at occupy

at occupy
we built
schools, libraries,
kitchens, hospitals,
we held each other
we talked
we sang
we screamed
we drank
we smoked
we danced
we fucked
we fought
we were alive
then they tore it down
and we went back to the smokescreen
they call life preoccupied

Camden, NJ

All this cures the bleedin’

Methadone Heroin Crack

40’s from Mancine’s

maybe a shot from The Victor’s Pub

in the old carcass of a RCA warehouse

where recorded music was invented

but now that’s forgotten

and so the blood trickles out

the red brick building spilling

onto the cracked curbside dreams

liquified and drained into the gutter

runnin’ under tricklin’ down PATCO stairs

where the junkies sleep in pools

of blood yes the blood of workers

the blood of Black people

the blood of Latinos

the blood of the Irish of Italians

the blood of women

or anyone who’s not a WASP

our blood pours thru the streets

cuz they wanna drown our voices

they wanna drown our children

in machines and equations

they wanna starve our children of art

they wanna rob our kids of poetry

of music of anything that makes them human

they rob us they rape us

and you know who they is

if not, then you them

An Average Urban Journey

Bodies litter stained floors

in this subway station as the head

piercing drone of trains rush

through tunnels, an anonymous man

throws his own body in front of a machine,

is crushed by unimaginable force.

I am unaware of this, sitting inside

the beast that killed this human.

We stop for a few moments,

a robotic voice announces

that there’s been organic

difficulties. The world won’t stop

and so we’ll move on after more machines

clean up the mess. There is nothing

to say about the dirt speckled

baby blue tiles that adorn the wall

I stare at beyond the blurry advert

that encases this compartment.

We begin to move again.

This is what happened:

we said nothing mattered

enough times that it actually came true.

Only a few don’t separate meaning

from life now. Emerging

from the underground I found

a poem in the sky then followed

my sour gut, ignoring more crumpled

bodies along sidewalks. Heavily armed

police everywhere. A rich and powerful

person enters an ancient marble temple

on 17th street. I walk towards the source

of spotlights roaming skyscraper walls

and then sit in a fabricated park to lick

the invisible moon above us with my feeble

thoughts. Again I get up to wander and worry

about death, then remind myself to allow

my feet to guide the rest and arrive

into the unknown.

Letter from the Editor Issue #5

Whirlwind Magazine Issue #5

Poverty. The word carries a lot of weight. It means different things to different people. Poverty is mostly understood as a state of being in a material sense, but it can also be described as a spiritual or psychological experience. These experiences are told through poetry, stories, and art within issue five of Whirlwind Magazine.

Welcome friends, to our one year anniversary issue. We are excited to share these stories and images with you, the reader, our beloved supporter. It’s been a wondrous journey these past 12 months, thanks to the bold and fiery poetry in our first issue of Dennis Brutus, Nzadi Keita, and Jim Cory, to the words of revolt and wisdom in issue #2, featuring the late Sam Allen and dedicated to James Baldwin, to the visually stunning artwork and beautiful Spanish poetry of Karina Puente and the late Justin Vitiello in issue #3, and finally to all the veterans who contributed in issue #4, especially Preston Hood and our founder Lamont B. Steptoe.

Fatima Ijaz, a resident of Lahore, Pakistan, begins this issue with a short and seemingly simple poem about a boy on a street. Brooklyn based Daniel Jones puts us into perspective with a thought-provoking piece on a pauper. John Elliott offers a more abstract approach to handling the idea of  inner conflict and struggle. Debra McQueen’s gripping, vivid poetry on exploring the hilly jungles of Guatemala will help you understand what it means to feel out of place. Ree Villaruel takes us to the Philippines, where a group of children’s innocent routine is broken, leading to unfortunate consequences. Jeff Burt’s post-apocalyptic tale of hoarding challenges those who believe they can withstand the forces of mother nature.

Sneha Sundaram’s haibun depicts the travails of a woman watching the wealthy from an alleyway; her use of the fascinating form of haibun is worth noting, as it is a centuries-old technique that combines haiku and prose in order to depict a complex story through poetry.

Award-winning writer Evan Guilford-Blake brings us a short story that displays how deep poverty can damage an individual. Richard King Perkins II also writes on the pain this causes, but through astounding poetic observations. Luke Coulter instead speaks about the other side of the same coin by writing on the ignorance of the privileged. Meanwhile, Bob McNeil’s unique voice comes out in full force in his two poems that are featured. Diane Funston shares a poem full of wisdom and gentleness that is quite remarkable. Shizue Seigel confronts the reader in a powerful piece about oppression in the deep south. Prerna Bakshi sings us a song of resistance for the underdogs of the world. Stephanie Han’s poetry is so intricate and profound, it’s amazing. Diane Payne’s story reveals how a domineering man performs his job as a social worker could prove to be a traumatizing experience for a woman. Rashaad Thomas strikes the heart with his portrayal of what it means to be black and arbitrarily stopped by the police. Marco Pina’s poem about a body bag is a must-read. And finally, we bring you the gripping poetry of Joel Salcido, a Mexican-American poet with an awful amount of talent. Salcido has a bright future ahead of him as a poet, and we have the honor of featuring three of his poems in this issue.

We end this issue on a note of reflection in memory of Sam Allen. The archival letters and photographs that appear are just a small, but captivating glimpse into the mind of a man who was a phenomenal poet and a good human being. Thank you so much for reading our one year anniversary issue. Let’s hope for many more anniversaries to come.

whirlwind #5 cover

An Ode

This is an ode to a broken window

who receives rain’s bosom.

This is the time for redemption

as vines creep toward

our open arms,

as we sing the song

of daybreak dulled.

Let your sky destroy

the nothing that throttles

our minds.