Everyone will have one book that is their Last Book. If 2015 was my last year, if any one of these five books were my Last Book, I wouldn’t be angry; I would be happy that I held each of them in my hands, the Last Book to give me a paper cut.
WILDLIVES by Sarah Jean Alexander (Big Lucks Books)
Released: May 12, 2015
i will eat rotten fruit because i want to be healthy and you will go for a run along the lake when it is frozen over, what does a frozen lake provide? what good does it do? imagine ice skates were never invented. imagine fish flew west for the winter. then what? just a pair of blue eyes crying over lost brown ones. this is what it feels like to build a castle and then make someone cry inside of it: leaving their driveway for the last time. this is how it feels to take your dog for a walk and come back with a fish tank: seeing the person you kissed on a pile of french toast that one time get in their car and drive to mars. this is what happens when you fall in love with someone: you jump up and down until they tell you to stop, but you never stop. you floss their teeth with the hair you have left. you wait for february 29th every single year. honestly, i would eat all the rotten fruit in the world for you while skating across lake michigan, falling on my knees after each long push.
The biggest stars in the universe are called red supergiants.
I shouldn’t have let you become mine.
THERE WAS SO MUCH BEAUTIFUL LEFT by Raul Alvarez (Boost House)
Released: July 21, 2015
i want you to cry. not you, mom. i’ve seen you cry more times than i would like to admit. i want everyone who rarely cries to cry, like really cry. here is why: the moon is moving an inch and a half away from us each year and most of us will never know how it feels under our feet. here is another reason for you to cry: you are alive on the earth and that is kind of like winning the lottery 100,000 times in a row. did you know jupiter is the only reason why earth is inhabitable? its gravitational pull is so extreme that it fights off meteors headed towards earth that would likely kill us all. shout out to jupiter! we love you. we love you with our entire spines, our fingernails, the parts of our bodies we always take for granted. i love everything so much that i’ll probably end up driving it into a brick wall from loving it so hard that i cannot control myself and i’m sorry. i’m sorry. don’t let this lose its meaning. remember: we’ll never be able to fall into place at the same time and i am learning where to fall on my own. have you ever been in love? have you ever been to a magic show in the back of a pizza parlor in 2003? same thing. are you crying yet?
Either I vomit on the cat vomits on the floor.
Nothing is real except the big happening. I fixed the Bible
for us so you can kiss me with your eyes open I miss you.
Que lastima mi amor, que lastima mi arbol. Don’t look in
the trunk. I am so sorry about the fat
WILD HUNDREDS by Nate Marshall (University of Pittsburg Press)
Released: September 2015
sometimes you want to build a home but you won’t. not won’t, can’t. not can’t, but are not allowed. there are no love letters in the newspapers, only obituaries. only obituaries written by someone who forgot how to tie their shoes after the person they loved was taken and really, it never starts to make sense. everyone complains about wintertime in chicago but never about living in chicago. complain about the identical stains left on every pair of your jeans. complain about a love song that wasn’t written for you. complain about never finding someone to kiss on new years eve when you get to be alive each new years eve. when kids know how to act in a presence of a gun before they know how bodies work. everyone starts blooming caterpillars because butterflies get the chance to grow and change their color and shape and a heartbeat kind of sounds like the loudest drum in the universe. this universe is the size of a heart. some things that are beautiful: fireworks, holding hands, watching the tides move into the shore. some things that are real: a bang, holding hands, watching someone enter a hole in the ground dug by someone they never knew. how does it feel to be a nonexistent door? to know that nothing will ever go through you?
Chicago high school love letters
i know all the museum
free days by heart. you
the exhibit i steal touch
from in shadow
i’ll stay with you.
the streetlights come
on or don’t.
SOME PLANET by Jamie J. Mortara (YesYes Books)
Released: April 16, 2015
conjuring up a bagel to eat and a soft thigh to cry on is not an easy thing. we are all hard breaths leaving a 10 story building during february in chicago. we have never seen the inside of a hurricane, but we have felt the inside of a hurricane. we are always waiting for our dead relatives birthday’s because we missed them every year before the dying happened. here is a hurricane: you. here is a tidal wave: both of us alone in a room with the lights off. i want to give you so much until you turn into a paper fortune teller. open and close with the phases of the moon, laugh big until you turn into a cluster of stars. when you do this, watch the leaves fall down off every tree. watch every tree fall down until the earth is dominos. watch the earth fall down and into a black hole. watch everyone’s face when they realize we’ve reached the event horizon. this is what it is like to see the saddest parts of your life flash before your eyes before you fall off something tall and lonely. but you aren’t falling, you are climbing a mountain that has been made specially for you before you were born. this mountain is yours and only yours, and you can’t say that about many things.
blues for a red planet
tonight / like every night / we got all dressed-up for the storm
with nowhere to go / waiting in a station’s draft cold / the red-
line coming through too slow / the hysteria of a phonograph
and a paranoid countryside / i mistook the scars on our bodies
for signs of life / every single time / tributaries of an ancient hurt
& nothing more / no promise / only apology / only dust on my tongue
i hope you can hear that / this time / this poem / is me / holding my own
screaming body / for a change / the train too slow to kill me / almost laughing
i have been dressed-up / all for nothing / wishing out loud at the wrong
constellations / we were just / too late / in a different era / when you asked
i would have grabbed this december / blanketed it in black flowers
said a prayer to melt this mess with distant sun / but the earth / like me
should know a dead end when it sees one / an abyss between two planets
the topography of two broken hands / failing to hold precious air
searching desperate / for something they already contain on their own
all along / back home / back then / if i saw the right shadow / on just
the right rock / i could convince myself to love anything / so desperate
for a new house / that i started burning this one down / i’m sorry
i can’t defend us from us anymore / clipping my own wings
for the sake of yours / i’m sorry / but i can’t stay married to the war
OTHER PEOPLE’S COMFORT KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT by Morgan Parker (Switchback Books)
Released: April 2015
here is how to feel light-years: you don’t. it isn’t possible yet. here’s how to feel alive: by constantly apologizing for being alive. here is how to feel like you are driving through the biggest storm since 1995: nothing ever going right. sand regularly pooling at the bottom of your socks. banging your head against a granite countertop every time someone you love dies. i’m sorry you feel old and that we haven’t been in the same room together since the length of a river ago. maybe everything is fine, i don’t know. i cried on 10,000 buses this year and everyone i’ve ever loved was underneath all of them. i don’t know how to make men into homes, i’m too scared. i do know that planes don’t always follow their designated paths and sometimes going back to where you began is impossible. i do know that when you are seeing the light from a star, that star has most likely died hundreds of thousands of years ago and is just now showing you that is was alive once. when hands shake, the ghosts inside of us are telling us it’s okay, they will take over eventually.
If My Housemate Fucks With Me I Would Get So Real (Audition Tape Take 1)
I didn’t come here to make friends.
Buildings spit their stomachs at me
and I spit back, down the sidewalk
into a bitch’s hair. I am a forehead
careening in clouds, a dirty tree branch
brushing against the shingles
of the production room. I am
groundbreaking: two as one.
Brooding tattooed over my art.
Can do angry, can’t do
accents. I need little coaching,
provocation. Opinionated and
Everything a man wants.
Lips and boobs camera-ready.
If I hear you’re talking shit about me
in your confessional interview,
seven birds have fallen dead at my feet
right out of the sky.
I learned this right hook here
when I was only six. Bitch, please.
I’m so real my hair is going gray,
legs bruised up like tree bark,
veins of my neck as swollen as
ripe fruit, the cheeks of what is growing.
beyza ozer started probably crying review while eating a bagel. their work has appeared in/is forthcoming from the offing, pinwheel magazine, the feminist wire, voicemail poems, & others. beyza is the author of GOOD LUCK WITH THE MOON & STARS & STUFF (bottlecap press 2015). they are an assistant editor of yesyes books, an associate editor of big lucks books, & social media coordinator of the lettered streets press. beyza lives in chicago where they attend columbia college because an art degree is always a great idea. twitter is a thing they use frequently.