Summer Job By John Stupp

Summer Job 

Engine blocks
came off production lines
all summer
in 1970
like nothing was wrong
even with Vietnam
and all that was happening
if a line went down
there was hell to pay
I filled in
where I could do the most damage
a foreman told me
I was like a bad blade on a lawn mower
no matter how many times I crossed
the grass it wouldn’t be right
you have a gift
he said—
I wanted to thank him
and the millwrights and electricians
who worked nonstop
forgetting me
but I wrote this poem instead

By John Stupp


John Stupp is the author of the 2007 chapbook The Blue Pacific and the 2015 full-length collection Advice from the Bed of a Friend both by Main Street Rag. His new book How Tuesday Began will be published by Finishing Line Press. Recent poetry has appeared or will be appearing in The Pittsburgh Poetry Review, By&By Poetry, LitMag and Off The Coast. He lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

One-Sided Conversations Between a Black Girl and God By Madelyn McZeal

One-Sided Conversations Between a Black Girl and God

Dear God,
I have begun picturing
my entrance to Your kingdom
with my hands up
What does it mean
when I pray
until my palms are streaked with ash
Moses never mentioned
the aftermath of seeing God, burning,
turned to cinder
Lord, What does it mean
to be saved?

Dear God,
I pray that You teach me
how to bleed with mercy
I am slow of speech and
tongue but my hands are willing,

Dear God,
I toss the word
around my mouth,
my tongue burdened
by the weight of parting
this sea, keeping a dry path
for grief across my teeth
Why do You ask us
for such heavy a thing?

Dear God,
Postcard, burning bush, bullet,
send me a sign, Lord
I’ll be waiting with
my hands up

By Madelyn McZeal

Madelyn McZeal is a queer 17 year old African American girl from Houston, Texas. She enjoys old books, rainy days, and unfinished poems. She is an editor of Zig Zag Zine, a small publication for women, PoC, and members of the lgbt+ community. More information about the zine can be found at and her own poetry can be found at

evolution By Nooshin Ghanbari


in loving memory of Chug Siu

a little boy with jet black hair
has already seen too much
the last name Yang sticks out against
ground the color of rotting meat
he doesn’t hear his mother’s cries
her whispers of we must save him
he doesn’t hear the violence
he doesn’t know what to listen for.

the young man with jet black hair
doesn’t want his new name
Chang is only two letters off
but saves him from war-torn China
Chang leaves behind his mother and father
and everything he ever knew.

the young man can’t write
or rather, the soldier can’t read
Chang on a forged passport becomes Chug
and the young man with jet black hair
sits in a boat with his back to the wind
the further from Yang, the better.

the old man trades jet black hair for streaks of silver
and hands Chug to his daughter in a box with a doll
and a yellow silk dress
the name falls from her to me
but Chug sounds funny on private school playgrounds
mixed with middle names like Elizabeth and John
little boys and girls spit out a laugh and point
chewed fingers saying she’s different she’s weird.

a young woman
(her hair not quite as black)
fidgets in her seat as she fills out the forms before her
what is your middle name? they ask.

she leaves the question blank.

By Nooshin Ghanbari


Nooshin Ghanbari is a third-year English major at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was recently awarded the 2016 Ellen Engler Burks Memorial Scholarship for Creative Writing. She currently serves as the assistant poetry editor of The Nocturnal Literary Review, the official journal of the university’s Plan II Honors program. Her poetry has previously appeared in Skylark Review.

What Does It Mean to Be Love? By Rivka Yeker

What Does It Mean to Be Love?

You don’t feel your face drenched in
droplets of cold water,
until you step inside of your apartment soaking
in the sky’s sadness.
It isn’t until your face is overheating
and you’ve scratched your scalp enough
for it to burn like your cheeks amidst
anxiety attack. You can’t tell that your
body is panicking until it is screaming
at you.
You can’t tell that most things are happening
until the damage embraces your neck,
like someone strangling you or shaking you,
or yelling at you, pinching you.
You don’t feel yourself
falling for someone
until they are exiting
through the back door
leaving you with

By Rivka Yeker


Rivka Yeker lives in Chicago and is a student at DePaul University studying Media & Cinema Studies, Public Relations/Advertising, and Creative Writing and is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Hooligan Mag. While she’s not running Hooligan, slinging coffee and books, and going to school, she’s forming new theories on human connection, absorbing and critically assessing media, reading comics, and yelling poetry in front of strangers.



One week before deployment,
we staged his wedding
behind India company’s barracks.

In the smoke-pit, his seabag
is stacked with issued gear:
shit-paper, load bearing vests.

One week before deployment,
she carried a bouquet of sand
in a Coors Lite can down the aisle.

The wedding party was a fire-team;
with the best man in a wife beater,
his bride walked the beach in a Goodwill dress

One full week before deployment,
he had a thought: combat pay
with dependents is twice as much

In the smoke-pit, his seabag
is stacked with issued gear:
diesel drums, canteen cups, flack jackets.

The whole week before deployment,
Their couch quartered a shit-canned
best man a honeymoon went unused.

In the smoke-pit, a seabag stacked
with issued gear: Malaria pills
anthrax vaccine and typhus, face paint.

for deployment five-man flocks of shitbirds—
load stacked gear: trauma plates and three point
lazar sights, E-tools, parachutes and pistol-grips

For five years she sang:

maa                 nee                              rah

come                  to                          the house

my tamarisk drinks no water,
dust lies on door and bolt,
the garden like a lament the city lifts

its lord, in five years
on a front lawn,
an aborted mission
a triangle folded flag.

By Aaron Graham


Aaron Graham hails from Glenrock, Wyoming, population 1159, which boasts seven bars, six churches, a single 4-way stop sign and no stoplights. He served as the assistant editor for the Squaw Valley Review, is an alumnus of Squaw Valley Writers Workshop and The Ashbury Home School (Hudson), and was recently the “Cecilia Baker Memorial Visiting Scholar” for the 2016 Seaside Writer’s Conference. Aaron is a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq where he served with The Marine Corps’ Human Intelligence and Counterterrorism Task Force Middle East as an analyst and linguist.

His work has appeared in Cleaver Magazine, Print Oriented Bastards, SAND, The Tishman Review, The East Bay Review, Zero-Dark-Thirty and f(r)iction, His poems have been Finalists in the Tishman Review’s 2015 Poetry Contest, Tethered by Letters’ 2016 Poetry Contest, Sequestrum’s New Writer Awards, and was a national finalist for The Luminaire Award. His chapbook “Skyping from a Combat Zone” was Shortlisted for Tupelo Press’s 2016 Sunken Garden Prize. His first full length collection, “Blood Stripes”, was a finalist for Tupelo’s 2015 Berkshire Poetry Prize, and his poem, “Olfaction”, won the Seven Hills Literary Journal’s Penumbra Poetry Prize. Aaron is currently finishing his PhD in Literature at Emory University.

Lunch Hour By John Stupp

Lunch Hour

Dock Ellis
threw a no-hitter on LSD
walked 8 struck out 6
the Pirates won 2-0
I saw it on the news
in the foundry cafeteria
later Dock said
halfway through the game
he was pitching to Jimi Hendrix
with Richard Nixon calling balls and strikes
this was 1970
I had a sandwich in front of me
and a busted lunch bag
I was wearing blue coveralls
there was a line of cars in the infield
their motors running
that’s what the noise in the plant made it seem like—
during the school year
I took LSD
and put my hand through a wall
trying to work a light switch
like Dock I didn’t say anything the cops could remember
but I’m keeping a low profile
if the foreman comes around it wasn’t me
pressing greasy fingerprints on the white bread
my mother bought

By John Stupp


John Stupp is the author of the 2007 chapbook The Blue Pacific and the 2015 full-length collection Advice from the Bed of a Friend both by Main Street Rag. His new book How Tuesday Began will be published by Finishing Line Press. Recent poetry has appeared or will be appearing in The Pittsburgh Poetry Review, By&By Poetry, LitMag and Off The Coast. He lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


East & East By Majda Gama

East & East

From Wardour Street to down the King’s Road this city is a song
We walked where I knew no song but the hum of your presence
The cobbles of Whitechapel as haphazard as punched out teeth
The East End full of old murder and new anarchy
Brick Lane infused with the scent of the older world I leave you for
I did leave sandalwood on you my variation of the seal of Suleiman
Every hoopoe I saw in Arabia I sent as a messenger to you
As if feathers and precious oil could illuminate your dark places
And neon red hairs guide you through long nights of Dexy
I drink to your memory as if spirits could conjure that night back
The gold of West Country cider from bruised windfall apples
The urine colored swill of the punks who careen through Camden Town
Brighter to me now the fox kits gamboling on the graves of Highgate
I walk our path through London widdershins so that the past stays past
From the old shore of Southwark onto Waterloo Bridge in the new rain
Everyone bursts into song albeit at soft distances from one another

By Majda Gama


Majda Gama is Saudi-American poet based in the Washington, DC area where she has roots as a punk, DJ and activist. Two of her poems were picked by Ilya Kaminsky as honorable mentions in The Fairy Tale Review’s inaugural contest, other poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Gargoyle, Hunger Mountain, Mizna, War, Literature & the Arts and are forthcoming in Duende and the Hysteria anthology. As a transnational nomad living between East and West, Majda has permanent culture shock.

The Floral Knife By Ali Guerra

The Floral Knife

It always starts out the same,
eyes meet from across the room, green and
curious. Green and mystical. Green and coy,
and ready to kill.

Beginnings are exciting,
he is teasing you in the kitchen now
because he likes you
but you heard he has a girlfriend.
He must not be into her.

You are sitting in the back of the restaurant,
all your tables have paid and left
he sits in front of you
whispers something, you laugh
you think that your heart will fall out of your chest,
you think you want to explore this.

Two weeks later,
he is waking up next to you on the couch,
says he will leave her for you.

You are captivated.
You are enamored.
You are spending all your time with him,
he is crazy about you.

You go out for drinks after work,
he says “Where were you?”

You think it is love when he is protective.
You think you’ve finally found someone that cares.
You think it is love when he is jealous.
You think it is love when he tries to change you,
make you better.

That’s all he’s doing though.

Two months go by and you haven’t seen your friends
in weeks.
They understand, you’re in love.
They understand,
he’s possessive.

He tells you that your nail-biting disgusts him.
You have the hands of a child, you know.
You should start paying rent if you’re
going to be here so much.
You never do anything nice for him.
You never do anything right.
Your friends aren’t good friends.
Don’t see them.

He tells you he likes your kindness,
tells you it’s your best trait.
Why are you letting him treat you so badly?
You’re too nice.
You need to stand up for yourself.
You need some backbone.
He just doesn’t want to see you get hurt,
he is sorry he hurt you.

Wake him up with a blowjob,
be a fucking woman.
She did things
you won’t do.

You wonder why you are crying so much.
Your friends must be the problem,
not him. It must just be your job.
It must just be your parents.
It must just be you.

He says he will change,
you believe him. He says
let’s pretend the last six months didn’t happen.

He turns his hands into razor blades
when he holds you at night
pretending he could save you
by cutting you open.

By Ali Guerra


Ali Guerra is a poet and writer currently living in Florida but hopefully making her way to the west coast soon. Her work has been featured in Thought Catalog and she is now working on her first collection of poetry which will consist of both old and new work. You can find her in cafes people-watching or drinking wine in her bedroom.

To Be A Woman By Georgie Funnell

To Be A Woman

To be a woman is to be a key,
a pin, an axe. It is to learn how
to open doors that have always
been closed to you. It is to learn that
most of them will always stay that way,
no matter how you forget the shape of your body.

To be a woman is to be the shore,
a tree, the sky. It is to notice that
nothing will ever stay. It is to notice that
your hands will always be reaching towards
things that do not let you grow, even when
you still do not feel like enough of someone.

To be a woman is to be a cloud,
a petal, flesh. It is to have a softness in your
soul that makes the gods unafraid. It is to have
a softness that does not make you a threat to
those with thicker skin, to those who want to
make an impression on you.

To be a woman is to be a vacancy sign,
an object, a word. It is to welcome the darkness
without questioning why you should make a home
for it. It is to welcome anything that is
expected of you,  so they cannot name
your body a disappointment.

To be a woman is to be a gun,
a shield, a banner. It is to fight wars that
you will never win, just in case the tides may
turn. It is to fight yourself in battles across your body
and still not know which side you want to win,
your beauty or your mind.

To be a woman is to be a survivor,
a carer, a lover. It is to become a universe
enveloped in the clothing of skin. It is to become
proud of  having the kind of strength that
does not let you give up, even when they tell you
that is all you are good for.

By Georgie Funnell


Georgie is a 21 year old woman, who believes in the power of poetry to heal. There are many issues that she is passionate about changing, especially the stigma surrounding mental health and the inequality between genders. Currently she lives in London having just finished a chemistry degree, although one day she dreams of moving to Paris.