PREVISIONIST By Oscar Mancinas

PREVISIONIST

What about reverse-racism
leads anyone to ask
what about reverse-racism?

Is it
the growly allure–
reverberating arousal–
of alliterative R-words?

I see you, Redskins™-rooters
Or something dumber,
more seductive? Some
special type of marvelous
fragility–award-winning suspension
of disbelief, and relief
manufactured in an abandoned
automobile factory somewhere in a novel.

But wait, there’s more.

How ‘bout reverse-classism? Reverse-oppression?
Reverse-colonization?

How ‘bout
my ancestresses,
conniving to cross                                           the Atlantic,
not with bad intentions                       but with simple curiosity. Human curiosity
that tortures them
in their hearts             and, on occasion, in their loins?

How ‘bout
the others
who braved the seas,
braved disease,
braved histories,
to seek bodies around which
they could wrap themselves
like skin around a book?

Mighty clitorises,
fearless breasts.

How ‘bout
the chabochí
minding his farm
tending his master’s livestock
near Basque foothills
or Castilian fields or Valencian woods
or any other
manscape?

Without warning, the poor hijo de you-know-what
gets ambushed and mounted
at arrow-point like a half-broken
bus bench or abandoned carnival
ride. The hide-clad conqueresses grind
to a finish and, bored
with their conquests, disappear
like cries shouted into paper, leave
all to wonder: what was the point?

By Oscar Mancinas

Biography:

My name is Oscar Mancinas. Attached are five poems of mine. I’m a young mestizo from around the way, just trying to survive and thrive. Read other work of mine in Blue Mesa Review, Contraposition Magazine, and latinosbelike.tumblr.com

Bob By John Stupp

Bob
the left hander who worked
at the engine foundry in Cleveland
wanted to be a pro bowler someday
he set up and alley in the tool crib
and practiced on the 3 to 11 shift using plastic pipe for pins—
when he wasn’t bowling
he was throwing flashlight batteries
I had to sweep up when he was done
never was Ford graced by such productive employees—
this went on all summer
while the engines we made were shit
and once assembled
the cars stunk like a movie you know how it ends
and is all your fault

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.

Recollection By Margaret Schnabel

Recollection

a rem(a)inder of light slants across fields
a bleached photograph of what was:

consider: memory, an alibi for end,
nostalgic dusk air aching for yesterday

boys’ dancing fingers bleed dust and straw,
breathe in hometown

(a return)

fall harvest
spills over bruised roads.
the clay tides are turning,
upheaving, again
again;

machines cut through wheat and faded sky
(consider: love song)
(consider: elegy)

meanwhile,
I practice swallowing the horizon
WANTED: parting glance, Midwestern sunset
dead and/or
alive

(aren’t we all?)

when the river asks me how leaving
comes so easy I say:

indifference tastes sweet in the
back of the throat

By Margaret Schnabel

Biography:

Margaret Schnabel is a sixteen-year-old musician, writer and artist who wants to grow up to be a surgeon (and a poet). She currently resides in Indiana, but dreams of living in New York City and visiting the MoMA every day. Her poetry and art can be found at www.starrymar.tumblr.com.

The Doctor Asks How I’ve Been By Katie Rendon Kahn

The Doctor Asks How I’ve Been

Almost like an old friend,
while signaling for me to sit anywhere.
The chocolate suede arms beckon me,
with its’ sunken seat and dim lighting
whispering, “sit here, let me hold you.”

I assume it’s some kind of test,
a trick question, so I choose the ridged,
wooden chair too close the hers.
She smiles professionally and places
the Kleenex between us.

She’s only here to listen.
My three dollar co-pay
doesn’t cover human contact
or affection. She asks how often I cry.

I tell her only when I have to talk to people.
She asks about work, my husband and
(after checking her notes) poetry.
I explain those things mean having to talk to people,
she misses the punch line.

When she asks if I self-isolate I wonder
how much she hears between lines
of illegible scribble. She calls me by my legal name
and invites me back
as if I’m coming for tea
instead of a quiet room to cry.

I tell her I’ll see her in a week.

By Katie Rendon Kahn

Biography:

Katie Rendon Kahn lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where she chases adventure and poetry prompts with her children. Kahn and her 11 year old daughter turned a poem about places they wanted to see into a children’s book series called “World Adventures. But that hasn’t stopped her from continuing to write about the grown up stuff.

The Poet Says She’s Going To Examine Her Life, But Still Doesn’t By Ari Eastman

The Poet Says She’s Going To Examine Her Life, But Still Doesn’t

So the poet is trying to explain her relationship pattern for a poem.

Because, apparently, that’s all she does.
Doesn’t think of taking it to her therapist.
Actually, hasn’t seen a therapist in years.
Still takes Zoloft though.
Still tracks her manic,
her depressive.

So the poet is trying to tell her sabotage outside of the work.

She obsesses over the cute guy who works at the restaurant down the street.
Makes jokes about the life they’d have together,
imagines kissing the sleep from his eyelashes.
Decides to sit in his eye line while he works.
She watches as the illusion is shattered,
as he approaches and asks for her number,
becomes a tangible thing.
Everyone she knows is celebrating.
What an achievement, the boy she has talked about
ad nauseam wants to take her to the dog park, to get breakfast.
He’ll cook! He loves to cook!

So the poet dodges his texts, makes excuses.

She’s moving. And something about an ex she isn’t even in love with.

So the poet isn’t sure why she screws her own happiness.

So the poet is trying to figure out if she does this for the art
or because she’s afraid of being anything else.
Life imitates art.

So the poet does too.

By Ari Eastman

Biography:

Ari Eastman is a spoken word poet, writer, and YouTuber who will tell you random facts about sharks (if you’re into that kind of thing). She is also the author of two collections of poetry. She strongly believes in balancing the feels and the funnies. And is always down to split a cup of frozen yogurt. Just don’t make fun of her for still liking gummy bears. Her poem is titled: It’s Not My Fault If It Lives Inside Of Me

LEARNING TO SWIM HALF-ASLEEP By Ana Carrizo

LEARNING TO SWIM HALF-ASLEEP

You are learning to swim half-asleep in a
trembling house.
Parents give their children hand-me-down ache
like holding onto baby teeth.
This, history of raw & howling is not dead,
neither are you.

By Ana Carrizo

Biography:

Ana Carrizo is a 25-year-old writer living in Texas. Her works are a personal way of healing and learning to grow. She loves carrying orange peels in her pockets and buying used poetry books. You can read more of her poetry on tumblr (@elvedon).

Selfish By Samantha Brynn

Selfish

When the monsters called for me it was not by my name
but that does not matter to monsters like these.

We like you best when you’re shaking, they said. We
like you best when you feel like your head is on fire.

They said: We don’t want to know because we already
know. Don’t ask how just shut the fuck up and listen.

You can’t fight monsters like these. They crave your
burning blood they eat your angry your hateful your selfish.

They consume every part of you that you have tried
to learn to love and they leave you with the rest.

Please stop, I said. Please won’t you stop? But monsters
like these don’t understand question marks or the word please.

Monsters like these tell you to sign your name on the
dotted line and swallow it. They spit out your name

so it is something ugly now, so it is unrecognizable.
So if you say: I know I am made of precious stuff,

they will say: Nothing is precious you are a pinpoint
in history and even less on your better days.

When the monsters came to take me away it was not by my hand
but by my neck and when I looked into their eyes I saw myself.

By Samantha Brynn

Biography:

Always too soft and always looking for a fight, Samantha Brynn is a sarcastic New Yorker who cares too much about people she thinks she knows. She likes pretending to be other people on stages and in general. She is not the monster under your bed. She is not a black cat at your door. She is not a ghost, but a person. Honestly.

 

Distance By Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Distance

You should call your mother; she has become more prayerful with age and your absence make her bones ache. You tell me how the sky is no different in America, still blue on some days, still grey on so many days and you say, “there is no snow in Los Angeles” as you tell me quietly how life has become too difficult. Your emails come scantily written and I read it slowly in the Internet café. I burn candles every night for your soul and spirit to remain intact, offering prayers to Chukwu as the candles burn softly, but you must call your mother. She needs to hear your voice, last week; I saw her kneeling alone in the church weeping.

The rain has come again, the road to her home is filled with potholes and water, the lines in the petrol station is long and everything is hard. Everyone around us is trying not to sink. You told me in your last email how you have had to scrap to send her money, every month, you send her enough to keep her body intact with her soul. You are a good child – she knows that.

I know America is difficult, I know you do not want to tell her how you sent me an email, telling me you cannot mourn the dead here, how your two jobs keep your rent paid; that school is almost over and you cannot wait to get your degree. I know I know you do not want to speak of these things to your mother. Still, she needs to hear your voice.
She needs to feel you’re alive in her bones.
Obiageli, I will tell her to expect your call.

Your father’s funeral went well.

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.

Real Heroes By Tommy Conley

Real Heroes 

six bowls of tiger flakes
carton empty on its side
box top dream
of a baking soda submarine
three pennies to post it
unfold bubble gum fortunes
hear confessions through the milk box
for a friend

the cereal
tastes like cardboard
a 37 cent stamp
mails out the bills
bazooka joe is stale and hard
bad pictures of lost kids
look to me
as i pour the milk

where are
skipper sam
captain kangaroo

By Tommy Conley

Biography:

Tommy Conley started writing at age 46. In the third week of his first workshop, the other writers were betting he would never write anything but he did: poetry—the form of writing he disliked most. Tommy thought his poems would be romantic and humorous. He has been thankfully writing “in the dark” ever since. When he’s not writing, he’s restoring British motorcycles.

YOUTH By Esther Liv

YOUTH

a molotov cocktail and a moonlanding that never
really happened. we were never really there. it
was a trick / a stunt / an illusion. the us govt as
a magician and us too busy killing each other
to notice. a burning car and a body on fire.
we could play ludo in the fluorescent lights of
the city or get drunk in the gutter. you know
what i’d rather. NEVER HAVE I EVER as loss
of innocence. 7 minutes in heaven as the
closest we’ll ever get to god. spin the bottle
or throw it, your choice. a pack of matches and
millions of ancient bees. end your life by
crucifixion, make it matter. dark matter and
dust in your eyes. coathanger abortion in a
7-11 toilet and a hot chocolate on the way out.

Biography:

esther liv is a 19 year old lesbian from denmark desperately in love with the moon. down with capitalism and capital letters, up with slam and ice cream. she has works forthcoming in words dance and transcending shadows review.