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Contributor: Ian McDonnell

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Everyday, same thing, same thing,
The wake of a new day, but my mind is still asleep,
The subtle scent of sorrow lingers throughout my mind,
I need a new light.

Anxiously waiting for the desire of success — it’s now breakfast time
I eat to release the tension,
Flowing down the banks of the river,
I continue my insight.

My heart longs for the love it deserves,
Dreading for the break that it always anticipates,
An exposed atrium altered by all,
Never really knowing when the doors will close for last time.

These tools that were gifted that compose beautiful art,
Fingers graze the paper gently, tracing the reality I wish I had,
Forcing me into a sense of relief,
I am fine for now in this home away from home.

Every tree has their own trunk, where they contain their sense of settling,
My trunks never have their anchorage,
Constantly on a journey to find where to plant my roots,
These legs won´t take me to the heights I wish to reach.

Pitch black, drawn back, where did the time go,
The final chapter, the ending to the story, dusk to dawn,
The journey has yet come to an end, my feet can no longer take their next step,
Comfortably found horizontal, it all starts again tomorrow.

- - -


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Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
Steal the sheer, tempted quick breaths
From these offered, longing, crimson lips
Tantalize deep, dark coveted corners
Hoping for a sweet and salty taste

Savor slowly, ripe, flushed silhouettes
Linger, caress, shamelessly explore
Kindling that glittering, lucid flame
Shimmering in its full, intense desires

Create embracing ecstasy, secluded paradise
With that blessed, first flourishing kiss
Set fire to this tempestuous, lonely being
Ready to arise, phoenix-like, and waken anew

Claim this euphoric, arousing, stimulating dream
For a few captivating, suspended moments
Surrender an incited, fervent, wandering soul
To a consuming burning passion, forever untamed.

- - -
Stacy Maddox lives, dreams, tends her gardens and writes in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS. Indulging her time in the outdoors, connecting with nature, walking the Kansas River trails and discovering new writing and photo opportunities, is one of her greatest pleasures in life. Stacy has been published in over 25 books, print and online magazines and websites. She has been passionate about Literature and Visual Art for over 30 years.

Elemental Joy

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Contributor: Suez Jacobson

- -
July's sticky heat
creates the opportunity
to merge with
the wandering, blue alpine puddle
ringed by pines,
tended by mountains
still marked with
winter's snows.
cold, clear, ripples of joy
spread out
from the body
imagining herself as fish
surrounded by
the tingling cold
that reaches deep
into her core.
she stays immersed
in the elegance of wild
until the shivers
overtake her deep desire for
the pure pleasure
of melding with
the elemental
reality of life.

- - -
Suez Jacobson is a person who would like to swim wild waters

Ivory and Charcoal Memories

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Contributor: Allison Luan

- -
Each sigh shook my fragile frame,
The once pristine performance dress is stained with tears.

My fingers are rough, my hands are muscular,
The scars of years of practice and constant critiques stumble me.

From the brightly lit stage, the glaring spotlight judges me,
Just as the audience watches my every movement.

The lump in my chest continues to expand with each shiver,
And my palms become sweaty and numb.

Sitting on the leather seat, my hands shake as I take a final breath,
And the black and white keys feel familiar again.

Each staccato of the key to the legato of a measure travels through my body,
And drowns out the tears and anxieties that come with the performance.

The keys have formed together to soothe me,
To help me forget the demands of teachers, parents, audiences.

My movements are timed to the millisecond,
And perfection is an expectation that I have grown to hate to reach.

With a single note, I exhale and embark,
On a journey I have repeated a million times before.

- - -
Allison is often found slurping on a hearty and familiar bowl of Pho or picking through the thousands of titles on Netflix. Her passion for the youth and her lifelong hobby of playing the piano fuels her childlike personality, spreading optimism and inappropriate laughter.

A Senior Citizen's First Email

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Things are quiet here, a friend writes
in the first email of his long life:

Most mornings I drive to Gillson Park,
sit and read beside the Lake.
The waves are a symphony.
Books are better there. Sometimes
a redwing blackbird will attack,
protecting its nest. The weather's
cool and there's rain at night.
It's not summer in Chicago
as you and I remember it.

I have a cell phone now too
and I use it all the time.
The landline's just a holdover
from the good old days.

Speaking of holdovers,
we should get together
while we still can.
At our age, who knows
how long either of us has.
People our age drop dead
without too much ado.

Tell you what: Whoever gets sick first
will notify the other one who'll take
a plane and race death to see
who arrives at the bedside first.
If I'm talking to a priest, wait outside.

Forget the small stuff like amputations.
They have prosthetics now for everything
except for tallywhackers.
Who needs more kids anyway.
My wife will send you an email if I die.
Ask your wife to do the same for me.

- - -
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Self Portrait in a Mirror

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Contributor: Humaira Nasir

- -
Hand prints mar its formerly shining smooth surface,
As my familiar dark eyes stare straight into me.
They scratch and dig at the walls of my mind,
Looking for answers to questions I’ve only learned to ask.

Why did I lose my carefree heart?
Why did the innocent gleam fall from my eyes?
Why did the glass shards of insecurity settle in my stomach?
Can I go back to before?

Before the time I stumbled and fell,
With no lighthouse to light my path.
Where I fell into line, a spirit hustled into Charon’s boat,
Uncertain whether I’d go up or down.

Now I am bound between the luminescent pages of the past,
And the blank pages of my future that is yet to be written.
The changes made to my reflection were drawn in black ink,
Each stroke cracking my reflection a little more.

Monday morning comes and I pass my mirror,
Morbidly curious of my own broken reflection
Wednesday night passes, my eyes wet with unshed tears,
Frustration over previously veiled changes laced through my fingers.

Sunday afternoon blossoms brightly,
The midday rays bouncing off my cursed mirror.
No flaw can hide from its omniscient sight,
Leaving me with no option.

I stand before my mirror and my strange new self,
Hand clenching the fabric of my shirt.
I tilt my chin up high, spine straightening, shoulders back.
And I stare right into the eyes of the beast.

- - -
Humaira Nasir often lays on the ground, wheezing from her latest attempt to scrub the layers of ink and watercolors from her cartooning projects, off her formerly pristine white walls. After giving up for the day, she sneaks into a hidden corner of her closet in her room turned art studio to find a large bag of KitKats and Reese's, which she quickly devours and falls into a sugar induced bliss.

Caved In

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Contributor: angeliquebaum

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I’m on a ball and chain
Key held by the one closest to me

She says we’re moving again
Is this my chance to be free?

From the breezy ocean side
To the pine tree filled suburbs

Leaving everyone I know
Maybe things will be different this time

I know what I want
I want to be free

I am a woman like Eve
I have made mistakes too

Set myself back
Closed off from the Garden of Eden

The longing, yearning, craving of freedom
Eyes lust to see what’s out there

If only I had the key
If only she would give it to me

- - -
Angelique Baum scavenged and hunted around Asia for rare souvenirs that brought joy to her closest friends, her dogs. On the weekends she can be found with her windows down serenading everyone on the beach as she drives by. She’s very misunderstood like her favorite animals, sharks.


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Contributor: Sunny Bawa

- -

She loves her children
She cannot live without them-
She hates Italian food


Working seven days
Number one goal was to provide
for his family


She is the fourth slice
Without her it is uneven-
She is a loving sister


Growing up he thought-
His sister was competing
In reality it was love

- - -
Sunny Bawa was born in Punjab, India. He has been in the U.S. since age 5. Sunny grew a strong passion for movies and his favorite movie is “Don’t be a menace”.

The Spider and the Spray Can Man

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
He's my buddy, this tiny spider
sitting in his web, not moving,
waiting for a fly that never comes.

The problem is, he spun his web
in a bathroom on the 30th floor
of an office building

where in 20 years I've never
seen a fly or other insect
never mind a spider.

The man from pest control
comes after hours
and sprays in silence.

We call him Spray Can Man,
He has "Butch" on his shirt
and creases in his pants

pressed by a wife who packs
hearty lunches, I suspect.
I've watched Spray Can Man

twenty years and never heard
him speak to anyone working
overtime in a little cubicle.

Years ago we'd say hello to him
just like Trash Can Man and Mop Lady.
I said "Merry Christmas" to him once

and Spray Can Man never looked up.
He kept looking down, like an anteater,
spraying one baseboard after another.

When it comes to insects,
Spray Can Man is a serial killer.
Yet the spider in the bathroom

has escaped his gaze and lives on
despite the lack of any flies to eat.
The spider doesn't know death's

his destination even though
I know some day soon
his life will be swept away,

perhaps by execution if
one of my fellow workers
sees him waiting for a fly

or if Spray Can Man spots him.
This spider will discover
life is just a belch in time

as I'll find out too some day.
If I'm wrong about what's to come,
I'll have missed a lot of fun.

- - -
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.


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