fills bookstore shelves
& movie theaters
because everyone wants to escape
injustice & discrimination,
an imperfect world from
the comfortable distance of a page or screen.
my brother writes to me
and in his letter tells me about stargazers,
which get their name from burying themselves
in sand. when they look up to capture
their prayer, it looks like they are gazing
at stars. i think that’s pretty poetic, so instead
of writing about the deaths and the dry, bloodless
nights, i will talk about the stars juicing
the universe’s sorrow, filling moon craters with it like champagne.
Isn't it lonely?
Watching the people pass by
As they sing
As they cry
As they laugh
And they die.
I look into the mirror and see not myself but eyes, a nose, and a mouth that resemble mine.
I raise a hand up to my face.
My reflection does the same.
She taunts me.
I look at her and see not myself but all that is wrong with me.
I see not my hair but the grease that suffocates it.
It hurts to shower.
I’ve fallen in love with the woman in the photograph
Looking out at the water.
I peer into her world;
So distant and foreign from my own;
While I sit in the coffee shop
Passing the idle hours.
A new cascade of endearment
A summer melancholic myth
Too real to touch, transparent ways
Peculiar times are never the same
A figment only kept under floorboards
Forever knocking on front porch doors
Spectral places in childish faces
Desiring only more mystic spaces
imagine this: a bond, a connection, a
sweet, sugary rope tying you together
like two matching silly bandz bracelets
signing friendship matrimony. twinning
crop tops & photo posts, reserved lunch
spots & group roles, unspoken code;
trespassed secrets, temperately wild;
bold & free. imagine this: sugar turned
sour candy, rosy links rusting on the cold
cafeteria floor. strangers turned friends,
friends into sisters, then strangers again.
shut up; back to the wall; poetry under the mattress; god please help me to be pure; avoid eye contact; stop looking at her, pervert; incognito mode; godplease help me to be pure; don't react; don't forget; a pillar of salt; godpleasehelp me to be pure; keep the porcelain polished; keep your voice down; you can cry when the door is locked; godpleasehelpme to be pure; thirty centimetre steps; right hand over left and bow; "the body of Christ?"; godpleasehelpmeto be pure; perfect disinterest; smile, then laugh, this time with feeling; exit stage left; godpleasehelpmetobe pure; inhale; exhale; inhale; godpleasehelpmetobepure; don't forget to delete everything you've just said; amen
Trapped within these four walls,
but when did they get so beige?
Perhaps when the carpet wore thin,
its thread no longer intact.
Trapped within these four walls,
but when did they get so cracked?
Perhaps when the carpet faded from cream to sour milk,
its colour turning putrid.
“Please, I can’t breathe.”
This is America.
No, it’s not about freedom,
Quite the opposite.
It’s about class and privilege.
We’re put into boxes,
Divided by the colour our skin.
We are the dividers,
The masters of segregation.
An explicit bolder between the rich and the common folk.
“My mother doesn’t want me to marry you.
I’m sorry; I don’t think we can hold it anymore."
As his words shot her at the heart,
The blood drained from her face
and her thoughts collapsed in her mind.
He showed resistance through ignorance
Her dawning eyes pleaded,
Engulfing a river of tears
And the rest being bouldered by
The back of her hand.
coal cracks into diamonds.
search deep within your crevices and mine
all that is black and impure to be harvested as
our garish garnishes
until the walls of your pericardium are pinkish and raw.
probe your weaknesses and gouge them out
**Content warning: suicide.
A lonesome girl,
Cursed by life.
Her eyes veil mysteries,
And she maliciously grips a knife.
Her aggression in the form of a knife,
Lay by her at the hush of night.
The gruesome darkness at witching hour,
Casts a spell of overdosing devour.
I'm shot in the streets.... dead
I'm ridiculed in shops... oppressed by my appearance
I'm body shamed on the daily for my curves and forms of bodily expression
I get told that i'm an ANgRY BlacK WOmaN that doesn't deserve to be in this world
I yell... I'm mad
I cry... I'm emotional
I express my opinion... and I'm uneducated
The etchings on the sloped ceiling feel a little lower today,
they wade above, looming like a dejected tapestry―
shrouding me, from whatever waits beyond the two doors.
I hear the first click, then wood sliding against a dusty carpet,
a second click, then the shadow stretches across a mahogany hallway.
But what if I stayed in the waiting room,
under the looming tapestry, and the ornate carpet,
the smell of lavender masking an antique musk,
the buzz of a building well-lived in,
and the creaks from below and above.
dancing in the
The children are starving.
Their hearts are hungry, and their voices are raw.
They crowd the streets, screaming to be heard.
They say our phones are all we care for. No, our phones are our escape.
Social media hears our pleas.
Where presidents fail, social media begs for our voices to be heard.
A pandemic, global warming, racism.
What will it take for our voices to be heard?
I applaud you, Gen Z.
In the face of adversity, we do what world leaders won’t.
I fear you, Gen Z.
What will we do when we are unleashed on the world?
We are making real change.
We spend our whole lives being told that we can do anything,
as long as we do our best.
But what if our best isn’t good enough?
It doesn’t feel like your best if you’re comparing
your life to others' lives.
Your journey to others’ journeys.
Life was simple.
The air was clear.
I was happy;
I had life-
it was what I wanted.
Without warning you
You were a thief.
With that, I changed.
when Waltzing Alone in an abandoned ballroom
is deemed insanity
i will set myself alight
dousing myself in belladonna-infused gasoline,
perfuming my bones like death peeling back my skin
with the tulle of my skirt wet with fallen rain and
unfulfilled prophecies, words caught from northern
invention created from these newborn hands,
calluses on the fingertips.
pieces of history forced down my throat, tasting like
raw coffee beans and broken lipsticks
my character shoes prancing on marble
the statues on the wall judging my form,
why does your admiration for me drop with each inch that my neckline plunges?
femininity is a fierce thing, but surely, you’ve spit venom at more formidable women than i
does the fluorescent glint of the light off my bare shoulders blind you so?
does the fabric of my velvet mini-skirt threaten to choke, and do the loose frills of my rose-
colored cardigan murmur threats of tangling your neck in a noose?
does skin scare you, sir? and if it does, why dare to whisper to the enemy?
when treading the den of a snake, you fear her poison—do you tell her this, too?
thoughts on having a girlfriend who lives 22 miles away during a nationwide lockdown by Lucy Butler (20, United Kingdom)
I’m trying to take things hour by hour,
by which I mean at 8am
I’ll be thinking
this is usually when the sunrise wakes me,
creeping through the slit in the curtains
that she never shuts completely,
a golden gash of day,
bleeding onto my side of her bed,
onto my eyelids,
into my dreams
until I’m no longer asleep.
Her face, glossed with the light of dawn,
is the first thing I see.
I pinch my skin, just in case.
Is like a clap of thunder
The gun shot just before
The race begins.
It’s all excitement, all pressure
The constant grind
To transform from a piece of coal
Into a diamond.
i’d say there’s no art in losing yourself but why else am i a poet? by Jayden Thompson (14, Washington)
there’s something about the lakes
and the way her eyelids damn me
like crosses lodged in my throat
and i never believed in sacrifice
but maybe the lord was a queen
fabrics caught in our static sun
and he simply ripped apart
bloody and bare and beaten
and black eyes aren’t black
they’re like sickly peacocks
but i’m meant to be a rooster