A Peter Pan Nightmare By Kailey Tedesco

A Peter Pan Nightmare

Growing up is time fast in retrospect
Suddenly you were just a child yesterday
Now you’re old, old, old.

Listening to the ambient chime of cynic
Booms through grandfather clock
nostalgia–

When the full jasmine bloom is finally felt,
you decline and shrivel in the sun

left to an eternity of growing drier in the ground
while reminiscing of those gilded days in dark.

By Kailey Tedesco

Biography:

Kailey Tedesco is currently earning her MFA in poetry at Arcadia University. She is a former resident poet and current poetry editor for Lehigh Valley Vanguard. She also edits for Marathon Literary Review. Her work focuses on perceptions of femininity, often in a surrealistic manner. Many of her poems are inspired by confessional or Gurlesque poetics paired with her own experiences in cemeteries and abandoned amusement parks. You can find her poems featured in such publications asFLAPPERHOUSE and Jersey Devil Press. For more about Kailey Tedesco, please follow her on Twitter: @kaileytedesco.

When Love Is Not A Feeling But A Color By Anita Dutt

When Love Is Not A Feeling But A Color

My father was black and my mother white,
and I, somewhere in between.
I witnessed a love that was not bound by
dichotomous thinking, so in first grade when
the white girl in my class would not sit with me for lunch,
I did not understand why love was not a feeling, but a color.
In ninth grade I read a poem about a girl that
shaved her skin in the bathtub so that she could be
the color of acceptance: white.
Instead, she learnt from the bloodshed that hate
was the color red.
One day in twelfth grade history class, they spoke about
racism. When I told them of my experience, they told me
It does not count because you are not even black.
When I dated my first boyfriend in college, I feared
meeting his parents because of my skin and not because
I did not want them to learn that I could not
cook, nor sow, nor iron their son’s clothes.
When I graduated, I applied for a job.
Anxiety swelled in my lungs like a cup full of water
threatening to spill on to a desk of important papers.
I wasn’t afraid that I wasn’t qualified enough.
I was afraid that I was not good enough.
I had assigned my value to the hue of my skin.
I had learnt that the product of black and white is grey.
And that grey,
is the ashes of love.

By Anita Dutt

Biography:

Anita Dutt is not a musician but that has not stopped her from trying to play the heartstrings. Her composition of poetry can be found at ww.aribcagesymphony.tumblr.com. She is an Australian university student studying so that one day she can be a part of the healing.

THE Q WORD By Ashe Vernon

THE Q WORD

I made the word “queer” a part of me
right around the time I started college—
back when nothing really made sense
and I needed a place to call home.
I know what it is.
Queer is a word with skeletons in its closet,
a word with a past, queer
is a word with a body count.
And we took it back.
Because queer was the word they threw
along with their fists when they
wanted it to hurt. And we smiled back:
bruised knuckles, clenched teeth,
come and take it.
Queer loved us
when our fathers looked through us
and talked about grandchildren
we didn’t know if we’d
ever be able to have.
Queer loved us when the law said
we didn’t have the right to love each other.
Queer loved us when the townsfolk were
setting their fires and
sharpening their pitchforks.
I won’t ask for a show of hands.
I know it’s not safe for some of us.
But I’ll extend my hand to you;
I use this word to stand for love after
all the years it was used to hate. I use it
because it saved me: a word like
heavy rainfall on a crop dying of thirst.
I made the word queer a part of me
back when no other word seemed to fit right
and it’s still the warm hearth I come home to.
And if that’s not revolution,
I don’t know what is, because to me
that’s liberation.
Because if queer can save
that lost little kid, then
maybe there’s hope for the ones who are
let down by the their parents,
beat up by their peers.
I have to believe that this word can do better.
Because it’s been causing harm for too many years.

By Ashe Vernon

Biography:

Ashe Vernon is a produced playwright, an actor, and a poet. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, but found poetry when she most needed it. She recently graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a degree in theatre and gender studies. Before she hits the job market with her oh-so-impressive fine arts degree, Ashe is spending the summer on tour doing spoken word with her best friend and partner in crime. Her first book of poetry, Belly of the Beast, was published by Words Dance Publishing and her second, Wrong Side of a Fist Fight, will be coming out through Where Are You Press, this July. She spends most of her time writing her way out of dark places, and looking to the stars. Ashe has featured in venues across Texas, such as The Standpipe Coffee House in Lufkin, Nacogdoches Literary Readings, and Love Jonz Spoken Jazz, in Duncanville. She has placed first at WriteAboutNow in Houston and her work has been published in Word Dance Magazine, and volumes one and two of the Literary Sexts anthologies. Ashe has no concept of the term “inside-voice” and spends every waking hour with her giant bear-cub of a cat. She plans on moving to a big city and covering herself with tattoos. It’s going pretty well, so far.

Memoirs of Infidelity By Meggie Royer

Memoirs of Infidelity

We have forgiven each other for the flood
neither of us wanted, the poltergeists
it left between us who closed their mouths
like thieving crows
when asked to speak.
Her hair still in my bed,
its whimpered red rinsing my sheets
with the appearance of bleed.
Every evening a decision of and/or:
sleep together or sleep apart,
& sex, or the two of us avoiding one another
like exit wounds.
Still the rain comes, & still
when I am beneath you
I imagine you imagining
her face.

By Meggie Royer

Biography:

Meggie Royer
 is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance MagazineThe Harpoon ReviewMelancholy Hyperbole, and more. She has won national medals for her poetry and a writing portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and was the Macalester Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015 Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize.

For All The Girls With Messy Hearts And To The Men Who Have Tasted Mine By Sade Andria Zabala

For All The Girls With Messy Hearts And To The Men Who Have Tasted Mine

Let’s be honest here –

I am not the girl men fall in love with.
I am the girl that men want to fuck.
I am a conquest. A prize. A show.

I could count on five hundred fingers
the number of people that have professed,
“I like you. You’re different. You’re an interesting girl.”
Apparently I’m not fascinating enough for you
to want to hold for more than a one-night stand.

Once
as I finished swimming a sea of blankets
and got left stranded on the shore,
I asked myself:

What’s wrong with me?
What am I doing?
Am I not good enough for anybody?

And right before I could drown again,
the sun woke up and said,

“You are.
You are enough.
Forget the men whose hands have groped your hips
in search for answers to questions
you’ve never even heard of.
Do not settle for people who do not appreciate you,
who do not know how lucky they are.
Remember it is a privilege to be loved by you,
or even just
to be touched by you, and
the warmth of another body does not define your worth.

These men –
they think that they can own you
with their drunken stares and roughened arms, but
I have circled the earth
a thousand times
to feed the light flowing inside your skin.
Do not waste it by illuminating those who
can not even be bothered
to learn your last name.”

So that night when
the moon tried once more to pin me down,
I told him:

I am made of sunlight, crashing waves, and fireworks.
You think you can tame me
and cool my flesh?
I am the girl who plays with matches,
and trust me I play it well.
Lord knows I’ve walked through villages leaving
a pile of destruction in my wake.

My heart is a bushfire
and the next time you try to control me,
darling, make no mistake –

I will burst out and ravage you in flames.

I’ll
burn
you
to
the
ground.

(This isn’t a test.)

By Sade Andria Zabala

Biography:

Sade Andria Zabala is a twenty-three year old Filipina surfer and nomad residing in Denmark. She has a degree in Mass Communications and is pursuing higher education to become a certified English teacher abroad. She has self-published one collection of poems called “Coffee and Cigarettes” and is now working on her second book “War Songs” to be released this fall 2015.

In her spare time she likes to eat words, drink sunlight (or wine), and question her own existence.  You may reach her at http://surfandwrite.tumblr.com.

Loving What Matters By Anita Dutt

Loving What Matters

She is still learning how to cradle self-love; how to
nurse the words that scrape their knees tumbling off her.
Tungsten translates to heavy stone and she wonders
if that is just another name for her heart.
On Sunday’s, she starches her best poem, folds it
precisely into an envelope, and offers it humbly
when the collection bag prompts for a symbol of devotion.
And she never means for it to be a consolation for money,
it is just the most worthy thing she knows to give.
She begins her day with ten tokens.
When she wakes from a restless sleep she knows
she already needs to use three.
When she runs out of milk, when she misses the bus;
when her friends are the epitome of joy and she
is somewhere between existing and trying to live.
She never has enough, never has any spare,
but she learns how to make them stretch like a mother
clothing her family earnestly with hand-me-downs and op shops.
And maybe you will never have enough love.
And maybe love won’t be perfect or brand new.
Maybe love is giving what you have
to something or someone that matters.
And maybe she is what matters.

By Anita Dutt

Biography:

Anita Dutt is not a musician but that has not stopped her from trying to play the heartstrings. Her composition of poetry can be found at ww.aribcagesymphony.tumblr.com. She is an Australian university student studying so that one day she can be a part of the healing.

Fatherhood By Pat Condliffe

Fatherhood

Did he give assent,
That father there –
The one standing
By the swings,
Not as fair as he once was,
Pushing his boy
Towards his youth’s apogee,
As they both smile,
As they both love,
As they both giggle;

That day then,
When he sees
Her beautiful happy face
Drawn, broken with tears
From struggle,
From absent                consent,
As she does cry,
As she cannot love,
As she does fear;

When that father sees her,
With her new dead
China doll stare,
Will he question if his
Was the permission slip
Slipped to his boy
By never teaching
The meaning of ‘No’?

By Pat Condliffe

Biography:

Pat Condliffe is a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney, Australia. His field of study is Australian literature. Patrick’s thesis is concerned with hoax literature and the construction of literary identities, and the intersection therein with the appropriation of gender and culture. Of particular focus is how the critical establishment reacts to hoax identity politically at the various stages of a hoax – before discovery, at discovery, after discovery. Patrick is wrestling with the question of whether literary forgery, within the realm of fiction (rife as it is with pseudonymous figures), is grounds for almost certain pariah status – as it inevitably is. Patrick’s other research interests include horror, westerns, science-fiction, and all things genre. An avid collector of comics, he has successfully passed that essential gene on to his young daughters, as well as the superpower of cooking. In a past life Patrick was a chef, before fleeing – in a manner akin to Lord Jim – to briefly become a goatherd in southern Spain. When not teaching, Patrick tries to write poems and genre literature. His critical writing and reviews have been published in SoutherlyGriffiths Review, and Media International Australia. He is a former editor of Philament, the University of Sydney Journal of the Arts.