The Drowned

by Sergio a. Ortiz


I want to clarify

it was not in a river

but in the very ground

in front of President's Park

where I drowned.


The only river I have

in my memory is

a shudder

where small things

sink but never disappear.


Sometimes, I sink

before the river passes,

and my request

for help

is always late.

Created: November 15, 2016

Age: 65

State: Puerto Rico/Texas


Sergio A. Ortiz is a gay Puerto Rican poet and the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review. He is a two time Pushcart nominee, a four time Best of the Web nominee, and a 2016 Best of the Net nominee. His poems have been published in hundreds Journals and Anthologies. He is currently working on his first full length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.

In Case of Post-Election Emergency

by Sandra Yannone


The green, translucent bottle


                 in the sunlight

                                     as it careened

past my left ear,

                       then shattered

                              on the asphalt,


                              like mice under siege

by the neighborhood cat

                              or a jigsaw puzzle


                              from its fallible box.

The glass bottle

                              that broken afternoon

                    on my driveway

                                        in Lincoln, Nebraska

somehow broke

                                        into me.

You could shake me

                                       for years

                      like a dropped thermos


                     the percussive



                     and discern that those scars

               doubled once

as entry wounds

                              ushering that day

into my DNA


                              And yet how soon

I forgot

               that the glass was still there

                              burrowed inside me

as I keep

               shaking today, the illusion

that the mercury

                              was dropping its red

                spiked delirium

                              to quell my fevered

American heart.

I’d rather the county

                put one of its outlaw guns

                              to my head

                                             and pull

                the trigger

                                   than lever after lever

behind a pleated, plastic curtain,

                              all that election-night red

                on the map

                              screened through

my bloodshot eyes

                 when I told my body

never to let me

                              bleed like that again.

And I regret that I can’t

                   keep my pledge of allegiance.

And I regret that any rope

                              cast my way


                              through my hands, burning

red rivers like the poisonous

                                         black snake

                              that bores through North Dakota


                   the land’s indigenous skin

                              and ancestral prayers.

And where am I now?

                 I can’t find the one I love

                              in a crowded hall

                 when I most need a head

to land

                  on my shoulder –

                              not a head

riddled with bullets,

                  dead and unthinking,

not one or forty-nine

                  blindsided at an Orlando dance

club in June,

                              not one or too many

                  and counting

slabbed in county morgues

                              with police bullets lodged

in their backs.

                              The weight of these dead

                   is too much

                              for my shoulder.

And isn’t this irrational?

                              And isn’t this

                   granting a grand gift

                                                         to fear?

And now she

                              who staunched

                   my bleeding

may feel the cold-case need

                              to stay away

from my bed.

                   And now any hand I extend

to invite her closer

                              feels nullified

                   by sixty-million pairs of eyes.

They boycott my sequels.

                              They steal

                   my lunch money.

They break

                  my Partridge Family thermos

                              in the back of the bus.

And so what if all this


                  like overblown despair?

If I can’t kiss my way

                  to shatter the glass sky

without having

                              the neighborhood kid

                 throw a soda bottle at my head,

if I can’t criss-cross

                              every inch of this county

                 that is her body,

                              if I fear the loss

of that freedom in broad

                  strokes of daylight,

             then let me be


             despair it is.

                              But despair is just

one bus stop

               on this long ride home. And

                              I won’t stay

shattered here

                              for long.

Created: November 11, 2016

Age: 52

State: Washington


Sandra Yannone grew up on the coast of Connecticut with a daily view of Long Island Sound. Her poetry and book reviews have appeared in numerous journals including Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Gay and Lesbian Review (Worldwide), Women’s Review of Books, Calyx, and Lambda Book Report. Her poem “Requiem for Orlando” was featured in the August 2017 special issue of Glass: A Poetry Journal responding to the Pulse nightclub shootings. Currently, she is Member of the Faculty and directs the Writing Center at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.


by Samantha Stone

FACT: There are smart, educated, caring Americans who voted for Trump, millions of them. For the record, I was not one of them. There were tens of thousands who have hate in their hearts who also voted Trump.


FACT: If you are shocked by the results it's because you weren't paying attention to the signals around us. The polls have been wrong for the entire campaign.


FACT: Independent supporters did not lose the campaign for Clinton. You only have to look at Senate and House races to know the campaign was simply lost.


FACT: America should be scared, not because Trump won, but because hate in so many forms, thinks they were elected tonight.


FACT: Telling our children and our friends not to be afraid makes us feel better but does nothing to prepare them for the real hate that exists at home and abroad.


Those are the facts. Now it's time to act on them.


Stand by your neighbors. Reassure them our community is open and accepting even if you feel like a lone voice.


Reject hate wherever you see it and do it with respect and honor. Move America forward as a nation by paying close attention to local elections.


Hold our elected officials accountable to administrate with dignity. Stop sharing the memes, nasty tweets and divisive commentary. Set an example for our elected leaders and media to follow.


Be open to compromise. The election is over but governing has just begun. We set the tone. Each and every one of us.

Created: November 9, 2016 one hour after hearing the final results of the election

Age: 45

State: Massachusetts


As a child Samantha Stone was a nomad, living on three different continents and experiencing the world as an American living overseas. She returned to living in the United Status full time while attending college. Her experiences give her a unique appreciation for the peaceful transition of power, our judicial branch and M&Ms which are hard to come by in many countries! Today, she resides in MA where she runs her own marketing consulting practice and has raised four boys with her husband of twenty years.

An American Tragedy: Reflections on the Election

by Elizabeth Boyd Miller

Empires may rise and they may fall

like the spinning of fortune’s wheel

we played a towering house of cards

now we’re trumped by greed and power.


Your victory sealed our fate, a margin call

claiming your prize, rebranding the “Art of the Deal”

into “Make America Great Again,” this bard

tells of relations gone south and tasting sour.


Loud did you scream of fear and hate,

inciting rampant crowds, the chaos ensues,

just wait and see, the populace is blinded

by your slogans and your perfect agenda


Common decency has diminished as of late.

sending shockwaves around the world, he secures

his place in history books of this our divided

nation. Let us, the people, request a referendum.


There’s no need, we must humbly give you a chance;

maybe we gambled away our rights and our freedoms,

maybe we lost sight of our morality in the process

Maybe, there is no need for us, the people, to fret.


What will life be like a year from now? We cannot glance

into the future. A foolhardy man we elected for no reason.

What will life be like in three years? We’ll expect no less

when our democracy stands in peril by our president-elect.


Let us not be the pawns in our nation’s game of chess.

Each maneuver, each protest, let us not cry “Child’s play”

Let us instead power through our numerous frustrations

and rise above the machinations of late, this travesty.


Come Hell or high water, come a disastrous mess

We must live with our choice and fight another day

For the betterment of community, of our great nation

Is this a Shakespearean comedy or an American tragedy?


Created: November 8, 2016

Age: 27

State: Massachusetts


Elizabeth, originally from Miami, Fl, grew up in the small city of Asheville, North Carolina. She has studied history and environmental studies and is currently studying to become a contracts specialist or paralegal. She now lives outside of Boston, MA. Her main hobbies include reading and writing.