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I’ve had 2 trampolines in my life, I let them both rot away. Privilege is that noxious blindness -- Building up false confidence --- Façades abound, Blind Until you open your ears (By Empris' Durden)

Contributed by Empriś Durden

Unrequited Cannot begin to describe (By Empris' Durden)

Contributed by Empriś Durden

Must I always meet my beloved’s Beloved And smile and shake her hand and make small talk --- I mean learn why she was picked (By Empris' Durden)

Contributed by Empriś Durden

I randomly flipped to this Disney Channel show called A.N.T. farm. The main character is Chyna, a talented African American girl who plays the guitar and violin. When did I trade Disney Channel for MTV? When did I abandon my innocent dreams for ---- When did my guitar get dusty? When did I start feeling so lost. (By Empris' Durden)

Contributed by Empriś Durden

Untitled by Empris' M. Durden going to church, favorite wedge heels argyle sweater cute side-bun in my hair huffing the perfume on my wrist twirling in the mirror 1 Peter 3:3 1 Timothy 2:9-10 gentle spirit godliness modesty? Where art thou

Contributed by Empriś Durden

My tools are computer, brain, hands, pen, paper--- Black blinking line on black screen. Is this life? (By Empris' Durden)

Contributed by Empriś Durden

Slimy onions sautéed in regret Carrots bright orange embarrassment. Shredded turkey dives with broth waterfall. The missed opportunities are tough and mealy in between my molars. They’ll rot into regret cavities one day and transmit their yellow regret sludge into my blood stream. They’ll send periodontis to my weak palpitating heart. They’ll --- Why do I still eat it when my chest burns so sharply. (By Empris' Durden)

Contributed by Empriś Durden

Boulevard du Montparnasse by Mary Jo Salter Once, in a doorway in Paris, I saw the most beautiful couple in the world. They were each the single most beautiful thing in the world. She could have been sixteen, perhaps; he twenty. Their skin was the same shade of black: like a shiny Steinway. And they stood there like a four-legged instrument of a passion so grand one could barely imagine them ever working, or eating, or reading magazine. Even they could hardly believe it. Her hands gripped his belt loops, as they found each other's eyes, because beauty like this must be held onto, could easily run away on the power of his long, lean thighs; or the tiny feet of her laughter. I thought: now I will write a poem, set in a doorway on the Boulevard du Mont Parnasse, in which the brutishness of time rates only a mention; I will say simply — that if either one should ever love another, a greater beauty shall not be the cause.

Contributed by Empriś Durden

The Line is Your Home By Empriś M. Durden Stand in line, sister. Stand in this collection of broken souls, demoted CEOs, “moochers,” drifters -- And wait your turn. This stuffy, seemingly eternal equalizer of ratty coats and Armani suits is your home. Take it, or leave it. Join it, or you’ll have no home. This unemployment queue is the only home you know. An abode less perpetual but more comforting, Than endless no’s after interviews and fruitless cold calls. A warm place to lay your head, but cooler than the hot tongues of your comrade co-workers, Calling you colleague in front of your face, But whispering inferior monkey when you walk away. At the end of the line, my brother, your check will come. My brother, your check will come, your check will come -- And go faster than you can buy crumbs for your children. It will come my brother -- and go like your house did when you didn’t – couldn’t -- pay the bill. When you couldn’t pay the bill, where did you go? City to city, odd job to odd job – Relative to relative to relative-that-won’t-house-you-anymore, Soup kitchen to shelter, Shelter to box, Box to rainy street corner – Business suit to tatters. The check is the only constant you know. The check is your make-ends-meet guru, your buy-a-hotel-room best friend. The check will run out in 6 months, my comrade. So stand in line.

Contributed by Empriś Durden

These statements are excerpts from real stories. “How Many” Written by Empriś Durden 1: I was 15 2: I was 19 3: I was 14 4. I was 12 All: When I was first trafficked 1: I get straight A’s 2. I work 3 jobs. 3: I live in St. Louis 4. I was molested at age 12. 1: My best friend told me to get into the car.. 2: She said I was going to be a model 1&2: Does it matter that they were women? 3: I was poor and desperate– but I didn’t choose this 4. He bought me gifts. 3&4: Did we really choose this life? 1: I was wearing pajamas. 2: I was wearing street clothes 3: Does it matter what I wore? All: They didn’t care what I wore. All: 1,2,3,4 (pauses in between) 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, All: How many men per night? 1. HIV 2. Homicide 3: Suicide 4: Overdose All: Leading causes of death. 1. I was a virgin 2: I was a virgin 3. I loved my first. 4: Does it matter? 1. They gave us PCP 2. Cocaine 3. Alcohol 4. Weed. 1. Bruises 2. Broken ribs 3. Cuts 4: Concussion 1. Rape 2. Rape. 3. Rape. 4. Rape 1. Gang Rape 2. Gang Rape 3: Gang Rape 4: Is it rape when its your pimp? 1. $25 2. $50 3. $70 4. $5 All: How much is my body worth? 1. Hunger 2. Hunger 3: Thirst 4. Cigarettes All: We didn’t make our quota so we didn’t eat. 1. Arrested 2. Miscarriage 3. Beaten 4. Abortion. 1. Truck stop 2. Hotel 3. Back room 4. I don’t care where. 1. Miami 2. Toledo 3: St. Louis 4. Oregon All: This is America 1. New York 2. Texas 3. Arizona 4. D.C. All: This is America (2, 3, 4) repeat days of week in background #1 Speaker: I didn’t make enough tonight So he beat me. We live in America. Will anyone come? We live an average of 7 years. This is America Will he stop and think about what he’s -- (When 2,3,4 get to Sunday) All. No one came. 1. I am one of many 2. I am one of too many 3. We are many. 4. We are too many. All: I am one of 300,000

Contributed by Empriś Durden