THE LUNCH REGULAR’S GRANDDAUGHTER
On lunch shifts my brains are in my pockets,
useless dryer lint, a handful of coins
that can’t pay bus fare or buy a Coke.
It’s loving the way she feeds him gazpacho,
daubs his chin clean with a linen napkin,
clears space between tables for his walker
so he can make his way to the bathroom.
With one of his elderly friends he drinks
cranberry juice, iced tea, ginger ale.
With his granddaughter it’s always wine
and he turns delirious with it,
lifts his head from his chest and smiles
at the wait staff, the managers, other guests
like he’s been touched by the hand of God.
Maybe he has because on these days
when I approach the table I can smell her hair,
and I swear it smells like peach pie,
her engagement ring a piece of hard candy,
and I know what those old clergymen
talk about when they claim to feel the Holy Spirit
breathe or move about their rooms, vestibules.
I can feel it, too. The Holy Spirit is a woman.
The Holy Spirit is a chicken salad sandwich,
no bun, that I serve her for lunch,
I can find it anywhere on these shifts
when she dines with her grandfather.
Even, most miraculously, in myself.
By Richard L. Gegick
Richard L. Gegick is from Trafford, PA. His poems and stories have appeared in Hot Metal Bridge, Burrow Press Review, Gulf Stream, Uppagus, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He lives in Pittsburgh where he writes and waits tables for a living.
I used to look for stars, sifting through clouds and smog
for playful light. Now I walk, eyes nailed forward.
My shadow jumps when another brushes by.
No one can explain the butchered frames
and spinning spokes. Blood running down
a stricken face, tasteless paint. Thin yellow tape
cordons the exhibit. A poster waves frantically,
snatching passing sleeves. Stubbed, rushed,
overcooked brush pity to the side. Quarters go
to metrocards, not empty tins on sidewalks.
Tired eyes fail to notice bloodshot ones. Sirens
in the morning are premature alarms. The channel
changes from protests to colorful cartoons.
Screams downtown are drowned by music in the room.
By Haemaru Chung
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 .
Signs of the New Sun God
The dead snake skin came back to life and bit me.
It wasn’t a poisonous weapon. It was a form
of unique reconstructive surgery
created by my own mind
or someone else’s.
And as I began to let others in
they tried to lobotomize.
They said I was acting
like a hyper martyr
when all they wanted to do was control.
So I asphyxiated my own side of the story.
I bound the contracting snake
charmer into a coffin and nailed it
so all of the nails pointed up toward the shining sun
and created a new sun.
By Juliet Cook & j/j hastain
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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
By Anna Wang
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.