Hayden — Us Alone (Arts & Crafts)
I got rid of everything but the shirt. Everything else you left, I burnt it, curbed it, stuffed it in dumpsters and, in the memorable case of the toaster, pitched it into the lake. It’s pitted chrome bobbed once and then sank. Not environmentally sound, but I needed the finality. Whenever I would find the smallest fragment of you, I’d annihilate it. A fork you touched down the garbage disposal. A sticky note shoved into the flame of the gas stove. That one shirt, though, barely more than a rag, pit stained and sagging, all elasticity gone, I kept is as a pelt. A trophy. A scalp.
Cauldron — Tomorrow’s Lost (Earache)
Horn of goat and tread of white high top, there is something deliberate to this alchemy, the rote following of a spell. This riff. That drum fill. Eye of newt. Spit and spent artillery shells. The lank hair at your temples could have been stripped from a woolly mammoth, hope of DNA still viable inside the splintered cells. Thawed from the glacier with lukewarm beer.
Leif Vollebekk — North Americana (Outside)
Almost all of us has done to guided meditation inwards. We close our eyes and follow the path into a comforting and familiar place: a forest grove, the yard of the cottage we spent our summers growing up. It’s a perpetual summer evening, cool and full of golden slanted light, when we come to the heart of ourselves. Usually we’re there to meet something, or thing about a problem, consult our spirit guide, or maybe just get in touch with our inner landscape again. Have you ever lingered. Instead of stopping and sighing and travelling dutifully out, have you ever stayed in the little forest in your soul? Have you stayed too long, and grown to quiet? What did it sound like when the forest began to sing?
Maylee Todd — Escapology (Do Right)
A ship in a broken bottle. Every ill advised adventure. Drinking the flakes out of the Goldschlager and the worm out of the mescal. Bruising your thighs climbing onto the shed roof just to tell a boy you can’t make out with him but look at the stars. Hiding a bag of sweet buns in a bush for a post-concert snack. Laying your prom date’s rented tux jacked across razor wire to climb over the fence. That chipped tooth. That mysterious scar. That stiff joint. Singed your eyebrows right off.
Mortillery — Origin of Extinction (Napalm)
The dull glint of green and brown glass shattered against the curb, crunching under thick rubber. Biting the soft flesh inside your cheek over and over, stinging with every swallow, every foaming swig tasting of blood. Itchy and ignited, the body a shell casing. “Devices which use some form of stored energy to operate, whether mechanical, chemical, or electromagnetic.” Kissing gunpowder.
Natalie Zina Walschots is a poet and music writer based in Toronto, Ontario. Her second book of poetry, DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains, was published by Insomniac Press this spring. You can follow her on Twitter at @NatalieZed.