Dear Crime Shows by Kelsey Taylor


Photography by Maria Kazvan | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Flickr


Dear Crime Shows

Thank you
for showing the world
a glamorized version of trauma.
For making rape
a fun mystery
for viewers to solve
because bad things always get fixed

on TV. Failing to accurately portray
the nights without sleep,
the triggers. For every trauma casualty
has something that will bring up an unwanted
flashback that places us back
in time, even if just for a moment.

It took me years
to stop scanning
the lettering on white vans, to stop
my heart from racing
anytime a floorboard creaked.

A friend of mine says
she wishes for a more tragic life
one with stories
of sexual or physical abuse
because that’s the way you help
people. That’s the way you get
people to listen.

She did not know
that most victims
spend our whole lives
in silence. Too afraid to speak
for it’s only real
if we can say it out loud.

People like me don’t
confess. Don’t admit
to what happened. I spent years
of my life learning
to not talk. Learning to
forget. I forgot how to speak
with any substance. Forgot
that I wasn’t supposed to
remember, this is the part you don’t
tell your viewers.

Actors solve crimes
with easily packaged evidence
that always adds up,
always points to someone, but

real monsters aren’t caught
within the parameters of 42 minutes
they hide behind
disguises like father
or brother

and most of us wait
our entire lives
for a verdict that never comes.



Kelsey Taylor

Born and raised in the PNW, Kelsey Taylor is a former figure skater, with a fear of falling, who has traded in her skates for poetry slams and leotards for leather jackets. She has been known to sticky note peoples cars, climb up 50ft of sand and occasionally post videos on Youtube under the screen name Kelsey1393. She holds a Creative Writing Certificate from Berklee College of Music; convinced she was going to be a singer, but along the way she took a detour in writing workshops and never looked back. Kelsey runs a fiction writing group where she is the youngest member.



North by Ashley Loper


Photography by Maria Kazvan | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Flickr

North

He tells me he wants to see Alaska.

Later, when his body is ravaged by mosquitos 

I make salves of beeswax and spruce pitch,



later still, when snow carries the weight of its own being

I explain that in this country

warmth is a luxury. It has to be earned.

He does not want this Alaska
but this is the only Alaska I know.

The ice on the river is the thickest it’s been in years.
Meanwhile, his blue hands, my red thighs.

This heart ringed by frostbite.



Ashley Loper

A fan of dark fruits, dark chocolate, and dark, rainy days, Ashley Loper started birthing poetry like gentle rabbits out of her body at a young age. Her poems draw inspiration from the natural world, the human condition, and all the equal measures of brutality and softness that exist in between. What she lacks in logic, she often makes up for in parable. You can find her literary best friends at goodreads.com/feralocity.



Samson and Delilah by Demi Richardson


Photography by Maria Kazvan | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Flickr

Samson and Delilah

A boy in this town chews on heartbeats,
cuts his teeth on the taste of lonely
over and
over
and over again

and I have sworn not to mess with
leather jackets or
switchblade feelings,
but
there is something to be said for redemption
that comes quickly in the night

in the backseat of a Subaru or
in his mother’s kitchen, I am thinking –

in this fight for the upper hand,
I have taken every road
but the high one



Demi Richardson

Demi Richardson splits her heart between California and Pennsylvania. Her work has previously appeared in the New Growth Arts Review, “draft” lit mag, and The Rising Phoenix Review.



Follow the Tracks #55 : Weekly Song Picks




On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Down (feat. Joi)” – Run the Jewels



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Thin Line” – honeyhoney



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Lights” – Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (Ellie Goulding Cover)



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Love to Love” – UFO



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
The Number of the Beast” – Shawn James & The Shapeshifters (Iron Maiden Cover)


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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.


The Forest Has No Gender by Jay Douglas


Photography by Maria Kazvan | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Flickr

The Forest Has No Gender

it is divine
which is to say it contains divinity
but also as in a rich pastry, a chocolate éclair,
or an expensive red wine – the kind you sip slowly
divine
every piece

of clothing I own feels like drag
as in crossdressing
slipping into and out of pronouns smooth
as snakeskin
as in something chained
to the back of a rusted red pickup
being scraped along a dusty country road
maybe a body – dead – or it will be by the end
of the drive
or the long breath in
through a filtered cigarette
every inhale
a relief, a risk

after the old woman with no eyebrows asks
if I’m in the wrong bathroom
I start carrying a knife in my left pants-pocket
only pissing in places where the shift
manager knows my name

but the forest is devoid of straight
lines – twisting trees echoing my spine,
curving streams like hands
tracing my body in the half-dark of not-quite-dawn
– it doesn’t have to pretend
that it’s not an ecosystem



Jay Douglas

Jay Douglas is a senior undergraduate student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania studying English and World Religions. When not writing, Jay can usually be found honing Jay’s mad yo-yo skills or immersed in a book on queer theory.



Rebuilding After the Apocalypse by Samantha Brynn


Photography by Maria Kazvan | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Flickr

Rebuilding After the Apocalypse

We lift our eyes to the sun & rise
from the dirt with dust
at our fingertips

              like a trigger.

I thumb at your lips & you settle
like this isn’t a wasteland but a privilege.

Like this isn’t a graveyard
              isn’t an underworld

just an undersky / undercloud / understar.

The whole of space is at the base
of your neck pooled
into your collarbone.

I kiss it
openmouthed

              & galaxies spill down
              my throat

the afterthoughts of a dying eternity.

If this is the desert we inherited
then I will become the last

grains of sand falling
through the hourglass.



Samantha Brynn

Always too soft and always looking for a fight, Samantha Brynn is a sarcastic New Yorker who likes pretending to be other people on stages and in general. She is not the monster under your bed. Honestly. More of her work can be found in The Rising Phoenix Review, or on her blog.



Follow the Tracks #54 : Weekly Song Picks




On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Rock-A-Way” – Charlie Moses



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Sick of Losing Soulmates” – dodie



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Cut Me Down” – Moji & the Midnight Sons



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Handle with Care” – Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins (cover)



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
We The People….” – A Tribe Called Quest



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset” – Modest Mouse



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Move Me” – Sara Watkins


Follow this playlist on:

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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.


I Never Owned a Tamagotchi by Peter Faziani


Art by VH McKenzie | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram

I Never Owned a Tamagotchi

In my childhood there was never a moment
I questioned my belief Santa Claus instead
I simply believed he didn’t stop on my roof.
I wondered whether he couldn’t find the stainless stove chimney pipe
slightly bent from age
or whether the moss that hid the peeling shingles
were just a risk he couldn’t take.

I never lay restless in bed
staring up at the ceiling
fighting sleep by justifying my wakefulness
as praying for those expensive gifts
any child of the 90s wanted
pogs
a Creepy Crawlers oven
a Game Boy Color.

Instead I was praying to hear sleigh bells
a reindeer cough
his sniffle
that guttural laugh as he landed 
on the neighbors rooftop
confirming that I’d simply done something wrong.

I’d spend each Christmas Eve secretly praying
that this is the year he’d come to my house.

I guess I always knew I was not on his naughty list
because I never had coal under the tree.

I just felt forgotten.



Peter Faziani

Peter Faziani is the general editor of Red Flag Poetry. His work has been published in The Collagist, Sandy River Review, Silver Birch Press, The Tau among others. He is a Michigander at heart living in Western Pennsylvania with his family and Corgis.



Her by Caitlin Clifton


Art by VH McKenzie | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram

Her

You, as a field full of flowers growing as high as my hips, high as my shoulders. You, as the flowers, swallowing me up whole. You, as christmas morning—as the lights, as the metaphors. You, as the poet. You, as the poem.

You, as the feeling I get in my chest when that song comes on the radio. You, as the song. You, as the gentle hum of your body next to my body. You, as the warmth— as home.

You, as a point on the map— as a plane ticket—as a grocery list for two. You, as sunlight over water, over pavement, over childhood homes and every picnic table every lover has ever carved initials into. You, as the sun.

You, as a forest fire. You, as a flash flood—as an earthquake—as the first warning cries of the apocalypse. You, as news headline pinned to a wall to mark the day the world changed.



Caitlin Clifton

Caitlin Clifton is a tiny ball of stress and glitter that fancies herself a poet on the good days more than the bad ones. She’s bad at math and would probably rather be showing you pictures of her cats. Visit her at watercvlours.tumblr.com



Follow the Tracks #53 : Weekly Song Picks : Zero Chill




On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Bury Me Face Down” – grandson



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Kiss My Ass Goodbye” – 7 Year Bitch



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Binge & Purge” – Clutch



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Gold Guns Girls” – Metric



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Megalomaniac” – Incubus



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Wargasm” – L7



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
The Pot” – Tool


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.