Congratulations, Juliette Givhan! Our winner of the Making Magic Poetry Contest and featured writer in “Wondrous World”!
“Call Me Magic” was inspired by Marcus Wicker’s collection Silencer, specifically the poem “When I’m alone in my room sometimes I stare at the wall, & in the back of my mind I hear my conscience call” which uses the title as a through line to the first stanza. While reading Wicker’s poem, I kept returning to one idea: I have been called many things by many people (friend, student, love, menace) but I have rarely claimed a title for myself. “Call Me Magic” is my attempt to change that- a long overdue self-naming that I saw happening in Wicker’s work. My poem is a spill of who I see myself as, and a reminder to give myself more credit for managing the multitudes that come with the different parts of my identity. – Juliette Givhan
Juliette Givhan (she/they received an MFA from Oregon State University and writes predominantly about myths and memes. A lover of thicc cats, overpriced seasonal coffees, and out of vogue video games- she WILL make a scene for a breakfast bagel. Their recent work appears in McSweeny‘s, stellium literary magazine, and DEAR Poetry magazine.
Full Crow Moon, Sap Moon,Sugar Moon, Worm Moon, the last
Full moon of winter. No matterHow hard or mild the season,
Our ancestors named them all,
Called them by the common
Truth of their own days, the laws of
Life, of planting their blessed harvest
With hallowed richness.
End of winter hardship, start of
Spring and new beginnings
Are heralded by this moon.
Thoughts, different patterns, my own
Grateful open offering to the fertile
Spring Goddess; true rebirth after
Lenten chastity, lean and lonely
Life begins anew with this
Connecting moon. Ready now,
I accept proposals for interesting
New adventures. Come now,
All offers, and lead my own
Precious creative self to my next
Fully blooming gracious Garden.
New Moon Prayer
These things I plant
And these I know
Will move toward me
‘Ere a fortnight grow.
My heart is set;
My mind is sure.
All good things come
And shall endure.
The Light in me
Attracts the same.
All these good things
Shall know my name.
I feel this good
Rising in me now,
Though I know not when
Nor yet see how.
Grateful am I
Here in this place
And ever thankful
For Heaven’s Grace.
And so it is
And so it shall be.
Amen, amen and
Grace to me.
For my holiday tree I bought a
Tiny silver ornament on a shiny
Silver chain, two gleaming pieces
Adorned with glass-diamond beads,
Both free-hanging on chains.
The little shining crown, with its
Bright ring of pretend gems,
Hangs on the lower of two
Separately extended chains.
Above it a gleaming silver heart
With a bold diamond center,
On its own links hangs
Just above the silvery crown.
If there is to be another Handsome prince in my life,
His heart is here enshrined.
In my crown-mind, joined with My diamond-heart, I hold that
Sacred space for him until
He finds his queen, and
Loves her for who she really is.
Beads of glass and a cheap
Silver crown no more,
We shall employ the pure and
Exquisite Magick that
Unites True Mates in love.
Pamela’s poems have been published in the Virginia Bards Central Review, Virginia Writers Club Journal, Wingless Dreamer (Tribute to Lord Byron), Poetry Society of Virginia Journal and also in an international collection titled “Childhood, Vol. 1,” published by The Poet Magazine. Her chapbook, “Renewal: Cultivating My Better Self,” received an Honorable Mention in a 2020 National Poetry Writing Month Contest. In 2019 Pamela won the Hampton Roads Writers Poetry Contest for her poem “Mrs. Creekmore’s May Peas,” about the mass shooting in Virginia Beach.
Pamela’s career-based writing included contracted nonfiction, instructional design and manuals, developmental and copy editing, and online/print writing for her regional newspaper and internet gateway. Now retired, she’s harvesting 40 years of poetry, journals and travelogues to create new works—and fun!
My name is Malavika Saju. I was born in India but lived most of my life in Africa. I moved to Dubai 6 years ago for my education. I am currently a first year University student. I have been an avid poem writer for the last three years but have had one piece of work published. I am a business student, but I find that poetry and literature play a major role in my passions and the ways I express myself. I look forward to my work being reviewed and possibly published.
Follow Malavika Saju on Instagram @malavika_saju
When shopping for coffee, keep in mind light roast beans hold more caffeine than dark roast. But, if you desire a bolder flavor, dark roast is a better choice!
And she drank them… oblivious That they were chains in disguise.
My feminist father would never claim this identity…
My feminist father is ashamed of knowing;
what’s in the cupboards of our kitchen,
where we keep the detergent,
How to properly do the dishes.
My feminist father is embarrassed
By his love for cooking and lecturing me about it;
Be kind to you casseroles, he tells me,
Be gentle with your ingredients.
I catch the smile that tugs on his disproval.
My Feminist father feels guilty;
For not wanting to go out every night,
For preferring to stay at home.
He settles into his cozy corner,
We blame the cold for keeping him in.
Yet, My feminist father would never claim this identity…
Instead, it claims him.
One need not be a house to be hunted,
One need not be a thing.
A body would do just fine,
A memory, a hymn.
When on your bed you fall at night,
He is there to tuck you in.
He lays there beside you,
He creeps under your skin.
Fear not my darling,
Hold up your chin.
When you wake in the morning,
He will have you still.
Rania Attafi is a feminist Tunisian poet. She’s a teacher by day and a poet by night.
Follow Rania Attafi on Instagram @raniaattafi
Not all decaf coffee is created equal. There are two processes to remove caffeine from beans. One uses a chemical to remove caffeine and leaves some nasty traces that enter your body with the java. The other preferred method that is more expensive is water-based. If you’re drinking a cup of decaf, ask how the brand removes the caffeine. Try drinking decaf that is water processed for your health!
Tamra Plotnick’s poetry and prose works have been published in many journals and anthologies, including: Serving House Journal; The Waiting Room Reader, Global City Review and The Coachella Review. Her poetry collection In the Zero of Sky is forthcoming from Assure Press. She has performed her work in multimedia shows at a range of venues in New York City where she lives. She dances samba and raqs sharki, teaches high school, and lingers with friends and family when not writing poetry.
Learn more about Tamra at
tamraplotnick.net and assurepress.org/tamraplotnick
What do you do with that last half cup of coffee left in the kettle? Do you save it? Do you let it go cold? Or, do you guzzle it down? Did you know that house plants can use the nutrients in coffee? Instead of dumping the last little bit of the caffeinated goodness down the drain, try watering a plant instead. The nitrates give our little green friends an extra boost of nutrients they often lack from just water.
All silver, and glass, and magic I can’t really touch.
It doesn’t really exist.
My home feels like a morgue.
I guess the first time was
Right when I woke up.
I still felt tired, and I knew,
If I wasn’t always so sad
I’d have more energy.
And then when I was frying an egg,
After being a failure as a mother.
I fished my fingers into the pepper
For flakes of chili ashes,
And as it spilled onto the stove,
I thought of how this didn’t happen
To better women.
I reheated the coffee from yesterday,
Left in its pot
To drink this morning, instead
Of fresh grounds, and water, and time.
A smarter woman would treat herself better.
Did I use too much cream cheese?
Why did I grab the bagel still hot, and burn my fingers?
Why am I so sad?
And I think of every terrible thing,
Ever said to me, by people I made angry.
The words slam into the inside of my head that I am:
Could be, should be- more.
I was meant to be the love of their lives.
They loved me so much
Except I am not good enough, so they had to stop.
They tell me, I am to blame for this unfortunate truth.
And as I sit down, I’m always sitting down, too much,
I should change
I remember I left the laundry
Emalee Long is a linguistic anthropologist and writer living and working in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her poetry, nonfiction, and micro fiction can be found online at Columbia University Journal, Panoply Zine, The Showbear Family Circus, 86 Logic, The Pointed Circle, and The Whorticulturalist. Find her in print at Weasel Press Vol. 3, In Parentheses Vol. 6 issue 2, 86 Logic Vol. 1, and Wingless Dreamer ‘Rewritten.’
Follow Emalee on Instagram @Emaleave.me.alone
Not all coffee is created equal. When shopping for coffee to brew at home, think about who is handling the coffee. Are the laborers paid, are the beans organic? Instead of reaching for the cheapest beans, look into the company that produces the product. You may be surprised to learn how far your coffee has traveled before it is in your cup. Cheap beans often equal poor quality and bad labor practices. Also, they don’t have the same taste.
By being a more educated consumer, you will support fair labor and environmental practices.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. My cohort/friend KJ Joseph reminded me of this a few weeks ago while on our coffee date. I hadn’t seen her in person for over a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Much had changed for both of us. We both birthed babies of different kinds. While she asked about my little girl, I was more curious about her book. In comparison, both were labors of love. KJ had by far the more prolonged work than I did.
I first met KJ through Augsburg University’s MFA program, and we bonded over much more than our love of writing. The topic we came back to many times was mental health. We both have clinical depression and talk openly about it. I remember reading chapters from KJ’s early drafts and loving the concept of her book. Soon her book turned into an award-winning screenplay; then, soon after graduation, the book was published by Wise Ink.
KJ takes her reader on a journey to break the stigma of mental illness. Much like the mission of Other Worldly Women Press, she aims to create a safe place to talk about an issue viewed as taboo. Being a young woman battling mental illness is hard enough; in addition, KJ takes us on her journey running track (competing against older boys). The movement throughout the book makes you feel like you’re running in her shoes.
I implore you to peek between the pages of “Simply Because We are Human,” a memoir by KJ Joseph. As we continue to breathe and live through the last few weeks of May, think about how to break the stigma of mental illness. Learn more about KJ Joseph here.
Veterans Day is a federal holiday celebrated in the United States to celebrate members of our armed forces. For me it is a day to be thankful my father lived through the Vietnam War and the hell it caused his body. I have written many essays about what it means to be a veterans daughter. But, I wanted to share this one since the holidays are coming up.
I’m inspired by my father in many ways, not only because of our shared love for nonfiction books, but also because of his hard work advocating for veterans. He was able to give voice to those who where ignored and marginalized through his work in the Veterans Administration and volunteerism. Like him I wish to give a voice to those who are not heard.
This essay is just one of many memories I hold dear.
My Santa had a hook for a hand. He also smelt like stale cigarettes. I’ve only met my Santa once, and I’m convinced he was the real deal.
I don’t remember much about Christmas that strange year when Dad packed up his new wife and life to move west. Maybe the Christmas I met my Santa was even a year earlier than Dad’s departure. I had to be less than five, and still extremely clingy to my Dad.
My siblings were there too; however, it didn’t matter to me. I can only imagine they ran around and played with all the other kids in the Veterans Administration (VA) Syracuse, New York, hospital’s cafeteria. Most likely I clung closely to my father the way I always did before he moved. That was when we still lived on Humbert Avenue and my biological mom moved out. That house had a haunted coffee table. Dad made it before we were born, and one by one each child hurt themselves on the sharp edges so badly that it required multiple visits to the emergency room. Dad said he got tired of paying for the E.R. bills and burned the darn table.
That was before I knew my father had much worse scars than I did. That is why we were at the VA hospital celebrating Christmas. After being a patient, Dad decided to work for the VA trying to make a difference for veterans like himself. He brought us to a VA party that had the real Santa, he even had an authentic silver beard.
I remember smelling him, like I used to smell Dad and Opa. Pulling close for a hug and snuggling into safety. He smelled like old smokes, generic hand lotion, and sweat. He hugged me with his left arm, his big yellow teeth gleaming under the twinkling lights. I loved him even before he gave me a large stuffed polar bear with his silver hook hand. My little hands grabbed the bear and hugged it hard, if it were a live puppy, the head would have popped right off. I didn’t want to leave the real Santa.
When I asked dad years later about ‘the real’ Santa having a silver hand replacement hook he looked me in the eye unphased and said, “Maybe he did, maybe you are just thinking of Uncle Fred.” Ma is always a few words away trying to tell me with excitement, “You got Big Bear there!” Ma was my father’s secretary back then; she knows about my Santa too.
After that I never really believed Santa would come, no matter how hard my Ma and Dad tried. My sister and I only whispered about all the other fake Santas when we saw them at malls or on TV. We were no fools—we kept up the charade of belief for personal gain. I told my parents Santa was real well into my teen years, and so did my sister. What they didn’t know was my Santa was out there somewhere in a VA hospital.
There is no such thing as a cure all medicine, herb, oil, tonic, elixir, or whatever you call it. I have found in my practice of mindfulness essential oils are great tools. No need to spend a bunch of money on them either. One oil (one that you enjoy most) can be used throughout the day and night.
Ways to use your oils can very person to person. I like to put a drop in my palms and rub them together then deeply inhale when I’m in need of concentration. There are plenty of diffusers on the market to be used anywhere imaginable. However awesome the oils may be for a personal perk-up if you are in an office or shared home, make sure everyone is okay with oil being diffused. Even the best oils can cause reactions in certain individuals and pets. Always ask a doctor before using essential oils on children and those who are immune compromised.
The aroma of oils can help ease tension, illness, and fatigue if used correctly. You don’t need to buy all the oils mentioned below. Here is a short list of oils I use and why.
Lemon- Lemon is a natural way to ease nausea. It can help you focus during meditation, and is more manageable for sensitive noses.
Lavender- Lavender is a big ingredient in natural sleep aids. My mother would mix it with water for a pillow spray to help us kids go to bed. Be aware there are a few different kinds of lavender. Before you buy a bottle make sure to smell a tester so you get the one you like best.
Tangerine-Tangerine is great for a gentle uplifting scent. Because of its sweet nature and pleasing aroma, it can be used in the office or worn to replace perfume.
Peppermint- Peppermint is known for its power to help headaches and ease tummy trouble. It can also be used on cold compresses to reduce inflammation. I make sure to buy organic peppermint oil that is approved for oral consumption. If I don’t have peppermint tea handy, one drop of oil will produce a similar drink. I also like to put a drop of peppermint on my floss and tooth brush for an extra clean sensation.
Eucalyptus-Eucalyptus isn’t just for koalas! This oil packs a powerful punch for fighting colds and clearing out sinuses. Put a drop in a tissue to sniff through the day. Or, add a few drops to some plain Epsom salt to melt away.
Rosemary-Rosemary is like Ritalin of essential oils. One sniff will help clear the mind and help you get back to work. However, be aware this is a strong-smelling oil and people may notice it. I like mixing a drop with fragrance free lotion and applying the mixture sparingly to the back of my neck. Blends- Some blends I enjoy are rosemary/peppermint for foggy brain days, use blend in a diffuser. Whenever I get migraines or headaches, I’ll apply peppermint/lavender to cold compresses for pain management. For extra comfort on days my anxiety won’t stop I enjoy lemon/eucalyptus.