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Mace and Crown | May 27, 2018

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by Megan Graham


Four years ago I heard the crunching
of sneakers over the gravel road
as you followed your parents’ home to South America.
I watched until you reached the end, turned, and here
we are, wondering what would have happened
if that road led straight to Argentina?
Would we meet in the middle, plant the paper roses you drew,
and pretend we are children again?
Would we combine burned sepia with muted cornflower,
aching muscles with pleading words?

You should have cried.
I’m trying to understand pesos.



Two years ago we could touch
through the information highway.
Toes against kilobyte pebbles,
balancing, trying to strangle the time
difference, this hour between what I say
and what you hear. There were no streetlights
on this road, only my own.
Without a goodbye, I was left thinking
of jails cells, of death.
Your light had burned out,
but you did not tell me.



Today we are grown. You want to be forgiven
for your decision: we were not strong
enough to hold this electricity between our palms.
I can forgive our weakness, but I know
that your smell will not be rustic cologne and apple pie.
Instead, it is the tar of the five thousand
and seventy three smile road, the lust of the pedestrians,
the trembling of water droplets on glass.




Poetic License

by Will Wilson

What is it that drives me?

What guides my pen to bleed its soul,
To spew its life for the good of me
and how I stand?

My temperament of mind,
My emotion at certain times of my life that spike.

What keeps me going,
Other than the words and phrases that describes my days and nights?

A part of my soul,
My contributions to the pen.
For I am wed to its greatness
A slave to it,
My marks are engraved in the areas it travels
Ready to serve it at a moment’s whim
I give my life to its cause
Not for fame…nor glory
But because with it…
I am free.



by Robert Cameron Fowler

I rebuke the wiles of conformity
I abstain from coarse belonging
I christen myself anew and search
for the genuine, the authentic core.

I will fervently disdain condescension,
I will confront those oblivious
of their own inflamed pretension,
I will show them the correct perception.

I will repel the deceptions imposed
by the Murdochs, the Pradas
and the deformities of Wall Street,
I will resist the grip of the patriarchy,

I will resist definition
I will subsist on irony,
My identity forged as paradox,
a singularity that refutes identity.

I will deify the sincere whilst
I maintain a persona of apathy.
I will champion the eccentric,
I will give it body and voice.

I make this pledge,
and bow my bandana-encased head,
and decree “Fuck no,
I’m no hipster.”

Patient 0872
by Timothy Michael Fulghum

Hospitals are nothing but prettied up morgues
eagerly waiting to up their serving quota.
Nurses hustle in vomited greens and Pepto pinks,
while doctors bustle in voided whites.
Their sneakers screech on Pine Sol’d floors,
but the lemons go unnoticed against
stinging disinfectant set to kill germs,
to kill fear – but in the end, hope.
Tubes and lines hand out of mouths,
misplaced veins, connecting to its heart:
The IV drop that tether her between
life and death. Relatives stand, crowded –
unsure of what to think, or believe.
Sitting seems rude, but standing feels helpless.
And her is the doctor, his routine visit:
“The numbers have lowered since yesterday…”
And he leaves to deliver the clipboard’s news
to room 1632. He doesn’t love this woman
like the tribe surrounding her does.
Hands connect as the family prays for hope,
as they desperately try to kill their fear that
hospitals are nothing but prettied up morgues.



Inside the Mind of a Literary Sociopath
by Ashley Platt

Dr. Seuss, why have you destroyed me?
Inanity and malevolence should not be combined.
Candy cane trees touched by death;
Willy Wonka disregarding the innocence of children.

Cats on hind legs, fighting for equality.
Take off those boots, Puss!
It’s as though I am Dorothy,
floating to Oz in my striped balloon,

or Alice, falling down the hole to Underland,
or is it Wonderland? It doesn’t matter I guess.

The music has stopped, the violinist is dead,
no longer able to play for the Sleep Beauty.
Peter Pan has flown away to become a man,
massacring faeries with each gasp of breath.

Lock me away in this tower that is my brain,
marred by colors and blocks of absurdity.

Fee Fi Fo Fum.
I smell the blood of
Robin Hood and his not so merry men,
destroyed by war, beggars, and whores.

Gives me reason! Common sense!
Take away the literary hysteria!
The misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Give me sanity!

Steal away the color.
Enter the grey.




by Andrew Squitiro

The two symbols to tell
you how I feel, a text
that will light up the mess
of blankets and sheets that cover
you in your boyfriend’s house.


Elegy for Homs
by Robert Cameron Fowler

The crescent tilts on its axis,
The Sun muted in amber
As cries mingle with thunder
As bone melds with concrete.

The infant’s rattling chest,
Prickled with shrapnel,
Rises and sinks with slowing patter,
As its light recedes into dusk.

The mother’s limp hands lies too far
To console the brow of her son,
Himself strewn amidst the rubble,
Both bodies scattered beneath the ruins.

The memories of the father project
From the back of his skull,
Smearing the face of his daughter,
Scrutinized by the sniper’s scope.

The surgeon’s fingers, greased crimson,
Pinching veins to staunch their spill,
Soft light cast upon the splayed martyr,
As his rasp draws to a simmer.

The brother convulses in his cell,
Fingernails peeled back and plucked,
His face stamped with splintered grooves,
Raked by a prong of electricity.

The sister dragged amidst the blaze,
Face concaved and carved,
Expression scooped featureless,
As raindrops of flame streak the sky.

The crescent tilts on its axis,
The Sun muted in amber
As cries mingle with thunder
As bone melds with concrete.



I Could, but
by Jameisha Harris

I won’t avoid swiss cheese
or blueberry Pop-Tarts,
or Katt Williams’ stand-up,
nor Kevin Hart’s.

I won’t change stations if
Coldplay is on,
“Violet Hills”, specifically—
your favorite song.

I won’t watch Naruto
Shippuden or whatever.
I’ll stick to my theory, that the
D.B.Z. saga is better.

I won’t O.D. on ice cream
or misplace my appetite,
or be like T-Swizzle,
make you the next song I write.

I won’t go any further.
All you get is this poem.
No novels, short films,
or odes will form.

I won’t let it fester,
do laps through my mind.
‘Cause what happened is
a notch on our timelines.

I won’t dirty your name,
replay, and shout out your wrongs.
What I will do is forgive you,
so we both can move on.



My Grandfather’s Chest
by Kimberly Goode

A wooden box sits contently in the corner,
Near his ancient rocking chair.
Laden pieces atop of the box
Gives it a cluttered appearance.
Curious about the remnants inside,
I move as quietly as a mouse,
With the grace of a sparrow
And the tenacity of an eagle,
I approach the box.
I open the box.
Not one single element was
In the box.
Everything was gone
And so was my grandfather.


After Graduation Walk (For Shel Silverstein)
by Jose Roman

Broke college kids
As far, I can see

Poor college kids,
The professors agree

Poor lil bastards,
Who thought,

It would be?
It’s time to go now

Leave the dormitory
Who knew it?

So hard, this economy?
So what happens now?

After the degree?
From here where I sit,

I can’t afford coffee.
Whats going to happen?

If we vote in Romney???
So, what to do?

I don’t know, hardly.
So where, to go now?

Not back to mommy!?
No jobs in sight…

I think I’ll go Army.


by Will Wilson

How many souls
Have felt your presence
And dismissed it?,
Have taken for granted
Your force?

A shower from heaven;

Your hand on the shoulders of humanity,
Holding them in place with every step;

How you produce the beautiful burst
Of the swollen sea,
Saturating the surfer’s brow
With the scrumptious song
Of the breaking wave.

Harnessing the universe
Has got to be a difficult task! And yet,

You do it effortlessly.
Commanding the cosmos;
Spinning this lump of clay around space; your
Firm grip keeping Sol in place.


You’re truly a tremendous strength. And for that,
I wanna thank you.

Thank you for directing my pen’s soul.
That current of ink that bleeds on the page
Renders itself to simile,
A sacrifice for the scenes of my mind.

Thank you for the pressure of my daughter’s weight.
My proof miracles exist
Is her smiling face
Inches from mine.
Her head,
Rising and falling to the beat of my chest.

Thank you Gravity, for the good fall.
The journey from my feet
To the pillow’s face.
That last trip
Where you lie on me,
Freeing me to the lullaby’s lure.

I hope your effect never fades.
You’re what keeps me grounded.


by Kadeem Porter

My eyes can hear you,
my hands can smell you,
my ears can feel you
and my heart’ll tell you
that my nose beats for you
and my mouth can see
how my brain knows
that we’re meant to be.


Stream of Heir
by Will Wilson
Here in this place     I sit,
wondering how
the world holds air.

Breathing breath born
some 2012 years ago,
when    my fathers
before my fathers
before my fathers were

here — in this place
breathing the same breaths
I’m breathing now,

wondering how the eyes
of history would treat them;

looking back and forward
at the same time.



by Taylor Joyner

So cold that ground has given up
Its ability to attend to the grass.
My hands, cracked and stacked beneath
an old cowhide leather weathered mitt.
My legs in pinstripe pneumonic pants
Grass stands, mud cakes and all.
My hair shoved in and shielded out
Of a rustic red fitted cap.
Happiness, standing one hundred feet
From a tethered pearl of a prize.
The winter diamond displayed
In a dirt filled jewelry case. It’s three
Carats magnified to a thousand.
Chain linked caged around metal
Frozen benches dug out of clay.
Chain linked caged around metal
Frozen benches dug out of clay.




The Great Divide
by Christina Correa

There’s a barrier between us
And I don’t know how I
Can get to the other side,
Its distinction so great
That it cannot be grasped
And it’s causing our worlds to divide.

How can I get through this?
How can I reach you?
Opposite of you I stand alone,
I long to embrace the side
Foreign to me,
And this longing, I cannot condone.

Can you see me from there?
With outstretched arms,
Attempting to reach you from here?
How I wish I was part of\
This world that is yours
More despairing than I might appear.

Will the time ever come
Where this barrier will fall?
Will our connection break through this divide?
Can this foreign land be
A part of you, well as me?
Or forever apart we subside?



Don’t Fuck with the Quiet Ones
by Ashley Platt

Sir, can you see that my pen
is mightier than your sword?
I am the modern Geoffrey Chaucer,
wielding my imaginary quill,
Putting me on the offensive;

Every time you break me down,
I position my pointed weapon
To paper, branding you for all of eternity.
In this reality, you may be beautiful,
capable, the epitome of

perfection; but in my resplendent constructed
literary universe,
you, my friend, you mirror your soul.
Mutliated, non-existent,         Ugly.
My word has the power to destroy

Or rebuild, and in your case,
the former holds true.
Try to escape and I’ll just construct another wall,
A hole to fall into, a vast ocean that
even you, with your swimmer’s legs can’t swim across.

So while you may think
That your antics are cute and harmless,
Just know that you are hated by many
And if I do ever become famous,
The world will finally see you through my eyes.



Ode to the Sky
by Kadeem Porter

Whenever I’m feeling down,
I look up.
Her puffy clouds, whether white or grey
seem to stretch forever
and protect me in a way.
I used to watch as they changed
form from the most frivolous things.
A giant bunny or a hand with a ring
And even when she cries,
there’s beauty in it
cause rain just breeds more life
But some people just won’t get it.

They could never understand
what I see in her.
I look up,
and see the sun setting in its place.
A simple accustomation
that pieces back peace at its pace.
And it has no sound,
but you can hear the birds
discussing it.
“She’s beautiful,
let’s fly as close as we can
without touching it”



The Caterpillar’s Haiku
by Will Wilson


Balanced on the bough—
the caterpillar inches
forward towards change.

Bound by duty—you
come to life ready to be
reborn, a new form.

Breaking free—taking
the wayward butterfly to
new heights. Pure freedom.