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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.
Reuben Jackson

Kelly Recalls 1963

By Reuben Jackson I still call
The year 1963
Season of Nightmares
After Medgar Evers
Was killed I
Would lie awake
And wait for
My uncle Joe
To get home
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.
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.
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?
Alexa Patrick

Ode to the Black Men Playing Lil’ Jon Outside the Waterfront Safeway

By Alexa Patrick Heads heavy with 1’s and 2’s,
they perch outside the grocery,
sucking teeth at new neighbors
rushing home with La Croix boxes,
neighbors who don’t make eye contact,
Steven Leyva

The Silver Screen Asks, “What’s Up Danger?” After We Enter

By Steven Leyva a lobby shaped like a yawn, lined with lodestone
leftover from making the marquee. The congress

of picture shows and pulp flicks it seems
named this movie house, the Senator.
Kenneth Carroll III

saturday afternoon

By Kenneth Carroll III we ride in on the red line
our laces coming undone as we float over fair gates

until we fall into a night

ripe
with everything our tongues have been yearning for
Angelique Palmer

God or a Lottery Ticket in a Black Woman’s Purse

By Angelique Palmer Trying to find faith
in a world that is slowly killing me and blaming me for why they can’t do it right

or why survival might be the only thing in the way of enjoying life
Cherryl T. Cooley

Say-So

By Cherryl T. Cooley =POET, I believe you [stop] Mean well [stop] Do well [stop] Bring teeth’s teeth for your bite [stop] Make your ditties and dirges hum [stop]
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