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Mejdulene B. Shomali

i grew up with god in my mouth

By Mejdulene B. Shomali kept the name between gum & tooth
rolled it around like hard candy
cracked the shell of faith like sunflower seeds
spit out doubt & swallowed the sun
Malik Thompson

Self-Portrait Of The Black Boi Becoming The Monster He Always Desired To Be

By Malik Thompson Midnight is my first emotion, then starscream, bloodlust—
an impulse to sink my fangs into the nearest man’s
neck. Shotgun shells explode beneath my window,
dragging me from the grip of a ragged slumber—
the winds of this rotting city drenched in gunsmoke.
Jasminne Mendez

Machete: Look

By Jasminne Mendez It isn’t easy / to look / at what I have / cut. Which is to say — / wounded / from the body / of a tree / or a woman / or a child.
Raymond Antrobus

On Teaching Poetry In A Men’s High Security Prison

By Raymond Antrobus I was searched at every edge. I wanted everyone, including me, to be innocent. One inmate squeezed my hand like a letter he’d been hoping for.
Jonathan Mendoza

Onomástico

By Jonathan Mendoza You ask me for my name,
and I say, “It’s pronounced Mendoza,”
and again, the Spaniard spits it out my throat,
pats me on the tongue,
tells me I have been a good subject,
and again, I have traded this empire
for my former one.
Hakim Bellamy

El Paso Uno

By Hakim Bellamy No one woke up, that Saturday, mourning. / No one woke up that Saturday morning with intentions of becoming a back to school vigil. / No one woke up not expecting to finish out a sophomore year...that had barely be- // gun.
torrin a. greathouse

Anti-Ode for the Transportation Security Administration

By torrin a. greathouse The body scanner says my name & my flesh are suspicious
abandoned baggage. A voice on the loudspeaker says to report
any & all unaccompanied luggage it could contain anything.
Clothes, or drugs, or a body folded economically. Utilitarian
origami. Voice on the speaker says trust no one, says anything
could be a threat.
Lupe Mendez

Un tornillo en el corazón - after @jacobsoboroff

By Lupe Mendez don’t even know where to start.
you notice when you walk into the shelter — no joke —
a new war.
Gabriel Ramirez

Before going to the Barbershop

By Gabriel Ramirez I gotta call my barber Eric to
let him know I’m pullin’ up. Yo hello?
Yea yea who this? ahhhh yo what up homie?
How you been kid?
Savannah Sipple

And the Word Was God

By Savannah Sipple In the beginning was the word and the word was FAT
in the beginning I was fat in the beginning I was lean &
long carried two weeks past due & wore preemie clothes & then I
chunked up baby fat a fat baby baby I grew big
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