Category Archives: Leo

the memory of a single thread by Hawa Y. Mire


Delicately Bold by Caryn Drexl
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the memory of a single thread

I’m forgetting you even as I struggle to remember you. But life has become about the living. No one tells you that is what grief will slowly begin to fade into. After the hole and the terrible emptiness, you begin to fill the spaces with life and living. I’m not startled every time someone says my name, I can say she’s dead, and not hold tears to my chest like a bullseye.

What’s its like to die? I wish for one more conversation with you, a soft afternoon of sitting at your knee asking you the questions I felt too unsure to ask before. What was it like losing the love of your life? What was it like losing three children, a country and a war? What was it like to flee, to be a visitor to everyone else’s land? To have children all over the world who forgot you as soon as they were on a plane away from massacre. What was it like to love? To lose a love, to not want another? What are the things I don’t know?

Tell me everything in an afternoon of xalwo and shai. Tell me all the secrets you took with you to your grave. Tell me of your favorite child, tell me of my mother young and married, tell me of her mother, my other ayeeyo. Sing me a story your mother told you as a child. Sing me the stories you sang my father. Just sing to me and let me sit here a while breathing in the perfume you wear and the colors you are so proud to sew into skirts, the hair you faithfully dye red with henna to hide the silver and grey. Just let me sit here a while with you and hold your hands, rest my body against yours and remember what you look like. Just one afternoon together, soft and dreamy and warm again. Did I say life was for the living? You are still alive within me. Even as I forget I remember. Even as I forget, I remember.

 


Hawa Y. Mire

Hawa Y. Mire is a diasporic Somali storyteller, writer, and strategist who writes about Blackness, (dis)connection and (un)belonging. Her writing is seated somewhere between oral tradition and the written word, celestial and myth, past and present, ancestry and spirit. Every piece is in conversation with vivid landscapes laden with imagery that seek to evoke a particular line of inquiry. The hope is that for a few moments the reader cannot see where they begin or end, but engage with a path strewn with questions that lead the way back deeply into themselves. : storiesbyxaawo.com

Groundless by Gregory Luce


Clouded by Caryn Drexl
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Groundless

5:47 and already
one of those mornings when
I wake after four hours sleep
snatched from eight hours in bed,
light trickles weakly gray
through the blinds,
the pillowcase is soaked
and my legs are tangled
inextricably in the bedclothes,
and the cat has jumped on
and off the bed three times already.
I’m barely clinging to one
of the 5000 fingers of Lokeshvara
and must remember if my hands slip
I will free fall through space
but happily there is no ground
to hit.
 


Gregory Luce

Gregory Luce, author of Signs of Small Grace (Pudding House Publications), Drinking Weather (Finishing Line Press), and Memory and Desire (Sweatshoppe Publications), has published widely in print and online. He is the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the Arts and Humanities Council in Washington, D.C., where he lives and works for the National Geographic Society.: enchiladasblog.blogspot.com

2 Poems by William James

RECLAMATION

Call me backwoods. Call me small town,
seven-churches-and-no-museums, call me
trailer park. Call me summertime, back yard
don’t-come-home-till-the-streetlights-turn-on,
call me kickball in the empty lot. Call me
tire swing. Tree fort. Call me boot stomp,
creek mud, call me playing hockey
in the street with asphalt and a broomstick.
Call me brown-bag lunch, mayonnaise & bologna
sandwiches on white bread. Call me
too poor for picnic lunch on field trip days,
call me I brought my own from home, call me
leftovers. Food stamps. Church donations
& government cheese. Call me white trash.
Call me No TV, call me Sweaty Palms,
call me eww don’t stand next to him
his hands are gross.
Call me repulsive.
Call me church on Sunday. Church on Wednesday,
church every night one week in summer,
call me altar calls instead of fireflies. Call me
camp meeting. Revival service. Call me
separate shower after gym class, call me
note from parents, call me religious freak.
Outcast. Call me hey fat boy, hey Jesus freak,
why ya always readin’ a book?
Call me
everyone hates you, you know, call me
Hey man, what’d you get on question six?
Call me not letting you cheat off me in class.
Call me teacher’s pet. Suck up. Kiss-ass. Call me
Fuck you, call me honor roll. Principal’s list. Call me
example of academic excellence, call me unwelcome.
Call me you don’t even belong here, freak. Call me
restless. Wanderlust. Call me getting the hell out,
call me escape. City life. Streetlights, lock your doors,
call me restart. Call me not dying in your
hometown, call me 600 miles away from high school.
Call me success story. Call me happiness is
a new life in a new world.
Call me living free
instead of dying. Call me homesick. Call me
home.


CURMUDGEON

I don’t even know what bands are cool anymore
& the ones I do know, I can’t stand. I want everything

to be 1996 again. I remember what sounds make me
feel safe. I don’t want the latest hype – give me

yesterday or give me death. My waistline hasn’t
expanded since 9th grade, but all my t-shirts

have gotten smaller. I should start working out
or at least replace one or more meals a day

with coffee & existential dread, but I fail to see
the point. All my favorite songs are about things

that used to be, or old factories, or how
there aren’t as many railroads as there used to be,

I belong in a museum. Or a hardware store
full of things I can’t identify & certainly don’t know

how to use. I’ve never believed in the Apocrypha
no matter how many of my professors swore

that it was truth. A girl once told me she thought
my poems are too loud, right before I kissed her.

I don’t want to stop screaming until my lungs are
full of blood.


William James

William James writes poems and listens to punk rock – not always in that order. He’s an editor at Drunk In A Midnight Choir and a two-time Pushcart nominee whose poems have appeared in Word Riot, The Bohemyth, RADAR Poetry, and Potluck Magazine, among others. His first full length collection “Rebel Hearts & Restless Ghosts” is forthcoming from Timber Mouse Publishing.