—poetry by Joseph Veronneau

When I was six
the dog stretched his
leash a bit further
and left the tight clasp
of ferocity
on the back of my ear.
I saw a piece of scrap
metal fencing nearby
that my friend handed me
which I used
for two good swings
to turn death's grip
to a whimper
that stumbled away,
shortening its leash back
on its own.

When I was twenty-one
I went to a keg party
where I got on my knees
in front of the artist
I knew from the parlor.

She sterilized equipment
and then told me
this may sting,
just hold tight.
She placed my hands
on her kneecaps
as she drove the spike
through my lip,
then spun the ball
into the space between.
I just pierced his
fucking lip
she announced to the rest
of the onlookers -
some scribbling lyrics,
others talking,
but this was
a baptism
I had chosen.

The Poet: Joseph Veronneau ran Scintillating Publications, a chapbook publishing press from 1999-2009. His own musings have appeared throughout the small press.

The Photographer: Myles Katherine is a fine art photographer and painter based in Portland, Oregon. She specializes in medium format black and white film photography using a Holga GCFN. Her work includes double exposures and graphic layering that creates a surreal and ghostly atmosphere.Her work is mostly influenced by dreams, psychological conflict and personal attachment. By emphasizing the power of concepts such as social isolation, death, and memories she hopes to unravel a vulnerability in each viewer and force them to recognize and overcome their own psychological struggles. You can see more of her work at