Session Two Anthology
MENTOR: Cynthia Cruz
a poem for saints
as originally published in Corresponding Voices, Point of Contact
after John Wieners
I sit in St. Brendan’s. At 10:22 AM with
Mami the divorcee. She teaches me
Communion. Take your sin hot
at the mouth. Up the street under belt
buckles my spine cups her gift—The ritual.
We make it. And have made it.
I am blood and blood is beckoned.
Soon I will pick up the phone
Papi, please take me. The poem
does not lie to us. But she does,
alive in the glamour of her work.
Noel Quiñones is an AfroBoricua from the Bronx. He has received fellowships from Poets House, CantoMundo, Candor Arts, and the Watering Hole, and his work is forthcoming or published in the Latin American Review, LIT HUB, Rattle & in the Best of Kweli Journal Anthology and ¡Manteca! An Anthology of Afro-Latin@ Poets. His performances have been showcased on Huffington Post, Vibe, Button Poetry, Latina Magazine, Medium & elsewhere. Noel is the founder of Project X, a Bronx based arts organization, and was most recently named one of New York State's 40 Under 40 Rising Latino Stars. Visit him at www.noelpquinones.com @NQNino322.
I See You Only in Nightmares and All the Stars Are Out
Bite my eyelashes as hard as their endurance
to clip, there my harmony lies.
You will squint and I will watch you stretch
street lights to an arc, the burn lands
on cars leading them on.
Less like a neck in mist
an umbrella so kind, disappears
with a name after the rain
has stopped and is not done.
My memory too, does that, attended by fish
at an open shore gleaming another ocean.
You belong to how everything is touched
Given the permutations
of, then, and, maybe a life sent
towards a hill in seasons of drought—
with soaked pants pressing earth in
to bend upwards for dusk.
Nadim Choufi is an Arab-Lebanese poet and his recent work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Versal, Sukoon, the Shade Journal, Crab Fat Magazine, and elsewhere.He tweets from @nadimchoofs
I’m nearly wasted with the constellations.
Here is my lonely head in the clean air.
Here are my shoulders
bluing under my shirt.
Whatever I was before
still creases in me,
The way I ended up in my mother’s hands
just in time,
the distance in the sky, the light crashing into a pitch.
Oh to be here, where my name almost survives.
To be tired and just that–– to be a body sick
with proof, the pain
moving in two directions
like wind on a street.
I suppose I could be wrong, a low bend in the knees,
a call in the night
touched and misguided.
Just promise me that whatever is empty
will always be empty and mine.
Jarid McCarthy is a poet and theatre student living in Southern California. He pretends that he's an oracle-on-the-rise. His favorite time of day is golden hour.
Walking Past The Baby Pictures Of The Guy I Just Fucked, On The Way Out Of A House That I Will Never Enter Again, All I Can Hope Is That His Mom Isn’t Home And That The Girl That Leaves My House After Fucking My Son Also Stays The Fuck Away From Me
i have these claw marks across the most generous roll of my stomach. from taking my dog swimming and getting too close. they are fading into dashes as they heal and i felt the need to explain myself as we passed through the empty halls of our bodies trying not to make eye contact “Oh, this is from my dog by the way” and then i realize that doesn’t make the claw marks make any more sense, because the question becomes why did your dog have the chance to claw your soft belly then he’s like, “oh i hadn’t noticed” and now i really want to stop talking about my dog because then i might tell him about the moth that flew onto the page of my book last night and how i slammed it shut and reshelved it and deleted all the poems in which I’ve ever compared myself to a moth and tried not to think about how soft it looked. how moths are like living whispers. and then i might say that when i was 8 i broke a window with a fishing pole and haven’t told anyone and I might ending up saying that before I got out of the car I read on twitter that the tiny parasite Toxoplasma gondii can only breed when in the guts of a cat. So when it infects rats, it changes their behaviour to make them less scared of cats. and i might say that i have holes all over from men and so claw marks are really nothing and that’s why i forgot they were there until just now and then i might say that once on easter when i was 6 my brother got his arm sucked into an escalator and i pulled him out and i cried in the taxi the whole way home even when my brother had long stopped and then he tosses me my bralette and i realize I’ve said nothing since we reached a blank wall at the end of the hallway and I wipe the sweat from my temple and when i look up his eyes are gone and he is chewing the sleeve of my shirt, and the record on the record player is dripping off the table onto the carpet, staining it with tiny spots of black.
Hannah Schneider is a recent graduate of Ball State University with a degree in public communication. She writes poetry and creative nonfiction in order to explore and parse her lived experience. This spring she competed on Ball State's 2017 CUPSI team, has been published in The Broken Plate, Lady/Liberty/Lit and a forthcoming essay in Vida. She is the founder and director of thread arts collective.
a fickle thing
and the bird in the hand.
and the one in the bush.
the winter month is in slivers –
meanwhile, we wait.
our saints have a habit
of slipping between our fingers.
we’re left gasping, dumbly
hoping. the one at the window.
it won’t stop trilling.
is that lilac, jasmine, nettle?
today, equinox, tomorrow,
a map, a chart, a loss.
a belonging of sorts.
the one that died hitting
sand to glass to seaside trinket.
first blush, first fall.
the bunches of flowers
sold at the market:
corollas and cacti.
the ravishment. you were awake.
in the hand, in the bush.
the one that gave me the news.
I used to spend time wondering about her
easter weekend & no one inland the air at a stand-
still smelling faintly of resin & dust the hours trail
in the sky like liquor I can only write one sentence
over & over again which has to do with the sea
of course & her eyes & something more in-
effable still & the weather which I never get right
is rendering me useless sending me into fever dreams
of deserted promenades where I see her & the palm
trees outlined against the sun the wind stirring up
echoes of human voices & how can the memory
of salt on lips still sting after so much time how can
it be so hot this time of the year yet we find the dullness
pleasant (the rain is just that neither prison nor relief
nor remembrance of something sweet) here is absence
without longing & now it is dusk the halos around
lampposts pockmarked by nervous bats & voices
drifting in from across the fields growing mauve
we will go to sleep later dreaming of the gardens
we have not yet stormed
AK Afferez (they/them) is a queer writer and editor. They blog for Ploughshares, and work for Winter Tangerine & Vagabond City Lit. Favorite small talk topics include the apocalypse, tarot, and lesbian history. They tweet @akafferez.
In the letter never sent,
the one constructed
entirely from photographs,
Polaroids of moments, or
elements I have been
attempting to suppress.
In Moyra Davey’s project
titled Burn the Diaries
she writes of genet while
documenting her day-to-day existence,
not unlike the way I have been
trying to archive
the mundane details of my life,
then cut and fix them
into this poem.
But I have forgotten
what was I
before I began.
When I was small
my mother left me
in a high-rise hotel room
in Berlin. And then
I woke to a fire,
the windows thrown open
and a small white scar
inside the left side of my wrist.
I am pleased mostly
with the changes
and the way
I am finally
Cynthia Cruz is the author of four collections of poetry, including three with Four Way Books: The Glimmering Room (2012), Wunderkammer (2014), and How the End Begins (2016). Cruz has received fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, as well as a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University. She has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in writing and an MFA in Art Criticism and Writing from the School of Visual Arts. Cruz is currently pursuing a PhD in German Studies at Rutgers University and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.