Muriel Leung

I Love You, Dead


Also for such stillness there should be teeth   

and wine enough to yank the thought up throat.


When she dies, she dies. She plunges her blood toes

into somebody’s ash tea. A kindness and a penny drop.


In another life, she was a jujube. I am an overeater. She is not

a body I want to eat. Shiny tuna rot in the forest mulch.


Though she stews gently. Her thoughts of me are always kind.

Her thoughts are always mangled and full of electric


suction cups. For example, she wants to wear my lungs

for a bag of pipes. These are the days of brilliance and poetry.


Bloated with salt and our little muses. My jaw now is a little worse

for wear. I need her like a copper tinge and mechanical throb.


Bury her though she leaps up with cumbersome

thirst. She swarms me. She thrusts a hand upward

and through me. Nothing stays. Is knobbed


and oozing past a stone. What heart. What sponge for brain.

She will not fit inside my tiny mouth, my mouth full of dead hair.

We hope you’ve been enjoying our National Poetry Month project so far! If you’re into what Birds of Lace does, perhaps you’ll consider donating to our 2014 fundraiser, the very first time in nine years that we’ve ever run one. This year we’re publishing four chapbooks (by Kristine Stone, Danielle Pafunda, Joohyun Kim, and Lucas de Lima) and a broadside portfolio (with poems by LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Cathy Park Hong, Christine Hou, and Niina Pollari) and we need your help to make it happen! We only have SIX days left to meet our goal (we’re about $1000 away) and support from our community is invaluable and essential. Your donation can serve as a pre-order for any/all of our 2014 titles while also ensuring that this vital work will be spread throughout the world this year. Thank you for reading & supporting us!

xox Gina/Birds of Lace

Dylan W. Krieger

saint drain

strung out inside / my tired thigh highs / I AM / filling my stigmata
with cotton / all the blotted bite holes / showing through / tracks
down the / gaudy skin-shroud / when I purse my lipids / like a
schoolgirl / blood and water trickle / outbound to my godhead /
bursting girdled stars / throughout the organs’ / pipes all wet with
mucosal / overtures on who / overturns stones in golgotha / or goes
tell it / like prayerful ghosts of / one’s own stoned femur /
preserved in tupperware and twine / my ankles dilate / and I mime
out / every gape that isn’t mine / a-writhe, a-writhe / on the thirsty /
in the worst way that / sometimes / my church muscle feels / dirty

Jackie Kari

Bridle & Bit

Abjectify me: perfumey
glands muscling my hair
ribbons, satin swaddle

Go cry me a generic    Wait
a year   Go finish your sandwich
Rest your head on my neck and finish

in your dream     stall I, petrified
of our home, pickled white
vinegarish, préservatives de
livery in my pocket—

Do you like this shirt? I lost it

to the dead year
lingerie in bed alofty red
& bred thoroughly

wake up bruisey
we eat our spaghetti
we have no money
we have no I +

whip-smart you

bait with carats
let mucky my vulva
let plow my stall
I don’t like

but spurred on I love you
I whisper, a little hoarsey
Neigh do I love the
pastoral you
put out to past

your wounding heels
in my ribs
in mysticky

jumpy, you say
I say, how 

Min Kang

blissed out

I hatha cuz I plummet liquid worry I’m a sno-globe swimming in slouching sad which massive blips into white wine bliss I recognize those eyes in myselfie the glint of knowing who that be legging fierce stomping down the shining moving airport sidewalk in her Lulu the crystallization of descending swirling was foggy disease I know me cept that my iPhone is shattered so is brain blitzed into oblivion revived to cold wetness with black hole in myselfie cannot visualize myselfie

Matthew Sherling


there are those who watch TV
& those who used to watch TV.

before TV there were films
& before films photography
& before photography
nobody saw the same moment twice.

before moments there wasn’t time 
& before maps there was no reason
to chart space.

there are those who play video games
& those who played video games
who now just talk to each other 
electronically instead.

there are those with light skin & those with dark skin
& those somewhere in between
who have all probably done
both great & shitty things.

before skin there was bone
& before bone there was dirt
& before dirt there was just wind
pushing against itself. 

there are those who have access to processed food
& those who don’t
& those who do but eat 
unprocessed food instead.

before processed food there were gardens
& before gardens animals
& before animals just energy. 

there are those who believe that energy came from nothing
& those who believe it came from something
& those who simply believe that there is no beginning.

Matthew Sherling has recently moved from San Francisco to a small town in Georgia, where he will surely continue to foster his internet addiction & wander around the woods. He runs the interview blog CUTTY SPOT & the online magazine Gesture. He hasn’t slept since 2004.

TJ Lyons

She’s probably not standing in an In-n-Out parking lot right now

I told Jesse at the In-
n-Out parking lot
in Hayward. “That’s a
poem, dude,” he said

Maybe it is
just like anything,
In-n-Out is only a thing, too
So is she

And things are always
what they seem.
I’m starting to believe
only in things

What else are we?
Hearts and brains
are only things.
When have they told

me that I’m anything,
anything different
anything other
than gravity’s plaything

making me fight
to exist with every
thing around me?
In 6th grade she peed

herself when we read
Where the Red Fern
Grows as a class
and Old Dan lost

his stomach, bleeding out—
a stream of pee
puddling under her seat.
I was in the back row

falling for her.
We were just things
necking in my mom’s mini-van
in high school

when I spilled Slurpee
all over her boobs
with my Spin Doctors
cassette blasting,

the only tape I hadn’t
given away.
One has diamonds
in his pockets.

Ain’t in my head now.
Our bodies revealed us.
Things are what they seem.
Decisions I keep.

TJ Lyons is a dude. He has work in The Coachella Review, HTMLGIANT, Up Literature, Plain Wrap Press, Everyday Genius, and Word Riot.

Lucy Tiven

Long, Hard Rain

Now will there be cat poems??
         There have always been
cat poems    They were cat poems
before I knew about it      All along,
        such large and small cats
inside my poetry, behaving AND NOT
EVEN ONCE        did they disturb me

They kept to themselves
during the time it took
for me to live part of a life

      I did not see them     crouched
there    and there and here
and in the other one      too. I had
no idea.    I did not know what
they wanted. I could not hear
them,       asking

Lucy Tiven is an MFA candidate at San Francisco State University and freelance writer for The Fanzine. Her book Pilot Light is forthcoming from Plain Wrap. She loves late night television, bloody marys and her little cat Joey. 

Sarah Bridgins

Battle Hymn

I am overwhelmed by anniversaries
suitcases full of jewelry hidden
in closets so they don’t get stolen
or turn into ghosts.

Everything would be easier
if I didn’t need food.
I could survive on painkillers
and hard candies from the bank.

You endure my unhelpful need
to be helpful
as if I could alter biology
the painful science
of something small and sharp
moving through something smaller, tender.

While you write stories about movies
that were never made,
I watch Civil War documentaries
and have dreams about
going off to battle,
preparing to say goodbye
to everyone I’ve ever loved.

Sarah Bridgins is a writer and performer living in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Sink Review, Monkeybicycle, InDigest, Bone Bouquet, NAP, and Thrush among other journals. Visit her online at