Upon a red checkered blanket you lay, one headphone awkwardly lodged in your ear and the other being fidgeted with between your fingers. You power down your phone and turn off your tunes, now fully taking in the songful chirping and (finally) pollen-free air around you. Alas, you can breathe.
And breathe, you do. Falling into a peaceful meditation, your mind swirls with gratefulness for the arrival of summer—its breeze and ease. You’re pulled away from your trance by a sudden swarm of nearby voices. You open your eyes and see a crowd of people standing in a circle, one individual in the middle with a paper in hand. She stands bravely and boldly, speaking it seems.
You walk over hesitantly, deciding to see what this is all about. Standing away from the crowd a bit, you’re waved over by a stranger with warm eyes. “Come join, it’s an impromptu poetry slam in the park.” With that, you smile.
Welcome to the Messy Poetry Slam.
“Jay-Z Told You”
By Breanna Pierluissi
that ladies is pimps, too, so you could brush
the names he called you off your shoulder
along with the dirt his fingers dragged
across the seams of your t-shirt. Sexy,
he whispered. His lips pushed the word, coated
in liquor, through the skin around your spine.
Bitch, he said when you slid his alien
hand away from your neck and watched it drop
by the pleats of his slacks. You couldn’t brush
the stain of his smile away from your collar
bone, that shook to the beats of the best
rapper alive, because that grin outlined
what rap taught him. That when he doesn’t
know your name, bitch will do. That he shouldn’t
learn your name, bitch will do. That when he’s ready
to leave the party, any bitch will do.
By Lauren Bailey
The idea of stepping into the unknown
A false reminiscence,
An experience they never lived.
One may liken it to an evolutionary hiccup.
A fleeting glimpse,
A memory they long since bid goodbye.
But it’s still there –
Waiting, waiting, waiting
And if there’s one thing you must remember:
Not everyone forgot.
By Siúbhan O’Donnell
in Boxes- to
Defined, Compressed, Stamped
on a Number
along with my
to be Anything I wanted
required a Grade: “follow this road, the map we provide.”
a heart Taught
not to beat
soul to march
And the goal:
by Spurthi Kontham
Everything about you is soft.
Like sunlight tiptoeing its way
Quietly across my face
As I lay gently awake on a Sunday morning
Floating under a white duvet and clean sheets
I feel you as a breeze blowing
Delicately; Like a dandelion
Like the honeysuckle I sipped my childhood from
Your mind is supple marble
I brush my fingers over you, searching
Curiously discerning, discerning;
You are so lovely.
I would sell my years for a penny
For this moment–anticipation as you draw near.
This space between you and I
I tremble within it
By Yuk-Ting Hua
first i heard the wind’s solemn whispers
whining gossips of a faraway land
it gently pricked my ears, with grace and fears—
the beauty of a single teardrop
with my shining eyes i saw the gleaming skies
i was oblivious.
they were doctrines of that faraway land
treachery and tragedy intertwined;
romeo and juliet—
dead but never more alive
with beaming light, my glasses glowed
“love something and it would love you back”
my mantra, my lyric; my voice, my soul
gloomy clouds and brackish waves
blurring on— summer haze, still
i wore my shiny shoes; glossy and polished,
disco hits, appregios skips—up down up
and treaded on
strike of lightning!
and my heart burst, and it
and then away, the clouds left
it was the wind’s tenderness that kept me alive
and now thinking about it i’d rather die
“To the Fathers who have Daughters”
By Hayli Barnthouse
You give up
And I see you
But you can’t seem to wrap your head around a
young woman’s mind
What does she need?
How do I relate?
Should I be stern?
Do I comment on her weight?
How do I Father without her growing hate?
Well, I have some tips
coming from a young woman, who had TWO fathers
who both made some slips
Be vulnerable with her
Tell her you love her
Tell her you love her
Tell her you love her
Because when her friends talk about their daddy issues,
the only issue she should have, is that your dad jokes are really bad.
By Ashley Cortez
In the midst of everything I paused
Absorbing the satin touch of your flesh
An aura seemed to gleam around the surface of your body
Creating an atmosphere of pure elation
Being embraced in your arms
Was it karma or luck?
I found out once I was too moonstruck to talk
“The First Breath of Morning”
By Anna Karian
I feel like a balloon
On its final exhale
It was not popped
But untied with gentle motherly hands
The child is waiting
My body is like its ends
Ridged stiff and painted with old saliva
The air has been released
And yet the breath remains
By Crystal Holly
give me back the days
when you’d press me like a flower
against the wall
and whisper little nothings
so Cinnabon sweet
they’d swirl around
my head all day.
when we’d walk
spring streets coated
in magnolia leaves
you, mr. chivalry
every milky bone in
one more afternoon
tangled in sheets
places i want
discovered by you
another beeswax flavored
kiss, to get me through
not yet gone,
already missing you.
* * *
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