“UnSkinny Legend” by Aerik Francis

IMG_0079 (1)

UnSkinny Legend

I AM A FAT LEGEND
OVERFLOWING
ROLLS
BREASTS
THIGHS
OVERFLOWING
MEALS
CLOTHING
PRIDE
OVERFLOWING
FAT, I AM A LEGEND

Aerik Francis
7/27/2019

Aerik Francis is Queer Black & Latinx poet born, raised, and based in Denver, Colorado, USA. He was awarded the 2019 Amiri Baraka Scholarship for SWP at Naropa University, is a Winter Tangerine Workshop alum, and has had his work published in Spit Poet Zine.

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“Jump” by Regina Guarino

Jump

Double Dutch, swing in rhythm
jump
one-way
street
narrow
jump
sidewalk
cracks
jagged
jump
in rhythm, swing Double Dutch

Regina Guarino
7/31/2019

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

“U.S. Treasure(y)” by Kara Provost

U.S. Treasure(y)

Out of many, one—our currency reads.
Tender
bodies
aren’t
illegal
tender—
lives
worth
treating
tender.
Read our currency: out of many, one.

Kara Provost
8/1/2019

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 WritingNuclear Impact: Shattered Atoms in Our Hands; and Shifts: Women’s Growth through Change. Provost teaches writing at Curry College and lives in Rhode Island.

“Bullet Points” by Gregory Luce

Bullet Points

For your thoughts and prayers
bullets
fly
backwards
spent
bullets
become
whole
cold
bullets
for your thoughts and prayers.

Your thoughts and prayers
for
bullets
pounded
flat
for
making
lead
pennies
for
your thoughts and prayers.

Gregory Luce
8/7/2019

Gregory Luce, author of Signs of Small Grace (Pudding House Publications), Drinking Weather(Finishing Line Press), Memory and Desire (Sweatshoppe Publications), and Tile (Finishing Line Press), has published widely in print and online. He is a native Texan and the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He is retired from National Geographic, works as a volunteer writing tutor/mentor for 826DC, and lives in Arlington, VA.

“They Fell From the Sky” by Rashida James-Saadiya

They Fell From the Sky

Black women are breathing stars
traveling
backward
beyond
history
traveling
forward
to
Nebula
traveling
stars are Black women breathing

Rashida James-Saadiya
8/1/2019

Rashida James-Saadiya is a writer and cultural educator. Her work explores spirituality, identity, and the transmission of cultural memory through storytelling amongst Black women. In addition, she is the Arts & Culture Editor for Sapelo Square, a digital hub documenting the experience and legacy of Black Muslims in America.

Rashida James-Saadiya shares her narrative photographic work “Betraying the Spectacle” which highlights the intersections of blackness, spirituality and creative resistance in the lives of Black Muslim women living and working in the American South. Rashida James-Saadiya is a visual artist, writer, and cultural educator invested in transforming social perceptions through creative literature. This presentation is sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center, the Duke Islamic Studies Center, and the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies.

“July” by Naomi Thiers

July

What grows in heat:
lassitude,
blowsy
magnolias,
confusing
lassitude
with
comfort. . .
honeysuckle,
lassitude,
growing in the heat.

Naomi Thiers
7/25/2019

Naomi Thiers is the author of three poetry collections: Only The Raw Hands Are Heaven (WWPH), In Yolo County, and She Was a Cathedral (both Finishing Line Press.) Her poems and fiction have been published in Virginia Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, Colorado Review, Sojourners, and many others. Former editor of Phoebe, she works as an editor for Educational Leadership magazine and lives in a condo on the banks of Four Mile Run in Arlington, VA.

“Reluctant Martyrs” by Bill A. Marable

Reluctant Martyrs
(after Isha Sesay)

Held ‘Beneath the Tamarind Tree’
Girls
Nigerian
stolen
trapped
Girls
walls
of
branches
Girls
held ‘Beneath the Tamarind Tree’

Bill A. Marable
7/8/2019

Bill A. Marable, 56, has been a lover of poetry since elementary school and began writing poetry in junior high. He resides in Jackson, TN., where he is the publisher of the CrimeSEEN Examiner Newspaper. Marable is a founding member and current president of the board of directors of The Griot Collective of West Tennessee, a nonprofit poetry workshop.

———

Note: This Skinny addresses the 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria by the Boko Haram terrorist group. It also references the book by Isha Sesay, Beneath the Tamarind Tree, which documents the mass abduction. Sesay is a former CNN broadcaster and now a Child Rights activist. As of this publication, well over 100 of the kidnapped girls remain unaccounted for.

 

“And the Train Went On” by Annie Ma

And the Train Went On

Two boys holding hands
hands
on
the
train
hands
and
punches
bloody
hands
Two hands holding boys

Annie Ma
7/3/2019

Annie Ma is a high school senior at The Harker School, where she is a co-editor-in-chief of the literary magazine. Her poetry has won several Scholastic Writing Awards. She is the president of Book Bank (www.bookbank.org), which serves underprivileged communities by distributing free books to K-8 school children.

“Hour Glass” by Suzanne Cottrell

Hour Glass

A life with cancer
measured
chemo
treatments
days
measured
by
bedside
farewells
measured
Cancer with a life

Suzanne Cottrell
7/7/2019

Suzanne Cottrell lives with her husband and three dogs in rural Piedmont, North Carolina.  An outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, she enjoys reading, writing, knitting, hiking, and Pilates.  Her poetry has appeared in journals such as The Avocet, Haiku Journal, Poetry Quarterly, The Remembered Arts Journal and Burningword Literary Journal.

“Syria” by Kara Provost

Syria

The dry map bleeds—
tears
like
swollen
rivers
tear
mountains,
cities,
homes.
Tears
bleed the map dry.

Our hearts torn from this land
restitched,
ripped
ragged
again.
Restitch
us,
cartographer,
surgeon—
restitch
this land torn from our hearts.

Kara Provost
7/9/2019

Note: Since Bashar al-Assad took power in 2011, estimates suggest over 500,000 Syrians have been killed (The New York Times, April 13, 2018), more than 6.1 million are internal refugees, and 5.7 million have fled the country (CNN.com, April 9, 2019).

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. Provost teaches writing at Curry College and lives in Rhode Island.

“Artifacts” by Jimmie Smith, Jr.

Artifacts

Black men are becoming sunlit
fossils
within
concrete
exhumed
fossils
appear
naked
crumbled
fossils
are becoming sunlit Black men

Jimmie Smith, Jr.
7/6/2019

Jimmie Smith, Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan, but he currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. He has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Chicago State University. His work has previously been published in The Overground Railroad Volume 1. He works as an English/Writing tutor, and he is also a freelance sports announcer.

“Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer” by Tara Betts

Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer

Janet lies on the floor
plays
Stevie,
recites
poems,
plays
grief
as
notes
play.
Janet lies on the floor.

Tara Betts
7/4/2019


Photo courtesy of Glitter Guts

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.

 

“Dead Beat” by Frank Thomas Rosen

Dead Beat

One more hit
punk
hugs
father
wrench
punk
banging
electric
wall
punk
Hit, once more

Frank Thomas Rosen
6/24/2019

Frank Thomas Rosen, an immigrant from East-Germany, is a nurse practitioner, former English teacher, and writer based in Ohio. He moved to the United States in 1997. After earning his BA and MA in English and TESL, he taught English and ESL at universities and community colleges in Northeast Ohio for over ten years.  In his poems, he addresses recurring themes of sociopolitical injustice, cross-cultural struggle, and civil rights. He has published one book of poetry: scratches (2003), German-English. His second book, auschwitz of the digital age and other poems, will be forthcoming on Cherry Castle Publishing in November of 2019. The Skinny format provides an excellent framework for Rosen’s minimalist style.

“Business” by Patrick Cabello Hansel

Business

Trafficking of girls, and boys
Merchandise
Skin
Organs
Teeth
Merchandise
Knives
Kisses
Names
Merchandise
Of girls, boys, and trafficking

Patrick Cabello Hansel
6/24/2019

Patrick Cabello Hansel is the author of the poetry collection entitled The Devouring Land (Main Street Rag). He has poems and prose published in over 60 anthologies and literary journals. He blogs about his passion for beauty and justice at http://www.spiritwound.blogspot.com

“A woman’s world” and “Alabama, what have you done?” by Madeleine Voth

A woman’s world

you were her first
took
that
away
you
took
her
purity
you
took
first you were hers

***

Alabama, what have you done?
women’s
lives
forever
changed
women’s
bodies
not
a
woman’s
what have you done, Alabama?

Madeleine Voth
6/13/2019

Madeleine Voth is a third generation Washingtonian from Northwest Washington, D.C. She graduates from the Literary Media and Communications Department of Duke Ellington School of the Arts in 2021. Madeleine is a writer and filmmaker.

This poem was generated from poet Derrick Weston Brown’s ever-inventive and noble creative writing class at Duke Ellington School of the Arts.  Triple dap to the good Mr. Brown for teaching the form and helping to spread the skinny on the Skinny.

 

“Dear, Uncle Greg” and “Two Pumps” by Elizabeth Jorgensen

==

Dear, Uncle Greg

I didn’t know
death
rattled —
coughing
gurgling —
death
spit
unswallowed,
awaiting
death.
I didn’t know.

Two Pumps

I order
skinny
mochas,
from
Starbucks,
from
skinny
baristas —
emaciated,
pinched,
skinny,
I order.

Elizabeth Jorgensen
6/13/2019

Elizabeth Jorgensen, a teacher and writer, graduated from Marquette University. Her memoir, co-written with Nancy Jorgensen, Go, Gwen, Go: A Family’s Journey to Olympic Gold, is available from Meyer & Meyer Sport. Jorgensen’s work appears or is forthcoming in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Azalea, Wisconsin State Reading Association Journal, The Ohio Journal of English Language Arts, Gyroscope Review and Bindweed Magazine. Jorgensen enjoys sharing Skinnys with her students and encouraging them to write their own. Learn more at https://lizjorgensen.weebly.com/

Call 4 Submissions: “The Skinny Poetry Anthology”
Coming to Cherry Castle Publishing 11/29/2019

About The Skinny Poetry Form

A Skinny is a short poem form that consists of eleven lines. The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). The eleventh and last line must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (however, they can be rearranged). The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical. All the lines in this form, except for the first and last lines, must be comprised of ONLY one word. The Skinny was created by Truth Thomas in the Tony Medina Poetry Workshop at Howard University in 2005.

The point of the Skinny, or Skinnys, is to convey a vivid image with as few words as possible. Skinny poems can be about any subject, although the form generally reflects more serious concerns facing humankind. Also, Skinnys can be linked, much like Haiku, Senryu or Tanka. (Note: As a matter of aesthetics, the plural form of the Skinny should be “Skinnys.”)

This anthology will be launched on Black Friday, 2019:
Feel free to email submissions to theskinnypoetryjournal@gmail.com by 7/3/2019 7/31/2019 for publishing consideration.

***NOTE: To all of the wonderful poets who have blessed TSPJ with your work, thank you beyond words. I’ll be contacting many of you in the coming months in the hope of including your work in this first, comprehensive, printed collection of the Skinny form. Warmly, truth

“Wake up, it’s time” by Kamaya Finn

Wake up, it’s time

It’s time to wake up
new
day
night
gone
new
movement
opportunity
experiences
new
Wake up, it’s time.

Kamaya Finn
6/7/2019

Kamaya Finn is a young poet and writer based in the Washington, D.C. area. She is currently a sophomore at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in the Class of 2021. Before moving to Washington, DC, she lived in Havertown, Pennsylvania–the town that inspires most of her pieces. In 2016, she was awarded the second place prize in the Haverford Township Human Relations Commission’s Creative Expression Contest, and in 2019, she presented for the first time in the showcase titled, “VALID I.D.” Outside of writing, Kamaya excels at painting landscapes and enjoys studying fashion and programming languages such as JavaScript in her free time.

This poem was generated from poet Derrick Weston Brown’s irrepressibly inventive creative writing class at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Triple dap to Mr. Brown for teaching the form and helping to spread the skinny on the Skinny.

 

“The city’s reaper” by Quinn

The city’s reaper

In cities lights where there are bones buried,
Cold,
Black,
Reapers,
Stealing,
Cold,
Souls,
Gnawing,
At,
Ones,
Cold,
Bones in cities where lights are buried there,

Quinn
6/7/2019

Quinn is a Spoken Word performer and a native Washingtonian. She is a sophomore in the star-making Duke Ellington School of the Arts. She performed an original duo poem, entitled “Money, Love, Love, Pride,” with No’El Overby in the 2019 LMC (Literary Media and Communications Department) fall showcase in the Duke Ellington Performance Hall. Quinn also performed In the DC Scores Poetry Slam in 2014, 2013, and 2012, which addressed the theme of “overall want and need for worldwide peace.”

This poem was generated from poet Derrick Weston Brown’s irrepressibly inventive creative writing class at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Triple dap to Mr. Brown for teaching the form and helping to spread the skinny on the Skinny.

 

“Longing for a Goodbye” by Ivanna Ramazzini

Longing for a Goodbye

I missed my chance to say goodbye.
Stood
still.
Dry
eyes.
Stood
there.
Unspoken
Words.
Stood
I, missing my chance to say goodbye.

Ivanna Ramazzini
6/7/2019

Ivanna Ramazzini is a 15-year-old writer and dancer who attends to Duke Ellington School of the Arts and she will graduate in 2021. She is also part of City Dance Dream. She was born and raised in Guatemala but recently moved with her mother to Washington DC in 2014.

This poem was generated from poet Derrick Weston Brown’s irrepressibly inventive creative writing class at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Triple dap to Mr. Brown for teaching the form and helping to spread the skinny on the Skinny.

 

“Drifting” and “Waves In The Glass” by Nancy Jorgensen

Drifting

Sand grains
aggravate
feet,
red
moons
aggravate
waves,
tide
waters
aggravate
grains: sand

Waves In The Glass

In the wave
ripples
reflect
age,
memory,
ripples
distort,
create
unfamiliar
ripples
in the wave.

Nancy Jorgensen
6/3/2019

Nancy Jorgensen is a musician and writer. Her professional choral books have been published with Hal Leonard Corporation and Lorenz Corporation, and her 2019 memoir is published by Meyer & Meyer Sport. Other works appear or are forthcoming at “Prime Number Magazine,” “Smith Magazine,” “Cagibi,” “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,” “Crack the Spine,” “Coffin Bell” and elsewhere.

“Today’s Need” by Sister Lou Ella Hickman

             today’ need

             critical thought
             write
             line
             crafted
             language
write
             form
             crafted
             line
             write
             thought critical

Sister Lou Ella Hickman, I.W.B.S
6/3/2019

Sister Lou Ella’s poems have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, as well as three anthologies. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2017. Her first book of poetry, entitled she: robed and wordless, was published in 2015 (Press 53).

“No Internet, No Life” by Yuan Changming

No Internet, No Life

Come off the line, & the fish
Would
Die
Of
Hunger
Would
Gnaw
Deep
Inwards
Would
Come off the line, & the fish

Yuan Changming
6/3/2019

Yuan Changming 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.

“Chimera” by Gregory Luce

Chimera

one or two words
form
voice
articulates
day
form
passes
nothing
said
form
one or two words

one or two
words
rage
against
useless
words
resist
degradation
try
words
one or two

Gregory Luce
5/28/2019

Gregory Luce, author of Signs of Small Grace (Pudding House Publications), Drinking Weather (Finishing Line Press), Memory and Desire (Sweatshoppe Publications), and Tile (Finishing Line Press), has published widely in print and online. He is the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He is retired from National Geographic, works as a volunteer writing tutor/mentor for 826DC, and lives in Arlington, VA.

Verses for Veterans Remembered: Matthew Borczon 2019

The soldier adjusts to life with only one arm
can’t
tie
a
tie
can’t
hold
his
child
can’t

adjust to life, the soldier with only one arm.

the Marine woke up without legs
gone
socs
shoes
pants
gone
kneeling
standing
walking
gone
without legs the Marine woke up.

Matthew Borczon
5/21/2019

Matthew Borczon is a writer and navy sailor from Erie, Pa. He has published ten books of Poetry, the most recent, Ghost Highway Blues, is available through Alien Buddha Press. He works as a nurse to developmentally disabled adults and still serves with the Navy Reserves. He publishes widely in the small press. When not writing he and his wife of 23 years raise four children.

“A Fear That Loves” by Zak Atkinson from Duke Ellington School of the Arts

A Fear that Loves

Don’t I fear love
From
Rejection
From
Cowardice
From
Past
Wounds
Re-opened
From
Fear, don’t I love

Zak Atkinson
5/21/2019

Zak Atkinson is a student of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts’ Literary Media and Communications department’s class of 2022. Alongside writing, he has a long history of musical talent and has played piano at USC in LA in celebration of an accomplished musical assessment.

This poem was generated from poet Derrick Weston Brown’s irrepressibly inventive creative writing class at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Triple dap to Mr. Brown for teaching the form and helping to spread the skinny on the Skinny.

“Wrong Place” by Jim Landwehr

Author’s Note: This poem “references my father’s murder in a bar in St. Paul in 1967, a racially tense time in our country. I feel that poetry can change our world one poem at a time.” – JL

Wrong Place

Life without him
father
children
absent
foundation
father
drinking
racial
murder
father
Him without life

Jim Landwehr
5/13/2019

Jim Landwehr has published three poetry collections Written Life, Reciting From Memory and On A Road. He also has two books, The Portland House: A 70’s Memoir and Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir. He has non-fiction stories published in Boundary Waters Journal, Main Street Rag, MidWest Outdoors Magazine and others. His poetry has been featured in Torrid Literature Journal, Blue Heron Review, Off the Coast Poetry Journal, and many others. Jim lives and works in Waukesha, Wisconsin. For more on his work, visit: http://jimlandwehr.com

 

“Trump State” by Chad Parenteau

Trump State

Oh, my First
lady
and
Madam
Speaker
lady
and
America
that
lady
first, oh, my.

No more
them
us
make
us
them
then
only
us
them
no more.

All that we need
boom!
Economy
employment
Obamacare
boom!
Just,
one
more
boom
all that we need.

Migrant, migrant, migrant
caravans
trucks
buses
children
caravans
tremendous
onslaught
lawless
caravans–
Migrant! Migrant! Migrant!

Behind walls
wombs
make
holy
Americans
wombs
born
unborn
holy
wombs
behind walls.

Endless wars
bad
Russia
China
possibly
bad
preparing
military
for
bad
war, endless.

Keep America
first
only
under
God
first
above
all
I
first
keep America.

Chad Parenteau
3/7/2019

 

Drum roll please…Announcing The Skinny Poetry Journal’s New Designer Gear

We are happy to announce that The Skinny Poetry Journal will be partnering with Cherry Castle Publishing to launch its first line of TSPJ designer clothing. If you love our journal, please spread that love and support us as we inaugurate this hopeful poetic/literary activist clothing line.  – TSPJ Editors

To order your t-shirt(s) today, go to the Cherry Castle Publishing Books & Gear store. Only $29.99, with free shipping.

 

 

“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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