a literary magazine about heritage, culture, community, hometown, neighborhood, environment – anything or place from the outside that has found its way in.
Maps For Teeth is literary magazine, so yeah, that means poetry, prose, visual art, etc. but we want to stress that we want everything that falls under that umbrella. Literally everything. It’s a huge umbrella. So give us the polished, the raw, the stuff you produce that makes you scratch your head when you try to categorize it. Do you have a review? A reaction to a piece of art? Do you have comics? Doodles? Collages? Journal entries? Interviews? Send it. All of it.
DEADLINE: September 18th // firstname.lastname@example.org
Download a digital copy for free, or order a hardcopy for $12. This thing is full of frickin beautiful/awesome/honest work, please check it out. And reading period for the next issue is already happening. Send your art to email@example.com
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- always the smell just before coffee
- never the coffee just the never
- and then i was a girl
- and then i was a person
- and then i was a blur
- they tell me i create birds
- i listen to their bird praise
- i eat all of the birds
- always the bird, never its song
- never its bird song for me
- never never never never almost. never
- this hurts - whatever. look, birds.
- “how much paper do we have?”
- “well thank you very much, thanks”
- i keep personifying fruits, and why
- i keep replaying in the brainhole
- i keep replaying elevator elbows, replaying
- bOP bop. no stop bop boP
- no more bop bop just stop
- did you untangle your bowtie’s tongue?
- did you untangle your hum hum
- hum hum hum hum hum hum
- fucking shit. fuck. and like, bicycles.
- muffins are so important, yes yes.
- i just want to walk. i
- just want to, wanted to walk
- and a ghost plays your tastebuds
- like a bongo. like a bongos
- but like you will be mean
- but like tomorrow i’ll wake up
- no no not wake up. walk
new chapbook of poems about being first-gen lebanese-american and how lots of firsts interact with family history. also some love stuff also some moon stuff also some of my doodles. printed copies here.
thanks 4 readin, friends :~)
there are little people with trumpets for hands punching the back of my eyeballs every time i cross the street. jido is sick and someone isn’t eating and i found out that nothing lives inside the belly of an elephant except for the love it swallows when the love doesn’t want to swallow it back
but it makes their hair grow in fuzzies. in little tufts up top top de bip bop biddly sneep snop, hEY hey the brain is a stop sign now. it’s nickles against cardboard when i’m sad. it’s reds reds reds sea glass and the moon. I’m trying to make art but all the art is about how much this hurts. it hurts but hey whatever, you ever seen a ghost? you ever dreamed about soda can people? they live in the dregs of civil war, in the aftermath of the burp in the crack of its ankle. in the trail of history’s nails against its own wrists. trenches for dead skin and alternate timelines, i think.
i don’t know jack but jack knew my mom. he died at 18, swallowed by love, but not before the gunfire. megafauna of the chest: nickels shooting out of the body. bloodcells arranging into elephant before becoming confetti against olive trees. scarlet pillbugs. all tusk through a red t-shirt. he wears a red t-shirt and hugs her as she chops parsley and she doesn’t know he’s there and he doesn’t know i know that he could’ve been my father but i already have a father and anyway i had a dream about fevers once.
and buttons the size of trees, futures peeking through the threadholes. eyes opening like mouths. and someone still isn’t eating, nothing lives inside her belly and jido asked me about the condition attached to the frontal lobe when we let it juggle our dreams.
he asked me what i saw in mine — i didn’t tell him i saw him there as kind of a child but not quite a child. he looked more like a ghazal with fig trees for arms and himself as a child swinging from the branches. but i didn’t tell him that
i just told him about the moon full of bees, how it bounces against the earth like your eye against first love’s eye, i told him how outerspace fraternizes with our elbows while we sleep and he told me his brain is an upside down chair when he has a fever
he has a fever. his skin is a red tshirt, soaked
the people with the trumpets play taps against the back of my eyes at every crosswalk until and i’m fine i’m okay i’m the worst i’m here. i’ve swallowed what makes the hairs grow. it’s a tongue where my heart should be but the tastebuds are full of the memory of something sweet. the dark spice of reds reds reds and sea glass. brass megafauna. a stubborn water key. blood the sound of sad ska music. all tusk like a streetlight through the heart, again and again
“hey. hey are you listening to me? listen, i’ve read all the poems - double checked the reports with the window crack portal to the gods - here’s the real romance between the sun and the moon: the moon is an earth apple, naked; A potato, peeled. Artemis got bored with waiting for Apolla. left a mess. And Apolla, she got mad that the skins littered her skies closed every time she went for a jog. the turn of the earth is just a few sweeps of the dustpan held steady by an angry god baking the moon scarlet every morning with her rage — this is the real romance of night and day.”
This is the real romance of lining up the fate lines on our palms: it might never be enough. to wait, to keep waiting. to accept the nightfall, that the cosmos are just starches left out too long. it might hurt so much i could bake it into my cavities. i could name the ache after this. i could devour it and it would still be a part of me.
i wonder who will litter my nights with the skin of something i loved before i loved them.
i am super not the authority on this question but losing people is hard and i totally feel that, dude. but i think you just have to keep going literally one day at a time and live in the immediate moments that things feel okay like if you’re eating a piece of chocolate or if you’re on the green line and your favorite song comes on shuffle and you’re not running late and your limbs decide to bop bop boodly beep bop sneep snop hEY and eventually those moments will stretch out and you won’t realize it until one day you’ve gone a whole frickin hour without thinking about this person and then soon it’ll be longer and then eventually they’ll be on your toes like old nail polish from last summer that lasts all year, like you’ll only think about them when you look down at your feet in the shower. they’ll be in your toes. so you should probably never shower again
and also think about all the love you have in yourself for this person and how you had all that love before they were a person in your life and how you lived so long not knowing them and you can do it again and there’s no way all the love sliming up the inside of your body is going to crust up because love is a mucus and mucus is always making more of itself and you’ve got so much of it that you’re going to sneeze on someone one day and that’ll be it, you’ll both be infected and disgusting and beautiful and happy and in love. you’re probably a frickin cool person and you can go on, you will. it’ll be super fuckin hard but make some art and absorb some art and take lots of walks and make lots of lists and talk to yourself in the mirror, that helps. maybe one day you can be best friends with this person and even if you know that probably isn’t the case, let yourself cling to that until you don’t need to anymore. lie to yourself until you’re not lying to yourself anymore. i wish i could hug you because like this isn’t the place i want to talk about this feeling but your timing is weird and i guess i needed to put this somewhere for myself too. i hug you, stranger. if we’re friends, let’s get a burrito 2gether
every time i try to spell brueggars i see dave egger’s name in there even though it’s spelled wrong.
when i think of dave eggers i think of that book he wrote that i haven’t read but still carried the title with me because i know if i read it i would absorb it in my body as long as i lived and i would have a weird lumpy skin tag in the shape of a book. it would be somewhere on my right side, between my hip and top rib bone. that’s the side i sleep on most, the reason my right leg always aches, i hope.
i wonder how i can write a heartbreaking work of staggering genius and i think to do that i would have to become all the heart and all the breaking and surrender to not ever knowing the space between ever again and i’m scared, i don’t want to do that and also i don’t want to be that and also maybe i can just be this bagel. a bagel doesn’t have to worry about taxes and saying the wrong thing and losing anything more than some sesames and also itself
the coffee here is terrible. i appreciate what they’re trying to do, the awake they’re trying to pronounce with thick burning aftertaste but the bitterness is messing with the way vintage nelly furtado and my big sweater want me to stay awake by the window. marisa was here before her class and we were talking about strangers with identical scars and the cosmic crash of the planets in my head when i’m sleeping. i met a son i had last night, he was breaking in the heart and i wasn’t allowed to hug him because he wasn’t really mine anymore and then i woke up still feeling like i let him down. who was that little blonde boy. and i’ve never been blonde but maybe once, i was. maybe once, i knew how to take care of more than myself.
there’s a jug in the shape of a fish over there and it would be great for holding scabs. i wonder if there’s a universe where scabs are used as currency. we’ll all be trading little pieces of ourselves for other little pieces of ourselves like we don’t already do that. we’ll all be flayed in the name of capitalism. i think we already are and anyone with a third eye already lives in the scabbed universe. i wonder if they can see into a place where we’ll trade ourselves in the name of the bubbles we fill each other with. i wonder how many three eyed people i’ve met aside from the one i know, i wonder how many of them know why i smile at my shoes on the train. i wonder how many of them can see right through me, know why the little blonde boy is sad. i want to know why he’s sad and i want to know what i did and i don’t want to do it again. i want this coffee to be better and i want this old song to flip into another old song and i want to stop smiling at my shoes because they don’t smile back and i feel like i am breaking in the heart
but of course i know i’m not. not yet
feels kind of gratuitous to post this, but i was nominated by my favorite professor to represent lesley university at this festival! i’ll be reading the poem that was published in the chapbook next to other college poets in the greater boston area. my poem is about my grandma and civil war and kneecaps and elephants and feelings.
we’re at felipe’s and itchy asks me if i’ve written the poem about my lipstick on the burrito yet. i feel like the marked burrito is the poem itself and i almost don’t want to touch that but now i have. the real poem is in the way itchy remembers all of me, and memory is a kind of superpower. also a kind of love.
one time marshall took my glasses right off my face and cleaned them for me.
marisa said Aw That’s Love Right There and i agree and then marshall told me my glasses were gross. but that’s Love too. and it’s lots of things and strands of other things and stuff and moon rocks and reflections of trees on just-washed cars, but i’m still afraid to say it out loud when it becomes a rubberband ball around one lone name in my gut.
guac didn’t like to hug when we first met but now she hugs. we also say ‘i love you’ when we hang up on the phone. we still talk on the phone. i’m talking on the phone more often now. i get to say “love” to people a lot more now. this is kind of like practice but also like snapping the rubberbands to wake up what lives in the tangle of them, to get me used to the way it stirs my insides. when i get poetic with guac she tells me poetry hides what i need to Just Fucking Say Already
and she’s right
but then we hug with words and hang up
to test my maternal instinct i want to adopt a basil plant and raise it as my own and never ever pluck any of it for eats. i keep a bottle of dried basil by my bed so i already don’t trust myself but doesn’t something shift when you become a parent?
on the train yesterday, i read a short story about a dad who shook his baby to death on purpose.
my dad would never do that but he has kicked a family computer to death. otherwise only reached for his belt once but the same way you’d reach for the pull of a broken lawnmower. you could annihilate the overgrowth of grass, the spill of Loud and Too Much
if you had it in you to destroy. he never did. but he still spits, still shakes with something when he gets mad.
i’m afraid when i’m older i’ll finally see it for what it is in the half of me that’s his.
my phone changes “i love you” to I Live You and i think that’s closer to the womb than anything else we can say so even when my mom tells me that she kissed her phone because i was on the other end of it, i know i’ll never be half the mother she is even though half of my person is of her unscarred tissue and sunspots
she says “y’aburnee” which means I Love You So Much I Hope I Die First, I Hope You Bury Me and no one that didn’t grow up hearing it realizes that the etymology doesn’t originate in romance - it began as a rumble in the womb. Mothers are the ones that say that word to you more than anyone else in your lifetime. even if they’re not actually saying it out loud. and they mean it and I’m scared
i’ll be a horrible mother. i already am - i’ve left harold behind again. when i visit home, i watch him on the window by the sink. his bamboo looks greener, taller. less hollow. there are oceans inside the flutes of him, they sound along with my mother’s humming as she washes the filo from her hands. there are so many recipes to learn from her. so much selflessness i want to take, which means i’ll never have it
i’ll always be learning how to love, unlearning the haves i think i need to have. getting lipstick on my burrito was the best poem i’ve ever written and i’ll only call anyone on the phone when i have it in me to say I Love You before the dial tone
i love you
all of you
but also i live you. i live you i live you i live you
even if i can’t say it out loud
the ladybugs are eating the city
i see their underbelly above me
a parachute. a hat. the biggest hat
we twist it like a soda cap until our heads pop right off
you are made of yarn, it’s the softest thing i’ve ever been
kiev is imploding under the tongue of the world’s attention
and my coffee is too bitter today, not quite as nutty as i like it
and i have too much reading to finish, about the modern middle
east’s history, how colonialism turned my motherland into dehydrated
leather, how every explosion is a zit popping into infinity into the end of
time into the crux of the universe stored in my spice cabinet, i ran out
of cinnamon and now my chicken won’t be just So, just the way i like it
it won’t be That so i add it to the list on the fridge in my head, stored between the nodes that ache sometimes, they’re just waiting to hatch into the Self, the one i store the blueprints for in my wishbone - imagine if self actualization worked that way if actualization worked both ways, if it could leak through time, lacquer our previousness like we are beads on a string, a mountain range rising and falling like green lines on a black screen, do you see the ceiling fan reflected there? it reminds us that pulse can jump out of wrists to slap us in the corneas when we forget we have it for a reason. poetry always ends before it tells me this reason, but the sentiment lingers in the tone that hangs over the room, we snap at it because we know we should but we still don’t know the reason. there’s always a reason (look, i’m doing the thing,
the slam poetry thing, the thing where i stop
before i’m supposed to start) i think there is too much
happening everywhere always and my family lives in my wrist where the pulse is they are the pulse, i pulse with everything they helped me become they are everything i still want to become, i wonder what it’s like to become, what they had for dinner last night, how they’re coping with the weather, what’s the weather like in my wrist? and sometimes i forget they’re
there but i always know they’re there, does that make sense? they are the blue that might not really be blue, they kick like incisors, like baby sharks with basketballs for sneakers, i always know when i should call but i don’t always call because it’s easier to tuck everything under the tongue, to write to write to write to write for you always, i write for you always, you are the reason. you are one person and you are every person and i love you so much it hurts and i love all of the yous so much it hurts and this coffee is so bitter, so not as actual as i like, so not as infinity as what rushes blue inside me is used to but you should still try the egg sandwich at brueggers
- you have jawbreaker eyes. they’re nice. so are clouds. and the mist that sprays over vegetables at the supermarket, and blueberry scones.
- your eyes are the right shade of blueberry scone
- a blueberry scone but instead of blueberries, your eyeballs multiply and litter the pastry like pimples
- orange rinds curling up in your tea but instead of orange rinds it’s really your skin
- you throw panic like zest
- i don’t know how to write about you like you’re a person anymore.
- i think of you when bagpipes