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“The truth is that most drownings are preventable, but you have to understand the facts and know how to prevent it from happening.”

                                                -excerpt from StopDrowningNow’s Drowning Statistics Keynote

Ten Steps to Stop Yourself from Drowning (a Poet’s Edition)

1. Don’t read sad poetry –  words will meld and grab a hold of your bones, of your metaphor. It’s the booze of the Bard. It will only weigh you down.

2. Swear to be good and pretend you’re god. Walk on water and make believers out of your begotten.

3. Don’t fall in love with devices of fuck-me-over plastic. Cheap canoes will crack. The only thing that will save you already exists within you.

4. Leave voicemails even when you don’t know if someone might listen. Write letters. Mail care packages. Do something to surprise someone because butterflies in stomachs can sometimes be life jackets across the pond.

5. Make sure to save yourself before trying to save someone else. Your words won’t mean anything if no one gets the chance to hear them.

6. Learn to swim even when you are drenched and dampened from dread. Learn CPR. Continue the Poetry Regardless.

7. Know the risk and danger of natural waters. You think that shit can kill you? It will. But you’re god, aren’t you?

8. Build up fences around anything that may cause you to submerge yourself into sadness.

9. Make so much noise it fills your lungs and threatens to shoot geysers of grief. There is nothing silent about how you will leave this Earth.

10. Don’t go at this alone. Look for a life/guard.

Bio – Bree Bailey (she/her) is a NJ-based full-time mama bear and part-time poet. As a mental health ally, Bree speaks openly about experiences with depression and anxiety. When she’s not writing, she’s eating tacos and dreaming about all the places she has yet to see and dance in with her family and friends. Bree’s poems have been featured in All My Relations, Ample Remains,  Anti-Heroin Chic, Olney Magazine, Sledgehammer Lit, Wrongdoing Magazine, and is forthcoming in Serotonin, among others.

book cover of Dominant Genes

BOOK REVIEW: Dominant Genes by SJ Sindu

In S.J. Sindu’s Black River Chapbook Competition winning collection, she posits questions about female bodies and queer identities as a means to confront and interrogate tradition. Dominant Genes serves as


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