Striking Fires Of Our Own

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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Although we’ll never again
be body to body or mind to mind,
you and the place and the years
are alive every night in the letters
I’ve stored in my room.

In your letters it’s still
that day in July
when we met on the hill,
with trees in applause
and the sun all over the water.

In your letters we’re always
body to body, mind to mind,
far out on the sea,
kissing and striking
fires of our own on the water.


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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Looking In

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Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

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side-by-side a couple sit
on the chesterfield
both grey-haired
holding hands loosely
eyes forward watching
not me peering in
through the front window

they don’t move
don’t notice my face
hands cupped around eyes

a picture of kittens
hangs behind them
a coffee table in front
with empty mugs
a plate with one cookie
the sound of voices
from the TV


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JOANNA M. WESTON. Has had poetry, reviews, and short stories published for twenty-five years. Her poetry, ‘A Summer Father’, was published by Frontenac House of Calgary.

(They Say)

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Contributor: John Ogden

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“We need your help!”
(they say)

Until they see that I am white.
Until they see that I am male.

“Savior complex”
(they say)

“Privilege”
(they say)

“Reparations”
(they say)

so I sit back
(do nothing)

and try not to watch
(the looting)


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John Ogden was conceived of a government form and a passing mailbox. He lives somewhere out in the woods of a rural land more akin to the fantasy realms of literature than real life, and his favorite dirt bikes will always be the broken ones.

Legends

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Contributor: Joel Van Valin

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Alexander had one blue eye
and one brown eye.
So did his horse. They conquered
half of Asia...

While France, they say, was rescued by
a shepherdess from Domrémy
and I’ve heard of a
captain’s daughter who cut her hair
rode off and fought Napoleon.

What is the wind that rustles about these loved
ones of history? Do they see
a clarified air, a sky with a
slightly different shade of blue?

I think of Hart Crane, whose father
invented Life Savers
walking off the end of a Caribbean ship
and Lead Belly singing “Goodnight, Irene”
to free himself from a Texas prison ...

And who knows, perhaps one day even you
will show up at your own funeral
or passing by dark water, find a sword
risen from the lake, the white hand of a lady.


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Joel Van Valin is the publisher of the literary journal Whistling Shade. His poems have appeared in publications such as Half-Drunk Muse, Free Verse and Poetry Motel, and his sonnet "The Empty Road" was a winner of the 2012 Great River Shakespeare Sonnet Contest. He lives with his wife in St. Paul.

Never

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Contributor: Mirranda Eid

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I should know better than to expect
to see your freckled face so soon again,
but I can’t help wishing for what I want.

I fell for someone who forgets fears
and would rather remain a lost boy, a carefree
soul than to place a claim on anything—
but the boy who owns nothing has everything.

With that mischievous glint in your eyes,
you tell me to lighten up, and that you’ll
be back soon. Soon for you is later for me.

Time means nothing to you, who comes
and goes as he pleases. Still…
my window stays open each night
as I wait to see the boy of my dreams.


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I'm a 21 year old who's majoring in English Education and writes for herself whenever she can. Writing for me, is both a way to test my creative side and a stress relief at times.

The Transfer Student

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Contributor: Ken Wolman

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The campus bookstore does a brisk trade
in Tim La Haye novels that promise eternity:
a lake of burning horror for the unsaved,
but bliss to those with paid-up tithes and mortgages,
recession-proof jobs, and concealed carry permits.
So I teach, or try, whoever they send me,
and feel a bit like the Civil War battlefield surgeon
who cannot be choosy or (in spite of all) judgmental.

For these children are sweet, naive of soul though not of body:
jocks, cheerleaders, body-pierced and tattooed artists,
profane and beautiful as a Manet picnic,
all bemused by what to make of me
who is not one of them, yet still surprises:
too old to be attractive but able to speak
a disarming shared earthiness and knowledge
of a world beyond what my age is supposed to be.

Sadness clouds the cafeteria we all share,
the dark, Satanic mill where true learning happens.
I overhear that some of the girls are easy marks
who fight the thought of being pegged
since high school as The Low-Priced Spread
by clinging to the forgiving touch of Jesus the Christ
and his emissary on earth,
the boyfriend who pulls out in time.
This explains the boyfriend, spent and hung-over,
who falls asleep in class, oblivious to the insult,
going from one conquest to the next
until, like Bristol Palin's boyfriend,
he thinks he's hit pay dirt because
her daddy's rich, her mamma's good-looking,
and he can get a gig driving a Ditch Witch.

But “his” girl in the first row,
who crossed her legs to get (and got)
my attention, transfers to Rutgers at term’s end,
sends me a curious Facebook note,
then disappears from campus, a Sphinx who proves
that character is born despite the curdled seed
of the dozing boy who will remain so.


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Previously a resident of New Jersey, I am now living in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. I am a former winner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. I have been widely published both on paper and electronically.

Crop Circles

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Contributor: Anne Higgins

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"Early in my writing career I came to believe that the stories I wrote were already written in the unconscious by a hand other than my own."
- James Lee Burke


Geometry was my worst subject,
but I love it slicing its way through the cornfield.
Flowers, Mandalas, Pentagrams,
twelve years now, each summer
new theorems.
Snowflakes, insects,
quilt squares,
Who speaks here?
What message whistles
in the high corn?
In the wheat, what coded words
have I been ignoring?
The cure is part of the art,
the unfolding of the origami of pain.
At the approach of the reaper,
sheaves bow down like Joseph's dream,
not cut,
but bent.


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Anne Higgins teaches English at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg Maryland. She has five books and two chapbooks of poetry published.

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