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Joshua C. Pipkins

Joshua C. Pipkins (He/Him) is a young, queer, African-American poet born in Memphis, Tennessee. His work has previously appeared in various publications by Coin-Operated Press, such as their Depression Walks zine, and the Amanda Palmer-inspired poetry anthology Poems For The Ride. He is also set to make appearances in Olney Magazine's 4th Issue and Hieroglyph.

Ruler's Broken Heart

fairy tales end the way all lovers do—

bittersweet and flippant—

               I’m not the kind of king that you think I am.


look at my castle, 

look at my halls, 

                                                         hear the way the wind whistles through my heart with fingers that stretch as short

& as long as the gardens we planted in your eyes.


 can you still hear the roar of dandelions in the morning?


                               I always confuse caged doves for bottled lightning,

release them into Heaven

                                       & hope with every stitch in my arms that God will strike me down for loving you.

                                                     come and force me to my knees, 

                                                    cut the prayer from my lips, 

                                           but don’t call me righteous. 

                I'm not the kind of king that you think I am.

Paradise in Motion

not a single person hears the sound of something smaller than a paper cut.


if a needle pierces the heart of a boy sitting alone in the garden of eden, 

will he still make a sound? 


the morphine only spreads through his body so far,

culminates in his heart so that it can silence the night ache and wheeze of a trophy son’s smaller shadow, 

the one that sits in its corner and wears its dresses,

and flinches whenever it’s mentioned. 


i’m the one still walking for the three of us, 

the one that writes, 

the one that held your hand the day you said you were too scared to rescue us from the bullet riddled body of God.


i’m the one that will tear down Heaven,


and tell you that it has been done. 


My sword is rooted in my chest,

Ophelia doesn’t mind,

she caresses my cheeks with her frieze hands and kisses me with blue water lips,

takes me into her eyes.

This is home, I think.

This is what home means to boys like me,

to be lost in nothing,

and still rule everything.

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