TRANS IS NOT YOUR CONVENIENT MYSTERY By Hafsa Musa

TRANS IS NOT YOUR CONVENIENT MYSTERY

breaking down bodies and body’s parts
into amalgams you can’t wait to understand

you are building an image of me my mouth defies
black-bone gut against the whitened intrusion of
dictionary definitions and hospital waiting rooms

i am waiting for someone to ask me
not what i am
but who i will be.

trust that i am an ancient power.
rocking the earth in circles
i am the moon in flux
shedding my skin for leather jackets and snakeskin shoes

i am the chalkboard
carving selfhood
into your thick schoolboy skull

i am lights fluorescent and flickering
waxing and waning into horrible flame

i am the wind singing sailors into brokenness
i. am.

beyond this body?
this body is beyond your feeble understanding
of what it means to mean
so let me tell you, ma’am,
that i am nothing you have seen before

i am not defined by petty things like height and hair
judge me by my character, the steel of my brow and the sneer of my hips
know me by the way i say you don’t know me
when you ask what a dirty girl like me is doing out so late.

you cannot break down this body
and serve it up like so many plates
because i am not pieces and i am not a whole
but i am holy holy holy goddammit
i don’t need your god to speak for me
this flesh knows its maker
and it’s me.

(you cannot break down this body.
you cannot break the unbreakable.)

By Hafsa Musa

Things I Wouldn’t Say Sober By Schuyler Peck

Things I Wouldn’t Say Sober

1.  When I was younger,
maybe thirteen, my Dad told me drugs
were for people who can’t handle themselves sane.

2. The moon snuck under one of the gaps in your spine.
I think I’ve lost him for good. I haven’t seen him
since the night you left
and the tide is starting to notice.

3. Getting high is like walking out of a fun-house mirror for the first time.
I can finally see the world straight. It doesn’t look any nicer.

4. We are warm bumblebees resting our heavy wings and napping in the sun.
It’s happy here. You once told me happiness isn’t a place,
but I’m beginning to think it isn’t a person either.

5. Whoever falls in love with you has the right idea about living.

6. Forget about me. Spell my name wrong. Sleep without saying goodnight.

7. Blue whales keep beaching themselves on the shoreline
and I can understand why.
It is so hard to stay afloat in a world
that just wants to drown you.

8. Last night was good.
The kind of good you can still taste tomorrow.
I don’t remember why.
I hate falling asleep drunk,
but when I start to drift knowing you’re next to me;
the quiet way your lips part and your soft rise and fall,
my world seems a little more balanced.

9. We talk a lot about SnoopDogg now, all the time.
I can’t tell if we’re joking or not, but we just keep going. We pay homage
to the green that grows inside us, the wild idea that somehow
there’s a way we could all get along;
that war was never what we were meant for.

10. The worst part about getting drunk, getting high,
losing yourself in someone else’s skin, or whatever you do
to feel for a while, is that you’re happy before the hurt hits.
It’s like staring at a storm that hasn’t broken yet.

11. I’m starting to think I’m afraid of who I am without this.

By Schuyler Peck

Biography:

After the better days of tie-dye and moon shoes, Schuyler Peck came into writing; scribbling crooked words on crooked paper. While an ashamed native of the New Jersey coast, Schuyler now studies English in Idaho, hoping her publishing pipe-dream is enough to cover the cab fare. Her work has been featured in JuxtaProse Magazine, Literary Sexts Vol 2, Words Dance Magazine, and Persephone’s Daughters Magazine. She loves you. daisylongmile.com /SchuylerPeck.tumblr.com

 

Facebook Statuses For Mental Health Awareness Month, May 2015 By Kiki Nicole

Facebook Statuses For Mental Health Awareness Month, May 2015

TODAY, IT HURTS TO BREATHE

I SELF-DIAGNOSED

MYSELF ON THE INTERNET

SOMETIMES IT FEELS LIKE I’M ON FIRE

SOMETIMES I DON’T KNOW HOW THE FIRE STARTED OR HOW TO PUT IT OUT

SOMETIMES WHEN I BURN, IT STILL ISN’T BRIGHT ENOUGH

MY NEXT TATTOO WILL STRATEGICALLY COVER ALL THOSE SCARS YOU PRETENDED NOT TO SEE THAT SUMMER

LAST NIGHT I SAT ON MY ROOF TO SEE IF I WOULD JUMP OFF BUT I’M STILL
HERE

MY BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER HATES ME ALMOST AS MUCH AS I
HATE MYSELF

SOMETHING SMELLS IN HERE; I THINK IT’S ME

I TOOK MY ANXIETY OUT FOR BRUNCH AND SHE WAS TOO AFRAID TO EAT
ANYTHING

I TOOK MY TRAUMA OUT ON A DATE AND SHE CRIED AFTER WE HAD SEX

I TOOK MY DEPRESSION OUT FOR DINNER BUT SHE FORGOT HOW TO WALK AND
MISTOOK THE RESTAURANT FOR OUR BED SO WE LAY THERE ALL DAY

WHICH IS TO SAY, SOME DAYS ARE HARDER THAN OTHERS

WHICH IS TO SAY, SOME MONTHS ARE HARDER THAN OTHERS

WHICH IS TO SAY, SOME YEARS ARE HARDER THAN OTHERS

WHICH IS TO SAY, I’M STILL HERE

By Kiki Nicole

Biography:

Kiki Nicole is a writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. Their work has been featured in Bitchtopia Magazine, Voicemail Poems, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, The Fem Lit and several anthologies. They work in publishing for Where Are You Press and keep a blog at kikinicolepoetry.tumblr.com. They would like you to know that they are trying.

natural disaster By Amrita Chakraborty

natural disaster

do you remember the spring of 1991, before i was born,
before the world became bent on ending?

do you remember how
the water rose up to your elbows,
air thick with the scent
of turning earth?

there was a cyclone in chittagong the month
my brother was born and so i think
it’s why he lives this way:
hands clenched up in fists
though there’s a smile on his face.
voice commanding, charismatic even
with his head bowed in defeat.

it’s like he knows how to be afraid
but he’s taught himself not to feel
and i don’t know how he does it.
maybe he was born with the force
of the storm that carried him in
or maybe he’s just ambitious,
brimming with bravery. but i wouldn’t know
how that feels. i only know to speak
in unfinished dreams.

well, there was a heat wave in chicago
the summer that bore me
and we were in new york, of course,
so, logically, the death could not
have made its way to me.
but ma, inside me there’s always been a drought,
an absence of anything living
and i’m wondering if that’s why–
i’m combing my history to discover
what shaped me into this.
how it came to this.
if it was my ancestry, my DNA,
some long ago foretold fate.

(the cruelest truth, the thought
i’m trying not to uncover
is that i once had an unblemished soul
until i tore it all apart.

not god, not the world, not another,
but i.

that i was born utterly whole.
that i ruined everything myself.)

By Amrita Chakraborty

Biography:

Amrita Chakraborty is a 20 year old writer based in New York. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and attempting to understand life by writing copious amounts of poetry and petting as many cats as she can. In her free time, Amrita can be found lost in a library somewhere, thinking about all the places in the world she has yet to visit, or falling asleep on public transportation.

Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down By Meg Boyles

Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

I say the word charcoal, and it sounds like grief.
I say grief, and suddenly a piece of charcoal
appears in my hand, cold like marble and skinny
like the bones of a finger. As I hold it in my palm,
I think about destruction, of the metallic taste
of death, of this world and the end of it. I look
down at the charcoal balanced in my hand. I
remember that charcoal can be broken easily
like a promise made in autumn, so I make a fist
and squeeze. I open my hand, coated with black
and sprinkled with shards of charcoal. I repeat
the word charcoal, and it sounds like the night
my insides were painted the black color of pain.
You remember. Humans become ashes far too
quickly. I said, Tell me I am not in pieces, and Ill
believe you. I’m sorry I said that. Sorry I said a
lot of things. But especially that. We are all
trying to repair something. I curse this leaking
heart of mine, more holes than muscle, but it
floods my words. Sometimes wreckage is
beautiful. This is not one of those times.

By Meg Boyles

Biography:

Meg Boyles was raised in Ridgeland, Mississippi and is a junior at Hendrix College, studying creative writing and literature. Her poems can most recently be found in The Aonian.

kissing girls by callie hensler

kissing girls

i.
the first time I kissed a girl,
she pressed me up against a tree
and something in my heart sprouted.
i grew away from her quickly
but I’d never felt so warm
in a winter forest.

ii.
I was surprised that god
didn’t strike me down for sinning
so spectacularly in a church parking lot.
my wednesday evenings spent
praying for a mix of forgiveness
and acceptance and then finding
want and desperation in her lips.
I didn’t accept or forgive myself
until years later.

iii.
of all our months together,
i only cared for her through
shaky armed hugs, flustered words.
never mind what we did in my dreams.
I was never awake enough to share.

iv.
i only recall pieces of some girls.
how their mouths felt right
but nothing else did. i see outlines
of places we briefly came together:
messy bedrooms, quietly humming
cars, apartment doorways,
dark restaurants, places
that I never quite fit in.

v.
she and her hands and her
giving heart taught me so much.
but someone can sing the same
songs as you and not be right
there are ways to live with that,
different melodies to hum.

vi.
the last time I kiss a girl
I want it to be her, the one
who received my heart
in a mailbox years ago
and has held it ever since.

by callie hensler

Biography:

Callie Hensler is a lover of words who is currently pursuing a masters degree in music therapy. She writes mostly to deal with her queer girl heart. Her writing is complied at loyaltea.tumblr.com and she can be contacted at callie.hensler@gmail.com

 

A Man With A Box By Debbie Anne

A Man With A Box

All the words he gave to her
he kept in a box called lies

All the love he professed to her
he kept in a box called lust

All the time he spent with her
He kept in a box called secrets

All the music he played for her
He kept in a box called emotion

All the pictures he took of her
He kept in a box called in case of emergency

All the positions he put her in
He kept in a box called power

All the respect he denied her
He kept in a box called price tags

And all of this
She keeps in a box called freedom

By Debbie Anne

Biography:

Debbie Anne lives in Northern California and works as a psychiatric social worker.  She teaches yoga to people finding their way with mental illness and believes in the power of bearing witness.  She is profoundly grateful for those that allow her to hold space while they navigate this life.

She is a deeply sensitive soul with an outspoken, rebellious heart.  She spends her free time writing, wandering among the trees and along the coast of the pacific ocean, practicing and teaching yoga, loving, playing, and nursing and nurturing the belief that the universe sings her name to the heavens, just because.  She believes Divinity lives within each of us, no matter what our lives may look like on the outside.

Debbie Anne is obsessed with the belief that we can live passionate and meaningful lives if we choose.  It took her decades to discover this truth. She doesn’t want you to be like her. There is only Now.