Archaic Vessel – van swearingen
This month the theme is possess: to have, or, to take, or, to be taken. Today we offer cookies garnished with poems, a sprig of lilac, a new love, and another love.
Next month we:
Submission guidelines can be found here.
artists TALK with Krys Malcolm Belc
“Writing this book inspired me to use photos of my childhood, which was a real communion of past and present selves. Reclaiming those images as something that truly belonged to and within my own narrative was very powerful for me on a personal level. That’s why the photographs are in the book. It’s not to illustrate things or because I was cute as a baby. It’s to take hold of things that represent a story that’s been told about me, or things that feel like they happened to me, and share my interpretation, rather than what my parents or anyone else would say.”
We are honored to be in conversation with Krys Malcolm Belc, author of the forthcoming memoir The Natural Mother of the Child.
Grandmother’s Memory – van swearingen
I kill every exorcist to save my demon.
i lie belly-flat on a matress like an agama lizard, nodding to every line of a new verse seeded on the plain vellum of my phone. this is how i break the dawn—a cup of coffee, cookies garnished with poems. i own poetry, she owns me. a man betrothed to the love of his life. when grief runs into me and i fall like an orange crashing in the trachea of sand, poetry is the first aid kit, a mother to cry all my sorrows on. yesterday, i tried to count the deaths from the beginning of year, of men who wiggled until the feral bullets, ruining their bodies like blood running through veins, ripped off their souls. i poured all the rivers in my eyes onto poetry and watched her row them away till my brows bulged like an inflated hot-air balloon. right in this room where the sun peeks at me and sculpts my silhouette on the wall, i draw a mirror close to me and make a solemn confab with my second self whose stance is akin to a man crippled, bedraggled by grief: what could have happened if poetry never possessed you—a demon i am keeping from every worship place to escape being exorcised. a pigeon reposes on the window sill, i feed it a bottle of corns and espy as it takes off like a nourished poem poised to sing a virgin soft song in the ears of humans. before i set out each day, i dread and pick a rifle from the chamber of my father to kill every exorcist who is attempting to partition me from this demon. what is poetry if not this oxygen i breathe, the universe breathes?
Eniola Abdulroqeeb Arówólò is an emerging writer and a student of Mass Communication who writes on child abuse, inequality, politics and domestic violence. His poems have appeared in Brittle Paper, Eremite Poetry, Nnoko Stories, Mixed Mag, Ninsha Arts, Arts Lounge, shortlisted in BPPC JUNE/JULY ANTHOLOGY and is forthcoming in Rigorous Magazine. At his leisure time, he is either writing, reading or binge-watching cartoons.
My sister and I grew up pretending we were Siamese
twins, despite the 20 months between our births.
Arms wrapped around each other’s waist, we both
came running, legs in synch, when our mother called
for one of us, insisted we had to do whatever chore
as one person. When she was diagnosed with
with the same disease that chased our father
to his grave I told her she could have
one of my kidneys.
Siamese is no longer used – now we say Conjoined twins,
the reality of two people who are somehow also one.
My sister and I plan matching tattoos: a sprig of lilac,
like the ones that grew wild behind our farmhouse.
One day we may also have matching scars vining
across our bellies, the organ they will cut from me
and give to her, joining us forever in our childhood game.
Courtney LeBlanc is the author of the full-length collections Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart (Riot in Your Throat) and Beautiful & Full of Monsters (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press). She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Riot in Your Throat, an independent poetry press. She loves nail polish, tattoos, and a soy latte each morning. Read her publications on her blog: www.wordperv.com. Follow her on Twitter: @wordperv, and IG: @wordperv79.
After Megan Falley
Rewind this night—
you walking to me,
my hand already reaching for your arm,
fingertips digging in hard enough
to get your attention.
Our eyes locked, you quizzical,
me, passionate, grateful, breathless.
Me running back into the bar,
sitting back onto my seat,
watching you walking in.
Me, taking a sip from a beer,
walking on stage and reading about another love,
me, exiting the stage, eyes lingering on you
memorizing your face,
You taking the stage,
I was just on,
spotlights clinging to you,
and I swear you cannot be real.
Words coming out of your mouth,
while I tune out,
until a single line
catches my attention,
and I am hypnotized.
Me in the audience
falling in love.
Me in the audience,
Lynne Schmidt is the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor, and mental health professional with a focus in trauma and healing. She is the winner of the 2020 New Women’s Voices Contest and author of the chapbooks, Dead Dog Poems (Finishing Line Press), Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press) which was listed as one of the 17 Best Breakup Books to Read in 2020, and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West), which was featured on The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed for PTSD Awareness Week. In 2012 she started the project, AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans.