Tag Archives: Lyric poetry

Sam Cooke

By Benjamin Adair Murphy

He stepped in the water
He helped the fishes swim
When he left those fish were singing
So of course they killed him

The wrong kind of voice
The wrong kind of skin
His car was way too pretty
So of course they killed him

So of course they killed him
So of course they killed him

He was calm and patient
The stranger’s twin
He put his hands upon the sick
So of course they killed him

They didn’t know where to start
Or where to begin
They were scared and they were panicked
So of course they killed him

So of course they killed him
So of course they killed him

Well, some don’t get it
Some understand 
And some stand with the soldiers
Who cut off Victor Jara’s hands

So you can blame the timing 
You can blame the luck
But I swear a man can’t speak the truth 
Without his throat getting cut

So of course they killed him
So of course they killed him
So of course they killed him
So of course…

They killed him


Benjamin Adair Murphy writes blues and country songs. His last album, ‘Let’s Make a King,’ was named one of the best albums of 2020 by multiple publications. His poetry and lyrics have been published in Fevers of the Mind, Headline Poetry and Press, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Rabid Oak, Coven Poetry, and others. His plays have been performed in New York, Boston, and Chicago. He lives in Mexico City.

War Walked In

By Benjamin Adair Murphy

I was standing in the daytime
When the sun went out of sight
It looked like the whole world 
Had fallen into night
Something bad ‘bout to begin
That’s when war walked in

There were a bunch of young thugs
Looking scared and looking mean
All they wanted was a father
All they wanted was a scene
All they wanted was Berlin
That’s how war walked in

That’s when war walked in

There were bodies full of bullets
Blood dripping down from the trees
Good men and women
Forced to get down on their knees
And pray for their own skins
That’s when war walked in

There were breaks in the supply chain
People looking scared
All your good neighbors 
Going off somewhere
And they’re not coming back again
That’s when war walked in

That’s when war walked in

Some men don’t ever learn
They just fall down on the job
The world don’t ever turn
It just shakes like a dripping dog

We’re shot when we get captured
And pull the trigger when we win
We leave the door wide open
And war comes walking in

There was a man behind a desk
He was running through those numbers
It was a golden opportunity

For the weapons manufacturers
And all their friends
That’s when war walked in

There was a branch that looked like fingers
Hanging down into the mud
The kids all clung to it
And used a car as a makeshift bridge
And then they jumped into the flood
And everyone had to swim

That’s when war walked in
That’s when war walked in
That’s when war walked in


Benjamin Adair Murphy writes blues and country songs. His last album, ‘Let’s Make a King,’ was named one of the best albums of 2020 by multiple publications. His poetry and lyrics have been published in Fevers of the Mind, Headline Poetry and Press, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Rabid Oak, Coven Poetry, and others. His plays have been performed in New York, Boston, and Chicago. He lives in Mexico City.

Trashed Sunsets

By Dominic Loise

The best sunsets 
are in back dumpsters 
put out to pasture
lighting up the alleys 
stretching out the spectrum 
shining off the stench 
no one bothers 
to just sit and lay
their eyes across these skies
sipping in this kicked to the curb 
light give one last burst of colors 
before it falls to grey



Dominic Loise is open about and advocates for mental health awareness as seen with his essay writing for F(r)iction. His work has appeared in Alchemic Gold Poetry Society, Alt.Ctrl.Jpg, Analogies & Allegories, Calm Down, Clementine Zine, Collective Realms, Emotional Alchemy, Frances, Goat’s Milk, Innsaei Journal, Mulberry Literary, October Hill, Ouch!, Push up Daisies!, Raven Review, Re.Collective, Refresh and Silent Auctions. Dominic was a finalist in Short Editions’ “America: Color it in” contest.

Bound and Crawling

By Megan Hamilton

I’m intimate with the darkness buried inside me,
with my heart that beats with your pulse
and my blood that carries your name
to my wrecked and ruined lips.

I know the precise shape of your exquisite torment:
of beasts with claws caressing my throat,
of wicked kisses tasting of sweet poison,
of holding myself to your burning pyre.

You have reduced me to this
desperate, flaming, burning creature,
something even less than human,
a molten girl of ash and ruin.


Megan Hamilton is a School Librarian from Bognor Regis, currently studying for her MA in Creative Writing with The Open University. Her poetry has been published in Up! Magazine and Visual Verse. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

Metamorphosis

By Allana Stuart

i.

exuvia breaks at 
the edge of 40
shell splits to reveal
a tender unfurling
iridescent wings
once dry in the sun
shimmer with shifting colours
and in flight
everything old
becomes
new again 

ii.

my words used to fly like bees
floating on a summer wind
until they holed up and hid  
just like the rogue colony that
built a hive in our porch roof
one July

in the heat the walls dripped with  
sweet syrup
but my mouth stayed 
sealed shut
sticky with silence
like I had honey
smeared across my lips

after I licked them clean
my thoughts took flight again
like the bees 
after the keeper came

but it was me that reached in  
pulled them free 
hands dripping words
like fists full of
honeycomb

iii.

writhing and sinuous
she sheds 
inhibition like a skin
the past slips free
as silk 
slides to the floor 
puddles at her feet

reborn 
she rises up from the
basket of her bed
sways under her own spell 
moves to her own music
marks this moment as

an arrival
an arousal
an awakening.


Allana Stuart was once an award-winning CBC Radio journalist, and is now a wrangler of children and a writer of poetry and fiction. She is also the producer of the podcast Rx Advocacy. A child of the boreal forest, Allana was born and raised in northwestern Ontario, spent several years in Northern BC, and currently calls Ottawa home. Lately, she spends most of her free time roller-skating in her basement. She can be found on Instagram and (sporadically) on Twitter.

PHENOMENA, A PLAYLIST

By Mark Jackley

  1. Gospel of the cat’s wet fur
  2. Soft rain on the trailer
  3. Frying pan at midnight sputtering of cold graves
  4. Sword of light from a cracked door
  5. Wet basketball in my hands
  6. Gardner in straw hat dreaming over the steering wheel
  7. Mailbox like a hunchback trying to thumb a ride
  8. How of the air but heavy we cut the air, ripples
  9. Book clutched like a weapon
  10. Warm laundry, humdrum zen
  11. Braille of wet pine needles on bare feet
  12. Mourners softly drifting
  13. Pills like Christmas lights
  14. Waking like Adam and Eve, nothing between us but time
  15. Crow, little black king
  16. One darkness and one me
  17. Stranger on the train dropping blueberries in my palm

Mark Jackley’s poems have appeared in Fifth Wednesday, Sugar House Review, The Cape Rock, Talking River, Cagibi, and other journals. His book Many Suns Will Rise is forthcoming from The Main Street Rag Press. He lives in Purcellville, Virginia.

If You Give a Girl a Pocket Knife

By Sarah Bean

The night we slept in a tent full of stars,
I learned how to use a knife.
How to hold it in my palm, just so,
how to slowly carve layers of life away,
revealing newborn green hidden from onlookers. 

The night we drank the sky’s tears,
I learned how to get in touch with roots.
How to connect to the soil and
facilitate rebirths.
Learned how to sharpen myself to a point,
to turn my canines deadly,
bite back at girl-shaped wolves, 
puncture jugulars to learn my left and right,
my soup spoon a sword.

The night we set the world on fire,
I learned how to tie knots in my tongue to keep from combusting.
How to fashion it around my prepubescent wrist,
lick my own wounds and develop a taste for salt. 
Learned that safety comes with silence, 
and that my knife couldn’t leave the grove.
Found a blade of grass for the trip home, 
kept the handle held in the back of my mind.

The night I buried myself in the forest, 
I learned how to wield a dagger made of flowers.
How to stick it in my bosom for safe keeping, 
to whittle myself down, cut off my offshoots, 
scrape off my bark.
To be just big enough to fit in wheel wells—
to be seen and not heard.

In that tent full of stars,
I learned how to use a knife.
How to ward off enemies in a fighting stance,
firmly planted and prepared,
and I earned the badge for best technique.


Sarah Bean (she/her) is a library technician and poet from Alberta, Canada. So far, her poetry has only appeared in zines that she photocopies at her local public library. She thanks you for being gentle.

The Great Red Spot

By Sage Agee

My chest leaks liquid sentiment. 
Sustaining another life sometimes
means forgetting my own.

There is darkness in pumping white 
milk from a chest on lease. 

I can’t wait to return it to the hospital room, 
nipples and all.

My doctor says I can start 
testosterone in ten months—
when I am an independent country
tethered only by treaties
an agreement to continue to grow their food.

My hormones read my texts, 
and overcharge my system 
with what makes me bleed Jupiter’s Storm.

I stare at my Great Red Spot
knowing what this could mean 
if I don’t choose a new birth control method soon.

My bathroom’s trash can 
is filled with hidden messages, 
I spend the night scrubbing blood 
from thick material that covers me up 
breathable enough.

The search bar pulses: 
“Why is my baby’s poop green?”
“What are the easiest seeds to grow in Oregon?”
“Whose land do I occupy?”

“Whose body was I born into and are they missing it?” 
When will my chest 
stop fucking
leaking?


Sage Agee (they/them) is a queer, nonbinary poet and parent living in rural Oregon. They are currently inspired by the works of Billy-Ray Belcourt and the unbelievable evolution of their brand new baby, Otto.

Messages

By Cat Dixon

We text back and forth—volleying 
hello, how are you?, are you okay?, hang in there,
and we promise to get together someday
in the distant future when we will sit side
by side at a table in a Cold Stone Creamery
and pass our poems back and forth—
a tennis match—our pens such sturdy rackets,
the subject a ball, filled with feathers stitched
with thread, we could never serve over
the net. In such an open stance,
feet parallel to the door, torso coiled 
like a snake ready to strike, I always lose
my balance. I’m wobbly and small
like that table waiting for us. Your
calf steadies the table leg to keep
it from teetering. One foot, closer to the exit,
the other ahead, the neutral stance
allows you to shift your weight,
maintain your composure. Do you
remember that Coke bottle I purchased
just because it had my ex’s name on it?
Remember that giant milkshake
with that giant straw? Remember how you
made me laugh until I cried? No, you don’t 
because it hasn’t happened, and we 
are trapped, separate, and the score 
remains love-love.


Cat Dixon (she/her) is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and the chapbook, Table for Two (Poet’s Haven, 2019). Recent poems have appeared in LandLocked, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Abyss & Apex. She is a poetry editor at The Good Life Review.

Meteorology

By Cat Dixon

Had I known the forecast, 
or seen the clouds on the horizon, 
I wouldn’t have made contact. 
I can’t interpret radar. In school, 
instead of science class, I weaved 
worlds in a notebook where fear 
reigned with its complicated 
cues and insidious hunger 
devouring all the paper.

He had spent time in the lab 
with the Bunsen burner and beaker;
hours in the classroom studying air flow. 
So when the moment came to experiment
and hypothesize, he had it pegged. 
I had to learn the lesson there
—shoulder to shoulder. Had I known 
the chemical clouds spewing 
from the table meant indifference, 
I wouldn’t have stayed. Now 
my taste buds are burnt off
 and at the sound of the word
“love” like him, I run. 


Cat Dixon (she/her) is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and the chapbook, Table for Two (Poet’s Haven, 2019). Recent poems have appeared in LandLocked, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Abyss & Apex. She is a poetry editor at The Good Life Review.