Poetry & Prose From the 940

As we all know, "DeNtOn iS kNoWn fOr iTs mUsiC sCeNe." But, it is also a town where many creative corners come together and thrive. Between collectives such as Spiderweb Salon and Lost Poet Lounge, Denton has seen poets rise to the occasion when given the opportunity. Moreover, Denton music is nothing without great lyricists. Publications like The Dentonite, North Texas Daily, TWU Lasso and the Denton Record-Chronicle are only possible through the power of talented writers. This town is rich with amazing writers and wordsmiths who just want some outlet, some release. Enter, Poetry & Prose From the 940. This is just the introduction edition which will feature 10 writers with pieces on a variety of topics. Every time we publish an edition, I will give you the theme for the next edition and deadline for these pieces.

The next theme is: Summer in Denton

*UPDATE: EXTENDED DEADLINE* You have until Friday, June 1 to email your pieces to tori@thedentonite.com. Write, sweet babies, write! 

Human by Nyx Armstrong

If we don't not engage, if we do not voice our struggles we will be washed away

We must be loud.

We must be aggressive and we mustn't lie down.

Hear our voices,

hear our screams,

see our struggles,

see our pain.

Stand with us not against us,

do not invalidate us.

Do not say our feelings don't matter.

See our fears and our worries.

See us more than our bodies,

see us more than machines,

see us as Humans.

Listen close, open not just your ears, but your hearts

Hear the crying and the suffering

Hear the fear, and the trembling

Open not just your eyes but your mind

See our concerns, see our problems

See the reality we face, See the things we endure

Notice how we are conditioned,

Notice how we are controlled

We are tired, we are done, we are just fed up

We are not weak, we are not fragile

We are strong, We are alive

We are not machines

We are human

Turnover by Annelise Camille

You misunderstood

I am not damaged goods

Now I mean the most to me

You gave me meaning

Not a gift but from what I stole back

All you did was give me a heart attack


My heartbeat the horizon


At least I was trying…

I didn’t know what I saw in you in retrospect

You were my entire sightline,

Now you’re just a speck

My heart is a fortress

I am the princess

The kingdom overturned

All the witches burned

Repaired the heart you had torn

Alas, the queen was reborn

I killed the king

The end is most freeing

Relic by Tanner Tovar

What is time? 

But an invention of man

With a flip of a dime

It passes again, and again

Seconds, minutes, hours

Tick, tock on the clock

Waiting for what transpires 

What if we can stop it with a lock

To freeze those special moments

We hold dear

With the people we've chosen

But also fear

What is time?

But a relic so old

From every chime

From its beginnings so cold

I Am the Ship and the Storm by Kimberly Shivernell

The waves crash upon the ship knocking it violently to one side, disconcerting everyone on board.

The ship attempts to right itself, bouncing against the horizon of the sea; flesh falling, minds unsteady.

The mirror lies flat, winds stale and listless.

The ship stands still. Time fades as suns set and moons rise. Creeping forward into unending nothingness.

Winds pick up, the storm comes again. How high your swells? Days of unending rain with no reprieve in sight. The passengers become accustomed to the sound. Dulling the senses with their hypnotic patter; on and on it goes.

Everything is wet.

The flesh grey and wrinkled; losing opacity. Hearts slowing to match the rhythm of its monotony. The mind quakes.


The waters churning, white tipped breakers moving swiftly towards the hull.

The passengers snap from their sedation. Steady! Steady! They brace for impact.

Poseidon raises the ship towards the sky and strikes the vessel at its weakest point.

The cargo hold comes loose. Memories scattered and broken: a locket, a coat, a shoe.

The caption begs for forgiveness, riddled with guilt for responsibilities unfulfilled.

“Why?” Cry the passengers.”Are we not your charge? You have left us lain bare, defenseless and vulnerable.”

“I did my best….” A mutter repeated from his lips.

Another blast. The ship is torn, exposed, and drowning. Fate is accepted. On through the night in silence.

A stirring on board. One small mind; eyes open wide and in awe.

The sun, unseen for so long, revealing all that lay hidden. “Have you ever seen anything so bright, beautiful and utterly terrifying?”

It bleaches clean the stagnation of death.

The Revelation of all things, marking their final end.

Buried by Ellie Gonzalez

Sometimes the tears come

When you least expect them.

And you feel your world collide.

You feel the walls closing in on you.

The weight of the world is just too much.

And you struggle to breathe in

And it hurts to breathe out.

You try to push through.

You try to endure.

What others never have or never will.

And you survive.

With every movement and every anticipated pain you climb.

Digging yourself out of the rubble that this world has placed upon you.

You move each stone with bloods running down your hands.

As you take away the shambles of life.

As the light seeping through guides you out of the grave.

You move with more pain but undeniable intensity.

You feel the weight of your decisions and your mistakes start to lift.

And you are overcome with a power so undeniable that you give praise.

And use the pain as fuel.

Your body gains new strength.

Your spirit starts to flicker.

And the blood starts to dry.

As you rise from your grave of despair and hopelessness.

Into a life a renewal.

Stronger from the pain.

Wiser from the experience.

Better because now you know.

That through the pain there is purpose.

And you survived.

You have survived.

As you rise.


Header image design by Tori Falcon

Surfeit by Rachel Herzer

A flood moves in without warning and it seeks
not to destroy. Its intent is to wet the dry,
to wash the dirty, to cool the burned. But soon sweet
waters become too fast, too deep, and the sky's
kind rain becomes pelting and acidic. Soon mud
and debris taint the rising waters and the lake
is not strong enough to keep it all in. The flood,
at first seen as a reprieve from God, now in its wake
leaves ruin and has drowned the very life it meant to save.
How could you have been so reckless? How could you ask
so much of what was so weak? In a wave
of foolish excess you broke man like glass.
Sometimes a flood has a face and a name.
Sometimes it's forgotten as quick as it came.

CW: This poem literary reactionary-reflection pieces on sexual assault and rape culture.

Incipit by Adam Mahout

Please, I am not a patient sleeping,
hoping for the razor's mend,
nor traveler, his possessions on a stick.

Do not touch me while I am sleeping.
I am not dreaming: the snake
lies coiled on my stomach.
I do not charm him with my reed.
Yet each night he comes to me,
he whispers, I came to him.

In the morning,
when I look through my window blind,
stripped mattresses burn atop the Dump,
and that man beats the flames with his tobacco pipe.
Is it his freedom of choice
to touch the letters of my real name?
But I am not the rare savor on the tongue,
Naked blood feeding desire.

And outside my door, Apion solicits lies,
nailing doctrines to the porch.
All night he trumpets my address.

Please, if you wake up before me this morning,
wake me by my name.

El Jardin by Claire Cadena

Cuando era pequeña, mi abuela tenía un jardín.

Había plantas en la escalera del adoquín y plantas en el pasillo exterior.

Cada color era profundo y cálido,

Pero mi favorita cosa era el nogal en el adoquín

Las hojas llegaban hasta el cielo; eran largas y tenían un aroma cautivador.

A veces, las ramas y hojas me raspaban mientras montaba las escaleras.

Cada verano, esperaba impaciente por el otoño

Y Cada otoño las nueces caídas las juntaba con mi madre

Era lo más bello en el mundo, ese nogal, y lo más delicioso.

Lo que amaba aún más era que cubrían sus hojas como manta a las otras plantas de mi abuela

Era justamente perfecto, ya que las matas absorbían sol pero no se quemaban

Siempre pensé como las flores eran tan magnificas en su simplicidad y fragilidad

Después de unos años, igual de frágil y simple, mi abuela cayó enferma

Mis padres decidieron mudarse de esa pequeña ciudad,

A donde los nogales no eran iguales, las plantas no eran tan brillantes,

Donde las cosas eran más caóticas y complicadas.

Lo más vivido que recuerdo de mis años ahí es ese jardín.

El nogal, las plantas, el pasillo infinito y lleno de todos los colores posibles.  

Ahora, cuando visito esa ciudad no es igual.

El nogal ahora es un tronco, las plantas son ausentes en la tierra.

El pasillo antes infinito, me parece corto y amplio.

Mi abuela se fue, y con ella las plantas y el bello nogal.

Mi abuela se fue, y con ella la belleza y simplicidad.


Stormi by Anjelica Fraga

When I say that Stormi Brown is my best friend, I don’t mean this casually

I mean that, though our first few months hanging out were littered with midnight park soirees

And cool March nights munching on food on the courthouse lawn

We became accountability partners

We became “Tell me if you want to hurt yourself. I won’t be disappointed.”

We became “I know you’re not doing it for attention.”

When I say that Stormi Brown is my best friend, I don’t mean this casually

I mean that, though we eventually moved in together and our evenings were filled with chicken nugget feasts and walking around our apartment without our pants on

We became each others’ family

We became “I’ll make us dinner if you do the dishes

We became “I’ll call you dad since I don’t have one”

When I say that Stormi Brown is my best friend, I don’t mean this casually

I mean that, though I knew from the beginning that she was moving, saying goodbye to her at the airport was one of the saddest things I’ve ever had to do

We became long distance

We became “I wish you were here”
We became “I am lonely without you”

Even now, 4,000 miles apart

Red Lodge, Suffolk to Denton, TX

No secrets

No lies

No fear

Only love

Only support

Only validation

And her laugh is the closest to home I’ll ever be

To Take A Breath by Tilly McCallister


when we sit in my car in the parking lot by the community
pool, a few blocks from my house, passing a joint, our seats
laid back and your feet out the window. Natalie Cole singing
about Gibraltar through the beat up old system, you sing so
gently no one could notice. i try to turn it down a little
without you noticing your version and you lift the joint from
my fingers so i rest them on the stick. you pull the smoke
from your mouth with your right hand so you could lay your
left on mine. we don’t say anything about your flight


when you call me for the first time since i can remember,
three or four months since you texted me that you’d gotten
home the next morning, when it was no longer relevant. i
apologetically but not really excuse myself out of a friend’s
dorm room, puling my phone to and from my ear to see if
the signal was improving. i pull a chair from a study room and
lean against a corner in the stairwell. an hour or two. we don’t
talk about Gibraltar, you have to go. it might be a while,
maybe longer


when i forget to put a return address on the letter to you,
your new address i managed to get from your mom. letters
are better to receive when they’re unexpected. for the person
who writes first, though, it’s manilla-folded anxiety. for now,
you sit somewhere, likely a book, more wine, the right
number of plants. i start to bookend my comings and goings
with short walks to the box, leaving it uncertain whether to
be frustrated or disappointed. i shouldn’t have mentioned