Milk Glass                                                                                                          by Jennifer Martelli

Floating on the internet, a disembodied hand
palms a pig’s heart, all washed
in Ivory dish soap, immaculate and
clean of its porcine protein. Doctors hope to grow
something human on this pimpled pump.
Someone said it was the heart of a ghost
because it could become anything, could
shatter like glass if dropped. Someone made
a meme, said: This is how boys’ hearts be
for the rest of their lives after one girl hurts them.
The heart’s chambered walls are absolute,
and deep inside the quartet of atria,
sits a girl: the blamed-one, the bride.
She’s packed her hope chest with a milk glass
bud vase no bigger than her hand, a candy dish,
a shallow bowl all wrapped in yards of washed lace
human cells. Someday, the heart will be buried deep
in a chest. I love a task with a beginning and an end,
with walls that stop me in my tracks, clean.
Jennifer Martelli (she, her, hers) is the author of The Queen of Queens (Bordighera Press) and My Tarantella (Bordighera Press), awarded an Honorable Mention from the Italian-American Studies Association, selected as a 2019 “Must Read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and named as a finalist for the Housatonic Book Award. She is also the author of the chapbooks In the Year of Ferraro from Nixes Mate Press and After Bird, winner of the Grey Book Press open reading, 2016. Her work has appeared in The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Poetry, The Tahoma Literary Review, The Sycamore Review, Cream City Review, Verse Daily, Iron Horse Review (winner of the Photo Finish contest), and elsewhere. Jennifer Martelli has twice received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for her poetry. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review.

See some of her other amazing work right here: https://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2022/06/27/hot-things-to-me-are-not-dark-by-jennifer-martelli/ and here: https://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2022/07/04/dear-_____-n/

Shibazrule, aka Lisa D. Chavez, is a poet based in New Mexico.  Her poetry books include Destruction Bay (West End Press) and In An Angry Season. (University of Arizona Press). She also writes memoir and fiction, and teaches in the MFA program at the University of New Mexico.  She’s delighted to have the opportunity to be Guest Editor here at The Coop for the month of August.

Match Box Girl                                                                                                 by Sarah E. Azizi

Light from a match makes a candle feel more romantic.
                    Lost art: collecting ornamented boxes from high 
                    end restaurants & hotels, plus cheap books 
                    from gas stations. I had drawers full of them 

for special occasions & just in case, but inevitably circa past 
                    2am, someone (like me) would be so drunk 
                    they’d light their cigarette on the gas 
                    stove, burn off some hair. How tinged 

that smell is in memory w/ joy & frivolity, youth & worries 
		that loomed like vultures, but from this middle 
		perch, I know they were shadow puppets at best.
		The boxes I’d saved for prized moments that never 

arrived—they all disappeared, got lost in one move or another,
		which means I probably tossed them in a fit 
		of self-recrimination about how much stuff I let 
		accumulate, while neglecting to note that each tiny 

carton held an intimate memory of its collection. I’ve got so much wreckage 
                 behind me—lovers, spats, splits, violence (domestic), 
                 divorce. Cops at the door, my tear-stained head 
                 shaking w/ I didn’t call them. Teetering toward 

poverty w/ a little kid whose legs hurt from chemo, the two of us
		in a three-story walk-up. Memory crunches like burnt hair, 
		useless, clinging, sticky. My mind’s a junk drawer. 
		What can I salvage now? I sit in the solitude I worked 

so hard to create & wonder if I’ve got one great love left in me. 
		Is this, finally, what it means to be human—to fail 
		so deeply you spend years in terror & therapy working 
		thru what he did to you only to crave that same tight ring 

around you again? Connect, connect, pushes some voice, but
		every dynamic, I end up feeling trapped in an airless 
                  attic, like I’ve got to protect my spirit from being snuffed. 
                  I don’t do well w/ monogamy, I tell my therapist in a voice 

so confident, I ignore that I’m putting the onus on me, once again, 
                 & not the tawdry system. Every love affair, I pound like a mime 
                 against imaginary walls, then wrench free to declare 
                 autonomy, & after this many times down the path, I know: 

the problem is me. It would be wrong to knowingly entangle 
		again, wouldn’t I be engaging in trickery, creating 
		the kind of enclosure I fear, while secretly 
		palming a skeleton key? All I seem to do is lay

elaborate traps, & prove I can escape. Still. How many days & years 
		are we supposed to promise? Why isn’t I love you right 
		now cradled like a precious creature? I had a short-lived 
		romance w/ a writer from the heartland, how different 

she was from east coast me. We were marooned in the desert 
		of New Mexico, throwing ourselves upon the judgment 
		of a motley grad department. I read recently her novel 
		got published—the one she was working on 20 years ago. 

It’s full of her usual tropes, & w/ my particularized lens I can note 
		which grew brilliant & which got tired, but I can 
                  re-direct the same bright light & illuminate my flaws 
		& gaps, too. Eventually everyone bores me;

my inner world’s so rich. It’s a brightly-wrapped gift, this realm 
                  inside; it’s a burden, I suppose. And yet. 
                  A hungry flame endures, tickles at the veins 
                 of my tied-up heart & begs for one more 

great love—it’ll be the last I ask for. Feed me the death I most crave. 
		Let the flicker of me be extinguished in their gaze. 
		Bring me a lover who’ll light my cigarette w/ a match. 
		I’ll inhale smoke laced w/ sulfur & sink into the magic—
					
Strike. This time will be different.

Sarah E. Azizi (aka Sera Miles) is a queer Iranian-American writer, educator, & activist. Previous & forthcoming publications include $pread Magazine, Phoebe: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Feminist Scholarship, 34th Parallel, Blue Mesa Review, Fahmidan Journal, Clean Sheets, red, The Tide Rises, HELD, Wrongdoing Magazine, the winnow, Superpresent, Nine Mile, and Free State Review. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico w/ her daughter & amongst friends & family of choice.

Shibazrule, aka Lisa D. Chavez, is a poet based in New Mexico.  Her poetry books include Destruction Bay (West End Press) and In An Angry Season. (University of Arizona Press). She also writes memoir and fiction, and teaches in the MFA program at the University of New Mexico.  She’s delighted to have the opportunity to be Guest Editor here at The Coop for the month of August.

onye ụkwụ ya? 

by quinton chinwe

this is how we are born: mother so cruelly
dangling a sweet coveted thing
 
singing at us with a thin smile
drawn over her lips.
 
her voice, a siren
promising us a home inside her mouth.
 
the melody shakes through wet
laughter, reaches over my brother’s thighs,
 
touches my own. one leg, disappeared.
this is how we die: playing
 
games for children. next are the limbs
carrying my sister. my mother’s voice again
 
reaches heavy fingers, taps a feather-brown knee
we watch it fade into the past, where old children go
 
to die. sometimes, it’s the arms.
or the feet follow the refrain into silence.
 
that song finally lands on my last leg and i turn
fully into smoke.

quinton chinwe is a black trans poet from north carolina, where they study english & comparative literature at the university of north carolina at chapel hill.

Shibazrule, aka Lisa D. Chavez, is a poet based in New Mexico.  Her poetry books include Destruction Bay and In An Angry Season.  She also writes memoir and fiction, and teaches in the MFA program at the University of New Mexico.  

A Land Acknowledgement for the Munsee and Lenape Lands                              by Denise Low

Blood red
stains Jersey and New York trails,
escape routes used for centuries
with runaway Africans.
 
From this sunrise ocean homeland spread
people’s stories—
diasporas through five centuries of Spanish, Swedes, Dutch,
        	English, and United States settlers.
 
Blood red spreads from the massacres—at Pavonia 
where the Dutch murdered their own mixed children.
        	In Ohio, the militia murders pacifist Lenape Christians.
 
Blood passes through mothers’ red wombs to landless children
my grandfather,
his parents and theirs.
 
Descendants remain in mountains of Ramapough,
        	in the Appalachians of Pennsylvania, and Ohio
        	in Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma,
Texas, Wisconsin, Canada, Idaho. Still alive,
                                            	hearts beating red blood.
 
I acknowledge with respect
the living Lenape and Munsee people—
all the lands where they dance.

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, is winner of the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award for Shadow Light. Other recent books are a collection of essays, Jigsaw Puzzling (Meadowlark Press) and a  memoir, The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival (U. of Nebraska Press) Wing (Red Mountain, a Hefner Heitz finalist),  and A Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan Press). Her Jackalope, fiction from Red Mountain, was acclaimed by Pennyless (U.K.), American Book Review, and New Letters. She has won 4 Kansas Notable Book Awards and recognition from the Poetry Society of America, The Circle -Best Native American Books, and NEH. She is a founding board member of Indigenous Native Poets (In-Na-Po), which sponsors retreats for emerging poets, including a 2022 celebration of U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo at the Library of Congress. She founded the Creative Writing Program at Haskell Indian Nations University, where she taught and was an administrator. Low has an MFA from Wichita State U. and Ph.D. from KU. She lives on Tsuno Mountain in northern California.  www.deniselow.net

Shibazrule, aka Lisa D. Chavez, is a poet based in New Mexico.  Her poetry books include Destruction Bay and In An Angry Season.  She also writes memoir and fiction, and teaches in the MFA program at the University of New Mexico.  

2 Poems by Anthony Salandy

Distilled Diplomacy

How can agreement be quantified
by everchanging politics
that benefit so few?
One wonders,
 
how can distilled tears of the martyred
be cleansed from rubble,
drained of spirit
and tarnished by magenta?
 
How can diplomacy be truthful
in an era of guised greed,
nationalistic in tone
and vain in nature?
 
But obedience must be solicited
as paradigms consume beings
flesh and all,
into a distilled diplomacy—
 
where any humanity is rebuked, and only rapacity is left.




Songs of Revolution
 
are arias sung to taunting winds
that fluctuate with wandering opinions.
Like dawn break on summer’s morning,
there is no reprieve from assured change,
 
but hymns are only sung where consecrated masses
sway to collective effervescence primordial,
a tambour borne out of discontent
and silent shackles ever heavy.
 
For lies are told to appease heavy hearts
tempered by bitter oral tradition,
lullabies sang to the masses,
prayers whispered to the many
 
all waiting for sudden salvation.
 
But revolutionary fevers demarcate
warring humanity from mammals many
and intricate in existence,
where difference will inspire treason
 
and subterfuge beyond mindless decimation,
where warring groups divide ever further
and individualized dissent is the norm,
and songs of slaughter will again proceed
 
revolution radical, assuredly irrational.

Anthony Salandy is a Black Mixed-race poet & writer who has spent most of his life in Kuwait jostling between the UK & America. Anthony has 2 published chapbooks, The Great Northern Journey and Vultures and a novel, The Sands of Change. Anthony is Co-EIC of Fahmidan Journal. Twitter/Instagram: @arsalandy

The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative’s Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, has selected July’s poems around the site’s current theme “We’re Speaking” to capture voices pushing back against the current attacks in the U.S. on human rights and on democracy. Citizens of Kansas have an attack on their state constitution on the ballot August 2nd on which we hope they will vote no in order to preserve the Kansas legacy of being a free state in which all citizens have bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity with all people affected by current rulings from the radicalized Supreme Court.

Stone Baby                                                                                 by Issa M. Lewis

You grew out voluptuous and inappropriate,
conjured from blood and breath
and landed on a strange shore.
And when you had filled your vessel,
licked every drop of sustenance from the walls,
you curled, let your blood grow sluggish and dark
and sighed yourself into a granite sleep.
Layer after layer settled and smoothed
your features clean.  On the outside,
your mother’s hand curved over roundness
that no longer had place, as if she could
polish your skin into golden pearl.



Issa M. Lewis is the author of Infinite Collisions (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and Anchor (Kelsay Books, 2022).  She received the 2013 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize.  Her poems have previously appeared in Rust + Moth, North American Review, and South Carolina Review, amongst others.  Her website is www.issalewis.com.

The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative’s EditorLaura Lee Washburn, has selected July’s poems around the site’s current theme “We’re Speaking” to capture voices pushing back against the current attacks in the U.S. on human rights and on democracy. Citizens of Kansas have an attack on their state constitution on the ballot August 2nd on which we hope they will vote no in order to preserve the Kansas legacy of being a free state in which all citizens have bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity with all people affected by current rulings from the radicalized Supreme Court.

2 Poems from Tommy Archuleta’s My Travel Dream Dictionary

F [ire]


Twice I call out your name 

And twice the river stops flowing

Two men wearing long coats are standing where the road ends

One of them has a snake ready to strike embroidered on his back the 
    other a willow tree  

Touch either one and you’ll feel sick for a whole century     

Everyone knows that

Even so I want to soothe the snake  

Want to commune with each patiently sewn leaf 

I want to thank them on and all 

Feed them Christmas candy 

Both men take off their coats thereby exposing their wings 

As I burn with envy a picture of you stealing apples comes to me

You the hot yoga instructor who always forgets my name

Not you the distance between moon and meaning  

The phone rings     it’s the river     can I come over to console her 

Now I’m moving like Jim Morison 

Not the Jim having just shot one gram of heroin 

Rather the Jim on stage at the Hollywood Bowl circa 1968 

As if matters already aren’t tense enough 





O [uterspace]


Hating and loving people both goes the radio can happen to anyone

I’m driving slowly along a dirt road

At the foot of every dead tree rests a basket of daises   

Why won’t my headlights make the eyes of black dogs glow 

I stop get out and write your name in the snow 

Tired of feeling lonely everywhere you go 

I want to use my tongue but don’t  

Act now and receive this handsome knife set free 

Maybe nothing I do will bring you back to me

There’s a man standing knee deep in the river 

He thinks too much about outerspace I say to myself  

He says O you mean loneliness 

No      I mean outerspace I go 

No he says You mean loneliness     the god to so many down here 

Don’t you think loneliness is deadly up there too I say    

O yes he says most definitely     

More deadly even than fire 

Tommy Archuleta’s work has appeared recently in The New England Review, Laurel Review, Lily Poetry Review, The Courtland Review, and Guesthouse. His debut collection, Susto, is slated for release March 2023 through the Center for Literary Publishing as a Mountain/West Poetry Series title. He lives on the Cochiti Reservation.

The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative’s Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, has selected July’s poems around the site’s current theme “We’re Speaking” to capture voices pushing back against the current attacks in the U.S. on human rights and on democracy. Citizens of Kansas have an attack on their state constitution on the ballot August 2nd on which we hope they will vote no in order to preserve the Kansas legacy of being a free state in which all citizens have bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity with all people affected by current rulings from the radicalized Supreme Court.

listening to my belly                                                                                         by Deborah Bacharach

even scrunched under
tucks and turns, layers upon layers,
it’s undeniable
              my belly does not ask
for organization, thriftiness
it’s a snugged-up litter of wolf pups
growling, yipping
 
             and I listen because
my belly knows things I don't know
warns me the guy on the train
when he offers a pull on the flask
and I am young, alone
            some days it sulks
demands ordinary sustenance
                                         dark hungers
 
if with a gentle finger,
you wrote your name across
              my belly would hum like honey,
promise to rise, promise more than enough
sky between the trees
 
not always right—my belly
                           does not believe
I unplugged the iron no matter
I haven’t ironed in ten years—but 
when I hear
 
my belly that too loud friend
call my name as she stumbles
across the crowded airport, there’s
nowhere to go but into her arms





Deborah Bacharach is the author of Shake and Tremor (Grayson Books, 2021) and After I Stop Lying (Cherry Grove Collections, 2015). Her work has been published in The Antigonish Review, Cimarron Review, New Letters, and Poet Loreamong many others. Find out more at DeborahBacharach.com Instagram @debbybach Twitter @DebbyBacharach

The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative’s Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, has selected July’s poems around the site’s current theme “We’re Speaking” to capture voices pushing back against the current attacks in the U.S. on human rights and on democracy. Citizens of Kansas have an attack on their state constitution on the ballot August 2nd on which we hope they will vote no in order to preserve the Kansas legacy of being a free state in which all citizens have bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity with all people affected by current rulings from the radicalized Supreme Court.

The red tide signals we                                                     are ground zero for so many things                                                                    by Nicole Tallman

On my morning walk, I pass by houses on stilts, sweat in a summer sun hotter than I can remember. I pick up piles of plastic, bury belly-up fish released by the ocean in high sighs. I pray for the strength of the cordoned squares safeguarding a sea turtle’s nest and the wooden crutches propping up a dying palm. I praise the salted air I can still breathe in and out freely. I praise this planet that keeps giving despite our abuse. I close my eyes and say to no one in particular: Let us cherish Mother Earth while there’s still time—before it’s too late to undo the damage we’ve done to her.




Nicole Tallman is the Poetry Ambassador for Miami-Dade County, Associate Editor for South Florida Poetry Journal, and Interviews Editor for The Blue Mountain Review. She is the author of Something Kindred (The Southern Collective Experience Press). Find her on Twitter and Instagram @natallman and at nicoletallman.com.

The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative’s Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, has selected July’s poems around the site’s current theme “We’re Speaking” to capture voices pushing back against the current attacks in the U.S. on human rights and on democracy. Citizens of Kansas have an attack on their state constitution on the ballot August 2nd on which we hope they will vote no in order to preserve the Kansas legacy of being a free state in which all citizens have bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity with all people affected by current rulings from the radicalized Supreme Court.