It is not the darkness,
but the light refusing
to shine into that place.
It is not the argument
we had over breakfast this morning,
but the years of silence.
It is not the murder of one man
on one day
but the systemic oppression
of human beings for centuries.
Vernae is new to the world of publishing, but is enjoying every moment of it. She began submitting her work for publication in 2018 and has been published several times. Her unpublished Children’s Book “Teddy Wet My Bed” was selected as one of five Finalists by Eyelands 2019 Book Awards in the Unpublished Books Category. Vernae is praying for healing and health in our nation and the world.
How Dare You humanize yourself?
How Dare You leave your assigned statistic?
How Dare You plead for the rights I forget I have?
How Dare You be more than a job-stealing terrorist?
How Dare You challenge every single assumption I’ve built?
They were right.
You are very dangerous.
Gretchen is a university student grappling with understanding the breadth of hurt in the world.
Whenever I enter the teacher’s lounge, the schoolmarm starts loud-mouthing about maintaining standards. She smells like mothballs.
Spying me, she blames the Blacks, non-native speakers, and once even the feminists, insisting she doesn’t care what we think.
She makes everything smell of mothballs, but we don’t say anything about that.
Nkosi Ife Bandele is a storyteller who has worked as journalist and has written for stage, TV, and film. His two novels, The Ape is Dead! and The Beast, are published by Crimson Cloak Publishing and can be purchased at crimsoncloakpublishing.com/nkosi-ifebandele.html. See more on his website: eshubandele.com.
My house is made of windows. I clench the rock in my hand and shove it in my pocket.
They slur words by the barbecue—the meat sings as it burns.
I jump on the trampoline and break through. My ankles begin swelling as I limp through empty beer cans.
Khalilah Okeke was raised in the Pacific Northwest and now resides in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two children. Her work has been published in Down in the Dirt magazine, The Red Eft Review, and The Orissa Society of the Americas Journal. You can follow her blog at khalilahokeke.wordpress.com.
“It’s from the Mexicans,” she explained, slicing the cake.
“Mom,” I protested. “They have names.”
“I can’t remember…”
“Hugo and Gina. They’ve lived next door for more than a year.”
“They’re nice,” she admitted, “but I don’t let them in.”
Later that afternoon, the “For Sale” sign appeared next door.
Tony Jasnowski teaches English at Bellevue University in Bellevue, NE. He is grateful for those neighbors who welcomed his own immigrant parents and siblings many years ago.
“No, they do not teach you in school. They don’t teach you how to find the art in your name, and how to speak of that art. No, they don’t teach you to love your beautiful warm, brown hands.
“They only teach you to love black on everything but yourself.”
Angelica is a Kenyan writer who seeks to educate the world about the New Afrika she grew up and lives in, through the stories she weaves.
I am middle aged when you mention
that as a child at Christmastime
you were chased around your neighborhood
by big blond boys shouting
I’ve known you all my life,
yet you are distant land,
and few years remain for me to touch that soil.
Jennifer usually writes poetry, occasionally writes short fiction. See more at her website.
Mahmoud took a seat near the back of the bus.
He turned, seeking the source of the insult: a shaven-headed youth.
Mahmoud smiled. “Hello there, Jonathan! How’s the appendix scar healing?”
The lad, suddenly scarlet, looked aghast.
Mahmoud’s hospital pager vibrated. No rest for the wicked, he thought.
Jason Lennick is a word and image wrangler from England, currently residing in Denmark. He’s 100% organic and now completely gluten-free. Please check out his blog.
Then there’s the parallel universe entirely identical to our own, with two exceptions.
Firstly, racism doesn’t exist. Race and heritage are not commented on at all; the world is one big melting pot.
The second exception: cannibalism is a normal way of life.
We all look the same when cooked.
George Hopkin puts words and spaces together and hopes like heck they entertain or inform. If they both entertain and inform, he thinks that’d be just fantastic, thank you very much.
My new friend, at end
of summer camp,
told me she would miss me
oh so much
and could I please
come visit her, but not
if I was
her mother hated
I was ten. I held the knowledge
of such hatred
like a stone
beneath my tongue.
Jennifer L. Freed lives in Massachusetts, where she raises her children, writes poetry, tutors (writing and ESL), and likes to play with clay, which she disguises as ceramic sculpture. She has taught ESL in China, the Czech Republic, and the U.S. She has recently published a chapbook, These Hands Still Holding (Finishing Line Press, 2014). You can read more of her poems at her website, jfreed.weebly.com.