Teenage Kicks by Autumn Widdoes

Perp Walk by Lori Field | Website | Facebook | Tumblr

Teenage Kicks

Some days are days no words can enter, some days they slip in easily.
            You put yourself in my mouth the way words sometimes do.

When we were young and complying with the world,
            we denied the body its needs,

rarely eating, binging instead on vodka diets, wanting the kiss in those restless hours,
            wetness rubbing against thighs.

Taking the ink all the way in,
            letting it spill across beds of paper and garbage,

feeling about for things we didn’t understand,
            fearing that animal breaking free from its cage.

When the best years of life are stripped with the ancient wallpaper,
            in a childhood home demolished to make room for a happier family

there goes all that time
            worrying about boys who never thought about the importance of words;

and worrying about the perfect body,
            it fitting properly into its place;

and worrying about being someone that matters
            in a world that eats its malnourished young

out of indifference,
            out of boredom and spite.

When we were young, life was a promise.
            Sometimes the world is only a word

that you whisper inside me to get me all hot and bothered,
            to make me remember

all those years I never had the courage to admit
            the fear of the cage itself.

Autumn Widdoes

Autumn Widdoes is a poet, playwright, and theater/video artist. Her poetry has been published by Magma and is forthcoming in White Stag. She is a member of TASK 沖縄, a performance collective based in Okinawa, Japan. For many years, she lived on remote, isolated islands in what was once the Ryukyu Kingdom, but now lives in the Mojave Desert where she is currently studying Creative Writing at UNLV.

In Iambs for You by s. Nicholas

Maneater by Lori Field | Website | Facebook | Tumblr

In Iambs for You

“Students who don’t stand for the pledge should be kicked out of class.”
-coworker at a staff meeting 2/6/15

America I don’t owe you my voice
or my tired legs, varicose veins
seething from the pressure of all
you have to offer. America
you have ordered me
quiet once too often. You’ve
told me I am too small, too
poor, too woman. So America
when you demand that I speak
I remain silent. You have
my heart, over which I place my right
hand, because I see your potential
America, your could-be, and it beats,
this heart, in iambs for you. America
this is how we love each other.

s. Nicholas

s. Nicholas teaches high school in the San Bernardino mountains where she lives with her three children and one husband. She has a BA in English/World Literature and Psychology from Pitzer College, as well as a Master’s in Education from Claremont Graduate University. She also has an MFA in Creative Writing from Cal State San Bernardino. She is educated far beyond her intelligence. More info about her can be found on her website: www.sNicholas.net. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Gesture, Tin Cannon, The Smoking Poet, Sugared Water, Two Words For, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, Amethyst Arsenic, the anthology Orangelandia: The Literature of Inland Citrus, and the anthology All We Can Hold: poems of motherhood.

Follow the Tracks #38 : Weekly Song Picks (Crybaby Edition)

This week’s songs were picked by Caitlyn Siehl to accompany the release of her new book, Crybaby!

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

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Blood” – The Middle East

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
David” – Noah Gundersen

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
The Mess Inside” – The Mountain Goats

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Nobody Knows Me At All” – The Weepies

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The Laundromat Lullaby by Megan Mauro

Tunnel of Love by Lori Field | Website | Facebook | Tumblr

The Laundromat Lullaby

Between us—thirty years, dirty laundry, and the sneaking suspicion
that we’ve done this all before. You have always believed in ghosts,
I half-believe in magic, and the puckered dimples of your scars
map a kingdom I swear I used to know like I built it all myself.
Karma is a funny word, we roll our eyes when they say fate—
and still I can’t shake your shadows from the tip of my tongue.
There is merit in the theory of other worlds. Timelines dedicated
to the dissection of timelines. There are ways in which I’ve known
you before I knew myself, every crater in my conscience a perfect
match for yours—and still, sometimes, you are a sharp turn on
a dark road with the headlights off. I am the stillness before
impact, parallel catastrophe either way it pans out. Our love is a
song on a stranger’s radio with half the words misheard. Each
moment is an exercise in remembering the tune.

Megan Mauro

Megan Mauro is a student at Arcadia University, an aspiring poet, and a writer since birth. She can often be found hiking mountains, catching fireflies, and consuming obscene amounts of coffee. She can, and will, physically fight you over the Oxford comma.

I Listen To Lana Del Rey’s “Shades Of Cool” and Recognize Myself In Her Lover by Ari Eastman

Bride by Lori Field | Website | Facebook | Tumblr

I Listen To Lana Del Rey’s “Shades Of Cool” And Recognize Myself In Her Lover

When I was 6 years old,
I told my mother there was too much blue.
Everywhere I looked, buildings rooftops,
hopscotch chalk, the ice cream truck that came
singing down the street, everything seemed
tinged with blue.

I didn’t like the ocean because the color was too familiar.
I made a habit out of declining invitations to pool parties.
Not today, I’d say.
Not now.

Now, 24, with a sticky heart that keeps slipping out
through every crack in my ribcage,
I still see blue in every shade.
Shouldn’t I have outgrown this?
Shouldn’t my eyes adjust
to a different palette?

It is hard to remember the sun is
warm, melted butter yellow
if I’m squinting at the sky
and all I see
is blue.

Ari Eastman

Ari Eastman is a spoken word poet, writer, activist, and dog mother. Her work has been highlighted in Thought Catalog and The Rising Phoenix Review. She is also the author of two collections of poetry. She’d love to be friends. But she’ll like you more if you have a dog. You can follow her here: twitter.com/ivegottatheory

Between Continents by Yashodhara Trivedi

The Police of Anti-Meaning by Lori Field | Website | Facebook | Tumblr

Between Continents

I rally with a wall of clothes –
six layers of Indian cotton turn mush
against the tyranny of an English winter.
My freezing bones are built for a sun plucked clean
from the horizon, winking from the corners
of snapshots parceled across the Himalayas.
I outlive a snowstorm
spooning the heater in a walk-in closet
masquerading as bedroom –
too cold to fall asleep, too tired not to.
The thrill of experience perseveres.
Shuffling around in mismatched socks,
nostrils ablaze with the scent of candles that mimic
the spices in my father’s cooking, I ache
for mustard-hilsa and piping hot jalebis.
Weekdays are for gentle paranoia
manifested in stockpiling – with copious tins
of chicken stew, hot cocoa and herbal tea,
the common cold beats a survivor out of me.
These skills are rendered worthless now,
like farming in a landfill
or hitting jackpot in monopoly.
Weekends turn to drinking games
with chilled mimosas and ice lollies.
My body sinks
in a pool of sweat, all thawing limbs
and glistening chest, slapping away mosquito wings.
Everything reeks of the tropical sun –
my tangled hair, the tie-dyed sheets,
this water bed and browning skin.
When dawn splits open the old skyline,
the crows begin to raise new hell.
I stumble barefoot across the room
and make love to the air-conditioning.

Yashodhara Trivedi

Yashodhara Trivedi is a twenty-three year old from Kolkata, India. She enjoys Buzzfeed videos and modern adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels. Her writing has also been featured in The Rising Phoenix Review.

This Home is an Open Wound by Breana Mae Estrada

Do You Like my Hat? by Lori Field | Website | Facebook | Tumblr

This Home is an Open Wound

To Brittney. I hope there are no others. I’m sorry it had to be us. Mom, I’m sorry we let each other down.

Once upon a time when I was small, I believed that monsters actually looked like monsters. I thought the definition of home was the smell of my mother’s perfume. I thought the worst that could happen to a person was a broken elbow from falling off their slide. Halloween was my favourite holiday. If only I’d been taught that monsters wear costumes too. That there are worse things than broken bones.


There is a girl that haunts me. Her name is Brittney and she lived next door to me when I was six years old. She was only a baby when her family moved away so I didn’t really know her. But the time she spent as my neighbour was enough for her to be tainted with the darkness that follows me. Each time I think of her, I wish her a different neighbourhood. A new area code. She is the first tragedy I never met.


My mother and I haven’t been talking much lately. She doesn’t understand when I tell her that I’m tired. When I tell her that my insides feel heavy and hollow at the same time. She says take a nap. I do not tell her what I really mean. That I am not a doll, but the empty doll house. There are shadows and cobwebs in my attic that make it hard to sleep at night. Ghost girls play on the porch of my heart, in the living room within my stomach, on every flight of stairs between my bones.


Washington, 2014: Tatanysha Hedman goes to the 7-11 near her husband’s apartment, fills a gas can with gasoline, and sets him on fire as he sleeps. She says she did it because he was molesting her seven year old daughter and shooting him would have been too nice. A comment from one of the news articles I read stated that Tatanysha most likely saved other girls in the future from the same trauma her daughter endured. People claimed she is her daughter’s hero.


I wonder where my mother lost her tongue, when her fingers became too weak to strike a match. I wonder how her spine loosened from the rest of her body. I want to ask her if she knows the exact moment we started to shrink in and away from each other. She says she stayed with him for the money, that we would’ve been homeless without him. I wonder about Brittney, if there are others now. Inside me, the ghost girls weep.


Argentina, 2016: A man is dragged naked through the streets by a rope around his neck after being caught trying to rape an eight year old girl. Her neighbours kept the man subdued until authorities arrived to take him to jail. One woman could be heard screaming for the police to tie him to the back of their car. Most people who hear this story have said that this type of treatment is only fitting for the crime committed. Some think it is still not enough.


I want to ask my mother what she felt when she heard that his hands did things to me that she’d refused of him. Why she didn’t turn into Tatanysha Hedman or that village. Why her limbs stayed fleshy. Why they didn’t expand themselves into angry mob, angry mom, torch and pitchfork. I want to ask why she didn’t call the police. I want to ask her how many girls haunt her elbows, how many hang behind her eyelids. I want to know where my ghost resides. Where Brittney’s is.

California, 1994: I start sleeping in my mother’s bed. My stepdad, on the couch. One of the first places he ever touched me. We put locks on my bedroom door when my mother is finally ready for me to sleep on my own again. We never really dealt with the problem, only appeased her guilt. Only hid from it until I learned the monsters that haunt me are to be locked in the hallway, not thrown out of the house. I say nothing to my mother of the ghost girls in my belly who will never trust her again.


I am an empty box. Marked FRAGILE on the side in bright red scars, only they are too ugly for anyone to notice. I’ve never felt like I owned this body so my self-harm always feels more like tagging on an abandoned building. My mother doesn’t see how I could be so hollow. She says his name in conversation like any other person. She says she gave me a good childhood but asks if the therapy is helping. I do not tell her that the person I talk about most in there is her.

California, 2016: I type his name into the search bars of places like Facebook and Megan’s Law. Sadly, he is on one and not the other. When I find his profile, I pick through his pictures, his timeline, his friends list for possible ghost girls. Maybe his new girlfriend has a daughter. I think of sending her a message. I think of sending out Amber alerts in advance. Of preemptive emergency flares being fired. I change my mind three times before I close the page. I wonder when I lost my tongue, if it’s with my mother’s now. I wonder if they’re where home used to be.

breana mae estrada

breana mae estrada lives in the mojave wasteland, where she fights dinosaurs, highwaymen, and the occasional race-car driver. she laughs at nearly everything, eats poetry at every meal. her favourite colour is rainbow. she can’t resist a good cover song. she has two weasel-dogs and a wonderful family and friends. you can find her at augeries.tumblr.com

Follow the Tracks #37 : Weekly Song Picks (Album Edition)

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Son Little” – Son Little
(Full Album Playlist)

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
United Crushers” – POLIÇA
(Full Album Playlist)

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
The Last Days of Oakland” – Fantastic Negrito
(Full Album Playlist)

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Synthia” – The Jezabels
(Full Album Playlist)

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Carrie & Lowell” – Sufjan Stevens
(Full Album Playlist)

Follow this playlist on:


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 Arsonist by Christian Sammartino

Fine Young Cannibal by Lori Field | Website | Facebook | Tumblr

The Arsonist

Call the fire department. Tell them to evacuate
my whole home town—I’ve syphoned kerosene
out of the heaters in the barn again.

The aching in the mine shaft of my heart
ignited like coal fires under Centralia
when they cremated your body.

I became an arsonist, a flamethrower
exhaling an eulogy of napalm.
Everything I own is kindling.

The inferno will outlive all our relatives,
consuming every block in our city
until I locate your new address.

Nothing about my life is a controlled burn
without you, my fire extinguisher.

I never could write your name in cursive,
but I can spell each letter in lighter fluid,
blaze a billboard you’ll see for light-years.

I hoard cardboard packets of gas station
matches so I can spark a signal fire
big enough for you to see from heaven,

the other side of the Milky Way,
wherever you hitchhiked after they scattered
your ashes across Chester County.

Where the fuck did you go after you died?

When you became an astronaut of loss,
blasting off from the silver urn pallbearers
used to launch you over our cornfield?

None of the astronomers at NASA
can calculate your wandering orbit
through the geography of space.

The Hubble telescope can’t catch
a glimpse of you no matter how hard
it squints into the bonfire of stars.

No one on the space station recognizes
the picture of you I carry in my wallet.

In a constantly exploding universe,
populated by burning neighborhoods,
your light is the only one I want to find.

Christian Sammartino

Christian Sammartino is the co-founder and Editor-In-Chief for The Rising Phoenix Review. He studied English Literature and Asian Religions at Elizabethtown College. His poetry is influenced by life in the Pennsylvania Rustbelt near his hometown of Coatesville. His works have appeared in Words Dance Publishing, Voicemail Poems, -Ology Journal, and Lehigh Valley Vanguard. Sammartino was a Resident Poet for Lehigh Lalley Vanguard during the summer of 2015. His first collection of poetry, Keystones, was released by Rising Phoenix Press in December 2014. : junkyard-rhapsody.tumblr.com

Reasons Why I Can’t Handle This Shit Right Now by Makeda Loney

I’m Just Wild About Saffron by Lori Field | Website | Facebook | Tumblr

Reasons Why I Can’t Handle This Shit Right Now

  1. We have created camp on a fucking massive rock hurtling through the universe at 17,000 miles an hour that if it falls out of orbit, we could all fucking die but I don’t have the power to text you back.
  2. I went shopping for condoms and the frail woman comparing two types of lube eyed me cautiously as if my body wasn’t worthy of love. Bitch I am a pleasure palace.
  3. Almonds don’t actually make milk, I don’t know what it’s called but Trader Joe’s calls it almond beverage and I fucking salute them.
  4. I’ve noticed that this is more of a rant than a poem, but my poetry is just a free form version of my mind so I’m going to let it rock.
  5. I tend to fall in love with risk takers. Seeing that I’m probably the biggest risk you’ll ever encounter. There was this one woman who dove headfirst into my spirit and found my beauty in the brevity of my words and said “you have no idea how attracted to you I am right now.”
  6. I haven’t spoken to her two years.
  7. I am fat, black, queer, and a woman yet the world doesn’t understand that because I don’t have a blunt target painted on my head that this world isn’t against me. It’s there, I was just born with it on my skin.
  8. I was granted the title Woman of Promise but all I can promise myself is a slightly false sense of optimism as long as my heart is still beating. I can promise that the sun does rise and fall everyday just as it does every time you smile. I’ve always wondered what it was like to bathe in sunshine.
  9. I then found out that I didn’t need a bikini to drown in ocean that is your eyes, my glasses will do just fine
  10. I’m still ranting but my heart is still trying to get some clearance.
  11. I try to find myself everyday at the bottom of wine and whiskey bottles and the occasional bottle of rum and all I could think of is
  12. Maybe I’m a wreck. Maybe I’m meant to do magical things, like turn my tear ducts into wishing wells so people could find hope in my eyes.
  13. Maybe I’m a fortress, built up with walls that tell of the stories that were torn into my skin by rocks and cement and needles dabbed in ink. My family calls it the devil’s work but they can speak for myself more than my lungs can.
  14. I am a dream of a dream of a dream, I have no idea where my grandmother is but I’m pretty sure she’s proud of me.
  15. There is a chance that my anxiety may kill me sending chills down my spine catapulting me into another depth of my depression.
  16. One of my best friends committed suicide before I could honestly tell him how much the world would rip apart without him.
  17. I don’t have enough thread to sew it all back together.
  18. I am sweating profusely as you all judge me for the content of my words which is just another way of saying I don’t agree with your character but,
  19. I still think you’re as beautiful as bluntly possible.
  20. Is the age where I lost my virginity.
  21. Is the age where I found out that words possess the same amount of force as a loaded gun.
  22. Is when I thought it would be okay to aim that gun at someone else in hopes they would see the best in me.
  23. Is where it all went to hell and I finally feel free.

Makeda Loney

Makeda Loney is a copywriter by trade, poet by internal force. She’s a Brooklyn native, but her heart traverses the universe with more than a Metrocard. Through her writing, she tries to translate the storm that’s been brewing inside her since she was born. : kedanomics.tumblr.com