poetry submission

Untitled by Richard Cunningham

We’re at a cliff here

Where it’s

Burst into



Or you Can go and kick rocks

Like the other 8 billion

And there’s nothing wrong with that

But don’t you want to know how that wind feels?

The Panthers

They got that

LOOK, baby

You know?

Foxes, wolves, rabbits

Hummingbirds, hornets

They all got that


Don’t you wonder

Where they get it from?

At some point

They just jumped

And somehow

Came out of the rubble

Broken bone

Or two

Maybe missing

An organ or two

But that


Is still with them

Don’t you want



Breathing in the world

And knowing that it’s there!

You coward, you fool,

You can hide from

That look

That glare

You can shy away

From the cliff

Your whole life

Either you jump

And become the panther

Grappling with

Failure and loss

Before determination

Or you stay here

And kick rocks

I may break a bone

Or two

But the wings

Will spread

Like a

Three-day long

Winter night

And it’ll crawl up

Your spine

you’ll know then



I’m not afraid

Of being back

The police brutality

The prison slavery

The racist families

Of friends

Or lovers

The racism

Doesn’t scare me

Nor does the segregation

Or the violence

They tell me “

In other countries, its hell

You can hardly escape it”

It’s like trying to run out of your skin

let the color run out of your skin like ink

And blood

And protests

And dead bodies

And whatever it can flood America with

It all leads up to

Dying anyhow

And I’m not afraid of death

I just take my ticket

And join the line

What else do you suppose I do?

Yet they ask for more

Shave my head

Clean up

Leave behind whatever

You have left!

Listen, America

My parents tell me

I don’t listen, and it’ll get me into trouble one day

I am trouble!

I’m going to be in your face

Staring you down LOUD

Without a word


You’re about as intimidating

As death

And I’m not afraid

Of either of you

You can’t stop my march

You can’t stop a stampede of black bulls

And you know

You never will!

It’s me


My dreadlocks


My piercings


My blood


Be dyed black




And there it is!

On the horizon

Being young and


Being young and


New born star

And breathing in the mountain air

Memories of being young

Being newborn deer

Stumbling on forest roots

The jaguar is prowling

With its eyes

Set on you!

Ready to devour

Don’t let the world devour you yet

I’ve grown old

My heart has the same age

As the stone

In the Grand Canyon

My eyes

Carry for more years

Than I do

As weary as I may seem

Being young

In a world that only sinks its teeth into us

Or still fighting the jaguar

Old and war scars

You come out of it somehow

Come out of it

Still together

Dancing around

The bonfire

Still holding on

To youth

Still holding

On to life

Being young


Not quite dead yet


What do you think is waiting for you?

“Maybe if you work hard

Follow the lane

And stay safe

You’ll be good”

Cut the bullshit

Right there!

We broke the record on

The government shut down

Because we couldn’t agree

On a wall

To keep people out

Isn’t that funny!

I build enough walls

Standing taller than

Memories of the past

And stretching farther than

Sighs pouring off a broken lover’s lips

Yet they want

10 billion to keep the people out!

I guess

I must be a genius then.

Most people

Wouldn’t bat an eye


Long gone

They say

Pity and

Seldom remorse

Only destined for death

They say

“If it was just a tray


It’d just be lost”

That which is to say

We all are

“But it’s feral too”

Hostile and

Given way

Too many of its lives

Now clinging to its last

“You can’t even

Show any


It’ll give you that look

That beaten down

And ready for one last fight

Back bent

And hissing

Isn’t that sad?

You can’t help

A feral stray

It must save itself

It can only

Do that

So, keep walking

There’s nothing more you can do

But watch


And little lose

But its life

Fight off against

The odds

I still hear it

High pitched squealing and fighting

In my backyard

When the night is deep in my bones

The bastard’s been going for

Twenty years

And still hasn’t

Fell yet

On all fours

Back arched

Eyes narrows


Ready for

One last