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  • Writer's pictureClay Literary

RAVEN- Issue Nine (09/13/2020)

Image Source: Chilli Head/Flickr

Poets, Help Wanted

Written by Jason de Koff

Poetry sets scaffolding, protection as things build, to be vulnerable to accept, new ideas in the world.

Poetry draws emotion, creating safe space to feel, putting character, in the character limitations.

Poetry enhances vision, descriptions anew, perspective with new angles, changing prescriptions each time.

Poetry develops thinking, furrows for spring planting, as no pictures are hung, in the hallways of fallow minds.

Author bio: Jason de Koff is an associate professor of agronomy and soil science at Tennessee State University.  He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife, Jaclyn, and his two daughters, Tegan and Maizie.  He has published in a number of scientific journals, and recently has had poetry accepted in other literary journals for the first time. 


Unpaid Internship

Written by Emma Younger

I just broke up with him.

Because I’m gay. 

So it’s really gonna be good for me in the long run but I’m sorry if I’m distracted,

I say, 

scuffing my loose tennis shoes on marble floors.

I pull down the edges of my khaki shorts, 

the sweat of my fingers wetting the ink on the guest pass.

I scan into the 12th floor,

Back to the 90’s, low ceilings, 

playbills with curling corners stacked like sentient watch men,

Clammy hands now dry at the violent levels of a/c pumping through.

A grunge board room with a view of the vast lake Michigan, glimmering.

I hand out name tags, day two, fidgeted with to the edge of destruction

I shove goldfish crackers from the pink snack bin into my pants pocket.

I call about a craigslist apartment on a 15 minute break.

We practice stage slaps.

I tie tiny light up tennis shoes.

We roll circus equipment past the same haunted man on the street corner.

I text her in the bathroom, marble floors and mirrors wink at me.

I cushion my fall.

I sort craft supplies, untangling rainbows of yarn,

Fold 40 umbrellas in a drawer, 

props from a summer's past, faded blue, yellowing.

I text her in the audience of the dress rehearsal with my phone on dim.

We sing repeat after me songs.

I don’t get the apartment.

I cry in the park with no kleenex but my shirt sleeve, 

and the lady with the poodle watches.

I order a $6 iced americano and pay in mostly coins.

We dig out decomposing costume pieces in the drafty loft.

I crop my frizzy hair even shorter.

I hold bathroom doors closed and supervise hand washing.

We warm up, hold hands.

I rip tickets and shush the breathless backstage giggles.

I feel something in my chest when the rainbow parachute billows over the stage, 

the crack I pick axed into my heart inches itself closed.

Author bio: Emma Younger (she/her/hers) is a poet, actor, collage artist and cat mom from Portland, OR. She currently resides in Chicago, IL.


Stormy Weather

Written by A. R. Salandy

Oldened skies grow spiteful As worn country Cadillacs Find themselves out On the open road to nowhere. But wind begins to overtake The nearest shelter As the sky twists and turns And rages all the more indignant- At its perceived abuse. But clouds thrash the earthen roads With downpour violent And life consuming too As the shabby vehicles give way- To a sky in search of retribution. But now a dullen humidity sets in As the shadow world descends Upon muddy roads that rest So delicately decorated- By cars and their corpses So suddenly taken. 

Author bio: Anthony is a mixed-race poet & writer whose work tends to focus on social inequality throughout late-modern society. Anthony travels frequently and has spent most of his life in Kuwait jostling between the UK & America. Anthony's work has been published 54 times. Anthony has 1 published chapbook titled 'The Great Northern Journey.'  You can find him on Twitter/Instagram: @anthony64120.



Written by Gareth Culshaw

His bones start to broth from the sun.

The legs he had known are now fence posts

on a forgotten farm hill.

He struggles towards me, leaves a trail of vape

smoke in the air. His eyes are golf ball divots

in a bunker.

As he passes, we nod, and I remember the street

from years ago when box hedges kept us out

of his flowered garden.

He stutters up the streetlight road. A bald patch

spreads across his head like a field crop

starting to turn.

Then he’s gone. And I feel I have watched

his whole life go past me as a wind blowing

an empty crisp packet.

Author bio: Gareth lives in Wales. He has two collections by FutureCycle Press (USA) He is a current student at Manchester Met. His website is

#poetry #shortstories #garethculshaw #jasondekoff #emmayounger #ARSalandy #ClayLiterary #RAVEN #litmag

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