Boxes By Esther Liv

Boxes

inside my brain, there is a box. in it are a pink
skipping rope and a pack of pink hello kitty
band-aids and an unused pink lipgloss.
i collected mcdonald’s happy meal toys and
stickers and stamps and candy wrappers.
my parents didn’t love me so i tried to replace
the hollow with crayolas and paper dolls.
turned myself to paper doll, pretty for you.
i was never supposed to outlive childhood.
beside the box is another box, taped shut.
it is pandora’s but my name is pippi. orange
braids and freckles, i still sleep with my feet
on the pillow. that way the monsters can’t
get to me. i was supposed to outgrow the fear.
played hangman in class, then hanggirl in
the backyard, from the large tree. lemonade
and mario kart on the nintendo 64. friendship
bracelets and shiny blue braces and a skirt
made of pink tulle. the box is overflowing.

By Esther Liv

Biography:

esther liv is a moon lesbian and pretend-poet from denmark, really into dark chocolate & purple tulips. her work has previously been featured in words dance magazine, and elsewhere. she hangs out at estherliv.tumblr.com

 

GETTING DRESSED FOR THE DOCTOR By A. Davida Jane

GETTING DRESSED FOR THE DOCTOR

first, the feet. everything methodical,
some chasm between you and the shoes,
a stranger’s hands picking them out of
the closet and pulling them on, tying
up the laces with trembling hands.

that blue shift dress that leaves
your legs bare as a tree in winter,
a hemline that brushes your thighs
with soft and careful touches,
the crinkles at the waist from sitting
in the waiting room, the dress that speaks,
the dress that names you functioning.

the lips, a careful pink—painted over
the cracks. enough to fix the brokenness,
but not red—never red. red says blood,
red says reckless, gaping, raw.
red screams help me.

those hands again, picking at the details.
a silver ring over one skeletal knuckle,
mint green paint coated messily over
every nail—cleaned up afterwards with tissues.
a bracelet on one wrist to draw attention
away from the other. a watch, so he thinks
time is something you manage to measure.

and of course, that pair of gold rimmed
sunglasses, so that later, when you walk
out of the office shaking with sobs, and
the tears start to stream down your face,
nobody will be able to see a thing.

By A. Davida Jane

Biography:

A. Davida Jane is a poet and aspiring novelist from New Zealand, currently living in London. Find her in an old café somewhere, drinking coffee and daydreaming about Sylvia Plath (or on tumblr, instagram and twitter @adavidajane).

Foundry Prayer By John Stupp

Foundry Prayer

If you work by
the annealing furnace
where the foreman can see you
I will pray for you
if you take salt pills over and over
and watch the temperature rise from 90 degrees to 125
at night
that can blow your mind even in August
I will pray for you—
so much salt can’t be good
but you don’t know better in ‘68
your heart hasn’t exploded yet
your blood vessels haven’t started pumping
like a production line
but you do know
your saliva feels like trash thrown on the floor
of a sand castle
that deer might lick for the rest of your life
and shit on without caring
that’s sad
what woman wants that on her tongue—
I will pray for you
but nothing I say will make it better

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.

Ode to Blue Collar Men By Paul Stansbury

Ode to Blue Collar Men

They wear tattered jeans
And sun burnished skin
While whistling the Blues.
Dust melts in sweat,
While backs ache
And souls revel in lusty tales
Peppered with laughter.
Muscles strain against nature,
Unyielding ,
Until defeated by fatigue
Or blood.
They endure long days,
Laid to rest with cold beer
And talk of loves lost.
Lives shortened by cigarettes
And never saying no
To a challenge.
They waltz in deep pits,
Or dance on steel beams –
Choreographed by fate.
With hands numb from cold
and faces creased from heat,
They endure.

By Paul Stansbury

Biography:

Paul Stansbury is a life long native of Kentucky. Now retired, he lives in Danville, Kentucky. He frequently reads his work in public. His poetry has appeared in Kentucky Monthly. His stories have appeared in the anthologies, Brief Grislys, published by the Apocryphile Press and Neo-Legends To Last A Deathtime published by KY Story. He has a story soon to be published in an anthology by SEZ Publishing. His work has also appeared in a variety of on-line publications.

12th January, 2012 By Moyosore Orimoloye

12th January, 2012

The world stood silent
That day we decided not to march-
For fear of jackboots,
For fear of AK-47 rifles,
When Omar and Esele
Realized they were mortals.
Someday immortals would die
For a free Nigeria.

By Moyosore Orimoloye

Biography:

Moyosore Orimoloye is a young obscure Nigerian poet, with a few poems published on friends’ poetry blogs and some poems due to be published by Kalahari review. His poetry “bursts out of his soul like a rocket”.

Ekwensu By Ebelechukwu Raluchukwu Ijeoma Mogo

Ekwensu

Violence to the language
is violence to the soul
is violence to a people
is violence to their history
is violence to their future
is violence to their identity
is tangible violence

Like Ekwensu
the trickster in our cosmology, simplified
into a white God’s black devil
so chi became a white God
and chukwu became a white God
and ekwensu became evil

this is what they do to us, simplify us
fit our glory into a story
where they are the hero
flatten our hair, our noses, our tongue
whip us into conformity
then blame us for the mess they left
and the mess we have made
of the mess that they left

Sorry ekwensu
for how they destroyed your reputation
how they maligned your character
how, because they did not understand you
they decided to spread vicious lies about you
you go on being you
who cares what they say?

By  Ebelechukwu Raluchukwu Ijeoma Mogo

Biography:

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

#BigasHindiBala By Saquina Karla C. Guiam

#BigasHindiBala

Blue uniform,
badge, baton,
issued firearm,
hat, black and white car.

Right arm raised,
lips shaped the words
to serve and to protect
the people.

Call it duty,
summons to arms,
little glories and
little victories.

Happy April fools!
Put a bullet to someone’s head,
a father and farmer,
his hands cracked
like the fields he toiled.

Put your gun
on his corpse,
tell the cameras and microphones that
he was armed and dangerous.

Witnesses say
the victim only brought
the clothes on his back
and his voice.

Oaths are just promises
disguised as public service,
sweet honey to
unsuspecting civilian ears.

The coming of spring rain
brought metal and blood
and disbelief and rage;

they asked for mercy,
you gave them cruelty.

By Saquina Karla C. Guiam

#BigasHindiBala is Tagalog, and translates to #RiceNotBullets. The hashtag trended recently when farmers were gunned down by local police at Kidapawan, North Cotabato, Philippines.

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.