a thin white blanket
covers what’s occurring
at work for decades now –
The cost was ever beside us
as we slept
on the promise made
The Tide Arranges Things
The tide arranges things.
It becomes speculative.
Earthbound sand beneath its hold
the edges of jetties stolen
from the sea.
Containers set out upon it,
bound to its long tug heavenward,
spill out onto moonscaped shores
transporting messages from the past,
a week ago, or more.
Always the same.
Anthony Paticchio is a retired attorney from Ashford, Connecticut. His work will be included in Black Bough Poetry’s Issue 6.
LOVE ONLY KILLS A BLACK BOY
& because boys like me are from a lineage of caged birds,
love for us is like our wings wandering in the wind for the first time
nobody loves more truly than a boy who wears darkness as skin;
fear lives in between his teeth even as he chants war songs fearlessly.
love tables fruits that aren’t for blacks: like fidelity and fairytale:
we only know of things like folklore, moonlight tru… thrust and lust.
the brightness that swallows a black boy’s love song every morning
is dressed hotly in a yellow suit, and called names like sunlight.
& surely, there are many names for death, like crush, strings, feelings
or a love text I did not respond to, like the sadness betrothed to me
& it makes me ask my father if other boys own another type of heart
that allows them lose their breath before they lose their lives…
some easy deaths are sold in a country where I dream one day to visit.
some loves are being sold in the atlantic where our souls pick a storm.
Temidayo Jacob is a Sociologist who writes from the North Central part of Nigeria. He is passionate about espousing the conflict between the individual and the society, especially through identity, sexuality and conformity. He is the CEO of foenix press and the author of Beauty Of Ashes. Temidayo’s work has appeared and is forthcoming on Rattle, Outcast Magazine, Lucent Dreaming, The Temz Review, Peeking Cat Poetry, Page Adventure, and others. Reach him on Twitter @BoyUntouched.
GOD LEADS US ALONG
I’m pretty sure this is the last story I’ll write. Pat and Sissy’s daughter and that black boy they always bring to church got up and left during the last hymn. She went down the basement stairs and he left by the back door. One on verse two, the other three. After it happened, the evangelist up from Athens went to preaching about Saul becoming Paul and his trips across the sea. You’ve got to think: That man murdered Christians, and then he wrote half the New Testament. He’s the sort of guy you want to argue with. Sure in his convictions even when they’re wrong, or at least you think he’s wrong. People talk like he’s a hard case, I once felt that way, but he was only repeating what Jesus said, recalling Bible before him. It all falls together. So when Paul talks about the uttermost part of the earth and Jesus says go, I guess I can avoid going only so long. I’ve got visions of Asia and Africa, somewhere involving elephants and tigers. Maybe I’m supposed to open a Christian zoo, or a circus. Preach Daniel and Samson at the center of the ring, a lion tamer. I don’t know. But this is the last story I’ll write, and from here on it’s just telling the one. When the kids crept back into the sanctuary, he came up the steps and her in the door. They found their pews, her before the preacher prayed and him right after, all our heads bowed. If anyone else noticed the switch, they showed no sign. It’s the sort of miracle makes you worry, trouble for everybody, but mostly for him. Sometimes the future’s hidden, and others we know exactly where it’s going, everywhere we’ve been.
Marvin Shackelford is author of a collection of poems, Endless Building, and a couple volumes of stories forthcoming from Alternating Current Press and Red Bird Chapbooks. His work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Wigleaf, Split Lip Magazine, and elsewhere. He resides in rural Tennessee, earning a living in agriculture. Find him on Twitter: @WorderFarmer.