Denise, Part II By Nicole Lourette

Denise, Part II

from French
from Latin
Dionysia, fem of Dionysius
/god of agriculture
/specifically vines and wine—
my mother has not drank since 1987.
In 2011 she buys a $4 bottle of sparkling blush
and feels a buzz after half a glass.
I finish the bottle for her.

/patron of theatre and religion
/specifically “spiritual intoxication”
raised Southern Baptist,
Roman Catholic, sure
Agnostic by location
Unitarian out of convenience.
She sent us to Charlotte when I was eight.
My grandmother flailed and passed out in front of the alter.
Men laid their bodies in rows,
kept their legs straight and closed,
smoothed their dresses.
I thought them dead, worried about taking
the bus back home by myself.

I was purchased,
injected into her body
from a storage freezer.
six years later she was pregnant,
unmarried with twins.
“I couldn’t kill both of them.”

/mystery of religion
I lost my virginity in 2003.
told my mother I believed in God,
after I stopped swallowing bottles of her pills
in the downstairs bathroom.
“I’m so proud of you baby girl, God is with you
even when you don’t want him.”
I attended church that year hung-over often.
listening to Linkin Park in one ear, iPod hidden in my bra.

/ritual madness

Denise saw God more than once.
seizing on the floor,
screaming like something other than my mother,
the whites of her eyes too white, too exposed,
her voice hurried, excited to regale us with the aliens
beaming orbs into the sky
“the aliens are coming,
God is coming to take me”
I watched from the top of the stairs,
picturing E.T. knocking on the front door.
My mom is crazy.
Don’t say that, said everyone.

/visions of emotion, sometimes physical euphoria
we people-watch at the mall.
“chocolate covered strawberries
are better than sex”
she tells me.
I haven’t seen Denise in two years.
she calls and says
she wants to be like me when she grows up.

By Nicole Lourette


Nicole Lourette is a poet and event planner from Rochester, NY. She now lives in Pittsburgh, PA after graduating with her MFA from Chatham University with concentrations in poetry and travel writing. She travels both for work and her own sanity as often as possible and hates peanut butter. She is an editor for Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and her work has been featured in IDK Magazine, Public Pool, Vagabond City Journal, and elsewhere.

Blues on crack By Jacquese Armstrong

Blues on crack

and i am inside my mind
controlling the levers that
guide my lifeless shell
through the universe
the machine is outdated

every highway a
dead-end street
to insanity-in-a-box
lost in space like
will robinson

rising at noon i
pull the shades down
drown in mattress and
pillow again smother
my head in
cover i
am an ostrich
i don’t want to know

three-fried brain
hollowed eyes sinking
like a raft with a hole
to my concrete feet

see black in
grey storm skies/
optimistically embraced
like a childhood buddy
lost to the rains
the air’s stench can’t upset me
corrugated skin and i
could care less about exfoliation
my mind left without me

wrap myself around myself
in a corner so tight i
can’t rock/head on knees
no tears a
straitjacket looks
i am not lucid

winter sings arias january
through january in an irritating
mezzo-soprano the
bareness of trees in thick wind
like dinosaur bones in a small room exhibit
i am
smoking newports 24/7
satisfies my taste for
food pacing the floor
guarding the door
from thought police ‘cause
they may storm in
and arrest my carcass…

(and when someone makes
you laugh you
envision being with them
forever. no cost.)

guilty innocence
brown/grey the
stylist’s dream thoughts
on a loudspeaker
like the cars rollin
through the streets
i think i’ll go dig my grave

stepford wife presentation’s
grey ghost gives
up the life

not looking back.
Blues on crack.

By Jacquese Armstrong


Jacquese Armstrong is a writer/poet residing in Central New Jersey. Her chapbook, dance of the shadows, is to be released in June. Her work has been previously published in GFT Presents: One in Four, For Harriet and Black Magnolias Literary Journal among others.

When We Both Spoke In Alters: A Case Study on Love By Linette Reeman

Linette Reeman (1)
We are ecstatic to announce that the immensely talented poet Linette Reeman is the newest member of the Rising Phoenix Press family. Our team is honored to have the opportunity to work with them to release their collection When We Both Spoke In Alters: A Case Study on Love. Pre-order for the collection begin this evening. All orders will be shipped by the officail release date of the collection, which is April 28, 2017. This collection is a daring participant observation of different varieties of love and how that love impacts personal identity, and personal relationships. Linette is fearless with their social commentary. The emotional honesty of these poems is fearless breathtaking.

Stay tuned for more updates about the collection. We will reveal the official cover image and testimonials over the next few weeks.

Pre-Order the collection here.

About the author:

Linette Reeman (they/them) is an Aries from the Jersey Shore, so they’re not sure what you mean by “speed limit.” They’re pursuing a History B.A. from Rowan University, are the reigning Grand Slam Champ of Loser Slam, and were recently nominated for Pushcart Prizes by Rising Phoenix Press and Crab Fat Magazine. In Linette’s spare time, they occasionally sleep a full eight hours.

Read poems from the collection:

Virginia Woolf Walks Into My Apartment

Facts About Tigers

I Shotgun a Five Hour Energy Just to See if I Still Can



You have seen angels. So tell me, then,
of the creature’s beauty. Of the trumpets
bleating      of the limbs bowed, ripe & unholy
There’s a woman in town that says
she’s seen an angel. Says it looked like
a beast         says it blistered & sang & oozed
And I guess what I’m trying to ask
is if angels are really monsters if they
are beings from YHWH’s dreams if YHWH
dreams at all
I guess what I’m trying to say is
the women in my village are afraid I’ll never
marry            afraid I’ve been cursed        afraid
I’ll die unloved– unspooled– a fraying red
thread. But I don’t want a man to love me.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet, but
your people love in violences.
You don’t understand, Rabbi:
I am the blood smear on the lintel.
I am the omen      the warning           the cold
dance of death. My body, desolate: stark
forgotten             in absence of vengeance
There is one god, and he has turned
his back on me.     When I dream,
I dream of YHWH’s face:          the sneer
& curl       a labyrinth of dark teeth
Is it wrong to want answers? Teach me,
Rabbi. It is why you are here.
What I’m trying to say is
I’m already monstrous. Your father has seen
to that.          So do not heal me. Do not make
me a mouth gaped joyful wide.
If this world is to shun me, let it
shiver.     Let its forests smoke & flame.
If I am to be a monster, let me
be one that lumbers        that shudders–
shakes–       Let me herald something
holy. Let my wounds sing:
The divine is at hand.

By Brianna Albers


Brianna Albers is a poet, writer, and storyteller, located in the Minneapolis suburbs. In 2016, she founded Monstering, a magazine for disabled women and nonbinary people; she currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief. A Best of the Net nominee, her work can be found in Guernica Magazine, Word Riot, and Winter Tangerine Review, among others. Her début chapbook, Why I’m Not Where You Are, was a finalist in Where Are You Press’ “Where Are You Poet” contest; it was published in 2016 via Words Dance Publishing. She can be found at

Body By Shirin Choudhary


There are new craters on my face:
My topography is changing.
I can trace new lines on my inner thighs
That I couldn’t a few months ago.
I try to tell myself
This is merely a part of growing up
And growing into the body of a woman.

Growing into the body of woman,
Woman growing into a body.

My geography is changing
And I am still looking for new codes
To understand how to map this


This landscape
Doesn’t play by old rules anymore.

Growing into the body of woman,
Growing out of it.

I have found a new Key to the map;
I know where to go now.

Growing into the body.
Not of woman anymore.

By Shirin Choudhary


Shirin is a young poet from New Delhi, India. She has recently begun thinking about her gender identity and expression through her poems. She is involved in the queer movement in her city, in the capacities of an artist, activist and a student.