Whirlwind Staff Founder Lamont B. Steptoe Editor Sean W. Lynch Art Director Melissa Rothman Outreach Coordinator Courtney Gambrell Acknowledgements A very special thanks to Larry Robin and Brandon Blake of Moonstone Arts Center for supporting and printing this publication. A warm note of gratitude to Bob Zell and The Pen and Pencil for hosting our launch parties. Joel Salcido’s “explaining Enigma to the neighborhood for Pablo Neruda” was originally published in the 11th volume of Lux. Lamont B. Steptoe’s “Spirits Movin’ in the Sorbonne” was featured in his book entitled “In the Kitchens of the Masters” (Iniquity Press/Vendetta Books, 1997). Sam Allen’s Introduction was written for Dennis Brutus’ poetry collection “Airs and Tributes” (Whirlwind Press, 1989). This issue is dedicated in memory of Sam Allen (1917-2015). Cover art by Jacqui Powell. Copyright © 2015 by Whirlwind Magazine All rights reserved to artists and authors. No individual work may be reproduced in any form without the author’s permission. All inquiries should be addressed to the editor: email@example.com Printed in Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A. Submit to Whirlwind! For details visit http://whirlwindmagazine.org/submission-info
Letter From the Editor Poverty. The word carries a lot of weight. It means different things to different people. Poverty is mostly understood as a state of being in a material sense, but it can also be described as a spiritual or psychological experience. These experiences are told through poetry, stories, and art within issue five of Whirlwind Magazine. Welcome friends, to our one year anniversary issue. We are excited to share these stories and images with you, the reader, our beloved supporter. It’s been a wondrous journey these past 12 months, thanks to the bold and fiery poetry in our first issue of Dennis Brutus, Nzadi Keita, and Jim Cory, to the words of revolt and wisdom in issue #2, featuring the late Sam Allen and dedicated to James Baldwin, to the visually stunning artwork and beautiful Spanish poetry of Karina Puente and the late Justin Vitiello in issue #3, and finally to all the veterans who contributed in issue #4, especially Preston Hood and our founder Lamont B. Steptoe. Fatima Ijaz, a resident of Lahore, Pakistan, begins this issue with a short and seemingly simple poem about a boy on a street. Brooklyn based Daniel Jones puts us into perspective with a thought-provoking piece on a pauper. John Elliott offers a more abstract approach to handling the idea of inner conflict and struggle. Debra McQueen’s gripping, vivid poetry on exploring the hilly jungles of Guatemala will help you understand what it means to feel out of place. Ree Villaruel takes us to the Philippines, where a group of children’s innocent routine is broken, leading to unfortunate consequences. Jeff Burt’s post-apocalyptic tale of hoarding challenges those who believe they can withstand the forces of mother nature. Sneha Sundaram’s haibun depicts the travails of a woman watching the wealthy from an alleyway; her use of the fascinating form of haibun is worth noting, as it is a century-old technique that combines haiku and prose in order to depict a complex story through poetry. Award-winning writer Evan Guilford-Blake brings us a short story that displays how deep poverty can damage an individual. Richard King Perkins II also writes on the pain this causes, but through astounding poetic observations. Luke Coulter instead speaks about the other side of the same coin by writing on the ignorance of the privileged. Meanwhile, Bob McNeil’s unique voice comes out in full force in his two poems that are featured. Diane Funston shares a poem full of wisdom and gentleness that is quite remarkable. Shizue Seigel confronts the reader in a powerful piece about oppression in the deep south. Prerna Bakshi sings us a song of resistance for the underdogs of the world. Stephanie Han’s poetry is so intricate and profound, it’s amazing. Diane Payne’s story reveals how a domineering man performs his job as a social worker could prove to be a traumatizing experience for a woman. Rashaad Thomas strikes the heart with his portrayal of what it means to be black and arbitrarily stopped by the police. Marco Pina’s poem about a body bag is a must-read. And finally, we bring you the gripping poetry of Joel Salcido, a MexicanAmerican poet with an awful amount of talent. Salcido has a bright future ahead of him as a poet, and we have the honor of featuring three of his poems in this issue. We end this issue on a note of reflection in memory of Sam Allen. The archival letters and photographs that appear are just a small, but captivating glimpse into the mind of a man who was a phenomenal poet and a good human being. Thank you so much for reading our one year anniversary issue. Let’s hope for many more anniversaries to come. -Sean Lynch
Table of Contents 1. Untitled Drawings 2. Man on the Train Flower-seller on the Streets 3. The World Sleeps 4. On Our Feet 5. Sineguelas Survival Pantry 6. Laguna 7. When Nobody’s Watching 8. The Row 9. Wash Away 10. Untitled 11. Two Dollar Tuesdays 12. Billfold Souls 13. Two Dollar Tuesdays 15. Irony and a Metrocard 16. Commodities 17. Souvenirs of New Orleans… 18. Interstate 19. Let it Rain! 20. The Rape of Pink Lily 21. Old Man Son of Sun Lung Wai 22. The Fever Wildflower’s Perfume 23. The Social Worker 24. Grace 25. Black in Suburbia 26. The Body Bag Sonnet of the Alley 27. Cannibals of Phoenix 28. Untitled 29. explaining Enigma to the neighborhood… 30. A Tribute to Sam Allen 31. Introduction (to Airs and Tributes) 33. Bleeding Diamonds 34. Sprits Movin’ in the Sorbonne 35. Photos of Sam Allen and Dennis Brutus 36. Congratulations Lamont 37. Thank You Letter 38. A Rose for Oliver Tambo 39. Frame of Reference Detail from Moon Cycle 40. Biographies
Joe Shefski Daniel Jones Fatima Ijaz John Elliott Debra McQueen Ree Villaruel Jeff Burt Tracy Tucker Sneha Sundaram Evan Guilford-Blake Richard King Perkins II Peter Quinn Luke Coulter Bob McNeil Jacqui Powell Bob McNeil Diane Funston Shizue Seigel Tracy Tucker Prerna Bakshi Stephanie Han William Wolak Diane Payne Rashaad Thomas Jorge O’Connell Marco Pina Joel Salcido Gino Pambianchi Joel Salcido Sean Lynch Sam Allen Lamont B. Steptoe Sam Allen Lamont B. Steptoe Courtney Gambrell Sophia Hunt
Untitled Joe Shefski
Man on the Train Daniel Jones
A man has just entered the traincar. He has wild hair and an impressive stack of paper cups, which he holds as an actor might his favorite prop or a king his scepter. I’m trying to do my best he tells us, but we are all reading, all of us, tossing ourselves to work or home, maybe an errand. The man has cut himself a hole in his shirt, with whose assistance he has attached a cardboard placard reading Help. He will not do as I do the woman in pink thinks He will not do as I do the traincar thinks He has begun rapping his cups close at my side. Rap! Rap! Rap, pap, pap! The woman in pink nestles her receipt back into her book and looks on through small eyes. The train’s gone under the water now, this is a long stop and the man finds again the beat.
Flower-seller on the Streets Fatima Ijaz
A child’s eyes, full of longing for the secret of his soul that he sells in flowers radiating with the myth he carries of laughter and childhood with each strand, each petal he gives away some of his self to you.
The World Sleeps John Elliott
You have traveled miles distant places where we died look in your backyard the park your home we are here silent under the earth, a noisy gurgling stream we are tree limbs flowing toward leaf tips we launch into air feed the infinitely innocent things which swoon and mate underground find yourself in these trees the war can only end in the park nearby our voice in the lark everywhere nowhere
On Our Feet Debra McQueen
We walk across the border in flip-flops and sandals – our feet covered in dust that is partly the sloughed off skin of a thousand dead Mayans – and we find us a ride to the ruins of Tikal.
They stare at our feet the way I stare at faces – only when I think you’re not looking – shyly avert my eyes when caught – like this: stare at the feet quick check you’re not watching stare at the feet stare at the feet stare at the feet.
There are 17 people in the minivan sized for one mid American family. Throw in 17 baskets bushels or backpacks a couple of 50-lb. sacks of flour which ride like overweight toddlers at first on our laps and then inevitably shifting to the tops of our dusty feet then add the weight of oppression for millennia that bears down on everyone here.
Feet which have run and climbed and pedaled and walked great distances just like theirs have. Feet which have kicked toes which have stubbed arches which have fallen and heels which have stomped to many a wild tropical rhythm of a Saturday night after too many sips of What’s your pleasure?
The driver is red-eyed and drinks a dirty-looking beverage from an old plastic Pepsi bottle. He drives like he’s in a Ferrari racing to meet his Swiss lover in the Dolomites and not a chauffeur seven sheets to the wind shuffling 15 peasants home from the mercado and 2 gringos to see the Pyramids. 2 gringos with strange feet for when the flour sacks which belong to a grandmotherly woman shaped like a four-foot boulder aren’t covering them up our feet are a subject of much speculation. They stare at our feet like our feet are the bearded lady and goat boy of this circus of a ride up a mountainside.
Don’t we all share these features our feet our foundation all connected to this earth? Maybe that’s why they stare – they’re looking for our roots for what keeps us on the ground. Or maybe they’re just looking for the answer why we’d come all this way – couldn’t be just to summit the Temple of the Jaguar. As the hot air swirls through the van I look down at what the Guatemalans see: Foreign feet covered in the dust of a million dead Mayans who are not our ancestors after all but theirs.
They stare at our feet like our feet are a train wreck hideous unfortunate but you just can’t turn away, can you?
Sineguelas Ree Villaruel
What I anticipate to hear every afternoon moments before the church bell rings are the cheerful voices of the little boys in our village, asking permission to pick from our sineguelas tree. As always, I would be in the balcony, enjoying my coffee, shouting back, “Sige!” (Okay!) They would then barge in to our garden, run towards the tree, climb heedlessly and grab dozens of both ripe and unripe drupes, getting down once there is no more space in their made-up baskets (the fronts of their loose, grungy shirts). “Salamat! Bukas ulit!” (Thank you! We’ll be back tomorrow!), they’d yell as they flee from our gates. This afternoon, however, it was my father who first heard them, and did not let them come in. What a routine to break. Tonight, those little ones will certainly be hungrier than usual— Not having been sated with a couple of sineguelas and still having to share for dinner one fish with four or five other empty stomachs.
Survival Pantry Jeff Burt
You have your bench in the sun, your iron gates tall and forbidding, your landscaping help to promote the Mexican sage and candelabra lavender to heights no common plant could grow. Blossoms, like minions, seem to tilt toward you. The pantry has been stocked with a year’s worth of survival food and in a sealed safe the size of four refrigerators your special buy of nuts and seeds that will survive the impeding holocaust of nature that somehow you and your family will endure. But I want you to know that your help has marked your house, has left an invisible X that only the humbled can detect while they totter in poverty dragging their esteem like brooms on the streets, and they will know how to open your gates, where your glass dome covers your bakery cake, and they will scatter your survival seeds and nuts, not into the soil to create the next generation, but to the birds and squirrels, their friends in the shadows while you basked in the sun.
Laguna Tracy Tucker
When Nobody’s Watching (Haibun) Sneha Sundaram
She treads lightly as night falls, her feet gliding unheard. Her greasy hair with the frayed red bow swings soundlessly too, like it knows. The shanties in the distance shine like Christmas lights. Every beggar has now claimed his spot of Mumbai’s soil, sleeping with an eye open for both rats and errant drivers. Shama walks on, following the faint sound of raspy singing and raucous laughter. The street lamps bear silent testimony, casting long shadows, as she darts innocuously through the back streets of Mumbai. Winter fog I hide behind Your shadow It’s 3 am and the loud party has just shut down. The paparazzi lie in wait for the scoop of the day. Shama watches, hidden, as the gaudily dressed celebrities drunkenly stumble out. Her disquiet broken by the loud rumbling of her stomach. The cook will come out anytime now, to throw the leftovers away. Daily spoils of nightly opulent revelry. And when nobody’s watching, Shama will take it home. A king’s feast for her menagerie of eight: Beggars, cats, dogs. Children of the night, strays all. In the lonely city of crowded dreams: her tribe, her modern family. Cold earth The pit of her stomach Glows warm again
Evan Guilford-Blake The Row is quiet. It is early Sunday afternoon, the weather has just turned crisp, and in parts of The City where such things flourish, leaves crackle underfoot. Not here. The Row is quiet: empty cement sidewalks, metal gratings and brick. It is void of leaves. It is, almost, void of people, as well. Those who live outside The Row rarely venture inside its de facto borders. Instead, they skirt them: It’s safer and cleaner and more comfortable where they are. Marcus—that’s the whole name, he will say if asked: first and last or first or last, what does it matter—sleeps in a doorway. He dreams, of hot meals and bonded bourbon. The last food was Friday night: dry chick’n and mash’ ’tatos at The Mission. Last night, he had a pint of Wild Irish Rose. It made him vomit. He wandered away from the green pool, across the street, up further on The Row to Tacy’s, but Ricardo the night clerk wouldn’t give him a bed—“’Cardo, c’mon, I give you t’ other couple dollars t’morra”; “Forget it, you fuckin’ drunkie, wino prick. You don’t got ten dollars you ain’t gettin’ no fuckin’ bed here. G’ on, get out.”—ten minutes later, still in the “lobby”—“You gettin’? Or I’m kickin’? Fucker.” Ricardo does not like winos or Tacy’s or his job or his wife, or that they are both illegal aliens, which Tacy knows and uses to keep Ricardo the night clerk and his wife the day clerk at incomes barely higher than they had in Tuxtla Gutierrez.
But, hey, Tacy tells them, “Y’ got a free room, somethin’ to cook on, refrigerator, bed. And your ’lectricity.” And a radiator. Two fans, no air conditioning. So Marcus leaves Tacy’s and wanders up The Row where he meets Arno McGregor, who has a quart of Pabst, which Arno (who can always remember, proudly, that he is seventythree, unlike Marcus who sometimes forgets that he is sixty-four) shares with him. Marcus has known Arno forever: Arno was there when Marcus came seven, eight years ago; Marcus doesn’t remember that either; Arno showed him around, The Mission, the dumpsters behind the pizza palaces and corner convenience stores, most of which are gone now. Sometimes they sit in a doorway or on a cement bench among the sparse trees and dry grass of the park and pass a bottle back and forth and talk. Arno talks: There are “old days” in his life that he recalls, sometimes with pleasure. Marcus had old days, too, but like so much else they’ve slipped from memory. He gets flashes, now and then—a picture of a face, a swatch of a song, a vision of a tree lit up with ornaments and tinsel—but they are as tenuous as his life is, and as ephemeral as the taste of the warm beer he swallows when it’s there. Sometimes he wonders: Where did I come from, how did I get here? He thinks he used to know the answers, but they are part of his past and the only thing he knows is his present. He asked Arno once, but Arno didn’t know, either. “Whyn’t you go to The Mission?” Arno asks. Marcus shakes his head. He was at The Mission Friday night. They sat him
down to listen to the Word of God and words of hope, they fed him, they gave him clothes and offered him a mattress and a blanket (both disinfected daily); he muttered his thanks and left. Marcus doesn’t like Bibles and Hymns and Jesus Christ Will Save You, Lean On The Lord. He doesn’t like dry chick’n or prune faces in starched collars and he doesn’t like the smell: not clean; sterile. Arno finishes the bottle and sets off. He will probably go to The Mission, or he will stay at Tacy’s if he has the ten dollars. Arno is tall and lean and, despite his age and the alcohol and his long time on The Row, alert. He goes to The Clinic every month, where they take his pulse and his blood pressure, give him medicine and advice. Marcus walks further up The Row. It’s late, Saturday night, there’s a full moon and The City is blinking and yawning. Neon and smokestacks. Noises he can hear beyond The Row. Another world; he hasn’t been in it for—he forgets, because he chooses to. Choices are left: to stay where he is, to go somewhere else. The Mission: eat and sleep. Down The Row: maybe share another bottle. Touch the fringe: beg another couple dollars for a bed at Tacy’s. He reaches in the side pocket of his brown tweed jacket, the one that isn’t torn, and fondles the six dollar bills, the three quarters, three dimes, six pennies. Saturdays, it’s harder to get money. People are in even more of a hurry than they are during the week, and there are fewer of them on The Row—fewer visitors anyway. Sundays are his best days, if he’s up to making the rounds
of the churches on the fringes. People will give him a quarter or a dollar, kids—little girls in white dresses with bows and boys in dark suits and somber ties—will ask their parents to give him money. He stops and jingles the coins: they clink, clink softly. He checks the pants; the pockets are still empty. He nods absently and rubs his hands against his thighs. The shiny gray serge irritates his palms. The pants fit well and are still crisp: last night’s bounty from The Mission. He jingles the pocket again. The coins make a dull, unsatisfying noise. He starts off once more but is stopped by a tall figure emerging from the dark of an alley. Marcus knows no fear; his life cannot be jeopardized. The tall figure steps in front of him and, in a ratchety baritone, commands “Give it to me, man,” then, as an afterthought, adds, “or I’m gone cut you’ motherfuckin’ eyes out.” Marcus raises his face but not his hands. The figure stands there, blocking the moon. All Marcus sees are the eyes: bright red. “Where you got it motha-fucka,” the figure cries quietly and grabs the brown tweed lapel. It tears. Marcus silently watches the rip extend down the front of the jacket. The figure says nothing else. It curls its fist into Marcus’ stomach. Marcus doubles, hears the serge tear, feels the pants pockets being turned out. Then the tweed tears again and he hears the plink of copper and silver on cement. He hears “Shit” and a scrambling sound and, “All you got is six dollars and some fucking change?” before he feels a metaled heel brandish his back and propel him
forward onto the sidewalk, where his forehead slides and the skin abrades, pores filling quickly with blood. He lies there while the metal heels click down The Row. He tries to breathe in slow, shallow gulps. He wants to vomit again but his stomach isn’t strong enough. He lies there, waiting. When he finally gets up, it’s with the help of Freddy, who has stumbled against him in the night. Freddy is nearly blind, he carries a white cane, which, like now, he often just carries, and sells chewing gum and rolls of candy on a street corner beyond The Row. Freddy, unlike Marcus, isn’t always on The Row. He is sixty-six and was in The War in Vietnam. He got syphilis there. It wasn’t diagnosed until years later; he has been growing blind ever since. The Veterans Administration offers to help him, and sometimes, Freddy lets them. Marcus envies Freddy that help; Freddy has his own room and never goes to The Mission. “Who is that?” Freddy asks uneasily. Freddy fears most things, except the people of The Row. They are his friends, for he alone among them always seems to have the ten spot for Tacy’s, or the three sixty-nine for a halfpint at Danny O’Lea’s, when they need it. “Marcus.” “... Happened?” asks Freddy. Marcus explains. Freddy nods and offers a bottle: Canuck Rye. Marcus drinks from it, knowing he will regurgitate moments later. The stomach muscles have come back. Freddy offers him a bed at Tacy’s. Marcus shakes his head and grunts, “Nah,” and Freddy does not press the issue. He walks away, down The Row, to his room, nine
by twelve feet, a bed, an (illegal) hot plate like the one Ricardo the night clerk and his wife have, a hanging sixty watt bulb, three neatly folded shirts and two pair of slacks in one drawer, four pairs of underwear and four of socks in the other. And, on the wall, a black and white snapshot of Freddy with his arm around a young Asian woman in khakis. On the back of the photo is written “Nov. 72”: when Freddy returned from Vietnam. The woman in the picture is a whore. Marcus bends over but doesn’t vomit. Instead, he sees a dime, overlooked by his assailant. He picks it up, then walks further up The Row, finds a recessed doorway, sits, takes out the dime, looks at it, turns it in his hands. Some words, a phrase, reach his mind, something about building a dream, and slip away again. He tries to remember them, leans back against the door and licks his lips in concentration. He continues to think, but the words have fallen away. In the distance he hears a train whistle and an elevated car rattle against the night. Gradually he falls asleep. When he wakes up, The Row is quiet. It is Sunday afternoon and the weather has turned crisp. Marcus gets to his feet, bunches the brown tweed in front of him and sets off, going down The Row.
Richard King Perkins II Where does it hurt when cardboard walls collapse in a sodden pile around you, snuffing the Sterno soaking a scrounged meal and your only change of rags? Where does it hurt when city rain is the cleanest thing that’s happened to you in seventeen months on the street and lovers on the sidewalk laugh, swinging arms together, catching droplets on their tongues while you cart your chosen scraps through blind alleyways seeking semi-permanent shelter? Why is someone’s relief always another person’s injury and some things so easily washed away while other diseases remain which the clearest effluence will never penetrate?
Untitled Peter Quinn
Two Dollar Tuesdays Luke Coulter
Finishing up a closing shift at the pub I walk down 15th headed south. White boys smoking cigarettes in their pink polo button down shirts Out front of the Fox & Hound on Tuesday where pints are only two dollars a pop. A UPenn lacrosse jacket on, Blonde hair Blue eyes Smirking With daddy’s credit card in the back pocket Screaming and shouting Faggot Nigger Or something else. He’ll take the train back to campus And wake up a lawyer an accountant a doctor. But do not worry. They’ve been hidden under a silver shade since sunrise. The light will never find them.
Billfold Souls Bob McNeil
Suppose those Billfold Souls, Who tow their boats of green notes, Had stocks that knocked into sewage Below Wall Street’s block, Suppose those Billfold Souls Scoped the Dow Jones Go below gravestones, Suppose those Billfold Souls Scoped the NASDAQ Slap some bird crap On a broker’s jacket, Suppose those Billfold Souls Scoped a certain magazine’s five hundred Hunger to wed a loaf of bread, Suppose those Billfold Souls Scoped their bank accounts’ mass Wind up a fumbled pass, Would those Billfold Souls Find the emotion known as despair For a human who stares At a pocket That has no money in the fabric’s lair, Would those Billfold Souls Find the emotion known as despair For a human who stares At a plate That has no sustenance there, Would those Billfold Souls despair, Would those Billfold Souls despair For anything besides Their beaten schemes for moolah reams?
Two Dollar Tuesdays Jacqui Powell
Irony and a Metrocard Bob McNeil
High rises banefully looked at the pedestrians under them. The stratosphere scowled at the buildings unable to hug it. Above the aforesaid, the sun heatedly examined the atmosphere’s diminutiveness, And, on a Manhattanbound E train, a bum, rather Whitmanesque around the whiskers, asked if I could share some coinage. I confessed, while leaving for my stop, lint, not loot, was all these trousers had. The derelict said, “You better get a better gig.” Platform-thrown by ridicule, I awaited comprehension’s hand.
Commodities Diane Funston
Woman ahead of me apologizes to the intake worker, pleads, “I usually help others, but then I got sick”. The worker’s wrinkled hands reach out, she replies, “Don’t feel bad, any morning my feet hit the floor of my bedroom’s gonna be a good day”. After standing in a line of anticipation, anonymity drops when faces remember who we were before, perhaps with roles reversed. We unwind from the coiled reptile of need, a mingled skin of many colors, old and babe, able and disabled, cut off from visible society. I recognize someone handing out fresh celery, the color of childhood lawns, he smiles his bearded grin, asks how my husband’s job search is going. I tell him he’s in Kansas looking today, talking with Reno tomorrow. He hopes we stay in California, I nod and continue the line. In a mock pantomime of trick or treat, we hold reusable bags open at each giveaway. Applesauce, spinach, rice and beans, French bread so unlike baguettes in Paris, a lifetime ago it seems. This is temporary for us, a few months at best. We may move, we may stay, we move forward nonetheless. Hardscrabble hands pat my back, kind eyes meet mine, mothers try to quiet their children like I did once, decades ago in other places like this. I gather my groceries, carry them to my truck. I find some extras in the bottom of my sack: My humility, that I lost a little ways back, My faith, in God and the kindness of strangers, and I leave feeling richer for all that.
Souvenirs of New Orleans Ten Years Later Shizue Seigel
Exactly how many layers of exploitation have fertilized the Mississippi mud? How many bribes and/or death threats paid for your Garden District mansions? In the Delta, poverty is palpable—first in incarcerations, last in schools. In a nearby town, a huge plastic gorilla guards a lawn, knuckles to the ground, butt upraised, in the position you like to keep the dark and muscular. Outside the historical museum, you brag in my yellow face, secure in your pink skin and white shirt: “Growing sugar cane is like printing money! The government guarantees the price, so even if I don’t plant any cane, I still get a check. But the people ’round here (code for black) they don’t like to work. That’s why we have to bring in the Meskins. Now, they’re good hard workers.” I don’t ask if they are legal. I don’t ask how hard HE works. And I don’t ask if his subsidies were preserved by cutting back food stamps in the last farm bill. I’m an Asian spy, here to visit the concentration camp where my family spent four years. I don’t waste my breath on you who can’t hear me. But I’ll report back to sunny California, “Don’t bring your tourist dollars here. Look for the lies; peek through the cracks in the shiny veneer, warping from damp and rot.” How many generations of tradition justify the way you treat people? How many millions do you spend on your Mardi Gras float, your purple, green and gold costumes and souvenir cups. How many pounds of beads do you toss out like lagniappe to the masses? Beads, made from plastic, that is, petrochemicals—the oil and gas you suck from the land that you stole from illiterate Cajuns and Houma Indians who just wanted to keep trapping and fishing in the old ways. How much do you make from the alligator hunters who pay $10 an egg times forty eggs to a nest and a hundred nests per acre in marshlands eaten away by oil canals? How many millions do you extract from Naw’olins by renovating drowned shotgun shacks for artsy newcomers eager to sip from the honeysuckle wine while displacing the very people who gave New Orleans its soul? While you prudently moved your corporate offices to Houston, the town hollows out into a Disneyworld of conventioneers and tourists, artistes and do-gooders, arriving just in time for the next flood. Because it WILL come to this land drowning from global warming and corruption. And yet, the sinking land is feverish with hope and determination and the remnants of people who believe deep in their souls that love and family trump money. If they go down, they will go down singing!
Interstate Tracy Tucker
Let It Rain! Prerna Bakshi
In the gruesome heat of this Poverty-stricken nation I hear a child cry And I say to myself Let it rain! Amidst the loud noise of machines Coming from a factory I hear roaring slogans Reverberating And I say to myself Let it rain! In the drought stricken land Where no longer can one hear Butterflies in the fields fluttering around; The sound of the crops When a breeze blows over them Dried up farm fields all around I hear a farmer’s outcry And I say to myself Let it rain! A distant scream coming from Mineral rich forests As the Indigenous people Fight against the state’s repressive forces When the latter marches ahead with all its force To drive these rightful owners Off their lands And I say to myself Let it rain!
In the silence of injustice I hear a rebellious voice Of those rendered ‘Voiceless’ In the darkness of suffering I see a defiant sight Of those rendered ‘Invisible’ Silenced, invisibilized For far too long People with Disabilities Chant, No more! No more! And I say to myself Let it rain! Across the street A woman looking out the window With determination in her eyes Defiance in her voice Bottled up resistance in her heart Revolution on her mind And I say to myself Let it rain! Let it rain! Let it rain! Let it rain! Oh dear lord, let it rain!
The Rape of Pink Lily Stephanie Han
Wild on the green, a hothouse lovely bursts from fallow fields guarded and held for sons. Typhoon beatings ravish her stem. Suits snap in creased time, the auction has begun. The men clutch pornography: rodent furs modeled by powdered faces, hunks of steel that force foreheads to the ground, wasp waists, steel breasts. Tongues drag along a spine, while capes crack the air. Flower rapes are necessity. Shackled by oven coils, Pink Lily fights insects that mount her limbs, snakes that rest on her damp. She weeps, grips the solace of mud. In the ache of smog and heat plastic bags flutter like banners and cattle wade through rainbow slick. Petals butterfly and sigh lost in the tingling of moss and feces. Beyond the stone huts, relief of white ginger pathos. Pink Lily sways as the cloven crowd grazes inches from her willowy waist. Dogs piss on her face; the sun cuts her back. Ants march on her delicate tips, a bite, a snack, a nibble of flesh. Abandoned by the bees, Pink Lily refuses to plead. Rats scurry and sniff the rot of skeletons and dollars, await the crack of silken petals, calculate and count, file their teeth, drooling, ready to devour. Their gums quiver with lust: How many of her stalks will line their nests?
Old Man Son of Sun Lung Wai Stephanie Han
Outside my kitchen window wave banana leaves large with heat, perfect in green, they shade a stone shack next to a garden: A woman’s plot—insistent styrofoam boxes of choy, chives, ginger, and herbs. The plants linger and wilt from sun and neglect, buoyed by a hoe, a rigid hand scattering soil, a brave reach for water. A daughter—a paper deed married off, tradition dried, peeled, and preserved. Her obedience and acquiescence, masticated and swallowed decades ago. She stakes her son’s land—bamboo sticks, pink plastic twine— guards his birthright with a steel face, a sour mouth, a wave of the hand. Old man son drools, babbles in the village square, dodders up the path, wades through mud puddles. He relieves and comforts himself under an asbestos roof, prods snakes and demons under trash and tin, drops leaves to check the stream’s flow, jabs the ghost behind the banana flower searching, searching, fish and memories, frogs and purpose. A mint clothespin hangs from his ear. Hollow cheeks, flat sunken eyes, a mouth with no teeth, he murmurs to the wind, argues with the spirits. My son sees him, trembles, and cries. My explanation fails: a head missing pieces, a wound of the mind, a sickness that stays. Mother and son move across the land arms-length apart, equidistant from their home, three points in time, a perfect isosceles bound by an unseen line. In the beginning, a son! A baby bound to a mother’s back. Fatigue and tenderness, the despair of insanity, the loyalty of blood. The years fester the heart. Old man son shuffles past rusty bikes, plants, plastic pieces, pots, and pails. Inside the TV’s on: he scoots closer, transfixed. Music, applause, colored lights, a row of women in swimwear. It’s America’s Next Top Model. Outside the mother fingers a lemon tree’s gnarled bark. Yellow eludes. Some fruit never ripen. A bitter sour picked green, profit and possession, split and opened, placed on icebox shelves for their faint scent. For this, she collects coins, counts. The twisted tree withers under her watch, but she will never free the roots, protects it for him, a baby, a child, her old man son, answer and heir to this land.
The Fever Wildflowerâ€™s Perfume William Wolak
The Social Worker Diane Payne
The best part of my job is heading over to the VFW after work. No one really likes me at the
bar. Or at work. Hell, I don’t even like myself, but what can I do? That chick at work today. She was a piece of work. “Hey, what’s a guy gotta’ do to get another beer around here?” Sandy rolls her eyes at me. “My glass is empty!” “Here, asshole.” She shoves the glass at me. “’Asshole.’ Nice way to treat your customers.” Second time I’ve been called that in one day. “I’m sure you’re a real saint to your customers,” she says. “If I was down and out, you’d be the last person I’d want to see for help.” “Hey, now you’re just being mean.” “Just telling the truth.” “Someone say something to you about me at work?” Sandy shakes her head. “No one has to.” She walks away. Where’s the respect? That broad at work was the worst kind. By the time she had filled out all her paperwork, and then watched the film on how to shop wisely with her food stamps, she was already pissed. You could just tell she thought she was smarter than everybody else. It’s not my fault she’s broke. Finished my time in the Navy and ended up being a fucking social worker. I needed a job and this was it. I’ve had two divorces and never went on welfare like my ex’s. Almost always it’s women in here whining they need money. I can’t even date anymore after listening to all these women going on and on about why they need money. I tell them they need a job. That broad at work was good looking. Hell, if she wasn’t so uppity, she’d get another man in a week. Her half-breed baby was even cute. She wouldn’t tell me the kid’s race. Didn’t want to tell me anything. Got downright angry when I read her all the questions aloud. “I can read,” she snarled. “You think you’re so smart because you finished grad school, then why are you down here in the welfare office? Why aren’t you using your fancy degree to get a job?” “What is wrong with you?” Her kid started crying and she shoved the baby on her tit. “Hey, hey, you can’t do that in here.” She rolled her eyes at me, just like Sandy. No decency. I wanted her out of my fucking cubicle. If she was so smart she’d know I could find ways to not give her any money. I read her every question aloud and made her read aloud everything that she had filled out. “How do I know you can read? You know how many people say they can, but they can’t read? And most of you don’t understand what you read. It’s my job to make sure you understand every question because we’re not just giving you money. You have obligations. You understand?” Her baby sucked her tit while she looked at me like I was scum. I know who was the scum. “Let me guess. You got knocked up by a married man, didn’t you?” I wish I had taken a picture of the look on her face. Such hatred. “Happens all the time to women like you with your fancy degrees. Ain’t very street smart when it comes to romance, are you?” That’s when she put the kid down and picked up a pen and wrote my name on a sticky. “We’ll see what kind of job you have after I report you to your supervisor.” “How do you know I’m not the top boss here?” I couldn’t stop laughing. She was so damn pissed. “Asshole.” I picked up her file and held it over the wastebasket as she stormed out of my cubicle. Women.
Rashaad Thomas The devil in his blue dress uniform approaches me from the rear in his police car while I walk home from the convenient store two blocks away. The winter night dazzles in the exploitation of my Black skin: we work twice as hard together to maintain my sanity. The cold bites at my exposed body as the police car’s bright lights warm my back. Sparkling in the cold’s breath, my black shoes rhythmically tap the sidewalk, slowly tipping to a stop. Three times I repeat with my shoes: click, “I am not Mr. Bo Jangles.” Click. “I am not Mr. Bo Jangles.” Click. “I am not Mr. Bo Jangles.” Quickly, my mind takes a panoramic picture of the moment. As a young boy growing up my father, a Black military police officer, trained me to capture images that are most immediate as pertinent information in a matter of seconds; slightly windy, dark, illuminated street lights, two-story white stucco apartment building complex, approximately four apartment’s lights on, and the sprinklers stutter in conversation with the inebriated lawn. I think to myself, “What time is it? Last time I checked it was about 9:00pm. Probably 4 minutes passed. 9:04pm” I’m able to tell without looking at the car the sound of its tires had let go to the left. Lights from the car’s roof flicker red, white, and blue that bounce off the
apartment building on my right. Immediately, I tense up. My chest shrinks and then puffs, stretching the seams of my retro 1970s powder blue suit. The car’s passenger window reflects my fear and I make a slight movement to loosen my pink bowtie. Overwhelmed with stage fright, I appear nervous and stutter in thought because I feel guilty for not memorizing my lines from the script of this performance. I am always the villain and traditionally I die in the first scene. “Please stop right there, sir.” His command voice echoes off the apartment building, cues apartment lights on, and faces masked in dark silhouettes press to their windows. It’s the last time I hear the word, “sir,” come from the police officer. He steps out of his car and onto the pavement and the car door metal claps once, calling me to attention. I make sure my thoughts are loud, ricocheting off of his footsteps to let him know that I am not a threat. I turn slowly toward him mixed with the car’s muffled whispers in the background. It takes approximately eight steps for him to get in one arm’s distance from where I stand. My thoughts and his footsteps work in iambic octameter. 1. Stop. 2. Did I do something wrong? 3. One-word answers with yes or no sir/ ma’am cut and pasted to the beginning of each response. 4. Ask no questions. 5. Hands in plain sight. 6. Do not make eye contact. 7. Eyes to the ground.
8. I want to go home tonight. A short stout bald headed devil in his blue dress uniform appears, standing directly in front of me with his right hand on the handle of his gun in its holster. “Dang, a MSMC, man with small man complex,” I mumble to myself. These are the worst type of police officers. They are the most ornery of all types of police officers and feel the need to throw around their small size to compensate for their height. I glance at his eyes and then look straight ahead because I know not to look into his eyes. I peer slightly over the shine of his head. “Let me see your Identification.” “Huh?” I ask. “Let me. See. Your. Identi. Fi. Cation.” “Oh, ok. Sir, my I.D. is in my pocket. I am going to reach, in my pocket, and get my I.D. for you. From my wallet.” I ‘ve just handed him more than a one-word response, but I know it’s important that I justify my every move. I want to go home tonight, alive. I hand him my I.D. He looks at it once. “Where are you coming from this evening?” “Circle K.” Damn, that was two words, right? I maintain the loud conversation in my head to stay calm and not say anything that will set off his short fuse. He looks at me again. Then he tilts his head to the left to speak into the walkie-talkie attached to his shoulder.
“I have a Black male….” I don’t hear anything else because my legs begin to loudly shake and I don’t want to appear nervous. After all, the old American Proverb goes, “If you haven’t done anything wrong then you have nothing to be afraid of.” Well, I know being Black in a white neighborhood is as strange as it gets. “Where you headed this evening? I see his mouth moving, but I am unable to hear and respond. He slowly repeats himself as if I can’t comprehend what he is saying, “Where… are…. you …. going? I read his lips and his voice sifts into my ear. I shake my head and say, “Home.” “Why are you in this neighborhood?” “Home.” “What?” I repeat, “Home,” slowly making a controlled action attempting to point, but I remember my script and I keep my hands by my sides. “We are just checking to see whose out in the neighborhood tonight.” I nod my head. “Where do you live?” “Sir, I am going to make a gesture to point.” I point toward an apartment a block down. “Have you had anything to drink tonight?”
“Yes.” A sweat drop gets in my eyes and I wipe it away. I know from previous stops this is a beginning of a long scene testing my eye-hand coordination “Keep you hands at your sides so that I can see them!” “Yes, sorry sir.” “Got damn it, two words. No, three words. Boy, do you want to die tonight? Keep it up,” I think, while beating myself up for making the last two mistakes. A second police car approaches and joins the patriotic light show. The new police officer steps out of the car with his right hand on his gun in its holster. He is white, about 5 ft. 10 inches, younger, but has a scowl on his face. “Fuck.” Officer MSMC asks, “What did you say?” “Oh, nothing sir. I was just talking to myself.” I remain docile as the two police officers deliberate over their next meal. Officer MSMC nods his head and then puts his ear to the walkie-talkie on his left shoulder. He nods once more and begins what appears to me to be his descent towards me. His lower mandible shivers while drool squeezes through his glued lips. I don’t think he got the answer from the Fairy Wizard in the Land of OZ that he craved for. He stops short of bumping his chest to my stomach, steps back, and then shoves my I.D. in my direction, maintaining his right hand on the handle of his gun.
“ You may go.” I said grace to him, “Sir is grace. Sir is good. Thank you for letting me live not in my hood. Amen.”
Black in Suburbia Jorge O’Connell
The Body Bag Marco Pina
rests on a gurney beyond the yellow police tape waiting to be taken away. I wonder if it is the old Mexicano who was defeated by the laughs and bites of coyotes while crossing the border, and now wanders the streets drunk off pain singing corridos about Sinaloa; or is it the southern farm-girl who ran west to chase the stars, but lost her bearings and ended up on her back chasing dragons instead; maybe it’s the mentally-ill Salvadoreña with too much eye makeup, who serves as the neighborhood gargoyle spitting Spanish venom on those she deems evil; is it the transgender woman who flags down cars with her giant hands, in a frilly robe that hangs from her broad shoulders like the flayed carcass of Ralphie Parker’s pink bunny suit from a Christmas Story; if not, it could be that kid with the pubey mustache who reminds me of my nephew, puffing out his undefined chest, looking just tough enough to fool people under the light of a dying moon. He reminds me that even though I live in a desert it still gets cold, and that body bag offers more warmth than anything on these streets.
Sonnet of the Alley Joel Salcido
An orphaned mattress left in the alley, adorned with a Rorschach Jesus piss stain speaks psalm twenty-three, a prophecy, fearless in el lado oeste’s trash—Phoenix’s drain. Capsized on the corner, a three-wheeled cart pointing at the primered truck—the dark side’s junk parked on the lawn across from the empty lot where paisas got ICE’d, when the Meth lab blew up. A Viejos dreaded beard digs through trash bins preaching soliloquies to demons in tin cans who changed the cholo handing out pamphlets for his past sins, hiding the placas on his hands. We all get lost here, waiting for a heroine to save us all. Perhaps she’ll be a poet.
Cannibals of Phoenix Joel Salcido
And here head up beyond the moon beneath hell’s immeasurable glow to understand the never letting go of the ceaseless heat, To recognize diving out west the eternal radiation of the morning rushing inside sleepless concrete of compacted forever shrinking space where light still shines, And weird at Wal-Mart the plastic pieces glowing in the noon waves of meth cascading through eyelids shivering potholes through the valley, And now old Westridge the corridor withered with memories of earth toned necks bent before the sun, now lingering viejos restless on their porches. And Downtown brightens the Row spreading along the clamor of new construction and from Grand the morning of stolen sunshine reflects off forgotten paint, And surfaces on Indian School the asphalt fissures in neglected roads and 55th avenue ghosts of car wrecks and Thomas lost tweakers jaywalk yelling strange ventriloquism at traffic, And beyond Maryvale alleys the brown water still in the gutters where gangs of pigeons stand watch on telephone wires cooing at their mechanical cousins, flashing in backyards And Phoenix burns out of the shadow of Los Angeles— the bastard sisters of cowboys and cathedrals and sunrises reappear infinitely late from high clouds that never rain. But even then the short breath of the dirt: And here head up beyond the moon to understand why the sun slowly heats the day away.
Untitled Gino Pambianchi
explaining Enigma to the neighborhood for Pablo Neruda Joel Salcido
You asked me what the cockroaches smuggled between their rusted feet and I respond: the cracks in the concrete know, deepened by layers of spit, wizened by deposits of abandoned dreams You say, what are the junkies praying for on their midnight streetlight vigils? I tell you, they’re praying for death, like us trembling with anticipation, eyeballing corners for shadows because death is the enduring fix You ask: who are the weeds reaching to strangle? watch it at peak time on a certain block they twist into W’s , flash from porches, wither under the heat until they cultivate an addiction no doubt you will ask about the suffocating choke hold of the police, to which I reply by describing how Jesus drove the Legion into the sea. perhaps you’ll ask about the pigeons’ grey feathers that drown in the filthy drains of the gutter? or the discovery of the rainbow of a gasoline puddle, that leads to nowhere but another question about God’s promises? You need to understand the magnetic attraction of poverty and the neighborhood, the rusted hinges of doors that break when they shut, the lure of furtive alleys of smoke, the ambient score of arguments that pulse in the evening like light through space You need to know that this is understood by the Streets, that life in its holy breadth is fleeting as the first high, and through the emaciated eyes time has widened gazes, made every window translucent, cracked the glass letting the melody of laughter sneak away to snuff the sirens of endless crisis I am nothing but a solemn journalist that returns the words to tongues long silenced in their loud struggles, of mouths accustomed to dry-swallowing complaints like bitter crumbs perpetually caught in their throats I never left same as you, caged singing questions to the bleak tomorrows, and in my open hands, every morning, fully dressed and half asleep release a bird into the city
A Tribute to Sam Allen Sean Lynch
Samuel Washington Allen lived for almost a century, from 1917 to 2015, and in his life he fought for justice, as a lawyer, a scholar, but most importantly, as a poet. Richard Wright first introduced Sam Allen to the literary world via the Parisian journal Présence Africaine; Allen later published under the pseudonym Paul Vesey (in order to keep his legal and literary lives separate), and we at Whirlwind had the honor of publishing him last in 2014. Sam Allen’s poems in our second issue, “Nat Turner or Let Him Come an Invitational Appeal” and “Law and Order” showcase the late poet’s many rhetorical nuances while maintaining a straightforward, almost demanding exhortation that invokes freedom and equality in his signature song-like voice stemmed from, but also innovating upon his African heritage. In the 90’s Allen read his hymn-like Nat Turner poem in the Sorbonne, one of his many Alma Maters; his student, Lamont B. Steptoe, reproduces that moment through the poem entitled “Spirits Movin’ in the Sorbonne,” which we have the honor of sharing with you. Through the letters, poems, and photographs in the following pages, we wish to offer our readers some insight into how this exemplary American author, Samuel Allen, perceived and wrote about injustice under the Empire. As our founder’s
mentor, Sam Allen wrote Lamont B. Steptoe over 160 letters, only a few of which are featured here. In the letter entitled “Congratulations Lamont,” Allen displays joy at Steptoe’s “flourishing” career, and expresses gratitude for Larry Robin’s organizing of a series on African Francophone poets. In another letter, Allen commends Steptoe’s reading style as an integral facet of communicating his poetry. Sam Allen’s graciousness to curators of poetry is apparent in his thank you letter to a now extinct arts program at the Walt Whitman Center for hosting in a residence. During that same visit the mayor of Camden, NJ awarded Allen a key to the city. Allen praised Steptoe later on in the letter as a “highly valuable asset” in booking famous poets to visit and perform at the cultural center in Camden, such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, and Dennis Brutus. Steptoe wanted to do even more for fellow poets, and so he founded Whirlwind Press in order to publish the poetry of exiled antiApartheid activist Dennis Brutus. The subsequent book, Airs and Tributes, included an introduction by Samuel Allen, in which he proclaimed that the book stood as an “...eloquent testimony to the triumph of the creative spirit over the rigors of imprisonment and exile which have so vainly
sought to silence [Brutus].” And finally, we have the delight of witnessing the poetic processes of Sam Allen and Lamont B. Steptoe, as the former advises his mentee on editing Steptoe’s poems “Bleeding Diamonds” and “A Rose for Oliver Tambo.” Through these edits it’s apparent that Allen understood rhythm and the syntactical significance of words, even in the seemingly simplest of contexts, at a profound level, which proves to be highly edifying for his readers and students. The genius of Samuel Allen remains evident throughout these letters, and it’s truly an honor and a pleasure to be able to share this literary giant’s writings. However, Allen has not yet received enough recognition for his talent and life’s work. At the time of this writing, one can find information online about Allen by prestigious institutions such as Oxford and Yale, but you have to google “Sam Allen poet” because if you just google “Sam Allen” it comes up with some boring old businessman in a suit. Not only that, but major outlets have not even reported on the poet’s death. So far the only media evidence of Sam Allen passing away comes from an obituary in The Columbus Dispatch. Let us hope that Samuel Allen receives the recognition he deserves as a literary great in his death, although his remarkable voice lives on through many of us regardless. The late
Baraka once told Steptoe that he “must be one of the advanced.” Certainly this was due to the brilliance of Steptoe’s mentor Samuel Allen. It is our responsibility as a community of poets and socially-aware humans to make sure that Allen’s legacy will endure. That legacy will arise in the same way as Samuel Allen wrote of Nat Turner, “In his name I say Come / For the thousands gone, Come / For the living the dead and the not yet born, I say Come…” Indeed, the day will come. Otherwise we’re doomed to cynical nihilism. Thank you Sam Allen, for your words. Your spirit. The Empire collapses from within due to you.
A Poem by Lamont B. Steptoe Edited by Sam Allen
“Spirits Movin’ in the Sorbonne” for poet, Samuel Allen Lamont B. Steptoe
in the Sorbonne in the Sorbonne in the Sorbonne spirits got to movin’ got to dancin’ got to singin’ got to clappin’ got to shoutin’ got to stompin’ got to sweatin’ got to moanin’ got to shakin’ tambourines in the Sorbonne spirits got to movin’ African spirits black spirits got to singin’ swingin’ dancin’ shoutin’ stompin’ sweatin’ wavin’ hands moanin’ in the Sorbonne under the gilded ceilin’ between gilded walls under paintings of Racine, Descarte, Bossuet, Moliere, Corneille, Richelieu in the Sorbonne spirits got to beatin’ drums fire dancin’ shoutin’ quakin’ the foundations walkin’ through walls comin’ up out the ground flyin’ down from heaven whirlwind walkin’ whirlwind talkin’ got to callin’ names got to callin’ names got to takin’ names in the Sorbonne dark Jesus moved over the stiff wooden water of straight back benches got to healin’ layin’ on of hands callin’ back the dead in the Sorbonne dark voices called a livin’ God she/he came in clouds thunder/wonder talkin’ in a blue people’s voice barefoot and bleedin’ 1992 Sorbonne, Paris, France
Sam Allen Reading
Sam Allen with Lamont B. Steptoe.
Steptoe and Allen
Sam Allen, Everett Hoagland, Sonia Sanchez, Dennis Brutus, and Larry Robin
Sam Allen with Dennis Brutus.
A Letter from Sam Allen to Lamont B. Steptoe
A Poem by Lamont B. Steptoe Edited by Sam Allen
Frame of Reference Dedicated to Sam Allen Courtney Gambrell
Egress from reality Which beckons in deliberate manner The pontifications of your memory Supersede religion And all else Your name becomes A cloistered object in the throat Moistened by the Saline of Backwashed emotion In those moments When the curtain of life Dissolves In that midnight hour Our journeys merge Lest, I awake too soon
Detail from Moon Cycle Sophia Hunt
Biographies Luke Coulter is from Mt. Laurel, NJ. He’s an English major attending Rutgers University in Camden and lives and works in Philadelphia. John Elliott worked as a biologist and as a teacher of biology and physics. Now retired, he devotes his time to writing. He has one play production, a mix of scenes from his and two other playwrights, and staged readings of The Green Wind, a play about Federico Garcia-Lorca. His poetry is published in Acorn, Southwestern American Literature, Poetry Quarterly, and Buzz – Poets Respond To Swarm. Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications. In a six-year period, his poems have appeared in The Louisiana Review, Bluestem, Emrys Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Roanoke Review, The Red Cedar Review and Crannog. He has poems forthcoming in The William and Mary Review, Sugar House Review, Plainsongs, Free State Review and Milkfist. He was a recent finalist in The Blue Bonnet Review Spring Poetry, The Rash Awards, Sharkpack Alchemy, Writer’s Digest and Bacopa Literary Review poetry contests. Stephanie Han won literary awards from the South China Morning Post, Nimrod International Literary Journal, and the Santa Fe Writer’s Project. She received two grants from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, an Emerging Voices PEN West fellow, attended VONA Workshop, and is City University of Hong Kong’s first Ph.D. graduate in English literature. Her poetry, prose, and non-fiction appear in numerous journals and anthologies. She has completed a short story collection “Swimming in Hong Kong”, a poetry manuscript “Passing in the Middle Kingdom”, and currently divides her time between Mui Wo, Lantau, Hong Kong and Honolulu, Hawaii. www.stephaniehan.com Diane Funston lives in a small mountain town in Central California. She has been published on the West coast and in her native Upstate New York. She is a graduate of Cal State San Marcos in English. Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County. He has work in or forthcoming The Nervous Breakdown, Word Soup, Eclectica, and Storm Cellar. He won the 2011 SuRaa short fiction award. Debra McQueen’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Legendary, Undertow, The Lake, NEON, and Rogue Poetry Review. WORK Literary Magazine published one of her many scathing resignation letters, and in spite of this, she still has a job teaching special education in Soda City, South Carolina. Her first collection of poems, Born to Die, will be out on Singing Bone Press in 2015. Daniel Brian Jones is a multi-disciplinary artist currently living in Brooklyn, NY. His writing has appeared in Chronogram. Music: Harmonium Songs (a cycle of settings of poems from Stevens’s Harmonium), Little Room. Upcoming: the theatrical world premiere of John Ashbery’s Litany. www.danielbrianjones.com Prerna Bakshi is a sociolinguist, writer and scholar of Indian origin, currently based in Macao. Her poetry has been published, or is forthcoming, in Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Indiana Voice Journal, Red Fez, Muse India, Postcolonial Text, Theory in Action, Hysteria, Misfit magazine, Grey Sparrow Journal, Asahi Shimbun (Japanese Daily Newspaper), Your One Phone Call | Poetry with a knife edge!, Bottle rockets, Kabul Press, Silver Birch Press, Wilderness House Literary Review, A Quiet Courage, Praxis magazine, Poetry Pacific and elsewhere. She tweets at: @bprerna Ree Villaruel, 23, is the project head of “Young Writers of Earth,” a website that featured poetry and fiction written by aspiring and emerging writers age 12-30 from different countries. It ran from 2011 to 2013. Ree earned her professional graduate degree in law (Juris Doctor) in the Philippines in March 2015. Shizue Seigel is a Japanese American Sansei who earned her first dollar picking strawberries on her knees. She escaped her last corporate job 20 years ago to piece together a living as an outreach worker, people’s historian and mapmaker. As a single parent who raised three kids on $5 a month child support awarded by a male judge, she believes change happens only when the complacent realize how deeply they are complicit in maintaining the status quo.
Joel Salcido is a Mexican American writer from the west side of Phoenix. He is a husband, father of two boys and a wage slave. He is currently in his senior year at Arizona State University where he is majoring in Creative Writing. Sneha Sundaram is an entrepreneur and poet. Her poems have been published in Storizen, Noctua Review, Miracle E-zine, Kigo-Chuffed Buff Books, the British Council & Sampad ‘Inspired by Museum’ anthology, Capoliveri Haiku 2014 anthology etc. Sneha is currently working on her poetry and a non-fiction book. Evan Guilford-Blake writes prose, plays and poetry for adults and children. His short story collection American Blues was published last October by Holland House. Penguin publishes his novel Noir(ish). This fall, Deeds Publishing will issue his novel Animation and Rooster and Pig will release his children’s novel The Bluebird Prince. Verto Publishing will publish Love & Loss & Love, another book of his short stories, in January. His work has also appeared in more than 50 journals and anthologies. Thirty-one of his plays are published; collectively, they’ve won 42 awards. Tenaciously, Bob McNeil tries to compose poetic stun guns and Tasers, weapons for the downtrodden in their effort to trounce oppression. His verses want to be fortresses against despotic politics. After years of being a professional illustrator, spoken word artist and writer, Bob still wants his work to express one cause—justice. Fatima Ijaz, graduated in English from York University and holds a Master in English Linguistics from Eastern Michigan University. Writing since over a decade, she has written in various online e-zines such as Della Donna, Abramelin, Chowk, Writer’s Asylum and others. Diane Payne is the author of Burning Tulips (Red Hen Press), Freedom’s Just Another Word (Sweatshop Publishers), and has been published in hundreds of magazines. She is the MFA Director at University of Arkansas-Monticello. Marco A. Piña is a Native Sun of Phoenix, Arizona and self-identifies as a dog of Eden. He is a thirteen-year Veteran of the United States Air Force, served both in OEF/OIF, and traveled the world on his Tio Sam’s dime. After brief hiatus from the world and all its bullshit, he decided to come out of retirement and pursue an art (poetry) that guarantees he will die the way he was born, poor and brown. He has traveled many paths in his life, and all of his experiences were memorable, unfortunately not always for a good reason. He feels that there is something about writing that is therapeutic. He feels that he has a responsibility to draw from the inkwell of his tragedies and life altering experiences, and transcribe them to a clean canvas allowing others to view a world they otherwise would care nothing about. Rashaad Thomas is an USAF Veteran, Poet, and Community Activist. He is an Arizona State University military Veteran student pursuing his BS and MA in Justice Studies. Rashaad uses art, poetry, and his Black experience as a dialect of the Black vernacular to engage communities and advocate cultural consciousness. Poverty to him is both a lived experience, once a homeless veteran, and also a carried symbol embedded in his Black skin and mind state. For where he lives the ghetto may not be where he always resides, but his skin color and gender represent a poverty that never allows him to escape above the poverty line in America. Lamont B. Steptoe is a Vietnam veteran from Pittsburgh who founded Whirlwind Press. As a poet Steptoe has had over a dozen collections published, and his work has appeared in many anthologies, such as The Oxford Anthology of African American Poetry. Mentored by Samuel Allen for decades, Steptoe has generously provided the archival material dedicated to his late friend in this issue. Samuel Allen was born in Columbus Ohio in 1917 to a clergyman. Allen studied at Fiske University under James Wheldon Johnson, studied law at Harvard, and did graduate work at the New School and the Sorbonne. Sam Allen was first published by Richard Wright in the Parisian journal Présence Africaine and two of his poems last appeared in Whirlwind issue #2. Allen’s translations included Jean-Paul Sartre. Samuel Allen passed away in June of 2015 in Norwood Massachusetts. Majorly influenced by Aubrey Beardsley, astrology, poetry and botanic illustration, Sophia Hunt is a London-based freelance illustrator. She graduated from the University of the West of England with a BA (Hons) in Illustration, and aims to create a surreal and macabre aesthetic in her works. Other influences include costume design and gothic literature. Hunt predominantly uses pencil, ink and gouache for her artworks. She is forever working on botanical and art nouveau infused tattoo designs. T.S. Tucker is a writer and photographer, a lover of prairies and Plains-people, a dog-person, and a soft touch for sad cases. Her writing has been published in Touchstone Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, Prairie Fire, The Open Mic, and
Illuminations. Her photography has been published worldwide in Scientific American, Prairie Fire, Farming Magazine, Progressive Farmer, The Farming News, The Independent, and by Routledge textbooks, Black Lawrence Press, Agri Biovet Press, and many others. She lives in rural Nebraska, happily. Bill Wolak is a poet, photographer, and collage artist. He has just published his twelfth book of poetry entitled Love Opens the Hands with Nirala Press. Recently, he was a featured poet at The Hyderabad Literary Festival. Mr. Wolak teaches Creative Writing at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Peter Quinn is a young artist living in new york city. His goal is to highten your senses through a live performance of color. All you need to bring is silence of mind. Jacqui Powell is a philly born artist working at a cafe and illustrating. She has shown in galleries throughout the city and enjoys creating work for whirlwind magazine. She likes to focus on the human condition, as well as try to make people laugh and question themselves. Joe Shefski is a cartoonist with an architecture background living in Philadelphia. He posts excerpts from his sketchbooks on his blog at 1-900-saxophone.tumblr.com Jorge Oâ€™Connell is a UArts alumni that majored in illustration. He resides in South Jersey where he works on his art. Jorge is influenced by graphic novels and science fiction, which is often reflected in his work.
Resource Center at Friends Hospital For twenty years, Consultation, Information & Referrals on matters pertaining to Mental Health. In the Scattergood Building, Friends Hospital, 4641 Roosevelt Boulevard Philadelphia PA, 19124 214 831 4894 A Free Service. Volunteers Wanted
Our one year anniversary issue. Poems, stories, art, and photography on poverty. The final section features Lamont Steptoe's archival photos...
Published on Aug 16, 2015
Our one year anniversary issue. Poems, stories, art, and photography on poverty. The final section features Lamont Steptoe's archival photos...