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Neon, Neon by Jessi Harrison

Meet me at the crossroads, he says. Bring ice, & everything that’s holding

you back.  I find myself whispering knots, & anchors, & harmful

transgressions into cubes, & throwing them into oncoming traffic.

The cars run over all the things you need to empty, & scatter them

in new directions. This is how beginnings start.


I am hot as a shot of whiskey. The beer flush  on my cheeks like I am not

From a drinking state. Like I have never run barefoot in the snow from the bar

after having one too many tequila shooters on NYE, breast boosted like I could keep

up with the boys. The boys who only ever wanted to see how long, or how much

it took to get the layers off.  There must be a body under there somewhere.

Speculation the only concrete an imagination has in the middle of 40 degrees below

on January nights.


This is how we make ourselves, he says,eyes green as jungle jade. We like to sit across

from each other & measure the amount of restraint we carry. I like to play with fire.

He likes to get burned. There is symbiosis in every aspect of fuck.


Do not whisper God’s name, he says as his hands hold my throat. I am so bored, I say. No,

you are tragic. He holds his thumb around my esophagus, his digits imprinting their physicality in bruises. I have never felt closer to dying. I have never felt so alive. I choke on all the usual

moans. Don’t be simple, he says. That’s what’s boring. Who fucking wants ordinary? Ordinary,

is for housewives & fuckboys who think their decisions in life are special. Special, is for second

place ribbons. You, are a trophy case. Polish yourself clean in all your glory.


There is nothing but distance between words. The flicker of neon. The clack of misguided

boots down a sawdust hall. The clock measures moments we cannot digest. I cannot hold liquor,

or a conversation like I used to. Like I so mistakenly desire.


He speaks, soft as morning, of a light I do not see.  Of a beauty I have never known.

The night is blacker than blindness. Watch the sky. Measure how the stars dance. What

does it take to tango? Where do you learn moves like that? Winter closes in with each breath.

I am not ready for the cold,  I tell him with soaked intent. Darling, no one ever fucking is.

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The World Ain’t Fair by Talin Likha

“The World ain’t fair, my child.”

A father to his discouraged girl.


That shattered the father’s heart into prickly pieces for he never imagined a day would come where he had to reveal the horrors of reality to his beloved girl when He first held her as a baby.

He wanted to protect her




He could no longer be her knight in shining armor against this unfair World.

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of spins and speech

Mama says, “When you are really tired, you won’t have to tell anyone.
You will stop proclaiming it from mountaintops,
or rallying around your tiredness in the village square.
Naw, baby!  When you are really tired…in all your blackness
and sexiness and woman-ness, the world will feel it – a guttural
cry from it’s core will rise up!  All words coming together until there are none.
(Have you ever heard a woman’s holler
when the news hits her lactating breasts that there will be no child to feed?
Lost to the auction block or while clawing its way through the vaginal canal?)
It is a sound that you can hear even in your sleep –
a sound that tattoos itself onto windpipes.
The essence of you as a Black. Woman. with the gall to be tired will halt
the earth on its axis.  And everyone…everyone will hold their breath if only
for a moment.  And they will know.  So, naw baby…you ain’t tired just yet.
The earth is still spinning.
And you are still talking.”

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Holy Water

Him: Babe. Does water thirst?
Her: Sure. Of course. Water thirsts. Everything thirsts.
Him: I don’t think so. I think that it is attracted to dry things. That it gravitates toward areas of drought. But thirst and gravitation are not the same. Only porous entities thirst.
Her: An intact vessel. Water thirsts…for holy grails with no holes. Trust me on this one.


When he speaks

My vagina spills, pours, gives

Sacred water

When he speaks

I never spill

In vain

Woman? The vessel?

No.  You are mistaken

The woman is the living waters

Thirsting for

Her one true holy grail