The Bites of Black Widows

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Contributor: Wisen Erlach

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Aiming for perfection
Aiming high
Aiming for an angel
All shades of blue and black.

Aiming for an angel
Aiming for the one
Aiming for a bladed babe
Who never turns her knives on me.

Aiming for a bladed babe
Aiming for a queen
Aiming for a future
All shades of smiling and dance.

Aiming for a future
Forever falling short.
Aiming for an angel
Always only wakening
To the bites of black widows.

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Contributor: Ray Miller

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I just don’t know what to do with my self
and it’s seldom I can locate it.
I’m circled on maps but when I stop to ask
a dust has covered the traces.
In living rooms and in limbo,
on all fours and on tiptoe I’ve chased it.
I’ve read the self-help literature,
Bergson et al and etcetera:
the brain is but a filterer
and in theory all can be heard and seen,
what is now and what has been.
The world is on my fingerprints,
its garbage overflows the bins
and I am blown by violins
to search my self to smithereens;
down half-remembered alleyways
the detritus of all the days
has settled on our counterpane.
Let’s fumble locks and zips and lips
too intimately intricate,
let’s laugh and listen to the drips
of a viscous blue percussion.
Let’s steal a ball with a private invite
and dare the world to pursue;
then at daybreak when the dust has flattened
and the great birds hover and squawk,
I’ll shrink smaller than invisible
and beg you to turn on the dark.

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Graduation Poem

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Contributor: J.K. Durick

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(For Nathaniel)

We don’t ask for days like this
They come to us in due course

Effort, luck, and persistence
Come into play to make the day.

We just finish one thing to begin
Yet another, they all become

Notches to mark our progress
Like the pencil marks we made

In all those kitchen doorways
A way to measure our growth

One overshadows an earlier
Then is overshadowed in turn;

On days like this we smile and
Take pictures, shake hands and

Hug, we cheer and say goodbye
Like tourists off on a cruise, or

Like our ancestors ready to sail
To a new world, or astronauts

About to blast off into space;
On days like this we smile a lot

And promise ourselves that
All the things we did add up to

Important measures, like these
Diplomas, notches, penciled lines

And then we turn to look for any
Friendly faces in the confusing crowd.

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J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Camel Saloon, Black Mirror, Milo Review, Eye on life Magazine, and Leaves of Ink.

Spiritual Essence

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Contributor: Steven Jacobson

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the spirit moves one to realize the truth,
and the heart propels one to see and become love.
the spirit transcends all earth-like feelings,
and the heart renders one to be joyful and open.
the spirit pushes to ponder the moment,
and the heart yearns to be free, heartfelt by the soul.
the spirit guides away from the mind and body,
and the heart gives and girds in earnest to one another.
the spirit gains and grows giving life cause,
and the heart perceives and pushes one to sail upwards.
the spirit proclaims an abundance for life,
and the heart wishes, waits in the moment forever.

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Steven Jacobson was born and raised in the Midwest. He has attended multiple classes from the Loft Literary Center, promoting all levels of creative writing. His goal is to write a second book. His first book is called “Spiritual Gait” and was published in 2014.


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Contributor: Isabella Vasquez

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Her hair is hazel wisps of wind
splayed across her cheek.
Her last attempt to wear shoes forgotten
sitting on the curb with bare feet
bare souls, no words needed.
Between the lines we drew
there were collected moments of wonder.
Our smiles cracked liked thunder
The sky rumbled and poured,
we spun in harmony.
Our laughter mixed into the rain's melody
a secret language between us.
I stared into her brown, golden eyes
like a face-up lucky penny.
That day only returns to us
In our dreams.

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Isabella Vasquez lives with her three dogs in Los Angeles, who she writes short stories for. She likes to surf and explore the world on her free time.

The Traveler

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Contributor: Monica M. Reed

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Willingly, stepping foot
onto new territories.
Breathing in
unfamiliar air.
Falling in love
with the non-negotiable
Attracted to
every crack
on the sidewalk
that I don’t dare to
step on.
Adoring the
candles, lanterns,
and light posts.
Every form
of stars
that’s there.
the sight
of the single
tiny crevices
that lie
in all the
Wanting to leave my
on what I
can’t keep
with me.
Wanting to
how I felt.
To be reminded
again and again.
My sanctuaries
aren’t merely
a soul.
They are
the combination
of many living
organisms intertwined.
Managing to
touch me
without having
a single dust
lay on
my exterior.

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Monica M. Reed is a germaphobe who is living with anxiety. So far, she has fainted in two countries. In her leisure, she enjoys having teatime with her beloved goldfish, Mr. Bubbles

That Drunken Nest

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Contributor: Paul Tristram

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The silver coal bucket reflects your beer
as you sit there cocained off your tits.
In a friends house in the countryside
next to a log fire spitting amber bits.
Your left elbow rests in a full ashtray
and your right foot looks too far away.
As you contemplate the coming morning
you stop and let your mind elsewhere stray.
The Damned are playing on the stereo again,
there’s a brass gong hanging on the wall.
The fireplace is a granite Stonehenge
not waiting for a magical druid to call.
Slowly the dawn seeps through the windows,
your friends they rise up from their rest.
A coffee and cooked breakfast for everyone
then again a search for that drunken nest.

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Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight, this too may pass, yet.

Dead Reckoning

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Contributor: Richard Hartwell

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Waking each morning, still-life, still asleep.

Slowly, agonizingly, massaging it,
drawing blood of day back to the surface.

Tingles of self-satisfaction indicate
the Big Sleep has not yet arrived.

Creeping pain waxes throughout
emotional nerve endings as ebbs the
intoxicating numbness of night.

Dead leaves swim across the surface of the pond
obscuring red, gold and cream flashes;
flecks radiate from unseen mossy depths,
break cover, snatch insect mouthfuls, then sink
beneath the safety of parti-colored leaf flotsam, patiently.

Ahoy! Decadent Rimbaud’s drunken boat sails again,
joy comes to those on the quay who salute adieu,
but you, lunatic-tocking away, still wait for sun.

Steep waters heaped high above,
deep thoughts beckon from far below,
fair wind lost and family mates cast asunder,
only prey now for the family few left lashed tight,
daring piratical advisors let go their night moorings.

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Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) living in Southern California. He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity.

Whinny and Spit

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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When a man’s young,
this work is hard
but it pays well
and he can feed
the wife and kids.
In the morning
he throws crates off trucks,
and after lunch
throws crates again
till five or six o’clock.
But as he grows older,
and some say
ready to retire,
he has to stop
in the late afternoon,
mount his throne of skids,
let his legs drip over the side,
toss his head, inhale,
whinny and spit.

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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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