The ABC’s of Life: Authority, Borders & Constructs

Nhawndie Smith (Greensboro, NC) I denounce the state for its continued violence on the oppressed. I denounce capitalism, the ways it exploits labor, consumes bodies and lays waste globally. I denounce colonization in all forms, specifically the false ownership of…

Wildflowers

Image: Pharoah Egbuna (Durham, NC) Poem: Rashida James-Saadiya (Durham, NC) I’m not seeing spirits they live here under skin embedded in bone    a constant reminder there are white jackets lurking beyond your door don’t move they will smell you…

Dear Black Gay Boy

Jhonathan Hill (Greensboro, NC) Dear black gay boy You are… dramatic too over the top too colorful too involved Dear black gay boy you are life he opens up his lips and speaks to the air it listens Will you…

Rainbow Hearts

Andrew Monteith (Portland, Oregon) Hey! I got something I need to say. Gotta get this off my chest Gotta give my heart a rest Cause I know this planet spinning In this war that I’m not winning This battle that…

Your Presence Weighs On My Daily Commute

Anna Parisi (New York City, NY) Five million years ago, life in the Paleolithic caves were a constant struggle for survival. [ faint background ] DULL. ALCOHOL LEVELS HIT NULL. THOSE PILLS NO LONGER DO. JUST WHERE ARE YOU? […

Legacy of Love

Alicia Lewis (San Francisco, CA / Albany, NY) Prelude I wrote this short story seven different ways Crafted several different things to say, And hit the delete key more times than I can count. [It felt so important that I…

The Visit

Brettany Renee Blatchley (Asheville, NC) Shortly before Mother’s Day, my sister called and granted me a ten minute visit with Mom who, I learned, had been hospitalized for a month with pneumonia. After I gently “came-out” to her in a…

You’re in a Safe Place Here

Brettany Renee Blatchley (Asheville, NC) I had changed, was snuggled under the threadbare hospital blanket on a gurney in a frigid staging room. The nurse had been sweet as she took my hand in greeting, then started a saline IV;…

Becoming Beautiful

Brettany Renee Blatchley (Asheville, NC) There must be something in the water, but no, I know it’s not the water. Still when I stood before the mirror unclothed after my swim, I saw them, or rather I didn’t: it’s those…

Sunday Outing

Brettany Renee Blatchley (Asheville, NC) “Yes, these women’s hands” she said… A cisgender woman I befriended at church a few months ago noticed I am unusual, but assumed that I was simply a tall woman of Scandinavian stock (which is…

Gracefully Trans

Brettany Renee Blatchley (Asheville, NC) Being gracefully transgender is… …Being comfortable being transgender… …Without apology… …Without complacency… …Without letting fear paralyze me… …Expressing myself in kindness… …With gentleness… …With firmness… …With joy… …Becoming who I am… …All I am.

Will I Be Touched

Brettany Renee Blatchley (Asheville, NC) Can I be Touched? Will I let you Dare? Am I Desired, Even There? Oh touch, oh Touch Thou art Aware! Oh care, oh Care, For I am Fair? See Within and Look Without! Is…

Growing Out of the Closet

Brianna Leahy (Trinity, NC) When I was four, my cousin and I would play house. She was always the wife, and I was the husband. I didn’t want to be the wife, because I thought I’d have to wear a…