itâ€™s a typo waiting to happen
Issue 1 Winter/Spring 2014
The literary journal that explores poetry and all its faces. Winter/Spring 2014 Ty(poe:tic)us explores everything that is poetry. From featuring poems from emerging and experienced poets, to hearing stories and theories about poetry and the life of a poet, typoetic.us aims to show the world how important poetry is to not only its participants, but also its spectators. The idea of typoetic.us is messy, unintentional, and as beautiful as a flower. It stands out for its beauty and for the close relationship it has with the poet. It is everything that poetry is and isn’t (though the “isn’t” is not necessarily incorrect). It’s a typo waiting to happen. Editors Christina Rodriguez Christine Coonrod Ahmani DoDoo Laneice Garner
firstname.lastname@example.org COPYRIGHT © 2014 Ty(poe:tic)us. All Rights Reserved No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever (beyond copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the United States Copyright Law) without permission from the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
TY(POE:TIC)US ISSUE ONE |
Contents Meadow Crown Quartet John Thornburg . 8 Spanish Lesson Jordan E. Franklin
Venetian Blinds Srajana Kaikini
Nuclear Galleries Taylor Williams
Folding Table Molly Silverstein
In Your Best Interest John Faciano
Woodwork Hannah McIntosh
Locket Theory Kaili Doud Water Clouds Mario H. Palomino
3 Sahil AP 日本語 Angela Qian
“Come (on my) Back,” She Said Jacob Frebe
Lovers in a Broken City Sade Harrison . 23 Shelved Traci Bennu Sharea Harris
24 . 25
Saudade Splintered Fingertips Luci Black & Roger Brightley
The Diners of Our Nights Daniel Cohen . 31 Dear, Deer Jon Dwyer
Dreams Matt Guzman
IV | TY(POE:TIC)US ISSUE ONE
Contents Stella Samantha Eubanks
Lily’s Poem (North Carolina) Jordan E. Franklin 40 Part XXXV: Human, A Redefinition Taylor Williams
Broken Darriana Donegan
Paper Snowflakes 2 Mary Stein
Maslow in Michigan Kaili Doud
Atari Light October John Thornburg
Rules and Reminders: How to Love Darriana Donegan 2/21/2014 Mishayla Bellows They Meet in a Public Place Jon Dwyer.
. 56 57
Virtues of a Good Chinese Girl Angela Qian Photography Siddhartha Mudaliar Poet’s Corner
Notes from the Editors I would like to thank everyone for being a part of this amazing journey. Reading the words of everyone who contributed was nothing short of incredible. The emotions carried behind these poems from the writers who wrote them, who shared many interesting and unique stories, was awe inspiring. I am excited to see these wonderful artists found in this magazine who each share the same love as the editors, which is poetry. I am thankful for this team of writers and editors who each had a part in this experience. - Christine
Whoever said a picture is worth a thousand words, has never read so many powerful, heart swelling, side cramping works of literary art from all over the map. Reading these entries and connecting with some and opening up my eyes to others has been an experience that was unexpected. Iâ€™m impressed by the vision of my fellow editors for this completely awesome issue of Typoetic. To be a hand in the creation of this magazine and stitching together the thoughts and experiences of everyone who contributed to this leaves a feeling of satisfaction that no comparison can be worthy of. - Laneice
The most beautiful thing about words is their ability to create worlds and transform even the smallest corner of the earth, especially when under the power of the tongue or the pen. It is this strange, subtle yet welcome stream of words that interrupt the monotony of each day, in a world that so often celebrates the conspicuous. And sometimes - this time - the profound subtleties need to celebrated. Hence, my eagerness to be involved with this group of creative, open-minded women wordsmiths and this journal, Ty(poe:tic)us. There is something fresh and diverse that awaits on each page. This collection of poets (and the brave, sole photographer who used his camera to write) have knitted together exquisite pieces that capture the awkward, the funny, the daring, the scary, the cultural complexities and all the other potentialities of what simple words can morph into when sewn together. Of what it can all mean, and the magnanimous effect it can all have. - Ahmani
Welcome to the first issue of Typoetic.us! I am overwhelmed by the beauty of this process. When I first started to build this journey, I had a vision of something simple, yet profound. In the final days of preparing this issue, I’ve realized that it’s more than that. Being a poet for over 14 years has taught me how to navigate the beast that is poetry - the struggle to write and then to share your work with the world. I’ve been on the other side of submissions, acceptances, and rejections. I started this journal keeping the poet in mind. Picking out a team of editors who would be able to do the same was easier than I thought it would be. The three ladies that are a part of this journey are incredible. They are writers who are on the same journey as myself and are coming into their own. We live in different parts of the country and have been able to make magic happen despite schedules and lives. I am extremely grateful for their hard work. As you look throughout this issue, you’ll see the beautiful design work of Ahmani. If you follow Typoetic.us on Tumblr, you’ll see the hard work of Laneice. Christine (as well as everyone else) has worked hard on reading submissions and giving feedback on the issue. They are wonderful and I thank each of them from the bottom of my heart for their contribution to this journal. The poets and artists featured in our first issue are mind blowing. We received submissions from all over the world, from India to Peru, back to my stomping grounds of New York. They are teenagers, moms, teachers, college students, professionals, and artists. Many of the poets featured are being published for the first time. We are humbled by the quality of their work and the trust they have put into us to showcase their work to the world. They are setting a standard that we look forward to challenging as we put out more issues. On behalf of the editors of Typoetic.us, I want to thank the contributors for their beauty. The excitement of reading submissions left us in awe of what’s out there. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Before this editor gets too emotional, I’m going to end this here and say: I hope everyone enjoys this issue! Happy reading!
ty (poe:tic) us
itâ€™s a typo waiting to happen
www.typoetic.us facebook.com/typoetic.us twitter.com/typoetic_us ty-poetic-us.tumblr.com
Design & Layout: Ahmani DoDoo
Siddhartha Mudaliar, People, 2012.
The cat had only been missing a week and already the streets were as quiet as a curfew, birdsongs strand the gutter in incomplete acid rainbows rusting the grates a mars surface of drippy catacombs every morning my front step is adorned with another tender corpse. The ladiesman had been missing a month his curls taped to ransom notes addressed to your mother. When finally you kicked down the door to the slanted motel room where he was captive you discovered the stones were never really rolling, it was just a sleight of summer wind, stirring up dust along the sunset strip. For a year we searched for my asshole brother his brittle skin, his shrapnel wit. We crossed swords in Grand Central Station, put my lights out with the blunt of his blade, every August he mails me bits of his beard as if to say in semi-tones, “someday you’ll have enough to build the brother you wanted.” The old poet has been dead a decade the air on the porch is cleaner, the color of the box elder deeper, Her ashes mingled with the cindery soil down bug-trodden trails in the roaring woods of Iowa City where sometimes you still see Her, the shade and scent of brandy, grown antlers, rustling the canopies. I finally found Lily after twenty-two years she was in a gin-rinsed dance floor her iris a scent-atlas of the Yukon her slur contained little veins of cursed gold, the wine always booby-traps the mornings and over an autumn where all the leaves turned to liquor over the course of a romance called empty bottles both of us were overflowing.
Meadow Crown Quartet by John Thornburg
by Jordan E. Franklin
Yo soy una muchacha negra. I have my grandmother’s tongue but unlike hers mine is thick and unrefined. I do not turn Spanish into music the way a native speaker could— I do not make magic when I produce the sounds the way she could. Muchacha does not become mariachi and soy does not become soca. Instead it becomes a jumbled tapestry weaved by a girl desperate to gather strength in the words her soul forgot— It’s a struggle between me and a strange yet familiar syntax— a battle between my voice and the songs of my grandma. Yo soy una muchacha negra. I have my grandmother’s tongue but mine is thick, unsteady and untrained. I’ll continue to borrow my grandmother’s tongue until my soul remembers what it has lost. Bien.
Venetian Blinds by Srajana Kaikini
I sink deeper Into the crisp linen covered mattress And battle incessant thoughts I have been lazy, indolent recently. And I will not forget how I stuttered and Fumbled with my words when speaking to the landlady downstairs. I flip through the superfluous album of profile pictures of Of my flatmate from Istanbul. I mull on my obsession with wanting to be in love and not I write a note - â€˜Abstain from the subject, She is in recuperation.â€™ The window panes of this bedroom window are foggy and grey with sky. The brown dusty Venetian blinds stand suspended, With a long knotted string that holds them together. Pull one, then the other and they come down, One by one and then all together Like a corrupting video tape erasing sentences from my eyes, One line after another
I’m a gallery of broken dreams. I am unhinged cupboards, cracked tiles, and fitzing lights. He and I are kerosene fires and crashing oceans, beating up the shoreline. We are soft sheets with morning light and squealing tea kettles, ready for the day. Ready for the battle that they call living. He is a Mercator projection, en progression. He is the stuffed rabbit, Edward Tulane, lost over the side of a cruise ship, about to seek adventure. I am the unwritten journal, the stacks of rejection letters, and the ever busy typewriter. We are the affluent bilingual tourists- the language of ourselves and the language of one another- built upon the affections of love. You are a gallery of moved mountains, torn down plaster, and a broken heart. Your heart was stitched up with crude utensils- floss and a dirty needle. It is not healing now, it is infected and black feathers are flaring off strangers’ backs. You are a gallery that never quite made it to The Louvre. To die unremembered. Isn’t that the real fear? The nightmare that we will be forgotten and buried inside of civilization and mounds of dirt. That god won’t write your name on the Book of Life- forget you. Forget you and forget your mother and your lover, your daughters and your sisters. Pull your head off of the pavement, you are burning brighter than the sun. He and I are stardust. We are spanning out and firing up, nuclear. We are all nuclear, waiting to be fired up.
by Taylor Williams
They keep certain doors locked until we can get small enough to fold through them. Iâ€™ve been small enough for years. I just keep folding. My great grandpa sliced off his thumb collapsing a folding table. Uncle Frank found the thumb in the yard and threw it over the fence before he realized whose appendage it had been. There are entire parts of us that are dispensable and anything becomes itself if you cut it off cleanly enough. I want to keep the great poets bottled inside me with holes in the bottle for breathing. Yesterday I pictured putting the whole day in my mouth the subway the people on it computers envelopes desks. Someday something will drag us back and thatâ€™s whatâ€™s haunting me.
by Molly Silverstein
Here. Read this. Aloud. Good. Now again. With emphasis on the “is” in line three. Good. You did good. No, don’t do that. You’re not really ready for that yet. I know you want to. Yes, it’s good that you want to. But you have to wait. For a little while. I told you not to do that. Now look what you’ve done. Now I have to fix it. You should have listened to me.
In Your Best Interest by John Faciano
Now, nobody gets to have a good day.
by Hannah McIntosh “the boys always crawl up from the woodwork, darling; they always do for you.” but i wanted to tell them it was not a privilege to drink black water from diamond shot glasses and to live under blankets with holes to send texts full of verse and to receive back half hearted “how pretty”s. it looks so lovely to be chased after dark but the ones with dashing veneers and bottles on the nightstand fascinate, until one day they shed the name Muse and turn up infected with rabies. they yank on my bra-straps and they laugh when my skin chafes. none of them ever hear my sing-song voice and my musings about the fields: they only hear the song they choose for us and their mental clock tick tick ticking. the ones with the cocaine powder don’t notice my makeup powder, ever. they don’t need me to feel high. “honey, they find you beautiful; how many four-leafs did you find?” i want to scream that i’ve given them all away to the woodwork men who always prove themselves as splinters. it’s not lucky when they come out of the woodwork
Poet’s Note: This is a selection about women who envy other women who men are drawn to, and the response of a broken “magnetic,” “beautiful,” “lucky” woman. Having men should never be a quality to envy - for it is not a quality at all.
Naked toward the tiny sun she blooms more infinite and elderly than the body could ever imagine to be: the dark and scattered Universe. How she tucks herself into the irises of our eyes. With the falling of daylight, how she clicks our locket-lids shut for she cannot bear to watch herself grow old. These nights when I am alone she carves mine back wide and we stare awfully into each other, each time asking Is this what they call love? I see, in her, names she cannot remember, bodies whose mournful eyes so lustfully held her image, swimming, whose hands clasped layers of bowed glass to magnify her, to scrutinizeâ€” and neither they nor we do understand why she holds us so dearly. Her sweeping silence feeds our agony for what is known of emptiness, hydrogen, and passionate men, dilation of the obsidian pupil and the muscle iris that wrings it like a panicked mother. She could be so fallen to make us indifferent to her darkening face, oblivious to her fading. How she runs faster each slanted day. How frantic she finds us falling in love with each other. How her portraits gleam whole and alone in each tiny other, perhaps what we know as understanding. We know this is not love, though it may lead there. And that love is not beauty, though both are infinitely misunderstood. That if any iris shimmers as each beating and fading body sleeps, its fragile casing is gold-chained, a vast and lonely unanswered question. That with the falling of daylight, when the tiny sun goes down, we find ourselves miraculously lost.
by Kaili Doud
This is not a love song Please do not get confused Every tear is long gone Every word has been abused Water freefalls from the ceiling Every crime done will be revealed At the sharp edge of this feeling Lives the worst of your lies, best concealed You asked me to write a song for you Some lines from where to hang your (heavy) head But what am I now supposed to do When the air is poison and the music is dead Iâ€™d love to hear what you have to say about me Read the underbelly of your heart The places of you where I am not allowed to be Find and fix the compass that keep us apart Is this the wrong time for daydreaming? Wrong way for hitchhiking your soul? When all the crying from the ceiling Drowns my desires to fight the cold Iâ€™ve still got you and your depression To cover the screams in my mouth When my hands destroy your illusion Your ghost is the water breeding my cloud
by Mario H. Palomino
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Beautiful Places, Beautiful Things, 2011.
In every morsel of rice I see hungry eyes Craving for food. Those faded eyes Stare at me and Bite my conscience. I chew the rice But am unable to Digest it. The guilt of being party To this unequal system Makes my stomach turn. Now I am sick Like the system In need of treatment.
3 by Sahil
For four years we all wanted to be Japanese, trading omiyage and saying Konnichiwa, sensei, kyou ogenki desuka? Instead of school uniforms, we wore what short skirts we had, sliding on knee socks and carrying Sanrio-brand pens. We wanted to be cute, no, kawaii; we wanted to wear kimono robes and watch fireworks wearing yukatas in the summer, make chocolates on February 14 and receive return gifts on White Day. Soshite, minna ga kawatta. Then, everyone started changing. The words are leaving, I have to strain to remember: Hajimemashite. Nice to meet you. Watashi wa Minai to moshimasu. My name is Minai. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu. Please take care of me. Did you hear the latest song from that band, Alice-something, isn’t the drummer so cute, did you see the latest episode of that anime? And the Lolita dresses at Harajuku, aren’t they so pretty? No, I haven’t, and the single Lolita skirt I have, I last wore three years ago. Kimi ga suki desu. I like you. Takoyaki. Fried squid balls. On a street in Osaka: Purikura wa doko desuka? Let’s take photo stickers and draw hearts on our faces, eyes sparkling so much more than is actually realistic. I’ll meet you by the red torii gate at the shrine of dreams, where the Shinto spirits and a ghost fox walk. Once I saw the Golden Pavilion, took pictures in front of a Shinto shrine, dipped my left hand in the well water and wrote prayers for luck on a wooden tablet in hiragana.
by Angela Qian
Sayonara, sayonara: That needs no translation.
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Street & Candid Photography, 2012
I want (to fuck) you. Smiles and half opened eyes. We (made) love together. I can’t live without you (I lied) She smiled I (don’t) believe you. We kissed and kissed. It was nice (mostly) But I couldn’t read between the lines. She left before I could (cum). A part of me died. But another part thrived. I (never did) love you. I suppose.
“Come (on my) Back,” She Said by Jacob Frebe
lovers in a broken city by Sade Harrison
he considered me a beautiful catastrophe, a city that built itself up and let itself fall over and over again. we described my mind as the most intricate architecture. he became my favorite late night phone call. my favorite only distant lover. he was a transfusion, that would flow through my veins, explaining his need to be there. he was different, and he needed nothing more, but to show his genuine intentions, and he received love. he wanted to grasp he wanted to understand what made my skin crawl, what made my knees weak, what made rain fall from my eyes. he wanted to understand how the sun set every night, into darkness, and rose again in the morning, as strong and beautiful as before.
There is a quiet place in me where memories lie. Waiting for me to wander in explore, touch, feel, relive. Some are tender and soft. I can take them from the shelf and slide them in the pockets of my heart. Carry them with me for a time. Reach in and rub my fingers across them when I need a smile. Some are light and airy and laughter bubbles from me at their touch. Simple joys, flawless and bright. Some are heavy, too much weight, laden with sorrow. Best left on the shelf until I am stronger. Still others beckon me every time I glance their way. Stunning, vivid crystal clear, intense wildly inviting breathtakingly real. Then there are those whose edges have sharpened with time. When I hold them I feel them cut deep. Leaving my heart flayed open, vulnerable and raw. I dare not handle them often. They are too real, too fresh. Time has not dulled them. A reminder that, I am not yet healed.
SHELVED by Traci
The clouds are stale enough to play container. So she gathers them between fingers , rubs them smooth, and removes the last bit of twilight from tattered remainder; Rolls it up in stratus clouds it is the hollow taste of hallelujah. Inside her – there is a yearning; Down round the ragged foundation beaten and buried by backward learning. It is especially unfortunate since, there is no point in keeping the ether down. No God filled grace in embracing earthly, over ethereal. So Bennu burns, seeps into her soft spongy lungs the way stars, peek their light past closed, sleeping eyelids. It’s the sudden easy, singing of being. The ritual of living: Plucking twilight Pursing lips in psalms of peace. Pulling the last big of nebula, just into her reach. Retching - as the last bit of human transforms to plums of Phoenix. She inhales and finally lets her truth be.
Poet’s Note: Named for the Egyptian Divine of rebirth, sun and creation, thought to inspire the western concept of phoenix.
by Sharea Harris
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Beautiful People, Beautiful Things, 2012
Hand in hand we walked the same dirt road, kicking stones in the thirsty heat of the African sun overpowering the Himalayan blue skies as the sound of your laughter sought shade in the trees. Hand in hand we walked before you departed and I still see the twinkling in your eyes, your chestnut frame in the dusty canvas of the road illuminated by the midday sun; kicking stones, walking alone Who are you now? Where have you gone? Eddies dusk my path, brisk is this walk home under the false sun, beneath the chilled sky; hands in pocket, I lament, head bowed low, I rue; Homesick: homesick for your hand in mine, homesick for African sunsets along our murram roads â€” the pavement tar pounds my boots, the Tarmac grey hurt my palette, the order at the junction nauseates the jaywalker in me. O sweet, my dusty, chaotic love: Where have I come? Whom have I become? Drum beats and rhythmic footfalls of rain dances still echoes your name over these purpure mountains. The lionâ€™s roar the chorus to my forlorn melody as I grasp air in reminiscence of your hand as I walk through dirt becoming mud as the raindrops evoke images of summer rain
Saudade Splintered Fingertips
by Luci Black & Roger Brightley
and we become one again with the scent of freshly brewed mango tea waiting patiently for lips and hands to leave the other’s skin; I now bring my empty hands to my empty lips. What have I become to you? Where do I reside inside your mind? Freezing sleet beats a melancholy din against the window of this café where I break to escape the chill; I peer out at the brusque crowd — their rush an ungraceful vista, unlike deerdotted Savannahs we drove through, our lanky jeep, a reliable lulu for the advent of our wild whims. Wistful, I drag my index down the fog the steam from my imported Kenyan Arabica procures, writing your name on the cold glass My home, you were; imported recollection you’ve become, Resident of my hollow dreams, my waking loss — What am I of yours, this far away? Who am I, deprived of the warmth of your breath? Shadows flicker against bedroom walls like a tormenting black and white movie reel of cinnamon sugared pancakes and finger painted promises on framed autumn leaves that fell from lemon trees like sun shards burrowing into the earth for warmth and I hug myself remembering outings to secondhand bookstores and museums with my left hand leading you deeper into adventures of literature and art. My fingers now curl around candles the way your words wrapped themselves around the trunk of my heart on which your name : my name : “always” remains carved. You wander the hallways of my thinking, loving me to brighter tomorrows in my aching subconscious
as my tears fall like leaves; my breath pulses in time with the excited vibrations within your bones. Where will my heart find another home without your words? What will I become without my name living on your lips? Silhouettes linger in the doorframe of my mind, In this cramped space I sit on the floor, Knees drawn, vapid notes fill the room, So there is heat, but I feel no warmth; the variety of muffins, of cakes, of baked delicacies — those which I still halve on my plate for you — stay bland on my tongue, empty of the sweet syrup your laughter against my throat, where you’d tuck your face and sigh in safety, in surrender, in serenity; there is no peace here above the traffic: this city always awake, this city a melting pot of novelty, of novice, of nestular freedom — compact like the rectangular pots of mud housing dismal flowers, their petals drooping in sorrow. Always a drink in my hand, never the truth: I am without my heart here; I am a ghost of presence, my essence deported, clawing its way back to you. When will I find you again? Why did I ever leave you once?
under fluorescent and reflected neon from nearly frayed pink vinyl tired confessions lead to tired truths and a handing back of the menu a colony of the tired everything but the too pretty for 3am waitress floats by unnoticed and the red dress drunk girls who stumble in their heels coffee at this hour the outside still hovers the headache moves further down the skull something soft and dull plays lightly underneath the clanks of forks hitting plates and bells from the kitchen and the red dress girls boyfriends waiting all the things forgotten on st marks come back but when the food comes theres no more cordial energy the nights and all other heartbreak become as clear as the ketchup bottle
The Diners of our Nights by Daniel Cohen
How fortuitous that I stepped out back to piss Away the beer when I did. The adolescence in My ears heard you singing like a church choir, Something rustling in the dirty joke of midnight. I stood, holding my member like a microphone. The vastness of night in front of me was an audience That revered my words without objections, without Any complaints; I am one dingus of a dictator lately. But, void of laughter, hotheaded and cold browed, You stood yourself still and stout among the bloody Grass blades of audience. Gazed at me through All the obedient darkness, preaching:
Not tonight, not this time. I will not flee this night. Some things are too precious to joke about. Not everything deserves to be pissed on and Not be pissed back. Search yourself, as I have searched this dirty dirt.
I was waiting for a sweaty fist of a hoof to raise Itself into the air, shake its dissatisfaction at Me and call the nations between us into beautiful, Furred revolution. For me to be taken down, finally. It would be easier that way, a quick blaze of glory. A loud death in the papers. My mother telling teardrop stories about me. Thatâ€™s not how it happened. You loosened your gaze From me and scampered away, knowing the shrill Gunshot of your essence was far more messy than Any amount of blood spat into the earth.
Dear, Deer by Jon Dwyer
Today, this time, I want to know like that. No bayonets in mind, No piss to spill. Just a simple song the world ainâ€™t learned in awhile. Just a soft trot into revolution.
Dreams by Matt Guzman
We were looking for god trying to connect the dots the Virgin Mary’s freckles scattered across that night sky I want to disappear like that. That inner space This inner space, don’t forget. Don’t you forget that people Like you and me are made of star dust. We are dreams made manifest, Van Gogh’s starry night, Just looking for a canvas.
Stella by Samantha Eubanks The world faltered on the edge of her lips lingering, waiting to be blown into existence. Her mind pirouetted in ways she could not elucidate, in a language her beloved could not assimilate. Still as a statue, with lava ebullient inside, she listened closely to earth, and the winds peaceful sigh. She opened her eyes, like a baby blinking at the sun. Within this spot of time, she knew that her life had begun. Adventuring among the roses and beneath the willow trees, she discovered a garden to cultivate, a destiny to seize.
Samantha Eubanks, Still Life, 2014.
The moonâ€™s tongue fell off Like a shooting star. Night mourns with me, For the death of a conversation. Silence echoes now In the empty heart of every star.
4 by Sahil
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Beautiful Places, Beautiful Things, 2012
Siddhartha Mudaliar, People, 2012
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Beautiful Places, Beautiful Things, 2009
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Beautiful Places, Beautiful Things, 2011
Siddhartha Mudaliar, People, 2009
Siddhartha Mudaliar, People, 2009
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Beautiful Places, Beautiful Things, 2012
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Beautiful Places, Beautiful Things, 2010
I wrote for hours just to get the guts to write your name, and I’m sorry for all the messes I left between us from letters I wrote in my head but never had the gall to send your way— You spent those summers carving your words into my skin— your arid air tight around my growing lungs and your voice making its home in my head like the Devil’s silk. It has been four years since I’ve come your way— four summers since you’ve looked at me and the grass touched my soles. You don’t even remember my age, you don’t even remember my face but the years have been kinder to me—I regrew the spine I lost to you.
I weave a letter for you, filled with every curse that scratches the back of my throat like those cotton fields I looked over in wonder and until we meet again I want you to remember the name of the grandchild you spurned— of the kin you turned away—I want you to eat my name until it is carved into your stomach so every time you digest it’ll burn you as you did me just like the summer sun that nicked us overhead.
Lily’s Poem (North Carolina) by Jordan E. Franklin
Part XXXV: Human, A Redefinition by Taylor Williams
I am not proud of past transgressions. I am burning over the future messes; I want to pave every road meticulously, until every disgrace and mistake is buried in the asphalt. I want to hide our razor blades in the dirt and the clay. The literal and the figurative scars to be cleared away from our skin. Could I burn down all my lustful passions for my teeth in that boy’s flesh, just like a wolf, so hungry and dissatisfied? Or maybe I’m a whore. It’s such a dirty word. I want to erase it from every dictionary and every language, so no woman ever has to be berated by that disgusting, distastefulness of a word. I want to eradicate the idea that the people we love should be based on skin, or whether their reproductive organs will fit cleanly like a puzzle with yours That who we love is based on whether we are sinning. I am not sinning or sick. Your idea of damnation is sinning. I am not proud of our human follies or animal whimsies. I have been taught to hate the wolf residing inside me, to want to push it down into the deep shadows of my being. My father told me to cover my body in habits instead of marrying a woman. Why wasn’t I bold enough to tell him no? Instead of shameful silence, I should have been abrasive. Do not let others tame you or shove you down. They’ll back you into a corner, they’ll wring you dry, drown you in your own insecurities. Do not let them break you into a splintering, shattered mess of psychelet them all build you up. Let them build you up until you’ve shattered their preconditioned notions, their societal paradigms, their political agendas, and their ghastly deformed religions. Break all the chains that confined you in your mistakes. We are redefining what it means to be human. We are redefining humanity.
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Beautiful Places, Beautiful Things, 2009
We are the generation birthed into broken homes. Backless. Spineless structures. Faceless fathers. And miracle mothers. Brown boys teaching brown boys how to be men. Brown boys teaching brown girls how to be loved. Loving her like his “main bitch” like his “side chick” like his lies. Like his lust. Like his leisure. Like a good fuck. And she lets him. She has never seen an example of love. So he loves her. Broken. And they reproduce. Broken. Another brown baby birthed into a broken home. With a faceless father and a miracle mother.
by Darriana Donegan
Women raising boys into boys. Not men but boys. Women raising girls into bitter Girls into ‘bitches’ Girls into bisexual because there’s no man present. We are the generation birthed into broken homes. Inheriting broken hopes. Boys inheriting the name of a man he’s never known. Inheriting personality traits from a man we’ll never know. We’ll never know white picket fence, We’ll never know 20 year anniversary We’ll never know happy home We’ll never know American dream. We are the forgotten ones. We are the generation birthed into broken homes. With hand-me-down hopes. And Mama’s Spit-shined smiles. They classified us as the broken ones. I am from a broken home. But I am not a broken one. I pick up my pieces, wrote some poems and made peace with it. What’s broken can be fixed. Brother. Be a man. Sister. Be a woman. Be royal. Be raw. Be real. Be you. Be king. Be queen. Be father. Be mother. Be love. Be trust. Be home. Be hope. Be there. Be there. We are not broken. We are the generation birthed into broken homes. We are rebuilding. Either lend us a hand or leave us alone.
paper snowflakes 2 by Mary Stein
promises are like people
and people are paper snow flakes each cut widens as they unfold and turns from little to large and never goes away no matter how you try to run until so many are there that you canâ€™t see you what used to be you anyway and can only see what has been done to you the cuts people have made cuts of promises kept and broken some cuts making us beautiful others making us ugly Until eventually you come undone
The hierarchy of priorities, rearranged upon entering a heated building in the shrillest cold of fucking January one day of which, this day I woke up and wanted everything I drank coffee but it was too weak, and my goddamn shoes were still wet from yesterday, goddamn wet shoes even wetter as I opened the door and was introduced to fifteen degrees billowing from my solace of seventy-two, but now, contrarily, I stood inside and I could smell spring geraniums, fucking posies, the grainy dust threatening everyoneâ€™s small wet eyes, small wet feet, the indoor heat wishing I was sleeping, and like I said, priorities in their hierarchy were rearranged, and it was warm, the outside, outside, and who cares about coffee, and forget wet feet, and I stood inside with my goddamn wet shoes, wanting nothing.
Maslow in Michigan by Kaili Doud
Atari Light October by John Thornburg
1 there’s a pin shaped like a corn maze in the western hemisphere of my heart. Muddy aisles round off aisles of stalks robed in dry and tumbling leaves all scrape together in chorus, October dark running down our fingertips our footprints go up and down, up and down these forking paths. 2 I did not have the strength to drown myself in the swimming pool up the hill from your parent’s house the chlorine smelled sweet on my skin, you said. You pulled your dress up over your head. 3 I lost my car keys in the cemetery at the heart of the labyrinth my hands were warm, your footprints on the dashboard fingerprints on my collarbone. You were a rain cloud to my eye, shark-gray, teething on thunderclaps, soft as an owl’s eye in aspic.
4 I dreamt the solution to the labyrinth, I dreamt I stood at the threshold to the corn maze in the atari twilight, halloween pending like unlit candles inside sorry skulls her form gathering like snails and snakes between wormy stems and wild blooming autumn I stood at the labyrinthâ€™s entrance and I turned around. I left 5 you untied the strings of your swimsuit in the hot tub at the hotel across the street from the sledding hill the snow fell in the part of your hair steam came off your skin, you were a coal cooling to ash in the wind 6 your shadow ate the dew in the grass in the morning outside the hospital your shape slayed the rainbows trapped in sprinkler streams I was hooked up, my lungs and blood were engines distinct from my skin. 7 I had a ticket for the last tachyon train I was going back to the October gate you waited by my hospital bed you pulled your hood down over your head
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Beautiful Places, Beautiful Things, 2012
Reminders, For men who love women like their fathers never loved their mother: You CAN love— are capable of loving. Don’t let his absence affect your presence. You look like him. But you are not him. Your hands are strong. Your hands are gentle. You can touch her, She will not disappear like he disappeared. Hold her, For all the nights that your mother spent alone. Speak. Compliment her. Tell her that she is beautiful. For all the times that your mother wondered “why?” Show up, Like your father never did. Kiss her. For all the times you remember seeing your mother cry. Respect her. Respect her. Respect her. You— are not him. You CAN love— Are capable, of loving.
Rules and Reminders: How to love by Darriana Donegan
Rules, For women being loved by men whose fathers never loved their mother: He will compliment you. You will wake up and he will say “you are beautiful” You will sleep and he will say “you are beautiful” You will laugh and he will say “you are beautiful” Let him. He only wants to remind you of the things that his mother never heard. He will kiss you. While your speaking, while your sleeping, when your angry, when your sad, He will kiss you. Your forehead. Your lips. Your hand. Your eyelids. Your collarbone. Your neck. Your thigh. Your hip. Your shoulder. Your breasts. Your stomach. Your fingertips. Let him. He knows that his mother went so long without being kissed, that she almost forgot the peace in it. He does not want you—to forget the peace in it. He will hold you. Let him. Hold you. Even if you don’t like being held, Let him. He will hold you, as a reminder that he’s still there. He will hold you so, that your skin never forgets what his skin feels like. He will hold you, Tight…as a reminder that he never wants to let go. He will hold you as if gravity does not exist, as if he is your anchor to Earth. He will find peace in knowing that you feel the sense of security that his mother never did. Let him. Let him. Let him. His father’s absence taught him the Queendom of women, The weight of presence. The volume of silence. So let him. And you, Love him like he always imagined a woman should love a man, Like he knew that his mother once loved his father. Tell him. That he is beautiful. Remind him.
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Street & Candid Photography, 2012
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Wedding Photography, 2012
Siddhartha Mudaliar,Wedding - Vijay & Richa, 2013
by Mishayla Bellows
My breath’s been wasted All these years; I’ve finally sobered up. I’m struck With wanderlust; Life’s just not enough. The marks you left Are fading; I’m holding on by broken strings. Death’s voice Is soothing; Whispering under metal memories. Sinking down the distance Between manic And done for good.
It’s better that way, Less likely to reveal the brushfire in her palms If there are people around. He has no money for coffee, She offers him a dollar for a cup. No, thank you, I don’t want to feel Like I’m taking anything else from you. He knows it’s over; she does too. But it’s still good to meet, Have the final word, Pull the guillotine lever.
I’m seeing someone.
He knows this, had the flowerbeds In his gut churn when he found out Just yesterday morning.
I know this. He’s a good guy, a good friend.
You deserve that.
She wishes he quaked more when she Let loose these beasty words into the air Between them; but, just like the quivering Conversations before this one, He is still.
I wish I didn’t love you anymore.
His heart calmly replies to hers through
They meet in a public place by Jon Dwyer
The layers of their tired skin like a fetal Jesus kicking at a womb-locked Baptist John, It says:
I wish you didn’t either, but I’m afraid there is
Going to be a jagged piece of my beer bottled
Soul wedged in your river for some time.
She knows that the arrow he stuck into Her breast was of good aim, Shot from a long history of sharpening eyes. Accurate. Precise. To pull the damn thing out now would Only bleed it all dry. So, she steadies her grip, hopes he’s doing well. Tells him she can’t talk to him anymore To be fair to him, and him. She asks if he can walk her to the door. He does. He’s gotten good at leading people into The riptide waves, staying on shore. Become a bishop of guarding his life. They hug like two pennies in a pant pocket. Awkward, short lived. Can’t let the stains rub off on each other again. He walks back into the coffee shop, Listens to a kook rant about Comics and half-baked politics. Wishes he had a cigarette. Wishes he had many things to help Him float a little lighter. Still no coffee.
Virtues of a Good Chinese Girl by Angela Qian
Are respect, responsibility, piety and modesty. Once I sat in a restaurant in Shanghai and my uncle said, You can see that you’re American without even speaking. But I have yellow skin and small, slanted eyes, the epicanthic fold that makes my eyelids so thick, and a low nose bridge like everyone else, I suppose. Then, why? It’s because I don’t sit straight. Because I laugh loudly. Because I look him in the eye when he ruffles my hair and greets me by saying, “The foreigner has come.” It’s because I yawn with my mouth open, wave energetically when seeing people I like, and take up more than my share of floor space; because I eat meat by the pound, tell uncles not to smoke, and sometimes cut others off when they’re speaking. Yang Guifei, they say, was one of the four Chinese beauties, skin so radiant it must have held the moon. She cast down her eyes and knew to obey. The Emperor, who is the Son of Heaven, moved all ends of earth for her hand, plump, soft, and timid; when finally he held it, he thought, Good-bye the painted ladies of the imperial consort!
If I am told Iâ€™m an American girl, at least Iâ€™m a girl who does as Iâ€™m told. I smile when I see people. I say pleasant things. Words of criticism are hard to say. I feel embarrassed with attention. I am trained to be polite. Polite, which means quiet. I want to please. I want to be good. I am told to wait for good things to come. Bent over the desk, spine curved like a moon, I dutifully work and wait for those things. Wait with patience, and good things will come? Under the lamp, I see my hand yellow. There are butterflies in me, waiting to be flown. These nights come and go. I lose sight of the moon. I wish I could chase the Emperor.
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Beautiful Places, Beautiful Things, 2012
Siddhartha Mudaliar Siddhartha Mudaliar is a photographer from Bangalore, India: Making pictures of other people’s realities through your own eyes, to be able to present to them a picture which they would never have seen without you, the mirrorthat’s quite a bit of magic that comes together, an all-new reality that stems partly from the subjects and partly from the photographer’s realities. Website: sidphoto.webs.com
John Thornburg John is a graduate student in Denver, Colorado. When he’s not studying or working you can find him skipping showers, writing poems, tinkering with short stories, and trying to work up the courage to write a novel. Tumblr: discofiction.tumblr.com
Jordan E. Franklin Jordan E. Franklin is a poet from Brooklyn, NY. In 2012, she graduated with honors from Brooklyn College with a BFA. A performance poet, she frequently performs in venues around the city. Her love of music influences her work and besides poetry, she wants to write for cartoons.
Srajana Kaikini Srajana Kaikini is a writer, curator based in Bangalore, India. She has a Masters in Aesthetics and Arts from JNU, New Delhi and was part of the Curatorial Programme at de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam, 2012/13. Presently as FICA Research Fellow 2013, she is researching the ‘literal’ in the contemporary through elements of concrete poetry. Recent publications include texts in journals such as m-est.org, Coldnoon Travel Poetics, Art Barricade. Blogger: srajanak.blogspot.com
Taylor Williams 16, Mississippi. Currently in her junior year of high school with hopes and aspirations of becoming a librarian. She began writing at thirteen, only discovering her voice in free verse recently. Her greatest influences have been Walt Whitman, Auden, Eliot, and a few, more contemporary artists. Her only hope is that her writing will both inspire and encourage others. Tumblr: aeipathics.tumblr.com
Siddhartha Mudaliar, People, 2012
Molly Silverstein Molly Silverstein is a 22-year-old poet from New York City. She likes pizza flavored snack foods, Kathleen Hanna, and any/all grandparents. Tumblr: casualsnail.tumblr.com
John Faciano John Faciano received a fellowship in rhetoric at the Gilder-Lehrrrman Institute and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman fellowship in fiction writing. He teaches literature and writing at Edward R. Murrow High School and lives in Brooklyn with his wife Sylke and two children.
Hannah McIntosh Hannah McIntosh is a student from Nashville, Tennessee studying Psychology and English at university. She began writing poetry in the margins of her lecture notes at age 19, and her favorite topics include nature, strong women, and memory. You can find her work on her Tumblr: morethanatornado.tumblr.com
Kaili Doud Kaili Doud recently earned her BA in English from Western Michigan University. If she isnâ€™t writing, sheâ€™s singing loudly in her apartment, brainstorming alternate universes, or sharing coffee with whoever will have it. Her poetry has appeared at The Camel Saloon and can be heard at readings around the ever-supportive and engaging Kalamazoo, MI. WordPress: kailidoud.wordpress.com
Mario H. Palomino Mario is a passionate lover of the words and writing. He writes since the age of seven. Though his poetry does not always follow the norms and constraints of metric and perfect rhyming; the rhythm and pace of the ideas he expresses manage to impregnate vividly his visions of unrequited love, life, and aloneness. Facebook: facebook.com/mariohpl
Samvartha/Sahil â€˜Sahilâ€™ is the pseudonym of Samvartha, a former journalist and academician from Manipal (Karanataka) in India, who is now a freelance writer for cinema after completing his course in Screenwriting from the Film and Television Institute of India. His primary language for poetry is Hindustani but occasionally writes in his mother tongue Kannada and in English. WordPress: acrazymindseye.wordpress.com
Angela Qian Angela Qian was born in California and now lives in Chicago, studying English Literature and Political Science. Her writing has also appeared in The Millions.
Jacob Frebe Jacob Frebe is a young writer in Washington state. He is mainly inspired through his depression and fondness of nature. The state of being alone and the lack of faith sometimes show from time to time. He also writes about metal in his spare time. He has a beard too. Tumblr: jfrebe.tumblr.com
Sade Harrison Sade Harrison is a college student native to Georgia. She finds herself expressing her feelings through words, letting them explore others, resting on their hearts and giving them comfort. She also enjoys spreading love, and learning more about growth within herself. Blogger: adivinity.blogspot.com
Traci Traci is 45 and does a little bit of a lot of things. Most importantly, she is a mom to her four children. She also coaches volleyball, practices yoga, does volunteer work, church service, and work a little when she has to. She reads and writes poetry in the small spaces in between.
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Street & Candid Photography, 2011
Sharea Harris A lover of words, sound, and color Sharea intertwines these delights into poems, songs and visual forms of expression. Sharea has relocated from her beloved southern home and started fresh in Baltimore, Maryland as a Masters of Fine Arts candidate. You can experience her at www.shareaharris.com.
Luci Black Luci Black is a South African Alt Lit writer with a penchant for experimental writing. She focuses her writing around the way words sound and look to create her own, unique style. With a fine serving of sass and wit added to her afternoon tea, she rediscovers wor(l)ds. She writes and posts at lulu-llama.tumblr.com.
Roger Brightley Roger Brightley is a South African born, East African resident who refers to himself as Poet/ Writer/Crazy Banana with an outstretched hand. He is much too prolific for his own good that pens run out on him like The Runaway Bride. He likes aesthetic, ethereal writing and whatever incorporates wit and pizzazz. His online presence is centered at thewriteofi.tumblr.com.
Daniel Cohen Daniel Cohen could be found playing candy crush at the beach, texting at the park, adding to his impressive 260 pound gut at McDonalds, being late for work waiting for the B9 on Flatbush Avenue, watching wrestling on the good TV in his parents room and reviewing wrestling with his friend Joey on their YouTube channel Wrestling Snobs. Facebook: facebook.com/wrestlingsnobs
Jon Dwyer Jon Dwyer is an amazing poet. He did not provide a bio in time, but his work speaks for itself.
Matt Guzman 27, Madison, Wisconsin: He’s not in control. Art has this way of moving him. From street art in Brooklyn to Stone Carving in Cambodia to Creative writing in Wisconsin, he has to create. He started writing in a little red book when he was 24, and now that it’s full he thinks he’s ready to start sharing himself.
Samantha Eubanks Samantha Eubanks is a twenty year old Missouri native, living in Tennessee. She has a passion for writing, music, film and photography. Samantha is excited to see where each of her loves will lead her. Youtube: YouTube.com/SamEu37; Flickr: flickr.com/photos/samanthajeubanks; Tumblr: poetrycat.tumblr.com
Darriana Donegan Darriana is a full time university student who double majors in Psychology/ Sociology. Aside from the stress of her studies she finds peace in the pen and puts it on paper. When asked her favorite word she will heartily respond “poetess”. You can find her online at: darrianaxo, for Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Mary Stein Mary is a soon to be student at the University Of Ottawa. She’s a big fan of Fantasy and Anime, and at this point she thinks she connects more to animated characters then she does live action ones. Tumblr: theplacewhereiwrite.tumblr.com
Mishayla Bellows Mishayla is a 15 year old aspiring writer of poetry, song, and prose, hoping to complete and publish a novel one day. She is an avid writer and piano player, using language and music to overcome her internal struggles and pave a warmly lit path for her future. Tumblr: inksplatter-blankpaper.tumblr.com
Siddhartha Mudaliar, Street & Candid Photography, 2012
Siddhartha Mudaliar, People, 2010
Winter/Spring 2014 John Thornburg Jordan E. Franklin Srajana Kaikini Taylor Williams Molly Silverstein John Faciano Hannah McIntosh Kaili Doud Mario H. Palomino Sahil Angela Qian Jacob Frebe Sade Harrison Traci Sharea Harris Luci Black Roger Brightley Daniel Cohen Jon Dwyer Matt Guzman Samantha Eubanks Sahil Darriana Donegan Mary Stein Mishayla Bellows Photography Siddhartha Mudaliar