We Can See You

We Can See You

Painting “New Jerusalem Landscape” by Ellen Lapidus Stern

by Ben Mitchell

Each time I meet a grown man who
cannot read, it comes in waves: First
 
I see myself as a small child, and I 
am terrified by the enormity of the violence. I

feel shame, begin to panic, hopeless, 

hopeless, hopeless, an impulse to scream, but I
stop.  I remember I 

can read.  Crumbling as terror
gives way to relief, relief to gratitude: Thank you, 

Sarah Mitchell, for not taking their word for it. Mrs. Landess
who said it would be OK if I lost the crayons. And Mrs. Wassermann, 

She showed me 
the exceptions– neither leisured foreigner seized 

the weird height. And then, Mr. Meed
 who “liked” my paper. And::: Kate Haigne, especially

Kate Haigne who would take us “to the river, our
favorite prepositional phrase.”    The tools 

to participate in the great human conversation 
are no small thing. So I write my truth, and try 

to understand the world, but tell me: where
will I find the courage to keep reliving this 

stupid, futile battle? Each new generation
trampled under the crush, and how to rise just long enough 

to cry out, “We are here, and we
can see you.” 
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The Real 1

The Real 1

Painting “Two Sides of the Same Coin” by Ellen Lapidus Stern

by Corey Cdub Williams


If you knew me as far back as Noyes elementary, or as little as a month ago, you know. I change like DC weather. One day it's close to 60 degrees, but tonight the streets are covered in icy snow, and tomorrow the temperature will rise again. Am I a challenging man to be around at times? Yes. Have I done negative things? Of course. Do I ask uncomfortable questions, the questions that are going to piss off the world? Yeah I do. WHY? Because I don't fake about being this Divine person. I was caught for shoplifting back at junior high school and I confess I continue to this day. It’s compulsive behavior. I do silly things; it's a way to cope with my problems. I did drugs. I didn't see a purpose to live until I got injured. Especially after my father died. I was pissed at God for taking my father, just one hour after his aunt herself also transitioned. That was twenty years ago. I didn't want to sit in some African Son Rise Program. I didn't relate to those boys. I came three votes away from being the Deputy Youth Mayor back in 2000 when Norm had that opportunity to be on the radio. And one for Ruth – the most impactful adult in my life who pushed me to speak more because she knew I had potential to change lives. Mitchell always told me to keep writing no matter what I write, no matter how many people get upset – even when they all leave me alone because I push them buttons, I just keep writing. You don't have to like me, why, because I love me. Until I'm called back home and I'm done with this earthy vessel. I'm still going to be me. If you think you know, lol, you don't. Unless you took an interest in rocking with The real 1.

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I Anxietize

I Anxietize

Painting “Morning Espresso” by Ellen Lapidus Stern


By Lukas White aka HaZe

Man, I anxietize I'm stressing its what's eating me literate. Even in the literature but I just don't see how anyone can have givin in when I was so little I was just the kid consistently fixing his shit to piss correctly if eventually ever I'm never noticed for blowin up my own rich before I woke give a smoke to his ass hoping they still the golden known
Idk where my mind went man, I really wish I could’ve tried to vent then But I'm a coral mortal forced in its torture cell like a tortuous shell of course when you retort remorse just smells as the other torturous dwelled melons fell wit force to the floor convinced hells mixed up in this of course I'm pissed restrained But I'd be a retard if I'd leave a plain card as my spits remains
I ain't even know how I get through the oldest new I ain't talking to, You may man I'm just the common tool I use accused of every useless ruthlessness, no more tooths so truthful just no fruit under my music til I make its movements but It won't shake if people -side me sittin blank I'm aces still and make it up in a face with a smile 
took it when I was tainted but that's my basics I made my game degrade the same as I engraved my name in cellophane the angel made with the devils name its HaZe again the darkest start to my anglaise I ain't taking trades for nothin still I guess it's why I'll be stuck an shuffling less I wake up one day amazed in a fade of what I made first turned into what I'd says worth

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Ill-fitting Suit:

Ill-fitting Suit:

W.E. “Bill” Drake is currently a student at Landmark College in Putney, VT. He was diagnosed with ADD in his thirties. He is also the present Editor and Chief of their literary magazine: Impressions. He has been published in other anthologies. He is an amateur photographer, and enjoys large and copious amounts of caffeine.

ll-fitting Suit


The world is an ill-fitting suit. 

Lost, looking for mooring. 

Sunset lost behind a storm 

grey sky. Scattered, 

leaves brown 

after the dandelions first yellow. 

Out of sorts. Misplaced. Left in order 

in this Disheveled world 

An ill-fitting suit 

Looking for mooring. 


Spring MMXVIII W.E. Drake

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A Dog’s Tale

A Dog’s Tale

Poem by Ben Mitchell

A Dog’s Tale


There once was a dog , who

lived in a house that only loved cats,  At first

she rebelled – chased balls, rolled 

in smelly dead things, and panted, her 

tongue hanging out. But 

the cat lovers shunned her, wouldn’t feed

her, and she became infested with fleas, so

she began to act like a cat, cropped

her ears into a point, developed 

a fascination with yarn, but all the while reminding

herself it was only an act, just a way to 

make a living. But one day it shifted. She 

began to forget, believed she 

was a cat.  Her

eyes became indifferent.  Her tongue

became dry and thorny.  She 

shunned dogs, revolted, tried to scratch 

their eyes out with her clumsy paws.

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1 min read
Decamouflaging

Decamouflaging

Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving his native country. Currently, Yuan edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, eight chapbooks & publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1,609 others across 43 countries.

Decamouflaging


                                                   I would paint my skin

Into a colorless color, & I would dye my hair

Wear two blue contacts, & I would even

Go for plastic surgery, but if I really do

I assure you, I will not remove my native village

Accent while speaking this foreign tongue (I began

To imitate like a frog at age nineteen); nor will I

Completely internalize the English syntax &

Aristotelian logic. No, I assure you that I’ll not give up

Watching movies or TV series, reading books

Listening to songs, each in Chinese though I hate them

For being too low & vulgar. I was born to eat dumplings

Doufu, & thus fated to always prefer to speak Mandarin

Though I write in English. I assure you that even if I am

Newly baptized in the currents of science, democracy &

Human rights, I will keep in line with my father’s

Haplogroup just as my sons do. No matter how

We identify ourselves or are identified by others, this is

What I assure you: I will never convert my proto selfhood 

                                                            Into white Dataism, no, not

                                              In the yellowish muscle of my heart

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1 min read
The Path to Alone

The Path to Alone

Jennifer Craig is a single mom, marketer and synchronized ice skater, living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jenni practices mindfulness and writes about the highs and lows associated with living with anxiety and alcoholism and parenting with ADHD.

The Path to Alone

 

Out of site, out of mind

I've been here before

Traveled this path

And know what's in store

 

A moment passes, 

Then two, then three

I look for a sign

But no one's thinking of me

 

The winds begin to stir

I can't find my breath

Ashamed of these feelings

I've expertly kept

 

My heart races fast

As the panic takes hold

Somebody, anybody

The world feels so cold

 

Alone and exposed

I accept my new fate

A storm withins brews

Yet still I hesitate

 

Little by little

Resentment rolls in 

Happiness clouded

By bitter, cold wind

 

The fog grows dense

And I can't find way

Howling, whirling voices 

Lead me astray 

 

Turbulent waters

strike at the Earth

eroding her beauty

Engulfing her worth 

 

But ahead in a clearing

A break in the clouds

The sun beckons warmly

To life beyond the falls

 

A life of serenity

A life of alone

A life to live proudly

A life all my own

 

The road won't be easy

Storms rage; winds attack

But once around the falls

I will never look back.

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1 min read
Elephants

Elephants

Poem by Ben Mitchell

Elephants


When I was small, there were lots of elephants.

They'd walk in rows with sequined showgirls

straddling ornate furniture on their backs --


a woman with purple feathers for a hat

strung up by her teeth on a silver wire,

miles in the sky and dangling like a shark.


Back then you could laugh at elephants 

or women hanging up like trophies.

I could rip off my clothes in the vegetable section--


take a shit right in my pants.  What changed 

in the years to come was an ever diminishing

circle of what was acceptable -- like a noose.


Some days I walk into the office and as soon as my mouth

drops open, a purple accordion

leaps from my lips and honks wildly around the room.


I must restrain it by clubbing it to death with a chair.

Or when you're wearing a tie and a big yellow giraffe

sticks its nobbly head from your left breast pocket.


It bobs with polka dots on its long neck, staring

blankly into the face of Doctor-Someone-Or-Other;

its humid nostrils fogging the good doctor's glasses. 


What if eels or leopard geckos burst from his eyes

arranged themselves in rows, to dance the can-can, 

on the parade ground at your feet.

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