Best Practices

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Contributor: M. Krochmalnik Grabois

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In the cellars of the Vatican
priests plan their sexual assaults
hold secret conferences
share Best Practices
and the most modern techniques
for avoiding discovery

One priest works on applying
the Fake Dead Girlfriend Ruse
to their complexities

In the meantime
pilgrims stare at marble statues
that are heavy and dense as Neptune

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M. Krochmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.

Chino and Chambray

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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Forty years older than I,
Charles, in his tweed cap, stands starched
in gray chino and blue chambray.

For more than a year his broad tie
has let the same iridescent duck
fly against a vermillion sky.

Like a Vatican Guard
he oversees the parking lot
I cut through each morning

far corner to far corner
as I cleave two triangles of cars
parked in my wake.

I ask him one morning,
“Charles, do you mind
when I cut through your lot?”

“Not at all, sir,” says Charles
as he stares straight ahead
and starts the windmill

of his good arm to lead
the pearl Hummer
now pulling in.

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


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Contributor: John Kropf

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You keep a memory in three competing worlds.

Scientists in white lab coats
engineered a world
that flawlessly remembers all your inputs,
your memory outsourced to a secure location,
like what a child thinks heaven is like,
where you ask God every question you ever wanted.
Until one day,
the server crashes,
or power is lost,
and the screen goes dark.

Since the time of the Han
the sheets have been there
reliable, tangible, unfiltered,
open to the page,
and the words are the same
as yesterday,
the same as today,
and will be the same tomorrow.
A dense treatise, today's newspaper, a 3x5 card;
you carry paper memory like a security blanket.
until one day
you misplace it
and it gathers dust on a shelf.

You and your synapses are
the ever present device.
You could be naked on a desert island
and it would be there with you
all you need to do
is exercise its muscles--
no external source
no object to hold
nothing to lose
till one day
you forget.

- - -
Maybe the best way to describe myself is to look at my books and other writing.

Faint Words

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Contributor: Monica Rose

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Their story was written in pencil.
Scrawled on a mere two pages of his moleskine,
promises of new beginnings dripped from his lead tip.

His words colored their moments,
fleeting memories printed boldly onto soft white sheets;
their time together summed up in incomplete poems and entries.
His sentences flowed free of grammatical errors,
edits and erase marks unnecessary;
their story not needing to be fixed.
His letters intertwined as his lines were written in cursive;
their embrace complex and striking,
beautiful and unordinary.

Their story was written in pencil and somehow, somewhere,
he stopped mid-sentence.

Turning back to bent and ripped pages, he rediscovered his past.
Although broken, the old stories he wrote still remained fresh to him;
flashbacks he held onto that were printed in ink, bleeding with permanence.

A confused author unwilling to continue a new tale,
his moleskine is open on his desk to the pages of ink.
The pages in pencil are no longer touched,
as the reader runs her fingers
along the moments he once wrote of.
Their story was short, with incomplete sentences and unfinished phrases.
Their story is now abandoned and fading;
what they shared and what they had now disappearing
into nothing but faint words, erasable figures.

Their story was written in pencil - temporary.

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Monica Rose is a floral soul left to blossom in the Southern California sun. Her work has been published in her school's paper the Informer, and hopes to spread her pieces to new journals and sites.

The Old Director

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Contributor: Evalyn Baron

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Gracious as fine, lined silver,
Stooped and warm,
Over the hand of his partner,
Dancing a minuet
On a polished parquet of words,
The elusive fox,
Among the grapes,
Juice staining his delicate paws,
Teeth sharp, hungry for sweets,
His delicate nostrils quiver.
He looks for the wine.
The soft white breast,
True with emotion,
Breathing for God,
And he says:

“Give me your finest linen,
White, embroidered, honest.”

A demanding animal,
This old fox.
Scaring young men,
Chasing bursting maidens
Into his soft thin arms
For their juicy hearts.

His soul beats iambic pentameter,
And he hears the words like music
Soaring around his sleeping shut eyes.
His snout smells all colors but,
(Having the miracle of human speech),
His mouth tells only stories
That light the dreary world.

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Evalyn Baron is a retired Broadway actress, recently moved to San Francisco to get some serious writing done. Her memoir - For Better or for Better: A Story of Divorce, Dachshunds, and Everlasting Love - will get to bookstore shelves eventually. She hopes.


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Contributor: Richard Schnap

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There was the Italian engineer who played saxophone
Whose wife wore the latest fashions

And the Indian computer scientist
Who littered the lawn with cigarette butts

And the Chinese guitarist who strummed love songs
As if mourning the girlfriend who left him

And the Japanese woman so silent
It seemed she never spoke at all

And the gay Pakistani doctor
With the lover with the shaven head

And the Mexican mother whose children
Rode their tricycles around the front porch

These were my fellow tenants
These strangers from foreign lands

Who made me see how different
And how similar we all can be

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Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

A Blue Jay on a Grey Afternoon

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Contributor: Joshua Bocher

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One day, while walking home from work, I saw
A blue jay carrying in its claws a canary’s egg.
It flew straight into a stranger’s home.
Curious, I snuck past the fence, following it,
And I saw it nesting in a tall tree.
Seeing me, it squawked,
And gave me a little grin
(Its beak turning upon
A most peculiar curve).
In the name of self-defense,
I pointed my finger at it
In the shape of a gun
And made loud sounds
As a child would—
Bam! Bam!—
It flew down towards me
With a wounded wing.
It crouched in pain
In the palm of my hand.
Looking straight at me,
It flashed its eyes at me,
Visibly perplexed and hurt.
Then, gazing at it from above,
I slit open its chest
With my finger, but
It was empty.
It flopped down to the floor
Looking like a deflated balloon.

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Joshua Bocher's poetry has appeared in such journals as Illuminations, The Germ, Subliminal Interiors, and Counterexample Poetics. He works in public health non-profits in the Boston area and live with his wife in Somerville, MA.

Ode to my Autistic Brother

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Contributor: Shaquana Adams

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Scrawny like me,
Almost a male twin.

He finds happiness
In the dark, in his head.

Communicates through pictures and
Sculptures made of aluminum foil he

Can sculpt Optimus Prime
Without missing a detail.

Laughs in public about private memories
And smiles at the nothings of life.

When he was younger and the diagnosis came,
I vowed to smile at him everyday

So he will always know that he is loved.

As an adolescent he tickles me even after
I say stop and smiles mischievously before he starts.

Sometimes he’d say the smartest things about
Love and loss,

And I’d wonder how he knew.

My brother, my brother.

His life will have unlimited happiness
Because even in sorrow he knows,

That happiness is all in the mind.

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Shaquana Adams is an internationally published poet with a fondness for the color purple. Her poems can be found in Napalm and Novocain, Dead Snakes, Inkapture, Snow Island Review, Bicycle Review, Verse Land, and The World of Myth. She is quiet on the outside but goofy on the inside and writes because the best thing about writing is that she can say what she needs to say. It is an awesome experience.



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Contributor: M. Krochmalnik Grabois

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On Facebook I unfriend people
and people unfriend me
usually with no warning
like an earthquake
not a hurricane

with no casualties
little regret on any side

doesn’t need a blood spatter analyst

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M. Krochmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.

Passions, Unworried Heart

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Contributor: Ron Koppelberger

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Realms of stray bond, blossoming evanescent,
Animal arrayed by the liking of a remedy in gainful riot,
By passions unworried heart and taboos innermost fire,
Ravishing the awaiting purity of passionate wars and kingdoms of warm rain, the adornments of consolable
Possession and romance at the last
Traces of

- - -
I have been accepted in England, Australia, Canada and Thailand. I love to write and offer an experience to the reader. I am a member of The American Poet’s Society as well as The Isles Poetry Association.
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