The Merits of Tea

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Contributor: Ben Riddle

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I brought her tea one night
when she had told me
that the trees were whispering
secrets about her;

that they knew the name
of her jaded lovers
their kinks
and the colour of their eyes.

I boiled the water at home;
taking it in a flask
along with two tea cups
and waited
after knocking three times
so she could clean her room
twice more.

When she let me in
I poured two cups of tea
put them on the table
and then hugged her
held her

for a very long time;
until the tea was cold
the wind was quiet
and she didn’t need me anymore.

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A nineteen year old aspiring poet and athlete from Perth, Western Australia, Ben Riddle studies Political Science and English and Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia. You can find more of his work at

America’s Ghost Signs 2

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Contributor: Maureen Kingston

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Today I’m overseeing
wall dogs as they restore
T.J. Eckleburg’s eyes.
My Gatsby will live
to plunder East Egg,
pluck Daisy from her
petal-strewn mansion,
spirit her to a magic
kingdom in the glades.
Amazing how quickly
Fitzgerald sold
his rights to me,
even offered to throw in
“The Crack-Up”
as a bonus, seemed hurt
when I declined--
not a big market
for confession
in the amusement game.


A rookie starts to muff
the doctor’s left lid.
I step in, guide
the hobo marker.
Soon the entire
billboard’s filled,
top to bottom,
with spray-painted eyes--
a wall of hot-coaled
possum eyes.
the smart-mouthed
rookie says,
flicking his cigar ash
into my cap.
You fear blank spaces.
The cops come,
make a fuss.
Court-ordered therapy
my punishment
for vandalizing
a literary icon,
for daring to dodge
erasure, for saying
I am here
with an aerosol can.

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Maureen Kingston lives in Nebraska.

America’s Ghost Signs 1

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Contributor: Maureen Kingston

- -
An ecstatic woman
on downtown brick
holds a white jar
to her cheek. It cools
her blush.
What’s in the
mysterious jar?
I won’t know
for months,
until the restorers
raise the tagline
from crumbling stone.
All the rage--
saving faded script
from swaybacked signs,
maimed words
from country barns
centuries on their knees.
Why the sudden passion
to preserve?
More American
to tear down or paint over.
Our digital age perhaps,
our sense of touch
so deprived
we’ll reach for
cold-creamed faces
on concrete walls.

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Maureen Kingston lives in Nebraska.

Remission of a Drug Fiend

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Contributor: Timothee B.

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At first I was fed
With mild meds
Then I grew up,

I drank a cup,
I smoked some pot,
Did both a lot
And some Aces
Later I faced
Popper ecstasy speed
And amphetamines
And psilocybin

Then I took Opium
And Valium
At the asylum,
Then I grew up again
I took cocaine
For I thought this world was vain
And thus, took it with no refrain.

I had a few lines
Of heroin
While on Haldol
Natural or not Phenols
And Alkaloids
Amongst other -ids
-ols and -ins
Then I decided life was worth living

I was a bit bewildered
And discouraged,
I tried wild mushroom:
Happy bloom,
Not even charged.

Then I quit.

But also by then I had found a lover.
A young, fresh and beautiful flower
In my bed, as if we were together.

Release! Far better!
Joy and wonder! 24 hours!
Love, dreams of a dreamer!

And now I prosper
I’m a webmaster

And I’m clean!


How have you been?

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I am a 30 years old french poet and artist, interested in different myths, crafts and traditions.
This poem sums up my journey through drugs. Blessed be!

Belief in a Sky

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Contributor: Jude Conlee

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It is midnight exactly, and
you point to a patch
of nothing and say,
“Do you believe in the moon?”
and I nod,
very absently,
the word “vacancy” printed
upon my face;

I have trouble enough as it is
believing there’s a sky.

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Jude Conlee puts words together and finds certain things interesting, including human minds, the universe, and other irregular, unexplainable things. The combination of these facts often results in the creation of poems and fiction.


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Contributor: Richard Schnap

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I remember the days of terminated dreams,
Of alcoholic neighborhoods, of suicidal rivers,
When home was a bar serving bottles of amnesia,
Cans of oblivion, shots of forgetfulness,
While down by the shores sat bitter factories,
Confused wastelands, desperate scrap yards,
Haunted by a century of hoodwinked phantoms,
Mislead spirits, deluded ghosts.

Now it’s a realm of anonymous restaurants,
Faceless chain stores, identical cafes,
Where a new generation who’s forgotten the past
Consults their cell phones, examines their laptops,
And sometimes at night you can hear the voice
Of a forsaken forebear, an abandoned ancestor,
But if you listen closer to the mournful cry
It’s only the wind, it’s only the wind.

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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.


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Contributor: Susan Sweetland Garay

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The last time I was in this place
it was dry and desolate, but now
the hills are cool and damp
with new growth springing
up everywhere.

I sit here with pen and paper
surrounded by books,
trying to force words to fill
the page. But I know the
effort will be wasted.

My life force is elsewhere.

The part of me that creates –
is otherwise occupied,
and I wouldn’t try to
change its focus.

And anyway I suppose
prediction doesn’t come
easily to anyone so how
could I have known how
my selfish heart would
react with so much love
suddenly thrown at it?

Some burdens
cannot be shared.
But what is a burden really,
pain just makes the pleasure
more palpable.

My mess spills into everything
but so does my magic.

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Born and raised in Portland Oregon, Susan Sweetland Garay currently lives in the Willamette Valley with her husband and daughter where she works in the vineyard industry. She has had poetry and photography published in a variety of journals, on line and in print, and her first full length poetry collection was published in 2013.

The Music of Torquaret

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Contributor: Juan J. Gutiérrez

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Angel of autumn, whose music is like amber flame, pluck thy lyre.
Adorn this vale with the golden decay of November pyre.
Those who await his solemn song, become his evening choir,
Be still, sing and permit thou hearts to fill with gold desire.

Hearken! O' fixed stars
Hearken! O' audient stars

Through the season Heaven shall not shed a solemn tear,
So long as Torquaret's lyre-strings slay the dark and drear.
Death shall wave his moon-sharp scythe above the season's sphere,
And bring it down at the music's close, and laugh, and grin and leer.

Behold! O' stirring spheres
Behold! O' silent spheres

Torquaret ceased his song, on one soundless, autumn hour.
When the Heavens blessed the earth with a rare ephemeral power
He espied November's childe, born with the beauty of a flower
Of splendor rang his song, from beyond his cosmic tower.

Torquaret and his choir, and Tarquam and Gaubarel
And the fixed stars and the stirring spheres, they listened and they saw
The childe of November born, whom never shall they mourn,
Immortalized in song by the music of Torquaret

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Juan J. Gutiérrez was raised in Sunland Park, New Mexico and now lives in Desert Hot Springs, California with his wife and daughters.

Satin and Grace

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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Here in Chicago I sit
in the sun of an Indian Summer
high on the Water Tower waiting,
chapped hands in a visor
over my eyes, hoping I see
you in that gown,
all satin and grace,
float like a feather
back to Chicago.

I don't care if you stop
by Confederate streams
to pick phallic rocks
on the way from Savannah
so long as you rise,
release all your hair,
take to the air
and float like a feather
on to Chicago

because this is the last time I'll sit
on the Water Tower waiting.
I'd rather go blind than see
you in that gown,
all satin and grace,
laugh like a loon,
turn in the air,
then float like a feather
back to Savannah.

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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

A Soul Speaks!

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Contributor: John Evans

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“Just write!” the soul speaks.
Memories to be read –
Prayers to be heard…where nearby demons
Emerge as blood-thirsty fears hunger
Upon sacred blood that flows silently through guiltless veins.
My fears linger, though courage musters its way
Through the frozen tundra of my being…
Life as a Marine is not easy.
We drill, day after day, month after month, until
We move as one.
Get in step Marine as “Gunny” speaks out.
Where to today?
We are never told.
Orders speak and we just move…as one,
A mechanized machine of “freedom fighters,”
We carry on.
Will it be a field class, exercise, or “hand to hand?”
Our purpose is one – solidified as we
March again head on into the depths of history.
Our mission began long ago –
As farmers and peasants we volunteered
Against the tyranny of injustice
In a world of social domination and “All for the King!”
We are one!
In a land of beauty worth defending…
We march on, once again…into the depths of history –
Until we meet the other side of what some call hell,
Our beauty lies in our purpose:
“To preserve and to protect.”
Freedom is never free…and yet, we shall always be free!
For life as a Marine is not easy, but, by God –
We shall always be free!

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A former US Marine and Rifle Range Coach, John has much to share of his days as a US Marine. Poetry being the genre of choice, John enjoys sharing his military life having proudly serving his beautiful country and the freedom of democracy!

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