The Title of This Poem is Drake Ass Niggas Unless You Are Not Black, Then It’s Run Me My Money

by Tianna Bratcher

To all the men who ask me for my real name and not my stripper name,

what is knowing my real name going to change for you? 

whether it’s Tianna, Alex, Diamond, Peaches, or Rozay 

this ass still gon’ shake the same! 

A lap dance still gon’ cost 20 dollars 

(and I’m not here to get to know you better) 

so shut up and run me my money 

Dear all you Drake ass niggas, 

sitting at the tip rail whispering

you don’t have to do this

who come into the club

to try and save me or fall in love 

I did not clock in to find a boyfriend 

or be the next Aaliyah, Alicia or Bria 

off the single on your new mixtape 

this is not a rap song

this is my job

and according to my rent, tuition, 

dreams, aspirations and refrigerator

I do need to do this

just shut up, and RUN ME MY money!

To the man who told me my hair being in a bun looked like I didn’t put any effort into it, AKA my boss, AKA another white man who has told a Black woman how to wear her hair in the workplace. You have never laid edges before or managed to slick your baby hairs down just right with a toothbrush or just brushed a Black woman’s hair back before.  All These Things Take Effort. But I shouldn’t expect you to know anything about that since you’ve been balding since you were 13. Today you are a lucky man. You are lucky I need this job. You are lucky I tucked my wrath between my teeth and spared you by clenching my jaw instead of my fists, 

SHUT UP!  and run. me. my. money. 

To the @#!$ who think my job is so easy,

who tell me they could do a better job / if they were a woman, 

never mind the bruises / the unwanted groping and sex offers / 

or sitting with a man who prefers you quiet / naked / 

as he spews his privilege and 5th beer all over you* 

*Shut-up-and-run-me-my-money

Do you know what it means to be a Queer Black woman with an understanding 

of cis-heteropatriarchal capitalism AND be a stripper:

it means removing your tongue 

trying to hide your identities in a g-string 

it means some nights spent crying because no one wanted a dance 

from the Black women, but all the white women went home with racks

it means entertaining your oppressors. Speaking of oppressors, 

do you know how hard it is to dance for someone who voted for trump? 

white men be my number one enemy 

and number one customer all at once

I service men who believe serving them is not an actual job 

like I’m not literally bending over backwards to put a smile on their ungrateful face

they make excuses as to why they can’t humanize me 

they see me as some object to possess, not someone to pay 

so            instead

of                 telling 

me                  my job                

is                 so easy

SHUT. UP. AND. RUN. ME. MY. MONEY.


Tianna is a Queer, Black, woman, sister, and auntie originally from
Anchorage, Alaska and is now residing in Oakland, California. She has been
published in The Shade Journal, Placed 7th at WOWPS 2020. The 2016 winner
of Best Love poem at Collegiate Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, placed 5th
at the National Poetry Slam 2017, 2018-2019 fellow at The Watering Hole,
and a 2017 Queer Emerging Artist Resident at Destiny ARTS. She has a BA in
Interdisciplinary Studies and dreams of opening a creative arts youth
center. Her work centers reclamation of the body, Black girl/womanhood,
healing through generational trauma and shaking ass. Tianna is a twerk
influencer, Steven Universe lover and spends much of her free time admiring
trees.

Taxidermy: Papa’s Cancer Makes A Home In My Monday

by Miona Short

after Joshua Bennett’s ‘Taxonomy’

My mouth opens: 5:00 am sits down and waits for tomorrow. The clouds are buxom today. The cold is coming. The cold comes. My mother’s words from a dream. The cold melts. What I’m learning in physics class. The Laplace equation is a special case of Poisson. No charge. The minute hand is divorced from the hour hand. And they are both running away. Beet juice. Carrot juice. Papa’s cancer. It’s windy. My coat is somewhere on the internet. Legendre polynomials. Boundary conditions. The inside of a Crystal Gem. The lake. The rapist around the corner. Beet juice. Carrot juice. The cleansing. The hiding of sweets. Papa’s cancer. The long fast. The long fast. The anxiety of focus. Papa’s cancer. The Bible. The best friend who sleeps close. Queen Sugar. Insecure. Atlanta. How to Get Away with. Mississippi. Papa’s cancer. The lie of being radically soft. Ferromagnetism. Paramagnetism. The Schrödinger equation says one thing about everything. The influency of my love language. The potential well. The imperfect math. Papa’s cancer? The angular momentum of a breathless afternoon. The rain. The cold. The wind. The walk to the best friend that sleeps so close. The dead phone. The lie of being radically soft. The honey in my tea.


This poem previously appeared in WusGood? Magazine.

Tableau for Saying Goodbye

by Jennifer Greenberg

Blankets, blankets, bed
of worry. There stir,
there sleep, there shake the
dreams. Skin to skin, we
spooled like thread. There mouth.
There feet. Our quiet
disbelief. There try
try try, and need need
need, and touch on touch,
on neck on neck on
neck, kiss neck. Bite, blow,
bend the curtains back.
Bless light that bolts the
windows with breath of
morning. Warm on warm.
Want on want. Bless nose
on nose and knees. Brush
hair from the face, that
face, that face. Brush up
against and away
from. Us, this us, this
locomotive us,
touch thigh, touch palms (that
holy palmers touch)
just to please, please, please,
apologize for
nothing. Feel home, feel
sick. Feel many miles
between us. Want kiss.
Want more kiss. Want to
want to want to need
you. Want old days to
come back new. Want all
this wanting to just
die already. There
tease. There take. Grasping
for what’s already
gone. Make noise. Make tea.
Make prayer for the
lonely. Hold hands. Bless
hands. Devil took my
hands. That crave. That quake.
That itching in the
gut. Bless lips, on lips.
Devil took my lips.
Here comes the blue, bruise
sky. Backside of the
moon. Underside of
night. Give hug. Give up.
Give me your sideways
eyes. Gonna miss those
looks, gonna miss those
bones; neck; breasts; chest, bell
for the blood that keeps
ringing. Listen, hey,
listen. It’s ringing.


Jennifer is an opacarophile and associate editor with the South Florida Poetry Journal. More of her poems can be found at Literary Mama, SWWIM Everyday, Homology Lit, Coffin Bell, Frontier Poetry, The New Southern Fugitives and @LegitLiterature on Instagram.

Souls for a Quick Come-up

by DeShara Suggs-Joe

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

–Mark 8:36

souls for honey                souls for matching socks  souls for loose change  souls for loose squares  souls for loose  souls for MTA fare  souls for polices badges souls for jammed guns   souls for souls    souls for clean teeth   souls for full stomachs  souls for health insurance                souls for orgasms   souls for good grades   souls for good   souls for debt      souls for spells  souls for fire  souls for flowers    souls    souls for rest   souls for anxiety  souls for faith   souls for Jesus  souls for the blood   souls for the bloody    souls oh souls souls for gel pens     souls for getting out of the bed   souls for the begging   souls for Popeye’s chicken sandwiches     souls for vegans    souls for clear liquor  souls for cleanliness    souls to glitter    souls for bodies              souls for corruption     souls to ships  souls for oceans    souls for land   souls for war           souls for asswhoppins   souls for revenge        souls for takeovers     souls for lottery tickets        souls for luck   souls for souls    souls for blacks     souls go black    souls been black   souls for the meek                  souls for reparations   oh those souls for sales   souls for generational wealth   souls for pieces   souls for dinner      souls to taste     souls taste better with hot sauce   souls for hot sauce     souls for kin   souls be kin  souls for calling the souls back   souls for going home   souls for knowing home is always   souls for the north star        souls for sweet potato pie    souls for cornbread    souls for singing a sugary hymn    souls for sermons    souls for remembering   souls be remembering   souls as scars  souls as backwash   souls for backlash   souls for granddaddy  souls for big mama        souls for greenhouse gas   souls for planets      souls for destruction                                                                                                     

Souls for valuables       souls oh souls stay on your ass ‘til you show them the money


DeShara is a queer black poet and the Creative Director of Workshops at Winter Tangerine. She co-founded Daughter’s Tongue and is a former member of the Youth Speaks Collective. She received her MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts. She is a 2016 Callaloo Fellow, 2017 Poetry Incubator Fellow, and a 2018/2019 Pink Door Fellow. She’s been published in Tinderbox Journal, Winter Tangerine, The Texas Review, and others. She’s also been featured on Button Poetry’s YouTube platform. She has performed at the likes of Spotify, Yahoo, and Pinterest but considers home inside a classroom teaching creative writing or listening to her “Feels” playlist on repeat.

RED

by Hiwot Adilow

Let me not forget the cliché scents
of my dad, all red: cowboy killers
on his hip, old spice, his Phillies cap
faded and stained with sweat, Arab
oils on his wrists, wot my mother
cooked clinging to his hands.

I want to remember his dimples,
how he’d pour red label into OJ
and say all the ladies used to kiss me
here and here. The mornings,
I’d sit at his bedside and listen
to his dreams of phantom children
crawling beside me on crimson carpets.
He wanted a dozen sons
when the house was bright.

Before time covered us in dust,
I peel back my own scabs to pluck
memories from my waning brain:
shotgun, I stare while he steers,
his left hand still alive, he drums
some tizita on the wheel. While he drives
to Abyssinia he says: daughter, do you know
where you are? In a pink shirt his cane
clicks thru the present and he invites me
for a tour thru his new kingdom,
all fluorescent buzz, death behind a curtain
screaming for help, he grunts while he yells
for the sick to shut up, uses his good arm to rise
and guide me past a staff of daughters who smile
and call him papi, they call me pretty, and finally
he says, of course my last drop, my baby would be,
he walks with me slowly to the elevator,
I don’t want to let go or say I love you this time
when he shows me out, when he says stay good instead of goodbye

LOL

by Sadie Dupuis

Deftly I network
out of the thrum
to my phantom subterranea

Promos hovering
lo like bats
the flying dream
where you frantically paddle
your claws off the porn

Do you still want
to be my duplicate

Does my voice offer
a genial uncanny

So glum all twisted
in a slipshod knot

It’s me conning my way into the gleaming credentials
vs me who can’t just go get a new one


Sadie Dupuis is the guitarist, songwriter & singer of rock band Speedy Ortiz, as well as the producer & multi-instrumentalist behind pop project Sad13. Sadie heads the record label Wax Nine, which recently launched a weekly poetry journal, and holds an MFA in poetry from UMass Amherst, where she also taught writing. Mouthguard, her first book, was published in 2018 (Black Ocean); poems have appeared in outlets including jubilat, Sixth Finch, and Rolling Stone.

instagram live baking club at the end of the world -or- in which christina tosi teaches me how to substitute

by gigi bella

it’s 2pm eastern standard time & i am so glad you’re here! i know everything’s a little blurry, it’s ok, we’ll adjust soon, don’t worry too hard, the way we like to do this is by laying out the recipe until you guess what we’re making so right now in my kitchen, you can see a several pound bad of loss, some grief i’ve had laying around, a container of fear that is somehow bottomless, i can never seem to get rid of it all, now i know you have these things that home, standard, we all do, especially right now, y’know when you’re transitioning to being vegetarian or vegan or traumaless or free, any of those types of things, it can feel like you’re losing a lot, there is so much gone just begging you to miss it, today in baking club, i want to talk about alternatives how emptiness becomes something new maybe even better, a thing that keeps you more alive for longer, let’s talk about sadness, how its easy substitute can be a bird chirp that sounds like a slide whistle, a dance move you didn’t know your lover could do, a song you listened to on the train every day for a month, for fear, you can scoop out a cup of the time you left behind everything you knew just get a tattoo with your sister on st. mark’s, the time you wore a beret to work, the time you left a man who loved the newness of a chat bubble more than the blush of your apple pie cheeks, there is no alternative for loss, here we just call it a well, make a divot in the dry ingredients and pour in our substitutes little by little, over time it will be full again, perfectly combined, don’t try to pour everything in at once, it will overflow, just remember sometimes starting over is not just ok, it’s necessary, this time substitute the overwhelming cancellation with eighth grade band practice, code name board game night, your name, a poem at your first open mic, substitute the empty bottle, the sledgehammered heart, the country that never learned how to love, with the birthday sprinkle vanilla extract of you, begin to stir, a dollop at a time, have you guessed what we’re making yet? i think in some places they call it healing or safety, another name for it is resilience, when you pronounce it the right way though, it kind of sounds like your name, don’t you think?


gigi bella is the tenth ranked woman poet in the world, the Project X Bronx Poetry Champion, a Pink Door Fellow & a National Poetry Slam Champion. She has been featured alongside Andrea Gibson, Joy Harjo, Sabrina Benaim, Olivia Gatwood and many others. Her chapbook, weird things, was featured on the instagram of pop singer/songwriter, Sara Bareilles. Her other work is featured on Button Poetry, Slamfind and in What Are Birds?, Maps for Teeth and Knight’s Library. Her book, big feelings, is available on gameoverbooks.com & at an indie bookstore near you!

The Shape of Comfort

by Gabriel Orion

we do not live in a society we live
on a planet, and there is nowhere
I can go to read or to write this poem
that does not cost ten dollars

trying to find power in those words
and comfort in their shapes.

what is the shape of your life?
what words would you use?
will their shapes form the whole?
will they consume our need
for the question in the first place?

tonight, you can catch a glimpse
of the open field beyond the office park
where nature will take you
and she will take me, too

here I am needing you, specifically
to hold my throat like a glass of red wine
a fit of rage away from saying
I think we’ve had too much
and all I want is to feel myself, crushed

when I think of America, I think
of coca-cola, and when I think of
coca-cola I think of Lana Del Rey
and when I think about Los Angeles, CA
I think about cancer, and how
they use coca-cola to clean
blood off the streets

trying to find humility in those words
and safety in their shapes

the soul of an old place underneath
my boots and determination
revolution is within reach
and there it is

Now You Do

by Kayla Wheeler

Watching my body open, a game
you play like kissing darts, like bad
girls or dark honey. Tell me I’m your favorite
fast car, your better-than-everything baby. I am
all for you. Take me to your wild heaven. Say
video. Backyard Fame. Sing my name
a drunk kiss, undress me a pool of perfume.
I am an idea worth living for.
Whistle. Lean in. Pull.

Two Poems

A six-word story

by Eric Nelson

I too am a friendly ghost.

[Welling up in my hands are emotions]

by Dan Magers

Welling up in my hands are emotions,
and I awakened in her wake,
and I almost saw heaven then.

The other productive thing I did was eat Thai food.
My boss had to take the day off when his retainer fell out.

The free clinic girl turned to me glistening,
Don’t you sometimes feel that this is just a dream?

Stars to Earth and currents passing…

This feels so good. Slap me if I fall asleep,
She says you’ve been sleeping this whole time.

Like a teenager again.

Dust motes exploding off her hair.
And I woke up in a wheel chair