99 PROBLEMS – by 47 teenagers and 1 teacher in Southern New Mexico

99 Problems

  1. homophobic parents
  2. I had to give my dog, Monster, away, we had him for 5 years, I had to give him away because he’s a pit bull and our new apartment is racist against pits.
  3. bullying–girls tearing girls down, why can’t girls build girls up?
  4. low grades, you got to make them high grades, that’s a problem
  5. always tired
  6. anxiety
  7. anxiety
  8. people underestimating just how overwhelmed I am
  9. I don’t know
  10. you scared me
  11. trouble with communication
  12. family and school
  13. soap collapses like egg whites when you beat at it for too long
  14. Bev Courtney
  15. Bev Courtney doesn’t think she’s a problem and that’s a problem
  16. no left over pasta
  17. leaky shower
  18. squishy floor
  19. I’m too moody, maybe it’s because of the damn squishy floor
  20. not having a raincoat when it’s raining
  21. not having an umbrella when it’s raining
  22. only having Old Navy stupid sandals when it’s raining
  23. when your taking your long, beautiful time in the shower and the water suddenly gets cold
  24. a teacher trying to put problems in student’s mouths
  25. moving to a new school
  26. my coach says we can’t throw cheerleaders in the air
  27. Deanna says that’s not really a problem
  28. Deanna says everybody’s gonna know the cheerleading problem is hers because Cesar A’s the only other athlete in here, and football players don’t throw people in the air a ton
  29. If you clench wads of toilet paper in your fists while you’re hiking, you’ll leave little tissue trails like so many scattered breadcrumbs across the forest floor
  30. my sister’s wet the bed
  31. this 2 dollar food is too delicious and it’s making me fat
  32. taking notes everyday is bad for my carpal tunnel
  33. notes, what notes? we were supposed to take notes?
  34. when you miss one day of school and you go from an A to a F and your teachers don’t give you time to make it up
  35. everyone on Varsity wants to be a star player all by themselves
  36. everybody’s looking at MaxPreps instead of the scoreboard
  37. Oñate has 3 really good teams, Freshman, JV, Varsity but we just stink in games
  38. too many books, too little time said one girl out of 4065 girls
  39. the fact that women are afraid to walk alone
  40. men who make us feel that way
  41. the senators and congressmen who think all the rape victims are lying
  42. the senators and congressmen who think how dare this woman drag a man’s name through the mud
  43. the hundreds of thousands of rape kits sitting in a police station closet that never get processed
  44. the children who go to bed hungry because our country can’t get its shit together to care about all the people here
  45. just violence
  46. the ginger teacher in training says, what isn’t a problem?
  47. hi, welcome to Chili’s
  48. people don’t work together
  49. Waluigi not in Smash
  50. love
  51. people who have problems when other people objectify themselves
  52. My Chemical Romance broke up
  53. Justin Bieber
  54. nothin’s true
  55. I asked Nate what a problem was and he looked at me like a tired boulder and Joseph C, his neighbor, said people
  56. overplayed pop songs
  57. the school smells like fish
  58. the school smells like Joe’s Crab Shack on the 5th of July, after hours, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  59. North Korea
  60. guinea pigs, I had 3 guinea pigs, one died and the other 2 ate him and then the other 2 died from eating his poisonous guinea pig meat, true story
  61. relationships
  62. lack of responsibility
  63. hypocrisy
  64. feelings
  65. grandma forcing me to eat more
  66. puberty
  67. puberty some more
  68. still puberty
  69. mumble rappers
  70. going to school all damn early
  71. hitting your small toe against something
  72. hand stuck in a pickle jar
  73. there’s no more marching band
  74. not having the liberty to go out with friends
  75. waiting until December to celebrate Christmas
  76. waiting until October to celebrate Christmas
  77. dad jokes you can find when you search “dad jokes” on Google
  78. educated people are hot because they have more degrees
  79. did you hear about the kidnapping, don’t worry he woke up
  80. weed laws
  81. white women pulling their kids closer when someone of color walks by
  82. poverty
  83. people in poverty when they say they chose to live this way
  84. small toilets
  85. losing course credit after 5 unexcused absences
  86. bubble gum that tastes like Pepto
  87. I asked Juan for a problem and he just smiled at me with these sweet brown eyes and shook his head, it’s like he doesn’t have any problems on the tip of his tongue, it’s almost like he’s the buddha on top of A Mountain, it’s like he doesn’t have a single issue reverberating from his vocal chords, and I guess that’s a problem, I’m the teacher and I told the students to tell me a problem and dammit, Juan should have a problem and he should have it quick, I’ll flunk him
  88. teachers who flunk Juan because he doesn’t have a problem
  89. teachers who use grades against kids like a piano wire cold around their necks, just barely pressing into their skin
  90. my daughter was crying hysterically over something stupid and I told her, I’ll give you something to cry about, and she said, I already have something to cry about
  91. maybe that’s a problem
  92. the church choir that couldn’t hit the highest notes, the most heavenly notes  
  93. Maria G says, you’re in my seat
  94. I say, why are you late
  95. she says, flu shot
  96. everybody knows if you got the flu shot, the flu’s not a problem
  97. the white lady that says, can I talk to your manager?
  98. stepping in water while you have socks on
  99. talking about problems on Lemon Haze

99 PROBLEMS – by 47 teenagers and 1 teacher in Southern New Mexico

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ROBIN WYATT DUNN – NEW MEN

New men

We’re designing new men

macerated men

cut to length

arbiter of luck

maker of stage

metal men

flesh men

 

huge and triumphant

unable to remember or feel

 

men made out of iron

and lace

 

men who whistle

and club words off of pages

and the names out of children’s mouths

 

what luck with forgetting

the forgetting men

 

made new and bright

made out of everything you’d seen

from the lighthouse in Windsor and Bohemia

and older places

 

watching them move into the light and out of it

while you shouted their names

to see if they could move in time

~

find Robin here

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POETRY: Summer Qabazard – LEXAPRO

Lexapro

Trust this young pair of lips

professing what only
a page should learn

I’m a phdiddleedee

Full of    lala

Inhaling your    blahbla

I’ll be your puppet
if you suck it

I’m looking for
Narnia

Wonderland

There’s no pill    for you

Alice?

Lucy?

The names of the body
parts you’re looking for
are irrelevant

I need to do an independent study

in    you

I    can   keep a secret

Orifice hours
are by appointment only

Today began with vaping
and ended  with the professor

I’m property of the graduate department

Return if lost

Run if lost

Oh

Merry, merry Christmas!

Grad school is delicious

Oh

You

May experience loss of  people
May experience loss of  self
May experience loss of  language

Unspeaking of language

No end
No such end
No such thing

We jellyberry
coolshock
against your office wall

And it’s hard to    swallow
with your brains    in me

Doc

With my

young
red
beating
heart

in your mouth

Your lips

pink
with laughter

Doc

It’s hard

to swallow

I glow

a blunt    flinging attention
’til you cranberry

And it’s the lovefest of the year

Coming ’til we’re dust

~

Find Summer Qabazard online.

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POETRY: SETH JANI – SULPHUR OR WOOD

Sulphur or Wood

It’s the first thing upon waking:
The outline of your loss
Like a bare sun in the morning trees.
Before you can even recall specifics
The longing hits you, cold and absolute.
Your own name, still lost in the dark
Of sleep, yet this feeling rising
Through your body
Like a rage or sickness.

It’s the kind of thing you feel
When you realize the best of days
Have passed before you, and you
Missed the music.
Regret so palpable, you can call it
Sulphur or wood.
The simplest of news holds no richness
Against the fiber of this grief.
It moves through your life
Until the world is full of ghosts
In passing.
It burns for no other reason
Than for the love of ashes.
Something in you so quietly razed
That no one at the kitchen table
Can see the chilled fire
Eating at your eyes.

 

visit Seth Jani online

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POETRY: MAXINE KUMIN – AT THE END OF THE AFFAIR

At The End Of The Affair

That it should end in an Albert Pick hotel
with the air conditioner gasping like a carp
and the bathroom tap plucking its one-string harp
and the sourmash bond half gone in the open bottle,

that it should end in this stubborn disarray
of stockings and car keys and suitcases,
all the unfoldings that came forth yesterday
now crammed back to overflow their spaces,

considering the hairsbreadth accident of touch
the nightcap leads to-how it protracts
the burst of colors, the sweetgrass of two tongues,
then turns the lock in Hilton or in Sheraton,
in Marriott or Holiday Inn for such
a man and woman-bearing in mind these facts,

better to break glass, sop with towels, tear
snapshots up, pour whiskey down the drain
than reach and tangle in the same old snare
saying the little lies again.

 

This poem appeared in the 1973 anthology Contemporary Poetry in America , edited by Miller Williams.

If you dig Maxine Kumin, check out her newly released memoir The Pawnbroker’s Daughter.

 

Submit your work to Cacti Fur.

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POETRY: Jessica Wiseman Lawrence – Birds

Birds

 

 

Water breaks for Terns and Petrels

diving to an unknown thing,

then up from water into air –

with no clumsy shaking or annoyance –

for them this is life and as easy as the atmosphere.

 

I saw a little grey sparrow land on a fence

when I arrived at a place I promised I’d be.

My car hummed,

and everything was humming,

and everything was noise.

We are just noise to everything.

 

Ahead, two crows pecked at grass, at seemingly nothing,

and feasted on worms and fleas

ignored. We toss simple things

away, we’ve thrown up

 

our hands to more food than could feed

countries full of children.

There is no flight enough to make us

comfortable with the animals we are.

There is nothing enough to make us the birds

we could be.

 

Submit your work to Cacti Fur: cactifur.com/submit

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