Category Archives: Poetry

Nostalgic Hate by Sergio A. Ortiz


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Nostalgic Hate

My ears listen to you lovingly
until the very end of love.

At the finish my hatreds harken,
my mind figures it is a weapon

made of paper and tattoo ink.
I’d journey to East Asia and do us

love-making in origami.
Listen to the paper fold finely.

Imagine my ears there,
where hate is nostalgic

finalization of affection,
where the only thing that’s heard

is me disassembling, each time,
every time, at the end of tenderness.




Sergio A. Ortiz

Sergio A. Ortiz is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a six-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016/17 Best of the Net nominee. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Loch Raven Review, Drunk Monkeys, Algebra Of Owls, Free State Review, and The Paragon Journal. His Chapbook “An Animal Resembling Desire” will be published by Finishing Line Press.



PopMaster Fabel Saves The Jam by Karl Iglesias


art by Michele Maule | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter


PopMaster Fabel Saves The Jam

The whole block was present reppin’ their crew. A tribal council of brown folk. Speakers beatin. We rallied like warriors around electric drums. Little kids tryin to hang. Askin questions. Quick feet, sparks in their eyes. Harlem was on fire and we had the gas. It was goin down.

Until the police came
                                                talkin bout,
                                                                                     “Go home. Too loud. We’ll lock you up.”

Then, all of a sudden, out of the fog came Fable and it was like the whole world froze. Mad whispers took over like faint scratches from the DJ. But there was no more music.

His hair was full under a cap turned crown. Red tee. Puerto Rico on his skin. Planted in ADIDAS flowers. He stood there still. Loud and silent like a bombed wall. We all waited. An explosion ticks away. Behind him was Harlem. Spanish and burnin to feel freedom. Fable was no different.

The cop looked at him like he was crazy.

With no music, Fable popped into his electric boogie. We all watched with quiet smirks glidin over our faces. A bashful laugh. A lost officer. Then the kids caught his pulse and started copyin him. The whole jam is dancin in silence to a beat we felt and owned. See the Po’ didn’t know we was locked up already. Now we were exercising our right to remain silent.

Speechless,          he got in his squad car
                                                                                                                              and faded away.




Karl Iglesias

Karl Iglesias is a Poet Mentor at Urban Word NYC originally from Milwaukee, WI but currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. He recently performed in and facilitated The BARS Workshop at The Public Theater in New York, where writers/performers develop new verse for the stage. His poetry has been featured at festivals such as Summerfest, Freakfest, Brave New Voices, Collegiate Union Poetry Slam Invitational, Hip Hop Theater Festival of NYC (currently Hi-Arts NYC) and the Contacting the World Theatre Festival in Manchester, England. His work can be read on Apogee as well. Hip Hop. @OYE414



The Unfolding by Jessica Mehta


art by Michele Maule | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter


The Unfolding

I don’t know what’s coming next,
but god, I can’t wait to live it. I told you
years ago,
that I just knew—it wasn’t foolish hope
or drunken wishes, but a fact. You and I
are a given, just as my eyes
are green and your hands too big.
What took you so long? The ride’s
been idling, chortling exhaust for years
in the waiting for you. And now,
the tickets are punched,
the baggage stowed (it was overweight
and we paid for that, of course). Now we,
clasping hands over Asks or tells, bolt
whip fast stupid to the unfolding.




Jessica Mehta

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a Cherokee poet and novelist. She’s the author of six collections of poetry including the forthcoming Savagery , the forthcoming Constellations of My Body, Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo as well as the novel The Wrong Kind of Indian. She’s been awarded numerous poet-in-residencies posts, including positions at Hosking Houses Trust and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, Paris Lit Up in France, and the Acequia Madre House in Santa Fe, NM. Jessica is the recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund in Poetry. She is the owner of a multi-award winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karma yoga movement. Visit Jessica’s author site at jessicamehta.com.



Chai by Kait Forest


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Chai

I bite
an urge and
my tongue stops
a name
–on a hot day
in June he slides
up my dress and I smash his
hand on my thigh. I think
about my words before I speak.
if not I will say
what I habituate
like warmth and
skin and names.
don’t you like it? he asks.
I like chai. I ask
the barista what she likes most
and she says, I don’t know,
have you had matcha?
it’s earthy. I imagine eating
dirt. not bad, she says, and sometimes
it’s sweet. I order chai. everyday
I order chai. at home we open
the windows and let the wind blow
the heat over our bodies
like a slow fan, but there is no fan,
I tell him to buy one and
he says maybe. maybe instead
we could read at a coffee shop
across from each other in the
cold. and I could rub my hands on your
legs and you could kiss me.
while there
the table separates us and
he can only touch me
by reaching. his hands tire and he
reads and I drink chai,
move a name around my mouth
but don’t let it leave. in any life
I am a liar. the lie is
always
a name and
after long
smokes the body
of reason.




Kait Forest

Kait is an obscure riverside city dweller with a useless fiction degree. Sometimes she writes but most times she sleeps. Fond of corner tables in coffee shops near windows and foreign dramas and tossed paperbacks. She has been featured in Persephone’s Daughters, and currently resides on their editing and film devision teams. : kaitwrimo.tumblr.com



Scars by James Roach


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Scars

I never used to walk around shirtless.
Not until surgery gave me a flat chest
and two six inch scars
reaching across like two smiles.
And even then,
my shyness kept my shirt on
as a piece of armor
from possible curious eyes.
It’s been 9 years
and I still feel awkward
having my torso bare
in front of my family.
Like I’m somehow inconveniencing
their notions of what my body should look like.
My body is still unfamiliar to them
and sometimes even to me.
I have no problem
being shirtless around friends
or strangers at the beach.
My scars are two stories
I don’t mind telling
without having to speak.
I’m proud of their
messy and uneven lines.
I’m proud of the body
I took apart to create.



James Roach

James Roach has been writing for years but only in the past few has he realized he might be amazing with words. He’s originally from the midwest and has been living in the Pacific Northwest for 13 years. James is inspired by the weather, heartbreak, beauty, ugliness, and more than this text box can fit. : impatienthands.wordpress.com



another roadkill poem by s. osborn


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another​ ​roadkill​ ​poem

the first time we drive past the
dead dog, we both cry.

you talk about your father
and the backyard deer. the gun
and your fist. the guilt, swallowing
you whole and never stopping
to lick its lips.

i tell you i know what that
much blood feels like on my hands,
that sometimes we deserve forgiveness
when the knife is forced into our hands.

see, we weren’t always an un-soft thing.
it’s just that your body never unlearned the
violence of that winter and mine was
never taught when to stop fighting.

it’s just that the warning lights came
and all i got was another poem
about the antithesis of survival,
about how easy it is to flavor
a good thing rotten.

the dog on the side of
the road, my heart in the palm
of your hand. two dead things, forever
resting with the thing that killed them.
and every day, remembering. every
day, the quiet. every day, handing
you the same knife and
kissing its cold edges.

lips, still bleeding, even so long after.



s. osborn

s. osborn is seventeen and just trying to stop the bleeding. she stands firmly against capitalism, capital letters, and most things that don’t involve chai tea. a north carolina native, she loves mountains, good books, and reading her best friends’ poetry. in another lifetime she was probably a woodland sprite, but in this one she’ll settle with just putting words together.



Myrtle Beach, Spring 2011 by Jay Douglas


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Myrtle Beach, Spring 2011

Sometimes I go back
to the sea
and imagine you there
with me instead of her

stern, solemn frown watching me
watch the dragons
chase each other from cloudy sky
to rolling surf

the vast expanse of black
blending the horizon with the blank of space
cold sand hard against our toes
footprints licked clean by the rising tide
Suppose we are all infinite

Suppose in this imagined memory the wind blew
fishtailing your red-brown hair
around your face and whipping it
into your eyes

Suppose we found a peace and understanding
Suppose the sand castles built themselves
half kicked-over, walls caved-in

Suppose there were falling stars
pretty as a postcard
instead of homeless, barefoot beggars
and it all came easily
effortlessly

these are the sorts of wishes I make
on birthday candles
things like: to know the name of the Sea

and by that I don’t mean the word “Sea”
or the names the ancients gave
to various expanses of water
but the name the Sea calls itself
when it lays down to sleep
We all have secret names

When our layers of identity are stripped away
the names are what we have left
Suppose you knew mine
and I yours
The names no tongue can form to speak
that the Sea whispers
to the Wind
and the Wind to the clouds
so that they might divine our fortunes
for those who know how to read them
as the dragons race on
under a bright spring moon
sprinting from shore to sky to shore
again
cresting foam on the horizon




Jay Douglas

Jay Douglas is a recent graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Jay has a dual degree in Religious Studies and English, an affinity for odd music and found sounds, and an intimidating yo-yo collection. Jay’s work has previously been published in Words Dance, Rising Phoenix Review, and Red Flag Poetry.



(NHI) by Jeremy Jacob Peretz


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(NHI)*

Blue lives don’t need to tell Black lives
that they don’t think their lives matter when
it’s encoded into (in)justice system’s jargon of
technical term cyphers of different alphanumeric
combinations color categorized levels of threats
acronyms distilling down values for efficient tidy
responses easing communication yet concealing
meanings meant not to be understood except by
those on the “inside” deploying the language in
secrets only law enforcement personnel know
and maybe their allies and kin who could have
been the ones who revealed hidden definitions
to researchers press and other interested parties
that to the police and state certain persons are
not persons not humans at all but when sighted
houseless disabled black brown gay caught out
of place in a wrong zone selling gang affiliated
are nonpersons conspiring to commit crimes
that somehow have no humans involved.



* Note: Sylvia Wynter writes “that public officials of the judicial system of Los Angeles routinely used the acronym N.H.I. to refer to any case involving the breach of the rights of young Black males who belong to the jobless category of the inner city ghettos. N.H.I. means ‘no humans involved.’” David Berreby adds that “NHI — No Humans Involved” is “American law enforcement slang for crimes by prisoners against other prisoners.” Observing that police and other state authorities “admit to using the term,” Elizabeth Sisco references an example in a 1990 news article wherein “the Sacramento Bee quoted a San Diego police officer: ‘These were misdemeanor murders, biker women and hookers. We’d call them NHI’s-no humans involved.’”

Sources: Sylvia Wynter, “‘No Humans Involved’: An Open Letter to My Colleagues,” in Forum N.H.I.: Knowledge for the 21st Century, (Institute N.H.I., 1994); David Berreby, Us and Them: The Science of Identity, (University of Chicago Press, 2008); Elizabeth Sisco, “NHI-No Humans Involved,” in Critical Condition: Women on the Edge of Violence, ed. Amy Scholder, (City Lights Books, 1993).




Jeremy Jacob Peretz

Jeremy Jacob Peretz is a doctoral candidate in Culture and Performance in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at UCLA. He is currently teaching, conducting fieldwork, and writing a dissertation on intersections of religious and racial politics in Guyana. Jeremy has received numerous awards and fellowships in support of his ethnographic field research and writing, including the Ralph C. Altman Award from the Fowler Museum and second place prize in the 2017 Ethnographic Poetry Competition hosted by the American Anthropological Association. His writings have appeared in Anthropology & Humanism, Blithe Spirit, Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, Ufahamu, and elsewhere in print and online.



The Poetry Brothel by Jessica Mehta


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The Poetry Brothel

Last night I was a whore
at the seedy poetry brothel
where men and women bought
my time with poker chips. In return,
I took their arms or hands, led them
to back rooms and read them my words—
split open my insides stuffed with you—
over candles that smelled
of strange flowers. My waist-
length hair kept tucked under the black
bob wig, my toes gone numb in too-
expensive shoes, and you
watched from the bar. I was never good

at flirting with women. Not much
better with men. But I think
it would have been easier
(I would have been easier)
to let them needle and nose
between my legs
rather than give up the words
I birthed for you, flying loose
between my teeth. It was an affair
of the dirtiest kind, the first
cheat where the guilt stuck hard.




Jessica Mehta

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a Cherokee poet and novelist. She’s the author of six collections of poetry including the forthcoming Savagery , the forthcoming Constellations of My Body, Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo as well as the novel The Wrong Kind of Indian. She’s been awarded numerous poet-in-residencies posts, including positions at Hosking Houses Trust and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, Paris Lit Up in France, and the Acequia Madre House in Santa Fe, NM. Jessica is the recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund in Poetry. She is the owner of a multi-award winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karma yoga movement. Visit Jessica’s author site at jessicamehta.com.



Peach Splitting Possibility by Louisa Muniz


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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.