The Ebb And Flow of Fascism

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Contributor: Louie T. Clocksworth

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I saw the the love state of my nation laid waste,
how I mourned the freedom
the surrender to fascism
once again
as if it were the forties
as if it were the fifties
as if it were the eighteen-fifties
as if it were any period white-washed
in American history books
to make the normals of our nation look like the good guys
when just as often, we've been bullies.

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Not Anymore

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Contributor: Cynthia Pitman

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I don’t think about you anymore.
Not about the first days
when I shyly took your offered hand
and walked with you
wherever you went.
Not about our first kisses,
sweet electric sparks
that shocked my heart.
Not about our late-night trysts,
the urgent touching,
the fierce yearning,
the heat.
Not about the inevitable waning days
of passion that chilled our fervor
and silenced our hearts.
Not about the break,
the crack,
the crevice,
the final breach.
Not about the later walks
without your hand to hold,
not about our ended endless kisses,
not about our distant frenzied trysts.
Not about any of it.
Not about you.
Never about you.
Not anymore.

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I am a retired teacher with work published in Leaves of Ink, 3rd Wednesday (contest finalist), Vita Brevis, and others. My book, The White Room, is forthcoming.

A Skin For Sins

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Contributor: Vaunna Fostertagg

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Is it a sad soul that stalks a cheater?
is it a sadder soul that shakes loose
that severs soft skin where it presses
and holds
and leaves
for another
for other skin
because skin
is all that really matters
skin and the stain of sin
left in the wake
of lazy liaisons.

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Florida native with a heart of gold, sometimes.

Household Drums

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Contributor: Carrie Hooper

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Household Drums
When I was little,
Round containers
Made excellent drums.

I played
The oatmeal box drum,
The coffee can drum,
The butter drum,
And the peanut butter drum.

I discovered
Percussive possibilities
In everyday objects.

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Carrie Hooper lives in Elmira, New York. She teaches voice and piano lessons, gives vocal concerts, teaches and learns languages, and writes poetry.

A Well-Formed Squiggle

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Contributor: Wyatt Mitchell

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I’m nothing in relation to me
A white picket fence dripping in sobriety
Painted four months clean
With two eyes too blind to see

A body dead inside the living
A soul that’s nothing more than giving
Is breathing considered sinning?
I’m bleeding but I’m still grinning

So empty I can’t cry for myself
My tainted heart upon a broken shelf
Sitting silent and all alone
One-of-a-kind and it can’t be cloned

A perfect pair of listening ears
Yet all I hear are internalised fears
A childhood filled with parental abandon
What trauma creates is far from canon

Scared to speak the thoughts I hold within
My mind’s a burden considered too maudlin
Tortured by all that I contain
When I die will my life still remain?

Biting my nails is far from my worst habit
The one I need to break is that which turns me rabid
Drinking of myself to see what has been seen
Eating my own flesh to stimulate self-healing

Holes in my skin become scars that are indenting
Bug bites are wounds with scabs that are impending
Performing minor surgeries with tweezers and a scalpel
But not everyone considers such masochism to be palatable

I hurt myself and I like the pain it takes
It reminds me of reality when I disassociate
Shamed for enjoying that which causes harm
Is infection reason for all my future alarm?

Bandages cover my legs and sleeves disguise my arms
I find I must admit that self-abuse has its charms
The taste of iron oxide pouring from my mouth
Skinning my lips in chunks for I am devout

Seeking alternative pleasure often bloody and obscene
Picking apart the pieces of me; an addiction most unhealthy
Drawn in by the desperate need to control what’s even real
Not noticing I’m a contributing factor to why I’m yet to heal

The desire to stop means nothing without commitment
Upon many things is ending dependency contingent
For relapse is not a single part of recovery
One cut or burn is a moment I’ve stopped loving me

Drowning in the epitome of my own insanity
Unable to tell the difference between what’s false and what’s me
Scared the lies I tell myself are those that I’m becoming
I look into the mirror and wonder if I’m coming or if I’m running

Tripped up by the love that’s in my shattered heart
Aiming to be passionate from an unexpected start
Never questioning these feelings that I was meant to have
Yet trembling at the thought of what could possibly go bad

What if giving all I’ve got doesn’t ever make it enough?
What if light is the darkness of which we’re meant to snuff?
What if God is, He who leads us to the Devil?
What if a converted spirit doesn’t put you on a saintly level?

What if screaming for help doesn’t mean that you’ll be heard?
What if preaching religious scripture doesn’t make it the lord’s word?
What if miracles and blessings aren’t necessarily holy?
What if my heart hurts because it’s limited by “If only”?

Scrounging for emotion; I’m pissed, numb, and on the verge of tears
Three days I’ve wanted to smoke and I’m not yet in the clear
Trying to suppress all recent addictive desire
Fighting my mind often leaves me drained and quite tired

Spending my nights and days tossing and turning my life away
Biding hours of my time just to regain what energies are rightfully mine
Sundown arises and I find strength to put on my human suit
Covering depression in various fabrics so no one has the slightest clue

A breakdown is coming; I can feel it in my eyes
The devil is inside me; my body is his disguise
Drowning the world in tears; I fall and then I rise

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A Man's Cave Is His Castle

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Contributor: Perry Gardbakken

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where even the silence echoes
where the black marks of high fires
scorch the painted stone
the prints of magic hands
pressed in paint for all to see

and I love it here
and I wish I felt as free
in every moment
as I do in the confines
of this stony hole.

and no one to find me if I fall
but I want it that way
I want my bones to lay in this cave
until even I
become one
with the Earth.

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Perry saw twenty winters before he left the mountains. He writes in nature, sometimes while sitting in trees.

The Eye of the Storm

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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Wind blowing the trees –

Rain pelting the roofs –

Warnings – fear – panic –

False alarms and near death situations –

Tree limbs, branches and twigs
Scatter the lawn now
Tearing asunder
A long standing dream

Follow the plan – follow the leader
Running to safety or so they believe
Storing up water – storing up food-stuffs
Counting the days they’ll all do without

Fixing the time, it can’t last forever
Praying they’ll all see the very next dawn
Watching the wind – moments of calmness
Gusts overtaking those moments of ease

Clouds overhead as dark as the night now
Following shadows cast off on their own
Ev’ryday fears amplified grandly
Leaving all thought and reason behind

Lightning and thunder – power lines bursting
Freezing the time in a moment of light
Tracing the tempest with photograph mem’ry
Timelines projecting the hurricane path

Watching the day creeping by slowly
Hours of watching and waiting to come
Watching a squirrel scamper up tree limbs
Looking for shelter from the eye of the storm

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Bruce Levine, a native Manhattanite, has spent his life as a writer of fiction and poetry and as a music and theatre professional. His literary catalogue includes four novels, short stories, humorous sketches, flash fiction, poetry, essays, articles and a screenplay His nearly one-hundred-fifty works are published in magazines, over twenty-five on-line journals, thirty books and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin. He lives in New York with his dog, Daisy. Visit him at

One Of Your Poems

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Contributor: Lyla Sommersby

I, a leaf
from your book.
I, a sheaf
of inkspotted paper.
and I
I'm just one of your poems

I saw your face
a reflection in a window
and I stopped to see
how you were
how you've fared
through all the years of silence.

but you're the same.

you've changed
only in one way:

you've forgotten me.

I remember what was
I remember
for both of us now.

and the shard in my soul has dulled
has softened enough
that I can see you
smiling with her
hear your kisses
romantic words
and not hurt
so deeply

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I am a student in Miami, Florida. Painting is my other love. My first book, Sketches of Someone, is available through Thunderune Publishing.

Seasons of Our Life

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Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

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We lived through many changes,
Some hard times with strife,
We laughed and cried,
We loved and lived,
We knew pain and joy and sadness;
We took what we were given,
Enjoyed the good,
Endured the bad,
We thought both our due,
We made of them the best we could,
As we tended to the seasons
Of our life.

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Bruce Mundhenke writes in Illinois, where he lives in a small town with his wife and their dog and cat.

Wish In One Hand, Spit In The Other

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Contributor: J. White Welchev

If I could escape this grind
if could slip the bonds
the linear of time
and unbind
all that I am
I'd gather the best days of my life
compress them to a single, endless moment
and live within it

But, then again
who's to say my now
is not as good as my then.
I have a different spouse,
different friends
different job
different likes

Where I am
doesn't feel like progress

Where I am
feels like a different me
a different everything

But then again,

The grass is always greener
on the other side of the fence
by the sewer pond
we crawled out of.

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