Category: Issue 21

Attempting the News Through a Headphone in My Left Ear While Driving My Six-Year-Old Daughter To School and Playing Her Music on the Car Radio

I made a real clay ring! Look Daddy, look!
But the traffic’s too much, Jesus and guns
and pet lover bumpers, most of them trucks
at forty an hour till the red light comes.
When I look back, my beaming young girl is
all absorbed in the work of becoming
but in my left ear, it’s Netanyahu
spinning dead Palestinian children.
We’re using, he says, missile defense
to protect our civilians and they’re using
their civilians to protect their missiles.
I try hard to smile at her Play-Doh ring.
The strumming builds from her favorite song,
Wonderful World, and the road ahead blurs.

***

RB Dickson lives in Arizona and has an MFA from Antioch University.

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Just Slightly(微微)

Mellon-sweet fragrance wafts from the mirror

Just slightly

Inside the room life is rotten

No medicament can save those female breasts

Like a pair of injured pistols

Twilight belongs to assassins

 

The force that turns the air into a solid

Water is hot and fire is deep

Your mouth

Projects a string of fishy bubbles

Just slightly

Objects that are close at hand

Hard, cold, expired

Only your waist and limbs are soft and scented

Like a sick exotic snake circling our bed

 

Perhaps only an illusion / misconception

Only slightly

Jerusalem is farther from us than Mount Fuji

I have only a feather for a raft

 

***

Translator’s Note:

Yang Qingxiang’s poems have garnered critical acclaim for their unabashed portrayal of the crises facing Chinese Millennials today: poor living situation, medical care, education, and chronic lack of sleep. His poems combine these social themes with a deeply personal reflection of national identity.

New Scar Poetry (新伤痕诗)

New Scar Poetry is a concept proposed by Chinese critics in 2017. It has been observed that the contemporary anxieties experienced by the Chinese due to stark economic imbalances and social injustice have caused a recent wave of poets to respond with a new aesthetics emphasizing hurt and healing. The writers of New Scar Poetry are often Millennials (also known as the post-1980s generation in China) born after the Cultural Revolution who grew up in one-child families. They came of age in a post-socialist reality with vanishing safety nets, cutthroat capitalist competition, and growing alienation due to a market and performance-driven world. These have created deep psychological scarring in the writers and poets. Coined in 2017 against the backdrop of global social discontent, New Scar Poetry can be seen as a distinct Chinese way of dealing with the ills of the age, such as the deepening issues of globalization and shifting personal identity.

***

Poet:

Yang Qingxiang (born 1980) is an Associate Professor of Literature at the Renmin University in Beijing. He is considered a representative of the New Scar Literature Movement. Yang is the youngest member on the judges’ panel for the 9th Mao Dun Prize, the most important literary award in China. His first poetry collection has sold more than ten thousand copies, making him one of the best-selling poets of the Chinese millennial generation.

Translator:

Frank F. Zhang is a chemist and translator. He received his BA in English from Shanghai Normal University and MS in Chemistry from Ohio University. He has worked for both Chinese and American chemical companies. In his free time, he enjoys classical music and traveling around the globe.

 

 

Insomnia’s Spring (失眠弹簧)

Little iron spring. Heavy.

Earlobes, heavy.

Nose, quite heavy. Sinus infection, severe.

Severe to critical.

 

Little iron spring. Light.

Mosquitoes, light. Chugging fan blades,

surely light. Traditional medicinal drops for the eyes,

very (to extremely) light.

 

So, between light and heavy

my soul escapes upward.

 

***

Translator’s Note:

Yang Qingxiang’s poems have garnered critical acclaim for their unabashed portrayal of the crises facing Chinese Millennials today: poor living situation, medical care, education, and chronic lack of sleep. His poems combine these social themes with a deeply personal reflection of national identity.

New Scar Poetry (新伤痕诗)

New Scar Poetry is a concept proposed by Chinese critics in 2017. It has been observed that the contemporary anxieties experienced by the Chinese due to stark economic imbalances and social injustice have caused a recent wave of poets to respond with a new aesthetics emphasizing hurt and healing. The writers of New Scar Poetry are often Millennials (also known as the post-1980s generation in China) born after the Cultural Revolution who grew up in one-child families. They came of age in a post-socialist reality with vanishing safety nets, cutthroat capitalist competition, and growing alienation due to a market and performance-driven world. These have created deep psychological scarring in the writers and poets. Coined in 2017 against the backdrop of global social discontent, New Scar Poetry can be seen as a distinct Chinese way of dealing with the ills of the age, such as the deepening issues of globalization and shifting personal identity.

***

Poet:

Yang Qingxiang (born 1980) is an Associate Professor of Literature at the Renmin University in Beijing. He is considered a representative of the New Scar Literature Movement. Yang is the youngest member on the judges’ panel for the 9th Mao Dun Prize, the most important literary award in China. His first poetry collection has sold more than ten thousand copies, making him one of the best-selling poets of the Chinese millennial generation.

Translator:

Frank F. Zhang is a chemist and translator. He received his BA in English from Shanghai Normal University and MS in Chemistry from Ohio University. He has worked for both Chinese and American chemical companies. In his free time, he enjoys classical music and traveling around the globe.

 

alchemy

& when you look at the signpost of antiquities

on  the way to  renaissance, you shall see the

scars of pharaoh’s whips on the sinews of our past.

you shall see tales of legends, the sweet oratories

of incarnates in mixtures of hogwash & swill.

you shall see a geoidal world filled with vagueness

swooshing to gravitational songs of self discovery

 

***

 

Ajise Vincent is an economist and social researcher based in Lagos, Nigeria. His works have appeared at The Bond Street Review, Indiana Voice Journal, Jawline Review, Jalada, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Chiron Review, Asian Signature, Ann Arbor Review, Yellow Chair Review, Bombay Review, Birmingham Arts Journal, Snapdragon: a journal of art & healing, The Cadaverine, Souvenir literary journal, Elsewhere, Saraba, Sentinel Quarterly & various literary outlets. He is a recipient of the Eriata Oribhabor poetry prize 2015. He loves coffee, blondes & turtles.

Photos of Pig That Appears to Have Blue Fat Beneath Skin Shared on Social Media

O wildest blue. O wild

boar scalpeled

open, peeled back, let me

click you. Let me

like until your blue

fat glows. O phenomenal

mystery, you’re so

bright already, o terrible

terrific, shot dead

so someone could

snapshot you. O

shareable beast,

o trending freak

animal, the internet wants

to know if I want

to know more, and how

could I not want

to know more about

pig’s blue innards,

to see in the photographs

a bloody hand holding back

the skin. I want

to press my pink finger against

your marbled blue

bubblegum fat.

Oh, how I want that hand

to be me my hand.

O swine, how you

bait me, and I cannot

touch you, I can only

click. O pig that appears, I

am also blue, and though

my shade is more

metaphorical, it’s like

you know me, and the internet,

it knows me, it says

recommended for you:

 

***

 

Kathryn Smith’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Mid-American Review, Southern Indiana Review, Redivider, Laurel Review, Bellingham Review, Duende, Cleaver Magazine, and elsewhere. Her first poetry collection will be published in 2017 by Scablands Books.

 

SANTITO JUANCHO FOR PEACE

I have a dream of the US embassy of San Juan Puerto Rico

going the way of the Cruz of San Juan,

To smithereens, caught in desert trees,

so as not to taint the sky

or the sea that swells in the sky

 

(for not one leg must be broken

off the starfish that combs a Spanish prostitute’s medusa hair)

 

 

I have a dream of young and old on the Isla de los Monos swimming naked in the sea in the belly-sky,

in kiss of light, all who look up see their bodies, genitals in the greatness of sun-wheel

beauty of their miscegenation                                               behold skyfuls of people who bled myths and legends

from their wounds and anus-holes

 

the Voudu version     of   Michelangelo’s Chapel

Medusa is distracted by the golden spectacle,

freed, the masses choose not human sacrifice as placebo

and move crab-like towards more freedom, criminal wonders without salvator-fish redemptions.

 

I dream an ailing dream

of all dissidents in cubic Cuban walls of sea, freed

the Catholic sages, the innocent castratos under Castro’s iron bicycle of demagoguery, down with the last bearded demagogue

who quotes Spanish poetry

 

Say,

DOWN

WITH THE LAST BEARDED DEMAGOGUE

WHO QUOTES SPANISH POETRY

 

There are worse walls than one

Oppressing by ballad or well-intentioned inefficiency

 

Get lost,

Resurrect good old gangsters like Noriega

Run to the other end of island

Leap,

over saltwater brooks, sleeping sea-monsters—

through  a window see the Muslims in Guantanamo

maybe there are a few Nasruddins and Jews among the jihadis,

bearded and bleeding in the long dark absences of love—

Gog & Magog without demagogues—

***

Arturo Desimone, Arubian-Argentinian writer and visual artist, was born in 1984 on the island Aruba which he inhabited until the age of 22, when he emigrated to the Netherlands. He relocated to Argentina while working on a long fiction project about childhoods, diasporas, islands and religion. Desimone’s articles, poetry and fiction pieces have previously appeared in CounterPunch, Círculo de Poesía (Spanish) Acentos Review, New Orleans Review, in the Latin American views section of OpenDemocracy and he writes a blog about Latin American poetry  for the Drunken Boat poetry review.

SOLE / MARE                                                        

Mare Nostrum, Costa Nostra

No Mary but the dark-skinned Shulamite of Abyssinia

on a holy raft

Craven and Aghast.

Now it is September,

the fates of people drowning in the sea

keep no calendar,

a diary written with the salted tongue

upon a body, dousing and famished like a monk,

here where celibacy and conception are made

Improbable.

And their drowning sum, driven by treasuries

Ministries of Culture and Plastic Surgery

give press conferences to the birds,

a flamingo bird soars overhead with a twig of sugarcane

in its talons, vision as if to warn those rafters

of another route once taken, to more Westwards fairy-lands.

Speculation: more ironic is the harm

done by the irony that lives in between

the chatter than what falls

between the ships

and the moving rubber cylinders of floats

heavier than unleaded gasoline

meant to supervise those destitute

by the land, the sea

the salt that constructs its own castle,

its terra firma in the body of the drinker

rid of wine and made sober by light and stars and not a curtain for miles

 

***

Arturo Desimone, Arubian-Argentinian writer and visual artist, was born in 1984 on the island Aruba which he inhabited until the age of 22, when he emigrated to the Netherlands. He relocated to Argentina while working on a long fiction project about childhoods, diasporas, islands and religion. Desimone’s articles, poetry and fiction pieces have previously appeared in CounterPunch, Círculo de Poesía (Spanish) Acentos Review, New Orleans Review, in the Latin American views section of OpenDemocracy and he writes a blog about Latin American poetry  for the Drunken Boat poetry review.