In Coming Out to My Mother by Hope Hill


Ocean Jewel Box by Jenny Brown | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


In Coming Out to My Mother

In coming out to my mother
she burst into,
I wish I could say
Confetti in the saddest Gay Pride Parade
but instead it’s tears,
Did He do this to you? she cries,
and I honestly don’t know which he she means.
The he I call father
or the he who took my body without asking.
Like my sexuality is the tsunami crashing down on her
after the earthquake of my abuse,
ripples, rumbling, toppling everything in it’s wake.
Like I was already epicenter and clung to you like a life raft
to avoid drowning.
I tell her,
that you and this are not something that happened to me.
Other than the fact that God, or the Universe, or Coincidence
took a sunbeam, gave it a heartbeat, opened its mouth to say hi to me one day
and I was undone, all rubble and waterlogged and wondering how in the hell I got here
and yes, you and I will probably end in disaster
and yes, my legs shake when you and I are in the same room
but this is not a cautionary tale about how Once there was a rapist
and in the end two queers fall in love.
This isn’t the story of the girl with Daddy issues becoming bisexual out of spite.
This is about how before you love was
sirens and FEMA, rising water,
the ground and my heart split open,
my falling into the cracks slowing dying of exposure
and now, together, we are Earthquake proof.
18 floors of shakeable down to our foundation.
The adrenaline junkie surfing on 60 foot waves, laughing as the sea sprays our faces
dries out our skin, laughing until tears roll down my cheeks
as my mother picks up the shards of the heart I have broken,
sprinkles it over my head in the saddest Gay Pride Parade,
holds me close in her arms and says, Okay.



Hope Hill

Hope Hill is a Cleveland born, Columbus native. She is found with her nose in a book, or trying out new baking recipes. She is lactose intolerant. Her starting pokemon is Charmander. More of her work can be found at hopebreehill.wordpress.com.



Follow the Tracks #41 : Weekly Song Picks




On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Enemies With Benefits” – CunninLynguists



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
R.I.P.C.D.” – Flatbush Zombies



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Jump Hi” – LION BABE featuring Childish Gambino



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
War Money” – Swollen Members



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Mind Games” – BANKS


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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.


After by Kara Cochran


Two Blue Flowers by Jenny Brown | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


After

One day you breathe
my daughter.
The next, I hold
your ungripping hand
the priest speaks slow
the number falls to zero
then rises, then falls.
We leave the room
Dad signs papers
I stare at the hospital floor
until tile lines split to two.

The world floods me
mad swarm that fills the space.
Petrified to walk, breathe,
I make small moves–
pour our drink
listen to your Happy Birthday
voicemails on the bathroom floor
then again, and again,
whisper to you as I fold laundry
you left in the dryer.
I open drawers and cabinets once private
stand in your closet
as Dad chokes what do you think
holding two black dresses,
his hands quake
polishing your rings above the sink drain.
The funeral home, caskets,
choices that feel heavy
but don’t make a difference.
In the church, I read words aloud
I hadn’t dared think before.

Once alone
the rings in a small velvet bag,
I get drunk and slip
them on my fingers
watch them wink the light
run the metal through my fingers
like a wish
come back, come back, please come back.



Kara Cochran

Kara Cochran is a writer, editor, instructor, and Philadelphian. She holds an MFA from Rosemont College and a BA from Denison University. She teaches English at Temple University, Widener University, and Delaware County Community College. Kara also volunteers with Mighty Writers and Philadelphia Stories Junior and is former Managing Editor of Rathalla Review. Her poems and essays can be found in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Fiction Southeast, City Key literary magazine, and flashfiction.net, and she has poems forthcoming in The Bookends Review. She tweets from @philawriter.



Ode to My Physical Therapist by Marlena Chertock


Fruit of the Sea by Jenny Brown | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Ode to My Physical Therapist

My feet up on her thighs —
her stomach so round —
a seatbelt around us
to stretch my spine
and she says push
through the pain.
Like pain is something
I can speed up and pass,
leave in the rearview mirror.

She’s made me cry
twice. Tears dripping
through the face-hole
in the massage bed.
But I feel better with her
hands on me than I do
with anyone. Pain
is more manageable with
her petroleum jelly and palms.

After monthly twice a week visits
she can’t say
my pain will go away.
It will always be there,
a woodpecker forever
jabbing my lower left back.
His beak sending
shooting vibrations
along my trunk.



Marlena Chertock

Marlena Chertock is the Poetry Editor for District Lit. Her first collection of poetry, On that one-way trip to Mars, is available from Bottlecap Press. Her poems and short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Dear Robot: An Anthology of Epistolary Science Fiction, The Fem, The Little Patuxent Review, Moonsick Magazine, and Paper Darts. Find her at marlenachertock.com or @mchertock.



Follow the Tracks #40 : Weekly Song Picks




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



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
I Eat Boys Like You for Breakfast” – Ida Maria



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Say It” – Flume featuring Tove Lo



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Icy Blue” – 7 Year Bitch



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Constant Crush” – VÉRITÉ


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.


Study by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad


Treasure of the Stars & the Sea Part 2 by Jenny Brown | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Study

They lift me from the waiting room
like a sick animal, sheathed in fur mammal,

limp chest, incurved in their arms
from room to room. They scribble

things about ebbing expressions
and non-movements, knowing something

has died and the body is waiting
to follow. I answer questions for surveys.

A computer prompts me
to rearrange numbers and letters,

assign emotions to faces
flashing at a terrific speed. My throat

stale does not have the voice for protest,
to challenge the machine that stimulates

lobes thwarted by their own indifference.
They guide the metal out of my skin,

from my ears and nose before they stuff me
into the scanner where I fall asleep,

where they pull the heavy blanket
to the bow of my chin, keep my head still,

as I dream something beautiful,
that pictures of my brain full of ink

emote with fluency, that sketches
of these black and white images recite a truth

obscured by bright lipstick. The technicians
praise this form of wordless narration.

I wake up not hopeful, but humble enough
to trust for a little bit the nothing of everything.

At the end of one of these sessions,
we step onto flooding concrete.

I call after the doctor, tell her she can
take my umbrella, and she stops to catch

the reach of my offer; her eyes thaw in the way
her advisors once told her they shouldn’t.

I see then the prayers recited in each
of her pupils; she will check her notes later

hoping, for once, they didn’t place this one
in the group pumped with placebos.



Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

Mehrnoosh was born and raised in New York. Her poetry has appeared in The Missing Slate, Passages North, HEArt Journal Online, Chiron Review, and is forthcoming in Natural Bridge and Pinch Journal. She currently lives in New York and practices matrimonial law.



The Angel Makers and I Try to Bake a Cake by Bryanna Licciardi


Flowering Crab by Jenny Brown | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

THE ANGEL MAKERS AND I TRY TO BAKE A CAKE

“Rumours of the Wholesale ‘Removal’ of Unwanted Husbands Start the Authorities
to Open Dozens of Graves in the Village Church Yard at Nagyrev, Hungary, With Startling Results”
-1929 headline of the infamous serial killers of the Nagyrev village


I’m not sure whose kitchen we’re in,
because all of the wives seem to belong here,
counters covered with flour and tonic bottles.
No one talks, yet they all move together
in unison, one setting down an empty cup
for another to fill with sugar, and yet another
picks it up to pour into the milk and eggs.
Some arrive late and some leave during.
Some stare at me like they want to tell me
I don’t belong. When I try to get closer to
the bowl, the woman stirring throws out
her bony arm. No, she says. This is no place for
a single woman.
But you promised to show me,
I say, which makes her laugh. Instead, she offers
the spoon, daring me to lick off the batter.
All of the other women to laugh, too. I step back.
Good choice, she says, then tosses the spoon in
the trash, along with the bowl, and all of the batter.



Bryanna Licciardi

Bryanna Licciardi has received her MFA in poetry and is currently pursuing a PhD in Literacy Studies. Her work appears in such journals as Poetry Quarterly, Blazevox, Poetry Quarterly, Dos Passos, Adirondack Review and Cleaver Magazine. Please visit www.bryannalicciardi.com to learn more.



Follow the Tracks #39 : Weekly Song Picks




On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Desire” – Dilly Dally



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Champagne and Reefer” – The Devil Makes Three



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Fool Of Me” – Say Lou Lou featuring Chet Faker



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
How Junior Got His Head Put Out” – JJ Grey and Mofro



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Gemini Feed” – BANKS


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.


Jasmine Oil by Roya Backlund


Homesickness 2 by Jenny Brown | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Jasmine Oil

Whenever my mother and I walked together
along jasmine covered pathways,
she would suck the air in and tell me
“This reminds me of Iran,”

a place she has not returned to since she left it
at the age of sixteen.

If her hair is as long as it is now, I thought,
how must it have blown in the wind then?
If she is as gorgeous as she is now,
what must she have looked like

as a child, wandering through ancient streets, breathing in
the constant flow of aromas
that have kept the cities so ageless?

When she moves, it is all “woman”
that spills from her. She doesn’t understand how much I envy her,
and won’t believe how full she is

because as I was becoming one too, she felt her fullness emptied
as cancer clawed the hair away from her head
and put her to sleep so it could slither away
with her breasts,

leaving her with nothing but a pile of memories. A shell
she needed to re-learn how to love.

Her hair did not grow back the same.
This new mane belonged to a different person,
a woman she did not recognize,
and her soul shook inside this stranger’s body.

I am now forbidden from cutting my own.
My hair needs to grow longer until it becomes
endless. My mother taught me to rub jasmine oil
into the tips of it

and to let it down like Rapunzel so that she can climb
back into a city that she knows
and breathe in what has kept this woman
so ageless.



Roya Backlund

Roya Backlund is a recent graduate of University of California, Irvine with a B.A. in English literature as well as a Los Angeles-based film actress. She will be publishing her first collection of poetry this summer. More of her writing can be found at bellydancingsmoke.tumblr.com.



Shame Is the Last to Leave by Allie Long


Venus Cephalopod by Jenny Brown | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Shame Is the Last to Leave

Desire and desire.
The emphasis reveals the motive.
Let Bathsheba tell you.
                Unlike her, I do not feel
                I inhabit a body that would drive
                you to kill, but the force of your touch
pierces me like David’s eyes
on a rooftop, like two stakes
being driven into my ground.
                The eyes hide nothing –
                not love, not territory,
                not even my fear
of how heavily you accent
the second syllable – how you
can hide your victims
                on the battlefield if I refuse
                to hide my body
                from the world.




Allie Long

Allie Long is an economics and English double-major at the University of Virginia. Her poetry appears in Vagabond City Literary Journal, Ground Fresh Thursday, Bird’s Thumb, as well as others. Read more of her work at upyourallie.com.