Hell is a Bureaucracy

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Contributor: Vaunna Fostertagg

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is the woodchipper of busy work
of productive apathy
of the dead
herding the dead
denying grasping hands
with bureaucratic handwavium
go back to the back
of the back of the back
and start over
because what you've provided isn't right
and we'll need at least six weeks
to process your immediate needs
while we sit here dead
and dying
rotting at the same pace
as the system that the lawyers built
to keep layabouts from suing the system
into sweet oblivion
because someone lost something
in hellish bureaucracy.

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Florida native with a heart of gold, sometimes.

Over Time

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Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

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Seemed like a long time
On the way,
From first steps
To a head of grey hair,
But looking back on my life now,
It never took long
To get there.
The excitement of youth,
Slowly gave way,
To an elder's
More thoughtful days.
The lust for things
Not so important,
Eventually faded away.
Knowing a little more than before,
But still lacking knowledge,
It seems...
Alive in the present moment,
Now no longer waiting in dreams.

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Bruce Mundhenke has been everywhere except the electric chair and seen everything but the wind. He writes poetry and fiction and is learning to relax.

A Rainbow of Hope

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Contributor: Carrie Hooper

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When life's rainstorms
Drench the window of your soul,
The sun of God's presence
Continues to shine,
And He creates
A rainbow of hope
With the colors
Of endurance and renewal.

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Carrie Hooper lives in Elmira, New York. She teaches voice and piano lessons, gives vocal concerts, teaches and learns languages, and writes poetry.

The Future

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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The black lace of winter
Permeates the view
Barren trees at sunset
A panoply of sorrow
Recounted in a single verse
Monopolizing thoughts
That once were golden
Filled with brightly colored hues
A rainbow of mem’ries
Now erased by shadows
Encased in a shroud
Questions not yet answered
Yet terminating the sunrise
In a recurring pattern
Drifting on inexplicably
And only time can reveal
The future

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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 and is published on and in numerous internet and print journals. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin.


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Contributor: Cynthia Pitman

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O Seraph, stone of the gods,
how is it that you were torn
from the crag above and flushed
by the tallest of all waterfalls
to be lodged into the bottom
of the chosen river?
Though at the world’s peak,
you fell so hard that you sank
deep and deep and then beyond.
Did the rock of all ages
strike you from sight?
Or did you mine yourself
from the heights of glory
to join in the cacophony
of the rushing waters,
to be forced forever
into the rough bedrock
and be slowly shaped by eternity?

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I am a retired teacher with work published in Leaves of Ink, 3rd Wednesday (contest finalist), Vita Brevis, and others. My book, The White Room, is forthcoming.

Hungarian Wizardries - Musings

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Contributor: Paweł Markiewicz

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Something of Hungary would give thanks to Austria for the historic-ontological suitableness, a weird-like spirit.

I was with my hound in front of the primordial oak
I harvested there tree glamorous-meek acorns
I have left behind the acorns in addition to a thermal spring
with the result that the water-bow is able to sheen
dainty sempiternity fulfilled in me
when my dog masticated subtle-propitious acorns
three glamour-like ghosts were freed
from these acorns yea with the brilliancy
there was the Erlking the King of the pixies
with the butterflies-King of a dreamy night
in the Erlking prevailed – the witchcraft
in the pixy-like King reposed – the dreamery
in the King of butterflies Your vanlet
a bewitched waking dream in the Erlking
a dreamier enchantment in pixylet-like King
I have dreamed with Kings over the day
that was more marvelous than a night-dream aforetime
and the King of butterflies wore magic
day-dream hex and also enthusiasm
as far as an angelical autumn-starlet
beguiled of meek ghost-moonlet
I will dream simplemindedly with the threes
with attractive magic-eons

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To Say Goodbye

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Contributor: Michael Seeger

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Sunset’s glow fades
into the west
through hospital shades;
let go your last
earthly breath,

Dearest Mother,
beneath strange long hair.
Rise to some other
place somewhere—
entering death

your bony limbs
stretch out with a new
strength as light swims
through the blue

above, now below;
the here and now.
I want you to go.
You taught me how
to say goodbye.

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Michael lives with his lovely wife, Catherine, and still-precocious 16 year-old daughter, Jenetta, in a house with a magnificent Maine Coon (Jill) and two high-spirited Chihuahuas (Coco and Blue). He is an educator (like his wife) residing in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, California. Some of his poems have appeared recently either published or included in print anthologies like the Lummox Press, Better Than Starbucks, and The Literary Hatchet.

The Alpine Sun

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Contributor: Tyler Zahnke

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As I drift off to sleep on a dark, cold night,
The voices slip into my dream.
I hear them on the mountaintop,
A most fantastic singing team.
They yodel in the sweetest way,
Commanding all the stars to shine.
Those yodeling voices on the peak
Have all agreed to form a line.
Those voices singing in the Alps
Have scared the sun into its tent.
Its lifelong fear of yodeling songs
Explains the reason why it went.
A dozen million years ago,
The sun would shine all day and night.
But when the yodelers first appeared,
Their voices scared the God of Light.
In the morn they went to bed,
The singing stopped, the sun shone bright.
But when the yodelers sang again,
The burning sun was filled with fright.
He hid back in his tent so cold,
Below that spooky mountain tune.
But then the stars who loved the song
Would join their cousin, Mister Moon.
On winter nights the yodelers sang
For longer than on warmer days.
As soon as all the singers stop,
The sun again emits its rays.
I was awakened from my dream
And stepped outside to face the sun,
Amazed at the fantastic things
These yodeling mountain folk have done.
For if these singers left the peak,
And chose to never sing again,
The sun would shine all day and night,
And never go back to its den.
The sun in North America
Has crickets as its only fear.
The same goes for the English sun,
Though in France it is not clear.
The great Swiss sun is brave and bold,
No insect scares this mighty beast.
But when those yodeling songs begin,
The great Swiss sun won't dare head east!

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I was born in 1997 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am a totally blind musician, writer and technology enthusiast. I believe that music is powerful, and that people should make music whenever possible.

Creativity Halted

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Contributor: Arlene Antoinette

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The cpap machine has overtaken
the spot where my pen and paper
once sat awaiting midnight scribbles
and shadows cast from silver moonlight.

Last night as inspiration hit me, I rolled
over and whispered a new poem into
my sleeping husband’s ear.

This morning, he remembers nothing.
He swears to the poetry gods that he
heard nothing, only felt cool air
blowing on his skin like a kiss
from chilled lips.

My darling begs my forgiveness, but I
can’t bring myself to forgive him
as I watch my Muse wave goodbye,
no longer willing to work in such
deplorable conditions.

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Arlene writes poetry, flash fiction and song lyrics. More of her work may be found @ I am not a silent Poet, Tuck Magazine, Little Rose Magazine, London Grip, The Open Mouse and Literary Heist.

In Search of Truth

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Contributor: Sheshu Babu

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Splendid flowers of fragrance
Have myriad attractive colors
If Truth is like a set of flowers
It has multiple unexplored odors

Different shapes of many a creature
Inhabit the vast territory of Nature
If Truth is a manifestation of Nature
It embodies every beautiful picture

Every Truth in the world
Abstract form with meanings multifaceted
Is mercurial and dialectic
Its composition oxymoronic

Nothing is Absolute
Truth is not astute
Its changes are sublime
And conform to situation, space and time.

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