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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.
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,
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
Rasheed Copeland

Weed Brownies (Allegory of the Dispensary)

By Rasheed Copeland weed brownies weeds cookies weed Cheetos
lollipops and gummies what a great idea—a weed bar at the wedding
a better idea? a weed stand at the farmer’s market

the times are changing
Arisa White

My Dead

By Arisa White Everybody she died another is dead everybody
dead and AIDS of AIDS my dead she is
there are more I know with the same story hiding
lips stitched hesitant to speak of someone you knew
Shabnam Piryaei

nextdoor app

By Shabnam Piryaei a young man desperately buries himself under damp leaves while helicopters hunt him police laugh as he tries to hide in the foliage a neighbor with a device to eavesdrop on scanners catches this tidbit
Raquel Salas Rivera

desahucio / eviction

By Raquel Salas Rivera los blancos en sus casas lloran
porque han tenido que desahuciar a sus huéspedes.
los apellidos y las propiedades lloran
porque han quemado los títulos de propiedad
de los gusanos.

***
the whites cry in their houses
because they’ve had to evict the guests.
the last names and the properties cry
because they’ve burned
the worms’ deeds.
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