Neutral Days

Neutral Days

By: Kushal Poddar

Near the northern end of our city,
we meet, often in one minute cafe
to sip bitterness liquefied, and nod at its
rather a Spartan decor, its walls’ lime
mortar grouting;

the wall between us sees itself on a looking glass;
the blood seems always high on a thinner
bearing steroids pushed to skirmish against
what we now cannot recall, and so our blood flows

in between like a neutral strip ripping free
from flesh too dead to remember the fight.

An author and a father, Kushal Poddar, edited a magazine – ‘Words Surfacing’, authored seven volumes including ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals‘, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems‘ and ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse- A Prequel‘. His works have been translated in ten languages. 

Find and follow him at amazon.com/author/kushalpoddar_thepoet

Find Kushal @Kushalpoe on Twitter and @KushalTheWriter on Facebook.

Alternatives to Suicide

Alternatives to Suicide

By: Jenica Lodde

Trigger Warning: Suicide + Depression

Say you wanted it like this—
Spaced out bimbo
Driving too slow in the left lane
Ignore the glares 
When they prance ahead
Embrace the half-life
Pat the little orange flame:
“Thanks little candle,
You’ve been all you can be.”
Quiet light is also good light.
Block off a space and fee to enter
Stop thinking your life is a pony you need to polish up and send out to the races
Admire the down space
If god only wanted open mouths and constant song
She would have only made tulips 
And hardy pines
She made tides and stitched them to moonlight 
So they would rise and draw back,
Rocks breaking even with the surface of the earth
Do nothing 
Lie down 
In the cool shade of your thoughts

Jenica Lodde is a poet based in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Her work had appeared in Gravel SWWIM, Word Fountain, River and South Review, io, Third Wednesday and others. Her verse memoir a verse memoir, GO My Own Way, is forthcoming through City Limits Publications. She had one chapbook, Emotional States (Finishing Line Press, 2020). Her yard is overgrown with dandelions and tall grass, much to the chagrin of her neighbors.

Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

o.g.b.a.n.j.e

o.g.b.a.n.j.e

By: Sloane Angelou

imagine trying to deal with a dead person inside you clamouring for rememberance each time you try to shed a new skin.

whoever told you death is final lied to you the day I found from much resistance – a constant burying is required to keep your lungs open and your eyes closed. 

to continue to survive you must embrace the suffering that comes with rejection – the idea of who you were over and over and over again must perish with the idea of a conscience – your feelings mean nothing to karma.

Sloane Angelou is a storyteller & writer of West African origin; passionate about learning of human existence by interrogating human experiences. They exist in liminal spaces.

Prscilla De Preez on Unsplash

paper airplanes

paper airplanes

By: Josh Sippie

We fold corners, crease and prepare for launch
from a rooftop patio we’re not supposed to be on
according to a sign 
and we throw paper airplanes into the darkness
watching them until they disappear into the night’s cold cloak 
silence beckoning the words we scribbled on the wings
saying hello and nice to meet you and don’t you look nice tonight
and we can barely laugh among ourselves for fear that they will hear us
even though they never do because they are a concept
not a person or a group
but then a plane comes back
skids across the tarred rooftop and the words in black
marker—

you look nice too

Josh Sippie is a foolish mortal. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Hobart, Stone of Madness, and more. When not writing, he can be found wondering why he isn’t writing. 

la casita

la casita

By: Charlie D’Aniello

We call it “la casita” because it was the only house we moved into when I was growing up—
all of the others were apartments of varying sizes and shapes and neighborhoods. My dad worked all day, but I only remember

the coming home in muddy boots
booming voices like quicksand
pouring into my ears.

We had a huge black table in the dining room. I always sat furthest away from
the bowl of salad and the closest to my grandma so that she could take the leafs of lettuce
and sliced tomatoes out of my plate and into her home— so that she could

save me the pain of living in shadows
huddled in corners and creeping in hollows
under covers too thin to warm, too warm to breathe.

It was the house I lived in when I had my first panic attack and got my first dog— a small shih-tzu, white with brown spots and a worm in her stomach. I lived there when I did my first communion, when I stood in the house of god and

drank his blood, ate his body and tasted
grape juice and thin crackers wasted
on a sinner who’d never repent

But the house had a flaw, a downfall: that it always flooded when it rained,
and it always rained when it shouldn’t, and it shouldn’t be flooding in the first place—
and so we moved. Now, whenever I think of lettuce and dogs, or crackers and

god, i think, is like a house and a bubble,
a drawing in the sand and a mountain of rubble—
and it died in the flooded remains of a garden we call “la casita”.

Charlie D’Aniello (they/he) is a Latinx, queer/trans, neurodivergent author & literature nerd. Their work is published or forthcoming in HOLYFLEA!, Querencia, Tealight Press, Poetically Magazine, Wrongdoing Magazine & others. They are founder of warning lines magazine & author of The One and the Other.

Anna Atkins on Unsplash

Find Charlie @beelzebadger and @warninglines on Twitter.

The Placard Stuck in the Basement

The Placard Stuck in the Basement

By: Imelda Iwuagwu

Come into my outstretched arms
Your love is posited with outstretch longing
To my warmth breast your hunger quench
Until dawn grows without you

Pregnant day hatches without your voice
Your sweet love muttered into my ears with seduction
Love rings the bell of reminder for your voice
The chain of affection holds me to a bond.

Day and night your shadow chased.
The loving memory of your being cleaved my web
You knitted the hems of my life
Bathed my bones with lollipops.

Your river of humiliation germinated seeds of emulation
Simplicity rolls from your eyes of disappointments
Take ye the rest of your soul’s quest
Knock the earth with your dance of joy

Your slate of sincerity and transparency woos me
You dish out in details wholly baked
Childlike naughtiness your billboard points
Oh! my palms stuck in your basement.

Humans turned Angels not seen in you.
Your love transfixed my heart into a mother’s zone
Come, Nwa, to your tabernacle of rest
With my hoe to plant new beginnings

Rivers flow planting seeds of imprints
Your heart the stage of combats
Warriors and inferiors your face defecates
Come sooth the wounds of trash.

You are my true life’s emblem
Plotted arrows of anger but you barbed the scar
My prayer of Thanksgiving
Remain still and your love my stigma.

Imelda Iwuagwu is a Writer, Editor,  Parenting Coach and Amazon Publisher who is passionate about what she does. She’s currently a student at the University of Benin, Benin City,  Nigeria.

You can connect with her through the following links and email address.  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amaka.imelda
LinkedInProfile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/imelda-iwuagwu-639a3420b
Email address: chiamakaimelda@gmail.com

Two Streams

Two Streams

By: Yuu Ikeda

When a stream of envy
mixes with
a stream of disappointment
at myself,
a fire of desire for broken future
begins to burn on my skin

This whirlpool
leads me to the darkest loneliness,
makes me emptier,
and
fascinates me strongly

Yuu Ikeda is a Japan based poet.
She loves writing, drawing,
and reading mystery novels.
She writes poetry on her website.
https://poetryandcoffeedays.wordpress.com/
Her published poems can be found
in <Nymphs>,
<Selcouth Station Press>,
<Goat’s Milk Magazine>,
<celestite poetry>,
and more.

Alexander McFern on Unsplash

You can find Yuu Ikeda at @yuunnn77 on Twitter and Instagram

Personhood

Personhood

By: Keana Aguila Labra

I am the straight bark
of the untouched Cebuano palm,
where the lechon is the best
and words fly freely and gahi.

My bones kneaded from
the pearls of my mother’s tears,
marking her path from Tondo to Quezon City
to Playa del Rey.

My lips lined with the
kiss between spring and summer,
green and gold, with a laugh
to rival the Pacific.

At night, my hands in prayer
are the grace from the santonilyo
and I ask that my lolo find peace
in the beyond.

And with knees wide enough
to carry the Muntinlupa eastward slope
into the sunrise, I

smile. 

Keana Aguila Labra is a Cebuana Tagalog Filipinx poet in diaspora. As the founder and editor-in-chief of the magazine, Marías at Sampaguitas, she hopes to champion underserved and underrepresented communities with this literary space. She is a part of the Kearny Street Interdisciplinary Writer’s Lab 2021 summer cohort and the young adult Honorary Santa Clara County Poet Laureate of Oct. 2021. She is the author of three collections, Natalie, No Saints, and Mohilak.

Keana can be found on Twitter or Instagram @Tambokekai.

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

By: Keana Aguila Labra

In which I write,
I’m losing patience for Lolo. I can’t stand his selfishness and lack of appreciation. 

Beneath that,
Pain pills, two every 4-6 hours

my scribbles of two tongues,
clumsily labelled yellow for Tagalog,
orange for Bisaya,

Na antok ko. I wish I could take a nap. Maybe when Lola leaves, I’ll take a nap on the couch. It’s hard to read with the TV on.


Dahil – because 

pressure is a placement of time,
pressure is proof of feeling:

Kabuan – entirety

Pagalok – offer

There is only anger
while I wish from the after:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Jamie    Jamie     M                                         E            Jaden   Jaden

Slept: 12-1:44am,
2-5am,
5-9am

minsan – sometimes
palagi – always


Mabuti palagi siya mag-buhay sa
diary ko.

Keana Aguila Labra is a Cebuana Tagalog Filipinx poet in diaspora. As the founder and editor-in-chief of the magazine, Marías at Sampaguitas, she hopes to champion underserved and underrepresented communities with this literary space. She is a part of the Kearny Street Interdisciplinary Writer’s Lab 2021 summer cohort and the young adult Honorary Santa Clara County Poet Laureate of Oct. 2021. She is the author of three collections, Natalie, No Saints, and Mohilak.

Keana can be found on Twitter or Instagram @Tambokekai.

ode to this particular peach

ode to this particular peach

By: Sanjana Ramanathan

my cheeks are sticky with laughter
and something even brighter…
the trickle of the evening sun
trailing down my chin.
I come to life while I cup
that orange sweetness,
my fingers dig,
my mouth becomes an altar.
I could worship the feeling
of pulp beneath my palms,
the last slivers of it shifting
like snakes in the kitchen sink.

Sanjana Ramanathan (she/her) is an English student at Drexel University. She enjoys playing video games, cracking open a new book, and daydreaming. Her work is published or upcoming in clandestine lit, Babel Tower Notice Board, and Flash Frog. 

Julia Peretiatko  at Unsplash

You can find Sanjana at @sanjubilees on Twitter.