Me and Eileen in a 1980s Heaven By Jenna Velez

Me and Eileen in a 1980s Heaven

They were playing
That song she likes
Balloons ascending
To a 1980s heaven

I remember I held her
Like a drowning man
Axinite eyes shut to the
Infrared heat of unused bodies
Opened wide for the one
Who mattered most

Air heavy with purple fog
And the threat of goodbye
Nevermind
When she tastes like static
Lips fuzzy like orgasmic bees
Making out with TV noise
Arm hair on standby

She was my Eileen in that dress
My face hiding that goodbye in her
Throbbing neck all the while
Friends dry hump the coat rack
Sneaking swigs of communion
In the church basement
Like a depraved Dionysus
Disguised in priest’s robes
The only time I felt I could
Go to a 1980s heaven too
Jenna Velez

By Jenna Velez

Biography:

Jenna Velez is a queer poet from suburban Philadelphia. Her work has been previously published in yell/shout/scream journal. When she isn’t writing she’s usually baking, painting, or practicing witchcraft. She tweets @northernbruja and can also be found at jennavelez.weebly.com.

Bodies of Water By Jessica C. Mehta

Bodies of Water

We are made of the ocean,
spiked with salt and crackling
bones half gone to sand. Within us
is the whole wide sea, swimming
fish and fragile reefs. Sirens
aren’t made up, they tuck
and knot between our ribs—call us
to our depths with songs
that ring of memories. We tell children,
Never turn your back to the waves
not for the unknown, surprise
tsunamis and creeper currents, but for all
the knowing stored
like sunken chests within our marrow.
What goes challenger deep
rises again. In every particle
of our everything, the calcium
that builds our skeleton, we remember
the brine that came before, and all
the leagues of which we’ll go.

By Jessica C. Mehta

Biography:

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a poet and novelist, and member of the Cherokee Nation. Jessica is the author of ten books including the forthcoming Savagery, the forthcoming Drag Me Through the Mess, and the forthcoming Drag Me Through the Mess. Previous books include Constellations of My Body, Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo and The Wrong Kind of Indian. She’s been awarded numerous poet-in-residencies posts, including positions at Hosking Houses Trust and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, Paris Lit Up in France, and the Acequia Madre House in Santa Fe, NM. Jessica is the recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund in Poetry. She is the owner of a multi-award winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karma yoga movement. Visit Jessica’s author site at www.jessicatynermehta.com.

Senator By Kristin Garth

Senator

You have people. One drives me now, a cop,
off-duty. Knock, a giveaway, before
I see the holstered gun. Won’t chat or stop
until I’m locked behind your hotel door.
You have me. Younger than your daughter, all
the hair I have removed or bleached at your
request, camera ready for your call
to action. “Think of them as me but more.”
You have your friends, ones, like me, who know
the secret parts of you. Co-stars rotate
inside my screams, a tiny tied-down show.
The believers of your speeches, the great
women’s rights defender except for mine.
For them, you hide. With me, you cross the line.

first published in Rise Up Review

By Kristin Garth

Biography:

Kristin Garth is a poet from Pensacola and a sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked magazines like Five: 2: One, Glass, Anti-Heroin Chic, Occulum, Drunk Monkeys, Luna Luna, TERSE. Journal and many more. Her chapbook Pink Plastic House is available from Maverick Duck Press, and she has two forthcoming: Pensacola Girls (Bone & Ink Press, Sept 2018) and Shakespeare for Sociopaths (The Hedgehog Poetry Press Jan 2019). Follow her on Twitter: @lolaandjolie

Heart of a Little Brown Girl//Anxiety Pt.I By Autumn Smith

Heart of a Little Brown Girl//Anxiety Pt.I

Breath, talks back.
lip out, arms crossed.

Breath, like a child,
skips rocks against hearts when angry.
Sees how many waves she can create against the ripples of blood stream.

Counts the cracks on the stones, once landed
she kintsugi’s the mistakes afterwards.

Breath always gives lip. Tries to sneak out under the moon
& grows tired of this body,
working it all day.

Some nights,
I’m sure she is one step away
from leaving me for good.
Wringing out my lungs.
Taking every last bit of herself from inside
& packing it so tight my face blues.

Breath takes her sweet time;
locks the door,
leaves her spare key,
& saunters up and out
my mouth

like a child.
She doesn’t even care
to look back.

By Autumn Smith

Biography:

A Cleveland bred poet, Autumn focused on the rhythm and conveying her ideas through image and senses in her poems. Originally a spoken word poet, she participated in the Brave New Voices competition in 2011, ran a spoken word club and poetry workshops throughout college, and is now a contributing editor for Barnhouse Journal. Through exploration of race, mental illness, and humanity, she delves deeper into her own existence. Her main inspirations are Andrea Gibson, Anis Mojgani, and Naomi Shihad Nye.

Marbles By Noriko Nakada

Marbles

on the 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066

My father turns eleven just before
he’s told “take only what you can carry.”
He chooses marbles, polished glass spheres, smooth
and cold in his jacket pocket. Six in
all: a shooter, a cats eye, two aggies,
two comets, in swirls of yellow and blue.
Dad holds them tight in sweaty palms as he
waits in lines with his sisters for breakfast,
lunch, and dinner, six marbles hoping for
a game in the dust on a hot summer
afternoon. But six marbles aren’t enough
for a game, and he’s scared of losing more
so he only pulls them out late at night
on the straw mattress where he sleeps in the
room he shares with his mother and father,
eldest brother, two sisters, young brother.
One night he flicks the shooter with his thumb,
knocks it hard against the others and sends
two marbles rolling across pine boards where they
gain momentum (the floors aren’t level) and
they find a crack just wide enough for them
to fall. Two marbles lost, never finding
their way back to my father, just like
the brothers who, after the war, never
find a way home. He still has his shooter,
a cats eye, an aggie, and one comet
when they board a train to Heart Mountain. The
train stops often and he feels like the trip
takes forever. Even though he wants to
keep his marbles safe, the train jolts and three
more escape, rolling beneath the bench seats
disappearing. All he can say is what
they all say these days. Shikata ga nai.
It cannot be helped. There is nothing to
do. At last, they arrive and step into
a mass of faces (Dad had never seen
so many Japanese before). He still
has one marble in his pocket to help
him remember who he once was. He holds
his last marble and as he gazes up
at the night desert sky, and the expanse
of stars (Dad had never seen so many
before) he wonders if they will ever
find their way back to who they were before.

By Noriko Nakada

Biography:

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.

#Me Too By Destyni Boulanger

#Me Too

Much later,
when I am alone in my bed
in a different part of our city,
I feel the weight of you
flattening me.
For a bit, I had let
myself forget how heavy you are,
your limbs so much bigger
than the parts of me
that tried to push
you away.
And now,
it has been months
since I’ve slept
without your elbows digging
into my rib cage
your beard like sandpaper against my
throat, breath in my ear
reminding me that you
where the first person/last person,
who could ever
want me.
You are so goddamn heavy
and I am so fucking tired
and tonight it feels
like your bones might grind
every piece of me
to dust.

Lord,
wouldn’t that be
a release?

By Destyni Boulanger

Biography:

Destyni Boulanger is a full-time English Major/paper-writing-machine. She’s authored a chapbook called Scorpion Girl and has performed spoken word poetry across Western Canada. When she isn’t writing or studying she runs a community bike shop in hopes of funding her lifelong dream to live in her van and travel the world.

(Villanelle) For My Planet By Marjorie Moorhead 

(Villanelle) For My Planet

Treat your home with love; it will sustain you.
Unattended, webbing can tear.
A net’s weave is strong when its connections are true.

Our actions have changed things more than we knew.
We haven’t treated our surroundings with care.
Treat your home with love; it will sustain you.

Stories are told using many a hue;
facts about deeds not always laid bare.
A net’s weave is strong only when its connections are true.

The lies we were told by greedy oligarchs grew.
Their practice of depletion and pillage for profit, not fair.
Treat our home with love; it will sustain you.

Let us rip open the veil and see through.
We need all be invested in our habitat’s fare.
A net’s weave is strong when its connections are true.

Time has come for action that’s new.
Create stewardship in which we all have a share.
Treat Home with love; it will sustain you.
A net’s weave’s as strong as it’s connections are true.

By Marjorie Moorhead 

Biography:

Marjorie Moorhead writes from the NH/VT border. Her work has been featured in 2017’s A Change of Climate, benefitting the Environmental Justice Foundation. She has had poem of the day at Indolent Books’ What Rough Beast, and HIV Here & Now series, and Rising Phoenix Review (1/6/18). Marjorie’s poems will appear in forthcoming collections from Blueline Press, and Hobblebush Press.