a Bird's Bones Reflected in a Cat's Eye

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Contributor: jacob erin-cilberto

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fickle, flaky feline
with your nine-lives
an agenda for each
the further we go
the stealthier you move
emotions perfectly protected
while mine become a cat's treat
you gobble up my heart
with one swallow
and spit me out like a hairball

while my one life
drains into the sandy litter
of what and whom you dispose
you just lick your superficial wounds

while i become a defeathered bird
flying sidewise on my broken wing
into a tailspin
falling from the gravitational pull
of your whirlpool witted
cunningly coercive
treacherous tenders.

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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.

As Thick As Thieves

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Contributor: Paul Tristram

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As thick as thieves
We all sat around.
As thick as thieves
We needed £90.
When it was decided
I got out the gear.
We snorted a line
Finished up our beer.
We put on our coats
Slid out of the door.
The cravings as fuel
We needed some more.
As thick as thieves
We threw the stones.
As thick as thieves
Breaking many bones.

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Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poetry published in many publications around the world.

January 2006

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Contributor: DS Peters

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Ads for Saturn cars hang
from the roof, four huge
banners, four-times the size
of the American flag hanging like
a leftover decoration from a forgotten
party, 20 feet away

Drafts near the rafters can not
move the banners, they hang ponderous
and speak in large print
that all observe

but the flag moves, perhaps not
with the breeze, perhaps
it weaves to a different wind, a wind
I can not feel but should know
is there, twirling the rafters
and causing the flag’s east corner
to raise and lower gently
like a hand waving or
feebly calling for help

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

New Life Begins

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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white hips a soft fist
for the wrist of your waist
black hair in a spill

on your shoulders
small whirlpools
your ankles

green streams ride
your calves
blue rivers your thighs

I finger the flute
on the back of your neck
rise and slip in

at that moment dawn
and new
life begins

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

Displaced Affections

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Contributor: Jennifer A. Hudson

- -
For J.B.

A jet cuts the sky in half and my thoughts travel back to the 18 hours that carried me across the Pacific to Melbourne,

how my stomach tumbled as I exited the jet bridge after landing

how my eyes teared at the sight of you seated on one of the benches near the arrival gate

how your graceful neck elongated and made a slow twist in my direction

I remember our combined exclamation chorus, the shrill octave of shared breathlessness,

how in perfect synchronicity our arms became robes that fit snug around each other

how your boyfriend exclaimed “You’d think something bad happened!” as our bodies swayed to the rhythms of our sobs

how your kaleidoscope eyes searched within my clear ones for some kind of illumination I was unwilling to offer.

I remember turning my focus to the luggage that twirled on the carousel, though my bags had already arrived,

how I couldn’t think of what to say from the back seat of your hatchback and stared at the drooping crescents of eucalyptus leaves

how you walked in on me changing my clothes and I hid myself from your view

how I watched your hand draw a blade through lush kiwis and crisp fuji apples,
and I nearly dropped the bowl you offered me.

I remember the freezing nights when my warm-wept tears chilled on my cheek, while he kept you warm in your room across the hall,

how you sat on one end of the couch painting while I sat on the other reading, neither of us uttering a word

how you looked like you didn’t know what to say, except for whispering “Bite me!” when I offered to buy your lunch

how, while you huddled over the toilet vomiting vodka and VB, I stifled sobs in between the unsatisfying drags of my Marlboro.

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Writer. Poet. Essayist. Madwoman.

Serenata Crepusculo

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Contributor: Juan J. Gutiérrez

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Regal idiosyncrasies,
As you walk round a nimbus cloud,
You are draped with a cosmic cloak,
Of virgin black and spattered stars.

Moonfire, burning bright, rends
Your silhouette of silken flesh, ashen cold.
For your beauty is beheld by nocturnal light.

A raven wreath lays on your brow
Making more evident your ivory skin,

So perfect is the daedal carving of your face;
Your ebon lips wisped by the fingers of night.
Seductive guile rests in your eyes,
Sublimely wicked with sidereal blaze.

Your poignant grace in arcane arabesque
Fulfills a perpetual lust.
Your scarlet whispers of enticement and carnality
Send me to the path of nostalgia.

Remembering and frolicking
In the time when you were once mine:
Being held in your loving embrace
My head on your shoulders
Wishing, hoping
We would lie in this rapture for all eternity.

Your religious stigma infecting me to this very day
Please remedy the sorrow and disease ...
My twilight queen

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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.

to adverb or not to adverb, that is the question

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Contributor: jacob erin-cilberto

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i smilingly reviewed my poem
seemingly intrigued that it profusely used adverbs
of the vociferous kind

as i began to revise extensively
with some extremely strong resistance
from my sharply dissenting heart

i commenced quickly
to start cutting violently
and then to my utter surprise

i reread my no longer long poem
and saw clearly
i had cut it to exceedingly bleeding ribbons

and was totally left
with only an eerily mere skeleton
of my unhappily banished idea.

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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.

Swan Feather

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Contributor: Marie Kilroy

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This foggy Tuesday morning,
I dawdled around the room,
dissatisfied and grumpy,
for no particular reason,
other than it was a Tuesday,
and there was much work to do.

I lingered by the window,
with my tea,
and actively avoided,
getting dressed and going out into the world.

I rolled the marbles of discontent,
back and forth,
in my mind.

Staring at the leafy, motionless trees below,
I felt my heart surge
as I saw a white swan feather,
fat and fluffy,
a bit of down,
floating down,
just for me,
past my white window frame.

Maybe I wanted to see a sign.
Or maybe the sign wanted to see me.

Either way, I don’t know why
some Central Park swan
swung southward
and over my brownstone

But I felt some magic
and considered a change of mood.

So I came down from the sky
and glided through the street,
a concrete lake,
mine to explore.

- - -
Marie Kilroy has been published in publications like The Driftwood Review and Lines + Stars. She graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a B.A. in English. She lives in New York City.

My Therapist’s a Lady

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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It’s all so simple now,
yet it took 30 years
to begin to understand.
It’s as though someone
stole the primer I had
and gave me another
in my own language.
It’s because you are
who you are
that I’ve begun
to become who I am.
That sounds too dramatic.
All you did, really, was scream
when you opened the bathroom door,
saw me wrapped in a towel,
standing at attention on a mat,
waiting in my thirtieth year
for the steam to clear
from the cabinet mirror,
waiting for someone
to shout, “At ease.”

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

The Meadow

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Contributor: Rachael Welch

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I am a meadowlark,
Wandering through the thick oak forest
Longing for clearings in the dense brush, so I can
Embrace the miniature grasses again.
“Tickle my naked feet and shock me sideways!” I exclaim.
One leap,
I am immersed in an infinite field of creamy sagebrush,
Flicking away the crickets and praying bugs from my kneecaps.
I surrender to the ground,
And let my back ease itself into the dampness of dew.
The stars are bright and ominous,
Speaking of worlds far away and places unseen.
I listen,
I hear,
I feel,
It all.

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I'm a weirdo going to school in Seattle. I like observing people.

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