If She Breaks Me

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Contributor: Harry H. Wooster, Jr.

- -
If she breaks me,
I'll live a life that makes her want me.
I'll shave off all the rough edges
sweep up the cutest little oriental cutie
pamper her with sweets and wine
make her so completely mine
with a belly full of children
one after one after another
all bearing my name
all fighting over the legacy
I'll build
without the one
who couldn't see
to stick with me.


- - -
HHW jr. is the son of a Marshall and aims to carry on the family name no matter the cost.

Dialogue

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Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
What is faith worth
If it allows atrocities
To be committed in its name?

(It is the agony of a beast
Caught in a trap
That it built itself)

And what does hope bring
When the world keeps on making
The same mistakes?

(It is the dream of a bird
That challenges the wind
Till it cripples its wings)

And what permits charity
To be just another label
For robbing the blind?

(It is the flaw of the heart
That’s as easily swayed
As easily fooled)


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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.

Plain Rides

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Contributor: Nicole Hampton

- -
Big metal cutting through the air
The lion of the sky
I am impenetrable in its womb
I soar
Palm to hard Plexiglas
Floating through the atmosphere

When I was little I would stare at the sky
In a way I don’t now,
Fuck, I miss the little things

I would lie on my trampoline
And wave at all the passengers on the plane
Knowing at least one would see me

I would change their life

They’d remember this girl on the trampoline
Trying to bounce ever closer to the big blue
They’d come rescue me from this place
They would uproot me
An unsatisfied weed waiting to bloom

Now here I am way up here
As the pressure builds and my ears pop in my skull

The person in front of me leaning their seat back another inch
Me pushing back rudely
Everyone knows you shouldn’t put the seat down
That two-inch luxury is reserved for first class

As I sip my nine dollar mini bottle of wine
Stilling the stress of playing God
Looking down at all the houses
Brown hats, beige bodies
Growing grey legs and arms
Stretched out all over the Earth
Square patches for plotted food
Cars like beetles I could squash
It didn’t seem real
I used to want this, to fly away

But there is no more appeal to being up so high
I cannot breathe
I cannot move
I cannot even touch the sky


- - -

30 Minutes

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Contributor: Lena Ziegler

- -
So suddenly, I am alone.
No watchful eye asking me to be careful when I drive.
No laughter or shared inside jokes about shitty reality TV.
No more talk about our Christmas tree.

We said we’d hang the lights together. But together for us means alone.

I’m so often alone together with you, your body a vessel filled with emptiness parked steadily on our loveseat; my body aching with the strongest desire to go back to what we were.

30 minutes ago.

30 minutes ago you were the hero, now you stand defeated by the villain within you, forcing you to stumble and slur in the most unflattering ways.

You look like a fool.
You look like a freak.
You are not unique.

You are a washed up piece of wood, used and broken, unable to withstand the waves of jealousy that break through your mind.
You are everything I am glad I am not.

No details go unnoticed. You insisted on going to the car to get that last string of lights.

This strikes me as suspicious.

I have a job interview tomorrow. A great opportunity they tell me. I’ll really get the chance to jump start my career. Professional growth for college graduates and newlyweds.

The bells jingle around the doorknob as you open the front door, brushing remnants of snow off of your shoulders. It’s already melting into your hair.

You haven’t washed your hair in days.

You walk toward the kitchen, tracking snow and salt onto the carpet, forgetting to wipe your feet. You hand me the string of lights. Your eyes are already lazy.

No details go unnoticed.

I peel pieces of mozzarella off of the inner part of the cheese grater, my eyes tracing your movements. You pass from the kitchen to the attached living room, lingering as you kick off your shoes. Muddy snow crumbles out of the grooves of your boots onto my freshly scrubbed kitchen floor.

You are so careless when it comes to me.

Earlier today we bought our tree.

We hurried across the street, our feet slipping on the slick pavement. Freezing rain. I unlock the car and we climb in, wincing together as our legs press against the cold leather seats. My teeth chatter dramatically as a whine that I must be the coldest girl in the world. You kiss my cheek. The news had said that we shouldn’t go out. The streets are too icy. The freezing rain will soon be snow. Stormy conditions.

Only a few blocks down the city street to choose the new addition to our broken home; a lovely green Christmas tree.

“Turn it up,” you say smiling and reaching for the stereo. Bing Crosby’s “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” echoes merrily through the speakers and fills the car with something.


- - -

Paddy Murphy Is Fred Astaire

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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It's six below and so much snow
this January midnight.
Sunday's gone
and Monday's turning.

Yet Paddy Murphy's stepping out,
his crushed fedora all askew.
He's soused again and all aglow,
dancing along Fifth Avenue.

Tonight he thinks he's Fred Astaire
and so he's swirling in the air.
He needs a partner way up there,
someone pretty, someone fair.

If it weren't for the music
that only he can hear,
Paddy would be gone by now.
Tonight he's whistling, though,

delighted that his fingers find
the parking meter posts
are an endless xylophone.
Listen to him play those posts

so all the world can hear
Paddy's favorite tune,
the jig of an ancient tippler
with one last dance to go.


- - -
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

That Sudden Silence

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Contributor: Lyla Sommersby

- -
That sudden silence
was me
sliding into the sea.

That sudden silence
was me
realizing you couldn't hurt me
anymore.

I stood in the surf for hours
I stood naked to the rising tide
I shivered
and I sank
until there was no more
until there was nothing more of you,
until my skin was clean
of your marks
of your scars.

That sudden silence
was me
breathing free
because only the sea
could cleanse me.


- - -
I am a student in Miami, Florida. Painting is my other love. My first book, Sketches of Someone, is available through Thunderune Publishing.

Cry Louder

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Contributor: Ben Riddle

- -
In solidarity with the people of Ferguson.

Crying is the innate human response
to suffering so immense
that the individual
lacks an ability
to articulate
to escape
to cope
with that suffering.

Instead, the mind and body unite
shaking and trembling
with all their might
in an effort to
draw attention
to the issue at hand
even if no one is listening.

Crying is an innate human response
to suffering so systematic
so overwhelming
that there is no option
but to cry out
to place roses in the streets
to raise hands in peaceful protest
to wash away what was and start again.

It’s time to make a change.


- - -
A twenty 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 riddlesocialcommentary.tumblr.com

Scrapped

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Contributor: Moischicho

- -
Time to stop crawling

ignore the threat

still there

like a coiled viper

take place as my own without risking a death

an abandoned state of silence

insults and sarcastic embraces

the slut who wants to please has grown tired of the role

and ugly emotions won't fall asleep

putting on a new reflection

that illuminates

straight through bone and marrow

survival strategies must be scrapped and burned

I stand here now in bare costume

without it all

without defense

the heart’s fire and light is strong and will forever remain.


- - -

Indelible

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Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
Sometimes I see it
In the impressions of a child’s hands
In a fresh section of cement

And sometimes in a group
Of black limousines passing
Leading a long line of cars

And sometimes in the initials
Someone carved in a tree
Surrounded by an arrowed heart

The knowledge that we make
Marks upon the world
That forbid it to forget us


- - -
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.

The Food Stamp Cafe

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Being out of work
during the holidays
is twice as bad and
twice that's happened
now to Wally Ballew
who calls his kitchen
The Food Stamp Cafe.
Both times Wally convinced
Beulah and the kids
hot dogs are haute cuisine

provided you
vary the preparation:
Boil them one day,
grill them the next,
and bake them
the following day
after you split them
down the middle
and fill them
with Velveeta.

As a rule of thumb,
Wally says to toast
the buns and change
condiments every day
until a turbaned genie
rises from the mustard jar
waves his wand
and hires you again.
But save the recipes.
It can happen again.


- - -
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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