THE BODY IS A HOUSE TO SCARS by Idowu Odeyemi

Salah and I escaped the blast that ate our mother

And turned our father to the offering

God punished Eli’s sons for eating

 

Looking for the safest tattered house to sleep:

A bullet entered through Salah’s forehead,

While we were fleeing from gunshots,

I smiled and took it from the back of his skull

& put it in my pocket

(I cannot carry a dead body with me &

I have to show the world I have a lineage)

 

My eyes have seen the ground inhume blood

of people I love with all of my heart.

Our playground turned to a red sky.

 

Smiling all the time is a sign

the mind is depressed and the body a house to scars.

 

I grew up believing I will become some mothers’ prayer

every morning they wake up to pray for their children.

 

Now all that is preventing me from killing myself

is the thought that the world was beautiful

& the world will be beautiful again.

IMG-20190826-WA0038

Idowu Odeyemi is a Nigerian poet and essayist. His poem Love Only Kills A Poor Boy won the Liverpool based Merak Magazine 2019 annual literary recognition Awards for Best Poem of the Year. He was shortlisted for the 2018 Nigerian Students Poetry Prize and the Christopher Okigbo Poetry prize. His poems have appeared or forthcoming in the anthology 84 Bottles of Wine dedicated to the Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Constellate Journal, Kalahari review, Praxis magazine, Lite Lit One, Perhappened Magazine, among others.

Poem by Lee Alder Ketcham Seguinte

I held your hand in a hot car
while you cried and the radio played
a song about falling.

I held your hand and we leaned back
and looked at the stars through the sun roof.

I held your hand
because there was nothing else for me to do.
Because I couldn’t show you
how to meet the eyes of that pain
crowding like a nightmare-beast in the corner,
hung like thorn roses around your neck.

I held your hand
and offered the heart I hide behind the panels of my ribs
behind the slabs of my chest.
The one gone soft like a bruised peach.

I held your hand silently.
in the car,
in the dark.
Held your hand, and, looking upward,
told the stars what I could not tell you.

“There are ways to wear your bruised heart,
to wear your necklace of pain.
Even ways to wear that beast with night’s eyes.
There are ways to hold your fear so they will not consume you.

Ways to hold their hand.”

Lee Alder
Lee is old enough to know better, but doesn’t. He might be a changeling, but wouldn’t tell you if he were. He lives in Sacramento, California with his husband, five cats with lofty names, a dog named after a Pokemon, and another debatably-Arcadia. His other work can be found at lawofnames.com

getaway car by Michelle Cadiz

I imagine death like a getaway car,
idling quietly at the bottom
of a pile of pills

a runaway bride, a flight risk, a convict.
on dark nights I picture myself
climbing in – the familiar rush of
relief, each swallow another mile
in the rear-view mirror.

these backpocket suicide dreams knock
around with house keys and spare change,
and I drag them around like a child clings
to a soft toy, up late, unable to sleep.

20200526_083318

Michelle Cadiz is a poet from the Philippines. She is currently finishing her undergraduate degree in biology.

Sensory by C.M. Crockford

The clapping hands 

(cannon fire)

thousands of them

battering his skull – 

sharp sickening shocks – 

 

all the boy can do – 

 

scream.

 

Mouth gaping 

fingers clawing 

at temples.

 

Fifteen years pass.

 

He hears music in a great city.

He’s changed.

He watches.

Listens.

 

The instruments 

build into white noise

 

inside – 

fevered cathedrals.

Delicate wombs.

 

He knows it is

a tower of sound

where he would live

in Prayer

 

to beauty.

The violent discord 

of this world.

E235D7BA-A770-48FB-A397-BAA5401FC9F4

C.M. Crockford is a writer with credits in Neologism Poetry Journal, Oddball Magazine, Vastarien, and Toho Journal Online among others. He is on the autistic spectrum. He lives in Philadelphia with his partner Julia.

Gut Reno by Mackenzie Moore

I hope you don’t have buyer’s remorse

for a house looking pretty good

when you signed the papers

worst case: some flaky grout

 

Only after months of padding around

learning the sounds of a fixer upper

did you find yourself lingering

on the same creaky board

 

Jump once

jump twice

you hit the dry rot

 

You’re not going to fire sale

but, if the right buyer

could put money down to fix it,

Well.

moore_photo

Mackenzie (she/her) is a writer and illustrator based in Los Angeles who currently writes for podcasting and television. Her first chapbook is forthcoming with Kelsay Books in early 2021— she believes bagels heal most wounds.

i’m always going to be sick, aren’t i? by Amber Renee

see, there are years of restlessness inside of

my head; history like

      eons of

           nostalgia,

bitter wars,

famine, natural disasters;

enemies building fences between homes 

   like separation from god is the true meaning of hell. 

// i’m all wrapped up in 

this fucking skin; paperthin &

                                constricting—

—my body: blood & guts & muscle & bone all    moving around, shifting bodily fluid. 

useless, useless, useless. 

there are years of resistance inside of

my head. / i’m sickened by 

existence. 

/ i want to go to bed.

Amber Renee, she/her, 26, writes from her home in suburban Bucks County, PA. A fool hopelessly in love with the pursuit of psycheverse knowledge, she often writes autobiographically. “Thoughts on This Most Recent Episode” was her 2016 full length collection of self-published poetry ruminating on her thoughts & illnesses. As recently as January 2020 she published a Poetry Picture book “i feel like i’m nothing” available online. Find her on social media @amberreneepoet

Open for Submissions

Serotonin publishes poetry and prose on mental illness and neurodivergence. The goal is to survive. And if happiness can be achieved along the way, then, well that’s a plus.

We’re interested in new, previously unpublished writing on mental illness and suicide prevention. Please send up to three poems or one prose piece in the body of the email. Limit poetry to 20 lines and prose to under 500 words. Include a short, third person biography. If accepted, we’ll ask for an author photo to include in publication and use for promotion of your work on social media.

You will receive a response in less than a week. Probably much sooner. Maybe even an hour. Depends on how much coffee is in house. Serotonin acquires first publication rights which are released when the author is published. Authors are paid $5 per piece. We pay via PayPal or Venmo. 

serotonin-1