Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lost, Melissa Taggert


Tyin’ pink ribbons in my daughter’s hair
Thinking the whole time that it’s not fair that
My momma isn’t here to do the same

Awareness bought for only $19.95
But that money couldn’t keep my Momma alive
So tell me, do you really care?

Why are they forsaken
By the very ones claiming to save them?
Our bodies washed in pink, but underneath, our souls, they sink
While we have breath to speak, let’s let them know:
“We’re not pretty in pink.”

Buy the ribbons and the socks, you tell me
You might mean well, but it’s a lie you feed me
But what do you care, as long as we all behave.

To all the souls thinking “isn’t this pink so nice?”
Well, those corporate offices are just takin’ their slice
They care nothing for the souls cryin’ from the grave

Whisper down the lane while Daddies die too soon.
We’ll grieve for our loved ones however we choose.
We’ll stop the whisper and let our voices swell.

We’ll wash ourselves clean of this pink world.
Money you might take, but our voice you’ll not quell
Because you’re makin’ a profit while we’re in hell.

Lost, Katy Comber

by Katy Comber

There's a restlessness
in my bones
as I sway here, lost
to my surroundings
an urge to fight
windmills threads deep
in what I wonder of my soul,
spirit, fraction of a whole,
a vein of a needle about to shed
from a grand Muir tree

to hug
tsunami waves
seems easier
somehow than to
sit and calm this blur
of purposeful temporary-ness
while men fall
permanently at rest
without judge or jury
from cars and corners

I reach for my anchor
the one that pulls and binds me
to this world
to these fallen
sculptures molded by the same hand
and wrestle to understand
this restlessness

For now, I will name it
try to title it.
own it.
know it.
This is misplaced hope.

Lost, Fred Feldman

Friend, where have we gone?
By Frederick W Feldman

You’re reaching for the bright lights now –
Finding photo ops travelling the country.
Remember when I sat in your audience? These days
you trickle down like economics, looking
more perfect the farther you’re from me,
and now I’m just a check you don’t feel like cashing –
the accounts of our lives we won’t be rehashing.
You’re seizing opportunity; I’m partial to loyalty.
I don’t want to like your photographs if
you can’t care about my stories or poetry.
Where you are now you don’t seem to need me,
and unconditional love is not my specialty.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

If I were..., and Changing Leaves, Katy Comber

Nomads, Installment Two
James and Cola Flashback
By Katy Comber

“If I were more honest than loyal, I’d open my vaults, let the characters out, and shrink into nearly nothing,” Cola’s hands flutter downward and gesture to her body, “this is all composed of secrets, you know.”
“Your vaults?” James grins. Some of the things Cola says are just plain weird.

“‘Don't be ashamed of being human, be proud!
Inside you vault opens behind vault endlessly.
You will never be complete, that's how it's meant to be.’”*

Cola shrugs and shakes her head, “Tomas Tranströmer. I’ve always loved this idea. That people are composed of endless vaults.”
“I’m probably some old cigar box within a dusty shoebox some jerk left forgotten under his bed.” James breaks into a full belly laugh. Cola smiles.

The wind shifts, and the tree limbs above rattle. Leaves, vibrant with the colors of joy within grief, life right before death, nature’s allowance without fight or manipulation, drift down. One tiny leaf, bright red with hints of green, lands on James’ shoulder. Cola’s thoughts sway with the wind. She sees her life then. What it is now. A tiny red leaf, a blade of grass, one sea wave about rise, crash, and disappear; she considers the secrets she once promised to never tell and if they really matter anymore.

“Come on, Cola. The gang’s probably wondering where we are and if we’ve been harvested or something. Kid’s probably needing to be fed, and you-” James looks at her unabashedly, “you look about to burst.” Cola’s breasts ache at the reminder, but she pauses. Kid can wait another second or two.

“James, I think I should tell you…”
“Cola, hush, now. It’s okay. I love you for your loyalty.”        

James grabs Cola’s hand and leads her back to camp. Cola knows that in this moment, James thinks that he is being kind. Yet, this silencing stirs something in Cola, and a quiet bitterness begins to brew.

*"Romanesque Arches" by Tomas Tranströmer, from New Collected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2011 edition). Translated from the original Swedish by Robin Fulton. Citing from source:
Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Shelter, Katy Comber

Nomads, Installment 1
By Katy Comber

“This will be our shelter for now.”
I look at the camper. Metallic. Round. There’s a reason Bill likes it. Tattered curtains.
“I can fix those.” As with every move, my mind jumps into inventory mode, “The dresses Cola left behind?”
“Use ‘em.”
“Rusted door… hmm. James can fix that.”
“The cinder blocks are crumbling on one side. There’s a junkyard east of here.”
“I saw it.”
“We’ll go there after the post.”
“The post? How much do we have?”
“Well, with Cola and her kid gone we have two less mouths, so that should help. The trade post’s a quarter of a mile from across the lake.”
“How much do we have?”
He doesn’t meet my eyes. This question. It rakes the inside of my throat on the way out. Sometimes words have claws and teeth: animals that attack because it’s in their nature. This constant question is such creature. I see the question slap Bill for ignoring it the first time.
“Enough.” This word hisses a warning. My creature backs off. For now. I swallow other words, my mouth dry, and wonder silently about water. The stiff rotting smell of algae lingers over the lake. Drinking from that is not an option; besides, Cola took our filter. Bill paces over grass until his feet sink in the muck of lakewater and soil. The sounds of mud sucking at Bill’s feet lifting in and out of the gray make my stomach churn. This will be the sound of my temporary home. I try to focus on finding better sounds, but Bill clears his throat and orders me to dig through what we have and make a list of anything we might need.
“I can tell you now. We need--”
“Just dig through. Will you? Then make a list.” There is the hiss. It will be weeks before his voice cools, and by that time we might have to move again.
Shuffling through the trunk of the camaro does not change the mental tally I had before Bill ordered me to go through it, but the task calms me. Possessions do that. Knowing every object we’ve collected on our way, every dent, every smell, every sound of certain things clanging and clattering as we drive--for the past ten years, these things are my only real sense of home. Whenever we find something new, I study it. I memorize its grooves and textures as I clean and fix it up to meet our needs. This is my job.
My eyes scan the trunk and the milk crates that divide all our supplies into the categories of our entire existence. I imagine a museum exhibit dedicated to us, the modern human nomads, curated with a sense of bewilderment at the things we now consider precious to our survival. If there were museums left, anyway.
I feel the shock and rumble that haunts me whenever a memory dares to come... My little hand is held by someone taller and this someone is wonderful and I love her and her eyes and my eyes are the same and she points at something in the sky and her hand tightens and pulls and loosens and she is gone but the hand stays in mine, detached and purposeless. There is rumbling. There is shock. There is darkness. There is Bill, James, and Cola pregnant with her nameless kid. There is survival.
I swipe at my eyes and tug at the ring dangling from my neck. This memory is not welcome. Inventory. I focus and spot the nearly useless radio scanner in the blue crate marked SEARCHING. James staggers behind me and curses as he slips and slides in the impractical shoes he took from a dead man 452 miles ago.
“Heya, Maggs. Taking inventory?”
“A’yup. Orders from Bill.”
“That camper’s a pit.” James reaches into the milk crate marked TOP 5 and grabs a can of WD-40 from under a large pile of duct tape and a couple packs of needles.
“It’s shelter for when night falls.”
“Would you rather take your chances, James?”
“Cola…” his voice cracks and drifts. I can see the rumble and shock haunt James too.
“Just because she and Kid left--”
“Yeah. Yeah. I know. She’s probably fine. Kid too.”
“The showers haven’t been too bad in their section. I was thinking of pulling out the scanner before you wandered over. Maybe we can check?”
“Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Great idea, Maggs. Okay. Ohhhh. Kay.”
“James?” I search his face. His unkempt beard hides most of it, but his eyes are glazed and dreamy.
“I needed it, Maggs.”
Fury boils deep inside me. I try to look down in the hope that inventory will have its sedating effect, but I can’t take my eyes off James. His shirtsleeves, the ones he always has tightly rolled up his forearm, are down. I rush to him and yank them up to see fresh marks up and down his pale skin. “You? You traded?”
“They only wanted a pint for it, Maggs. I swear. Only a pint. With Cola gone--I needed it. Maggs try to understand. Maggs?”
I stop listening after I hear his voice whining her name, sprint back over to the camaro’s glove box, and punch in a code Bill uses when he thinks I’m not looking. The door of the compartment pops open and there it is, two glass vials. One of Bill’s and one of mine. Our blood. Somewhat fresh and the only thing left to trade for human food and filtered water. Bill’s frustration makes complete sense now. We are screwed.

To Be Continued...

Indie Series, Krystle N. Adams

We are so excited about this new web series by Affinity CoLab contributor, Krystle N. Adams. We can't wait for Episode 1! Here's a trailer and a request from the Brooklyn Baby, Jersey Maybe Team. Happy viewing!


List Poem, Hannah Poley

I am
by HM Poley

I am from Steep wooden staircase and the smell of old farmhouse mixed with sweet summer air.
I am from a family with cats who were busy in the kitchen.  I made ginger cookies, Chicken and rice, valentino’s pizza with tiny messy hands.
I am from Escondido, Lincoln, Artas, Herreid, Freeman, Parker, Eagle, and Phoenixville
California, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Pennsylvania where I made my home.
I am from worlds undiscovered in book pages, where magic lives and waiting for my Hogwarts letter.
I am from old farms and pumpkin patches, apple orchards and red wagons.
I am from loneliness and broken friendships
Parents hurting, lives transforming.
I am from hard decisions and painful moments, innocence and youth turned grey to quickly.
Ugly fighting always hiding, scared of who I was becoming.
I am from redemption

All the bad turned beautiful.