The Wrist-Snatcher

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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The others, of course,
are more rabid than I
but less apt to show it.
Whenever I strike,
I never romp off.
I stand under neon,
the wrist that I’ve snatched
tight in my teeth
as I wait with a smile
for the wagon.

As one of the few
wrist-snatchers still
on the streets of Chicago,
I make all of my rounds
in old tennies.
They allow me to dive
for the purse hand,
whack it and sink
my teeth in the wrist
of the free hand,
give a terrier’s yip
then head for the neon
where I duck so my head
can spin on its shoulders
till I am certain
I have no pursuers.

In dreams every night
I see all of the women
whose wrists I have had in my teeth
standing like Statues of Liberty,
shrieking and waving
their stumps like flares.
Every night their screams
carve a frieze of patrol cars
in the middle of the street.


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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Out of Eden, Forever Smitten

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Contributor: Jun Lit

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That was the time
when apples of eternal youth
were confusing durians
hanging from that forbidden
tree of carcinogenic truth
offering orgasmic salvation
from rebellious damnation

and then
you silently struck
the wandering limbs
of my not-so-innocent heart
with your potion-filled fangs
of captivating smiles
and inviting glances

I was stunned
as you slithered
through the sclerotic veins
of cryptic insecurities
narrowed by hating gout
and calculating doubt
and dying hopelessness.

the soothing venom
of your benevolent soul
inch by inch digested
each muscle of resistance
- that stubborn self-withdrawal -
each fiber of dullness,
all arteries yielding
to every warmth-filled dose
of your embracing care,
all capillaries unblocked
of needless faithlessness
by each generous drop
of your comforting word,
supplied ad libitum
emoticons engorged

these arms
once pumped with apathy,
both angels and demons abhored,
now and forever captive
in the web of a redback
- not from one down-under outback -
a willing prey enwrapped, adored
by your vibrant spirit, like I was Lord.

with me, your life is not in Eden,
but I’m forever smitten,
neither is this hell revisited
and with you I remain intoxicated,
here in atheist’s purgatory enchanted,
the inner warrior pacified,
mellowed,

lysed,
mind, body and soul
surrender to be swallowed -
hook, line and sinker -
to fall
to this serpent,
now decades-old
and juvenile joules spent
but we still
continue to call
love.


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Jun Lit (full name: Ireneo L. Lit, Jr.) teaches biology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, and studies insects and other things about the environment; he also enjoys writing poems about nature and society.

A KIND OF EVOLUTION

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Contributor: John Grey

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Instead of a kiss goodnight,
a boy nervously handed her a slip of paper,
then turned on his heels
and never looked back
as he walked all the way home.

It was a poem
that she read apprehensively
by bedside lamp,
over and over.

Was this really the boy who
took me out to Taco Bell
and then a Spiderman movie,
she wondered.
And does he really see me
as the lovely unassailable goddess
of his flowery language,
his pitiable self-immolating voice.
She did settle on one conclusion though.
She was in love with him.

All the next day,
she kept recalling the awkward fumbling boy,
tried to reconcile him with
the unabashed romantic of the verse.
Chicken burritos and skin like silk.
Super-villains and lips like rose petals.
There was a connection.
She couldn't quite grasp it.

But now she's with some other guy.
He doesn't hesitate when it comes to getting physical.
His tongue gets into her mouth like an implant.
His hands are just on the tender side of rough
as they unbutton her dress.

But there are no extravagant speeches to embellish the heavy petting,
no indication that libido once launched could ever pass for romance.
She once lost her heart to words on a page.
Now she must make do with a different kind of groping.


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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Tonight

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Contributor: Stacy Maddox

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Tonight... Steady rain drips from overflowing gutters
Helplessly echoing sounds of a gray shattered heart
Betrayal and bitterness beat in unfettered rhythm
A perfect rhyme deafening in its melodious embrace

Cold and lonely quiet world muffled outside
Pain grips its icy fingers, memories are frozen
Empty promises and lies kept closely guarded
Speak loudly through clear window panes

Leaving made way for hard truth blindly following
Lifting shadows and darkness from unseeing eyes
Hope fleeted away as days passed endlessly by
Crashing to hard ground on its final end journey.

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Stacy Maddox is a varied hobbyist & artist, living in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS USA. She loves to soak up the sun by the river and feel the water rush over her feet while spending time with her family and friends. Stacy has been published in over 20 books, print magazines and websites.

THE FROZEN LAKE

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Contributor: Daipayan Nair

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The frozen lake on my chest
has a probable liquidity beneath
or a possible death.
I am strangely alive
as long as you think of me
as a road among hurdles
and cross,
or stop in the middle,
peek into my helplessness
and yours,
watch my slow death
and yours
and believe, 'It shall pass'.


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Born in the year 1988, in a small town named Silchar in Assam, India, Daipayan Nair is a freelance writer and a poet. He has recently won the Reuel International Prize 2016 for Poetry. He also has a book to his name and has contributed to many magazines and anthologies.

The Dulling Patina of Honest Efforts

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Contributor: James Rudolph

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A fishmonger I smell
of the brine of daily grind
my hands coarse with
common purpose cannot
hide their long labor.

But he is a spice island find
from a legendary voyage
he came to you wrapped
in banana leaves to feed
on perishable fruits
of fantastical colors
his rich Tahitian skin
blackly bruises too easily.

In a mountain’s fastness
remote, unmapped,
in this granite’s keep
beats a heart part
a beefy quarter
red with love.


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James Robert Rudolph is a retired healthcare worker and teacher having returned to old haunts in northern New Mexico after a busy career in Minneapolis. He believes in old-style magical realism, that inspired by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the high desert, and the deep, broad sky of the American mountain west. His poems have appeared in The Artistic Muse, Mad Swirl, and Poetry Super Highway, among others.

This Mick on the Next Stool

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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In a pub in Ireland

So this Mick on the next stool,
who's as serious as Yeats
but looks like Wilde,
stares at me,
with eyes crossed,
sipping Guinness through the foam.
Finally he burps and says,
"I'll bet that growth is cystic.
If it were on my nose,
I'd light this match,
hold a straight pin over it,
then prick it.
Poof! There'd be
a belch of goat cheese, sure.
But what of it?
You'd need a Q-Tip,
maybe a drop of p'roxide.
But in two weeks
new skin would bloom
smoother than a baby's bum.
With your luck, Yank,
it would freckle."


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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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