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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Carla S. Schick

Creating Worlds With My Dad

(Or a Golden Shovel with Patricia Smith’s Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah)


The children on our streets of melted tar & bubble gum, stole my

letters, the ones etched into my brow, that daddy

blessed with a toss of a baseball & Hit the Penny, the way he detested

straight lines, his left-handed slant defying borders;

his factory floor, overheating with 120 degree ovens, trafficking in electronic parts, the one

offering to war gods or astronautical tracking devices that would look

into our eyes as the moon rose, pinpointing my dad coming home at

the shifting of light and the quieting of seesaws scraping ground, while my

skates got stuck in city sewer slats and my mother’s

calls through a half-opened first floor window won’t bring me home to watery

soups and the table I perfectly set, full belly

on bread & eggs & split peas begun with fried onions, and

my daddy downed a nightly beer while he

fingered the fading print of yesterday’s Times because he always insisted,

long before I was born, that the news arrived wrong as

the liars lying in wait for the money we didn’t have much

of, so we stood over the kitchen sink listening to a fuzzy radio tune as

he made us maps of his war year journeys through Europe’s forests & towns, while he

pushed songs, Count Basie’s drive & Dizzy’s trumpet tones, so we could

understand the politics of pain, the way ruptured melodies might urge us to insist.

War Stories Men Will Never Tell

(inspired by Eduardo Galeano)


“En los años de la guerra, a la hora del
amanecer, cada curepo de mujer era un
mapa del miedo.”
“Anatomía del Miedo,”
en Bocas del Tiempo by
    Eduardo Galeano



Their bodies are not fears

but maps  esperanzas

destinos mothers

travel their veins

as rivers

sons stolen


Their arms  another place

of battles  pin pricks

on the skin  explosives

in the nerves  Move to their chests


Sin caras  missing

faces of their children

a girl dragged out in the night

a boy turned man  turned soldier

discharges bullets

Corazón  heart-

less  a storm

from high mountains

soaked forest a hut crowded

with shivering women What has been done

to their bodies?  Jeeps

over crooked roads

through cities Dress up

in business suits


A mother weeps

by the warmth of her oven


Move down her legs  not running

not quietly creeping

around corners

in the shadows her brain

ruptures Enter her stomach

A  home


Watch her


her body  fingers kneading her skin

to search out

where her children

were last seen.


Carla Schick is a queer transformative justice activist and educator. Their works have appeared in Forum, Milvia St., Earth’s Daughters, Suisun Valley Review, Journal X, online at A Gathering of the Tribes and The Write Launch, and in the 100 Lives Anthology (Pure Slush). Carla received a first place award in the 2012 & 2018 Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry prize, and the 2022 first place poetry prize from SF City College’s Forum. They received their Certificate in Poetry from Berkeley City College. Carla is a member of Circulo de Los Poetas and Las Chingonas.

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