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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
Brandon Douglas

Deadlocked

By Brandon Douglas Scrolling thru my newsfeed
I saw a snapshot of a klansman with dreadlocks
It baffles me
How loud the white obsession is with blackness
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.
Tyler French

Ptown July 25, 2018

By Tyler French I was gelling my hair the morning before mounting the Pilgrim’s Memorial Monument
and I found a strand of yours in the blue goop, I wasn’t able to pluck it out so I slicked

the gel through my hair, forward from the back then up in the front and up again
and your black clipping was stuck in my cowlick for the day, I know it fell out
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.
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.
Marjan Naderi

Learning My Name

By Marjan Naderi In first grade, I told kids my name was Sarah.
Saw the way Sarah lifted the curtain
But never cleared the confusion
white enough for no one to ask questions.
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