Crossing Street By Onyedikachi Chinedu

Crossing Street

my death speaks a thousand languages;
nights.tongues we know by too many nights.encounters.
someday, they find the body in the trench,
by the corner store—where my fav deodorant sells for a cheap price—
or the hospital’s front lawn; or far away from where language holds in my diaphragm;
or below the creek’s womb; or in the still luxuriant woods, for speaking.
nonetheless, it will be found
nights.decaying and prospering the air with love.
here, we speak in signs and megaphones.
nights.my native tongue submerges
nights.in water willingly. have I saved us by escaping
the pistol’s spittle and chains and the captain’s ship?
nights.we die fresh and bent over in this country.
nights.fresh and bent over, we die in this country.
this country erring to claim us as its own.
home is the whale’s wooden teeth.
nights.slam! there’s death behind the firm teeth,
nights.& we are fat from quietness.
again & again, my hands clutch the gate
nights.will my speaking counts as Salau
nights.in six years?
will I matter without names
or skipped and omitted like absence?
nights.simply, I’m scared of dying, the white kid,
nights.next door, blossom in a hoodie.
at the front door, in my hoodie, one she gave to my body in nineteen,
I get shot five times for crossing the street;
for sharing a body with the man in the cell.

By Onyedikachi Chinedu

Biography:

Onyedikachi Chinedu is a queerish poet living in Nigeria.

Phosgene Lungs By Amy Zhou

Phosgene Lungs

Phosgene [noun]: a colorless poisonous gas made by the reaction of chlorine and carbon monoxide. used notably in World War I.

Before me I watch you barefoot, I
before you, unraveled and tattered
in my mind.
I swim through your oil-spill eyes, drown
halfway in violet                       grease, it is
in this way that I pass summer
nights.

and I see you in furs and drunken
fights with our neighbor’s cat, you
dressed only in four-day shorts and you
planting pretty kisses on tan
alleyway walls, you with bare
teeth. Fissioning             unraveled,
oil-spill eyes swim
in my mind.

When you sit on stools, your knees jut
out sideways, angular in           strange
trapezoids, but what I notice instead
is the cigarette you chew into shreds, yes
I see plumes of grey and           grey.
You say it tastes like salt,
tell me to breathe it in
I will taste dreams
but I do not taste dreams, I taste
wilting heat.

But at least you learned to breathe again
after phosgene bloomed in your lungs,
so you fill your throat with smoke but
smoke does not kill, no,
smoke does not kill dead
lungs.

Disheveled eyes watch the fireplace chew
up chicken bone remains of your dinner and you
do not think you finished all the skin and fat,
I offer you mine but you
call me                         silly

because even your spit
tastes like vomit.

Like the poppy, we were always more intoxicating wilted than in bloom.

Rain splatters through cracks
of our walls, slips into pulpy floors and I
barefoot sit on a stool and cup lamp oil
in my palm.
I dip hands into grainy photos
of your wife and son (gone) and
vaporize into mists, spread across the room and violet-
studded skies.
Did you always like air so much?

Coal dust coats my feet and it is cold, so
cold I wonder how you do not
shiver in your shorts.

By Amy Zhou

Biography:

Author_Photo_Amy_ZhouAmy Zhou is an aspiring high school writer from The College Preparatory School in Oakland, California. She has been recognized for her poetry and short fiction by The New York Times, the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, Frontier Poetry, and Hollins University. She has been featured in various literary journals and serves as the Editor-in-Chief for her school’s newspaper, The Radar, literary publication, The Steele, and art magazine, ArtsMag.

Grief in the Darkroom By Tyler King

Grief in the Darkroom

I.
I glue the golden mask to my face
and in ten thousand years we all might
be reborn again. I glue this wooden mask
to my skin so that when that day comes,
you will know me. I glue this stone mask to
my lips and eyes and nose because
without it I will suffocate. Breathe deep,
breathe in, swim up to the light.

II.
All my life, we’ve worn masks
and danced in this ballroom
and now your feet don’t move
and the music’s all quiet
and I know you’d say,
“Keep dancing,”
but it’s hard.
Sunlight like molasses threaded through
and you reached up your fingers
and sewed together a tapestry and its edges are fraying
and I know you’d say,
“Tie up my loose ends,”
but it’s hard.
Don’t you fall, we’ve lived together all these years
and seen men scrape clouds
and sow fields of sweet rice
and now, they’re all ghost fire
and I know you would say,
“Go to them,”
but it’s hard.

III.
I glue the two-sided mask to my face
and in a year, I’ll understand that we might
be redeemed again. I glue the steel mask
to my frame and lean on its willowed
support. I glue this glass mask to my
eyes so I can’t tear up — tearing into it
teases out shards — but at least I see
clear and am transparent.

and I know you would say:
take off the masks,
and let all it flow free
so then I’ll know
I taught you well.
But it’s hard

By Tyler King

Biography:

Tyler King (b. 2003) is a writer, songwriter, and composer. His work in poetry and prose has been recognized multiple times by the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. In addition to writing poetry and fiction reflecting mainly on his Asian-American heritage and the impacts of contemporary masculinity on youth, Tyler co-directs Imagination, his school’s literary journal. There, he focuses on curating new content and helping student-writers develop their unique styles and voices. Tyler attends St. John’s School and resides in Houston, TX.

In Which Quantum Mechanics Saves Me from Suicide By Adaeze M. Nwadike

In Which Quantum Mechanics Saves Me from Suicide

Particles that form substances can also be waves

I

I know no other way of living but this: where
I am particle droplet a crumb of God’s
benevolence

Rejecting the euphony of life each time it
plays

Tuning out of life like I tune out of
songs

I do not like to remember

I beg death to stay.

These days, it is difficult to remember what
my teachers said about substance or matter

Even more difficult to carry my weight or
occupy space

I know no other world but this: where
I am seedling a murderer killing myself
bit by bit

Dancing to the euphony of death each time it
plays

Holding its notes like I held onto my lover’s
last breathe

After an ambulance took him away

I begged him to stay.

But tonight, I am wave and the sky
is generous

I drift into another world directly parallel
to space

II

Our universe consists of particles that can exist in two places

Here, I am a girl sinking and sinking
Summer seems to bear a grudge
&the sun- a melancholy- is
pretending it is made of wax
Pretending and chuckling
Doing it with so much vigor
& I knew that my life
As bare as it seems
Will wait
& wait

Here, I find myself in a child
It is a cold morning
& I watch as I drench in the dew
Pretending to be freezing
Pretending and chuckling
Doing it with so much vigor
& I knew that my death,
As daring as it seems
Will wait
& wait

By Adaeze M. Nwadike

Biography:

Author_Photo_Adaeze_Nwadike

Adaeze M. Nwadike is a Nigerian writer and teacher. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in many notable magazines in Nigeria and the diaspora. She is currently working on a collection of poems that explores the experiences of women migrating to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea.

Industrial Carousel By Juliet Cook

Industrial Carousel

It’s snowing again in the spring
and the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t care
how many of us die.

Try this pill until you run out of power.
Let your body and brain get used
to this manufacturer’s version of this pill,
and then you will be switched to another
like your brain is just a light switch
like your brain is just a plug
like your brain is just a hole in the wall
hotel room with a bath tub that doesn’t work anymore.

So you either die underwater or else
you’ll have to handle new pill side effects again
and again and again and again and again.

Sometimes I feel like I’m on a bad dream carousel,
moving in rickety circles, taking turns
sitting on different unnatural broken animals.
A never ending damaged carnival ride.
Every horse has different side effects.
The only think they all have in common
is they’re all fake and will eventually break,
make you start over again and make you pay.

But step right up
for a little while
before the next crash.

By Juliet Cook

Biography:

Juliet Cook is 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.

If Fame Comes Or Not By Kolawole Samuel Adebayo

If Fame Comes Or Not

At times, I type my name into Google,
Tell the search engine to search for who I am,
And the internet tells me I am scanty — nothing about the street I grew up in
nothing about my secondary school laurels,
Only a few pictures trying to colour me into limelight.
When I was a boy, I wanted to be famous,
To be the alpha male leading the line
In a pack of wolves, trudging the army on,
Bearing the torch which lights the forest.
But I have realized that fame
Is a distant city that only a few find.
So, I don’t wanna be famous no more.
I don’t want the scrutiny of the spotlight no more.
I am a traveler walking around the edges of the earth
And I just wanna do enough to bury my name in the beach of hearts,
To write myself as an epitaph on your mind’s walls.
It does not matter if the internet knows who I am or not,
As long as I am there in your heart — undead — still living
Even after my departure, it’s okay. Really, it’s okay.
And if I am lucky enough, I will be one of those
That the city comes to even when they don’t look for it…

Previously Published By Glass: A Journal of Poetry

By Kolawole Samuel Adebayo

Biography:

Kolawole Samuel Adebayo is an old soul in a young Nigerian body whose poems seek to awaken the human consciousness. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming on Glass Poetry, Button Poetry, Burning House Press, Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, Tuck Magazine, Black Pride Magazine, PAROUSIA magazine, WRR, BPPC anthology, and elsewhere. He likes to connect with his friends via his Twitter handle, @samofthevoice.

The Mythology of Sex By Ebuka Prince Okoroafor

The Mythology of Sex

Your lips rub like Terracotta
on the naucha of my back that

lets your breath permeate the pores on my skin
to unbound Ezili¹ in my blood.

Your fingers drag like sweet-water
down Oshun’s² rachis as I lay like burnt offering
for the deity living in your eyes.

god, will you come in
and claim your ancient throne in

this kingdom where the events of this day
will become the mythos of a generation?

¹ and ² are gods of love in western Nigeria.

By Ebuka Prince Okoroafor

Biography:

Ebuka Prince Okoroafor(E.P Okoroafor) is a 5th year Nigerian Medical Student. He writes Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction. His work has appeared on Praxis Magazine, Kalahari Review and African Writer. He was one of the winners of the Green Author Prize 2017

I was in the backyard at midnight in Philadelphia thinking about texting you this By Parker Sera

I was in the backyard at midnight in Philadelphia thinking about texting you this

I miss you more than anything.
It gets easier, but not that much easier

I can hear a car alarm and something that sounds like gunshots
It could be the national guard and their played-out psychological warfare again

They had it where you are too, I bet In Minneapolis
I know they did

And did you lie awake in your attic room where it never got totally dark with the light of sirens and street lamps
And the air quality was poor from the fires?

I thought about buying a plane ticket to Phoenix, Arizona, Or Fargo, North Dakota
And then I remembered I haven’t received the results of my Covid test yet

And besides there is nowhere That isn’t on fire
Nowhere that isn’t humid with heavy rage

But also
Electric with change;
It would strike my plane out of the sky

By Parker Sera

Biography:

Author_Photo_Parker_Sara

 

Parker Sera is a queer, midwestern horse girl, poet, actor, and theatre-maker from Minneapolis, MN. Her work has appeared in Knack Magazine and the 11/9 Anthology. She lives in Philadelphia, where she’s working on her MFA in Acting at Temple University.

I interrupt a selfie in Guilin By Alison Zheng

I interrupt a selfie in Guilin

I interrupt a selfie in Guilin, northwest of
Guangzhou, east of Eden.

The tourist yells at me in Mandarin, but it’s too
late. My jacket sticks out like a

Red Guard arm band in the back of her
photos. I wade around but

everyone else is doing the same thing as
her: hopelessly trying

to take a picture that doesn’t include the
crowd. I give up, and

watch the fog roll through the hills that
looked unlike any hills I had seen before.

My tour guide says they’re special because
they can be whatever you want them to be:

a cat’s ears, a camel’s hump, even 20 RMB.

When Sappho looks at the hills, she sees
Aphrodite. When I look, I see everything else.

The cormorant’s chained neck, the crown of my
dad’s head when they arrested him,

my grandma as a girl bowing to Japanese soldiers,
a taxi driver’s blank stare when i speak Cantonese,

my mom’s permanently swollen hands.

In Yangshuo, Syphisus joins our bus tour. He trades
the boulder for beer battered fish

and we share a cigarette on gwai lo gai. When you’ve
carried the world on

your back for this long, you can do whatever
the hell you want.

I wonder, when a satyr looks in the mirror,
does he see a man?

When I look, I see Mary Magdalene with
the smoking flame.

By Alison Zheng

Biography:

Alison Zheng graduated from UC Davis w/ an English degree a million years ago. She’s a Scorpio Sun/Pisces Moon. She thinks writing is tight.

Yellow-Boned By Amy Zhou

Yellow-Boned

Dip ankle-deep into our falls
and we will find that none matter
more than this one. Wade
in our wavering lies and the boy
will return home to a dog
chewing on bones under his bed.
There is nothing left
to eat. His father will throw the dog
out and call it dirty beast. He says
never grow attached to things you
cannot keep.

Father tells us to sit upright. Straight,
until we fold in like origami cranes.
Our wings cannot unfold and dreams
stay tucked into creases. Sentiments
were never ours to keep.

And father never liked to eat. He sits
until his hand trembles and drowns
his spoon in cold chicken soup
with wilting mushrooms.
We know he has too straight
a spine, but we stay spineless,
do not know how to stand, only crawl
towards skies that pool in our minds.
Our eyes puddle with stars but there
are no stars here for us to find,
upright. With spine. Desert heat
weighs our eyes closed while dreamless
sleep wraps around paper lungs.

Father says he hopes we can
breathe. But his words only come
out halfway, drowning in chewed up
shreds piled in his throat. Even
the cigarette spine broke into pieces
so how can we sit upright
under father’s teeth. Prey,
we. And there was a time, probably,
when father slept soft in mother’s palm,
before she spilled yellow
into a river. He tells us to never
wade in yellow silt: There are tigers
waiting, yellow-boned beasts.

By Amy Zhou

Biography:

Author_Photo_Amy_ZhouAmy Zhou is an aspiring high school writer from The College Preparatory School in Oakland, California. She has been recognized for her poetry and short fiction by The New York Times, the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, Frontier Poetry, and Hollins University. She has been featured in various literary journals and serves as the Editor-in-Chief for her school’s newspaper, The Radar, literary publication, The Steele, and art magazine, ArtsMag.