All artwork belongs to PAUL RIBERA

All stories by SARA WILLIAMS




w/ Ruthe Thompson



w/ Jesse Eagle

DARK AND ALIVE - sara williams

for Nathaniel Mackey

I’m deader than meat; I’m digested. Look at this flesh, falling from my bones, slippery as any ground your body rests on. Love wrapped in a sheath, barely breathing. This air is as old as your milk, rancid and pretty. When he held love cold against our hips, we shook. That movement took the place of dancing. The cherry trees blossomed last week, myriad bombs sounding off through scent. The sweet smell of death; a death chant. The petals have all fallen to the ground, turned to mud and mold. Each time I see the leaves, full as any moon I might wish on, I drown. We rest on a leafless bough; the bough, dark and alive as Hera’s blood, reaches for blue, breaking sky and ruptured earth, and stays rooted to the trunk all at the same time. We notice none of this. I dance madly, having grown two heads while my feet and legs shrivel and ascend, disappearing into my center. Just arms, two heads and torso now, I find new rhythm. I decide not to get the knife and chop my body up, not to burn it like firewood, but to breathe, dark and alive as I am.

HUNGER: KINETIC FRAMES - sara williams

for Peter Schwartz

I am hungry, the road is black and I’m drowning down here. I can’t sleep like I used to. I have no bones, no teeth. I’m under the mountain that’s beneath the sea that’s under the surface that can’t speak, vomiting what I can’t breathe. I’m coal, moaning red. The sink overflows. The truest tide doesn’t. I watch the blue blood and dark gray meat swell. My hands and feet are tied, tied tight to the long light that lands on each slat of wood and melds into metal and makes the vehicle smooth and right. There’s no day no night no day no night. I suggest a paved escape route through our pineal glands. I suggest feeling your way through. Teach yourself to distinguish the difference between float and simmer, kettle and whistle, life and afterlife. You can be a clarifying ocean; you can see the waves thick on your inside skin. But here we are, boneless, toothless, groaning. I am the red hunter that waits and waits. I cross my arms across my chest. I clean my fingernails. I watch the snow drop and melt. I, the red hunter, is the one who sits and waits on the winter to wake up, to come home. The winter takes over. I’ve captured punishment and tuned in real wide. I spin; I falter; I frame the nook in gray. I wait for the weight to fall, the knives to be brandished, the water to warm. This is where I wait, cold and whole and like home.

OF LACE AND STONE - sara williams

I am the stone child wrapped in lace. I am the winter inside. I am the red hunter that waits and waits for the prey to fall, for the prey to ready itself, for winter warmth to kill what gets up, what moves in the dark. I am the dark hunter that waits and waits between shadows and heirlooms, in the attic, in the basement, below, between, always between. The red hunter hunts for life, for the sun to bleed through, for pride, for shamelessness, for shoelaces wrapped around dreams. Each time there’s a push, a running into the woods, a running into the street without fear, the hunter knows where to aim. The hunter is warm, is alive; hunter is bright and quick and the color of new death. White is the quiet death or the time before death or the time before the knowledge of death. Little reasons pile up like lace and steam, clutching bills and doves. Collect me. I am the red hunter that waits and waits. I am the white winter billing the earth. White doesn’t know death, doesn’t know an end. Gray knows all the ways for things to end and helps them to use a broken belt as a hair tie. I bind each strand with something like stones or stars. Strike me down now, please. I’ve got everything to live for, but I can’t.

KNIVES TO BE BRANDISHED - sara williams & ruthe thompson

The stars align between antagonists. Bones tremble and bury ancient sorrows, ancient births. The liquid fire of breath and mottled coals—unloneliness— curse campanile bells. Green leaves crack from crumbled earth, the bud of an anemone, the piston of a tulip, the starlight of a dog. This summer burned down last night and whited out a gaseous planet turned on its hip. A limb climbs out, another one, a clawing hand, two feet that kick. Where is the bright damage that makes a forest into a plane? It’s in the stars; it’s in the kaleidoscope’s pops and clicks; it’s coming out of groaning concrete, taking its first breath.

Let us unloose the knives, discard the sheaths, uncross the limbs that broke upon impact. Let us reknit and refold the shaken dance into a plume of dust. Let us fold and watch a blasted tree grow new skin while gilded limbs encase and shimmy up. Here, the monster offers life for a box of tiger lilies, flaming synecdoche that traverses scales of deadly melodies. There, gargoyle wings are overgrown with columbine, magenta pink and white. Let us nose downward. Let us emasculate ourselves. Let the monster’s limbs be unbreathed, unbroken, unsung.

BUT I BUILT THE SKY - sara williams

I can’t stone the death. Can’t run the spectrum of lights for sale. Every possession determines the clarification of sandstone and saltwater. It’s gravity between soul searches, searching for souls between rocks and hard places. The slippery scene, falling right off the arrow’s ledge. Courageous diegesis framed by kinetic distortions. I am the red hunter that waits and waits, waits for the dance to unravel, to unsoar, to unsoothe the dream to make for a lonely avalanche to unloose chords, cords, falling forward, calling towards an unaching, unhinged light.

I am the weight awaiting trial. I am awaiting the loss of broad flashes. I am a culled dream, the slight distortion of falling. I am the red hunter that quelled the stones right out, quelled the disease so you could remake, renew. It’s loss before gain, loss between gates, the swollen reminder, echoes unclear and unbroken between beats in the dark. Slow freak, the crawl of the creek, slow and cold, culled late and between sheets. Echo of the sweet, the solipsistic desire, the groove of this goddamned light. I fought for scissors and knives, fought to open my body up until there was nothing left, nothing but meat and bones and sinews of blonde and black, the sinews like coiled frames unfurled, finally released into starless tissue and bones.

I MEANT TO TELL YOU TO DANCE - sara williams

I meant to tell you that I’m broken between sheets and cans of crayons, the law between hums. Listen. The tiger hums, sluts it up and sighs. Listen. You’re running on empty and listing evolutionary details that won’t quit hammering some survival scream. Bleach the soles of your feet. That’s what I did. Now I’m clever as Jesus, humming a tune, walking above water, absorbing the earth, my tongue long and slick with limitless bees warm as yellow, yet beaten down. Now we’re sailing bucolic heights. Listen. I’ve got to tell you. I’ve a dance that crawled beneath the alligator’s claw to make slits in her dress. I’ve a dance that slipped past a disaster into milk and bees, into directions home. I’ve a dance that built the sky from echoes and scars. The sacred is unraveling. The crawlspace opens silk ropes into a tidy knot, the brilliance and sweat of a trance, a railing backwards like the stunned babes of cows. The sacred is unraveling now. Like a light I can’t process even as I dance to the blossomed terrace and ache through the twisted groundlessness of desire. Bells wake up tragedy and the dance leans into a star, a new name. The name is cross-eyed lady and we’re crawling beneath arrows, sucking earth into our gums.

LAST - sara williams & jesse eagle

Graffiti scars like ghosts in flight leave trails of chemical dust. It’s Easter, motherfucker. We’re praying inside layered rust, boasting backwards, growing new tails. We are kissing the sky black. Your hair smells like pepper and fruit. You are something eggshell ancient. We are only last year’s same tongue. Our lips spill down sheets, suck up smoke. We’ve become our own consumption, a metallic green god trampled by whole wolves. Fill up with trashwater. Forget your fucking mothers. Here’s to making things last.

Those waves sunk cold last night, lifting only because we let them. Shadows were our undercurrent, our sharks. Give me a little skylight to burn through. Give me a hole to fill. We will only last here as long as we want. We can last. It’s groundless, this frame of guardians and twilight unfolding. Guard against nothing, not the skylight, not the dormant winter, not the red hunter that waits. Don’t wait. Wish. We are something silk even as the worms dry. Like a prey bird, the flowers blossom against a skinned sky and dip back towards home.