Pressed into Purple By Sidney Muntean

Pressed into Purple

There are two purple bruises
on each of my knees, one
for each of us. I pressed down
until the pain scurried away.

It hid
in a stranger’s lawn and
found us picking lavender. I told you
its smell is supposed to assist with sleep.

You took in
the late of night under my eyes, my
bulbous yawn, and asked me
how many monsters were keeping me up.

I didn’t need to explain
that the only monster under my bed
was the familiar twinge
of an absentee ache.

Now, this pain has blossomed
into four lavender stems, toughened
by the grasp of a persistent palm.

The language of your hand
said forever, but the way I placed
the lavender in the pages of my dictionary

made me wonder
if there was something more
I was trying to preserve.

By Sidney Muntean

Biography:

Sidney Muntean is a high school student in the Creative Writing program at Orange County School of the Arts. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of a creative arts publication, The Junebug Journal. Her work has been recognized by various contests such as the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and Kay Snow Writing Awards and most recently appears in Orca, Adonis Designs Press, and Sunspot Lit. Sidney also likes to dabble in performance poetry, as she won 3rd place with her team in the slam poetry competition OC RYSE.

Stray Cats Sleeping on the Shore By Vanessa Gibson

Stray Cats Sleeping on the Shore

For Pablo Neruda

I forgot the obvious of compassion,
the I felt the way your pores sang.
If I had the chance to curse your toes
landlocked in concrete pouring lightly
on the sun, I’d kiss you, shelter you
from the cold latticed air, dance,
pour a bath, sink marigolds under.
If I keep coming here, I’ll soften.
If I lay here a little longer
a seed will plant itself somewhere
in me where the wind is never steady.
I open your doors for more breeze.
Like you, weather can be quite warm.
Like an iguana, you watch the weather
slink across the sky. Please,
if you’ll let me, the dirt road is long,
narrow, and ends before the drive.
Some poor hand the architect crafted
has cramped, and their drawings
have woven treacherously into the ground.
A fire built like the architect is nimble,
the light grip of a brushstroke
from where all space grows.

All space grows to be sacred,
desolate, the hill we drop
our leaves in, the world
count down from a million fingers.
How far we go depends on when we see
earth’s toes in sand—a high reef of glass,
la primera mother of light, where heat jumps
urgently from flesh. Two birds complete
one stone as if a ceiling and floor
of concrete is a city all its own.
Another way down is the world
in which we all grow old.
This heart, I settle finely
as a gulf of wind and oceans
that open unto sheds
and the only thing life has
is choice. If I am to remember
anything, let it be the vision of the sun
setting on the Aegean Sea, stray cats
sleeping on the rocks below.
If at times I say goodnight, know
that what I mean is good morning.
The day’s eyes never grow thin
and the earth’s weariness lies
only in our words.

By Vanessa Gibson

Biography:

Vanessa Gibson is a 23-year-old recent college graduate who studied English and philosophy, with a concentration in writing and poetry. She considers poetry to be one of the most beautiful expressions of not only language, but of the mind, body, and soul. She believes that poetry can allow us to write from the subconscious, to break down barriers, and to share an intimate slice of human connection. Her work has not been previously published, but she is striving to change that.

On the Will of the Lake By Angie Gross

On the Will of the Lake

I sit on the dock
and watch as the sky erupts
into ribbons of orange and gold.

the lake beneath me pushes and pulls
as if according to its own will
and now, I have convinced myself
that if we, the maniac humans,
are made in the image of God,
so is everything else.

I mean for the moment, of course,
the lake upon which I suspend myself
as if only to witness
the way it is vast and powerful
in ways that we are not vast and powerful.

the lake whose ebb and flow
moves as if to open its wings and show me
all of the life contained between its banks,
as if to hand me the end of the day,
as if to say, “here,
take this light
into the world with you
and please,
give it away.”

By Angie Gross

Biography:

Angie Gross is a poet, pianist, yogi, bookworm, psychology student and friend to all from northern California.

musing By Emily Ng

musing

dreams —

           crumple in aged lockets

wind salivates over hushed syllable

      and        crochet splinters

              of sin

      wintry howls

                         awake

                      when the casket

  locks

What depths are there to be taken when I inherit

         the blurred figure of corruption?

   trade blood apples

                             for hourglass —

      carve shadows

                    from subversion

   reminder —     

                         how one 

        conceives

    clarity

                       that makes

        so     long

       a

life

By Emily Ng

Biography:

Emily Ng is a 17-year-old from Brooklyn, NY. She is a second reader for Polyphony Lit and a poetry and prose editor for Kalopsia Lit. Emily has been recognized nationally by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

Queen Mother to Future I By Opal Palmer Adisa

Queen Mother to Future I

before your head
rested at my knee
i recognized the mark
on your arm

at council you would sit
by my feet
play with the beads
around my ankle
swallow the words
the other mothers and
i whispered as promise

some nights
as i sat on a stool
in front of my hut
listening to the moon
you were a sloth on my
right shoulder
your eyes twin stars
charting a topography

it could not have been otherwise
you had to erect your own stool
bridging memory
lacing a landscape
spirally infinite in its journey

i am gone now
at least my breath no longer fogs this world
but your work is not done
go and plant three baobab trees
so their roots will intertwine
fashioning a river for the
ship that is coming

By Opal Palmer Adisa

Biography:

Opal Palmer Adisa is a Jamaican writer, cultural activist, gender specialist and photographer who has published 20 collections, including poetry, short stories, novels and children’s book. http://www.opalpalmeradisa.com

Poison Panties By Saya Iwasak

Poison Panties

Growing up Japanese,
I was a neutral panties kind of gal.
Most of my underwear bordered on the cusp of granny panties,
brown, white, light florals.

Since moving to America,
the chromatic sampling of my underwear drawer indicates,
I have indeed shifted in some way.
Electric blue and fluorescent pink pop out,
next to yellows and whites and reds.
It’s a festival of thongs, brazilians, boyshorts, and more in there.

I guess the Japanese believed panties didn’t need to be flashy.
Perhaps in doing so, it would be a sexual solicitation;
but that’s like saying, girls would be attacked for wearing short skirts.
Maybe there is a bit of reclamation
in my electric blues and fluorescent pink and yellows and whites and reds. That I can deserve to wear color without fear,
even when that color is located in the place I protect the most.

Science books tell us to avoid frogs and snakes and insects
that have pops of blues and yellows and reds,
for it’s how these creatures warn predators that they are not weak –
they can be dangerous.

Similarly, maybe there is verity in the fierce pride and protection I feel, when I slip these colors on.

By Saya Iwasak

Biography:

Saya Iwasaki writes poetry reflecting the emotional burden that stems from existing in today’s society. Having grown up in multiple international societies as a Japanese woman, her poetry straddles the dualities of being a woman continuously searching for her identity and belonging while living with trauma and dissociation. Formerly an art teacher and graphic designer, Saya received her MA in Education at Stanford and went on to immerse herself in the tech world. Poetry is her foray into herself.

KAMERON By Tavish Young

KAMERON

He was always standing
between me,
and the lead role,
so I jealous loved him.

When I played his angel,
I remember standing in
that familiar dark,
watching James hit him
with the white spotlight.

His coiled hair would light
up like a manuscript,
in one of those ancient
books about God, or
dragons.

Before he would go
on stage, he would pick
me up, knowing
my mic was on and
I could not make a sound.

I could only hold on,
until he put me back down.

By Tavish Young

Biography:

Tavish Young is a full time student at Goucher College where he studies Theatre and Creative Writing. He likes drawing, writing, acting, and listening to twentysomethings sing sad songs.

Autumn By Kristina Kryukova

Autumn

Watercolors spread in blotches,
drying into different shades:
brown at the bottom,
yellow and red at the top.
Green still glimmers among the branches,
hoping, in humble resignation,
for the last bits of the autumnal sun.
No motions, no words.
Everything is still. Forever!
And only in the sky, like a fat herd of cows,
clouds drift to calving.
Soon, soon wind, the herald of nature,
will start its stormy howl,
promising the near delivery
of icy, freezing-cold water.

By Kristina Kryukova

Translated by Sergey Gerasimov from Russian.

Kristina Kryukova is an author from Russia. She lives in Moscow. Her most recent poems have appeared Salmon Creek Journal, Poets Choice. She graduated from the Moscow University of Culture and Arts. Winner of several national and international poetry awards, mother of two kids

San Giovanni in Fiore By Vanessa Gibson

San Giovanni in Fiore

For Richard Hugo

A man looking for his family
finds them just to say the hole was clotting
someone else’s air. The best fit topography
is clanging earthen mail, not words the mountain
sends me down. What we can believe in
is lack of farmers. The Italian way
a poet faces death in writing death.

The hopes of seeing clearly in a dream
have taken all hopes of bones away, fish crawl
to market. Teenagers drink cappuccino,
send their parents letters home. The National
Park was left empty and sky moved to view.
What happens when we take this air away
and even fire falls?

One long road skims the mountain, igniting
the flakiness of gold. How could we hold
on here: anchored slowly, the sky and sun
never meet and might, even in this country,
go hungry. We sleep on heavy stone fences
looking heavy green. There is so little
to hold on to. Questions cave in. The bell
rings. The doorman is home for the night.
Even now, the women know it.

By Vanessa Gibson

Vanessa Gibson is a 23-year-old recent college graduate who studied English and philosophy, with a concentration in writing and poetry. She considers poetry to be one of the most beautiful expressions of not only language, but of the mind, body, and soul. She believes that poetry can allow us to write from the subconscious, to break down barriers, and to share an intimate slice of human connection. Her work has not been previously published, but she is striving to change that.

point in time before the heat death of the universe By Shirley Wang

point in time before the heat death of the universe

when i walked across the bridge
that cleft the canal i didn’t yet
know i was performing
an act of leaving. a honeymooner
bloated wild
a vagrant stepping sweetly
towards a bitter piece of sky

if i am still
hear the fenced-in backyards
vacant pools heaped full
with flowers. to my left—
frogs. silent. and
a bird balanced
on a blade of yellow grass

it’s not too late to forgive
myself for my failure to climb over the wire
or teach myself to swim
without water

in this impossible
distance too much
for me to name
i answer only
to the prehistoric air

By Shirley Wang

Biography:

Shirley Wang is eighteen years old and a graduated high school senior located in Northern California. She is a 2019 YoungArts winner in Short Story and her work has been featured in Vagabond City and Peach Mag. She believes in being unabashed in learning, creating, and caring.