“There is a Person Sitting” by Saher Hajidamji

Image result for sittingin a dark room

There is a person sitting in a dark room. Huddled against their own body heat, they feel
a heightened experience of their own senses. As their pupils dilate, they begin to
interpret from four vigorous senses rather than five mild ones. The heat feels more
warm, the breaths sound more loud, but somehow everything outside of the dark room
feels more and more less-tangible.
There is a person sitting in a dark room. This darkness is accompanied by a different
type of quiet一 one that seems to make time go slower. As if they have all the time in
the world to remember the past, understand the present, and imagine a future. A
method similar to coloring outside the lines in order to see the picture.
There is a person sitting in a dark room. They begin to understand. A certain amount of
time ago, one that seems like either days or seconds at the same time, they couldn’t
understand. For a moment, they were stuck inside the box, somewhere lost in a room
full of light. And now, they are free to see whatever they’d like in a dark room. They
stand up and once again, enter the light. There is a person standing in a lighted room
finding their way.

“The Slap” by Giancarlo Otero-Stoffels

Image result for slapping hand

No warning it gave
Like lightning it fell
One foot in the grave
And soon I could tell

The strike uncommon
The sting much more so
Though I had gotten
No doubt a worse blow

The problem the male
A brother of mine
Had swung without fail
With hatred in mind

Already a grudge
Was on my wry face
For I would not budge
Without vengeance in place

I raised mine own hand
The target was clear
He would not withstand
A blow to the rear

“like a cat on a hot tin roof” by Mandie Miranda-Escobed

Image result for cat on a tin roof

my name was coated in the huskiness of his voice,

the pervasive drumming in my heart echoed into my skull.

dragging my feet across the room,

while drowning in the dusk of their silence.

thumb pacing across the plump tips of my trembling fingers,

one-two-three-four, four-three-two-one, repeat.

my clammy hands sliding along the seams wrapped around my thighs,

as my body weighs down on the frontline,

before their darting eyes.

i detached from my act as a cat on a hot tin roof.

“Vacationland” by Evan Dunbar

Image result for bluue cottage

a wooden cottage weathered pastel blue

on that rocky beach, speckled with sea glass.

light filters through the pines over my head,

a patchwork, shades of brown upon my skin.

a loon calls, no answer, only echoes

carried ‘cross the bay by an ocean breeze.

above high tide wild flowers spring to life

as the smells of moss and salt fill my lungs.

I close my eyes, remember summers past.

the crashing waves, the soundtrack of my youth.

“Travel the World” by Richard Trey Lutton

Image result for inside blue door

Walk through the blue front door, calm but nervous

Blinding white suits and walls torture my eyes

Eyes which burn and struggle to stay open 

The thick smell of shit overwhelms my nose

Nose so stuffed I’m surprised I can smell

Warm humid air lifts the skin off my bones

Skin, covered in picked scabs and track marks

And bones still aching from my concrete bed

I put on the rough and itchy jumpsuit

With eyes closed, travel the world again

“1971 Viti Levu” by Ajna Singh

There’s a village in Fiji where the cattle roam free and the boys scamper about without shoes
The river runs long and the wells run deep and the Fiji parrotfinch sings the blues
A family of eight all in one hut warm themselves by the fire
Little brown hands crowd around the sparks as the black smoke ring rises higher
Their little muddy feet dance and prance as aprils warm rain descends
The sun rises over the sea and the waves attack the shore, sunsets and again they make amends
The youngest boy in the brown round hut is called “Baboo” for baby
His tummy sticks out under is stained white shirt, his hair sticks up like crazy
Baboo and his brothers bathe in the clear water of the stream
as fish swim past their legs they holler skip and scream
Baboo and his brothers brush their teeth with twigs from the twisted tree
They ride bareback on bounding mules racing towards the sea
Their laughter rings across the town
They’ve been lost but always found
Through the village streets they rome
Viti Levu will always be home
Baboo grew up and had a daughter and that daughter is me
No matter where life takes him now he’ll remember the twisted tree

“Tragedy” by Jolie Wolff

    I am born on a Sunday evening. A candle left unattended near paper curtains. I am soft at first, just waking up and remembering who I am. But oh, so hungry, and I must find food before I disappear. I take the curtains and warp the rods, turning them red with my heat. I am a growing blaze, finding aging wallpaper and wooden furniture, licking up strewn newspapers and books stacked near the television. Ash fills the air and I am still starving. 

    I run up the stairs, leaving a trail of embers in my wake. Pictures fall off the walls and glass shatters; I find a carpet at the top that disappears quickly. A closed door tastes like cedar wood and the hinges burn red. Two elders sleep in the room down the hallway, but they do not wake before my smoke has filled their lungs. They perish peacefully, lying in each others arms, and do not scream when I reach them.

 I leave melted spectacles on the charred bedside table. Glass has only ever tasted like pain. 

    A younger man is in the only other bedroom, and he wakes with a shout. I am at his door, and he foolishly burns himself on the knob. He has no carpet for me to slide under, so I eat my way through the wood and force myself into his room. He has so many flammable things; books, magazines, clothing, so much food. I eat and consume and leave scorch marks in my wake and all the while he is just … screaming. 

It only gets louder as I reach him. His clothes taste like sweat, his hair like dirt, but his skin is sweet and young. 

    I die on a Monday morning, before the sun has crested the horizon. There are men working to repair what I have damaged but they will find no life here. Behind shaking hands the people whisper my name and the man’s, as if he was dancing with me rather than weeping, howling. I am tragedy. And I wait to be born anew.

“Burning” by Michael Leggesse

You’ve thrown my heart into the fire
But it’s too strong to burn out from the flame
This still doesn’t feel real, I think you are a liar

Everything was fine one day
Now it has all seemed to change
But it’s too strong to burn out from the flame

I’m in the clouds thinking of all the ways
To make you crawl back to me
But you’ve thrown my heart into the fire

I know we should move on
You think that it’s right
But it’s too strong to burn out from the flame

You’ve been gone for a week
You’re stuck in my brain
And it’s too strong to burn out from the flame

You’ve thrown my heart into the fire
But it’s too strong to burn out from the flame
The clouds bring down the rain
To heal my heart once again