Artifact Nouveau Fall 2019 Volume 5 Issue 3

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FA L L 2 0 1 9 VO LU M E 5 I S S U E 3

A Writers’ Guild Publication

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Alive and Forward

By Candide

Letter from the Editor in Chief Artifact Nouveau is a magazine published by the SJDC Writers’ Guild, and every semester, it is a big challenge to devote the time and effort that a literary magazine deserves while fulfilling academic obligations. However, there is something that gives us that energy, and it is something that we all share as a group. We believe in the importance and the power of literature. The prominent linguist Ferdinand de Saussure once said that thoughts without language were only a mass without form. Indeed, we shape that form every time that we communicate with each other. Literature shapes that mass with mastery. What is more important, perhaps, is that language allows us to feed ourselves with the ideas of others. We can grow culturally and individually because of literature. When you read this magazine, remember that these literary works come from a universal mass of thoughts that each of our contributing authors have dexterously shaped to give us art — the original interpretation of reality that is, at the same time, creating it. I invite you, dear reader, to allow yourself to share the humanity that lies in these pieces of literature. After a long effort to select the works and editing the magazine, I am honored to present to you the Fall 2019 issue of Artifact Nouveau. I want to especially thank our advisors, Professor Cassandra Opiela, Professor Gabrielle Myers, and Patricia Mayorga for believing in us and guiding us on this process, to the Horton Gallery Director, Jan Marlese, for her support on obtaining the artwork for this issue, and to our editing team that worked with effort and passion for developing the magazine. I want to end this letter by welcoming Jared Schmerer as the new Editor in Chief of Artifact Nouveau and Lily Jurado as the President of the Writers’ Guild for the Spring 2020 Semester. I am confident that they will lead Artifact to grow into new heights. Ronald Godoy

Letter from the writers’ guild faculty advisor January 2020 feels like a time for renewal, for change, for a rising of something informed by the past and inspired by the future. This year brings a new decade, a US election, and an anxious feeling of inevitable change. The selections of poetry, prose, and art in this issue reflect this sense of transformation through their expressions of sadness, anxiety, anticipation, and even hope. From Jaysyn Ashanti’s piece “Saints and Savages” to Adrian Slonaker’s “Peoplewatching” to Irie Woods’ “Melodic” and so many others, you will find an expression that speaks to you. And hopefully you will be comforted by that connection. I’m honored to advise this club, and be a small part of bringing these selections to the published page. For me, winter weather encourages quieter moments, and so I have been reflecting on the ways this club has guided my own journey. This small group of students is inspiring in their fierce dedication to continuing the tradition of the Writers’ Guild and to publishing Artifact Nouveau. Print issues of a community college literary magazine could be obsolete, but instead this issue, and the students rallying to produce it, remind me that the time I take to read good literature isn’t stolen from more important things. Rather, it’s essential to anchoring myself in the messy reality of living in the chaos of the now. Some editions of Artifact Nouveau have been produced on this campus since 2007. Through its tenure it has seen many enthusiastic editors, a name change, and several incredible advisors. And each time the spirit of the magazine shifts and yet, stays the same. Writers and readers working together. Writers bringing our human condition to the page and readers agreeing to happen across a copy and take a peek. I invite you to take a moment, breathe the January air, find a quiet spot and a warm blanket, and enjoy the first issue of Artifact Nouveau in what is sure to be a wild, exhausting ride of a decade. Prof. Cassandra Opiela

Celestial Defender

By Brad Blair

Table of Contents By Candle Light by Abundio Vargas.........................................1 The Clock -Drawing Test By Lauren Scharhag................ .....................3 It was never your fault by Marc Livanos.............................................6 Bigification by Robert Cooperman................................... 7 Thoughts on a Rainy Afternoon by James G. Piatt............................................9 The Product of the Environment By Alyssa Boneck..........................................10 Melodic by Irie Woods................................................11 Reflecting on the night by Jared Schmerer........................................12 Streetside Mattress By Brandon Marlon......................................14 The Child Marriage By Amirah Al Wassif.....................................15 On Getting Close and Casting Out by Scott Thomas Outlar..............................17 Sixth Sense by Deborah Purdy.........................................18 Moth in Mourning By Vanessa MAldonado-Soto.......................19. Dream By Genji.........................................................20 Oxygen By John Casquarelli.....................................21 The Sacred Texts By Holly Day..................................................22 Peoplewatching by Adrian Slonaker.......................................23 Hidden Lady By Kendall Hoeft..........................................24 Elegy for a white supremacist By Daniel Moore...........................................26 The Diner By Adrian Slonaker......................................27

Saints and Savages by Jaysyn Ashanti........................................28 Mojave By Mark A. Fisher........................................30 The garden of truth by John Urban..............................................31 September by Rekha Valliappan....................................32 How to be a girl in 2019 by Vanessa Maldonado-Soto.......................34 So many words by Lynn White..............................................36 Cafe Amores By Luis Garcia...............................................37 Eyes of a Stranger By Stacy Bradley...........................................39 My neighbour accross the street By Yuan Changming......................................41 The air we breathe by Alyssa Boneck..........................................42 Venetian Canals by Jared Schmerer........................................43 Desires - A reply to Kavafis by Peter J. King.............................................44 The tale of the water seller by Amirah Al Wassif.....................................47 Weapons By Paula Sheil...............................................49 Will you take this woman? by Kendall Hoeft..........................................50 On the Dock of infinity by Joe Albanese.............................................51 Baoo by John Casquarelli.....................................52 Tie and Dye by Lynn White...............................................53 Kapuli Qiru by Ronald Godoy...........................................54 Study Buddies by Charles Rammelkamp..............................55

Spring-heeled jack by Frogg Corpse.........................................56 Temptation by Alyssa Boneck........................................57 Broken Geometry By Scott Thomas Outlar............................58 Messages by Brian Rihlmann.....................................59 Rainbow Chalk By Edward Lee............................................60 What is a ghost? by Erika V. Cabral.......................................61 Generational by Paula Ochoa...........................................63 Predators of deception by quess tion..............................................64 Nearing Middle Age by Sofiul Azam............................................66 A Jazz Fable by Lauren Scharhag...................................69 Like looking into a mirror By Brian Rihlmann.....................................71 Once I had Wings By Edward Lee.............................................72 A girl hypersensitive By ziaul moid Khan.....................................73 Last painting of vincent van gogh by vanessa maldonado-soto.......................77 my love By James G. Piatt..........................................79 The bible will keep By Holly day................................................80 Close strangers By Samuel Samba.........................................81 Cool, Steel, Slam! By J. Velaz.....................................................83 Is there something fishy in what I say about swimming in the summer? By Sofiul Azam............................................84 In the Land of Anglo Saxon By Anthony Robinson.................................87 Aquarium By Lauren Scharhag...................................92

By Candle Light

By Abundio Vargas

My child, O’ child, cursed whilst you had been born Three brothers cast from home into a storm Their journey begins cloaked in blind midnight Lahkesis wept; three baptized in regret Sacrifices for the betrayed love Darkness will ravage and never absolve Keep a candle in your pocket for when Darkness comes collecting. Don’t let him in Run, child, keep running three hands must hold fast Years will stalk you and the darkness will grasp My child, you’ll grow weary, but take heed Run, Child, keep running, weeping you must flee The Wolf at your heels is ‘ever your fate The wish once whispered to the darkest night Medicated oblivion, an end, professed A childish plea for death’s cold caress Primal instinct knowing “I” would soon end Left to dream, to roam for the wolf to rend


Keep a candle in your pocket for when Wolf comes, collecting. Don’t let him in Run, child, keep running the elder hand slipped Run, child, keep running to babe, you are gripped Hold your heart fast to keep it from breaking Abate the glance for the love ‘twas taken

. My child, realize and come to understand The wolf is you, a curse from genesis A blighted fruit of your parental gene strand There to mangle life in constant stasis Prometheus’ child, yet to pay consequence For seizing the flame, stolen existence Keep a candle in your pocket for when Wolf comes, collecting. Don’t let him in Run, child, keep running two hands have all gone Years have passed and the darkness is hungry I know, child, you are weary, but take heed Run, child, keep running your wolf has claimed three


The Clock Drawing Test

By Lauren Scharhag

Aunt Joan can’t draw a clock face anymore. When presented with a circle, her numbers sit in a slag heap along the bottom, the way time must feel to her. When she gets dressed in the morning, she puts on two or three shirts, shorts over pants, or else, comes down to breakfast in her Ethel Merman swimsuit. Sometimes, Aunt Joan remembers.


The other day, she remembered that all her siblings are dead and cried the whole night through, having lost them all over again. Aunt Joan’s clocks leave no room for hands, no way to note the hours. The doctor says, Kids these days don’t know how to tell time by a regular clock anymore. In 40, 50 years’ time, they will have to come up with a new test. I say, Maybe by then, they will have cured this disease, and there will be no more need for blank circles. 4



By Candide 5

It was never your fault

By Marc Livanos

Heading towards Escambia Bay armed with beer, pen and pad, I look for a setting where time has no hold. I hug the shore due early morning fog and find anchorage by a cypress aged by the sands of time. Soon shadows in the fog and sorrowful calls of gulls set my mind to wondering about long forgotten memories. Tears fall as I pen thoughts, knowing mistakes were not yours and that, like God, you never gave up on me but things done, cannot be undone. 6


By Robert Cooperman

In the local bagel shop this morning, my wife and I order our usual, to go: a fruit salad to share; a Dutch apple bagel for Beth; an onion bagel for me; and two small coffees. Instead, we’re given two medium coffees, and told as the breakfast combo deal, they’re cheaper than the “regular” cups.

I ask the cashier if he could just give me the small coffee for the same reduced price; he stares as if I’ve asked to cut off his hand.

“But you can get a bigger size for less!”

I’m about to lecture the kid that their coffee isn’t that great, and about the American propensity for more and bigger until we pop


like overfilled birthday balloons, and how our gluttony is destroying the world that’s already reeling with what we’ve done to it.

When Beth nudges me to say, “Thank you,” when the kid hands me the giant-sized cup, which, being an American to my marrow, I fill to the top, and will drink it all day, if necessary, to finish what’s on my plate, or in my cup, as my mother used to lecture,

“Because children are starving in India.”


Thoughts on a Rainy Afternoon

By James G. Piatt

The sunlight is lost in the mist of clouds filled with moisture; it is cold, and twigs have been gathered to start a fire in the Ben Franklin. Birds are hiding in the bushes with an occasional foray to the seeds in the birdfeeder. The old cat is tucked in a ball in his warm bed, and I am in the library by a cozy fire, soaking up warmth into my weary bones, visualizing events of the past and present. The rain has ceased and the earth has been refreshed, tiny green and pink sprouts are starting to appear on barren limbs, and the sides of the old rutted road are covered with green waiting for spring. My mind is wondering up a flight of stairs caressing moments lost in the pathways of time; memories fade in and out of my dreaming mind as I attempt to arrange pain and happiness in an orderly manner into the fragments of the narrative of my life, but I find it is written in disappearing ink. Silhouettes and hazy shadows of long past images dance in and out of the moment as the rusting hours continue to erode like an old nail left out in the rain. It is odd that when we are young we see nothing but a long lighted path of time extending into eternity and when we are old, the path diminishes into a dimly lighted hallway, covered with pictures of the past hanging on the walls. 9

The Product of the Environment

By Alyssa Boneck

Planting a seed beside brown tomatoes, spilling their rotten juices onto stale ground, beside cucumbers slimy and ridden with holes. Neighbor to the maggots, a meal to the crows who watch over from branches bent, dried out, dead. Tend to your seed, feed her the decay and pray she grows big and strong. Then step back and look at your masterpiece— grown in rot, smog the only air ever breathed,—and hope that she’s the future.



By Irie Woods

One touch One fleeting touch One heated, pleading, touch And it will be okay. Fingers brushed against skin, as paint against canvas, as butter against bread Gliding simply, joyfully, faithfully…. The sound of sky blue With tones of midnight maroon Tip-toeing across what we call our own Mingling to integrate One hue, is all that’s left

“Slow Foods” by Kazuma Sambe 11

“It’s Not One Thing. . .It’s Everything” by Vicki Gunter

Reflecting on the Night

By Jared Schmerer

The sky seems vulnerable, In the absence of its stars, And tonight, I feel as though, I am its reflection.



By Moishe Lettvin 13

Streetside Mattress

By Brandon Marlon

The main stain, amber and oblong, repulses but stay with it a moment, riveted by curiosity to an artifact of quotidian art, testimonial of bodily fluids and flakes (its memory foam a record preserving rough-and-tumble activity by night and day), locus of dreamscapes and grotesque sounds the likes of which are seldom heard elsewhere, which, I don’t mind noting, is probably for the best. The usual seminal splotches bespattering the center are redolent of chlorine, how terribly embarrassing, pungent proof of misfires, spillage, the several conveniences of onanism, the frenzies of lust, remnants of human pickling, brine, marinade. But then there’s the striking crimson stain imbruing the lower surface and down the left side, a gruesome blemish flaunting its own mysteriousness as if proud of the unnerving questions it excites in inquirers’ intent on causation. For the love of God, restrain your outstretched hand; who dares finger the holes becomes an indelible part of its story


The Child Marriage

By Amirah Al Wassif

Nana used to roll the wet body of her baby in a shabby towel. if you asked her “why”?. she would answer you automatically like a robot “God made me a mother!” and if you asked her “who is god?!” she would answer you, “my husband.” A year ago, Nana was playing happily in the clay. She took some clay and threw it at her friends and they returned her favor without hesitation as a daily habit of childhood age. She was still a child until Ismael came. At that damned moment, he looked at her with his red eyes as if he were going to eat her innocent face. Nana shuddered. An uncomfortable feeling knocked at her heart’s door, and unfortunately, her poor heart opened. His father approached Nana and whispered in her ears “show some respect to your husband.” Nana smiled; she was a child and didn’t know what the exact meaning of “your husband” was. All she did was smile, she would smile to everyone, to


every stranger. Ismael took the child and ran away. Nana’s parents waved with indifference. Nana tried her best as a child to escape Ismael’s grasp, but how would she get away from her man, from her destiny? She asked in a crying tone “where are we going?” he didn’t answer her question; he never did, and like in every tragic story, she screamed until her voice escaped her. Nobody could stop Ismael from his plan (or the plan of God) the only answer that he told Nana in the creepy tone of voice that a man can take was: “You are mine, and I am your God.”


On Getting Close and Casting Out

By Scott Thomas Outlar

The only way to kill paranoia is to embrace it Birds and leaves fill the trees but only one will be staying the season If God is always watching, you might as well dance Promises and judgments bundled in the deal and some will save and some will scorn and some will never scab over This world sold out long before we were born baubles and trinkets and platinum facelifts but I would gladly carry both bags under these eyes for what they have seen for what they have shed for what they have wept out in blood and fire The only way to kiss paranoia is with the tongue


Sixth Sense

By Deborah Purdy

A golden breath mined for the meaning of good timing — A token from eye to eye in a glance obliged to open the clouds unaided — An ancient answer to an unasked question — A map for a world no one believes in.


Moth in Mourning

By Vanessa Maldonado-Soto I am a moth, attracted to light, mourning my wings.

By Mikkel Frimer-Rasmussen @mifrira


By Megan Thomas - @organicdesignco


By Genji

O’ mighty cavern of portentous loft Messenger of the mind’s most hidden realm So high and far your beacon shines above That neither thought nor memory can steal!



By John Casquarelli

The current moves somewhere, anywhere, water pearls, the sun’s gift, Neptune’s reflection, I wish I was fluid like the river, malleable, touched by rain-fingers, tapping it’s digits on my torso. Today, a beaver gave me a branch. Tomorrow, I’ll seek the tree or soliloquy about a lost rose petal that broke from the crowd to feel eternity. My pen is silent far too often. I wish it could sing. Performing at the Metropolitan Opera in a language so foreign to me that I would need subtitles to understand every word about life, sex, and death. The ink would penetrate deeply, and I would scream for an encore. Lights would shine dim blue, focused on the quill’s quiver. Everyone in attendance anticipating the next note, biting lower lips, sweat rolling from foreheads as the music flows like the current to riverbanks of our own choosing.


The Sacred Texts

By Holly Day

I would have had so many more poems to show you but the priest destroyed them all when he came said my pre-Columbian ideals, my life before him, were wrong told me I was wrong. I stood by, penitent, as he hauled box after box of handwritten journals out to the curb to melt in the rain, came back covered in sweat and ink to remind me it was for the best, he only wanted the best for me. I watched the codices, which had recorded my life before him, disintegrate through the crack in the curtains, acting as if I was keeping an eye on the children bicycling in the rain or waiting impatiently for the mail to arrive. I watched as history, deprived of its tongue forgot all about me.



By Adrian Slonaker

At six-thirty on a summer morning in an airport terminal at the bottom of the world, I studied semi-slumbering pending passengers as I awaited the Wellington-bound flight when the yawning calm was punctuated by a trio of passersby tripping through the terminal with nubile energy, including two women with fluid hip-length hair Rapunzel would’ve envied one who likely ate elderflowers and imagined her monsoon shower to be an Icelandic waterfall frequented by elves as the other read Pippi Longstocking and Gothic horror in a hammock while humming something by Malvina Reynolds. Their companion, a hipster minotaur with a man’s shoulders but a lad’s liquid eyes could’ve been a connoisseur of craft beer and heirloom vegetables and Vespas. Floating through the gate, the three thronged the door to the plane for Dunedin, the university city with a Scottish burr, and though I’d gladly offer each of these strangers a cappuccino or a kiss, barring a Dickensian coincidence, I’ll never get the chance.


Hidden Lady

By Kendall Hoeft

My mama is from Missouri cornfields and ceaseless labor. My mama is from grits, molasses and Baptist virtues. My mama is from her mother, edifice of self-martyrdom, a woman who believes God loves you as much as you’ve suffered, who always sits in the hard chair, who took her comb while she was brushing her hair, who misquoted the Bible, vanity of vanities, who taught her the wallflower half-life. Now, when someone tells my Mama she is smart or charming, she looks to the ground— her weather-worn cheeks melting into a deep cinnamon. I wonder how long her hair would grow, if she knew the glister of moon on her irises— that she is the luminescent point in a prolonged strangulation of sky. 24

SubType 1

By G.V. Kelley


Elegy for a White Supremacist

By Daniel Moore

Struggling to forgive the cruelest parts, the cement cannon of his toothless mouth yawning above the Tennessee River from the face of Lookout Mountain. I wept with the Dogwood loud and long as a confederate choir of dead gray boys sprouted gardenias from troubled minds pruned by union bullets. Being white and living right turned acres into agony gardens wilting with the dead.


The Diner

By Adrian Slonaker

The chromes and beaming neons of B-Bop’s compete with the copper cotton top tracing the contours of my torso and tattooed arms that I stretch to collect the cola on the rocks in the celestial blue cup and the fried fish sandwich wrapped in a similar hue, trying not to spill a cascade of thick liquid and rebellious slivers of lettuce onto the black-and-white checkered floor reflecting sadistic sunblasts while the Seekers’ folky harmonies, which I mentally link with woolen blankets and hot chocolate and March head colds, are thrust through multiple speakers better suited to the rock-n-roll rhythms of Bobby Darin’s “Splish Splash” than the mournful humming and strumming of “I’ll Never Find Another You” even if the sentiment is spot-on as I greet goose-pimples inspired by someone kept from me by oceans and cities and mountains and lakes and villages and lots and lots of larch trees.


Saints and Savages

By Jaysyn Ashanti

This textbook I’m readin’ is so sugar-coated. No wonder! ‘Cause white men are the ones that wrote it. The whole “Manifest Destiny” thing really be testin’ me. Religion was used to make colonizers seem innocent, But I believe from the start they had evil intent. If America was founded for religious freedom, Why did they hurt and convert blacks then? If they truly believed all men were created equal, Tell me why they lynched and tortured my people!? They’d fold their hands in order to prey And plot on how their brothers they’d slay. Tell me what God them people thought they were servin’! One day they gone get what they been deservin’! If a black man walked by, they’d called him a brute. Yet, it was them that would pick up their rifles to shoot. If a black woman walked by, they’d call her Jezebel. But they were the ones that raped her. What the hell? They’d do this and MUCH more, and wouldn’t even flinch. I tell you! Those British, those Spanish, those French. People try to sell that those “pilgrims” were pure.


I shake my head, roll my eyes and just say “sure”. I don’t let none of them colonizers off the hook For being such hateful and greedy crooks. They specialized in dominating others’ nations Without any kind of invitations. They ransacked, murdered and scattered on ships. Many families apart they had ripped. How can those people with a reputation so gory Be deserving of everyone’s honor and glory? They claimed all colored indigenous people were heathens, But they themselves worshipped gold and status like bloodthirsty demons. They erased my history and indoctrinated lies Like they was killin’ mockingbirds and pimpin’ butterflies. America is my home, but I don’t always adore her. ‘Cause I’m trying to heal from my past and present horrors Brought by men who claimed to be as holy as priests, But treated their neighbors like ravenous beasts I’ve retaught you about our “forefathers” and all of their ravages. So tell me who were the saints and who were the savages?



By Mark A. Fisher

Empty miles of sand and stone and hidden wildflower seeds where twisted Joshua Trees cast their shadows onto the dry and dusty memories of the seas they used to be as ravens imagine they’re seagulls calling to the mirage’s waves washing across desert varnished basalt covered in petrogylphs whispering stories in forgotten languages from before the awareness of gold drew the tsunami and the flotsam of the storm leaving holes and metal cans across the desert bed now crossed with off-road scars in torn up creosote and still years are piling up as the faults slowly move while the desert dreams it’s a sea once again


The Garden of Truth

By John Urban

A perception, planted in the soil of consciousness and watered attentively, brings forth the blossom of a concept, which, two together, bear the fruit of Truth.

By Kassy Menke


By Lavi Perchik @laviperchik


By Rekha Valliapan

Blue September skies Light golden harvest shadows Decay moves along


Ars Longa

By Candide


How to be a Girl in 2019

(A response to Jamaica Kincaid “Girl”)

By Vanessa Maldonado-Soto Cross your legs and keep them closed; don’t spread your legs unless you want someone to reach in between them; don’t look people in the eyes too long, or you’ll give them the wrong impression; be sure to sit up tall; be sure to suck in your stomach so that you look skinnier; what do you mean you are uncomfortable?; don’t complain; this is how you should smile even when you want to cry; you mustn’t raise your voice, only speak low; this is how you should style your hair—curls suit you best; you mustn’t wear baggy clothes; don’t you know they make you look like a boy?; wear a skirt; wear a dress; wear a hat if your hair becomes a mess; wear a blouse; put your hands on your lap when you are sitting; put your hands behind your back when you are standing; add some blush to your cheeks; add some lipstick; you know what, add foundation first to cover your acne; don’t you know that acne takes your pretty away?; don’t pry; don’t laugh too loud; always be polite; this is how you should behave around family; this is how you should behave around friends; this is how you should behave around strangers; “why do i have to behave the same way with friends as I do with strangers?” don’t ask questions; don’t talk back; this is how you tell a man and a boy apart; this is how you know a man is interested in you; this is how you know a man wants nothing to do 34

with you; this is how you know if a man is serious about you; be sure to always be presentable and lady-like; don’t spit; don’t learn how to spit; don’t bend down; keep your phone with you at all times; don’t go anywhere alone; don’t leave a mess; always clean up after yourself and others if necessary; this is how you prepare food for your brothers; this is how you knock on the door; this is how you should ask for permission; this is how you sweep the floors; this is you wipe the walls; this is how you should behave on a date; always put your partner first; don’t kiss on a first date; don’t be easy; you mustn’t have sex until you’re married; this is what you do if your partner cheats; this is what you don’t do if your partner cheats with a family relative or close friend; this is what you do if you can’t have an abortion; this is what you do to cover bruises and black eyes; don’t sleep around; don’t give the impression that you sleep around; “people will think I sleep around if i wear dresses and skirts like these though.” Wear heels; shave your legs; shave your armpits; get a wax; don’t forget to wear makeup; listen closely; just be yourself, and remember to not disappoint your family; finish school; find a job; get married; have kids; get a dog; buy a house; become someone respectable and lady-like; always be the only woman your husband wants to keep in his bed; “why not the kind of woman my partner can’t get out of their head?” don’t be too naive; always be a step ahead; always remember passion and obsession are two separate things; don’t sing in the shower; and, for the love of god, stop biting your nails! 35

So Many Words

By Lynn White

It’s getting crowded inside my head with so many words tumbling around trying to sort themselves out trying to get out of my head. I should help them, but I can’t let them out while they’re in such a jumble, and they can’t seem to put themselves in order. I have to do that. Inside or out, I have to decide what to make of them. They can’t seem to do it alone.


Cafe Amores

By Luis Garcia

Mornings simmer, steaming with a caffeinated aroma, hot bodies of chocolate, brewing on top of each other. Mixing with pleasure. Shades of Cafe...y mucho más. Gently cascading off, filling overflowing ponds of addiction, as they both lust for warmth. As their fingers make swirling motions across their caramel skin. Glancing, as their touch polish each others lips. Anxiously, patiently, closing in for an inviting taste, for one cocoa-coated kiss. Eyes low, with a soothing drift. All for your flavor. All for your gentle sugared bliss.




By Linda S. Fitz Gibbon 38

Eyes of a Stranger

By Stacy Bradley

Even though you see me, I am not there. Even though you hear me, You don’t hear me. Even though it seems like I have given up on life, I haven’t Even though darkness falls, I can’t count my sheep, Because they are awake watching the Streets while I sleep until Daylight comes. Even though people look at me With a glare in their eyes Saying “get away from” or “go get a job” all I can say is, “you know not what you say It’s easier said than done”. Even though I look like I have been Thrown out with the trash, Don’t treat me like I have; I am human too. Even though you ask, “How did you get into this position?” I answer, “I don’t know it happened so quickly.


Even though I struggle to survive, It is not easy being me. So, when you see me walking about And I ask for help, Don’t be afraid to approach me and say: “How are you today?” “Have you eaten yet today?” For people like me, We are not all bad, just in a bad position.

By Megan Thomas - @organicdesignco 40

My Neighbour Accross the Street

By Yuan Changming

She spends all her visible time Being exquisite in a history of no disturbance Living alone in a quite old bungalow, She has few visitors year round, except, perhaps, her unseen relatives. Her voice never heard, her movements always leisurely, walking in and out, mowing her slightly slanting lawn, taking meticulous care of her heathers and other tender plants. Sometimes dressed in a color like a bloated blue bell, or a shrunk grizzly. Sometimes wearing a high hat reminiscent of an antelope. Our only communication for the past decade has been her old black Fiat parked occasionally on our side of the street (and our red civic almost touching her front yard) Observing from my high window, I often cannot Help wondering if she is a metamorphosed mice In some lab, or myself in a segregated zoo.


The Air we Breathe By Alyssa Boneck Chemicals clinging to atoms of oxygen, a chilling haze— the type that lingers between the bloated fingers and toes of those long passed. The type that floats above stagnant pools feet below the surface in wells untouched and unwanted, whose stones are slick with grime and black slime. Water full of writing pre-puppa parasites, and creatures that skate the surface with unnerving ability. It permeates the space it inhabits, crawling down the throats of those it encounters, taking root in their lungs and staining their very cells.


Venetian Canals

By Jared Schmerer

Fluid reflections, Of bending imperfection, Rippling in rhythm.

“Verdant” By Mari Emori 43

By Wei Ding @weiding22


- A reply to “Desires” by Konstantin Kavafis

By Peter J. King As the bright thoughts of the blind from birth Blossom ignorant of sunsets, building beauty from the bare accounts of drabness— so dance unfulfilled desires, imagination lending them the weight to balance wistfulness for what they never knew.






The Tale of the Water Seller

By Amirah Al Wassif

When I was ten years old, my mother shaved my hair, called me “Owis,” and sent me out accompanied by my old donkey to sell water. I was thin, my donkey was thin too. My face bones were very noticeable, my donkey bones were too. My mother was angry all the time because she had a daughter, she wished desperately that she could exchange me for a strong boy; she didn’t know what to do with me. Our neighbor once told her, “You have nothing to do but feel sorry for yourself.” As I wondered why my mother should feel sorry for herself, she interrupted me suddenly, gazed at me violently and said, “you are my son, not my daughter,” and added in her calmest voice, “you are my son, and you have to go alone and sell the water.” I was shocked and stopped speechless because what I know is that I am a girl and my name is Marina, but I preferred to be a boy to keep my mother smiling. In my way to Baidoa, I started many conversations with my old and poor donkey. I understand his silence, and he understands my gossip, now, we have become a family, a lovely family who travel from place to place in order to sell the water. A very long time passed since I left my home, my old 47

donkey passed away and aside from my grief, I had no idea of how to come back and tell my mother about the donkey’s death. Actually, I am afraid to go home and tell her that I found some blood in my underwear; I thought that I was sick, but the wife of our boss told me, “you are a girl.” Then, they fired me and said to me in a scary tone, “never come back, only boys can sell water.” I am afraid, not because my donkey is gone, and not because they fired me, but because of this blood, I have no idea what it is. Mama never told me, mama never told me!



By Paula Sheil

Your blade your fists your gun and wish Your snarl your words your cry and curse Your looks your greed your sparks and need your acid tongue your cruel intent your need to vent Your carelessness your non-caress of me possess Your cannon fire your lit desire my funeral pyre your brutal clubs so lacking love I cannot move And so I bow beneath your bow heart dead now.


Will you take this Woman?

By Kendall Hoeft

I. Our eyes share little pleasures. The core of a Sunday— croissants in bed, sequins, trumpets, tongues, mirrors, tidal wave nights; you are all mine. Surrender, there is no such thing as sensibility. II. That mountain will kill, if you let it. Let me show you volcanoes that link us— lessons harbored in solitude. I take time to remember how it felt to be unbrave. III. First, remember rain— its smooth savor, hot and mute. My body— your forgotten Eucharist. IV. Let us take this moment. Ingest my skin’s pureness. Croon for me sweet and urgent on knees, on your knees, And I will trust your holy breath to undo knots of flesh. Break me free, for there is much of love to learn.


On the Dock of Infinity

By Joe Albanese

Laced in petrichor, the hymn of starlight catches me. In the violet stem of long-dead nebulae I wait, dumbfounded by the walk, tight-roped and undone. Delighted by the possibility, I follow the far-off lantern— its calling flickers. Do I pick up the pace or slow down? Draped in the fear of a finale fading, I press on. There, on the dock of infinity, water whispers to me, “We’re all gonna get there someday.”



By John Casquarelli

I squeeze calamansi over rice, cut a piece of grilled chicken, dip it into chili vinegar. “One of dad’s dogs is missing,” she says, “Kuya probably knows who took her.” Our mood at the dining table changes. Earlier, at the marketplace, we picked up butseron as jeepneys and tricycles drove past St. Bartholomew, vendors, and young students clinging to that moment on the nation’s womb. Hope is a noon shadow seeking asylum on a chocolate hill. Her children, fragments of bamboo and coconut shells, sing rice terraces; mountain waterfall; pili nuts; warm hand and warmer heart; recollections of a promised land in the Pacific where each grain of rice is a story of labor, love, and struggle, and where the spirit is remembered like the last bark of a four-legged friend. 52

Tie And Dye

By Lynn White

It was an August day of startling blue skies broken by wispy circles diffusing into feathers, a hippy sky clothed in tie and dye in honour of Woodstock no doubt. So now I wonder, how long will it take for the storm clouds to gather and the rain to fall?

By Luigi Boccardo @lboccardo95 53

By Yair Mejia @20ymn17

Kapuli Qiru (Berry Tree)

By Ronald Godoy

On the Andes mountain grows kapuli qiru, and he is from our highland a protective spirit, giving to our children his sweet-sour fruit, he dresses our mountain with a reddish suit.

*From the Incahuasi-Cañaris Quechua Dialect – A variety of the Quechua language family. The Capuli (Kapuli) is a variety of berry that grows in the Andean region of South America.


Study Buddies

By Charles Rammelkamp

As we crammed together in the library for the History exam, my study buddy Kelly Anne said she loved him because he suffered so, but who knows why one person falls for another? (How I loved her scent -Soap? Shampoo? Perfume? Exciting! Side by side, our thighs warmed each other at the big oak table.) His name was Rocky, not the name you think of for a sensitive guy. “When one of those fundraisers comes on the TV, the ones that show abused animals in cages? Rocky has to cover his eyes, and I turn down the volume. I let him know when it’s over. It’s really heartbreaking.” Part of me admired the guy’s tenderheartedness, an endearing trait, but could she really love him for that? For blubbering about lab animals? Yes, she was his girlfriend. Was this some kind of jealousy? It was: After the History exam, I started studying with Michelle instead.


Spring-heeled Jack

By Frogg Corpse

Spring-heeled Jack Run, Rose, run! Skeleton on the roof Devil’s on the lawn. Jumping in the air At the height of a shriek The furthest Jack’s flown Is the length of a scream Cobblestone sirens Bobbies come to flog A demon in the wind A ghost of the marsh. Two little jacks Counting bucks in a row One bounces back The other slits a throat. Every corner turned, Near the alley of the bells, Blue flame, white flame, Bats out of Hell.



By Alyssa Boneck

It claims a part of my soul, a dark stain on the heart that pulses thick black tar: sweet syrup oozing through my veins, sending euphoric dissonance— the feeling of a razor dragged over soft flesh. Something not quite right, like the immense satisfaction of a successful day of self-starvation. It’s the sickly sweet voice of demons playing guardian angel, the suffocating warmth of the cover of darkness. Sing to me, wrap your arms around me. I want to paint the ground with that shimmering, iridescent midnight oil, dripping ever so slowly from blade-tasted wrists.


Broken Geometry

By Scott Thomas Outlar

Three owls seven eyes one spirit split and lost in the vision Eleven mirrors four corners two reflections cast and cracked in the go-between But all the promises sound different on the other side, and each time we blink to catch our breaths beneath the surface, ten animals are born but everything draws quiet with words mouthed behind the veil, and when you bite your tongue to tease out the blood of a whisper, six angels break their fall



By Brian Rihlmann

From the bank I watch as the train screeches down the track. It stretches for miles drowns the river’s melody. I squint at messages painted on rusty boxcars as they fly by looking to see is there one for me but I can’t read a single word then the last car rumbles past and fades out I hear the sound of the water flowing over stones again and I understand that I didn’t miss a thing


Rainbow Chalk

By Edward Lee

The chalk dissolved on the pavement when the first rains of the year came, hopscotch trails and stick figures disappearing as the ground turned a deeper grey. Only the children were disappointed, having to retreat indoors, while the jubilant adults rushed out to dance naked in the streets, mouths open, drinking, children themselves once again. When the rain ceased and the sun returned, the adults quickly dressed, eyes averted from each other, and shuffled back inside, while the children roared out, oblivious to the gentle madness of adults, rainbow chalks bright in their innocent hands.


What is a Ghost?

By Erika V. Cabral

Perhaps it is the paranormal specter that silently smiles at me in front of my mirror when I awaken from sleep paralysis. Maybe it is the sudden coldness that overwhelms me when a certain moment passes and, momentarily, changes the texture of my skin. Perhaps, it could be the invisible thread tied to my ankle preventing me from taking that necessary step, making me prey to its subtle strength and denying me the freedom that it could grant me. It might be the change from day to night, which brings the mist of darkness, passing from bright and warm landscapes reflected in my eyes, to the blurred and macabre curtain that no longer reflects the light of my gaze. It could be the sudden stop of a cry of pain, followed by the self-consolation that there is still a way out, which may not be the right one, but is available and ready for me to take it whenever I want. It may be the unexpected encounter of my aura with the intermittent fibers of another parallel world, to let me know that we are not alone, and that, in another dimension, there is an accurate future. Or it could simply be that tedious thought that goes through my head over and over again, just to tell me 61

that I may have messed up, or that it ends up without pain or glory, reminding me that neutrality is sometimes worse than a blunt response, even if it is painful. I am beginning to believe that it may be that reflection that looks at me every time I look in the mirror, sometimes it smiles at me, and other times it frowns inconsolably. But it is very possible that the ghost is that threat to the complete understanding of my person, or to that complicated puzzle called life. What is a ghost? ... It’s me.

By Sandra Seitamaa @seitamaaphotography 62


By Paula Ochoa

I’m from citrus smelling dish soap, Elbow deep in the sink. I’m from cleaning bathtubs dirtier than my father’s mechanic clothes. I’m from church going people who tell me: “Cross your legs.” I’m from a generation of women who say: “Calladita es mas Bonita.” I’m from submissive people, but that can never be me. I’m from a family that treats me differently Because I can bear children. I’m from all these things, but it’s not who I choose to be. I choose to go and get my degree. I choose to not cross my legs. I choose to not get married, or have kids. I choose because I can.


Predators of Deception

By Quess Tion

You can’t see me if you truly don’t want me to be found, But in the crevices of your words that are tainted with duplicity, There I will lay. In the caverns that are too deep to reach, Reach for me if you dare, but be prepared to face the leviathan of all unshrouded deception. Deception is all I will ever consume once I leave my domain. But, sadly, When there are no more facades for me to devour, You will see that this world is nothing but deception itself




By Candide


Nearing Middle Age

By Sofiul Azam

I Before you plan a workout to get back in shape, you’ll find it’s been half a life now. Even the pains and pleasures of parenting do not count when you are left with underachievement and the feeling of getting rationally insane about it. It’s the rust that slowly eats your iron-like firmness. A spliff or booze can’t drive it away. While waiting to be happily done with all of that, you can’t expect even an apology from yourself for not moving past differences to get along with those whose Midas touch – as you love to spread it in your circle – turned all your precious feelings into the alchemists’ sought-after gold. Your freedom will be that of a horse as free as it can be in a paddock, and you can regain a bit of your soberness by talking to irresponsive fireflies after dusk. Even then, you will feel the rust growing bigger and bigger with the salt from your eyes. II In the dark, ask yourself what it takes to rein in your mood swings and stop your eye-rolls at your own mansplaining. Don’t gape at all these like a gavial with its jaws wide open for a victim. In the end, you’ll learn the victim is yourself, 66

and your retaliation will create no consequence while for some time you can enjoy at your own peril the perversion of a dirty old man watching young girls’ nipples protruding against slinky T-shirts; for that, no one needs to be a boob critic. But it will follow that you are no longer young, just a rugged boulder about to crash down at the foothill. Don’t even expect the luxury of being weirded out to get a confirmation letter of youth in the mail. In the gathering dark, you can strike up a conversation with ghosts of hatred. But don’t be mortified at yourself for what you are, like a bunch of jerks. III How to take the signs that you are nearing middle age is harder than ducking a firestorm with who you lived so long and made babies once beautifully helpless, now sadly better off unaided. Things won’t let you forget that you are aging, maybe arthritis or those youthful midnight acrobatics on the white page or you being no longer unfazed by any perpendicular height. 67

Because it’s a time when fears of the end spread like metastasis. This lifelong matchup of virtues with vices won’t give you peace, nor will your repentance for being a brute playfully killing skinks and sewer rats with brick bats. Yet you have the propensity to feel as if you lost all your innocence at gunpoint, with no reimbursement! Because you have so many roads left untaken, and your legs being not the most enduring, you will feel as if you were a warthog being chased, not so sure about charging with its curved tusks at the lion; what would you call this, defense strategy, or a final act of bravery?


A Jazz Fable

after Count Basie and the Kansas City 7

By Lauren Scharhag It feels like a fairy tale (What’cha Talkin) to imagine my grandparents young and hep: my grandfather, a handsome rogue in a fedora and chalk stripes; my grandmother in long beads and high heels; and they were the couple that all the other couples envied, going to see Bennie and the Count (Tally-ho, Mr. Basie) down on 18th and Vine swilling bathtub gin (Senator Whitehead) couldn’t stop ‘em it was a wide-open town dancing (At the Count’s Place) swing, stomp, and ragtime 69

till dawn broke over the site of old Electric Park, and she was just 16, and her dress was blue, and she was a child bride, (I Want a Little Girl) and her bruises were blue, and her sorrows were blue, and her suitcase was blue, and there was no one to tell her (Secrets) to, and she fled to Chi town, just like Basie when the band broke up, to sample what freedom had to give on the banks of Lake Michigan, (Oh, Lady, Be Good) but dreaming of the riverlands.


Like Looking into a Mirror

By Brian Rihlmann

he pumps out a last rep with a grimace and a grunt stands and goes to the mirror lats flared like peacock feathers flexes his chest and arms shakes his head at the skinny boy he sees in the glass then turns away and shuffles back toward the bench for another set or three

By Jan Kopřiva @jxk 71

By Ramazan Tokay @ramazant

Once I had Wings

By Edward Lee

Waning boxes strung up high Hovering over a precipice, Moving bodies in the wind, Necropolis sleeps with secrets. Six foot deep, mirth and mud, Uncles laid undug, Your aunt, your grams, Your parents dance, Without a breath or pulse. Nailed and sealed in pine woodCrypts of alumina brass. Some boxed up, some boxed in, This is the skeletons’ dance. 72

A Girl Hypersensitive

By Ziaul Moid Khan

(I) In she came with a stall Wrapped lovingly around her Cheeks frozen with winter After the rain did fall; “Are you shivering?” She chattered with A face so smiling; “Yes, yes, yes I do!” I murmured as if in flue. Forwarded her my hand But she did not understand…! (II) Then she gave me her hand. Too soft was it to defend! Soft as the petal of rose And so beautiful was her nose. “Can I kiss your two lips?” I asked looking on her hips. “Don’t ask! Ye can!” She agreed. Putting my petals on hers I sipped her nectar And she took a deep sigh… (III) Then I held her tight In my arms softly strong, But she displayed no fight. Her upper lip was a piece of butter As in my arms she did flutter, 73

And stood on her soft toes, Till date it was the finest dose. Caressing her back I held my Helen’s neck And sang, “My love is not fake” Fingering through her hair long… (IV) A girl so hypersensitive As if were my close relative, Her two round cheeks Were like two hemispheres, And I’m thrilled when she dares. Her deep breaths were so high And for her breasts anyone can die. Her swelling bosom was so close To my chest as if a doctor giving dose; Her excitement she could not hide, So we loved and she never denied… (V) Then we sipped a cup of tea, There I touched her up to knee, Her soft-soft cheeks, Her small-small lips, And expressed my desire To touch her breasts bare; She threw back her stall And I estimated her cleavage fall, Her alarmingly fair skin And her two nipples un-akin, Here I bent to kiss her pink skin… 74

(VI) I recalled now her words, “I’m fair not dark, Jaan!” So heavy, so beautiful Was this a pair bountiful? But then she looked frightful, As if unhappy with my proceeding; But I sensed inside she was burning, She wished to sit on my legs, So I caressed her pretty legs, Attacked her body of roses And discharged my youthful doses… (VII) Finally she got up from my lap, Expressing her anger over this step, “When will we talk?” I questioned. “Never, never, never in life!” Then away she walked And so she never talked, My heart was still on fire But she called me a liar, Dire consequences were upfront: “This is hunger, not love! Ye spoiled the chastity of a dove!”



By Anonymus 76

Last Painting of Vincent Van Gogh

By Vanessa Maldonado-Soto

There lies a path Within my skin. No one knows—or sees—it, but I. I who dreams it, Feels it, tastes it— The pulsing beams Of my moon’s grace; The dancing wings Of every crow’s Swiftly fleeting Serenity. There lies a path Within my skin Where strokes of blue Brighten my flesh As I simmer Within my moon And the belly Of every crow. Permanently, The sensation, The dream vision, Of what had been Questionable At first slumber—


A Fantasy At last wakage— Enrages me, Excites me, and Entices me. There lies a path Within my skin I never knew Until tonight. By chance —or fate—, I’ve come across The yellow sea; The yellow sea Of slow black strokes That drips, drops, drips, And drips, drops, drips— Into more seas Of quick white strokes That patter, o!, Patter, patter Against my eyes Like the light that Dwells within my Blue flesh, bleeding Inside of me; A path the night Has never been Able to touch For fear of then Becoming day. 78

My Love

By James G. Piatt

In the changeless whipping of the churning wind, I feel sad, as time blown events shatter my dreams. I see a shadow, a silhouette of a beautiful lady smiling as she stands underneath the shade of a pine tree. Then, I see her walking in a flower-laden garden filled with the fragrance of roses; the day is dazzling. The dream continues, as clouds roll over distant mountains. I see a ghost wrapped in words telling me that my loneliness will dwindle, like the ebbing pealing of church bells far in the distance. But, holding on to the tears of my sorrow, I cannot let go of the persistent bonds of love and time that engulfed my heart for so many years. As an old clock peals away the sorrowful hours, my mind now filled with moments of emptiness, will not allow me to move away from the sound of her voice echoing in the rooms of our house, and her images that fill my memories.


The Bible will Keep

By Holly Day

I step off the train and shake myself free. My name is drawn to your voice, puts me on my back later, in the dark. From head to toe, I am this new woman, one that wants only you pressed into the places I spread open to God. Confession, it works against me, there is always so much work to do. Sparrows and cardinals and whiskey all scream my life out on the thin quilt for you to go through, I tell you that God has forgiven me my trespasses, that the Bible in my pocket is the only thing keeping my dreams from leaking out and clattering on the tiles noisy and useless as a handful of spent bullet cartridges.


Close Strangers

By Samuel Samba

My father tells me to write anything about his manhoodmy breath stopped halfway in between his thighs before I told him i am not indebted to his stale arrogance... and the way he lynches the tuft of my hair with his crossed fingers. I am not indebted to him with the softness of my cleavage the hollows along my torso, or whatever held high hopes in front of my chest because his wife taught me all that while I was dragged out of her womb for being too curious about her sudden death she told me after that day, never to allow a man climb my beanstalk with a cutlass beside his pocket to clear my bushy paths for his playground but this stranger has mastered the bend and curves of my newly found hamlet and made me his personal town crier


Mother... your voice abuses my teen and the childish alphabets that shrinks together it’s piece and how I lost my fruit and cannot understand this close stranger who plucks it And how I still live in a body I do not own; orphaned on the streets of my nakedness and how I find my way home; drenched in the cold breath of my own skin I do not want to write about how I had laid to waste the whole city of a man’s groin leaving his crevices to die in a thousand ways.. A finger raptures the rim of my lips and I am asked to number my tooth; the way we honor our misfortunes.. So I chose to write about distance because mother’s silhouette shed no light on that about pains, because it still isn’t a measure to life about death because there isn’t much of this body left...


Cool, Steel, Slam

By J. Velaz

The event of the North and South Brawl. Not like any other you would expect. Rules laid down on the court. Flat hand or fist, they swing and shift. Let me start out at first whose nerves at burst like melted steel, liquified rush, uncertain brush with opponents’ hush, “It’s cool. Swing left, Swing Right, Homie’s down for a fight!” Hands like steel, cool, solid slam. Blue against the concrete. Corner shot, “It’s about to drop.” In for a roll, no hope to control. The game-ball brawl, handball, you fall, you call, that’s all. Next up for this bout, another’s going out to my hands I call Steel. The ball rolls, you kneel as to pray, “Dear Lord, this guy’s unreal.”


Is There Something Fishy in What I Say about Swimming in Summer? By Sofiul Azam

As sadness ripped through you like a tornado, I assured you would never be at risk and I’d always get you out of harm’s way. Cutting through the red tape in love, I didn’t waste a single minute to open up about what had happened like the inevitable trickle of sand in a sand clock before you chanced on me on a rain-washed evening as if only me there was to reach out to for my sheltering arms. I fell in love with your baby bump at first sight. I always felt like kissing you on every inch of it. The baby inside you was someone else’s. He left you dumbfounded when the ripe crops needed a harvester. Did I arrive on the scene with the hurry of winds of dark tropical storms, or did I slither into you like a snake? We tried to save that baby but she died at birth; you cried a lot, with me around trying to hold my tears, and I offered you 84

my shoulder to lean on. You took it, and I was glad to be of use to you like never before. Later, much later, as days bloomed into months and months fruited into years, we forgot how to spell Stress in undressing each other with our expecting hands. I listened to you talk eagerly about whatever you did in your tedious workplace every night while planning to seal your lips with a soft kiss and waiting for you to finally stop to look at me so that I could give you another on your perspiring forehead. And you always kept your head on my left arm, giving me the smell of your shampooed hair. We clung to each other like two seeds in a pod through all the highs and lows. But we never wanted to get ourselves straitjacketed in a communally correct knot, wedlock by name. What is it, anyway? Is it anything other than a sheet of paper with some formal scribbling on it, telling nothing of our passion’s depth? Phony moralists – here or anywhere else – exploit women in every way, citing their bullying ideologies; 85

and whatever they say about ethics is at best a blob of perfumed dogshit. They only ensured hard times for us living in a country where self-censorship distorts everything, even love itself that’s been the most often profaned of all things on earth. Now in this fruit-ripening summer, let’s hit the rippling pool with a splash, leaving behind all worries that plague the pleasure of a tight embrace in public, of your nipples nibbling on my bare chest, and the desire for warmth to be forever young even in the cooler water at the bottom.


In the Land of Anglo-Saxon

By Anthony Robinson

In the land of Anglo-Saxons I’ll be the insight to get it crackin Sparked the potential of generations lost tribes a save the nation All Black and fisted up America All Black and fisted up America My responsibility stay hungry cuz I gotta fed the culture The jungle which I come from was made of concrete and conflict My proximity to insight is inches from being captured and conquered No babies to my name but I was tasked to raise a monster Swallowed lessons like taking pills without water My diadems have no conflict so they flawless My people left fo dead because without a vision they begin to perish Like them spaces in new orleans that got flooded In the land of Anglo-Saxons I’ll be the insight to get it crackin Sparked the potential of generations lost tribes a save the nation All Black and fisted up America All Black and fistedfup America 87

My responsibility stay hungry cuz I gotta fed the culture Fight back Black Right that Black We under attack and runnin in packs If I fail to right my wrongs I lose my grip of holdin my past Dig that black Get that back Babylon take what they can when we don’t value what we have Born into a view of the world that raise predators In the land of capital, you a slave if you a debtor But the monetize debt stigmatize Vets for rights unmet We fight this country Then fight for this country For purple hearts that can’t beat yet And it don’t mean shit for our reality Like them yellow scripts at canteen Yet we wheelin and dealin to maintain it Deeply ingrained willie lynch God deals with the conditions of a people so you can measure your own changes In the land of Anglo-Saxons I’ll be the insight to get it crackin Black lives and education run like scars whipped on the back of them On the road to freedom like an unbound man with them hounds after him 88

History repeats itself in the generation we turn our backs on Prisons have become industrial Cells feeding off our Black souls Some Bros go to jail and find their scrolls Some pages never turn forward/backward glances too valuable Poverty is violence/It leaves scars and blues Brothas Moms working her bones sufferin silent Cuz one generation bleeds into another In the land of the Anglo-Saxons I’ll be the insight to get it crackin Livin beyond our means without a mission Penitentiary becomes a career that lacks a pension All Black and fisted up America All Black and fisted up America Preach Black Don’t retreat Black Press forward and teach that All Black and fisted up America Watch anglos on the attack watch the Brothers who support that All Black and fisted up America What’s the value of our worth if we don’t understand our math The lesson is the tax The seed is more valuable than the root Brotha watch the harvest that you plant 89

Because the mouse’s nature leads him to the trap Black history is an assessment It can only be created if we go thru it We need to reinvest what we owe to it We livin in a mess because we won’t do it We march behind lessons beat by the wrong music Stop holding back the youth if they motivated The work is in the love That only work if you love it They choke our options then they judge us Like reading Deuteronomy before they cursed us They auction off the best parts in us Now our reflections reveal the art the world has to offer All Black and fisted up America All Black and fisted up America This round is on us Pharoah is seated like the crown is on us Til kingdom come in God we trust Have faith in yo position This moments for us Devils don’t condone but so what The trebles on so bass up Distorted reflections can’t face us All Black and fisted up america We reap what we sole For our children we gotta break the mold All Black and fisted up America We never give in but always lookin up We’ve been in existence for so long Creations patterned after us All Black and fisted up America 90

Forty acres is what we owed No wonder we actin up All Black and fisted up america Actin Black is the new trend being sold I put my heart in this ink This aint poem This post that probe souls This is voice invaluable This is Oral tradition Before corners dictated where we could go All Black and fisted up America In the land of Anglo-Saxons I’ll be the insight to get it crackin Sparked the potential of generations lost tribes a save the nation All Black and fisted up America All Black and fisted up America My responsibility stay hungry cuz I gotta fed the culture



By Lauren Scharhag

Whenever I get the chance, I pay the exorbitant ticket prices for aquariums. It’s the closest I can get to an alien world, and, no matter how old I get, I never pass up the chance to touch urchins and sea stars; the sleek backs of manta rays; the gummy dolphin tongues My fingertips have time between visits to forget, so, each time, they marvel anew at the textures I share this world with: hard and soft, feathery, granulated. The docents tell me sturgeon is leathery, but its flesh feels astonishingly like human flesh— not so far removed. I press my forehead to the glass and recall my gilled ancestry.


Contributors ◊ Abundio Vargas Abundio is a Delta College student. Driven and held hostage by insatiable curiosity. ◊ Adrian Slonaker A Chronic wanderer, Adrian Slonaker edits copy and dreams of wolves and owls. ◊ Alyssa Boneck Alyssa is a creative writing graduate for Udpasiaso University, and an ever-strange loving wife and mother of two. ◊ Amirah Al Wassif A freelance writer from Egypt. Amirah has published two books. Her writings have been published in multiple English literary magazines. ◊ Anthony Robinson Jr. Anthony Robinson Jr. is an Organic Intellectual who has a Positive Obsession for Transformative Justice and Courageous Dialogue. ◊ Brandon Marlon Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama and English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. ◊ Brian Rihlmann Brian Rhilmann lives in Rheno, NV, and writes mostly confessional, free-verse poetry ◊ Charles Rammelkamp Charles Rammelkamp’s collection, CATASTROIKA, has been accepted for publication by Apprentice House at Loyola University in Baltimore.


◊ Daniel Moore Daniel lives in Washington on Whidbey Island. His chapbook “Boys,” was published by Duck Lake Books in December 2019. ◊ Deborah Purdy Deborah Purdy lives outside Philadelphia where she writes poetry and creates fiber art. ◊ Edward Lee Edward Lee’s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America ◊ Erika V. Cabral Erika is a Spanish and Psychology Delta College student, a self-proclaimed truth seeker ◊ Frogg Corpse Frogg Corpse is a poet and vocalist from Louisville,KY. ◊ Holly Day Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Plainsongs, The Long Islander, and The Nashwaak Review. Her newest poetry collections are A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press), In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing). ◊ Irie Woods Irie Woods is a student at San Joaquin Delta College and an emerging writer. ◊ James G Piatt James, a retired professor, lives with his wife in a replica 1800’s eastern farmhouse in Santa Ynez, California. He has had three collections of poetry, “The Silent Pond,” (2012), “Ancient Rhythms,” (2014), and “Light” (2016), over 1,175 poems, four novels, and 35 short stories, published. ◊ J Velaz J developed his love of poetry at the age of 17. ◊ Jaysyn Ashanti Jaysyn is an emerging writer established in California.


◊ Joe Albanese Joe Albanese is the author of Caina, For the Blood is the Life, Candy Apple Red, Smash and Grab, Benevolent King, and a poetry collection, Cocktails with a Dead Man. ◊ John Casquarelli John Casquarelli is a Lecturer at Koç University in Istanbul. ◊ John Urban I consider my work to be in the tradition of the great American Romantic Poets--Whitman, Crane, Dickinson, and Stevens. ◊ Kendall Hoeft Kendall has an M.F.A. in Poetry and teaches writing in San Francisco. ◊ Lauren Scharhag Lauren Scharhag is a Midwest writer of fiction and poetry ◊ Luis Garcia Luis is a young artist established in Stockton, California. His adversities as a young child lead him to explore poetry as an expressive art form to create an optimistic and creative life. His poetry became a way to detail his love for nature and peace. ◊ Lynn White Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dreams, fantasy and reality. ◊ Marc Livanos Poetry in Sheepshead Review, Merrimack Review, Floyd County Moonshine & Penmen. ◊ Mark A Fisher Mark A. Fisher is a writer, poet, and playwright living in Tehachapi, CA. His poetry has appeared in: Altadena Poetry Review, Dragon Poet Review, Star*Line, Penumbra and other places. His first chapbook, Drifter, is available from Amazon. His second, Hour of Lead, won the 2017 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest. ◊ Samuel Samba Many things defines me, especially my mother; how she forges me in her thoughts.


◊ Paula Ochoa Resilience is key to succeeding, never give up. ◊ Paula Sheil Paula Sheil has been publishing her poems since the 1970s. ◊ Peter J King Peter J. King (b. Boston, Lincolnshire, U.K.) is a poet, translator, musician, and artist. ◊ Quess Tion Quess is an emerging writer established in California. ◊ Rekha Valliappan Rekha Valliappan’s poems feature in Ann Arbor Review and earned her a Pushcart Prize nomination. ◊ Robert Cooperman Robert Cooperman’s latest collection is The Devil Who Raised Me (Lithic Press). Forthcoming from FutureCycle Press is Lost on the Blood-Dark Sea. ◊ Scott Thomas Outlar Scott Thomas Outlar lives and writes in the suburbs outside of Atlanta, Georgia. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and selections of his poetry have been translated into multiple languages. ◊ Sofiul Azam Author of three poetry collections Impasse (2003), In Love with a Gorgon (2010), Safe under Water (2014) and edited Short Stories of Selim Morshed (2009), Sofiul Azam has been published in multiple literary magazines while currently teaching English at World University of Bangladesh. ◊ Yuan Changming Yuan Changming is a 10-time Pushcart nominee and PhD holder. She edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. ◊ Ziaul Moid Khan Ziaul Moid Khan teaches English at Gudha International School, Jhunjhunu, in Rajasthan. He lives with his wife, Khunshboo and son, Brahamand.


Editorial Team

Ronald Godoy - Editor in Chief Ronald is a student at Delta College. He holds an Associate’s Degree in English and is working on his minor in Spanish. He plans to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature at the UC. His goal is to teach literature and languages in his country of origin, Peru. In his free time, Ronald enjoys writing poetry, reading novels and short stories, and going to the beach.

Vanessa Maldonado-Soto - Editor A college student at Delta College, Vanessa’s main goal is to work as a Certified Nursing Assistant for the time being before officially deciding on applying to a LVN/RN program, Health Science Program, or CSU as an English Major. When not working, thinking about life, or obtaining as many AAs as possible, Vanessa enjoys watching korean dramas, reading romance novels, playing the piano, and writing poetry.


Alicia Alonso - Editor Alicia attends Delta College. She is currently earning her Associates degree in sociology and plans to transfer to CSU Stanislaus for her bachelor’s. In her free time, she loves to read, write, and swim.

Lilia Esperanza - Editor Lilia is an English major at Delta College. She intends to become a writer and English teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys reading science fiction, studying mythology, and gardening.

Jared Schmerer- Editor Jared is an English major and student at Delta College. He enjoys writing and hopes to transfer from Delta College in a couple semesters to achieve his Bacherlor’s degree in English Literature and become an author as well as an English teacher. He hopes to one day teach ESL in Japan.



By Valentina B.

Get Published in Poets’ Espresso Review Patricia Ann Mayorga invites submissions to Poets’ Espresso Review to be mailed to Patricia Mayorga at 1474 Pelem Ct., Stockton, CA 95203 or emailed to poetsespressoreview@ Free submissions can include poetry, artwork, and photography. All material must be appropriate for most age groups. A two to four line biography is required. Please include a photograph if possible, a return address, phone number and email address.

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San Joaquin Delta College Get Published in Artifact Nouveau

Artifact Nouveau is a magazine published by the SJDC Writers’ Guild. We accept literary and visual art submissions year round. All genres and mediums are welcome. Submit to Deadlines: Spring - March 1st Fall - October 15th Literary Submissions • Poem Length May Vary (limit 5 submissions) • Short Stories and Essays: Max 1500 Words (limit 2 submissions) • Accepted formats: Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (.PDF) Visual Submissions • Colored/Black and White • JPG Format at 300 DPI • Limit 10 submissions




By Cherie Truesdell CENTERFOLD ART

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Artifact Nouveau is a publication of

works from the San Joaquin Delta College community. It celebrates the artistic and creative works of its students, faculty, alumni, and emerging writers from all around the world. It is published by the Writers’ Guild of San Joaquin Delta College. The contributors certify the works are their own. The views of these works do not reflect the opinions of the administration or trustees of Delta College.

Artifact Nouveau copyright remains with

respective authors and artists. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. ©2020 SAN JOAQUIN DELTA COLLEGE Superintendent/ President: Dr. Omid Pourzanjani Board of Trustees President of the Board: Ms. Janet Rivera Clerk: Ms. C. Jennet Stebbins Catherine Mathis, M.D. Dr. Charles Jennings Dr. Teresa Brown Mr. Steve Castellanos, FAIA



By Valentina B.