issue 32: ontological

The Pendulum Swings to One Side

- gregory manning (bio)

Do you know what it's like to be empty inside?
To be a parasite who is only along for the ride?
A soulful of demons to whom you must confide
Every failure your choices and fate have supplied.
It's a normal day in this abandoned neighborhood.
All the pieces placed and resting where they should.
The cosmic clock remaining where it was stood:
It's gears lifelessly turning in a case of Godwood.
I am content with this existence thrust onto me.
Just as the clock hands care not where they be.
It is but time the pieces move past the thirty:
An arbitrary point holding meaning to nobody.
Who cares if the worthless clock lives or dies?
It's a construction kept alive by shameless pride.
My existence living proof that I be denied sainthood.
No maker could find my innerworkings to be good.
Devoid of purpose; I should have been left a tree.
From my face falls the source of the salty sea.

The Summer I Went Cold

- sam sicilia (bio)

The summer I went cold
I learned a lot about fatality
and the absence of god
in any of us, or in anything.
Even the dragonflies and cardinals
I prayed to, signs asking for signs,
told me that 12:34
doesn’t really mean anything
and coincidences are just that.


The summer I went cold
my boyfriend left me
for a girl who drinks wine
and talks about it.
A girl who is older and wiser,
prominent and worthy,
annoying as fuck
so I drank wine
and didn’t talk about it,
or anything.


The summer I went cold
My dog died on the same day
I lost my job
and my worth and prominence
disappeared too, and if I did
believe in coincidences again
I was terrified of them.


The summer I went cold
my body burned with anxiety
and my heart never stopped racing
because it only knew fear, and didn’t
believe in happy endings
only turns for the worse.

While Watching a Documentary on the Higgs Boson Particle

- sam sicilia (bio)

I fell asleep next to you on the couch
because I couldn’t bare walking up to my room alone.
We’re friends now, we’ve always been friends
but when we were younger we didn’t care about the effects
of coexisting DNA and how the effects were different
for substance A and Substance B.


We were stoned for most of the day,
and drunk most of the evening and you talked
about science and magnets in guitars
and you helped me collect all the beer cans
to put in a bag and you know I’m in love with you
and you know you can’t be responsible for that sort of thing.

For seventeen miles particles spiral
crossing paths only parallel and I try and reach you
and hold my breath until seventeen miles brings me back, closer
until eventually we slam together to create the thing
that will tell me how it begins or how it will end.

And if in that moment I disappear
I hope you will too.
And the silence isn’t awkward
just a means to an end.

So It Goes

-  alfie garland (bio)



As we know it,



As it always has.


At peace,

Or in terror,



An inevitability.


Death is unfortunate,

A by-product of life,

Well lived or wasted.


And so it goes.


Yet we should not fear,

The approaching dark,

Or letting go.


Hard as it may seem.


For it is our natural way,

To be at peace,

And rejoin the stars.


That wept as we left them.


- alfie garland (bio)


There are more combinations in a chess game,

Than there are atoms in the observable universe.



One of the following,

Must be true.


We are all pieces,

On an impossibly large chessboard.


Everything we do is predetermined,

By the hand of unseen grandmasters.


Our own life is less complex than chess,

Which puts a lot into perspective.


Some of us must be pawns,

And only a few kings or queens.


There are more combinations in chess,

Than atoms we can see,

And yet every outcome took me away from you.


So maybe that was meant to be,

A galactic impasse,

Unfair and unbending.


But with so many ways,

To express ourselves,

There still wasn't one to say I love you.


- alfie garland (bio)

For years,

We have stared,

Gazed up,

In wonder at the stars.







A thousand jewels,



A thousand eyes,



From the darkness,

A form stirs,

The stars are upon us now,

And they are gazing back



- anon

end of issue 32. go back to issues page.

the poetry juicebox
an international poetry & art publication
the poetry juicebox