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Please submit your best work (if we haven't published you in the past year).
spewing hatred once again
In a pool where filters fail
scum will reach the top
Trump so damnable
Jefferson and Hamilton
cannot rest in peace
Alan Meyrowitz retired in 2005 after a career in computer research. His writing has appeared in California Quarterly, Eclectica, Existere, Front Range Review, Jitter, The Literary Hatchet, Lucid Rhythms, The Nassau Review, Poetry Quarterly, Shark Reef, Shroud, The Storyteller, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and others. In 2013 and 2015 the Science Fiction Poetry Association nominated his poems for a Dwarf Star Award.
I am a remote control, clutched in swathes of duvet
An alarm sounding at 4am, bolt upright, wide eyes.
A glass of water leaving a ring on the counter.
A neon ribbon of writing burns the screen as it moves,
numbers flicking and fluctuating, with microphones
under the chins of the stuttering. Frantic face after frantic face.
Early, Blue sweeps and soars
But Red encompasses. Swallows us.
White and brown and black and yellow. All panicked, all paling.
Half a world away, I feel the tremors,
As they troop on stage, a snake of patent heels,
Crisp suit lines and sunken, vacant eyes. That one Red tie.
They can put up walls. Watch their faces when they see us climb.
Shannon Bushby is a British writer with a degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester and literacy teaching experience under her belt. She is currently working on a book length manuscript of fiction and has most recently had work published by The Grief Diaries and The Crucible. Catch her blog here.
They trail about, packraiding
In the hardest part of winter,
Rifling through unmanned inheritances
And claiming hearts as they lie
Newly emerged, in the wild
Where nothing is sacrosanct
They gnaw her flesh clean
Gaze up secondarily, red teeth bared,
Eyes flaked by the fresh fallings:
Something in that blue sphere echoes back
You awake with blood on your tongue
Sean McGrath graduated from Brown University and has been teaching literature and writing for the past six years at college preparatory schools in Massachusetts and California. He now resides in Fullerton, where he waits for the drought to break. In spring 2016, he self-published Oculus, a book of poetry, to local success. You can find more of his work here.
I walk past the whine of ambulances
Visual noise of cop cars
Someone got hit in white neighborhood
I walk past all the brown people getting stopped
And a white boy I used to fuck once
Who called me at three am once
A booty call
I called him out
And didn't have his number saved
A fluke for which I felt perversely proud
This dick ain't free
Appropriating anthems again.
You go ahead says a chocolate skinned girl to her white male companions if I walk over there imma get hit with sticks this country is a nebula imploding countdown until tomorrow's tomorrow
It's Election Day
Screams and shouts follow me into quiet side streets
Indistinguishable from typical Saturday noise, the rumbling
of the band.
The boy I used to fuck once didn't notice me
Though I smiled across the crosswalk
Because of the short time
In which our bodies
Inhabited shared space-
How funny it is to be uniformly broke
How funny it is to seethe over here with rage
The eyes so hungry
How funny that I can focus on this fuckboy’s dick
While a woman is afraid to cross the street because this country is blinded by melanin
I stay hidden in the shadows here, with the moon,
the murky rut. Red lights from sirens swirl,
these small footsteps cast shadows.
I watch my cowardice. Don’t tread on me.
Sara True is a visual and performance artist, writer, and traveler. She hails from Los Angeles and exhibits her artwork internationally. Her recent poems and essays have been published online at Entropy Mag, Anti-Heroin Chic, 805 Art+ Lit Mag, and others. Her work can be found online here and on Instagram.
When the TSA Sexually Assaults
its sly on their part,
a slash to the groin,
a cuff of the penis,
and if you complain
they say, “We have
to do this” and if
you ask for a super-
visor, you are given
a little postcard
to “write down
the events” for
the world to read
as it goes from
carrier to carrier
you have been
know that the
TSA agent looked
up at me, my groin
in his hand and
he had this look of
power that said,
“You will always
be hated here,”
eyes that said
with Trump as
the rape of
I’m Middle Eastern
and not Middle Eastern.
and not Jewish.
and not white.
and very indigenous.
and, in the time
of Trump, I am
supposed to ass-
the self to become
as white as corpse
skin, the way
In Class, I Say That I Went to a Republican Lecture
given by a couple of the inside men
in the Trump administration
to see what they talk about
and they talked about
how there will be more arrests,
how they will weed out the Muslims
and that the Muslims are “weeds,”
are drug-infested and like the cartels,
and the speech went in directions
beyond north, south, east, and west;
the rant went up and down, down, down,
into the shores of hell and it ended
with the crowd chanting, “No more immigrants,
no more immigrants, no more immigrants”
and the lead speaker silenced them
and said, smiling, that they could expect
arrests, more arrests, mass incarceration
that would make this country free.
I tell this to my class on Islam
and there is a pause and a student
raises his hand and the professor
calls on him and the student takes his time,
talking very slowly, saying that it is wicked
to talk about radical Republicans,
that most Republicans are good,
and that none of that represents conservatives.
And then class ended.
And on the news, all week long,
I watched the mass arrests in Illinois,
in North Carolina,
in South Carolina,
Ron Riekki's books include U.P.: a novel (Sewanee Writers Series and Great Michigan Read nominated), The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (2014 Michigan Notable Book from the Library of Michigan and finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award/Grand Prize shortlist, Midwest Book Award, Foreword Book of the Year, and Next Generation Indie Book Award), Here: Women Writing on Michigan's Upper Peninsula (2016 IPPY/Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal Great Lakes—Best Regional Fiction and Next Generation Indie Book Award—Short Story finalist), and And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017 (Michigan State University Press, 2017).
Taking Back Great
I unravel the faux from every cap
stitch by violent stitch,
drain the lying ink dry
out of its every slanderous use,
scour it from the tongue
of the abuser, churn all this muck
into moonshine with these hands born
of immigrant blood, blood shed.
I take it swift, a warm shot
against the throat, mad fire to the belly.
I revel in the heat, let it sting me
with its bitter and sweet truth,
let it resurrect itself amongst the voices
like a Phoenix
only through the dregs of ruinous ash
rendering such magnificence.
Septic up to my soul, it’s to the point I don't know
what to howl about first. Police now rhymes
with blood and I howl. School now means murder
and I howl. Airport is a synonym for death.
again I howl ad infinitum. My niece sleeps
between sheets covered in pink flamingos.
She doesn't know a thing about the world
outside herself. Terror to her is the nightlight
gone dark. She screams her displeasure
at having to close her eyes to nap, mad at having
to stop doing nothing and everything. Tucking
her in it's all I can do not to break apart. Upstairs
she dreams a reality I can only dream about
while downstairs I sip wine to no avail. Tonight
a new moon does not rise. Venus reigns the sky solely.
I howl myself to shards, try to swathe her
with every scrap of light that is never enough.
No, science did not save my life - twice -
butterflied open to fix my heart, machines did not
become my lungs, accordion breath in and out
before doctors brought my static heart
back to life, no my pulse shall rely solely
on god’s will, according to your alternative facts.
No my mother did not tell me to skip the part
about my surgeries when our family switched
insurance in the ‘90s, no, your alternative facts
told me then, and threatens to tell me again,
that I must live in my flawed body,
with its pre-existing powder keg of a mucked heart,
walk through fire and hope to your god I don't spark.
No, a student did not ask me one week after
the election how possible it would be to finish
the course through email. My family,
he quivers, moving back. No, I did not witness
neighbors loading up their grief
in a metal U Haul that same week,
as they followed dusk into a life
they did not ask for, no, your alternative eyes
did not see them, did they?
no, a transgender teenager did not commit suicide
after your election,
no journalists were not arrested for speaking the truth,
after your election,
no, women do not fear for their lives and rights,
after your election,
no, vets are still getting the assistance they deserve,
after your election,
no, Native Americans do not have to defend their land with blood,
after your election,
no, the rich are not robbing the poor, and sick are not dying
after your election,
no, everything is copacetic after your election,
according to alternative facts.
Aimee Mackovic is a poet and professor currently living in Austin, Texas. Her three books, A Sentenced Woman, Potpourri, and Dearly Beloved: the Prince poems, are available here. When she travels, she blogs here.
oh, sure i’m still running around like a heads-up/off/prophet/profit/fit trying to cut off my very own de/(con)instruction and all other sordid a•void•able & available /a-Babel-Trumpish towers of post & toastmodern doom/daze/haze re(altho)guarding our environment in/ex/&/anterior terror too sometimes•always all afrightful with me//henish looking like this diminutive incarnation of Kali only i’m in a bantam suit or else looking all-a-fright in a head&heedless moreorless banshee keen/for/keening shrill before the sky’s death knell noi•some or just write-it-off (if you dare) darkest noir over•us•all! or to be exact, that is, of man/woman/chicken too kind-ah-so-dumb. really. so youbetcha any/old/witching/way this omen•amen•ahem•alarm of mine surely assures our sky will will will soon be falling trumptumbling twisting howling hellish or gone rumbling under a black-cloud of ig-nor-even-sense of truly veritas, verily.
ok, eerily too or/and, get this, just-adjust-for-just•ice. back fright/fight dust thrown/throw-up into our frail•fray•feckless•fey faces like dark death//aces of ominous, yup, inspades while attending/to/attempting/to down-daft & de/feet/feat frightmare of immense as in tobe•chickenshit•downer over/under/all-around these scaly-scrambling hen’s feet of mine too scratchings caw-clawings while carrying/crying/cravening on in my fumble feeble way past every damned/doomed miscreant justice killer(s)! well, we will not be box(ed) up/ended in disheveled feather-ruffled time-for trumped-up or just down/down to our very own apocalyptic downtheriver•plucked•soooofucked. oh no, i persist/(in)sist.
so as usual i’m still running around here/everywhere rear/guarding this dumbstate of our not making room4doom so trump(et) that always-ever-you-can.
Ed Higgins' poems and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals including: Monkeybicycle, Danse Macabre, Word Riot, Triggerfish Critical Review, and Blue Print Review, among others. Ed and his wife live on a small farm in Yamhill, Oregon, raising a menagerie of animals including a whippet, a Manx barn cat (who doesn’t care for the whippet), two Bourbon Red turkeys (King Strut and Nefra-Turkey), and an alpaca named Machu-Picchu. Ed teachs literature at George Fox University, south of Portland, Oregon. Ed is also Assistant Fiction Editor for Brilliant Flash Fiction, an Ireland-based flash journal.
A ruler possessing absolute power
One who insists on unfailing obedience
Man seeking yes man
Insubordinate women need not apply
From the Greek autos
In the grubby hand of man
God creates, man usurps
Ann Schlotzhauer is finishing her final semester at the University of Tulsa where she studies English, Psychology, and Spanish. She enjoys creative self-expression of all kinds but is particularly fond of poetry and fiction. Her poetry can be found in Foliate Oak and is forthcoming in Her Heart Poetry.
Gravel is a literary journal edited by students of the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
Cover image by T.M. Lankford