Category Archives: Poetry

Jenna Murray

The Fear that Left Me

i’ve started picking wildflowers every time i go to the bar. three tequila sunrises at sundown while crocodile-eyed townies watch. blackout & legs crumpled to the floor, i’ll dream of a sandy motel far away. gag under a splintered smile when strangers call me a walking receipt—three more green tea shots for my rosy cheeks & never ending conversation:

“tell us about yourself!”

i don’t remember any september before this. i don’t even remember this one. i am a rotting crab apple stuck to the bottom of a shoe. overcooked marshmallow rot. my love is stuck on concrete & in between smokers teeth—i don’t want to tell you why. i want to smoke cigars & play pianos & sink into quicksand.

“tell us about yourself.”

once i vowed no other love was better than the one that killed. twenty not so hard to swallow pills rushing in—the sperm of a skeleton, like the tadpoles little boys catch in nets—love was pumped out of my stomach into a plastic bag. the sensation was tender but the emotion was cruel. nurses with picket fences mutter:

“what a shame”

like some dumpster diver who finds a broken CD. comforting your family while they cry in the lobby. waiting for your breath to spin (as if dusty records were even worth a listen) the skies were drained. to jump out of the car would be both too easy and too hard, a man with a coffee rim blouse told me:

“do you want to kill yourself?”

maybe. my brother couldn’t stop staring at the chemtrails (like a fucking phoebe bridgers song) constant thunder surrounded our haunted house. a reminder from some higher source that the boys on tricycles should cross the street if they want to stay boys.

“do you remember where you were a year ago?”

no. my bedside table reeks of beer. neighbors praise with tylenol-coated authenticity when I’m healthy. this college town is a trial prescription—doctor since birth thinks it will reinvent bones. i’d like to do coke in the bathroom of some crummy dive bar but instead i will read brochure about suicide prevention month.

“what of affection, then?”

new kind of love is caught in the telephone lines above. a tree grows from a stump and i am smiling. stare out my apartment window screen, watch the flies creep in. only act disgusted when my roommates scream. new kind of love does not kill & instead is placed lightly on my tongue. invites her over to do homework—actually does the homework. leaves dying and new relationships cracking autumn skies (like a brick to glass) make an instagram account for new cat: love will kiss my nose.

“and what of me?”

you are the fear that has left me. i wear lemon perfume and kiss glassy lips. become a moonflower, the most romantic of plants. i am not graffiti under a bridge. i will hang in the louvre. i will become a still-life clementine. seal my eyes shut for collarbones and shoulders and spine. laugh under pink midnight sheets and kiss best friends—you will become the shadow. i will become the wildflowers, picked from main street every time i go to the bars.


Jenna Murray is a junior at SUNY Geneseo studying English (creative writing) and communication (journalism & digital media). When she is not writing, she spends her time focusing on photography, music, and traveling. You can find her attempting to skateboard around Geneseo, or playing with her cat, Suki.

Comments Off on Jenna Murray

Filed under Poetry

Miranda Phillips

Dreams under the Red Eye of a Hotel Television

Avocado Toast

You’ve made a bold move. It’s scary and everyone is asking you why. 

Trust yourself. Worst comes to worst, you can always cover it up.

Yellow Light

Gun it, baby. Life’s too short.

Elephant Ears 

You wish for something soft and colorful in your life—consider buying a parakeet. 

But don’t teach it swear words.

Gold Eagle 

You will finally be published by an up-and-coming publishing house. 

If sitting, you should skip town. Things aren’t going to end well.

Flat Tire 

Double check before leaving: passport, wallet, toothbrush, underwear, date. 

Lightning

You dream of power. The thoughts in your head ram into one another, creating static,

bubbling energy—unharnessed capacity for greatness.

Raindrops

The scent of a man fresh from the shower is intoxicating. 

Moose

A man’s head may look pretty on the wall, but if his heart is still in shedding season

leave him in the wild. There’s no reason to pay the hauling fee. 

Needle

You seek a form of correction in your appearance. Quit eating so many cookies.  

Railroad

You will leave in the dark without saying goodbye. The early morning moon will guide

you down the mountain pass and onto the plains before he even wakes.    

Firetruck

Your love life isn’t meant to be explosive, but rather a steady burning log in a stone

hearth. Children will snuggle down by your side to warm themselves. Embrace them

gently. 

Starbucks

Your next job will start at 7:00 a.m. You’ve been warned. 

VW Bug

Your goals need a mechanic, not a junkyard. Pick up a quart of oil, a new toolbox, spare

tire, and a few flares. The Redwoods are waiting.  

 


Miranda Phillips is a junior creative writing major at SUNY Oswego. When she’s not writing, she can be found hiking with her rescue dog, riding horses, or dreaming of her life as a novelist in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Comments Off on Miranda Phillips

Filed under Poetry

Miranda Phillips

In a World Gone Shallow

 

I see him across the parking lot,

a rutted expanse flattened by a dodgy paving company,

his wide eyes darting

above an orange bandana

as he scurries toward the main entrance.

A family of four explodes

onto the sidewalk, laughing. Grabbing hands.

He jumps, diverting paths

like schools of sardines rippling

away from the shark’s open jaws.

Shiny black hands pull on steel handles,

ducking inside.

Soon he sits across from me,

body like a board.

His gray eyes sinking.

Ten feet apart, maybe twelve.

I wave and point to the slender paper bag

next to my chair.

He holds his up too, dropping the bandana inside

as the nurse’s violet hands fit a light blue mask

over his face. It’s only the two of us for now

with our eyes closed and our plastic bags

that should be clear and filled with fish,

not neon yellow that drips poison into our chests.

But more people trickle in

and paper bags are creased,

sagging closer to the floor each hour.

One young woman coughs quietly. Ten pairs of shifty eyes

and hidden faces jerk to glare. And suddenly, I realize

we’ve all turned into bank robbers.


Miranda Phillips is a junior creative writing major at SUNY Oswego. When she’s not writing, she can be found hiking with her rescue dog, riding horses, or dreaming of her life as a novelist in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Comments Off on Miranda Phillips

Filed under Poetry

Molly R. Sullivan

Levonorgestrel

Hesitantly

out the door

at the end

she unfolds a trap

destined for her belly

a place

still and quiet

no floor

just pink insulation

curling around

to support her

like the dream

she will never realize

A dream determined

to be faint and distant

abandoned here

over the years

missing

dreamt many times over

and yet hardly recognizable


Molly R. Sullivan has been all the way to Japan in her studies. When she is not focused on working toward her degree, Molly bakes, paints, and gets lost looking at the animals in her neighborhood. In her time at SUNY Oswego she was a teaching assistant and aspires to go to graduate school to study history. Her writing has appeared in the Great Lake Review.

Comments Off on Molly R. Sullivan

Filed under Poetry

Isabella Higgins

June

Dear Dad,

Let me tell you about the world that you have left,

about the fires we have started, about

my constant fear of death. When I walk

outside the house, turn around and lock the door

I adorn myself in targets, for I am a body—

nothing more. The sky is white with acid rainfall

as I tread uneven ground. I am skin before

I am human—I can feel my wrists are bound.

It’s this egregious state of being where I’m screaming

at a wall and although the wall quivers, those old pictures

never fall. So, I’ve taken to the hammer,

ripping nails with fingers bleeding, all while the wall tries to say

it’s my words that start the healing. But it has siphoned

words from you, your father, and his father too, and since I do not see it breaking,

I fear my words will not get through. I am in lock step with people

who have had more than enough, who have had 400 years

of lies to know to call this country’s bluff. I have seen white faces gleaming,

throwing gas into our crowds—they put the stones inside our pockets

and dare ask us why we drown.


Isabella Higgins is a senior English (literature) and psychology major at SUNY Geneseo. She is an avid supporter of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the mobilization and unification of people who believe BIPOC deserve far more. She hopes to study civil rights law after graduating from college.

Comments Off on Isabella Higgins

Filed under Poetry

Abigail Cornelia

Yellow Light

Alone, you can hear sounds you never looked for. The ghost of the party next door, muffled pop songs and conversations about thin air keep slipping under the door, uninvited. I can hear this room wheeze. Bed springs whine and creak under my heavy stomach weight, forcing the white cotton pillows to rub against each other. I can hear the ocean in this bed. The stained wine glasses on my desk rattle like wind chimes singing their sad, empty song. Wishing only to be full, to be held. But the real criminals are the appliances; the fridge makes ice cubes, and it is an avalanche. The heater hums, with a bang every now and again, shuffling into place. The streetlamp outside glows silently. Pale yellow hangs still in the night, only to remind me that there is nothing there. I take in a lot of air. Cough, even, just to see who would hear.


Abigail Cornelia is a junior at Binghamton University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English as well as philosophy, politics, and law. She is a former intern for the Binghamton Poetry Project, a literary service program located in Broome County. Abigail is native to Long Island, New York, where she spends her time scribbling in library books and cleaning trash from the beaches.

Comments Off on Abigail Cornelia

Filed under Poetry

Mason Martinez

Quenepas

After Christina Rossetti

“Come buy, come buy!”

Eased before the red steady light,

the man chants between rusted engines

Swinging a wooden pole with pounds of 

heavy fruit, weighing him down, 

he bounces with each step.

The fruits wrapped in plastic bags

glisten beneath the summer sun.

Sweat trickles down his face, darkening the line where 

skin meets strands meets more strands that interlock,

fester at the nape of his neck,

the nape of my neck.

“Come buy, come buy–

Mangos and coconuts,

rich quenepas,

Good for the soul!”

Inside against the slackening leather,

my thighs are exposed,

I feel the need to protect them.

The window rolls down with a certain

seduction. The man bends over, licking his heavy lips.

“Fresh from Puerto Rico,

Come buy, come buy.”

I am hesitant when my father

slips me the five dollar bill,

old and crusted, bent and torn,

It rests in my hands like a paper doll.

I am reaching over,

my hand through the window,

sinking into the hot summer sun.

The fruits jiggle in their bags

Looming over us,

casting shadows,

perspiring with sweat,

dripping with their juices.

Come buy, come buy.

The quenepas are firm in my hands,

dozens and dozens of inch sized fruits,

hidden beneath thick green skin,

darkening around the edges.

I smell the island from here.

From the littered floors,

highway exits off the Jackie Robinson.

Where trees are scarce and

coconut trees are a thousand miles away,

a plane ride that shakes,

an island that isn’t a home for me.

An instant, green.

Our metal skeletons are readying to slip away into the mid-day.

The man is moving on to the next,

his words sift between the vents.

“Come buy, come buy.”

We bite, cracking the shell

the juices pour out,

dampening my lips.

I am sucking, 

chewing, 

biting,

devouring all

the yellow skin down to the beige 

seed.

This is what men do to girls like me.

 


Mason Martinez is a senior majoring in creative writing and public relations at Purchase College. They mostly write science fiction and fantasy. When they’re not writing or studying, they’re either working at an indie bookstore, devouring unhealthy amounts of coffee, or caring for small animals.

Comments Off on Mason Martinez

Filed under Poetry

Kayla Eyler

The Fairway Market Hostage Crisis

After Richard Siken’s “I Had A Dream About You”

In swollen-hot air, garbage simmered & crisped / and I stretched my arm under the passenger seat in desperation; / Aeryn told me to hurry up but I couldn’t find my cigarettes / & I didn’t want to leave them, in case there was a holdup & we got stuck / in a hostage situation—it was prophetic foresight, / I informed her: we’d be hiding between those organic on-the-vine / tomatoes & the tiny burlap bags of shallots for hours with nothing to smoke. / Don’t be silly, she said, so I followed her / into the store’s air-conditioned belly, abandoning my half-full / pack of American Spirits to wilt & wither in the fever-stale Subaru; / off to scoop coffee beans from bulk bins & thump honeydew melons. / We were debating citrus (Star Ruby or Oro Blanco) when someone yelled nobody move! / and fired three shots, tearing through the artificially chilled air like bitter greens. / Shocked, Aeryn dropped the grapefruits & I leaned over to whisper / I told you so, because I had, really, and she whispered back, / indignant, I hope they shoot you in the leg & then we dissolved / into soundless hysterics, cowering in the produce section / where we handed our wallets to the balaclavas / & the people inside of them, meaning no grapefruits would be bought; / the whole afternoon wasted. Aeryn and I sat on the vinyl tiles, old sweat /congealing on our bodies as we waited for the red-blue schmear of police officers / to concede that yes, in fact, there had been a robbery & they were pretty sorry / about that, but there was nothing they could do for us just yet / or probably ever, and we very pointedly did not smoke any cigarettes there, / between the three packs of pomelos and the four-dollar starfruits, / in that fluorescent labyrinth which had once been called our grocery store. / When we left, the roads were / summer golden-dark & heavy, the two grapefruits we had smuggled out / plump and ripe in the crime-stained early evening. I set them on my lap like twin suns / while Aeryn grabbed the cigarettes from the back seat & lit them / in the glossy wet-hot silence that stretched between us, and when we got / home, we halved the grapefruits and drizzled honey on them, scooping out / each segment with Goodwill spoons. The whole day tumbled off us, the / impossible tartness bursting on our tongues / like gunpowder exploding into flame.


Kayla Eyler is currently writing poetry and moping around at SUNY Geneseo. She likes vampires, women, tofu, and fresh air. When she isn’t bothering her roommate, she can be found gazing longingly out her apartment window to the parking lot or making a pasta meal. 

Comments Off on Kayla Eyler

Filed under Poetry

Kayla Eyler

A Ripening

It was night, and summer was slow, unrisen: still bloating with heat, still

turgid from early June downpours. The insect-loud dark pulsated around us

and the moon swallowed itself over and over again, the world hungry & raw

from growth. Everything tightened into the salt-damp shock of a licked

battery, the flesh swaddling our bones heavy with primordial aches as we

pressed against each other. In the humid blackness, no one could name us

humans. We could be tawny-gold pumas or the shudder of field mice, hearts

fluttering with euphoria in straw burrows, never knowing a world where

things are unnatural and coarse. We could be natural, here. Of course.

Of course. Silky and sure and thorough, we beckon glistening dawn,

calling out into the morning-soaked sky like song thrushes in the breeze.

 


Kayla Eyler is currently writing poetry and moping around at SUNY Geneseo. She likes vampires, women, tofu, and fresh air. When she isn’t bothering her roommate, she can be found gazing longingly out her apartment window to the parking lot or making a pasta meal. 

 

Comments Off on Kayla Eyler

Filed under Poetry

Tanya Korichkova

Мушкато

Even as a child, I’d bite my nails, but

that never stopped the dirt

in my grandmother’s garden

from scratching them underneath

until I’d pick them clean with the thinnest

stick I could reach off her fig tree.

Young branches don’t break

easily, so I’d twist them until

they frayed like the bottom hem

of my jeans. I never wore shoes.

My grandfather built this house

for her, and she built a home

and a garden to feed her children

and their children—three generations

living in one house.

Никога не съм помагал с градината,

но щях да гледам как баба разкопава градината

със същата свирепост, която използва,

за да скъса възлите от косата ми, винаги мрънкайки,

малки момичета не бива да бягат наоколо така. 


Tanya Korichkova is a senior applied math major at SUNY Geneseo. She spends her time between Geneseo and Redlands, California, where she was raised after immigrating from Bulgaria at the age of six.

Comments Off on Tanya Korichkova

Filed under Poetry