Reunion: A Self-Pity Ditty

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Contributor: Cynthia Pitman

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“Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee.” -
-- Gerard Manley Hopkins

When Sorrow comes to visit,
We feast from dusk ‘til dawn.
We binge on acrid memories
To celebrate him home.

I greet him at the doorway,
Embrace him with a laugh:
(“Why do you stay away so long?”)
I kill the fatted calf.

I hone the blade to piercing;
Mortal flesh is rent.
We fill our cups with overflow
Of bitter sacrament.

We raise a glass to visions
Turned rancid with regret;
Whet our frenzied appetites -
Toast all we can’t forget.

We reminisce for hours
(“How Hopelessness has grown!”),
Share tears in fond remembrance
Of all the hurt we’ve known.

We gnaw the carrion carcass,
Gorge on life unjust,
Suck marrow from the brittle bones,
Sate our wanton lust.

Then purgative Redemption
Administers release:
She guts our bloated torment,
Bestows her blesséd peace.

Sorrow gathers up to go;
He lumbers on his way.
I watch until he’s out of sight. . .
Then clear the mess away.

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Last summer, I began writing again after a 30-year hiatus. I have since had several poems and stories published, including in Leaves of Ink.

a glance

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Contributor: Simon Whittle

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sculpt the language of love
in your glance
the harmony of silence
i give into the earth of your eyes
like craters, mysterious and infinite
i am yours

wage the language of grace
in your call
the tone like waves crashing into my heart
your mouth is all i see
the curve of your Cupid's bow
after all, the emojis are molded after your smile

erase the perception of time
with your fingers
sweep the canvass of my skin
like a current hijacking all my senses
but you touch me all so harmlessly
and, i am bound to your charms

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Simon Whittle lives with his husband in Canada. If he's not painting, then he's writing stories. He runs a blog via WordPress with his best friend sharing happy, amusing, and sad anecdotes and poetry.


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Contributor: JD DeHart

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Make me promises.
Predict my future.
Cast a bold vision.

Be honest and sincere
twice a year. When there’s
a microphone. Only then.

Tell me the world is my
oyster then cut out the branch
from beneath my toes.

Watch me cling to your words
like stone wings. I sink
on your 50 percent chances.

You should be a weatherman
at this rate, laughing in your warm
window while I walk in the hot sunshine

dressed in a thick raincoat.
People make more honest sounds
in the bathroom after a bad meal
than what these proverbs add up to. 

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My book of poems, A Five-Year Journey, has recently been published by Dreaming Big Publications.

The Smiling Solution

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Contributor: Michaeleen Kelly

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In a recurring dream image
I’m situated center left
in a slowly moving cohort
of all those I’ve loved still living.
I’m beaming joy at those faces
I feel compelled to uplift.

There’s a sense that missing beloved faces
have already moved to the front of the line.
I know about the cliff awaiting us there.
Were the missing ones perceived as award-winning racehorses
zealously beating out their competition?
Did we dare offer smiling faces as they gallantly whisked by us?

The generalized smiling resembles the populace
in 1950’s Chinese propaganda films,
singing bombastically about Communism.
Our forward movement seems natural, ineluctable,
like being trapped on a moving set of stairs at the airport,
surrounded by unmovable travelers and their packs.

I’m trying to keep my poise and keep grinning,
playing like I’m in on a secret joke,
while preparing for a noble, gracious leap
off this mortal delivery device.

I’m flashing my broken teeth and tender gums
at my grandkids at the end of the line,
grateful about their glacially slow inching toward the finish line,
while working on getting the fear out of my arched eyebrows,
as other galloping dervishes gain unnervingly on the outside track,
all unaware of the nature of the race,
my eyes imploring them to recognize and pay forward
my albeit feigned optimism.

If there’s a better approach
to inoculating the most vulnerable against despair
during my brief tenure in this lethal marathon,
no reason to panic.
It’s just not moving forward real soon.

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Michaeleen Kelly is a professor of Philosophy at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She's a performance poet who has been published in Dunes Review, Blue Collar Review and Grey Wolf Press.


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Contributor: Sheshu Babu

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Have you ever felt the dark shadow
Of the soldier's body beside his widow?
Have you ever sensed the fragile mind
Of the dead man's infant child?

Sitting in your cozy studios
Ranting jingoistic talk on radios
Like many a Mussolini, you hawks
Hate instigating social sharks!

You can't understand the warrior's strain
Nor desperation leading to his pain
More than fighting for his country
He's compelled to earn bread for his family!

While the downtrodden, poverty-ridden soldier
Dreams of his expectant wife, child or sick father or mother
Warmongering hawks! You calculate the cost
Of war, how you won or lost!

Embroiled in defense, strategic quagmire
You just care for soldiers' bravery and attire
Ignoring their desire for a longer, healthy life
With peace, harmony in a world without strife

Promoting patriotism, extolling narcissism
Propagating belligerent, dangerous fascism
You control vulnerable, docile masses
For your selfish gains, in political nuances.

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The writer from anywhere and everywhere, supports any one working without fear and anger.

A Second Chance

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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Once in a lifetime
If you’re lucky
You get a second chance
At love
How it happens
Why it happens
No one knows
But the powers up
Life’s twists and turns
Run parallel in the universe
Fate and destiny hold hands
To bring loved ones together
Dearly departed team up
In Heaven
Guiding what appears
And yet volatile passions
Transcend eternity
Until the ultimate moment
Of consummation
A deep breath
Of longing
Brought together
Like lightning
Illuminating the sky
In a flash of brilliance
That will last forever
Towering over
Time and space
No longer a momentary
Transformed into a glowing
Fireball that consumes
Every fiber of the
Lover’s beings
Granting them love
And happiness
And an ending that will last

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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, magazine articles and a screenplay His works are published in over twenty-five on-line journals, over twenty 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, and his wife Jane. He lives in New York with Jane and their dog, Daisy. Visit him at

Partial Embrace

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Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

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Only partial embrace,
We see it all around,
And when we recollect our life,
We find it all everywhere,
All the way along,
Nearly every day.
The whole wide wondrous world,
Unnoticed as we go,
Focused on a thing or two
As we move along our way.
When we get a glimpse of Spirit,
We focus only on a part,
Then we live and breathe it,
Forgetting what we saw,
And when we love another,
We claim them for our own,
And believe them to be ours,
So still, we are alone.

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Bruce Mundhenke lives in a small town in Illinois with his wife and their dog and cat. He has short stories in Mad Swirl and Farther Stars Than These and poems in Indiana Voice Journal, Plum Tree Tavern, Dead Snakes, and in many other magazines.

Happiness Surrenders

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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Happiness surrenders
To the unknown powers
That guide the soul
In the right direction

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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

Song Of Mr. Doolittle

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Contributor: H.L. Dowless

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Well I,
I walked down town to the bow-tick store,
just to see what I could buy,
they had harlebusque, knives, quilts, grain, and more,
I knew not what to try.

Then the old clerk said,
“Son, just take your pick,
just see what you might like best;
if you should take a bite and it makes you sick,
then just leave alone all the rest.

I have some sugar powder,
a little chowder,
some booger pudding
and some whey.
So just take a bit of what e’er you are wanting,
and have a cheer-filled day!”

So I took a pinch of this,
I raised a scoop of that,
not one single offering did I miss,
I dropped it all inside my hat.

Then the aged grayed and grizzled man said,
“well son,
don't you dare forget the meat.
We have fresh hart not taken on the run,
now the live cooter is a mighty fine treat!
The skinned out bandit cat is really fun,
but the smoke cured Hoover hog can't be beat!”

So I took a share,
that was only fair,
I tarried around all that day.
I loaded it all into a sack
upon my back,
then struck out along my way.

As I left the old man said,
“Well good son, please ya don't off and run,
feel free to tarry around fer a good night stay.
Later on we'll both sip a little hard cider,
just for fun,
and fill fruit jar as we may!”

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The author is an international ESL instructor. He enjoys outdoor activities from museum field work to big game hunting.

Permanent Miracles

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Contributor: Cynthia Pitman

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“We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding.”
– G.K. Chesterton, The Ball and the Cross

No flaring posters for me.
I didn’t fall off a scaffolding today.
I just kept climbing,
finding my way.

No 911 call for me.
I didn’t get hit by a car today.
I just kept crossing,
finding my way.

No breaking alerts for me.
I didn’t drown in the lake today.
I just kept swimming,
finding my way.

No screaming sirens for me.
I didn’t have a stroke today.
I just kept breathing,
finding my way.

No big headlines for me.
I didn’t get shot in the head today.
I just kept running,
finding my way.

One obituary for me:
I didn’t make it to the end of today.
I just died trying
to find my way.

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Last summer, I began writing again after a 30-year hiatus. I have since had several poems and stories published, including in Leaves of Ink.


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