What Possessed You?

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Contributor: Ken W Simpson

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Bacon and eggs
in the morning
add ‘h’ to ate
before deceiving.

as shark’s teeth
add ‘f’ to ear
in the afternoon.

A venomous night
curdled words
add ‘d’ to read
before retiring.

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An Australian poet whose latest collection, Patterns of Perception, was published by Augur Press (UK) last January. He lives with his family in the state of Victoria.

Catching Up

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Contributor: Justin DeFerbrache

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You agree to get some coffee
because it's more of a hassle to refuse.

I want to communicate so badly.
I am a fig tree
reaching out my tendril roots
to a frozen ground.

The cappuccino makes my face hot
and my eyes huge.
Not the greatest choice of weapons
for this especially icy duel.

There was a time
when I did not pay to view you
from behind aquarium glass.

When you were a companion and not an image
to be viewed on a TV screen,
worlds away.

I want to scream,
to fall on the floor,
and beg you to love me
as you once did.

But instead we talk.
Words that splatter
like bugs against your windshield.

How's the family, how's the job?
I get the ten o' clock rehash
of the six o'clock news.

I pull out one of "our jokes"
and you greet it, but not with a smile.

I wonder
at the time we spent together
and how you can barely even see me now.

I want to tell you
that you've caused me pain,
that you've dragged me
through the bowels of Hell.

But would you hear anything more
than the echo of a ghost?

You're biding your time,
waiting to return
to the land of the living.

How I yearn to be alive for you.

To be someone that you answer
with your heart
and not with the teleprompter
that you're reading off my forehead.

The cellphone starts to cry.
You're so relieved to hear the voice
you wished you were talking to all along.

You don't even notice
as I slip my empty mug into my bag.

I'll keep it in my windowsill
for the great, American tragedy
that has been our "catching up."

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Justin DeFerbrache studied English Literature at a small liberal arts college in Indiana. For the past three years, he has been working as a TESOL teacher in China and exploring the Asian continent one bit at a time. He writes poetry and short fiction on the side.


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Contributor: Richard Schnap

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The old men turn up their collars
And walk even slower than usual
As the chill wind slaps their faces
Bringing tears coursing down their cheeks

And the children are lost in daydreams
Of bagfuls of Halloween candy
The challenge of Thanksgiving wishbones
Presents beneath a star-crowned tree

And the ice cream shop on the corner
Closes its doors for the season
While the flower store empties its windows
To make way for the poinsettias to come

While I look out from my window
At the trees whose leaves are now golden
And flocks of birds heading southward
Goodbye Summer goodbye

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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.

Sibling Reunion

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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They're getting older,
five brothers and sisters,
all with degrees, jobs, families,
nice homes, good lives, happier
than most except when they must
fly to the home of their childhood
and settle their mother's estate.

They gather in the old stucco
none of them is willing to sell.
They drink bourbon and scotch
and tell each other everything again
that happened when they were young,
what made them take planes anywhere
trying to escape and forget.

A few more drinks and they see the bees
swarming the day Mom knocked the hive
out of the willow with her clothesline pole.
They were young, not yet in school,
happy and laughing, clapping but not
understanding why Father was gone,
why he would call but never come home.

All summer they rode tricycles
into each other, yelling and screaming,
ringing the bells on the handlebars,
trying to figure out what had happened.

Another few drinks and they agree
it's time to go out in the yard and look up
in the tree where the hive used to be.
Once again they hear children
yelling and screaming,
riding into each other, ringing bells,
looking everywhere for answers,
not knowing the questions.

In minutes they realize the reunion's over
and there may never be another.
It's time to pack, get on planes, escape
before someone puts a match to the stucco.
The hive's on the ground bouncing
and they're all bees, swarming again.

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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Soneto Soltero

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Contributor: April Mae M. Berza

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Imprisoning the alphabet inside my lips
Stills my mind from stealing your divinest image
To tranquilize my desire, my silent heart weeps
In oblivion, its prison cell is a sad cage;
Litanies of sshhh waking my ticking heartbeat,
Lulling already when the roaring thunder clapped
Like a dictator with feet pounding, on his seat,
Ordering, for lovers are servants not to stop,
Vainly trying to surrender to the whisper
Etherized on the ears to invent lexicons
Ere the simulacrum of words starts to slumber
Gently to shape meanings as the passion dawns;
As my heart is freed, silence is then locked inside
Now fear is hushed as I walk the aisle as your bride.

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April Mae M. Berza is the author of Confession ng isang Bob Ong fan (Flipside, 2014). Her poems appeared in Calliope, Contemporary Verse 2, Poetica, Maganda, Belleville Park Pages, The Manila Times and elsewhere. She lives in Taguig, Philippines.


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Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

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digits even or not
added subtracted
multiplied or equated
spin their reciprocal
symbols exponentially
to circulate as fractions
that leap logarithms
in ledgers made fluent
by indexed almanacs
earning daily dividends
commonly confused
by numberless nerds
like me

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JOANNA M. WESTON. Married; has two cats, multiple spiders, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen-houses. Her middle-reader, ‘Those Blue Shoes', published by Clarity House Press; and poetry, ‘A Summer Father’, published by Frontenac House of Calgary.

Let Her Bloom

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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The first time a man meets her,
his lids flicker,
an appropriate reaction.

The first time a woman meets her,
her eyes pop out and coil on her forehead,
another appropriate reaction.

Who can blame either?
Today, who buys the canard
about the true, the good, the beautiful

in theory or in a woman?
Let them watch her as I did.
Let them frisk her for flaws

that will allow them to live
as they are, as they were,
as I was when I met her.

Till then, let her bloom
with my children
while I wonder, I try.

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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Tidal Vibes

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Contributor: Ken W Simpson

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Bouncing around
Getting a kick out of sound
Who was that?
No one knows
The shape of disdain
An unkind sight
The infatuation of a dream
Scenes that disappear
Boats on the beach
Water flowing
Gracefully sliding
Beneath a bridge
A deceptive theme
Bequeathed to posterity
The dawn of another day
Go away.

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An Australian poet whose latest collection, Patterns of Perception, was published by Augur Press (UK) last January. He lives with his family in the state of Victoria.

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