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John James

Spaghetti Western

By John James In Georgetown, IN, the steel projector reels.
The desert stretches blankly before us, a red
plain constellated with rows of dry mesquite.
Paulette Beete

Still Life with Bullets

By Paulette Beete Orlando Jones, a black actor, douses himself
in a bucket of bullets. I flinch. Bullet against
brown skin even without the bruised and
busted aftermath is no easy thing to bear.
Sharon Olds

Calvinist Parents

By Sharon Olds They put roofs over our heads.
Ours was made of bent tiles,
so the edge of the roof had a broken look,
Dan Vera

Abecedarian Yellow

By Dan Vera A is for apple.
B is for banana – treasure fruit of the tropics
which replaced the apple on the breakfast table of Victorian America.
C is for Carmen Miranda smiling
Solmaz Sharif

Dear INTELLIGENCE JOURNAL,

By Solmaz Sharif Lovely dinner party. Darling CASUALTIES and lean
sirloin DAMAGE of the COLLATERAL sort.
Extended my LETTER OF OFFER AND ACCEPTANCE
to the DESIRED INTERNAL AUDIENCE, reaching
Ilya Kaminsky

That Map of Bone and Opened Valves

By Ilya Kaminsky I watched a sergeant aim, the deaf boy take iron and fire in his mouth—
his face on the asphalt,
that map of bone and opened valves.
It’s the air. Something in the air wants us too much
Sonia Sanchez

Aaaayeee Babo (Praise God)

By Sonia Sanchez There are women sailing the sky
I walk between them
They who wear silk, muslin and burlap skins touching mine
They who dance between urine and violets
Heather Derr-Smith

Gouge

By Heather Derr-Smith One man said there are hundreds
of delicate articulated bones
in the human head. So don’t let it
get punched. Easier said than done.
Saida Agostini

2 fat black women are making love

By Saida Agostini and the joke is right there, ready, shuddering
and alive - rife with promise. there are so many
paths that have been worn out for a quick
easy laugh: tyler perry strutting with a gun and wig,
Ellen Bass

Witnesses

By Ellen Bass Today is gray, drizzling,
but not enough for drops to pool
on the tips of the silver needles
or soak the bark of the pines at Ponary—
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