Diagnosis

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Contributor: J.K. Durick

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They didn’t need to call us in for any of this
We felt it coming on a long time ago, a hint
A whisper of things to come, the grasp of it,
The trap of it snaps shut; the words he says
Give it life, a life of its own, separate from us,
Moves it center stage, knows its lines, its moves
Blocked out, produced, directed, well critiqued,
With these words the curtain rises on our last act,
His restless captive audience squirms in their seats,
The words begin to paint pictures, whole scenes
Come to life, the beginning, middle, and end,
The inner workings of things, the stages, progression
And the finally fading into inevitable darkness;
His words become monstrous, whirl around us,
Grab and pull at us, a pack of wolves around us,
Our backs to the wall, our firing squad readies,
Our blindfold slips a bit, and we finally ask if
Anything can be done, knowing full well the answer.


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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 Shot Glass Journal, Black Mirror, Third Wednesday, Thrush Poetry Journal, and Madswirl.

Honoring Bacchus

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Contributor: Marija Makeska

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We honor Bacchus
The ancient god of the wine
Who makes you take the glass
Pour alcohol to taste it
Thinking you are doing only a test
Of over fifty other drinks
While he dances with the Devil
Telling you to have some more,

Then he messes with your head
Your ability to control,
But he still asks you friendly
To have even more
He slyly teases you
Asking how many chairs do you see
And pours you even another drink
Making you unable
To walk yourself to home
Where even your wife and children
Will ask you to have some more


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Marija Makeska is a writer, fine artist and a filmmaker whose passion are the Eurasian cultures. In 2013 alone, she had a number of publications for Dark Gothic Resurrected, The Northern Cardinal Review, Goddess Pages, Circassian Voices and many others, and her second self published book “The Book of Muses” came out. She’s currently a monthly contributor for The Spread Magazine by CinemaJam.

Bobby Pin

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Contributor: David Calbert

- -
I found your bobby pin
Slid absently in my jacket sleeve
I brought it to my nose
Hoping it retained a whisper
Of your perfume

I have dreams that I’m
A river
Bastard body scooping
Muddy fingernails through
A dry riverbed
In the valley of Apotheosis

The thirsty dust sizzles and shrieks
Like pork fat bubbling in a skillet early Sunday morning
Grease trap to catch discarded
Cartilage that dreamed of once
Hardening into bone

I found your bobby pin
As blameless as a wasp sting
It sang off my buttons
But gave away nothing


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David Calbert lives in California. He writes fiction, essay, the occasional poem, and is still trying to find his place. He also tends to drink whiskey and talk about bad ideas for horror movies.

Mom At The Prom

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Contributor: Evalyn Baron

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There is one girl,
Born pure,
Whose vision
Remained her own.
Every time her young scene
Demanded over-writing,
She knew the wisdom
Of few words.
Her karma, clearly,
Was to walk with wisdom
Through the valleys
Of shadowy child play.
Her mission , manifestly,
To gently lead
Where others forgot to go;
Where others never even knew
Existed.

So, this bleary high school steeplechase
Not only bores, but frightens her,
Though her mother, enlarged through time,
Dances, holding the picture of her daughter’s dress
Up to herself to see if it might have once fit.
All around the mothers smile,
Though only this daughter’s smile is sad.
The comedy continues, laugh track intact,
Though no matter how garish
The mother’s routine,
The clear-eyed girl moves to the rhythms
She hears in her heart.
Her dancing night will fade fast
From what’s important to this blessed child.
But her mother will be cursed
With never forgetting

Her daughter’s prom, and soon the memories
Of her own powder blue tuxedoed tragedy
Will mix, ineluctably, with the photos
Of her daughter’s perfect night
And the years of fat and regret
Will melt away,
Hope Restored.


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Evalyn Baron is a retired Broadway actress, recently moved to San Francisco to get some serious writing done. Her memoir - For Better or for Better: A Story of Divorce, Dachshunds, and Everlasting Love - will get to bookstore shelves eventually. She hopes.

Waiting for the Same Thing

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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We're all waiting
for the same thing,
the old monk told me
on a tour of the abbey
the day after the monks
buried my brother
in the cemetery down
by the creek.

At some abbeys, he said,
monks make fruit cakes,
cheese, jams or fudge.
Every abbey, he said,
has to sell something
while we're waiting
for the same thing.

I know you and your brother
weren't close but he probably
told you we've been making
pine caskets for 70 years.
He was an artist with a chisel.
Never a word out of him.
Just shavings of wood
flying around him like moths.
We have no one to replace him.

And business is improving.
I don't know how we'll keep up.
It's no longer just monks
at the other abbeys
buying our caskets.
Suddenly civilians
like the simple design,
the plain box made out of pine,
no puffery, nothing fancy.
One man drove down here,
bought two and fit both
in the trunk of his Lexus.
Imagine that: our caskets
in the trunk of a Lexus.

The monks who make fruit cakes
and other good food buy caskets
from us and we buy what they make
but we don't need fruit cakes
the way they need our caskets.
Monks are getting older.
The jams and fudge, however,
and the sharp cheddar cheese
are a pleasant distraction
while we're waiting
for the same thing.


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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Winter White

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Contributor: Theresa A. Cancro

- -
snow cloaks her angles, blizzard maps
the ways she beckons little girls out of doors,
innocuous frolics lead to glistening satin
drifts, glint mesmerizes until they climb
hills, leave their mothers behind, see beneath
soft crust surface, sit in early evening to watch
the sun melt across toy shelves, slough eyes droop
on pastel expanses, caught in red rose petal, the thorns of ice
prick their hearts, and at last they have arrived
at the casket, oh, without true love, bitters blight --
no turning back now.


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Theresa A. Cancro (Wilmington, Delaware USA) writes poetry and fiction. Her poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in print and at online sites, including Jellyfish Whispers, Kumquat Poetry, The Rainbow Journal, Stormcloud Poets Anthology, A Handful of Stones, A Hundred Gourds and Shamrock Haiku Journal.

I want to know

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Contributor: John A Miller

- -
I want to know what it would be like to gaze into your eyes and see all the spectacles they have beheld.
I want to know what it’s like to hold your hand and never lose the sensation or its affectionate hold on me.
I want to know how it would be to hold you in my arms and relish the encirclement and feel animated as we embrace.
I want to know the true meaning of a bond that two people can share as one heart and one sentiment.
I want to know what it’s like to kiss your lips with a passion and hunger that will last always between us.
I want to know your fears, what makes you happy, and how I can make you smile without trying.
I want to know the true meaning of love and commitment that will last forever in relation for two souls.
I want to know if you can feel the same about me as I do you and the sensation last us a life time.


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Perspective

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Contributor: Lori Wyman

- -
I’m never good enough,
I feel like crap.
Don’t look too closely,
take a step back.
Things that bother me,
others may not notice.
What is my purpose? Turn my focus,
to the sun, the stars, the wind and the rain,
to the moon, the sky and the earth to gain.
My heart is at peace and all is serene,
tomorrow looks different,
my slate will be clean.
Turn my head and all will seem new,
yesterday’s fears are all but a few.
Take my focus off of me,
and see my purpose entirely.
Break the ties that bind my mind,
to my body and spirit and all that I find.
Blind the eyes that curse myself,
and let me think of something else.
Sear the thoughts that think bad things,
so that I am free to laugh and to sing.
Take my focus off of me,
and feel my desires entirely.
Let me live as one with hope,
through all the stress so that I may cope.
To my surprise within all that lies,
I turned my focus and no more demise.
Two days later I stepped on the scale,
and shed four pounds,
no more beached whale.
My clothes are at last loose,
and I am thinner.
All that hard work,
and now a nice dinner.
Turn my head and all will seem new,
yesterday’s fears are all but a few.
Just when I thought that I was over,
sunshine stepped in with a four-leaf clover.
Bless the heart that still sees life sweetly,
jellybeans, flowers and chocolates wrapped neatly.
Let me live with one mind, body and soul,
that beats to a new heartbeat so that I may live whole.


- - -
I'm 53 years old and I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I love to write and am in the process of publishing a manuscript that I've just finished and have been writing for 30 years. I live with my best friend and adore my two Siamese cats. I work as a Sales Representative at Petsmart stores.

Best Practices

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Contributor: M. Krochmalnik Grabois

- -
In the cellars of the Vatican
priests plan their sexual assaults
hold secret conferences
share Best Practices
and the most modern techniques
for avoiding discovery

One priest works on applying
the Fake Dead Girlfriend Ruse
to their complexities

In the meantime
upstairs
pilgrims stare at marble statues
that are heavy and dense as Neptune


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M. Krochmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.

Chino and Chambray

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Forty years older than I,
Charles, in his tweed cap, stands starched
in gray chino and blue chambray.

For more than a year his broad tie
has let the same iridescent duck
fly against a vermillion sky.

Like a Vatican Guard
he oversees the parking lot
I cut through each morning

far corner to far corner
as I cleave two triangles of cars
parked in my wake.

I ask him one morning,
“Charles, do you mind
when I cut through your lot?”

“Not at all, sir,” says Charles
as he stares straight ahead
and starts the windmill

of his good arm to lead
the pearl Hummer
now pulling in.


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

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