The Ingratitude Poem By Leah Mueller

The Ingratitude Poem

I am not grateful for a society that doesn’t even have the intelligence to know when its pants are down, and lets itself be goaded with a stick into becoming a victim who attacks other victims. You’re too stupid to realize that the real enemy is not some poor fool who has it even worse than you do, it’s the person who has it immeasurably better, and he is the one who dines on your unpaid credit card.

I am not grateful for the fact that the system is fixed so that the card will not be paid, the auto loan will always exist, the mortgage will last forever, the student loans will persist beyond the grave. You have a good suit of chains, so buck up and sing, and for God’s sake, never complain.

I am not grateful for the feeling that no matter what I do, the outcome will be the same because the jury isn’t interested in my problems, the judge is stoned as usual, and his kids are out raising hell. They’ve broken into my bedroom and stolen my toys while I slept. Watch out, they’ll do it again.

I am not grateful for the terror that awakens me in the middle of the night when I realize that I am 55 years old, I have no health insurance, I owe taxes, and my taxes murder people but they’ll murder me if I don’t pay them. My husband dreams the same movie, but at least we can curl up in each others’ warmth.

I am not grateful that we have no compassion for the one who fails, the person who says he can’t keep up and needs a little extra time, a little extra warmth. Instead, we denounce that person as a loser, we don’t care if he dies, because he didn’t earn his keep. Everyone knows the planet will evict you if you don’t pay your rent, and there is a steep extra fine if you pay after the fifth, so you’d better keep moving.

I am not grateful that the meek will end up as coffee grounds, fertilizing the bases of trees at the tropical resorts favored by the wealthy, leisure class. We had no aspirations anyway, and should be content that we were the very best coffee grounds we could possibly be, and at least we had it better than the dirt.

I am not grateful for the expectation that I should somehow apologize for my anger, as if I haven’t earned it by being a woman and an abuse survivor and lower middle class. I am told to despise people who have it worse than I do, but I refuse to submit to that. Fuck you. Someone should point that handgun at you that you love so much—not shoot you, but just make you do a silly little dance that will expose you for the ridiculous ass that you are.

By Leah Mueller

Biography:

Leah Mueller has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her contest-winning chapbook Queen of Dorksville was published by Crisis Chronicles Press in October, 2012. She was also one of the 2012 winners in the Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest, sponsored annually by Winning Writers. Her work has appeared recently in Cultured Vultures (as Poem of the Week), Silver Birch Press, Bop Dead City, Writing Raw, Dirty Chai, Five 2 One, Quail Bell, Talking Soup, and the Rain, Party, and Disaster Society. She will be featured this fall in Origins Journal. Leah resides in the rain-drenched Pacific Northwest, where she broods, dances, and practices yoga.

Iphigenia Laments By Elisabeth Hewer

Iphigenia Laments

I am soft-
mouthed sloe-eyed
sacrifice.

Deer/girl here to
bleed. My mouth
tastes of Mycenae,
father. Tastes of
white rock tombs.

Father, oh! Father,
father. Look at me
my hair your hair
splayed over this stone.

My eyes your eyes
watching this knife.
The sharp edge of
it with the sea reflected.

My white dress and
myth-kings licking
the ocean-wet cling of it
with their gaze.

I am princess,
helpless, hungered for.

You’d eat me alive
for the wind.

By Elisabeth Hewer

Biography:

Elisabeth Hewer comes from South West England and studies Journalism and Media at university in Wales. She loves dogs, fresh starts, and lazy summer evenings. She spends a lot of time not trying her hardest and is trying to change that. She has previously been published in Apeiron Review and -Ology journal.

The Forest Fire By Chelsea Fujimoto

The Forest Fire

The sky is a gentle shade of lavender tonight,
the kind you would have loved a year ago, the kind
that would have lulled you to dreaming on your ocean-carved
overhang; but tonight, the waves are pounding your shore,
and “gentle” strikes the wrong chord, reminds you
of the way he described your thighs and the soft curve
of your mouth, that’s since hardened like a walnut
in the shell, like the way your untried knuckles broke
across his jaw to a tide of “bitch” and a chorus
of “you’ll pay for that, whore,” words that dried to nothing,
like the trickle of red from the corner of his mouth
to the back of your palm. Tonight, the ocean beats
his swollen plum face behind your closed eyelids, and tonight
you can’t sleep for the waves, singing
his “baby come on’s” and “don’t you want me’s” disguised
as “I love you’s; but tonight, the orange glow of Venus
skirts the horizon, like she rose to see you home
on the night he learned that love is not possession,
and that “no” does not mean “convince me”.
Tonight reminds you of the nights he kept you awake,
the days he set fires to ravage your holy branches,
and the dawns you thought would never come; but tonight
the ocean pounds to the war beat of your heart,
and like your California redwoods
scarred by careless campfires, so too,
will your razed bones bloom precious flowers
to plant your seeds anew.

By Chelsea Fujimoto

Biography:

Chelsea Fujimoto is a Massachusetts-based fiction writer and veterinary student with a penchant for poetic prose and slam poetry. She graduated in 2015 with a B.A. in Biology from Skidmore College, and will be attending veterinary school in London. Her writing is inspired by the works of Neil Gaiman, Mary Oliver, Jacqueline Carey, and the Beat poets. She maintains a personal blog, Nubes de la Mente (Clouds of Thought): <https://nubesdelamente.wordpress.com/>  She can be contacted via email at <cfkalila@gmail.com>

Hallowed Ground By Martina Dominique Dansereau

Hallowed Ground

You are spread across the floor, flattened out,
his hands smoothing the parchment of your skin.
The contours of your body form continents.
He lies on top of you, over the whole world,
and not a moment’s glance does he spare
for the cities in your eyes;
instead he explores the mountain-range of your spine,
the level desert plains of your stomach,
the swelling banks of your breasts,
and then he follows the river downwards,
across the hollow lakes of the gaps between ribs,
until he reaches the crevice of a cave.
Therein he plunges, and he is rough
as he tears through the folds of you
in hopes of pilfering some secret treasure.
(His breath makes sparks fly when his lips grind
against yours, and you burn to the ground.
His fists make sparks fly when your mouth turns
away from his, and he burns you to the ground.
Your eyes are not cities,
but wreckages.)

Afterwards, people look at you as if you are stained
and you feel like you are walking around
with your skin on backwards;
it doesn’t belong to you anymore,
not after he decided you were a blank canvas
and dipped his brush into the palette
between your legs.
Your beautiful body was a war zone,
no-man’s-land, but he crossed the barbed wire
and now you’re trying to make it a bomb shelter
to protect yourself from others like him:
men with guns who take what they want
without permission, who lay siege and claim
their territory with wooden stakes, spitting bullets
with tongues like flames.

It was not your fault. You were never his to claim.
He may have thought that X marked the spot
but he missed where it warned, Private Property,
No Trespassing, Violators Will Be Prosecuted.
The law might not prosecute him when he talks about
the dress you were wearing, but you’d better fight
because you are hallowed ground, darling,
and no one has an inkling of the right to march
through your gates and declare it their own.

You are like a temple—no, you are greater
than the walls of Jerusalem, and if he knocked down
your altar instead of kneeling at it, there’s no prayer
in any world that can redeem him.
You have been taught to lie back and take it because
somehow no always spells out yes, but do the math;
two letters will never equal those three.
You have been taught it’s your duty to lie back and take it,
but instead take back your skin:
raise it like a flag that you’ll fight for and wear it proudly
backwards, inside-out, right-side-up, upside down—
no matter what, this skin is yours, so draw blood for it
when they try to tear it down.

Inside of you is a lake.
Throw your shame into the water and drown it
because you do not have to be ashamed;
you are not broken,
there is nothing from you that he could take.
The contours of your body form continents
and no one can lie on top of the whole world.
When he flattens you against the floor
and tries to touch, to own, every acre of your skin,
when he tries to make you swallow his bullet,
become a gun: spit it back at him
in a rain of fire and blood, and incinerate him
when he tries to ravage you with his lips.

Your eyes are not wreckages;
they hold vast cities armed to the teeth.

By Martina Dominique Dansereau

Biography:

Martina Dominique Dansereau is a (gender) queer writer and anarcha-feminist from the lower mainland of Vancouver, Canada, who spends the majority of xyr time blogging, crying over spoken word, and attempting to leave xyr house to attend anarchist/activist events. For xem, writing is a vital part of healing from trauma and mental illness as well as a platform to share xyr voice as a marginalized identity. For over a year now xe has taken up performing spoken word at the Vancouver Poetry Slam and other venues, including organizing a monthly spoken word event at a local café for LGBTQ+ people. Xyr poetry is forthcoming in Doll Hospital Journal. Xyr passions include anti-oppression and social justice, queering platonic relationships, radicalizing self-care, cuddling pythons, going on midnight walks in the rain, and dreaming about one day being a renowned writer-activist with a house full of snakes. You can find more of xyr work online at http://numinouslights.co.vu

Samuel Waits By Darcy Vines

Samuel Waits

Samuel waits for a girl who writes love poems to colors–
a girl who wears rain boots to the beach.
Propped against his car, he waits
until he can see his pulse beneath
his tattoos. Then he calls her.
If he’s waited long enough, she’ll answer.
Some days, she’s tucked beneath
a willow tree, counting the leaves until she
gets to a million, then begins again.
Others, she’s following a family of geese
to their nest, trying to turn her hair to feathers
and her heart to a flight pattern worth following.
Still more, she’s staring at the sky ‘til the clouds
turn to dirt and her mind can finally walk
on its own two feet again.
Samuel knows all of this.
He knows her soul belongs to unkempt grass
and her toenails will never be painted
and she doesn’t know the first thing about
Romantic lit but her cigarette flickering
in the 2 a.m. blackness is close enough for him.
She says she’ll never have words for the poems
she writes on his too-thin skin,
but she’s close enough for him.

By Darcy Vines

Biography:

Darcy Vines is a 20 year old free verse poet and freelance journalist who has been writing since the early days of her teenage angst. While occasionally covering feminist film festivals and office furniture conventions, she prefers to write about falling in and out of love too easily, gender and sexuality, and her dog named Huckleberry Finn. She cites Kurt Vonnegut, Betty Smith, Richard Siken, and Andrea Gibson as the loves of her literary life and her biggest inspirations. In her free time, she is a senior in the Insignis Honors Program at Aquinas College and studies English, journalism, and writing, all while staring down the barrel of law school applications. She is a staff writer for her college’s newspaper The Saint, and has been published in the first volume of Literary Sexts as well as the 26th and 27th editions of The Sampler. In 2014 and 2015, she was a top ten finalist from Aquinas College in the Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize. Someday, she hopes to write something that makes sense. Until then, you can find her anywhere you can also find a good dirty chai.

Ebb and Flow By Mica K

Ebb and Flow

Night like a cairn.
I am snowflake-lonely
beneath. The river churns
mermaid after mermaid
up from the mud, and I
watch their blue tender
bodies being carried
comet-soft to a horizon.
Cannot hear them
through the window glass.
Wish I could. Happy songs?
Songs that tumble
from their lips in pearls,
apple peels, or soda can tabs?
Songs that fade like skies?
Remember this river, for one day
I will stand in it knee-
deep, gold coin in my mouth,
the taste so bitter, so
incurably damp.
Night like a hand.
Mermaid silver-haired
lifts a hand out of the water
and to me. Fingers tremulous.
How far the sea? Farther
than light. I press my lips
to the window glass.
Send me a merman.

By Mica K

Biography:

Mica K is a twenty year old Virginia kid who gets sentimental about constellations, sunrises, hot tea, and good poetry. They were more than likely born with a book in their hand and a poem in their mouth. They currently study English and Creative Writing at university.

A Poem to Call Home By Alaska Gold

A Poem to Call Home

It took fifty seven days to find your smile
after the waves washed it away.
This is what we call misplacement;
how we leave our hearts by the door
so they remain tender.

Things have been wrong for so long
you think it somehow makes them right.
So you keep trading your bones
for broken glass,
keep taking too much of the world
into your hands.

You shouldn’t have grown this old so young.

Listen.
I will lose myself
if it means I can find you.

All this time I’ve been trying to build
something bright enough
to save us both.

Just wait.
That place will be wonderful.
Someday, for sure.

By Alaska Gold

(Previously Published In Growing Light)

Alaska Gold is a Spanish girl, trying to write one true sentence at a time. She is the author of Growing Light, and a part-time zinester. She believes poetry is the result of coming up with a great idea, only to realize you’re not committed enough to write a whole novel about it. She writes blog entries of conversations during bus rides and of people who play with her hair in supermarkets. She’s learning it’s okay to live a life no one understands. Most of all, she’s learning to exist.

 

Goodbye is a Contraction of God Be With You By Alessia Di Cesare

Goodbye is a Contraction of God Be With You

You spread yourself in the shape of a crucifix on the floor
of the school chapel after your mother died.

You swore you would never leave a loved one
without saying goodbye, again.

Your mother coated her prayers in sugar,
preserving them like a box of crystallized fruits.

But the fruits still bruised as the crystals were never pure,
and worms inhabited the box.

It took your mother’s death
for your family to speak the real meaning of goodbye,

and to gather how she saw Him in heartfelt farewells
more than in the faces of the regulars at church.

After her death,
you understood why she ended her prayers with goodbye

and never with Amen.
Goodbye is a contraction of God Be With You

and she coated your family with sugar, every night
before she went to sleep.

But nobody ever took the time
to believe in anything beyond them.

And you shrugged the sugar off,
and let the worms inhabit your sheets.

By Alessia Di Cesare

Biography:

Alessia Di Cesare is a self-proclaimed poet based in Canada, and an undergraduate student studying English Literature at the University of Ottawa. In 2014, she received a Silver Key for her poetry submission in the Scholastic’s Art & Writing Awards, as well as an Honorable Mention in the OECTA Young Author’s Awards. This year, she has been published in the literary magazine, The Ottawa Arts Review, as well as in the first volume of the “Prose.” Anthologies, and has placed 2nd in the English faculty’s poetry contest at the university she attends. More of her poetry can be found on her personal blog, http://www.featherumbrellas.tumblr.com

To My Ex-Lover By Chelsea Fujimoto

To My Ex-Lover

It’s June on Cape May, and the ocean bridles
with a squall that has not relented for three days,
and I wonder how long the sky will mourn
before accepting forgiveness for the charred bank of driftwood,
the maple you and I used to climb—
was it only two years ago you carried me home
after I slipped and sprained my ankle?
I never understood your fierce longing for the rain,
the way it blurred our vision and made slippery
the roofs and walks where you begged me to dance,
and I wonder if that’s why we could never last—
every deluge was like your own home-coming,
when I’d already built my storm shelter in your chest;
but now, the rain-laden sand clings between my toes
like the guilt of missing you
lodged between my ribs, and I can barely hear
the rattle of the old freighter we worshiped for years
before we found the shrine of its tracks, buried in peat moss
and rotting leaves, beyond the reach
of the salt spray you once drank like breath.
We held hands your last day on Earth, do you remember?
Feet pounding through the surf like we would have run
to the universe’s edge, to our forest train tracks,
to which I never should have prayed,
the place where you laid your final elegy,
and I swear on that night the thunderclouds
on the horizon could have swallowed you whole.
It’s June on Cape May,
and hurricane season has barely begun,
but tonight I take shelter under our lightning-charred maple
as the sky gifts me our first summer storm,
and for the first time in three days, the scent of forgiveness
begins to permeate the stale salt of my lungs,
and somewhere in the clouds over our roiling ocean,
I swear I can hear you dancing.

By Chelsea Fujimoto

Biography:

Chelsea Fujimoto is a Massachusetts-based fiction writer and veterinary student with a penchant for poetic prose and slam poetry. She graduated in 2015 with a B.A. in Biology from Skidmore College, and will be attending veterinary school in London. Her writing is inspired by the works of Neil Gaiman, Mary Oliver, Jacqueline Carey, and the Beat poets. She maintains a personal blog, Nubes de la Mente (Clouds of Thought): <https://nubesdelamente.wordpress.com/>  She can be contacted via email at <cfkalila@gmail.com>

Thank You For Building With Us


Last week was the best week in the young history of The Rising Phoenix Review! Together, we set new records for most site traffic in a single week. More importantly, the feature writing from all of our issues was exposed to a wider audience.

Thank you to all of the dedicated poets and followers who continue to actively build this nest with us. We are so grateful you exist—we absolutely love you!

Our staff is extremely honored to feature poetry with such important social commentary. We are so glad to share this poetry with an international audience. We are ecstatic to meet so many talented writers with beautiful minds and exquisite souls!

My fellow writers, we can change our communities for the better. We can change our world one page and one heart at a time. Our staff is extremely excited to play a small part in the process of transformation.

Peace be with you always,

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