Tag Archives: Poetry

Late 80s, mid-afternoon in June

By Cassandra Moss

White shirts and grey trousers and

grey skirts and white blouses

except for you

in navy blue with your knees out,

showing off scabs just about

ripe for picking and scooping.

The heat is everywhere.

All the pale bodies swarm.

You are on the ground

tasting the iron in your blood

because you mistimed your jump.

The boys think of you as one of them, 

which is just as well since you haven’t

the modesty to be deferent.

It’s a curious thing that we can recall

having felt pain but block

its exact feeling from reappearing.

Like I know north-west England is famed for its rain 

yet every school day seems the same –

sunny,

very slowly cooling.


Cassandra Moss was born in Manchester, England. She moved to London to study and subsequently worked in the film and ELT industries. She now lives and writes by the Irish Sea. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals, including 3 am Magazine, Squawk Back, Posit, Sunspot Lit, KAIROS, The Bangalore Review, The Closed Eye Open, and is forthcoming in Drunk Monkeys.

Athens intercity bus terminal

By Mary Chydiriotis

where people wait to leave 

the air is thick diesel fumes

humidity human sweat

gravel hot beneath our feet

walls grimy

paint peeling  

dead insects

pacing up and down 

folds of caramel flesh 

long coiled hair grey      

she urges people to buy her wares

toilet roll in hand

also reads palms tells futures

koritsi mou (my girl) 

let me show you your destiny

I shake my head

follow her to the toilet block

grip onto my bag    

motion her away from the putrid stench

apo pou hirthes? She asks (where have you come from?) 

my accented Greek my foreign stamp

her brow creases

Austràlya? Ts Ts Ts Poli makria 

very far this wild outback

kangaroos and crocodiles 

better here it is safe

a fight breaks out in the bus queue

I see two young men scuffle 

the noise rises to a cresendo

men and women argue over position

I walk away her gaze fixed on me

she tempts me return for a reading

your future husband’s name begins with ‘J’


Mary Chydiriotis lives in Melbourne. She is passionate about coffee, dogs, books and social justice. Her poems have been published in local and international anthologies and journals. In 2019, a selection of Mary’s poems featured in ‘Poetry of the Sun and the Sea: from Homer to Slam poetry’, a Greek Studies course at La Trobe University. Loud and Red, her first collection of poetry, was published by Ginnindera Press, in 2020.

Mother

By Sarah Wood

I didn’t know 

My mother liked to read.

My grandfather

Was a school teacher,

Breathing books.

My grandparents paid us to read;

I read hundreds of books. 

A generational skip, I assumed.

An adult child now,

At home. Atonement.

We swap books and talk about men.

She is my mother.

She is my best friend.

At dinner she announced, 

She finished her 17th book of the year.

Mom, I didn’t know

You liked to read.

Look at our house, she said.

The bookshelves, 

The mother-daughter book club, 

The books I read along with you.

I’ve always loved to read, she said.

It’s a fundamental part of who I am.

She gestures at her head.

That’s like saying you didn’t know

I had brown hair.

I never saw you reading, I said.

She was with us

On the sidelines,

At the dinner table,

In the car.

My mother gave us everything. 

She laid on the river, 

Her body, 

The bridge we tread on. 

Selfless.

Perhaps, this is the

Duty of the adult child. 

Realizing

What she gave,

So I might finally see

My mother.


Sarah Wood is a writer, TEDx speaker and mindfulness facilitator from Michigan, currently living in New York City. She is the founder of Joy Soldier™, a community and toolkit to help people lead more joyful lives. She loves finding new books, hummus, and good questions. Sarah has previously been published in the Huffington Post and Thrive Global. 

Mortal Soil

By Anic Ulrope

Reptilian old soul 

you follow me, like rabbit 

like trick, like another bad habit 

crawl, glowing on the golden brown brick lay

embossed dirt in dermis, not soiled

Walk with you, lapping scales undertow 

like weighted sand over scalded toes 

like coarse bubble bath, like mortal coil 

Halt swift, the breach before the dunes 

near the edge of the sea cliff steadfast

Waves hiss back the sand, foam at the shore 

you walk behind me closely today  

like faceless, candid

like imagination, like mortal soil 

Brazen beyond horizon, flash green shadow


Anic is a free thinker. A reader of obscure fiction. A writer of selfish convictions and harsh truths. When she is not reading or writing, she is selling books and roller skating, simultaneously if possible. Her writing background is a mixture of public-school English literature teachers, journaling, and collecting dreams, visions and thoughts since she was seven years old.

Her poetry holds space for subjects such as but never limited to mental health, sex, femininity, race, and individuality. She is currently exploring African ancestry and the complex consciousness that generates the African diaspora within American society.

Spineless

By Sarah Wood

Heart in my lungs, 

The anatomy of a 

Spineless woman.

No one ever told me that

Relying on oxygen

From another person, was

No way to breathe.

Canary in the coal mine, 

Suffocated.

The girl without a spine, 

Lies.

No worries, all good. 

Of course, I’m happy to. 

That’s okay, I don’t mind.

An honest child, I cried

Wailing, wanting.

At what age, did I become agreeable?

Weeping willow woman.

Only asking for what is 

Available, 

Acceptable, 

Assumed. 

Folding in on myself, 

This nonexistent ribcage is no home for a 

Songbird soul.

No oxygen to feed, the

Spark of yellow.

Reaching for another person

To breathe, love into me,

So I might breathe myself.

But now I’m cracking open,

A wishbone. 

Straightening up, 

Take up space.

Only now am I growing a spine.


Sarah Wood is a writer, TEDx speaker and mindfulness facilitator from Michigan, currently living in New York City. She is the founder of Joy Soldier™, a community and toolkit to help people lead more joyful lives. She loves finding new books, hummus, and good questions. Sarah has previously been published in the Huffington Post and Thrive Global.

Taking Off

By Dominic Loise

The old man flies over

during our discussion of scars

those long and recently peeled after healing

and the deeper scratches unseen

taking a break from his young companion’s bar tab

to compliment us on our private moment of caring 

crowbarring himself into the conversation 

that is deeper than a drink glass

talking about his private plane

till he takes off from something money can’t buy 


Dominic Loise (he/him) 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, 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.  You can find Dominic on Instagram @dominic_lives.

Dad’s home videos

By Felicia Zuniga

Coloured fountains sparkled

at the Stampede that year to

commemorate some event or

another. You peered up from behind

the trickle of pink green water

to tip your cowboy hat before

retreating into the blur of broken

rainbow sunshine.

In the swimming scenes you

tugged your bottoms so up high that

your belly button was lost inside.

Skinny arms gripped your body when

you ran from the edge to the

board and pretended you knew how

to dive. I see how the story of you

falling and smacking your hard

head upon the deck came about.

Ripples of cousins, neighbors

and friends, singing through birthdays

at your cramped duplex and laughing as your

brother pinched your ears or that

one little girl with flipped-out pigtails

blinked her lashes for the camera.

The film is fuzzy in some spots around the

edges and shaky too. Lots of sleek old cars, 

well-groomed houses and scenery shots when Tata 

must have gotten bored of filming all of you 

standing around, hands in

high pants pockets.

The dancing scenes at the annual Italian picnic

are my favorite though. The camera weaving in and out of

mismatched couples with beehive hairdos,

tight white pants, thick glasses and bowling shoes.

It’s how people met back then

sharing runny watermelon and

offbeat moves with future spouses.

Everything seemed simpler then,
viewed from vintage lenses.


Felicia Zuniga is a writer and communications specialist who lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and two young sons. She has been writing poetry for over a decade and has been published in a variety of journals including Contemporary Verse 2 – The Canadian Journal of Poetry and Critical Writing, The Antigonish Review, Montreal Writes, Existere – Journal of Arts & Literature and FreeFall Magazine. She has a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Honours with a Creative Writing Concentration from the University of Calgary. Learn more at www.feliciazuniga.com.

Ain’t That Sweet

By Dominic Loise

Sitting on the counter bar stools 

in their established seats of power

the go-go boys make their rounds 

past these leather and denim cowboy regulars

making quick smile small talk

and thinking the candy bars handed over

isn’t budgetary representation 

of old habits from harder lived times


Dominic Loise (he/him) 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, 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.  You can find Dominic on Instagram @dominic_lives.

Interview with author Stephanie Roberts

By Lauren Garguilo

It is fitting, that our first interview on our blog is with a poet from our first issue. Stephanie Roberts’ new book rushes from the river disappointment is available here from the publisher. 
Her poem “set fire to stop fire” was included in our first issue, which is available to be read here. 


GM: What does the title of your collection “rushes from the river disappointment” mean in context with the book’s cover. 

sr: The cover was a 2020 Communications Arts Book Design award winner! It was designed by David Drummond using a sentence synopsis and very little input from me (no pink and my name in all lowercase). Mr. Drummond talks in detail about the cover here. I was apprehensive and intrigued about subjecting my work to someone else’s artistic interpretation, but I am beyond thrilled by the result. 

GM: What is the significance of lower-case letters for you? 

sr: Thank you for this question. My usage is not whimsical; I grew gradually and firmly in that direction. The dominance of all lower-case letters is an aesthetic decision as well as a political one. It feels important to be cognizant of the beige flavors of tradition and delusional stereotypes in quotidian glances as in art. Perhaps we could be a little more curious about the capital “I” in English as a reinforcing agent of the centrality of our ego in society. The joking rebuttal to the adage there’s no I in team that there is an “I” in “win” leads me to wonder, what are we winning exactly? Vocabulary has creative force. It is why Black Americans have struggled to embrace an ethnic and cultural designation (having discarded colored, Negro, Afro-American) that feels like ours and not a white supremacist framing of our existence. An element of rebellion feels vital to my consideration of the inner integrity of particular poems. To use a lowercase i is to begin being deliberate about my vulnerability. When writing a poem it’s not evident before starting if a poem is going to be a lowercase poem. Grammar should be about clarity not a cage. If some fucker is biased against lowercase i and the usage of all-lowercase poetry the mind is agitated because the heart is already corrupted in which case they are correct to eschew my work as there will be no pleasure for them there. Maybe one day I will stop using lowercase letters in my poetics but today is not that day.


GM: One of the poems in your book was published by GM in our first issue, has the poem changed at all? How have you grown as a writer since being published by GM? 


sr: Your question made me pull out your first issue to compare the original to the collection version. They are almost identical except for the addition of a strophe break after line four. I feel grateful for my early publishers like Goat’s Milk Magazine whose editors recognized my work letting “Set Fire to Start Fire” be the leadoff hitter in the inaugural issue. I think my poetry has taken a gut to head journey that reaches for a musical centre of heartfelt truth, funneled through a growing Plinko board of craft.


GM: What do you love about literary magazines? 

sr: Their archival manner. Lit mags are our most fine-boned histories and psychologies written by our most popular, erudite, and weird-ass bards.

GM: Currently, there is a lot going on in the world, what are you doing for self-care? 

sr: What do you mean when you say self-care? I am afraid to assume I know.   

GM: What is one word that describes your work? 

sr: Irreverent.

GM: What’s next for you? 

sr: I want to travel to Panama when I can. I want to experience the barrio where my father grew up, the hospital where I was born, and the Panamanian rainforest.

GM: Do writers have an obligation to be political? What do you think the writer’s role should be during events like the COVID-19 pandemic, and the BLM protests? Should they have a role? 


sr: Barton Smock, the editor of {is acoustic*}, lists contributors as “person” not “poet.” At first, I felt put off because I Am a Poet! Now, I see the imperative of intentionally cutting away exteriors to continually uncover the root of our interdependence. If a writer considers them self within humanity they are obligated to strive to act humanely and have courage to err on the side of greater and greater compassion. It is pathological to fundamentally view one’s particular will as a force outside of and above humanity. Even Picasso that great egoist made Guernica. If when faced with political and economic questions we sought the most compassionate answers we would eliminate a great deal of pain and our baffling present cruelties that become our historical ones. A major difference between Canada and the United States is that Canada, as inelegantly and imperfectly as it happens, houses cultures and leadership that attempt to move a mixture of origins together toward a more and more just society. There is a sense that compassion is a Canadian ideal beginning with the compassion that First Nations have long held for nature and the environment. Compassion is not a key value in the United States that nation is punctuated at every corner with snarls of cruelty. Let poets be the Sirens who sing those snarls to their drowning.