You can paint flowers in the asylum unfurling through irises your first full day all indigo and impulse.
Easy to paint when they bring your meals and change your sheets and keep you from eating your own colors of lead and wonder.
A painting every two days to out-create the redness wavering through the night cafe or the lines of Baby Marcelle crumbling beneath your promises to the postman.
Despite the dark your nights carry wheat fields on the wind swirling against the starry night as you memorize the stars’ courses on nights too full for sleep.
Your endless sunflowers dried up, you’ll embrace that village below in browns and taupes and pinks once you’re well enough to taste the almond blossoms.
By Sara Doan
Sara C. Doan (she/her) is a writing professor and emerging poet located near Atlanta, Georgia. When she’s not teaching and researching design strategies for equity in health communication, she enjoys wandering through art museums, baking too many scones, and sewing her own clothing in large floral prints and jewel tones.
I want to forgive America And escape the rage that Antebellum brings, Then I envision the fear in the eyes of those chained In tight spaces inhaling putrid fragrances seasick Numbing numbing numbing from racing thoughts of never returning
then with dropped jaw I watch men scale capitol walls and remember how our insurrections ended
heads severed and unblinking on wooden posts along the road a morbid example made or with feet hopelessly kicking until they can’t
I want to forgive America And elude the assimilated shame Of mispronounced names but They pronounce our names as questions On purpose.
By Deaundra Jackson
Atlanta is the phoenix that lives in her. She is uncompromising about living a life that advocates for a greater quality of life for those who’ve been systemically abandoned. She worked for three years at the Georgia State Capitol determined to understand political underpinnings. Her hometown of Atlanta is number one in income inequality in America and she refuses to turn a blind eye to the disparities in social mobility. Writing was always her avocation, but while in The Politics of Black Poetry class, she was reassured that she wasn’t limited to becoming a public servant by running for office, she could illuminate the trauma of her community by cultivating her gift of writing.
It becomes one that chooses its’ texture. On some days, it’s cells, and tissues, and organs
Liquefies into a river, to be awash from dolour. I allow a scapula kiss my breath
& watch as this warehouse of memories Split into a thousand pieces, unveiling the
Genesis of pain. & strain—this outpouring Stains my chest. In the beginning, the creator
Gave life to clay. Does it mean that I’d being Indoctrinated with the gospel of crumbling,
Even before I took my first breath? In this poem, Everything is synonymous to distortion.
Come, watch how a black boy morphs into a house of cards, Sufficient with the history of days when the proof of
Existence is just the air in his lungs & nights when he practiced exorcism on himself. Look, I understand the theory of disintegration And how it undresses the pride of a man.
Rendering him asthenic. The rate of decay is Directly proportional to extinction.
This is a poem in which a body Disobeys the law of elasticity
Still, it refuses to be the past tense Told in present, & renames itself an antonym to death.
By Joshua Effiong
Joshua Effiong [He] is a Nigerian writer and a lover of literature. His works has appeared in Eboquills, Kalahari Review & Shallow Tales Review. He is an author of a poetry chapbook Autopsy of Things Left Unnamed. When he is not writing, he is reading, watching movies and listening to music. An undergraduate of Science Laboratory Technology. He lives in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria. And here he writes from. You can find him on Instagram @josh.effiong and twitter @JoshEffiong
Spattered with freckles, I cannot escape the sun while hidden in my lair. Lips bloodied in hatred, frosted in apologies. Remnants of nightmares in the watercolor bruises cradling my blushing eyes, hair braiding and unbraiding itself in tendrils, still sleeping. Have I always looked like chaos? looking back at me with years of regret and a birthmark so often glittering in the tracks of tears. The lights went out with the kiss of electrodes, dousing the embers in my cheeks with the curse of tomorrows. I am a beautiful corpse indeed. I wipe the toothpaste from my mouth with the back of my hand; morning is always a ritual of lamentation.
By Kaitlin Kan
Kaitlin Kan is a product of a multicultural upbringing, New England boarding school, and Yale University, where she is currently studying English and psychology. She has been published in Ponder Review, New Plains Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Sincerely Magazine, Hektoen International, and Sky Island Journal. When she is not writing, she is spending time with her dogs and playing piano.
as the light leaves, washing over marbled buildings, drawn away like a tablecloth as god whispers a dark quiet into the world because he is eternity’s disc jockey
and small lights flicker on like distant candles as people, lazy in their beds, annihilate the good air by shutting off their lamps and we all sit with our thoughts as gravity keeps its consistent aging pull as the stars peer down at us as listless angels as the night dares all the animals into silence and we follow eyelids first into slumber as shivering rats crawl up subway pipes like god is at the other end with a handful of cheese, laughing until the world grows moldy with indifference and small children break apart
crackers in their dreams, their dreams small and brittle in the mouths of their parents, taller children with bigger dreams that crumbled faster than they could grow and maybe growing up isn’t something that happens to you, but something that follows you until you turn around and greet it with a few slumped shoulders and shrug into your life like good enough is good enough today but tomorrow is today on repeat and god is a sticky fingered disc jockey at a house party that everybody wants to leave.
We live life like a city unto ourselves dark entirely inside, until the smallest parts of us wake up before the sun does and we turn the lamps back on despite gravity’s protest because somewhere out the door is a leaking pipe that smells of cheese because we’re shivering rats and listless angels and children too dumb to stay young and we’re shaking off sleep as tomorrow finds us in the daytime, growing older one more moment, cut down by an edge of light as the tablecloth folds over once more, drawn back into position by a turntable and god sticks his finger onto a cracking disc and begs us, “one more, please— I think we’ve just about got this living thing figured out.”
By Taylor Bereiter
Taylor began writing poetry in college and has since competed in multiple national poetry slams before flying off to Taiwan to teach English literature abroad. She writes because language is too damn fun to quit and because, as a trans woman, she has found poetry to be an excellent way to be heard.
thank you for reading this poem. Thousands of miles lie between us. I cannot meet you in person or invite you to visit my garden. I ask summer’s breeze to travel and forward my regards to you with the fragrance of my lilacs. In the first ray of sunshine, my peach blossoms drift in a stream, flow thousands of miles, melt into water, and send you sweet rain. When night falls, my waterlilies sleep on the reflection of the moon. Please open your window, gaze at the same moon, and feel their dreams. Two lines from here, you will notice a period wishing you the start of infinity.
By Ling Ge
Ling Ge is a Pushcart nominee who studies creative writing and works as a statistician in Toronto, Canada. In her literary work, she uses a combination of Eastern and Western styles. Her work has appeared in the Spadina Literary Review. Her tanka will appear in Ribbons.
Grief, too, is a gift—what is light without darkness?
Where there is grief, look. It is to magnify
joy. Not all things that obey grief grow arms to press the color
of darkness into our chest. I count my blessings,
grief does the subtraction. See—I have given my body
to endurance so long it sees pain & calls it a beautiful thing.
& when you say goodbye, do you mean to donate me
to the gods of the earth, or to see me a second time?
By Flourish Joshua
Flourish Joshua is a (performance) poet from Nigeria, a NaiWA poetry scholar, 2nd place winner of the 7th Ngozi Agbo Prize for Essay, finalist of the 2021 NO CONTACT Poetry Prize, Managing Editor at NRB, Interviews Editor at Eremite Poetry, Poetry Editor at LERIMS, Associate Poetry Editor at miniskirt magazine & Poetry Reader at Bluebird Review. He is published (or forthcoming) on London Grip Poetry, miniskirt magazine, East French Press, Olongo Africa, Ghost City Review, Brittle Paper, Blue Marble Review, Bluebird Review, No Contact, and elsewhere. Instagram: @therealflourishjoshua | Twitter: @fjspeaks
l have been notified that my sorrow has been accepted elsewhere, my mother heard it in the news and
slammed the door. between a live wire and a blue tapestry, l think of a time when wishes would come in handy.
stories of grief are hard to handle. l am a single boy lost in the time outside of
a hummingbird’s nest. because everything is a crayoned skin when you look at them with a bat-savvy eye.
I have trained my brown, broken bones to hold on or let go of a future dipped in turpentine. they say what defies coloration is the excreta of a near-indigo sky. it is hard to not understand the red earth and its edges.
By Goodnews Mememugh Karibo
Goodnews Mememugh Karibo is a woke poet who writes from the heart of Port Harcourt. His poems have been published by Brittle Paper, African Writer, ShortSharpShot, and whatnot. He spends every day imbibing words.
they told me my body is a casket of dead emotions where i must bury loud hearty laughter & embalm my tears to lie in state,
they told me my body is a zuma of rough edges where i must sharpen the blunt edges of my penis & implode the pain as i crawl through ages,
they told me my body is an ambulance that transport the dread of rape & trauma of same to and fro my entry to earth,
they told me to drown my emotions in bottles of beer workout until biceps cover my scars & drink every bitter pill thrown at me by girls,
they told me my skin is the colour of darkness darkness, the symbol of sadness sadness, the end product of my existence,
they told me to man up; i’ve been manning up since day cradle learning the wisdom of the moon but forgetting to shine.
i have no memories of my boyhood – i’ve always been a man with a lonely boy’s soul walking on broken soles.
By Jaachi Anyatonwu
Jaachi Anyatonwu is a poet, editor, and publisher living in the suburbs of Aba. He is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Poemify Publishers Inc. Jaachi is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. He is also a fierce advocate for the boy child and sexually molested.
went unnoticed swallowed my greed like a pearl a penny
a pear seed wondered how many days and nights
it would hold a space inside me.
By Caroline Taylor
Caroline Taylor is currently an undergraduate at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. She is pursuing degrees in creative writing and communication. Her work has appeared previously in Windfall, Fiction Fogey, The Scarlet Leaf Review, and Storm Cellar.