on top of the earth resting in uncertainty By Colette Chien

on top of the earth resting in uncertainty

uneasy as poseidon’s flat, i breathe, in ocean air & bear terror in
paradise. everyone / i know knows someone with a raspy voice. we’re

all, fleeing to forests & pouring wine over cracked hands. the numbers the
numbers is all that falls from mouths. me n g wake from

slumber with / the essence of our dreams twisted with city dread. we
left / everyone more or less in search of a flattened curve. the

tension stays with us in bed, bunched sheets even with fresh air
coming in, the beauty only serves us in the daytime, at dusk

it’s all shaken words, full screens, & janused declarations. i don’t
know what to believe anymore. my body has never been more animated /

my brain has never been so extinct. slowly spudding moss from the
folds, i drink elixirs that make the time pass like mad / made

to hold liquid droplets inside, these days exuberance is deemed a
liability. these days i have 12 of everything & somehow still am

running low, the numbers the numbers keep people in line, i suppose
they always have / boxes revealed by mayhem / known. these days even

at the summit of the earth, the crows cry of heavy skies / remaining.
the clouds hold awareness of senescence, & it has just begun to rain.

By Colette Chien

Biography:

My name is Colette Chien. I am a senior at Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in poetry and wildlife ecology. My previous published work includes my chapbook, “the poison in our houses” in Silent Actions Magazine, the poem, “i was born into this place a bit of fire & a cancer” into Love and Squalor magazine, and the poem, “visceral fears & ampersands have nothing to do with this” in The Sarah Lawrence College Literary Review.

A pragmatic lullaby for myself By Molly Zhu

A pragmatic lullaby for myself

Some can allow for the world
to croon a lullaby about
the salve of peace.
But this is a promise
we can’t all believe in.

When there is no soft gurney to rest your limbs,
When there is no bitter juice to stop the
invading cancer,
you’ll understand:
you are not iron,
you are not steel,
what you thought was virtue and
what you knew was vice
are only soft dough, being
rolled by the wrong hands.

Has anyone ever felt
this internecine stew of
broiled fury and
guttural rage and
of wrath stoked and
of families engulfed?

I know the answer is, yes.
So why am I still afraid?
I want to believe in Good over Evil,
but I know now,
the difference is nothing,
but a sleight of hand.

My ancestors could never have guessed
in a million cycles of the sun,
that I would one day be,
an American.

And that is the beauty of this country.

And I want to believe in its beauty again.
And I want to believe in its beauty again.

By Molly Zhu

Biography:

Molly is a new poet and writer. For her desk job, she is a corporate attorney in NYC. In her free time, she enjoys eating and thinking about words.

Sagashite Iru Kodomo (Child Who Seeks) By Jinko Gotoh

Sagashite Iru Kodomo (Child Who Seeks)

Gaman (1966)
Endure the unbearable with patience and dignity:

“Japs!”
“Go home!”

Angry
graffiti screams
from white garage door.

Rotten tomatoes,
raw eggs,
cling to Mama’s brand new white Rambler.

Who?
No!
Neighbors across street?

Shattered dreams,
not at all like
Lady and the Tramp.

From land of rising sun
to smoggy Pasadena.

Welcome to America.

Genki (1970)
Vigorous state full of fortune and energy:

Gunmoke,
John Wayne,
Lakers,
blast
from Obachan’s TV.

Lady octopus,
so many arms,
needs deodorant,
Peanuts cartoons—
animation fixation.

Mama’s loud vacuum
shovoooooms
Saint Bernard hair.

“Study hard!” Mama cautions.
Practice, practice, Joplin’s Ragtime.

Ganbaru (1976)
Stubbornly persevere

Ivy League surreal,
orientation day,
freshman murdered,
for his TV.

Love will fix me.
Yo-yo boyfriends,
parents don’t approve.
What?

Still Pearl Harbor?
Math plus cinema equals
bits and flickers, obscure desire,
stories and algorithms.

Ishi ga areba michi ga aru (2001)
If there’s a will, there’s a way:

Work, work, work, work,
work, work work.
Making animated movies!

Twin towers destroyed.

What?
America at war!

What’s matters most?
Time is precious.

Canada my new home.

Wabi Sabi (2005)
Acceptance of transience and imperfection:

Failed relationships,
abandoned projects

Faded petals,
lilacs, peonies,
jacaranda.

Listening to Al Green.

Enduring
pain,
tears.

Sifting among ashes,
my calmer soul.

Discovered—
new gentle lover.

Mono no Aware (2015)
Awareness of impermanence:

Mama full of contradictions,
weak and needy
but strong deep in belly.

Survived WWII bombs
in Yokohama.

America was never her country.

Parkinson’s takes 20 years,
cries “Papa, Papa”,
day and night near end.

Bring back Mama’s favorite—
white asparagus from Paris.

Arigato,
eats them,
dies.

Smiling photo—
cherry blossoms in Kyoto,
sits next to Mama’s ashes.

I am Mama’s daughter.
Child who seeks.

By Jinko Gotoh

Bigraphy:

Jinko Gotoh is an award-winning producer and consultant. Her strengths and passion include discovering new voices, nurturing creative talent, and charting new technologies and creative processes. Her producing screen credits include: 2020 BAFTA winner and Oscar-nominated Klaus, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The Little Prince, Oscar-nominated The Illusionist, 9, and Oscar-winning Finding Nemo. Jinko serves as the vice president for Women in Animation, an advocacy organization to advance women and all under-represented people in the industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Math and MFA in Film from Columbia University. Jinko is a published poet and rescuer of many, many dogs on the side.

Let’s be monsters By Maia Brown-Jackson

Let’s be monsters

Let’s be monsters.
Let’s be witches and bitches
and crones
and just
hideous.

Let’s be powerful.
Let’s take and take and take
and grab the world,
just
fucking hold on with claws
and teeth
and refuse to let go.

And let’s be gluttonous.
Let’s devour.
Let’s see what we want,
what delights us,
and let’s inhale it with no
regard for propriety.

With no regard for you.

Let’s be insolent.
Let’s be wanton.
Let’s be ugly.
Let’s show our teeth as a warning sign
before we sink them into your neck.
Let’s be savage and angry.

Let’s say,
This is for me.
This is because I want.
This is because I exist.
This is because I take up space,
as much as I want, and more,
and I survive despite your best efforts
to tamp me down,
and I will fucking wear my defiance
like a punch to the gut
or I will slaughter you.

By Maia Brown-Jackson

Biography:

Maia Brown-Jackson is a queer Jewish idealist with PTSD and a fucked up past who tries to save people and butterflies and bumblebees. She has a degree in counter-terrorism and human rights and is currently recovering from covid-19 in D.C.

STATE FLAG By Nicholas Kasimatis

STATE FLAG

They shot the last grizzly on Mt. Diablo
because somebody said it was there.

Cut off from the salmon.
In a world of no elk.

Watching the marshes drained,
the river made straight.

This is a strawberry.
These are grapes.

That’s the canal,
cutting to Stockton.

The black smoke is oil.
The brown is oak.

Rent a self-driving car
and ride it to the top.

Look out—
a land where all the beasts are gone.

By Nicholas Kasimatis

Biography:

Nicholas Kasimatis participated in Kim Addonizio’s workshop “Art of the Short Poem.” He graduated from Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and has worked as a construction engineer, gallery attendant, and art director. After the day job and the joys of being a husband and father, Nick spends his time fly-fishing, painting, and writing.

seafarer By E.M. Roy

Seafarer

something changed in the space between
us when you traced your fingers along
coastal contours where the wet world ached
around us as you, seafarer, swept me away
in a spit-slick current

or maybe it was my treacherous
fin-feet that swam me to you across
underwater volcanoes and murky planets
too wicked to see
so deep there’s no shell-soft pink to be found

so you want to know how far down
the mariana trench goes? let me show you
let’s go down until the colours disappear
let’s sink until nobody can find us in
our submarine

as the strange sea-creatures emerge from the green
and bare their teeth and blind eyes and
if i wonder if they see us
what we look like through distorted glass
it’s only for a moment

it’s you and i in this flimsy metal embrace
and maybe
we won’t come up for air

By E.M. Roy

Biography:

E. M. Roy is a British-Indian poet currently living between Singapore and Pennsylvania. Her work centres around loss, colonisation and third-culture identity. She can be found on Instagram at @emroypoet.

Worlds Away By Emma Mayer

Worlds Away

How am I to feel the rain? The quaking
Drab of day, so critical past my curtains.
Once abandoned, near and along the widened
World, I saw treasure.

Castles tall and wondrously bold, resplendent.
Cloaked in sunrise, glorious – dreaming aimless,
Passing time by driftwood and embers, picture
Perfect but gone now.

Magical and innocent, softly laying
Here beneath the willow, to wake and find a
Dream destroyed by growing old, snow that keeps on
Falling with pity.

I hear songs that torture my poorly beating
Heart, so shattered daydream and soul I linger,
Caught between the worlds in which sweet and pensive
Visions are dancing.

By Emma Mayer

Biography:

Biography: Emma Mayer is a junior double majoring in English and Communication in Colorado. She has been writing poetry ever since she could remember and believes words have the power to change the world. You can follow her on Twitter @emmamayer1996 and Instagram @__shmayerxx.

Minotaur’s Sisters By Brynn Cook

Minotaur’s Sisters

Do they still sell those scarves we tied
to our wrists and spun
like parasols, sold with marbles
to each other, muddied as spies and spit
our teeth into?

Ariadne dug labyrinthine trenches, soil
up around her ears, shucking arms
like the boys: from the vantaged
tree stump, set her black sail rippling.

Orchard squirrels gash each pear
lick nectar wounds, move on
no sense of time, ripening
Of loss. We’re told
that we are loved alike.
We were each-others mothers, fathers
lovers, friends in turn.

Stilt backwards, silken thread
spools, unspools through
fingers. A slipping guide, a lifetime
held in memories: he was her brother
half-brother, half bull. Amazed,
her love is shooting the squirrel before,
unmanned, he cannot crack

the leaded gun. His hand
her brother’s hand, relentless
on her thigh. Forget it.
We were young. The veins of homesick
traced, re-traced: rootbound. Big sister
kind of love.

By Brynn Cook

Biography:

Brynn Cook was born and raised in Southern California, leaving to spend six years pursuing her PhD at the University of Virginia. Brynn has now returned to her home state, and currently lives with her husband and twin sister in the best possible shelter-in-place scenario. Brynn has been published in Chaparral poetry, and writes poetry with the hope of one day distilling the strange call of warm October winds.

britisher mantra By E. M. Roy

britisher mantra

clean hands / because oily fingers make me sick / can’t stand the sight of / curry caked nails / you said / clean hands / dirty apron / soap in between / scrub / until they turn to rubber gloves / clean hands / wash away / the dirt and grime / not a speck of brown in sight / clean until they’re white / clean hands / fork and knife / silver scrubbed to shine / skin sanitizer burning / clumsy china clatters/ chawal clanking on chamach / maybe i was too loud / or not owed your love / because i mumbled / and muddled prayers / and my tongue stumbled / foreign words / foreign food / clean hands and a dirty mouth / you bought me gold / to chain my fingers / it meant you loved me / right / clean hands shaking / rajma spilling / brown curry seeping / white tablecloth stained / and maybe i wasn’t clean enough / to make you love me / or maybe i was / too brown british bengali bred / okay / put your hand by mine / and we’ll see / whose is cleaner

By E. M. Roy

Biography:

E. M. Roy is a British-Indian poet currently living between Singapore and Pennsylvania. Her work centres around loss, colonisation and third-culture identity. She can be found on Instagram at @emroypoet.

Yearning for Peace By Tayyaba Barqi

Yearning for Peace

There will be a day
When the moon shines brighter than the sun in the day,
And my heart aches for more hope at night rather than pain.

There will be a day
When my eyes will not wake up to watching the demolition of the valleys of Kashmir,
And my ears listening to the screams of children running in jubilation instead of fear.

There will be a day
When the trees are no longer holding on to the secrets of pain of people,
And the mountains are not a witness to the sounds of firearms and weapons.

There will be a day
When I will weep again as I always do as the dawn touches upon the sky,
But this time, the tears will be for winning the battle.

There will be a day
When this heart doesn’t struggle to pound,
And the blood flows through my veins like filling up a dried well after ages.

There will be a day
When I will fathom the misery of this labyrinth,
And live in reality instead.
There will be a day, a day
When birds will sing the songs in ecstasy and not in despair.

By Tayyaba Barqi

Biography:

Tayyaba Barqi is a law student who is an aspiring poet and who talks about the misery of people in various parts of the world especially war-torn countries with the help of her poems. You can find her on instagram @logophilepoet