MRB Chelko: Darkness Be,
Rival Be, & Murder Be

Darkness Be

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rush of cars loosed
from the nearest red light
storm the castle
a wave
of shields broken
over kids
in Ukraine in bed
my husband and I be
riot police
a cell phone
gotta hold
bravery or something
so yes
I shopped all day
got tired
and thirsty
and bought
the world’s blackest pants

Rival Be

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eerie blue
she enters
vagrant draped
in what must be
the hide
of a goat

taps her foot
out of time
with the mariachi boys
chews at the sudden
fowl air
of the train car

because we be
adults and this
America I nod
when she catches
my gaze

like any reasonable woman
I fall
for her madly before
I hate her

Murder Be

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we looked on him
trucks plunged
the octaves of our eyes
his throat one of those
crude bulges of gravel
mountain-base crash pad
for crazed vehicles

no body
outside on the corner now
a humble vigil
half dozen candles
set burning
a neon green poster
RIP emblazoned in sharpie

he was in the neck on my steps
and bled out there
the pool thick and warm
2,000 bucks
if anyone knows why
or with what weapon
his blood trail dried

my daughter follows it now
to the park
no figure
of speech no metaphor just a slit
in the sidewalk thick as the sole
of a child’s shoe

stabbed on a Friday
not a friend or a neighbor just a man
in middle age in this age
of freedom
in the video
Miley Cyrus swung
then licked a sledge hammer
she was naked and safe so America
keep laughing

it’s like being
swept out to sea
some women say of labor
and it must be true
of death as well
the gush
singing red from his neck


FICTION: Lisa Beebe, Karl Harshbarger, Lauren Johnson, J. Robert Lennon

NONFICTION: Matthew Gavin Frank, Deborah Thompson

POETRY: Melissa Barrett, Thea Brown, Lauren Camp, Sampurna Chattarji, MRB Chelko, Patrick Culliton, John Gallaher, Ricky Garni, Meghan Lee, Kristen Orser, slp, Meghan Privitello, Megan Pugh, Amelia Salisbury, Matt Shears, Raena Shirali, Dolsy Smith, Avni Vyas, Elizabeth Whittlesey, Nicholas Wong

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