SOLITUDE | Dee Allen

Image: Matthew Henry

Solitude

Lack of a lover
Lack of children
Lack of pets
Lack of flatmates
Lack of arguments
Starting out petty
Lack of partitioned space
Lack of visitors
Unless they’re invited—
Just me
In my little house
Two room
Inner sanctum
Where I could be
Just me—
A living
Situation
I seem
Condemned to
& somehow

Prefer—

Dee Allen is an African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California. Active on creative writing & Spoken Word since the early 1990s. Author of 7 books–Boneyard, Unwritten Law, Stormwater, Skeletal Black [ all from POOR Press ], Elohi Unitsi [ Conviction 2 Change Publishing ] and from February 2022, Rusty Gallows: Passages Against Hate [ Vagabond Books ] and Plans [ Nomadic Press ]–and 42 anthology appearances under his figurative belt so far.

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, 
Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

Pansy to Pale | Liam Max Kelley

Image: Mohammad Naderi
Pansy to Pale

My books in our apartment
                                                       have faded a different color
Dark spines now shades of lavender
the titles have gone
                                         from pansy to pale
Even when she fingers the blinds
closed all day
                             light finds a way
to wear ink thin
                                 To combat excess
new vines dangle ubiquitous 
Over each shelf
                                a graveyard
with shadows tucked
                                            kitty-corner portraits
Sometimes I rotate the words
less direct sunlight
                                       spells a shared wear-and-tear
My toenails shine orange
                       after I’ve painted them
                                          with antifungal polish
and her paintings each are purple
after she combined
                                      cracked makeup
with acrylic medium
When we moved in
                                       we called it eclectic
Now I forget what my books look like
until she opens a window 

Liam Max Kelley is a Chilean-American playwright, actor, poet, and high school language arts teacher. He is the program director at Stain’d Arts, an arts non-profit based in Denver, Colorado, and the co-founder of RuddyDuck Theatre Company, a local absurdist theatre group. He writes poetry to avoid making an argument, to highlight life’s horrid ambiguities, and to turn the heads of those he holds dear.

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, 
Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

Walking | Jozer G

Image: Leonides Ruvalcabar

I got that special type of walk

The type of walk your

Daddy used when he first talked to your 

Mama type of walk

Yea!

I got that special type of lean

So smooth you’d think I’m cruising a low-rider

On Cinco de Mayo 

See, I’ve been waiting on my walk for a while now

Ever since I was a little chavalito

I can recall my father walking me through the process

At an early age, he would say

Walking is one of the simplest ways you could show someone

Your freedom

“See, the first step to being enslaved is to actually get caught!

Why do you think Martin Luther King Jr and Cesar Chavez

Spent all that time marching!?”

“You have to stay on your toes, Mijo

This system has interesting ways of turning a man into a slave”

If you asked my father for a ride

He would tell you to

Walk

After crossing the desert for a better life

My father sees my walk to any Open Mic

As an easy stroll through the park walking

In my father’s footsteps has taught me that

If you love something you will do anything you

Can to get to it

Your feet will get you there if you allow them to

My father walks with the determination of an immigrant

Like his children will starve if he doesn’t walk fast enough

Like there are immigration agents chasing after him

He is America’s worst nightmare

A bad ass in a foreign country and I

Always wanted to walk just like him but

I always seem to take the wrong steps

Walking in and out of Jail

Pacing in my cell like a caged Ocelot

These must have been the ways you get

Enslaved my father talked about and

It all started in the seventh grade when doctors

Explained to my parents why I walked with a slight limp

My right leg was shorter than the left

Forcing me to apply most of my body weight on the right side

I developed a walk that would quickly label me a thug 

I guess the inequalities I was exposed to finally

Drenched through my clothes and into my bones

So now I walk like I got a wounded knee

Like the structure holds me down by my back pockets

Saggy jeans are one of the side effects left over

From my oppression and

When you walk with this much weight at an

Early age your steps

Begin to sound like ticking bombs

The type of walk that’d make a motherfucker

Move out the way the type of walk

That’d make a cop want to follow you

In 2012 Trayvon Martin

and all the years after

Mike Brown

Eric Gardner

Jessie Hernandez

Sandra Bland

George Floyd was murdered for

Having the same walk as me

Trayvon was only 17

They asked me why I cried

Because he walked just like me

Because he was just like me!

Still perfecting his own walk still getting use to the

Feeling of walking in a black man’s shoes

This is the reason why boys like us

Never achieved social mobility

How can we climb the ladders of class if we can’t even

Walk through our neighborhoods without feeling like

Someone is chasing after us

But I’ll risk it all to show my son and the rest of the

Chavalitos in the world that we can walk to a

Better future instead of having to walk away from everything

That we can walk across the stage and graduate

Instead of having to walking in front of a judge

That if we all walk at the same time

The weight of our steps would force the world to flip its rotation

So stand up and walk with me

We have the world at our feet I think it’s time

That we exercise our freedom

Jozer G is a poet, musician and actor based out of Denver, Colorado! Jozer’s work has been featured on American Theater Magazine, HBO, PBS and Univision. Jozer released his debut EP on June 24th, and a new book at the end of the year! 

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

HOMESICK | M. Palowski Moore

HOMESICK

I am dreaming of
An Alabama night-
Crickets chirping; echoing
Of sentiment, breaking
The song of the loon
Diving, strutting
Through phrases, phases
Of a honeysuckle
Milk glass moon
Whose distant sway
Ripples, pools, pulls
Pebbled ponds, precious pearls
Where locals gather
To swim, fish, skip stones
Across reflections of sky and stars.

I am. falling, failing-
Form fleeing a cold city
An asp escaping
This fruitless orchard
A moth chained by the
Candlelight of a distant beacon.

I close my eyes
See the pines, skies
White wings, fluttering
Glittering patchwork
Transforming. I am again
A small-town boy
Taking the back road,
Wooded path winding
To the Jackson-Slaughter bridge;
Racing in the pecan grove,
Chasing shadows, fireflies;
Laughing, dreaming, laying
Staring, believing- feeling
The force; the iron vein
Of a vanishing home-
Remembering more from
Windows that never close
A place I no longer belong.

M. Palowski Moore is a poet, writer and storyteller.  He has five volumes of poetry, including the Lambda Award nominee BURNING BLUE. His compositions reflect diverse themes and interpretations of prejudice, racism, socioeconomic inequality, homophobia and systemic oppression.  He is a contributing poet to the Civil Rights Memorial Center (SPLC) community poem A CIVIL COMMUNITY, a new exhibit that will be featured inside the final gallery of The Civil Rights Memorial Center. 


This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

Rooms | Liza Sparks

Image: Guillaume Lorain

Rooms 

“I dwell in Possibility—”
-Emily Dickinson

Every
body has a right
 to shelter in a home.
To be safe from cold, the heat,
the storm.

///

We want a house built by the people / we want walls of justice / 
we want liberation / we want windows and doors of possibility / 
look outside / in a world where everyone has a home / 
anything is possible / how do we transform / 

///

“Home is where the heart is.” The heart is the size of your fist. 
Some things are worth fighting for.

///

Homelessness is not a choice. 

Criminalizing survival is unconstitutional.[1]

///

The body—
my body is made of rooms of memory—
The body—
my body is made of hallways—
The body—
my body does not remember—
The body—
my body remembers everything

///

Here is my skin. Imagine all of the things I have touched.
Here are my bones. 

///

I do not remember leaving the dwelling of my mother’s body.
I do not remember being born.

///

What does it mean to care for another? 


[1] Denverhomelessoutloud.org

Liza Sparks (she/her) is an intersectional feminist, writer, poet, and creative. She is a brown-multiracial-queer-woman living and working in Colorado. Her work has appeared with Ghost City Review, Bozalta Collective, Cosmonauts Avenue, and many others; and is forthcoming with Honey Literary, Split This Rock’s social justice database—The Quarry, and will be included in Nonwhite and Woman Anthology published by Woodhall Press in 2022. Liza was a semifinalist for Button Poetry’s Chapbook contest in 2018 and was a finalist for Denver Lighthouse Writers Workshop Emerging Writer Fellowship in Poetry in 2020 and 2019. She is a poetry reader for The Chestnut Review. You can read more of Liza’s work at lizasparks.com, IG @sparksliza534, or TW @lizathepoet

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

Apartment | Wheeler Light

Image: Nathan Dumlao

You open the apartment door and it is just wood. Wood behind the door. You need to enter your apartment. To sleep. To work. To clean. You burrow into the wood with a small drill bore. You carve a desk inside the wood. You leave legs of the wood in each corner of the room so the wood roof doesn’t collapse on you, crushed by mahogany in the night. You wake one day and it is raining paper. A hole has split in the wood from all the paper where it was leaking from the bathtub upstairs. The paper is covered in all your upstairs neighbor’s poetry. Your upstairs neighbor is always so loud, crying for whole weeks at a time. Your neighbor is so loud the sound bleeds through the mahogany. The mahogany is now spilling into your bed, your bed you carved yourself out of the desk, the desk which appeared behind the door, the apartment which was drowned in poetry. The future that is always words.

Wheeler Light is an MFA candidate at the University of Virginia. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Pretty Owl Poetry, The Penn Review, and Broadsided Press, among others. His work can be found at www.wheelerlight.net


This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.