Low Tide

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Contributor: JL Smith

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Salt filled air,
heavy with humidity,
holding it all together,
like a water heater blanket.

My composure firm,
as long as the seagulls’ cries
don’t remind me of tears,
dead starfish,
how one decision could have such a fatal cost,
how a lifeless jellyfish could foretell
a future of one who stayed too long
in the wrong place.

I stand in silence
waiting for you
and the high tide
to sweep it all away.


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JL Smith lives in Odenton, MD. She is the author of two books of poetry, Medusa, The Lost Daughter and Weathered Fragments, Weathered Souls.

How Lonely We Get

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Contributor: Brian Rihlmann

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On the sidewalk
a skinny, shirtless man
with matted black hair
dances with a blanket.

He holds it aloft
like a partner
as he shuffles and swings,
then twirls it
over his head,
around his body, criss-cross
like a fighting staff.

He hurls it to the ground,
jumps and stomps on it,
then drags it in circles,
before scooping it up,
draping it over his head
like a monk's robe.

A lover, partner,
enemy and friend,
it shadows him
in stained olive drab
as he roams the city.


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Almost There

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Contributor: Jane Briganti

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Am I almost "there"?
Is "there" an indication of personal success?
A win, a triumph, a place I must reach before a certain age
A point in time I will remember forever
Will I know when I've reached "there"?
Is it victorious,
The pinnacle
A culmination of a life's journey
Am I "there" yet?
The internal question I can't escape
A silent pressure to obtain status
What if I never reach "there"?
Am I a failure,
Will my existence be incomplete?
Perhaps "there" is nothing more then an illusion
never to be reached
Moving forward I contemplate;
Am I so far from "there"
that I don't know where "there" is?


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A Native New Yorker, her poetry expresses her thoughts about life, love, nature and human emotion.

I'm Still Here

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Contributor: Marc Barcelos

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You’re gone now,
leaving behind only sorrow,
stealing away memories
we can no longer create.

You abandoned me
in the dark of my mind
to face the grim questions
which I dare not to ask.

You stole from me
dreams of our future,
as you took from yourself
what was not yours to take.

You impelled me
to realize that life
is a fragile blessing
many never truly appreciate.

You taught me
to hold onto those I love,
for we never know
who’s turn it may be next.

I’m still here,
left not only with sorrow
but also with an awareness
of life's irreplaceable worth.


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Marc Barcelos is a certified band nerd. As one of the few people who obsesses over competitive marching bands tirelessly, it is impossible for him to deny this title. This claim is rivaled only by his self-proclaimed title as Back to the Future enthusiast, as he has seen all three movies 32 times and has memorized every single scene.

Tombs

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Contributor: Jonah Carlson

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East of Hanoi, tombs of the nameless sprout.
They are weeds in a low field, stable
relics, signs of blades and lines paved
through fields trot still by strengthened soles.
They are dull memories, ones which fade like
the green colors of spring due at summer’s day.
I am only a June breeze who,
like the blessings of harvest, will be reaped—
yet I often wish not to have blown.
Suicide is not to be glorified
yet there are times I plead for the rest
born during the rainy season,
the mists of days run cold.
Why is it so hard to breathe if I am the wind?
They stand wielding astral wires,
chaining me to being. They are
untouched by the common scythes of life,
known, yet dismissed in a single breath.
They are my finale, a boneless movement
which sleeps in the haze of year’s end, calling.
They beg me not to fear, instead
to open my mouth and take life by the reins
screaming—
“One day—someday—there will be rest.”


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Jonah Carlson is a seventeen-year-old student attending Davis High School in Kaysville, Utah. He will be a captain of the school's swim team during the 2019-2020 season and is planning on graduating in 2020. He hopes to pursue fields such as art, history, and creative writing during his college years.

Most Dangerous Animal

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Contributor: Sheshu Babu

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Adults and children
Thronged the zoo
Teasing
Enticing
Appeasing
Animals enclosed
Confined to cages

Some spoke of bull-fights
And others of cock-fights
And human being fights
With enthusiasm
And reveling
While animals bore the torture

After enjoying throughout the day,
They flocked to see
A small box attached to the exit gate
With the sign:
Do not open this;
you will find
The most dangerous animal on Earth

Their enthusiasm grew
Along with increased curiosity

One by one
Opened the box
And shut it immediately

And walked away briskly
Without looking back


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Every Day

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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Every day
Is another day
Golden moments
Empty moments
Passing time
Filled with
New meanings
Happy memories
Built on longings
Now replaced
With the satisfaction
Of a life delivered
Free from torment
Moving forward
On a raceway
Paved with roses
Floating through time
Making every day
Another day
To remember


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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. Visit him at www.brucelevine.com.

Making the Change

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Contributor: Jaide Lin

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On the first day of third grade, I was excited to go to school.
Rainbow-striped backpack in hand,
bouncing along the sidewalk in my old sneakers,
I ran to the classroom, looking around to find a friend.
A sea of unfamiliar faces stared back.

In a never-ending ocean of whispers and rumors,
judgments and nervousness,
blank faces laughed along to the same crude jokes,
the same rude remarks.
Bright rainbow stripes faded to gray.

On the first day of seventh grade, I was eager to go to school.
Shiny new markers and composition books in tow,
I fumbled through how-are-yous and introduce-yourselfs.
But these quiet words were snuffed out with silence,
like a flickering candle in the wind.

On the first day of ninth grade, I was nervous to go to school.
Unchanging expressions, empty gazes,
I was staring through a looking glass, leading to nothingness.

But a helping hand reached through,
warm words carried me out of the shrouded mist.
I realized how one moment of kindness could change a life,
a treasured ember that can grow into a glowing spark.
On the first day of my life,
I am now ready to make the change and do the same.


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Seeking inspiration in biking adventures and nature trail hikes, I am an avid traveler and runner in my free time. Outside of writing, I enjoy spending my afternoons reading, swimming, or jogging. In addition, I also devote much of my free hours to painting portraits of my adorable beagle, Lucy.

What Can’t Be Saved

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Contributor: JL Smith

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Beach at low tide retreats
when I approach,
heavy with blistered feet,
trapped in sand wells
I dig with each step.

Seagull jumps,
dodging waves,
crashing in a dance,
screeching like he can argue
with something that threatens
to take the life out of him,
but he does it anyway,
because he knows no better.

Slap!
Comes the wave,
bringing him down for a minute.
He shakes it off,
does it again.

Slap!
Waves’ hands press down,
for a moment,
to prove they weren’t kidding,
before the final wave smacks him on his side.

Gulls shriek in the distance
as waves pass over him.
He fumbles on with battered feet,
forever broken,
as I watch it all,
knowing that I can’t save him.


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JL Smith lives in Odenton, MD. She is the author of two books of poetry, Medusa, The Lost Daughter and Weathered Fragments, Weathered Souls.

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