Category Archives: Virgo

Peach Splitting Possibility by Louisa Muniz


art by Ranko Ajdinović | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook



Peach Splitting Possibility

Who knew trees commune
in the cargo of their roots?

He says I make mountains out of molehills
I’m too sensitive               & I repeat myself.

The boneless tongue is a heartbreaker
it sharpens the blade         by stinging.

I no longer argue. My heart is
a peach                    splitting possibility.

You’re right I say & breathe in   fractured air.
I send him white light.

I dream of life without him   a new lover
tracing my scars. Every day I fail at something.

My intentions too small   a silkworm
unsettled      a stone dragging moss.

I’m whittled down to half human
the other half      carrying me home.

My heart is still a fistful of prickles & sun.
It flowers                                    in vinegar.

If I repeat myself      it’s because
I think I’m repeating myself               better.

Who knew my heart      uprooted tree
would throb in its nest           unheard?




Louisa Muniz

Louisa Muniz is a freelance writer and a reading/writing tutor. She lives in Sayreville, NJ. She is a recent retired reading specialist and takes pride in having been a National Board Certified teacher who traveled to China to learn about their educational system. She has a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Kean University. Her work has been published in Rose Red Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, The Snapdragon Journal & is forthcoming in Menacing Hedge. Her poetry speaks to the term ‘Latin Identity’ in many ways and is about telling her own story, reaching out to others and relating those stories to the community and the world at large.



La Vie by Johanna Ramm


art by Ranko Ajdinović | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook


La Vie

None of the figures are actually looking
towards me. I fold the hefty paper museum guide
between my fingers absentmindedly.
Except in the painting behind,
a small face sketched in charcoal
stares at me between the eyes
where Casagemas shot at Germaine.
I recount this later upon a couch
to a doctor who is worried by my worry
of being snubbed by a painting. She says
You have a fixation
on being understood more so
than many other people do.

I try to understand
what she means, how wanting
to fit in was unique to me,
how I became one of those people who wants
to fit in. I can see her words riding her breath
like a toy train in smooth circles across the room,
straight line pushing pushing across her chair
her bookshelf her plant her window to her couch
to me atop it, plastic wheels spinning lazily
on an invisible wooden track.
But alas, I do not think she sees it,
so I wave it away, the words and the breath
dissipate like plumes of cigarette smoke.
As it dissolves so do the thoughts from before
replaced by Germaine and a wonder
if she was just trying
to enjoy a coffee with friends.
If maybe a strand of his brain
flicked onto the table where her
hand had been before she ducked,
the muscle that wore her away from herself
the tissue that filled his thoughts with a her
that never was. I wonder if she ever
got the specks of blood off her dress.
If she ever wore it again.



Johanna Ramm

Johanna Ramm is an aspiring poet majoring in Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. While she loves all types of art, what words can do is one of her favorite things of all. : johannaramm.myportfolio.com



The Defeat of Sophia by Seneca Basoalto


Portal by Carrie Hilgert | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

The Defeat of Sophia

We took turns exchanging earthquakes in the bathroom 

               kiss me, New Mexico – the tattoo of el diablo 

               spanning her back, knocking on strangers doors

               because every house looks the same

Silhouette Sophia, a gold dust turned flush when the sky 

parodies the value that paints her mouth

               A placental abruption / one stanza memorized 

from the bible, only spoken in Spanish and congregated like a 

love poem passing from one fingerprint to the next

It’s written all over her freckles, a constellation fish and cheap cerveza 

accented with finger-sucking Tajin she transfers to my mouth; no one 

                knew she could play the cello, or liked to break into her father’s 

house and steal his shoes – out of spite, she never finished anything 

other than an orgasm        but her vocals were versatile and hum like lush gossip 

I saw things I’ve never seen again – a crescent moon waist with doubts 

and disability, abandoned and palpitating, 102 degrees of afterglow, 
                   
               She still smells like her grandmother’s kitchen.



Seneca Basoalto

Seneca Basoalto is a student of Psychology and Philosophy, aiding in (and confusing) her histrionic observations of her personal relationships. With 23 years of creative writing experience – plus a background in the backstage music/movie scene – she’s congregated many strange experiences and used them to fuel her gutsy, insightful writings. You can most likely find her listening to records, shouting at people from her car, or experimenting with soup. For now she resides in the Black Hills. You can read more of Seneca’s work at senecabasoalto.tumblr.com.



At the Intersection between Broad and Jefferson St. by Emily Tian


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

At the Intersection between Broad and Jefferson St.

A five-and-dime store leans on the road
like an old man ironing the young.
For an instant the glare of the three o’clock sun
washes away its tarnish.
Against the steel rod apartment buildings,
find some relief in its
nakedness, the white paint
like cigarette paper trundling
into ashes. In this town
the tradition of initial-carving
still stands, so there is no shortage
of names fisted against each other
in half-eaten wood.

Buy an apple whose skin is
gathering red. The girl at the register
is daughter to poplar and cinder block,
a kedge drowning. Knuckles and nickles
scraping, tell her to keep the change.
Her hair is slicked back but
for a few dusty capillaries. She hums to
Bob Marley on the radio,
won’t you help to sing,
these songs of freedom.

The copper in her eyes oxidizing,
saying: Look, look, listen.




Emily Tian

Emily Tian was born in 2001 and is a high school sophomore in Rockville, Maryland. Her poems have been recognized by the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and the Reflections program, among others. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cadaverine Magazine, The Claremont Review, and National Poetry Quarterly.



Directions to Jackson Square by Jennifer Boyd


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

Directions to Jackson Square

1. South on Dauphine

Shiver the shrill warmth of the approaching subway, feral birds croaking a sestina into the iron plumes. Spend a millennium dwindling eye contact with a vacant stranger across the platform. Fan a blank canvas under cellophane steps. Suffocate your name in bourbon and seize parallel lines.


2. East of Moon Wok

Wander deliriously in the familiar anguish of streetlamps and starlets whose youth erodes sweet as vinegar. A street performer will play “Piano Man” on his guitar. Seek solace in the nimble refrain. Stumble over a crevice in the sidewalk scavenging wallet folds for a dollar because you owe him. Find the carcass of a nickel.


3. Right on Saint Ann’s

Gasoline and smog everywhere, they will taste like the Marlboro you tried when you were 13. You vowed never to smoke again as the pewter filled your lungs. Sputter like a tea kettle, drown for a moment in the arid fog. The tendrils engulf you, but the sensation cradles and you find yourself bitterly wanting.


4. South on Gold Mine Saloon

Make love to the rooftops bleeding constellations, home to breeding gypsy coyotes and tigers with bleached stripes. You’ll pass a brown girl wearing white. She loves a blue-eyed boy who promises her oysters and haloes and larks and cello strings. Laugh for her. He’ll shatter her with four rings and five unclasped promises.


5. You Are Here

Whistle thorns for a canary taxi. Loiter in the 7/11 parking lot, moan about traffic, wring your sorrows in gnarled leather. Wager a morning and let your destination become past tense.




Jennifer Boyd

Jennifer Boyd is a high school student from Boston, Massachusetts. She is a blog contributor at both the Huffington Post and Voices of Youth, UNICEF’s global online platform. Jennifer’s poetry has been published recently in New Plains Review, Glass Kite Anthology, the Critical Pass Review, and Tower Journal. Her work has additionally been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Hollins University, Smith College, and Princeton University. When not writing, she enjoys playing the piano, singing, and learning new languages. Instagram: @jenniferrrboyd



Juvenile Benedictions by Christine Brandel


Art by Holger Barghorn | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook

Juvenile Benedictions

I.
I am four years old. My parents have yet to divorce.
I am holding a box with a necklace inside. It is a gift
from Spain. I am confused and then sad. I do not know
where Spain is. I do not know what Spain is. Children
should not be given gifts they cannot understand, I think.
In the backseat on the drive home, I will it to tell me
where it comes from. I want to know where it’s been.
I want to know, even as I’m being carried into the house.

II.
Squirrels run through the attic above my head.
I am in my bed, working hard to convince myself
they are angels. A transistor radio plays: a doctor,
I assume, is solving callers’ problems. I need him
to solve mine. I want him to say something only
I will understand so I can turn on my side,
rest my prayered hands on my pillow and sleep.
I pour water in my ear, hoping that will drown
out everything I do not need to hear. A doll
sits across the room, watching, saying nothing.

III.
The nurse doesn’t say anything to me anymore.
She is either tired of my face or sees my arrival
as a reminder that she has three more hours of work.
I lie on the cot and stare up at the ceiling, counting
the dots as if I expect the number of them to change.
At no point do I get up and go through the filing cabinets,
mess about with the medical supplies or throw up.
I slip my hand under my shirt and lightly move
my fingertips over my stomach. I want the nurse
to come in and catch me and offer to touch me like that.
When chills run up my arms, I stop. Sometimes I fall
to sleep. Then I stand, tuck in my shirt, and go back to class.

IV.
There is absolutely no benefit to knowing how to spell
words that no one will ever say, that I will never say.
I know that, but still I slip a dictionary under my pillow
so the words will slide between feathers, through my ears,
into my brain. I will learn to spell every word in that book.
I will know them all, know the meanings, know everything.




Christine Brandel

Christine Brandel is a writer and photographer. Her book, A Wife is a Hope Chest, will appear in 2017 as the first full-length collection in the Mineral Point Poery Series from Brain Mill Press. She also writes a column on comedy for PopMatters and rights the world’s wrongs via her character Agatha Whitt-Wellington (Miss) at Everyone Needs An Algonquin. More of her work can be found at clbwrites.com.



Progress by Shawnta S. Barnes


Sea Onion by Jenny Brown | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Progress

emancipation
civil rights
affirmative action
Obama

generational
progress
is a blindfold
to mask
the dead bodies



Shawnta S. Barnes

Shawnta S. Barnes is a literacy coach in Indianapolis Public Schools, an adjunct instructor at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis School of Education and a 2016-2017 Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellow. : educatorbarnes.com



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.



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.



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.