Family Business by Larissa Mota


Art by Jade Pilgrom | Website | Etsy Shop | Tumblr | Instagram

Family Business

My grandfather has taken to haunting
the corridors of his own house.
If it weren’t for the heaviness of his feet,
I’d probably think him an apparition,
for the stricken look in his eyes.

Grandmother hasn’t spoken since June,
has got everybody wondering
whether or not she’s still in there.
They all call her name in pity,
but it’s my mother who is getting thinner,
who sometimes seems to see through us.

I had figured death would be quicker,
not this lazy thing that sits down for tea.
It wants honey, but there’s no sweetness
left amid the dust and salt.
Even the milk has turned sour, now,
even the way mom looks at grandpa.

Life plays tricks like this, I suppose,
adds just the right amount of doubt
to have us glancing at each other.
We are tired enough to put blame
where it isn’t due, where it hurts.

The family owes devotion,
so the sickbed swims with faces
no one has seen in a decade,
just the right excuses to start a fight.

The family will ruin
whatever it gets its hands on.

In the tragedy of raised voices
spitting remorse behind their grudges,
I am the one who holds her hand,
who decides to sing her a song, instead.
Between it all, she must at least
know that we are here.

Grandma must know, right?
She must know that
we will love her to death.



Larissa Mota

Larissa Mota is a Brazilian aspiring writer, currently studying foreign languages applied to international affairs. She can be reached at her personal blog: hestialied.tumblr.com



During the Third Cycle of Chemo by Hannah Siobhan


Art by Jade Pilgrom | Website | Etsy Shop | Tumblr | Instagram

During the Third Cycle of Chemo

I dream of cells multiplying, traveling
from breast to lung to neck. They name

a cancer based on where it started, not
where it goes. Which is to say origins

are all that matter. Never mind the work
of cells metastasizing. The journey. The

voyage through blood and tissue. I picture
the cancer as a teenage mother holding a

college diploma. It doesn’t help, but it’s a
thought. Some things can’t be forgiven,

but understanding is close enough. We all
want to live. Then there are those of us

condemned for trying. Guilty until proven
silent. Named sickness, poisoned over

time. This is a fight we can relate to. We
have been told we are malignant; we want

to thrive anyway. We push from place to
place with curled fists. The cells are only

cells. The tumor is only doing its job. Maybe
the real enemy is our own fragile body,

or the way we loved life so hard, knowing
all along that it would come to this.



Hannah Siobhan

Hannah Siobhan is a high school senior currently living in Minnesota. She is a fan of Sandra Cisneros and every dog in the world. You can find more of her work in The Fem and the Glass Kite Anthology.



Follow the Tracks #45 : Weekly Song Picks




On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Jungle” – Tash Sultana



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Cover Me Up” – Jason Isbell



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Like a Wave” – Cat Clyde



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
If You Ever Want To Be In Love” – James Bay



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Hi-Lo [Hollow]” – Bishop Briggs


Follow this playlist on:

   or   


Founding Editor


Amanda Oaks is the founding editor of Words Dance Publishing, an independent press, literary blog + biweekly online poetry journal. Her works have appeared in numerous online & print publications, including decomP, Stirring, Glamour & Elle. She is the author of four poetry collections: Hurricane Mouth (NightBallet Press, 2014), her co-authored split book, I Eat Crow (Words Dance, 2014) & her series of free digital music-inspired chapbooks.


Still by Margaret Schnabel


Art by Jade Pilgrom | Website | Etsy Shop | Tumblr | Instagram

Still

you’d think that after all this time
I’d know better.

Yet: a milky shred of dream
clinging to me in the morning.

Yet: your fingers a blur against
the blistering horizon.

I collect the moments like bottlecaps,
cut my fingers on the edges,
tuck them under my tongue

knowing they won’t melt,
wishing they will anyway;

I burn my mouth trying to kiss the sun
and taste red for three days—

oh, love, take me back to the
sugar-spun ghosts of August.

Where I knew, if not myself,
at least some sunburnt
fragment of my body.

Yet: my soul drips from
September’s teeth.

Yet: I will not carve my insides out
to let you rest your head.

After all this time,

maybe we were better off
being wicks than bonfires.



Margaret Schnabel

Margaret Schnabel is a sixteen-year-old Indiana-born musician, artist and writer. Her works have previously been published in the Rising Phoenix Review and Zig Zag Zine. Besides poetry, she is passionate about chai tea, Monet paintings, and record stores. Her work can be found at starrymar.tumblr.com.



Homewrecker by Babette Groos


Art by Jade Pilgrom | Website | Etsy Shop | Tumblr | Instagram

Homewrecker

I am not untouched.
I am wary and stubborn and scared—
but I have done this before.
I have had men trying to pry me open
like prey, like something their wives
couldn’t give them and I have been looking
at people like you for ages. I’m not saying
they’re you or you’re them but hands
feel the same no matter who wears the skin
and teeth are just that; teeth—
no matter whose mouth they are in.
Believe me, I am not untouched.
I have tasted blood before
and I have held hands with the devil
and all his brothers more times than you
have set your teeth in girls like me.
I know you have done this before;
know you think I am young and still
bendable, so easy to break,
so easy to be taught everything
just the way you like it. I know men
like you. I am sure you’d like to see me
wearing your dress shirt, I am sure you’d like
to put that tie in my mouth. You want to do
everything to me your wife won’t allow you
to do to her and I am sorry
so I open my legs and we both know
I’m not untouched,
but we both pretend I am.
We both pretend this isn’t the first time
you have tried to get your hands
inside of me, looking for a reason to stay
we both pretend I would let you,
if you did.




Babette Groos

Babette Groos is a young Dutch girl who reads everything she can get her hands on, including the back of shampoo bottles. She can be found eating too much ice-cream with her friends or walking the only dog she’s not scared of. Her biggest achievement is not peeing her pants while reciting a poem at a literary festival, even though she has a couple of anxiety disorders. You can find her at deaths-and-darlings.tumblr.com, where she reblogs pictures of Harry Potter and stalks people she wants to be friends with.



Follow the Tracks #44 : Weekly Song Picks




On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Present Tense” – Radiohead



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Murdered Out” – Kim Gordon



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Melt Me” – Hanni El Khatib



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Chase the Feeling” – The Devil Makes Three



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Holy Lover” – Keaton Henson


Follow this playlist on:

   or   


Founding Editor


Amanda Oaks is the founding editor of Words Dance Publishing, an independent press, literary blog + biweekly online poetry journal. Her works have appeared in numerous online & print publications, including decomP, Stirring, Glamour & Elle. She is the author of four poetry collections: Hurricane Mouth (NightBallet Press, 2014), her co-authored split book, I Eat Crow (Words Dance, 2014) & her series of free digital music-inspired chapbooks.


Five Years by Erin Jin Mei O’Malley


Art by Jade Pilgrom | Website | Etsy Shop | Tumblr | Instagram

Five Years

It took me five years to love
an Elizabeth again.

Five winters and summers
of chapped lips and peeling

suntans. I had to grow myself from the ground
up before I let myself spend my Friday nights watching

movies with your namesakes,
doing the things that were dangerously close

to what we did. I put the span of six states worth
of sky between us to eat a pizza

with Elizabeth Keegan.
I scratched off the songs I knew you

liked from DJ request lists, so I could dance
with Elizabeth Griffin.

Last I knew, you were still in Pennsylvania. Sometimes,
even now, I catch myself watching a tv show or

checking out an outfit you’d like. You probably don’t care
about anything from the mid 2000’s anymore.

You’ve probably moved
to California or half the distance

of California like you said
you would, or maybe you’ve moved to some state

of grace the Elizabeth of Now likes. I keep forgetting
that you’re seasoned with dry skin

and freckles, too. Everything
about you now is newborn.

Last four am, I woke up safety pinned
to Elizabeth Han, the hours of us, Elizabeths and I,

thawing. I unbraided my hand
from hers, wondered

why we don’t describe the dead
as breathless.




Erin Jin Mei O’Malley

Erin Jin Mei O’Malley is a poet who currently lives in Germany. Her work has been recognized by Hollins University, Columbia College at Chicago, and others. She is the Co-Founder of Sooth Swarm Journal and will eventually blog at www.explorationsoferin.com.



All I Want by Andrew Field


Art by Jade Pilgrom | Website | Etsy Shop | Tumblr | Instagram


All I Want

1
The sky doesn’t care that my Mom is suffering,
though right now outside the window
the clouds, mostly blue, float in a sea of other blues
and a whitish-pink hue – as if it did.

Her life sighs within me. Even now,
thinking about these things, her presence tugs familiarly
somewhere inside my chest: old friend, old guide.
But how to reconcile this with the who-cares wind?

The night hasn’t even fallen yet,
on a late December afternoon
that seemed interminable.
The light doesn’t hold still,

and my Mom speaks in a whisper.
I navigate the space between caring and numbness.
It’s like a waterfall of grief
rushing down my mind,

while another part of me is standing
in some shadowy niche, watching it well down,
thinking something about how
I am her and my father

down to my very thoughts,
as if my parents were writing this poem,
surging through my fingers.

2
When I was a child, my Mom made the days pass
like fields of grain
glimpsed through the window of our passing car.
My brothers and I sat and squirmed.
My Dad drove us somewhere –
Tennessee, Northern Michigan – in the summer.
We played games
like Geography, I-spy, G-H-O-S-T.
I picture her
turning towards me
from the front seat:
just that motion,
her smiling.

3
The smile is the important thing;
this isn’t intended to be a dirge.
Therefore, now, in this poem,
let me taste the sweet meaning
of my mother’s honey cake
as if I was holding a fresh piece in my hand,

as if through some glitch in memory

I might enter the kitchen again
of the house where I grew up.

I slide the wooden door open two inches,
and stand there as my mother cracks eggs and pours vanilla.
She is making honey cake for Rosh Hashanah.

She doesn’t see me at first,
but when she does, she grins, invites me in,
helps me to a taste of the batter.

I’m too young to know then
that I only get one mother.
But what matters is her standing there,
irreplaceably herself, and I’m lucky enough
to be beside her. That’s all I want.




Andrew Field

Andrew Field is earning his Master’s in Library and Information Science from Kent State University and works at two libraries. He has published poems at Whole Beast Rag, Ohio Edit, Ocean State Review, and Mantis: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism and Translation. He has also published essays about poetry at Thethe Poetry Blog, B O D Y Literature, and The California Journal of Poetics, and book reviews at The Rumpus and Jerry Magazine. His first chapbook, All I Want, was published this August by Red Flag Poetry, and can be found here: http://redflagpress.weebly.com/store/p4/All_I_Want_by_Andrew_Field.html



Follow the Tracks #43 : Weekly Song Picks




On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
My Name Is Human” – Highly Suspect



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Don’t Let Me Down” (cover) – LP



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Radio” – Sylvan Esso



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Marry the Sea” – Imaginary Cities



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
I Am A Nightmare” – Brand New


Follow this playlist on:

   or   


Founding Editor


Amanda Oaks is the founding editor of Words Dance Publishing, an independent press, literary blog + biweekly online poetry journal. Her works have appeared in numerous online & print publications, including decomP, Stirring, Glamour & Elle. She is the author of four poetry collections: Hurricane Mouth (NightBallet Press, 2014), her co-authored split book, I Eat Crow (Words Dance, 2014) & her series of free digital music-inspired chapbooks.


Sweetheart by Julian Shepherd


Art by Jade Pilgrom | Website | Etsy Shop | Tumblr | Instagram

Sweetheart

I think I met you when I was very young, but I don’t quite remember the place or the time, so I count every brush as the first time, so slowly, like

empty swing set, broken door lock, shouting voices, house after house after apartment after dirty shared room. The whole of my childhood is our anniversary.

Love, do you remember the first time I couldn’t get out of bed because you were holding me, and murmuring in my ear that there was no point? Every time I get close to leaving you snap your long teeth and roar, look at me, you belong to me.

Mental illness is not romantic, it is unwashed hair and dishes from last month in the sink, it is a generation of poverty despite test scores off the charts. But you are there with me, on the bathroom floor sobbing, staring at the clock without noticing it tick, licking my wounds with a salted maw so they never heal. You are there, you are there, and what is romance but staying?

Oh, the shame of unclean love. The possession of a body in parts, divided into fifths and eighths and shared custody, you get Tuesdays and Thursdays and weekends and whenever you feel like slipping in unannounced, or hammering the door down in the middle of the night, or screaming in the next room just to remind me you’re there.

My therapist says you can’t personify something without a face, but you never manage to acquire one, even if you like to wear mine so much. You’re just screaming mouth shaded eyes nose tracing the back of my neck, only exist as a weight with figure and voice. I narrate our conversations and you watch, arms folded and nodding along like a director honing in an actress, pulling strings I did not give you permission to wrap around my neck.

Light shining out of your mouth like the moon is tucked under your tongue. Light glinting off your eyes so bright it makes me look away. What of our history of violence, the blood and tea stained scroll containing our rose scented legacy, primed for a cautionary tale but only coming out I love you, I love you, I’ll never leave. How do these things happen? How do we get from the kitchen of broken plates to the bedroom of Eros’ hymns? How do you ignore the cracked plaster on the walls in the hallways in between, roaming your own home like a ghost, unseen and unseeing. I write the sigil for blindness on my wrist and pray for rain so I don’t have to leave the house for days.

What of sanity? They will ask this. What of gardens and sunshine and showing up to work everyday?

People say they love my work, my phrases, my twist toward the darker edges of the universe, the strange bend unbend of an artist. Mostly I just hear you’re the most interesting thing about me.

Other people describe their depression as unruly pets, ever present storm clouds they keep on a leash, but whatever you are, you own, you own me and no other way around, and you put your thumb to my gums and make me sing like it’s our love song.

I reach out to touch your hand in the muted dark, soft and blue and the fuzzy indistinct of too­early­to­be­alive, and find that maybe you aren’t there, in the way I am. But you are there. You are there.



Julian Shepherd

Julian Shepherd is a sophomore at Ohio University, where she studies English and sneaks an alarming number of cats into her dorm.