THE PARADIGM OF MEDICINE By Hafsa Musa

THE PARADIGM OF MEDICINE

the paradigm of medicine is the authority over bodies
the corpse a Euro-map towards gutter knowing

no matter what these doctors say,
they don’t know me.

this body defies the gutter;
this body exhumes smoke and purifies
it lies face up at the corner of Eve and 6th
looking out past space grass and stormy skies
dead to the world but not its wonders
trespassing the unknown
like white men’s metal fingertips on my birth certificate
this body is borne to blackness.

loving the ice-skin wet and slick
primed for primal beauty
sweeping beneath my fingertips
like thistles under a winter moon

they tell me i’m moony,
i’m loony,
a heretic prone to hereditary hysteria.
but i am not a woman.

the paradigm of medicine is one school of thought
whose classes i’m delighted to skip

doctor, please, keep your white mask on,
i don’t want to hear your lying mouth
speak things about me and the illness
running virally through my veins
you tell me i am sick. and i am.

sick of the bullshit of the diseased mentality
invoked violently
on this body — this corpse — this flesh
and blood and bone
this person you forget when you call me
woman
when you assign me to a
binary
i did not ask for

there are more than two doors in this life
i am shutting yours.

doctor,
keep your gloves on.
disinfect the knives
and prep the nurse
you’ll have to cut me open
to divest this boi of their agency.

even if you see me as nothing but a mischievous hunk of meat,
i am not a cut of venison, dear.

watch me, i’ll run these horned words
through that pretty white coat of yours.

i am not a woman, doctor.
close your mouth, shut your hands,
listen to this dumb black boi spit
a hard and fragrant truth:

quit labelling me as some
other
mother’s
stranger fruit.

By Hafsa Musa

Bad House By Schuyler Peck

Bad House

We were packing bowls out
by your cousin’s garage;
blowing rings around
the raspberry bushes
when you asked me what it was like
to want to die.

This isn’t something
I talk about.

No one asks me,
even when they’re curious,
to let the ghosts out.
The first night I ever stayed
in a hospital, there was a hurricane
and a full moon hitting the
New Jersey shoreline,
and I rattled at the gated windows,
like an ape in its cage.

It is a messy thing to unravel.
You stand so naked at the world,
you’re not worrying about what your ass looks like,
or how you’ll regret this when you come back down.
Instead, you worry you’re not screaming loud enough.
You wait for something to shatter.
You throw everything you can.

We are sitting on a wet mud road
in my white summer dress, and I
am all swinging arms and rocks
that don’t do enough damage.
We are all just trying to tear this house down.

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

war By Amrita Chakraborty

war

women and men, they remember war so differently.

1971

my father says, we fled to burma and lived in roofless shacks. nothing but the tattered clothes on our backs. the thieves took everything we had. once i went out foraging with my brother to find crabs and a tribe of cannibals chased us until our feet bled. when we returned to our land at last, we found ruins, endless devastation. but at least we made it home. those were months of shivering pain and exhaustion. i suppose now they only make for a good story.

1949

my grandmother says, i was too young to remember but my sister-in-law told me how it was (my mother never spoke of it.) all the houses they burnt were nothing to the women they broke. and it was the same in ‘71. what is it about chaos that makes beasts out of men. what is it about fear that leaves us all bleeding.

1944

my grandfather says, i trained as a soldier for six months. lived in grim barracks in kolkata and bowed to british officers. there was a man who said he would take me to america after the war. i said no, because i had a family to care for, and i quit the army before i ever fought. at the time, i felt i had lost something. but now here i am, in america, after all these years. my pain became a prophecy.

1979

my mother says nothing. she has never seen a war of the kind that ravages lands and homes and seas. but her silence speaks, in tongues only women understand. or perhaps only daughters desperate for the love of their mothers. her silence says, i have been fighting a war since the day i was born. it says, i am so tired of the violence i cannot unlive. it says, my heart became a battlefield when i started losing my mother. it says, soon your heart will go the same way.

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.

other ways to love By sarah kate osborn

other ways to love

the first boy to touch her was almost twice her age she was eleven and afraid and she thought that this is what men were supposed to be like
she was looking for her mother in the grocery store and
he told her he couldn’t wait til she was older
and she smiled because she thought she was supposed to

at thirteen, the girls in her class grew jealous
because their bodies didn’t move this fast
their skin didn’t curve in the right places
the boys looked at her longer than they ever had
and whispered that they’d find her after class

the teacher told her boys would be boys and so
at fourteen she let them have all the little pieces of her
because it was easier than waiting for robbery

by sixteen, she was sleeping with half the basketball team
just because it hurt and she needed
so badly, to feel something, anything
and they all said they had something to give her
so she took it all

she was eighteen and still thought love was the same thing as
empty beds and broken teeth and everything red
she spent the night in unfamiliar beds and never left an imprint

twenty-one and no one ever taught her that there were easier ways to do this
other ways to live with yourself without clawing at your skin just to get it off your body
no one said that she was someone without her boys
and that there are ways to say love without wandering hands and bruises.

By sarah kate osborn

Biography:

sarah kate osborn is an amateur poet from north carolina who hates describing herself and rebels against capital letters. she is trying to toss her voice into a world already filled with noise and may have nothing meaningful to say. she has been published/is soon to be published in the rising phoenix review and words dance magazine. can be found at allthesinkingships.tumblr.com

OH GOD THEY’RE EVERYWHERE By Kyra Wolff

OH GOD THEY’RE EVERYWHERE

Lily dressed all in black with
“Pussy Riot” stitched permanently
on her back with hair from all her
former lovers woven into unbreakable
thread, was called a man hater
on the daily but what they didn’t
know was that out of all the
merchants, mermaids, and mechanics
in every universe she jumped
through, the only one who she
trusted with her pulsing soul
was a man.

Lily with rings on her fingers and
steel toed boots on her feet saved
her useful fear for the darkness
between her street and his
because she had lived too
many lives to be ignorant
about the way monsters
are raised, with the entitlement
to go anywhere and everywhere
they wanted. She should have
known better.

Lily with her security blanket
who wanted to be wrapped around
her body and cover her completely,
who put in his time at this dead
end job with only trust to show for.
Lily who laughed at satire and
reveled in the irony, who choked
on fear and then on flesh, who
opened a gateway she could not
protect rather than be on the
ground.

Lily tricked them all into
believing she would one day
fight with strong shoulders
thrown back, when she only
clung to hope in masculinity
and the structure of bones
as they had always stood.

Lily who could not live
in a world where they chose
how much power to allot her
and when to strip her down,
who would rather believe in
the power of parallel universes
than maneuver her way around the ones
who held the majority in this
broken globe.

Lily who knew a person who
knew a person who knew how
to stall the past from creeping
into the present, did not miscalculate,
she just wished that in this galaxy a
2 could become a 21 and she
could finally be able to hide well
enough and run fast enough to
escape the ever present danger
of entitled monsters.

By Kyra Wolff

Biography:

Kyra Wolff has been on her weird artistic train ride for a while but has just recently changed cars. She lives in the midwest where she practices being alive by writing poetry and novels about feminism and disability. Currently she’s working on a collection of poetry about her favorite obscure TV show. She wants to kiss you through the internet: @kyra_kat

 

THE THINGS THEY TELL US By Valerie Nyerick

THE THINGS THEY TELL US

this is a culture
in which women are objectified
this is a time
when they tell us, when they lie:
be tall
be curvy
but not too curvy
have big tits
a big ass
wide hips
thick thighs
blonde hair
blue eyes
Eurocentric beauty standards
if you’re short
if you’re skinny
if you’re chubby
with small tits
a flat ass
narrow hips
chicken legs
or, God forbid, dark skin
then kneel at the altar
worship the ideal
because you’ll never be a goddess.

By Valerie Nyerick

Biography:

My name is Valerie Nyerick, and I am a junior at The Meadows School. I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I enjoy reading, writing, listening to music, playing the piano, and volunteering. I am particularly interested in social justice, psychology, mental health, animal rights, and body image.