Deep by Alex Acuff

Alex Acuff

from the verse,
no boundaries, no scenes.
No need to rhyme or remind you;
I can take my sweet time
while you read between the lines of words.
Birds. They fly sometimes,
like words.
That was a comparison.
Anything and everything designed, so
forget it. I’m done.
That was deep. Don’t you agree?
No? Why not?
I’m so free,
like a leaf, or many leaves.
Comparisons. Artifice.
Soon, nothing left to read
as I take deep breaths and breathe.
Nowhere to go.
Once again,
I’ll flow with zen and
absolve myself of all literary sin.
Why am I rhyming again?
I’m done.
I mean it this time.

Alex Acuff has an Associates in Arts from GTCC and is currently pursuing a BA in English from UNCG. He writes mostly plays and poetry. Some of his plays have been performed in South Africa, Australia, Costa Rica, as well as the United States. ( He also enjoys playing basketball and video games.

What Matters More by Rebecca Kurt

What Matters More
Rebecca Kurt

The list of things that matter more than my sexuality is long.
If you get me to squeak out that I’m lesbian/bi/pan…
You don’t know the truth.
I received a lump of identities that I don’t understand…
Anymore than I understand Japanese or German.

Let me tell you who I really am:
I am a lover of sunlight,
When our affair is destroyed by rain
I cry bitter tears.

I identify as a hiker,
Someone who walks
Well-worn trails of scented pine.

The world turns me on,
What are women and men
To the Andes or the Uruguayan shore?

I devour books with my eyes,
Running my hands over rough pages with longing,
They make me gasp with pleasure.

I tremble when I write,
A well-done climax is an orgasm,
One that outlast time.

I lust after pastries and drool over spice,
I prepare each meal differently every time,
Every bite an adventure.

My heart quickens for running,
My pulse jumps to lift and squat,
I feel powerful and high from the effort.

What have you to say of this polyamory?
This intense desire for life?
Let me tell you one more thing:

I am in love with a woman,
The only person I’ve ever loved.
I told her once that she is my orientation…

She said that wasn’t true,
Because I can desire any person.
But what is desire to love?

I desire the mountains and trees,
I long to touch words
She is concrete and she is more than a concept.

This is how I understand,
Not through lists of ideas
But through life itself!

Yes, yes!
What I live
Is who I am.

Rebecca is currently a Junior in the BSW (social work) program. She studied abroad last semester and loves travel and language. Habla español bastante bien, but is not quite comfortable saying she can speak a second language yet. Things that make her heart happy include going to the gym, eating ice cream, petting beautiful dogs, and reading YA novels when she should be doing her homework.

the women hide/when the masquerade comes out by Honora Ankong

the women hide/ when the masquerade comes out
Honora Ankong

Saturdays spent harvesting husks of corn
and tubers of cassava
Sundays were for morning mass
And the chorus of mortars echoing through the village
On Thursday afternoons the dust of the harmattan
Paint my white kneehigh socks brown
As I walked home from primary school

Summer nights spent in grandmother’s hut with
Smoke-filled eyes I fight away sleep
Trying to follow the chatter
happening in my mother-tongue
That my mother never taught me

The president was to come on TV @ 9
But the lights went out
So we’re having a candlelit dinner
—without the romance

After school we play football with anything we can find
Suck the nectar out of hibiscus flowers
Race to climb the guava tree in front of grandfather’s compound
And dance to the rhythm of makossa and bikutsi

Last week at school we had to hide under our desks
Cover our noses with wet hankerchiefs
Because we were invaded by the smell of the tear gas
The motion from the strike outside
Drowns the sound of the school bell

My mom fastens the mosquito net
she tucks me into bed— tells me the story of a man
who lives near the lake,
I fall asleep and dream of playing in the river with my cousins
Those saturday afternoons when the water went out
And we were sent with buckets, to fetch water for bathing
And drinking.

During the dry season, we play hopscotch in the afternoons
Until we hear the messenger’s cries
I’m told to run inside and hide—for the masquerade is coming
Women can’t look at the masquerade, it’s bad luck
I hide behind the guava tree but I take one tiny peek.

Honora Ankong is a 20 year old poet, from Cameroon, West Africa. Majoring in English, minoring in African American and African Diaspora studies. Loves literature, art music and fashion.


A Sober Drunk Ode to Whatever by Bek Brannock

A S̶o̶b̶e̶r̶ Drunk Ode to Whatever
Bek Brannock

Here’s how I’ve learned to open myself:

For God with God
soft prayer stale Communion
one cracker for His body
one bottle of $7.99 Flip Flop wine for mine

Take bended knee or rather
hits before prayer
beg burning bush for Saul scales to fall from
disenchanted eyes searching for
any type of better future

What’s the penance for piss filled jars of sin?

Lately that’s the only gift from my friends
There’s gotta be backlash or
backsplash when someone takes your trust
only to return it sopping wet with excrement

I gave up profanity for Lent
so don’t keep f̶u̶c̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ me up like this

Between His silence and my loneliness
despite my WWJD forgiveness
all I have left is to drink Mary’s fame
until barbed halo shards fall down
disguising scars with hallowed feathers
breaking teeth to fourth dimensional fangs

What’s a monster outside of fiction
What’s a mortal turned angelic
What’s this thing I am now

It’s this beast y’all made me
mentality reorganizing body until
suddenly I’ve dissociated from reality
I don’t belong here anymore I mean
it’s been made obvious I don’t fit in

God help me as I chew my way back
to the Holy Place
devoid of this transcendent shame

I pray there You’ll speak my true name

Bek hates the bourgeoisie and tomatoes. Take their poems with a grain of salt (then shot and lime). Support artists – Insta/Venmo/Cashapp: slugbelly


The Trembling Thread by Asha Gowan

The Trembling Thread
Asha Gowan

on a thread that trembles
untethered from our gauzy womb,
detaching through ashen bits
into the Sun from backyard peach trees
is a dash to the cleansing flame,
a prayer for consumption in the heat,
for liberation from the slow burn.

I am numb
and hungry, 500 miles from home
on the one-way trajectory
since letting go, wind hollowing out
my limbs. The thread is my thread,
droplets from my eyes racing down to you
turning to vapor and dew,
unraveling from my innards where love
digests and twists my gut and longs
for the woven taste of our web of forevers.

on the walls of cold
and darkness, falling from stars
and losing touch with the moon,
night makes the spinnerets ache,
and freeze-dries the teary rise
as the coasting slows

it is to travel the thread
without you. I am retracing
the way I lost my head,
how we cast a line into the sky
and wondered about its echoes.
500 miles and counting.

My love,
it goes and goes and goes.

Asha Gowan writes poetry and fiction, practices visual art and music, and enjoys long quiet walks with nature.

Listen and Obey by Daniel Johnson

Listen and Obey
Daniel Johnson

I am tired and starving
Hold reunions at the shore.
My limbs are cut,
Bloody, bleeding my core.
See clothes worn and torn.
Mommy worked herself sore.
Daddy lived and died poor.
I will not be patient anymore.

Let the sun be cloaked by the clouds
And bring on the rain.
Send in Jupiter’s wind
And give us a hurricane.
The planes are grounded.
The trains all delayed.
Cemented to a spot.
Now listen and obey.