All posts by Amanda

Pretty Name by Sydney Vance

Art by Michelle Lanter | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

Pretty Name

I don’t know how to write you without the word best. I looked at you
for years, you were my favorite winter scarf of black curly hair, unedited
Word document, the bridge in my favorite park that the homeless men
would sleep beneath. You were your own stomach the morning after
too much stout beer, summer. Timelessness of girlhood. Awareness of
this woman-ing. Breathlessness after poorly-executed drunken dance. My
baseball cap falling off the hook on my bedroom door. My favorite dog
licking my middle finger. Scar on my leg from a broken bar glass on the Fourth
of July. Airplane crash over the year two-thousand and fourteen. The time
that I forgot to carry the zero. The unruly mouth on me. Nosedive into the toilet
seat at the house that I hated. Two girls walking alone in the woods at night.
Residential apotheosis. Culmination of a circus show. The block of ice
in that riddle about the man hanging by the noose. Weight I promise myself
I will not carry anymore. Self-fulfilling prophecy. Last dying flame
of last living lighter. No more candles. No more cake. Step, crack,
shattering of twigs in the Tuskahoma dusk. Envy that led to late nights
led to work led to more work led to passion led to competition led to pride
led to better.                                                                            In other lives
I have been the weak thing. In this one you try to feed me grass, pat my head.
You say, You have no idea what you’re missing, like we didn’t walk this garden
together, petal by burlap petal, heartbreak by heartbreak. In other lives
I have been the thing the weak thing eats for a midnight snack.

Sydney Vance

Sydney Vance is a poet who resides in a suburb just outside of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She is in her final semester of undergraduate studies at The University of Central Oklahoma where she is currently Senior Poetry Editor for The New Plains Review and is pursuing a major in creative writing. Her work has previously appeared in Jazz Cigarette Magazine and is forthcoming elsewhere. :

My Mother Is the Statue of Liberty by Mathieu Cailler

Art by Michelle Lanter | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

My Mother Is the Statue of Liberty

Dragging her body out of the Buick,
grocery bags cradled in her arms,
eyeshadow matching the half circles
under her eyes, she shuffles to the front
door, wedges it ajar with her foot. Her
apron covered in coffee, mustard, some
sloppy-joe sauce (the blue-plate special
on Thursdays at the diner). Setting her
purse down, she shuts her eyes, grabs
what she can of blackness, then asks
about my day, asks my brother the same,
asks about our spelling and math tests, then
asks dad about his truck and if he was
able to find work at the Hy-Vee on I-80.
With one hand, she works off her apron,
mutters in a whisper that she can’t believe
she wore it home, then funny enough, puts
it aside as she prepares a dinner of elbow
noodles and ground beef. No one asks
how her day was, and even if we did, she
would smile and say, “Good. Why don’t
you get washed up… you finish homework?
Want to read together later? Checked
out a book at the small branch.” Her back
hunched, she starts the burner and I
already know the rest of her hour: get
supper ready, set the table, carry out
the dish in red oven mitts, call for us to
get to the table—give me your tired,
your poor, your huddled masses—before
setting the casserole down and holding
out her hands to say grace.

Mathieu Cailler

Mathieu Cailler’s poetry and prose have been widely featured in numerous national and international publications, including the Los Angeles Times and The Saturday Evening Post. A graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, he is the recipient of a Short Story America Prize for Short Fiction and a Shakespeare Award for Poetry. He is the author of Clotheslines (Red Bird Press), Shhh (ELJ Publications), and Loss Angeles (Short Story America Press), which has been honored by the Hollywood, New York, London, Paris, Best Book, and International Book Awards. His poetry collection, May I Have This Dance? (Black Magic Media), is slated for publication in December of 2017. :

Eight Minutes Down the Appalachian Highway by Kate Garrett

Letting Go by Katherine Renee | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram

Eight Minutes Down the Appalachian Highway

She can’t hear his screams
to slow down in her slip
over hills, trees, sleet;
the clouds cloak a hidden
sunset, the bend of this road
steady and close as her spine.

Today is the day she’ll learn
to hold a man’s terror gently,
a silver dagger crossing her palm,
its glittering risk in her peripheral
vision as she drives.

Softening, she’ll relent—but she
will regret not leaving her lead
foot on the gas; she’ll wish she’d
closed her eyes, turned the volume
up, kept her sorry back.

Kate Garrett

Kate Garrett is the founding editor of Three Drops from a Cauldron / Three Drops Press and Picaroon Poetry. Her own work appears here and there, in online and print journals, including Rust + Moth, Prole, The Black Light Engine Room, and Up the Staircase Quarterly, among others. Her next pamphlet, You’ve never seen a doomsday like it, is forthcoming from Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2017. She lives in Sheffield, UK with her husband, four children, and a sleepy cat. Find her online at

May by Christen Dimalanta

Renegade by Katherine Renee | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram


We are in my bed.
The lights are off. We are not tired.
You are flying out tomorrow morning
for who knows how long. We don’t know.
We forget what time is when we are not together.
We only remember how skin feels like.
When it is under our fingers. When it is pressed against us.
I am quoting lines from one of our favorite books:
How love misses, how love hurts, how love longs.
To remind you what comes with what we’ve made.
Your shoulders start shaking. I don’t ask anything of you.
I only whisper, I will never leave you.
The softest parts of your skin are under my fingers now.
They are pressed against me.
Not ever.

Christen Dimalanta

Christen Dimalanta is a 20-year-old poet from Guam. She is majoring in Literature because she is in love with words. When she is not writing about wolves, she is running with them. They inspire her poetry, found on:

Pareidolia by Eve Boyle

Collector by Katherine Renee | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram


I look for gods and monsters in the clouds,
while on the ground
and when I fly through them.
I spend the descent to New Orleans
in the company of Hercules, whose
thorned crown grows to cover his
eyes when we pass by,
blind to Venus inching closer, parting her thighs.

            When I arrive, I scan the lobby
            like I always do. I look for you,
            my god, my monster.

In St. Louis, wispy nebulas wrapped around the Arch,
sticky vapor palms hesitated
at the hotel window.
I begged you to press me into the glass,
to graze my scalp with your teeth.
One by one, you lifted
your fingers from
my hips, then asked me to leave.
Bacchus—bloated, satisfied—laughs when the door slams behind me.

            You don’t come on Wednesday.
            You’re not here on Thursday.

I tried to be more careful in Chicago,
but somehow agree to dinner.
On the way to the restaurant,
Diana broke into the skyline, rabbit limp between her teeth.
We talked about your wife. You let me try your wine.
Later, I replayed it all, under cold, scratchy sheets.
The hunting dogs come for me. I don’t bother to scream.

            You never make it to Louisiana.
            I find no clues in the clouds.
            You’re not here. Where do I look now?

Eve Boyle

Eve Boyle is a PhD student studying evolutionary anthropology at George Washington University. She minored in English at Boston University, and sometimes writes poems when she should be working on her dissertation. Twitter – @evekboyle

Detour by Emilie Sukijbumrung

House of Cards by Katherine Renee | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram


You say, “We’re taking a detour.”

You say, “It’s somewhere I think you will appreciate.”

You say, “Because I know you.”

We park outside a library and walk around back to the pavilion.

We stare at the pond.

You tell me about being seven at art camp and learning bad words from
the carvings in the wooden posts. 

You trace your finger where they used to be.

I stare at your hands. 

Emilie Sukijbumrung

Emilie Sukijbumrung is a poet who focuses on the art of healing. Using words as surgical instruments, she picks apart at what is raw/soft/sensitive. A senior at the University of Tampa, Emilie is studying education, hoping to teach students to find a voice of their own. Her personal twitter account is

Catechumens by Jan Wiezorek

Beastly by Katherine Renee | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram


He is in the niche across from the painting
that says I want to be stolen and sold

for firewood. She rests in the pew
and scratches love letters in the shellac.

Several have found the pain of kneeling
calming in the presence of desire, gold-plated

and on sale in the gift shop. One is leaving
the empty confessional and cannot accept mercy.

I see others running toward the lawn,
cutting their toes on the mower blade.

They scrape the fence and seek balm
to salve the sting. Many choose

to string beads and mark thoughts
to fingerings that float from light

to sorrow to joy, uncertain where each begins
or how to stop this revolve inside ourselves.

Jan Wiezorek

Jan Wiezorek divides his time between Chicago and Barron Lake, Michigan. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming at The London Magazine, Southern Pacific Review, Bindweed Magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, Squawk Back, FIVE:2:ONE, Random Sample, Literary Juice, Panoplyzine, Better Than Starbucks, and Schuylkill Valley Journal. Jan is author of Awesome Art Projects That Spark Super Writing (Scholastic, 2011). He has taught writing at St. Augustine College, Chicago, and he holds a master’s degree in English Composition/Writing from Northeastern Illinois University. Visit him at

Follow the Tracks #66 : Weekly Song Picks

Found Poem:


call it

blue magic
the gold

the other

that far

pretty things

while we’re

never been

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Sober” – Lorde

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Call It Dreaming” – Iron & Wine

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Blue Magic (Waikiki)” – Son Little

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
The Gold” – Manchester Orchestra

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
The Other Side” – Ruelle

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
That Far” – 6LACK

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Flash” – Cigarettes After Sex

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

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
While We’re Young” – Jhené Aiko

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Never Been Wrong” – Waxahatchee

Follow this playlist on:


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: Her forthcoming chapbook, The River is Everywhere, will be published by Red Flag Poetry in summer 2017.

Not Hovering by Martina Reisz Newberry

Surrender by Katherine Renee | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram

Not Hovering

On fire with myself
racing, not hovering,
passing the void
and the word
and the barely spinning
listless earth.
I was here before
and before that too
and I contacted the savage sun
saying, I wish for you
to eat my heart because
I have nothing else to lose.
My wishes are all
gluttonous that way:
the feast not the snack
the dark not the dusk
the full apparition
not the suggestion of spirit.
If it has been too much
to ask then I’ve asked it.
Request that I leave the room
and I’m gone forever.
Just like that.

Martina Reisz Newberry

Newberry’s books are NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE (Deerbrook Editions), TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME (due out in late 2017 from Unsolicited Press), WHERE IT GOES (Deerbrook Editions), LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Editions), RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE (Red Hen Press), LIMA BEANS AND CITY CHICKEN: MEMORIES OF THE OPEN HEARTH (E.P. Dutton &Co) Her work has been anthologized and widely published in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Brian Newberry, a Media Creative.

Drone by Joshua Gage

Fuel to the Fire by Katherine Renee | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram


I am a steel pomegranate
ripe with seeds of fire.
I sizzle your sky, a wasp
eager to sting the geography.
Let the air grow heavy with the taste
of charred bone and scorched blood.
Mosque. School. Orphanage.
They are all just points of light,
coordinates on a stranger’s monitor,
witnesses to implode with flame.

Joshua Gage

Joshua Gage is an ornery curmudgeon from Cleveland, His first full-length collection, breaths, is available from VanZeno Press. Intrinsic Night, a collaborative project he wrote with J. E. Stanley, was published by Sam’s Dot Publishing. His most recent collection, Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse, is available on Poet’s Haven Press. He is a graduate of the Low Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Naropa University. He has a penchant for Pendleton shirts and any poem strong enough to yank the breath out of his lungs.