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.

coverissue10front

Cover Art by Andrea Walls

 

Ready to explode 

ferry avenue’s soft chaos
on a warm October night
lost young men ride motor bikes
and ATVS with deafening cries
pulling 90 degree wheelies
in the dead of the evening
without t shirts some bearing
teenage girls on their backs
the young men ride fast thru red lights
swerve past waiting cars
and ride perhaps until they’re out of gas
some even without headlights
and careen past playing children
with paper thin bodies
ready to explode

Above my head

two sounds persist
this afternoon in Camden

one outside one in
first the buzz of a helicopter’s

blades a few hundred feet
above my sad apartment building

second the constant tick
of the clock a few feet

above my head