by José Vadi

“Rodney King Isn’t Candyman”

three times into a mirror
before rodney kings’
apparition appears

                at least you know who i am
                most kids just see someone's
                dead bloated uncle

this ghost glitches
between analog and digital,
symptoms of being overly
rewound on VHS, 

the backyard pool
that held his last fall -
its coping lines
his decayed lips;

you were always described in hindsight;
a beaten midnight in freeway’s sky; 

why WorldStar?

                product endorsements,
                click bait revenue,
                heaven’s got a commissary 
                who places bets and always collects
                from my addiction of hitting rewind  

the weight of the video
cassette catapulting days
of death measured not from
your body's toll but
the days it took for those
cops to be  acquitted;  

a single
burnt match
your ghost
still tastes; 

and a fire ignites itself anew,
every time we hit rewind,
billowing from behind this
apparition’s skin; melting Rodney’s
edifice of face, sirens and flames
blaring from hairline to chin, 

a ball of flames on
two legs staggering
backwards now into
the mirror, its glass  

into talons
pulling him back
through the window
into the beyond - 

a wall of shattered,
torched shards
which, from my angle,
bears something
of a reflection.

José Vadi is a writer and film producer living in Oakland, California. He received the San Francisco Foundation's Shenson Performing Arts Award for his debut play "A Eulogy for Three" before becoming the inaugural director of the Off/Page Project, a collaboration between Youth Speaks and The Center for Investigative Reporting. His work has been featured by the PBS NewsHour, Mashable and the San Francisco Chronicle, while his writing has appeared in Colorlines, The Huffington Post, Gigantic Mag, Jupiter 88, Specter Magazine, 3AM Magazine, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Catapult.

by Trinity Tibe


I watch my mother wince like copper

in the sun.  She is always in pain, she is

always coated in SPF zero.  Coconut, 

Mai Tai, the Piña Colada scent of her,

the beach of her. Any shore I visit 

runs along her scar, belly button to bikini,

a little gold ring haloes the erosion. 

Greased, gleaming, I keep an eye on her 

from the water, second sand bar, the tow pulls 

me out of her sight, fish on a line, 

I swim back, like a run through a dream. 

Salt burns the back of my throat

when I see her, watch her son die,

watch her leave on the first flight 

to ID him, shuffle my feet for sand dollars.

I hear her retch, her vomit breaks like waves

after every meal for years. ICU, a speck

on the dune, I see her skull broke, 

brain bleed, chapped lip, a towel saturated 

with her, sea anemone, aneurysm,

neck brace tan line. I see her get robbed,

same day, disabled. Bye body, bye jewelry

box, X marks the loss. Wealth watered down 

to social security, an umbrella in the drink. 

Thirsty, careless, a break from the sun beckons

me. I slice myself on a barnacle as I wade in.

A clean, red eel slithers from the arch of my foot,

smells like metal, a penny, my mother.

Trinity Tibe is a co-founder of Say Yes Electric Collective, an art community in Brooklyn that creates space for diverse artists and encourages collaboration.  She is the winner of Crosswinds Poetry Journal's Annual Contest, and is completing her MFA in Poetry at The New School. Find her at

by Trinity Tibe


My birth plan is the sequel

to a movie I lie and say 

I have seen.  I catch

the trailer on an evening

walk, people watch

television near open curtains,          

their mouths filled 

with the blue of the screen. 

A man clears a mess he didn’t make

from a table. 

I am curious about how 

the neighbors arrange their

furniture.  I am curious

about how agony will 

humiliate my body. 

I have a belly 

full of organs

that have never been 


I have kept myself

so whole. The blonde hair 

in my comb is not mine. 

The child that crawls

into my bed


Trinity Tibe is a co-founder of Say Yes Electric Collective, an art community in Brooklyn that creates space for diverse artists and encourages collaboration.  She is the winner of Crosswinds Poetry Journal's Annual Contest, and is completing her MFA in Poetry at The New School. Find her at

by Tim Raymond


Everybody said it wouldn’t happen. Then one morning the whole town is submerged and we’re inhaling our final breath. Those with boats suffocate on the surface—or get eaten, maybe, what’s happening up there is unclear. Like my family, most will drown in the ever-rising tide.

Dad motions for us to gather in the kitchen. He finds the etch-a-sketch and tells us he loves us. He starts with Mom. I’m last because Melanie is older. Melanie hugs me. Two days pass. We all get hungry and pale. Dad captures a fish with a sweater, but what can we do, swallow it? And raw? Dad gets the etch-a-sketch and warns us that yet another neighbor has checked the surface and sunk back headless. Mom demands the etch-a-sketch to find out which neighbor it was. A large bubble escapes me as I begin to laugh. Dad writes not to laugh on the etch-a-sketch. 

Three days pass. We’re starting to think very poorly because of the lack of oxygen. We are all breaking records for longest dive, but all of the books are destroyed, so no one will be remembered. We will never become memories or fish or anything else. After a week has passed, all of the vessels in Dad’s eye pop and he goes blind on the one side. Mom has gone inexplicably bald. “Ugly?” she writes, and bubbles escape all of us.

Melanie sees Bill’s son through the window and gestures that she loves him. I know that she wasn’t ready to make out with boys. But to die never having done it? I would settle for holding hands with one. There is nobody left. Melanie holds my hand and I kiss her cheek. The boy sees us and waves slowly, before being swept away by a current.

Dad’s second eye goes and then Mom takes over completely with the etch-a-sketch. She writes, “Wonder what’s above?” But we don’t, really. Dad starts floating into walls. I wonder how it’s possible that we can go so long without sleep. I wonder, if there was time enough, whether we’d evolve into sharks or whales. Mom says, “What’s up there?” A day passes. Mom writes and underlines, “Really.” Dad dies and we all don’t know how to cry. It takes a while, but she writes, “I lived in Wyoming, did you know that?” We knew that. We’ve heard all her stories more than once. In the hills near her school, there was a landslide that opened a hole in the earth itself. When people finally got the courage to explore it, all they found at the bottom of the gash were dead animals. “What’s more moving? Imagine,” Mom writes. I picture stars above the surface. Angry fires. What no one is able to say is that hurting the earth is forcing the animals to become stronger. But now it’s morning and Mom’s mouth is open and there’s a worm or something living under her tongue. The water is getting progressively warmer. We take off our clothes. A day passes and on the etch-a-sketch Melanie writes, “Imagine.” My brain is nearly mush, but I know exactly what she’s referring to. It’s our beautiful, silly Mom. Our very first love. We could laugh and die now. There are worse ways. 

Another day passes. I imagine a million moving things. Melanie, too. We’d tell them all to each other, if there was time.

Tim Raymond has work forthcoming in Passages NorthSmokelong Quarterly, and others. He has an MFA from Wyoming and now teaches high school in South Korea.