h o m e........
p a s t   i s s u e s....
s u b m i s s i o n s....
l i n k s






Bartender, noun: pours like a thundercloud. I tend,
I tender, I tenderize, I make a moat of me and us.
It’s thick chords pounding and tipsy flailing
in the back & the torn screen in the back
shows silent grindhouse on a loop &
a young artist taps drumsticks on the upsides
of used cups, popping up an eyeball feast. 
A young woman wears a pocketful tent, tiny handbag,
reclines, talks to everybody. Loud old vinyl good enough to eat.
Bar regulars like cogs – one mad brush stroke paints
them as fixated; one little story latches on
around drink six and I hear it for a week, a month, a year.    
Each regular with some story, each story like glitter,
each story like herpes, one night gulps one night, one story
eats one story, story eats the story-teller and comes through in shards,
story swaddles up like capillaries, story passes through
twenty years slow like chewing gum. Some regulars
hard to describe, all sad eyelids, flicker-glimpses;
some, sober, here at noon for soda and popcorn;
some sway like a brush across a canvas and not
much more. We all lurk as ghosts of one another’s
syntax, but when the room roars again, there’s lovers
barging in together, lovers barging out alone,
skinny boys falling into the knife-slit gaps
in the overstuffed booth cushions, bass thumping,
shot glass sparkle, slicked-up floor, till sleep-bobbers
float on in and start to wobble above the drunks
hooked in the cheek by, finally, sleep.



DON'TS for a Daughter (Julie's dad blowtorches the ants on the property)


The yard, the yard. DON’T –
          the yard        the ants   
              their venom       your feet
Just – wait.    The fire,
    the flame, like this,
like this, we scare them away. I DON’T
             want your bulb
                       of a head
                         lit up
                    like a lamp.
DON’T stand too close while I do this.
     DON’T join the volleyball team, those games go on forever.
        DON’T you want to be a cheerleader
          like your mother was? She pitched
            for our softball team, too.
       DON’T  look at the flame when I turn this thing on.
   DON’T  spend all your allowance
      on caramels at the Giant Eagle this afternoon.
        DON’T go to the drive-in with
      that boy from Sunday school tonight. I like
    his father, but he’s a little
      shit, ran over the Schmidts’
        ducks with his four-wheeler, got it stuck
      on chicken wire and just
    ran away. Really, DON’T
  go out with any boy over 15.
DON’T make that face. I DON’T
  want to hear it. And DON’T go near
    that new neighbor boy. No, DON’T
   be all panicked. I DON’T want
  you scared. Just DON’T  
worry about it.





She rides her moon into Manhattan & lovely men lead her through sweetbread and hail her a teapot. She met them on a trampoline, and they gave her vodka clangers which turned into crystals and knocked her gulch into an egg. Aha! She splatters them back. She knows this game. In the city now, she drinks from smoothie-filled nightingales. Her guardians maintain incandescent monitorings of juices. Who can pay attention? She is made of footprints now & her blood is pumped by a web of third rails. Before, she looked / she felt / she pranced. New York makes her a salamander, New York knocks her against a wooing headboard, New York is a relentless nutcracker and she is a thoroughly exhilarated almond.



BIO: Holly Burdorff is an MFA candidate in creative writing at the University of Alabama, where she teaches composition and creative writing. She serves as Art & Design Editor for Black Warrior Review and as the Director of the VIDA Count, and her poems appear in recent or forthcoming issues of Cimarron ReviewPOOL, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Handsome.


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