“I love you” and other declarations of war

You sit next to me on the train
close enough to look like friends
far enough to not get strange looks and you
lean over to whisper in my ear
you look so nice today.
I hiss back
we can’t afford your blasphemy.
You just laugh.
You have always been less careful than I.

At a coffee shop when we’re sat
across the table from each other
our hands reach for sugar and yours
lingers just a little too long next to mine
and I want to smack the smile off of your face
you don’t know what you are risking here this
is your first time out in the open you
have never known what it is to be hated for your love.

Being with you is knowing that any moment
could be our last and you
are not careful enough with that knowledge.
you hold hands with reckless abandon
kiss without care while I
make sure to check over our shoulders I
am starting to resent being the bodyguard for
everything we are.

At home when we are
finally alone you smile and press
kisses into my collarbone and you whisper
I love you
and I whisper
don’t say things like that.
and I wonder when you will stop
finding novelty in our hiding place.

Amanda Brauchler is a literature student from New York who aspires to use poetry as a way of finding meaning in the world and as a way of connecting with others and trying to make sense of the odd and beautiful thing called the human condition.

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My Ex-Partner

My ex-partner profited off the Napoleonic Wars.
They insisted that their shoelaces were tied.
Their moon was the size of a pair of blue eagles
And they couldn’t construct a proper cheesecake.
I sat and listened to their droning about Neptune,
Felt their long whiskers pat me on the back
As if I could afford to drink ginger tea.
Their dog whistled sweet nothings into the void.
Everyone loved them except for you.
You didn’t know how to play the triangle.
That’s why I left them for your house of books.
Don’t you understand? They were an octopus,
And you were always seventeen minutes away
From the pit of an avocado’s frustration.

This is a reprint of work originally published in The Opiate.

Catherine B. Krause is a queer, disabled, and polyamorous transgender lunatic living in Niagara Falls, NY. Her poetry appeared in Eunoia Review in 2014 and has also appeared in Rabbit Ears: TV Poems, The Opiate, and The Lake, among other places.

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To The Next-Door Neighbor

I’m glad you think I’m pretty
and I really did like
the little ceramic cup with my name on it,
but you voted to zap me straight and cis,
deport the scared closeted trans girl
with no memory of the country she was born in,
take away our health care,
send the harmless theology student in Ohio
who loved to talk Semitic linguistics
and the guy down the street who hosted the car wash
for the Red Cross the Sunday after 9/11
into a war zone of America’s creation
that your vote has only worsened,
and enable a confessed sexual predator
who thinks it’s me and the people I love
who shouldn’t be allowed in public restrooms,
so you can love the sinner from a distance.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Social Justice Poetry.

Catherine B. Krause is a queer, disabled, and polyamorous transgender lunatic living in Niagara Falls, NY. Her poetry appeared in Eunoia Review in 2014 and has also appeared in Rabbit Ears: TV Poems, The Opiate, and The Lake, among other places.

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damned if you don’t

licking his lips
he stares at the box
the contents are hidden

it’s hard to pull off but it keeps you safe
as long as he doesn’t unwrap you

This is a reprint of work originally published in Ohio Fusion.

Catherine B. Krause is a queer, disabled, and polyamorous transgender lunatic living in Niagara Falls, NY. Her poetry appeared in Eunoia Review in 2014 and has also appeared in Rabbit Ears: TV Poems, The Opiate, and The Lake, among other places.

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Why Pineapples Cause Vivid Dreams

A tall skinny man with long brown hair and a big, wide, cheesy, affected smile, wearing a heavy sweatshirt with a big red C on it, is standing on the dock of a large ship. I approach him and say, “What I find interesting about near-death experiences is that people experience a sense of unconditional love and acceptance. I really need that.” Still smiling his big wide smile, he holds his arms out wide and hugs me, then whispers in my ear: “I hate you.” With infinitely self-perpetuating wire cutters, I achieve everything I’ve ever wanted, and suddenly I’m happy, although I wonder if it’s valid.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Uut Poetry.

Catherine B. Krause is a queer, disabled, and polyamorous transgender lunatic living in Niagara Falls, NY. Her poetry appeared in Eunoia Review in 2014 and has also appeared in Rabbit Ears: TV Poems, The Opiate, and The Lake, among other places.

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How To Be The Exact Opposite Of Ezra Pound

  1. Admit you are fully irrational and accept responsibility for it.
  2. Buy a Chinese-English dictionary, select a random word, and put its literal English translation into the poem you’re writing.
  3. Use the benefits of obscurity to satisfy marginalized stomachs.
  4. Prefer hearing popular songs sung in overflowing unison to reading endless sheet music in the library.
  5. Vote against Donald Trump, then blame your busy self for not doing enough when the world still ends up going to shit.
  6. Stay in places where you don’t feel you belong and reach contentment by helping whoever needs and asks for it.
  7. Immediately distrust anything purporting to uncover that a marginalized group is somehow ruling the world and hiding the truth from everyone.
  8. Have contempt for individuals who try to show off their tolerance by forgiving you on behalf of anyone other than themselves.

Seed text: Page 108 of Collins Beginner’s Chinese Dictionary, First Edition. Translations incorporated: fully, buy, satisfy, overflowendless, busy, reach, hide the truth, show off.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Uut Poetry.

Catherine B. Krause is a queer, disabled, and polyamorous transgender lunatic living in Niagara Falls, NY. Her poetry appeared in Eunoia Review in 2014 and has also appeared in Rabbit Ears: TV Poems, The Opiate, and The Lake, among other places.

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Riddles Wisely Expounded: How I Am Moving On

While I am packing up the bathroom I think, I will be better than Martha.

Martha-whom-I-barely-know-but-who-took-everything-including-the-half-used-roll-of-toilet-paper-when-she-left-Ryan. Or, so I was told when I took Ryan shopping for bedding. “Why don’t you have bedding?” I asked while entering the pillow aisle. “Martha took everything, including the half-used roll of toilet paper.” I nodded and turned the corner to a new aisle. This was a situation with which I was familiar. Cleaning up the aftermath of disaster, making lives whole.

I want to be better than Martha. I will leave everything that my partner (Former or late? Can I say late partner if he is not dead? What if he is to me?) could ever imagine using. I want him to think about me every time he uses the toilet paper, or the Q-tips, or the matches I used to light the candles on our nightstand. I want him to remember me every time he breathes in the space I used to inhabit, the space we used to inhabit together. I want his nicotine-stained lungs to struggle in that space, as I am struggling. And, if he chooses to throw these items away, I hope it pains him. I hope it wastes his time and causes him anguish. I am different than Martha. I want my ex to relive my memory every day, not just once, when he realizes that everything is gone.

And, so, this is what moving on looks like for me: I will leave the tampons so that he remembers that once I was there bleeding between my legs, something I taught him about. I will leave the wool Marlboro blanket I got at a yardsale that he once took when he ran away and only left a note that said “I’ll be in contact if you matter”. I will take the bed, our bed, but put in place the cot we had in the guest room and dress it so painstakingly perfect that it will make him sad. I will take the large bed full of love, but leave what equates to half. His alimony. Leaving reminders of me is the last part of the magick spell of moving on.

The first time I did magick, real magick, was when we broke up a year ago. The spell I cast, submerged deep below the water of my parent’s bath tub, surrounded by candles and crystals and the fear of being alone, was to bring him back to me if it was for the greater good of everyone involved. It was not meant to be entrapping, rather to bring cosmic direction, and it worked for a while. It brought him back for a full year, or perhaps longer. We were never good at keeping track of dates, confirmed by the anniversaries that passed uncelebrated, unacknowledged. That year was hell and it was bliss. A year of commitments, drunk proposals, plans of babies named Darla and Forest. And, what I learned was that magick is powerful, and that forgiveness is too. Five minutes after the magick he called: “I don’t know why but I cannot be without you and I will have to get over this,” he said. I almost didn’t hear him over the radio, Joan Baez crooning “The Riddle Song”. I gave my love a story that had no end. We’re going to make it, I thought.

What makes a person decide that trying to make it work does not serve them anymore? I think that question is rhetorical. I am married to the idea of trying, of kneeling in the dirt and working. Maybe I like that idea more than who is next to me, planting the seeds. Or, maybe I just never had a co-farmer I can trust. Someone who would harvest the crop with me, or for me when I can’t be there to help. Someone who would not pass out in my field of dreams, or litter it with their half empty Yuengling bottles filled with spent cigarette butts. When I did the spell a second time, a few months ago after he ran again, he came crawling back to bed the next day but it was not the same. The spell had broken. The story had an end and this was it.

Where I think Martha went wrong, and where I went right, is that I did not run. Instead, I stayed in the relationship till he ran. I sat and cast my spells, and set my intentions, and forgot about them, and put out more energy than I had, and felt everything, and felt nothing, depending on the day. But, I stayed and that makes me better than him or Martha because I am doing both the work and the magick.

A quick search of the internet has told me that Martha is married now, and she has brown hair, and a child. That sounds a lot like me, but without the marriage and the child. So, we aren’t that different after all. We both have brown hair. What the search didn’t cull up is how many times she ran from her husband, if at all, and which household items she took each time she left. And, if I am better than her, or if I will be soon.

Incantation: May life bring to me the goodness that I deserve, for the good of myself and everyone involved.

Corrin Magditch is a Quaker, witch, and writer from the mountains of Pennsylvania, and one member of the founding trio that makes up Many Mothers Collective and LV Zinefest. Her work has been previously published by Rag Queen Periodical, Eunoia Review, and self-published in countless docs on her Google Drive that will probably never be read by eyes other than her own. Corrin is also the author of three self-published zines. When she is not writing books for herself, she is busy knitting, reading, or watching Scandinavian crime dramas.

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