Suddenly on every corner graffiti diamonds glowed
and every dog started to look sad
when girls wore shorts the half moons
of their buttcheeks showed;
it rained so hard it ripped the checkered
awning off the fruit stand.
For 3 whole months my thighs had
imprints from your deck—heard
your mom doesn’t like me anymore.
Teachers in the park
smoke joints and wink at you.
This summer’s reading list:
Lolita, The Children’s War
Amy Oldfield was born in Ottawa, lives in Toronto, and doesn't yet know where she'll die. Read more of her in The Feminist Wire, Anomaly Lit and The Gambler Mag (forthcoming).
If you fall behind in school people might
view you a little differently but if you fall behind
in cross country you view people from behind
In spring we run hills daily at lunch
do the big loop down Glen Manor cut across
Beaufort to Southwood run past the Glenn plaque
touch it as you pass and take Glen Stewart
to the start. We run loops in groups, a few students
at a time, and if your time falls below yesterday’s lowest
you’re cut. Every day it gets hotter
the ravine becomes a wet slop of swamp
as all the winter remnants melt
Every day it gets harder to balance between
slower than yesterday’s lowest
and Clare. You try to keep up but slow
down before you catch up completely
wearing your knees down on concrete, you
bring the rear up and play it
cool. When it gets too hot for leggings you sweat
in your leggings because you can’t wear shorts
around a coach like Mr. J. He pats you on the back-
side and tells you to say grace before you eat lunch
on the gym floor always covered in tween sweat
all slippery and wet to the touch like a clammy hand
You look through your lunchbox for shareables
but looks like no luck—anyway, your breath smells
and you never make it over
When Clare makes it to the city finals you run so hard
you puke and your breath smells and she hugs you
when you fall over the finish line
Hannah Josepha Karpinski is the author of dozens of unpublished journals. Her work has appeared in publications like Subversions: A Journal of Feminist Queries and The VOID, and she has performed her poetry for Metatron. A couple of her favourite word pairs are “glass jacket” and “wet lettuce.” The poems included in this magazine are from a series called Beach People, which is part coming-of-age, part coming-out-Catholic, and explores the neighbourhood in Toronto where Hannah grew up by exhuming the landscape of memory.
Edie got pregnant. Then Edie got married. Then Edie died. Then the body which formerly was Edie gave birth. Edie’s baby’s name was Carol. Edie had said so before she died. Carol grew up. Then she met a boy. The boy’s name was Phil. Then Carol had sex for the first time. Then Carol and Phil passed through the arches into a serious, long-term relationship. Then Carol died. Then Phil mourned Carol, and mourned her and mourned her, even, sometimes, while in someone else’s arms. Carol had told Phil about Edie, her mother, how she’d died giving birth. Phil went to Edie’s grave one day in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, a big cemetery not so far north of downtown. He went alone after having seen the play of his new girlfriend, Cindy. New as in post-Carol, not new as in recent. It was strange, he had thought the only person he would ever love would be Carol, and the way in which he loved Carol was the only way he would ever love. Carol had been perfect for him, Phil thought. He couldn’t have imagined a woman more well-suited to him if he tried. It was like a dream. But then Carol died. And, after a while, Phil found someone new, and it was as if the world had sprouted an extra colour. It was surprising, his love for Cindy. What a name. He never, ever thought he would love a woman named Cindy. The sex was better. He had all but forgotten about sex. They could talk about anything—he could talk about more, and more comfortably, without fear of meltdown or catastrophe, than he had ever been able to with Carol. Every day he was surprised by how they communicated. He hadn’t even really fully realized he had been bound, conversationally, with Carol. Cindy had these moves in arguments where he was like What? You can do that? And he realized he’d never really been in a “fight” in a relationship, and what’s more is that he liked fighting in his relationship with Cindy, and so did Cindy; they were both good at it, and they both got a lot out of them, the fights, and so they did it every day.
Loves are different things.
Just last night, Phil remembered, as he walked through the cemetery gates, along the rain-slick path, under the branches of November trees and surrounded by the outlines of mausoleums, he and Cindy had fought about—but he didn’t want to think about it. He was here now, in the cemetery, and as he walked he felt a vertiginous sense of depth as time turned back. He and Carol had come here many times together. Their love had been about sadness, he realized, and about the insights they trapped under glasses like spiders because they were quicker than everyone else, and they cared more. But now Carol was gone. Now he was with Cindy. His direction now seemed crisp and clear, like the cemetery air: he would be with Cindy. He would do good with his life. He would try very hard to do the best work he could to the best of his abilities with what resources he had. He would avoid long conversations he knew he wanted out of from the very start. He would love those close to him. He would remember those he had loved who had died. He would think about his parents. He would have a child with Cindy, because they loved each other and because Cindy wanted a child, and he would love that child and raise it as if he had longed for it. He would exercise. He would not die of a preventable cancer.
But those were all details and details did not matter because he loved Cindy and Cindy loved him, and if one of them got cancer that was okay, he knew he would love Cindy if she got cancer, because their love was that strong.
Was it that strong? Would she love him if he got cancer? He felt like he would be okay with her deserting him if he got terminal cancer because he wouldn’t want to put her through all that, but would he be able to deal with it? No, he would certainly kill himself if he got cancer and the love of his life abandoned him, the way he had abandoned Carol.
Oh Carol, thought Phil, on his knees, on the grass of Edie’s grave. Oh my love.
The grass was wet.
The air was cold.
The sky was grey.
Phil’s face was a little wet.
It was November.
Then Phil walked out of the cemetery, along the rain-slick path, through the gates to his car, and drove home and walked through the door a couple minutes past eleven, a little bit late but not so late that it couldn’t be explained, if it came up, as traffic and talking to people after the play.
“Hi,” he said to Cindy, who was reading on the couch in the TV room, which was the first thing you saw when you entered her house, which in fact your butt would stick into if you took off your shoes in the entranceway the way Phil did, with one foot at a time raised onto the bench.
“Hi, baby,” said Cindy. Cindy had a UTI and was wearing a thing around her waist that kept her whole body down there warm. It made her self-conscious though of her belly because the antibiotics were making her bloated, she said, and the thing gripped her belly and made her aware of it all the time, her belly, and aware of its bloatedness.
“How was my play?” said Cindy.
“Emotional,” said Phil, who in truth was unsure he’d really understood it. Every line of dialogue and every set design choice had sung out to him “Cindy! Cindy! Cindy!” and his affection for her crowded out his ability to follow the nonlinear plot.
“Come to me,” said Cindy, and Phil, who did in fact seem kind of emotional, went to her, on the couch, and Cindy put down her book and told Phil about her day, and Phil told Cindy about his day, and then they made a late dinner, and ate it, and then they went into the bedroom, and Cindy brought the wine, and Phil took off his sweater, and they took off all their clothes, and did things, and Cindy went pee afterward, and she came back with her glasses on, and asked Phil to be on top of her for a second, and he brushed one strand of hair from her high forehead, and she said “Okay,” and he moved off of her, and they went to sleep, and woke up in the morning and lived out many many days together, many days, many happy days, and Cindy loved Phil, and Phil loved Cindy, and Phil never mentioned his trip to Edie’s grave to Cindy, because that was in the past, and all of us keep things from those we love, that’s part of life, it’s part of relationships, and there’s nothing wrong with it, and you shouldn’t feel guilty, you have to do those things so that things can work out and you can be happy.
Stephen Thomas is the author of The Jokes, a book of short stories, and his fiction has been published in McSweeney’s, Canadian Art, Seneca Review, Fanzine, Hobart, and the Puritan, among others. He also writes essays, most recently about lonely men for Hazlitt; his other work has appeared in VICE, Toronto Star, Real Life Magazine, the Millions, and he’s worked with CBC, Canadaland, and NPR.
drive towards each other
one must swerve, or both die
the loss of swerving is trivial
if one believes one’s opponent
reasonable, one may decide not to
if one swerves and the other does not
the one who swerved will be called chicken
(chicken called the one who swerved
“does not the other swerve
to decide not to?” an unreasonable
opponent believes one’s trivial
swerving is the loss
to die, both must swerve
drive each other
towards each other)
David Alexander is the author of the chapbooks Chicken Scratch from Puddles of Sky Press (2014) and Modern Warfare from Anstruther Press (2016). Poems have appeared in The Malahat Review, CV2, The Puritan, The Rusty Toque, Poetry is Dead, FreeFall, and Prairie Fire. His first book is forthcoming from Nightwood Editions. He lives in Toronto.
No one exactly dies
rather souls change their looks
The sun on water. Five people digging up
something metallic off the shore of Doha Bay.
One in athletic shorts, another in thobe. I sit where
the waves meet the stone promenade, my back pressed
against capital’s postmodern towers, which resemble giant
video game counsels. All made of glass. Sand makes them
possible. As does the working class. Ancient/new.
At Souq, an American man on military leave
asks the glass blower to wait for him to come back
so he can film the glass being melted into shape
around the sand he took from a desert skirmish in Syria.
The glass being sand. Sand being the glass. The vessel
shaped like an infinity sign. Hour glass to measure time.
We think it goes. Fusillade. We think we age. No. We transform.
Water knows. Regeneration. The oldest story.
In the cultural enrichment center a placard reads
“Isn’t there more to the way we spend our leisure time
than looking at a screen?” I scrape ash into stone.
Evening call to prayer echoes against the skyscrapers,
interrupts the pop song playing on the radio.
Richard Wehrenberg, Jr. is a poet + designer from Cleveland, OH living in Bloomington, IN. They are the co-author, with Ross Gay, of the chapbook RIVER (MHP 2014), author of the chapbook HANDS (MHP 2015), co-author, with A. Bowden, of the chapbook HOUSES (MHP 2017-8), & author of the forthcoming, full-length book of poems IYOUMETHEMTHEYUSWE (MHP 2018). They are the lead designer for Monster House Press. In their most recent past-life, they were a surgeon from Maine & died in 1946.
MLA Chernoff lives in Toronto (stinky condo town) where they shid their pants in front of the hole class one time (1997). They are a PhD candidate at York University in the Graduate Program in English. MLA's poetics is a meme you save to your messy-as-heck desktop and immediately forget about. Their practice is the sense of disappointment you get after Googling your name. Their method is the kind of tikkun you expect from a Jack Astor's ad at 4 am the night before the biggest job interview of your shrinking LIEf. MLA's first chapbook, delet this, is forthcoming with Hybrid Heaven. Goodbye.
All anyone ever wants to hear about
is the dinosaur erotica I wrote for the nerd bar
I work at. I can’t remember how I was asked
to write Wet Hot Allosaurus Summer to be sold
in vending machines under the Millennium
Falcon. Many events seem arbitrarily arrived at
and when one doubts the whole concept
of narrative, it can be hard to imagine
a convincing rising action between Tanis,
a lonely farm girl, and a ripped, impossibly
resurrected Allosaurus named Big Al,
who works on oil rigs. It can suck
your tank empty, not knowing how
moments connect, as they seem randomly
suspended in amber. Tanis sits in anticipation
on her tin roof and Big Al stares
at his footprints in the mud, wondering
when they will fossilize like this plot.
The first part of my life was a prehistoric
bug and the second part was a second
prehistoric bug. More life, more bugs
crushed on the windshield. Bug marmalade
under the wipers. The part of my life
I spent writing dinosaur erotica is encased
in honey resin. It was senseless and lovely
like buying textbooks online
while someone you love eats you out.
Possible it seemed to layer a Romulan Ale
by night and, rolling up one’s hair
into the solemn bun of the erotic novelist, wake
and type the word throbbing
and to feel one’s typing fingerprints
throbbing, to call one’s self something
tender like Beverly Tender, and research
what Big Al’s throbbing member may
have looked like, if it arced and how.
Kayla Czaga is the author of FOR YOUR SAFETY PLEASE HOLD ON, which won The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and was nominated for The Governor General's Award for Poetry and the Debut-litzer, among others. Recent poems by her can be found in PRISM international, ARC Poetry Magazine, and The Rusty Toque. She lives in Vancouver, BC and works at a nerd bar.
and the window middle-part lines upto the treeline on the horizon.The colours now bisectedby a leaden marker.
- Who needs the MET
With a view like this
Every window: a Rothko!
- The textures are what make a Rothko.
You'd have to see it to understand.
I looked at one in the MET so long my eyes hurt.
Who needs the MET!I refuse to ever see a Rothko.Not with a view like this.
Daniel Christie is a writer of poetry and prose. He lives and studies creative writing in Montréal, and has had his work published in the Headlight Anthology and Bad Nudes.
I understand desire, Tyler.
I’ve been to the dog park.
I’ve seen the retriever’s face
flapping like a flag as it pursues
the idée fixe of the tennis ball.
But say a cop yells freeze
while you’re on an escalator.
What do you do, Tyler? An octopus
in a jar can learn to unscrew
the lid, so why can’t you?
You used to think ball pits
were fun and girls were gross.
Now it’s the other way around,
but that’s the only thing
that’;s changed. Think about it.
Before you can put the puzzle
together someone has to cut it
into pieces. I didn’t say you were
like a fine wine, Tyler. I said
Stop whining, you’re fine.
Shaun Robinson is the author of the chapbook Manmade Clouds (Frog Hollow Press). His poems have appeared in Prairie Fire, The Malahat Review, Poetry is Dead, and The Rusty Toque. He lives in Vancouver.
In the States no blood leaks from the fissures where my teeth meet.
But vague hopes javelin flagpoles right into my gums.
Hopes of waves hello from sleeveless arms.
Hopes of semen and slobber in conflict like oil versus seawater.
Interjections pool in the cankers left fruit-punch- red.
Sometimes some heterosexual asks me what the deal is with bug catchers.
For every canine tooth a corresponding jugular.
Out there in the lost lands howling for a letting.
At Tower One I gulp back a pinch of warm barf.
At customs they ask what I write.
Don’t laugh but the anus is the true snowflake of the mortal body.
No two mother the same Lichtenberg figure if inked.
No is the most effective morpheme the tongue has ever found its way around.
It pops its object’s ears like a blastoff to the wild blue skies.
Ben Ladouceur has published about nine chapbooks of poetry, and one trade collection, Otter (Coach House Books), which was awarded the Gerald Lampert Memorial Prize and nominated for a LAMBDA Literary Award. He lives in Ottawa.
June Gehringer runs a press called tenderness, yea. Her first full-length, i love you, it looks like rain, was released September 2017 on Be About It Press. She's your friend, probably. Unless you're a cop.
BAD NUDES is a quarterly online and (sometimes) print literary magazine based in Montreal. Editors Thomas Molander and Fawn Parker founded the magazine in the summer of 2016. They were joined shortly after by Sandy Spink as web editor and designer, and Betsy Pelletier joined the team in the third issue to contribute layout and illustrations as the magazine transitioned into print. BAD NUDES has been around for a little over a year and is currently on its fifth issue, having had the pleasure to work many emerging and established writers from all over Canada, North America, and the world. BAD NUDES has celebrated the release of each issue with readings in Montreal, and has recently held events in Toronto, Ottawa, and New York. BAD NUDES strives to pair bold, experimental poetry and fiction with innovative web design to create a magazine that is relevant, thought-provoking, and exciting.
Submissions for BAD NUDES Issue 2.5 are now open!
Send your work to email@example.com
or inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions close December 15!
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with “[GENRE] SUBMISSION” in the subject line.
Include a <100 word bio. Send files as .docx or copy/paste full text into the body of the email.
Fiction: 1 story, max. 3000 words
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Please use eccentric formatting in poems/stories sparingly.
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