Another Poem About Trauma By kmp

Another Poem About Trauma

there is a truck in my neighborhood that should not be there
and when i see it i taste the same salt lot’s wife once knew;
the two of us know what it is to petrify, to refuse to move on,
to become obsessed with the signifiers of loss like picking
at a scab until it scars deeply

i am twenty-one this month and i am intoxicated on the air
pouring in through my car windows; i have seen the earth
stretched out beneath me pinched clay & shadow, and i have
stood by the stove rusting in my driveway and heard the steady
patter of rain without a single drop touching my skin and now
autumn approaches and i foresee a time when i can breathe again

but i do not know how to tell the people i love that i am better but
still want to die, still long for death as one longs for someone who
can never love them back: wholeheartedly,
impossibly,
and there is a truck in my neighborhood that was gone two years
but has returned and when i drive past it i think of who i was at
nineteen that i let the man who drove it tell the boy who called
me fag how the two of them were nicer than me because i didn’t
like being the subject of rape jokes //
how he hoped i’d loosen up when i started drinking //
how he kept trying to get my seventeen year old sister alone //
how he helped someone get away with a sexual assault //
how all my friends are still friends with him on facebook //
how i do not know if i am right to be mad or if i am too
heavily affected by the time i was twelve at a summer camp where the only girl i knew told me i’d get in trouble if i didn’t shower with her & said it was okay for her to put her hand down my pj pants when i said i didn’t like it

we threw three eggs at the truck but it did not ease the bitterness,
did not rinse the salt from my skin or remove the chips of stone
from my heart. i have not always been bitter this way but i am
so full of anger & i do not know how to let it go.

By kmp

Biography:

kmp is a southern californian poet and aspiring lit major working two jobs to put herself through college. she wants to know everything, feel everything, be everything; she won’t settle for less. kmp has previously published poetry in Rising Phoenix Review, The Wall, L’Éphémère Review, and Werkloos Mag, as well as in her chapbooks “UNBOUND” and “Ask Me a Question//I’ll Write You a Poem.

I AM NO MEDUSA By Uma Venkatraman

I AM NO MEDUSA

I speak to an empty world
apologetic pebbles
slip off uncertain lips
falling into an indifferent pond
a tentative lone ripple
subsiding instantaneously

I am an explorer
in an infinite galaxy
wading through lotuses
their beauty choking the surface
I rip them apart
exposing the murky layers
breeding such
exquisite perfection
l want to swallow the dirt
that will make me bloom

I ingest the wriggling words
slithering syllables
sibilant syntaxes
hoping they will consume
the fear residing in my bones

Now when I speak
perhaps the world will listen
as grown snakes
pour out of my mouth

but I am no Medusa
For I want to plant
flowers in your soul

By Uma Venkatraman 

Biography:

Born in India, and now living in Singapore, Uma Venkatraman is a journalist with a passion for poetry. Her poems have been published in anthologies such as Good Morning Justice, Poetic Trenches, Along The Shore, and online in the Pink Panther Magazine and the Plath Poetry Project’s December retrospective.

i hope you know we looked for you By Jack Verhagen

i hope you know we looked for you

i hope you know we looked for you.
we pulled up the floorboards, dug up the garden.
we ran through the woods that bordered the house, hoping against hope to find a single sign of you.
we knew you weren’t dead of course.
that would’ve been silly, but what we knew was that you’d disappeared, without a trace.

i hope you know we looked for you.
we spent days, nights, and everything in between searching.
we went out at sunrise and at sunset, because somebody told us that those were the times when the doors opened.
the doors to the spaces between the worlds, the times when things that were lost could more easily be found again.
we knew you weren’t dead of course.
that would’ve been silly, but we searched and searched and there wasn’t a single piece of you left to find.

i hope you know we looked for you.
even though everyone else told us it was madness, we refused to stop.
we packed our bags and headed out as far as we could, hoping against hope that a miracle would occur.
and that you would be found.
we carried our lives with us, wandering like nomads, wondering at every corner if you would be on the other side.
we knew you weren’t dead of course.
that would’ve been silly, but we had scoured the world and yet you were still gone.

i hope you know we looked for you.
on that final day, we sent up a million prayers, a thousand paper cranes, a wish on every dandelion we could find.
a wish that you would finally be found.
when we found your body in the river, we couldn’t even cry.
our prayers had been answered. but in all the wrong ways.

By Jack Verhagen

Biography:

Jack Verhagen is a 17-year-old poet from the sunny state of California. She enjoys writing and skateboarding, as well as frequenting any coffee shop that can be found in the area. She hopes to be able to compile a chapbook of her poetry in the near future, and looks forward to her future growth as a writer.

Origami Crane By Claire Ahn

Origami Crane

When I was eight,
my mother taught me how
to fold myself sixteen different ways,
a bygone rule still intact, forming
an incessant cycle of anxiety.
Paper is most beautiful when
twisted beyond belief, marred, and
fearfully bent. Walking fast at 11PM
under a haze of gaudy city lights
to eschew the scrutinizing glares
that undress my trembling legs
with mindlessly perfervid stares.
My mother told me to be careful
of the white vans and chiseled faces
of men whose spidery hands tickle
my crooked spine and festering flesh.
Those men walk through the streets,
maddeningly carefree and apathetic,
and meanwhile I’m trying
to fold myself sixteen ways,
a wilting origami crane that won’t
grant any poor child’s wishes.

By Claire Ahn

Biography:

Claire Ahn is a student at Rancho Bernardo High School. She enjoys reading a variety of books and writing, and hopes to one day become a published novelist. Her work has been published in Eunoia Review and Boston Accent Lit.

Cage of Flowers, Cage of Vines By Vijaya Sundaram

Cage of Flowers, Cage of Vines

Weave a cage, a pretty one
Weave it out of vines
Cover it with flower-buds
And needles from some pines.

Stick your pain inside that cage
Stick it with a pin
Cry about that mother killed
By coppers, and their kin.

They burst into her home one night
They came there for her son
When she fought back, protecting him,
They killed her with their guns.

They claimed it was in self-defense
Against a gun she’d aimed,
A pellet-gun with which she’d sought
To harm them, so they claimed.

They took the hapless son to jail
For drugs and minor crimes,
He’d watched his mother bleed to death,
Done in before her time.

There are no hearts that beat in them:
Those cops with icy veins.
For they can kill in cold blood, and
Emerge from it, unstained.

So, weave a cage, a pretty one
Weave it out of vines
Cover it with flower-buds,
And needles from some pines.

Stick your rage inside that cage,
Till you begin to bleed,
And then, break through with stronger will
To help all those in need.

The flowers will remind you of
Earth’s beauty all around.
The vines will bind you to all folks
And help you stand your ground.

Pine-needles will cushion the blow
For times when you might fall
The cage will disappear once you
Step out and heed the call.

By Vijaya Sundaram

Biography:

Born in India. Transplanted in the U.S. Musician and poet. Lover of this good earth.

Starving Season By Jeffrey Holmes

Starving Season

This room
Resting several stories high
I have not left in days

Snow caresses the ground, but
The silence castigates my hunger

No light, no food
My body will melt faster than the snow

Dripping with envy
Watching myself disappear
I don’t care about real life

A season of asceticism
My discipline my downfall
I don’t care about real life

A saint of asceticism
Blinded by hunger pangs
My draw distance kept in this room

Each season
Frailty my crutch

Each season
I tell myself

I don’t care about real life

By Jeffrey Holmes

Biography:

Jeffrey Holmes is a journalist and philosophy graduate student from Philadelphia, PA.  Their experience includes writing and editing for a range of publications, including the Daily Local News, the West Chester Zine, and RateYourMusic.  During their bachelor’s program, Holmes served as the entertainment editor for the Quad, West Chester University’s campus newspaper and a DJ for 91.7 WCUR FM.  Recently, they presented original work on environmental conservation at Yale University’s Graduate Conference in Religion and Ecology, and currently, they are finishing a master’s thesis on identity politics in the United States.

The tumbleweed loves the girl with a savanna mouth By kmp

The tumbleweed loves the girl with a savanna mouth

look.
look. i’m a child of the shrublands—
everything about me is painfully dry so i’m
not sure you’ll understand this but the air here
tastes a certain way in november. drags against
your nose & lungs like you’ve just gone for a
run. still this breathlessness you leave in your
wake is something new.

i never intended to live this long. never felt
the need to plan this far ahead, and why would
i? the closest thing to permanence i have known
is the way my lipstick stains everything and mold
grows everywhere my mouth has ever touched:
there’s a power to outliving yourself. i will never
be a girl again; who could do that to me now? like
salve on dry skin.

the point is this: i like it when we’re in your car
and it’s just the two of us and the feeling you
could drive anywhere and still be taking me home.
the slide of your sleeve against my skin when we
reached for the map felt like the rustle of leaves
against concrete and it made me think of this high
desert wind we get. i’d breathe you in,
if you’d let me

By kmp

Biography:

kmp is a southern californian poet and aspiring lit major working two jobs to put herself through college. she wants to know everything, feel everything, be everything; she won’t settle for less. kmp has previously published poetry in Rising Phoenix Review, The Wall, L’Éphémère Review, and Werkloos Mag, as well as in her chapbooks “UNBOUND” and “Ask Me a Question//I’ll Write You a Poem.”