Category Archives: Gemini

Defiled by Julie Pavlick


The Divide by Tracy-Ann Marrison | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Defiled

Imagine if her power were visible:

if I set my shoulders back,

standing tall,

lifting my face to her,

declaring my love for her.

She’d shine back,

using me as a platform,

to reclaim earth as her own,

burning those who didn’t follow her.

Imagine if she could speak:

if she didn’t have to howl through hurricanes,

but only used the trees to rustle my hair,

reminding me that she is behind me always.

Imagine if she could heal:

if she wasn’t forced to be in a state of destruction,

if she could stop the unwanted bleeding.

Imagine if she could:

reclaim her water,

her health,

her beauty.

What if we could just allow her to?




Julie Pavlick

Julie Pavlick is a Ph.D. student at IUP, where she focuses on African-American literature and Critical Animal Studies. First and foremost, she is a product of her environment: Raised in rural Pennsylvania, she was lovingly grown by her father, a retired coal miner, and her mother, who can be labeled as a superhero and nurse. Julie is an English adjunct instructor at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.



some days it seems like all we can do with our lives is lose them by Tessara Dudley


Art by Jade Pilgrom | Website | Etsy Shop | Tumblr | Instagram

some days it seems like all we can do with our lives is lose them

we wear Black skin in America
we know every moment spent outside
we are endangered
we are exposed
we carry the tension of looming threat tight in our chests
we feel peril prickle the backs of our necks
and we know
we are one traffic stop from an early grave
we know the news will say
we shouldn’t have resisted
we shouldn’t have struggled
we shouldn’t have worn our hoods up
we made the cops shoot
we came from broken homes
and we know
we will stand with our hands wide open
we will stand with our eyes wide open with our hearts wide open
we will stand with honest words on our lips
we will stand
we will know every word we speak is true
we will know every word counts for nothing
we know we are human
we know we are not allowed to be human
and we know
we will see the cops watching us
we will see you passing by
we will see you refusing to watch them watch us
we will plead with our eyes for your intervention
we will beg for your simple human recognition
we will think about Sandra Bland
we will think about Eric Garner
we will think about Oscar Grant, Aiyana Jones, Kendra James
we will think about our children
we will think about our partners parents cousins friends
we will feel the sun hot on our backs and the breeze blowing by
we will pray our mothers forgive us
and we will think:

I’m not getting in that car.



Tessara Dudley

Tessara Dudley is a poet-publisher-educator-activist living in Portland, OR, where she crafts poetry and personal essay from the intersection of working class Black queer femme disabled life. Her hobbies include studying history, fighting oppression, building safer communities, and knitting. Tessara can be found at tessaradudley.com



When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie by Jaclyn Weber


photography by Jennifer Henriksen | Shop | Website | Facebook | Twitter


When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie

There is nothing amore about the moon,
a piece of rock,
an impactful break up
between two star-crossed lovers.

Earth, the better looking
of the couple and the moon
is going through these phases:
In and out of love.

But, still the moon pulls the oceans,
luminously full of love.
Still takes on the biggest asteroids,
cratered faced impacts.

Planet earth spins on its axis,
focused more on the sun
a brighter flame.

The moon’s darker side
sneaking peeks in-between
lunar eclipses.

There is nothing romantic
about lovers
kissing in moonlight
connected to each others’
crusted mouths:

Soil to roots,
rocks to the Earth-
shattering reminder,

the first break up
between two solid masses
unsure who revolves
around who.




Jaclyn Weber

Jaclyn Weber graduated from Bradley University with a B.S. in English, Creative Writing, and is head speech and debate coach at Troy high school in Southern California. She has been published in Bird’s Thumb, Bluestockings magazine, The Feminist Wire and Write Bloody Publishing. She’s been nominated for both, 2015 The Best of the Net and the 2015 Pushcart Prize and won the 2013 and 2014 Academy Of American Poets Prize and the 2013 Civil Rights Poetry Competition at Bradley University.



Reasons to Stay Alive by Abigail Wang


in bordeaux by Elle Moss | Shop | Facebook

Reasons to Stay Alive

breaths like infinity matches, struck again and
again, and

she told me stories of women who stopped
storms with a fist

when the sky opens, pearl underneath, we cry
into our breakfast bowls

because it is morning, because we are weak, because we won’t
say the words out here

we spent evenings digging out the garden with a
wooden spoon

found a yard full of used matches, ends
bitten black

once upon a time there was a fire and a fight, a ground
swimming in lighter fluid

the world, a box of gas. listen carefully, the trees
are trying to speak with you

we sometimes wonder why the past exists
if it fades away

give ourselves too much credit, or not enough,
or not at all

think of barometers measuring the sadness in the air,
and then

think of borders. the edge of the wood. the peel
to the fruit

think of clean nailbeds and moons, soft hands, a
woman rocking herself to sleep

by the end of the day, she’s forgotten most of it.

what is real for her is the lines that appear in the walls,
the aftershock of a lamp

the last two notes of a birthday song, that she hears again
and again



Abigail Wang

Abigail Wang studies neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a poetry reader for Persephone’s Daughters and her work is forthcoming in The Emerson Review. You can find her photography at abigailywang.com.



Americana by Marisa Silva-Dunbar


Death Flight by Alex Garant
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Americana

Longing for the desert days,
spending an afternoon with you, at the casino—
sleepy by the hotel waterfall.

I used to dream about your leather jacket
and mirrored sunglasses,
and how you once told me
that even you were beautiful.

You’re out on the dry roads
chasing firefly trails, and collecting sea glass.
Do you miss the old thrift stores with red window paint?

Where’s your whiskey heat?
The soft brown leather of the corner booth in the lounge?
The slow drags of your cigarette, circles of smoke?

Memories playback on Super 8,
tangled in balloons and silver streamers,
flickering like an old neon sign.




Marisa Silva-Dunbar

Marisa Silva-Dunbar’s work has been published in Gargoyle Magazine, Conceptions Southwest, Whippersnapper Press, Immastar.com, and the UEA 2009 Anthology: Eight Poets. She graduated from the University of East Anglia with her MA in poetry, and was involved with the Milagros at Los Luceros workshop.



The Four Blood Moons by Wesley Scott McMasters


Many Moons Ago by Sharon K. Shubert

The Four Blood Moons

           Moon 1

Joel said the moon
would turn red
and the Lord would return

would I remain
to inherit a world that I
understood

would be left for the meek?

           Moon 2

Perhaps the prophecy promises
a new age

maybe the moon
signals a rebirth

and maybe in this world
our wrongs will be made right

maybe Johnny Depp will stop making Pirates of the Caribbean movies

maybe Donald Trump will end his campaign

maybe my students will want to learn about poetry

maybe an atom bomb will not exist

and maybe the Gaza Strip will become like Siberia
           cold and a little unwanted

maybe there would not have been a Boondock Saints sequel

maybe I can walk into the supermarket and buy what I want with my good looks

maybe people will realize that blaring the music in your headphones doesn’t actually make you look as cool as you think it does

I could drink all the beer and eat all the pizza I wanted
I would have gotten into the cab when she asked me to in New York

I would have lived in Philadelphia

maybe disease wouldn’t exist

and age wouldn’t cripple

and maybe you could buy Bulleit bourbon for the price of Old Crow

or you wouldn’t have to change your email password every 180 days

but I am no prophet
and here is no great matter

           Moon 3

If a cool night
           on a park bench
elevated
in Greenwich Village

was paradise
           then I think

I would be okay with that

           Moon 4

Joel said the moon
would turn red
and the Lord would return

would I remain
to inherit a world I
understood

would be left for the meek?

and if this signals the end of times
as I begin to feel the air of Autumn
on my face and I smell the leaves
that remind me of riding in my grandfather’s truck
on the way to the movies
windows down
a pack of cigarettes which will eventually kill him
on the seat in between us

I don’t want to be remembered as meek anymore



Wesley Scott McMasters

Wesley Scott McMasters likes words, whiskey, and coffee. He has poems and fiction scattered across the internet that you might be able to find. He aspires to one day have a garden.



You, Me, and Red Knots by Bob Sykora

ACEO Set : 1/4 by Norahz Art
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You, Me, and Red Knots

We’re hung over in a Vegas hotel from the entire
plastic blender of margarita we got from Jimmy

Buffet’s restaurant the night before when we walked
drinking aimlessly up and down the strip.

You try to distract yourself from the headache, the four
hours of driving ahead, the things we might

have said the night before. You’re watching
a PBS documentary about red knots – these tiny birds

and their relationship with Delaware horseshoe crabs.
The red knots will migrate 9000 miles from Tierra del Fuego

up to arctic Canada to breed. My mom calls to ask when
we’ll arrive at her house in LA. On the last full moon in May

the red knots arrive in Delaware Bay to double
their weight on horseshoe crab eggs.
I tell my mom

we’re still not on the road, ignoring the fact
that the only voice we’ve heard all morning

is the documentary narrator, now describing how
horseshoe crabs are harvested for antibiotics, so the red knots

can’t feed enough to survive up north when they finally
get to mate. You say something so typically you:

how the universe is just so beautifully connected and we’re
always ruining it. The red knots won’t be able to survive

if the horseshoe crab population doesn’t increase.
I hang up the phone and look at you, the rings

around your eyes entirely focused on the television’s
groan. The narrator hints there may be hope

for the red knots.
 


Bob Sykora

Bob Sykora is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the poetry editor for Breakwater Review. In a previous life he was a high school teacher. His recent work can be found in Devilfish Review, The Monarch Review, and Literary Orphans. He can be found at bobsykora.tumblr.com.



Texarkana Tap Water by Carrie Naughton

Water Preservation by Joel Robison
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Texarkana Tap Water

Texarkana tap water tastes like shopping malls.
Brown leaves skitter across concrete parking lots
and collect in soggy clumps of windblown plastic bags
snagged against rusty street signs and
overflowing grease dumpsters.
I gather up the wolf spiders, ladybugs, and wood wasps
when they crawl into the corners of my room to die,
their legs curled tight in a final empty embrace.

Texarkana tap water tastes like the bottom of a pond.
When the lake turns over, everything
buried bubbles up to the surface
like weak fizz leaking from a dirty beer can.
I stay up late, listen to Mingus and the ratatat
of acorns falling on the roof,
while owls and feral cats circle the house
and mosquitoes tickle the windows.

Texarkana tap water tastes like a rotted log rolling in the bayou.
Wrens and cardinals and redwings flitter in the cane.
A pale, speckled shroud of duckweed ripples on the surface
as White-tailed deer walk the banks.
The rains come without thunder and linger all night.
I fall asleep on the couch and dream
of swimming across dark lakes while
below me, shadows tug at my kicking limbs.

Texarkana tap water tastes like licking a lizard.
It’s better cold and quick.
Drink of it and think of it like these flocks
of starlings swirling above pastures.
Or close your eyes and imagine the jay’s bright blue wings.
I sip green tea, coffee, iced sweet black Luzianne
homemade with this frog-forward, earthy wine trickled
down through East Texas timberland loam.

 


Carrie Naughton

Carrie Naughton is a freelance bookkeeper who writes speculative fiction, environmental essays, book reviews, and poetry. Her work can be read at freezeframefiction, Luna Station Quarterly, Silver Birch Press, Slink Chunk Press, and NonBinary Review. Find her at carrienaughton.com – where she blogs frequently about whatever captures her interest.



Smokenstocks by Carrie Naughton

Flower Child by Clare Elsaesser
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Smokenstocks

It’s Autumn of 1995,
and I’m working as a cashier at Maswik Cafeteria
on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

By day, I wear a maroon polyester blazer,
charcoal grey mompants, and a white buttondown blouse
that’s tasted the armpits of fifty women before me who’ve
come here for minimum wage and all kinds of reasons –
between life changes; post college; off the rez.

Everybody smokes.
Smoking is the outlet, the shared death,
the conversation starter.
Smoking is the assertion that we’re here, we live here,
we work here, you stupid tourists who’re
just passing through. We’re here and we smoke,
out back by the loading dock
sitting on the upended milk crates, flicking ash into an empty
rusted-out #10 can of kidney beans,
staring down the ponderosa
and listening to the mules jostling each other in the corral.

By night, I wear long skirts, gauzy peasant blouses,
hemp-and-bead macramé chokers, tie-dyed socks
and Birkenstock sandals – Arizona style of course –
rubber soles worn down to the cork,
brown leather stained and smudged with spilled beer, pine sap
and campfire ash. Tucked in under each nubuck buckle
are always cigarette butts – more than one brand’s been
jammed into the knuckles of my Birks:
Camels, Marlboro Reds, Kools. A Lucky Strike
during that no-filter phase when I even started
to roll my own with Drum tobacco:
sloppy loose smokes that fell apart wetly in
my inept hands. Pack it in, pack it out.
You never know when you’ll want a quick drag and
there’s no butt can, no trash can, only your shoes.

No butts about it, hippies don’t litter.
Stub it out and stuff it in your ‘stock.
We don’t toss our burning cancer sticks out car windows.
Not here in this dry country, on this brittle plateau of
cinder cones, unrolling like a crinkled Zig-Zag all the way
to the red edge of the lip of the earth.


Carrie Naughton

Carrie Naughton is a freelance bookkeeper who writes speculative fiction, environmental essays, book reviews, and poetry. Her work can be read at freezeframefiction, Luna Station Quarterly, Silver Birch Press, Slink Chunk Press, and NonBinary Review. Find her at carrienaughton.com – where she blogs frequently about whatever captures her interest.



The Green Table by Amy Schreibman Walter


Dressing Table Pot by Lola Donoghue
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The Green Table

You brought Malbec in a Tesco bag,
searched the cupboard for wine
glasses. One had a stain you couldn’t
get out; I admired your trying. You
at my sink, smiling, your hands wet.

It is a funny kind of table. Too small
to hold all the accoutrements required
when two people sit at it together. Still
you always made room for the candelabra.
The table is the color of dying mint; it is
re-constructed wood, loose left leg.

Often, I think that this would be a good
table for writing, for just one person,
but I can’t bring myself to repurpose.
Candle wax from years of dinners spent
with you patterns the surface.


Amy Schreibman Walter

I’m an American poet living in London. My work has appeared in numerous journals on both sides of the Atlantic. I co-edit the online poetry journal here/there:poetry: ||| amyschreibmanwalter.com.