Clearing Rusty Pipes

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Contributor: Michael Kagan

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They say you've come of age
when you suddenly notice
old people coughing
clearing rusty pipes

there's a chill when placed
full mirror with an old craggy face
recalling velvet skin holding tight
to exquisite bones

giving in after long faught wars
throughout the middle ages
jowls have settled into a new display case one floor down, you can barely read the faded date
under best before

but in truth beauty grows stronger
without all that tension
the miracle of time relaxes expression
love waiting between lines and furrows with a million stories
that never forget a sweet kiss,
the things you do with vigor waning
I ponder
how many mistakes are you allowed to make.


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Mike is jazz musician, discovered his passion for poetry a few years back...
he's been published on Leaves of Ink, Indiana voice journal The poet Community...etc

Let us accept this pain

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Contributor: Robert Ronnow

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Let us accept this pain
and some fear
it will heighten autumn colours
crack of clean air
black crows in blue sky
lake.

Rather than fight pain, falling
asleep in front of tv,
understand the full
import of its situation
in the body. Blessed
once, cursed now
only fear prevents
full knowledge of experience.

The gray sky brings
winter, no blame.
The poet writes a few last poems
or continues to live with his pain.
In itself pain does not oppose
life, and may enhance it
or build character, create
wisdom. But too much fear
chokes the throat and burns
the eyes. It
destroys the last free
assessment of life.

* * *

Now I am going to live in my body
as it is, almost fearlessly
running in pain, working
to abandon immortality
as a hope, conceiving
sunset after sunset
feeling what I feel.

On the streets I meet
many beautiful young women
curious to a certain extent
what makes a man older.
I can only say ten years
and the hand that reaches through
the cloud. I can say
only the knowledge of mortality
which makes us brothers and sisters
with the animals. And only
the acceptance which gives us wisdom
to couple often and lovingly.

How am I going to live every day
as my last, hoping happiness
outgrows fear by an ounce
or enough? By running, writing
and loving. By moving uphill
and downhill like a bear.
By committing my last words
to a powerful lord. How
do the clouds accept my dead
self? A rock thrown, a crow.

* * *

When I am old
young girls will not be frightened anymore.
I will invite them
to my seat and tell
about the women I knew.
I will tell about
the clothes they wore
and how they earned a living.
I will try to remember
what was important to them
and if they had a favorite color
or knew how to divine.

Maybe I live and maybe I don’t.
The smoke is white or black.
The winds are bright or dark.
The coins are heads or tails.
What have I been afraid of?
Death is most of all like sleep.
We spend so long apart
after briefly knowing ourselves.
I need you to know myself
and without you all I know
is sun.


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Robert Ronnow's most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at www.ronnowpoetry.com.

Summer Visit

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Contributor: Ananya S Guha

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The wind yours or mine
belittling a savagery
a cloudburst, will the storm
come, drying up the cells
ticking in my brain
a storm, a storm
a pause, as thick clouds swivel
into a graying world
the two dogs are silent
the tap water falls stealthily
it is night in day, colors blanch
the roof top of hills, mine is
simply a summer's visit
into these hills of thralldom.


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Strong Together

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Contributor: Tyrean Martinson

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body, heart, mind, soul
all are sickened by pain
so I cannot stand
when I call the physician
who does not believe
when I suck in the pain

I call and call him
and I get no answer
so I call a new doctor
then another and another
until I get tests
and find more than one answer

three issues wrong in my body
or possibly there are five
I start to lost count of them
in my buzzing hive
of emotions, spirit, mind
all wrapped in a dive

spiraling from life into
death downward
until I find the right path
to walk forward
through surgeries, hugs,
fervent prayers poured

into my body to
reawaken my heart
to renew my mind
to create soul art
out of stained glass
strong together, not apart


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Tyrean Martinson writes, dreams, and believes in the Pacific Northwest within a mile of the Puget Sound, which laps invisible to her view along the green-treed shore. She has had over 100 previously published short works and a scattering of books published.

Another Spring

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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I heard from Harold
this morning, someone
older than I am, the two of us
in winter staring at another spring

someone I haven’t seen in 50 years,
side by side in cubicles again
making plans for lives
that might have been

waiting for the quitting bell
to say it’s 5 o’clock, time
to dunk our time cards,
hop the trolley and go home.


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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Best Days are Beach Days

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Contributor: Lily Trouse

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I roll down the car window and inhale
the salty air mixed with boat diesel
stones crunch under the car’s tires
and the screeching of seagulls welcome me
home, washed of my troubles by the tide

The beach’s blistering sand welcomes my bare feet
sunscreen and tanning oil become my second skin
the tanner I get, the happier I am

Paddle ball becomes an Olympic sport
we sprint and dive like seagulls
going after a sandwich crust
no one wants to ruin the volley

I’m coated in sand
but I don’t mind
I savor every minute of sunlight, every drop
of melting ice cream


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I am a high school student in Pompton Lakes New Jersey, and am hoping to get my poetry out into the world.

Directionality

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Contributor: Jane Blanchard

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Tests indicate your body needs
a little extra zapping:
The specialists go right to work
on necessary mapping.

We soon turn our attention to
some spatial calculations:
Rochester’s maze of subway and
skywalk configurations.


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Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia. Her first collection, Unloosed, and her second, Tides & Currents, are both available from Kelsay Books.

2:37 A.M.

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Contributor: Austin Davis

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You discover
the cruelest stillness,
both gentle and maddening,

when the fluttering
hummingbird wings of love
settle on a raindrop.

The foamy waves
clawing at the ivory shore
slip into a salty sleep

and every waving tree
takes a deep breath
and holds it. The moon

trades in her lazy chair
for a barstool
and the butterflies
in your stomach

fly out your mouth
as you realize
why the whole world
is giving you that look.


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Austin Davis' poetry has been published widely in literary journals and magazines. Most recently, his work can be found in Pif Magazine, Folded Word, The Poetry Shed, In Between Hangovers and Spillwords. Austin's poetry is forthcoming from Ink in Thirds, Your One Phone Call, and Street Lights Press and his first full length collection, "Cloudy Days, Still Nights" is being released this spring by Moran Press.

Jet, cracked paint, tea

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Contributor: Robert Ronnow

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The clouds take a little blue from the sky
beyond, how beautiful the weather makes life
seem. The sky is where the soul goes when
the mind runs out of destinations. We love
the mountains because that’s where the earth
meets the sky. If you just watch the sky
an hour each day, lie back in the grass,
you’ll never be ill. When it rains your face
becomes a holy bowl. Once I was a beggar, no
cares, by railroad tracks. They too disappeared
into the sky. A small town you could hold in your fist
on the prairie. A big city easy to hold in your mind
when you’re in the sky. The clouds take a little blue
from the sky. The sky takes a little blue from your soul . . .


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Robert Ronnow's most recent poetry collections are New and Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at www.ronnowpoetry.com.

Games

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Contributor: JD DeHart

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The forest of childhood
offered many games.
Chewing the bark off
of trees, pretending to be
wild and free.
Pretending I was part
of the foliage.
Knowing that one day
words like debt would
close in.
There was no perfect
camouflage for this.
I wrapped tomato twine
around the trees to
construct a fort only
I could see.
Always thinking adulthood
would come and wrap
me away, how was I to know
the trick is your own feet
wind up chasing the ways
of grown persons?


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