On Anxiety By Brandon Melendez

Issue 10

& then my throat went numb //
a canal filled with teeth //
cavity infected with bugs //
choking on //
this wheel house //
I call a mouth //

they found a handwritten apology //
under a live tooth //
& my tongue started wearing off //

they say //
you’re just a mouth //
just a butcher //
without a story //
or who doesn’t exist //
I respond //
I have anxiety //

I have anxiety //
but I still have all these good teeth //
I still have a deep winter //
streaming from my smile //
this keeps me calm //

this process //
of learning to love //
this anxiety //
like a crown of stars //
a transformation //
one day at a time //

look //
my teeth changed into hands //


Source: Yelp Page of a dental office I once worked for

Method: I copied & pasted all the yelp reviews into a document & started cutting & rearranging the language until a poem emerged. This was quite fun.

Brandon Melendez is a poet and educator raised in California. He is a National Poetry Slam finalist, two time Berkeley Grand Slam Champion, and he has won “Best Poem” & “Funniest Poem” at collegiate national poetry competitions. He has poems in or forthcoming in Tinderbox, Friction, and Corridors. He is currently an MFA candidate at Emerson College.

Pastoral By Brittany N. Jaekel

Issue 10

the swan drones the June.
smoky peace sheep. dog. the noise wanders.

the house shines a glass green northward.
there, verse is air

the waste paper and the wet stage
the words boil.

tales dipped then swayed, then stayed. 


Source: IEEE sentences, also known as the “Harvard Sentences”. According to Wikipedia, these sentences were originally created for testing speech understanding through telephone systems. See Rothauser, E., Chapman, W., Guttman, N., Nordby, K., Silbiger, H., Urbanek, G., and Weinstock, M. (1969). “IEEE recommended practice for speech quality measurements,” IEEE Trans. Audio Electroacoust. 17, 225-246. 

Method: The IEEE sentence corpus, which contains 720 individual sentences, was placed in a spreadsheet so that every sentence appeared in its own row and every word from every sentence appeared in its own cell. Certain columns were sorted alphabetically or reverse-alphabetically, creating mixtures of new sentences. Sentences or parts of sentences from this process were selected and assembled into stanzas.

Brittany N. Jaekel is a graduate student in Alexandria, Virginia. Her writing has been featured in Bird’s Thumb, Burningword Literary Journal, and other places.

Leukemia By Jackie Fox

Issue 10

The disintegrated blood
The tottering blood
The endless ring-a-rosy blood
The blood circled and buzzed
The blood was served
The blood was made sacrifice unto
How does that grab you, Blood?
O Blood, you’re far gone.

Source: Stephen King. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger.

Method: I took part in the Poeming 2016, a poem-a-day poetry challenge in October using Stephen King novels as source material. My method on all the poems was to seek metaphors in illness (I strayed from that a couple of times), and to create remixed poems using no more than four consecutive pages (typically two or three. Again, I strayed from that but not a lot). The project was a lot of fun.

Jackie Fox lives and writes in Omaha, Nebraska. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and studied creative writing in the low-residency MFA program at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Rattle, the Bellevue Literary Review and Tar River Poetry, and in several anthologies including BARED: contemporary poetry and art on bras and breasts, and The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets

Notes on an iPhone By Lucy Palmer

Issue 10

Lebanese zaatar
cheap makeup
missing hips
archaic torso of Apollo
cat food container
sue Bryce
Mac vintage rose
ice cream vamp
4 sausages
violet mac
the last time I saw my father
stuff for balm
small brush
make goat’s milk formula
chest pressure
peanut butter cups
you’re my once upon a time, my
you’re my once upon a time, my
red onion
makeup wish list
he’s opposite me, body of a…
I want to read
I want to love him
to do this week
thick kisses and slippery lies
Roseville fair
if breath once a day
booze to try
books to read
listen to one more town

Source and Method: This was found in the Notes section of my iPhone. As a poet, I often have ideas for lines of poetry while out and about, and I often write them down in my notes for future use, alongside shopping lists and lists of things to read or listen to. When I looked at notes front screen, I realized the list read like a poem in its own right.

Lucy Palmer is from Cornwall in England, but she now lives in California with her family. She is a freelance copywriter and editor but is happiest when she’s using her creative muscle and writing poetry or short stories. She’s had work previously published in the Unbroken Journal, By&By Poetry, The Pickled Body, and others.