That’s it

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Contributor: Douglas K Currier

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I’m as good as my last haircut, as presentable
as the blue suit and a ten-dollar shirt and the tie
without the stain. Sometimes my shoes and belt match.

You see these guys – lots of dandruff, tie
too short, collar frayed, but not as badly
as the cuffs of the suit jacket, bad shave.

You see these guys – heels worn down on the one side
or the other, smelling of old sweat and cheap food, and attempts
to cover it – the smell of age, aging, age by default.

I’m losing the ability to see myself as others must – nose hair,
ear hair, receding hairline, bad teeth, glasses half on glasses,
half off. I can’t smell myself – just need, just desperation.

I guess that’s it.


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I am a former college professor who has been published in Laurel Review, Dominion Review, The Café Review, and Fish Stories. My work appears in the anthology, Onion River: Six Vermont Poets. I live in Burlington, VT.

Capture

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Contributor: Cristine A. Gruber

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The room in the corner
smells of fresh coffee and old books,
meticulously organized, yet surprisingly dusty.

The window at the end has no discernible view,
yet it’s where she stands to gather her inspiration.

The blinds hang crooked; the window is cracked.
The vent in the ceiling has been stuck since the 70s,
and the stains in the carpet have been present for decades.

An ancient Underwood graces the far corner,
while a modern Dell sits on the desk near the wall.

In summer, the room is suffocating; in winter, near-freezing.
But regardless of season, she’s most often found
sitting on the floor, cross-legged, pen and paper in hand,

capturing the moments as they’re caught by the tail,
then expertly committed to a wide-ruled notebook,

thus preventing their escape through the cracks that linger
between the crispness of an onionskin page,
and the sleekness of a liquid crystal display screen.



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Cristine A. Gruber has had work featured in numerous magazines including, North American Review, Writer’s Digest, California Quarterly, and Red River Review, among others. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, is available from Amazon.com.

Coffee on the Way

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Contributor: JD DeHart

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We arrange our lives
with complicated coffee orders.
We converse about Hebrew
law and the inter-testamental
period with greater ease
than we utter skinny mocha
decaf, grande.
An old man stammers vente,
vente, I tell you vente
while the barrista looks at him
blankly, blinking college lashes.


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JD DeHart is the author of The Truth About Snails, a chapbook. He is a staff writer for Verse Virtual and his blog is jddehart.blogspot.com

Charade

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Contributor: David Henry

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If I,
for a moment
imposed beyond this silhouette

Would I reach refuge?

An asylum, bittersweet and speechless,
lament flagging shrouds
in stranger’s uncanny masquerade.

Crawling across a knife’s edge
where mimes, faceless without disguise
morn in lieu of laughter.

Desperately gesturing
warnings of chaos, while
clowns weep in chambers of
empty stages.

I linger, among the destitute,
lost in mirrored labyrinth
each sheet reflecting two identities.
The charade I am, and the delusion I long to be.


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Dave Henry is a writer of poems and short stories, and a jazz bassist. He is currently searching for inspiration from grocery store shelves.

A LEATHER JACKET WITH FRINGES

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Contributor: David Subacchi

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When I was young I dreamt about
A leather jacket with fringes
Tight and black with studded collar
Lots of motorcycle badges
Inside a faded red lining
To signal my experience
Yes all I ever yearned to wear
A leather jacket with fringes

But my parents strictly forbade
A leather jacket with fringes
All those zips seemed superfluous
Suggesting immorality
And though I tried to persuade them
It was really for road safety
They both remained quite unconvinced
Refusing to fund its purchase

Marlon Brando in ‘The Wild One’
Clad in leather with zips galore
Never wore those daring fringes
As if they were a step too far
But the wildest bikers I knew
Wore fringes from cuffs to shoulders
Yes all I ever yearned to wear
A leather jacket with fringes.


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David Subacchi was born in Wales (UK) of Italian Roots. Cestrian Press has published two of his poetry collections: FIRST CUT (2012) and HIDING IN SHADOWS (2014).

Circa 1960

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Contributor: Deanna Morris

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Father returns from the office,
pours himself a whiskey, and unknots his tie,
removes his wingtip shoes, and hands them to me.
Mother brings him a plate of canapés.
I place the shoes in his closet, next to several other pairs,
polished and perfectly positioned.

I linger there.

Above hang his 23 business shirts. I pull one from the rack
and put it on; the sleeves hang from my arms like white flags
waiting on a northeast wind. Mother is in the kitchen,
a seersucker apron at her waist, stirring supper.
I sit in my father’s closet listening to my mother
swearing, slamming the spoon on the stove.
I pull my father’s shirt tighter around me.


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Deanna Morris is a MFA graduate of Butler University with publishing credits for poetry, short stories and freelance pieces. She was awarded Best in Poetry for Indiana University/Purdue University Genesis literary magazine.

Child at Heart

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Contributor: Richard Schnap

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He was midway between cradle and coffin,
Too old to draw treasure maps on the backs

Of restaurant placemats, too young to scan
The obituaries to see if anyone he knew

Had died. He had a computer and cell phone
But only knew a fraction of all the things

They could do, still reading paperbacks
And listening to CD’s, still watching reruns

Of Warner Brothers cartoons and Twilight Zone
Episodes. Yet inside he felt ageless

In some way, as if the world was passing by
While he was staying the same, still marveling

At the magnolia blossoms of spring, still
Fascinated by the fireflies of summer, still

Saddened by the soulful song of the cicadas
At its end, year after year after year.


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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.

An Atheist on Sunday

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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On Sunday his wife
and children walk
to Mass

and he goes
into his garden
to work

all day
primping roses
lilies, dahlias

weeding, pruning
making things right
on his altar of life.

At dusk he brings
his heaven home
in soiled hands.

A big bouquet
for a wife
suddenly in tears.


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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Black Heat

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Contributor: A.J. Huffman

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3 a.m. and the circuits could not hold
out any longer. Darkness, thick as an anvil,
descended, stretched its suffocating embrace
across a six-city span. Desperation and 102°
of sudden blindness are constricting, breed
panic and paranoia as ears struggle
inside echoing silence, searching for potential
alarms, incapable of sounding.


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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. www.kindofahurricanepress.com

Highway

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Contributor: J.K. Durick

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Tired of talking, tired of thinking of things to say
I put all this on cruise control, going 55, 60 steady
Others whiz by, going away, the distances get wider
And wider, breeze in what’s left of my hair, the sun
On my balding pate, I adjust quite easily to this, for
I’m tired of talking, of thinking what to say, perhaps
I have almost used up the words allotted to me, I feel
Like the tank is almost empty, been running on fumes
For a while now, now on cruise control going 55, 60
Hoping nothing more gets in the way, when I have so
Little left to say.


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J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Black Mirror, Deep Water Literary Journal, Poetry Super Highway, and Rainbow Journal.

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