don't die press

you’re a predator

by , on
2021-04-15

New poem by Linda M. Crate

Man holding a theatre mask furtively behind his back

i am angry
that all these years later
i still remember and think about
what you’ve done,
of how everyone thinks you’re a good man
despite the fact i know you’re not;
you tried to force yourself
on me
when we were but kids—
& later in college when i thought i was
finally recovering from the trauma of not being
able to trust anyone,
you found me;
and you smirked at me saying,
“i bet you don’t remember me”
knowing full well that i did as i froze unable
to move or speak
eyes wide in horror as i saw you
someone i thought i would never have to see
again—
they say you’re a good man,
but i know better;
any time someone says a person is a good man
i don’t trust them because good men are introduced
by their character not everyone assuring one another
the other person means no harm—
i don’t know why people deny there are predators
around us,
it’s as if they don’t want to more closely examine
their friends and kin.

To the Girl

by , on
2021-04-01

New poem by Tara Menon

An array of matches shaped like a pinwheel

You’re hurting because the boy
didn’t say much to you.
The dinner was just a pretense.
We all knew you’d be sizing each other up,
you, an Indian-American,
and he, an Indian who’d become Americanized.
Sparks didn’t fly,
though you and he had every reason
to like each other.
You’re smart, charming, and friendly,
and he’s handsome, sweet, and reserved.
He shouldn’t have remained tongue-tied.
Ten minutes was all it took
for me to know the evening wasn’t going anywhere.
Jane Austen warned me
about the perils of match-making in Emma,
but I didn’t listen to her authoritative voice.
She knew men and women so well
and human nature hasn’t changed three centuries later
in any of the continents.
She’s still highly regarded,
the spinster writer, who was engaged
for less than twenty-four hours.
Like Emma, I’ve brought myself
a notch or two down in self-esteem,
and I need to make amends to you, my Harriet.
You are not really like that fictional Harriet Smith,
but a bright, promising young woman.
I just hope you never lose that confidence
that you wear so well.
As for me, perhaps I should retire from this business,
but I’ll try once more for your sake.

Wraiths

by , on
2021-03-28

New poem by Teresa G. Stankiewicz

A golden moth in the center of a moon cycle

She screams in the deep still night.
Her pain grips her in a suffocating hold.
She is lonely, emptiness is all around her.
She feels like a tiny moth left out in the dark. She can’t attempt the light.
It looks like a round moon drawing her closer, closer in a hypnotizing trance.
Still she is motionless.
I must get up. I must reach my wings and flutter.
Still she is motionless.
I can see others fall to the ground. Do we all?

Plant in a Pot

by , on
2020-11-26

New poem by Elinor Clark

Oh strange, spiky plant.
Though stunted, you still stretch upwards,
Desperately digging in roots.
But with each growth remember the tub that you’re held in.
Nowhere to go.

Thick, plastic looking skin
Inflicted with some serious malady.
Will scare anyone away.
Put the spikes up.
Pretend that’s what you want.

Remembrance (January 2013)

by , on
2020-11-21

As a belated tribute to all trans sisters, a poem from Anastasia Walker, appearing in S/tick Issue 2.4: OUTreach.


To 22 year old rapper Evon, suffocated with a plastic bag, choked with a chain, and beaten with wrenches and hammers in Milwaukee on New Year’s Day
To 20 year old Nicole in Brazil, shot to death after the boy she kissed and his companheiros discovered the secret that shouldn’t have to be secret
To 21 year old Dannie, kidnapped and decapitated by an armed gang in Monterrey
To the unnamed but not nameless 22 year old shot in Sarasota the same day
To Ale, 24 years old, in Buenos Aires, killed somehow the day after
To Fernanda, 32, of Viamo, Brazil, shot by two men in a car
To Tiffany of Guyana, sex worker, teenager, throat slit
To Nathalia, 32, stabbed in Quezon City, and her death mocked in the papers
To Cecilia, age not given, shot six times in Fortaleza
To Natalya, treinta, shot twice in Maracaibo, tierra del sol amada
And Jeckson and ?, killed in the same city,
And = =, killed by a car up the coast in Caracas, all on the 19th
To Agata, just a teen, stabbed to death in Camapua the day after my 49th birthday
To Romildo of Recife, stoned to death after 35 years of life
To Alejandra, 28, neglected to death in a Colombian hospital after a fight
To 30 year old Indian Vinod, shot
To 36 year old Karen of Zimatlán de Álvarez, found stabbed and half naked
To 27 year old La Tita of Ciudad Sandino, la Nueva Vida, stabbed in her home by her date
To 18 year old Vitória of Boa Vista, stabbed to death by her boyfriend:
It’s not the sanctioned bigotry, spanning hemispheres and centuries, which these crime scene snaps flesh out
Nor the thought of so much vibrancy so thoughtlessly snuffed out
Nor even the ferocity of your murders – call them atrocities –
That sits like nine hundred pounds of lead and ice in my heart, but the fear
That as the motherfuckers came at you
Punch-drunk and snarling for blood
You might for a second have felt
I deserve this.

This poem draws on the list of murder victims compiled annually for the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) observed across the U.S. and Canada, and in cities around the globe, in mid-November.

Storms in the Night

by , on
2020-10-08

A Throwback Thursday piece by Yvonne Jayne, originally published July 2014.

I am shaped by her thought of me,
I am named in her dreams,
Baptized by her vision of me
And born into her likeness.

I am shattered by her disappointments
I cry for her lost life,
I fall in her vacuum and
I flail in her failures.

I am driven by her dreams,
I am powered by her regrets,
She is capsized by the curse
Of her marriage to a madman.


I am rocked by his rages
Storms in the long night,
His genius beats against his bars
I am shattered by his disappointments.

I am unsteady, rising to the sun,
I am called in visions
To express what is sinking,
Back to the core of me again.


I am unheard in my expression
Struggling to have a voice,
I am told to stop being dramatic
And make obedience my choice.


I am shattered by their disappointments
Drowning in their struggles,
Each is the enemy of the other
Storms in the long night.

Confessional

by , on
2020-09-25

A new poem by Harley Claes.

I think I can only sleep next to you in sex trance
when the veil is fresh from sociopath
and the smile sweet from narcissus
when I’m lucid you’re but a monster with the urge to
    choke out the docile
in every woman and mother that is not she, your great
   love and captor
your long lost blood line
fleeting and finicky
dependent and long foreseen
knowing if she could see
she would be ashamed

The Graces teach Psyche the origin of oppression

by , on
2020-08-28

New poem by Casey Catherine Moore

Feminine oppression
Is the bottled-up emotions, forced down by Uranus into Gaia’s belly
The tears that leak out after ages of suppression
Our oppression is when the words
Are trapped on the backs of our tongues
And feelings pull forth instead
Like the last bit of honey oozing from the jar
They call us hysterical, a word tied to the darkness of the womb, hystera
But you need no womb to be a woman and to be a woman is to be transcendent
They teach us to be givers, to twist ourselves in different spaces
They tell us we are both Madonnas and whores
They build the gilded cage and ask us to dance
And call us bossy when we make the rules
When Pandora was made from Earth Phobos screamed
And man took heed and tried to shovel her back down
But woman is necessity, Ananke, and because she is darkness she is the only thing who
can chase away Night.

Triple Threat

by , on
2020-08-24

New poem by M. Magee

These girls.
These women.
These Goddesses.

All telling stories
Like tender snowflakes
All part of a raging storm

They call to me
And to you
And to all of us

DO Something
SAY Something
Rage! Die! Kill! Scream!

Don’t let the mean ones in
Don’t let the nice ones out

Don’t let me out
Or in
Or both

Rage against the machine.
Rage
Such an awesome word
And Death

Tracing snow-angels after the storm
One, Two, Three
Angels in a row
Delicate
Simple
Beautiful

All Her Stories left there

Three dead snow-angels
These girls
These women
These Goddesses

No Mercy

by , on
2020-08-21

New poem by Tanasha Martin

I am laid bare.
An ink tattoo
with scarlet cells
who cluster
and cling;
my body welcomes
and warms, and
as is written,
I take my place
and multiply –

an option you should appreciate
and you say you do, but you
don’t.

I am exposed.
A design
of once tiny scarlet cells
that clustered
and clung
to a body
who welcomed
and warmed, and
as is written,
I took my place
and she multiplied –

but no options were ever appreciated,
only met with white-knuckled
stone.

We live on display.
Masterpieces
shunned by the blind; we
seep
and scar;
our bodies
targeted
and torn, and
as is written
you take your
place
and as hypocrites do, multiply –

For the options of outrage are reciprocal,
its fury seizes you by the throat.

Our ears will repeatedly ring
with spurious sentiment,
but it should subdue and
soothe our souls to know:

Pseudo virtue
is not an admirable attribute.

Empty empathy
Breeds no mercy in your belief.

When hate is what you live to breed – promote,
Mercy is what you will have revoked.