The Violet Drum Girl

Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Ravi Kant

Play that dark synth,
Little violet drum girl!
Make my heart beat,
Or if you’d wish, make her swirl.

Indigo hues—
Oh Night hums your tone,
And strumming that moon,
May he dance not alone.

Wash me in harmony,
To grass-whispered chords,
Sip such a love to me,
If to you I’ve been poured.

Mandarin Gold

Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Pixabay

She giggles, golden, cheeky, tart,
And nips my tongue in sugar sweet,
My fingers dig in citrus heart,
And tear inside to taste her meat.

I bite inside that newborn sun,
Leaking zest and zinged delight,
Of spring she dribbles, and summer runs,
Tongue on tang; oh what a fright!

Surprises, nuggets, the future—sploosh!
Tickles wrapped in fragile skin!
Peel away to sip that juice,
And shovel up that treasure’s grin.

New year’s like an orange round,
So peel that fruit ’till Happy’s found.

That of a Man Who Kept a Wolf For a Dog

Written by Callie Cheng
Art by NEOSiAM 2021

Bark dog, bark!
Roll over! Sit! Fetch!
Now what do you do now? Boy, Hark!
What’s that now boy? You want to play catch?
Master is busy. Go be a good boy.
Bad dog! Bad!
Don’t you dare act so coy—
A muzzle and leash ought to keep you in, lad.
Sit doggy, sit! You sit, sit, sit, sit!
AH—! Oh, why you little wretch!
You’ll regret that boy—I’ll see to it.
You’ll learn respect, you barking bitch.
I’ve given you everything,
How dare you treat me so?
Consequences! Your actions—that’s what they’ll bring!
Now think about what you’ve done and oh—HO HO HO!

Winter’s Repent

Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Pixabay

Wavy winter
Whispers woes,
But with or without,
Her dissonance shows.

Leather binds
And meads the tide,
With white-eyed woes,
And wounds inside.

Snow laughs piercing
That my wife,
And keeps her frozen
Far from life.

The willows shake
Like fallen stars,
And moon-shed teardrops
Wilt cigars.

Where pine were needles,
Scream her scent,
But why so feeble,
Did winter repent?

As hymn from frost
Do nip my nose,
But pay that cost,
As warm blood knows.

And as washed up winter
Worded white,
The queen did cry,
And slip her might.

Sincerely, Where The lights do crash

Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Lena Glukhova

Send me seven
Moons and stars,
Where drunk are
Cats on white cigars.

Me, I like
The latter two,
Of cold the iris,
Pierced with blue.

Kissed by Summer’s
Burnt surmise,
And murmured softly,
Pink clouds rise.

Make me honey,
Make me sweet,
Of Eros winged,

Flutter flutter,
Butter melt,
Then in your heart,
My name do smelt.

Sincerely, where
The lights do crash,
Might sparkle sparkle,
Hope I splash.

The Attic in The House of Soleil

Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Lany-Jade Mondou

Baby blues are skies anew that simmer
Swimming, oceanic, like those eyes,
Love you, love you, I do, I do, I tell her,
Myself, although I think I know, by next sunrise,

I’ll be an eagle, drifting, lullaby, beneath
The conquered, frameless, punctured shapes of souls,
Where girl, she died, taking full her breaths,
A woman scarred by time, scooped empty, empty, eaten bowl.

The wrinkles map your skin where life, she’ll touch,
And love her with your body you do, you do,
Making moans as at, her flowing locks you clutch,
But slips like water, burning bones, and shriveling you.

I think that we’d do best to die, but better yet,
We live, I live, and endless hurting hold it in,
Because I don’t think that I’ll have truly met
You, loved you, until I’ve killed you with my own two sins,

These hands that roll up a boulder to the skies
My shoulders strong beneath what heaven weighs,
I swear that I am Sisyphus, I swear I’m going to die.
I bleed here on the knife I picked, and choose to day by day.

I wonder where the rainbow ends and when he’ll sire with the sun,
An ending for my withering hands and aching flesh,
I wonder, wonder, when I’ll finally be done,
When I’ll be sorry to the body that my soul’s a-meshed,

With pain, with whips, and flaming tongues,
Lashed within by the silent tremors here made mine
By me, I’m sorry, sorry you were young,
And that I drank that youth up as I traced this line,

To the ocean that, we’ve drowned beneath,
A thousand seas, and mirths, and pains,
I think it’s funny how I choked you with a wreath
Of my own words, and for courting Nike, blood mine drained.

I think we try too far, too hard, to run along,
The hands of time, to race against with the golden king,
As Helios beckons us to dance his song,
To make upright our broken knees, and waltz around his solar ring.

I’m tired, you say, of the water seeping in my bones,
Of choking, drowing, flailing, screaming into gags and chains,
Aching like a muscle under the golden mountain of your throne,
And I’m sorry that I laugh at you and stab you more with pain.

But maybe one day we’ll make peace.
I think it lies there, someday where I suffocate,
In clouds and sleep and happy; where the lease
Is mine and ours alone, a silent fate,

Where there’s no need to rise again,
Where you won’t have to kneel and wake at day,
And heed the beckon of moon, sun, when
I’ve freed us from the attic in The House of Soleil.


Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Daria Nekipelova

So you’ll pass between a door and a door,
And lingering, you’ll stay; oddly looking,
Unpassing, and confused in the corridor.
But of what? You whisper, spine shivering.

For you’ve crept there too long, and fallen asleep,
Of mirth, you’ve forgotten, that lies the way out,
You’ve made it your home, permanence to keep,
But DEEP! Whispers the exit, by its commanding’dness shout.

Cracks, they disturb you, by the jagged surreality,
White walls, the uncanny, made mother your soothe,
Remembered, but ignored—the second door that must be,
But of now is trivial, white walls and thinned paint your truth.

THE JOURNEY, THE JOURNEY! Oh, what’s it to you?
LIMINAL, LIMINAL, I’m lost in it too.

Pelle Sub Agnina

Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Engin Akyurt

I have worn your body
From morn to night
To adorn the ungodly;
I’m a mournful sight.

I have lost your pieces:
Marbles tossed to gutters,
Gas, exhaust, and faeces—
Lips embossed with mutters.

I am bones; a skeletal
Half-sewn fraction of
A loaned soul festival
That moans for above—

I am damned; I am hell,
A pentagram sits beneath
This Madame Unwell,
Who burns lambs ‘tween her teeth.

You are the devil; satanic
Figment that fills the body,
Container to spill with demonic
Desire, to eat, kill, and unsee.

You are, you are, you are,
So bizarre, the one I will not
Remove, voussoir, you are
By far, my worst—my plot!

Galaxies Sip

Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Ron Lach

Silver sips my sad champagne,
But Bitter lights her stellar’s mane.
Effervescent nebulous,
Lie in my cup till daylight rusts.

And in that autumn crumpled burnt,
Is caramel carpet pain unlearnt.
So drink you like my innocence,
And sip you till my life may rinse.

Frown you as I drown in wine,
As absinthe glitter spirals mine.
So drowsy drowsy drinking joy,
Might one day flight my dreams employ.

I’ll eye you up in corduroy rum,
But chiding lest your conscience hum.
A-seize me up this twirling ice,
Of vodka heroes, all things nice.

Now spank those stars their moans you’ll hear,
Celestial chaos fried demure.
Let’s powder powder ash my brain,
Without you by my life to stain.

Darkness folds with diamond eyes,
But sparkles in my bloodstream rise.
And where I’ve lost for lustrous glee,
Inject by black to rainbows be.

Weep your arms, encompassed lost,
Though me I find, I’d pay that cost,
Crash or die by fated will,
In heaven find my face until.

So sappy sipping sloppy cider,
For pleasure such my mouth grows wider.
Orbit me till wrinkles dawn,
Mundane your scold, forever’s yawn.

Stargazing in a Parking Lot

Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Yaroslav Shuraev

Don’t tell me that you didn’t like the view—
Your back on mine, on hers, her concrete spine,
Dusk-spun dust she blew in soft breaths of hue,
Against crystalline, many sky-stones rhine.

I tell you that I like those specks that strike
The eye, like you, on me, on you. As dawn
Would see it, a star, hikes you, orchestral, brass-like,
Through ebony, the dark falls of me, in noir-strokes drawn.

So sit on concrete, sit lonely and sweet,
Sit on black as I sit, in lines white that fit,
Optical deceit to your light’s blinking tweet,
Sipping stars blown to bits by the cold’s scream split.

You’ve run out of fuel and now palm through my pools,
That suck black from your white, ’til the skies, they might,
Come bottle our jewels, in glass made ampoules,
Keep you from my night, and me from your light.

Don’t dial away, our escape is futile.
When Newton spoke, he but outlined our yolk;
While gravity smiles on our denial, we’ll be here for a while,
So why stoke the fire? Why fight it? Why choke?

Oh we’re captives, can’t you see? For as long as we live,
The tableau of my nothing makes your light, everything,
Like a humour in their archive. They smile and give
—us, reflected in the eye’s outer ring, fated, bound by their strings.

Is it worth it to ask why we’re sentenced to the skies,
When you can chew it up, swallow, spit it out hollow?
So that goodbye will suffice, your heart when it dies,
It’s all I ask, that with me you wallow before you do go,

Perhaps we were forced, perhaps we’re coerced,
But hush, let us sleep and rest where the pavement is cheap,
I don’t care about the course of our fate’s divorce,
And neither should you keep such frown-lines so deep:

Mercy is my gasoline that sullies your pristine
White, golden glorious shining magnanimous,
Mercy is that I’ve seen, and down the path of “we” been.
Oh in the saga of us, what more can I ask,

But for you to stargaze with me, my stellar stargirl?
The cars have all left, it’s now our world.