Anna Šverclová (they/them) is a totally queer sophomore director of Macalester College’s slam poetry team, MacSlams. They were born and raised in the Twin Cities suburbs and they cry whenever it snows. Over the years, they have become an expert in layering. Their secret? A journal compliments every outfit.
jackie’s still there with red cotton candy hair ripped stockings and glitter lipstick she can pen plays that deserve a fare but she can’t avoid the other needle’s trick
candy’s here too, waltzin through corners foolin men into thinkin she’s theirs blonde and pale, the best kind of foreigner always remembers to feed foolish stares
joes round here tend to come and go since they aren’t seen as chicks with dicks yet their commendable hustle is paid with snow and men still feel they’re crossin the river styx
we can’t skip holly, the original pioneer the first person to say cunt in cinema lookin for hot meals was the start of her career now all her accolades could fit in a Woodlawn basilica
and the missing posters go doo, doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo-doo doo, doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo-doo doo, doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo-doo doo, doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
Can you hear it?
By Rachel Whitesell
I am a cartoon lover, coffee enthusiast, and mother to my “fluffy” cat, Baby Kitty. I am an English major at the University of North Florida, working towards my bachelor’s degree. I am also a writing tutor at the University of North Florida’s Writing Center. So, my days are usually spent looking at my writing or someone else’s. My poem “Guanyin” was awarded runner-up in poetry for the Amy Wainwright Award for Creative Writing in 2021.
I have a hard time distinguishing the howl of the raw wind that rattles the apartment door and coos underneath the slats
from my husband’s humming low and meticulous as he scrambles our eggs and empties the dishwasher
the music of these moaning and sacred spirits
stirs me from sleep so that I may start my days with the simple, vital art of listening mindfully
as I descend the stairs to meet the early bustling of the world and to gently unravel in the warm voice of my beloved
By Sarah Esmi
Sarah Esmi is an artist of Iranian descent focusing primarily on experimental and absurdist theatre, collage, movement, and poetry. Sarah began her career as an experimentalist during a Fulbright fellowship in Spain. She has been published in Calyx and the Dime Show Review. She is also the co-founder of counterclaim, a Brooklyn-based production company. By day, Sarah is a practicing attorney, representing the underrepresented in New York courtrooms. www.sarah-e.com, @sarah_______e
there are many reasons our love thrives in the dark. there’s nowhere safe to tame the smoke on a lover’s skin without a hand forgetting music in your throat. I mean, to say the word love, look over your shoulder for salvation or throw a whisper in water & bend towards its ripple to lodge your touch in a bone. there are only a few things the world knows about love, but know enough to call a boy living in another boy’s heart a taboo, something unethical like the dark side of God’s art. so, when you said you love me & your words slips off your mouth like a prayer seeking room to breathe bubbles, I do not want to bite dust or imagine the fate of a tale lying still in the dark, because our love is a bird restricted from daylight like a sin hidden from sun rays to be sane. I’m sorry, I do not want to die. I do not want to hold your hand & be mobbed to a memory in pool of blood. even with fetters you can never stop the world from screwing her rage to our veins because she does not know how to embrace the beauty of a butterfly unhidden in a hue.
By Olabisi Akinwale
Olabisi Abiodun Akinwale is a Nigerian Poet & Writer, an explorer of grief, silence, beauty, loss & everything artful that meets the eye. A Best of the net Nominee, Best Student Poet- Federal University Lafia 2017, first runner up- Poets in Nigeria (PIN) poetically written prose contest 2020 among others. His works have appeared and forthcoming on Rising Phoenix, Split Lip Magazine, Kalahari Review, Agbowo, Praxis Magazine, Tuck Magazine, Lunaris Review, ACEworld, Nigerian NewsDirect and elsewhere.
For Michelle Duster, great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Pages of theLiving Way Newspaper, which reached readers Every week, was how the public Saw eloquent words and met
Told many of her harrowing tale Of injustice turned resistance: Boarded a steam train for work, Nashville bound, First class seat taken, comfy ride for
The White conductor disapproved, Did his damnest to remove Consign to a smoky, crowded “Coloured only” car, disregard for
Promptly answered him with her teeth, Fastened onto pale hand, bitten deep, White passengers cheered as she was dragged out— This episode wasn’t over for
Contested the egregious matter in court Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, her opponents The judge awarded $500 in damages Soon to be lost, company appeal against
It was the sudden shooting of three Successful Black grocers, all good friends, because Southern White businessmen despised competition, That brought that schoolteacher to her typewriter, motivation for
Shone truth’s light on ghastly wrongs Between the Evening Star & Free Speech Until hatred’s fire was set to her printing press Added stress on the journalistic princess, Memphis off-limits to
New York City, Northern refuge Safe enough to continue the deluge: Reports on Southern horrors acquired From talks with victims’ relations, fleshed out by
The record of the South continued to go red From any hick town producing Nubian dead From shotgun shells, bullets, fire and rope Enclosed around the necks of humanity, counted by
That never fails to chill the soul Commonly used method of control When Blacks came up, supremacy cut them down— Allegations of rape of White women found false by
Chicago, England, Wales, Scotland—wherever she did a speech On the crime of lynching—Preach, lady, preach— America isn’t the land of the free If you’re not free to be Black, the gist from
“Separate but equal”—official falsehood Separate and substandard facilities—never good Signs at public places turned away dark faces— The basis for a fight for equality, which began with
By Dee Allen
African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California. Active on the creative writing & Spoken Word tips since the early 1990s. Author of 5 books [ “Boneyard”, “Unwritten Law”, “Stormwater” and “Skeletal Black”, all from POOR Press, and from Conviction 2 Change Publishing, “Elohi Unitsi” ] and 38 anthology appearances [ including “Your Golden Sun Still Shines”, “Rise”, “Extreme”, “2020: The Year That Changed America” and the newest, “Geography Is Irrelevant” from York, England’s own Stairwell Books ] under his figurative belt so far.
The three letters GOD symbolizes the basic causes of creation; generator, operator, and destroyer. Shiva/Sadashiv/Adiyogi is the third god in the Hindu triumvirate and his role is to destroy the universe to re-create it. He is the destroyer of illusions and imperfections of the world, paving the way for the beneficial change.
Rudra Mantra/ Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra (Incantation) Verse of the Rigveda
The incompleteness of desires sits in the nest of snakes Underneath my flesh. I have chased the wild Around the world In the forest On the ocean beds In the realms of the tectonic plates On the hilltop. He could not be located. I want him, Without him, I can’t exist.
The consciousness deluge Beyond time. Am I in love? Because I don’t care What will transpire now! Or is it lust? I am shadowing the physiology, Keeping my third eye latched.
Shiva! Open the third eye Consume the fuel of incompleteness And give off the ashes I am complete. Who cares what will happen now?
By Nidhi Agrawal
Nidhi Agrawal is an Ex- Communication Designer with five years of extensive experience across media, entertainment and design space.
Nidhi believes that poetry is powerful and it defines the richness and diversity of mankind. Her works have been published in South Asian Today, Indian Periodical, Ariel Chart, Life In 10 Minutes Press, Spill Words Press and are scheduled to go live on Muse India and Setu Journal, her story has been accepted by Women for One and Women’s Web.
Her achievement in National Institute of Fashion Technology’s entrance 2013 has been recognised by The Telegraph, Jagran Media and Radio Mirchi. Along with, she was also bestowed with the prestigious title of Inspiring Alumni of the decade and Society’s pride in the education sector by her school in 2019.
She strongly believes that poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder; a tool that keeps her going in life and is driven by her intense physical and emotional trauma encountered through her medical condition.
A green plot squared off diamond shaped island of mapped land hit me like a home run summer shakes hands I solemnly swear supper sings in the cicadas sameness lies on the windowsill simple sounds solid streets the purring of pets sitting pretty, positioned like a potted plant it was painstaking to pull up roots yet out across Lake Eerie I see a suspicious shape hopeful and haloed a lighthouse hangs like home!
By Grace Stalley
Grace Stalley is a resident of Brooklyn, NY and works as a writer’s assistant in the television industry. She is fascinated by the divide of cultures represented by each region of the U.S. and how those cultures inform one’s perspective. At the age of two, Grace was adopted from China. She grew up in a small suburb outside of Tampa, FL where her family still resides, in addition to Ohio.
The ghost befriends the neighborhood dogs and chatters at the fat squirrels who forget where they buried their fourth or eighteenth or forty-third acorn last fall. Those lost acorns might grow eventually,
unfurling the broad greenery of their
into the sky.
The ghost is where she was,
where she used to be.
The neighbors grow their zucchini and yellow squash
and beans and whisper when they think she’s gone. She knows her lingering disturbs the rest of them— the husbands and wives
and their children and their Golden Retrievers. Their curiosity simmers and bubbles,
popping up like mushrooms behind her on her daily walk in the shade of the black gum and the wych elm. The murmured questions do not trouble her.
She cannot answer them anyway.
She is mostly happy. As was her life before, so is her afterlife: Each night, contentment slips into bed next to her like a
lover; peace and quiet pace her halls, admitting no unrest, no indecision,
no unruly disappointment.
Often, instead of sleeping, she will visit the river. Some children who are now grown built a raft out of old wooden pallets and inner tubes. It idles in the bend of a narrow channel. Its makers are long ago and far away, and now it belongs to her. On warm summer evenings, after sunset but before moonrise, when the fireflies blink their romance into the gloaming, she pulls away the vines that have crept over the wood and sails the waters in her little bark, one hand drifting in the current, one hand raised to brush the leaves of the willow tree and the dogwood as she passes silently below.
By Lauren Folk
Lauren Folk (she/her) is a freelance editor, writer, and photographer. She graduated from Smith College and is currently earning her MA in English from The University of Akron.
A root knotted in honey, whirling inside our soul,
circling our bones and starving us to death.
In my mama’s language Latinity is an unwitting river,
a wind coated with torn wounds sand ashes of wilted homeland.
Each grain is a red vein rippling and mourning like riptide,
vowels shaped like breaths and prayers. Mama melts our faces in light,
scalding tiny pieces of myself as I unearth lost stories of an entire continent.
Mama squeezes our hands together, hardened calluses waded and wet
trembling to still move bones soft and oily flesh
raw heart and courage dripping blood
scared all that is left are forever stained open veins of an unreachable land
Deeper than any tree root worn smooth by ancient rivers.
By Luiza Louback
Luiza Louback is a Latin-American, Brazilian emerging writer, and high schooler. Her work has appeared in national anthologies and has been recognized by the NY Times Summer Academy. When she is not writing, she teaches English to low-income students and advocates for literary accessibility in Latin America.
Tonight the moon shines in bittersweet luminescence like a dying lamp. The light clambers through the thin stretch of road against the ripples of houses, diffusing into the windows that are all shut tight. The street grows a shadow, one that becomes more vivid, when day becomes night. An ajuma sees the street lights hiss, suddenly shutting out – gone. The woman follows, turning her lamp off. And a businessman, who halts his Kia in front of his house, sees bland dust winnowing through the street: empty yet filled with everything it’s made up of. He recalls a year ago, coming back to a home that’d make one warm – the smell of pajeon, softly golden, now wistful, burnt. He sights a sandpiper standing on an Aspen branch, probing at the vastness of Yeonhui-dong now swallowed by the darkness almost muted, never slicing through the silence. Soon, the bird’s wings begin to flutter, taking off into nothing, the man now alone. His eyes trail along the slightly peeled hanji pasted on the door of his hanok, remembering the wailing noises of his children running down Jeungga-ro reddened by fallen maple leaves.
By Michelle Park
Michelle Park is a 15 year old, high school freshman currently living in the Philippines. Many of her poems are about nature and her memories from her childhood. She loves to eat food, and during her free time, she likes to play soccer, dance, and listen to music.