The Psychopath Test~Sonja Johnson

The Psychopath Test
by Sonja Johanson

You –
you need better questions.  Not –
“Would you take things from other
people, if you could get away with it?”
Instead, you should ask “In 4th grade,
did you break Scotty Bilodeau’s
giant eraser?” – yes
“Did Scotty cry?”  – he did
“Did you feel guilt or remorse?” I felt
surprised – it was just an eraser.

Don’t ask “Are you often motivated by
the desire to seek revenge?” Ask
“Did it make you angry that your preschool
teacher asked a rhetorical question?”  – yes
“Did you go upstairs and draw on
the wallpaper?” – in yellow permanent marker
“Was that because she asked you to say
the Pledge of Allegiance? – I have always
hated platitudes.

And it isn’t “Do you feel sad when
people die?” It’s “Has there ever been
anyone you are close to?” – yes
“Has that person died?” – not yet
“How do you feel when you think
about that person dying?”
I am so angry at you.

 

 

 

Sonja Johanson has recent work appearing in the Best American Poetry blog, BOAAT, Epiphany, and The Writer’s Almanac. She is a contributing editor at the Found Poetry Review, and the author of Impossible Dovetail (IDES, Silver Birch Press), all those ragged scars (Choose the Sword Press), and Trees in Our Dooryards (Redbird Chapbooks). Sonja divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine. You can follow her work at www.sonjajohanson.net

 

 

Tribute~Lisha Ryan

Tribute
By Lisha Ruan

what the mist hides
a crowned child drinks up
the purple in the sunset
the grain the chest

as it is becoming too late
I counsel you not to
sell your silver spoons or your
old naive promises

a corkscrew turning
a bird looks east and closes
its greasy psalms
the window the liaisons

those who lie to help
someone who could tell you
a god’s liver — those who
cut it up like their own

 

  

Lisha Ruan is a Computer Science major and writer at Princeton University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Nottingham Review, By&By Poetry, Jersey Devil Press, and other journals. In her free time, she enjoys learning languages, reading philosophy, and playing Avalon.

 

Hedyloidea (My Father’s Soul)~Deborah Wong

Hedyloidea (My Father’s Soul)
By Deborah Wong

I was forewarn by Old People, that
my father’s soul’s will transform
into a flying moth
or a monarch butterfly;
He is to have flourescent pigments,
I can only watch where it’s travelling
no touching,
and I have to leave without a feisty trail
before he can catch me.

I go out and tell I’ve seen
a glowing tangerine, so vibrant;
that I’m blinded even I’m protected
by the raven crayons,
Afraid to be taken away, please be patient
it’s not the time to join you, yet.
I hang a dreamcatcher by the windowsill,
White bed sheets shifting ambience,
of decaying truth before the dawn.

As I’m waiting for my father’s soul to visit,
My forehead is the playground
for the monarch butterfly; those kisses
dictating, bitterness, and sweet
in between nostrils,
Stay if you love this place, or wandering‘til your time expires.

 

 

 

Deborah Wong’s poems and short stories have appeared in ditch, Poetry Quarterly, Inwood Indiana Press, Anak Sastra, Red Fez, Mad Swirl, Banana Writers, Vox Poetica, Eastlit, The Tower Journal, Crack The Spine, Streetcake Magazine, The Stray Branch, East Jasmine Review, Eksentrika and elsewhere. I review poetry submissions for Eastlit and the founder/editor-in-chief of ZiggyZag Arms Poetry Journal.

 

Ghost Town, Mother Lode~Robert Stout

Ghost Town, Mother Lode
By Robert Stout

A dog skids to its haunches
twists its head
and yawns
a dead fir
lies like a broken-toothed comb
beside the road
the gas station’s closed
blue neon
winks through the pine tops
LI UOR! BE R!

 

 

 

Robert Joe Stout is a freelance journalist, novelist and poet. He lives in Oaxaca, Mexico with his cat, neighborhood dogs and a tree full of sparrows. His poetry has appeared in The Tishman Review, Third Wednesday, Liquid Imagination and many other magazines and journals.

Adam~Woody Woodger

Adam
By Woody Woodger

 

Can I tell you a dirty secret
about men? Our hearts and lungs

were all forged in the same kiln
run by some angel in a hairnet.

God gets a basket of us every hour
filled to the brim. It’s always a tight

fit—a hose splits in winter—our plastic
carcasses strewn across his work

bench. And once we’re sown up, living,
walking around, our Corelle organs

slowly crunch away into shards.
They first collect, around our feet,

soon piling up to our ribs. Can you see it?
We’re trash bags full of glass, if you like.

We’re a spilt river, sharp
in the current. And I think I found

the first trouble with God. Just today
in fact, he leaned back in his swivel chair,

wove his fingers behind his bald-spot
and told the secretary I should have only

 made the things that scuttle. Those gravel-
hatched creatures, all jaws and motherless.

Once all my viscera has shattered away,
is my fleshy skin-bag

more useful as a flag, or a pool-cover?

 

 

Woody Woodger is a New England poet who is forthcoming in Barely South, (b)OINK, Darkhouse Books, and Postcard Poems and Prose. He has also received publications in Soundings East, Golden Walkman Magazine, and the blog Dear Hope. He was also a finalist in the 2016 Paper Nautilus Debut Chapbook Contest.

Mosquitos~Stacey Balkun

Mosquitos
By Stacey Balkun

 

We lived for the cold
stream, waded in clear water

mosquito arms bramble-nourished,
red and swollen

like the nicks that would come
when we learned

to shave. We scratched slowly,
looked up when cars began to slow

past us, newly aware
of our chests poked against

our tee shirts. Everything itched:
sunburn, poison ivy and when

we walked too far to the public pool,
chlorine burned our eyes, stung

hidden skin, scars pink as apples
on our thighs. We crossed our arms

over cramping bellies, afraid
the men could smell our blood

or see the bulge of tampons
awkward in our pockets. We itched,

we always itched, two girls
sweet as fruit—

we never thought to bite back.

 

Stacey Balkun is the author of Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak (dancing girl 2016) & Lost City Museum (ELJ 2016). A Finalist for the 2016 Event Horizon Science Poetry Competition as well as the Center for Women Writer’s 2016 Rita Dove Award, her work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Gargoyle, Muzzle, Bayou, and others. A 2015 Hambidge Fellow, Stacey served as Artist-in-Residence at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2013. She holds an MFA from Fresno State and teaches poetry online at The Poetry Barn.

Viscera~Emma Bolden

Viscera
By Emma Bolden

Believe me when I tell you: I walked
to the barn voluntarily. Let no one say
I was led. Nor was I asked to remove
my shoes, place them sole-down

in the order they kept on my feet. No
one said stand & I stood on the stool,
above me the chain looped & loped
down & I saw it as beautiful. & it was

beautiful. I saw it & then I saw it
in my right hand. I did not hesitate.
It fit my neck & was perfect. It was
as if I had always been waiting.

Beside me hung my brother the sheep.
He was quiet. Flies sequined the hollow
half-bell of his body. They needed what
they needed & took what they took. His eyes

were the facts, open zeroes of surprise
or delight. I didn’t kick the stool away.
I wanted to know the butcher. I wanted
to know his hook. It startled & my throat

felt white, felt electric, felt neither heat
nor cold. I became busy with the facts
of being & becoming not & I at very last felt
real. There was no stomach speaking hunger.

No lungs or womb to say fill. & had I a throat
& a mouth, & had I still owned a tongue, I
would have thanked the hook for giving
me such forgiving, for making I not eye.

 

 

Emma Bolden is the author of two full-length collections of poetry — medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press, 2016) and Maleficae (GenPop Books, 2013) – and four chapbooks. A Barthelme Prize and Spoon River Poetry Review Editor’s Prize winner, her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Best Small Fictions, and Poetry Daily. She received a 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and currently serves as a Senior Reviews Editor for Tupelo Quarterly.

 

New Poetry Editor!!

 

 

WHEREWITHAL is honored to announce that Meg Eden has accepted our offer to be the Editor of our poetry magazine.  We could not be happier and know she will lead us to even brighter and better places, as we announce more changes later this week.

Welcome her and get ready to submit lots of amazing poems to keep her and our wonderful reader, Sarah Ghoshal.

Munnamedeg Eden ~ Editor

Meg Eden’s work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken BoatPoet Lore, and Gargoyle. She teaches at the University of Maryland. She has four poetry chapbooks, and her novel Post-High School Reality Quest is forthcoming from California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Lit. Check out her work at: www.megedenbooks.com

July 2016 Issue is Live


Wherewithal July 2016 Issue

geoff anderson

Geoff Anderson teaches English to foreigners. He tries to let his students do most of the talking in Columbus, OH. You’ll learn he is a fan of the Oxford comma. His work can or will soon be found in Rust + MothCider Press Review, and *82 Review, among others.

 

 

B-BurchBeverly Burch’s fiction and poetry have appeared in New England Review, North American Review, Willow Springs, Tinderbox and Poetry Northwest. Her second poetry collection, How A Mirage Works, won the Sixteen Rivers Press competition and was a finalist for the Audre Lorde Award. Her first, Sweet to Burn, won the Gival Poetry Prize and a Lambda Literary Award. Her She is a psychotherapist in Berkeley.

 

 

Mariya Deykute

Mariya Deykute is a writer, teacher and performance artist. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts: Boston, but currently lives in Tohatchi, NM on Navajo Nation land and teaches English at the Tohatchi High School. She is a co-founder of the Quincy Art House and the Boston Poetry & Jazz Salon. Her work has appeared in GrasslimbSalamanderAmethyst ArsenicFront PorchMariyaand elsewhere. She believes in the wilderness above most things. You can find her at mdeykute.com.

 

 

caitlynfinger

 

Caitlyn Lee  has an MFA in poetry from Eastern Washington University’s Inland Northwest Center for Writers.

 

 

 

Jessi Janeshek pic

Jessie Janesheks second full-length book of poems, The Shaky Phase, is forthcoming from Stalking Horse Press. Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia, (dancing girl press, 2016), and Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming, 2017), and her first full-length collection is Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). An Assistant Professor of English and the Director of Writing at Bethany College, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers (KWG Press, 2008). Read more of her poetry at jessiejaneshek.net.

 

 

Amy Lauren Jones

Amy Lauren Jones is a graduate music major at Mississippi College, where she received her B.M. with a minor in English in 2015. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Lavender ReviewGERM MagazineVagabond City, and The Arrowhead. She hopes to pursue a doctorate in music while continuing to write about life in the Deep South.

 

 

Peycho KanevPeycho Kanev is the author of four poetry collections and two chapbooks, published in USA and Europe. He has won several European awards for his poetry and he’s nominated for the Pushcart Award and Best of the Net. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, such as: Poetry Quarterly, Evergreen Review, Front Porch Review, Hawaii Review, Barrow Street, Sheepshead Review, Off the Coast, The Adirondack Review, Sierra Nevada Review, The Cleveland Review and many others.

 

 

Jessica KimJessica Kim is a queer Asian American woman who spend most of her days working with high school students and writing just often enough. She has been published in Sad Asian Girls Club Vol. 1, Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves: A Contemporary Anthology of Asian American Women’s Poetry, The Reader (Hampshire College), and was recently featured on Rock the Chair by Yellow Chair Review.

 

 

Sarah LiliusSarah Lilius is the author of The Heart Factory (Black Cat Moon Press, 2016) and What Becomes Within (ELJ Publication, 2014). Some of her poems can be found at TinderboxThe FemFlapperhouse, and Drunk Monkeys. She lives in Arlington, VA with her husband and two sons. Her website is sarahlilius.com.

 

 

 DerekOtsuji

Derek Otsuji teaches English at Honolulu Community College. His work has appeared in Atlanta ReviewCrab Orchard ReviewMonarch ReviewPoet Lore, and Word Riot.