I Can Count To 10 vol.1

I Can Count To 10 v1 download



Amber by Zenaida Peterson

JUST MAKE IT RIGHT by Jess Rizkallah

This Corner of the Basement Could Totally Be a Bedroom by Brian S. Ellis

Luna Lovegood Spots Anxiety/Depression on School Grounds by Justin Rogers

An explanation of Orpheus after Simeon Berry by Sam Cha

maybe this will explain my taste in men by Rachel McKibbens

For Michael (2009)  by Kisha Nicole Foster

The Light-House Dreams by Ryk McIntyre

Found Out: by RebeccaLynn Gualtierri

itchy ears, itchy heart by Cassandra de Alba

Untitled 10 by Morris Stegosaurus






there's amber on my neck

burning in the air

in my bath

and in the way you describe

how your sweater smells after

you spend the weekend with me


amber is not a gemstone

she is asked to the prom

as a back up

she is a rebound

she makes you feel, good

cause she looks at you

the way you wish a diamond would

you know just what to say because not-a-gemstone

doesn't love herself the way she is suppose to so

you made her feel like jade

like sapphire

like moonstone


made old sap resin feel like

the earth hid her precious beneath the ground

til she became amber-alert-hidden perfect

hidden, me

i got lost and

she is the tree you keep coming back to

they call amber “solidified sunlight,” “tears of the gods”

and like any good gem stone she is exactly where you left her

her, me

i am exactly where you left me



Zenaida Peterson is a fire starter, a southern green witch and a queer of color who likes the wind chimes outside their window and giving rocks to people they love. Zenaida has competed in 5 collegiate and national poetry competitions placing in the top ten each time. Zenaida has been on winning teams for Voxpop and Rustbelt competitions. Most recently Zenaida was on the House Slam team placing 3rd and is organizing the Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam, the first slam tournament for feminine people. Zenaida believes the softness and floral of people is silenced too often. They also believe everything they hear so you shouldn’t lie to them. Zenaida unwrites the lies they've been given. Zenaida also unwrites violence, misogyny, racism and their ancestors curses.



I Can Count To 10 v ol.1 # June – July 2017 # I Can Count To 10 vol.1







at least once a week, a pedestrian will mistake this coffeeshop for the 90s

make me talk to their hand & i can’t tell them to put that shit away


my own hands are always too soft or not soft enough

either way, i make customers wait an extra fifteen seconds

while i wash them. because i don’t forget under the fingernails.


i make customers wait an extra fifteen seconds for their iced coffees

because i like watching the milk unfurl its wings inside the cup

i like filling people with dragons & i like to watch them hatch

i hope this loses us a star on yelp


henry is here every day. he thinks he can swear to me.

he thinks we have rapport. I don’t have rapport with anyone

who talks to me an hour before closing.




i wash my hands




i say “no”

i wash my hands


he talks to two teenage girls who move down a seat from him

they eventually leave & i think about all the other contexts he must

use the word “fuck” & i wash my hands


my manager gets an email from a disgruntled cantabrigian

who says the baristas are touching dirty rags

then not washing their hands


i scrub the same spot on the counter for five minutes

when don comes in because he likes to look

at my boobs & it’s annoying

i scrub the same spot & all the spots

like the counters are hands

i’ve somehow missed a wrinkle. a stain.

i try to make the steel scab.

then i wash my hands


i think about hands & i wash my hands


my hands touch other hands & things hands have touched

& i wash my hands


henry leaves his teeth in the tip jar where he knows i have to listen

to them rattle & twitch against the loose change

& empty space between the coins & i wash

my hands


a cambridge mom asks me about the origin

of almond milk & i do not point to the ocean


that answer would have been enough for me twenty years ago

when i learned about humans & saw the ocean & had a feeling

that something like a mother’s mouth once reeled us all in

by the neck


but this mom is not pleased at the inorganics

of the operation, the inefficiency

of the transaction

the way i stopped

to wash

my fucking




Jess Rizkallah is a Lebanese-American writer and illustrator living in New York. Alumna of Lesley University, MFA candidate at New York University, and founding editor at Pizza Pi Press. Her work has appeared in Word Riot, Nailed Magazine, Button Poetry, and on her mother's fridge. Her collection THE MAGIC MY BODY BECOMES won the 2017 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize as awarded by the Radius of Arab American Writers and University of Arkansas Press, 2017. Find her at jessrizkallah.com.


I Can Count To 10 v ol.1 # June – July 2017 # I Can Count To 10 vol.1





This Corner of the Basement Could Totally Be a Bedroom


Ghosts love having room-mates.
Ghosts like Margarita's late at nite.
Ghosts like late 1970's muted color schemes.
Ghosts like Hawaiian guitar records from the 1950's.
Ghosts prefer playing gin to gin rummy.
Ghosts prefer blackjack to Texas hold'em
Ghosts think Texas hold'em is tacky 
and can't wait for it to go out of style.
Ghosts prefer stairs to elevators
and prefer elevators to escalators.
Ghosts don't like the mall unless 2/3rds
of the stores are closed and then 
they are obsessed with it and want to go all the time.
The longer a car is the more a ghost likes it,
and they always want to sit as far back as possible.
Ghosts don't like religious places 
unless they can go in disguise.
Ghosts don't think its cool 
that you like cemeteries.
Ghosts think Instagram filters are bullshit 
but otherwise Instagram is pretty ok.
Don't talk to ghosts about vinyl coming back
ghosts have been listening to vinyl all along.
Ghosts are really touchy about their showers
being the same temperature the entire time.
Do not run the dishwasher while the ghost is in the shower.
Ghosts are really forgetful.
Ghosts have a hard time remembering their own name.
Ghosts spend most of the time muttering their own name 
to themselves while walking up and down the hallway to the bathroom.
Ghosts spend their nights awake in bed, face turned to the blank wall
saying their name over and over in the dark,
never quite being sure that words that leave their lips are the words
that come back to them.



Brian S. Ellis is a transplant to Portland, Oregon from his beloved Boston, Massachusetts. He was a part of the Boston Poetry Slam for six years and is co-founder of the internationally renowned yes-wave think-tank The Whitehaus Family Record. American Dust Revisited is his third book and Often Go Awry is his fourth.



I Can Count To 10 v ol.1 # June – July 2017 # I Can Count To 10 vol.1





Luna Lovegood Spots Anxiety/Depression on School Grounds


There is a brain turning

the sidewalk into

a loaded barrel

The brain - of course - pulls

the body like a carriage


uses the spine as a spoon to

empty the skull into an alley.

The alley invites the flesh

for a smoke.

The heart drags

off before it becomes Dark

Mark burned


before the flesh finds

another body to cremate

the smiles off of.

The mouth tells the lungs

they are dying


an esophagus sucks the brain

barren & sends its good

memories to Azkaban where

they escape & hide Horcux--

have you seen one?

Do you know the bone joy belongs to

or have your sockets

 not been picked?


from the eye

the most wicked

creature bred is the brain.



Justin Rogers is a Black poet, educator, coach, and editor from Michigan. Rogers shares poems surrounding living and praying as a Black man in America.  He most recently has work published in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Gramma Press, and is the winner of Black Napkin Press’ inaugural Chapbook Contest. He is the coordinator of InsideOut’s award winning after school program, Citywide Poets and is on staff with WusGood.Black, 3 Elements Review, and Driving Range Review.




I Can Count To 10 v ol.1 # June – July 2017 # I Can Count To 10 vol.1





An explanation of Orpheus

after Simeon Berry


C, not precisely a friend, is telling you

between sips of Scotch about the time

our mutual friend tried to seduce him,

the year before her cancer. How he

wasn't attracted, but wishes now he'd

said yes. This, by the way, is precisely

why C is not precisely your friend. But

then again, O is your friend, if only

sporadically, and wasn't he just the

other night telling you the dream he

had, about the very same woman? In

his dream she was still alive, though

ravaged. Her fiery hair burnt out, ash.

All the sweet cream and wobble of her

body sandpapered off. Still she opened

her mouth to him. As if he were water.

As if she were tangled, pinned in deep

water, and all this time she'd been

holding her breath... Though he didn't

say that, exactly. I'm putting words in

his mouth. I, too, it turns out, am the

kind of man who thinks his cock can

raise the dead.



Sam Cha received his MFA from UMass-Boston, where he was the 2011 and 2012 recipient of the Academy of American Poets Prize. In 2016, Damfino Press released a five poem chapbook of his work, and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in apt, Anderbo, decomP, DIAGRAM, Cleaver, Printer’s Devil Review, Rattle Poets Respond, Memorious, Missouri Review Poem of the Week, and RHINO. He lives, writes, edits, and teaches in Cambridge, MA



I Can Count To 10 v ol.1 # June – July 2017 # I Can Count To 10 vol.1






maybe this will explain my taste in men


When Dad busted my face open

I got to stay home from

school, watched cartoons

all day like a goddamn king.


Dad called in sick,

icing his damaged fist

with frozen peas & meat.

Overheard him on

the phone with his boss:


Broke my hand yesterday

playing ball with the kids.

Can you believe it?

I caught a fastball, no glove.

My own damn fault.

I’ll get those blueprints

to you tomorrow morning,

first thing.


Poor Dad. When he hung up

he squeezed my shoulder

& winked. Just after lunch,

there was a knock on the door.


I peeped through the blinds

with my one good eye, saw

a blonde in a nurse’s uniform.  


Dad opened the door & howled

as she sang him a high-pitched

song, bending at the waist

to show off her tits.


At the end of it, she handed him

a catcher’s mitt with a

get-well card.


The boys at the office

sure look after me!

he roared, shaking his

head in disbelief

then handed me

the remote so I,

too, could

know love.



Rachel McKibbens is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and author of three full-length books of poetry, blud, Pink Elephant and Into The Dark & Emptying Field, a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. Her chapbook, MAMMOTH, was a finalist for Organic Weapon Arts’ Blair Poetry Prize. In 2012, McKibbens founded The Pink Door Writing Retreat, an annual writing retreat in the US open exclusively to writers of color. McKibbens is a member of Latinas Unidas and co-curates the critically acclaimed reading series Poetry & Pie Night in upstate New York.



I Can Count To 10 v ol.1 # June – July 2017 # I Can Count To 10 vol.1




For Michael



We are laughing at the

mockery of everyday economic depression

paychecks withholding taxes taken from a

controlling government


disregarding real people issues

suited and booted for a false battle

faces of babies set in stone

dimple impressions depressed from the inside jaw out

hunger pains overpower innocence

a survival spirit starts

hearts torn into.


We are dancing to the

offbeat common two step music

blaring from Capital Hill

commercial rap lyrics


We the People of the United States of America

waxing gas faces with the rhetoric

put yo hands on your hip

bounce that ass a bit

male or female.


We are sitting at bar stools

throwing shots back to

jukebox tunes blaring


“that’s a chance I’ll take/baby I’ll stay/heaven can wait

 nooooo/if the angels take me from this earth…”


from where we walk we lay

heaven did not wait on Michael

heaven will not wait on us

dreams are little destinies in pigtails

double-dutching on cracking concrete in the jungle

waving handkerchiefs for an S.O.S

creating smoke cloudish images

imagining a creation of colors

treated equal on balanced solid ground

unraveling under ankles breaking love

pieces of weak parts in lives

this system


rapes the soul

music soothes said soul.



Kisha Nicole Foster made her name as a performance poet and has published a collection of her work, "Poems 1999-2014." She is currently Cleveland Public Library's Ohio Center for the Book fellow.



I Can Count To 10 v ol.1 # June – July 2017 # I Can Count To 10 vol.1





The Light-House Dreams

after Ray Bradbury


I was built to be a warning to those lost

in the night and the storm. Lonely Soldier

at the edge of ocean, strong against waves.


Sometimes I am red, and often I am fog-

colored, but shining eye, and a doom voice

that sounds sad even in the awake of day.

I sing the same song, I have only one: I am

here and there is wreckage in my direction. 

Pass me by... pass me by... pass me by...


When I sleep (because all things sleep

in their own way) I dream of bright angels

come to relieve my burden, or the sea


monster, tall as I am, come from below

the waves, neck flesh wrapping around

me; its joy of hearing my call, finding me


whole. Something to hold. I am no different

from anything that keeps a light on in the fog

of how we hope someone finds us; no matter


our warnings, our shores of treacherous rock.



Ryk McIntyre has weathered the poetry world for the better part of 40

years, having performed, toured, published, mentored, and emceed. 

He is the author of "After Everything Burns" (Sargent Press 2013) and co-editor of "Look! Up in the Sky" (Sacred Fools Press 2006) and "Multi-verse" (Write Bloody Press 2014).



I Can Count To 10 v ol.1 # June – July 2017 # I Can Count To 10 vol.1




Found Out:


Found Out:

My Favorite Scarf

That I Thought

Was Lost Forever

Is Actually At My Ex's House

And I Found That Out


I Stumbled To His Place,


And Asked Him

To Tie My Noose

With It's Floral Pattern

And Choke Me With It's Softness



RebeccaLynn Gualtierrri is a student, poet, and angry bartender. Her art primarily focuses on her own navigation through life as a queer black woman. While applying philosophical concepts to her art, her goal is to question what we know through her poems, and she wants others to do the same.



I Can Count To 10 v ol.1 # June – July 2017 # I Can Count To 10 vol.1





itchy ears, itchy heart


i spent 4 hours on the highway today

and understood nothing new about my life



i sat in the passenger seat and watched

the mountains stretch and flatten

into the stifling city


i sang along soft enough

that he couldn’t hear me


i stared at my cracking boots

and thought about hope, how hollow

it seems, but also how

in the hollows of dead trees

sometimes bloom

the sweetest buds.



Cassandra de Alba's work has appeared in Third Point Press, Gabby, Smoking Glue Gun, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among other publications. Her chapbook habitats, a collection of poems about deer, is out now on Horse Less Press. She lives in Massachusetts.



I Can Count To 10 v ol.1 # June – July 2017 # I Can Count To 10 vol.1




Untitled 10


It starts small

and a little bit funny,

like a vulgar schoolyard joke

so you invite it in.  


You feed it cookies and pat its head

and when the night is cold

you allow it to crawl gently down your throat

to bivouac in the warmth of your belly.  


You protest only a little.  


You forget it's there as it

spends years whittling out your chest, replacing

organs with rude chrome facsimiles and the machinery of rust.  


It learns to grasp with your hands,

to stare out from behind your eyes;

it folds your tongue into scorpions you never envisioned

and splits your unity along the axis of its own ambition.  


You catch an upturned snarl

in the lip of a passing reflection

and remember what you carry, maybe

you'll try to scrape it off your lungs

or pass it kicking through your colon,

and when nothing serves

you turn yourself inside out in some field or alley,  


emptied, you survey the detritus for some salvage,

but you've lost the sense to distinguish flesh from metal,

polluted from clean, and must rebuild from scratch.



Morris Stegosaurus grew up in suburban Chicago, found his wings in New York City, and landed in Seattle, where he lives with his boyfriend Eric Maden, an abstract artist and experimental musician. He performs regularly with guitarist Jonathan "Fiddleback" Maxwell, cellist Star St.Germain, saxophonist Alfredo Arnaiz and other musicians under the collective name "Clockwork Ocean." He's always identified as an outsider, but in recent years has found love and acceptance within the furry community, in which context he identifies primarily as a dingo puppy and secondarily as a zebra.



I Can Count To 10 v ol.1 # June – July 2017 # I Can Count To 10 vol.1



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