M. A. Istvan Jr. – 1 poem

Queer Fish


suicide note: “Why go on

giving them the satisfaction

of another month’s rent?”


striving to achieve in life the agency

that most achieve only after death when

the wishes of their last wills become commands


she could not bring herself to finish

the book on her dead husband, it being

her way to avoid relinquishing him


pop music, pop holiday, observance to keep intact

the same reality that your radicality threatens to shatter;

sticking close to your country’s embassy in the alien land


returning home from having had to kill even children soldiers,

most likely he can barely stand the “Welcome home, hero” signs,

let alone the stick figures of him mowing down the bad guys


we used to thank God that we were there

to prepare the body for burial with our own hands,

but now we thank God for the opposite


the law on the proper way to communicate

sexual consent demands a “Yes” be given,

not a nod, a kiss back, or even a “Hai” or “Si”

sticking around only to show

you were not lying

about loving her

if the comedy club

were not dark, so often

we would be too afraid to laugh

forming memories

is a form of writing, and writing

is a form of forgetting

are albino fingers really magical?

vomiting upon the strangled face, hands still clenched


the taboo against masturbation is good for getting us out of the house


not unpacking, due to lack of trust in the situation


tattoos turning out to be mere testaments to manic episodes


bonds only with characters in movies watched again and again


shame sleep


scared to improvise,

knowing that improvising

reveals who you truly are


the present thief that is

lust for the future

often makes hell bearable


having failed at the compromise, you wonder

why you ever let fear stop you

from going after your dream


inspired by all the social media posts

of elk heads high, in innocence

he posts the trophy of his elephant hunt


behaviors not understood to be

consequences of racism cited

as justification for the racism


the whole summer vacation in a backyard tent

every experience here, no matter how exotic,

is always tinged with a sense of being regular:

the first taking of Christ’s body, the first bungee jump


rejecting the ugly

even as we cannot fathom

how people can reject a whole race


surprised to learn that the one

whom you could have sworn was gay

is the biggest skirt-chaser or them all


those who have died young

enabled by a culture

not wanting to fat-shame.






M. A. Istvan Jr., PhD, born and raised in a functioning ghost town (now turned hipster haven), has a gift for sensing the vibrational frequencies—the earth spirits, if you will—of even the densest flesh: tree, stone, mineral. A certified (but failed) forest-bathing therapist, Istvan writes best—bestial—faded into the backgrounds of brothels, tended to by the ladies for whom his focused presence proves that men can want—can be—something more. Most people stay out of Istvan’s vicinity. His hurried step, fierce expression, and wild hand gestures while speaking (speaking in what is perhaps best described as auditory cursive) set off the insanity-detectors ingrained in us by deep history.

By Heavenly Flower Publishing

Bindweed Magazine publishes two anthologies each year: Midsummer Madness and Winter Wonderland. Bindweed is run as a not for profit, labour of love endeavour by an author/poet couple: Leilanie Stewart and Joseph Robert. Bindweed can be found at

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