Carnes Crossroads By Britt Canty

Carnes Crossroads

You left before the spring came, without any
warning, just as you said you would.

Breakfast sausage still spitting in the pan,
you wanted to feed us, one last time,
food that would stick to our ribs. For the love of God,

we would be fed. Fortified, we would be ready
to reap our inheritance:

shots of moonshine from your leather-encased flask,
the one engraved with your initials,
twenty dollars—

don’t say, I never did anything for ya.

Mama called you Daddy. We called you Deacon.
You belonged to us, but your language was not ours,
soaked in brine—a gift, you said, from the angels,
the stars, Jesus Christ, and so on.

The town called you D. They thought you were
divine, possessed, chosen—that you could hang,
pretty, on their walls.

Now your face is a cracked plate. No longer
our father, your tires burn
through Carnes Crossroads.

Can you smell the dead fire in our hair?
We carry you on our backs, forever branded
your children. Still, we search this forsaken suburb of garbage
and sunlight, not knowing which way to go. We call out

in the mushrooming dusk—

Can you hear your name on our tongues?
We are hungry.

By Britt Canty

Biography:

Britt Canty received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Her writing has appeared in New Plains Review, Bookanista, Volume 1 Brooklyn, and other places. She’s a co-founder of HIP Lit, and she lives in Queens where she’s at work on a novel. You can connect with her on Twitter @BrittCanty.

Oil Painting By Nikita Gill

Oil Painting

The day before the rape,
I spend an ancient afternoon
in a kitchen clammy with childhood,
A dark hand covering the sky-monsoon.

Mother’s voice hollow hummed
like a half bewitched beckoning
her arthritic fingers turning limes
in coriander with unease, tensing.

This disease is new to her still
a drought settled deep within her bones
corrupting the fiber of her movements
pain drowning her deftness to stone.

Outside the storm assaults the earth
as though at war with a holy land
the dry thirst ends with dust fleeing
water takes over and floods sand

A clatter, a movement, a murmur
of apology to the room instead of me tonight
the chutney will curdle later for the first time
but she does not know that yet; hindsight.

The past is time travel with prejudice,
mother will remember this moment differently,
such is the result of memorising specters.
Even the haunting is diagnosed individually.

Later as fabric still rips violently outside
in a thunderous, powerful composition,
we sit in candlelight, watching the curtains.
Mother calls the lightning dark-lit premonitions

A decade has passed like a stranger
through a decrepit, elapsed town
yet this soft oil painting of a memory lingers
like the last jewel in a fallen sky’s crown.

By Nikita Gill

Biography:

Nikita Gill has been published in Literary Orphans, Agave Magazine, Monkeybicycle, Dying Dahlia Review and is soon to be published in Eunoia Review. Her poetry anthology Wild Embers has been published by Hatchette Books.

Great Red Spot By Jay Douglas

Great Red Spot

Twenty-two degrees south of Jupiter’s equator
is a storm three times the size of the earth
that has kept up its torrent
for over one hundred and eighty earth years

it swirls on the surface
like an impressionistic painting
longing to flay the skin
from the artist’s bones

Jupiter is not a friendly planet, it has always been
the schoolyard bully, the bar fight, the heavy-muscled
biker, the biggest guy on the block
but who can blame it?

Being born of storms and named
of thunder, would any child have a chance
to not be deadly? To not, furiously
acquire a great red spot and swirl
with atmospheric war cries
a howl across the sky?

I sound like my grandmother – I know – talking
of bad blood, of playground fistfights, of incarcerated
cousins

but still, we all come from
an explosion. Some of us just detonate
a little bit faster.

By Jay Douglas

Biography:

Jay Douglas is a recent graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with an undergraduate dual degree in English and Religious Studies. Jay enjoys cats, not going outside, collecting yo-yos, and being unapologetically queer.

Breast Meat By Juliet Cook

Breast Meat

We do our best to stand out
as chickens. We cluck and we pluck and we pop
another egg. We paint it, try to make it
look new and exciting, but it leaks.

My sheets are stained with egg salad
singing a power ballad that stinks.
Powerball tickets saturate the ceiling.
All of them have lost the battle.

None of us will win because we’re too busy competing
in the latest match that boils down
to who can crack the most eggs,
who can sizzle the longest before we all break.

By Juliet Cook

Biography:

Juliet Cook is a grotesque glitter witch medusa hybrid brimming with black, grey, silver, purple, and dark red explosions. She is drawn to poetry, abstract visual art, and other forms of expression. Her poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications. You can find out more at www.JulietCook.weebly.com.

One Poem By Eleanor Gray

ambush of evening, solstice spilled on stone
without animal blood but other: our true names written
where river runs her blue arms through a velvet meadow

pale one, bending to waters, with a language of seeing &
silent woods, I am obscured by every beauty

you have never belonged

fleshed with the ordinary work of death,
irreducible in otherness

black violets, marsh-lily, open as many mouths in the
open chest of diligence

the day is feasting on the innocent, reeds of sun
bound in their song

familiar world, I do not know you

what does my mad heart dream of? my fingers,
stained with the tithe of violets

a dark sea spread with voyages, shy animals,
a garden where all love is,

far from me

with only dreams to feed the soul on,  I go,
through the dark wood,            wings waxen

time has no name for you, the words of otherworld
are written across your wolf-skin, intelligible

I seek you when darkness all falls           all

my spirit, like a woman silenced, slave to the moon’s
hooded grief, endless heavens wrought to flesh

with the scent of penance in the weeds, the wand of the master,
featherwork of redundancy

silver ships darn beneath a lightless noon, all that the soul remembers
I touch nothing, hold no one, wounded world, must I enter your chamber?

lilies in the field, your eyes are dim and burning, like the plains
the riders know by heart

tenderness, I seek you,     undress amongst the thrushes
the earth will not kneel, forgive

By Eleanor Gray

Biography:

Eleanor Gray is, well, the other co-founder of Figroot Press. She currently resides in California with her cat, PS4 and a very beloved collection of books. She graduated from Sacramento State University with a BA in English Literature and has been writing and reading religiously for as long as she can remember. It is hard to find an open and vibrant community of other writers; she wishes to attain and commit herself to a little world consisting of other passionate poets, artists, writers and readers. You can find her on Tumblr at: http://smakka–bagms.tumblr.com/

Dusk to Dawn By Jeffrey Liao

Dusk to Dawn

The sun, a ribbon of honey, spools
off the back porch where the cicadas buzz.
Summer’s last breaths drag themselves
hot and weary over the ayate fibers of my
grandmother’s cloak — hand-stitched from
sand-pruned palms, wrinkled with time.
A white-winged warbler shrieks into
the vast, empty horizon, its cries piercing
every orifice of canyon and cactus and smoke.
I blink — the slow indigenous clouds start to
crawl across a melting night sky. My mother,
a root tethered to this dry, hot valley, praying still
and silent over terracotta tile, in a language buried
under the graves of our ancestors, their voices
colonized by harsh desert winds and
white fists. I imagine my grandmother as
a girl, her mother and the mother before hers:
heels calloused from trudging onward,
miles and miles of dirt uprooted from their tears,
their memories, their hollowed homes. Livelihood
suppressed like our names in the history textbooks.
I imagine what it feels like to lie supine
at the sound of Spanish demands, survival
superseding instinct. Tongue bleeding with
silence, knuckles split open like the pounds
of indigo we harvested for white profit. From
dusk to dawn, searching for a mirage
of hope among blurred canyons, backs pinned
to the swords of conquistadors: soon, the land
bleeds with us. Now, my grandmother sits
quiet, as she has for almost a century, staring out
into smoky night, her wrists stiff as sourdough.
And I wonder, since when did we
become foreigners to the earth we bore,
nothing more than ghosts
rope-tied to stolen lands.

By Jeffrey Liao

Biography:

Jeffrey Liao is a student at Livingston High School in Livingston, New Jersey. He enjoys procrastination more than is healthy and is currently daydreaming about writing or eating (probably both).

Dove and Menthol Pillows By Timmy Chong

Dove and Menthol Pillows

You keep smokes in a soapbox. Past midnight
put a towel under the door and run warm water,
hold our cigarette up to the ceiling fan. Spit
and say the scent still sticks to the walls,
and ma doesn’t know, but she knows, you know?

Some nights you thunder like a storm
or stumble like a child.

You wonder aloud when the fuck you learned to sin
in stride. Chime it was sophomore year
you traded the Bible in your backpack for
a lighter in your pocket, you didn’t mind
aside from the youth group gossip.

Some nights you thunder like a storm.

You bristle no, that I don’t get it. That every boy
who’s laid in this bed has claimed common ground.
Flustered now, like there’s a line between us
in the ridges of the linen and the quiet
is crisp as shame.

Some nights you stumble like a child.

Dizzy off a trio of benzos though I pled, you press
all that is suppressed into shapes with soft edges.
Write wilderness, and wilderness, and love
‘til kingdom come, call it
modern gospel.

Some nights you stumble like a child
or rumble like a storm,

but in the mornings
you are unstrung out
and you, and
you are making toast,
singing in the slack.

By Timmy Chong

Biography:

Timmy Chong is an east coast millennial with an addictive personality. He’s the only frat boy who studies journalism and creative writing at the University of Maryland. His work has been featured with or is forthcoming in Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Atticus Review, New Pop Lit and Stylus.