Fracture By Kevin Risner


There’s gas in my backyard.
I receive an envelope
from some company asking:

“Can we search for gas
beneath the acres of green forests
that seem to have no end?

In return
green bills will spill
into your bank account.”

The next vision from my window:
yellow and metallic
bulldozers scooping sod and humus

An ice cream scooper
tunneling to the world’s end
and soon they will find their treasure.

Next? Tremors rattling china
off my wife’s shelf
family portraits crashing to the floor

My foundations splitting –
but at least I’m alive and breathing
no injuries from human error.
The deer and the hares long gone
the dogs’ howls silent in the evening
a mound of sepia sludge from rain –

That’s their home by the way
all we hear split rock, the churning
and whirring of drills, no trees left.

They inject toxic water
into the earth’s soul
tarnishing the sun’s reflected façade.

The green still present
has no value anymore
rotting in the vaults of our den.

The dens of the creatures that lived out there
scooped clean
empty and lifeless.

All that air invades our lungs
two charcoal boulders
been smoking two packs a day.

Two months have passed
and my visions are eclipsed
by the roars of machines.

By Kevin Risner


Kevin Risner is a product of Ohio and has lived there for most of his life except for brief periods of time in England and Turkey. At the present, he resides in the Cleveland area where he is ESL Coordinator at the Cleveland Institute of Art. His poetry can be found in Red Paint Hill, Red Flag Poetry, Silver Birch Press, the murmur house, and elsewhere.

Stew With Mushrooms By Zara Williams

Stew With Mushrooms

lately, everything is an exercise in coping.
do you know how that is? have you ever
found solace in a knife and a pile of
mushrooms? remind me, how many years

have i, have you, wasted in the chapel? where did
those lies get me? where did that hate get you?
sunday afternoon, your car pulls up. here
i am, slicing mushrooms. i cope: ignore the

bells. rub garlic on the insides of my wrists.
pretend the meat isn’t weeping pus. the hungry
can’t pick and choose. slim pickings:
a fouled heart, or communion wine turned vinegar.

i chop the mushrooms. fear writhing in

my stomach. my stomach, the pit. my
stomach, the crater where your brother
landed, left burnt earth, fragments
of skull behind. i call him meteor.

asteroid. you know, i was never clear on
the difference. so i cut the mushrooms.
knife down.     knife up.     knife down
next, the carrots. an onion. i cut the

meat last. pull it from my chest with
all the ceremony of fetching leftovers.
no need to beat it. it’s tender already
from all the beatings, the bruises.

they say you get a bruise for every birthday.
two for every baby tooth lost. five for
everyone who’s ever fallen out of your gums. is it
still loss if you pull them out? tie string

three times around, slam the door, pull?
ignore the blood.
knife down.
up. knife

By Zara Williams


Zara Williams is an artist and a storyteller, currently studying English literature and history of art at the University of Edinburgh. She is Director of Social Media at Monstering, a magazine for disabled women and nonbinary people, and at Half Mystic, a literary journal about music. She was a recipient of the Scottish Book Trust’s Young Writers Award – a national award for young people aged 13-17 – in 2013 at the age of 15. Her poetry has been published in the Young Writers Award 2013 e-book. Her more recent work has been featured on Monstering’s blog, and in The Dinner Table Review.

The Woman Behind the Makeup Counter Asks What Gender Are You, the Man in the Pickup Truck Asks What Gender Are You, the Boy in My English Class Asks By E.J. Schoenborn

The Woman Behind the Makeup Counter Asks What Gender Are You,
the Man in the Pickup Truck Asks What Gender Are You,
the Boy in My English Class Asks

My gender is a sleeve of to-go cups
because he no longer wants to stay for coffee.
My gender is my date saying,
“I don’t think I could go out with a trans person.”
My gender sits across from me at Starbucks, at Applebees, at the cafeteria, shakes its
head whispering please please please please.

My gender is a tube of shimmery blue lipstick called “Unicorn Tears.”
My gender is a brown leather jacket bought for a fourth of its price on Craigslist.
When I go to pick up my gender, it tries its best to look like boy, to sound like boy,
to shove all its lipstick and eye shadow into its pocket for safekeeping
because my gender does not know how many knives are in this stranger’s apartment.

My gender was thrown down a stone well filled with frogs.
My gender is the well.
all croaking and swollen throats and dead flies.
People throw pennies at my gender, wish
for sex,
for satin sheets,
for it to shut its fucking mouth for once.

My gender is a series of love letters I forgot to send to myself.
My gender is a Goodwill dress for $8,
the only one that fits my shoulders,
Later, my gender gets asked on the street if it’s wearing a Halloween costume.
My gender uses lipstick for eyeshadow.
because my gender needs the money for groceries.

My gender is stubble and skirt and mothers raising eyebrows and men taking photos and the rest
of them glaring.
My gender is a tiny bird in the mouth of a crocodile,
a cleaner fish on the underbelly of a shark.
My gender is so close to people that want to kill me.
My gender is an empty box of Kleenex.
Boys try to find something to Cry or Cum Into, but discover there’s nothing left.

My gender wipes the lipstick off its face,
some days, my gender can’t smile but that’s okay.
My gender goes out the back door and buries a bruised apple at the base of a tree.
My gender is terrified of cigarette smoke because it reminds my gender of him,
of his grey sweatshirt and straw hair and rough arms.
My gender is rape survivor.
My gender is not rape victim.
My gender refuses to become victim.
refuses to fucking die.
My gender reaches an arm out of the earth they buried it in.
breaks every headstone they put its name on.
My gender rips apart every book that says “opposite sex”
claws the word “they” into the chalkboard.
My gender walks into the makeup store, eats all the lipstick,
smashes the glass countertop.
My gender flips every pick-up truck in a five mile radius.

Everyone asks my gender what it is
so my gender

By E.J. Schoenborn


E.J. Schoenborn (they/them/theirs) is a non-binary and queer performance poet from St. Paul, MN. A recent graduate from Macalester College, E.J. hopes to become a children’s librarian later in their life. When not writing poetry, they are searching the Internet for perfect pictures of possums, otters, and red pandas to share with their friends.

Mother of All Bombs By Noriko Nakada

Mother of All Bombs

Last night’s
ripped my
family apart
flesh from bone
forcing me
to choose
my life or theirs.

Waking up
to a family intact
I couldn’t
shake the feeling
that in an
it could all

By Noriko Nakada


Noriko Nakada writes, blogs, tweets, parents, and teaches middle school in Los Angeles. She is committed to writing thought-provoking creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. Publications include two book-length memoirs: Through Eyes Like Mine and Overdue Apologies, and excerpts, essays, and poetry in Lady Liberty Lit, Catapult, Meridian, Compose, Thread, Hippocampus, The Rising Phoenix Review, and Linden Avenue.

Weekend Poetry Sale

Weekend Poetry Sale

Rising Phoenix Press is having a weekend sale on all of our poetry titles! Use the code WEEKEND15 at checkout in our etsy shop and get 15% off of your order. The sale ends at 12am Eastern Time on June 19th.

Rising Phoenix Press Collections

Survive Like the Water By Lydia Havens eBook and Print Copy

Keystones by Christian Sammartino eBook and Print Copy

Fleur by Darshana Suresh eBook and Print Copy

Flash Sale (3)



Dear Medusa,
I have no idea what to do with
all these split ends. It seems
everything I grow
ends up dead? What should I do?
signed, Anne Boleyn

Dear Medusa,
I have heard that I need to drink
more water for my skin,
but no matter how much I swallow
my reflection still shines back a corpse. Advice?
Thanks, sincerely, Ophelia

Dear Medusa,
What do they want from me?
Love, Marilyn Monroe

Dear Medusa,
Signed, Kesha

Dear women of vast wounds and shallow seas,
They will see girlhood in your
dimples and conclude you are ripe.
The first time Poseidon said my name,
he held it on his tongue
like a cough drop, hand on my pulse
as if he wanted me to know
something within him could only be healed
by the rise and fall of my breast.

The last time Athena sighed “Medusa”,
cursed me with snakes, a face etched
in screams of torture, she promised
no man would take on the labor of
finding the exact distance between
mortality and godhood
within me, see me
as something gaping
and rub me raw.
Athena swore this would spare me the sin
of Poseidon, that no tsunami could conquer
this much ugly.

Anne: the best parts of you are the
ones they cannot bleed, where you are
already serpent.

Ophelia: I know a lot about death but
a lot less about reflections. Turn the nunnery
of your collarbone inside out, find
all of you that is river, mix it oil, and call it Cleveland.

Marilyn: take the pins out of your
corset and find where they fit
in the tenderest parts of all of them.

Kesha: Make your cheekbones scythe,
grow yourself new wings, no feathers,
just acid. Only the living will call you a monster.

When they come for you,
discover you tore out
all the pretty and stitched
in horror, that the pregnancy of violence
has swollen where you were lilac blooming,
and they say they are Herculean for how they hate you,
title themselves heroes as they call you a slut.
Do not curve into bed frame or conquest,
no matter how badly you ache to be held.
And watch them become stone so easy.
At night, when all the vacant space
around you is screaming, run your hands over the soft landslide
of your body (since no one else can do it for you)
and marvel at how you are not stone. Not yet. Not ever.

By Dorothy McGinnis


Dorothy is a performer, a poet, and also very possibly 22 very little baby ducks disguised as a human. No one is certain. Dottie knew her path was clear when a substitute teacher in her 9th grade theatre class said one of her performances was so convincing he almost thought she was his ex wife. Dorothy has been published on Voicemail Poetry and Rejected Poetry Journal. Dorothy was a member of the 2016 Salt City Unified Team and the 2017 YouSpeak team. Her poem “English Classes”, about how Zelda Fitzgerald deserved SO MUCH BETTER can be seen on Write About Now’s youtube channel.

Exform daydreams By Ricardo Gonsalves

Exform daydreams

  • raisins @1.26¢ per pound
  • taxes due Nov.2nd
  • new credit card: Do Not Bend (over)
  • dentist appointment 2pm.
  • write Dear Joan letter to ex
  • Tuesday, visit mom at hospice
  • electric bill past due ($96)
  • call auto shop re: brakes
  • bury dog in back yard
  • student loans due yesterday $451
  • shoot neighbor—-bury near dog
  • Dow Jones 17,898.84 down-140.22
  • cash unemployment check
  • buy 2 used tires @ $46 ea.
  • bail dad out of holding
  • cut water use by 50%
  • sell blood on Thursday
  • 2 strikes 1 ball 2 outed in the 9th
  • jury duty April 1st
  • call ex and beg forgiveness
  • prepare for the rapture on Feb. 31st
  • razor blades @ $9.06 a pack

By Ricardo Gonsalves


Ricardo has been “writing” in forms as concrete poetry, experimental text and at times using barbed wire to contain written verse. The content of much of his work reflects a push-pull hybridity between the influence of Chicano Art, class struggle and the challenge of experimental expression. Nearly all his work is political and reflects the sharp edges of working class existence. He was Portuguese, born in New Bedford, Mass. in a hardcore working class community. Ricardo was also deeply involved in the Chicano Movement. Arrested for writing an article, with graphics, about how to make Molotov Cocktails. Arrested for rioting during the Chicano Moratorium. Arrested for sales and possession when he got out of the Marine Corp. Currently, he is an official something-or-Other at the Magoski Arts Colony in Fullerton, California.



after Julia Gaskill

& he expected it would be snowing
& the flakes fall inside & i don’t know

how to change this & he is all
the monsters hiding in my closet

that my momma stopped checking for
b/c she thinks i’m Too Old For That &

i don’t know how to change this
b/c my feet don’t fit grown-up shoes

but his shoes are pointed at the tips & my
daddy says i’m throwing a Tantrum &

i don’t think they’re angry enough
& i am raging in these infant clothes

b/c donald trump teases me about
my pokemon cards
our plastic tablecloth
grandpa’s bald head
all the prescriptions
brother’s drooling
the growth chart
& i know exactly how to change
this b/c i am growing all the time

& i will leave my cradle on the unwelcome
mat at the white house’s front step

& i will not share my toys with his children
& i will not read them my favourite books

& i will drive myself to daycare

& anger before empowerment
& wrath even when love
& my childhood is temper
& he still says, better you than me.

By Kate Foley


Kate Foley is a poet based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her work has been featured in Voicemail Poems, The Legendary, Words Dance, and more. The Bird Hours, her debut collection, was published by Where Are You Press in May 2017. She is passionate about dogs, helping others, and healing.

Doll Blood Spattering By Juliet Cook

Doll Blood Spattering

Doll cadavers growing mildew for hair,
mildew spewing out their mouths and whose
voice are they talking in now?

They were talking in their own tiny tongues until
those tiny tongues were ripped out
and replaced with more modern doll mouths.

The modern dolls with no genuine voices of their own.
The modern dolls in a popularity contest, fighting against
every other doll. They don’t really care who they hurt.

They don’t really care what they’re fighting for,
as long as they win the contest and can claim
the latest prize. Another set of fake doll eyes.

Another big glowing dick to swallow
and replace the last one they lied to.
Or a fragile tiny dick to bite off and chew

into contorted pieces and spit the debris
all around in a violently fast group attack.
Anyone who disagrees with these modern dolls

or who doesn’t choose to take sides
deserves to be hacked into bloody smithereens
and tossed down the garbage disposal.

This modern doll group is better than everyone else.
Even if their doll brains are evil, mean-spirited, laced
with fake frosting and more dirty than rats.

Even if their doll group agenda is to secretly slink
their long doll tails behind the back of their fancy frilled skirts,
load those tails with venom, then use them to lash out,

to slash out the hearts of individual dolls who don’t fit in
to their scene. If one of these modern dolls offers you
a smile and uses the word love in your face, it is fake.

Love love love love love love love has been programmed
into their pretty rotten doll teeth and used to screw
with reality and make real love obsolete.

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). 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

Obituary for Permanence By Jennifer Boyd

Obituary for Permanence

For Cecilia

The glass house stands alone
in the last cool moment. The girl breathes life
into stillness, daredevils of ash brushing the walls
without a promise of permanence.
She inhales.
As she opens her lips, she remembers the ancient:
her mother, more awake than ever,
eyes wide and fixed for eternity.
Her face felt smooth like summer squash.

The one they said didn’t have a relationship with God –
the chain smoker, who inched closer to past tense
with each faint exhalation,
the resigned, who had nothing to hold onto
but dissipating puffs, head skimming the surface –
she released her sins as the water clouded like dust.

Her mother, a stranger,
engulfed in rawness and bitter wanting.

She no longer feels the urge to weep, to curse,
to erode like the one whose body lay in the bathtub.
She surrenders to the lingering silence
that seeks to hush the clamor inside.
She gulps air like a salmon.
Puffs become ashes.
When the ember’s tip fades to darkness,
she’ll finally have something to hold onto.

By Jennifer Boyd


Jennifer Boyd is a high school student from Boston, Massachusetts. She is a blog contributor at both the Huffington Post and Voices of Youth, UNICEF’s global online platform. Jennifer’s poetry has been published recently in New Plains Review, Glass Kite Anthology, the Critical Pass Review, and Tower Journal. Her work has additionally been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Hollins University, Smith College, and Princeton University. When not writing, she enjoys playing the piano, singing, and learning new languages.