Inscape Art Publication

© 2019 WJCInscape


William Jewell College

500 College Hill

Liberty, MO 64068

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Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe

Cracked glass

Empty panes

Broken mirrors

Fractured frames

Perfect facade


Nations, cities, streets, crowds


They’re rushing through chaos, calamity, noise

Always running

Where do they go?


Look at their faces

Gaze into their eyes

Discard false smiles

Engage their minds

Hear their stories

And just be there



Shake me, rock me, swallow me whole

Into this expanse

Consume me, engulf me, surround me completely

With these masses

Persuade me, constrain me, invade me entirely

With this doctrine


Countries, languages, governments, power

Seven and a half billion people

On this earth

In this machine


Take my money, my ideas, my time

Work me hard and work me long

Don’t take mercy

Wear me out

I am nothing


Yet you gave me a voice to hear me scream

So watch

Because I am still

And I am here

And this world spins but goes nowhere

Stuck in orbit, stuck in cycles

Perpetuating the past

The future crumbles


We claim to learn

But our knowledge is worth nothing

If we give the demons of the past new faces

And the same names


Hatred, fear, oppression

We repeat.

Is it really so hard to love? To create?

We are all a part of this earth, this machine

And until we stop the cycles,

Stop revolving in place

We will repeat the past


I have been swallowed, engulfed, constrained

By a broken machine

And from within I see

The allure of the facade


Cracked glass,

empty panes,

broken mirrors,

and fractured frames.


Our home has been damaged

From within

Now get me out, or leave me in

But do not make me perpetuate the hate

I would rather devastate

The foundations of our home, our earth

And start again


Because maybe, maybe

Things will be better then.


Abram Fernandez

Familia, that’s supposed to mean something to Mexican families

Huelga means more than just strike

Wetback is more than just a joke

Orgullo is more than just pride

Illegal now applies to more than just objects

Freedom is an idea that liars spit out

Oppression now goes away if you don’t look at it

Humiliation is now passed down the family, like an heirloom

Hope is just a fairy tale obsession

Freedom of speech gets you shot

Justice now only applies to white people


But familia is more than just a word, it’s everything to Mexican families

Huelga means striking down injustice at every turn

Wetback is an insult, to the individuals and the hundreds of lives lost

Orgullo is what Chicano students strive to bring to their families

Illegal applied to my mother and father, ripping them of human dignity

Freedom means freedom from fear

Oppression and its history cannot be forgotten, even by the best efforts

Humiliation can no longer control a proud people

Hope is why we fight for our children

You can shut our mouths, beat us into submission, but you cannot silence our will

Because sooner or later, justicia will be upheld


Because you have threatened our families with separation

And struck down our language, making it a dirty word

Insulted the hard work and toil that millions have undergone

Tried to take our proud heritage away from us

Made us into objects that you can now easily dispose of

Abused your freedom to inflict terror

Continued to oppress countless lives due to racism and bigotry

Laughed at us and our efforts, calling us intolerable

Tried to extinguish hope with new laws

Made us live in the shadows, silent and fearful

But justice will be upheld


Because I am proud of family and what we have accomplished

And I will speak Espanol with my head held high

I will forgive your racial slurs because they are just the results of concentrated fear and ignorance

I will be free from your fear

You cannot oppress a people that knows how to fight back

We are a humble people who will not tolerate insults from bigots

Esperanza is what has kept me going

And by now we have mastered the English language through study and hard work

And now justice will always be more than just a word

Panic Attack

Ashlyn Bashmore

Clocks stop. Creation ceases,

only I exist. The pill bottle clicks,

crammed between cracked, split lips.

Deep breaths – inhale, exhale.

Dream, dream of a happy place.

Not doom, death, destruction.

Dry mouth, can’t drink. Nothing will stay

down. Drowning, I’m drowning

in my heart’s deafening drum.

Everything is empty. Endless. Electric

fear flickers, fueling a fast fire

that fiercely burns but I’m frozen to

the pyre. Fine! I’m fine.

First, breathe. Oh God,

no divine greatness or glory,

no Gabriel to grasp or guide.

I’m alone. Guessing, gasping for air

in this gas chamber I created.

Happy place, happy place. How?

America, for Allen Ginsburg

Bruce Rash

America I’ll give you all and then I’ll be nothing,

All of my love, all of my being, all of my everythings.
America they’re already yours.


America my psychoanalyst tells me I need intrinsic self-worth.

I’ve never found intrinsic self-worth.

I don’t deserve intrinsic self-worth.

America will you give me intrinsic self-worth?


America I loved you when I was thirteen and you said I couldn’t love boys,
Couldn’t love both boys and girls,
When you told me those were the only two kinds of people to love.
America I loved you when the NSA watched me masturbate
through my webcam to hentai and MILFs at fifteen and

they never even told me.

America I loved you when I tried to register to vote as a member of the Green Party
and my voter ID card came back marked “unaffiliated.”

America I loved you when I bought 25 tabs
of 25i NBOMe from England and sold 20 to my neighbor J’wayne

and you never questioned either of us

That was so kind of you America—

America I loved you in the torrential Missouri downpour tripping on acid,
walking to Walmart to check the time,
loved you though we never consummated our love.

America I loved you though you re-elected Sam Brownback.


America I loved you even though your doctors accidentally put my father into a coma
then made him cover the bill when he woke up.


America I still love you even though your guns are more important than my queer life
America I still love you even though we said “Black Lives Matter” and you asked

“What about me?”


America I love you despite Wayne LaPierre.


America I love you despite
what you did to those Iraqi children for all those years,

what you’re doing to those Syrian children now.


America I love you despite

your obsession with emails and

straight-conversion camps.

America I love you even though you hate me.


America, you were so heavenly in

Springfield, Missouri. I thought everyone was angelic.

I thought I could be angelic.


America let’s make you angelic again!

America keep women out of the polling place!

America voting rights for property owners only!

America the Electoral College must vote!

America Jim Crow did nothing wrong!

America there’d be no more violence if we were all libertarians!

America Dick Cheney Is Our Savior!


America do you dream in technicolor of a better Kim Kardashian?

I dream often of a better Kim Kardashian.

I once loved a woman who was obsessed with the Kardashians.

I want to own all of the Kardashian makeup products.

I dream often of being beautiful like a Kardashian.


America when will you let me be beautiful?

I will wear my dresses in public with my hair pulled down low

America I don’t want HRT I just want to be beautiful like you

After all America I am nothing without my beard.

America will you love me when I am beautiful?


America do you love yourself?

Where else could one build an empire on nothing but appearances?

Do you realize that you are an empire built on nothing but appearances?


America where is Julian Assange supposed to go?

Will your foreign policy ever change to reflect absolute truth?

Will we ever recognize absolute truth?

Is there absolute truth?

I’m fascinated by absolute truth. There must be an absolute truth.


America is democracy absolute truth?


America why did you try to take “Howl” off the shelves?
America why did you put communists in prison for dreaming of a better you?


America why can’t we be kind to one another?

America someday I won’t be able to do this anymore.


America what job awaits me when I drop out of college?

I don’t want to flip burgers in an all-night restaurant

I just want to write my poems and go to sleep


America will you take away the lonely days I passed

watching the stars on back roads in Kansas

smoking secret cigarettes, writing secret poems?


America will you take away my secret poems?


I went to the liquor store and Tarek from Israel said

not to worry about the price of the cigarettes,

I can get him back whenever I have the money;

He was so kind and gentle—

why can’t everyone be kind and gentle?

He took me into his office and asked me what I thought of Alex Jones.


America ad astra per aspera!

America deo fisus labora!

America cogito ergo sum!

America e pluribus unum!

America annuit cœptis!

America novus ordo seclorum!


America you have broken me with your machinery.


America do you hear what I am saying?

America I loved you even when I thought I didn’t.

I loved you watching the rain drops on the reflecting pool

as the Washington Monument faded into ripples in the water;

I loved you watching Donald Trump tell you to beat a man;

I still loved you when you did.

I cried for you two times, America.


America tell me the truth:

is there really some great white angel bound

to take me over the cloudy blue horizon

on his lofty golden shoulders and absolve my sins?


America I don’t need saving.

America I get the feeling that you don’t want me anymore.

America the joke is on you.
I am you and you are me.

I am not kidding around America.
Do you realize how serious this is?

America I’m not proud of who we are but maybe someday I will be.

America stop pushing.
Soon we’ll both be nothing.


America I don’t want to work nine-to-five or raise children

I’m lazy, incompetent, and no good in bed anyway

Allen, my Graybeard, my Angel—

I don’t know what I’m doing,

but for both of us I’ll keep pushing.


This America is nothing but queer shoulders at the wheel.

Funeral Dress

Ashlyn Bashmore

In the recesses of that closeted cavern,

a vulture perches

in shadow, imprisoned

within its plastic, protective cage.


The vulture is quiet,

stiff and unmoving.


it peers hungrily,

looming above

its approaching prey.


Today is to be a day of release.


Its black tulle wings ruffle,

sequin eyes glinting

in voracious glee.


Once more it will escape

to roost upon slumped,

weakened shoulders

and feed.

Team Edward

Harper Vincent

You used to say

my glowing, amber eyes

were the only ones you’d ever love.

That you desired more than anything to touch

my sparkling skin

cold as crystal in the Twilight.

Oh Edward,

you whispered into

my porcelain chest.

Edward, please be real

So you can turn me

beautiful and cold, too.


But, sweet darling,

I could never give you what you wanted.

Your futile cries revealed:

I am about as real

as your hopeless fantasies.

Now, I lie exposed.

Widowed and


My remnants are everywhere.

Shiny paperbacks scream my name

from dusted thrift store shelves.


I scowl at you from—

one, two, three, Part 1, Part 2—

discount movie bins.

How I always used to scowl

just for you.

You may think you have forgotten me,

oh-so-delicious love,

but I know you cannot.

My bloodless heart beats

until yours drains.


Harper Vincent

Today is no particular shade of blue.

Is it a powdery, hazy room

thickened with smoke

and a few lonely breaths?


Maybe it’s a blue that lines rims of lips

“o”s around lollipops

curling into mischief-stained smiles,

or damp denim

peeling off slick,

happy thighs.


Or could it

instead be the blue

of bruises on hips

held hard

by leeching hands—


A blue that blankets

and pulls

you into black.

America and the Great Earth-Machine, a Sonnet for a Post-Election Society

Jonathan Daniel

Rock smacks, wood clacks in the glade;

creaking and reeling, from soft clay summoned—

machine of moss and iron and gale made

to give panting Gaia a power button.


Her circuitry pulsates in a steely breeze,

her machine creaks and clacks in giving life;

We, cohorts of this verdant engine, move with ease—

sentient symbiosis in her land without strife.


Yet in creaking and clacking, discordance grows;

we smack her pulsing rhythm with our casted stones.

Moss and log and metal are rent, our gale of tyrant words blows—

the machine razed to ground, dumping our muddy bones.


Power lights fade. We all are of her, yet there is no trust.

Drained and loveless, will we quite destroy US?

You Are Cosmic and I Don't Care

Audrey Mapes

Darling, you’re a star: a

wad of burning helium, hydrogen, whatever,

suspended in a vacuum and isolated.

You think you are alone in your splendor,

the only one alight as you sit in the nothing, but

this is because you are too absorbed in your own burning

to see that, far away, everyone else is

exactly like you.


There are so many stars

all scattered and sprinkled through space

because stars are littered by divinity,

leftover dust brushed aside and forgotten under

the beds of greater beings.

Stars were worthy of poetry, for a while, but look

at a star, look at it, night after night

the same star, and you will forget

what you found so enchanting about

a pinprick of light, some distant planet’s sun;

you will try to speak beautifully: a firefly nestled

amidst black velvet, a toothpick hole poked

in the tissue paper hiding the sun. You

won’t feel the same anymore.


What is a star

but galactic waste, in the end? What

is a star, what is a star?

You don’t call beautiful something

consumed and then left to rot.

You would not say the candy wrapper

dropped by the path inspires you.

You wouldn’t name a pattern of peanut shells in a stadium.

The universe is too big. Stars

are too numerous

to be poetic in burning.


You are a star and a star is

a stick of old gum: a sharp burst

of flavor, and then, immediately,

dense and tacky and small

between my teeth. I spit out stars

and move on.

Autumn Solstice 

Bruce Rash

This light, open blinds.

Trace sunbeams. See

all of me, naked,

sleepy-eyed and melted,

translucent, shades of orange;

ephemeral in this



on blurred freckles.

Blank sunsets, cartoon moon,


Nothing spoken, nothing heard.

Yellowed refractions off

broken bottle camera lens,

broken brain chemicals;

Nothing real, cadaverous;


All torso and limbs

All dirty sheets, all kicked blankets

All fetal, all voiceless.


There is light here.

It is blinding.


Gaze upon

This light, open blinds.


Nostalgia Ghazal

Bruce Rash

Shaved my head in the late night hours.

I thought my hair held our twilight hours.


We took turns riding your bicycle,

Jogging beside; exhausted, bright hours.


Pulled my fingers through your hair, curls.

Saw a future for us; what-might hours.


My lips to your lips, quick, soft; tasted sweet.

Asked the question: “Are these the right hours?”


Felt the coarseness of your hands, fingers.

Touched your legs, hair; our finite hours.


Supermarket avocados, ripe.

Turned brown like us, no more light hours.


I kissed you, in your bed, last time.

You said, “I love you, Bruce.” Goodbye hours.


Anna Warner

She kisses my feet, dragging

trembling lips like the tide, rhythmic.

Love like a fever, sickly and triumphant,


washes over my flushed skin—

where is my medicine, doctor?

She kisses my feet, dragging


submissive praises, apologies, like chained prisoners

trudging from her lips—where are my pills—

love like a fever, sickly and triumphant;


I cannot move. Doctor says low fevers are good,

just wait them out, they advise, but

she kisses my feet, dragging


love like a dirty toothbrush along my marble toes,

and I long for her frigid honesty, not this

love like a fever, sickly and triumphant.


Doctor grins, watching as she licks—where is my—

stripes of discordant monologues up and down, up and down.

She kisses my feet, dragging

love like a fever, sickly and triumphant.