The obfuscated truth of the media
a veil of darkness
the black veil of mothers
grieving their children
reduced to black letters on cold stones
black clouds looming
over a nation in mourning
the veil of mass media
of mass hatred
covering mass shootings
mass projectile excuses
mass constitutional extermination
from the public’s gaze
from a veil of mass yellow tape that
segregates and edits out
mass puddles in the streets
where beauty in all its blackness
once shone brighter than any false
gold star of protection
grieve no more, mothers,
put down your funerary fans
a black flicker remains
its incendiary rise will burn
the veil of darkness
By Joseph Ellison Brockway
Joseph Ellison Brockway is a bilingual poet, translator, and educator. He currently teaches Spanish at Mountain View College in Dallas, TX while working on his Ph.D. in Studies of Literature and Translation at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the current Managing Editor for Reunion: The Dallas Review, and his poems have appeared in Zouch Magazine and Maudlin House.
Freedom and Justice for Some
like I remember being born:
everyone says it happened,
but I don’t have proof.
One of my closest friends was born on the 4th of July.
I call him freedom’s child,
boys at our school
say he’s unpatriotic
brand him terrorist
because his last name is Mohamed,
his cinnamon skin the most beautiful crime.
He doesn’t stand for the pledge anymore.
I dream of fireworks
in an America that celebrates me.
Is this what adolescence is supposed to feel like?
Explaining to my white friends who Emmett Till is?
Body and perception,
one and indivisible?
How will I ever see it all?
By Irene Vazquez
Irene Vazquez is a Pushcart Prize nominated writer from Houston, Texas.
Irene was a runner up in the 2016 Glass Mountain Prose and Poetry Contest, and she received an honorable mention in the 2015 Princeton High School Poetry Contest. Her journalistic writing received a first place Gold Circle award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in Alexandria Quarterly, F(r)iction, and Words Dance Mag, among others.
did I do with all
the rage he gave me?
How much did I eat,
did I swallow?
What hell did I crawl out
What did I do with all his
I burned through the
sheets until I was
clean and new
and the fire never
followed me again
After my new name,
my new face,
my new glowing body
next to the grave that
couldn’t have me.
By Caitlyn Siehl
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.
The Gift of Life
i see her everywhere.
in every child with a smile on their face,
in the dandelions that grow
through the cracks on the sidewalk,
in the little things that never change.
thirteen year olds aren’t supposed to die.
it isn’t something pretty or nice,
it can’t be wrapped up in a box
with a bow on the top,
but she was beautiful.
even in leaving,
her face lit up the room
like a thunderstorm,
i see her in the rain.
in the way the light flashes,
explodes across the sky,
she was a tornado,
that swept through my body,
gentle despite it all.
i find it hard to live normally.
to accept the fact that she is gone,
i believe everyone gets a miracle,
and that black haired beauty was mine,
so fine, you can take her
but you will never take the spirit,
never quite quiet the music –
this was her story.
she is breathing here still,
for she lived.
and oh, how beautiful that life was.
By Kathryn Malnight
Gone, gone, gone
Spaceflight as suicide,
as a way to undermine society.
It takes 5 minutes for sound to reach earth from mars.
I want to be dead/finally alive for 5 minutes without anyone knowing.
If a tree falls in a forest/if a girl rips her spacesuit.
What an absolutely terrifying paradox of ideas and human lives.
I left because I wanted to and you didn’t,
because I thought I wanted to be alone when all I really wanted
was to be wanted.
But none of this matters because I’m drowning
in my own love/in the bathtub
and you’re smoking on the balcony with my dead body for company.
Grave robbing in a church torn apart at the seams
because you could never bear to be alone.
Because ibuprofen doesn’t numb the pain anymore
so you’re pretty sure it comes from god.
Because you’ve been peeling away at yourself from birth
and you’ve never been this close
to anything resembling absolution/euphoria before.
Your stripmall religion can’t survive in the north
where everything gentle/radical is left for the wolves.
And someone once told you that freezing is better than worshiping a dead girl.
And even worse,
one who died in love.
God like the sun
and a girl deconstructed.
By Sophia Anderson
Sophia Anderson is a high school poet living on the west coast of Canada. She is 17 years old, an avid reader and in love with the sea and the stars. She draws inspiration from personal experience, dreams and her surroundings. She can be found at jailsongs.tumblr.com where she posts the majority of her written works.
opening your heart to pour out a poem
is one of the boldest ways of survival girl
knows. without this golden steam, lending
a dull sound to her bones, girl would have
turned silent a decade ago.
in one scenario girl never gets to figure
out what is wrong with her in the first
place. all that’s left instead are the
feverish dreams of july afternoons
where alleyways stretch over her body
in patterns unknown to human skin.
in another scenario, were more truth has
been spoken than girl had ever
encountered, she spilled the triumphant
aches hiding between her shoulder blades
in this scenario, she stays. and speaks.
here, the sun shines in her dreams and
girl doesn’t want to die like she does on
bad days. she wants to see if she’ll be
able to overcome the next bad day. girl
likes torture, her father is the one in
sheep’s clothing, but at least she’s there.
there to witness her voice being stripped
of credibility, and – at times even the
storyteller seems at loss. apple trees
have lost their innocence and seeing her
irises’ color makes girl scream. but she’s
there, and after all, speaks poetry.
By Alwina Hermann
Alwina Hermann is a seventeen year old girl, currently residing in Europe, who has a strong love for words, linguistics and, unsurprisingly, cats. Most of her works center around trauma, because that’s all she can write about. She’s a strong believer in the kind and soft. You can find her on tumblr (@ohmoonkid).
Confessions from the Garden
Bring your flowers with you.
Keep them sticking out from
underneath your jeans,
let them reach from your waistband,
with their bodies pressed against
yours until you are a fossil of them,
if even for only a moment.
Show them how it blooms from you.
Answer the question before they ask it:
“Can you believe the howl of a thing if it has
not yet been picked dry?”
That is to say:
“Do you imagine when you are alone
that soft things have empty voices?”
Let your body, stuffed full of
grow so hard
they have no choice but to
press their foreheads against yours,
and repeat it,
By Emma Bleker
Emma Bleker is a 20 year old writer working for her English degree in Virginia while attempting to live a true and convincing life. She has previously been published, or is forthcoming, in Electric Cereal, Cahoodaloodaling, Penstrike Literary Journal, Yellow Chair Review, Persephone’s Daughters, Skylark Review, and Rising Phoenix Press, among others. Additionally, she released her first collection of poetry, Here’s Hoping You Never See This, in November of 2015.