Spit Poet Zine Volume 5

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Letter From The “Shmeditor” Spit Poet Zine volume 5 is symbolic of a year of building a strong poetry community and using our DIY mindset to spread our work, while connecting writers across the world. We are thrilled and honored to have published over a hundred different artists and poets! Read past volumes at issuu.com/spitpoetzine We are blessed and excited to collaborate with our newest cover artist,

Matthew Parker,

who’s work can be found on Instagram at @ink_the_void In this volume we are trying out a few new tactics! Most pages will have an instagram handle where you can contact the writer if needed or view more of their work. This is to promote communticating with those that you, the reader, find inspiring and allowing them some community feedback! Also, the backgrounds for the 30 internal pages of this zine are original photographs taken by me, Caito Foster. This is an experiment, an attempt to make Spit Poet Zine self contained, only using content that we have created.

Spit Poet Zine can be purchased at: Mutiny Information Cafe (Denver) Kilgore Books (Denver) Innisfree Poetry Cafe (Boulder) Trident Booksellers (Boulder) Blue Owl Books (Nederland)

ONLINE AT etsy.com/shop/spitpoetzine FOLLOW US Facebook: @SpitPoetPublishing Instagram: @spitpoetzine With Love,



a pen and ink mandala time is tied tight to a string like pearls of galaxies pulled too taught temporal timelines the string viewed from both ends thread the needle through its smallest atom split the hairs atomic age birthing quantum infinity and finite lifetimes of matter and energy man plays god and particles collide the effects felt in waves of history no longer existing the present becomes infinite like a pen and ink mandala forever repeating time tied tight to a string like a snake thrashing in the last moments of its drowning time stopped when the bombs were dropped

John Haworth

Sick There’s a man in my building who’s cough growls like an outdoor dog. Nobody likes him but everybody loves him and at times like this it feels like we’re all just waiting for him to die, but the neighbors only discuss it with looks and head tilts covering up the thoughts they have in preparation of what they’re actually going to say.

Over and Over

The bars down this street all blast nineties love songs, caught in some testament to a timeline where favourite things on repeat never wear down, or become lost, or show signs of regret when memories become more realistic than the moments we’re living right now.

SEAN O’Gorman @sean__ogorman

Abundance is a perspective shift. I spent 20 years of my life wishing I was dead. These scars are shaped by my experiences That left a deep knowing in my veins. A knowing that I am supposed to be here, in this life, that I am meant for something. For this human being, being human is a gift.

Love Letter to the Universe

I stand in awe, As the frequency of love vibrates my fingertips vibrates my toes, my brain cells dancing, I lay awake Just to hear my thoughts, Feel my emotions, Sense with every breath that I am alive.

Death to the ego strikes a blow To power structures, internalized I am reborn. I live my life like it’s a love letter to the universe, full of gratitude for being alive here, now. I listen closely to what my soul calls for. I have arrived, ready to live my purpose. Heart’s open, I have a fire in my soul, and kindreds who truly see me. This human body and all of the senses I get to explore everyday, Are my playground. A child like sense of awe has replaced the brokenness I once clung to.

Lorna Shannon @lorna_shannon

shall i compare me to an autumn’s day? rust-colored hopes and shriveled fantasies felled, swirling about my feet, unrecalled by the heave of my pale ochre breast, yet remembered in time, coffee and stale beer, reveries of when mama didn’t know how much of a fucking scumbag i am. i can’t be compared to an autumn’s day; one can’t rival november’s vanities. the progressing atrophy unforstalled, the chroma of brows no longer brunette, but tinged with gray & the hoarfrost of fear give me away, shout to those in the know, “i was always afraid to give a damn.”

RACHEL SHERLIN @poemsbynoone

Dime Store Dreams, crystalline I want to be shiny in her eyes I want to be a tiny diamond I want to win a sweepstakes I want to sweep my mistakes under rug with all the dust, the rust all the things unwanted unadopted taken for granted I want all that shit swept away I want to be a prize in a cereal box satisfied to be a dime store ring a thrift store find a quarter in the couch just a smile unsolicited

Steve Shultz @fm.ghost fmghost.wordpress.com

These post solstice days between Christmas and New Year’s are the calendar's slack tide, the oceanic pause between low tide and high and again between high and low. This universal undulation punctuates daily, even momentary expression. A baby's cry is interrupted with breath. Inhalation, exhalation; inspiration and expiration.

Cycles, marked by the gap, the void tells us to pause for just a moment, just a breath within a breath, even, and especially, between holidays.

SeAsOnAl SlAcK TiDe BrUcE StErLiNg @thecoffeeshoppoet

Not Forbidden It Is, Break It

sahip olduğum sokaklar var I have streets geçici sıfatlarıyla onlar, sönük with temporary roles, they are dying down içkin bir döngünün tutsakları, kör prisoners of a vicious circle, blind cep şişesine tıkılmış alçak sis, süreç lower fog tucked in a flask, process iki balığın uyuşturduğu madde, üstün an object is paralyzed by two fish, greater ki hepsi kaygısızlıktan yakınıp şişlenmiştir all of them are skewered for insouciantness bir kaldırım bir kaldırımdan yüksek olmanın a pavement pays a price bedelini for being higher aidiyetini kaybederek öder than another pavement isterken çekincelerini çatlaklar arasına sıkıştırır by its’ own belonging iyi bir giriş yapmak ister çünkü it fills up the cracks with own worries ama while wishing for them. ile devam eden cümleleri because wants to make a good start, but; gün sonunda karşısında kıvranmaktadır the resuming word, over sentences zevkten ya da at the end of the day acıdan, hepsi yüz yiter aynalarda kitlenmiştir they will be suffering against kırdığı parmaklarıyla çıkarmaya çalıştığı because of pleasure or pain, kalıcı gerçeklikler they are all locked in a face consuming mirror sağlamları da yanına alır permanent truths, haftada sadece bir defa görüşme hakkı tanınır and they try to break in with broken kör kedilere fingers themselves fakat ne kediler kedi olduklarının farkında takes the stables with ne de körlük bulaşıcı olduğunun blind cats, they can only see once in a week anlayamıyoruz, but neither the cats aware of themselves anlamaya gerek de yok nor the blindness knows it is contagious peşine düştüğümüz ağırbaşlılığın sonunda we seem to not see bütün sadrazamların eli kelle no need to see koltukta rahat varlığından eskisi gibi at the bottom of sedatedness değeri yok, olmasın we’ve been running for farkı yok, olmasın all the grand viziers’ hands are their own center dümdüz, yalnız, devinimsiz relaxes on the throne next to çıplak kralı ifşa edebilecek kadar cüce existing itself külleri aşkla dolu bir kafatası like before yedi yaşındayken no value, won’t be varlığı yasaklandı babasının ördüğü ağlardan no difference, won’t be ağlardı genelde ama örümceği de aç komazdı straight, alone, not in motion ruh çölü derdi buraya a dwarf can only expose gelen herkesi sürüklerdi tek yanılgıya the king orada ölü doğmuş ikiz farelerin düşlerini in no clothes oynardı ruhlar a skull full of ashes daha sonra üstlerini kapatan bir salya. of love when he is only seven years old banned from the nets the father made because of non-existance usually cried but never left the spider in hunger called it the desert of spirits carries everyone in one mistake that ended up here; spirits wear the dead-born twin rats’ dreams and saliva that closes them up.@

kemal gökçay


H-ohm-mmmE H-ohm-mmme H-ohm-mmme Home is far more than just a word. Some clever congregation of letters that ties together your possessions and sleeping arrangements. No, home is a feeling, Romantically dependent on comfortability. For home, certainly doesn't always have to represent a measly building. Ask a troubled teenager, thick in the midst of fighting with his parents, pissed, fists clenched screaming at the sky "Why!?", if the house over their head feels like home. Ask the gangbanger born and raised on the block if that corner feels like home. Grit, and grime to some but to him that's comfort. Home. Part of what makes the man stand. A throne or a trash can? Make em comfortable and ya wont ever know. I'm at home here behind my words, comfortable letting my voice be heard. I'm home dancing through the trees, with the humming wind, comfortable being free Free, free with the whispering breeze. It's a feeling, you see. Free free free free. Comfortability. That's H-ohm-mmme. H-ohm-mmme.

Zalen Edwards @zalen.everest

At my funeral I want you to play Only the good die young Cause no matter where I'm at in life I won't ever be finished I'll just have to be done. Funny how it's like an ice sculpture in the sun I can never cut fast enough The end is the only sure thing to come Women Are like weapons I want the trigger I don't need the whole gun I have to dismantle each piece until everything is isolated into groups of one And even then it's difficult to figure out what had really happened and which one of us had shot someone. Did she shoot me Or did I shoot her Either way, we both got off long enough on each other's weaknesses. Now, I'm left in wonder And there’s no coming through the sequences. I'm broken Leak Eat when it's convenient Speech Slurred with slight impediment Reading it Is difficult [A sniff of dyslexia] How much of this story am I making up, ‘ and how much of it is inside? What we tell ourselves is the part we have to try Because convincing anyone they’re not crazy is a trick in their own mind. I just wanted to unwind Play her pair like two of a kind Be the hands for the language to be signed Even with a few legs in the front, you still need one or two in the behind. But we could never be two. Just me and you And you and me And we... We grew Into hideous monsters

MADISON COIA @followthekoifish

WHEN I DIE The real people that we were Maybe it was just me Or maybe it was me reacting to her She just loved And I killed her like a dove Shoved hunting season into a glove And an orange hat And a vest that never fit On a man that was ill-equipped To feed a boy And a girl And a woman In this world And he wants And he needs Something else To come between Us. Well, maybe she's a bookmark. Or a water wheel Or she's book smart Or she's got sex appeal. But I can't quit her. Not just yet. Because I'm not finished until my egos fed. Dead Upon arrival Like this box played the portrait of poetry with the casket closed Didn't know which way the current went til I caught the undertow And now I know. And I'll never sail this river Styx again I'll keep my golden coin and say goodbye to that old ferry man. Every day is on repeat Sheets tallied till the bitter end Cause every man is broken In their hoping They didn't hurt someone as bad as they could pretend. To the bitter And cold forgotten End

Afterlife when your mom talks about death the same way you talk about love your heart begins to ache at the wrong things phantom fingers laced between the ones on your left hand picking at the scar on your thumb until it bleeds for a minute maybe less you miss them want them but then the denial of your needs surface those fingers, that comfort, are not what you are after prefer off-seasons moments that should not be accessible like the first sunrise 4 miles up, on a winter’s day dip your fingers in sugar rest them on the lips repeatedly ask Don’t suck, please don’t suck being human is a maze eyes pulled wide at what might be a dead end nose following cherries palms willing to feel their way through body most interested in vibrations/currents/signs Don’t, please, don’t suck scratched throat and fistfuls of hope waiting for buckets of their kisses you twirl, giddy, but dizzy when they pull at your arm and look at you as if ghosts stole their body they say— Sorry Sorry

Sam Albala @keepmindscreative

The Little Monsters That Could I like monsters Cute little monsters that hide under your bed You are once afraid of them, but they become your friends instead Sometimes they make things hard for you Other times, they help guide your light The difference between these monsters and your fears is that there's no more need to fight! These guys are here to help you now Caution you when you are about to fall They may seem annoying at times But they're no longer scary at all So don't be afraid to approach them! Poke at them with a stick if you wish! No need to be so judgemental, they are your candle, go ahead... light their wick

Victoria Maldonado @moonsoulbaby

Can you see yourself in the dramatized repurposed version of your life? This version fits in your tiny lady pockets. This archetype fits so well so snug that I wear it every day that I find myself one in every shade that it hugs my curves I layer myself in tightly knit emotional turmoil [armor] to survive this weather to weather this “storm" to storm this kingdom I crown myself victor so that the story makes sense so that the costume still fits so that the flag never touches the ground The author bleeds the main character, samples the self to season it, sprinkles deceit of self into the plot and plots against herself There is an illusion [here] so thick we can taste it without unhinging our jaws so thick we can bathe in it without thrashing about it is one size fits all melancholy, it only comes in pepto pink we pine for it like a best selling novel about how we succumbed to the weight of ourselves how we crumbled the castle like fate on our way down about how we surrendered and the timeline mended


CaItO FoStEr @caitofosterphoto

Altar Boi When I came out to my mom as queer I watched her construct a grave for a child she thought she was losing deadname etched into hard stone with misunderstanding of what it means for a child to introduce themself to you mistaking my battle cry for a suicide note telling her that her daughter is gone now watched as she placed rose petals for every healed tally mark on my corpse body loaves of bread for every meal I skipped and I realized she's been preparing for me to die for a while now watching through two way mirrors as her child slowly destroyed themself I try to explain my coming out is not a nail in a coffin but rather a declaration of wanting to live and we both cascade tears of mourning for the life I used to have I stuff the dead girl in a closet that used to be mine and tell her she was beautiful thank her for doing the hard stuff for me apologize for treating her so badly me and my mom say a prayer to a God I’m not sure either of us believe in but pray that they hold her fondly rinse her name from our toungues and learn to construct the new one a name that holds both grit and softness cradle it in my cheeks like a newborn until I'm ready to set it free my name means "gift from God" which I didn't know when choosing it it just felt right but I have become my own god gifted myself with a life worth living build altars out of headstones a place to worship this sacred body lay down rose petals for every time I could've ended it but didn't leave bread so that I may always be full there will be no burials today only a party at the altar of a boi who finally unburied themself

Nathan LougH @sad.plant.boy

PEEK A BOO Object constancy For some this isn't a game of peek-a-boo It's your lover readying themselves for work Shortly after their departure you can't remember their smile, or their touch, their voice when they claim to love you And then it hitsHow could they love you when they've left? You can't feel something that isn't there, and what you can't feel surely can't exist A mind that mimics the child, leftover from the games of old where sometimes the face of your loved one never came back A quick blink didn't always mean a swift return and a swift return wasn't always from a place of love These instabilities take root within your ribs, they bloom into processes and perceptions that vine throughout your body as you grow, from child into adult, into the person who is screaming for something that's never left And upon perceived return, the feelings of loss disappear as well


Ritual of Manhood in Two Parts ONE What is a ritual but a performance? And what is manhood but a boy's childhood bowing against the stage lights? Do you know how hot a temper gets? Do you know that between gun powder and the hammer, there's a spark that burns at 300 degrees? The same temperature that rises flour, the same heat that bakes a smile into the family table, that flame turns a kid into dough boy. But that's just how the cookie crumbles. Get your bread lil homie! Prove your worth lil homie! You see a gang and not the ceremony involved in the brotherhood. What is an initiation but a ritual? Do you know why we call it getting jumped? Cause after the fists and feet you hop around to cover up how hurt you are. You hold the tears in because crying now could mean something worse than knuckles or heels. Do you know why we have to break before we're accepted? Because no sacrifice with perfect bones ever earned power. Because the world is a war and a boy is a kill until he is the killer. Hasn't blood always been proof of loyalty? How many times has my body been a proud flag? Does a gun make a soldier? Does a street make a battle field?

TWO I was standing next to my OG the night he was shot in a drive by. It's interesting how the flash of a gun either buries a dream or calls it back from the darkness. My dream was to turn a word into a pair of wings. We talk of Icarus and the sun that melted his flight, but never mention the ocean beneath him. How if he flew too low, the waves would have drowned him anyway. And isn't a dream safest near the light, away from a dark depth? When a bullet spills an ocean of blood you remember how fragile a man can be. I remembered how I was not yet a man, just a boy performing for the boys performing for all the boys performing for all the boys and isn't this a cycle? Boys pretend to be men by forcing other boys to pretend to be men and mistake the drowning as growing up? Misguided youth point misguided youth down tracks and mistake the train wreck as love?

META SARMIENTO @metasarmiento

FUNNY HOW LIFE GOES SOMETIMES Life works in funny ways sometimes, Situations take you left when you thought you’d go right. Writing our history down in journals planning and setting goals, Goals control where we go or so we are told no clue what to expect, Expectations shattered in seconds afters months or years even of planning, Inklings now mean everything, remember trusting intuition is everything, The Gemini Air signs, and windy nights, bringing us back to reality, life. Stifled shifts forcing change upon us, It is our choice to flow or get taken under the current, Current situations raise the questions we need to be asking ourselves, Just a little nudge from the universe to align with it. To be honest with yourself is to be authentically yourself. It can convince you that you despise everything, Or that you made the wrong choice when you were onto something, Redirecting you to places you least expect it to. It can make you fall in love with someone you aren’t meant to love, Create this illusion that they fit every aspect you want, We change ourselves to fit the molds other people design, Makes getting over someone practically impossible, We become them, often to try to fit with their soul, Soulmate myth makes people lose it, Lose all logical actions, full of reactionary behavior. Yet somehow it is painfully beautiful, Full of interesting turmoil, To do, to fall, to crawl, back and forth, After all I believe it is all part of a plan, Mapped out in the stars, you can see if you look closely. We meet people because even the insignificant ones mark you, They all teach you something even if it takes you years to realize it. There is a purpose for every person, Even if they are taken before they realize what theirs is, Sometimes their purpose was the effect they had on other peoples lives. The world is full of negative situations and people, But it didn’t begin that way, No one is born bad, I believe we all get a chance to choose, We all have a purpose and we cannot search for it, But when it comes, try not to deny it or push it away, Your life and love is a plan, You are meant to meet each human you do, Not all are meant to stay forever and not all of them will want to. Your life is a plan but each choice you make, Creates a crossroad and it’s up to you to choose which way you wish to go, Life is an intricately woven web that we can’t help but get stuck in, Tangling ourselves up in the sticky mess of love and living life to it’s fullest.

MARIBELLE HOLMES @maribelleholmes44

The Tilt in the Axis of the Earth

but one boy dared to go play in traffic and despite what you might picture for him the traffic learned to swerve around his magic. From the sidelines the other boys looked onward and they saw nothing short of illusion. It wasn't illusion. It was a victory of the soul. Stubborn thumping rebellion outweighing cold measured logic, the tilt in the axis of the earth.


AcHiNg FoRwArD Aching forward like a turtle knowing it’s getting hurt but has nowhere to go and the wind hits like a dumpster trumpet as we watch the moon grow and morph and float across the sky right in front of the mind and it’s so perceptible that it’s not real like the kiss that comes out of the blue when you’re so aching for touch that it almost comes out of you as if all you had to do was tell the universe you were waiting in line The open pipe mind flows like a river and delivers the water and sewage and purity on time even when time is a distant bitch and savior we get sane and save her from falling and get her to keep calling and get her to keep balling into you and the obtuse obstacle of touching before the hands and body parts meet and the streets are glistening, there’s always the empty floating abyss of a road, until you go and go and finally break it all open like some beautiful Christmas present presented earlier than expected but also preconceived and known If we could all grow old and grow instead of holding onto nothingness the world would love to show us how to have everything we dreamed and then there wouldn’t be this dull inconsistent varying in wavelength aching that changes with the moment.

PhIl ZiOlS @p.j._ziols

As I Get Older As I get older, I lose my cell phone charger less often. As I get older, I start relationships with my organs. As I get older, there are more moments that I choose solitude. As I get older, pain is more of a lesson than a scar. As I get older, monastic daydreams are most compelling. As I get older, I flip through old albums for truth and meaning. As I get older, I start worrying about the kids’ lives. As I get older, it’s less intimidating to meet people. As I get older, my body stops trying to be something it’s not.

Richard William Guerra @ranchardguerra

FROM THE ROOT Write around the shape and back to VHS visions on a fuzzed screen, an analog ode to James and the trip stitch whimsy of childhood, inspired orchards that dared us to dream in velvet blush rebellion of skinned knees and stained shirts. We bite down and through and find the symmetry of bodies: how sunlight warms us tender, how joy is a mess well met, how nature offers sustenance as sweetness as celebration as the song strung bravery of a boy conquering a thunder cloaked rhino storming, of a boy staring loss head on and saying he is not afraid, of a boy shedding tears to the rain and refusing to go quietly. The days we asked why without apology are the same days we knew magic was a glow in our own belly, are the same days we knew we could fly with the flock and that the pit of sorrow could become a warm home if we trusted our feet enough to stand and claim the fertile ground that feeds us.

ELLIE SWENSSON @elliephantshoes @bolderwriterswarehouse

THE THRILL OF IMBALANCE BRYAN UTESCH I promised myself to not open up like this. I burned the candle at both ends and expected sitting alone in darkness to be inspirational. Stapled the words, “I don’t know” to my forehead, and threw all my furniture out into the street. Thrills drove me deeply into a groove hard to come back from like a trail taken too steeply. Meaning. Searching for. Work all day and all through the night next to conveyors, for more. Quit job with cash, needing sleep. Repeat until empty. Wake up in cold sweats on tropical vacations, running out of energy searching. Never a balance to either end of a busy lifestyle. A nation of workers, Rothschild’s oppressive dream. We are expected to be busy, getting a lot done to feel satisfied every other twelve hours. Satisfaction drips from my awe struck mouth as I swirl with the direction of your retinas. Drips from lips. I wasn’t looking, but now my love is on your fingertips. My heart is a casualty of this moonbeam drive-by. I’m still not chasing my own goals, only running into different shades of darkness. Call it a vacation while emptying into some sandy getaway. Draining the savings for a relaxing break from an unbalanced life. I need water. I need balance. In what I need I find comes naturally. When I choose to respect my needs I truly learn to respect others. I need just a little more time alive to learn how to live. To live I’ve found that I don’t need much of anything at all.


Where did September Go? Gosh, where did September go? Just yesterday I filled my glass with sunshine, Drank from the sweat of the earth As cool summer nights rolled into sweltering days. Where did September go? Just this morning I swam in the lake of Green leaves wearing nothing but my human bark. The soft ripples of chlorophyll converting yesterdays Drink into tonight’s dinner. Where did September go? Just this afternoon I had tea with the dandelions, And sang songs with the neighbor bees. The cool mountain breeze a reminder of the world Beyond our teacups. Where did September go? Just this evening I had dinner with deer Getting lost in conversation, getting warm with Juniper wine, full from summer vegetables. Where did September go? Tomorrow I will dawn my thicker hide Preparing for the great white kiss on my cheek, As my friends go home for long sleeps, My neighbors put on fiery clothes of decay, My mind wanders to a thought. Oh, where did September go?

AARON OTILLAR @tidbitowords tidbitowords.com

brain feeder explicit Burst Red why my outsides so dismissive why my insides so relentless why my haters need no visions Drips brain eater rainbow I dont need no ammo we dont need no ammo swimming in that shallow rather watch gis drips rather gasp at them booty tits rather rasp at those tooty fix this world never made sense I dont do this to make you smile I dont do this to make you comfortable I dont do this to make you understand I just do this cause I’m the man ha, thats my joke for all you feathers float just above the bullshit fold just beyond the who did flow just close enough you can taste it traces erase miss retrace your last hit Cody didn't make it I want to kiss them and wake up we all awake coffins no make up closed casket embrace bury me with my toys no toys no life no toys no whites no boys no tights no joy no rights I havent made sense well ever sense this poetry vain maintains insane slim shade sitting padded rooms doing shrooms picturing dead pregnant demons with brooms jabbed in they wombs dats too close to home you dont know my story tho you dont know this gory show you dont know their worry woe too much swiss not enough closeness not enough realness play this game to win




claim to fame just take it all in

@KeViN_KaNtOr IsN’T CrYiNg FoR LiKeS so ur sad + ur pretty, but not bc ur sad + i hate u + i wanna kiss ur storm cloud mouth so maybe it’s like the sky cracked open + it started raining polaroids of sad boys but it’s like that commodified kind of sadness the one you wanna double-tap, sadness w/ a search function, sadness that didn’t invite ur sadness to the writers’ group. or maybe it’s like i tried to take a photo of myself + they all came out too sad but it’s like that maybe don’t share that kind of sadness. plain — like the sky cracked opened + it started raining rain or almond milk. so i’m scrolling through instagram + crying @ another queer man smiling by a river his nails painted neatly, the right hand done undoubtedly by a lover + my hands always either naked or coated red to the knuckle. i think of the bridge i build with the word another. i think of the word man + the bridge crumbles into the water + i’m still not sure who i am crying for. probably his teeth that, at least in this photo, look so straight + white. probably the water. probably for someone’s hand to hold. probably this small device has me convinced i’m building bridges when all i’ve done is give myself something to jump from.

BROWN UNITED GLOBAL CONSCIOUSNESS Smooth like cinnamon, Move wit the rhythm Words so clear they don’t know what hit em There’s no connection between us and our brothers Can’t understand they’re family Not the other We move together like waves move through water Where the current takes us That’s where we follow This isn’t fodder It’s a fostering of symmetry We don’t need more money We need more synergy

Boots on the ground No more victims We see the problem We bring the solution

Writing these words is ancestral magic We speak in story We speak what’s tragic Here we don’t ignore what’s happened We amend what’s been broken Apologies cause we need em Broke the system now we fix em We do it in the street we don’t need court rooms

Here are these words bringing Power to the people Fuck being angry I want to be equal Pen hits the paper and my country still drops bombs Lets my people die Pretend they don't see em My family stretches throughout the generations All different genders All different races

SOFIA NOEL @sofianoelart

To be in my family you don’t owe an explanation We feel your energy We attune to your vibration The arc of freedom bends long We’re not racing Our family stays fighting no matter what hits em

We are the brown United global consciousness We eat misogyny We eat the racists We are everywhere, in all different spaces We make safe places and convert the kkk We do what frees us Not what the man say

SHADOWS / LIGHT In the dark, in the shadows of trees is a light somewhere in the south east waiting to illuminate my life, waiting for it to give me its love... and in return, I gave my love, and to give it a light we can share in a void, in the absent space in my heart, in my empty hands. I wanted to share my life with you. You were too wonderful to be a dream, and you are too ambitious to give up on your visions. I wanted to foster that. I wanted you to know that you’re not mine anymore. You can do anything You want now...


Fines Double In Construction Zone Biting my lips til they bleed Or was it my fingernails A dead end either way You look before you cross the street I dart amidst the woven shards of glass Like my teeth are already missing Like my pants are made of live snakes And they are looking up at you hissing Fork tongue they whisper I’m hungry So we go to yet another diner And stare into the vacuous space Near the dish pit Take me to the hardware store I finally shout between Chewing on grass and smoking it I need a god damn tool I’m screaming now Nothing makes sense or matters All I can see is endless television sets shattering One after the other On forgotten pavement Along with forgotten years Dissecting the work of well paid writers I can’t imagine who came up with this story line I also can’t imagine who would grab me on the E line but that’s just the world we live in right honey? Come sing me up a cow I’m hungry with sweat on my brow I spent all day digging gravel for five cents I’d like to spend it on my grain beer Now listen here you silly dear Yes bring that tender ear close I didn’t make up this game I’m just the feet pedaling the spokes

Alexis Staley


the sun. i kept revolving even after the air hung heavy with absence. once captivated by what i claimed was gravity— something beyond me— now decapitated by hollow vacancy. so i found myself in orbit around the nothing of us, wondering where my head might be. musing about how icarus felt after he lost his wings. forgot that i, too, am burning. writhing, waking, unfurling. i am holy. sobbing, shaking, emerging. all this time spent searching for a flame to help me See and all along the Light has been Me.

KAZ G. MARIE @kaz_alien

I too sing to myself naked in the rain & on the corner of Phila and Putnam the sky thunders like a chandelier -there she goes collecting spring water from the sulphur spouts as the towns people shuffle indoors mindless escapethe blessed sky

Steve Adelman


You, like I experience great madness and describe it in melancholic and paradoxical Poetic Verse. My dysphoria is hard to convey to those who do not share it, as I suspect you have. One line you once wrote "I was a child and she was a child in this kingdom by the sea" Often times, I feel as Annabel Lee must have. How hard was depression and dysphoric psyche for you to die an OG Gutter Punk. Unlike you, I am disillusioned with alcohol for I watched as my brother struggled with addiction to bottles of Liquid Courage Oh, the folly I have been to myself when inebriated. How is it now, Keith, that you drowned in the false nirvana of Vodka? Did you find peace in your fathers rented sub-division home? I know I never have. The blows and body slams still re-occur to me in my nightmares. I wish I could tell you what a bitter old man he has become in the 6 years since your death. He wallows in his own misery alone with all of his possessions and none of his "children."

Queen Anne’s Revenge

That Time I Stepped in Gum This mistake is the shoe-gum of sloppy decisions, the kind of external vexation you step in once and then drag dependably behind you for three months. Damned spot sticks around all winter, despite the salt-scraped sidewalks you pace in January, February’s metal scuffles with frenzy-bent butter knives, and the industrial-strength dish soap your mother eventually recommends in March. Further movement becomes muddled— tensely unsymmetrical, unhinged by the clumsy microsecond your left foot hesitates to abandon its ground. Your right foot blunders on, inpatient, unforgiving, saw this clingy, gummy guilt coming: a disappointed friend who drives you to the abortion clinic anyways; expired cold medicine that still dulls you to sleep later. For three months, you live above a pink splotch threaded into your rubber sole. For three months, you stumble and scuff and scrape and scrub. You stumble and scuff and scrape and scrub. You stumble and scuff and scrape and scrub— until you get to know it, not intentionally, not affectionately, but you and this symptomatic lump go everywhere together. The bottom of your foot is an intimate place, a foundational place, an invite-only place. To know that this already-been-chewed intruder has encountered such a bedrock piece of you feels so permanent— until it isn’t. When it erodes from the natural grind of daily travel and paramnesia, you don't really notice at first. The inevitable rebalance of your gait slips forward like a slow-sober sunrise. A forgotten light reminds you that stray gum happens sometimes, even to your favorite boots, even on your favorite sidewalks.

SARAH RODRIGUEZ @sarahstarlight