Two Poems by Nathan Lee

In these two poems by Nathan Lee, visceral and natural imagery is employed to create an authentic picture of teenage life.

the king’s road

i don’t want this poem
to ache. i want to think

about that dusk as tenderness
instead of something with       teeth.

let me just tell you
about the asphalt, the white sycamores,
the silver car engines singing a river of light.

i was standing on the sidewalk,
breath dripping onto the dark earth, thinking

about the red scrapes of road burn
on tanned thighs.       how a car crash

ing into a boy will
smash his head and
snap       his spine into match

sticks, maple leaves, so many scars like
tire tracks smeared on concrete.

but
there was the cool evening breeze

and someone’s golden lab, his limbs joyfully askew,
is chasing his ratty tennis ball near the edge

of the road. that’s
this road going nowhere,

this road leading my body home, this road shattering
into a tunnel with a prism of color       at the end.

ignore
the bitter taste of       gasoline. i’ll tell you instead

how summer lingered in the air thick

enough to bite.

how through
the slender green pines across the street

i watched the sun paint
a watercolor goodnight.

Worm Moon

Imagine this: the stars
in your rearview mirror
are closer than they appear.
In the spring dusk,
the ripe apricot moon
kisses the asphalt.

Those stars, that moon,
the same bright fires
that lit up the night
when we tore ourselves
from the water of history. Now,

nothing is real but
the wind in your lungs
from the open windows,
the lilac freeway speeding by.

You grasp your breath in your palms
as it hums a holy melody;
your heart a bass beat
through the radio. Tell me again

how memories are anything
but half-remembered stories;
how love is the opposite of forgetting.

And oh, to be hand-in-hand and balancing
on the tender edge of desire.

Tonight, you sit in your car and let
the songs you loved back in middle school
blast out the open windows.

Tell me how you can still sing along.

Nathan Lee is an emerging transgender poet. He is currently a high school senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California. His work is forthcoming in Polyphony Lit and Lambda Literary’s collection Writing Out of the Closet and has been published in Celebrate Creativity, a local anthology.

Visual Art by: Johnson Anthony

The Sky Apnea Collection

In “The Sky Apnea Collection”, Ariel Serene uniquely paints picturesque scenes of nature. Her surprising terminology creates a masterful description.

Apnea

Spasm of noontime yellow

Atop aching valley of strawberry root.

The wafting of pumpkin sun

ribbons

across dimpled doughy green.

To collapse here,

To become just a thing

Compressed under heavy

brilliance of air.

The heart balloons as does

The oak

And sparrow.

 

Here also lays wing, broken.

Bumbling oramagmied bird hungry

For carbonated sky,

for a hushed god

In this kneeling.

This building again

Amongst red bulb berries

Dangling from shrub

Swallowing the scent of sunset.

Cartilage cocoon spools

Through and out,

Wing mends as does the

Drunken maid and

Womb.

 

Sky Junction

The ivory’s obsidian counterpart:

Minor exhale twinges to

splinter compressing grey

And red

Dripping down a spine;

Matted fur in a ruffled song.

Do we dance slower now

Or speak underwater,

Where time slips

And gurgles through a palm.

Or

is it the heart allowing it,

A caven cry and leap

In love, I do

The birdwatcher and stargazer

Find mirrors under athick curdling sky

In adeafening dance with liberty,

beheading of gravity

30 feet above

A blistering suburb

Plagued and shredded into sun

And cement

Waiting for return of yesterday.

 

 

Summer’s Sister

Everything new under a young

Blue shadow.

Gasoline rainbow

Cracks under rubber boot. an

October lays her head heavy

Upon sharp wet road,

The brittle dead

Succumb to weight,

Gasped into swirling

Rust and orange.

Fold into the

courtesy after summer.

A quieter bomb, shaggy

And burrowing. the

Frothy atmosphere

Licks bare arms.

Night bites further into afternoon and

sun yolk drips quicker,

Heavy and crumbling with submission.

 

Ariel Serene is a 17 year old aspiring poet and screenwriter living in Los Angeles. Although new to the poetry scene, this determined young writer quickly fell in love with the art and is currently applying to major in English at UCLA.

 

Visual art piece titled “Looking Through The” by Meicen Deng.