I’d Tell You to Kiss My Ass But Then My Girlfriend Would Sue For Trespassing By Zaynab Quadri

I’d Tell You to Kiss My Ass But Then My Girlfriend Would Sue For Trespassing

you say that it’s a sin,
a goddamned sin,
for my girl lips to touch
her girl lips,
for her girl hands to roam
my girl parts,
for me to find pleasure or sexual catharsis
in anyone who dares not possess a penis.

the disease: Gay Perverted Evil Wrong.
the cure: a bath in holy water.
you tell me i just need to find The Right Man
(who may or may not be jesus).

but that’s because you don’t know
how the room smells like candy and gasoline
after she’s had her way with me,
sweat glistening like magic on her skin,
the covers warm with her heat – our shared joy.
you don’t know how her chapstick tastes,
how soft her lips are when pressed against my teeth.
you don’t know how she laughs into my neck
when i sing her name to the ceiling,
turn these four walls into a church
with a prayer to something
bigger and holier
than both of us.

if the bigots find their way to heaven,
clutching their beads and crosses in sweaty palms
while stampeding towards the pearly gates,
my girl would be the onesitting on god’s shoulder
smoking a cigarette and
creaming them in cards against humanity
while all of humanity looked on in amazement.
because not even the almighty creator can resist
the way her nose crinkles with delight,
the impish mischief in her voice,
her quick mind and her sparkly eyes.
neither would you, if you were ever brave enough
to meet her gaze head-on.

your old testament morality is overrated,
your bigotry boring and uninspired.
i don’t need your straightlaced heaven
or your tepid hellsauna
or your fist-shaking, ball-busting,
vein-rupturing judgment.

heaven is her giggly sigh between my thighs,
and hell is the way you look at her
when her hand finds mine in public.
jury’s still out on the judgment bit, but
i’m fine right here for now,
walking in the park and feeding ducks
and watching her stop to pet every dog in sight.

if loving her is the greatest sin i’ve ever committed—well,
that makes me a better candidate for Future Angel
than the sullen ugly stone of your heart
ever made you.

By Zaynab Quadri


Zaynab Quadri is a first-year PhD student in American Studies who dabbles in poetry and fiction whenever she’s not wrestling with research papers. She thanks you for your time.

Werewolf By Clare J. M. Patterson


It started age 11, with the cramps
white hot and new
Deep in your stomach
Like something died, like something grew

Then came the hair, up under and between the legs and then
It spreads across the chest
Your mother hands you razors, creams and wax
But every time that you remove it it grows back

Your fingernails, too, grow
Long and pale as finger bones
Your sister paints them in pale pinks, bright reds, they are
As sharp as knifes and able to
Caress, or slice

And of course, you are pulled
By the moon, the tides and by
The warmness in your blood they bring each month;
And when the moon waxes to her peak, and shows her full, round face
You know it’s time to hunt

All girls, they say, are scared to walk alone at night –
Not me
Not with my smile, not with my teeth
You think of penetration, I think of guts,
And when you drag me by the wrist so some dark alley where you plan to rut
Like animals,
I have something more violent in mind and I
Will tear you open with these claws,
I’ll leave you sprawling on the floor and calling for your mother and
before I get too gory I shall pause

But beware
I eat men like rodents
I eat men like air.

By Clare J. M. Patterson


Clare J. M. Patterson is a writer and poet based in Glasgow, Scotland. A student of English Literature and Celtic History, their work draws on both literary and folkloric storytelling traditions, and often focuses on femininity and non-binary gender identity.’

When I Used to be a Little Girl By Juliet Cook

When I Used to be a Little Girl

My sisters and I picked bunches of the dead
off the ground and formed a mound,
then carried one of the cats in front
of the cicada mountain
and watched the cat eat our offering.

At least the insects were already dead
and we were children who later grew up,
became our own individual living creatures.

We were not adults with show off child brat brains.
We were not adults who wanted to be in charge of everyone else
even though we didn’t really care about anyone else.

We did not want a leader who would tilt nests upside down,
watch the baby birds fall out
and call himself the boss as they died.

By Juliet Cook


Juliet Cook’s poetry has appeared in a small multitude of magazines, including Arsenic Lobster, DIAGRAM, Diode, FLAPPERHOUSE, Hermeneutic Chaos, Menacing Hedge and Reality Beach. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks, recently including 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 2016. Find out more at www.JulietCook.weebly.com.

The Meal By Emma Bleker

The Meal

I told two men
half-naked on an overflown
bar’s ballroom, of
the cicadas I swallowed
as a small girl.

I told of crunch
and the last buzz of wings
against bone, of
listening as their families
mourned: in yelps.

I showed them my
canines, the knives of my mouth,
let them run their fingers
over the ridges,
the grooves
that make me now unsafe.

I tell them I have killed
and their hands change.
They do not fear

becoming exoskeleton,
do not see their limbs stuck like
bone scattered clean on hard wood
between my teeth.
Their hands say,
“Let me show you kill.”

They do not see themselves
dangered, but
I am rendered dirty teeth.

To light matches
within the meat of the wound,
I tell them I am killed
(and here is the meaning)
I tell them I am killed
and again,
their eyes see me
as cicada without her skin.

By Emma Bleker


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

Failure’s Chase By Jillian Lopez

Failure’s Chase

She runs away from the darkness that lurks,
hoping to find a sun-drenched room that welcomes

the year with tender-soft warmth. Failure is a monster,
and it is enfolding her tendrils of thought and the

shadows that define her. It is a fragmented little thing,
a carcass fresh out of its grave, a vacuum of souls meant to

seep joy from already shattered hearts. It only seeks for more.
But she will not give it that. For years, she wore sadness like a coat

with despondency coiled around her throat until shadows
only spoke. Her voice is but a tiny squeak that cries out

from the abyss from which a single soul is out of reach.
The ground trembles at every drop let out by the darkness

of the sky that had held her close, that caressed her with tears
instead of hope. She was stripped out of her strength and

confidence by the people she cared the most, by those who
had told her: These surely won’t fit.

Find something else to wear. With a fresh set of clothes in hand,
she wore them like it was hers, but unfamiliarity was its

strongest scent, which she knew she could not wear.
She’d rather be stripped naked from wrongness than to

wear clothes that weren’t hers. There were so many grievances,
but she knew she couldn’t speak. By inserting each foot into

the crevice of the mountain’s side, it was already enough for her to
bear how erroneous it must be to be a ghost of someone else

they initially hoped would be she. Enough is enough.
There are days and years ahead in the path that lay beyond, which is

worth the chase from the failure that had chased her
from the start.

By Jillian Lopez


Jillian Lopez is a 16-year-old student from Manila, Philippines. Currently, she specializes in the Humanities and Social Sciences as a junior in senior high school, where she is pursuing her love for law and literature. She is a correspondent for her high school publication entitled Facets, and she has been publishing news and features articles, as well as editorials, for nearly two years. Jillian may be found at her book blog http://jilliansbooks.blogspot.com.



Multas per gentes et multa per aequora vectus
Dragged among peoples and waters, [I’ve journeyed]

Through many lands and many peoples I have come
with many aims and many destinations,
but now I have reached this last of my goals
within these borders:
to pay you, unknown kinsman,
what little respect
you can yet be paid.
The floods of April have passed, the coats returned to closets,
the air is crisp and the nights are short,
here in this northern town.
It is late afternoon when I reach these few acres
set aside for the bones of my kin.
But how shall I know which bones belong to which of my kin?
(Does it make any difference?)
There are no paths here. Few stones. Almost no dry land.
The Russian graves across the street
stand, erect and tended, row by row, grass well mowed
and names distinct, paths maintained and flowers lately strewn.
Here the graves lie overwhelmed with mud
through which a few grey corners dare to show.
Some living Jews, armed with boots and cars,
tell me I cannot go and search for Shmuel Katz.
They go instead, but all is water.
Two days straight they search.
No such name is left.
If that name was once engraved in stone,
the stone has been destroyed
or else the carving has eroded.
Bones among bones cannot be distinguished.
Marshland offers much
to worms.
Those who remember you
have forgotten ‘El malai rahamim.
We who know the prayer
have no sign by which to remember you
or even to know that you existed.
No flowers in this mud and marshland.
The living men in boots ask how I like their country.
“I am a Jew,” I answer.
“What can I think?”
Shmuel: May you nestle beneath Shekhina’s wings.
I cannot drain this land.
I cannot make your resting place whole.

Your bones will feed worms
and the worms will feed birds
and the birds, perhaps, will fly
through many lands and many peoples
bearing your prayer in their beaks.

By Nina Judith Katz


I am a writer and herbalist, among other professions. I have most recently published poetry on the Rising Phoenix site. My articles about herbalism appear regularly in Natural Herbal Living Magazine.



Turtle Island, 1492-2017

There are dances trapped in my tendons,
I run rivers around them, streams and dams
of blood run into stretchmarks like Nebraskan cornfields.
In my marrow there are wild horses,
they are running, they are on fire.
I am sent to the mountains, where grandfather
said Creator lived, to help us heal. I walk

to the center of our pain, in shoes made from
teeth—ones smashed by boot and gun barrel,
and none of them are mine, yet I am responsible
for them. An infection is oozing here, displacement

from dysfunctional decay. My grandfather said
that the people don’t know how to sing the songs
that can close up the wounds.

Even with my feet splinted, carrying the burden of ended
voices, my hands are still soft—absent from the dangerously
deceitful, I have buried ceremony under my fingernails like
remnants of defense wounds.

Even burdened by the myths of a wandering womb,
one that holds my ancestors’ memories, I have felt

phantom weights hung upon my hips, like a child’s arms
or a belt holding story beads, or hoops of rope waiting
to be thrown on the nearest mountain. I wish like in the
stories of heroic deeds, I could kill the colonial beast by

stroking its ragged ear, before opening my own jaw and swallowing
it whole—digesting the body of trauma with it.

By Moira J.


“Moira J., or Gaagé Dat’éhe (Quiet Crow), is a mix’d Indigenous writer who explores the messy world of being agender, queer, and biracial. They explore sexuality, spirituality, trauma, displacement, and kinships in poetry, origin stories, and creative nonfiction. They have their Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. They currently live and write in Oregon with the support of their spouse, and the family pet: Dana Scully. Moira J’s work has been featured in Girls Get Busy zine, i-D Magazine, Toe Good Poetry, Naugatuck River Review, Bayou Magazine, and more. They have upcoming publications with Sea Foam Magazine and The Account. You stay updated on Moira J. by going to moiraj.wixsite.com/home, or on Twitter @moira__j.”

We are open for Photography and Art Submissions

In addition to our commitment to poetry as a way to represent modern social issues and marginalized populations, we at the Rising Phoenix Review believe in the power of photography and art. We believe in the evocative imagery of an abandoned building reclaimed by the wild, the heart-wrenching scenes of poverty captured across time and place, and the power present in shots of protests. Our team will consider sketches, illustrations, paintings, mixed-media collages, and photographs. We want to see the world through your eyes – what would you like to show us?

Submit your photography & Art to our submissions manager

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Our team will consider sketches, cartoons, illustrations, paintings, mixed-media collages, and photographs. All photographs must be original and taken by the individual submitter. You must own all rights to your photograph / artwork in order to submit to the Review.

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lamb for slaughter & other fairy tales for wicked girls By N.L. Shompole

lamb for slaughter & other fairy tales for wicked girls

November comes
with the suddenness
of yellow leaves
thick with morning
An entire year autumn-ing
between breaths.

December finds me
A lamb,
ribcage & full-wool gusset
to hold in the blood, to hold in
the beating heart.

January dawns,
stalactites & ice white skies.
The bone-cold chill of dusk
turns me
Bloody mouthed,

By N.L. Shompole


N.L. Shompole was born in Kenya. She is a multi-platform artist whose written and photographic works have been featured in various print and online publications including Two Cities Review, Words Dance Publication, Maps for Teeth, Invitation Annual, Kinfolks Quarterly and The Rising Phoenix Review. Lace Bone Beast, her most anticipated poetry collection was released in January 2017 and has received outstanding reviews.

She can be found on
Instagram @NLShompole

On Googling how+to+tell+if+HRT+is+working & signs+of+lycanthropy By torrin a. greathouse

On Googling how+to+tell+if+HRT+is+working & signs+of+lycanthropy

i shut my laptop     eyelid the neon moon
stare up into the blindfold night     these hands graze
my body—animal & half-foreign

dig past skin     root for unborn
buds of breasts      i gut     [fluorescent pill bottles]
like sheep     spill their insides

across black sheets     rough constellations      i memorize their design

[my body]    a celestial/skeletal structure
a dull ache     crooke

of sinew & wishbone    already snapped

[i am least crippled with my back pressed into the floor]

gravity & disability are grown together     tangled
as tightly as muscle & spasm

i am alone & naked     when bed & body creak     both things named frame
pushed to the edge     of breaking
hungry palms

howling over every inch of skin     shadow shape-shifting

in the changing light

By torrin a. greathouse


torrin a. greathouse is a genderqueer, schizophrenic, cripple-punk from Southern California. They are the Editor and Co-Founder of Black Napkin Press. Their work has been published or is forthcoming in 3Elements Review, Assaracus, Heavy Feather Review, FreezeRay Poetry, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Polychrome Ink, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, The Thought Erotic, Emerge Literary Journal, & The Feminist Wire. torrin’s work was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Rust + Moth. When they are not writing or editing poetry, they are trying to survive in america long enough to earn a degree.