25 April 2009

Priscilla Chan

T. L. Cooper

Owen Gallagher

Kimberly Ruth

Priscilla Chan

What I have learned in the 16 years of my life

I have learned
To hate those who are different from me,
To force religious opinions upon a state,
And make it a law
Because we should dictate whom others may love.

I have learned, from this world,
My teachers, uncles and aunts,
To choose hatred instead of love,
To avoid gays and lesbians,
Because they are wretched, disgusting servants of Satan.

I have learned, from you all,
That equality is for everyone…
…who is not homosexual, bisexual or transgender.
That we should “protect” marriage,
From the gross obscenity that so very defines homosexuality.

I have learned, from leaders of our great government,
That we, the children, should hate and discriminate;
And when the time comes for our own children
To step on the surface of this planet,
That we should pass this hatred down, generation to generation,
So that humanity can never move forward.

This is what I have learned in the 16 years of my life.

I am a 16-year-old bisexual female living in California, USA.
My immediate family and I are all either atheist or agnostic but most of my relatives (uncles and aunts) here in California are Christian and were supportive of Proposition 8.
I am very upset about that proposition, and even more about the passage of it.
I am an Asian-American, having been born in Hong Kong and lived there for almost 13 years.
This poem is a satire, strongly centered on the policies that my uncles and aunts are teaching their children, on some lawsuit cases in California that I know of, and on the sad, obvious message about these people.

When a man judges, he judges himself.

(author retains copyright)

T. L. Cooper


Living in our own little worlds
Ignoring the pain outside
Rewriting our role in destruction
Focused on our own trivialities
Blaming others for the mistakes we make
Avoiding our part in the solution
Pushing our beliefs on others
Avoiding the truth before us
Shifting the story to fit our needs
Running from our responsibilities to others
Turning a blind eye when it hurts
Feeling the pain only when it hits home
Wishing someone would fix it

Until we embrace
Our role in the world
Our responsibilities to humankind
The impact of our actions
The interconnectivity of the world
The story outside our own daily existence
We will remain

T. L. Cooper grew up in Tollesboro, Kentucky. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a B.S. in Corrections and Juvenile Services and a minor in Psychology. Her short stories, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in anthologies, magazines, and books. She is the author of the novel, All She Ever Wanted. Currently, she and her husband live in Albany, Oregon. For more information, please visit www.tlcooper.com.

(author retains copyright)


Owen Gallagher


Another taxing night in the House of Commons.
I sweep up crumpled papers,
wipe sweat and dust from benches,
apply vinegar to stubborn stains.
Hunched in the Prime Minister's place
I rehearse how I'll inform my wife of my redundancy.
Tick, tick, tick, goes the clock.

My knuckles turn white at the Dispatch Box.
I rage against a world that deprives people of work.
I think to plant a device which is timed.
Rise to unblock loos, wipe graffiti from stalls,
cycle to lie beside my restless wife.
Tick, tick, tick, goes the bomb.

Owen Gallagher is a primary teacher in Southall, London.
His last poetry collection was Sat Guru Snowman, Peterloo Poets.

(author retains copyright)


Kimberly Ruth

*Title appropriated from Albert Einstein’s essay “On The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” which introduced his theory of special relativity.


It is titled War Execution. His face is contorted with one eye shut and the other only half- so, like a broken window stuck ajar, yet he stands straight, shoulders down, hands behind his back. If they are tied, I do not know. He is young, in his twenties, maybe, and a gun is pressed against his head. FLASH. Capture iniquity. FLASH. Expose truth. FLASH.

The moment the shutter is released: visible light is reflected from the objects in the camera’s field of view: an objective moment of brutality

until a man with a red, white, and blue pin breathes a sigh of relief.


What if it were now, as they thought it was then,
when the earth was still flat and you
could walk around barefoot, with unpolished
toes and teased hair. But, the force is too strong,

when the yellow lines become invisible and
when there is no place beautiful left to go,

that she who stands still will fall
faster than she who just came back
from getting her hair cut.


“Seven confirmed cases
and seventeen more awaiting
confirmation,” says someone.

”By comparison, last January
there were only
five suicides in the Army,”

the voice continued because
the clock on the wall was ticking
faster than the watches of those

falling from the sky.

Kimberly Ruth is a recent graduate from SUNY New Paltz where she received a BFA in photography and a BA in journalism. She plans to attend graduate school in the fall, where she will work towards an MFA degree in fine art. She has been published in a number of online journals including Gloom Cupboard, Ditch Poetry, Bijou Poetry and elimae. You can view samples of her art work at kimberlyruth.blogspot.com.

(author retains copyright)


11 April 2009

Siobhan Campbell


By the tap of his shoes, we know him,
by the shunt of his vowels. We groomed him
from birth to be ours. Even on days in the mountains,
he’s behind us in the lull of the trees.

Tap, tap he goes, striking fear into the follicles
of young girls. Their hair shaved off, their bodies
brushed and we knew if he could,
he would cut out their tongues.

To feel his power, I was brought on a march,
to the sound of horns, a colour party, their buttons
sparkle, the gleam of the guns. Are they for us?
Are they for us really?

With a wisp of whine, we sang them a ballad
of our lost youth. They closed us down. No time
to learn a hymn re-laid by hands shot through
in the hold of prayer. It’s a new divine.

They can think all things at once. We’re dizzy
with spin. The store I shop in, they own.
The van that delivers is freshly sprayed.
What is their game?

Their mandate is precious, they press the mandators.
They are not insane. That shriek you hear is
an ear too close to the source. Soon they will enter
the imagination where they wait to put it out.

Bio: Siobhan Campbell is an Irish poet based in London where she lectures on the MFA in Creative Writing at Kingston University. Recent work has appeared in Poetry, Wasafiri and Magma. Siobhan's third full collection, Cross-Talk, will be published by Seren in November 2009.

(author retains copyright)


Chandler Crook

I intend to offend

I intend to lock myself in the principal’s office
and read excerpts on the intercom
from Huckleberry Finn
I will conclude with
a reading about evolution
while making monkey sounds

I intend to come out of the closet
in a Baptist church
in the Oval Office
in the Pope’s palace
and anywhere in the south

I intend to wear a cheerleading outfit
to the funeral of a child molester
later that day I will go to death row
and eat a serial killer's last meal

I intend to go to a Klu Klux Klan meeting
wearing a Malcom-X tee-shirt
I’ll show them pictures of my black girlfriend

I intend to send the president
a note stating: job well done
I will include obituaries
of those who have died overseas

I intend to offend those who
and hate
I intend to offend those
who have been offending me

Chandler Crook was born in Alexandria, Louisiana on September 19th, 1982, however she grew up in a small town in Siler City, North Carolina. She moved back to Louisiana in 1999 and graduated from Leesville High School in 200. Chandler attended Northwestern State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in the arts with concentrations in English and Anthropology. Her love for poetry bloomed under the tutelage of her professor, Dr. Julie Kane a well published poet and critic. While in college Chandler served as assistant editor of the literary magazine, Argus in 2007. Chandler currently lives in Natchitoches, Louisiana, however she plans to move to Sacramento, California where she plans to continue her education in poetry and education.

(author retains copyright)


AnnMarie Eldon


you over you/r mothermouth into me
you/r handedness for that: I
go to my gravitas with it: it
sinks to the clovergrounds
spurious as if were children reacts
more to how external measurers come
out into force into statistical into beliefs: we
conspire to jump to raise spirits to raise funds
any are the defiance acts any the facts
any the illusions further you trumpet
y/our call into me no palliative but
response: now how the blood
has it now how the flow too
in hut in gut in cut-to-
in token pardon in followings
there where the celebratory dance takes
place or costumes or the feast
shamanic histories shadows
palmprints across the cave
wall fireplace ritual the
elongated telling of
y/our softness offering
becomes cause becomes
reputed becomes precedent: but
numbers headcount a fact book a world
view round so that the whispers consumed
by old stars so that entire cosmologies
soak up the protests make up a river
of screams deltas sutures
scab patchworks
an equatorial covenance
ripped from mooring to primordial
back-aeons black and all-devoid thus: I
compress you/r scapegoat into a
chewable fury my ruse a
useless spit to the
you cover you/r tracks into me
you/r blindness for that: I
hurry to palpate the
worthy as we all do
but they are
buriable, merely

AnnMarie Eldon, an identical twin, evolved from cryptophasic origins in once densely industrialised Birmingham, England. She was taught by her gypsy grandmother to say the alphabet backwards before the age of three. Juggling various personae interiorae, children and hormones and practicing counter-cultural reclusiveness, she achieves adult differentiation and spiritual equanimity within the mediocrity of a picturesque Oxfordshire market town. She's best Googled yet poetry at 5 Trope, Arabesques, Argotist, mprsnd, Blazevox, Caffeine Destiny, Lily, Moria, Nthposition, Niederngasse, No Tell Motel, Shampoo, Stirring, Tears In the Fence, xPressed, zafusy et al. Her collection Some2 is available from: http://www.lulu.com/content/4581886

(author retains copyright)


Consuelo Flores

Ciudad Juarez

In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the girls keep dying. Juarez, where shantytowns call to young girls,
Beckoning them like Roman Catholic candles in the midnight sky.

The girls assemble parts for planes, VCRs, TVs, CD/DVD players over and over and over
In factories that pop out from the desert sands like barbed wire in a garden of babies breath.

The feeling of responsibility to their families, overcomes the desert trap
And never-ending maze of sand and buildings and assembly lines.

They feel responsible especially to their mothers who stand over stoves stirring pots of beans
Into futures as Jude, the Patron Saint of the worker, watches from the lit veladora.

In Juarez they stand in assembly lines, their fine motor skills
Like alchemists transforming arid despair into existence.

“Desert whores” they are called, to justify the lack of action in their deaths.

A “whore” was at one time a dear and precious thing, an object of desire,
Something to like and be fond of, something to protect.

If only the first meaning resonated today in the hollowed deserts of Juarez.

The girls assemble parts for planes, VCRs, TVs, CD/DVD players
While we go on trips, watch movies, television shows, listen to music over and over and over.

In the meantime, their bodies are found strewn about the desert between Juarez and El Paso,
Sliced open, burnt and violated, like precious seeds, which Saint Jude left unattended.

Consuelo Flores is a Creative Non-Fiction MFA graduate of Antioch University, Los Angeles where she was awarded the Diversity and Eloise Klein Healy Scholarships, given to a student that shows the most promise and has demonstrated a commitment to social justice. She has presented her work at Self Help Graphics, the Armory Center for the Arts, Beyond Baroque, The Autry Museum, the J. Paul Getty Museum and several colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Mexico. Consuelo's poetic illustrations of life reflect family and culture mixed with social perspective. She also writes “Day of the Dead” themed work, remembrances and celebrations of life, literary altars she builds as offerings to her dead.

(author retains copyright)



Holi Fire

“...the police had registered a case against a resident, Sanjay, who, according to eyewitnesses, was mainly responsible for the crime...However, Sanjay is yet to be arrested ...”
Hindustan Times - 12th March 2009

In mythic time, when Gods walked on the Earth
Hiranyakashipu, the King of Demons,
Ordered the death of his wayward son.
Holika, daughter of the demon King,
walked her brother into a flaming pyre
(she was protected by a magic shawl).
Her brother, Prahlada, had no shawl, just faith
in holy Vishnu, who held back the flames.
Holika, her shawl blown away, was killed.
We celebrate her roasting as Holi.

This year a Dalit boy was set alight,
thrown onto our celebrations bonfire.
His crime? A birth too low, and too dark skin.
Rajesh, aged 12, like Prahlada, lived. This time.

Kaspalita is a novice monk in the Order of Amida Buddha. Ususally based in the UK, he's just spent six weeks in Delhi, teaching Buddhism to Dalit children, and running services for their parents.

(author retains copyright)