Origami In Lieu of Klonopin By Rita Mookerjee

Origami In Lieu of Klonopin

I crease my paranoia into dying stars
people write their wishes on paper
I can’t leave them that way
they’ll just become lines on my face

in all of this folding my cursed town
swims to the front of my mind
its rows of artillery its collapsing roofs
a gentle burning: all celestial horrors

I seal these memories away in each pentagram
because the past only reminds me of
the many places I can never revisit
how the roads broke when threatened with exits

how my body is a thing to be modified
the way monarch butterflies
cover a deer carcass at the roadside
scarlet wing points ablaze.

By Rita Mookerjee

Biography:

Rita Mookerjee’s poetry is featured or forthcoming in Hollow, Lavender Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Spider Mirror Journal, and others. Her critical work has been featured in the Routledge Companion of Literature and Food, the Bloomsbury Handbook to Literary and Cultural Theory, and the Bloomsbury Handbook of Twenty-First Century Feminist Theory. She is a PhD candidate at Florida State University specializing in contemporary Caribbean literature.

red palms praying By Mary Sims

red palms praying

So, we’re here on the shoreline of something great
& you said holiness was the same as forgetting, so
I tried them both.

Don’t believe me, but I’ve got the scars
on my back            & stains on my teeth
to prove it.

Magic tricks are happening everywhere I look
and one of them says you’re not dead when I
show them your corpse, so I pay twelve pennies
and take it.

The shopkeeper is a liar but that’s not the point.
The pennies aren’t pennies & the copper rusts the
top of my mouth but that’s not the part that matters.

Your fingertips are blue & I wish they were red
like your teeth / red like your mouth / red like the
shopkeeper when he tells me there’s something
still beating.

The shoreline isn’t holy, but I want to
tell you I touched something godlike,
and forgetting didn’t do the          trick.

The point is something great turned into something
dead & I don’t know how to turn it back. The point
is red shouldn’t equate holiness, but it still does.

By Mary Sims

Biography:

Mary is an 18-year-old aspiring poet and writer who has recently been published in Kingdoms of the Wild, Moonchild Magazine, Mooky Chick, and Anti-Heroin Chic. She is currently working towards earning her degree in English, and spends her days dreaming of writing beloved poetry and living in the mountains with her friends and family close by. Find Mary on Twitter @rhymesofblue

No Answer By Taylor Graham

No Answer

The first time I climbed this hill, I was following
my search dog up a rutted dirt road –
buckbrush blossoming fragrant on either side,
a whistle – unseen bird?

Above us was hydraulic bluff
where long-ago miners blasted the face
of the hill away in search of gold. Itinerants
from many lands, part of our town’s history.
Where did they come from? where did they go?

My dog and I were searching for an old lady
wandered from her home; we only found
a goat escaped, gone wild. He stared down on us
from the top of that golden bluff.

The next time we climbed the hill, my dog
and I found homeless camped among the brush.
What’s the prescription, the remedy
for that? I heard a whistle –
lament for a small brick house left behind?

We kept moving, not wanting to interrupt.
I had no answer.

I’d like to climb the hill again,
but it’s a gated community. Where
did everyone go?

By Taylor Graham

Biography:

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, and serves as El Dorado County’s first poet laureate (2016-2018). The places she searches and trains her dogs are often where the homeless camp or were recently evicted. Her poems are included in Homeless Issues (newsletter of the local Job’s Shelter of the Sierra) as well as the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University). Her latest books are What the Wind Says (Lummox Press, 2013) and Uplift (Cold River Press, 2016).

breed By Anna Wang

breed

we are young we are young we are young we are
still catching breath under fly-strung streetlamp.

the screen, it blares. this generation documented
like the edge of extinction. we salivate, we sing
to this nightless tune. what it means to be human,

that’s what you say on those ape knees. what it means
somewhere alternate: this hole this hole this hole this

worm-wriggled tunnel in damp earth. lace-wing. helix.
colors in another language. like red, when the man-king finds
we are all missing hands & feet. arms & legs. limb-

less & somehow still praying. in another world the space
between hip bones would be horizon. in this world

we have swallowed the yellow sky. this is nothing new.
this is choking on wires to the tune of forgiveness. we leak
& in the sour murk find mayflies. in the swarm

there is nothing to uncover, but the things we think will end
never do. summer days & exactly 93 shells on the lake.

for all of our brass words, this war still finds us
kneeling.

By Anna Wang

Biography:

Anna Wang is a high school sophomore from Lincolnshire, Illinois. She has been recognized by the Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and her poetry appears in Eunoia Review.

Pastoral Refuge By Haemaru Chung

Pastoral Refuge

A car coughs,
its lingering trail
oily, pungent, bitter.

Feet sink
in pavement,
boiled and bloated.

Mechanics hound me,
wild with sirens,
a grisly symphony.

Shadows
peek from behind
a veil of branches.

Cicadas chorus with sparrows,
gnats chatter above ants,
floating from green blades.

Leaves rustle,
twisted by wind,
air of persimmons.

White petals,
like shattered porcelain,
fall.

Bitterness washed
by cut grass,
mellow licorice.

By Haemaru Chung

Biography:

A writer, violinist, photographer and athlete, Haemaru is currently a junior at a high school in New York City. His stories and poems have been recognized by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Gannon University National High School Poetry Contest, Rider University Annual High School Writing Contest, Jack London Foundation Fiction Writing Contest, William Faulkner Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, among others. Other works have been published in many literary magazines, including The Round, Louisville Review, The Interlochen Review and The Apprentice Writer .

Metamorphosis By Wálé Àyìnlá 

Metamorphosis

I train my feet to walk the rain home
and                                                            back into my skin.

the road spreads on my knees organized,
as fractions      touching the nail
on God’s fingers.
His voice is the music

building goosebumps from my head
to the tail of the grip

of the ground on father’s
face.                            i wear the skin
of language: the

delicate flag that fans a dance of flame

into a cubicle of memories.                    the dead song
on my lips

is an album dedicated to the
lovers that        narrow               a gutter out
of a boy,                          the warmth of a stillwater.

the first ilẹ̀kùn
i open is                                                    a whale of loneliness.

the bigger
i become,                              the faster it takes to lose my breath
to the market of                   wind.

By Wálé Àyìnlá 

Biography:

Wálé Àyìnlá is a 20-year-old Nigerian writer and poet who writes from the ancient city of Abeokuta. His works appear or are forthcoming on Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Prachya Review, Dwarts, Expound, and others. His poem, Little Boys are Large Exit Doors was a finalist in the Kreative Diadem Poetry Prize, 2017. He is @Wale_Ayinla on Twitter.

On My Coming Out By Chisom Okafor

On My Coming Out

1

Father once probed into a distance,
tossed all night on his creaking stretcher,
now and again, a break of bones, a discoloured whispering at daybreak,
listen boy, there is a beast in every man.
And it stirs when you put fire in his hands.
I know how to roll up mine into tins of salt water,
I longed to tell him,
how to unfurl memories like metaphors, bandages on raw flesh;
start with first words:
there is a beast strapped to every man’s loin,
scathing, like the insides of a glowing splint.

Fire could equate longing,
say, a journey into burning nights to rediscover a certain moonshine,
say, into a forest of roaring beasts to find love.

2

Today, I start to journey into a country of ghosts.
Mother whispers, you’re sure? You’re convinced?
I greet her with silence.
She thinks I’ll never return home.

3

I was born in a place for old men,
for boys feasting their way backwards into time.
The priest swiftly makes an incision on your skull
from where he stoops to weave-in a certain birthmark;
in secular seaculorum…
I know boys trapped to birthmarks like seagulls to brown water
I know others turned silenced men, still sutured to the mark of the beast
because here, you know forced silence is how best to live after birth:
accept the wrong love in its untouchable­ness
learn how to pick out its echo when it calls
the love you seek does not belong in this place,
it’s been broken so often it wears the segmented skin of centipedes.
The wrong love shrivels your hands into thorns on a cactus.

4

My skin, like a body of saltwater, make for a sea of wonderments ─
lost love, broken hands, burning flesh.
My body is a riverbank, flooded with wonderments.
It recites reminders to the shadows that make love to me.

By Chisom Okafor

Biography:

Chisom Okafor is a 25 year od, Nigerian writer. He’s had works published or forthcoming in Praire Schooner, EXPOUND, The Indian Journal of Literature and Aesthetics, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Praxis and elsewhere.

Inner Slinky By Juliet Cook & j/j hastain

Inner Slinky

My socks are slinking themselves
down into the grave.

An orphanage of toes covered up
and left behind.
Replaced with younger legs
thinking of song lines from roads walked in other lifetimes.

Sometimes the microphone turns into a scalpel
and I begin to cut away
all of the shitty choices I made in the past.
I can’t cut them all out of my brain, but
I can modify the collages.

I’ve changed my diet into nothing but red
or pink smoothies and tiny fingernails
and eyelash after eyelash, each of which has helped me
learn to see the Unseen world.

This eyelash grows to the size of a stingray tail.
Every stingray has a different shape
and every stingray’s shape changes
when you swim with it underwater on a tour in the Bahamas

leading towards a tour inside the broken balloon mouth
choking on little clouds of purple lint.
Pulled from the pockets of larger-than-life empowerments,
then hand-designed and flung up into the sky,
my socks will learn to fly.

By Juliet Cook & j/j hastain

Biography:

Juliet Cook is a grotesque glitter witch medusa hybrid brimming with black, grey, silver, purple, and dark red explosions. She is drawn to poetry, abstract visual art, and other forms of expression. Her poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications. You can find out more at http://www.JulietCook.weebly.com.

j/j hastain is a collaborator, writer and maker of things. j/j performs ceremonial gore. Chasing and courting the animate and potentially enlivening decay that exists between seer and singer, j/j hopes to make the god/dess of stone moan and nod deeply through the waxing and waning seasons of the moon.

where are you from? & questions from Shanghai By Anna Wang

where are you from? & questions from Shanghai

he is pot belly sagged in chair,
the melons sweating in cardboard
boxes and Shanghai heat. city
farmer, he never touched dirt
once except for rimmed gut-
ter toes. but he sits in the open door-
way, plastic flaps tacked up like
the waist of his jeans. exposure:
how he is thief of pregnant fruit, how
this air stole a baby and declared it home-
grown. & kids like us don’t know
the difference. between backwater
and the dam holding its torrent, when
both are stagnation. between
two farmers on a street: one city,
one man. Shanghai freckled spit-black
in question: where? and my father answers what?
the syllables clean and sharp like a knife
cutting through the seedless flesh
of his palm, like maybe his blood
can birth melons from the gutter
and prove him home-grown from filth.

By Anna Wang

Biography:

Anna Wang is a high school sophomore from Lincolnshire, Illinois. She has been recognized by the Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and her poetry appears in Eunoia Review.

Narcan City, VT By Maranda Greenwood

Narcan City, VT

1.

School Street is now known as Narcan Road.
All the town’s twenty-somethings
have disappeared over there—

they pass out while walking.
Face first sidewalk burn,
nodded and frothing—

needle still in the bloodroot.
Why are their shirts always raised,
exposing abdomen flesh

in unflattering ways,
ankles twisted around
in unnatural positions.

2.

Look closely, under-eye concealers
don’t hide the black quarter moons
that make their bottom lids look swollen—
they can’t photograph like us.

Every holiday Facebook photo
has at least one whose pooled moons
tell us, this family,
chases death.

In the morning the children are told
what they lost. At night the children
ask if they can make a deal with Santa.

There’s a whole town out here
where all the spoons are missing.

3.

Heaven could be real. Where good selfless people go
to have painless picnics with other dead loved ones.
Angel wings shimmering in a disease-less garden,
gold-gated. Lions lick the heads of lambs in peaceful
greeting—God smiles.

Hell could be real. Where bad selfish people go
to be punished in a place of sorrow and torment—
tongues scorched with 1000 lies, flames licking
their lips—Heaven visible across the way—
God smiles.

Now I hear Opiate Angels could be real.
Pinhole pupils and dark crescent lids,
pocked skin—grey. Deep reds from elbow
to neck. Weightless and skeletal, flying high.
Thin leather dragon wings clearing the clouds,
an army of addict angles looking over
the orphans in shifts. Doing what they couldn’t
in the flesh.


By Maranda Greenwood

Biography:

Maranda Greenwood is a Vermont poet, she holds an MFA in Poetry from Arcadia University. Her work can be found in Sundog Lit, Eunoia Review, Crab Fat Magazine and other journals. In her free time she coaches field hockey and collects Zoltar tickets.