Bait By Lorna Martin

Bait

From the moment my heart skipped a beat,
we were doomed.

When your smile caught the space light,
The turn of your head, when I followed your laugh
with my mouth, we were doomed.
Every line that you traced in my palm was an end,
Every murmured exchange a self-sabotage.
For each lift of my spirits and each daybreak I
will pay misery in direct proportion. We continue,
for what can we do? This yearning persists, allowed or not,
worth it or not.

Now I am here, our love racked for tragedy,
my heart scripted hollow.
That jackrabbit anxiety, or another name, hope,
which they must keep alive if the snatching is to hurt.
Have we come far enough for them? Is this enough?

Our last kiss was everything inevitable.
I step away and close my eyes; you
and then darkness. I wait for it.

By Lorna Martin

Biography:

I am a recent Creative Writing graduate living in North London. My poems have been published in A Quiet Courage, Roulade Magazine, Foxglove Journal, and Crush Anthology (Brunel University Press). I was shortlisted for the Mslexia poetry prize in 2014 and created the Lights in the Sky poetry event for Artwave Festival in 2015.

Natural? By Josh Dale

Natural?

Natural? fluorescence.
Natural? flavors.
Natural? extracts.
Natural? coloring.
Natural? ingredients.
Natural? humans.
We smile at the artifice
and the artificial flavors
without a real-life dinner
and a kiss of cancer
Goodnight!

I never feel the need to catalog
because Whitman did it for me.
Grab the hilt and walk with me,
And don’t apologize,
empathize.
You’re dying too.
Everything has been through me,
Fucked up and contrived into me.
And exhaled from me,
aspirated off me.

I don’t deal in absolutes
but I advise you to stay off
the Astroturf.
It is not Whitmanian,
it does not breathe our air.
The plush isn’t authentic,
But it is so enticing,
and smells like deceit.

By Josh Dale

Biography:

Josh Dale holds a BA in English from Temple University and has been previously published or forthcoming in 48th Street Press, April Gloaming Publishing, Black Elephant Literary Magazine, SickLit, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Your One Phone Call, and others. If he’s not petting his rescue Bengal, Daisy, he is perfecting his stir-fry recipe, hunched over in the dark like an alchemist. He is the founder and current editor-in-chief of Thirty West Publishing House and Tilde: A Literary Journal.

Only Four More Days Left in Our Holiday Sale

Holiday Sale Tree.jpg

There are only four more days to receive a 20% discount on all of our poetry collections in time for the holiday season! All of these collections would be a good gift for the poetry fan in your life. Follow the links below for more information and purchasing details.

Celebrate the poetry fan in your life by adding a new book to their shelf this holiday season! All of our titles are 20% until December 15th!

Survive Like the Water By Lydia Havens eBook and Print Copy

Keystones by Christian Sammartino eBook and Print Copy

Fleur by Darshana Suresh eBook and Print Copy

2017 Pushcart Prize Nominees

The True North strong and free! (1)

We are elated to announce our nominees for the 2017 Pushcart Prize Anthology! Congratulations to all of these phenomenal poets for the work they are doing and the light they are bringing to the world. Their words are good medicine and they helped heal us during this past year. We hope they did the same for you as well. Read the full text of their poems by following the links below.

A Kind of Ritual By Jasmine Cui

A LEPER BEGS THE SON OF GOD By Brianna Albers

Prayer in Taino War Paint By Juniper Cruz

Oil Painting By Nikita Gill 

Alternative Facts By Athena Dixon 

MEDUSA WRITES FOR TEEN VOGUE By Dorothy McGinnis

Lunch at Elementary School By Albert Zhang

Lunch at Elementary School

The lunch line, swirling
Full of anxious adolescents
Waiting to feed in a frenzy
Of hotdogs and burgers

Like a rambunctious dragon
Upon discovery of its prey:
A lone rabbit, helpless

Like me, sitting at the end
Of the long, plastic table
My black lunch box on it
Containing baozi and noodles
Wearing a red tee from
the Chinese New Year’s Festival
Trying to hide from my predators.

Light blue trays,
The surplus of ketchup on their hotdogs and burgers,
Neat hair,
Bright polos
Mark them as a different species.

I try to camouflage myself
Inching closer to the group
Pretending that I belong
In order to avoid detection
But the baozi gives me off.

Once I take a bite of it
Its luscious contents and savory flavor
Creamier and less sweet than ketchup
Waft out from the meatball inside
Into the noses of the predators.

All eyes turn to me
Like a tiger stares its prey
Before it pounces
Catching me mid-bite into my second baozi.

Suddenly, I’m
All alone, helpless
About to be devoured.

By Albert Zhang

Biography:

Albert Zhang is Head Editor for The Westminster Schools Bi-Line, the school newspaper and oversees as Sports Section Editor as well. He is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of Evolutions Magazine, The Westminster Schools’s annual creative writing magazine. Albert attended The Kenyon Review workshop, was a SCAD Silver Scholar, and has been published in Celebrating Art Magazine and exhibited at Atlanta’s High Museum, Capitol Building, and National Fair.

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.