j’avalerais cet ensemble
(I Would Swallow This Whole)
By Divyasri K.
Marquis, I’ll take you out
sometime—a pint or three, we’ll ride the
open casket down Rue de la Fontaine.
Here: the damask. Here: the choking babe.
For what reason do you live? Only because
my hands did not fit around your neck;
or perhaps they did. Perhaps it was the false deity
they call mercy. For this poor creature I will take
forty francs—alright, thirty. Throw in the
hanging skin, there, dripping fat over the fire;
they eat well here, no doubt. No doubt
you have heard the gnashing teeth,
the roll and rumble of thunder in the throats of hungry men.
The window used to be there; once we could see
the women on the floor, on the tables; see their ankles,
up their skirts; the difference between one flesh and the other
is not so great. If you have the appetite,
I will show you how to eat this emptiness.
Will you show me how to kill? I have the hand,
the boiling blood, I have the cracked mug
of a mind and a full bank. A hundred francs,
then—alright, two hundred. Will you feed me now?
would you know me by choice?
By Ella G.
would you know me by choice?
if I could craft a sentence that told you everything I would. Everything‘s at fault in me right now. It’s like there’s an on-ending tangle of words and lines and thoughts pictures stretched thin and folded over each other and rolled out like fondant and twisted and drawn and
this should haunt me. I’ve seen four dead things in my life. I have seen a rabbit, a cat, a person, and, most recently, a mouse. I suppose I’ve seen thousands of dead things. How many lives have I ended? How many have I consumed?
Tendrils unfurl from my heart. Quiet now, I’m reaching. Falling from the top shelf, I am slain.
And yet, almost there. Hush, a little further now.
Now they feast on you.
a futile plea
By Ella G.
october comes and death comes
summer a sweet season of immortality
stay here with me daughter of mine
it’s so cold there
and you know everyone here
i have aloe for you, burned one
i have vicks vapo rub. you’ll be okay
By Ella G.
ravage savage beast roars
snarls teeth, lips unhinged
eyes and eyebrows unseen and unfounded
cement uptorn by ropes of life
outstretched from a trunk
roaring and trumpeting
royal banners unfurl from flat top acacia’s
a stampede of knights and swords
biting and tearing iron and steel
limb from limb
clangs and blasts
canyon clay in prairies
staring without direction
cross eyed thought without movement
flies and maggots and birth
a steak and burberry coat for the foxes
dinner and a show
“the matinee has already started unfortunately, ma’am. If you’d like I can reserve you a seat for tonight’s showing.”
thin-lipped patience and dagger eyes,
this is wilderness
Ode to a God
By Osmanthus L.
There was a god that lived where the sun shined
and the wind had a salty edge. In the spring, they danced
between the reeds, making them whisper.
In the fall, they snipped the stitches
that held the cattails together,
watching and laughing as the tiny tufts
flowed like a river through the air
and blanketed the ground below.
In the summer they would dip their brush
in shades of pink and purple
and splatter the hemlock stalks
making sure not to add too much or too little
because what was deadly had to be beautiful.
In the winter, they would tear at the dried-up lakes,
their fingernails leaving a spiderweb of cracks
for the bugs and lizards to live in.
When the ponds were wet they would hide under the algae,
blowing tiny bubbles that made little ripples on the surface,
scaring the minnows so that they would dart away all at once.
Like Athena, they were born of their creator’s brain
as he lied on a bank, the sun caressing his face
and reeds whispering inspiration in his ears.
Now their creator is surrounded by silent walls.
Now he knows why the reeds whisper,
and where the bubbles in the pond come from,
and what gives the hemlock its spots.
Now his future weighs him down, and makes him blind to the past.
It is said that a god is dead when nobody believes in them anymore.
We Fell in Love Under the Ivy
By Kelly S.
We fell in love under the ivy,
And through the stone archways,
And hidden passages that connected one heart to another.
The whispering arches know all of our secrets, like how much I adore you.
Whenever I tripped over a loose stone, you were always there to catch me.
Climb the spiral staircase, my love,
Up five flights until you reach me.
First fear, then hope, as two kindred spirits joined as one.
Even though we may be time zones and light years away,
You’ll always have this limestone heart, and memories of late nights talking.
We told each other our dreams, and what we could be,
if only we weren’t so afraid.
By Helen L.
8 o’clock on a fall evening
I cannot see the stars or the moon tonight.
8 o’clock and my brother and I
and our uncle
are walking to Mira Park.
Down the steps
along the sidewalk
Brother and I side by side,
We form a silent triangle,
an empty pocket.
Now my brother hums a tune
and I hum a tune.
The man trails in back, hands
shoved into stiff jacket pockets
head bowed, looking down.
He says nothing but
for a sharp exhale through his nose.
Now he inhales, his hand
rustling against stiff jacket pockets
he reaches out
brushes my arm―
“Kids, how was school today?”
My brother and I do not hum.
“Good.” Why did you have to ask?
Now it is silent. We do not hum.
The man clears his throat
nodus tollens, right?
the plot of his life no longer makes sense to him.
He could walk to the park every evening for 100 falls
and still never truly know these children.
The evening air blurs with our exhaled breath.
And Uncle sighs
again, again, again.
The hairs on the back of my neck crawl and settle, crawl and settle.
Now nobody hums.
Who Was I -- Second Grade
I whisper to myself
Watching the new sounds roll off my tongue in the glass of the window
Hearing the weirdness in my voice
Not recognising it
I’m the new kid
At a new school
With a new language
I’m not good at talking in it yet
Everything sounds funny coming from me
Almost like they are mocking me
With their long vowels and silent “e’s”
I can’t say them
Not yet anyway
I walk down the school halls towards my new class
The sounds amaze me and I can’t help but listen
Even if I can’t really understand them yet
The words roll perfectly off everyone else's tongue
The bitter pang of jealousy stings like a hornet
I want to sound like them
So I keep my mouth shut
Because if you don’t talk people hear what they want to hear
I walk into the foreign classroom
The teacher asks me if I’m Amira
She butchers the pronunciation
It sounds like AH - MIR-RAH
My name sticks like honey in her mouth
It's disgusting once you get a taste of it
I don’t correct her pronunciation though
Or tell her I go by a shorter nickname
I just nod and keep my mouth shut
I manage to keep the silence
Talking only when necessary
And talking very quietly when I do
I do it for a while
Everyone thinks I’m just shy
I guess I am a little
They don’t know that what’s under the blanket of silence
Is an accent and sloppy english
I take classes to help me learn to spell and speak
I practice an american accent until I can sound just like the rest of them
I lost me and became a copy
But I started to talk a bit more
Raise my hand in class
But I learned there are some words I can’t quite say
And the other kids caught onto that real fast
In came a storm of questions
About where I was from
Talking real slow so I can understand them
Even though I can hear perfectly well
In came a tornado of insults
Wicked laughs that weren’t funny
Not to me at least
Words not created to be mean
But were knifes to my young heart
Maybe no one else could see me bleeding
And falling down and down
But that’s the year I learned
That sometimes silence and lies
Beat the truth
Because the truth hurts more than lies.
By Edith G.
A phoenix rising from the ash so grey
Will soon regain her flame and rise up high
With feathers preened and shining, a new day
Shall come once more as she shoots for the sky
Restored in all her glory and her soul
Her beauty never ceases to bring joy
She will always protect her strength they stole
Her fire and her flight she will employ
But ash remains on her red wing so fine
And one day it will spark again so sure
This phoenix whose power is so divine
May once again have burning to endure
When that day comes I’ll be right at her side
My phoenix has my heart, my soul, my pride
By Synthia M.
Sometimes memories will fly on to my nose like butterflies.
Endlessly fluttering into the open cavities of my mind filling silence with happiness before the
Bright colored wings with singular bodies of hope.
Ah, love is what reminiscent is to me.
It is full of similes and metaphors to distract the ideas of you and me.
My, I love you endlessly.
I’ve written thousands of things addressed to you in hopes you read my mind and see the
things I see; kiss the way I kiss, love the way I love.
Butterflies go through various amounts of changes from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly, they
molt to get to the best part of them.
I believe you may of molted from me.
I was your change and now you are beautiful,
how bittersweet it is to now see butterfly
memories that are always you.
My Dear Flower
By Alejandra S.
I know the way you think about yourself,
but you also forget that I know you better than anyone else,
you are and have always been beautiful,
with nothing to be jealous about the other flowers in the gardens.
I don’t know how you don’t see
what everyone else seems to perceive,
how special and bright you always are
and all the potential you’ve always had.
Do I deserve to even have you?
No, probably not,
but you decide to stay with this little ladybug close to you,
hearing it’s crazy ideas and advice,
wanting it to stay with you
without even considering who else you could have
or all the other things without me you could try.
Oh, dear flower,
you deserve so much more,
and I almost think I wish I could give to you all,
and maybe then be worthy of getting your love.
I hope this ladybug can make you see
what you seem to don’t believe
and realize how much you should receive,
even if it means that you will leave me.
By Rachel F.
that never flap their wings
a drone hum
as they chug right along
a route memorized by heart
eyes keen with sight
a safe and successful flight
intestines filled with screaming children
the red-red mountains far below
full of spiky green octopi
and toy cars
that roam to and fro
up here the world is blissful
beyond these aluminum walls
bliss is what birds see
enjoying the journey
exploring point a and b
the luscious pastures down below
arranged in neat-neat rows
pleasant fields filled with trees
a birds-eye view
this bird soars fast
down-down to the ground
where bliss is not found
evolved chimpanzees exit
tugging luggage and baby chimps
crappy neck pillows
this is where the chimps live
all the same
rapidly destroying their habitat
this is where the chimps live
and the real,
innocent feathered birds
melodious and deep
may soon have to go
A Blank Canvas
By Nupur L.
Seeping through pages is the ink that she bleeds in,
Stains that are as dark as the forthcoming break of dusk.
A frayed leather journal guards her existing thoughts;
Pages that hold his name, written in between the lines,
Like the blink of stars littered across a dark abyss.
The white of every page is scarred with his traits
And while the craters of a moon serve as blemishes,
His name on a page defines clarity.
By Lucia H.
Creations were not meant to weep,
nor swim through oceans far and deep.
I watched her smiles break a frown
and chase the monarchs from the crown.
Should she have loved, if she so cared?
Hands traced along the blood we shared,
embraced, with fingertips like stone,
a heart unbroken, frozen bone.
I watched a charm of sultry nights
entrance our dreams and bitter frights
as though sent down from skies above:
the skies which never knew of love.
I thought her words could shine like fire;
six ablaze, one stone-faced liar.
The girl is left to grieve alone
devoid of tears, her tears of stone.
Upon her knees, she begs and pleads
for petty crimes, forgotten deeds.
Behind the doors, I cry her name,
tear down the walls that guard her fame.
What envy filled her aching soul!
How sweet devotion took its toll!
And sullenly I watched her weep,
awake as towns were fast asleep.
She never yearned for love nor light,
but cataclysms late at night.
I drove her half-insane, alone,
and now she seeks the cherished throne.
Tonight, I recognize the beast
who chases sunshine in the east.
Tonight, I see the fool in me
—a player in a fantasy.
By Dawn K.
how am I supposed to concentrate
when there are cockroaches living in my brain
they scratch and claw and bite
gagging vomit in my ears at night
they settle in my chest and turn my heart to stone
wretched love long gone, as sadness makes its home
crush crack and snap as they break through my bones
taking over like vines long overgrown
disgusting creatures turn me into a monster
mess of decay and disaster
my head is foggy, storm clouds with thunder
I have forgotten who I am, and to the cockroaches I surrender.