Three Poems by Louis Raymond


Where I Am Right Now

I don’t want people to die, but I want the world to burn in a cinematic sense.

I’ve been told I seem kind of gay, as if my sexuality is something I care to convey to

I want to be flamboyant for a boy and have that be ok with people.

Same with these things: Sometimes I count plastic stars on my ceiling. 

At mass, I used to envision an escape plan. Usually a rope was involved.

And I am in love with men and women and the profundity of loneliness.

Moral of the story:
I still live with my parents. My dog is buried under a pine tree next to a pine tree.





Post-College Blues

There’s a movie called It Follows, which is about these kids who, if they catch this
sexually transmitted thing, will be followed by a monster. 

At one point the monster looks like the girl’s father. I was like O HELL NO.

There are multiple killings.

The dead bodies resemble modern art.

I want to be followed by a monster that kindly reminds me to do laundry and then leaves
me alone.





Lazy Sunday

Today I woke up remembering the time my sixth grade sex-ed teacher tried to describe
how semen feels by comparing it to undercooked egg whites.

Cheerios are dull circles drowning in cow cum.

Fruit loops are Cheerios that smoked hella weed.

It’s now 3:31 pm.

I have no opinions on Cocoa Puffs.




Louis Raymond is a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer, book reviewer, and teacher from Biddeford, Maine. He is the author of the e-book Paper Heart (2015, Thought Catalog), and his poems, essays, and stories have been featured in array of places, such as Entropy, The Bicycle Review, Extract(s), Cheap Pop Lit, Ray’s Road Review, and on The Flexible Persona Podcast. This past April, he was named a Martin Dibner Fellow of Fiction Writing. Find him on tumblr.

Two Poems by John Rossi

Pay No Mind

Pay no mind to the fishing boats, the seanight must swallow them. The fisherman will still send us the sadness locked in his calloused hands. Hidden in the stinging wind, and marching with the drowning waves.

And if you must call out to him, wring your hands and wail some new song, some untold melody. For the solitude and the tides and the gasoline have almost deafened him.

Pay no mind to those stars there. They are relics, they have nothing new to say. I will ask them their ages. I will translate for you.

And if you pulsate, if you must radiate your own cosmos, turn off all of the lights above and whisper it to me.

And those pebbles you pass between your toes, pay them no mind either. They are weary from their travels and wish only to rest here on the shore.

But if you must ask them where they have been, lay down your head on my chest and let my aching breaths fill the gaps of their stories, between wavebreaks, for I know them well.

And my tears now that come, pay no mind to them. No, not when there is all this. Count the wave crests. Let the mist paint with you and the moon. I would swirl his grays and your oranges.

But if you must ask, I weep for you to join me. For the sea to somehow spill me into you, like the breakers flood the tidepools. For it to crash upon you with my cyclones and my surges, for it to devastate you with me. As you have broken me, your onslaught.

And then I could love again. The stories of the pebbles . The secrets I have for stars. The lights on fishing boats.





Did It Rain

Did it rain the night I watched the candlelight pour over your shoulders and collect like honey in the bowls of your collar bones?

And softly you sang to tomatoes all of the notes that will stay locked in my skin, harbingers of your songs.

and red pith.
Persimmon shades over
bones and melodies.

Did it rain the night your eyes made the dark a fortress of my quickened breaths and my threadbare lips?

And softly you kissed my eyelids and made of them shields to bear away my rasping heart.

burned and burning.
Your mouth
names me
to ashes and coals.

Did it rain the night when I needed stars and winds to hold me, like the guardians I have made them to be?
And softly the clouds hung there, and with compassion they painted my blood a wonderful bluegrey.

and cloudbursts.
Cinereal condensation
on my windowpanes.

Did it rain the night I knew I had lost your treacle-sweet taste, and the clamor of your touch?

And softly you left me, as raindrops fall from the lamina of young birch leaves. Silent and penitent, to the drifting brook below.

through my palms
over knuckles
fallen away.




John Rossi lives and works in Brooklyn, and is inspired by angry train people and humanity in general. He works in event production, and travels the country plying his trade at various film and music festivals.


9 Memories Father by Peter BG Shoemaker

Fishing on a Wisconsin lake
and what I remember is the sunlight
on the pier, the rot of the boathouse
and how you could sit and wait,
and I never could, and neither of us
caught a thing.

Carving a pumpkin
and what I remember is the sweetness
of it, the feel of the knife
in the flesh, the shape 
it took, the taste it offered
a tongue too eager.

Fishing in Georgian mountains
and what I remember is hard
earth, the sound of water
in its yearning for the sea, and
the smell of browning butter
and nothing like a fish.

Ordering pizza in Washington
and what I remember is a hotel
room on a cracked asphalt lot
you in uniform, lies pinned
to your chest, some you told yourself
some you told me.

Sharing a girl I brought home
and what I remember is how old
you seemed, and how young
we felt, and how you looked at her
like a starving child, with tears
in your eyes.

Swimming in a Florida pool
and what I remember isn't the pool
at all, it's the end
of that thing you made with my mother
that thing that made me
that thing you fled from
like everything else, like me.

Singing an opera while making spaghetti
and what I remember is the taste
of the meatballs, the sound 
of our singing, off-key,
off-point, off-task, not
nearly of-ten

Standing by your bed
and what I remember is the sound
of the monitor and the intimacy
of its echo eleven years later
as I lay staring at a different
same ceiling, listening to a different
same sound, and living.

Standing by your bed, a breath later
and what I remember is the speed
of it, how everything slowed down,
how your wife looked away, and the roar
of rage that filled my head,
that still fills my head
the sound of you
and your going.



Peter BG Shoemaker writes nonfiction, fiction, and poetry from a mountainside in the desert Southwest. More at petershoemaker.com.