blasphemies at the 5th street station By s. osborn

blasphemies at the 5th street station

there is only me and you and the thing
that is trying to swallow us.

in every version of the story there is a fire:
here, burning clothes in the backyard.
here, throwing matches at the home i
don’t live in anymore. again and the
highway between our bodies, gone.

on the train, a man tells you he is an
angel and jumps off the platform.
over the screaming, you tell me you’re
starting to think there really is a god, like
capital g God. like something that isn’t
here to hurt us, just to watch us hurt.

honey, you just want something to blame
besides yourself. i get it, i’m tired too
but is there any room for safety
between the disaster of our bodies?
if there is a light then i am going to
swallow it. if there is a god then
i’m going to make him cry.

By s. osborn

Biography:

s. osborn is sixteen and trying to use words to fill some kind of bottomless void. she loves cats and other people’s poetry and she probably wants to be your friend. previous publications include the rising phoenix review, words dance magazine, and persephone’s daughters. she can be found at www.allthesinkingships.tumblr.com

For Girls Learning Not To Fear The Dark By Carly Racklin

For Girls Learning Not To Fear The Dark

The city glows with a thousand yellow eyes,
ravening, and no one ever sleeps.
Feasts are had in the backseats of taxis
and fluorescent aisles of dog treats.
The lights are bright enough to blind
but never enough to hide
how each face in the sea of coats on concrete
wants something different from you.
They all want something.

The pack comes out of alleys, after
the sway of skirts and drumbeat heels
a siren’s song, their breath in the air.
They’ve got your name on their tongues now
a cherry lollipop dangling, a promise.
You slip through sliding doors,
past partitions of newsprint faces
of the lost never to be found.

They’ve got their claws out now
sharp silver edges sliding out of jacket pockets
into thirsty hands stained neon.
Those not part of the pack pretend
not to hear their laughter, the grumbling stomachs,
pretend not to see the blood in their eyes.

You’ve only ever known how to clutch your keys
like the fangs you’ve prayed for,
but they watch under dim buzzing streetlights,
tracing their jagged little moons
the same way your father
once caressed his guns.
And they see you, as he did:
a pretty deer to fell.

They’re on every corner now,
a network of sugar-slick smiles
holding cheap smoke.
The bars are closed now,
your fingers turn cold, and falter.

Asphalt swallows skin,
footsteps quicken, fumble, scrape,
weave through tight backstreets like veins.
What they’ve come for, what they crave,
you don’t have. The candy-center
is a sour pit, a stone.

They’ve never met a wolf like you,
who hides her teeth like aces and kings
behind a cupid’s bow.
A hundred glowing moons splinter,
wild and loose like telephone wires—
freeze. Chewed sticks fall from mouths.

You walk home alone
lipstick smudged, static skin.
The lights shadow those steps, waiting for dawn,
to hear the bark of laughter in the lanes.
The scavengers follow at your heels, begging
for your scraps, watching for the smile
you never give to those who ask for it.
And you grin, you do,
with your keys singing anthems
to the hunger in your chest.

Don’t they know by now? Don’t they know
that this city only howls at the door
of the one in sheep’s clothing,
and her stomach is never full.

By Carly Racklin

Biography:

Carly Racklin loves storytelling in all its forms, but is especially passionate about the fantastical and the visceral. When not writing, she can be found drawing, playing video games, or plucking at her guitars. Her poetry has appeared in Words Dance and Bird’s Thumb. She is usually thinking about birds.

COOL GIRL By Chestina Craig

COOL GIRL

after Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl

Boy’s want a Cool
Girl they can clean their teeth with
fresh pick that tired smile
ask you to not have all that water
tell a joke that makes you suck
the surge inside your mesoderm
web net all the rushing sounds of the bile
that sewages a hole in your bedsheets
Cool Girl swallows
every word that doesn’t taste like sugar
what is a Cool Girl if she does not go down
smoothly. Does not glint
marble any other style
but softly
like she’s got an oiled jaw
that presses into bear trap smiles
during poker games where boy’s
boyish-friends make laughter about her body
lifeless at the bottom of the backyard cliff
& the boy smiles & the Cool Girl stares ahead & bites
her blood

By Chestina Craig

Biography:

Chestina Craig lives in Long Beach, CA with her cat. Her work has been published in Black Napkin Press, The Rising Phoenix Review, Incandescent Mind, KINGS ZINE, L’EPHEMERE Review, Femme Fotale (photography), and others. She has presented her work at The Presidents Commission on The Status of Women, The Young Women’s Empowerment Conference presented by Congressman Allen Lowenthal, The Orange

Hibernation By Nandita Naik

Hibernation

In sleep we are blameless,
dreams stained with blackberries
and the migrations of salmon.

Fox dens are a study in patience,
trussed in leaves and snapped twigs.

There are no words for the teeth
of steel, which leap from the dark
of the bushes to press plum-colored
thoughts into our legs.

No words for when the stars unravel and we’re left
with nothing but our own torn bodies,
ripening in the sweet cold rain.

One-two: don’t trust history
or your story, or mine.

Streams slice into our pale ankles.
Moths strain the forest boundaries,
swarming towards the blackened skies.

By this I mean they mistake us for something we are not.

Steel works its way into our bones,
a trick of the light, shaping, hardening.

We take to the marrow-fields with hungry eyes
and bullets named for songs.

One-two: The hunt is wilder now,
and Artemis is on our side.

Fox dens are sniffed out,
quicksilver salmons plunge into our mouths,

until we look in the streams
and something godless stares back.

In sleep we make no noise,
just confessions.

By Nandita Naik

Biography:

Nandita Naik is a junior at Proof School in San Francisco. She enjoys writing, programming, and musicals. Her poems have been published or forthcoming in Canvas Lit Journal and Polyphony HS.

Martha 2 By Ligia Berg

martha-2.jpg

I worked with Martha Saffo for several years. She is a Crossdresser. These images are a little part of a work that i was doing about her history, her thoughts, and her imaginary aesthetic. Being a Crossdresser is sometimes being that you really are but for ‘ours’ and ‘sometimes’ because the ‘regular people’ and society don’t admit this expression. I want to say to Martha that everything is ok, that she is a wonderful person and she have to be that she wants.

By Ligia Berg

Biography

Ligia Berg was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1987. She loves visual arts and music, and does both of them. She is fan of mysterious images and the baroque composition and we can find that in her work. Her work was showcased in see me, xataka, inrocuptibles, so bad so good and other local publications. She loves the cinema aesthetic, creating characters and telling stories in images. She is really interested in gender issues and that crosses almost all her work.

AMERICAN JESUS By Ashley Miranda

AMERICAN JESUS

BANG BANG              AMERICAN JESUS WANTS TO SHOOT ME

“I DON’T GIVE A FUCK IF YOU ARE AMERICAN,” AMERICAN JESUS YELLS,
“YOU’RE A DAMN MEXICAN” BANG BANG

BEING MEXICAN MEANS BEING SINFUL
AMERICAN JESUS DOESN’T CARE THAT I GO TO BAPTIST CHURCH BECAUSE THEY
ARE SINNERS AND UNAMERICAN

AMERICAN JESUS LIKES GUNS WOMEN AND FUCKING

AMERICAN JESUS DOESN’T CARE THAT I AM BLEEDING OUT NOW

AMERICAN JESUS ESPECIALLY DOESN’T LIKE THAT I GO TO CATHOLIC CHURCH

ONLY HEATHENS WORSHIP IDOLS AND THAT STATUE OF MARY IS WORTH
SHOOTING

AMERICAN JESUS LIKES CHOICES BUT NOT MY CHOICES AMERICAN JESUS YELLS
“PICK THE RIGHT RELIGION” BUT I’M ALREADY DEAD SO I CAN’T SEE ALL THE
OPTIONS

AMERICAN JESUS IS AN ETERNAL SCREAM OF WHITE AMERICANA AND WHITE
AMERICANA IS THE NINTH CIRCLE OF HELL AMERICAN JESUS IS MY
PUNISHMENT

SORRY AMERICAN JESUS NEXT TIME I’LL BE BULLETPROOF

By Ashley Miranda

Biography:

Ashley Miranda is a latinx poet from Chicago. Her work has been previously featured by the Denver Quarterly, Yes, Poetry, Ghost City Review, Lockjaw Magazine, and Glass Poetry Press. She tweets impulsive poetry and other musings @dustwhispers.

Too Black/Not Black Enough By Nicole Lourette

Too Black/Not Black Enough

The Black Maria
Ave Maria
Black Dahlia
The Big Black Box
Big Black Cock
only white girls say cock, Becky.
Black Friday
Black Panthers
Orange is the New Black
but don’t even get me started on the color orange
unless we’re discussing Frank Ocean and then I’m all for it.

A black cat crosses your path
I’ve loved two black cats,
one disappeared.
Black Beatles
Murder, murder—black convertibles, ah
I bet you only know the Nicky verse, Becky.
Black and yellow
Black and yellow
Black and Tan—an acquired taste.
A story written in black and white
Black bear, black bear, what do you see?
53% of voters looking back at me.
Black-eyed Susan has no eyes
but she does enjoy listening to the Black-Eyes Peas.
Black face masks all the rage.
They strip your pores, cleanse you,
pull a skin off of your skin,
removes the blackness from your face,
removes the blackness
but I see a spot or two left in the cracks.
they say rinse with cold water.
Black garlic
as seen on Bob’s Burgers. The gospel music of seasoning.
Black History Month—
a black hole in the space we are meant to occupy,
to celebrate, to educate
to block off
reserved for our blackness.

Black Mirror—now that will fux with your mind
unlike the Black Keys
Black Lives ___________
fill in the blank because I can’t give you all the answers.
I’m googling half of them myself.
Black Sabbath—
do they observe the Sabbath day?
My mother’s is Saturday.
Black ops
Black quinceañera dresses
a party, a funeral, a moment in time that seems so important
so rare, like a black swan
but I’ve seen one, I know I have.
I had to watch the movie three times to figure it out.
There is a black widow sitting on the sill
Black Mother
Black boy
Black body
someone orders a white tea,
asks if that’s a real thing
I say yes, it’s real
but the leaves were plucked too soon.

By Nicole Lourette

Biography:

Nicole Lourette is a poet and event planner from Rochester, NY. She now lives in Pittsburgh, PA after graduating with her MFA from Chatham University with concentrations in poetry and travel writing. She travels both for work and her own sanity as often as possible and hates peanut butter. She is an editor for Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and her work has been featured in IDK Magazine, Public Pool, Vagabond City Journal, and elsewhere.