aged never live alone or go without good meals and hot water.

sometimes the sky holds its breath with thunder-filled wait. the people close their shutters and the few dogs whine. this town can be a drum-roll.

it also gentles in sleep. legs entangle under blankets and arms tighten around torsos. midnight is the softest hour.

Artwork by Wayne Thiebaud

In the Corners

By Scout Satterfield

Ten foot tall
Blue and green
Glow Fish
Hang from the overpass
Marbles are hidden
In pockets of the city

In the early morning
The call to prayer
Kisses my ears
The far-away song
The sound of his breath
The beat of my heart

A terracotta pot
Fresh tomatoes and Tuscan sausage
12 hours of simmering
A true labor of love
But I never asked for love
I only asked for dinner

My boots sink into snow
I feel it leak into my socks
Stone soldiers
Wait to fight heavenly battles
For an emperor
They never loved

The bones float up
And tap tap tap
Against the tops of their graves
I do not envy
The ghosts
In these boxes

He pisses in the bushes
Turns around
Tells me he loves me
I tell him I’m hungry
He holds my hand while we walk
It’s not romantic

The writing
On the wall
Speaks centuries
Silence falls
As the minaret
Sings

An observation deck
On the side of a highway
In the middle of a desert
At 1 am
Lights
At the edge of nowhere

Forgetting about
The vastness of the garden
I arrive at the garden
Affogami nella vasca
He can’t find me
Un giardino solitario

Love is really just
A chemical reaction
Beer bottles
The ashtray
Drops of rain
A continuous beat

HAY DE TODO (CASI)
A courtyard in
A cathedral
Was once
A mosque
A crucifix hangs in a mihrab

Smoke curls from his mouth
And floats out the open window
German whispers
To English ears
Intimacy
All the same

A garden wall
Overlooking a vineyard
At night
Is a great opportunity
To stop and
Drink a beer

Stained glass windows
Present pictures
Of heavenly pasts
And holy moments
I stand in
Their colored light

He’s holding your body close to his
But you don’t want him to
The cold makes the grey buildings
Poetic
The steam of your breath
Means you’re alive

The cobblestone street is uneven
From centuries of movement
The smell of Calabrian spices
On Tuscan meat
On the too-close breath
Of the Italian man

In the dark of Vienna
One euro for a flame
So God can see you
Turn the grind and roll a joint
Smoke to feel the night
Experience twice the candle light

I look at him
I see only the small red light
At the end of his cigarette
Brighter as he inhales
Illuminating his eyes
He looks at me

Wind whips Rome
They stand in line to feel closer to God
A dead city
Feels a bit alive
On weekdays
From nine to five

Artwork by Mona Hatoum “Keffieh”

two mouths

but for him, i have tenderness –
sparkle of drum
fizzing from the lip
of basement below ribcage;
fine-grained pulse & cotton stupor
snow, eyefuls of
soft, syncopated
nodding to the music.

*

and for you, i am tender –
bruised grape lip
bitten. mind on heart; junebug
jumping against glass.
this sore takes so long
to heal, i am tired
of searching the mirror,
waiting for violet scar.

Artwork by Linda Cleary, “Still Life with Apples – Tribute to Paul Cezanne”, 2014

Love Easily

Walking on beige lake-wall
focused on each pattern, each grain
of each rock at Belmont Harbor. My body
wanted to scream
out of its skin how deeply
I fell in love with their lives, endlessly
content with being beaten by Lake Michigan. I counted
each wave, each blow as they slammed against
the boulders screaming Remember Me! before
returning into themselves.

On the white smooth gravel
heading home, I had a moment in my head
about how crazy it might seem to Strangers
if I told them the lake-wall’s rocks had introduced themselves
to me and given me their names. A man walked
his bike on those same rocks, an affair I didn’t mind.
“I was just seeing if I had the courage
to ride my bike up here,” he said to me. He must’ve
seen me smile, and with that thought, I bloomed;
Oh, please do.” How silly we were
to feel ashamed of our love
for boulders.

Artwork by S.K Garcia, “Untitled”