Women-Introducing Rishika Sangeeta

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[Poem by Rishika Sangeeta]

women are told
lies before they even understand the concept of truth
taught to be softer
sweeter
smile more
laugh less
lower your eyes you insolent witch
taught to unravel like a carpet beneath a man’s feet

there is a place for a young girls dreams
your mother tells you at 12
and it hangs itself inside closets
tucks itself silent and simmering in her snarling curls
perfumes the house with the aroma of spices and bitter compromise
you will understand when you are older she says
and her eyes shine at you like a sickle moon in an empty sky
too tired to put up a fight

women are taught
to belong
to surrender
like sheep led to slaughterhouses innocent of your deceit

women are taught
to quicken their pace as day passes into the jaws of black night
the dark hides terrors little one
and animal lust
and the only voice she hears is her mother’s
and it whispers
run!

women are taught
their bodies are commodities to be bought and sold to the highest bidder
her mother is careful to call it dowry
a bride price
as if the safe trappings of tradition and culture
somehow censors the truth
that she never belonged to herself
she never would

in this world
a woman willing to claim herself
is deadly
dangerous
an outlier

but listen to me
you belong first to the call in your veins
to the pulse in your throat
to this shell that carries you
battered and bruised through
the quagmire of living
and you are powerful
merely for existing
for enduring
for loving

never forget that

[Rishika Sangeeta is a therapist in training and a writer of romantic prose and poetry. She spends hours in communion with the dark and her heart in a constant quest to unearth some meaning from the mayhem of living.]

Ageless-Christina Strigas

Christina Strigas

I know that age matters not

right now, but then it did.

It mattered when we raced against

the wind. I was just a babe in your arms.

You were a man even as a teenager.

You had this way of bringing me love

on a tray, and spoiling me until

I was full on your love. I had it

all, for a brief time. I showed you

my cuts and bruises

and you kissed them. Your lips

on my shoulders within seconds.

My hands unbuckling your belt

in such a frantic youthful way

in an ageless time

between this world and the next.

Let’s remember where we were

and lament the age of us.

It matters that you see past

the girl. We felt invincible

and will never know that freedom

again, that youthful love we held

onto so naurally.

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Firefly By Hannah Munroe

 

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[Poem by Hannah Munroe]

Like a cleopatra but with more legs
I shine so bright but it’s not beautiful like a firework
Danger like the Lightning
We buzz around each others atmosphere
I bring the heat down to you
But your light is so cold
You’ve always been a nomad – man in flight
And like the Lightning that goes straight to the dirt that is where I stay
No one cares about your shining beams from down here
I can see all your edges from the ground
The insight is my only advantage to this field I am stuck on

Christmas Morning by Nadia Garofalo

sufjan-stevensChristmas Morning by Nadia Garofalo

We sit in pregnant silence
The current distress collects
in my head, rains down my face
You say nothing
Again I’m that girl
in the black skirt
That drank too much
Didn’t work hard enough
Snuck out of your life
All without permission
The woman next to you
The stranger you raised
Despite all you did
I’m still living in my own skin
And I won’t speak first
I can’t afford to
So we sit here
Until we get to the airport
And for the first time
I look back from the security line
and you aren’t there.

Remember; learn-Introducting Cliff Notez

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[Poem by Cliff Notez, photo from the biography of Eva Jones-Young]

Remember;learn 1

There are times where I curse the past
Reminiscing on the Grit of pain
an accepting that things have happened.
Disregarding that things are happening,
I am turning a blind eye to my hindsight
Ignorance has never been bliss
Memories are not prophecies
They are blueprints.
Remember, recollect, remind.
Reconsider, revisit, recalculate
Remember, recollect, remind.
Remember.
Remember.
Remember;
when concrete shaved the skin off your palms.
How it made you miss the comfort of your bike
and how you will never hit that corner,
Going that fast again.
Remember;
Your first fight
Decorating your face with knuckles and blood
how he hit you with a jab,

– Remember;learn 2

jab,
hook,
jab, jab.
Learn to duck
And swing
And counter
And swing
Until you hit
Until you hit.
Hit,
Until you break.
Remember;
Not all things broken will be fixed
Remember;
Surviving demise makes you invulnerable
Remember;
we have been surviving since we were born
Remember;
Nights with no box-spring and dinner plate,
Never go hungry and sleepless
Remember;
sleep closely relates to death
Remember;
The day your grandmother died,
never let another good woman leave you again.

– Remember;learn 3

Remember;
the day you first cried,
how laughter felt like hugs
Remember;
the homicides
And how to never relive a crime scene again
Remember denial
Learn access
Remember pain
Learn pleasure
Remember tribulation
Learn good fortune
Remember where your feet walked in turmoil
And learn to never walk in coal again
Compress the memories of those roads
And create diamonds
Remember;
how they burnt your school down in 8th grade
Value your education
Savor every cent they give you for being under privileged
Remember you are privileged
Remember there is white privilege
Remember you are different
Learn the beauty of blackness

– Remember;learn 4

Remember you have Vitiligo
Never forget that beauty is beyond skin deep
Remember;
when they kept you silent,
learn to sing euphonies when asked to speak.
after remembering the lack of luster and value in lies
learn to speak truth
Remember;
how we’d be living the same pain
if we never learned to escape it.
When thinking of the past
Do not disregard struggle
Remember;
how none of it came easy
be thankful that any of it happened.

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[Born in Boston Massachusetts, at the beginning of the 90s, Cliff Notez  is an artist, film maker, poet, musician, photographer, and producer/engineer working with people and places like Harvard, MIT, Boston University, RAW Art Works and more. Cliff recently graduated from Northeastern University [2016] with a masters in digital media and was 2016 Vox Pop Poetry Slam Champion with the Haley House slam team and is currently finishing up his new film and albums, and chap book due out in 2017.When he’s not working on his own art or doing shows, he’s working on everyone else’s as the founder and director of media brand HipStory as lead administrator and educator for the Institute of Contemporary Art’s Teen New Media Programs.]