Us and Them By Mary Schroth

Us and Them

I live in a society that has taught me
to be uncomfortable with my own relationship.
I am happy with myself,
so life-changingly happy with her,
and yet there is a small cement block
inside me, a damnation implanted here
within this body that I have not yet
figured out how to remove, eternally
weighing down my spirit with its
insistent reminders of ostracized pain.

I live in a society that has taught me
to be afraid. To fear something as gentle
as holding her hand—always willing to
offer its generous warmth to mine,
constantly lacking its own heat—in a place
where passersby might see.
My own experience has shown me
that I should be scared, because I can not
take a fifteen minute walk at the park on a
beautiful August day with her hand in mine
unless I want to be verbally harassed
not once, but twice, by men who’d
“kill to get in the middle of that.”

I live in a society that has taught me
that I am only a feminist because I
fall asleep each night beside another
pair of breasts instead of a smooth flat chest.
I’ve been taught that it is more important
to love someone for their genitals
than to love them for their soul.
I live in a society of disgusted looks,
and I exist in a world where the extent
of my happiness won’t ever measure up
to the security of “him and her.”

By Mary Schroth

Biography:

Mary Schroth is a twenty-year-old lover of literature, drinker of coffee, and advocate of all things feminist. She is a student at Worcester State University pursuing a degree in English with a concentration in Women’s Studies. She is a proud member of the LGBTQ community. Her work has appeared in the Somerville Times and the New Worcester Spy, and she is currently working on a full-length poetry collection.

 

Playing Chicken By Schuyler Peck

Playing Chicken

I have never fallen gently
into love.
I play chicken with the subway train.
I stare back at the conductor from the tracks,
my feet on the cold gravel,
the electric currents sparking
like a last breath.

I have never fallen gently
into love.
I crash desperately,
recklessly, into it,
waiting for the other
to flinch first.

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

Swan Song for the Living By Kanika Lawton

Swan Song for the Living

I do not believe this
kind of exhaustion can
ever be cured with sleep.

I close my eyes and feel
the weight bearing down
on my eyelids, on my
shoulders, on every dip
and curve sawed out of my
breaking, cracking back.

Maybe it is time to admit that
I have gambled with blind
luck for far too long – each time
knowing I will be closer to the
last, never wanting to accept
what is coming for me.

And I feel like I am being
eaten alive by the bile of
uncertainty deep within
my stomach but what can
I do but swallow it back down
and tell everyone around me
that I will figure things out,
like I always do.

Like I have to.

Maybe this time I won’t know
what to do anymore.

These words will always feel
like acid on my tongue.

By Kanika Lawton

Biography:

Kanika Lawton is a third-year psychology student from Vancouver, Canada who is currently studying at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2013 she received several Gold and Silver Keys for her poetry and short story submissions in the Scholastic’s Art & Writing Awards and was the national winner for the Draw it! poster category in the 2013 Canada Day Challenge. She draws inspiration from the dramatization of real life events and believes profusely in the power of memory and perception and their binding influence over how we write and understand our own narratives and stories. More of her work can be found at sapientiaes.tumblr.com

 

Fallen By Kelly Collins

Fallen 

The wind has swept the leaves under the branches,
with tattered clothes tucked out of sight,
bare skeletons extend skywards,
held up on cruel display,
their emptiness now obvious
The school children shout in the distance
like they’ve noticed it too,
that the things which have fallen
will reincarnate by consuming their own carbon
The school children are now laughing
I wonder if they know
that the dead are never really dead,
that all those things which will fall
will be incorporated in the roots of a new thing
until all is pink and blooming

By Kelly Collins

Biography:

I am a young artist/writer. I struggle with bipolar disorder which is a great curse and occasionally a great gift. I work primarily with paintings and poetry and I live in Bend, Oregon.

monster movie night by callie hensler

monster movie night

you impress your friends
with your stillness
watching horror films.
you don’t tell them
about the monsters
you’ve seen.

the monsters that
came out from under the bed,
crawled under the covers.
there was no swell
of dissonance to warn you,
no time to brace yourself
or prepare for
how their fire hands
and scratching claws
left ghost shaped scars
that still haunt you.
you kept your eyes closed
for the worst parts,
let your bruised mouth
reshape itself:
from hurt to nothing.
your raw lips remember
trying to form words
before being smothered.
until your voice doesn’t
remember being used
for something other
than trying to scream.
that’s all you want:
to yell something primal
and guttural, let your
throat rip itself apart
until it resembles
the rest of your
crumbling, charred body.

your friends use their hands
to cover their eyes, pull
blankets over their heads
and ignore the suffering
flickering right in front of them.
you use your hands to cover
your ghost shaped scars,
don’t mention the script
you’re writing: a horror film
to make the monsters cower
until you’re the one doing the haunting.

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 atcallie.hensler@gmail.com

Girlhood By Alexis Bates

Girlhood

Pretty doll with your hair
perfectly coiffed,
eyelashes
slowly batting
as I tilt you forward,
I want to drag you
through the mud
and brambles
so you look like me.

By Alexis Bates

Biography:

Alexis Bates, 18, is an upstart poet and writer living in Baltimore, MD. Her poems force us to reflect on how we relate to topics such as self-perception, broken hearts, and mental illness. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Doll Hospital, Transcending Shadows, 308 Words, and others.

THE FEMME AND ME By Hafsa Musa

THE FEMME AND ME

i love
grapefruit

the sorbet blush circling the soft down of their navel
those wide-eyed dimples
that soft, round scent

grapefruits look a lot like me
on the days i feel orange

i look down at the soft down
of my navel
and peel back my skin
to let the femme out

round and rosy
smooth to the touch
thick-skinned beauty with a corkscrew rind
and a sunset’s subtle shine.

the femme in me wears natural tones
they languish roundly, they are not afraid of their curves and lumps
they are squishy and tropical
wet, wild
wide-eyed and long-lashed
throwing her great hips out in greater circles.

on the days i feel orange
the femme in me lolls their head back
grips me with nails painted like nebulae
and kisses love songs into my open mouth.
the femme in me
knows a quiet hermitude
they are at peace in my skin
even in small misshapen pieces.

the femme and me
smoke hookah and masturbate
on beanbag chairs,
they hold my hand
as i come.

the femme and me
ripen with odd pacing
not bad, not wrong, just
odd.

they soothe my bad intentions
and trim my boughs;
they bloom and i carefully
lean down to take them
all in.

the femme hooks scaffolds to my limbs
tells me, “i’m going to make a home of you,”
and sets about picking out the fine china.
they break mother’s dishes and super glue
them back together in new and interesting
shapes:
this one a knife, that one a double-sided dildo,
this one a cornucopia to keep my heart in.
(the femme in me is soft without being gentle.)
(the femme in me is tough as nails.)

the femme in me sketches my organs
into blueprints, every point of their immaculate
nails a pencil’s simpering lip.
my body becomes a million things on paper:
a spindling forest, a viking’s ship, a tarot deck,
two wolves running, a well-made bed,
a reading nook.
each one she secrets away to its own room,
shut but not locked behind tapestry doors.

the femme in me makes their bed last
two doors down from mine
close enough for me to reach them,
far enough to give my flux its space.

the femme in me glows faintly at dusk
brown skinned and sprinkled with inklings,
mouth peeled and fragrant,
tongue gone blood orange with satisfaction.

the femme in me hums below my skin at all times
they play games on their phone and wait for me to
invite them out for dinner. i do not always call,
and i never call as often as i should,
but when i do
she comes to me softly,
round and warm,
her skin tasting strongly

of

grapefruit.

By Hafsa Musa