Charlie By John Stupp

Charlie 

I was in great shape
but couldn’t keep up with Charlie
no one could
he chased after work
tackled it picked it up carried it
drove it kicked it cut it swept it drilled it
and fought it
and when he finished
work looked like Carmen Basilio
after Sugar Ray Robinson cut his eye
in Chicago 1958
just a bloody dirty mess—
the rest of us were nothing
the foundry ran because Charlie made it run
and Ford engines were made because Charlie made them
he was like a novel no one wants to read
because the effort to get there is so great
like chasing rats on a forklift
for love

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.

Harvesting Blackberries by the Bay By Katie Rendon Kahn

Harvesting Blackberries by the Bay

I saw him just two days before he died.
We waded out into Choctawhatchee Bay,
sifting the sand with butterfly nets.
We abandoned the blue crab we caught
for dock hopping, then ditched the docks
for wild blackberry picking.

I rode home on his handlebars, laughing,
sucking the last drops of sweetness
from the berries. Next year, I told myself,
I’d be in middle school, with him.

I heard about his death
in my reading class, details whispered
behind pages of Charlotte’s Web.
He had abandoned blackberry picking
for a dime bag of weed,

dropped the weed when the bat
met his skull, sifted for an escape plan
in the sand, gasped for air underwater
when the plan failed.

Some kids who grew up in barren winters,
never tasting the sweetness
of blackberries, beat him into to bay,
where he was found floating,
suspended like childhood
above the blue crabs, under the docks.

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.

ANTE By Oscar Mancinas

ANTE

from a bag stolen
from the circle K on the corner
pour out the black masses
and light them ablaze
to cook the red meat
to an appetizing brown

make them touch
sparingly
through iron bars
cut and prod
and skewer and burn
to prevent
rhythm
to prevent
fighting

crack ‘em open
pour out a little

lose it all
from lives to deaths
put faith into money
sink to new depths

as embers fade
keep memories close
like charred remains

remember daylight
don’t die forever

run it back

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

I Witness Alice Break the Silence By Samantha Brynn

I Witness Alice Break the Silence

Alice says her story is too personal to say out loud in a quiet place.
I tell her okay, then ask if I can hold her for a minute. She says yes.
(She lowers her arms after thirty seconds.)

Alice knows, intimately, how to embrace the quiet.

Alice spends her nights praying for words, for phrases,
for sentences that mean exactly what she needs them to mean,
but she comes up empty every time.

Silence is a function of perpetual growth , she tells me.
This is what her mother has taught so well.

I want to tell her: Your silence has no home here .
I want to tell her: Here your words are safe.

Alice whispers her heartache and I reach for her again.

She answers my thoughts.
Alice says: Silence has been my home for so long.

She is shouting now:
I WANT TO LIVE SOMEWHERE NEW.

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.

Indiana Summer By Margaret Schnabel

Indiana Summer

we are born knee-deep in soybean fields
the afternoon air thick with blackberries

i am skinned knees and shaky legs on a bicycle
at what point does the ink bend to form a name?

at what point does the name bend to form a girl?

the bending comes easy now. heads of cornstalks
bow to brighter, colder days and bleached bones

a boy says he loves me around a maple tree
and i swallow the bark. this is the first time.

this is not the last time. shaky legs give way to
shaky hands and bad action movies in velvet

i find myself wishing i was a sparrow’s silhouette
and spill my name to the stars every other night

at what point does the girl bend to form a moon?

today, every moment of my body strains to leave
with the setting sun, with the birds sweeping south

but i drown in sun-hardened land on all sides
and bruise blackberry, never good at picking locks.

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.

 

Missing By Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Missing

Home is expecting you, I am worried you will arrive a half broken verse of a youth; with a heart whose beat will never understand her mother. I worry. I check the news daily, bodies have not been found, the girl jumped out of the moving truck, they said she jumped on her belly, the baby died, her only way to kill the being inside her she hated. She was a classmate of yours.I watch her mother attend to her bleeding, she remembers you but her eyes tell the reporter to ask no further questions.

We wonder where to begin. The neighbors have been taking turns to check on your mother. Yesterday, the soldiers came with a piece of wrapper for mama Hadiza; she has not left her house. It was my turn last night to check on your mother and I found her holding the face of mama Hadiza, offering her a piece of her hope. You are missing, dead to some. Hadiza died when the covered woman blew herself up.

We wonder now. We wonder when home will bring you to us. We pray each day, your name uttered again and again. “She’ll return, my daughter will find her way back to her mother” I hear your mother say, her face lights up at the mention of your name. Home has let the blood between her thighs become a river. Your father has become a body of sad smiles, and buried happiness.

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.

HOUSE HALF FULL By Amelie Daigle

HOUSE HALF FULL

when you tell it
you must begin by saying
where you were not.

you were not in your house when the water came up.
you do not remember the stench of swamp and garbage
as it poured in.
you did not see it climbing up the stairs
and wonder how far it would rise.

you did not see your mother
pull on rainboots and wade downstairs
to rescue food and water and a toolbox from the first floor

you did not go out on the balcony with your family
and lie in the heat with your tongues hanging out
till your skin turned lobster red and no water was enough

the man in the helicopter
did not tell you to leave your dog behind.
that was not you.

when you tell it
say that you were not in the superdome
without enough food or water
and the cell tower out of commission
and no way to tell your family you were safe.

say: where i went, people were kind.
they did not whisper “go home.”
There were no gangs. there were no fights.

tell them your father still had his job.
tell them your family had money
and a place to live.

when they ask you
say: only the first floor.

it could have been worse.
it could have been so much worse.

By Amelie Daigle

Biography:

I am a PhD student at Boston College, where I study and teach English literature. My creative work has been published by Niteblade, The Fabulist, The Future Fire, The Colored Lens, and others. More of my work may be found at ameliedaigle.com.

The End of Lilith By Helen Victoria Murray

The End of Lilith

My night begins with dark eye shadow     /     thick as the curtains we hung in the

blackout

they like when I lay it on heavy     /     so no light shines out

contradicting my unholy halo     /        my halogen streetlamp

I’m slow, nowadays       /      and my joints stick together

– too many years rattled by concrete and cobblestone –

 

so

 

I will loosen my hair

I will stand on my lonely street corner       /            a species of nightlife endangered:

The Last of the Women with Talons for Toes

that’s how every girl knows me by sight

 

at the end of the day    /              as they fumble their bus money

shuffle their feet           /                   and remember their fathers

the first ones who said ‘come away’            /           and ‘don’t look’

as they pulled a grotesquerie out of their trousers              /             to pay me aside

 

I’m your five thousand year old child bride.

 

I have been syphilitic in Paris and London       /             and cheered in the streets of the royal
wedding
I’ve been trapped in the gilt frame of all the great painters

 

Acclaimed on the Stage           /                       Photographed in the Gutter

reclaimed by old women with library eyes

 

– but none of their words can match my stride –

 

I have crossed every continent              /             a hundred times over

seen the stripes mark the bent backs of lovers who erred

sung to children the songs           /              gone unheard by their mothers

as they preached in the temples             /      and chatrooms         /                 of turning away

Saw my name on the wall grow as faint        /            as the trail seeping out of the cut girls
when God!

I should have been their patron saint.

 

But this

is how

it ends

 

in the hospital waiting room

 

where they will strip me

and shear me

and drip me

bandage my wounds up, but burn all my clothes

 

till before your mahogany desk I stand

with my head bare, in my pale blue shift

for you to tell me

 

I

do not

exist

By Helen Victoria Murray

Biography:

Helen Victoria Murray is a writer and student of English Literature, living and working in Glasgow. Helen’s writing has been featured by The Scottish Book Trust, the literary journal Bohemyth and Glaswegian zines including Aloud Magazine and Fail Better. She is a regular contributor and illustrator for qmunicate magazine. Contact her on Twitter @HelenVMurray for more information about her work.

A REVELATION By Esther Liv

A REVELATION

god guides my hand when i put
masking tape over my webcam.
i am being watched / everywhere.
and i know it’s in my head / but
what if it’s not? shut up! i don’t
want to think about it, i don’t want
to exist. not right now. jesus tells
me to delete my social media
accounts / and disappear, for a
couple of days. i say all right.
mary magdalene tells me to hurt.
you look so pretty when you’re
bleeding. i say: all right. okay. i
got this. she guides my hand &
picks up the razor / the scissor /
the largest kitchen knife. she says:
push. she says: harder, little girl.
this is a bad porn. this is a toxic
orgy. i don’t know how to leave
i don’t know how to say no. i
was never taught how to. jesus
taught me yes. taught me love.
taught me forgiveness for your
sins. i know it hurts / but it’s for
your own good. harder. push,
harder. rip the skin around your
nails off. rip the skin on your lips
off. rip your limbs off. claw, honey.
god says: hurt for me. jesus says:
forgive / them. mary magdalene
says: bleed. eve enters my life,
covered in blood, she spits out:
destroy them, honey. she spits
out: to fucking hell & back, honey.
she pushes me against a wall
& sticks her tongue in my mouth
& she says fuck shit up, honey.
destroy the whole damn world.

By Esther Liv

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.

Eve Is Adam Is Eve By Noah Mendez

Eve Is Adam Is Eve

Eve’s body opens its eyes wide to look surprised
or thrown off guard,
whichever will sound lustier later.
It is asked why it is scared and
the mouth does not speak the truth,
the eyes close because
body knows it is not made for staring.
Only made to be stared at.
Appraised and given off to the highest bidder.

Eve’s body is owned, once, twice, three times.

One: body is all flat with baby fat ready to mold for future use

Two: body is wiggly with curves and slick olive skin
body is fruity and drips wet and screams

Three: body is sandpapering itself to be less
soft and less edged at the same time,
to be something in between

Eve’s body walks itself into a barber shop and says
i have a case of mistaken identity
and grabs five razors.
Eve’s body shaves all its hair off,
Eve’s body is in front of a mirror and cannot find Eve.
Eve’s body renames itself Adam.

Adam is no longer Eve, no longer body,
although he exists in the same
realm as them both.
He is just a man, with eyes open wide.

By Noah Mendez

Biography:

Noah Mendez is trying to find himself in the words that spill onto paper and hopes you will join him in this endeavor.