September 25, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Keith Chastain photo



Phillip Border




Berkeley, California



I don’t remember much of our west coast

haven, besides your hand in mine

and the unexpected wind chill

in late evening sun, side stepping our way

through the multitudes of Spanish and Asian

dialects, down trafficked streets packed

with cafes, bistros, and bars full

of college students drinking up a life

we left back east. And why not

say it? We were in love–

travelers traversing the body

of this historic city, hoping

to drink up, a little, ourselves in

and outing holistic shops and bookstores

with nothing more but a few bills

still crumpled in our back pockets

and talk of how one day, we would spend it

all, with our future, smug, professor salaries

as we walked past homeless hipsters,

down the makeshift flea market

on Telegraph Avenue, peddling their hemp

crafted necklaces with blessings of prosperity.

On impulse, I pulled out two tens, and handed them

to a man with a mane of dreads tethered

down to his calfs, for a purple, opal pendant

for you, and clear crystal one for me.

Both of which he kissed, tenderly,

and reminded us to lay out each full moon

to let them charge. I was a believer

then, of anything that wasn’t biblical, and so choose

to bless him with my last five, and neither

of us worried about what the next day

would cost. We were rich with wonder

of the countless possibilities the city afforded,

and turning the corning onto Durant Avenue,

outside Bank of America’s wide windows,

we saw a couple, no older than ourselves,

cuddled on rags, with book bags propped

as pillows, readying themselves for rest

of the restless, and I wanted, for a moment, to toss

our room keys into their empty cups,

take their place upon the cold pavement,

and make the bed of this city our home.









In elementary school, most kids, white

& black, thought my favorite animal

would be zebra. Their parents told them

the blood inside me resembled the animal’s

natural appearance. They then thought

my person must be like a zebra:

never living its life in one color,

but in stripes, back and forth,

till you get to the end of its tail,

where those kids tried to tell

what color stuck out the most.






Phillip Border

Phillip Border is a young, up and coming poet from Western Maryland. He has received a B.A. in Literature from Frostburg State University. His poems have appeared in the university’s Literary Magazine, Bittersweet, which he later went on to direct as editor. He currently resides in Cumberland, MD where he spends his free time reading and writing.

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