“Elegy for a Young Queer Writer” by Michelle M. Tokarczyk

Elegy for a Young Queer Writer

(For Mia and Anna) 

Rana Zoe, I never knew you—East New Yorker
30
writer
teacher
Afrolatina
30
Afrovictim
COVID
age
30
Rana Zoe. You, East New York—I never knew.

He said, “She had a panic attack.”
Denied
testing
twice.
Symptoms
denied.
Finally–
breathless–
hospitalization.
Denial.
He said, “She had a panic attack”?

They fight for Rana Zoe.
Connect
ventilator.
Contact
media.
Connect
race
gender
$$$$$$.
Connect
for Rana Zoe. They fight.

Such hope when she opened her eyes.
Cried.
Shed
weeks’
unconsciousness.
Cried—
students
stories
abandoned.
Cried.
Such hope, when she opened her eyes.

Rana Zoe died of COVID-19
complications.
Wrong
zip
code.
Complications.
Black
woman’s
body.
Complications
of COVID 19… Rana Zoe died.

________________________

Rana Zoe Mungin, who had been clinging to life in the hospital for more than a month, died on Monday afternoon, April 27, 2020, after succumbing to COVID-19. She was a beloved 30-year-old middle school social studies teacher from Brooklyn who was twice turned away for testing before eventually being diagnosed with the virus. Rana Zoe…Say her name.

This poem, written by Michelle M. Tokarczyk, and shared with the world by The Skinny Poetry Journal, is dedicated to the Mungin family with unreserved love. Tokarczyk was born in the Bronx, New York City and lived there until she was nine years old, when her family moved to the more suburban Queens. She attended Herbert Lehman College — back in the Bronx — and received her doctorate in English from SUNY Stony Brook. Tokarczyk is a former professor of English at Goucher College. An avowed city dweller, she is the author of Bronx Migrations, a breakthrough collection of poetry on Cherry Castle Publishing.

 

Photo by Paul Groncki © 2020

“Winter Creeper” by Clayton Adam Clark

Winter Creeper

To the chain-link fence separating me and my neighbor,
vines
grow
vines
and,
vining,
transfigure
into
stalks
vined
inseparable, chained to the fence linking my neighbor and me.

By Clayton Adam Clark
11/09/2020
________________________

Clayton Adam Clark lives in St. Louis, his hometown, where he works as a public health researcher and mental health counselor, and also volunteers for River Styx magazine. His debut poetry collection, A Finitude of Skin, won the Moon City Poetry Award and was published by Moon City Press in 2018. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Daily, Shenandoah, Salamander and elsewhere. He earned the MFA in poetry at Ohio State University and recently completed a master’s in clinical mental health counseling at University of Missouri–St. Louis.

A Skinny by Ethan Baumgartner

Many thanks to poet and educator, Ms. Elizabeth Jorgensen, for sharing the Skinny form with her noble Arrowhead Union High School student authors. – TSPJ *Click to expand the image.*

“Today’s Struggles” by Alena Lippold

Many thanks to poet and educator, Ms. Elizabeth Jorgensen, for sharing the Skinny form with her noble Arrowhead Union High School student authors. – TSPJ *Click to expand the image.*

A Skinny by Gianna Konen

Many thanks to poet and educator, Ms. Elizabeth Jorgensen, for sharing the Skinny form with her noble Arrowhead Union High School student authors. – TSPJ *Click to expand the image.*

“Twin Towers” by Ben Kaczmarek

Many thanks to poet and educator, Ms. Elizabeth Jorgensen, for sharing the Skinny form with her noble Arrowhead Union High School student authors. – TSPJ *Click to expand the image.*

“COVID-19” by Tallen Van Lare

Many thanks to poet and educator, Ms. Elizabeth Jorgensen, for sharing the Skinny form with her noble Arrowhead Union High School student authors. – TSPJ *Click to expand the image.*

A Skinny by Lucy Rislov

Many thanks to poet and educator, Ms. Elizabeth Jorgensen, for sharing the Skinny form with her noble Arrowhead Union High School student authors. – TSPJ *Click to expand the image.*

“Here” by Kenna Koller

Many thanks to poet and educator, Ms. Elizabeth Jorgensen, for sharing the Skinny form with her noble Arrowhead Union High School student authors. – TSPJ *Click to expand the image.*

“Climbing” by Sidney Heberlein

Many thanks to poet and educator, Ms. Elizabeth Jorgensen, for sharing the Skinny form with her noble Arrowhead Union High School student authors. – TSPJ *Click to expand the image.*

“Pandemic” by Sarah Larson

Many thanks to poet and educator, Ms. Elizabeth Jorgensen, for sharing the Skinny form with her noble Arrowhead Union High School student authors. – TSPJ *Click to expand the image.*

“The End” by Maile Beck

Many thanks to poet and educator, Ms. Elizabeth Jorgensen, for sharing the Skinny form with her noble Arrowhead Union High School student authors. – TSPJ *Click to expand the image.*

“Playing Through Strength” by Angela H. Dale

Playing Through Strength

for virtually forever now my neighbors and I have played
bridge

kitchen
table
no-score

bridge

slam
response
forcing

bridge
played virtually, and now I have my neighbors for forever

the computer keeps score
deal

count
your
winners

deal

we
they
vulnerable

deal
the computer keeps score

pass, pass, pass, I say
notrump

unbalanced
dummy
exposed

notrump

finesse
the
knave

notrump
I say, pass, pass, pass

faces in little boxes we
laugh

double
showing
support

laugh

aces
and
spaces

laugh
faces in little boxes, we

By Angela H. Dale
4/2/2020

Angela H. Dale is a poet and picture book author who lives in Ellicott City, Maryland. Her writing has appeared in The Baltimore SunBorderlands: Texas Poetry ReviewThe Skinny Poetry JournalHer Mind and in many other notable journals. Her picture book debut is slated for release in Fall 2022.

 

“White Girl” by Jane Edna Mohler

This is the first poem TSPJ has published while in the crosshairs of the COVID-19 pandemic. Arguably, its power is in its lines of artful honesty. The novel Coronavirus will pass. However, the pathogen of racial and cultural ignorance that keeps us from appreciating the wonderful value of all people will continue to rage. Indeed, it will continue to decimate the world if we do not attempt to mitigate it.

In the context of race, this is true white to black and sometimes black to white and, sadly, all too often, every color to every “otherized” assembly of souls. All of us need to cultivate a caring knowledge of what is beautiful about each of us–wherever humanity stands. To that end, I celebrate this courageous writer who offers, in the spirit of love, this genuine, warm, cultural self-portrait.

Truth Thomas
TSPJ Editor-in-Chief
_________________

White Girl

You do not know
me
tailgate
bologna
sandwiches
me
knobby
knee
swings
me
Know you do not

Jane Edna Mohler
3/7/2020

Jane Edna Mohler is a poet and counselor in the Philly suburbs. She is the author of Broken Umbrellas (Kelsay Books, 2019). Her work has appeared in Schuykill Valley Journal, U.S. 1 Worksheets, River Heron Review, and The Boston Globe. Mohler won the 2016 Main Street Voices Poetry Competition and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. She is an avid newcomer to Skinny Poetry.

The Prophetic Poetry of Barbara Turney Wieland – A 2020 Reboot of “2017”

Love this shot. Love the work of this gifted poet–
Barbara Turney Wieland.

Reposting this poem of hers–“2017” that seems
prophetic now, given

all that has transpired in America since Donald
Trump entered White House doors. – t

~~~

2017

starts as a shit storm
warning
muted
orange
warning
voted
fear-monger
rage
warning
as a shit storm starts

2/9/2017

Barbara Turney Wieland takes time for green tea steeped in a teapot, enjoys a bit of 100% dark chocolate and putting pen or paint to paper to see what comes out. Ever in wonder, she is an Aussie living in Switzerland, longing for sun, atm.

~~~

To order your copy of The Skinny Poetry Anthology
where more of Wieland’s

sterling work appears, simply go to Cherry Castle Publishing’s
online bookstore today.

 

 

“How to Write a Skinny” by Angela H. Dale

How to Write a Skinny

I
start with your end
lines
nine
inner
skin
lines
replete
with
repeat
lines
end with your start

II
bruisable fruit
distill
spill
your
veins
distill
fog
rivers
rain
distill
bruisable fruit

III
now step off the
cliff
sheer
no-fear
word
cliff
catching
your
breath
cliff
step off the now

Angela H. Dale
3/4/2020

***

Angela H. Dale is a poet and picture book author who lives in Ellicott City, Maryland. Her writing has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Skinny Poetry Journal, Her Mind and in many other notable journals. Her picture book debut is slated for release in Fall 2022. 

 

“State Head Case” by Chad Parenteau

State Head Case

In union, me
put
here
with
you
put
together
unglued
I
put
me in union.

America
by
God
not
used
by
anyone
else
except
by
America.

America, no more limits,
have
won’t
cater
to
have
nots
for
I
have
no more limits, America.

Up in space
force
less
stamps,
welfare
force
poor
send
in
force
up in space.

Privates sacred,
your
healthcare
and
also
your
schools
hold
onto
your
sacred privates.

Into space, each child
throwing
their
hat
in
throwing
in
with
us
throwing
each child, into space.

Wall and wall
and
more
miles
taller
and
even
more
powerful
and
wall and wall.

Criminal aliens!
we
make
wall
make
tall
we
colonize
Mars,
we
criminal aliens!

At last standing, our
Prayer
Punished.
Guns,
Glory,
Prayer,
Punished.
Send
Thought
prayer
at our last standing!

Chad Parenteau
2/18/2020

Chad Parenteau is the author of Patron Emeritus, released in 2013 by FootHills Publishing. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tell-Tale Inklings, Queen Mob’s Tea House, What Rough Beast, The Skinny Poetry Journal, Ibbetson Street, Molecule and Résonance. He serves as Associate Editor of the online journal Oddball Magazine. He has hosted the long-running Stone Soup Poetry series in Boston since 2005. His second full-length collection, The Collapsed Bookshelf, is forthcoming.

The Ski NNY [Poetry Anthology] Book Review by Rosetta Codling, Ph.D.

The Skinny Poetry Anthology Edited by Truth Thomas
Review by Rosetta Codling, Ph.D.

The Ski NNY (2019) is the latest issue from Cherry Castle Publishing. It is, by far, the most lyrically aesthetic from the house of Cherry Castle. Truth Thomas is the creator of the Skinny genre. It is, perhaps, an urban haiku, framed in eleven volcanic lines which surge forth. The eleventh line and the last line must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line. The composer, Truth Thomas, does lend liberty to rearrangement. But the second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical. Thomas, also, stresses that: “All the lines in his form, except for the first and last lines, must be composed of a single word.”

Does this all sound daunting? Yes. Is it difficult to achieve? Yes. However, the subjects of these harmonious creations are the more tedious to bear witness to. Yet, the poets in this collection do so fearlessly.

“the glint of gas oven or America’s Concentration Camps” (with acknowledgment to “who” by Sylvia Plath) is the opening ‘sonata poem’ of this collection. This poem is disarming and starkly real. Debasis Mukhopadhyay is a poet true to his mentor Sylvia Plath. The words drip and drape across the page conveying the erosion of the human spirit. In short, terse, verse, America is indicted for crimes against humanity on a single page of history.

“Jail Cell Diaries” is an entry in this collection that invades the soul in variation mode. This poem is a chronicle of 21 days of unjust incarceration. The varied repetition of words, in each stanza, are branded upon the page for the reader. “Freely…free…delirium…cry…sleep…dropped…guiltocent…dropped” are the words which descend upon the reader, slowly. Jen Schneider, the poet, paints an image that lingers long after the cell doors…open and close, again.

But, this collection is not without wit. Pam Desloges’ “Skinny Skinny” reminds the reader what lies beneath the meter and the meaning of a poem. She entreats us to explore the “nouns” and “bony verbs” absorbed in a text. She uses food imagery to aid in our envisioning of “low-carb adjectives” that are consumed in sectional, lean forms.

This collection is a whole. This collection is in harmony. This collection stands alone. Thank you, Truth Thomas, for delivering truths in many lyrical tones.

———————–

Rosetta Codling is a freelance literary critic. She has written reviews for the Ama Books, the Manhattan Book Review, the San Francisco Book Review, the Journal of African Literature, Autres Modernites, and Examiner.com. She has obtained scholarships and fellowships from Queens College (NYC), Teachers College/Columbia University (NYC), and the Open University (UK). She retired (in 2006) as a secondary school teacher and Adjunct Professor of English for over 30 years in New York. However, she attends global conferences and continues to write professionally. In addition, she now is an Adjunct Associate Professor of English at Herzing University in Atlanta, Georgia.

———————–


(Shaggy Flores, Nuyorican Poet/Scholar)

Order your copy of The Skinny Poetry Anthology from Cherry Castle Publishing today. 

The Poetry of Thomas Locicero in The Skinny Poetry Anthology: Bold, Magnetic, Original

Thomas Locicero’s poetry sings. It has a voice as grand as the New York Island.  His poem, “The Skinny on Italian Lovers,” is a cultural ode both of splendid originality and bold ingenuity. Without question, his work shines in craft and endearing uniqueness–and for that, we should all be grateful. Order your copy of The Skinny Poetry Anthology today, TO BE buoyed by Locicero’s work @ https://tinyurl.com/rqvf892

Thomas Locicero’s poems have appeared in The Skinny Poetry Journal, Roanoke Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Long Island Quarterly, The Ghazal Page, Birmingham Arts Journal, Poetry Pacific, Antarctica Journal, and Bindweed Magazine, among other journals. Originally from East Islip, NY, he resides with his wife, Lil, and sons, Sam and Ben, in Broken Arrow, OK.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on “The Three Evils of Society”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on “The Three Evils of Society”: War, Racism and Poverty.

The poetry of Tara Betts–a beautiful brilliance in The Skinny Poetry Journal

Tara Betts is a poet’s poet, to be sure. She is a deep dish of literary excellence–and perhaps, one of the reasons that the wind blows so hard in Chicago is because Betts is stirring good things up with her words.  TO BE inspired by her work in The Skinny Poetry Anthology, go to https://tinyurl.com/rqvf892

Tara Betts is the author of Break the Habit and Arc & Hue. She’s a co-editor of The Beiging of America: Personal Narratives about Being Mixed Race in the 21st Century and editor of the critical edition of Philippa Duke Schuyler’s memoir Adventures in Black and White. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.  Betts received her B.A. in Communication at Loyola University, received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New England College. She received her Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing from Binghamton University.

The Wisdom Rich Poetry of Changming Yuan in TSPA

Great depth and craft abide in the poetry of Changming Yuan. It is an honor to read his pieces, rich with layers of wisdom, capable of warming souls in winter frost.  TO BE stirred by his work in The Skinny Poetry Anthology, go to https://tinyurl.com/rqvf892

Changming Yuan published monograph translations, before leaving China. Currently, Yuan lives in Vancouver, where he edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. His credits include: ten Pushcart nominations, the 2018 Naji Naaman’s Literary Prize, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry and Best New Poems Online.

On the subject of Poetry of Kara Provost, Compassion, and The Skinny Poetry Anthology

There is a profound reverence for humanity in the poetry of Kara Provost. Now, more than ever, in the U.S. and in the world, such love is needed like air needs breathing. TO BE moved by her work in The Skinny Poetry Anthology, go to https://tinyurl.com/rqvf892

Kara Provost has published two chapbooks, Topless (Main Street Rag) and Nests (Finishing Line), and six microchapbooks with the Origami Poems Project. Her poems appear in literary journals and a number of anthologies, including Credo: Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing; Nuclear Impact: Shattered Atoms in Our Hands; and Shifts: Women’s Growth through Change. Kara teaches writing at Curry College and lives in Rhode Island.

“Praise Song for Marlin” by Le Hinton

Praise Song for Marlin
(Sunday, October 6, 1968)

When Marlin Briscoe started for the Broncos, we cheered.
Before
Doug.
Warren.
Russell.
Before
Colin.
We
knelt
before
we cheered when Marlin Briscoe started for the Broncos.

Le Hinton
1/12/2020

Le Hinton is the author of six poetry collections, including: Sing Silence (Iris G. Press, 2018). His work can be found in The Best American Poetry 2014, Summerset Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and outside of Clipper Magazine Stadium, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, incorporated into Derek Parker’s sculpture, “Common Thread.”

To follow The Skinny Poetry Anthology on Twitter, go to: @TheSkinnyPJ

 

On the subject of Regina Guarino’s grand cinematic imagery in The Skinny Poetry Journal

What wonderful word pictures Regina Guarino paints in poetry. Her work literally Jumps off of the page of The Skinny Poetry Journal and that is a blessing for every reader who engages the pages of the book.

TO ORDER Your copy of TSPA, go to: Cherry Castle Publishing–the Soul press–all day long.

Regina Guarino is the author of Words Matter: Prayers to Heal a Feminist Soul (Blurb Books, 2018). Stockton University’s Shore Thing Writing Getaway, for which she was a scholarship recipient, inspired these poems. She has been teaching English as a second language for many years in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Skinny Poetry Journal on the enduring importance of a Kingly Stand

The Skinny Poetry Journal stands with all people who earnestly work to advance the interest of love and peace in the world. That means, we’re down with our Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Agnostic, Atheist family–whomever you be. We be against War, against racism, against any “ism” that acts as a social lighter fluid to inflame hatred and violence around the globe. So, if you didn’t know, now you know. – Truth Thomas

“…noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The higher ground of Debasis Mukhopadhyay’s poetry in The Skinny Poetry Anthology

Debasis Mukhopadhyay is, quite simply, a consistently brilliant poet with a singular voice. This happy fact abides in the Skinnys he has written that are gratefully a part of The Skinny Poetry Anthology.

TO ORDER Your copy of TSPA, go to: Cherry Castle Publishing–the Soul press–all day long.

Debasis Mukhopadhyay is the author of the chapbook kyrie eleison or all robins taken out of context (Finishing Line Press, 2017). His poems have appeared in Stride, The Honest Ulsterman, Posit, Words Dance, Erbacce, I am not a silent poet, and elsewhere. His work has been nominated for the Best of the Net. Debasis lives and writes in Montreal, Canada.

Elizabeth Jorgensen in “The Skinny Poetry Anthology” and it is good.

Elizabeth Jorgensen’s work in The Skinny Poetry Anthology holds the poetic grip strength that only gifted writers can wield.  What a wonderful world her poetry is–for those on both two and four legs to follow.

Elizabeth Jorgensen’s memoir, Go, Gwen, Go, co-written with Nancy Jorgensen, is available from Meyer & Meyer Sport. Shorter works appear in Wisconsin English Journal, Azalea and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She has presented at NCTE, WSRA and for NCTA. Learn more at lizjorgensen.weebly.com

In the hands of DCluuuv and her generations: The Skinny Poetry Anthology

Blessed and honored to see this book in the hands of Melanie Henderson (aka DCluuuv) and her beautiful daughter–born loving books, to be sure.
 
Melanie Henderson, Washington, DC native poet, editor, photographer and publisher, is the author of Elegies for New York Avenue, winner of the 2011 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. An alumnus of Howard and Trinity Universities, she studied poetry at Howard University in Dr. Tony Medina’s “Boot Camp” and at the Voices Summer Writing Workshops (VONA) in San Francisco, CA prior to earning an MFA from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Her poems have appeared in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Drumvoices Revue, jubilat, Torch, Tuesday; An Art Project, Valley Voices, and The Washington Informer among many other notable publications. She is a recipient of the 2009 Larry Neal Writers Award and received a 2013 Pushcart Prize nomination from Iris G. Press. She is a Founding Editor of Tidal Basin Review and serves on the editorial board of Cherry Castle Publishing. Learn more at: dcelegies.com.
 
READ HER NEW WORK, forthcoming in the Show Us Your Papers Anthology, published by Main Street Rag (https://mainstreetragbookstore.com/). as well as 400 years
the story of Black people in poems written from love 1619 – 2019, edited by Michael Simanga and Lita Hooper on
Broadside Lotus Press, with support from Third World Press Foundation and University of Detroit Mercy Press (http://www.broadsidelotuspress.org/)
AND TO ORDER The Skinny Poetry Anthology

Saluting the Poetry of Matthew Borczon and The Skinny Poetry Journal

When I think about the people who have greatly impacted my life, it’s clear that a significant number of them are veterans. Many, like Lamont B. Steptoe, are Vietnam veterans–but not all–Dr. Tony Medina, case in point. For what they have suffered in the act of giving, I am very grateful. And certainly, the wisdom, generosity, knowledge, and inspiration they have given me is a gift beyond compare.

I mention all of that to say that I am, and TSPA is, edified by another soldier–Matthew Borczon. He is also a gift beyond compare to the world–this poet–this writer–for his sterling poetry of witness. Not unlike Yehuda Amichai, he writes about war from the point of view of painful personal experience. He writes to honor the sanctity of life and to remind all who will listen about the ongoing human cost of war.

As we are inches away from the second decade in the twenty-first century, in a world in constant conflict, it strikes me that Borczon’s poetry should be embraced with the reverence of a New Year’s Eve “Watch Night” Service. – t

TO ORDER TSPA and explore Borczon’s work
and that of multitudes of exceedingly talented poets
GO TO CHERRY CASTLE PUBLISHING

Matthew Borczon is a poet from Erie, Pennsylvania. He has published 11 collections of poetry, the most recent being Body Bag, on Nixes Mate Books. When Borczon is not writing, he is a nurse who serves adults with developmental disabilities. He has been a Navy Hospital Corpsman for the last 18 years and often writes about his time in Afghanistan and his life after living with PTSD.

Anjanette Delgado Matters & The Skinny Poetry Journal

One of the great joys of publishing is sharing–or further sharing–the work of profoundly gifted writers with the world. Anjanette Delgado is such a writer–and her poetic voice is grand and bright and rich. TSPA is blessed by the wealth of her talent. – t
Anjanette Delgado is the author of The Heartbreak Pill (Simon & Schuster, 2008), and The Clairvoyant of Calle Ocho (Kensington Publishing & Penguin Random House, 2014). She is also the 2009 winner of the Latino International Book Award. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, as well as in The Kenyon Review, Pleiades, Vogue, The Hong Kong Review, and on National Public Radio.

Anne Harding Woodworth and The Skinny Poetry Anthology

Anne Harding Woodworth’s poetry is touching, wrenching, and Trouble (to borrow from the title of her forthcoming book), in the way that great art often tends to be. To that end, her work in The Skinny Poetry Anthology is as precious as gravity.
 
TO ORDER your copy of TSPA today
Anne Harding Woodworth is the author of six books of poetry and four chapbooks. Her seventh book, Trouble, will appear in late 2020. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts, and is on the Poetry Board at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., where she lives.

Tom Laichas in The Skinny Poetry Anthology

So yes, I think it would be fair to say that the poetry of Tom Laichas possesses imagery as rich as any silver screen storytelling frame. It’s haunting and magical. Certainly, he also keeps a great deal of California brightness under his hat–and now in the freshly-inked pages The Skinny Poetry Anthology. – t
 
Tom Laichas’s recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in 3.1Venice, Ambit, Masque & Spectacle, Big Window Review and elsewhere. His first collection, Empire of Eden, is due out in 2020 from High Window Press (UK).

Shaggy Flores heating up TSPA

The work of Jaime “Shaggy” Flores in The Skinny Poetry Anthology is fire. To be sure, this poet does with seeming ease what few other writers can do at all–and in two languages. CLICK HERE TO ORDER your copy of TSPA today.

A Sneak Peak from from The Skinny Poetry Anthology: “I Ask My Grandfather Why He Won’t Speak English” by Maura Alia Badji

I Ask My Grandfather Why He Won’t Speak English

He says, I keep my country in my mouth.
Exile
Sicilian-Ethiopian
Intersection
Blood
Exile
Loyal
Tongued
Vigilant
Exile
I keep my country in my mouth, he says.

Maura Alia Badji
6/2/2016

Maura Alia Badji is a poet/writer/ESL teacher. Her writing has appeared in Aeolian Harp, The Delaware Review, Pirene’s Fountain, The Buffalo NewsThe Phoenix Soul, Liberated MuseCobalt, The Wise Woman, WELTER, The Good Men Project, This City Is a Poem, Barely South Review, and other notable publications. Badji lives in Virginia Beach, with her son, Ibrahim.

ORDER THE SKINNY POETRY ANTHOLOGY HERE
NOW AVAILABLE AT CHERRY CASTLE PUBLISHING

 

“I Never Told You” and “A Year Later” by Elizabeth Mercurio

I Never Told You

there was another suicide attempt
smoke
womb
engine
runs
smoke
warmth
whiskey
womb
smoke
another suicide attempt. there. was.

***

A Year Later

You swallowed pills down the pipe of your throat
strangers
in
scrubs
words
strangers
you
can’t
understand
strangers
Down the pipe of your throat, you swallowed pills

Elizabeth Mercurio
12/10/2019

Elizabeth Mercurio’s chapbook, Doll is forthcoming from Lily Poetry Review Books in January of 2020. She earned an MFA in poetry from The Solstice Low-Residency Program of Pine Manor College. Her work has appeared in, Third Point Press, Philadelphia Stories, The Skinny Poetry Journal, The Literary Nest, Fledgling Rag, and Lily Poetry Review.

 

The Skinny Poetry Anthology–on the publishing runway

Coming soon to Cherry Castle Publishing
The Skinny Poetry Anthology–yes, yes:

“It may be hard to imagine that 11-line poems, with nine of those lines being just one word, exude power. No need to imagine, though, because you will find poems of power in The Skinny Poetry Anthology, edited by award-winning poet Truth Thomas. Evocative and profound, these poems meet racism, white supremacy, war, homophobia, domestic violence, immigrant abuse, the prison industrial complex, and grief head on. The vulnerability will cause you to gasp. The transformation and redemption will shake your soul. With poets such as Maura Alia Badji, Brian Gilmore, Debasis Mukhopadhyay, Jimmie Smith Jr., and Rashida James-Saadiya leading the way, this collection offers the combination of fist-raising and compassion our world desperately needs right now.”

– Carmen Calatayud, author of In the Company of Spirits

Only $15.99 @ Cherry Castle Publishing
http://www.cherrycastlepublishing.com
Cover Design by Cory Thomas
Book Layout by David Saunier
#TheSkinnyPoetryAnthology
#CCP

Rep. Elijah Cummings – Giant of Integrity and the Focus Forward

Rep. Elijah Cummings challenged America to live up to its noble promise. That challenge has not fallen with his passing. It lives on in the moral authority of his legacy–and the love-propelled social justice work it inspires. – Truth Thomas

11.29.2019


Coming on Black Friday
to Cherry Castle Publishing
Cover design by Cory Thomas

       

Frank Thomas Rosen’s “auschwitz of the digital age” — talking about love.

auschwitz of the digital age by frank thomas rosen

It brings me great joy to spread the news about a new book soon to bless the American literary canon–Frank Thomas Rosen’s auschwitz of the digital age. In an online world, where the spirit of alt-right/neo-Nazi-like hatred grows more vociferous in its daily articulations, it is good to see a reverence for all humanity expressed to counter it. Creatively and thoughtfully, ftr does just that in this new collection, and a great deal more. – Truth Thomas

Coming to the Castle 11/29/2019 auschwitz of the digital age and other poems (new cognitive poetry) by Frank Thomas Rosen – cover design: David Saunier, drawings by Frank Thomas Rosen

auschwitz of the digital age is a bracing book that casts a sidelong glance at contemporary American life, bearing witness to the failure of the grand experiment in democracy. Rosen doesn’t shy away from the quotidian horrors of 21st century America: racism, gun violence, opioid addiction, the healthcare crisis, pollution, our dependence on the news cycle and digital technology—which he catalogues with measured, concrete language. This “east-german poet / tasting the bark of / american poetic diction” is both immigrant and exile, a clear-eyed observer of our “brief american eternity” in which we all find ourselves raising “a beer glass of blood” to the new American hero, “the kid that drew the fire.” —Stephan Delbos, author of Light Reading

Only $15.99 – Pre-Order your copy today
at Cherry Castle Publishing
www.cherrycastlepublishing.com

“Vintage Pigskin” by Rekaya Gibson

Vintage Pigskin

Inflated bladder
sails
through
the
sky
sails
until
halftime
fans
sail,
bladders inflated.

Rekaya Gibson
9/19/2019

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Rekaya Gibson is a freelance writer and author. She has contributed content for Amtrak, HuffPost, Writer’s Digest Books, and several lifestyle magazines. She also has written and published seven books in multiple genres which include tales about magical foods, social media, and colorism. In her spare time, she hosts the “Black Girls Talk Sports Podcast.” Gibson resides in Virginia.

“rivers to run” and “Wall” by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

bio-portrait

rivers to run

white lyrics spilling out, rivers to run
heads
crowing
old
swastika
heads
scraping
cleansing
bludgeoning
heads
spilling out white rivers, lyrics to run

***

Wall

nothing hangs on the Wall
each
drop
of
skulls
each
drop
of
history
each
wall hangs on the Nothing

Debasis Mukhopadhyay

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“mass incarceration (an extended skinny)” by Brian Gilmore

brian-gilmore_author-image

mass incarceration (an extended skinny)

1
our world has always been
jail.
work.
home.
travels.
jail.
deny
access.
exclude.
jail
has always been our world.

2.
these separate lives.
us
and
them.
mostly
us.
over
here.
hating
us.
separate these lives.

3.
this design of wickedness.
see
it
everyone.
look.
see.
there.
here.
multitudes
see
this design of wickedness.

4.
must we continue to suffer?
this?
we
cannot
believe
this.
who
would
allow
this
to continue. we must suffer?

5.
even in the schools we are
prisoners.
our
essence
unmentioned.
prisoners.
wondering
of
us.
prisoners
we are, even in the schools.

6.
got jail bars on all the houses.
fear
rules
the
streets.
fear
erodes
our
spaces.
fear
got jail bars on all the houses.

7.
you cannot cross
redlines.
tracks.
walls.
borders.
redlines.
suffocating
are
these
redlines
you cannot cross.

8.
we became at last.
free.
at
least
legally.
free
like
dogs
dashing.
free
we became at last

9.
so new prisons were built.
necessary
evils
they
say.
necessary
like
green
hair.
necessary
so new prisons were built.

10.
finally released from them jails.
boys
are
now
men.
boys
of
angry
time.
boys
finally released from them jails.

             11. (for betts)
the new jim crow.
bastards
of
the
reagan,
bastards
of
the
clinton,
bastards
of the new jim crow.

12.
man must mean something to
rise.
build.
illuminate.
dazzle.
rise
magically
from
destruction.
rise
man. mean something to someone.

13.
freedom is a deeper memory.
stories
of
maroons.
revolts.
stories
unspoken
like
family
stories.
deeper freedom is a memory.

14.
makes me want to go like norman bates:
psychotic.
adore
peace.
psychotic
when
peace
eludes.
psychotic
like normal bates, make me want to go.

15.
we can all get along
rodney
no
one
heard
rodney.
no
one
respects
rodney
can we all get along?

16.
overcoming is the persistent of continua.
aluta.
forward
like
always.
aluta
keep
on
pushing.
aluta
continua is the persistent of overcoming.

Brian Gilmore
11/12/2016

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flint, michigan ‘skinny’ by Brian Gilmore

flint, michigan ‘skinny’

dirty water is cash.
trading
life
for
death.
trading
truth
for
lies.
trading
water is dirty cash.

Brian Gilmore
9/10/2016

brian-gilmore_author-image

Buy a Coffee for Truth ‘)

Hey family: ‘) I’m the poet who developed the Skinny form and The Skinny Poetry Journal (TSPJ). If you’ve found any inspiration in the poetry TSPJ publishes, indeed if any of our content has touched you, then please consider throwing a little coffee coinage my way to help support this work. (JUST CLICK THE CUP. ‘)Your support will help me to support our wonderful–albeit, tiny–editorial team. Ubuntu. truth

Sermon on the Fence: photo by Melanie Henderson