The Burnt Match

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Contributor: Cynthia B Pitman

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Careless, we make eye contact.
We instinctively look away.
We should listen to that instinct
and stop. right. there.
A connection, however brief,
is always too dangerous.
The spark from the static
of that split-second coupling
ignites a wildfire of ecstasy.
But this one quick breath of a bond,
this unexpected reckless consummation,
this blinding climax that sates
the ache of loneliness
that claws us raw inside
will ultimately consume us
as it consumes itself,
leaving nothing in its wake
but the cold ashes of isolation.

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I am a retired English teacher. I began writing again after 30 years of teaching. My poetry collection, The White Room, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books.

Am I a Hero?

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Contributor: Samuel Chanmany

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I was wanted they say.
Never too young to be drafted they thought.
The biggest feeling of regret I stressed.
A puppet amongst the millions.

Ready to die for a lie.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
I had that friend.
His name was called fear.

I intended to use it.
Until it turned against me.
Now it became my enemy.
There was no one to trust.

No one to love.
No one to call brother.
No one to call a friend.
Everyone was in Death’s hands.

Lurking through the lost jungle.
The heat breaking my sweat.
The rain covering my tears.
The mud blending with my skin.

Someone to write to.
The ink and the pencil fading.
Paper turning old as the days.
My will to someone at home.

I was supposed to fight.
But I trekked all throughout.
A broken promise told.
Time was not on my side.

The enemy blended with the greens.
No sounds from them.
This was their home.
The snap of a moment.
The heat of the bullets scorched.
Left, right, left, right.
Matched the number of bodies dead.
No burial for them.

The number of days counting.
It felt like an eternity.
The intensity was breathtaking.
When will I go?

Time to leave the jungle.
The cavalry came in.
But a part of me was missing.
A leg left for the enemy.

No purple heart for me.
A spit that drenched me.
This wasn’t my home.
Am I a hero?

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Samuel Chanmany self-indulges in unlimited imagination with his trusted pencil or brush. From bringing drawings to life, to a self portrait with a animated donut, he creates a world in which all are welcomed to join it. In his reality, it is so often that he loses himself with brush strokes that create hues of strangeness and beauty which alternately paints him flying with cats on a canvas.

She Falls

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Contributor: Arlene Antoinette

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She daydreams of taking a running leap
off the top of a daisy covered hill.
Cool air rushes up around her
pushing against her soft brown skin,
blowing her thick hair back, leaving
a trail of curly blackness floating in the wind.
She reaches out as she falls.
Her dropping away becomes flying
not like a bird, more so of an angel,
a dignified floating. With eyes closed,
she allows the whooshing wind
to erase her memory, the good, the bad,
and everything outside of the moment.
It all dissipates in the wind like white confetti
flowing through the air; numbing her emotions,
reversing her weaknesses.
A smile hesitantly blossoms across
her tear stained face.
She opens her eyes and falls out of misery
and into peace.

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Arlene Antoinette writes poetry and flash fiction. She hopes to write some awesome science fiction in the near future.

When Love

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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When love
Transcends time, distance and space
And takes hold of two people
Brought together by destiny and fate
The universe is renewed

Golden threads
Stitch the planets into a ring
And Saturn gives up its rings
As baguettes to surround the diamond
That once was the sun

And then
The moons and the stars
Shine down on the love
Like a rainbow of light
Catching moonbeams in its path
In a spiral of sparkles
Like fireworks on the Fourth of July

When love
Is so strong that it can
Overcome all obstacles
And join two people
Like an umbilical chord
Gives life to a baby
And each
Nurtures the other
With their hearts and their souls
As love unites them
For eternity

When love
Is so strong that the past disappears
And only the future remains
To be seen among the stars and the planets
In a universe of their own

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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-five 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.

I Am A Trumpet

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Contributor: Lorenzo Ceja

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I am like a trumpet,
Cheering the loudest in the audience
And sticking out like a sore thumb.

I blend in with the rest of my class,
But my tone is different than theirs,
And even those like me because
I play a different part.

Here and there I may frack a note,
Or miss a part,
Be too ahead of myself
Or fallen behind the rest.

But I take a step back
In order to get back on track.

I am a leader like a trumpet,
I am compatible like a trumpet,
I am a trumpet.

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I am a young inspired poet that is eager to make his first publication. I've been working on my skills for a few years and hope to improve and learn through publications and editors.


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Contributor: JD DeHart

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Through the small
round mirror into past
and present, I see a segment
rendered clearly. Thank you
for having me.

A refraction point, the image
of myself gazing back,
found like a toy prize in
another person’s set of tokens,
a box of shared memories.

This eye, this body,
traveling through undefined
space, in need of a velvet
rope to tether to the ground,

this vantage I call unique,
shared by many, documented,
cross-examined, defended,

metaphysically concrete,
constantly searching,
inevitably human and partial,
recounting the story of
another and yet myself.

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

Down That Street

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Contributor: Phil Huffy

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I walked the old street last night
and found our former stoop now claimed
by other sweethearts.

The man was smoking. Well, the boy, really.
His squeeze seemed not to mind.

Mom told me, years back, and unguarded,
how attractive my dad had looked out in their skiff,
rowing away with a Camel in his mouth.

I don’t know if she regretted sharing that.

Quit smoking myself when they went to
a buck a pack.

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Phil Huffy writes early and often at his kitchen table in Rochester, NY.

Boys Will Be Boys

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Contributor: Isabella Fernandes

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In fifth grade, sexism was the dress code.
My spaghetti straps were “distracting”
And my shorts were too short.
They wouldn’t be able to focus,
But it wasn’t their fault.
Boys will be boys.

In eighth grade, sexism changed.
Catcalling was just a compliment,
I should’ve felt flattered.
Sexual harassment was the hormones,
But it wasn’t their fault.
Boys will be boys.

In eleventh grade, sexism changed.
Cornering me in the parking lot,
Following me to my car,
Groping me in the hallway,
But it wasn’t their fault, right?
Because boys will be boys.

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From fiery noodles to deep fried macaroni, seventeen year old Isabella Fernandes has a passion for mixing seemingly incompatible ingredients and creating recipes that are both unusual and delicious. This unconventional mindset and curious spirit extends beyond the kitchen and is shown through her innovative e-commerce articles at Toolots Inc. Here, Isabella turns traditional marketing approaches into specialized techniques that can bolster the spontaneity and productivity of any business.

Leave of Absence (Summer, 1974)

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Contributor: John P. Tretbar

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The donkey brays the morning sun at dawn.
The rest of us soon follow suit, in thrall.
The "hees" are always followed by the "haw,"
which then repeats a dozen times in all.

There's nothing left for us to do but wait
for bells of Mass however small and poor,
as Sister Mary Margret pulls the chain
and greets the local church mice at the door.

The sermon on the mysteries of God,
through patience, prayer, belief, and sacrifice,
seems lost upon the flock in this synod,
for they, each day, must pay an awful price.

With donkeys for alarm clocks, dirt for floors,
their lives forever guessing what's in store.

The mission in St. Lucia near Vieux Fort
still follows the church dictums and decrees.
But in jungle lurks another morte
as death-by-flatworm brings them to their knees.

The microscope reveals the tiny mutts,
the schistosoma living in the blood.
It eats their meals and then inflates their guts,
because of walking, shoeless, in the mud.

The scourge of poverty the enemy,
our gift of Praziquantel will be used
to kill the worms in their anatomy.
But what they really needed was some shoes.

The donkey brays another day at dawn.
The humans rise to get their prayers on.

Our education, first, to learn patois,
the Pidgin French of settlers long ago,
as early generations break the laws
of grammar, usage, style, and vertigo.

Then comes commitment to the chosen one,
a summer program born at Notre Dame.
It looks like a vacation in the sun,
but changes students as they change their names... Sister Mary, soon to take their vows:
to chastity, and poverty, and God.
We sing a song of charity to you
as we return to study on the quad.

The donkey knows the score and brays its tune
each summer in St. Lucia late in June.

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Retired journalist, musician, actor, age 63. Live in St. Joseph, Missouri, with my wife. Host poetry gathering at her coffee shop once a month. Self-publish work of fellow poets and anthologies from the best of the gatherings.

A Sense of Recognition

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Contributor: Cynthia B Pitman

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A trampled scrap of paper
scoots with the wind across the dry dirt road.
On it are written someone’s last words.
They cannot be read.
The lines of the hand-scrawled letters
bend in the folds of the crushed paper,
mangling the words. To catch the paper,
smooth it flat, straighten the lines
and read the words is no more possible
than it would be to find the writer,
soothe her pain, and reshape her future
that is already past.
But the words are there.
No one need read them for them to be there.

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I am a retired English teacher. I began writing again after 30 years of teaching. My poetry collection, The White Room, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books.


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