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Poetry: Bentley Student Poets

Bentley Student Poetry

Ambient Night

Ambience, tired talks morph delirious and mouths

meander out the door grabbing their coats on the way

down the steps to the homes they missed

where you sent them a couch of buried blankets

And we all mumble remembers but i blink and she’s

On the floor rolling and laughing and i blink and we’re

Flailing dancing turning spitting other written words

In haste and hatred with tender rehabilitation that

Once before we flung this from our pockets singing

“Why”

Because we don’t need this, and you’re parents

They shun the shady dealer of sleep too, shrug off his dusty lazy

Offers - they truly gave the billion dollar seconds in a decision that

Became a being that became a love that everyone thinks they

Are ready for but no one really knows for sure.

Cackling edged guffaws

Bring heavy weights that file down to where & when

There’s nowhere left to put the truth so you

Match it with your eyes and that match ignites

Slowly watch the carcass with flakes crumble to ash,

Float away, rebuilt as a project stuck together to review

A forgotten non-necessity.

 

~ Cate McGlynn-Mandel  

Body Beauty

By: Tova Ricardo

 

you smuggle poison into the household of your body,

igniting a terrible tremble of panic attacks that even earthquakes fear of

I try remind you about the content of hours we spend together.

direct your mind from complex thoughts of self-loathing

stoning yourself in secrecy

but you’re the lethargic lungs I don’t mind reciprocating

poetic text to,

lengthening the amount of greasy fingerprints

on independent shop books - the little Oakland ones that I swore

underneath the oath of secret codes

would belong to you,

and only you

because you needed something to call yours proudly

 

each night, I always found myself tumbling deep into distractions,

as your flaky lips glistened with pure softness and innocence

but I realized that the perfection I believed so strongly

never wrapped around your head as well as I hoped it did.

nooses of aggressively somber thoughts

strangled every peep of a tone that flowed through your mouth,

so four letter words only creeped from mine instead of yours.

your voice escaped only beneath the darkness of a barricaded closet.

I'm the only one who could hear it,

I know I wasn't meant to

but don’t forget that ghostly depression senses

ones who have choked every thin skin angle of their body.

you gotta stay with me.

 

you gotta sway with me to Winehouse and Whitney

even as prickly tears wrinkle delicate folds upon your façade

those acid rain pellets will still exist tomorrow,

in some faint residing manner,

in the palms of your self destructive hands,

don’t phase yourself and forget

the ideas of body beauty and the beauty of body.

you told me about that.

now it’s my turn to reteach you.

 

before you kill and spill pills into your throat

direct a damning silence

even though I will cradle you when a coat

could never cover knifed notes of despair

on your corpse.

 

a corpse lay flimsy and empty

 

you’re the alluring tulip estranged from sunlight,

she who despised spotlight

was eternally haunted by anxious day nightmares

she, who protected her pride from frequent kisses

we’ve been taught to despise the pieces the world doesn’t approve of.

stitches won’t patched up your wrist much longer.

time gave up on a body no longer loved by its owner.

and all that you missed

was a half sized, fiery red man of harmful therapy,

shuffling his petite feet upon the edges of your hippocampus,

ones that childhood grew terribly nostalgic over.

he, who remakes dangerous thoughts that trample over intriguing pedagogies,

ones your teacher insisted would transport you into a fantastical realm

“away from this unloved body”

 

even amongst the timekeepers and demonic roaches

crawling in those stories

you tired, poor thing.

your dreams were violated like the arms you veiled with polyester black shirts

he, then so very distant from now and present

promised you as strong as he could,

that the roaches would return.

your body would never belong to a soul

you were reluctant to kiss,

or the name on a birth certificate.

your body belonged to real life roaches

that existed along the edges of your ash white bed site,

down towards trenches of sliced hollow land.

 

    I wanted to lay my lips in those trenches.

    you feared I’d fall into them.

 

do not let the remaining roaches wage war

against the finesse of your figure

that trigger the traumatic lack of home in the body.

remind yourself, once in awhile

the function of fatal attractions

once in remission.

chap up the lips of stitched limbs.

speak through those limbs.

witness how words pour endless, bloody riverwalk water

through fingers,

words come out of your fingers

to magnify notebook hidden truths

words,

come out of your fingers,

not to dismay other voices.

fingers, connect separated stars in twilight with one another.

wrists, will summon the sky,

will give you permission to roar

to teach thunder what a real scream is.

          the impact of a snapped soul.

wrapped up in a repetitive roll of rules

teacher maman wanted you to break from that.

you are not obligated to express to others

how you've got unapologetic glory.

 

let yourself be freed from the grasp of mirror reflections,

where all that you see is the “unnatural” width of your hips

those are bouncing burdening subtext into your life,

banish the gory.

welcome slight spills of love

to rainfall flow into your mind

once you have poured more tears

out of your eyes

than available water supply.

tell yourself, that you've got

impact

that there's more to your body,

than the maddening thoughts

barking in your brain,

than the cinder block heavy yells

racing through your throat.

than the half sized man gunning you down

with opinions you translated into truths

this, you shall know

one day

of your unapologetic glory

TOGETHER        

LIZZIE

MADDY
 

I am 17.

And I am a woman.

Living in this patriarchal society

That truly believes that we are equal

Someone define equal

Tell me if being checked out by a 40-year-old man is acceptable

Tell me if automatically being  labeled as “weak” or “insecure” is a good quality

Tell me if not getting the same wage for the same job is equal!

And no, we are not exaggerating. The wage gap exists, despite what some people may think.

The average white woman makes 79 cents to the white man’s dollar.

Asian women make 84 cents to the white man’s dollar.

African American women make 60 cents to the white man’s dollar.

Latina women make 55 cents to the white man’s dollar.

Women work just as hard as men do.

But they still get paid less.

Let’s talk about Feminism.

What do you picture when you hear this word?

Some people might say that a feminist is selfish

Some people might say that they are a bit crazy

And when talking about a woman, some might say that she is a man hating maniac.

The true essence of modern day feminism is the belief that people should be treated and considered equal, whether that be in education, in work, or in any other circumstance where men and women are put together.

But the problem with modern day feminism is the labels.

Why are people who believe in equality being attacked?

Why are people who view men as superior to women, the ones who are unaffected by these issues?

What some people don’t realize is that there are two sides to this issue:

Either you believe everyone is equal no matter how they identify OR you’re sexist.

You believe that one gender is naturally superior than another.

So, fight. Don’t go asking people why they support equality. Ask people why they don’t.

The media has placed a notion on younger girls.

They have to have a man in their lives to thrive in society.

Look at Snow White!

A sixteen year old girl that is saved by the handsome prince

They desperately fall in love after a three minute encounter.

Then there’s Cinderella!

Also a young girl, that cannot escape her stepmother

Her only way out is through her rich, handsome, prince charming!

Why can’t more movies be like Mulan or Pocahontas?

Where both girls stand up for themselves? Where girls are the leaders of change?

Where they demonstrate that they are strong and that they, themselves, can succeed.

Why can’t the media reflect that we are strong, independent, and don’t back down from a challenge?

If I ever become a mom

I want my daughter to grow up in a world where she doesn’t doubt herself, she has the same strengths.

I want her to know that there’s nothing wrong with having a job AND working at home.

I want her to truly accept that her fate doesn’t HAVE to be motherhood. That there’s NOTHING wrong with being a 40 year old woman and NOT having kids.

I want her to have courage. That no matter how many times she is told she can’t succeed, that she rises above.

I want her to understand that no matter how much the world will try to undermine women, she has the power to make a difference whether it’s big or small

I want her to know that she needs to stay true to herself. That she needs to stand up for what she believes in and that she will continue fighting till she gets what she wants.

But, most importantly, I don’t want her to be ashamed that she is a woman.

I am 17.

I am a woman.

I am independent.

I am strong.

I am and will always be……….PROUD.

~ Maddy Mellema and Lizzy Mintz

Mr. Hagen

Folks, today we have a topic which i consider rather serious

Mr. Hagen has so far been a man who is quite mysterious

But I have found the truth which will send chills right through your body

Mr. Peter Hagen is in the illuminati.

 

Have you ever noticed that those who challenge him disappear?

There was a rivalry between him and Torin Rittenberg last year.

Each one in competition for who could be the best poet.

Mr. Hagen had the spot, but some thought Torin would overthrow it.

 

However not long after Torin simply disappeared.

He literally hasn’t shown up for a single day all year.

Some mindless drones don’t think and point to senior graduation.

However clearly Mr. Hagen ordered his assassination.

 

He is here, in our school, nobody can feel secure

If you mess with him or make him mad your downfall is sure

So when you are around him, make sure you are not naughty

‘Cause Mr. Peter Hagen is in the illuminati.

 

When they invent new mind control techniques, whenever he sees prudent

Mr. Hagen will test them on innocent Bentley students!

He makes them forget who they are and all the things they have to do.

Be careful, or one day he will test this out on YOU.

 

It happened to me in 10th grade, it really was a fright

He made it so I didn’t know I had homework that night

So I turned mine in two days late, I could have done no faster.

And Ms. Spector wouldn’t give full credit. What a disaster!

 

So be careful not to let him get too deep inside your mind

As he’s a secret agent of the most dangerous kind.

He may not be Bill Gates or drive around in a Bugatti

But Mr. Peter Hagen is in the illuminati.

 

However the worst of it is yet to be revealed.

So far his business at the school has been quite well concealed

As he’s here to recruit, to draw you in to all their lies.

Because the illuminati needs new people to become their spies.
 

Whenever he’s being kid’s helpful “writing coach”
He’s actually infecting them with the Illuminati approach.

Every noticed all his “thesises” are anti-government.

He’s turning kids into their minions, that’s why was where he was sent.

 

So tell your families to hide, go to a different school.

Wear a protective tinfoil hat, or do nothing and be a fool.

Learn the arts of jujitsu, kung fu or karate.

Because Mr. Peter Hagen is in the illuminati.

~  Baxter Brown

Avocado skin

Yeah, avocado tastes great,

You can plant the seed,

But what’s up with the narly

Bumpy skin

All you can do

Is throw it away when you're done

Its potholed surface

Like 5 miles of bad road

Mother Nature,

What were you thinking

When you designed this package?

Is sandpaper included?

When i grow up

I want a full body massage

From a whole bushel

of avocado skin

~ Paul Dorskind

Girl

They look at you

they judge you

in their eyes

they are asking

why are you playing basketball?

“You’re a girl”

As if,

I should be ashamed

As if,

basketball is only a boy’s sport

As if,

I should be quiet as other girls

As if,

piano, violin, reading would be better

for me

than playing basketball

Cuz I’m a girl

They don’t care about the speech Emma Watson made

Gender equality replaced by patriarchy

When her girlfriends drop sports

cuz they don’t want to be seen as muscle

When her boyfriends need to hide their feelings

cuz they don’t want to be isolated

They look at you

they judge you

in their eyes

they are waiting

to see if you will fight like a girl.


~ Siji Lu

Dear Depression

Dear Depression,

I never thought I would say this, but thank you.

Thank you for making me stronger by fighting my own mind every day for the past five years. I can’t just “get over you,” and I won’t just “get over you.” It’s taken me years to just get better and even that isn’t enough some days, but it’s better than it was, and that’s enough most days.

Thank you for letting me know that those girls in seventh grade that told me that you weren’t really there were wrong. Thank you for letting me show people that you aren’t just all in my head. Thank you for showing me that people don’t make fun of me for having the flu; so why do they make fun of me for having you?

Thank you for letting me know that “go kill yourself” isn’t a joke but a trigger. That those three simple words can help put the noose around a neck or a bullet in a gun. Thank you for showing me that I would take sticks and stones over those words any day.

Thank you for telling me that, sometimes, when someone says they’re fine, they’re really just waiting for you to see that they’re not. That sometimes people just need people to be there for them and that I will be there because I know their pain.

Thank you for teaching me that really, it’s not me, it’s you and the chemical imbalance of serotonin in my brain.

Thank you for showing me that a trip to a psychiatric hospital is nothing to be ashamed of. Depression, you taught me that I can grow because of you, and that my definition is not you. My definition is that I like playing with my dogs at dusk, and I hate cake, and I both love and hate oceans because infinity both scares and comforts me, and that a book told me in third grade to hold onto the grass and never let go, because I may float away to the stars. But because of you, depression, some days I want to.

Depression, thank you for making me strong enough not to.

Thank you for showing me how valuable a day with rain in the middle of the California drought can be. Thank you for showing me that I miss my own smile some days. Thank you for making me stronger for when your best friends, anxiety and OCD, came to join the party.

Depression, thank you for allowing me to still be here to thank you.

-Claire Pulkownik 08.05.15

 

Jew-ish

When I was younger

I thought that I was Jew-ish

I thought that I would never be more than

Half-and-half

As if my mother’s Episcopalian blood

Running through my veins

Made my pride when I told my classmate

The story of Passover

Less proud

Less poignant

Less expressive of a culture that I was less a part of

When I was younger

I would tell people I was half-and-half

Half Jewish

Half Christian

It didn’t matter that I knew the Jewish stories better

And I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know who Jesus was

Or why he would matter

To my hyper-simplistic mind

Religion was not a choice, it was a bloodline

And when I realized

That it was a lot more than half my blood

Pulling towards am yisrael

I didn’t know what to do

And so I told my father one day

On the crowded BART train

Roaring through a tunnel at top speed

That I wanted a Bat Mitzvah

I didn’t know what that meant

I didn’t know the responsibility I was taking on

I didn’t know the way I had just changed my entire worldview

In five simple words

I knew the heartbreak in my father’s eyes

When I said I would give up softball to do it

And I knew the curiosity that tugged my blood

All of it

There were no halves

There weren’t even parts

No longer was I

Half Jewish and

Half Christian

Now I was

My mother is Christian

And my father is Jewish

But we celebrate more Jewish holidays

Than Christian ones

So really I feel more Jewish

Than Christian

As if the contentment I felt

Chanting sh’ma was because

I knew Judaism better

I remember very clearly

The day my teacher in Hebrew School

Read us a book

Where a boy was told

That because his father was Jewish

And his mother was not

He would have to convert

To be a Bar Mitzvah

And I remember the panic

Seizing up my throat
And I remember my hand

Shooting up in the air

Faster than Hermione Granger

Before my teacher calmly explained

That isn’t how we do it in the reform movement

How stupid was I

That I didn’t realize

My panic was not in my Christian blood

My panic was not in my Jewish blood

My panic was in all my blood

My religion is not my bloodline

My religion is my choice

I am Jewish

I am not Jew-ish

Any more than I am white-ish

Woman-ish

Student-ish

Teenage-ish

Reader-ish

Writer-ish

Wants to be a teacher-ish

And you can try to say

That my mother isn’t

And you can try to tell me

That because my favorite holiday is Christmas

I can’t be a real Jew

But you’ve never felt the way my heart rushes

As I sing the mi shebeirach

And you’ve never felt the calm that settles on my shoulders

As I listen to the temple around me sing the bar’chu

And you’ve never felt the flutter in my stomach

As I chant an aliyah

And you’ve never heard me whispering

Bevakashah Adonai under my breath when I am scared

Or mentally reciting kaddish yatom during moments of silence

And you can’t experience the pride in my voice

Every time I declare

With complete certainty

I am Jewish

~ Alleana Austin

Birthday shoes.

I bought Jordans for your birthday
Gamma blue
Perfect and new

I bought shoes for your birthday
Like I always did, ever since you were the smallest bloom of a kid

Then you got big and so did your feet
You wanted to step up your shoe game
You just had to compete

So I got jordans for your birthday
Gamma blue and perfectly new

And they’ll stay that way
In the box
Next to where I buried you.

-- Alex Gailey

Trump

Lately America has been in the dumps

but soon the world will be trumped

so let me tell you a little about my myself

and know you cant put me on the shelf

and through this campaign we shall all be unchained

for the beauty of me is that Im rich

and everybody loves me

because I was there on 7/11 when so many where sent to heaven

My fingers are long and beautiful

and look at those hands aren’t they small

for I will build a great wall, a beautiful wall, one with a particularly nice piece of

ass

for we aren’t being sent the best people

and with this steeple we’ll get better people

so let me tell you what I think

for the establishment will be hoodwinked

so when I come to your state

that will be the date when you get your chance to dance on the grave where

Obama’s real birth certificate is buried

~ Jacob Cook

Haiku Cycle

~Jingwen "Jane" Su

 

Yellow Jupiter,

Circle the sun forever,

Jealous of its fire.

See the Crescent ,

When the new month is nascent,

At milky way's end.

The red giant,

Flames wrapped around him,

Bringing us hope.

My wishes come true,

When I catch the meteor shower,

In my hands with you

Hypothetical Roadtrip

~Sophie Luskin

I drove to Alaska

in a psychedelic taxi.

It twinkled

in the rays

of zealous sunshine,

strewn by

a tintinnabulating breeze.

It crackled oceanside

caked with salt and sand.

Oblong leaves trapped in clementine trees

willing to dance with the wind.

The clouds like pom poms

in a sterling sky.

Excuses are not apologies
     ~Sophie Luskin
 
It was a combination
defied trust mixed with old crush.
A slew of insults directed at shutting me up.
What you said about women,
what you said about me.
Do you not know how powerful
words can be?
You made excuses
not apologies.
Said sorry to rid me of my anger.
Do you not know how powerful
words can be?
It hurts that friends from babyhood
can spew hate 
because they hear it around them.
DO you not know how powerful words can be?

Love Poem; "Blind to Truth"

~Cameron Fisher

Within the depths of my preoccupied sorrows

There is a false hope.

For every drawn breath

It waxes and wanes

Its tempo in time to the

Shallow beating

Of my heart.

But every now and then,

When my body tricks my mind

Into thinking it’s felt something,

I look through this diamond prism and

See everything I don’t want.

My faith falters, and with it

Memories of living.

This hope sinks back

To its slow torture,

And yet it pities me, knowing

it has told the truth.

Aragorn
~  Cameron Fisher
 

Before the world of old did break

Before the strength of men did fail

The one of Numenor’s namesake

By mortal hands of all was hailed

 

The one true name of all he bore

Was Aragorn, the last great king

Elendil’s legacy he wore

Fate tied to the War of the Ring

 

By evils of the earth laid low

His father by the sword knew peace

The orphaned king to perish in tow

Were it not for Elven vigil, unceased

 

In Rivendell did the youth rise

With Elrond the Wise a steady guide

Though through growth he did not realize

Protection given him by lie.

 

At twenty years, enlightened was he

To a destiny daunting and grand

Afforded the heirlooms of family tree

To one day return to his homeland

 

About this time, love had he found

In forbidden, Elven form

Of Elrond’s stock, a maiden sound

Betwixt them was a growing warmth

 

But Aragorn to duty left

As chieftain of the Dunedain

His people no longer bereft

Of glorious herald, to never be slain

 

And glory indeed did Aragorn bring

To Rangers of the North

Of his victories did they sing

A testament to growing worth.

 

Until he listened no longer to battle’s din

For his wife he sought in Arwen, the elf

So he heeded the voice of his heart within

He would have her hand himself

 

In Lorien did they once more meet

Whence did they pledge each other’s vows

But marriage Elrond would not seat

To no mortal uncrowned would he bow.

 

In shame, he took refuge in Bree

A lone guardian to the Shire

Until The Grey he then did see

His newfound friend warned a future most dire
 

And thus it was that war began;

To think, over so small a thing

But few things allure man such

As a ring.

 

It was when Frodo’s company stayed at an inn

That Aragorn chanced on the Ring of Power

He suspected this war a hobbit would win

So they stole away from Sauron’s prying glower.

 

To Rivendell did they make haste

For aid would the hobbits need on their quest

And beset they were by nine ringwraiths

So off they went from the comforts of West

 

In Rivendell, Dwarf, Elf, and Man

Discussed the loop’s unmaking

The council of these races ran

Forging the Fellowship of the Ring

 

Thereafter Aragorn did show

His new compatriots the way

Whether it be through mountain snows

Or through the night and day

 

Through Moria a path they’d take

The once bright flame snuffed out

The Fellowship was then to break

It’s members taking different routes.

 

Two of their company now felled

“Three Hunters” set to seek two more

In looking for the hobbits well

They found The White prepared for war

 

For Rohan did the wizard ride

With Gimli, Legolas, and him

With restored leader was stirred pride

In fellowship and Rohirrim

 

At Helm’s Deep Aragorn did fight

For coming age of men

And finally by dawn’s first light

Battle he won with might of ten

 

But darkness bore down to the South

Against the city white

Yawn wide did evil’s ready mouth

With no aversion yet in sight

 

On oath long lost did he make good

And walked the Paths of Dead

Muster their forces he then would

An army of the dead he lead

 

Through enemy forces he tore

Dead and alive at side

Won he Battle of Pelennor

Sauron’s defeat the King contrived

 

Aragorn and his men set forth

The war was nearly had

MIddle Earth’s uncertain course

On shoulders of two brave young lads
 

Aragorn lead the charge against the nemesis of old

Sauron’s gaze then drawn from the ring

Away from pair of hobbits bold

The salvation, for men, their king

 

In Mount Doom was the ring unmade

Sauron vanquished for good and all

For MIddle-Earth had then been saved

By folk once known as small.

 

And so it was that Aragorn

To Minas Tirith went

To claim the right he’d had when born

As king of Numenor descent

 

At last to Arwen he was wed

The first among high kings

All did pay homage, it was said

To prosperity he then did bring

 

Yet all things end, and kings, too, die

His valour spent in years gone by

His body laid to rest, sleep nigh

The Flame of West then slowed and sighed

And the kingdoms of men did weep and cry

The glory of man undimmed to end-times.

 

 

Earth vs A Rubik's Cube

~Zachary Sandberg


 

Rubik’s Cubes, are so fun to play with, but very few can solve them on this earth.

Earth is full life and very unique, but very few people understand life.

Life is everywhere on earth which is an amazing thing.

An amazing thing is the fact that I can breathe air and live in a place,

Where in World War II in Germany, I would have been killed because I was something hitler thought he needed to erase.

Nothing can erase what an eraser does but a new pencil.

Unfortunately some of these pencils also made the eraser’s action worse by adding to it.

The pencils checked off boxes and wrote names of people who were my relatives but their names I will never know,

because the pencil decided these lives had to go.

I can’t blame a pencil for the Holocaust but Hitler did use pencils to help him erase, he had Nazis record the names and events everything that went on during his time of terror. Some lives were saved or killed by the pencil but 99. something percent got the check mark to the gas chamber gates, the few who didn’t and got the mercy of the pencil, either died from starvation, or from exhaustion of labor, or shot for no reason like two days later.

I know the times of the Holocaust’s atrocities are long ago in terms of history for the human species

but if everything that happens does for a reason, then there better be a frickin important  reason for the Holocaust and I would  like to hear it please. I no never will, because fate is a load of crap, if fate was real are actions would predetermined and the ability of choosing would be one big ass illusion,

like when you get one side of a rubik's cube but realize it was wrong because one side did not match one side. But the cool thing about rubik’s cubes is that the squares on them do not kill the other ones. I can’t say the same for people so the score is people: 0 ,Rubik's Cube: 1, here, another thing the puzzle doesn’t do that people do and have since our species begun.

The squares, on a rubik’s cube do not discriminate some cubes because of what color they are, neither their side, edge or corner they are on. The squares on the cubes can co exist with each other in every possible combination and situation.

People existing in the same places, has caused genocides in many places. Even after the the horrors of the Holocaust which one would think in the future would prevent such cases, nope people didn’t learn from that  but they know about it, and still chose to make it.

The Human race ultimately can be dumber than a puzzle we made in the first place, but I’m not her to write about how stupid we are in this world and in space, because our species can be the best thing ever when equality and justices are created.

Things so strong with the good in people of the world that no evil has ever escaped it.

Let’s try to learn from the rubik’s cube and lets as a species coexist in the world and put aside our differences. If this is done, no evil will be efficient at breaking the human spirit if peace and love is our mission.

Oh and Hitler, the religion which you thought was a race, still survives and I see stars of david all over the place. You have been recorded in history as the worst of is and are the most hated. I am Jewish, and that is ok and any religion is ok but your stupid ass convinced a lot of people to kill many others. But the best part about how your place in history is that it was not the way you thought you would be remembered. You wanted to go down as hero who everyone would remember, you are remembered as a man of evil and one with goals so hateful, and the person in history who is the most disgraceful. Plus your mustache is seen as a sign of evil now to because it reminds everyone of you,

Shitler, I have made my final conclusion about you,

you definitely are not smarter than a Rubik’s Cube.

I am not saying the human species is smarter than it either, but were definitely a lot closer to being in line with it and have peace as our world’s main feature.

In regards to the country you ruled and the rest of the world,

your evil dumb mustache ass is respected by neither.

The only way I can end my disses of you,

is if I finish them in Hebrew,

Barchu et adonai Mother f***er, Morality and Justice defeat you.

The Revolution on Channel 6

~Adeniji Asabi-Shakir

The revolution cannot sustain itself

on the empty calories which crest and arc

with tides of applause and

green-room jitters.

I have tried to feed her white bread

through fence diamonds.

I have tried to twinkle my eyes at the lilt and the swing.

But distended belly and

cracked fingernails ring too loudly--

and the twinkle dims

for it is the voice (and not the mic)

the voice (and not the score)

the voice (and not the cage)

which the turmoil craves.

This is not to say that truth don’t love

a pretty sundress or a beautiful song.

It isn’t to say that we cannot armor truth

to fit the times or

dress her in skirts skimpy enough to

get her through the door.

Of course, truth can reside precisely in

the skip of a track, or

the swipe of a paintbrush.

But,

to nod a head without using it, or

to praise a painting without hearing it

is to starve the revolution

slowly

and cruelly.

Voice is a wild master of metamorphosis.

It’s in the hem of the skirt and

the song and it’s notes and

the dance memorialized in paint on canvas.

But this is not a concert nor

a Paris runway show.

This is an exhibit of voices.

Truth drowned in its own frill is a sick, familiar game.

Truth seized by its own heart is the playbook of silence.

You cannot assemble the revolt with the manual

of the very box whose walls you scream

and pound against.

I have yet to find the proper

uniform for my truth and my voice.

The ones I’ve tried tend to be somehow ill-fitting.

It’s always that the cap falls to cover her eyes

or the too-high neckline shields her mouth

or the pants pool around her hands and ankles

so that she may.. disappear, or

trip over them as she tries to run and gesture.

I have yet to find the best sheath for my knife

but I know that this is a journey worth

honoring.

To rush such a quest is to risk the

dulling or the

snapping or the

rusting of

my only savior.

And so while I seek my own

voice box, I will let my truth run

raw,

unmined,

and unpackaged.

What is Love?

by Julia Koo

What is love?

Is love when waves of sound crash together like tambourines, smashing and fighting against each and every single pulse?

When a man raises his hand to his wife, a look so bland and dark, the air slick with tension. His lips move, moving his cheeks, moving his teeth, moving his tongue. Moving, moving, moving. Movements folding into sounds, sounds folding words, and words that spelled: “I love you.”

The three word sentence hurt. It stung like bees, microscopic needles that stabbed and pricked. Wounds that left rivulets of blood trailing down a child’s skin, subject to the crack that rang across her mother’s face. A choked noise.

Glass, split in two halves. Tears that ran down a child’s cheeks, staining the ground in patchy spots.

“I love you.”

           

What is love?

            Is love when people crowd around one another, hands pushing, voices shouting?

           

“You goddamn worthless excuse of a human being! Why don’t you just kill yourself already?”

            Words that pierced, that cut, that sliced. That brought tears to the corners of his eyes, that made his fists clench, knuckles white. Words that made him feel numb on the inside, made him crack and dust, chipping away at the tall stone tower that he himself, had built up.

           

“Watermelon head! Shrimp! Fat, fat, fat!”

           

They pushed him to the ground, feet kicking, fingers prodding. Their words that chased, that killed, that wounded. Words that burned, like toxic, melting into flesh.

“Rest in hell, you piece of disgusting shit!”

           

A sob.

           

What is love?

           

Is love when the world seems to gyrate without noticing anything else, when the air is heavy and old, noises dull and lifeless?

           

Grey walls, black sheets. Black desk, grey clothes. Empty. Dull. Void of expression.

Rain pelting outside the frost lined window, smoke curling from the dying ashes of the fire. She felt cold. Cold like ice, cold like an untouched plate of food, made by the seemingly loving hands of a mother.

           

Multicoloured pills, silver metal.

           

Clear glass of water.

           

Empty heart.

           

Colourless gelatin rose to her waist, hands forming, grabbing, reaching.

           

“Give in, relax,” they croaked. “Come rest!”

           

Croaks turned into cries, cries turned into screams; loud, echoing wails that resonated throughout the tiny, dead room. Fingers scratching, dragging over the surface of her cold skin.

           

Clinging onto her thin frame.

           

What is love?

           

Is love when everyone is blind, deaf, to the ringing bells that sound outcries against the raging typhoon of emotion?

           

Silver scars like medals over skin; medals not given for glory, or valor, but self-awarded out of spite, hatred, detest. A thin line that snaked around his neck; not as a decorative choker. Purple and red spots that pattered his skin, over the tops of his arms, down his legs.

The faces that stared back at him, empty and blank, staring. Judging. Glaring.

           

Hands that reached out to him, fingers flexing, beaconing.

            “Come.” They whispered, their words an embrace of death. “Join us.”

           

            This is love?

           

If that is love, then I do not want it.

Unanswered Prayers 
by Shanga Labossiere  3/1/2015

One 

When hearts start diverging from their organ appearance, 

you know it’s real. 

But when you have problems forming connections, 

that “reality” is often seen in electronic boxes 

and scripts  

and stories, 

crafted and constructed utopias. 

Yet no one provides a treasure map 

with x’s and o’s glamorizing the location 

of that beautiful blueprint. 

The destination often raised in pulchritude by the journey: 

spend your time trudging through deserts  

where dehydration becomes your nation 

and your fixation for the lack of this aching becomes your motivation. 

When oasis comes into view, hopelessness drops its suffixes 

and you drop to your knees, basking in the shade. 

You find your blueprint  

and the directions say “not to scale”, 

meaning that the elegance portrayed on this blue piece of paper 

will be nothing compared to the assembled architecture. 

But... sometimes an oasis can be a cruel hallucination... 

the paradise fading before its allure can truly be admired. 

Two 

A lack of linking is accompanied with longing 

as I reach for a beam of light, 

only for the particles to illuminate my hand 

and pass through the voids between my fingers. 

Trying to close my hand around the luminousness defines vanity 

because no matter how tight a fist is formed, 

the radiance will always tantalize, 

never returning the reach provided to grasp its concept: 

the luster a bright sense of hope, 

but never the tactile sense of feeling. 

Some things need to be concretized. 

Three 

As the man in front of me parts the Red Sea 

I stare in amazement at the environment that has been forged. 

On either side of me I see a wall of blue 

full of life, 

full of diversity. 

In front of me, I see a looooooonngggggg and  

desert. 

The trek to the other side 

took the wind out of my sails, 

and my lungs. 

When you broke down those blue walls 

and buried your oppressors and Earth’s basement floor with another world... 

I wonder if I should have stayed down there. 

Because the journey ahead is exhausting 

and demanding... 

and there’s no oasis in sight.