All posts by Amanda

A Half-Hearted Explanation on Why I Still Haven’t Completed My Change of Address Forms by Isobel Laine


Art by Rita Keri | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

A Half-Hearted Explanation on Why I Still Haven’t Completed My Change of Address Forms

This isn’t lust across the top of a coffee machine anymore.
This isn’t sticking straws in my mouth,
holding hands where nobody can see,
midnight drives
alone in your car.

This is real, dirty, grimy, love.
Gutsy love.
Love not hiding behind a bar counter anymore.

This is me, arriving with sixteen cardboard boxes
and putting all our skeletons into a shared closet.
This is you, with a sink full of dirty dishes,
buying me a new laundry basket,
saying “we can clean the mess up here.”

Maybe we’re not doing this right.

A love so heavy it might crash through the floorboards
and fall five floors.
A love so loud neither of us can fall asleep in the same bed.
A love that doesn’t fit into a two bedroom one bathroom
with city views.

Maybe love only looks good in the dim lights of a nightclub.
Maybe love only works when you don’t say it so loud.
Maybe it doesn’t function when you make scream in the forms of
matching bath towels
and new soap brands.

Maybe love wasn’t meant to share a mailbox.




Isobel Laine

Isobel is a 19 year old Australian born-and-raised poet and political science student at the University of Western Australia. You can find her previous published work in the literary magazine Persephone’s Daughters or online on her personal blog peachweaponary.tumblr.com.



A Baptism For Hannah by Jay Douglas


Art by Rita Keri | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

A Baptism For Hannah

Have I ever told you how many hours I spent confessing my sins
before I could feel my love’s hands wash over my skin guilt-free? Listen,
kid, I have learned this: we are not pestilence,
we are not cities
burned to the ground by holy decree
or piles of salt where mothers used to stand

looking back
I wonder if my mother’s wine-stained pages were an heirloom
meant to guide me toward or away
from those hard, wooden pews and my Grandfather’s
hard, calloused hands

and callous words
will never be enough to take me
from this new language I’ve learned to speak
that descended – I swear to Christ – in tongues of fire
tongues of freedom, tongues of men and of angels,
scales falling from my eyes, hear me
kid, we don’t need

their grape juice masquerading as bloody redemption
or the zombie-flesh of their bread
I have been reborn, myself, in myself, I am not
            who I was yesterday
            who I will be tomorrow
I am Adam rising from dust every morning, I am Eve
taking that first bite every night
I am Jesus
both ascending from the tomb and dying on the cross every time
they mingle slurs with sacrosanct love
and try to name it as righteous

hear me prophecy
with the wisdom of Solomon
because the Song was never just an allegory
and sex is not a synonym for hellfire
we were not born to die alone
and you are not Judas – you are beloved as John
you are more precious than perfume
doused hair rubbed
onto holy feet

more precious than Naomi to Ruth
than Jonathan to David
don’t let anyone tell you otherwise
don’t let anyone chain you down
and if they ever try
you bring that roof down
right on their Philistine heads

I baptize you now in a new kind of water, a new kind of spirit
so here, take some redemption
on your own terms
you don’t owe anyone an apology
you don’t owe them a damn thing
kid, you are the Garden of Eden
hiding in human skin, but I’m telling you now:
you don’t have to hide anymore




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. : instagram.com/monstrous.invert



Follow the Tracks #64 : Weekly Song Picks



Found Poem:

half believing
the fire

first fuck
electric love

masterpiece

real love
no comprende

epilogue
dark side

no witness



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Half Believing” – The Black Angels



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
The Fire” – Bishop Briggs



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
First Fuck” – 6LACK & Jhené Aiko



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



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Masterpiece” – Big Thief



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



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
No Comprende” – Low



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



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Dark Side” – Bishop Briggs



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
No Witness” – LP


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Founding Editor


Amanda Oaks is the founding editor of Words Dance Publishing, an independent press + biweekly online poetry journal. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in THRUSH Poetry Journal, decomP, & Stirring. 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 music-inspired eChapbooks which can be found here: amandaoaks.com. Her forthcoming chapbook, The River is Everywhere, will be published by Red Flag Poetry in summer 2017.


In the Darkness/ Minus an Abundance of Light by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas


Art by Rita Keri | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

In the Darkness/ Minus an Abundance of Light

This is no dream for the faint
of heart, ambivalence holds
something back and you are not

you when the darkness cradles
your hand in silence. Sometimes,
there’s a glimmer of light

through a half-opened door
like a vacant womb waiting
to be filled again.

You have no say in this dream,
though it stands looming overhead.
Your father, long dead vanishes

and reappears his voice unfamiliar,
holds your tears in the palm
of his hand. Your pillow damp,

one feather quill pokes through
the other side until your face is scraped
to bleeding. Don’t cry little girl,

you are blinded by the unknown.
Everyone has this dream, until they wake,
until they are finally able to embrace

that which would otherwise be alarming.



Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is an eight-time Pushcart nominee and four-time Best of the Net nominee. She has authored several chapbooks along with her latest full-length collection of poems:Hasty Notes in No Particular Order, newly released from Aldrich Press. She is the 2012 winner of the Red Ochre Press Chapbook competition with her manuscript Before I Go to Sleep and according to family lore she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson. www.clgrellaspoetry.com



Classic Girl by AJ Schmitz


Art by Rita Keri | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Classic Girl

Falling in love with you is a feeling
not unlike
stealing milk crates from behind a cafe.
              a little dangerous, but necessary;
              something I use to contain everything that makes me who I am.

Being in love with you is similar to, though
not quite like
chasing waves as they crash onto the shore
              tiring, but dripping in ontic depth;
              it is chasing dragons, or battling windmills.

Falling out of love with you is definitely,
without doubt, like
the feeling one gets when they mix alcohol and meds–
              terrifying, but overwhelmingly relaxing;
              it is the kind of bliss you feel as you slip into death.



AJ Schmitz

AJ Schmitz is a Los Angeleno who has bounced around the country, getting into verbal fist fights and making them into poems. He is working on a PhD in literature and currently resides in Fort Worth TX with his fiance and 2 cats.



Follow the Tracks #63 : Weekly Song Picks



Found Poem:

crowded places
the perfect drug

battle cry
now or never

(can’t you)
trip like i do

keep lying



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



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
The Perfect Drug” – NIN



Battle Cry” – Jack White



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Now Or Never” – Halsey



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do” – Filter + The Crystal Method



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Keep Lying” – Donna Missal


Follow this playlist on:

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Founding Editor


Amanda Oaks is the founding editor of Words Dance Publishing, an independent press + biweekly online poetry journal. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in THRUSH Poetry Journal, decomP, & Stirring. 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 music-inspired eChapbooks which can be found here: amandaoaks.com. Her forthcoming chapbook, The River is Everywhere, will be published by Red Flag Poetry in summer 2017.


The Pulpit by David Eric Scribner


Art by Rita Keri | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

The Pulpit

I spent such a long time believing I wasn’t really here
that I effectually was not.
I held onto the skin of others like loose sheets,
wishing to cover myself in them,
to be protected, to hide,
to block out that cool, blue sun
of turgid glory,
because

I am more penetrated by its waves
than crystal.

(Do you see my aura?)

I used to sink into bath water,
tepid and flat,
afraid to rub off my scabs.

I used to wilt
like bouquets tangled
to condolences.

And though
there are still bags under my eyes
like the soft throats of pigeons,
my deep expels my ink and gravel,
and I ease into myself
as into
still waters.

I am no longer afraid
to fall asleep
and let the water fill up
to my nose.



David Eric Scribner

David Eric Scribner habitually refers to himself as a Cabbage Patch Kid, moon pie, and space cadet, but he’s really just a novice writer who likes to over-embellish. His current work explores the effects of rape on members of the LGBT community, but sometimes he writes about love too. Find him on Twitter and Instagram @itsericscribner.



The Poet Falls in Love by Anthea Yang


Art by Rita Keri | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

The Poet Falls in Love

poetry enters—
brings me flowers
and a hundred different words for them:
bloom, spring, the rise
and fall of your breaths.

comes & shows me a way in a different light.
says here are your metaphors
use them wisely,
                         excessively,
                                     abundantly,
or not at all.
i listen, i write,
i turn my hands into blood
and paint the skies with
my heartache,
my falling in love,
my wars on land and beneath skin,
the sacrifices of a heritage
i am only beginning to know again.

poetry enters—
i kiss her on both cheeks
and once on the nose for good luck.
i whisper into her
            i didn’t realise it was you
i was looking for all this time.
she says follow me
and then leads me into the sun,
strips me naked and
exposes hundred year old scars.
i learn to love myself
by writing love letters to every body part
i tried to shrink.

poetry enters—
tosses my bedroom wild.
teaches me how to be angry.
curls her hands over mine and says
fold your fingers and swing.
i come home with knuckles stripped bare
and life gutted right out of me.
over ice i tell her i am tired
and she sings me to sleep.

poetry enters—
wears the same skin as mine,
has the same colour hair
and speaks the same language and a half.
tells me i am your sister.
this is a good fight.
this is a good fight.

poetry enters—
is the wolf.
the moon.
the bird with a collapsed wing.
is my grandmother.
is God.
is Eve before the world
wanted more from her.
is this new world.
is the old one.
is my father.
is my mother.
these hands that are both.

poetry enters—
is me
and this voice
covered in coal.
is me
and these words
rising from the chimney.

poetry enters—
sleeps in my bed
the first night we meet.

poetry enters—
stays for breakfast.




Anthea Yang

Anthea Yang is an Asian-Australian poet from Perth, WA. She is a recent Creative Writing graduate from Curtin University and her work has appeared in Hypertrophic Literary, The Rising Phoenix Review and –Ology Journal. Apart from collecting poems, she also enjoys driving with the windows down and conversations about outer space. You can find more of her poems and musings on her website: antheayang.com



Follow the Tracks #62 : Weekly Song Picks



Found Poem:

Answer my text,
run away with me,
so tied up—
that’s so us.

Final destination:
coming home—
humble.


On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
HUMBLE.” – Kendrick Lamar



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Answer My Text” – PWR BTTM



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
So Tied Up” – Cold War Kids ft. Bishop Briggs



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Coming Home” – Bone Thugs ft. Stephen Marley



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
That’s So Us” – Allie X



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Final Destination” – The Underachievers



On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Run Away With Me” – Carly Rae Jepsen


Follow this playlist on:

   or   


Founding Editor


Amanda Oaks is the founding editor of Words Dance Publishing, an independent press + biweekly online poetry journal. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in THRUSH Poetry Journal, decomP, & Stirring. 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 music-inspired eChapbooks which can be found here: amandaoaks.com. Her forthcoming chapbook, The River is Everywhere, will be published by Red Flag Poetry in summer 2017.


War Memorial by Alison Rumfitt


Art by Holger Barghorn | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook

War Memorial

Here, now, I have a pill to stop me from writing this
and it doesn’t work because I’ve been taking them less
and I’m at the end of the box, so here,
I can write again, which feels painful,
the ends of my fingers are like split wood.
Here is another poem about something that makes you squirm,
and I walk far out from my home down to the seafront
where a heavy wind blows and carries gull laughter.
I am wearing jeans, I am always wearing jeans
because the last time I walked down here
I wore a skirt which flapped around my knees.

There is a war memorial. It sits squat and ugly made of concrete
encircled by walls. I find it very relatable.
I once heard someone joke that it looks phallic
and the joke was that war is masculine,
making me masculine, making me phallic,
making me, warlike, I’ve never fought a battle in my life,
I wouldn’t know where to start.
Last time, we all sat in the memorial’s great shadow drinking wine
and I got chips from the shop a short walk away,
a car pulled up: two women were inside,
“My sister thinks you’re hot,” said one of them,
they wanted me to climb in deep with them
and be nestled by their edges.
I ran. This was the first bad thing that happened that day.
The second was the men shouting at me,
“Can’t you just wear jeans?”
and the third was the girl I kissed who then abruptly
shoved her hand up my skirt when my back was turned.
She needn’t have, she could have just gone and touched
the memorial. It would have been better for everyone, I
think.

Can you imagine a better summer for all
and a better time out beside the seaside
where we all ate chips and I didn’t flinch and I
got in their car and they took me home and finished me off,
what a lovely summer’s evening beside the sea
in the shadow of the memorial standing testament to dead kids,
instead we have to deal with all this aftershock,
another little pain to add to my book,
something else to write poetry about.

I can hear the soldiers sing
and I walk to their rhythm:
I don’t know what I’ve been told,
legs in this skirt feel fucking cold,
left,
right,
left,
right,
who will be left,
who was right,
who will be left,
who was right?




Alison Rumfitt

Alison is an 19 year-old transgender writer who lives in the South of England and studies at the University of Sussex. She loves mythology, folklore, gothic romance and neon-lit cinema. Her poetry has previously been published in Liminality, Persephone’s Daughters, TAME zine and Cahoodaloodaling. It featured in Nothing Without a Company’s play [Trans]Formations, and she has (and continues) to work with Lush’s perfumery Gorilla Perfumes. Her twitter is @ironicgothic.