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.

While Everything Falls Apart, Imagine How You’ll Teach Your Son About Guns By Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

While Everything Falls Apart, Imagine How You’ll Teach Your Son About Guns

bang, bang, he asks every night, bang, bang,
and you’re dead, wants you to sing in his ear
bang, all the ways we know how to take

each other’s lives and all the tools we’ve made
to help us do it, he forms tiny fists pretending,
already knows his body is enough, bang, bang

and when you take away his neon water gun,
he cries and throws his head back on the pavement,
bang, all the ways we know how to take

things away from children, to give them
back once they know how to really use them,
bang, bang, he asks every night, bang, bang?

outside your window and on the news,
in the small hands of his friends, their mouths,
bang, all the ways we know how to take

their hands and mouths for granted,
you’re dead, a refrain so familiar it fires
soundlessly, bang, bang, every night, he sings
all the ways we know how to take.

This poem was first published by Poets Reading the News

By Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

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


Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine as a Jewish refugee when she was six years old. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where her research focuses on contemporary American poetry about the Holocaust. Julia’s poetry collection, The Many Names for Mother, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from Kent State University Press in the Fall of 2019. She is also the author of The Bear Who Ate the Stars (Split Lip Press, 2014) and her recent poems appear in Best New Poets, American Poetry Review, and Nashville Review, among others. Julia is also Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine (www. and when not busy chasing her toddler around the playgrounds of Philadelphia, she writes a blog about motherhood (https:// otherwomendonttellyou.

If Feminism is for Ugly Girls By Kaity Gee

If Feminism is for Ugly Girls

If feminism is for ugly girls,
Let me be ugly.
Let my face be covered in boils and sores.
Let my teeth rot into pieces.

If all you desire is
a pretty face,
A woman who sits silent and
Nods to coarse words,

Make me screaming and savage–
Make me the woman
Louder than a freight train.

If all a woman is,
is but an object,
Let me be the Medusa whose
Head of snakes will turn you to stone.

Let me be righteously terrible,
Let me be scar-faced­,
For I will bear my trauma
Where it is plain to see.

Let me be untouchable, undesirable,
Let other women laugh
At my Crooked nose and
Jagged teeth.

Tell me man,
With my hair of snakes
And rotted smile–
Do I petrify?

By Kaity Gee

Previously published in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine


Kaity Gee is writer from Bay Area, California, currently studying at New York University. Only eighteen, she has already been making a splash in the creative writing world, winning twenty-three regional and two national Scholastic Writing Awards in addition to other regional and national awards in only the past two years. Kaity’s work has previously been published in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Avalon Review, Sweet Literary Magazine, Five:2:One Magazine, and in American Library of Poetry’s anthology, Eloquence. Writing has been an integral part of her life: words have changed Kaity’s life, whether it be on the pages of a classic or her own sprawled onto the parallel veins of an open notebook. She hopes her words breathe life in you. She hopes her words leave you breathless.

Funeral in Summer By Emma Bleker

Funeral in Summer

Back where the peach skin looked new,
inside the mouth of old teeth,
we buried the old bird’s bones.
We made her decorated.
We flew her back home to sleep.
Out where the sing of morning
has no voice to wake us with,
she rests in beds of missing,
her throat gone to empty sky.
We made her loud, un-thought of.
We flew her into the ground.
Buried in sugar, smooth skin,
wrapped around what we made her
into: wings and only wings.
She, shelter for the sorrow.
She, muse of wicked sunshine.
We take her to sleep, this time.
We run our sorrow into
un-hollow sparrow ground, this
time. We want for the stripped sound.
The old bird’s beak stays open.
We still try to fit inside.

By Emma Bleker


Emma Bleker is a 21 year old writer currently working for her English degree in Virginia. She has previously been published, or is forthcoming in Electric Cereal, Persephone’s Daughters, Skylark Review, Rising Phoenix Press, and Cahoodaloodaling, among others. She probably wants to be your friend.

What Were You Doing? By Noriko Nakada

What Were You Doing?

I remember watching Eyes on the Prize
with my mother in our living room and asking her
“Were you there, Mom? What were you doing?”
And Mom told me, “I was at home raising kids.
I was being a mom.”

It was 1968
the year my oldest brother was born
the year they killed Martin Luther King, Jr.
the year they killed Robert Kennedy.

Then it was 1970
the year my sister was born
the year they killed four students at Kent State.
the year they killed two more at Jackson State.

So by the time I was born
in 1974 it had been
a year since they killed 11-year-old Clifford Glover.
a year since they killed 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez.

In 2012
the year my oldest was born was
the year they killed Trayvon Martin.
the year they killed Rekia Boyd.

and 2015
the year my youngest was born was
the year after they killed Eric Garner and Tamir Rice
the year they killed Walter Scott and Freddie Gray

and in 2016
the year they kill Alton Sterling
the year they kill Philando Castille
I can no longer stay at home.

I march in the streets
because some day my children
will ask me what I was doing
and I don’t want to say, “I was at home raising kids.”

Some year when they ask
“Were you there, Mom?
What were you doing?”
I will tell them, “I was saying their names.
I was being your mom.”

By Noriko Nakada


Noriko Nakada writes, blogs, tweets, parents, and teaches middle school in Los Angeles where she grinds out creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. She has two book length memoirs available and has been published in Specter Magazine, Hippocampus Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times.

frailty beneath wreckage By Weasel

frailty beneath wreckage

when the sun rises
they will come to take the car
they will pull it out onto the street
they will knock on the door
and tell me that the bill is past due

by the afternoon
the lights will be shut off
i will peel poems
from my skin
and mail them to the debtors
for i have nothing else

they are not interested in my begging
there are no more extensions
they say they tried
yet their negotiations
are not flexible

the collectors have finally caught me
their fingers encircle my throat
leaving me without breath

i could pray, but prayer
is only a currency
made of air
it cannot fulfill demands
it can only push back the inevitable

i have nothing
they can take
i am a shell
buried in the back yard

By Weasel


Weasel is a degenerate writer who received his Bachelor of Arts in Literature at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. He currently uses it as scrap paper to fuel the publishing endeavors of Weasel Press and its erotic imprint Red Ferret Press.

A Lesson in Economics By Ian C. Williams

A Lesson in Economics

“Having devoured him, she wiped her mouth,
shut her eyes and shammed blindness as before.”
— Carlo Collodi, The Adventures of Pinocchio

Bell ringers swallow
generous blackbirds—
the feathers still stuck in their whiskers.
They hardly hesitate
to hide them anymore.

How many more headlines
of brass bells luring charity—
How many more charities
found funding private enterprise—
How many more voices
miming truth but truthfully hanging us

with the golden ropes lashed
from our pockets through our veins


Four-hundred dollars
would feed orphan mouths, fill their stomachs.

Eyes welling, defeated shoulders slumped.
Words heavy with meaning,

they extended empty palms like the children
they claimed to serve.

When filled, they turned
and ran.

By Ian C. Williams


Ian C. Williams is an MFA student at Oklahoma State University. He has received the Florence Kahn Memorial Award from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies for his chapbook, House of Bones, and his poems have appeared in Blue Earth Review, The Altar Collective, The Appalachian Review, and Arsenic Lobster, among others. He lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with his wife, Bailey, along with their dog, two cats, and chameleon.

Spawn By Yusra Amjad


I never quite belonged to me.
Through the thinness of myself
I could feel the shadows of others,
waiting to grow into full form.

I was other people in incipient stages.

my sister’s spite.
my mother’s martyr.
my father’s anger, gaining on them
Long before I looked into the mirror
and saw my mother’s almond eyes
I felt him stirring in my hot blood.
Blind temper.
Sudden cruelty.
A grabbing of any throat that fit in my little grasp.
The echo of you in my small tyrannies.

Do I long to become my mother, as every decent girl should?

I felt you both inside me, long ago.
I always knew I’d need to choose.
An ovum waiting;
like you gave birth to me,
I would have to recreate you.

By Yusra Amjad


Yusra Amjad is a lifelong student of literature, poet, and writer in Lahore, Pakistan. She has been published at the Missing Slate, Crossed Genres, Cities+, and was a finalist for the 2016 Where Are You Press manuscript contest. She occasionally writes for and does some literary ranting at