Farewell By Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Farewell

When you arrive in America
You must not forget the language
We gave to you at birth

Do you remember the daughter of Ahmed?
She returned after two years there
Speaking through her nose and
Rolling her eyes at her own father!
Do not come back, sneering at us

Remember to call your mother often,
The recession has swallowed half
Her once full cheekbones
And she does not laugh
As often as she used to

When you arrive in America,
Do not forget to cook like your mother taught you
And do not eat their food
I heard it tastes like cardboard,
Baba Abdul told me,
You know his son was there for four years
He said the food tastes like cardboard!

You must remember you are a woman
Do not let yourself run wild
Like the daughter of Ahmed
Do not allow men touch you, keep yourself
Marriage awaits you here.

By Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Biography:

I am a writer and a recent author of my first collection of poems.
I was born and raised in Nigeria.

From A Friend By Schuyler Peck

From A Friend

Dear Stranger,

I didn’t die when I wanted to.
There was a time I was begging the black skies
every other night,
to just take me.
It was the ravaged kind of hunger
that broke right into your bones.
I remember tearing at my skin
like an animal clawing out of a cage.

I didn’t die when I wanted to.
And never for a second could I tell you
I’d imagine being this grateful
I didn’t.
There is so much more I needed to see,
people I needed to meet,
and love I had to learn
how to give myself.

I didn’t die when I wanted to,
and now I’m afraid of ever missing a moment.
If anything else,
I hope it’s enough to consider
what’s waiting for you
if you just stay here.

By Schuyler Peck

Biography:

Born of college-ruled notebooks and the smell of lemon grass, Schuyler Peck was raised in New Jersey, but she’ll never tell you that. Instead, she’ll tell you there are pieces of her everywhere; planted in trees and shipped off to the moon. Her poetry, however, can be found in her book, A Field of Blooming Bruises, Words Dance Publications, Literary Sexts V. 2, Rising Phoenix Review, JuxtaProse Magazine, and schuylerpeck.tumblr.com

Self-Injury By Allie Long

Self-Injury

When God led me to the torrents
inside my own mind, I grasped
a tree limb and let the prayers
rush past like rapids threatening
to drag me down a river. The quiet
waters reside at the foot of a waterfall,
but I was not willing to let the rocks
beat me until I was merely pulp
bound by skin in need of divine
healing. I could hold my own body
out of the river though people
below only saw how my arms
shook with fatigue. I am still here,
arms stretched above my head
like a crucifixion, but I will not
let this river break me just so God
can have something to heal.

By Allie Long

Biography:

Allie Long is an economics and English major at the University of Virginia. She began writing poetry in high school and is currently in a workshop mentored by Gregory Orr. Her poetry will appear in the forthcoming edition of Hooligan Magazine.

 

GUILLOTINE By Linette Reeman

in 1789, Joseph-Ignace Guillotin proposed a less painful capital punishment.
said,     something sharper swung faster
said,     a single blade / a wider jaw

dropped

hungry and / glistening

Joseph-Ignace Guillotin did not invent the guillotine /
or the mouth. but his name still arched itself over a
last shook breath. teeth making messy spectacle of
bone. a truth / with no other choice.

so Joseph-Ignace Guillotin unsheathed himself.
said,     technology names itself after riots and
i, too, was born of
lips and would not want to die
the same way / pressed cold flush against
my last kiss
said,     this country has only just learned / how

to swallow / should we

not use our new throat to scream
have we not known
enough / choking
for one / lifetime

said,                 stop killing us

//

in 1789, Joseph-Ignace Guillotin publically opposed the death penalty in his home-country of France. due to a joke he made at a political rally in regards to his suggestion that less gruesome methods of torture would be the first step to ending it entirely, his name has been forever linked to one of the most popular and well-known death-machines in history. against his will, a device he championed against bares his familial signature.

//

picture Joseph-Ignace Guillotin coming home.           attempts
to crawl into his lover’s mouth.          wakes up
to a new neck split / open and            starved.
how could anyone go to bed with / a weapon /
and not wake up         dishonest

how to moan a name / sawed / into
a thousand
new     endings

By Linette Reeman

Biography:

Linette Reeman (they/them pronouns) is a poet from the Jersey Shore who is currently pursuing a B.A. in history from Rowan University. Linette has represented Loser Slam (Red Bank, NJ) at multiple national and regional slams and this is their second year representing Rowan at the college national slam (CUPSI). They have featured at the Philadelphia Fuze Slam and for D.C. Trans Power, have been published by places like Words Dance and Voicemail Poems, and probably want to high five you.

Dara Shikoh’s Head By Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee

Dara Shikoh’s Head

As I visited the tomb of Humayun
I found Dara Shikoh’s grave,
I asked a guide – busy convincing
His English tourists, the stars
At the entrance door are not David’s —
“Where can I find it?”
“It’s in the main mausoleum,
Dara’s headless tomb

I walked, suddenly aware
Of my head, aware of the sentence
That severed Dara’s head
From his body, freed from his
Commands, free
From the word, split in two

Is Dara anymore Dara? His
Head bore his name, but no longer
His own, severed —
By a swish — where was Dara?

For Aurangzeb, Dara bore a prickly
Shadow, contrary
To his faith, rival to his sword, Dara
The heretic prose,
In love with other hymns, Dara,
Mystic bird, who flew
From parchment to parchment,
Seeking god in translation

The translator visits every poet’s
House, to look for the secret
Hiding inside the word that spells
A similar universe, echoing
In another time, below other lamps,
The same word, Dara, master
Of tongues, a master-boat, rowing
From tongue to tongue,
His head lost in translation

Devil’s child, Dara,
Declared god’s animal, buried
To the hellfire of beasts
For reciting The Upanishads,
Later, did someone
Come to recite a marsiya,
Where Dara’s incomplete body
Was looking for its head?

Where will the land go to find
The secret, lost between Dara’s head
And body, a secret trembling
In the severed air, sacrificed before
The translation was over? I stood
Before the cenotaph, telling
Dara, I carry you in my head, you have
So many heads, translating
Every day, all that you left unfinished,
Translators, we join the night
And the day, we betray the word, parry
The sword, every day,
We put Dara’s head back in place

By Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee

Biography:

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee is a poet, writer, translator and political science scholar. His poems have appeared in The London Magazine, New Welsh Review, The Fortnightly Review, Elohi Gadugi Journal, Mudlark, Metamorphoses, Modern Poetry in Translation, The Postcolonialist, George Szirtes’ Blog, The Missing Slate, The Indian Quarterly, The Little Magazine, and Coldnoon. His first collection of poetry, Ghalib’s Tomb and Other Poems (2013), was published by The London Magazine. He is currently Adjunct Professor in the School of Culture and Creative Expressions at Ambedkar University, New Delhi.

Plenty By Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Plenty

The day Obiageli decided to die,
She called her mother and pretended
She was digging for more life
Inside the ones she had attempted
She listened to the plea from her mother
“Why can’t you be like other girls”?

On the day Obiageli decided to die
She woke up, a year older; twenty-eight crawled in
She poured herself a glass of orange juice
She made scrambled eggs
Drowned her pills in a glass of wine

On the day Obiageli decided to die
The sun was lazy, coming up the sky
The night had been strange,
She saw herself quietly trying to sew her heart back
Into her, but she failed to stitch it properly
She heard the voice of her brother
Telling her to hang on
And she tried
To cut her ocean of sadness in half
She did
But trying and doing
Are two different actions

On the day Obiageli decided to die
Her three-year-old goddaughter remembered her
Three thousand miles away

On that ordinary day in September
The year winter ate into summer too quickly

By Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Biography:

I am a writer and a recent author of my first collection of poems.
I was born and raised in Nigeria.

Sun-Love By Madhubrata Bhattacharyya

Sun-Love

Too many girls
With skin
This specific shade
Of
Sun-loved
Learn their lessons
Early
In the womb.

Learn too early
To contort themselves.
Lower voices.
Shrink.
Into
Someone else’s acceptable.
Learn virtues
From grandmothers
They have never seen.
Learn humility. Learn grace.
Perhaps that
Is
Why we grow afraid
Of the fire in our hearts
Or
Between our legs.
Perhaps that
Is
Why we can only love closeted.

By Madhubrata Bhattacharyya

Biography:

Madhubrata Bhattacharyya is an eighteen year old student of English at Jadavpur University,Kolkata. Her poetry seeks to explore what it means to be young,female and startlingly alive in today’s India.

 

At Work By Danny P. Barbare

At Work

I’m just happy mopping the tile
floor
as I find it all shiny
equal and square
as it keeps me in line,
as if with the divine, that can
be hidden in the grout and groove
of  life.

By Danny P. Barbare

Biography:

Danny P. Barbare resides In Greenville, SC. His poetry has appeared locally, nationally, and abroad. He works as a janitor at a local YMCA. He has been writing poetry off and on for 35 years. He attended Greenville Technical College.

 

His Shoes Are On The Landing By Martha O’Brien

His Shoes Are On The Landing

I never thought it would be hard to see the smoke again.
That machinery loud and terrifying;
I never thought I’d feel a thing.
When we used to drive past in the car, Dad would say
‘Look’
and we’d look at his office that was no office at all
more like this tower, brutal and harsh
but Dad, soft as butter, he’d say,
‘It’s fantastic’.
I didn’t believe him.
Thought,
‘What’s worse than that heat and noise?’
He’d say
‘I’m in there at 7am
molten steel-sweat running off my nose.’
I’d think
‘Sounds like hell’
but never like a death sentence.
Never really worried about someone larger than life.
‘Yeah that’s my Dad
with his heavy boots and high pitched sweat
he’s got towels from that factory
jumpers from the steelworks
he’s got polo shirts from the bakery;
photos of machines on his phone.’
It was a part of him. He was a part of me.

No one’s moved his shoes in five months.
He’s not coming to wear them.
No one’s moving his shoes.

By Martha O’Brien

Biography:

Martha O’Brien is 17 years old and lives in Wales. She writes and sings and wastes time. She posts her poetry on marthalobrien.tumblr.com and her covers on soundcloud.com/martha-obrien-1. Mostly, she hates talking about herself in third person and finds it easier to say what she means in her poems.