Talking Around The Problem By Jim Landwehr

Talking Around The Problem 

When geometry takes a backseat
to active shooting drills
and lock down exercises
We could have us a gun problem.

Or, when the student body
means one lying in the classroom
instead of the corporate whole.
We may have a gun problem.

Maybe when the suggested solution
to stopping the next school assassin
is to arm the English teacher.
We might just have us a gun problem.

If people speak about knives and bricks
as potential weapons of mass murder
“So are we going to ban those too?”
We certainly appear to have a gun problem.

When students become survivors
and stand up to NRA politicians
but still laws don’t change.
It’s safe to say we have a gun problem.

By Jim Landwehr

A poem from Disarm: A Themed issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America


Jim Landwehr has published two poetry collections Written Life and Reciting From Memory and a forthcoming chapbook, On A Road. He also has two books, The Portland House: A 70’s Memoir and Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir. He has non-fiction stories published in Boundary Waters Journal, Main Street Rag, MidWest Outdoors Magazine and others. His poetry has been featured in Torrid Literature Journal, Blue Heron Review, Off the Coast Poetry Journal, and many others. Jim lives and works in Waukesha, Wisconsin with his wife Donna, and their two children Sarah and Ben.

Alone By Wayne Russell 


Alone, she hides beneath the sheets
fading away from the light, fearful
of the world and all its pain.

Alone he dwells in his cardboard box,
meager possessions bundled with twine,
tear stained photos plummet from holes
in his shirt pocket.

Alone I lay me down to sleep, praying
for the safety of my children, the children
that my addictions have denied me the
right to see on a daily basis.

Alone the world shutters in a violent
universe, and God shakes his head in
disappointment and saunters away,
leaving us to our own devises, leaving
us alone.

By Wayne Russell 


Wayne Russell is a creative writer that was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. Wayne is the founder and former editor and chief of Degenerate Literature. Sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances and time restraints, DL closed in late 2017.

How Many? By Matthew Laverty

How Many?

Children need to die to solve this issue?

As if there were an answer, 14 more have left us, unfinished

essays, lunches, little things that made them

stronger day by day. The spirits of 138 children

since Newtown, is that too much to think about

when you close your eyes and there’s that lingering

feeling that somebody somewhere needs to be

let go from whatever it is that holds their head underwater,

but we ignore and ignore until we can’t any longer,

remove ourselves from what becomes

hostile conversation. There’s that aura of division

in every gleaming orifice in this country, and it is

hard to know what road if any leads to an office building in every city

with big signs that read: GUARANTEED BUY-BACK GUN DEPOSIT HERE,

or if we could go there to purge ourselves

of our guns without the threat of feeling

that we’re the ones about to be under attack.

How many parents must send their kids to school

knowing that today could be the last time

they see one another.

How many?

By Matthew Laverty

A poem from Disarm: A Themed issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America


Matthew Laverty earned a BLA from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell where he studied creative writing under award winning poet Maggie Dietz and critically acclaimed author Andre Dubus III. His poems have appeared at Poetry Quarterly, FORTH Magazine, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @MattLavPoems, and on his Tumblr site MattLavWrites.

Islands By Amogha Lakshmi Halepuram Sridhar


To the little girl who knows she will never be young again,

Every woman I know is an island.
It will be summer and you will be twelve,
and you will be camping on your friend’s rooftop,
and everyone’s sleeping when her father
makes his way into the tent. You will make
a deliberate attempt to forget where his hands touched.
You will write so many poems about open ribcages,
violent deaths; anything to make you feel
like you inhabit your body. Something was robbed
of you that night and you haven’t been to a sleepover since.
At every touch, you say to yourself,
there’s a war to be won.
And you don’t feel like you own your body.
Something was robbed of you and you keep
saying no because you didn’t say no that one time.
Every woman I know was a little girl
who knew she would never be young again.

Every woman I know is an island.
A peak submerged till she is craning her neck for breath.

By Amogha Lakshmi Halepuram Sridhar


Amogha Lakshmi Halepuram Sridhar is a writer from India. She wrote for the Times of India as a student correspondent and she is currently an art editor at The Missing Slate. She can be found on Twitter @shakspaere.

Mass Puddles By Joseph Ellison Brockway

Mass Puddles

The obfuscated truth of the media
a veil of darkness
the black veil of mothers
grieving their children
reduced to black letters on cold stones
black clouds looming
over a nation in mourning
the veil of mass media
of mass hatred
covering mass shootings
mass projectile excuses
mass constitutional extermination
from the public’s gaze
from a veil of mass yellow tape that
segregates and edits out
mass puddles in the streets
where beauty in all its blackness
once shone brighter than any false
gold star of protection
grieve no more, mothers,
put down your funerary fans
a black flicker remains
its incendiary rise will burn
the veil of darkness
no more

By Joseph Ellison Brockway

A poem from Disarm: A Themed issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America


Joseph Ellison Brockway is a bilingual poet, translator, and educator. He currently teaches Spanish at Mountain View College in Dallas, TX while working on his Ph.D. in Studies of Literature and Translation at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the current Managing Editor for Reunion: The Dallas Review, and his poems have appeared in Zouch Magazine and Maudlin House.

I want a divorce By Ellie Hudson

I want a divorce

We slam our doors shut.
We move through wires, walls, and words.
I have made my bed.

By Ellie Hudson


Ellie Hudson has a BA in psychology from Meredith College (still undefeated at football!). She regretfully lives in Kentucky with her best friend/husband and two wonderful sons. She likes strumming her ukuleles, cross-stitching, coffee, cows, and playing table-top games with friends. She has no social media and sometimes wonders if she truly exists.

Trigger Warning By Allie Marini

Trigger Warning

the sound is unmistakable

shotgun cocked

& I know it’s loaded.                  like him.

startled by the sound,     but not surprised.

bottles               lined up                         by the trash can,

his hallelujahs & his hosannas

my threnodies & dirges

the spell & the pall defining us

sober, the guns are here to protect the house.

but mostly they’re to menace us both.

I forget             why                  we’re arguing:

looking like                                            his beat-down mother

& suddenly                                            he’s thirteen again


in a house of punching drunks

two by two                    I take to the stairs,

weight of sound,

unforgiving                   ka-shunk                        of the shotgun



with him                                   upstairs

By Allie Marini

A poem from Disarm: A Themed issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America


Allie Marini is a cross-genre writer holding degrees from both Antioch University of Los Angeles & New College of Florida. She was a 2018 Shitty Women in Literature nominee, and has been a finalist for Best of the Net and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her masthead credits include Lunch Ticket, Spry Literary Journal & Mojave River Review. She has published a number of chapbooks, including Pictures from the Center of The Universe (Paper Nautilus, winner of the Vella Prize) and Southern Cryptozoology: A Field Guide to Beasts of the Southern Wild (Hyacinth Girl Press, finalist for the SFPA’s Elgin Award) In addition to her work on the page, Allie was a member of Oakland’s 2017 National Slam Team. A native Floridian now freezing to death in the Bay Area, Allie writes poetry, fiction, and essays. Find her online: