Poetry: “Don’t go hungry for my dark skin” by Octavio Quintanilla

Don’t go hungry for my dark skin.

Don’t go hungry for a homeland.

You ask why you must love a country
That doesn’t love you back.

Isn’t this the way of all love?
The nature of hunger?

You’ve forgotten the names of the birds
That fly above you.

You’ve forgotten the name of the tree
That gives you the fruit of its shade.

Your fingerprints swim like fish
in the currents of the rivers you crossed.

You want to swim after them,
Jump in the water and drift like a twig
Until you reach shore.

What shore?

The wind has erased the North Star
From the dark page of the sky.

If you could only glue together
All the torn pieces of the map
That guides you.

Follow the toll of your empty stomach,

Drink my bone marrow.

Take my hand as if taking a slice of bread.

Octavio Quintanilla’s poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Bitter Oleander, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. His critical reviews have appeared in Texas Books in Review and in Southwestern American Literature. He has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. He teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. “Don’t go hungry for my dark skin” was originally published in Issue 4 of Strike Magazine.

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Poetry by Thomas Murphy

Will you try to destroy women’s rights for another century
or let this faction now in control roll
until terror’s whipped from the world?
___________the helicopters rove above the house.
Simulations of HIV proved to come from _________________
not what______________was shredded before _______________.

Are the camera’s still on?

This George stares down the world
after buying from Wal-Mart’s bearded lady
all the duct tape and plastic

and awaits the toxic clouds to permeate the town’s cerebellum
in his drag-queen wig.

Thomas Murphy‘s duration of time in Corpus Christi is only second to his time spent in Palo Alto, California. Married with three daughters he teaches at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and continues to write and create art. This poem was published in Issue 2 of Strike Magazine.

Poetry: When I Suffer by Rebecca Lyons

When I was seven months old,
I was left by my adoptive mother–
who really had to pee
but was so self-conscious
about human proximity

when she needed to relieve herself
that she once held it thirty-seven-and-a-half hours
on a hike in the Smoky Mountains
because she was also afraid of bears
and didn’t want to walk into any dens–

in the watchful eye of a friendly old lady walking her cocked-head
puppy-
because my mom also had an insane sense
of hope in human nature
that there was enough good in everyone that,
if just given the opportunity, would meet its true stature-

who, unbeknownst to her new friend, and probably herself,
had dementia and soon forgot her newly acquired human responsibility,
only to be replaced by a man whose long-gone
wife had desperately wanted a child of her own, so he took
this opportunity to begin snatching me, hold on,

he quickly released the hold on my arm
when he saw my brother’s hold on my other arm,
not to mention the look of pure awe
that befell our now forever-scared-baby-faces
renew his briefly-lost-ability to think of consequences’ law.

For it was then that we both realized everyone in the world–
after generations of subconscious succumbsion
to the belief that the tougher
survived and “tougher” entailed hurting others–
would only suffer to see us suffer.

Rebecca Lyons is a Corpus Christi native and is currently teaching middle and high school English. She also works as the volunteer coordinator for the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation and for a professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. When she’s not doing homework for grad school or grading papers, she likes to promote her own business, a vegan and gluten free bakery called Better Baking Becca. In her free time, she watches her dogs play, attends too many meetings, and attempts to write while wishing she wasn’t thinking about all of the things that need fixing in the world.

When I Suffer was originally published in Issue One of Strike Magazine.