Forum poems–Fall, 2016!


“Fog” by Suzanne Notario

Scroll down for poems by:

Gloria Keeley

Yuan May

Marcela Guimarães

Jake Ortega

Alia Hartman

Adina Pernell

Sothea Sam

Chandler Vanndasdall





The Bees Are Gone

By Gloria Keeley


bees spin over Africa

stop the globe

in mid hive

land on the continent

first sting

then stung

past the tense

of death

extinct in

a snap

the legs of river divers

swim the deep spring

a house on the shore

reveals stitch work of

drawn drapes

dawn dusts the

orange crate moths

a pleasant guitar chord strums

the strings of Alabamy Bound

on the foreign jukebox

sun pours down the throats of hummingbirds

nestled in the cosmos moon

periodic time tables stored in cells

that remember those warm living days

now it is night

not turn of the earth night

but the eternal

where lies the Holy Ghost




By Yuan May


Among the seven colors

Of the paint, the painting

Gives rise to a swirl

Turning fast enough

To send you up to a little cloud

Like an eagle gliding through

The serenity of autumn sky

Neither the eagle nor you cast

Any shadow down as the earth

Keeps rotating as leisurely

As any other day beyond the black hole

When you return and stand on a

Hilltop, the painting is still

Unfolding itself, but the eagle has

Vanished high up into another sky


Where I Am From

By Marcela Guimarães


I Am from the miscegenation of


From Europeans who raped my Indigenous and African mothers.

I Am from Tupi Guarani.

From the colonial system Portuguese men forced my land to go through.

I Am Not from Portugal.

My light skin comes from the violence created by those who thought they could own my body.

I Am all Indigenous women who were raped in Brazil.

I Am all African women who were brought as slaves, from the ocean to the forest.

Their bodies are mine.

I Am from violence.

I Am Not from Ipanema.

I Am Not Portuguese.

I Am Not from the city, the manmade system that keeps stealing my body and my soul.

I was violated. I ran away. I was violated again.

Machismo here também. Colombo, Cabral. Eurocentrism tambien.

I Am from the forest.

I Am from survival.

Estupro, estupros, rape, violência, violence.

I Am from violence. Machismo, Machismo.

From Gloria Anzaldua and Cássia Eller.

I Am from what it means to be Latina and Queer.

Brazilian and Queer.

Feminine and Queer.

From the Amazon, light skin, and Queer.

I Am a survivor.

I Am Not from Carnival.


I’m Fine

                                    By Jake Ortega


That’s what I always tell people,

But sometimes I wonder,

Am I?

What if I’m not fine?

Am I fine?

Who is fine?

What does fine look like?

What does being fine mean?

What is fine?

I’ve said ‘I’m fine’ caked in mud,

I’ve said it half in the bag,

I’ve said it with a dash of blood on my tongue

And a shiner,

I’ve said it in the dumps or in a bind,

In a pickle or a fix,

Bruised, beaten or battered,

Maybe I should avoid being fine,

What has being fine ever done for me?



an evening redness in the west

By Alia Hartman


simpering whips of curled horse hair

carry deaths-head hawkmoths bare

while feasting on the furrowed brow

they find their cares lie simply elsewhere

wool both blue bearing and grey wearing

rots in circular, clay-lined chasms

moving round the sweat soaked saddle

wings waving forcefully with tender beats

they shake their little embroidered skulls

hearing whispers of the rush for gold

catch up to the infernal engine’s

groans and falsified torrid moans

the great smoking beast aches past

land flattened and trees cleared

gently, those wings beat through

the reddened snow till roots are

finally reached

“go west, go west” the men who built this

cried and west we went and west we bent

till fallowed field was all to find



her melancholic mania

By Alia Hartman


creatures living in the lake

and fishing line hair with

a child for bait

scales of poppies grow

on the sleeping serpent’s back

winded and winding

freshly molted paths

alone and creating

dreamy additions

to ignore malnutrition

that house on the hill

where i climbed cans

to reach the fan

flicked it on and aired out

the absence of man

my mother never learned

how to sew: to stitch seams,

to mend patches, to hem hearts

she only grew gills

to escape her own darts

when moss settled in

to her stretch of neck

she drained the bathwater

and found it was black

a moth-eaten dress and

feet soft on carpet, her

green eyes engraved

themselves on my locket

she went in a flash

of red-yellow-blue

returned with

a condition of

constantly changing


pressed against the wood

i sighed and absently traced

decaying cedar lines



The Moon Obscured In Shadow

By Adina J. Pernell


Is a faded sight

Hiding and vacant

Silent as the echoes of my sneakers across the pavement

As muted as quiet joy

Smiling within me

Eager as an awkward little boy

Full of pizza, beer

Drunk off Jack Kerouac

Smiling at her own cheesy sneer

Seated on a bench

Near a churchyard

Waxing poetic about times hard

Going on and on

Crybaby shut up already

Like Shakespeare’s long lost bard

Stop being your own joke

Selling cigs you don’t smoke

Tripping down Powell St. Stairs like old folk

The train zips away

Time went poof

New Order chimes “Ruined in a Day”

Then you’re home

‘Did that just happened’ you said?

Did I just meet another kindred?



By Sothea Sam


I drew a picture.

Graphite lines

curved the edges

sharpened the frame

hugged the figure.

A silhouette of a dancer,

I blended the lines.

My calloused thumb

made shadows.

The darker the smudges

the deeper he gets,

the nuder the grey,

the more human

he becomes.

Thin lines,

shaped the body.

His every muscle

strong, tight, and tense.

I traced him.

Every curve,

gave him  structure.

Every touch, blurred

the lines.

With a blink of an  eye,

he was complete,

the dancer.

I applaud him and

with a sigh,

I grabbed for my

pink eraser and




Bear Hugs and Lemon Slugs          

By Chandler Vannasdall


brain cells hurled across

warm, summer night pavement.

black-cat theories of revolution rage

bear hugs and lemon slugs – shout!

the neighbors whisper, “go away”.

as we, taking nips and sips

off the patriotic piss

stream of our forefathers,

are reminded why

his devilish grin matches

the selfish wood grain

on the front-yard fences

of yesterday.

still, he begs for more


just begs.