Arts & Culture

Poetic License

By Liam Woodworth-Cook

November marches forward, beckoning us in the dwindling light. Ballots are being cast, tensions are high. The weather becomes brittle. October closed in mourning. White supremacy lurched shooting out from beneath its hood. Pipe bombs were mailed. The system continues to imprison and marginalize. Two black people were killed in a grocery store, Maurice Stallards and Vickie Jones. A synagogue was shot up. The eight victims: Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal and David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon and Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger. SMCC held a vigil for these lives on Thursday, Nov. 1. Several poems were read as well as songs. The room vibrated, long hearts pulling through on a rainy day. One of our students read a piece which has been included in this paper in “From the Editor’s Desk.”

These acts of terror are rising as scores of far-right fascists, Nazis, and white supremacists continually reveal themselves. While the law may have arrested these individual terrorists, there are systematic workings in place that support them. My peers, we have much work to do. Organizing, resisting in solidarity. If you think you’ve done your part only by voting, I urge you to review history. This is a call for movement. Black lives matter. Jews matter, Muslims matter, trans lives matter, migrants matter, no one is illegal; human rights must be seen to matter. I hope you placed a ballot to make this so; I hope you will be ready to show up in the streets and with friends to make it matter.

As always, The Beacon is accepting writers and artists alike. If you’d like to submit any poetry, prose, or a series of stories, edited or raw, please email me at

Also included in this issue are several poems from Magella Cantara. I’m stating a content warning of rape/assault/trauma.

Please take care of yourself, and smash the patriarchy.

In solidarity, mourning, and strength,

May our tears come and bind us further,

Liam, section editor.

His eyes are black
And starved
Hands pinning me
To my soft pillow
Except he was
Everything but.
His lips maul
I’m sinking deeper
Into this mattress
I cannot move
His grip of iron roots
Has me naked as frostbite
In my throat starts to
Catch fire.
I’m speechless
He’s pounding me
Like an ax to an oak tree
I close my eyes count to 10 and imagine
My last love
How gentle he was how my waist
Was teased with each touch he made
How careful he was to take care of me
How we laughed how kissing him was kind of  fun
Making me want to go back for more
unlike this stranger I didn’t even know
He devoured me with teeth that never smiled
So I picture my last loves smile to pass the time
To some how make this okay for
My last love was nowhere near this rough and yet no where to be found
This stranger is now full
His eyes no longer starved
So I guess that is that it’s
Over now
He was in for what he wanted
Collecting all the good in me
Just so he could survive himself
The only thing he forgot to
Take was “no”.
If I walk alone,
I shall travel alone.
At least when I walk, there won’t be
Anyone else’s pace to match.
As my steps get more sure of their footing I begin to conquer.
Once the airplane takes off I get to look down on those who did to me.
Now I can laugh underneath my breath about how wrong they were.
As I travel no one will be behind me to shield me from who and who not to be kind too.
Instead of waiting for someone else, I can work hard on my own because success is more attractive.
Alone, I get to look in the mirror and decide what about me Is beautiful.
Hold onto the things no one can take away.
My grandmother used to tell me you do more with sugar than you do with salt.
When I turn 18 I will get a tattoo in honor of her on my shoulder.
It will not only stay there in honor but as a reminder to always be kind because you never know what people go through.
If I walk alone it shouldn’t be out of fear.
I shouldn’t have to slut shame my body for the time and work I put into taking care of myself.
If a man looks at me too closely and acts on it at the airport the problem isn’t with my confidence as a woman.
I shall travel alone to take in every new feeling that a person next to me in line may not feel.
Though I may not be above everyone else, I could be the one to share relatable feelings with the world.
Help them carry their baggage just a little bit easier before the long flight home tonight.
So if I walk alone it’s because I’m okay with everything I hold dearly.
People of the world should do the same even if we’re all just okay.

This isn’t him I assure myself.
My breath is getting caught in slow bursts.
Stretching my fingers gently along my waistline, my legs make a plea in my lungs as they tremble.
Slowly I keep pushing myself.
Or should I say that thing girls my age enjoy sucking, further.
Further until my body was ready to be blended into the bedsheets.
Until the rocks underneath began to crumble with an overcast of rain.
Gently I reassured myself that this was not him.
That this was me my own time, my own sense of help.
My fingers, not his
Encouraging myself once more, I repeated that this wasn’t him, this isn’t even attached to a body but came out of a box.
It was no use.
My emotions couldn’t keep up, they never have been able to.
My body always wants, what my emotions are traumatized by.
The rain in my crumbling rock body bursted with orgasm and tears.
So I stopped.
Stopped forcing myself into this feeling like always.
I tell myself this isn’t how sex is suppose to feel.
To sit here crying after feeling for pleasure.
I assure myself it’s not him.
Not his fingers, only mine.
This cannot hurt me the way he did.
This is just me, my helper from a box, my now overly relaxed body.
As my eyes become dry and swollen, so do I like the way he left me


Categories: Arts & Culture

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