Let Us Pray By Khalypso

Let Us Pray 

let us pray
that someday
we
black
brown
unfortunate
will find a God
so unlike white Jesus
it will actually see the
value
in our clasped hands

let us pray
that
white Jesus does not become
jealous
sew our clasped hands
to the cement
and make us mop with our
dry tongues
the blood that our sons spill
Our costume hands too worn
to catch them
adorn them
touch them

let us pray
let us rejoice
in the holy that is
New God
The one that don’t
see no harm in putting
her
knitting down for a few seconds
and kicking the white people
Off
the colored playground
the one they didn’t even like
until
they saw the woodchips soaking up our
tears and
the swings working just fine
for our purposes

let us pray
that Miles Davis and
Duke Ellington stay
Ours
after the custody battle
Lord
Our God
Divine Mother
birth us anew
and please
press us to your skin
After

we
Black
Brown
unfortunate
will die
without it

By Khalypso

Biography:

Khalypso is a 17 year old poet and actress born in Berkeley, CA and currently residing in Elk Grove, attending Franklin High School. Ms Osborne has been writing poetry since she was in the second grade and is currently beginning her first year of submitting her works to different literary journals, reviews, and anthologies.

Her work centers primarily around charting the existence of being a black woman living in America, although topics such as mental health, queerness, and coming-of-age have been known to Charleston themselves from her fingertips, transitioning into a frenzy of Historical references, extended metaphors, homages to soul food, and jazz connoisseurship, duels between religion and logic, onto her notebook pages, ending in a pirouette of humanity.

The Gutter Saints By Ian C. Williams

The Gutter Saints

I’m afraid I can’t reach him
before lips part and eyes glaze over.
Stay alive just a minute more.

The shelter, the hostel, the usual
vacant alleys just as vacant in the shadow—
I’m afraid I can’t reach him.

Time drips past me like the gutter’s runoff—
the bridge, the riverside, the benches in the park.
Stay alive just a minute more.

Another child, eyes sunken in, gestures,
indicates abandoned apartments.
I’m afraid I can’t reach him.

Calling the ambulance, running
flights of shallow stairs—
stay alive just a minute more.

Pounding on the door, locked and bolted,
the sirens’ wail approaches, but
I’m afraid I can’t reach him.
Stay alive just a minute more.

By Ian C. Williams

Biography:

Ian C. Williams is an MFA student at Oklahoma State University. He has received the Florence Kahn Memorial Award from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies for his chapbook, House of Bones, and his poems have appeared in Blue Earth Review, The Altar Collective, The Appalachian Review, and Arsenic Lobster, among others. He lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with his wife, Bailey, along with their dog, two cats, and chameleon.

Blood on the unpillowed cases By Juliet Cook

Blood on the unpillowed cases

These lightning bolts shiver to the core,
shimmy in the gore,  you want to see
what happens if you get me down on the floor.

I didn’t say the moon was warm.
I said it was a worm
working its way out of me.

Occasionally I think maybe
the delusional sparks of me
have outweighed the good.

My fireworks are not even in control
of the red blood cells turning
into glowing alien space ships

dripping down.  An onslaught
of tiny strobe lights, of red snow
hitting my windshield.

Three dead birds on the top of my head
had wanted to fly inside my brain,
but never made it past the cracked hat.

The best I can do is drip in different directions.

By Juliet Cook

Biography:

Juliet Cook’s poetry has appeared in a small multitude of magazines, including Arsenic Lobster, DIAGRAM, Diode, FLAPPERHOUSE, Menacing Hedge and Reality Beach. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks, recently including POISONOUS BEAUTYSKULL LOLLIPOP (Grey Book Press, 2013), RED DEMOLITION (Shirt Pocket Press, 2014), a collaboration with Robert Cole called MUTANT NEURON CODEX SWARM (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015), and a collaboration with j/j hastain called Dive Back Down (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), with two more forthcoming. Cook’s first full-length individual poetry book, “Horrific Confection”, was published by BlazeVOX and her second full-length individual poetry book, “Malformed Confetti” is forthcoming from Crisis Chronicles Press. Her most recent full-length poetry book, “A Red Witch, Every Which Way”, is a collaboration with j/j hastain, published by Hysterical Books in August 2016. Find out more at www.JulietCook.weebly.com.

She Walks Into The Party Naked By Emma Bleker

She Walks Into The Party Naked

No one finishes the joke.
It is left to hang like a tooth pulled
too early. The tendon still reaches
for its root. The root still asks where
home is.

In this way, we are left to swell
like a balloon under water, like
something that is pressure from every direction, like
trying not to look up too suddenly
for fear of
bursting. I speak like this,
an unfinished joke.
I speak like this, its intended punch-line.

Here is my punch line:
I am woven shut.
It is not quiet to show you how
I stop from becoming the bone
of what was done to me.

“She walks into the party naked,”
and she is burned alive,
and she is laid out for the party goers to eat,
and she is only meat
and boys are taught to clean the bones
or they have not eaten the animal
like a man.

“She walks into the party naked”
and we bury the punch line
inside the ready flesh of our
skinned throats.
We bury me.
We bury us,
under promises of becoming the shell
that homes the ideal mouth,

the one that can laugh, empty,
at her own gutting.

By Emma Bleker

Biography:

Emma Bleker is a 21 year old writer currently working for her English degree in Virginia. She has previously been published, or is forthcoming in Electric Cereal, Persephone’s Daughters, Skylark Review, Rising Phoenix Press, and Cahoodaloodaling, among others. She probably wants to be your friend.

This is not love By Larissa Mota

This is not love

Was that supposed to be romantic?
Sleeping beauty and Leto and that girl on the news
unaware of the danger that comes in the wind,
that lays down to steal a kiss and takes away
a mouthful of flesh, instead.

Terror opening eyes, forcing breathes past
trembling lips, in the same old narrative
of desire as instinct as an excuse for all hurt:
the realization of a trust misplaced
that will slither into their dreams at night
and play the same scene again and again.

It is the chemical scent of a hospital E.R.
that might as well be a darkroom, burning
the image onto the back of their minds,
red-hot and inescapable and just another
lesson that history books skip over,
because victims are survivors are not
the ones taking ink to write victory.

They have hold pleas between their teeth,
made a cage from the shame inside themselves,
shaped their denial into a safe place,
because where else could they find
both protection and penitence if not inside
the body that is still theirs, is spite of it all?

My dear, the dizziness from that drink
is not the magic of love at first sight.
Fairy tales may talk of hope, but they are also
about the monsters that live among us.

By Larissa Mota

Biography:

Larissa Mota is a Brazilian writer with an interest in international affairs, feminism and foreign languages. Her work has been previously featured in Words Dance Magazine, Bottlecap Press and The Rising Phoenix Review, and she is currently working on her debut poetry book. She can be reached at her personal blog:http://hestialied.tumblr.com/.

Sea Grass By Charles Kell

Sea Grass

A jagged, wind-swept stone
gathered, placed to rest
on the wooden deck, not

consolation, not release
from the thought of suffering,
only a brief change of place.

As if the pain felt was a wave
meant to be crested—yet this thought
works neither to deal with

or receive secondary closure.
You once whispered cenotaph
to me. Out walking the wet grass

sticking to our bare feet. The ocean,
unlike any water we had ever seen,
we who have seen so little. You said

it was growing dark yet it wasn’t.
You said what has passed never
really passes. This thought—fulcrum-

like—liar’s poker we both believe.
An embrace without touching.
Not of mind or feeling, but stillness,
as water hits a rock, then silence.

By Charles Kell

Biography:

Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. His poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, floor_plan_journal, The Manhattanville Review, and elsewhere. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Supersymmetry By Demi Richardson

Supersymmetry

you – linger,
you – misguided violence,
reluctance,

you –
convoluted
crux

you – first heartbreak that shatters
your spinal column,
keeps you in bed for weeks and
cuts your hair, Samson

you – same heartbreak,
first lover that punctured you
right open

you – blue eyed, breathless, charmer
you – i need to give you up
you – don’t ask me to do
something i can’t

my fade – my
am i fading
completely?

my – run away, my –
nonchalance

related, i promise –

the only one i know
how to surrender to
is God.

By Demi Richardson

Biography:

Demi Richardson studies writing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she currently serves as Editor in Chief of the New Growth Arts Review.  She digs long words, and is an expert at losing all of her Monopoly money.

Homeless By Gary Beck

Homeless

I served my country,
two years in Iraq,
four in Afghanistan.
Then I came home
to a foreign land
where I didn’t fit in.
I had lots of problems
from years of fear and tension
expecting ambushes,
roadside bombs,
allies turning on us.
Yes I was disturbed.
They glibly call it
post traumatic stress disorder.
That doesn’t make it better
to know it has a name.
I went to the V.A. Hospital.
They didn’t seem to care.
They gave me an appointment
to see a doctor in nine months.
I told them my headaches
were getting worse,
but the indifferent nurse
wouldn’t give me anything.
I can’t go home.
My family doesn’t want me.
I went to a shelter one night.
It was more dangerous
then sleeping on cardboard
on the sidewalk.
I don’t know what I’ll do.
Part of me just hopes
I won’t flip out
and hurt someone.

By Gary Beck

Biography:

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays (Winter Goose Publishing). Fault Lines, Perceptions, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press) and Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing). Call to Valor will be published by Gnome on Pigs Productions and Acts of Defiance will be published by Dreaming Big Publications. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

Resistance By Noriko Nakada

Resistance

My resistance used to smack
you right in the face
demanding to be considered
demanding to be heard.
It won me few fans and even
fewer converts.

But now resistance
is more subversive
is sometimes silent
in the way I teach my classes to think
rather than to bubble
the correct multiple choice answer.

Instead of resisting by sitting
on a steaming street before a district high rise
it is the way we discuss literature
and ask questions that relate to
our current world and
our place within it.

My resistance is in the choices
I give my daughter
about the clothes she wears
or the books we read at night
and letting her be her own girl
because that is feminism.

It is in my decision to read
women and people of color
to boycott certain brands
to acknowledge all of my privilege
and attempt to do right
with my fresh water, education, and free time.

It is a poem written in clean clothes
in a home with electricity and central air
in the wealthiest of countries
in the language of power
about all the ways
I’m privileged to resist.

By Noriko Nakada

Biography:

Noriko Nakada writes, blogs, tweets, parents, and teaches middle school in Los Angeles where she grinds out creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. She has two book length memoirs available and has been published in Specter Magazine, Hippocampus Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times.

Letter To The Mist By Archita Mittra

Letter To The Mist

Dear Gandhi,

Last summer,
on a sleepless feverish afternoon,
I read of a woman in Israel,
Black-robed and stone-faced
Hanged
For killing her rapist.

In winter,
I was studying for an exam
When somewhere in Pakistan
School children
Were shot by the Enemy
To spite the army.

That same winter,
I planted white roses
As chilled to the bone,
Paris bled
For her murdered magazine.

I stopped counting the death toll long ago.
I dream of red snow.

Gandhi,
If your blood is as red as ours,
Shall you come back, once again
To preach
The meaning of ahimsa,
Right now?

Or is our blood
Already too black and vile
For your white untainted heart?
(If we are finally the untouchables
Shall you not lead the way
To your humble ashram
And teach us to spin yarn
From our sins? )

When exactly,
Did the trials of Harishchandra end?

Meanwhile,
Tell me.
Do the roses in heaven still bloom,
Watered by your tears?

Yours truly,
A truth-seeker from the shadows
Chained to her fears

By Archita Mittra

This poem won the first prize in the “Inspired By Gandhi” international writing competition 2015 by Sampad and British Council and was published in a commemorative anthology.

Biography:

Archita Mittra is a wordsmith and visual artist with a love for all things vintage and darkly fantastical. She occasionally practices as a tarot card reader. Twitter: https://twitter.com/archita_mittra Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/camelot_queen1996/ Website: https://thepolyphonicphoenix.wordpress.com/