Caseworker: Yams and Plantain

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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The Housing Project
Summer in Chicago

Bienvenido’s comin’ over,
says his wife,
to ‘splain me

why the kids
have got no rice,
no beans,

how the landlord’s
shovin’ notes beneath
the door again.

In Puerto Rico Bienvenido
dug up yams,
was paid in plantain,

came over here,
brought his wife,
then his kids.

First New York,
then Chicago,
gave up yams,

gave up plantain,
just to drum
and make a living.

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Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.


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Contributor: William C. Blome

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Like on a trampoline we bounced with flair
Inside a tiny sector of late June
Where babies like bubbles also rose
To break then vanish in chartreuse air.

Ask starlings (birds without a tune)
If you don't believe my cryptic talk
About what we did and what we saw
Twixt noon and midnight, sun and moon.

I passed your head and then your toes
As infants ascended on either side,
Ferns and chicory brushed our skin,
And I tell you for sure the blackbird knows

Each detail about our jumps from reason
With people who practically had no age.
But unlike the starling you'll need a song
To leave and return in another season.

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William C. Blome writes poetry and short fiction. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he is a master’s degree graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such fine little mags as Amarillo Bay, PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, Salted Feathers and The California Quarterly.


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Contributor: Susie Sweetland Garay

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On a Wednesday night after swim lessons
my mother and I sit together in a dimly lit room.
She tells me ugly truths about her childhood,

it is a thing I want to fix
but am unable.

There is much I cannot do
but I will try again after each failure.

As we talk we both think of
the baby sleeping in the next room
and how with each passing year
a family does better for its
next generations.

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Susan Sweetland Garay lives in the Willamette Valley with her husband and daughter where she works in the vineyard industry and enjoys being a part time silversmith. She has had poetry and photography published in a variety of journals, on line and in print, and she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. Her first full length poetry collection, Approximate Tuesday, was published in 2013 and her second book Strange Beauty was published in 2015.

Road Trip

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Contributor: E.S. Wynn

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Light slanting
Gold broken
By a line of cypress
Sweet breeze
Summertime warm
Scattering your hair
As your fingers
Scatter mine.

I crave the touch
You crave the texture
The connection
We've both been
Looking for
Both been looking for
For so long now.

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E.S. Wynn is the author of over sixty books in print and is the chief editor of Thunderune Publishing. This poem is one of many featured in the book titled "What Will Be"

Because Mona

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Contributor: A.J. Huffman

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Lisa was captured, repressed for her perfect
dimensional portrayal of exact averageness,
I apply my lipstick a little darker,
raise my hemline an extra inch.
My desire is not to hang,
free of touch and time. I prefer to be stolen,
passed between hands intent on consumption,
destruction. Covered in the fingerprints of living,
I would even welcome Death as a suitor,
as long as he knows what to do with his nail.

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A.J. Huffman’s poetry, fiction, haiku, and photography have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Winged Allure

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Contributor: Ken Allan Dronsfield

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A piece of sky,
palette of blues.
lonely are clouds;
shaded pillows.
Temptation to fly,
birds do it with ease
Icarus tried with wax,
Daedalus not happy.
Spells of teary eyes
await those in flight
Orville rode the skies,
feathers never used.
Race me to the moon,
never knowing why
I guess just to do it,
insanity still believes.
Sit me in an old bus;
smells make one gag.
a bit slower to travel,
but not so far down.

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Ken Allan Dronsfield is a Published Poet and Author originally from New Hampshire, now residing in Oklahoma. He enjoys thunderstorms, walking in the woods at night, playing guitar and time with his cats Merlin and Willa.

As The Path Narrows

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Contributor: Richard Schnap

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There are dreams we keep
And dreams we let go
And dreams that just fade away

An album we play
Whose songs become
Fainter as the years go by

A book we read
Till its pages unhinge
Leaving only its name intact

A portrait we hang
That yellows with age
Till its face is a meaningless blur

And as the brief seasons
Go hurtling past
We cling to what does remain

A bright tiny star
At the edge of the sky
That never quite seems to grow dim

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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.

Voyaging Inward

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

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Lao Tzu said
that a journey of 1,000 miles
begins with a single step.

Well, I passed that marker ages ago,
and my shoes may be full of holes
but my feet are tough as nails.

The things of this world
are mortal and fleeting,
but the presence of God
is always one heartbeat away.

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Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site where links to his published work can be found. His chapbook "Songs of a Dissident" is available on Amazon.

When My Wife Is in Her Garden

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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When my wife is in her garden,
she becomes a ballerina
moving with the morning breeze
through hollyhocks and roses,
peonies and phlox.
There is music only she can hear.
It's been that way for 30 years.
I never interrupt her dance

not even when the house caught fire
early in the morning. I didn't holler out
the way another husband might
if he had never had a gardener for a wife.
Instead I called the firemen,
and while they were on their way,
I poured water from the sink
on the growing conflagration.

My efforts proved to be in vain.
The firemen arrived too late and so
the house is now a shell of smoke.
The garden still looks beautiful
yet I have no idea what I'll say
when my wife comes back inside.
But if she's toting roses to arrange
she may not notice any change.

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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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