Issue 12 Poetry

11 Warnings: How to Avoid Talking Politics at Parties

By DENISE DUHAMEL & JULIE MARIE WADE
Adult Supervision Recommended

When your partner comes home with you for the first time, try to prepare her. Explain how they still see you as a child: cake and candles, streamers and balloons, bubblegum and colored pencils as parting gifts. Though you’re twenty-three, your father insists, “You won’t be grown up in my book until I’ve walked you down the aisle.” Expect jokes about Clinton’s impeachment and Hillary’s headbands. Anticipate talk of bootstraps—how “some people” have never learned to pull themselves up. On the refrigerator, George and Laura Bush grin inside a heart-shaped magnet. The radio plays Rush Limbaugh all afternoon.

Isabel Meyers11 Warnings: How to Avoid Talking Politics at Parties
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Malbolge

By ROBERT BAGG

            We go through life regretting our mistakes.

            One savage quip that can’t be taken back,

            one breach of a friend’s trust is all it takes

            to wrench a lifelong friendship out of whack.

Isabel MeyersMalbolge
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The Noises

By J. D. MCCLATCHY

My friend with the brain tumor—a grisly glioma
Surgeons can’t get to the bottom of—that on one side
Of his head presses transmitters on the other, hears
A constant, streaming waterwheel of voices and music,
Slopping pails drawn up from who knows where
Each of us has reservoired it all—the dreamhorde,
The broadcasts, bunny hops, back seat schmoozing,
Nixon’s re-election bid, Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti,”
Cheap café tunes with dummy lyrics, traffic reports,

Isabel MeyersThe Noises
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Seventh-Day Adventist Kids are Pathfinders, Not Scouts

By ERICA DAWSON
The counselors told us to fucking go

to bed; but, earlier they’d taught us one
more Christian song—
                                      It only takes a spark
                                      to get a fire going

Emily EverettSeventh-Day Adventist Kids are Pathfinders, Not Scouts
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