Pamela K. Santos

Coconuts, Done Threeway


one     time     my filipino ex      ordered
this dvd      in the mail you      know      back
when porn      had more      steps you      know      catalogs
&      shipping times      starring      this brown af
gorgeous      pinay      her name      long forgotten
playing      a maid      with the      other      hot brown
maids on      their knees      brown knees & asses &
yt men      & that      brown on yt on brown on
yt      again & again      are what      comes      to
mind when      i hear      people      called coconuts


Sometimes (not often) I wonder if I
am just an impersonation of an
impersonation. Nanay wasn’t born
in the Philippines and neither was I.
She cooks food off of tutorials on
YouTube, IGTV, and Facebook groups.
Murmurs Taglish curses under her breath.
She calls me Anak. I pick up her words
like fallen coconuts and when no one’s
around, I crack them open—what a waste!
They are dry inside, husks double-sided.
No wonder I feel hunger late at night.

..dalawa.. [extra credit po]

Minsan (hindi madalas) ako’y nagtataka kung ako
ay isang lamang pagpapanggap ng isang
nagpapanggap. Hindi ipinanganak si Nanay
sa Pilipinas at hindi rin ako.
Nagluluto siya ng pagkain galing sa mga tutorial sa
YouTube, IGTV, at mga Facebook grupo.
Nagmumura ng mga pabulong sa Taglish.
Tinatawag niya akong Anak. Dinampot ko yung natak niyang salita
na parang mga niyog lang na nahulog at kapag walang sinuman
sa paligid, biniyak ‘kong bukas—SAYANG!
Tuyong tuyo na sila, mga bunot ng niyog na magkabilang panig, sa loob at labas.
Aba, kaya nanatiling gutom at walang laman ang sikmura ko buong gabi.


// There was this dream I had / that I was an
Old West gunfighter / and somehow I knew
my name was Manila / Mae and maybe
I had just / read Pretty Deadly / where ghosts
are more deadly than people / but people
keep you alive / after they cut pieces
of / you so maybe let’s not judge / and back
to my dream I was /decked out in a mad
hot braid / under a bad guy hat you / know
the ones for bad / dudes or anti-heroes
or /reluctant revenge-seekers / or like
moral relativists / or villains with
a conscience / or repentant killers / or
redemption hunters It was / a black hat

and so like I / had enough guns to weigh
down my belt Violence is heavy / even
in packaged form The /Manila Mae me
was like / standing in a crowded / what do
they call it / thoroughfare /no wait / more like
an empty except for the dust / winds kind
of vast flat desert /no one there but me
black-hatted / iron-heavy / soul-weary
Manila Mae me / in Cinerama
widescreen 70 mm frame
looking out / over / the America
that hated / Brown skin / in spite of an / un/
forgiving sun / exposing / every / shadow / in the
West /

….tapos na….

“We say we are Filipino; we say we are American, so, who are we,
more so, what are we; brown or white; or are we still “other”?

— From “ Ang Kundiman ng mga Niyog sa Amerika: The Lament of Seven
Hundred Seventy-Four Thousand Six Hundred and Forty Coconuts” by Fred
Cordova, in a book you have to know (which is to say you can’t stumble across it)
to find it in a library or a bookstore called “Filipinos, Forgotten Asian Americans”


Pamela K. Santos is a Pinayorker writer and artist-scholar working with multilingual materials and archival embodiment. Pamela has received support from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Oregon Literary Fellowship, Caldera Arts, Mineral School, and Regional Arts & Culture Council, among others. Her poetry appears in Cultural WeeklyAnomalyStoked Words, Tayo Magazine, and elsewhere. She is working on her debut collection Secret Lumpia.




Nora Hikari

I call this one “Not Hating Your Own Kind”

Mannequin fingers are soft if you can unwind them into realness. Plastic has a place in my household. What’s a plastic flower? Delicate and immortal all in one. I love a created thing. I love fucked-up things just a little too much just because they’re fucked-up, y’know? I love a fucked-up looking doll with a big head and broad shoulders. In the beginning we were asked to name the world. It’s the part of creation we were given. I get to say what a thing is, you know, as my birthright. I get to draw the lines.

I write my name. I write my own name, over and over, in the Book of Life. 

I call this one “letting me see myself in the mirror.” I call this one “self-honesty.” I call this one “an act of vicious rebellion.” It goes like this: I love you. I love you and I’m not afraid of saying that. I couldn’t bury your bones even if I wasn’t sobbing and I thought I could dig. I couldn’t. There’s something desperate and unkind about coveting snowflakes as they fall, in all their spindly and wavering tragedy. All of this could be gone in a second. All of this could melt in my palms but I’m sorry, I just need to hold it close to my lashes, let the crystals see my tears. This is what I mean when I say “we need each other more than we need ourselves.” 

Before there were names there was the water — the water that hadn’t been allowed to name itself. The water is old, and bitter, and wants to make us like her. The water would like to drown us one by one, it would love to seep out of our bones, where we buried her, like a child. It would love to hold us down by our throats and smother us while we thrash and thrash and apologize to our fathers. Look at me. I’m in the water with you. I’m right here. Have some of my breath; it’s why we kiss. 


Nora is shown on a background of shrubs flowering white. Nora has light skin, and shoulder length dark hair. Nora wears round-rimmed eyeglasses, and a black wrap jacket or gown with a white shirt beneath.

Nora Hikari is a poet, artist, and Asian-American trans lesbian based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming at West Trestle Review, Perhappened, and Ogma Magazine, among others, and her poem “Deer-to-Fish Transition Timeline” has been nominated for the Best of the Net award. Her debut chapbook, Dead Names, is forthcoming at Another New Calligraphy. She can be found at @norabot2.0 on Instagram and at her website




Julie Webb


We razed Saguaro today,
and yesterday too.

Mature only at 35
a plant that lives
up to 175 years.

Ugly, that we.


I am so far away from that now.
I am in another temperature controlled room.

Just another Panera of purgatory
with roast beef that tastes like cold
and limp arugula.

Let me remind me
there was never a utopia

certainly not at the Olive Garden of Eden
despite their transubstantiating breadsticks

or a world of perfect unity
and thus: Wendy’s Apocalypse.

Some people don’t want to see
a brand name in a poem,
but this is the landscape of our lives,
even more than the trees now.


175 years ago: 
No Gold Rush, 
no Levi’s. No Sacramento. 
No water mining through the mountains.
No bodies underneath railroad tracks.

The Battle of the Alamo only eight years distant,
and so so so many more buffalo.

I am reminded of reminding.
I can almost tell if I will like a person
depending on how they speak of national memory.


The radiant orange and yellow sunset 
of a Cactus Cooler
surrounded by neon green 
and Gumby Saguaro ready to be crushed
by my fist.

What a strange way to remember something:
so easily trampled.


160 years ago:
It takes three weeks to cut down a giant Sequoia.
Its bark will be used for toothpicks.


A saw’s first job: to cut. 
A Saguaro’s first job: to live. 
One of these has purpose. The other is a tool.

Fell the Saguaro: cut down the memory. 
Memories can be too prominent. 
Life isn’t useful enough to have its own protection.


Something about a tree 
reminds me of not speaking.

Something about a cactus
reminds me of memory.


Julie is shown before grass or gorse. Julie has pale skin and light brown hair, parted and pushed back at the side. Julie wears a white wrap over a grey coat with notched lapels, all of fur or like-fur.

Julie Webb is a poet from Northern California, currently living in England. She graduated from Bowling Green State University and is the Blog Editor for Longleaf Review.




Jo’Van O’Neal


“I wouldn’t leave it for nothing only a crazy man would
So, if you catch me in your city, somewhere out in your hood just say…”- Nelly

If I’m brought back in a new act as anything,
let it be some mean mugged, black lipped,

thicken mouthed man’s gold fronts. Let me
know the spoils of being in a black body 

without cessation. I want to be like Trayvon’s 
grill all gilded and gleaming, proof of our stunt 

both nuanced and ancient. In this life let me 
know the front of a nigga’s prayers. The floured 

will float to their god and go to war. And whatever
they’ve shut their eyes to envision some sort of end to 

will do that. End. Cause who could say no to gold 
dusted prayers. Every word worth something then.

In every picture you’ll know me. Don’t care 
what they say we ain’t supposed to do. We’ll eat 

together. Even when the world rather his jaw hinged
I will rip apart things in the fashion that teeth do. 

only this time in luxury


Jo'Van is shown, sitting before a halfheight wall of cut stone blocks. Jo'Van has dark black skin, and no hair showing. Jo'Van is wearing a pale pink dorag, denim jeans of light wash blue,  and a short-sleeved collared shirt in a floral print of warm hues, which is unbuttoned and showing a white crewneck shirt beneath.

Jo’Van O’Neal is a Black poet, content creator, and teaching artist currently based in Savannah, Georgia. He is a fellow of The Watering Hole and a Hurston/Wright Foundation workshop Alumnus. In 2018, he was an inaugural Open Mouth Readings Writing Retreat participant. His work is featured in Foundry Journal and Tahoma Literary Review.




Celia Sorhaindo

[   x   ] Animated

Many years now owned by you. [   x   ] picked from close clone
family on high shop shelf of safety; bought and brought
to your lonely low home; packed up dragged across countries;
used; and now, [   x   ], a holey tri-eyed matted grey jagged 
tooth torn tired worn out case; now, just because Maggie gave
poetic exercise, you think it’s OK to come invade [   x   ]
silent protection; OK to get all up inside and colonize [   x   ]
headspace; think, speak for [   x   ]; steal [   x   ] only pot-
ent power? Your human and humane God given right, right?

But all this stretched time [   x   ] been a quiet sentinel of your life.
Since High School when [   x   ] watched you fear filled
and freaking out in science, the vitriolic H2SO4 carbon snake
experiment gone wrong, burnt [   x   ] first hole. [   x   ]
pencil pen eraser compass logged all lessons. Scribes of your life
journey in journals, they highlight highs, depressed points,
then whisper your noted secrets back to [   x   ]. [   x   ] knows all
you write, rub out, choose to forget. Silently sees and listens.

[   x   ] was background there when you discussed Popa’s Little
Box. [   x   ] bristled. [   x   ] knew what Box had felt: all 
talking about Box; forcing formed thinking into onto Box; another
powerless portal that swallows the world; takes inside what
ever is shoved in. [   x   ] knows that universal emptiness; knows all
about wishing really hard. You imagine what [   x   ] dreams
too; freedom, flight, a new skin, colour, different shape, a simple
bubble bath by candlelight…with a sentient [   y   ]; a say in
when [   x   ] is opened and closed; unguarded sleep. All eyes open
watching worried when stationery protections are plucked out
of [   x   ] safe warm womb and forced to work against their will. 

Quite happy? You think you have animated me? Last night, green
ball point told me about the lines copied from Gibran; You
and the stone are one. There is a difference only in heart-beats. You
may still remember the separated solid illusion of science. 
Quiet, you still might learn my true atomic universal lingua franca.
Listen! Let me be now. I thought I had a constitutional right
to remain silent. You go ponder more on what you read. Your heart
may beat faster than mine but whose was the most tranquil?


Celia is shown before green fronds of palm. Celia has medium dark skin, and black hair which is parted down the middle, and held back on either side in short a braid or bun. Celia wears a white scoop-necked blouse, and two necklaces of black cord, one bearing a silver or palegreen round pendant.

Celia A. Sorhaindo was born in The Commonwealth of Dominica. She migrated with her family to England in 1976, when she was 8 years old, returning home in 2005. Her poems have been published in several Caribbean journals, ANMLY, New Daughters of Africa Anthology, and longlisted for the UK National Poetry Competition. She is co-compiler of Home Again: Stories of Migration and Return, published by Papillote Press and her first poetry chapbook collection, Guabancex, was published in February 2020, also by Papillote Press. Celia is a Cropper Foundation Creative Writers Workshop fellow and a Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop fellow.




Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

Ghosts and Harms

There are no bars in my eyes, see.
My experiences keep staring 
at the arts made by my footsteps.
Above this statement sits a history asking for a recall:
moments that became keloids. 
My great grandmother’s lineage has the marks of abandonments 
and her palms are memories of skived poppies.
I keep asking for the meaning of love and progress
and institution and preservation and memories
and gardenias and reformation and librarians
and reinstallation and liability and functionality.
My people have known the whips of wadding in water.
Where should I character in this story?
How should I tend and tender these mistakes?
The godheads and ghosts in collared coats keep burning 
the evidences, burning the facts, and clipping the anabasis.
Is knowing the golden handle of voice?
Is knowing a rebellion conceived?
Our children are shielded from the colour of our teeth.
Our children don’t know.
And our children are walking with eyes open yet blind.
At my backyard I am growing a garden 
where flowers remember.
I can mail you the scents.
I am arranging the un-deductibles into catalogues.
It’s such a burden caring alone, asking alone.
It’s such a drowning that you don’t care about these things and pasts.


Chinua is shown in a grayscale image, before a light plaster wall. Chinua has 
medium dark skin and short black hair, and a short curly beard along the chin. Chinua wears a darkcolored crewneck shirt.

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto (@ChinuaEzenwa) is from Owerri-Nkworji in Nkwerre, Imo state, Nigeria and grew up between Germany and Nigeria. He has a Chapbook, The Teenager Who Became My Mother, via Sevhage Publishers. He won the Castello di Duino Poesia Prize for an unpublished poem, 2018 which took him to Italy. He was the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 Writing Award. His works have appeared in Lunaris Review, AFREADA, Poet Lore, Rush Magazine, Frontier, Palette, Malahat Review, Southword Magazine, Vallum, Mud Season Review, Salamander, Strange Horizons, One, Ake Review, Crannòg Magazine, The Question Marker, and elsewhere.





Shot #2

It’s true. I cannot kill a pig with my bare hands. It’s a hard rule 
to live by— not distancing ourselves from the terror that brings 
us joy. I want to feel good after a meal without the smell of death
on my hands. After all, unfortunately, the pig gives me so much 
pleasure. Every morning, I wake up & offer myself humanness. 
What does it mean to be human? To be the opposite 
of a machine, of course.

I want to be as flexible as my glass-covered father.   Instead,
I bend to the mistake of the habitual; mess up             until 
the messiness compounds into something I can’t ignore.                      
I gave up womanhood to be a cyborg.             I want to be as impulsive 
as a computer program—everything all predetermined & bending 

to human           composition.     Every need thrusting into me
long enough to drain the womb from my palms. Let’s continue                         lubricate my vessels
& store my emotions                in a blender.                      Pick      a task for me
to do over & over—        wash the dishes—     fetch the remote—

suffocate the girlhood from me— I’ll shoot up
any microchip if it makes me into a god. The god that I know even said
I look more like him.

It’s true. I cannot kill who I used to be           even with
technology. What does that mean for me then?


KB is shown before green foliage. KB has medium black skin, and reddish brown hair shaved at the sides and long otherwise, in locks and held back in a bun. KB wears round-rimmed glasses, cerulean pants, and a short-sleeved crewneck teeshirt of variegated black and rust color, printed with five lines of white serif text in oblique capitals.

KB is a Black queer genderless poet, educator, organizer, and student affairs professional. They have earned many fellowships and publications, most recently from Lambda Literary, Cincinnati Review, The Offing, and Equality Texas. Catch them talking sweetness and other (non)human things online at @earthtokb.




Clayre Benzadón

When the Root of Apple (תפוח) Sweetly Exhales 

separate the skin / from the apple /
manzana  / sounds like mechitza  /
mitzvah / it is a good deed /
to separate / his meat / from her milk


Ars Poetica #____

I was already thinking 
about the future

of holding 
the damn parts in place

(my arm, my breath,
your face):

the arm as practice
for blood drawn

because hospitals
scare me, 

and I’m still clutching
my stomach, 

breathe, you tell me 
so I kiss you instead

(that’s a practice
in halation of sorts)

before I catch
my throat thumping

as I merge
on the freeway

I’ve almost
fallen off

of you inches
away from bed

or your arm
has fallen asleep

from my back’s
pressure on it

before it happens
it had already occurred

in my imagination
aren’t I always


and isn’t that

what I’ve been
trying to do this

whole time
through the full

of this poem 

persuading you 
to lean

into the ladder
of me 


the most


and get you so 
worked up 

you’ll end up 


Clayre is shown, before a dark grey or greygreen upholstered surface, and a white wall. Claire has light skin and dark shoulderlength hair parted at the side. Claire wears dark eyeshadow, a necklace with a thin metal chain of warm luster, and a black tank top.

Clayre Benzadón is an MFA graduate student at the University of Miami, managing editor of Sinking City, and Broadsided Press’s Instagram editor. Her chapbook, “Liminal Zenith” was published by SurVision Books. She was also awarded the 2019 Alfred Boas Poetry Prize for “Linguistic Rewilding” and has been published in places including SWWIM, 14poems, Crêpe and Penn, and Fairy Tale Review’s Gold Issue. You can find more about her at




Lannie Stabile

How to Define Depression

The last three movies I’ve watched depict
nature and sexual violence. Been trying to
speak for hours, but my lips are fish fading
in the dirt. My wife holds my head in her
lap, and snot rivers from my nostril to her

There is something broken. A moment ago, I was laughing. Now, I am a berry bush, trying not to be poisonous. I think, I am not good enough. And the sentence wraps my body like a ring toss. Again and again, until
I cannot tell the age of the rot.                     

I splash water on my face, a self-baptized flower, and wipe the weakness away. I can’t help but consider it all a waste of time. I could have been doing more productive things. Like ridding myself of the infected trees. Like deforestation. Like spray painting
a bright red X on my bark.                   


Lannie is shown before a wall of patterned chartreuse yellow. Lannie has pale skin and dark hair, hanging below the shoulders on either side, and held back at the top. Lannie wears round-rimmed eyeglasses, dark pants, a brown belt, and a pale blue collared utility shirt, the sleeves rolled above the elbows. Lannie's arms are crossed, and two bracelets— one black and one red— are shown on the right wrist.

Lannie Stabile (she/her), a queer Detroiter, is the winner of OutWrite’s 2020 Chapbook Competition in Poetry; the winning chapbook, Strange Furniture, is out with Neon Hemlock Press. She is also a back-to-back finalist for the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 Glass Chapbook Series and back-to-back semifinalist for the Button Poetry 2018 and 2019 Chapbook Contests. Lannie currently holds the position of Managing Editor at Barren Magazine and is a member of the MMPR Collective. Find her on Twitter @LannieStabile.




Sarah P. Strong

Diagnosing C-PTSD

Sarah is shown against defoliate branches. Sarah has pale skin and short light-colored hair parted at the side, with a single lock of bright teal curling off to the right. Sarah wears a gray jacket or blazer with notch lapels, and beneath that, a lighter gray sweater over a white collared shirt. It is possible that Sarah is wearing rimless eyeglasses.

Sarah P. Strong is the author of two poetry collections, The Mouth of Earth (University of Nevada Press, 2020) and Tour of the Breath Gallery (Texas Tech University Press, 2013) and two novels, The Fainting Room (Ig, 2013) and Burning the Sea (Alyson, 2002). Their work has appeared in The Nation, The Southern Review, Poet Lore, The Sun, River Styx, Southwest Review, and many other journals. A recipient of grants from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and Connecticut Arts Council, they teach creative writing at Central Connecticut State University and live near New Haven, Connecticut with their spouse and daughter.