Coffee Stains

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Contributor: J.K. Durick

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A river of coffee flows through my life
Strong, dark, sweet, warm at first, but
Cooling after all this time; it flows, pours,
Cascades, leaves its mark on the things
I do, have done, it marks out who I am,
Have been, part of the ritual of being
Who I am, domestic magic and science
Coming together, beginning the day,
Punctuating morning and afternoon;
The cups, a sequence to measure time,
Propel me forward, mark my place,
Keep me going, become a distraction,
An excuse, a polite enough invitation,
Another addiction I carefully attend to.
Coffee has colored my life, left marks
All around me, pale circles everywhere,
Dots, spots on my clothes, the carpets,
Odd places in the car, like evidence,
Proof that I was here, passed this way
A cup of coffee in my shaky right hand,
Slopping, gesturing, making some point,
Letting the coffee do most of the talking,
Leaving a mark on my small world.

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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, Third Wednesday, Thrush Poetry Journal, and Rainbow Journal.


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Contributor: Juan J. Gutiérrez

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Feathers, gold, fall evermore from silent sky, forlorn
Tint of fire, immortal blaze, touched and it is ashen cold
In repose upon the ground, flick and flutter, summer born
Sundered gloom beneath its fell, spirits from the years of old
Bloodlines lived in winged' words, but from the lips are torn:
"Under the Sun's eye, painted in the sky
He is born of the air, the Summerbird,"
Bloodlines lived in winged' words, but from the lips are torn

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Juan J. Gutiérrez was raised in Sunland Park, New Mexico and now lives in Desert Hot Springs, California with his wife and daughters.

The Miserable Physicist II

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Contributor: Teddy Kimathi

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He finds nothing new to be excited about; a bottle of whisky, dark humor,
and a packet of cigarettes are his companion.
“All the breakthroughs and works that I have done will end in a flash,
when another Big Bang occurs”, he mourns deep inside his soul,
as his wife and children play in the summer sun.

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Teddy Kimathi has poems published in Leaves of Ink, Shot Glass Journal, Three Line Poetry, Every Day Poets, & a fiction work in Every Day Fiction.

Night Lit Bright Their Signal

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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Formerly, one knew on sight the ones
who walked with economic purpose.
One had criteria: the color
of their robes, the meter
of their stroll, the semaphore of their
cosmetic blare.
One knew that night for them was dawn,
that night lit bright their signal.
Today, my pastor claims,
one must inquire of them all.

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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Bones & Such---

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Contributor: jacob erin-cilberto

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you held my melting heart
in your dry, brittle hands
the bony curves of your love
a skeleton of what it once was
i felt the dust absorbed by my skin

welcomed the grave
so we could sepulcher together
enjoy infinite feasts of worms
and wine
dine in utter naivety
realize what we had been
really would decompose

when our rose colored glasses
we would be wrapped within each other

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jacob erin-cilberto, originally from Bronx, NY, lives in Southern Illinois and teaches at two community colleges. He has been writing and publishing poetry since 1970. erin-cilberto's 13th book of poetry Intersection Blues is available from Water Forest Press, Stormville, NY.

NYC Subway

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Contributor: DS Peters

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Bells ring twice and doors whi-hi-hiiiine open,
“Stand clear of the closing doors.” Zip shut.
“This station is 42nd St., Bryant Park,
the next station is 34th St.”
Wait… wait… wait… go!
Here? No. This isn’t it.
I missed it. I’ll walk from here.
Watch out! Calm down! Move.
Stay to the right. Your other right.
I’m lost. I’m not. Look at the map.
Look at the size of that rat!
Can you help me? Goddamn tourists!
Oy mamacita! Pretty girl! You bitch!
Moving closer, closer, more people more
more more, gum-chewing, gum-snapping,
open-mouth gum-slobbering,
beer drinking, pasta eating…
In this filth? Cigarette butts, spit, bottles,
plastic bags, dirt, and human dust…
Waiting, waiting,
lean towards the tracks, peer down the tunnel.
Do I see a light? Do I feel the stale breeze?
Is that a rumble? Is that it?
No, it’s not the B, another goddamn D,
why does this always happen to me?!
Goddamn train. Goddamn transit system.
Goddamn union. Goddamn New York.
Here it comes… where will the door be?
Get away from me! What the hell?!
Stop pushing! Is there a seat?
“Let them off first!” A seat!
I have a seat for the ride home, yes!
Breathe, smile smugly, relax…
Stop moving over, stop falling asleep,
get your head off me, get your purse off me.
Don’t step on my foot,
you’re standing too close,
your breath stinks. Is this my stop?
Is this it? Is this it?
Where are we?

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DS Peters is a writer, a traveler, and a plotter.


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Contributor: Craig Kurtz

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We were right decorous,
unassuming and punctilious;
we observed all forms
and were proper to the core;
chivalry and probity
were our creeds and covenants;
little did we know
. . . we’re really carnivores.

We were conscientious,
distingué, and quite courteous;
we observed deportment
and acknowledged abstinence;
gallantries and beneficence
were our code and catechism;
but in the end
. . . we’re only savages.

What do the neighbors think?
We’re civil and so circumspect;
we polish our façade
with good taste and comity;
demotic weal obliges us
to uphold pudeur and devoir;
but underneath our frocks and cloaks
. . . there’s naked skin that’s ravenous.

We were scrupulous,
above reproach and virtuous;
we concurred the norms
of rectitude and politesse;
gentility and etiquette
informed our moral consuetude;
but late at night, in the dark
. . . we’re uncontrite cannibals.

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Craig Kurtz lives at Twin Oaks Intentional Community where he writes poetry while simultaneously handcrafting hammocks. Recent work has appeared in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Blotterature, Reckless Writing and The Tower Journal.


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Contributor: J.K. Durick

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Like the face of a friend, his head finally
Going under a wave, drowning, the sun
Goes down, sets in a flood of mountain,
Of Cloud, of night, goes down, beyond
Our reach, no lifeguard in time, no boat,
Hope dims; like survivors we gather on
The beach of the day, helplessly there
To watch as time rehearses the end we
All know is coming with the waves of
Time, and we stand helplessly back and
Watch the sun setting,; the promise of
Morning, the continuous afternoon, now
Wear down to this, and we watch as
The face of our friend, his whole head
Goes under the ominous wave of night,
The darkness we all know is waiting.

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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, Third Wednesday, Thrush Poetry Journal, and Rainbow Journal.

What the Salt Shaker Said to the Pepper Shaker

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Contributor: Jolie McCarty

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We spend every meal together, but we rarely seem to speak -
you’re always heading the opposite direction:
in the space of one table, you wouldn’t think it possible
to stay so far apart.
In older, well-mannered days, we’d travel
but instead I must watch as you are passed carelessly
from hand to hand,
endlessly smudged by the parade of
grimy fingers that hold you.
I must stay forever jealous that I will never
be allowed anything more than a
casual brush,
and perhaps, on rare fine days,
the privilege of standing close to you.
Every once in a while,
we clank together -
you stare reproachfully at me as you
pass onward to another man, woman, being;
all I can do is hope you can read the apology
in every trickling grain of me.
You and I are complementary vessels,
seasoned and spiced with age.
Dust of my dust,
I hope we linger together
in another life.

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I am a student at St. Olaf College, working towards discovering what kind of voice I have.

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