by Ashley Chew
before i know it i am spinning,
dying a dizzy-dim death
under neon-pink lights.
i am wearing my grief coat tonight -
i share it with a dark stranger.
she finds shelter in it.
the night breathes different without you.
i still feel blindly for your face.
a single glittery disco ball spins from the middle of the ceiling,
like an uneven moon,
spilling stardust all over us,
our grief coats,
on my wobbly heels,
holding me up,
full weight of a human body,
my mouth is spangled with your stars.
Ashley Chew lives on the sunny island city of Singapore. She holds a Master of Arts degree in English Literature and clearly could not keep away from books for long for she is at present an associate librarian at the National Library Board of Singapore. Ashley’s bursting email inbox is always open to you if your subject header is in all caps and contains at least 5 exclamation marks, no less: email@example.com.
by Dee Allen
There have been times--
Musical, foot-stomping, joyous times--
At strobe-lit spaces
Goths and Rivetheads
Were known to congregate
When I was welcomed
And felt accepted
As one of their own.
And at other times
At such spaces--
Times I wish
Were erased from my memory--
When I passed through
The dancing, undulating, spiked & pierced
Black garments moving,
Covering Black skin,
Except for the face--
And a superpower
I never counted on having
Kicked in around the decorative, mostly
Pale elitist ones
Uniformed in the shade of midnight:
African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California U.S.A. Active on creative writing & Spoken Word since the early 1990s. Author of 7 books--Boneyard, Unwritten Law, Stormwater, Skeletal Black, Elohi Unitsi and his 2 newest, Rusty Gallows and Plans--and 66 anthology appearances. Currently seeking a new publisher.
by Maree Reedman
My backyard is blanketed
in lavender flowers, little trumpets,
heralding memories of university days,
exam time, the year ending, and
who liked purple and blue,
how she cut down the majestic
jacaranda on her footpath
because it was close to the power lines.
There’s a family of frogmouths
in the paperbarks at work.
My niece and nephew
are getting their licences,
Dad’s going on another cruise.
My mother died in the dead
of winter, she wouldn’t wait
for the frangipani to sprout green leaves
at the end
of its old fingers.
Maree Reedman lives in Brisbane with one husband, two cockatiels, and five ukuleles. Her poetry has been published in the United States and Australia in Chiron Review, Naugatuck River Review, Unbroken, Stickman Review, Grieve, Hecate, StylusLit, and has won Ipswich Poetry Feast awards, including a mentorship with Carmen Leigh Keates.
by Emily MacGriff
I saw water music
women wearing leaves
and their hair breathing
in baritone stretches of precipitate
I shook the waves –
rubber and rudder
pointed in from the surf
wanting to call back in
stomp, brush, slap
gulp, spray, gasp
wanting an answer
swish, smash, sing
sway, say something, just
the strings of music in the empty
bits of me, my history and feet
be silent, it’s all
the engine drop,
my own chest’s cascade
the chimes I cry,
Emily’s work pulls largely from her experience working aboard expedition ships as a marine biologist/wilderness guide in the polar regions, South Pacific and British Isles. She is mostly retired from shipbound work and focused on navigating life as a woman, artist and mother. She’s based in Detroit and received an MFAW from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2022.
by B. J. Buckley
a torn and dirty winding sheet,
a shroud for stars.
is what the world is:
to stay alive: wasp
fox and vole,
the aging lynx in one last leap
to the back of a panicked
for its neck, for red,
for warm, the beautiful simplicity
beyond which nothing
has any meaning,
bear chewing through flesh
and sinew to free itself
from a trap.
There’s always a knife
at the throat
some desperate hunger,
devouring its heart to save
B. J. Buckley is a Montana poet and writer who has worked in Arts-in-Schools and Communities programs throughout the West and Midwest for more than four decades. Her recent work appears in Grub Street, Hole in the Head Review, About Place Journal, Dogwood, and Calyx.
by Willow Kang
for Ishita Pandey
On Coney Island listen,
to the unquiet of the night
rabbits turning nocturnal & wintery,
China dolls hopping off their prairies
Yet the carnival rides never stop rolling,
nor the restless tides,
pulled by a moonlit chariot
Tonight is fit for space station escapades,
stay watchful. May caffeinated owls
concoct for you an insomniac’s poison
in the silk worm’s nest
What shenanigans loom around the alleyways,
giggles atop the street lamps,
skyscrapers like monuments to fireflies
Scurry between midnight parties on High Street
& peek into the shimmering rooflights, on this
night filled with cratered, puzzling belongings
Willow is a writer from Singapore. After school, you can find her reading thick history textbooks, aimlessly writing poems, and solving frustrating math problems, in a futile attempt to conquer boredom. Just make sure that her coffee bowl stays full.
by Jas Saunders
Sometimes when I’m anxious
I’ll write poems on the plateaus
of my palms, blue waves
of ink flowing within their gradients and ridges
When I want to hide those feelings
from the rest of the world like a hermit crab
tucked inside itself, I’ll share
an empty fist, displaying new
and delicate fingernails like bleached white
seashells washed ashore
learning to grow in real time
with the rest of me.
Published in UWA’s Pelican and Peafowl magazines, as well as Perth’s youth magazine Pulch, Jas Saunders is an Honours (Creative Writing) student at UWA, with an undergrad in English Lit and Public Health. Her writing focuses on liminal spaces, nostalgia, or memory, with representation her younger self would have desired.
by Yuan Changming
for Qi Hong
Taking a walk
around the neighborhood at sunset
as if they are crows flapping by
In the twilight sky, the moon
What if it vanished
into an unknown space
as the clouds exchange
their feelings in a hurry?
Seeing a passer-by come my way,
I derail my body & thoughts alike
What if the planet really comes to a pause
during the pandemic?
What if social distancing becomes
the order of the day forever?
What if the season, in other words, lasts
between rain and snow?
Seeing two teenagers approach,
I jump aside and hop on the curb
like a lousy dancer as they run along
What if the doors of my homeland
remain closed until I am too old
or too weak to move, to see
and kiss my first and last love?
What if my family cannot afford to immigrate
to Mars from this burning
or frozen planet?
What if another huge meteorite
hits earth hard enough?
What if what I know
is neither true nor false?
Yuan Changming hails with Allen Yuan from poetrypacific.blogspot.ca. Credits include 12 Pushcart nominations & chapbooks (most recently LIMERENCE) besides appearances in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17), Poetry Daily & BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1929 others. Yuan both served on the jury and was nominated for Canada's National Magazine (poetry category).
by Sienna Taggart
paperbag bush, prickly poppies,
blue phacelia bitter root
—the desert’s offspring sewn together,
rustling whispering their brisk secrets
up the mountain.
I taste them on my tongue when
rain beckons and calls
feel them on my palm,
their gummy milky sap
drying on my fingertips I walk
climbing higher to the Yucca
with her sugary
waxed cream flowers sheathed in sharp points,
roots swelling with sudsy pulp;
I stand before her threadlike neck
concealed behind a bladed fan
cup my hands
as wind pulls velvet tears
from her cheeks.
Sienna Taggart (she/her) is a Creative Writing and English student. Her work has appeared in Dundee University Review of the Arts and The Ekphrastic Review. Sienna lives in El Paso, Texas, with her family and spirited pup, Ronin. She can be found on Instagram @siennaraine_
by Tom Brami
When in poverty, your altitude becomes familiar,
and you realize the difference between being short
and being short of thrift. You fly and think of falling
into the spiral of earth without obligation of forming belief,
like a peach prone to bruising. We are all air bound,
arranged in failure and moving. Observe
her husband below. Right now, he’s changing
by walking the feet to an invisible line.
He is a kind of glass she held to the sun,
an emergent quality present in ways or degrees.
In the future, you will recognize your face
as a groper probing a fisherman’s hand.
You’re a boy crawling into a crevice to sleep.
Anemones stain the sea; birds are lost in migrating sand.
You use them as half buried pillows.
Outside you, a ship is casting a frost
that freezes the ocean. The snow is calm
and reddish, prone to bruising.
Wreathing clouds are suspended on a sphere.
Tom Brami is an Australian writer and filmmaker working on a PhD in Madison, Wisconsin. His poetry can be found in Of/with, otoliths, Futures Trading, Southerly, and Foam:e.
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