Volume Two, Issue 4


Jonathan Andrew Pérez

In the whiff of board and soot, the smoke from candles
Twenty years before Folsom State
On the shores of the American River,
Swindled in the yellow- burn gold rush
The larceny of winding down and selling what was not yours,
And life hacked down before mom said, do this, and pray, you’ll be ok.

Straight shooters tagged on heels
Cut and feet blistered away,
The pelicans caw in nautically mad fog
The whale back breaches on the unborn waves and lunar light.

It was a highway to breaching before the full morning, in tandem with unseen whales.

Renderings of pain, the shackles will not break
Some strong ones attempted to flee and drowned
In the caramel colored pacific
White bleached bodies to sharks.

Let us out for once, lieutenant Chellis clacked
The steel cages in the rainy morning
At night – splash, - splash, gulp
Pedro, Frankie, little Sam, drowned on the ways to winging over the pacific
Photos floated of wives and children back under the hull.

Young inherit the stronger seed
Criminal bags of gold, Out there coho salmon
Sheen, bright spots with the welts of freedom
Branch and shake off the day in the sun
While spotty bands of black and brown bodies circle the interior,
Boys and younger still, unborn in mothers belly, seized in the state.

Out in the rolling green- a mountain lion
Askance in the rampant green, bobcats rip blood from possum,
In streams red legged frog croak against the full moon,
Husband’s last night on earth
Wife mourns the morning before the whiff of life passes in cracks in the state hull,

Under the water bubbled
I can’t breathe, I can’t….

When was wildness cut down,
The red abalone and oysters and dungeness crawl up the oak sides
Click and clack on board of lion spirits
And tortured souls.

O damage, the windpipes cry out
From below the mermaid hairs of red kelp,
Unknowing what the medical examiner will see.

The ship rocks,
We are askance patches of light in the spotty bay,
Another one blistered away, onboard
All in a single plea
To eclipse eternity for just waves to swim below forty feet,
And not have us to flee by dark swells.

Jonathan Andrew Pérez, Esq.: "I have published poetry in Prelude, The Write Launch, Meniscus Literary Journal, The Florida Review Aquifer, Panoply, Paradigm, and was featured in Silver Needle Press’s poem of the week. I have forthcoming poems in Yes Poetry, The Westchester Review, Watermelanin (for writers of color), Cold Mountain Review in the Justice Issue, and Swimming with Elephants. I was a finalist in the Still Journal Poetry Prize and for the Raw Art Review's Walt Whitman Prize. I am selected at Cave Canem for the Fall 2018 poetry workshop. I am in the process of completing a chapbook, Dispatches from Flight Calls Over White Pastoral.. I started my career as a "poetry-editor intern" at the Atlantic Monthly.

"I have a day job as an Assistant District Attorney as a prosecutor."

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