Angel

by on Jul 31, 2015

Angel

 


Olivier Schopfer lives in Geneva, Switzerland, the city with the huge lake water fountain. He likes capturing the moment in haiku and photography. His work has appeared in The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2014 as well as in numerous online and print journals. He also writes articles in French about etymology and everyday expressions at Olivier Schopfer raconte les mots.

Dog Whistle Effect

by on Jul 30, 2015

Over dinner, she asks if I have ever been to Uncle Tom’s Taco Shop. “You mean Honest Tom’s?” It becomes painfully obvious that we are two women—one black, one white—on a date in a “Mexican” restaurant. I look at her pork belly banh mi tacos, my own shrimp tempura tacos with tom yum aioli. This neighborhood used to be affordable.  Now the coffee shops sell vinyl and breakfast sandwiches with names like “The Notorious E.G.G.” Uncle Tom aside, she has asked me if I have been to a restaurant three blocks from my own house, as if I won’t pass it on the bus ride home. She eats her “Vietnamese-Mexican” tacos, calls herself an “activist.” A war cry only I can hear.

 


Lauren Yates is a Pushcart-nominated poet who is currently based in Philadelphia. Her writing has appeared in Nerve, XOJane, FRiGG, Umbrella Factory, Softblow, and Melusine. Lauren is also a poetry editor at Kinfolks Quarterly and is currently a Poet in Residence with the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University. For more information, visit laurentyates.com.

Bystander

by on Jul 29, 2015

The radiance of evil
burns the world down
to a fine white ash.
It settles on your hair
and eyelashes. You
breathe it in, you
taste it on your tongue.
You don’t know who
has been burned
but you are part of it.
You walk in ashes,
you find them in your
pockets, you rub them
out of your eyes. The streets
are deep with ash.
Women weep
behind high walls
until the air is thick
with grief. You
have not lifted
a finger. You fear
you will never
be clean again.

 


Mary McCarthy grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, studied art and literature but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. She has always been a writer. She has great hopes for the future despite the horrors reported endlessly in the daily news.

Crooked Smiles

by on Jul 28, 2015

(For Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Jada Justice, and Shaniya Davis)

They wore crooked smiles—
Aiyana, Jada, and Shaniya.

Aiyana was shot in the skull
during a police raid; Jada

was killed by a cousin high on
drugs, and Shaniya was raped

and left for dead. If they had
looked like JonBenet Ramsey

their faces would’ve been on
placards and shirts and spilling

out the mouth of crusaders for
justice. Instead their pictures, like

bones—got buried six feet under
minds and forgotten. Aiyana’s

heart will never flutter holding a
boy’s hand nor will her eyes sparkle

being handed the keys to a new car.
Jada will never leave footprints on

a sandy beach or laughs in the wind
as her feet clap the shoulders of the

horse she’d begged to ride. Shaniya
will never again hear the sounds of

rain hitting her window or thunder
of a crowd when she slides into

home plate. Few tears were shed
when three white caskets were

lowered into the ground, but the
world still stops on its axis to dig

up Caylee Anthony. Let justice ring
from the rivers of Detroit. Let justice

ring from the banks of Lake George,
Indiana. Let justice ring from the

Sandhills of North Carolina. Let
justice and peace ring for the

unspoken tawny girls and all
their crooked smiles.

 


Arika Elizenberry is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada. She is currently an editor at Helen: A Literary Magazine and the President of UNLV’s Writing Rebels. Some of her favorite writers include James Baldwin, Dorothy Parker, Nikki Giovanni, and Lucille Clifton. Her work has appeared in journals such as 300 Days of Sun, Burningword Literary Journal, and Toasted Cheese. She is working on her bachelors in English.

Graffiti

by on Jul 27, 2015

She falls from the ledge, a rocky outcropping in an otherwise featureless tundra, breaks her thigh bone in two places. No one comes. The sun rises twice. Dehydrated, delirious, she senses a yellow panther circling her, smells its yaw, feels only resignation. But it is the wind above her dying breath that sustains her, a great swan, wingspan touching both horizons, inner and outer, at the same moment.

Then the band, the people, come back for her, worried, frantic. The old woman sets the bone, but of course she’ll walk with a limp for the rest of her life. But she is changed. Everyone has seen the paw prints of the panther. No one has seen as much as a feather from the wing of the swan.

She is changed. She has been an auntie, neither young nor old, childless, neither important nor unimportant. Loved, accepted, teased, desired—but nothing special. Now she can heal. Mostly bleeding and fevers. Most of all, madness. She can’t heal tumors or blindness. But those possessed, she can release. Those possessed by the spirits of people-eating panthers or bears, those who go into delirium, biting flesh, cutting with a stone knife, killing relatives or strangers. These she can stop, can heal with smoke and trance, with tattoo.

She is not a happy woman, by nature. None of her names describes her laughter or her jokes, or calls her a bubbling stream. But her hair stays black. She has enough to eat. She has a necklace of shells from far away.

The people migrate in a huge half circle, like the wanderers in the sky. But a few years later they settle closer to the lake, where it is easy to fish, to collect. The herds of deer wax and wane. It seems better to rely on fish, and waterfowl, and their delicious eggs. There, she loses her monthly blood, and a child grows within her. One of his names will be “Child-at-the-last-possible-moment.”

Old, she paddles out to a strange group of rocks towards the farther shore. Carves the swan no one else saw, or knows of. A huge striped swan who has not fallen from the sky but who is the sky. It’s getting warmer. The deer have moved but the people stay. The waters of the lake rise. The swan is more remote, further off, glittering, the crystals in granite, as dawn breaks.

Eons pass.

Death to the Muslims, Death to the Jews. Death to the Ukrainian Catholics. Russia for the Russians. A can of spray paint. A sharpie pen. These tools from the west let the people speak. A wall defaced. Swastikas spray painted on the tombstones that are already marked with six-pointed stars.

This DNA fell from a ledge, and lived, because the people came back for her. This DNA was swept by the wing of a wild swan, chipped a striped swan on a rock rising from a Siberian lake.

The swan is more remote, further off, glittering, the crystals in granite, as dawn breaks.

 


Miriam Sagan blogs at Miriam’s Well. She is the author of 25 books, including the recent collection from Sherman Asher, Seven Places in America: A Poetic Sojourn. She recently won the New Mexico Literary Arts Gratitude Award in Poetry, and has received the Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Sagan also does text and grassroots installations–most recently at Salem Art Works and at The Betsy Hotel.

Fragments

by on Jul 24, 2015

these little bits
fallen from the skies

these little inches
measured with the eyes

these fleeting cravings
nurtured
with lonesome ink
and the abandoned
hands of time

are remnants of love
of fallowed souls and
unconsummated thrones…

these feeble raindrops
ascending the forsaken
heights of your eyes

whose ingredients
God only knows

form rivers
of a heart
where drowned
fishes float

 


JK Anowe was born in Nigeria in 1994. He’s presently a degree student of the department of foreign languages in the University of Benin, Nigeria. He speaks English, Igbo and French fluently. He writes and edits poems and short stories for Parrot, a literary/lifestyle magazine run by the University of Benin.

A Reverence for Rust

by on Jul 22, 2015

rusted wheels
carrying us toward
the hymn of home

a haloed sun
beckons us beyond
the rusty gate

pressed prayers
these rusting memories
between our palms

rust-flecked silo
our songs still echo
hallelujah

 


Debbie Strange is a published tanka and haiku poet and an avid photographer. She enjoys creating haiga and tanshi (small poem) art. You are invited to see more of her work on Twitter @Debbie_Strange.

Security

by on Jul 21, 2015

(Watch Marie Craven’s video of “Security” on Vimeo)

Editor’s note: the text of the Laura M. Kaminski poem “Security” and her bio can be read at The Poetry Storehouse.

 


Marie Craven is a media maker and musician from the Gold Coast, Australia. She has been engaged in online collaboration since 2007 and has contributed to works with artists in many different parts of the world. Website: pixieguts.com

Old Gods

by on Jul 20, 2015

Stars do not say goodnight

They are born in the dark
like new eyes of roses,

they come softly and madly
into the sky

We know their light
turned to eyes on the river

We found them one night,
and howled to the void

We see,
for they have given eyes to faces

And through eons they have torn
across light years of shadow

to find us,
to raise this planet out of night

The stars are dancing

In them we have witnessed
that same fire

that sings through bones,
that whispers eyes open

They do not say goodnight—

when they are old
they tear outward in every direction

claiming every object,
every atom,

and after all screams
there comes a reconvening—

eons of beauty
into inches of beautiful dust—

the stars do not say goodnight
to us.

 


Luis Neer is an alumnus of the creative writing program at the 2014 West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts, and his poems have appeared in Maudlin House; Literary Orphans; Squawk Back; The Rain, Party & Disaster Society and elsewhere. He tweets @LuisNeer.