issue 19: in retrospect


- n.b. (bio)

She would cry,
but when she was twelve
she stuffed her eyes
with all the silica packets
and moth balls she could find
when she locked herself inside
her mother's empty closet.


- c.s. (bio)


As children, we all think life is a giant epic, a flight of essence traversing through an adventure beyond words,
with every flip of the coin our world never ceasing to spin, never truly easing within this wild ride we all wander.
Everything seen as we're kids was so freakishly big and gleaming in sync with a feeling of peace in the wind,
so much so that when we breathed it all in, only then we could see it as if it what we felt was freedom akin,
but in this fiery maze, even with its tenuous ways, we all alight from the skies head and come to grips with
currents of life wash up, day by day, wave by wave, until we're all found in the shallow's of the simplest fallacies,
we wade in its depths, lingering there waiting instead for fate to direct our answer like some windfall epiphany,
in all of its misery befalling our withering- we follow its call as its season comes where minds Fall so unsettling,
only to realize, in our darkest times where our heart's demise parts in line with a piece of gloomy weather,
it is in those moments we see the proof to it all, every lingering clue inked within truth in our feudal deserts..
Life hurts. And growing pains are more than just maturing, it's diving deeper inside to learn of yourself.
So we seek our meaning like we look for hidden treasure, like a kid forever in a search for it's wealth,
getting hungry, starving for clues and taking shortcuts.. it's pain and torture wrapped in quiet secrets,
because, as we grow..finding meaning takes time, time.. we're scared of wasting inside our feelings,
hunger becomes a part of it everyday, subtly masked away apt with craving the brighter side to things,
we see ourselves as doors we can open to underground lairs, only to come back finding a horizons glint,

years flick past as we try to follow the arc of our story, wondering are we that character harboring glory?
are we the darker in mourning? We understand we all die at the end, but question: 'are we important?'
lost in emotion, we want to skip forward, constantly hoping that there's more to us and all of its notions,
until we're on the verge, at the cusp of our crossroads in a heart breaking twist seeing stars on the ocean,
those lights flash back with sparkling omens.. because all along we've all been a part of this story.


reflecting back at you.

Mask On

- isaac kendral (bio)

First things first
let me steal from fantastic beasts.
I'm getting sick of being anxiety's feast,
Wanna believe in myself at the very least.

Second thing second
let me be who I wanna be, this mask.
If I take off the facade, another one under that
so I keep putting on stacking masks.

He was young, He was clear-eyed,
had no dreams, living wide.
Bullied kid, took no counter
couldn't express it out there.

As the days and years rolled by,
sun no longer ever up high,
a rat under snow, crawling by,
finding what's left, getting by.

As He grew, further and further
feeling lost, no control
only left with pain forever,
sensation of loss and no more.

Lights, one light, two light, three light.
Lit up like a scattered cloudy sky.
Like fireflies on a dried field.
Came three people, shining lights.

The boy laughed. The boy cried.
The boy felt human once more.
the boy felt blessed and cursed.
The boy was unable to express himself.

Further and further as a child,
now a teen, no ability, no sociality,
He agonized over his emotion, his love.
The years went on, learning, going back.

At a standstill, going nowhere
two steps back, one worth;
two steps forth, one back.
Becoming human, yet love corrupted.

Duty called, separated, hearts shattered.
Sleep he could not, feel he could not.
Once more, no longer human, a soldier.
This time no pain, simply rage, fury.

Celebrations, lonely and toxic;
A spirit, lively yet stressed,
hoping to find help, a savior;
Their fires lit with the touch of lovers.

Yet not long, until calamity strikes.
Death strikes the family, childhood shattered.
Family broken, patriarchal adultery.
Downhill, vision cracked, sense of falling.

First mask on, once more after years.
Another one on top, extra cover.
Subconsciously, automatically, naturally.
Too many faces, too many facets. Fake smile.

Refine, swap, change, chisel - daily routine.
Now my mask is final, the best me,
who I want to be, hope to be.
Yet I shall never be him.

Another dead relative and I'm done,
down the rabbit hole,
never to get out again.
The mask now permanent.

Third things third
bless my lost ones, my lost loves.
Give me power to make them proud,
to be the best I could be.

Last things last
rid me of this anxiety,
these episodes of panic and fear,
raise my self-esteem, let me love me.

You made me a believer. Now believe in me.
Anyone. Please.

Sex to Regret

- adg.w (bio)


You're just ringing out
 like you're hard boiled
   around the drinkers table
or the lovers circle.
It's like your spittle is
polluting; incompatible -
the bits you bit from my lip
        I want back,
but you can keep the cum
  and looming secrets.
It's just another night
  in the smoking area.
seizing up lungs
  in seeping black tar
with the acidic characters,
desperate single mothers
  and cocks fighting
    on the sodden floor.

I Already Wrote You Serious Love Poem

- adg.w (bio)


I like you,

I would say that you're elven,

A bit like an Afghan hound

with swan bones

And big milky green moon eyes.


Your smile's much bigger than

the joke that's just been told,

much bigger than your face,

much bigger than the rooms

that try to contain it.


Your beauty is terrifying,

one winter night by the river

I explained it to you as "AAH!"

You said

"what do you mean "AAH!"?"


"I mean 'AAH!'

You're so ineffably gorgeous

that I have to run

or drink til I find the confidence"



your lips are so small.

my lips and teeth and ears

are disproportionately small

for my head,

but they matched yours in a

puzzle piece coincidence.


And my hands came through into

the warmth of your big grey coat

to your fine art back,

pulling your flawed breasts

against my own flawed chest,

with the sound of cereal crunching grass

beneath our feet.


Mini Landscape 7

- anon


Mini Landscape 8

- anon

end of issue 19. go back to issues page.

the poetry juicebox
an international poetry & art publication
the poetry juicebox