Archive for October, 2015

Put your language in my mouth like a cold strawberry—
not a scythe;
Put your language in my mouth like crème brulee
or a decadent macaroon,

put your language in my mouth,
like parsley, not hemlock,

put your language in my mouth the way my mother did,
serve it with milk and warm skin, not the way undertakers
inter carrion in the earth,

put your language in my mouth,
a scented letter in a gold-rimmed envelope,
or last season’s roses pressed within the leaves,
of a poetry book,

not like disinfectant meant to remove contaminants,
from a crime scene,

I wish you had placed your language in my mouth
like a velvet glove, but instead you pour
burning asphalt onto my tongue, pave bitumen
and rock and flatness where there is none,

Learn German, you say, integrate,

I feel the reverberations of your language,
like a line of freight trains ploughing my mind,

You prescribe your language to me like anti-depressants,
to be consumed thrice a day.
Rakhshan Rizwan was born in Lahore, Pakistan and is currently a PhD candidate at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Her poems have appeared in Papercuts, Cerebration, Muse India, The Missing Slate, Postcolonial Text and elsewhere. She is the winner of the Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize.


(the first graduating class to live and die with AIDS)

At first, it was some gay disease
from that flight attendant who had sex
with random men all over the world
and then we learned
about bath houses
multiple partners in a single night
and we gasped
and hid our titillation

or maybe it was eating monkeys
— a mutated virus
from the brains of monkeys,
a delicacy eaten warm with a spoon
or from green monkey meat,
whatever that was

or was it sex with sheep
over there in some foreign land.

Surely, it had nothing to do with us—
teenage heterosexuals in rural South Georgia—
only not all of us were heterosexual
and none of us took it very seriously

now — herpes was real
as an outbreak swept the college campus,
we whispered behind closed doors
who had it
where she got it

and gonorrhea, of course,
just need some penicillin,
and some of us remained
good Southern virgins
with discreet abortions
while some got sick and died
of AIDS related ignorance.

Susan Beall Summers is an Austin, TX poet active at local open mics and events including Austin International Poetry Festival. She has been published in Di-Verse-City (an anthology of AIPF), Ilya’s Honey, Texas Poetry Calendar, Small Canyons, Harbinger Asylum, and others. Her first collection is Friends, Sins and Possibilities (DreamersThreePress, 2011)

Loneliness by Bekah Steimel

Posted: October 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

She said it must be lonely
the core of the night
Hours meant for chirping insects
and buzzing addicts
Hours meant for dreams that reveal us
to ourselves
it must be lonely


Loneliness is being the thing that doesn’t belong

Loneliness is being a poet in a world that has no time
for poetry

Loneliness is cutting your shoulder because there is no scream
louder than blood

Loneliness is getting kicked out of the woman’s restroom
because of your square jaw and broad shoulders

Loneliness is trying to make eye contact
when your family’s heads are bowed in prayer

Loneliness is concealing your drug use from those you love most
because they love you most

I am mostly lonely surrounded by faces
I am mostly relaxed surrounded by stars
the core of the night
Hours spent in reflection that reveal me
to myself
Bekah Steimel is a poet aspiring to be a better poet. She lives in St. Louis and can be found online at and followed @BekahSteimel.

Lip by Vin Whitman

Posted: October 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

I’m lonely and want to go out dancing

She smiles with her gash of a mouth

Resolved to be more
Than a daffodil against the wall

More than the chemical
Residue of her parents

Scraped off the mirror
And into foster care

Never turned off
By fine-gauge imperfections

She hoped there would be one
Who’d moisten or stiffen

In the direction of her

Who’d pet a monster and
Let it sleep on the coverlet

Who’d be caught naked in her
Electric nimbus

Inverted and not suitable
For work

I want to dance. I’m tired
of being lonely

She resolves to turn
All heads including hers

She threads the needle with red
And begins to sew

You know,
It’s still a pretty smile

Vin Whitman writes in fearful imagery that can make him paranoid, but he’s learned to thrive on it. He is working on the social skills needed to do social work. He reads with The Tea House poets in Florida. More of his work can be found at: