Little Blue Pills

Little blue pills,

All nice and packed.

Take one for your troubles,

Feel “nice and relaxed.”

 

Little blue pills,

Swallow one by the hour.

Wash down all the pain,

So the taste isn’t sour

 

Or stays lingering.

To remind you of

Those dark, dreary points

That just won’t get out

 

Of your head or your body

And have taken control

Of your thoughts and your feelings,

Your heart, and your soul.

 

But, with one hasty gulp

Of a capsule and water,

Things begin to clear up,

A nice change, for starters.

 

Then, soon enough,

The sensations of dread

Quickly subside.

The demons have fled.

 

Then you suddenly realize,

The pills weren’t so bad.

They helped you get through,

With no shame to be had.

 

Because it’s not abnormal,

Although it once seemed.

The results are yours.

With newfound esteem,

 

To keep moving forward.

Believe it’s true that

Things are better now,

With much thanks to you.

 

You little blue pills.

So compact and small.

Maybe taking each one,

Wasn’t so bad after all.

by Megan Benjamin

Untitled

I saw her run

and mountains moved beneath her feet

 

She told me her thoughts

and I felt enlightened

and at the same time, unworthy.

 

I heard her speak,

a river of words flowing forth

from her mouth

 

I heard her laugh

and I fell in love.

 

I saw her smile

and knew, then and there,

I would do anything to see that joy again.

 

But she couldn’t hear

couldn’t speak

couldn’t see the beauty and grace

I saw.

 

She bore her beautiful mind

like a cross and a crown of thorns

 

She found me, and I lost myself in her
I found her, and she was lost.

 

by Maxwell Barnett

Breaking Open

I just need to write until

every drop of what I have

inside me is on the page, in

permanent ink, bleeding

blue or black, and irrefutable.

No one can tell me

I don’t feel settled, because right there

on the paper, they can see

in curly ink letters

what is scrabbling inside.

No one can

tell me I shouldn’t be

reacting this way, because

the paper is accepting

it, accepting me, it is

what I use to justify just

what I am feeling when and

if my feeling isn’t enough to prove it, then

why do the words make it better, albeit,

       not lesser?

 

Let me tell you about how

the wrinkles around my eyes crinkle

like dead leaves tracing

the cracks in the dried out road, but

the tear-stains marking my cheeks sparkle

like traces of crystal catching light inside

a geode and I can tell you

 

how I need to write what I feel

inside on this paper,

so it isn’t inside anymore. I

need to write

until it’s all out there,

all empty in here. I need to write

until it can’t hurt me anymore,

so I can tear the words

into tiny pieces and see them

out in front of me, so I can tell them:

“you’re real, but you’re not all I am”

even though

I will pour myself a cup

of words, some drowning

some floating

in the savory swirls, and drink

it all back in.

by Emma Sheinbaum

Lady Laments

One Night Stand

Because when she walks into the room, they’ll make sure they have a record on.  They’ll make sure whatever’s spinning will spin her dizzy.  They want to look at her looking at the vinyl sleeve, watch her give a small smile and hear her speak some unfamiliar words from such a familiar looking face.  She makes them want to put on the right song, because her eyes sing The Velvet Underground and her mouth weeps Neutral Milk Hotel and her hair looks like Jimi’s.  And when her face fuses with theirs, they’ll feel like they’re up on stage with Lennon, or slouched smoking on a leather couch in a dimly lit room with Dylan.  Even though it’s only for a night, she makes it feel like it’s been a decade.  Even though it’s not love, she looks like it.  She’s candied with consolation and slender in her sex.  He lies next to her loving her classical nose, her modest curls, her standard slimness and her familiar height. She fits in his arms; she fits the night. She looks like love, but not tonight.  One day she might be, but not tonight. Tonight their bodies are a mini city, trafficking kisses and creating earthquakes.

Femme Fatal

Her body was her home. And the lost men that would frequent it found it so humbling, they often left out of fear.  To be humbled by her body, her quiet touch, a kiss on the knee, a kiss on the hip, left them aching.  The emptiness that had nested itself deep in their psyche was ran out by her soft curls, an accidental brush to their cheek and breath of soaped skin was all it took.  She was at home in her body, inviting them willingly to open her up and sink deep into the comfort of roaming hands, open mouths and closed eyes.  They would find a in her a temporary home, so fatal to their nomadism that the moment she entered a room they were either instantly frightened or already akin to her gravity.  All she asked was that they meet her in the moment the heart was so translated in the eye souls could speak without words. But when they did, when they met her in the sweetness, their hearts would fail, break and without comparable strength, would leave before dawn.

Eve

When I arise with you there is no shame. It has been weeded and plucked, discarded from our contented life. I will rise beneath tangled sheets and curls to stretch my arms wide. Arching my naked back and shifting my shoulder blades, I roll the evening off my bare chest. And I will look at you in an ordinary way, liking your jaw line as it parallels the pillow.  My bare feet meet bare wood as I walk, toes first, to the kitchen. You arise, after a while, to meet me in the window beams. Without a thought we’ll greet each other, our nakedness not letting on that we could have been so tangled together.  With your hands on my smooth shoulders you watch my wrists flip eggs. I tilt my smile up to you and find you are my Adam and I am so shamelessly your Eve.  Unaware of the sour citrus of the societal fruit that bares shame in bareness. I am guiltlessly yours and forever my own.

by Sarah Noell

ROCKS FELL ON MY HEAD

I did not know what I was supposed to do.

 

“Excuse me … Ms. Corgan, what are we suppose to do?”

The most hateful glare I had ever seen arose from her desk. She had black tuft for brows and old, serpent eyes, pointy lips and angry looking creases in her cheekbones. Red-nailed claws wrapped around her pen like a scorpion. I felt vultures perched in the corner of the classroom, hungrily stretching their necks over my young corpse. By her veiny hands, a bright, red apple made of clay sat on her desk. It matched her nail polish. I wondered if she made that apple. And did she have gold leaf in her earrings? A shiny bronze pendant beneath her earlobes made me think about a statue in city hall, and I began to think how city hall wasn’t that

“Do you listen? I have said what to do three times.”

Her voice was not soft. It was raspy … or choppy. It was a coarse voice, but not as bristled as it was stern. Her voice stabbed me. I began to answer, choking between my chest and eyes, stuttering for an ans

“Class!” she called.

Every 2nd grader from planet Earth turned their head to look at me, the peasant, shivering in front of Ms. Corgan’s throne.

“What are we suppose to do?” she crowed.

The class answered in unison like a lifeless children’s chorus. And I could not hear them. I could not understand. I listened hard. I listened close. But I could not translate the words. I was crying. But no one could see that.

I turned back to Ms. Corgan in hope that she would repeat the directions once more. Her face had grown darker, and when I saw her spearing glare, a most hateful glare, I turned on my heel and walked to my desk saying,

“Oh. Oh yeah. Of course.” And yet,

I did not know what I was supposed to do.

I clasped my hands between my legs and hung down my head, dripping tears on the waxy-wood table. Ms. Corgan would sometimes tussle the hair of her students. If I could have this blessing, all my life tasks would become trivial. I wanted to make her proudto impress my greatest fear.

The corner of my watery eyes spied around the classroom. Angelica had construction paper. I could hear scissors clipping. I saw the butt ends of pencils and I could tell that Hayley was writing. We had put up paper screens to hide our work. Spying was never easy, but I had become good at it.

I took out some construction paper from beneath my desk and began to fold. A frog? A crane? I did not know how to fold animals. I knew how to make a paper airplane, but not a very good one.

        I began to fold after observing moving elbows. When the paper walls came down, my vultures spread their wings. The class had written nouns and verbs on slits of paper and folded them into little books. On my desk was a half-crumpled, one-winged, paper airplane. Angelica snickered and Cary, a girl with blue and orange hair, laughed out loud. I did not persist with my work.

        Ms. Corgan talked with me after class.

“This listening problem is really an issue,” she said, as I focused on the center of her nose. Could she notice that I wasn’t actually looking at either of her eyes? And could pigeons nest in her perfect, black shrub of hair? Wait, pay atten

“Are you listening?”

I had dug my own grave.

“Yes.” I told her.

“What did I say?”

I had dug it very deep.

“…I don’t listen,” I said.

Ms. Corgan reconciled for something. But I could not hear what she said. I watched her pointy lips move.

        I left my paper airplane on the desk with only one wing. Inside the folds of the plane I had written: “I am sorry. I think a rock fell on my head. And it is hard to listen.”

        The next day, Ms. Corgan tussled my hair.

She did not know what she was supposed to do.

But she did the right thing.

by Graham Schickele

Mirror, Mirror

The mirror hacked up her image,

Eyes, teeth, skin,

slapped her with it

and watched it drip down

the cottage cheese rolls

of her body.

Disgusted, she could feel

the chunks of undigested disgrace –

find their way around her frame,

sliding and turning

like cars driving over

fat hills, till they hit

the floor.

She knew the truth of the reflection:

that this plate of glass

would be the only

thing to look at her.

Was she beautiful?

Her mother told her yes,

but then again her mother

wasn’t swollen from failure

and the hour

missed at the gym.

Maybe the mirror lies,

jealous of her petite frame,

displeased with its own.

But that would mean

she was beautiful.

And that could not be true.

Because she could still smell

the sour vomit,

the tickling, unwanted flesh that hung

like soaked cotton

on her arms.

It began to dry,

a permanent reminder of

imperfection, stuck

and crusted to every

part of her that

she wished

to destroy.

A door opened behind her,

the girl: drenched in the vomit

of her own creation,

lost in the mirror.

Her mother:

watching a skeleton cry

its bones trapped

and pushing through, stretching

the skin that jailed them inside.

Vomit slipped down

its frame, no curves or ridges

to slow it down.

The skeleton stood,

crying tears of failure;

of the things only she could see.

And the mother watched,

crying tears of failure;

wondering what she could

have done.

And the mirror spoke to them both:

Was she beautiful?

‘No, no.’​

by Nicolette Tingo

Have You Ever?

by Cassie Walters

 

Dry tears race from my swollen eyes.

Have you ever

run, legs stretched, to get away.  You

        felt so ashamed.

You clutch your means, and leave, and

        you just can’t

find the right words to tell.  Goodbye.

        stay here,

“No!” You bust through the door,

        but then you find

a veiled path guides you off the beaten way, and

        something so divine

catches your swollen eye and you break to get a better look.  Now

        you can’t bear to leave?