Poetry, Prosetry

You Like to Play with Danger, Don’t You? – Brooke Safferman

You like to play with danger, don’t you?

Sexuality undulating like the ocean’s waves, wit as sharp as the scissors in your back pocket

Of course, you say, I like to be hands on, you say as you cut open the package with

One single line of bad intentions.

My eyes drop down to the dirt beneath the plot of grass, and

The toe of your left cowboy boot’s digging in to the very earth that birthed you

Mother, oh Mother, where are you now?

The entirety of my mind is a word-search puzzle,

Full of the words I cannot say because they’re all scrambled up hopelessly,

Like the eggs your papa used to cook for us when we were still just sleepy kids

But over the years I’ve learned the hard way not to hold your hand for too long because

You like to play with danger… don’t you?

Poetry, Prosetry

I’m Sorry – Alexandra Mayer

I am from a defeated town
with deadbeat afternoons,

lawn chairs and lemonade,

and church clothes that cling in the heat.

Our bones are heavy.


I told you, I loved you like

the shimmering but separate rainbow fish swirl of oil in the puddles of asphalt parking lots.

And then I left.


You told me

you wanted to get closer, closer

so we could breath each other in.


And then, like that, three years went by

without you.


I was in Philosophy of Ethics when I read your facebook status:


The Professor went on.

Heraclitus once said, “Everything Flows.”

Plato revised: “Everything changes.”


I called.

Your voice sounded like a meteor tearing into earth.

I heard wisps of gold cloud your eyes, when you said,

“I’m high. I’m high. If you don’t love me, I’ll hang myself from the rafters of hell.”


Silence dangled over us.

Later you told me you could feel it

wrap around your neck

like the noose used on your Grandfather.


I didn’t think of that.

I called the police.

I wanted you to be okay.


The officer was kind to me.

His voice sounded like velvet.


Then, for six nights, the stars dried out my eyes.

They warned me–

‘Only the dead shine.’


You called,

finally, from Silver Hill Mental Hospital.

It was your Mother’s Bipolar Disorder that got you there.

But it was your Father’s black skin

that made the officer with a velvet voice

think it was okay to hurt you.


I’m sorry I didn’t believe you when you told me

he pressed his fists into your gut

and plunged his hands around your neck.

I’m sorry, you had to send me pictures. I still can’t believe you did.

It looked like Jupiter’s rings tried to split you in two pieces.

I’m sorry that I can still drag my fingers across your scars.


I just wanted you to be okay

because I saw a life like hydrangeas and summer sunsets in your eyes.

and I remembered the elm tree where we took branches for seats and traded secrets.

And I knew just segments of your soul,

but I could see you’re bursting with a history and a story.

I just wanted you to be okay.


But he just saw a black body,

said you were a ‘dangerous madman resisting arrest.’

Poetry, Prosetry

Perspective of a Man – Karlee Sanders

every sunrise,
every sappy love quote,
could never be as beautiful
as the words her fingers wrote—
in the sky
connecting constellations
to the moon.
maybe it was the way she looked in the night air.
the picturesque white light on her face,
she was all things innocent and as innocuous as she could be.
but when the moonlight fell upon her fair skin,
she was a wildfire of blue and purple mixed with the almost fluorescent light and soft brown in her eyes and hair.
she could’ve outshone the sun.
not a soul on this planet could ever convince me that she was flawed in any way.
the way she touched my hands ever so carefully made me feel intoxicated with the inane butterflies she always rambled about.
when our eyes met that night, we were a part of the same dark sky we wore on our shoulders.
we were stars.
and nothing else mattered.
Prose, Prosetry

Aerial Views – Matt Grydzuk

And so you were skipping stones across ponds

“Every time I walk past a balcony I think of throwing my phone over it.”

Same, but I think of throwing myself over

For just a split second, then realize it’d be too up-front

Too gaudy, and then it sort of fizzles out

And so you were skipping stones across rivers

Playing records backwards to get the real meaning

“I think maybe I should leave,” you said

But I could never understand how someone could fit

That much sadness in such a small thing

And so you were skipping stones across canals

“They’re all just intersecting lines,” you said

We’re all just intersecting lines

You followed up with

I think that maybe people don’t know you

As well as they should have

And so you were skipping stones across lakes

Hands tied behind your back, you were writhing

“I don’t want to be here!” You said, taken out of context

Were placed anywhere else

You didn’t know how to address matters outside of literal meaning

So you just stopped talking

So you just stopped addressing the bleach stains

And so you were skipping stones across deltas

Frozen over for a long while, now thawed, you turned to me and said

“I think this is where depression stops and starts”

And so I am standing at the edge of the balcony

For the first time thinking of throwing something else over

Thinking, “Maybe”

“Just maybe, one can make a monologue out of anything.”

Prose, Prosetry

You Called Me the Sun – Ivy Juniper Manchester

The world does not breathe until I do. 

I send out love like I know what I’m looking for but the plants and animals soak in the rays, never once wondering where the heat comes from never once feeling blessed but god isn’t it just so human to pretend? When it rains they beg me not to be sad and when it thunders they all run and hide. But when it doesn’t, and the sky stays clear, I don’t matter again. The curtains are pulled aside and thank god the people can continue their lives. All i want to do is love you but if i love you too much, you spite me for my warmth; when I give you space, you beg me to come back. 

Forgive my indiscretion but why do you keep saying it’s okay?


Nevadian Botaty (The Ego) – Matt Grydzuk

The other day I started a small garden chiefly of plants I could use
Built from those one-dollar Target herb thingies and anyways
I thought to myself how interesting to have such a straight-forward existence
To be consumed, to only have purpose
Never filling in the blank spots never
Playing with narrative structure just
Existing in ground, as part of the earth, in part of something more amazing,

How interesting not to be multipurpose
And to consume chiefly; the product of progress amalgamated
To the point where it’s taboo
I think about these matters while doing simple things like watering basil
Like constructing culinary masterpieces
Perhaps wanting to exist and existing are two halves of the same maybe there is no purpose
But to be consumed by something we’d
Never see coming
And when a friend of a friend reminds me that we are all mortal
I start to think that maybe stagnating is congruent with plant life
Or plant food
I think about these things while watering basil.

Poetry, Prosetry

It Comes and Goes in Waves – Alexandra Mayer

I was quiet that night

mesmerized by the fire– 

I guess. 

And I saw 

Embers float to the heavens 

where they became stars. 

The moon greeted them 

with a cheshire-cat smile

and they all laughed at the mortals below. 

There was music in the crackle of the fire

and in the way accents melted together

stealing meaning from words. 

And your lover told me that we should be friends. 

“Because we both like to drink a lot.”
Whatever that means. 

I tried my best to be kind

because you showed me the painting she created-

two hands of daisies, bursting from the clouds.

It’s hard to explain,

But I like it. 

And I like her knobby knees 

and her red hair

and the way she bites her lower lip.

So we shared a bottle of fourteen dollar vodka–

And together we swallowed fire 

and we smiled when the heat slid into our stomachs 

and when the world started to blur into a haze of browns, oranges, and blues.

Then a bright light trickled through the trees. 

And a shout: 

“Cops… Run!”

So I did

I fled 


and deeper 

into the forest 

before diving into a prickle bush

where thorns clawed my skin,

drawing blood here and there. 

But I didn’t really notice, or feel any pain.

I didn’t notice you either

until you knelt down next to me and whispered in my ear,

“this doesn’t leave these trees.”

A kiss. 

You kissed me. 

A moment. 

Nothing more. 

And when the sun rose,

I wasn’t dizzy. 

I could see the trees clearly.

I could feel the gashes in my skin. 

And I laughed

because you were nowhere to be found

And I was okay with being alone.

Poetry, Prosetry

Water – Iman Messado

Here’s a thing I read in a science book once,
The world is like 70% water.
There’s lakes and oceans and ponds and bathtubs and –
Water doesn’t scare me at all,
What’s there to fear in oxygen atoms and hydrogen bonds?
I’ve always wanted to learn how to swim though,
I’ve dreamt of being at home in water,
like the stage is to a dancer.
Did you know that I’m a cancer?

Here’s a thought I had in the shower once:
Crying is a waste of time.
I mean, sure, there’s catharsis in the tears struggling their way out of the confines of your tear ducts and stubborn pride.
Catharsis that can’t be found when bottling your tears up and hoping something good can work.
But I’m not the type to wade in pools of Fear and Pity,
It’s better to patch up the dams and feign laughter at something witty.

Here’s a secret that that’s not actually a secret:
I don’t know how to swim.
I’m sure I could if only convenience granted me the opportunity.
I’m not scared, not apprehensive, there aren’t any storm clouds of doubt and derision spoiling my confidence.

I’ve asked quite a few people how they swim, people who know all about hydrogen bonds and who probably shed a few tears once in a while.
People who swim without ever having their head touch the water and others who do this strange kicking thing and still others who make exaggerated gestures and knock other people out of the way.

I’m standing on the edge of the concrete border of the community pool when i affirm a sneaking suspicion I’ve had for a while now.
There is no uniform way to swim nor is there a predestined form i’m to take so as to swim in the most efficient way possible.

All I can do is leap and splash and wait until the sun turns my skin even more brown.
So that’s what i do: i leap and splash and wonder if a day will come when i’ll drown.

Prosetry, Short Story

The Time You Set Your House on Fire – Samantha Forsyth 

Put off by the smell of gasoline. It was hard to ask yourself to abhor your senses. To walk out of the front door without saying goodbye and disregard the dizziness when you smelt the petrol. It’s the feeling of breaking your own nose with movements quick and uncontrolled when you were running through the hallways, and now you’re pouring a trail that starts and ends out the front door. You’re unsatisfied just being happy. 

It’s not enough until it’s burnt. Until you can see a fire consume itself in real time. Your mother makes you breakfast everyday in that house and your father shares the paper with you. You won’t ever have to worry about losing them again because you know you’ll be able to keep the ashes if you decide you want to. Now you can run your fingers through every memory of early childhood and bathe in the question of permanence. Stand before the destruction you’ve created.