I Remember the Night By Darcy Vines

I Remember the Night

I remember the night
you said love has nothing
to fear, so I pulled out
all my canine teeth,
put them in a box marked
“save me,” let you
always take me home
without a single snarl.
I remember the night
you said the people
with the biggest headstones
at the cemetery had something
to prove, so bury me
in an unmarked grave
so you never worry
about how I’m feeling
down there. Let me melt
into the same earth
that gave me you.
This may not make sense
tomorrow, so if
tomorrow ever feels
like getting here too early,
take its keys away,
tell it danger
doesn’t always come in red,
tell it we can do this on our own
tonight.

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.

Long Road Home By Emma Bosacki

Long Road Home

how it feels to be touched,
dawn morning & awful april snow,
i hold out & out &
out, your fingers like a broken
rune, unintelligible glyph,
i can’t read you

‘it doesn’t have to hurt’
this is what i was told, evening
like spoiled plums, your face
healing from another ugly
altercation with a barfly’s
heavy fist, grinning like
a grim reaper

as if i wasn’t there,
hopelessly vigilante,
heart sluggish & making thuds
like a wrist watch

i have become grateful
for nights, backseat of cars,
the wide
imperfect moon
making it look
like you’ve got something
worth living for

you’re pressing your hand
against my face & sighing,
the rain making me feel
like cracked tarmac,
filling every scarred path
with that look you give me
when you think i’m
not looking, when i’m
trying not to look

By Emma Bosacki

Biography:

Emma Bosacki is a poet and storyteller living in Toronto, Ontario. A soon to be student at Queen’s University, she is studying a degree in both English and Classics. Her inspiration comes from other Canadian writers such as Anne Carson, Michael Ondaatje, and Timothy Findley. She lives with her girlfriend and two cats.

Fish By Martina Dominique Dansereau

Fish

I don’t want to go out because
going out means leaving my house
and leaving my house means
the earthquakes come.
Meeting people’s eyes causes
natural disasters and I still
haven’t rebuilt myself since
the last cyclone in my rib cage.
It tore the wallpaper off the walls
and left a museum inside my
stomach. Who wants to go
through these remnants, 
leave their fingerprints in my dust?
No, it is better to keep behind
closed doors. Don’t disturb
the silence. My last conversation
turned my mouth into a riverbed
bled dry. The fish here are
dead. Silver scales coat every
surface; they rot, here, they decay. 
You can smell it in the air:
the drought, the lightning,
the summer storms. It takes
everything out of
everything. I am
parched.

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

Civil Disobedience By Mica K

Civil Disobedience

“Not being heard is no reason for silence.”
― Victor Hugo

The Skid Row boys arrive at 2am

dressed in all black,
stomachs like canyons,
hearts full of fire.

They drive up in their mothers’ beat-up sedans,
photographs of their younger siblings scotch-taped
to the dashboards, cellphones on vibrate, headlights low,
all the extra seats pushed down to make room

for the produce they will take
away in garbage bags,
pound after pound
till the whole car overflows with crisp bell-peppers,
ripe apples, steak only a day older than stores need them to be.
Tired of food pantries that give out only loaf after loaf of bread,
the Skid Row boys take matters into their own hands–

grocery stores throw
15 billion dollars of food
into their dumpsters,

so it is to the dumpsters they go with battle cries
in their mouths, pick locks, climb fences, ignore police
sirens to storm the alleys full of trash like Bastille boys
stormed the jail, like French students on the dawn

of revolution, to find
something, anything
to save their families

from starvation. The law means nothing if the law won’t
keep them fed, and food means nothing if it wastes.
The Skid Row boys know hunger, how it sweeps like an angel
through their streets, carries off the homeless by their belt loops,

makes the best weep,
how they’ve all wept so many
times. But no more.

Tomorrow there will be full bellies, for tonight there is
disobedience.

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.

Starving In The Land of Privilege By Leah Mueller

Starving In The Land of Privilege

There was a time when I didn’t know
I was privileged, and that might
have been when I walked forty blocks
in the New Orleans heat to apply for food stamps
when I was in my early 20s, and should have been
shopping for a rich white husband
to sequester me in an air conditioned mansion instead.
I was heckled the entire way by men
who stood on the perimeters of sidewalks
and offered to give me money for blow jobs
or just stared at my breasts for a few minutes
while making comments about how high they bounced.
I swiveled my entire body and averted my eyes
so I could no longer see how they looked at me,
with the same expression on their faces
as my own, when I stared at cheesecake
and boiled crab in the restaurant windows of the Quarter.
I hustled past them on my way to my waitress jobs
while wearing my unpressed white shirt and black pants
and carrying a folded apron underneath one of my arms,
always running a bit late because I hated to work.
I was fired almost weekly by managers
who thought I was too slow, or too friendly
or not friendly enough, or my shoes were the wrong color,
or I didn’t wear a bra and hair spray, or I wouldn’t
have sex with them, and then money disappeared from the till,
so I must have been the one who stole it.
I never stole anything, but I should have,
because at least I would have had the satisfaction
of knowing that I stuck it to them
and got away with a small chunk of the spoils,
but the truth is that I was laboring away
in an honest, though deeply resentful manner
carefully balancing platters of fried seafood
and gumbo and omelets and etouffee
on the ends of both of my bony forearms,
trying to make people smile so they would
give me a dollar, and not complain to the manager instead.
They complained anyway, because I didn’t refill their water glasses
often enough, or I forgot their basket of rolls
or one of their meals didn’t emerge from the kitchen
in a timely manner, or they were overcharged
by fifty cents, and they would draw huge lines
through the tip area on their credit card receipts
or write fat, bulging zeroes with slashes through them
or leave quarters for me in puddles of spilled beer.
They’d tell the manager they were never coming back again,
as if they’d ever had plans to do so in the first place,
and they weren’t just going to go back home to their jobs
at oil refineries in Texas, or insurance offices in Omaha,
or wherever the hell they came from.
So I’d be out of a job again, and the next thing I knew
I was pleading for cash with some caseworker
who hated her job, but at least she had one
and she could stare across her desk at me
as if I was leprosy on a plate.
So now I am given to understand
that I was white and privileged the entire time,
and I just didn’t realize that obvious fact-
and therefore should tread lightly around the egos
of everyone who didn’t have my opportunities
and the sad truth is: I empathize deeply
with everyone who finds herself on the bottom,
regardless of the reason for her unfair placement
on the most rickety rungs of the economic ladder,
scrounging for the tiniest, moldiest crumbs
of the fat slices of cake the rich are devouring.
Just don’t tell me that it was easy for me,
because you think I had it slightly better than you did,
because I’m not buying your story
and I can’t afford the interest payments.
The same enemy has both of our heads
on a serving dish, with apples stuffed in our mouths
and steam pouring out from underneath the lid,
and if you are unable to see this,
then we have nothing to talk about
and I am just going back to the carnival routine,
and absolutely nothing will change for either of us.

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.

Stars and Stripes By Michelle Gordon

Stars and Stripes

I’ve cried into the soil
And watched the seeds of my tears
Rise into the clouds
I’ve heard the laughter of my ancestors
In the tinkling of wind chimes
I’ve felt their sorrows
In the aches and pains of my joints
After a long day’s journey into never ending night shifts
The hue of my skin has been painted by the sun
With colors that run through my DNA
It is too late in the game
To think I’m unlike you
You may think I’m not of this country
By your bullshit standards
But the sacrifices I’ve made
The sacrifices of the giants in generations past
Whose shoulders I stand on
The giants who seemed so small to you
Show me
That I’ll bleed stars and stripes forever

By Michelle Gordon

Biography:

Michelle Gordon is a New Yorker who loves old school R&B, Jazz, bookstores, black and white movies, and of course writing. Luckily with time and prayers, she will mold her love for writing into a career that best suits her. She is a contributor for Germ Magazine.

Baltimore By Alex Dang

Baltimore 

I don’t know what you
expected would happen.

Drop a glass on the floor and it breaks.
Put fire to paper and it burns.
Fall and a stranger offers a hand.
Cause and effect.
Action and reaction.

Hands have been kept
up in the air for so long
that you forgot that they
can come down and
push back.

By Alex Dang

Biography:

Alex Dang is a member of the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Portland Poetry Slam Team competing at the National Poetry Slam and the youngest representative from Portland in the slam’s history. Alex is the Eugene Grand Slam Champion of 2014 and 2015. Videos of his performances have amassed over 1.5 million views on YouTube. He has been a speaker at two TEDx events: TEDxReno and TEDxUOregon. A nationally touring poet, Alex has performed in over 35 cities, 20 states, and is a world renowned burger expert.

White Privilege By Lindsey Hobart

White Privilege

We wake up.
We go to work.
We come home.
We turn on the news.
We sit in silence,
reading the headlines:
Ferguson.
New York City.
Baltimore.
Charleston.
We turn off the TV.
We go to bed.

That is white privilege.

Here’s
a joke:
A muslim walks into a bar.
What’s he called?
A terrorist.
But here’s the punchline a
white man walks into a church,
kills nine,
and we blame it on his mind.
We forget our nation was built
on the backs our ancestors broke.
We say, “THIS IS NOT AMERICA,”
while waving a Confederate flag,
but do you remember Apartheid?
They always bring up the Holocaust,
but nobody ever looks around and says,
“This. This is genocide.”

We wake up.
We go to work.
We come home.
We turn on the TV.
We turn our heads.
We look away.
We say, “This is not us.
That is not who I am.”

We forget
about the blood
on our hands.

By Lindsey Hobart

Biography:

Lindsey Hobart is a seventeen year-old poet from a New York town that’s as quiet as her voice. Her work has been featured in Canvas Lit and she is a winning Slam Poet.

When Life Can Not Go On As Normal By Jamie McGhee

When Life Can Not Go On As Normal

Mourning the souls who are still your soul

Yes, Sir, I am calling in sick
because my people are
dying on their knees
with their hands in the air,
praying to a god
who prefers white skin;

and the last time
we went to church,
we found our pastor’s blood
in the communion wine
but unlike God
he did not turn into bread;

and the last time
we dipped our hands in holy water,
an officer shoved us in
and choked us under
until the water turned black;

and the last time
we tried to breathe,
an arm clamped around our neck
and forced us to the ground
so we could hear our lungs explode
in our collapsing chest;

and the last time
we tried to stand up straight,
our spine snapped in two,
and when we tried to run,
our back ate four bullets,
our heart ate one,
and when we asked to be buried
in that same little town,
a pale-skinned terrorist
carried out the will of God;

and maybe, maybe I could
make it to work,
but I’m afraid to leave my house
because corpses hang from every tree:
corpses from a hundred years ago,
corpses from a hundred years from now,
corpses from this morning,
stripped of their names,
swinging in a stale white wind;

and you expect me to act normal,
to smile wide
and assure you that my people
are just exaggerating
about our own bullet wounds,
but even Uncle Tom
died at his master’s feet;

so, Sir, I am incredibly sorry
to inconvenience you,
but my people are dead
and my heart is sick,
and I’ll need a lifetime
just to cut down these trees.

Authors note: Remember to practice lots of self-care, everyone, and to take time to mourn or cry or scream or write or dance or whatever you need to do.  Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel.

By Jamie McGhee

Biography:

Jamie McGhee is a queer woman of color, spoken word poet, and student activist at Duke University. She writes regularly at www.OffCenterWriting.com

July Publication Announcement

We are proud to announce the publication lineup for Setting the Captives Free, the first themed edition of The Rising Phoenix Review. The writing in this issue focuses on personal and social liberation. Additionally, many of the poems in this issue document the struggle for freedom. Our editors are extremely honored to publish the work of these talented poets.

We will post the issue from July 4th-July 31st. Check our site for a new poem every day at 5pm Eastern Standard time.

The following poets will be featured this month:

Alex Dang
Jamie McGhee
Lindsey Hobart
Michelle Gordon

Darcy Vines
Elizabeth Hewer
Leah Mueller
Mica K

A. Davida Jane
Alaska Gold
Alessia Di Cesare
Chelsea Fujimoto

Emma Bosacki
Martina Dansereau

Congratulations from our staff and welcome to the nest!

The Rising Phoenix Review