Sublimation by Aneesa Razak

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My body is a dark paradise

My body is an island that no one can find

My body is covered with volcanoes ready to explode

To wreak havoc

And Destroy


My body is always with bloom

Tropical flowers rising from the ashes

Reaching towards the sun

A distant lover in the heavens

Worshipping its golden rays


My body is destructive

A warzone

My body is beautiful

A promise land

My body is mine

A divine abode


Hiraeth by Persomondo

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I miss my home
When I'm at home

You brought me pain and sorrow and disappointment beyond compare.
The heartache went away although,
For I did not think of you.
I let it go because I could,
Not because you asked me to.

I miss my home
When I'm at home

I was content at first, for I gave little thought to you.
Human nature is a woe although,
For I began to think of you.
I miss my empty thoughts,
Ones that aren't filled by you.

I miss my home
When I'm at home

I now think of you in times of loneliness and despair.
I want to spend a happy moment with you
But I know you just don't care.
More than you know,
I think of you.

I miss my home
When I'm at home

The Collision Theory by Lola Simon

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Yesterday I left my body behind.

I viewed the world from the telephone wires

that criss crossed outside my window

and listened to the low hum of conversations

colliding between my thoughts.  


It’s funny how easy it is

to get caught up in futile things.

I tried to count the cracks in the ceiling over my bed

but it was hard to decide

when one crack ended and another began.

Intersections always seem to follow me;

Lines cross and tumble over each other

as if they are racing to some unknown destination

and by attempting to slice each other in two

they’ll become more significant when they finally find the finish line.


I have always wondered if telephone wires

feel meaningless compared to

the great wide horizon that presses against them;

reducing them to nothing but scribbles

against a backdrop of the infinite.


But the infinite must end eventually too

and what is the infinite

if it has nothing left to say?

Hulu 123 by Bridget Ashvil

Hulu123
123
At night in bed watching broad city
Know that I need to sleep
Cus when I get my sleep
I know I feel good
Feel good with eyes open wide
Taking it in
All the small little smiles
And the way you feel when I hug you
Warm.
It's easy to forget how a good thing feels when you got it.
Like pots and pans clanking
Pesto in the air and my sister sayin' 
Baby get your head out of the clouds
You have had your fun it's time you come back down
Down to the city and the trees and the way the rain smells on the leaves
And lacing my fingers through yours
Knowing that it's not a chore to talk about cheese or how Hughe had one shoe
Change of subject please and thank you
I guess I really had to thank you
Not every day is the day for apples and pumpkin pie
I see it in my eyes when I look in the mirror
Seeing all the crazy days draw nearer and I can't seem to truly care
Not to lie though it's always there but I'll push it away and for at least seven days I can sit in my house on my couch and just listen
And just hold in my arms a few lucky charms
To cast a spell on you like your great grandma would do
A spell of adventure and no looking over shoulders
A spell of old stories about mushroom people that build swimming pools and yams that won't stay in your hands. 
Breathe now but slowly drift down from the clouds up high
Look through the dark windows back up to the sky and
Wait
1
2
3
Back to reality
A bumpy train
A lot of rain
123
4 and 5
I think that you have made it ok to try
I believe honestly that time will pass by
Even when I'm not paying attention because I'm looking up at the stars through boxes and yards of furniture
Need I go further? 
You must know what I mean at least a bit
The stories may not all be true but I have mine and it's all right and I'll take it because it feels nice to just take it and listen to death gripping your heart and squeezing it right and making it hip hop hippity hop
Don't stop
Don't look right at him
He'll know
Maybe he did maybe he don't
But at least now you both know and can honestly say that you made it
And you can breathe and count
123
Back to watching broad city
But you laugh a little more
And you choose to stay up all night
123
Hey I need to explore the city and once I do I'll make it all the way back to you and I think I will hold your hand
Maybe I will sing my songs from another land
And maybe you will sing it too because I like your voice and I like you
123
Go back to sleep it's ok it's all right
Don't need to check your heart I promise it's normal
It's up and it's down
And they just are
123
123
Tell hughe I have his other shoe
Let's take him out to pizza
Let him breathe after his run
Rotisserie

These Thoughts by A.Y Pan

Thoughts wrap around my head
It drains the life from my eyes
And turns the tips of my mouth
Towards where it claims me to be,
Dirt,
A speck of dust,
And, “Nothing more and nothing to be.” 
I shut my tired eyes
Hoping to escape in a dream
Where I find love and hope
Where everything I longed
Is just within reach
But I wake up
To find the same gray sky
They flood into me once again
As the tears pour out of my eyes.
It hurts.
This pain in my chest
I know the way I handle this
Really isn’t the best
But for now,
Even with these thoughts,
I hide under my covers
And let my soul rest.

Morning Train by Bridget Ashvil

 

The tip of my nose is cold at 6:52,
When the sky looks like new
With streaks of warm chocolate and the smell of greys papaya playing a pretty song in between my scarf and button down. 
You like when I dance and sing but I do so that I can call to the fire
The smoke that fills the lungs of the young and hungry when there is no one weak left to feed on but yourself. 
Burn all the sugar so that the air smells like cotton candy from the nuts for nuts carts rolled by a little lady who likes to paint mangos and mongeese
Like the ones from when the boys called her sally sally baby and she beat them in every race
The mangos that spilled nectar as sweet as the smiles of a baby, 
Down her neck and down her arms,
Drenching her clothes and burning her skin with a fire that does not give off any smoke
She had learned how to be quiet about her dreams
Shutting her eyes for three blinks worth time
Bu bu bu
Open
Step into the running water to wash away the fire and burns that pull and pull to
The bye bye day where you can feel the drum in your toes and dance again. 
6:53
Please don't leave me
Here it is dark and shadows like to dance like curtains in the wind
Funny hunny bunny don't you worry it's all right it's aaaallll riiiiaaaght sing sing the drums gettin louder gettin faster
Leave me be leave me to smash in the walls and throw the yellow paint I got from you all over the ceiling so that it drips down beautiful yellow tears. 
My head fills with so much noise
Mr blue sky and Deborah could not stop my crying and yelling all locked in my jaw that you have locked so that I swell with all of my distress
You brute you have no mercy on the weak and even less on the strong and most on the ones that have never know what strength is. 
7:16 now
Two stops away, oh how the time has passed me by so soon. 
Might as well be the afternoon or even better the evening where cheeks get warm and pink and I get soft kisses on my face and laughter arises from almost nothing. 
Siblings embrace and compete for time to speak and cry and sit the three of them on a bed much too small and creaky. 
A sea of red and gold and out of the lava a small bag of coffee and sweaters that is sandwiched between the eyes that all match. 
Chocolate red skies and birds
With small beady eyes. 
6:52 once again
You won't be happy unless you have got a friend
And a few colored pencils to pass the time.

A Collection of Quirks by Juliet Papadopoulos

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A man from kismet
Licks his silver spoon
And takes out the trash. 

Purple dragon lilies
Wondering, will I ever be
Like those floating bubbles?

A blue red orange sunset
Frames my eyes as I stare out
At the grass.

Golden water laps
At my feet as I wait for
The bus to stop.

A fur stole,
Limply hanging on a hook,
Wet and ready to dry.


Splendid golf balls whiz through
The air, wishing to be home
In their holes.

When one has an affinity for decadent
Travel arrangements, 
taking the ferry is a bit of a let down.

A French boy, 
unique as his name,
Doesn’t text me back.

Magenta magnolias
Meander through the moody,
Mellow mornings.

Happy Black History Month by Arielle Moore

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Happy Black History Month

  1. You will want to peel your skin. Scream. Choke throats. And kick as you struggle to breath amongst a locker-room full of whiteness.

  2. There are few like us. Cling to your black sisters for dear life. Talk to them. Rant to them. Keep those conversations dear to your heart. Cherish black sisterhood.

  3. You will feel alone. You will be alone.

  4. No one will ever understand you. No one will ever understand us. No one will understand.

  5. You are angry.You have anger in you. You want to be angry. You deserve to be angry.

  6. You will suffocate as you try to hold on to your black pride. Self-hate constantly attempting to seep into your bloodstream. Jealousy nudging at your skull.

  7. You will cringe as friends and acquaintances touch your hair without asking. Your kinky, sacred curls being touched by unwanted hands.

  8. You will be angry at white friends who witness the ignorance, microaggressions, pain, and decide to sit silently.

  9. You will be angry at the white boy who said the n-word to you. You will be angry that hegets to walk free, while you carry the pain with you every day. You want to hit him. You want to hit him again.You want to hit him. You want to hit him. You want to hit him. You want to hit him. You just want to ask him why? Why did you never ask him why?

  10. You will be angry at those who’ve heard about the incident, and have done nothing. They give him hugs and share laughs with him. They will forget your pain. They will forget our pain, as they’ve always forgotten.

  11. You will be extremely disappointed in his black friends. You will be disappointed in your friends.

  12. You will be mad at yourself for not doing more.

  13. You will cringe at all-white parties. You will cringe as they play “Lipgloss” by Lil Mama for the two-hundred-and-fifty-seventh-thousandth time.

  14. You will cringe at white feminists. You will despise white feminism.

  15. You will always remember watching slavery videos in U.S. History class and looking around to see only one other black person in the room.

  16. You will be shocked at the lack of attraction for black girls from black boys.

  17. You will be saddened at the lack of attraction for dark-skinned girls.

  18. You will despise the fetishization of black boys by white girls.

  19. You will despise your own fear. You will hate yourself for not speaking up. You will hate yourself for not being brave. You will feel as though you’ve let your ancestors down.

  20. You will remember the lack of black art. You will remember the lack of black space. You will remember the lack of black breath.

  21. You will remember Black Cabaret and the Black Student Union. You will remember your performances. You will remember the black love. The lack of support from the students. The empty seats. The black cast. The black talent. You will remember your black family.

  22.  You will remember the “white saviors”. The ones who tried to tell your story. The ones who tried to steal your voice.

  23. You will remember the few black teachers. You will remember the black subs. You will remember their words. You will remember their comfort. You will remember the familiarity.

  24. You will remember the August Wilson plays, Huckleberry Finn, and Native Son. You will remember the discussions. You will remember your thoughts. You will know how you feel now.

  25. You will remember the ignorant remarks, microaggressions, problematic comments, awkward silences, awkward pauses, and the tension. You will remember the teachers who said those things.

  26. You will remember the compliments. You will wonder if they truly meant it when they said it. Did they really like your hair? Do they really find black women beautiful? Why?

  27. You will question your worth.

  28. You will remember your last Black History Month in high school. You will remember how people forgot it was Black History Month, or didn’t care. You will remember the Black Diaspora panel that you attended on the last day of February. You will remember the panelists’ advice, their confidence, their passion, their intelligence, and the tea they spilled. You will look at them and feel hopeful. You will come home content. Happy Black History Month. Happy Black History Forever. 

 

Sun Barricade by Stina Trollbäck

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An old man

with flowering onions for cheeks

and a newspaper tongue 

covered in cyan and magenta splotches

sits on the frame of the Lincoln Center fountain.

 

The sun is beating down on his back,

and his triangularly wedged feet expand inside his shoes.

 

    The prior day’s rain is left in a puddle    

    under his swinging toes

    blinding him with the glaring sun.

 

He is acutely aware of his sweating back and his aching eyes,

and decides he has been surrounded by 

a sun barricade.

Wolf by Aluna Brogdon

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Wolf

 

Her skin yields to muscle

Pried over bones, lazuli and stone

the charred ribs ebbing at each breath

splintered claws, acute and keen

She moves with a fleet of darkness, and her life eclipses

in the angle of time

between hunger and the hunt

 

See the bank of her lips, twisted back

the veil of her teeth

Drawn

burnished against the dark

set in uneven rows

--some are missing

And the whole of her mouth is tidy as a secret

She appears taut with quick revelations and promise of motion

Her mind quivers, catches on a precipice

 

lone wolf

Her hide is molten, thick

attune to the wind, to chant of blue flame

Her pelt is a rind, coarse with the sheen of winter

the ridges of her shoulderblades rise tawny, dark

rimmed with umber and clay

And the veracity of her movement gathers in this valley between bone

where the hair is wet and strength pools

Tightens

A current hastens

 

Her body seems to vanish

this beast travels the length of the night

Her legs arc and knot like roots

Her neck lifts and bows, like sun

the earliest memory of light catches

the animal is smoke

A heartbeat between the flanks of trees

monstrous and beautiful

 

Wolf

Her irises as dark as pupils

Her pupils abysmal as an afterlife

There is nothing here but the throne of the predator

Her eyes fast, black, they boil with Earth

A glint of ancient speed

The reckless refuge of a wilderness beneath skin

 

And the lone wolf is running

there is

Old wisdom, frothing in her blood

darkness in her wake

A coiled dawn waits to bite the night, above her

Stars settle along her course, before and behind

She passes beneath the mouth of the moon--

A forest suckles only the most

Ancient and austere bodies of light.

Strange Prisoners by Nicolas Potoskie

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My last memory of a beach was so long ago.

Normally one might expect that I was listening to waves crashing, the disassembly of seafoam. Something motion-picturesque you’d guess.

What I remember was

the figures on the shore who sheltered under the shade of umbrellas and

clutched at little suns in their hands.

They had their own world within the world.

Their faces were painted with blue light.

bright to enough to illuminate them,

then daze them, and then blind them.

 

They were plugged into sockets unseen.

You could sense their attachment, feel it like static.

Of course, no indication of jolts in their eyes.

It was the oddest and scariest and loneliest reality.

So few paid notice to those

people and things next to them.

I specifically remember the lifeguards,

tanned to bronze,

up at the top of their chairs.

They were the only people whose vantage point wasn’t their phones.

Sun glinted off their glasses, and coated their smiling skin with glowing masks.

They looked around and totally loved the world they lived on.

 

Something I took away is some people who wander

cannot find anything new.

They can’t be surprised, satisfied, or invigorated.

They’ve visited every inch of the world

while being trapped within the rectangles of their devices.

There’s nothing for them to discover anymore.

Their expectations have crumbled under-finger-taps,

dreams swept under the rug.

You may have seen some of these strange prisoners walking past you.

I see them sit on the subway.

If I squint hard enough, disregard my tunnel vision, look at the big picture, I will see many faces washed with blue light.

What a luminous arrangement.

No one could detach themselves from light even deep underground.



 

Yesterday, the children put aluminum cans to their heads and listened for vibrations to echo down the strings.

Today, the children listen for vibrations in their pockets. Though media has shed its need for strings, socialization will keep some strenuously bound. Arachnid-like, they live on a web.

Tomorrow, people will have injected their technology into their body and psyche.

Adapted to it as routine.

Come to depend on it as religion.

True imagination in my opinion, is concocted inside yourself,

not sought for on the internet.

Their veins might throb and pulse without any natural direction,

pump energy like corporeal wires and adapters.

Their eyes will become just filters.

Their lips and tongues and throats will be simple respirators

that produce sounds that come just heartbeats short of songs.

Not surprisingly, we already run on batteries.

If you feel the slightest bit sad when you’re phone is drained,

then you should be alerted that you’re not absorbing enough of real life.

People tomorrow will weave a life of impermanent personas,

and repairing and replacing parts that they can’t make fit.

People tomorrow will be tangled tighter in their identity than they ever were before.

But people won’t see their personality consumed by their image.

People tomorrow will be nesting dolls that don’t see that they are their own jailers.

 

I like to imagine signals dashing

like little invisible olympians carrying messages and codes.

I don’t like to imagine some of the new ways people let themselves run away though.

They’ll take a gazillion selfies, capturing billions of themselves inside tiny mirrors tucked inside a million cameras.

Such tiny copies they make that don’t reflect more than one of their inner traits.

People’s portraits of themselves will outnumber the things they can know about themselves. Pictures have to try much harder to tell a thousand words now.

And all these little people in little photos are unleashed in legions on social media walls. They fight one-dimensional wars that make people seem like so much more and so much less than they are.

India by Nina Ward

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Only 48 more minutes she said
my baby hairs sprawled out
with eagerness
my chest tickled
about to explode
we went down
but felt like going up
further and further
into the cotton candy floss
in the sky

Girls were already dancing
when we got there
their skirts created a kaleidoscope of blocked color
and wind
that finally brushed my hairs
down to my sweat
she draped me with a rainbow
of scents and colors

she scraped my face
with the brightest crimson
that blinded my naive eyes

Skin so golden in the hour
gravel tickled my heels
like angel dust
there were trees
that could never die

I was home
not in my bed
with my dog
HOME
finally feeling the safety
I had dreamt of
but in unison
the terror
I had been too scared to experiment
terrified
that it was an illusion
I would never return
to an old self
I had shedded like a snake
one who was weak
and had rebirthed
into a magical warrior
who sucked the blood
of those she felt necessary.

Wanderer by Arielle Moore

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I’ve been wanting to jump out of my skin for a while now

I scratch my nails on the chalkboard until they bleed

Blood drips from my tiara and runs down my forehead as I wear my Prom Queen sash and hold my dead flowers

Blonde.

They are dry, crusty, and falling apart

Like me

Blonde.

Like the dead coils of hair that fall when I comb my hair

I pull down on the skin below my eyes so you can see the pink and red veins on the balls

Bulbs

Yellow bulbs

Tinted

Yellow

Bulbs

The hallway

The lights are flickering. White and black. White and black.

Green. All I see is Green. Green staircase. Green railing on staircase.

Her white pale hand on the railing. Blonde. Laughing. Girl.

It’s always a girl.

Green.

Green.

Green.

green

 

 

Everything is green.

I’ve been waiting to jump out of my skin for a while now.

Riverside on 68th by Syndie Kupferberg

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The pier is holding our eyes

As we hold each other

While the waves tickle our feet

The light reigns on our skin

 

The moon whispers what we need to hear

 

We are slipping into blends of blue and purple

Floating in an array of boats

Splashing away sorrow

Paddling for pastime

Hoping to slip under, slip away

 

You showed me the canvas of our life

Spun me in paint

Until I became covered in it

 

We pressed our fingerprints into ripples

Knowing it was our only permanence

 

I wanted the sky to serenade us

The sails to twirl us

The shiny black water to send us soaring

 

But you snagged the darkness

Leaving me to plummet

 

You showed me my obsession

A wonder lit even in dark

 

But now I am spinning and splashing alone

Holding a numb heartbeat

Amidst water iced over

 

Deserted within the scene you painted

 

Sea Glass by Stina Trollbäck

My sister’s eyes are free-floating blue velella jellyfish.

She’s eight years old.

Her skin is terracotta clay, and she dips her toes in effervescent seafoam.

She has sword-shaped persistence like yucca leaves.

 

She looks up at me and says, “I like waves.”

Her toes are wetter than fresh cement.

My corkboard knees bend like sheet metal,

because she is eight years old and loves sand more than cobblestone streets.

“I wish I could talk to waves,” she says.

I ask her why.

“Because waves probably know everything.”

Her innocence is warming and magmatic,

giving off enough heat to turn the sand under her feet into glass.

 

My grandmother walks towards us,

skin flaking and dissolving into the air, wrinkles curling around her lips like crests of waves.

Age pulls her closer to the earth as quickly as plaster and polyester pull me away.

My sister is so close to the ground

that her pinstriped happiness cartwheels,

and bluebells drip from her fingertips.

My grandmother sits down in the sand. A checkered rosemary scent radiates around her,

rippling and wringing outwards.

 

A wave crashes.

 

“Do oceans get mad?” my sister asks.

 

I think the ocean holds amicable anger, mellower than forklifts and power washers.

A flitting temper that aligns with endangerment of flora and fauna

and the squalor of bottom trawlers.

Anger more stubborn than the continuum of circling riptides.

 

I tell her, “I think so.”

“Good,” she whispers. “I would be mad if I were them.”

“Me too,” says our grandmother.

And at Last I Sleep by Brett Sachs

A cry. Some Tears.
Of happiness. Of pain.
A baby is born, too young, too innocent to understand what is happening in front of its eyes.
A ball. A stuffed animal.
The parents, tired, sleep only one hour every night
When the baby, at last, abandons its cries, its tears, and the house can finally rest. 
Makeup. The first love.
The baby, now a girl in high school, has changed from her petite pastel clothing into something more older. More mature. 
And the handsome boy that all the girls love, with stars in his eyes and a smile that lures, has broken the girl's heart. 
In a million pieces. Sure she would never love another.
Three beers. Too many friends.
At a bar in college, our innocent girl is different in every regard.
She studies constantly, only having time to sleep one hour every night. 
But, time stops suddenly, the world freezes, one morning in spring when she catches the gaze of a boy, different in every regard, like no one else.
She would always remember this moment.
Two children. Several mismatched pairs of tiny shoes.
Our baby, our girl, has become a mother. 
She can't sleep, but this is not anything new. 
Steps over broken toys every day. Steps over to the office every night. 
The years pass. Slowly. Then, too fast.
The children grow up and leave the house, to find the life that their mother had lost long ago. 
In the street, people consider her as a sock with one to many holes.
They avoid our woman. They throw her away. 
She only has her husband, old as well. Both of them too fragile to walk farther than the post office, where they often go to send letters to their children, who can no longer be called, "children."
Flowers. A tomb.
She, who we never knew the name. She, who was a baby, a girl, student, and mother. She, who was known by so few, but loved by all.
She is one with the earth, with the sky.
Life continues. Slowly at first. Then, too fast.
A cry. Some Tears.
Of happiness. Of pain.
And the story goes on.

The Senses by Isabella Boughalem

I reach out for something,
Something stable in the midst of chaos,
I reach out to grip something known,
To hold the true definition of beauty.
Something divine, yet wild,
A flower.
Its form embodies bright blush petals,
And a verdant vibrant stem.
It would only be fitting that the touch,
Could surpass,
Such a masterpiece for the eyes.
But reaching out blindly,
Results in agony.
It stings like a thousand bees,
As the black thorn pricks my gentle hand.
And suddenly what seems so innocent and so pure,
Taints with its prick.
I am deceived time and time again,
Wrapping me in its false sense of splendor.
Now I am conscious that the only thing,
Left uncorrupted,
Is my sense of smell.
And with that I realize,
Regret is like a rotten rose,
Putrid with beauty.

3 Figures by Anastassia Kolchanov

 "There Were Three" by Shelby McQuilkin

"There Were Three" by Shelby McQuilkin

A figure speaks to me at night 

as its bellows of hair 

seem to envelop me 

a secretive chamber bathed in 

dim candlelight 

wax enveloping the flame 

drips forming into words 

spoken from the volumes of knowledge 

in this vast capsule of time 

bedding of leather 

the comforts of the expansion of

eternity 

 

A figure whispers to me in the morning 

soaked in particles of light and dust 

convoluting itself into the daydreams of strangers. 

Thoughts flying freely with the formation of dew at dawn. 

The sober rays of blush gently caressing

the wavering voice of your doubts 

In a place where envy breath 

seems to make a negligible impact 

the air of the earlyhours

can cure the drought of fantasy 

 

A figure calls my name at dusk 

upon the ruins of a monastery 

with mystery hanging about its ears

dangling with every blow of the wind 

It senses the souls 

of the solitary monks with 

every step I take upon the 

shaken, petrified earth.

A prayer whisked into the sky 

as the world around this lonely mountain

becomes hazy

Patches of color disintegrating until 

the only object visible in the 

wee hours of the evening 

is the pure, unaltered gaze 

traveling through the cosmos 

brushing stardust off its shoulders