‘&a BLACK MAN goes to / & forth through bye bye Land’ & ‘&epic / endless acts’ by Kevin Latimer

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&a BLACK MAN goes to / & forth through bye bye Land

(a trailer by Spike Lee)

ENTER NEGRO MAN: standing halfback, bare
footed, bondage on his neck &

enter POLICEMAN: twichy fingers, get that
Nigger, (his gun is ready
for war.)

they stand in the middle of the ring & & & —

/

IN THE YEAR 2077 IT IS ILLEGAL TO BE CAUGHT BLACK DOING THE FOLLOWING:

cookingcleaninglearningjoggingdoingtaxes
bowling (niggas can’t bowl) drawingflying
textingshoppingdrivingworking ( breathing
relaxing)eatingcreating. (. black boy black
boy black boy black boy black boy black boy
black )

/

insert coming of age story
insert becoming [a MAN]
insert!

.tragedy

&that’s how the movie begins!

/
black boy runs away from home / black boy becomes new boy / & now black boy is dead.
/
black boy stands outside of walmart / bought his baby diapers / coppers shot him dead.
/
black boy gets his education / soars to whole new places / gun sight on his head /

(. YOU GET IT!)
/
SPIKE LEE stands on stage, in his finest movie attire; twenty policeman flank in after him.

it’s the oscars, spike lee says.

it’s the oscars!

&epic / endless acts

i.

.the moment after grief ends
comes contentness &okay

wailing turns to intermittent pangs
of loss / not hunger [i hunger to
touch u again].

in therapists office. on stage.
BOY enters & sits.

in therapists office. on stage.
GIRL enters. facing BOY.

g: are u ok?
b: no.

he stands & leaves.

/

.a dead mother is thrown on stage
[ragdolled & all that]

BOY enters. he pilfers
the napkins from her pocket.

he cries.

[enter RAVENS to gnaw at the bones].

/

.holy music
[HOLYHOLYHOLY]
like god on the stereo!
enter PRIEST.

p: we are here today to celebrate the life of

enter BOY.

[the RAVENS continue to gnaw]

b: stop.
p: this is a funeral /
b: she’s not dead.

they argue.
lights.

/

.u cannot be dead
until i say so [u u u]

enter MOTHER. all chewed up
& gnawed on.
m: —

she cannot speak.
the words claw at her throat.

enter BOY. he runs to MOTHER.
he performs the heimlich. [&PUSH]!

she coughs up something NASTY.
she runs off stage.

BOY follows.

/

ii
.enter PRIEST & GIRL. handbooks in hand.
p: im so sorry for ur loss g: im so so sorry for your loss
im so sorry for ur loss im so so sorry for your loss
im so sorry for ur loss im so so sorry for your loss
im so sorry for ur loss im so so sorry for your loss
im so sorry for ur loss im so so sorry for your loss

but she’s dead, you know. you have to accept that.

/

.

.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …

THE ANATOMY
OF A DEAD MOTHER IS:

/

.what 2 do when ur mother is no longer expecting     ///uh

ur mother’s arms will curl into themselves permanently flexing to show off 2 the dead ur mother like all dead mothers is still here [but no longer here] it’s really in the hips those little decaying things those hips those flexing arms in sync they tell a story heres a story ur mother had u [u u]
when she was 18 recent high school dropout fat bellied turning tables 4 money at ur local dennys!!!!!!!!

[ ur dead mother like all dead mothers loved u very very much]

/

.&grief needs AN INSTRUCTOR interpretitLIKETHIS:

enter PRIEST, curried favor & god sent

p: grief is the kindest of the emotions. you cannot live without having lost
the most human of the human experiences
(regardless, to have lost / / / isis

.enter BOY, YOU KNOW THE DRILL!)
breathless, teary eyed & all that
he stands face 2 face with PRIEST

.they freeze!
five men enter after him at once &

.they snap
they exit (& they’re off the stage)
& then the action begins!
/
they’re going at it
ONEONONE!!!!

BOY says

end of act one

/////////////////////////////

act two
.&they’re standing face2face

.and they are STANDING face TO face

the BOY unfreezes &
the PRIEST unfreezes &

it all comes out:

b: you can’t just walk around saying/
you who knows nothing of it /runs
his fuckin’ mouth/
what did you say?

p: there is nothing more tragic than death,
we all know this, and yet still/but that doesn’t
mean you can deny what’s right in front-/
i’m sorry you feel this way /i said, i’m sorry/

.a record scratches & it all stops ///

[hello priest hello praishoner hello godly men
i have lost something rather important to me.]

/

///. end 4 now

Kevin Latimer is a poet and playwright from Cleveland, Ohio. find him at @LikelyKevin

‘Are We Having Fun Yet?’ & ‘What the Land Owes the Sea’ by Kerriann Curtis

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Are We Having Fun Yet?

On the third Thursday of each month I cart around foxes in my berry basket. When no one is looking I eat unfamiliar mushrooms to evoke familiar feelings I haven’t felt since I was a small child. I’m no Alice, but falling into rabbit holes and chasing strangers gives me an adrenaline rush akin to hearing I love you from your mother on a Sunday morning over pancakes and orange juice, no pulp. I awake on Friday to find I’m the size of a pea, so I crawl through the tiny hole in the wall by my bed and wash my feet in the tears of the female mice that occupy space hidden by size and naiveté. They teach me to be wary of four legged animals with long, whipping tails and in return I teach them to be weary of stealthy male mice with insatiable appetites. Not all women are meant to be mothers I sing on my soapbox, but the Gregorian chants that are broadcast over the airwaves are louder, and people are more willing to believe a group of men over one woman who cries. Powdering my nose in the reflection of my axe, I advise a balloon on proper floating techniques while trying to convince the hen to tell the truth about the rooster. After all, you can’t steal the eggs when dawn breaks if the hen is dead.

What the Land Owes the Sea

A mass extinction is in full swing and Angel-headed songbirds sing anthems of carnage. Pick sides in the fight for survival, Art and Science are our only gods. Love affairs with secret societies appeal to the great natural disaster while our hero has doubts and is often reticent. He tries to seek everything within and nothing from outside but comes up empty, and short 10 bucks on rent this month. His landlord is his arch-nemesis and ex-wife. Once upon a time they were happy until they sought meaning in a theatre and realized happiness is a lie. Understanding and honesty are the scary kids on the playground until you get to know them.

Kerriann Curtis is an artist and poet based in Queen Creek, Arizona. She is also the Co-founder and editor at Wordkrapht and a serialized writer at Channillo.

‘WE FELL IN LOVE AT THE NO AGE SHOW’ by Savage Ckhild

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WE FELL IN LOVE AT THE NO AGE SHOW

We fell in love at the NO AGE show. We were holding hands while MINER played. We made our friends jealous, I think. All the dopamine and adrenaline ran straight to my head and surging, wouldn’t stop the total elation from coming. I didn’t want it to ever stop. I had to headbang harder. My body was trying to find physical expression the magnitude too great for the limit of my tiny body in comparison, finding expression of such a spiritual experience. She was going to be my girlfriend because she knew what this meant to me. Winding, whirling, dizzying, droning, drowning in, a din of laughing distortion. She didn’t lean in for a kiss. We both knew it at the same time. Neither of us were high or drunk. It was the purest intoxication. Just blood and lust and love at first.

Six Poems by Jeffrey Zable

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THE SUM

After explaining the grading system, and reviewing my life
the Maker gave me a “C” overall.

“I would have given you a C+,“ he explained, “if you had given
more to charity, and if you hadn’t said ‘God damn’ so many times!”

“How could I have gotten an A?” I asked out of curiosity.

“For you that would have been impossible,” he responded.
“Being an “A” person was not in your nature!”

And so I was led to the level half way between Heaven and Hell
in which the dead still have to work and are paid in tokens that
could buy the same kind of stuff one found at Target or Kmart–
those discount stores that you shopped at back on earth if you
didn’t have the money. . .

ANOTHER TRAGEDY

I’m walking up New Montgomery street when I see this guy
whose upper body is almost parallel to the sidewalk.
He’s holding an open newspaper in front of him,
seemingly reading the contents. I notice all this before I realize
the smell he’s exuding, which is the strongest smell of excrement
from one person that I ever smelled. I’m so surprised that one person
can smell that bad that I stop off to the side just to make sure
the smell is really coming from him. I look at people passing by,
many of whom have pee-yew expressions on their faces.
Mostly I’m feeling sad to be witnessing yet another modern day tragedy. The guy is obviously homeless, has serious back problems,
and is oblivious to the fact that he smells like a pile of shit.
As I continue down the street it seems like everyone else smells like he does.

SEX

is always an option when there’s nothing else to do.
What I mean is, if you’ve flipped all the channels
and the best you can find is a rerun of “Gilligan’s Island”
or if you’re out of bread and therefore can’t make a sandwich,
or if the cat or dog is peacefully asleep on their favorite chair
and doesn’t like to be suddenly awakened, or if all you get
is answering machines when you call your ‘so called’ friends,
then it’s a pretty good option, except that there’s always the possibility
that the person you’re with may not be in the mood,
preferring to do their nails or continue reading the novel they started
a couple of months ago and planned to return to,
but always seemed to get sidetracked with something else.
And then there’s the possibility of driving to that part of town
in which women and men frequent the streets,
who will usually give you what you want if you’re willing to pay for it, including a room at a cheap hotel, or at the hot tubs, or if it’s not too far,
will indulge you in your car so long as it’s in a part of town
where there’s mostly no one else around.
And of course there’s the option of pleasing yourself the old fashioned way, which humans have probably been doing
since they were able to stand upright,
and no longer lived exclusively in trees, caves, or underground. . .

SUCH THINGS

passed lots of females while walking along,
realized that the ones around 50 and older
were the ones who acknowledged me
if they acknowledged me at all, and that
the least attractive ones gave me the most
eye contact including a smile with a show
of interest, that those under forty seldom
gave me a glance and if they did it was probably
to make sure I wasn’t some psychopath who
would knock them down and try to rape them
right there on the street. I thought to myself,
so this is what I’ve come to, remembering
when at least I was able to get a nod from
a pretty young woman, and that once in awhile
one of them would sleep with me and ask me
questions like how long have you been playing
conga drums, and what kind of poetry do you write,
as if such things really mattered. . .

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES

On the Facebook of one of my former students there’s a clip
of a nude woman bouncing back and forth,
screaming out in orgasmic joy, though we never see the person
who’s giving her such pleasure.
The clip is short, but definitely has all the ingredients
of hardcore pornography.
With this, I write to my former student–
who was in my third grade classroom,
and who must now be in his late teens–
that if I were him I wouldn’t have that kind of video
representing my personal taste as it could come back
to do some harm.
Within an hour, I get a note from him
in which he explains that his Facebook keeps getting hacked,
and as a result he has to keep getting rid of stuff
that other people put there to make him look bad.
Thinking that he may soon get rid of the woman
getting it doggy style, I decide to take a few last looks,
which I have to admit are quite enjoyable
under the circumstances. . .

WAITING FOR THE END TO BEGIN

I can no longer keep up with all the poems I’ve written.
Some of them I read over, and think to myself,
“I don’t remember even writing that. What could’ve I been thinking!”
And then I go and write another poem.
It often appears in a magazine and I think again, “Well, that’s good,
but now what!? And then there’s another and another.
I’ve written over three thousand poems, two thousand of which
have been published through the years, yet I seldom hear from anyone
who’s read my work with the exception of the editors.
And one day I won’t even be able to wonder what anything thinks
of my poems. I’ll just sit there staring into space
like most of the people at my mother’s care facility. . .
waiting for the end to begin. . .

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies.  Recent writing in MockingHeart Review, Awkward Mermaid, Ink In Thirds, Third Wednesday,  Uppagus, After the Pause, Rosette Maleficarum, Chrome Baby, Former Cactus and many others. In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.

‘Check-up’ & ‘Spoon Theory’ by Alicia Cole

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Check-up

My husband has been to the doctor,
his gray hair fuzzy and curling
out from his cap. He went gray early,
I think, though this is conjecture,
as I’ve only been with him for a year
and a half and I seldom ask questions
externally. Imagine me, learning
him from silence. Imagine me, insane
over coffee. My coming-off-meds
exploratory is a little jarring right now,
the dog stretching and flopping her ears
more interesting than my brain’s rewiring.
Yes, I’m off one psych med successfully;
now, off another like a yo-yo, especially
in the mornings. But my husband
has been to the doctor. And I
am not jealous of him, for I seldom
get jealous of the necessary things,
(unlike poetry, which makes me
rend my fists into knots and scream
bird-like, why not me, why not me–
but this also is necessary, and I would
not breathe–is that so–if I was not writing,
but I would breathe–that is so–if I was
not writing, though not really, no. The light
would dawn in the morning, though maybe
not for you, not for me) and I watch him place
his work things into his backpack and head out
once again into the day, boisterous
as a teenager, which is how he always
is. Pre-diabetes signs are reversing.
He will continue to make me dinner
while I exhaust everything I am
on a video game, the only place
I can concentrate. My brain
feels like it’s voiding excess water.
The day is like a cathedral
and I am standing in it weeping.
I would like to walk on the side
of the Seine and see Notre Dame
and look at the light’s explosions,
always from the outside. It’s too close,
the center of the bomb inside
of my stomach, the way only these
shorts are now fitting after we’ve had
another pregnancy drill. I swear life
is fooling me, but I’m always paranoid
and don’t want to go in the hospital,
so what can I do anyway
but look at the light?

Spoon Theory

There is life, so meaningful, meaningful
as it is, ever so meaningful in its
unmeaningfulness. There are men
brushing their hair in the mirror, their limited
lengths of hair. They brush and we forget,
save for their hair clogging the drain,
and try to forget the hair, and try desperately
to forget. Can we just show them the mirror
and hope they’ll thunder at it,
revealing the cracked arrow of their hands
when they beat against it wildly?

If I look at the mirror, it is something different,
the wild difference, the different
wildness. My husband’s hands are small
and neat, splotched with age
and an unending need for sun. I too
have a need for sun and the rancid run
of a clean day. See, clean is no longer
a clean topic.

I would like to make a child and look
at both the clogged drain and the sun
with him. Will we not, some of us,
raise children to these purposes?

I take them all out of the drawer, spoons,
lay them on the table. Or this
is what I tell you. Really, I am lying.
As usual. They remain in the drawer,
not dirty on the overly dirty table
that I never wash unless I’m making
jewelry. And are you dirty?
And are you well? And would you like
a necklace? I don’t stock them
for the well.

I would like to raise a child
who can make well jewelry for the unwell
and unwell jewelry for the well,
so they too will know.
Will we not, some of us,
raise children to such purposes?

Everything is so meaningful,
the meaningful meaningfulness,
and life is so ill. Save for the crack
of the hair at the window, the slick
hair that comes out of heaven
and wraps us all up. I would like
to take a hammer to the window again.
But you know I told my husband it broke.

Do you understand? And do you not understand?
I am constantly lying. I will never make a child.
Or some angel will come out of heaven
and hand him to me and I will laugh. Is it joy?
Or is it terror? Why, don’t you read? Don’t
you know the poet I’m referring to? He also
has left hair in the drain, but I am not so loathe
pulling it out. Where are the grown men
in the terror of this world, and why
are they laughing?

Alicia Cole is a writer and artist in Huntsville, AL. She’s the Editor of Priestess & Hierophant Press and the Interviews Editor of Black Fox Literary Magazine. She has appeared in TAB: The Journal of Poetry and Poetics, Atlas and Alice, and concis, among other publications. Her work has been a finalist for Best of the Net and she won Honorable Mention in Hermeneutic Chaos’ Jane Lumley Prize for Emerging Writers.

‘WHAT A GLORIOUS END’ & ‘OVERRATED: CONCERNING PRUFROCK’ by Sophia Kelly

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WHAT A GLORIOUS END

This is the fear of
This is the fear of
This is the fear of being hated.

Welcome to the death of Apollo.
The star shines down on Dionysus.
They have done their time here.
Paint your masks and watch them fall.

This is the end of
This is the end of
This is the end of complacency.

Wielded tongues meet their makers
at the arcane Hotel Eden.
Cut flesh with curiosity.
Screaming angels fall like sidereal awes.

This is the hope of
This is the hope of
This is the hope of a new era.

The sun will set in a fortnight.
Let us see these illegitimate jewels.
In between we shall give our thoughts.
How the prickly pear is the American Dream.

This is the love of
This is the love of
This is the love of ambiguity.

The wind blows as skins flow
away from their winter shells.
Life creeps as blood seeps
into the gaping earth.

This is the cost of
This is the cost of
This is the cost of one more season.

Concerning tastes it must not be disputed,
yet bones cry for a fight.
Plato slays for his maiden
Truth as the subjective beast-

This is the death of
This is the death of
This is the death of thy paradise.

Diamonds melt into tears
as lions run for cover.
Even legends tend to die
when fire comes to play.

This is the sense of
This is the sense of
This is the sense of a glorious end.

OVERRATED: CONCERNING PRUFROCK

Overrated
is the man who
cannot seem to face
his own anxiety.

Falls into
a bad state of a
mbiguity;
How human

Is the one who
shall not attend
the party life
has to offer mankind.

How peachy.

Sophia Kelly is a recent graduate from The Vanguard School in Colorado. She has five published poems, and awards for two other poems in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition. Her poems can be found in Haiku Journal, The America Library of Poetry, The Live Poets’ Society of New Jersey, and Poetry Nation. She has also written about four short stories, none of which have yet been published. Sophia strives to write in many different styles and genres. When she is not putting her pen to the paper, she crochets a wide variety of animals, where she then sells at her local artisan shop.

‘So what then do we do when the sea is boiling’ & ‘prayers’ by Ogunkoya Samuel

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So what then do we do when the sea is boiling

Or how do words leap off our mouths
Like curses to the new gods for
Making delicate flower gardens become graveyards.
Or a plea of help to the old ones
While we expect them to reply
With a concerted silence
Like ever before.
Still, we prayed,
Till we fled from our burning houses.
We made worship out of war songs
By God, there is never a rhythm to being homeless
What lyrics are there in crying?
But what else can we do when they tell us
Asylums aren’t designed for couples.

prayers

every time there is a rain
fall
it reminds you of the night your father drowned
and how he left ten blank pages for you
to write poems
bad poems.
shitty poems.
good poems. but never
love poems.
the sound of your back breaking drowned
in the hum of a road
into a bus filled with mothering women
into the cackles of a baby
into his mother’s thought
it found a home there
becoming a groan & blue prayers to the name of a faceless god.
and the memories of your father & you
is a street too wide for a city to swallow.

Ogunkoya Samuel is a Nigerian physiotherapist. His poems have been published in Kalahari Review, AfricanWriter and Best New African poets anthology 2017. He writes from Lagos.