an open letter to (FUCK) you
for making me add another body
to the list poem of hashtagged names
shot, choked, and strung together
in Emmett Till infamy.
HAD ENOUGH by Andrew Velzian
I neck another valium and lose count
Of how many
And how much
I want this.
BRITTANY GETTING DRESSED TO GO OUT
By John Grey
sexy in the bedroom
feels so vulnerable
in the street
By Lindsey Heatherly
you confess you’re full of shit
that truth is relative to yours and mine
so you cut off your pinkie to prove a point
and tap it over the pile in the ash tray
yet you wonder why I keep silent
A Banned Poem
By Clayre Benzadón
Child, phones will always look like guns
when they blend into the black ground,
where you’re always chalked into sidelines, near walls rebounding
unmap, rewrite resurrection—
home can only exist skyward.
By Scott Manley Hadley
I would almost cry
Because Toy Story 2: The Game
Was just too hard.
By Michael McGill
New York cars at dusk;
a debutante on Cunt Mile;
lust in concrete slabs.
MY DAD NEVER TELLS STORIES ABOUT WHEN HE WAS YOUNGER
By Charlotte VanWerven
Some mothers and sons have Nerf gun
fights between chili pot barricades and
warped Tupperware shields,
but my grandma’s last son took out a 9 mm
in her kitchen.
BLUE LIVES MURDER
By Leah Mueller
The police are here to preserve disorder.
Power concedes nothing to reasoned complaint.
Justice won’t come without violence, and probably
not even then. No one has anything left to surrender:
no job, no home, no future. Everything stolen.
Might as well burn the motherfucker down.
By Chris Prewitt
Who am I to speak of love
when I’m a chainsaw
through a house of mirrors?
LIFE IN CEDAR PLANKS
By Michael Luketich
“Virtual reality” is only virtual because we
cling to the hope that reality is more than our minds
deluding us into believing that we’ve moved.
By Alane Ford
Having done many a thing for no good reason,
with no good outcome, and nothing to show
was the preamble to this godawful love.
If they ask why I’m with you,
I’m just working on the scar.
By Dave O’Leary
Swarms of mosquitoes swirl and buzz
in my living room. They dive bomb
me and I swat, miss, hit myself in the face.
But I do not curse the goddamned things. I breathe,
sip my beer, ready for one more pass.
CHECKING THE COUCH CUSHIONS FOR SPARE GOD
By Prewitt Scott Jackson
pocketed alms slip into the tiny canyons
of your latest Ikea
the holy trinity divided by the fuckery multiplied by the treachery
sheer terror squared
By Chris L. Butler
tear gas consumed our lungs as we cried for justice
we are fighting a war against corruption and constructed lies
the people are tired of suffocating and no longer can be silent
Molotov’s whiz by my head as we fight for the right to exist
this was the day the city burned to the ground
By Arel Kassar
They ran out of whole chickens at the store so I got a turkey instead and traded the six pack I had in my cart for two forties.
At the house I opened one of the malts and drank half, then I covered the bird in salt and pepper and shoved the bottle up its ass.
By df Parizeau
I had to get physical with him
because he was so good with his mouth—
like a Vancouver Special.
I felt like I was hallucinating.
It’s the kinda thing my mom would find sexy.
TWO POEMS WHEN WE KNEW IT WAS OVER
By MacKenzie Moore
I left, you left, we
nudge the knob louder, you, my
LA turnaround ||||
Pushing down and out
crumpled receipts, and the part
where we named the dog
By Jessica Frelow
cradle your breath in curves of my body
drown me in the rap of your words
mystify the passion trapped behind foul lips
rattle open waists, in the will of your infatuation.
LATE NIGHT CALL
By Jasmine Flowers
I done told you. America’s made of blood.
Let them make a hard-ass bed and lie in it.
I know this: I love me, and God loves me.
They can keep that hate right on outside.
You can’t put your knees on God’s neck.
AFTER THE END COMES THIS
By J. Bradley
Rapunzel strokes what remains of her golden stair;
the prince left a month after her diagnosis.
Build a tower to live in, she says to her visiting granddaughter.
Keep your hair short. Give no man the chance to disappoint you.
two viruses too deadly
By Laura Owens
commuter fumes recede
to make way for those
meeting a premature end
at the hands of “our protectors”
at least the air is clean in heaven
WATERBOARDING IN THE WATER CLOSET
By Jay Miller
we’ve been up 4 days straight now i can’t look you in the eye
this squatter’s lifestyle and failed music scene
ain’t cuttin’ it for me last week i found secret gospel
and bled myself dry eating my heart out because
god is dead i’m dead broke and poverty and godlessness is punk
By Sean Cho A.
Eleven is imaginary.
There’s no fun in logic.
WHEN WILL WE
By Q.M. Hall
say fuck the American Dream and allow our hearts to break for our brothers and sisters
their homes are burning.
when will we weaken
our selfish, white walls
and be held accountable for Destruction
we continue to cause
By Eric Lochridge
is performance art—
bold actions, no explanations
shoot a pheasant in the yard
(This poem was inspired by an anecdote in Episode 193 of The RobCast.)
May 28th, 2020
By Wilson Koewing
I fell asleep watching Minneapolis burn on my iPhone screen.
Black smoke billowed from the Auto Zone; flames reached from rooftops like pleading hands.
As I removed my contacts in a dream, my fingernails became sharp and scratched my eye.
Puss oozed out and when I looked up into the mirror, my blue iris had turned pallid white.
Despite the fear and pain I knew was coming, I repeated the process with the other eye.
By Lisa Lerma Weber
Sometimes I say fuck you to the girl in the mirror
and sometimes she gives me the finger and
sometimes we get drunk on vodka and tearfully beg
forgiveness for the fucked up things we’ve done
to each other in the name of love.
By Olivia Braley
in the kitchen i tenderize the steak mechanically / the mallet connects with the flesh in cruel smacks / the meat gives itself to the force of my blows / like i give myself to the man / flattened under the weight of him / there is the same violent sound / of hard on soft / the same methodic rhythm / of two bodies brutally colliding
By S.T. Brant
Shall such immortal harmony in Being be silenced by a mortal rage?
Shall it be untuned through false conduct?
Shall the infinite within go fightless to a cage?
How can any flesh make peace while a god dies inside its breast
That challenges it to Life?
WHAT DO WE OWE YOU
By Justin Losey
We don’t owe you our lives
Down to the last drop
We don’t owe you our dimes
Fuck you and your shops
We don’t owe you shit
WHAT STARS ARE MADE OF
By Mileva Anastasiadou
That’s how life must be, she said, as they made love, up and down,
back and forth, always, until the swing crumbles down and it all ends.
That’s how they spent life, on a swing, up and down, back and forth, falling and rising,
pulling and pushing, until they jumped high into the night sky and became stars, that is life,
until it all ends, not with a fall, but with a blast, remnants of life orgasms hung bright in the sky.
By Roger Li
As his pancreas weeps, he smiles:
for he had been a wheelchair pusher to his wife and
had sold his house to pay off the debts of his greedy children and
had dropped talk of seeing the world so that she could bear the pain of old age.
He didn’t cry. He didn’t ask for help. His children cried. Only to fight over the measly inheritance.
PINS IN AMERICA
By Kenleigh Gilbert
I will stab pins into America
in hopes it will not spread to the rest of the world
Each marks the grave of a life lost
They have lied to us about freedom
It has never been free
Please share if you’re able.
This poem is dedicated to the BLM movement.
Many poems in this issue are dedicated to the current movements in our world today. Please be brave. Please use your voice. Please be strong.