Category Archives: Poetry

Lost in Translation by Vidisha Phalke

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Lost in Translation

  1. You wake up with laughter ghosting your gasp. You can’t remember the joke. You can’t remember the setting. But you know there was another person. You know.
  2. There are small moments where he senses it: the moments the world tilts the wrong way, in the way one takes a step for a stair that doesn’t exist. He saves a seat for a person never coming; pauses for a text that will never come; turns to share a story with a no one. Stutters. Moves on.
  3. In the haze after midnight and before sunrise, she feels the curl of an arm against her, the tickle of feminine breath around her ear. She looks at her lover and her nonexistent and the two overlap. Falls asleep next to only one of them.
  4. (The world still rotates, even with the nonexistence of a should-be-existing.)

Vidisha Phalke

Vidisha Phalke is a full-time daydreamer and part-time student. She earned a regional gold medal for poetry in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards of 2016. When not writing, she can be found with a book in her hands.

Dimensional by Jacqueline He

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Tonight is a facet of dark
red we’ve never seen before,
the decrystallization of moon
song, whirring slow to the tempo
of your bicycle spokes.
I must admit: in this city the
hours shift into seconds, our
breathing fluid & countless,
complicated to threads
of honey. This cannot last,
I am sure. What my father
taught me about highway
accidents: how metal bodies
lacerate & bunch inwards,
how distorted shapes sling
forward, crackling gold glass.
Somewhere there is a dying
chandelier scattering the
road light, tendons hoisted up
with clothes, pins carded in
steel. Of course there is blood.
It films over the cartilage like
a lover, slips blush-faced under
asphalt sheets. The impact
of mouth upon gravity is softer
than what you may expect.
Just the length of a second,
collapsing into the infinite.
Pain concentrates itself
into the spaces between teeth
& erodes against the bloodtide.
Snapped limbs form shadow
animals against a crested
backdrop: punctured cranes,
skinned canines glistening white,
a city & its pulsing symmetry.

Jacqueline He

Jacqueline He is a writer from the Harker School and the Editor in Chief of the Icarus Anthology, an international artistic & literary magazine. She was a prose mentee under Oriana Tang in the Glass Kite Anthology Online Writers’ Studio, and a prose mentee under Lisa Zou in the Quartz Online Writers’ Workshop. She currently serves as a poetry reader for the Glass Kite Anthology and the web developer for Parallel Ink. In February 2017, Jacqueline was featured as a Moledro Magazine Teen Poet.

Follow the Tracks #61 : Weekly Song Picks

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Blood In The Cut” – K.Flay

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Pleasure” – Feist

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Hot Knife” – Fiona Apple

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Oh, Heart” – Tank And The Bangas

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Tiptoe” – Gracie and Rachel

On your mobile device? Click below to open the YouTube app:
Something For Myself” – Dark Dark Dark

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.

Godot Maybe Next Where by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

Art by Holger Barghorn | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook

Godot Maybe Next Where

it’s all about a namesake / navel or nasturtium / needle or necessity / narcissus or napalm / just trying to slash up the words like thistle heads / a bloody poem / such jubilance of your mirth bursting out of the masquerade / a flunkey like me needs to withhold the eyes of a warbler / i fear i’ll lose you to the biological worms if i ever sing you / i rather like your hairline / a mended hem around your tabula rasa curling up in the final bluing / over five hundred miles i can think along the same lines as Becket / Godot / no / Godot maybe next where / in the glass it’s just a strewn dust of flesh languishing in a landscape that smells of a roasted map of Syria / o flowering must i say narration or narrow now / the bee will hum around your skull as long as i try to obliterate the ghosts the candid oblivion had laid down in my old youth / today all their candid groans are still buried in the foxholes here & there inside me / you have to squeeze them hard enough to hear never again pogrom never again a bowing skeleton without a country / is a line full of dropsical rosettes shining across a crystalline barbed wire more disgrace as a poem / a poem never asks you for rosy eyes when it begins to stir like a precocial bird / not a single word has existed for your half-moon eyes / just lay down your eye sockets discrowned / there will be beetroots & hummingbirds making up just another poem

Debasis Mukhopadhyay

Debasis Mukhopadhyay lives & writes in Montreal, Canada. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Curly Mind, Posit, Yellow Chair Review, I am not a silent poet, New Verse News, Communicators League, Thirteen Myna Birds, Of/With, Scarlet Leaf Review, Strange Poetry, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. His work has been nominated for the Best of the Net. A chapbook of his work entitled “kyrie eleison or all robins taken out of context” is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in September 2017. Follow him at or @dbasis_m on Twitter.

Reunion by Claire Brnjac

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I want to meet the ocean’s mother,
let her know how big and beautiful
her daughter is.

How scared I am to touch her.

Does she know how many boats she’s sunk?
Does she know she’s a mother to a murderer?
Or a grandmother to millions?
                                              Is she proud?

People cluster in groups just to watch her move.
That is one way of loving— hungry,
watching, touching, feeling her love
bury them.

The ocean talks about her at night.
I listen about their family dinners from my window.
Too close to hear. Too far to touch.

Her conversations keep me up at night.

I hear her mother call at dawn.
I feel the thousand broken boats under my feet
and imagine a family gathering.

Claire Brnjac

Claire Brnjac is a first year student of a university in the Toronto suburbs. She likes pining, writing, perfume, Catholic imagery, and eating good food. Follow her on twitter, @msbeakman.

hsinchu, usa by Dana Chiueh

Art by Holger Barghorn | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook

hsinchu, usa

in my dreams, there’s a snake
trying to slip through my chopsticks.
I still prefer forks most days, and spoons for rice
even though I used to eat brown rice with forks
in the school cafeteria in new york. back when our car was a bright
green volkswagen bug
and it’s funny, i never noticed how different i looked
black plaits, sometimes monolids drooping over almond-shaped eyes
until i began to fit in

in fifth grade science, we looked at our hair
under a microscope. mine was the only
mongoloid. a rare specimen.

‘home’ is a damning word. if only i could get away with writing
Narnia on innocuous school assignments that carve at my core
i try to tie my identity to this window and this bed,
forget the long agos. i tried assimilation once, but–
never mind.
i mean, everything has a learning curve.

i wish i could write beautiful poetry about feeling unwelcome wherever I go.
i stopped fantasizing about leaving after a while–
time has this uneasy way of making you learn to love anything
or at least accept it. most days, you can hear the collective ache
in the heavy way the air hangs around the trees,
                                                                                  but now, at least
i can pick out the nuances between spring onions and garlic scapes and chives.
and if there are snakes in the garden, i have learned to let them go.

Dana Chiueh

Dana Chiueh is a New York-bred writer and creator who lives in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, as well as several online literary magazines. Her favorite song of the moment is “Paragraphs” by Blackbear, and she can be found at her Twitter at

Grocery Lists and Eviction Notices by Autumn Runyon

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Grocery Lists and Eviction Notices

Baby, some days I make lists of all the things I wanted to say to you but couldn’t. Things that never left the safe haven of my mouth, things I choked back down, things that silenced me. I throw them out like crumpled grocery lists. Words like love and agony, words I used to say without skipping a beat; now they struggle to leave my lips, instead, they come out as your name.

Things like, “I just wanted to tell you that I miss you,” and, “Please don’t leave me,” and “You’ll never understand what goes through my head when someone says your name, like it doesn’t belong in their mouth the way it does in mine.” Some days the lists go on for pages, each page bleeds like an open wound.

Baby, some days I wish you could understand the way my heart aches when you say my name and I wonder if it hurts to leave your mouth; I know you have to tear it from your lips. I know I’ve tried to make a home there, despite there being no vacancy in the hollows of your cheeks. Despite the fact that she evicts me every single time.

Autumn Runyon

Autumn is a psychology student in Florida.

Juvenile Benedictions by Christine Brandel

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Juvenile Benedictions

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.

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.

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.

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

Things That Break In Chinese Restaurants by Demi Richardson

Painting by Elizabeth Mayville | Website | Etsy Shop | Instagram

Things That Break In Chinese Restaurants

The fortune read,
Your problem just got bigger.
Think, what have you done.

And you laughed a distracted
something that floated away from us
while other couples
in other restaurants
held hands,

but you are not like you used to be –
there is no gentle in the way
you slide your hand into mine,
bring my hips back to you,

some nights you look at me
like you dug my heart
out of my chest with your bare hands

and some nights you
push your hands through your hair
shake your head at me and
leave quietly

later, we get drunk off moonshine
and apologies come from your lips like
a flood of bad omens

I ask if you need space
and the way you say “no”
makes my bones splinter,
makes me think –
what have we done?

here in this room, where
we scrape our knees and
bruise each other
on love and half-truths –
what have we done?

Demi Richardson

Demi Richardson splits her heart between California and Pennsylvania. Her work has previously appeared in the New Growth Arts Review, “draft” lit mag, and The Rising Phoenix Review.

Daughter of Atlas by Ameena Chaudhry

Painting by Elizabeth Mayville | Website | Etsy Shop | Instagram

Daughter of Atlas

Did God join you on the roof with his head bent?
He says the word shame but as soon
as his lips meet on the ‘m’
you forgive him.

As soon as he pulls a crushed daisy
from his back pocket
you forgive him.

Your ankles shake in a small house
with a small mother and
a father making love to a wine glass.

On the roof you ask
a nervous god for evidence
and he plays you
a recording of your little sister’s laugh

and you forgive him.

Ameena Chaudhry

Ameena Chaudhry is a 21-year-old Pakistani-American writer studying English, Gender/Women’s/Sexuality Studies, and Anthropology at the University of Iowa. She is the adoptive mother of her roommate’s two cats. Ameena enjoys breakfast foods, tattoos (sorry Mom), and any TV show that involves Lauren Graham. Her work has been featured in Ink Lit Magazine and the Oakland Arts Review. She is currently working on her first novel.