infrastructure

the Ben Franklin Bridge
will hang here
for centuries
long past
when the Delaware River
will dry up
sucked into
un-breathe-able air
and becoming
a barren gulch
covered in wreckage
car tires and metal junk
sticking out of the dirt
the bridge will sag
under heavy heat
as wealthy cyborgs
look down while flying
over abandoned Philadelphia
a quaint object
to them – a bridge
the city will be foreign
and obsolete

Message Failed to Send

How can a heart rip
apart so slowly?

How much kinetic force
would it take…

to bring back the past
to summon sadness

to materialize
the actual feeling?

Dull objects ignite
irretrievable memories

of people who are now
in the ground.

How does a random task
unearth disconnected roots?

How do walks
thru crowded city streets

evoke images
of lonely suburban emotions?

Where does desire
for familial love

derive from?
How can you look

at a child
and not die

for what never was
and how it never will?

How does sorrow creep
into our lives?

How could a stranger
across from you on the train

ask if the newspaper next to you
is yours’ and if you could hand it

to her, and in that moment
you wonder why anyone could ask you

of anything
because you destroyed

the most important thing
and now the Delaware River

calls to you-
the bottom of the river.

You sit on the train
and stare at the surface

and wonder what bedrock looks like
thru the depth and murkiness

of the fluid’s body
and you know

that regardless
in the end

you’ll drown
face up.

homeless

sleep at the church doorway
sometimes shelter arrives
and when you die
a human will eventually find you
but no one will bother
to touch your shoulder
for a while to see if you’re still alive
unless you’re well dressed
the dirtier your garments
the colder your corpse
will become
before being shoved
into a metal drawer
then incinerated
and then you’ll win dignity
as a nobody
a nothing equal
to all nothing

seeping into being

mountain cloven
river poisoned
fields burnt

and the ocean strikes fear
into the heart
that lump that blob
that forces blood
through passageways
into memories
broken almost dead memories

but yes memories memories of forests
the sage the timeless leaves
of wisdom of past thoughts
seeping into being

Whirlwind Issue #10 Letter From the Editor

Read Issue #10

Hello and welcome to the tenth issue of Whirlwind Magazine. The theme of this issue is on the meaning of the word Empire in the 21st century. In this issue we are focusing on the voices of those who have traditionally been marginalized in the literary world. Imperialism in the 21st century has evolved along with globalization, so that the term doesn’t exactly have its old implications (i.e. 19th/20th century American Imperialism, or 18th/19th/20th century British Imperialism) but that of an international elite who wield financial capital as a weapon in order to oppress the vast majority of humanity.

In the meantime, well-meaning individuals who act for progress have become entangled in debates over identity politics. With this issue, we aim to unite the fractured voices of writers and artists of all identities against the real root of both Western oppression and neo-colonialism: those who control globalized financial capital, otherwise known as Empire. In the 21st century, Empire adapts to resistance against it by means of implicit control over media, technology, and education systems, in order to convince people around the world that the process of globalized capitalist oppression works. We all know due to current events that this is not the case.

The following pages include engaging poetry written by contributors from the Philadelphia area and all around the world. Vernita Hall’s poems are beautifully self-aware and steeped in history as she candidly reveals the ugliness of racism. Ryan Eckes boldly speaks out against injustice, exclaiming, “never thank a democrat / for anything / we’re not supposed to be / raped and killed…” and does it in such a gritty and urgent Philly way.

Savannah Cooper-Ramsey eloquently criticizes “…walls constituting nationalism, nonsense.” Mark Danowsky’s chilling prediction of a Post-Trump apocalyptic wasteland speaks volumes. Robin Knight describes the excesses of Oberon in his intellectual isolation. Jessica Murray walks us through the automatic checklist of Empire’s quality control. Julian Tirhma introduces us to Empire’s training video. Our old friend from Jamaica, Gervanna Stephens gives us her take on how oppression makes her feel. Justin Alley’s poem juxtaposes imperialist war in Iraq with our decadent consumption of reality television. Mara Buck’s “What is Aleppo?” takes that now famous question and flips it on its head.

Catriona McAlister’s poetry confronts the luxuries we are so accustomed to in the industrialized world. Tom Pescatore’s poem reflects on the human condition in a lonesome, Philly fashion. Juanita Rey, Sandra Turner-Barnes, Kymberly Brown, Preston Hood, and Molly Day all take a look at womanhood in their own way. Our final poems come from Lamont Steptoe, who delves us into the ultimate form of oppression in slavery. And finally, we have Pegi Eyers with another brilliant essay on the many problems we face when encountering Empire. As always, we’d like to thank you, the reader, for your support and hope you enjoy reading Whirlwind issue #10.

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Cover Art by Andrea Walls