this autumn By Kashiana Singh

this autumn

a garnet pendant
gazes over corn stalks –
an approaching fall

autumnal equinox –
I bring out my journal
and erase old hurts

leaf season –
hunched afternoons
spent in devotion

By Kashiana Singh

Biography:

Kashiana Singh lives in Chicago and embodies her TEDx talk theme of Work as Worship into her everyday. Her poetry collection, Shelling Peanuts and Stringing Words presents her voice as a participant and an observer. Her chapbook Crushed Anthills is a journey through 10 cities – a complex maze of remembrances to unravel. Her poems have been published on various platforms including Poets Reading the News, Visual Verse, Oddball Magazine, Café Dissensus, TurnPike Magazine, Inverse Journal. She serves as an Assistant Poetry Editor for Poets Reading the News. Kashiana carries her various geographical homes within her poetry.

i was born into this place a bit of fire & a cancer By Colette Chien

i was born into this place a bit of fire & a cancer

I was born
a screech owl in the day, an angel after dark. never phased
with the stones of the recently birthed, miles or gem. i slept as if

my creation was a translation, split syntax yet essence the same,
wrapped up in sheets dreaming of ascension & lost languages. i

ate like i already had teeth & screamed like it too. wisdom pulling
at the edges of my gut: i understand what that animal is, i know

his name, when a dog runs it’s towards, when a cat does it’s away.
i never thought that a ruby fit july or my disposition, its color

violent like the earth after she was birthed. i wanted to be the sky
after she settled & reflected her breath with liquid salt. i wanted

to be my mother’s ring & maybe her pet for awhile. she said we used
to be friends in past lives & lived where snow filled our lungs.

we lived where light won hide & seek but i still slept fine, always
snug under the ever-shift of celestial parts. we were friends away

where rubies are the same shade as the sky / & in a different place, i
suppose i may have cried instead of shrieked. the same day she

adopted my first word, distinguishable from a howl, was the day
she had her wisdom withdrawn from gums & placed in a metal dish.

dizzy & swollen she called her kitten ike, like the sound of her
teeth falling into foreign terrain. i never loved him because he

wasn’t mine but he explained to me the difference of how we came into this
place. that when a human runs it’s disparate, towards you & away.

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.

59th Floor Spectator By Tara Tulshyan

59th Floor Spectator

the wind drools on my skin

tugging at the sando                of my father

his teeth falling                          into dusts of almond

shells snapping through          the white flesh

he sits

crowing

the dawn blotting behind him,

the threads of night weaving   into splotches

of yellow bleaching the stalks of buildings.

Outside the streets are quiet.

His back a mural

of white fibers strung onto brown

withering           away from the Hiligaynon chatters
in the room,                                 soaking

in the stillness             of the streets

drowning

in them

By Tara Tulshyan

Biography:

Tara Tulshyan is a sophomore living in the Philippines. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in The Heritage Review, The Resigned Arts Collective, and K’in Literary Journal.

The moment everything changed By Amy Pollard

The moment everything changed

The dusk expands
like lungs pumped with air

a car idles in a parking lot,
expectant

the trees above us
hold their breath

your jaw, clenched
unsuspecting

what if i told you
nothing lasts forever

not the grass, the wind,
the water we’re made of

not you, not me

and what if you heard
the laugh in my voice

guttural

like the echo of buildings
when collapse is imminent

like the songs caught deep
in my throat

that you never asked me
to sing

By Amy Pollard

Biography:

Amy Pollard is a poet and writer based in Boston. Her work has been featured in an art & storytelling exhibit by Unbound Visual Arts. She is a Chinese American adoptee. You can follow her on Instagram @aaxprn and Twitter @amyannexu.

2021 Pushcart Prize Nominees

When I think about Rising Phoenix Review, I think about ritual. As an editor, each day is filled with poetry. Formatting new poems for publication, communicating with poets all over the world, publishing new work for our readers. Serving a community of writers I love. In a year fraught with so much turmoil and disruption, a year that saw so many lives changed forever, this was the ritual I repeated nearly every day since April. In a lot of ways, this publication was the altar I prayed at, in hopes of providing some light and inspiration for change.

Along the way, so many talented writers provided inspiration with their fearless words, and with uplifting conversations during the different waves of the Covid-19 pandemic. I am thankful for all of you, every day. You are some of the folks who helped give me meaning and purpose each day.

With all of this said, I want to take a moment to celebrate some of the writers whose words resonated with me, as well as our readers, all year long. Thank you all for your vision and for filling this world with more light. Without further ado, here are our 2021 Pushcart Prize nominees.

Sam Crocker, everywhere whispers to us, a promise By Sam Crocker

Colette Chien, i was born into this place a bit of fire & a cancer (forthcoming)

Erik Wilbur, There’s More Past Now Than Ever

Katherine Vandermel, By the Railroad

Antonia Silva, los lobos andan suelto

Njoku Nonso, Pray the Violence

Sincerley Yours,

Christian Sammartino
Editor in Chief
Rising Phoenix Review

Saturday Night Fever By A.C. Dobell

Saturday Night Fever

The first time I partook in the
“Sabbath”
the Hebrew felt performative
since I had not heard the term
“Sabbath” before that day

But my mother
Filipino and flamboyant
wanted to wear
white lace and look saintly

so she forced our attention
to the salt and the bread
(two things that had before
been so plain to me)
and sang the songs

Perhaps god can show
even if you’re not earnest
about the looking
because I found as I peeked
around that table
while my mother eyes-closed
prayed hard for us all
was that unattainable proof
of the god abound

By A.C. Dobell

Biography:

A.C. Dobell is a Filipina-American poet and visual artist living in Pittsburgh, PA. Her combination poetry and photography e-zine is published on Mercado Vicente. She is the co-director of Mused, an event that brings together artists of different mediums to inspire each other and connect over the creative process. She has work forthcoming in Eunoia Review. She works mainly in activism covering a broad range of environmental and social justice issues. She is related to the English poet, Sydney Thompson Dobell, a member of the Spasmodic school and friend of both Tennyson and Browning.

Marc Anthony on a Summer Day By Yesenia M Coughlin

Marc Anthony on a Summer Day

Tio points to the sky and says there are cracks in it.
I squint my eyes as Tio gestures to a chemtrail or
maybe a cloud, thin and wispy, pale against paler blue.
Mami says his corneas have scratches and they laugh.

There’s a pig in the ground roasting, Tios drinking Old Styles,
primos floating in the blue plastic pool, los viejos playing
the click click click of dominoes, Abuela is winning;
Marc Anthony: voy a reír, voy a bailar, vivir mi vida,

Tio leans close to me, he points to his eyes,
so brown they’re almost blue, he makes them wide
“They say I’m crazy. Let them think it. Pero puedo ver.”
He shakes with his laugh, pats my shoulder, I look to the sky.

He says there are ufos but I think maybe I am the one
unidentified, a part and apart of the music, the food,
the culture that runs through my veins, I hear the beat
but I can’t translate it, it vibrates in my chest; Marc Anthony:

A veces llega la lluvia, para limpiar las heridas,
a veces solo una gota, puede vencer la sequía,
If I laugh, if I dance, if I live my life, can the rain
wash away all the hurt? Can I find myself home?

Tio stares at the sky and I stare with him.
When he looks back at me, sé que soy visto.

By Yesenia M Coughlin

Biography:


Yesenia M Coughlin is a junior creative writing major at the University of Central Florida.

I Begin This Poem On A Note Of Pain To What Might Seem As A Self-journey On A Route To Giving Up By Emmanuel Ojeikhodion

I Begin This Poem On A Note Of Pain To What Might Seem As A Self-journey On A Route To Giving Up

I have tried enough to hold this heart from falling.
Hope is an assurance that slips away from me gradually.

Today, I’m a blurry shadow fading back into myself. & tomorrow,
I’m half-dead & half-alive walking amidst people.

On this journey to self-recovery, nothing recovers me.
Instead, I’m a full bread of grief reducing into crumbs.

In the landscape of my mind, I think of so many things:
Home, my dead father, my widowed mother & my siblings.

Say, they keep this body moving from crashing completely.

Last year, I moved to another city I never knew her length of hardship.
Each route I take to becoming beautiful finds me absorbing a mole of
sadness in a little body as mine.

Sometimes I cut myself with a blade to behold the nakedness of pain.
Nothing surprising but different openings lining up like a fleet of cars on my
skin.

I’m grounded on this journey to finding my beautiful self.
Perhaps, If you do not find me here tomorrow, I became a train
that rammed into heaven

By Emmanuel Ojeikhodion

Biography:

Emmanuel Ojeikhodion is a Nigerian-Edo emerging writer, poet & essayist. He writes to expunge his monstrous demons & documents the ripples from society. He has works published / forthcoming in Capsule Stories, The Lunch Bucket Brigade, Cons-cio Magazine, Chachalaca Review, Museum of Poetry, Déraciné Mag, Rigorous & elsewhere. He’s a finalist in the Best of Kindness Poetry contest 2020 from Origami Poems Project. He recently compiled his first Poetry chapbook & seeks a home for it. He’s a lover of Country & old Songs He tweets at @hermynuel.

On Listening to Jericho Brown By Megha Sood

On Listening to Jericho Brown

After the Summer Reading Series at NYU, 2019

Writing with urgency: an aching desire
a rising hunger in a parched throat

when the craft and empathy are inseparable
seething feeling resonating with tenderness and sorrow

a zoetic language: a soft growl turning into a wail
haunting which resonates leaving me like a thrumming harp wire

such is the riveting effect of his words
an unraveling of the intricate mind;

a mind with aching desire, a nuanced understanding
of the turmoil which surrounds and is within us

a hunger which he experiences
while writing a truth that readily burns

a hunger that clings to my ribs thick as greed
and never leaves.A longing; a desire

for the unnamed passions in my soul
a cleaving opening my transgressions

and I face the proximity of my desires
like standing next to a burning kiln

how it warms me up, the unstoppable
whirling into the unknown. Swallowed like a dream

reaching the end of the abyss, where
everything seems so surreal

reminds me of the moment where it all began
as I stand in admiration. Speechless.

By Megha Sood

Megha Sood is an Assistant Poetry Editor for the Literary Journal MookyChick and a Literary Partner with the “Life in Quarantine” Stanford University, USA. Her works are widely published in literary journals and anthologies including Better than Starbucks, Gothamist, Poetry Society of New York, Madras Courier, Borderless Journal, WNYC Studios, Kissing Dynamite, American Writers Review, FIVE:2: ONE, Quail Bell, Dime show review, etc. Three-time State-level Winner NAMI Dara Axelrod NJ Poetry Contest 2018/2019/2020 and First Place National Winner Spring Robinson Lit Prize 2020, Finalist in Pangolin Poetry Prize 2019, Adelaide Literary Award 2019 and Erbacce Prize 2020, Nominated for the iWomanGlobalAwrads 2020 and many more. Works selected numerous times by Jersey City Writers group and Department of Cultural Affairs for the Arts House Festival. Editor of ( “The Medusa Project, Mookychick) and ( “The Kali Project,” Indie Blu(e) Press). Chosen twice as the panelist for the Jersey City Theater Center Online Series “Voices Around the World”.She blogs at https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/ and tweets at @meghasood16.

PULLING BOARDS By David Rosenthal

PULLING BOARDS

1.

It’s something that his father used to do,
which is to say, it is an ancient thing –
what fathers did, their fathers once did too,
and so on, like the never-ending ring
this village has been traveling for ages.
He pulls the nails straight out, to use again,
and if one bends, he bangs it back. The stages
of the process are patterned deep as kin.

He works, and thinks of things he’ll not recall –
his memory is given to his hands
while working, and they sometimes take it all,
the way the lake and seasons take the lands.

From time to time, he holds a nail to stare
at marks his father’s hammer brought to bear.

2.

The marks his father’s hammer brought to bear
obscure the fragile archeology
the nails had born before, as each new layer
envelops and reforges history.
He tosses what he saves back at the box
he made last time of slats from some old bed.
He misses often, nails pile near the rocks
and tools that lie behind him near the shed.

The girls come back with buckets from the lake,
and call to him excitedly, “we got
some wet-sand for the holes!” He takes a break
to thank them for their help and what they brought,

although it’s for a job that’s weeks away,
when it comes time to mix and pour the lay.

3.

When it comes time to mix and pour the lay,
the families from the row will all pitch in.
It takes a week to do one house per day,
and one more week before they can begin
to clamp and bolt the sills and stand the posts.
They stagger their support for those two weeks,
to help each other move in with the hosts,
and mend some early splits to stave off leaks.

But after that, save four and six-hand tasks,
the bulk of what is done, is done alone.
The help is always there if someone asks,
but no one asks. Whatever’s learned, is shown.

Their bond is unacknowledged, but it’s there.
The isolation is a thing they share.

4.

The isolation is a thing they share
with generations – they know what they owe.
It’s something that they only have to bear
once every seven years, and only so
for twelve or thirteen weeks, and then they’re done.
It’s everybody’s burden, so they know
enough not to complain. It’s said that one
is blessed to build the house that moves the row.

The sun sets late and north in moving season,
leaving behind a woolen alpenglow
that lays his hammer down. Then, without reason,
he takes one chore before he has to go:

he picks up all the old nails that he threw.
It’s something that his father used to do.

By David Rosenthal

Biography:

David Rosenthal lives in Berkeley, California, and works as a teacher and instructional coach in the Oakland Unified School District. His poems and translations have appeared in Rattle, Teachers & Writers Magazine, Measure Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Raintown Review, Unsplendid, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, and many other print and online journals. He has been a Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award Finalist and a Pushcart Prize Nominee. His collection, “The Wild Geography of Misplaced Things,” was released by Kelsay Books in 2013.