Shiny Obsolete Silver Objects By Matt Duggan

Shiny Obsolete Silver Objects

We are distracted magpies made of skin and metal
slowly building our own prisons brick by brick.

Absorbed inside the world of a small black case,
that wields our knowledge and power.
We fly between truth and lie

A bird without a final destination
our calling for the silver that detracts us
as the lighting glint in a city is more powerful
than the empathy inside our being;

We collect shiny obsolete silver objects
replacing them every other year
Our behaviour has always been engineered

our desensitised response to any blood soaked image
is to buy even more useless shiny goods
We are distracted magpies made of skin and metal,
slowly building our own prisons brick by brick.

By Matt Duggan

Biography:

My work has appeared in The Journal, Osiris, The Dawntreader, Prole, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Algebra of Owls, The Seventh Quarry. My first full collection Dystopia 38.10 (erbacce-press) won the erbacce prize for poetry in 2015 and in 2016 I won the Into the Void Poetry Prize with my poem Elegy for Magdalene.

A Letter to Mason, age 8 ½, Mason O’Hern

A Letter to Mason, age 8 ½,

I know you don’t recognize that name but
twelve years from now,
your best friends will start to call you that
and you will finally feel home.

At fifteen, you meet a boy
and will not listen when everyone wants you to leave him alone.
Bad things happen to good people and sometimes
bad people look
like the boy from youth group
who is all tattoos and smooth talking.

When you realize you are a boy,
you are twenty one
rising from the ashes of that night.

Know you were he
before him.
Do not give him credit he does not deserve.
You are more
than the things he stole from you.

I want to give this story a pretty ending
tell you that it’s okay because
you meet a girl and fall in love.
that hasn’t happened yet.

But, Mason it is fourteen years later,
and you are still alive
even after everything telling you to give up.

You made it through.

-Mason, age 22 ¼

By Mason O’Hern

Biography:

Mason O’Hern is a genderqueer poet whose work centers on disability, identity, mental illness, and healing.

Puritan U By Kristin Garth

Puritan U

Your major, poli sci, Puritan U,
where Dad, all done, exiles you : “find the one,”
ambitious, just like him, recognizes you,
his secret sin, a spiritual son.

Reforestation camping trip, in back
of van, with strangers sit. A man, law school,
and you’re 18, female his fans, a pack
that preens: “the feminist”; they drool.

Mistake of sleep, you think, his errant hand
between your legs. Don’t understand. You
will later, sleeping bag. A wedding band
on choking hand. You’re opened and subdued.

One more pretender forces his way in.
Five states away, underneath again.

By Kristin Garth

Biography:

Kristin Garth is a poet from Pensacola and a sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked the pages of Occulum, Ant-Heroin Chic, Rise Up Review, Fourth & Sycamore, Drunk Monkeys, Moonchild Magazine and many other publications. Her poetry dollhouse chapbook Pink Plastic House: Three Stories of Sonnets will be released spring 2018 by Maverick Duck Press.

Portrait of Film as Nuclear Weapon By Rishika Aggarwal

Portrait of Film as Nuclear Weapon

In which the first stroke is cataloguing ways to reimagine
death threats. Catching extravagance gleaming
in the precision of salivating mobs.

Arrows pared back, and determined to plunder. Questioning
how to pitch a tent between waterlogged cemeteries
and toxic spectacles.

School bus yellow, and highlighting a vision of
flamboyant repetition. Pitching a tent somewhere
between toxic masculinity and unfolding a spectacle.

Alternatively, another way to seduce tradition,
parallel an identity. Alternatively, another way to paint a country
to standstill.

By Rishika Aggarwal

Biography:

Rishika Aggarwal is a poet from Mumbai, India. She’s been reading for as long as she can remember, and dreaming of being a writer for about as long. Her work has been featured, or is upcoming, in The Rising Phoenix Review, Vagabond City Lit, Picaroon Poetry’s Deranged, and Sapphic Swan Zine. You can find more of her work in her blog, and at https://gumroad.com/rishwrites.

Frontline By Elijah Noble El

Frontline

A little distance. A little sad song.
A little distance, between here and there.
A little slow dance. Here there is love and understanding.
The space between the hand and the gun,
the memory and the bullet,
here there is your voice saying I’ll see you on the other end of the world.
We all need a little distance where we can get our thoughts straight.
I’m holding on while you’re letting go and in that space lies
the war we told ourselves we’d never start.

The deer wants to be the wolf because the wolf is strong.
The wolf wants to be the deer because the deer doesn’t have to be.
Tired, so tired of the love and the chase,
everyone sets down the war at the frontline.
A little peace time where we can get our thoughts straight.

The only reason the deer still lives,
it waits for the day the baby comes back,
not knowing the baby was ripped from gut to neck by the creek.
We all need a little sad song where we can learn to let go,
and then let go.

As I promised when the napalm came down,
I’ll keep my light on for you until the light goes out.
Then I’ll have a drink and close my eyes until the lights go out.
We all fear a little death.
I’m afraid of going there and not finding you in the field.
I’m afraid of waking up underneath and not finding you there waiting.
I know it’s not that hard to see that the other world is better without me after all.


By Elijah Noble El

Biography:

Elijah Noble El is the twenty-three year old actor, director, and writer. His work has been featured in Words Dance Magazine, The Rising Phoenix Review, and elsewhere. El is the co-founder of Girls Don’t Cry, the film division of the literary magazine Persephone’s Daughters, a magazine founded by Meggie Royer dedicated to empowering women who have experienced various forms of abuse and degradation.

THE 27 CLUB By Kelly Peacock

THE 27 CLUB

There are three pairs of sneakers

hanging by their laces from telephone lines—
a pair each for Hendrix, Cobain, Winehouse.
You wonder how long it will be
until you end up with the rest of them.
This almost feels like a confession.
You do not ask for it,
but I wonder
if forgiveness means anything
at all.
By Kelly Peacock

Biography:

Kelly Peacock is a poet and a student at Fairleigh Dickinson University, eager to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing in May 2018. She has interned with The Poetry Society of New York at The Typewriter Project and The Poetry Festival as well as interned at The Literary Review. While she has not been published yet, she is currently working on her collection of poems. She hopes that these four poems, “ROSARY,” “HEAR,” “RELAPSING,” and “THE 27 CLUB, will make someone, anyone, feel something.

EMPTY DEPTH OF DAYS By Barry Yeoman

EMPTY DEPTH OF DAYS

Small towns can numb a man,
same things, day after day.
Need an escape to open country,
picturesque mountains perhaps,

with a gigantic sky. I’m dreaming
of the west, or, even south
of here, where the rolling hills
bubble up with clear running

springs. Ice-cold earthy taste,
iron, that stains the stones orange.
Then, a scent of soil on the road
from town, tractors tilling fields.

It triggered a sacred recollection
of playing tackle football as a kid
in the side yard. Fresh grass stains,
damp soil and turf coming up

in clumps, a busted lip, warm
metallic taste of blood, sweating
and loving life, playing hard
was all we knew. An oak tree

as goal line, pear tree, rose
bushes, musty autumn leaves.
Even gravel alleys served our
purpose to play the game.

These parsed, paltry words
fell from childhood down
a tunnel, tumbled into today.
I know you think art is folly,

but, without money
imagination is the currency
of the poor. We have bread,
doctors to treat our maladies,

anxieties that rule the day. It’s
the adrenaline rush, the desperate
play we miss. Only words we fumble
down this empty depth of days.

By Barry Yeoman

Biography:

Barry Yeoman is a poet from Springfield, Ohio, currently living and writing in London, Ohio. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming in Mission at Tenth, Common Ground Review, Right Hand Pointing, Crack the Spine, Harbinger Asylum, and Broad River Review, among other print and online journals. More of his work can be found at https://www.redfez.net/editArtworks.

LIKE SCHOOLS OF BAIT FISH By Barry Yeoman

LIKE SCHOOLS OF BAIT FISH

Thunderclaps followed flashes last night,
springtime again in the Midwest.
We ache and torment all winter long for this.

Will we waste another summer?

The sky revises itself each morning
into the last authentic poem.
It is gray and windy, rain subsiding.
Low, fast-moving clouds
remind me of the speed of blimps.
Pine trees in the gusts acknowledge my thoughts,
bob and weave like bantamweights.

The inhabitants of cars, trucks, buses
that stream the interstates
miss everything, too busy going nowhere.

Groups of birds in the barely budding trees
burst in unison to other trees and back again.
They cut through wind like schools of bait fish
afraid of being left alone, defenseless.

A robin quickly scoots across wet grass
to some mulch around a newly planted tree.
Motionless it waits, cocks its head,
senses the minuscule vibration of a snack.
Attacks with its beak, hops along to new ground.

The sky perks up despite world crisis after world crisis.
On the tube, politicians with faces of bravado
feign control and understanding
though everyone knows they’re winging it.

Like escaped inmates, workers race
to the corner bars at quitting time,
cackle and guffaw away their hatred of place;
slice self-respect with loose intentions
until hell-spin of last call,
closing time, when barmaids lose their patience.

Come for me in the afternoon
after I’ve had my fill of coffee, scribbled last lines,
when the peak of the sun is blinding
and fear is an endless meadow in the wild wind.

Every night sparse neon reminds industrial towns
of their waste, how the other half might live.
Years from now we’ll wonder where the passion went
How we got so damn sick.

The rush of youth is a mocking giggle,
stained coffin of dreams and foolish insistence.

From first grief to earth, the camera rolls.
Miles of kindling for the pyre.
Sweet failures, the flames that kiss the moon.

By Barry Yeoman

Biography:

Barry Yeoman is a poet from Springfield, Ohio, currently living and writing in London, Ohio. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming in Mission at Tenth, Common Ground Review, Right Hand Pointing, Crack the Spine, Harbinger Asylum, and Broad River Review, among other print and online journals. More of his work can be found at https://www.redfez.net/editArtworks.