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 FOUR Poems


 Core Values

I do not want your mouth, or the tossed apple core from your window; I catch them anyway and they fall
            into my open green—

You kiss my apple core at dusk and fuck the jump of the light, the rain of the concrete, the caress of
            carcass, carnage, catalysis.

Then left, left of the apple core, you move forward—

I pick at my seed: my seed pops off like a lollipop from pursed lips; my seed takes its time; my seed is
            topaz and I devour it, that taste of farm flesh.

The stem pokes at my umbilical cord and drags me behind your car for miles. I turn and twist in your
            vacuum. I believe that I may die, but I do not.

I am pulverized pulp and I flitter across states of consciousness.

I spread my seed across state lines.

You stop at a gas station at the four corners and piss out apple juice.

I bleed the cider of an orchard and it has fermented, too long within myself. I lick my wounds and get
            drunk off it.

When you start the engine again, I suck off your exhaust pipe.

You drive to Washington and start planting cherry trees. You tie a violin from a cherry stem, and I prune
            like birdsong—

The calm, calm look of apples starring out into the green, longing to be picked.

 The silence is too warm.

Imagine your therapist as a Sisyphean dung beetle as you speak. Imagine your therapist as a wishing well for your suicidal ideation—drop the coin hear it like a pin drop hear it like a tear drop hear it like a coin falling into water. Imagine your therapist as a music box that plays your words back to you to a nice tune and spins and spin and spins. Imagine your therapist as a robot; watch it scoop up all your rambling detritus and make it into a cube. Take the cube home and put it on your bedside table; use it as a paperweight or a footstool depending on how big your cube is. Imagine your therapist as a mug of brewing tea. Take the tea bag out and see it is your heart; think this makes sense and throw it out. Add the milk in; you didn’t even know you were crying. Imagine your therapist as a rowboat and decide to swim across the choppy water instead. Let the regret settle in your bones as you sit on the island and the island is the first day you realized you needed to seek help. Write the word HELP in the sand but forget to account for the tide. Look right look left. Choose one. Trace a circle with your feet around the circumference. Imagine that at the center of the island is your therapist—a dung beetle again this time—and never step beyond the skirt of the jungle. Forget to account for the tide and let the waves eat you. Become a fish and you may be happy. Forget about the therapist forget about the island and the tea and the wishing well and be happy.


Have you ever felt like an ossuary?
Or a bowl of cheerios left too long?
Or an empty fish tank?
Or a mildewed, spray-painted mattress?

Was there a time where you thought



Lately, I’ve been foraging,
            my grandmother once went on
            a work trip, and spent no money,
            because she ate only blueberries
            and mushrooms she had found
but all I find are syllables,
            -ing, -ward, -ments, -ed, -n’t
and I am starving.


to need tastes of petroleum and the tongue, a match;
to abrade the taste buds, confront romance.

to want feels supple as magma and the hand, a crater;
to erupt the fist, accept contentment.

to covet looks parallel to the red sun and the eye, an atmosphere;
to penetrate the cornea, endure calm.

to desire sounds like a smoke alarm and the ear, a battery;
to quiet the tinnitus, suffer comfort.

to miss smells comparable to a cigarette and the nose, a lighter;
to burn the bridge, face solace.

Frances TUORINIEMI is currently finishing their MA in Writing at the University of Warwick, where they were one of the head editors of the 18/19 cohort’s anthology, Chimera. They completed their undergraduate at the University of Birmingham. They are half-American and half-Finnish. Their poetry has been published in The Tangerine, Porridge, Gravel, Side Effects and Chimera.


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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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