Mass Puddles By Joseph Ellison Brockway

Mass Puddles

The obfuscated truth of the media
a veil of darkness
the black veil of mothers
grieving their children
reduced to black letters on cold stones
black clouds looming
over a nation in mourning
the veil of mass media
of mass hatred
covering mass shootings
mass projectile excuses
mass constitutional extermination
from the public’s gaze
from a veil of mass yellow tape that
segregates and edits out
mass puddles in the streets
where beauty in all its blackness
once shone brighter than any false
gold star of protection
grieve no more, mothers,
put down your funerary fans
a black flicker remains
its incendiary rise will burn
the veil of darkness
no more

By Joseph Ellison Brockway

A poem from Disarm: A Themed issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America

Biography:

Joseph Ellison Brockway is a bilingual poet, translator, and educator. He currently teaches Spanish at Mountain View College in Dallas, TX while working on his Ph.D. in Studies of Literature and Translation at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the current Managing Editor for Reunion: The Dallas Review, and his poems have appeared in Zouch Magazine and Maudlin House.

I want a divorce By Ellie Hudson

I want a divorce

We slam our doors shut.
We move through wires, walls, and words.
I have made my bed.

By Ellie Hudson

Biography:

Ellie Hudson has a BA in psychology from Meredith College (still undefeated at football!). She regretfully lives in Kentucky with her best friend/husband and two wonderful sons. She likes strumming her ukuleles, cross-stitching, coffee, cows, and playing table-top games with friends. She has no social media and sometimes wonders if she truly exists.

Trigger Warning By Allie Marini

Trigger Warning

the sound is unmistakable

shotgun cocked

& I know it’s loaded.                  like him.

startled by the sound,     but not surprised.

bottles               lined up                         by the trash can,

his hallelujahs & his hosannas

my threnodies & dirges

the spell & the pall defining us

sober, the guns are here to protect the house.

but mostly they’re to menace us both.

I forget             why                  we’re arguing:

looking like                                            his beat-down mother

& suddenly                                            he’s thirteen again

trapped

in a house of punching drunks

two by two                    I take to the stairs,

weight of sound,

unforgiving                   ka-shunk                        of the shotgun

loaded

waiting

with him                                   upstairs

By Allie Marini

A poem from Disarm: A Themed issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America

Biography:

Allie Marini is a cross-genre writer holding degrees from both Antioch University of Los Angeles & New College of Florida. She was a 2018 Shitty Women in Literature nominee, and has been a finalist for Best of the Net and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her masthead credits include Lunch Ticket, Spry Literary Journal & Mojave River Review. She has published a number of chapbooks, including Pictures from the Center of The Universe (Paper Nautilus, winner of the Vella Prize) and Southern Cryptozoology: A Field Guide to Beasts of the Southern Wild (Hyacinth Girl Press, finalist for the SFPA’s Elgin Award) In addition to her work on the page, Allie was a member of Oakland’s 2017 National Slam Team. A native Floridian now freezing to death in the Bay Area, Allie writes poetry, fiction, and essays. Find her online: www.alliemarini.com

after-chasm By Beth Swanson

after-chasm

we have embodied consecration;
sometimes the burial has been an act of love,
sometimes it has been a declaration of war.

there is holiness embedded in our bones,
spilling transcendent and heavenly
over the battlefield of our broken bodies.

we are blasphemous by nature,
and no longer celestial, having opened our wings
only after turning our backs on god.

this world is destined to be abandoned
to the people made of poison
who tried their best to pollute us.

let us go in search of kinder heavens.
the next time will be sweeter.

By Beth Swanson

Biography:

Beth Swanson is a writer based in Wellington, New Zealand. She enjoys walking by the water, daydreaming, and writing about feelings too big to be contained. She has previously been published in Rose Quartz Journal and can be found on twitter @bethrswanson.

A Normal Day in February By Krystie Beale

A Normal Day in February

To arm or disarm?
That is the loaded question.

A student changed my life one day
when he walked into the hall
loaded shotgun in his hands,
aiming, shooting, but hitting the wall.

Another shot rings out,
someone screams, a teacher hit,
some commotion, then suddenly
it was over, that was it.

Taken down by a man so brave
unarmed, he wrestles the gun away.
That man, a hero, among many others
who saved more than just my life that day.

And as we huddled under desks,
unaware yet knowing what just occurred,
LOCKDOWN happened next,
But we had never known that word.

Hours passed, still and quiet,
except for the helicopter outside
the news was spreading as the SWAT team
line our halls, guns and shields up by their side.

We walked to the gym,
the longest walk we’d ever take,
past these men, solemn, quiet,
like walking down the aisle at your own wake.

We’re lined up once more,
packed into busses which take us away,
from the school, from the hell
that we all lived through that day.

By Krystie Beale

A poem from Disarm: A Themed issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America

Double Wide By Cori Bratby-Rudd

Double Wide

Half a home on the freeway 710 mobile big load painted
yellow and red         a big rig and a           big man I am behind again

Back on that freeway 101, “They join the pieces at the seal coming together at the stop.”
Mom points a thin finger cranking down the window in the truck
I am in two spots. Then three and or four more.

Sitting with my mom after a day at school, inside, in torn
lawn chairs. We are watching the windowed front load
washer spin. With tea and popcorn, the soap and the clothes
beat and sooth each other. “I can’t believe we have our own dryer now.” We
think with big eyes.

I am giving my grandparents directions. We drive into the park
in the BMW. My grandparents didn’t know and I didn’t know how to tell them.
They mutter, “You live here?” And they say they would prefer to wait in the car.

“I’ll give you a ride home” My friend tells me after softball practice.
“Oh. That’s okay, I’ll walk!”

“Where do you live.”
Points unclearly, “Over there” I mumble and change the subject.

“I wish I could buy you a real house.” Mom says later in a bathrobe
and we can hear the patter of the rain. “You deserve a house.” She whispers.

As I get out of the car. Late to class as always,
I remember, I have a trailer trash pin on my backpack.

By Cori Bratby-Rudd

Biography:

Cori Bratby-Rudd is a queer LA-based writer and poet. She graduated Cum Laude from UCLA’s Gender Studies department, and is a current MFA Candidate in Creative Writing at Cal Arts. Cori enjoys incorporating themes of emotional healing and social justice into her works. She is currently living in the Los Angeles area and has been published in Ms. Magazine, The Gordian Review, Califragile, among others. She recently won the Editorial Choice Award for her research paper in Audeamus Academic Journal and was nominated as one of Lambda Literary’s 2018 Emerging Writers.

Do Not Walk Gentle Into School By Gina Forberg

Do Not Walk Gentle Into School

Do not walk gentle into Westport High.
A student says he wants to kill a teacher.
He has guns, he has a mind for shooting,

I work in this district, elementary.
I heard rumors. First name, David.
Do not go gentle into school today.

Our principal told us to check e-mail.
No known threat at this time, early dismissal.
David had guns, a mind for a mass shooting.

A student called his brother at UCONN.
His spring break shouldn’t be for a funeral.
He had always walked gently into school.

School doors should be open, not closed, not locked.
Recess should be a time for climbing, swinging and tag,
Not AR-15’s, assault weapons or minds for mass shootings.

We put our children on the bus each morning.
We wave goodbye. We put them in the hands
of their teachers. They go gentle into school
where he enters with a gun, a mind for shooting.

By Gina Forberg

A poem from Disarm: A Themed issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America

Biography:

Gina Forberg recently received her MFA from Manhattanville College. Her chapbook, “Leaving Normal” was published in 2017 from Finishing Line Press. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Slant Magazine, The Mochila Review, Cactus Press and others. Her 2010 fellowship with The Connecticut Writers’ Project has led her to become a summer high school poetry workshop leader at Fairfield University. She currently teaches at Coleytown Elementary School and Kings Highway and lives with her family in Fairfield, Connecticut.

queer nihilistic 20-somethings By Jay Artemis Hull

queer nihilistic 20-somethings

He’s a line cook, but sells drugs on the side.
“I’m a white kid” he says,
“worst I’m gonna get is a slap on the wrist.”
And it pays enough for a few community college credits.

She’s spending money she doesn’t have
on a degree that people promise will take her far.
But right now all it looks like
is an unpaid internship answering phones
and night shifts waitressing to try to get by.
Watching more and more of her friends graduate,
and come back to bussing tables with her.

And I’m doing fine
except my friends are talking about dying
and I wanna change the world,
but how can I if I can’t even save them?

But we’re all getting by, we swear.
Nothing to worry about here.
Because we’re all still here
with jobs, a few of us with careers,
paying for our own medication.

We go to work in the mornings
calling the dark circles beauty marks
calling the sleepless nights book material
calling the long days suicide notes.

We don’t mean it, of course,
except for when we do.
Seeing psychiatrists when we have the money,
checking in on each other when we don’t.
Hoping the world makes a bit more sense
before it kills us.

By Jay Artemis Hull

Biography:

Jay Artemis Hull is most likely to be found wandering in the woods or writing in strange places. Their work has been published in a handful of literary journals including The Offbeat and Portage Magazine, on their poetry blog verisimilines, and engraved in the sidewalk at Michigan State University.

Offering By Hazel Kight Witham

Offering

on how we restore justice

Pull this deep down
below bones of before

back to circles maybe

back to fire of reckoning
that centered aching eyes

some stone or feather passed
between hands

something that knew

how to hold harm
how to weigh it well

call it
alternative sentencing
restorative justice

a different way of hearing

not lawyers duking it out
through the bars of our legal system

leaving us all caged, kneeling
before Judge-Jury-God

a different way of hearing
call it courage to know

healing is not meted out in
sentences punctuated by

gavel pound
echoing into hollow room

justice just might be found
in the lyric of a circle,

or a rhyme scheme of poets

holding some small stone or feather
in our hands

a place
we might reimagine

the world we
mean to pass on

By Hazel Kight Witham

A poem from Disarm: A Themed issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America

Biography:

Hazel Kight Witham is a writer, teacher, activist, and artist whose work can be found in Bellevue Literary Review, Rising Phoenix Review, Angels Flight, Zoetic Press’s NonBinary Review, Lunch Ticket and Lady/Liberty/Lit. As a proud public school teacher, she loves listening to young people and challenging them to think more critically and creatively about their place in the world they wish to live in.

Truth Begins in the Lies By SaraEve Fermin

Truth Begins in the Lies

Sorry my birth broke him, the man with so many names, my father. Sorry the (deadbeat/prick/asshole/no-good/sissy/coward) named me and later, ran so far away he pulled himself out of my blood, legally. Sorry something about him was broken but you swallowed that stone anyway, whatever it took to get away from your family, I’m sorry you grew up that way. Sorry you were kissing bottles before you were kissing boys, sorry all I know about you is trauma and a diseased bloodline; sorry this poem is about you already. Sorry there was something hiding inside me, sorry it waited 23 years
to burst out, sorry you had a sick daughter, only a child, and then another sick daughter, pulled out of life by damaged brainwaves. Sorry you gave up 21 days of your life to sit next to me in a hospital bed while my brain was exposed, waiting to catch the perfect seizure. Sorry I was never perfect. Sorry for the seizures, sorry I became a responsibility all over again. Sorry I needed some sort of family to get through it, sorry I chose to have the brain surgery, and sorry we never found out why this is happening to me. Sorry you haven’t learned the why isn’t important. Sorry you feel like this is all happening to you, sorry I can’t be strong for you anymore; sorry I need to put the oxygen on myself this time. Sorry, I think I want to survive this time. Sorry you’d rather be right than happy, sorry I keep bringing up the alcohol. Sorry I married him, that I put my love and happiness first, sorry you choose to push others away. Sorry you are lonely, sorry for the pain. Sorry for the time I forged your signature on my permission slip so I could perform my first grade school solo and I’m sorry you were so angry with me you missed it. Sorry you choose the bitter memories over the sweet let go; sorry you think selfish is a bad word. Sorry that I didn’t leave the house earlier and instead became the most of you. This riot in my bones, learned from you. Sorry I choose to fight for me. Our similarities, mother, they begin and end with our hands. Sorry I think I want to survive this time. I need to put the oxygen on myself first.

By SaraEve Fermin

Biography:

SaraEve is a performance poet and epilepsy advocate from northeast New Jersey. A 2015 Best of the Net nominee, she has performed for both local and national events, including the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles 2015 Care and Cure Benefit to End Epilepsy in Children and as a reader for Great Weather for MEDIA at the 2016 NYC Poetry Festival on Governors Island. She is the author of You Must Be This Tall to Ride (Swimming With Elephants Publishing) and View from the Top of the Ferris Wheel (Clare Songbirds Publishing House). She loves Instagram: @SaraEve41