My Mother Weeps in Two Languages By Rachana Hegde

My Mother Weeps in Two Languages

My mother is lying on the floor of our trailer
(she weeps in two languages)
and I am left to fall asleep on an empty stomach;

Last night my cousin brought home shards of glass & a black eye,
I wanted to hang myself from the
highest branch of the tree in our backyard,
instead my fingers clenched around the neck of a bottle,
ribs shifting to accommodate my hunger;

When I tried to bury our heartache in the tamarisk tree,
my mother screamed DON’T TOUCH IT –
so I became the graveyard,
carrying our dead like an empty backpack;

If I was writing this story, it would end with my death,
(death is the kind of consolation prize you win
when you’ve lost everything else)
grief did not disappear with his body into the earth,
I kept seeing his face in the mirror for weeks after –
this was the kind of guilt that I couldn’t hide in the
liquor sliding down my throat: quicksilver, sharp-edged;

I don’t visit his grave today,
my mother is still singing the siren song
of grief. she has been feeding me apologies,
the last few weeks, and I am bursting
with all the words she never said to him –
we are still pretending this is not permanent,
just a bruise that will heal in the daylight.

By Rachana Hegde

Biography:

Rachana Hegde is a sixteen year old part-time poet from India who collects words & other oddities. You can usually find her reading on her kindle or daydreaming about characters from abandoned writing projects. Her poetry has been published by or is forthcoming in: Germ Magazine, Textploit, The Fem and Vagabond City. Read more of her work at www.ink-smudgedfingers.tumblr.com

Upon News Of Nine Deaths By Athena Dixon

Upon News of Nine Deaths

We are unsure just how we created time travel.
What we do know is that it cannot be used to return
the dead. It cannot be used to sound warning during prayer.
Or to shout back into the void to mind the bright light
of the church doors opening. We know for sure it cannot
put breath back into lungs or bullets into guns or blood
back into veins.

Time travel is a series of possibilities.
Time travel is a series of realities.

It is a litany of violence, a liturgy of names
we repeat like prayer each morning we wake.
Time is an affusion pouring reminders every
twenty-eight hours that we move backwards
towards another name carved into history.

It says we are not safe in the confines of God.
Or in a womb of water.
Or the asphalt of cities.
Or the snow of the Midwest.
Or the stairways of our buildings.
Or the margin of streets in summer.

Time travel tells us we are living history
and creating it in the same stride. We
are in the museum of the now.

We are not sure just how our voices change.
Or how they morph into the tinny sounds
of yesteryear where we sound like ourselves
just muted. But we know the sounds of bombs
and gunfire and waves on boat’s bow. We know
the silence that comes with black skin. We know
that time slows down and we are eternal.

By Athena Dixon

Biography:

Athena Dixon is Founder and Editor in Chief of Linden Avenue Literary Journal. Her poetry and creative non-fiction has appeared in Compose, Pluck!, This!, Blackberry: A Magazine, and For Harriet among others.

She writes, edits, and resides in Philadelphia.

beside still waters By Sonny Schader

beside still waters

on tuesday god is a good boy
with big hands, helps old lady jackson
cart her groceries up the stairs, ripe
cantaloupes and peaches. chainsmokes
three cigarettes with her on the fire escape.
learns her mercy with tender hands,
thumb on the lighter like a miracle.
callouses on the meat of his palms.
she feeds him butterscotch candy
and when he smiles at her with white
teeth and dark eyes, her spine
straightens like a cat stretching
in the sun. somedays god is a ghost,
rattling around 36b and writing sins
in the fog on the medicine cabinet,
i know what you did last night.
tell her you are sorry. god flickers
the lights and shakes the windows
in their frames, knocks photographs
off the walls. somedays god
sunbathes on the rooftop, evenly
tanned and shoulders unknotting
in the yellow afternoon. god
makes lists of regrets and bakes
oatmeal cookies for his neighbors.
god hooks up old lady jackson’s wifi
and she calls him a nice boy. like he’s lonely,
like she thinks he should find himself
a nice boy. god floods the river,
waters swelling over the banks,
dirty currents tonguing the roadways
like the riverbank has something to say.
god splits open the venetian blinds
with two fingers and eyes the night,
sodium light, sipping slowly
from his whisky sour. listens
to the subway humming tunelessly,
the city crooning. like, i shall not want.
like, bright shining as the sun.
in the morning god flips a perfect omelette
in the pan and waters the ragged
tomatoes on the roof. brings old lady jackson
her newspaper. old lady jackson
tells god he’s looking tired.
god grins with all his teeth.
like a half-feral dog.
like a mutt. like a pit bull.
like a good boy.
says, yes ma’am

By Sonny Schader

From Manic Pixie Dream Girl By Elisa Vita

From Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Yesterday you told me that you’d kill yourself without me.
Every time I try to say that poetically
The rats you raised in my throat bite my tongue.
Instead, all I can say is ‘suicide’
Suicide, brains on hot pavement
A fully grown man calling me, half child, into the night.

You call me fickle. She-Devil. Temptress.
You tell me that I bring good men to their knees.
That I am a human noose and you, a ready corpse.
You are not expendable.
You are not the bright pink lipstick I wore for a summer
Then deemed gaudy come fall.
You are not half cracked styrofoam cups
And the second of silence right before the voicemail beeps.
You are none of these things and I,
I am not immortal.

I am not your muse.
Not your stiletto wearing knight in a  too short skirt.
I am not made of the titanium bones you need
To keep your ribs bound and the hope in your lungs.
I am crowded metro carts
Vomit on a stranger’s shoes
The “Ma’am are you drunk?”
And the “No, sir, I’m just scared.”

I’m just scared.

Death looks me in the face and cracks my skull on the headboard.
I forget to feed myself, most days.
You wanted the moon, goddess of the hunt.

I am young.
I am sleeping pills, paint stained hands, the teddy bear I still keep on the bed.
I am not the verses I trace on your skin.
I am not your poetry.
Not the villain, not the hero, not the snake in your pants.
I am not the strength you need.

I am me. And I am trying.
All I could ever do was try.

By Elisa Vita

Biography:

Elisa Vita is a 17 year old art student and writer from Quebec, Canada. She speaks to the plants and trees that she paints (Italian to the flowers, French to the pines, English to the rest). She dreams of writing books, days spent making art, and one day having a greenhouse in her very own backyard. Her room is full of loose papers and napkins, covered with verse.

Self Portrait in Three Parts By Samantha Brynn

Self Portrait in Three Parts

i.
Combustion as a function of touch –
you say baby I need you
and I tilt my chin in the air
like no, I am not a matchstick girl
but I am, baby, I am.

Mama always said I was much too fragile,
but these limbs make great kindling.

Okay, mama, I said. Okay, I’ll be careful.

She said be careful
but you said please real nice
and I said okay, touch me here

and then the house went up in flames.

ii.
Baby girl never knew how to talk about herself
like she was split into halves.

(How do you split your soul praying
for two versions of the same god?)

Biracial like she could
set herself aside in pieces;
like she could
separate her body and section it off.

(This one light; this one dark.
The almond eyes; the full lips.)

Tell her she can only be a fraction
and let her show you the way she is more
than just the sum of any number of parts.

iii.
My birth was like this:
first love; then breath.

(Thought did not occur to me
until the second time I broke my own heart.)

By Samantha Brynn

Biography:

Samantha Brynn is a born and raised New Yorker, with a penchant for sarcasm and using expletives in precisely the right place. She writes songs and poems about love she’s never experienced, and posts many of them on her blog: weaponizedlove.tumblr.com

IN WHICH By Rachana Hegde

IN WHICH

In which I am standing in front of the window
and you’re rubbing warmth back into
my hands; somewhere in my room there’s
a list of all the people I wanted to hurt but
it’s easier to catch raindrops in my mouth
and I know I’m getting off topic here but it’s
so difficult to focus & I think I’m a little lost;
In which I’m waiting for a girl with
acne scarred skin and weary eyes like maybe
forgetting is the same as forgiving –
like maybe this time I’ll be enough,
so she’ll be enough ; In which I
cried, a photo of your face cupped
between her hands like ellipses;
In which I asked why you’re at the airport,
sipping tea at an empty table, while I search a
crowded terminal. In which I go home alone
because you never showed up (we think you were
in that plane that was lost overseas).
In which I reacquaint myself with loneliness,
glass half full of memories, (I’d like to forget…
please).

By Rachana Hegde

Biography:

Rachana Hegde is a sixteen year old part-time poet from India who collects words & other oddities. You can usually find her reading on her kindle or daydreaming about characters from abandoned writing projects. Her poetry has been published by or is forthcoming in: Germ Magazine, Textploit, The Fem and Vagabond City. Read more of her work at www.ink-smudgedfingers.tumblr.com.

A Life Worth Living for the Aromantic Soul By Mary Kate McGrath

A Life Worth Living for the Aromantic Soul

the email in my inbox says:
“Why you should fall in love”
10 reasons to have yourself
a lovely little romance
even if your heart has been broken
one too many times
darling, open yourself to the world!

You can make the impossible possible
everything and everyone is impossible,
it is all so astounding that the sperm we
can’t even see will create a being that is
over a 100 times larger than the catalyst.
make it possible to be floored by this daily.

You can sacrifice so much
it’s not love to pour your blood
into a golden bowl for someone
else to drink, to pour yourself empty
into another so you can be red flecks
on their lips.

You are bold
I leave the display case door
my soft heart lives in
open to be a halfway house,
when I have made
my body into a museum,
tell me how that is not bold.

You can admit someone into your world
Open access, no alarm, on my heart
no museum entrance fee
admits everyone into my world.

You are happy
happiness is fragile enough
in my unbalanced brain,
it doesn’t need to lean on
someone else too while
I cross the seawall.

You can hope
There is hope in every protest,
I don’t want to just hope,
to be fueled by an abstract noun
I want to be in the hope
as the hope even if
I am as insignificant as a megaphone.

You can learn
when my father punched a hole
in the wall next to my mother’s head
I learned a lot about love that day,
and the next day hiding in a closet
with a bruised wrist.

You can ask the right questions
when I asked why she does not leave
if he hurts her, she said I wouldn’t understand.
7 years old was too young.
I should be asking her why she stays.

You can forgive and hold the best memories
I hold memories in small glass jars and hang
them from my ribcage so I can hear them
clank together while I walk,
everyday it becomes louder, more beautiful
a tune to sing myself to sleep with
the lack of romantic love does not mean
there has been a lack of broken hearts.

You owe it to your being
you can give love with a coffee cup
to a homeless man
you can receive from a friend
that sits on the floor with you
when you want to die,
I am not missing out.

don’t you dare presume to know
what I owe myself based on your
perceptions of wholeness.

By Mary Kate McGrath

The poem “A Life Worth Living for the Aromantic Soul” is inspired by this article: http://www.archetypes.com/article/10-absolute-reasons-why-you-should-fall-in-love/?mc_cid=45970eb14a&mc_eid=b3a2b07f04

Biography:

Mary Kate (Em) McGrath is 21 years old and graduating college in May with a sociology degree. They hope to have a service fellowship post-graduation. When they are not writing or completing schoolwork, they are volunteering for IMAlive as a crisis responder, giggling at cute pigs, and dreaming of unlimited vegan donuts.