This is what the sun sounds like By Kaylee Jeong

This is what the sun sounds like

when it believes it will never die. How we think

the moon will never fall back around. How we ease
time between us like a glove off Orion’s hand. Look–

even a black hole seems two stars they can’t match to a god.
The first time I heard a quasar was to hear the clock counting heartbeats

and then why did you count them on your skin?
Two girls trying to know each other by the joining of their hands sounds

like something they will never know through telescopes;
there is so much hollow in the way our fingers touch. And here,

the streak across the stars that we thought had all the answers. We asked it
to be our miracle, heard it breathing. I didn’t know

that was the wish you never got. And there,
we found it: the place where they theorized the universe was lonely

because it was your voice that wandered off the walls. That is what
they call comet. The way the horizon whispers

when we have half-closed ourselves to sleep. The way I went
to my knees two days later when I heard the world fall,

two light years past this place I am hearing it unfold by your fingers.
I swear somewhere these voices know you by name. I swear

I hear you searching. I swear I hear your heart in radio waves.

By Kaylee Jeong

Biography:

Kaylee Jeong is a high school student from Oregon who’s still trying to know her way with words.

Going Home Again By David Palmer

Going Home Again

In my memory, everything is wild.
Even our trailer, single wide, nestled in the trees and
palmettos, was difficult to see from the dirt road.

I remember running full tilt, bounding from
fallen trees to rotted fence to the only rock
in the back yard, all granite, all forest, all wild.
I once almost fell into Snake River.

It’s all gone, all gone.

The fence is new, red posts strung with
electric wire, to keep the expensive horses from
running wild.

The trees have fallen, logs have eroded,
none could hold my bulk. Snake River shrank,
Snake Ditch sounds so much less.
In my memory, everything is wild,

but

It’s all gone, all gone.

By David Palmer

Biography:

David Ryan Palmer is a thirty-three-year-old undergrad at McNeese State University. He is surrounded by wonderful writers and is lucky enough to be engaged to one. He hopes to continue into MFA-land and teaching one day.

Cole Street Salvage By Alex Moyenne

Cole Street Salvage

Of yesterday evening,
bathing my boy but thinking of our Brett
drowning that afternoon.
Don’t ask me what I’m thinking
when I’m quiet like this.
When you’re self-employed
you don’t really have a job to lose,
you just watch the work dry up
and play chicken with the bills
until the hope has dried up too.
But it’s not so bad here at the scrap yard
smashing up dead cars like they’re toys.
My mate Lee hooked me up with the job.
Yesterday Lee told me I get the next
phone or watch or whatever they find
in one of the cars that wind up here.
I know it’s his turn really,
that he’s just trying to help me out.
It’s not just cars here either,
last week Spencer went home
with a £1500 SMEG fridge freezer
with hardly a mark on it.
And just this morning I had a big
old rusty anchor on the magnet.
I set it aside gently like a wounded bird.
When Gary asked why, I said I dunno,
I know it’s just junk like everything else.
I guess the lads I used to work with
knew me well enough not to ask,
that or they just didn’t give a shit.
Of Brett down there rusting,
wondering if they took him to be the
anchor that holds the seas to the earth.
Don’t ask me what I’m thinking
when I’m quiet like this.

By Alex Moyenne

Biography:

I’m a British poet and window fitter from Liverpool, now living and working in London. I’ve recently taken to signing the bottom right-hand corner of every window I fit, so now I can claim the entire world as my work.

An Ode to the Bloody Panties, an Ode to the Bravery By Elijah Noble El

An Ode to the Bloody Panties, an Ode to the Bravery

I’d like to make a toast.
This is for all the times you’ve ever felt worthless,
for all the times you’ve felt like a disappointment. This is
for all the times you’ve shed tears, thinking
you’d never make your father proud, feeling like
he hates you because you’re a girl,
too loud, too alive.
This is for being ten and coming to your father in tears
and bloody panties, asking if he hates you even more now.
This is for you overcoming all of that.

Sitting in the bathtub, a razor limp in her hand,
a push too deep, a mistake, and the blood drains down her thigh.
She can hear him in the other room,
telling the woman he’s hated for twenty something years
how much he hates his daughter even more, how
her clothes are too tight,
how she’s thinking for herself a lot lately and he doesn’t like that.

The boys of the house are fucking strangers and drinking tonight, somewhere,
somewhere. The girls are in a dark room because the lights are
always too bright. The room is silent because the laughter makes
him uncomfortable. There’s light in this darkness. When the man’s man
sleeps, when he sleeps, mother escapes into her daughters’ room.
The music is quiet but it’s enough. They giggle and dance,
smiling, holding hands, the only dancing in darkness I’ve ever known
to lead to light. When mother goes back to bed, the littlest one
locks the door behind her.

This is for loving a boy. This is for keeping secrets.
Her hand always shakes when it holds his, but he understands,
and she laughs when he tells her that he’s scared for her, that
he’s more afraid than she is. She caresses his face. Then a kiss.
All a kiss.
He talks endlessly about running away.
He talks about a better future. But he knows.
He knows she’s never been one to run from anything, and she reminds
him of this again. Hands tighten. Kisses deepen. She tells him
that all he can do is stay close to her, stay by her side
through all of this, and he promises he will.

Dinner, and her father drives home the same threat again,
if he finds out she or any of the girls are having sex, he’ll kill them,
he’ll ship them off. That night,
on the phone, the boy she loves,
the boy who loves her back can tell something’s wrong.

It’s buried in all the silence. It’s the dimming of the lights.
He tells her to stay strong. He does all he can to be another light.
That night, when the creature sleeps, when he sleeps, the mother
escapes into her daughters’ room. She tells her daughter that the
creature’s afraid of her having too much love, too much heart.
She takes a tube of lipstick and drags it across her finger like a knife,
marking it across her daughter’s cheeks, red, blood, war paint.

She lies with her boyfriend under the stars, hands intertwined,
fears intertwined, hope intertwined. He holds her close. He cries.
They look up at the moon. He talks about running there.
He asks if it’s possible. She says she doesn’t know. She says running
away won’t help her. This war will follow her wherever she goes.
She says she has to stay. She has to continue and continue to overcome.
Hands, tears. They look up at the moon.

This is for you. This is a toast to all the blood and all the noise.
Let us raise our glasses. Let us drink. Let us look up at the moon,
but let us stay. Let us do all we can. Let the war paint seep into the skin.
This is for having a voice when the world calls for silence.
This is for overcoming all of that. This is for having too much heart.

By Elijah Noble El

Biography:

Elijah Noble El is a 21 year old actor and writer from Livonia, Michigan. The author of The Age of Recovery (2015), a debut full length poetry book. He is the co-founder of Girls Don’t Cry, the film division of the literary magazine Persephone’s Daughters, a magazine aimed at empowering women who have experienced various forms of abuse and degradation. In 2013 his short story, “Oblivion,” received the Award of Excellence in Literature from the Michigan PTSA Reflections. He co-wrote the play Off with Her Head (2013) which won the 2014 Lansing State Journal Thespie Awards “Special Award.” He also wrote the short film, Dog-Faced Honey (2016), which was nominated for Best Writing from the Top Indie Film Awards. His work has been featured in Straylight Magazine, Hooligan Magazine, Persephone’s Daughters, Exist Magazine, Soul Anatomy, The Odyssey, Eastern Michigan University’s Inkstains Anthology, and in Stevenson Spectrum.

Love Under Occupation By mpn

Love Under Occupation

We wished we could dance on the rooftop of the mosque
climb the minarets and kiss in midair
suspended in green light
over the city.
In our hearts we did just that.
Danced a dabke with our souls united,
a dance for the dead
(like the thousands of lives extinguished in the Nakba)
for the suffering
(like the children in Gaza who will forever associate rain with bombs)
for the hopeless
(like those who sit quietly in defeat saying we have lost)
and for the ’48 lands and Jerusalem,
severed and fading.
A dance broadcasting our message:
we will survive

But in the end, we did it for ourselves.
Two minds
(minds of desire)
two bodies
(culture can’t restrict nature)
one shared experience
(we are human)

In that moment there was no past or future
and we were
free.


By mpn

Biography:

mpn is currently an undergraduate English Studies major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She currently lives and works in Ramallah, Palestine.

where is your anxiety? By Odelia Fried

where is your anxiety?

where is your anxiety?

she once asked me that, my best friend,
and i was caught off-guard, my

castle guards were taking a nice smoke break
when she asked and weren’t even
manning their positions, so i
shrugged and said i didn’t know

let me answer now:

the waves come washing into my
gut, sour and salty, sloshing along the
walls of my stomach, making me never
want to see the ocean ever again

the spiders skitter over my ribs,
behind my chest, poking spindly legs
at my heart, making me want to claw
it out myself to keep it safe

it glows sickly and black in my forehead,
pulsing and throbbing like a migraine,
telling me to check my alarm clock over and over and over and over,
telling me i need to tap the wall again and again and again and again

it resides in the creakiness of my joints
it lives in my scars
it is tangled in the blood in my veins
it is burrowed inside my bones

By Odelia Fried

Biography:

Odelia Fried is a student, poet, and actor based in NYC. Her work can be found in The Fem, Cleaver Magazine, Melancholy Hyperbole as well as other literary magazines. Her passions include gender identity, Judaism, adolescence, and the intersections of the three.

About Your Voicemail By Ramna Safeer

About Your Voicemail

Listen, I know you’re sorry.
But there is a sheet of fruit flies in my sink.
My library card is 20 bucks under.
My hangnails bleed onto the margins
of all my journals and you. You’re
not allowed to look over your shoulder
and be sorry for yesterday’s broken. On my mantel
is a parking ticket wadded to hold my gum and
a scribble on the back in pink gel pen.
It reads: wash the whites. Trash the soiled milk.
Take care. Take care.
I know you’re sorry but my body is messy
and the layers of dust are thickening
and the sleeps are thin as fog
right now, with or without
your apology.

By Ramna Safeer

Biography:

Ramna Safeer is a pre-Law English Lit student. She is a writer, blogger, researcher, activist and perpetual coffee-spiller. Her poetry has been previously published in The ASUS Undergraduate Review, Atwood Mag and Words-on-Pages Magazine. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, New Canadian Media and The Queen’s Journal, where she works as the Editorials Editor. She is the founder and blogger at CherishChai.com, an online space that maps her journey to recapture her Pakistani, Muslim heritage.

Transition By Jay Douglas

Transition

This wine is so dark,
you say
it’s the color of blood
we’re in your bed sipping a cheap red blend
from mason jars, eating
vanilla bean gelato, me with a warm rice
sock against my crooked spine
my only reference for blood so dark:
dissected deer, suicide attempts, and menstruation
of course

people forget
that I menstruate – that transmen
menstruate –
but I too have soiled bedsheets, stained
my favorite jeans the color of rust
and the doctor says with testosterone
the “issue” will vanish
monthly injections
will “solve” this discomfort
along with my fertility
but I have always wanted
to carry

a child
in my accidental womb
know what it’s like to grow a person
in a person, a human
in a human, my body
a Russian Doll
feeling a foreign kick from the inside:
alien, strange
as the Weird Science genre I read in third grade

the paperback Choose Your Own Adventure
novels with their labyrinthian, dog-eared pages
checked out from the library for the first time
since 1984

in them I could be
a boy fighting hordes of undead or a girl
astronaut exploring distant moons
I had to figure out
how to survive the book

pick the correct page combination
find the happy ending

To exit the spacecraft
turn to page 63…

But what if there is no exit?
Maybe I’ve tipped my mason jar
and spilled red wine
on page 63
maybe page 63 is bleeding
maybe
I’m stuck in the spacecraft and the engine
is on fire
or maybe
I’m stuck in me
and all I can do as a person trapped
inside another person is to continue, frantically,
with silent screams
to kick.

By Jay Douglas

Biography:

Jay Douglas is an undergraduate senior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania pursuing degrees in Religious Studies and English. When not frantically scribbling poetry, Jay can be found honing Jay’s mad yo-yo and kendama skills, reading queer theory, or listening to music far too loud (or, occasionally, attempting to do all three at once). Jay’s work is previously published in Words Dance.

Shopping Cart By Virgil Huston

Shopping Cart

Racing stripes on a shopping cart
Bicycle handle tassles taped to the ends of the bar
Red rag on protruding pole
Customized personalized individualized
Plodding steps pushing down overgrown sidewalks
Looking for a place to park and spend the night
With no thugs to steal it while you sleep
or bash your brains in for worthless trinket treasures
in 90 degree summer nights or pouring rain
or police to run you off to another jurisdiction
where you are not their problem and those with homes
pretend you do not exist so they can sleep without guilt
Those simple things that you have, the little radio with dead batteries,
the extra shirt and the Steelers license plate you got for free
In winter, you guard your blankets and coat with your sleepless life
Little things matter when you have nothing else

By Virgil Huston

Biography:

Virgil Huston is an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran and social activist who believes poetry is therapeutic and can change the world. He is old enough to have had a draft card during Vietnam and first saw the Grateful Dead in 1973. He has an eclectic food blog at http://cookingwithlittlebuddy.com that is dedicated to the dog that picked him as her human.

F4 By Nick Stanovick

F4

That night, August lost its heat
air sticky with the aroma of rain and topsoil
vortex clouds charmed a juniper green
it came hissing and I didn’t wince, not even when it plucked the Ritter’s barn
from the spongy midwestern ground
and spit its shards one hundred yards west
I learned then, the sky listens to its own gospel
a true master of conquest. I watched a column of wind
rip geography from root to limb, the scarred fields pulped
with dead cows and sheep, a crown of crows circling.

Adorn me in eagle feathers
make me an angel for that type of God.


By Nick Stanovick

Biography:

Nick Stanovick is a graduate of Temple University, an alumni of Babel Poetry Collective, and a member of Temple University’s slam team that won the 2016 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational. His poems have been featured on Button Poetry, SlamFind and in SickLit Magazine. He is a lover of freezer pizza, Law & Order SVU, and laughing.