Journey to the 1st world By Akachi Obijiaku

Journey to the 1st world

A Poem on Migration (Seeking better opportunities)

Don’t judge me – it’s substantially better
The lives and the looks – they’re significantly fairer
A thousand miles I go, I fly to my saving grace
A land of the unknown – whispers of a dreamy life
We are painted as villains, we are
As we flee our homeland to the arc

It’s a boeing 747 but it’s my arc
My ticket to a new life in a place with no strife
Across the oceans, I hear it flows with milk and honey
I hear they drink fresh milk
I hear of the lack of sweat patches on their silk

The ear pressure as we ascend –
Apprehended by the silent judgement of patriots.
A national treasure I seem to be
Well, where was the love before I ceased to be?
Fended for by wolves on the street

The journey I’m on is a risk but I hope it’s brisk
The critics rage as I migrate
Yet my hopes and dreams they ate
I march along, brethren, I march
And my mother think it’s fatal but I think she’s just post-natal

The future lies ahead
No more waiting, lest I dread my choice.

By Akachi Obijiaku

Biography:

Akachi Obijiaku is an emerging poet residing in London. Originally from Nigeria, she is interested in international arts development and practice. Only three months after writing her first ever poem, one of her works has been accepted for publication in a 2018 issue of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly. She uses poetry as a platform to address social ills.

ALTAR By Umang Kalra

ALTAR

“Despite My Efforts Even My Prayers Have Turned to Threats”
– Kaveh Akbar

I built the ocean out of broken
driftwood entangled like us
I built it in you
I built it in your lungs I spun
it out of the salt inside of the
sea shells you told me were pretty but
would not let me string into thread
for you

I hesitated to name you a god I knew
I watched how you flinched
at the sight of reverence you always
washed your hands when we left
a temple your mother had forced you to
go to I was always left wondering

whether you would wash your hands
just the same when you touched me
if you had known
that I had built your altar in the
back of my throat planted flowers
in between each of my ribs
watered
from your lungs

By Umang Kalra

Biography:

Umang Kalra is an Indian poet who splits her time between Dublin and New Delhi. She is a student of History at Trinity College, Dublin. Her poems have previously appeared or are forthcoming in Coldnoon, Blue Marble Review, Esthesia Magazine, and Quail Bell Magazine. She is currently involved in a year-long mentorship program with Doireann Ni Ghriofa for women of colour in Ireland.

Mrs. Watson’s Bible By Jacqueline Jules

Mrs. Watson’s Bible

Southern Virginia, 1963,
Mrs. Watson had a Holy Bible.
Black leather, gold embossed letters.
Too big to fit in a hotel drawer,
it stood upright on a metal stand,
eye level from my seat in the third row.

Its gold cross glared at Jewish me
each time Mrs. Watson called
an errant child to be chastised
by the blackboard.

Are you a Christian?”

Like simple math: 2 + 2 = 4,
Christian was the only logic needed
to understand why
you shouldn’t use curse words,
swipe a quarter, or knock
the skinny girl off the swings.

Are you a Christian?”

I still wonder what
my bitten lips would have said
if she had asked Jewish me.

But that was long ago, before anyone
praised or decried “Politically Correct.”
Before anyone would even consider
telling Mrs. Watson
she shouldn’t judge others
by her own equations.

By Jacqueline Jules

Biography:

Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her poetry has appeared in over 100 publications including The Broome Review, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Hospital Drive, and Imitation Fruit. She is also the author of 40 books for young readers. Visit http://www.jacquelinejules.com.

Decency By Jalen A. Blithe

Decency

You’ve got too much on your mind tonight,
With no job, and no call-backs and no money
And one big heaping rent check to deliver by next weekend,
But that’s not what you’re thinking about. No.
You’re here thinking about how the boy looked all folding and fluid,
How his hair was slicked back, his eyes a deep resplendent red,
His tongue smelling like cornbread and apple brandy,
His teeth blades of ivory on your throat.

That was a while back, and the years have piled up like a matryoshka doll,
You’ve grown into your body, at first clumsily;
It didn’t know what needed to go where,
So you had hair on your stomach like a boy,
Like maybe you were a monster, Mr. Hyde in school uniform,
And then, all of a sudden, you were tall,
And everything fit into place, so tall that your skin couldn’t keep up
So where there was hair, there’s now long brown stretchmarks
The shape of Arctic crags, lumpy and thick and beautiful like a goddess.

You’re thinking about the music playing over your eyes,
Heavy bass and a wet voice box singing love songs in Patois,
How it pulsates somewhere deep in your ear,
Beyond the lobe, in a crevasse you couldn’t get to if you tried,
And you do try, twisting your finger like maybe you might dig out a space
Between the grass and the root, find a little jukebox and pull it from your existence,
And all the while your teeth rattle like porcelain bells,
Your chest drums to the rhythm of the dance hall,
Your twists get all monotonous like the beat.

By Jalen A. Blithe

Biography:

I am a Bronx-native of Jamaican and Puerto Rican heritage who recently graduated with a bachelors in history and creative writing at Purchase college.

Martha 3 By Ligia Berg

martha-3
I worked with Martha Saffo for several years. She is a Crossdresser. These images are a little part of a work that i was doing about her history, her thoughts, and her imaginary aesthetic. Being a Crossdresser is sometimes being that you really are but for ‘ours’ and ‘sometimes’ because the ‘regular people’ and society don’t admit this expression. I want to say to Martha that everything is ok, that she is a wonderful person and she have to be that she wants.

By Ligia Berg

Biography

Ligia Berg was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1987. She loves visual arts and music, and does both of them. She is fan of mysterious images and the baroque composition and we can find that in her work. Her work was showcased in see me, xataka, inrocuptibles, so bad so good and other local publications. She loves the cinema aesthetic, creating characters and telling stories in images. She is really interested in gender issues and that crosses almost all her work.

Questions I Ask Over Religious Facebook Groups By Lina Abdul-Samad

Questions I Ask Over Religious Facebook Groups

and how many more men will throw rocks at your window,
with dry, panting tongues and open hands

All we ask for is
a glance
a smile
an arch

We are reaching for God, they say.
We want to be loved, they say.

You are the answer to this loneliness and my hungry, he says.
tongue curves into a question mark
Tell me about your religion, about that scarf on your head.

Man, beast
Man, loaded
Man, hungry
Man, alone

devil and desire

Woman, prey
Woman, vessel
Woman, full
Woman, home

and how many more men more men will turn you into the answer?
how many men will come with prayers moist on their lips,
hoping you will heal them,
confusing you for God.

By Lina Abdul-Samad

Biography:

Lina Abdul-Samad is a Palestinian American currently based in the occupied land. She has been published in This Week in Palestine and MuslimGirl. When she is not daydreaming, Lina is writing poems, essays, and short stories on her blog:
https://linasthoughtsandwords.wordpress.com/

Cagelife By Nandita Naik

Cagelife

The first time a mouse enters a cage,
it is pink and shriveled, eyes shut against
the world.

It learns to speak the language of captivity:
miniature prayers, switchblades,
the evaporation of nameless skeletons.

From ink comes stardust and
the knowledge of birds
spiraling through the ozone layer,
wingspan intersected by ivory branches.

Cagelife is this:
reduced, distilled, everything spilled
bone-white and left wanting.
Cagelife kneels before
the dead and begs forgiveness.

Run, little mouse,
until water sweetens your lips
and the streets aren’t gold anymore.

See how the night
blue-rinses your cage,
wringing out the golden bars until they lie dripping at your feet.
Weep for the old mouse as it is peeled off the floor,
hiding its whiskers from the light.
It is here
because it has never stopped running.

By Nandita Naik

Biography:

Nandita Naik is a junior at Proof School in San Francisco. She enjoys writing, programming, and musicals. Her poems have been published or forthcoming in Canvas Lit Journal and Polyphony HS.