Tell me where I’m from.
Explain the culture that made me,
the genes that gave me a kufi instead of shades.
Never been into meadowlarks or glades
yet I appreciate the romantics.
Poets that paved the way.
You see no one is born a slave,
but restricted humanity breeds partiality to your own kind.
Be careful what truths you accept into your mind.
If you let assumptions lead,
you might be disgusted by what you find.
Perhaps it’s semantics,
logical gymnastics that bind,
but if anyone could be summed up in one word it would be Human.
By MJ Brewer
For the fourth night in a row, the infant upstairs wails waking me up. I’m pissed as hell and grab the nearest thing I can find, a slipper, and hurl it against the ceiling. Barely tapping the ceiling, the slipper tumbles back and smacks me in the forehead. Angered, I stumble from the bed, listening to the baby screaming louder as if she’s disappointed in the show.
The light switch under my fingers illuminates the room. My slipper managed to knock over a glass of water drowning my cell phone.
The baby’s quiet now, but I can’t sleep.
By Bevan Michael Haynes
I was just sitting on the bench. I was minding my own business. It’s not my fault that … look, when other people make decisions, are you responsible for what they’ve decided to do? No. You’re only responsible for yourself. For your own reaction. That’s what my therapist keeps reminding me. And it’ll heal, anyway, it’s not like it was a death sentence. Sure there might be a scar, but scars are signs of strength. They show what you’ve been through, they keep you honest. At least that’s what my therapist keeps telling me.
A thousand unacknowledged emotions hit her. Years of disarming others’ emergencies and nursing the wounded thickened her skin, but left her empty at the core. Too many promises broken, too many words spoken without integrity.
Another friend lost the game they were playing with death. She understood implicitly, having played it. Work, school, the joke of her romantic life – none of this offered nearly as much satisfaction as the drug she was about to put in her veins, after over a year of abstinence. The last thing she felt was an overwhelming rush of relief and a release from pain.
By Brad Rose
I’m a very person. It’s not the anesthesia. Here, with you, beneath the cross-eyed moon, while we eat these silver slivered minnows, it’s like a medical condition. Last night, I dreamed we were warming our feet by a cozy forest fire, the ketchup-colored flames burning through our sleep. You, a one-fingered pianist, played tall, unrelenting music, while wearing someone else’s inflammable clothes, and me, an edible nasturtium with a heart of sushi, exploding with laughter. I’m sure it was an honest mistake. At least we were driving on the right side of the road. When can I see you again?
Bio: Brad Rose is the author of a collection of poetry and flash fiction, Pink X-Ray (Big Table Publishing, 2015)
Her ring only came off in emergencies. She’d place it in the nightstand drawer with his love notes. As her eyes began to wander , her ring started coming off when she had work emergencies. One morning, she placed her ring in the drawer before going to the abortion clinic. His ring was where I love you’s were once shared. A tear slid down her face, as she admitted she could not be surprised. She did not even know who the father was, at this point.
By Chris Dingman
the ocean today
stretching across from
and discussing philosophy
with the mostly
from which the sun
resplendence to dance
across the silver
as though it were frosting
a cake, or pouring
and i think
were i visiting
earth from somewhere far
today, and seeing
only this, i’d want