issue 31: this terrain

Alien World

- c.s. (bio)

I'm in search of new colors,

or another variation of love,

on an alien world~

having a conversation above.



There's no day or night cycle,

everything fades to white or black,

and time? it flies by you

but you can rewind it back.



Horizons filled with a monochrome sky,

& weather here is absent of elements,

I'm seeing new things clotting my mind

no stopping this ride, so I'll relish it,



Feeling so close yet I'm so far in a literal sense,

can't feel my toes aloft in zero gravity,

'you're crazy!' echoes- th-they're giving me meds?

it's time to blast off, I'm goin' back to reality...


- kurinchi (bio)

They can't see through
my melanin soaked skin
to know what's within,
their sight stops short
at my epidermis,
their brains go - “I got this -


“He is definitely
a blue-collared tan-man
making (dead) ends meet;
Mr. sub-strata-of-society,
a burdened helping hand,
a conflicted locksmith or thief.


“So hi, lowly subordinate,
do you also have this in silk?
Where can I find the soy milk?
I'm talking to you, good sir,
don't you work here, brother?
Fine, I'll just go find another.”


Doesn't help that I'm innocuous,
just a wee cranky,
dressed lazy.


I should look suave,
and ordinary.


Can't go around being mistaken
for someone real,
with a life story.


- brandon conway (bio)

Large cumulus clouds
How they shrink, sacrificed for
Favorable winds

White Dwarf/Black Hole

-  brandon conway (bio)

When the dead look up
We are their constellations
Until we burn out


- sam sicilia (bio)

Weakness and strength become comorbid. Love, fear, anxiety, hope and doubt swirl
around my lungs: choking me, ricocheting off one organ to another, tightening and
aching in my guts. A siege has taken place under my skin. There’s war within my
bones. I know what my heart wants. My brain knows its wrong. My heart has always
been strong, but does that make me weak? I choose to explode. It’s easy to play
dead. I could turn to stone and let nothing in. I’m stronger than stone. I’m soft and
exposed. Raw. I’m smoking a cigarette. I’m burning in a tanning bed. I’m
microwaving my food in plastic. Your chewing tobacco stings my gums, and yet, I
kiss you only and willingly.

You are a disaster. I will not be the one to abandon her home, even when her home
rattles and breaks to nothing but foundation. Strength is found there. And I will
rebuild. I will dig my roots into the ravished debris, I will breathe in the toxic fumes,
I will drink the poisoned water—I will hold on until there is nothing left and claim,
I’m just having fun. I’m a fucking romantic. I make mistakes for the genre. And I don’t
regret them in the eye of you, when my heart is comforted and my brain shuts down.
I know it will awaken and reprimand my heart and fuck up my guts. I look forward
to the next stint of excitement (wind picking up). I’m bigger than the coward. It’s
easy to destroy and cower back to the atmosphere you came from, weakened by the
brick and mortar you needed. And I will rebuild. And you will disappear. Again.

To Bud, an Ode

- sam sicilia (bio)

To Bud, an Ode
Love, a Drunken Bee

I could write you a poem about the first time I saw you
and how my sister told me,
             you were looking for trouble.
And how I still reply,
            I found it. It smells like whisky and chewing tobacco,
            under a beard stained with the wine and women.

A trouble I thought,
            I want nothing more than to get into.
I could write a whole poem about the way you smell,
and the way your lips are stained wine purple.


My favorite part of you
are your shoulders,
particularly the left one.

I could write a poem about how much I like
sitting in the passenger side of your red car
so much in fact, that if we died talking
about empathy or the use of cleromancy in that song
or if you or I or we are important – I’d find a way to sit in hell with you
wiping tears from your eyes, willingly

or when we find ourselves falling apart, distancing,
that truthfully sometimes the black in “black or white”
comforts me because this abysmal gray leaves
me colorless and anxious. Inelegant. I could write about

how I get dizzy with hot emotion
buzzing around you like one of Dickinson’s drunken bees
pleading for your attention only to find out
I’m a moth fried on your porch
under the lamp where your mom smokes her cigarettes.

I could write you a poem explaining why
shellfish now have the power to make me cry
and how nearly every major city is haunted with you
in cocktail bars and us
in alleyways just figuring it out.

I could write you a poem, I won’t
because you are the poem
in my world, though small. One
that reminds me that Eliot was wrong when he said,
“April is the cruelest month”

and that the most beautiful things are
sometimes broken and those stained glass fragments
leave my eyes wide with awe and admiration.

I was dizzy the first time I saw you—
In the bar that smelled like stale beer and cold air—
I’m still dizzy now, buzzing.



- anon

end of issue 31. go back to issues page.

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