Snakeskin By John Stupp

Snakeskin

I saw
a snakeskin
in a yard
cut in two like a hose
the men mowing and trimming
didn’t seem to care
this was a house
where a captain of industry lived
now old and for sale—
there were crayons in the street
it was summer after all
maybe kids killed the snake
skinned it
cooked it over a fire
ate the meat
and ran naked through the trees
the way the master of the house
once skinned cooked and ate
mill workers at J&L
and ran naked into the Ohio River—
anyway
lawn mowers and tractors kept cutting in the dark
there was no blood on the grass for them
and no words
but a snakeskin sliced like confetti
that blew for hours

By John Stupp

Biography:

John Stupp is the author of the 2007 chapbook The Blue Pacific and the 2015 full-length collection Advice from the Bed of a Friend both by Main Street Rag. Recent poetry has appeared or will be appearing in Drunk Monkeys, Cactus Heart, Vending Machine Press, Icarus Down, Weirderary, Wordrunner eChapbooks, SHARKPACK Poetry Review, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and on the radio show Prosody. He lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

How To Be An Ally By Saquina Karla C. Guiam

How To Be An Ally

The only things
I want from you
are your ears,
your bodies as tethers
tightly coiled and far more
stubborn than the longest
length of rope;

your beings as matches,
as sparks, as ignition—
bright and sparkling,
a multitude of torches.

What I don’t want you to be is this:
a thief—feather-light with hands
in the shadows, feet dancing back
and forth and hushed;
a conman with slick words,
dripping with sugar glaze, a sweetness
that pierces through my gums and teeth
and my heart;

an artisan buying my silence and my kindness,
only to use them as your paint, as marble, as ink,
the medium of your ‘THE HERO OF THE VOICELESS
[flesh canvas, dated 20something]’,

the masterpiece of centuries of
invisibility.

By Saquina Karla C. Guiam

Biography:

Saquina Karla C. Guiam (who goes by her nickname, Saki) is 26 years old and is studying for her MA in Davao City, Philippines. When not studying her assigned readings and writing papers, she makes time to write about many things that interest and fascinate her. She is a proud member of Flood Journal, an art and writing collective of People of Color. She is the Roots nonfiction editor of Rambutan Literary, a brand new literary magazine by Southeast Asians to showcase Southeast Asian art and literature.

MOTHER SAYS By Caitlyn Siehl

MOTHER SAYS 

Oh, how that boy must have loved you.

How he moved the earth
to stand beside you.

How he moved the love
out of your nightmares
and into the sunlight.

How he dragged you out of every
room you wanted  to be in just to
show you that he could.

Mother says

Oh, how he remembered
the moment you became
unearthed,
untethered.

Smooth like a stone
in the pocket
of the dress you wanted to drown in.

How could you have lived so loved? So loved?

By Caitlyn Siehl

Biography:

Caitlyn Siehl is a poet from New Jersey. She has been published in Hooligan magazine and has edited and contributed to two poetry anthologies. She has her own book of poetry, entitled “What We Buried” published in 2014. Siehl is currently a Grad Student at Rutgers University and working on a second book.

I AM AWAY FROM YOU By Jade Mitchell

I Am Away From You

I am away from you.

Yet I hear you speak of atoms
building up these cities between us.
How our bodies will become
nothing but strangers to one another.

I am away from you.

Yet I am still painted
in your black and blue,
still tainted in your bruise.
I am still saying

“I love you”

Beneath rain cloud and lightning storm.

I am still stuck in the dark room
of your jacket.

How it soaked your
heart clean, pristine:
something new out
of what broke you.

How it struck mine
full of fear, the hurricane still
threatening to unravel over time.

I am away from you.

I was an island compared to your
storm that you wrought, yet I am
the one still screaming with lungs
filled with water at the end of it all.

My heart does not beat
for you like it used to.
Not for me, not for those
forgotten streets where
the rain was a cascade
trying to spell out your name.

I am away from you,
learning how to hold back
the hurt I’ve bled from your mouth.

By Jade Mitchell

Biography:

Jade Mitchell is a writer / poet currently residing near Glasgow, Scotland. She is currently studying at Strathclyde University and runs her own poetry society for fellow students. Her work has been featured in The Grind Journal and Words Dance Magazine, of which she is a contributing editor. Her work can be found on her blog at vagabondly.tumblr.com

A Mouth, A Wound, A Word By Alain Ginsberg

A Mouth, A Wound, A Word

Tell me to fall in love with
the West, that this is the time
for my arms to become Pelican-mouth
open—I still eat fish, and I still
know all of the ways a thing can be gutted.

When I ask you what I should
yell into the Pacific, you remind me
I do not need to be angry, and I don’t get it. How
should I know any other way to show my love,
but split open, wide and gaping—a wound, a mouth.

The sister of my sister, which is
to say my home, which is to say
not family, but open arms
and closed liquor stores on
Sundays, is not a liar to me.
Speaks to me adrenaline, covers
everything in dust, doesn’t care if I eat at all.

I dissociate when I travel
often, mostly because I do not
trust myself to exist as someone looking
out for myself. I crack my neck, though
I will never become an owl. If I ask
you to count the freckles on my back,
I am asking you to become a home.

In Oakland before sleeping
you show me a bird skeleton in a vial.
In Portland I find multiple decaying birds
on streets named after other streets.
No one asks your name in the same
way they do not lock their doors at night,
which is to say they have never felt
unsafe.

You tell me to say nice things
to the Pacific and I still don’t
know how to say that I miss
you without bleeding, even if its
on the inside, even if I do
not know all the ways that
I am loved quietly, softly, without fright.

When I ask you why I will
fall in love with the west
and you tell me it is because
it is beautiful out there I know
I will never get it. The same way
when someone I get lost in tells me
that I am cute in Oakland, I hide.

The same way that I see an abandoned
car on the side of a field on my way to
Olympia, and I feel home in it’s chassis.

By Alain Ginsberg

This poem was originally published by Black Heart Magazine.

Biography:

Alain Ginsberg is an agender writer and performer from Baltimore City, MD whose work focuses on gender, sexuality, and trauma. Their work has been published or is forthcoming from Pressure Gauge, Black Heart Magazine, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere. Outside of writing they are most commonly found watching dogs or dog related content.

Questions By Ebelechukwu Raluchukwu Ijeoma Mogo

What does it mean
For God to never be made in your image?
Why England and Rome?
Why not Awka? Why not Nri?
Why do they not walk our own roads to find God?

Why is a woman fluent in only Igbo deemed backward?
And a man fluent in only English deemed enlightened?
Why is olive oil from Jerusalem holy?
But water from my village streams diabolical?

We who stayed back say
that we weren’t enslaved and sold
but weren’t we orphaned?
weren’t we raped?
Didn’t they steal our stories
adulterate our culture?

thus go many of my days :
pondering the contradictions within me
eating square meals of a ravaging silence
in uncivilized gulps
and hoping that one day
I will not forget how to speak

It’s all garbled now
how does one untangle?

By Ebelechukwu Raluchukwu Ijeoma Mogo

Biography:

I am Ebelechukwu Raluchukwu Ijeoma Mogo. I am a writer, entrepreneur and scientist. I blog at www.streetsideconvos.com

in a black and invisible dress By Jessie Lynn McMains

in a black and invisible dress

I am a ghost and I haunt my body like a house. No one knows there’s a ghost
in here. They only see the house. Inside, I’m haunting. A phantom passing
through walls and ventricles. Drifting down hallways, through vena cava. Ghost
boy. Ghost girl. The creak on the stairway and the wind through the eaves. Boo.
Won’t you come in? They’d rather stay in the yard, looking at the slope of the roof
and the hang of the curtains. The length of the lawn. The daffodils in the garden
and the bicycle leaning against the fence. So that’s the kind of house it is. They’d
rather look at the house in relation to other houses (my body in proximity to other
bodies). So that’s the kind of neighborhood it’s in. Poor ghost.

Sometimes I paint the house purple. Hang up windchimes. Let birds nest in the
raingutter. Let dandelions go to seed in the long grass. Oh, what a lovely shade
of violet. Oh! I thought it was lilac. They look next door. The neighborhood hasn’t
changed much. See, it’s the same old body, same old house, just a new coat of paint. Poor ghost. Some nights I beam signals out through the windows, flick the lightswitches
on and off. Some nights I moan and drag chains across the floorboards. No one comes
to investigate. They only believe what they see. What they don’t believe doesn’t even
exist. They see a house, that’s all. Look, someone left a light on in the attic. Listen, is
that the wind through the eaves?

By Jessie Lynn McMains

Biography:

Jessie Lynn McMains (aka Rust Belt Jessie) is a writer and zine-maker, and the 2016-2017 Poet Laureate of Racine, Wisconsin. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee for fiction. Her words have recently appeared in The Chapess, New Pop Lit, Rising Phoenix Review, Voicemail Poems, and Paper & Ink. Forthcoming publications include: The Girl With the Most Cake (a self-published chapbook), What We Talk About When We Talk About Punk (a prose collection from Pioneers Press/Punch Drunk Press), and a poetry collaboration with Misha Brandon Speck.