Issue 32 — 

Catee Baugh
Holly Berardi

Catee Baugh

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You put love into your mouth
Just like grapes.
You take the soft
And pliant skin between your teeth
To rip it open.
There’s no malice-
Just a true pleasure in explosions.

Your frenzied mind
Is ripped open
To birth dreams
And deliriums for others.
Love to you is just
A delicacy, a balm
To make you forget
The definition of “wound.”

Broken though you are,
Drunk with sorrow and sex-
Which always purges less
Than you think it should-
We will dance again
Stomp, stomp on the grapes.

In blood and grappa
We will dance again
And you
With hardened feet and
Wide soft hands
Will mash your lover’s heart
Until it opens.

Copyright © 2010 by Catee Baugh.


Touch is a pleasure
Making me yelp-
After pushing all my caustic emotions
Up to the pores of my skin and
Watching them leak out,
I realize now I am a burn victim
And to touch me is to touch
The skin of an atomic survivor.

But pain is both poison and antidote,
A vaccine against the ordinary.
So for you,
I will expose myself
And all my defenses and pretensions,
Though not pretending
Their removal is easy or safe.
They are duct-tape band-aids
Tearing away the hair
And meager portions of singed skin
When I yank them off
To the tune of my
Screaming laughter
So that you might see thin ribbons
Of muscle and vein under my superficial layers
While I laugh at the infection seeping in.

Yes, there is something
Masochistic in my sullen art.
And I remember all those muttered words
From the mouths of teachers about
“Narrator as imagined construct in poem.”
But I would rather be
Slit open and displayed
On iron tables in museum hallways
With my very intestines hanging off,
Dripping onto the feet of passerby,
And they pulling off my skin like burnt offerings
Than be a masked and painted actor on a stage,
Only there to forget my made-up lines.

Copyright © 2010 by Catee Baugh.


I can make out the point where
Your pale blue irises
Plunge and dissolve
Into your inky pupils

And on the skin framing my eyes
I am graced by the delicate brush
Of your knuckles.
Your sweat saturates my bed,
The salt water of your body planted between
The threads of my sheets.

I find the skin of our backs
Synthesized when we wake,
The combination of man and woman
Is as natural, easy and unsuspected
As our bodies’ covering
Becoming dust.

My wrist, your neck.
Your head, my shoulder.
The joining of these places producing
Responses of relief and frenzy
Tucked away under the skin.

Flashes of your hair between
Glimpses of my bedroom ceiling
And its purple walls.
Our long breaths shivering
Almost in unison.

Look me right
In the eye when . . .

A cherry tree shudders outside.
Petals scattered by gasps of air
Sink and dissolve.

Copyright © 2010 by Catee Baugh.


Women’s bodies were thought to produce more fluids than men’s bodies, and as a result women were often described as “leaky vessels” unable to control or contain the flow of blood, urine, tears, and milk – Gail Kern Paster.

I am leaking
My own insides and emotions.
But this is not a defect,
Some hole in the design
Making the world unclean.
Instead I am both the bearer
And the libation,
Pouring out milk, wine and honey.
And though my sisters and I
Have been ignored
We do not clutch our gifts in our hands
In order to be noticed,
But instead use them,
Forcing the world to notice us
By flooding it.

This is not a lack of anything.
This is saturation.
And remember God too spills out
Into all of us in the form of Spirit.

And though we once had to take
The names of our fathers
Or the men we chose
We are now naming ourselves,
And have created more titles
Than the simple “Mary” and “slut.”
And though we were once restricted
To one metaphor per poem
And could not even stretch our fingers
Inside the rooms of our art
We now seek not a conceit to structure our words
But the cosmos to push them open.

For “either or” phrases shaped people too long
And shoved the beauty of synthesis
Under the dirt.
But now we have tended those lost weeds
And let them cover the temples’ marble pillars
With spiky-petaled flowers.
Now we will provide the world
With bouquets of options.

No, we are not just mothers and monsters now.
I might be Medusa
But you can look me in the eye-
I was always laughing, not killing.
Those stones and snakes were just metaphors.

So welcome me, your dismantler.
I remove the robe
Which has clung burning to your skin
And blinded you.
I douse it with my libations
And take the scissors of my grandmothers
To cut your cloak into blankets
And swaddle the cold world.

For we are no longer angry,
Simply because there is more rebellion
In our laughter and dance
Than there could ever be
In our shouting.
I do not need to seek my answers
In the eyes of others.
They have always been there,
Scratched into the pads of my feet,
And if I tango the resolutions
Of the old dichotomy will be stamped
On the earth.

Watch me drown this defamation
And rise in thanks
To God and the Holiest Spirit
That I have two X’s
Repeating themselves through
My trillions of cells so that
My poems might reiterate
And enthrall you,
Inviting you to join our celebration,
Our dance in the floodwaters,
From our grail overflowing.

Copyright © 2010 by Catee Baugh.

Catee Baugh was born in Washington, D.C. and with the exception of eight years spent in Florida as a toddler and college student, has lived her entire life in Northern Virginia. She is currently a senior at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, who has just completed her thesis Labels, a self-portrait through response to the labels given to her by herself and others. Exhibitionis and Woman come from that thesis.



Holly Berardi

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A Deeper Look into Negative Campaigning

Please click on the link below to access the essay:

A Deeper Look into Negative Campaingning

Holly Berardi is currently attending Montgomery College and is a member of the Renaissance Scholars Honors Program as well as Phi Theta Kappa. In addition to working on her associate's degree she is working on obtaining certificates in multimedia production and electronic photography. She was selected to attend Cambridge University’s International Summer School Programme in England and extended her travels to Ireland, Barcelona, Paris, and Costa Rica. At Montgomery College, she was nominated for the Portz Award and came in second as the Top Honors Student in the state of Maryland. She is a student member of the Board for the Maryland Collegiate Honors Council (MCHC). She won the Upper Level English Award and had poetry published in the Red Jacket Literary Magazine. The essay A Deeper Look into Negative Campaigning is published in the online journal Student Writings in the Disciplines and won the Communications Award at the Beacon’s Conference for honors students.