| Filed under

Contributor: Joezel Jang

- -
I sit on the beach
nostalgic beyond words, thoughts
scattering, running

Upside down, like sands
in a broken hourglass;
In search of meaning

through transient freedom,
lost in reckless abandon
Though in the process

of being, living
Immortally suspended,

Still, invisible
quite incomprehensible,
Until they dissolved.

So, I walk away,
like the spilled sands, my thoughts
and my heart, simply, ran out.

- - -
Joezel Jang is a Filipina poet and teacher who currently lives in South Korea with her husband and her cat. her work has been published online and on paper. She hopes to release her first chapbook in the near future.


| Filed under

Contributor: Clinton Van Inman

- -
Each year the light is less.
We can barely see it now,
The faint necklace of
The Milky Way.

The old ones were wrong,
You know with their waxed fingers
Pointing up like abandoned adobe.

Yet you know better in your cubical gardens
And half moth-eaten moons,
You have arrived in

- - -
I was born in Walton on Thames, England in 1945, received my BA from San Diego State in 1977. I am a high school teacher in Tampa Bay and plan to retire at the end of the school year. I live in Sun City Center, Florida with my wife, Elba.

Even Still

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Contributor: Sam Ballard

- -
Standing in the field
(you know the one)
I call your name
(and hope you hear me)
Feel you warm within my heart
(feel you even here- so far)
And know
(somehow I know)
That you still think about me
(even still)
And love me, somehow
(even still.)

- - -
Sometimes, when my fingers find the strings of my favorite instrument, I still think of you.

Like It Used To Be

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Contributor: John Ogden

- -
I wish life was simple
like it used to be
soil under my fingernails
food at my fingertips
vibration of life
in my fingerbones.

I remember a time
when prayer was a whisper
spoken from hungry lips
later smiling
with the promise of coming hope.

I remember a time when my back was strong
when I was young
in the heart
in the soul
before time knocked me down
broke me
brick by brick
and left me piecing poetry together
with fingers that no longer work so well

- - -
John Ogden was conceived of a government form and a passing mailbox. He lives somewhere out in the woods of a rural land more akin to the fantasy realms of literature than real life, and his favorite dirt bikes will always be the broken ones.


| Filed under

Contributor: Clinton Van Inman

- -
Drag your white skull before blind seas
That tumble dazed to your mono-eyed magic.
Go tell Neptune when the night is through.
Charm him, too, with your waxing and waning.
But you can’t catch me with those veiled half smiles.
Your borrowed brilliance exposes you
As I know your darker side.
Go charm some other star struck rhapsodist.

- - -
I was born in Walton on Thames, England in 1945, received my BA from San Diego State in 1977. I am a high school teacher in Tampa Bay and plan to retire at the end of the school year. I live in Sun City Center, Florida with my wife, Elba.

The Monkey Shaved Its Arse With Jealousy

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Contributor: Paul Tristram

- -
The monkey shaved its arse with jealousy
the poor bugger couldn’t take no more.
They had just moved the love of his life
in with his enemy who was caged next door.
Fifty three different bars between them,
fifty two different gaps for him to view.
His mate running and chattering wildly,
the foreplay of the newly introduced two.
The monkey cursed, spat and threw stones
attacked the wardens whenever he could.
Smeared his excrement all over the ropes,
beat up the hanging tyre with some wood.
But he upset the visiting school children
when he lay down and banged his head.
So the next morning they called the vet
who came and shot the jealous monkey dead.

- - -
Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories and sketches published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight, this too may pass, yet.

Waiting for the Umpire

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Ralph never planned on dying
but when he did, he was swept away
like a child's kite blown astray.

When he arrived at his destination,
he heard angels singing, harps playing
and Louis Armstrong on the trumpet

so he figured this must be heaven.
A nice old man at the gate, however,
waved him away without directions.

This confused Ralph until he found
an open window in the basement,
climbed in and found an elevator

that took him to the top floor.
There a smiling angel with big wings
walked him up a thousand concrete stairs

and showed him to an empty seat.
Ralph was in the bleachers now
with millions of others, simply waiting.

None of them had a cushion to sit on.
But down in the padded box seats
Ralph saw rabbis, priests and ministers

sitting in the front row, simply waiting.
His barber, Al, was sitting with them.
For 30 years Al had been asking Ralph

while trimming his few remaining tufts of hair
if he had finally been saved or was he still lost.
Ralph would always tell Al he believed in God

but that every year he cheated on his taxes.
Sin is sin, Ralph would quietly point out.
Faith is all you need, Al would shout.

Seeing his barber now in the front row,
Ralph figured that maybe Al had stopped
cheating on his dying wife.

Otherwise, Ralph figured, Al would be sitting
in the cheap seats, waiting with everyone else
in the amphitheater for the Umpire to appear.

- - -
Donal Mahoney has had work published in a variety of publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found here: http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html


| Filed under

Contributor: Clinton Van Inman

- -
It was no accident my coming here
For they must have known long before
I wandered to their farmhouse near
That soon I’d knock upon their door
During this darkest season of the year.

Call it more than a good neighbor’s sense
In snow to leave a porch lamp lighted
Or post the sign upon the picket fence
For those in need are all equally invited
Even if I thought it mere coincidence.

- - -
I was born in Walton on Thames, England in 1945, received my BA from San Diego State in 1977. I am a high school teacher in Tampa Bay and plan to retire at the end of the school year. I live in Sun City Center, Florida with my wife, Elba.

When It Comes Easy

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Contributor: Gerald Hubbirt

- -
When it comes easy
you don't always feel it
don't always realize
how easy
it is.

When it comes easy
you're still stuck in the hard
still stuck where it hurts
and spend all that easy time
until the hard comes again.

When it comes easy
the real gift is to see it
feel it
know it
all times.

- - -

The Silence Is The Sound

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Contributor: Tasha Sirtis

- -
The silence is the sound that kills me
The stillness the movement that slays my senses
I need you,
when you're gone
I seek you,
but you're gone
too soon
always too soon.

Life is a parade of partings,
of moments forever spent
in the minutes before the end
before you leave
before I leave
feeling like something has been left

I would give anything
for a life of meetings,
of rewards,
of Friday nights looking on
to the open stretch of an endless weekend.
I would give anything
for a vacation without end
with you.

I would give anything
to put pain, loneliness and fatigue
behind us

Or at least,
while we are still young.

- - -


| Filed under

Contributor: Michael Wheets

- -
Little leaves winging toward the ground
Little leaves soaring
Little leaves leaping into open air
And sliding silently through the stillness.

Will you still be as fresh a rose
When I return home?
Will you still smile as sweetly
As a maiden in the full blush of spring?

Or will you fall, wing toward the open
Like a leaf
Like a cast-off of autumn?

Will age take you in wrinkles?
A spreading darkness
Descending into crinkles

Even as the brownest leaf, I would love you,
For in my mind,
You will always be
My rose.

- - -
Michael Wheets is a part-time teacher in Ottowa.

The Message

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Contributor: Frank Grigonis

- -
When I was a
little kid
I’d walk around
and pick up random
pieces of paper
off the ground,
like receipts
for minor purchases
and discarded
burger wrappers.
I’d turn them over
searching for
a message
that might
lead me to some
long-buried treasure
or maybe even answer
one of the questions
then plaguing me,
what should I say to
the beautiful blonde-
haired girl
who lived on my street?
I also hoped to find
a word of
from God
specifically addressed
to me
by name.
That would have helped
because even then
I was beginning to feel
that life didn’t make sense
or often lead
to happy endings
like in the movie
that played only
in the theater
of my mind.
In that imaginary film
one day I picked up
a candy bar wrapper
from the street, then
turned it inside out
and saw the message:
“I Love You, Frank”
written in
pink ink
and signed
by the same
beautiful blonde-haired
girl who lived
on my street.
But I never really
found that message
and it wasn’t until
junior high that
I finally
got to the point
where I no longer believed that
random trash from the road
might speak to me
and change my life.
Then one cold day
on the school bus
a dark-haired girl
I’d never seen before
walked up to me
and shoved a piece
of paper into
my coat pocket,
then walked away
without saying a word.
The paper said, “I like you”
and even though
the girl who’d written it
wasn’t the blonde-haired girl,
she was kind
of cute,
and I was moved
by her bravery
and the message.
So I looked for her
on the bus after that
and around school,
but I never
saw her again.
This only reinforced
my belief that life
was random and
didn’t make much sense,
and since then
most of it hasn’t.
But still
I remember
that magical message
she shoved into
my coat pocket
thirty years ago,
and if I could
I’d stick
this poem
in her pocket
right now.

- - -
Frank Grigonis likes paper.


| Filed under

Contributor: Allison Grayhurst

- -
In the whisper of tomorrow
the wood is burning and the trees
have died. A swallow is perched
on the fence as the twilight nears.
I have taken the hinges
off the door, waiting to see what enters,
waiting as my hunger works like
midnight in my stomach, dictating
the flavour of the coming stars.
Daunted, branded by the heaving wind,
alone with my prayers and the telephone turned
up high -- will the answer come before the grave
or will obscurity greet me every new dawn
like a hand unheld or a gate torn down?
It is humming, the sound of this underground sorrow.
It hums of poetry and the earth and the bug eaten leaves.
It burns and cannot bloom in bookstores, will not
in the silence of a single decade or in the darkness of
a closed drawer.
Outside, the children go inside, readying for sleep.
I pace the floor
and send my kisses in mid-air.

- - -
Allison Grayhurst has had over 200 poems in more than 130 journals, magazines, and anthologies throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and in the United Kingdom, including Parabola (summer 2012), South Florida Arts Journal, The Antigonish Review, Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, Wascana Review, Poetry Nottingham International, The Cape Rock, Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry, poetrymagazine.com; Fogged Clarity, Out of Our, Quantum Poetry Magazine, Decanto, and White Wall Review.
Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then she has published nine other books of poetry and two collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman.
Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was recently published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012.
She lives in Toronto with her husband, two children, two cats, and a dog. She also sculpts, working with clay.

Reunion at the Children's Park

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
From the Dead Sea
of a bad marriage
a phoenix rises--
children who somehow
thrived and married
and now have children
as beautiful as they were
years ago when they
played in the park
on see-saws and swings
and made their parents
occasionally happy.

At summer reunions they try
to unspool the mystery
of why their parents
fought all day
yet stopped at night
and gave life to them.
They gather today
in the same park
and applaud their children
who smile and laugh
on see-saws and swings
once theirs alone.

- - -
Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found at http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html

The Plums All Come at a Price

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Contributor: Frank Grigonis

- -
I’m reading this
poetry e-zine
when an ad
on the left-hand side
of the site
catches my eye.
The ad features
four Ukrainian girls
ranging in ages
from 19
to 30--
all plums
all more
than capable
of inspiring armies
of love poets,
the kind who
like to rhyme, and
this ad drags me back
to my flowery
love poems days,
when I once responded
to a similar ad
in the back of a
print magazine,
which led me to write
to a curvy, petite Ukrainian
with mesmerizing,
almond-shaped eyes.
This all happened after
a bad breakup
with a very material
American girl,
when I was both
young and
a long way
from wise,
so we exchanged letters
until finally
I sprang for
expensive telephone
between her and I
with a lady translator
who worked for that
Ukrainian Angels
Introductions Agency
who stunned me plenty
after one such call
after my charming “angel”
had already said goodbye.
The translator told me
That while my picture
looked pretty good
and I had an ok job,
the girl I’d been
just talking to, Annie,
was among the prettiest
in the entire catalogue
and that a girl “knows
her worth”
and she (the translator)
was only telling me
all of this, off the record,
because I seemed like such a
“nice guy.” So I listened
to her go on about
how all of their girls
are really
looking for a man
who makes at least
80-100 grand a year,
which was about
four times what I
made at the time. I laughed
and said, “You might as well
just put a price tag on them then.”
She surprised me by responding:
“God already has.”

So in my next letter
I told my Ukrainian
How much I really earned
and sent her a poem.
It was kind of a test.
She wrote back saying,
“Come and see me in Kiev,
my love.”
So I spent my savings
and flew to see that
she was as feminine
and charming as she’d been
In her letters and
even more lovely
in the flesh
than her photos.
It proceeded like a dream:
walking, talking (she knew
some English), and laughing
with Annie up and down
those cobblestone roads,
past colorful building,
and hand in hand
into historic churches.
Then she introduced me to
her friend, a tall, thin
blonde, but without Annie’s
magic, Asiatic eyes.
Later at the hotel
I booked two rooms:
one for me
and one for them,
but the night was young
so they came up to
my room with a bottle
of Vodka, and we all drank
and I drank more
because I’d read that
in the Ukraine
it’s considered an insult
not to drink
when offered, and
I vaguely remember kissing
Annie while her friend
rubbed my chest
until I agreed to take
them both to some
“disco” even though
I could barely stand.
They walked on either side
of me while I steadied myself
by putting an
arm around
each of them.
We were
barely outside
the hotel when
two guys wearing
leather jackets
started yelling something
in Ukrainian,
and before I knew it
they were on me.
I tried to defend myself,
but the vodka made that
even more hopeless
than it would have otherwise
After the first few
hard blows
to my face,
I was stunned
and couldn’t even
raise my fists,
but the blows kept coming
for what seemed like
a long time,
until both of my
attackers finally got
Annie helped me
back to my room
where she phoned room service
for a frozen steak
to put on the swollen
left side
of my face.
I knew it was
pretty bad when I saw
the look of sheer horror
on the Lady
who brought
the steak.
Annie stayed and
tended to my wound,
but it was to be
our last night together.
In the morning I
told her I loved her
and wanted to
marry her,
but she just sighed
and said maybe.
I only found out later
that her friend spent
that night with
one of my attackers
in the other room
I’d rented,
and that Annie
had other admirers
and visitors.
After I arrived home,
I wrote to her
one last time.
She never wrote back, and
the swelling
on the left side
of my face
never went down
all the way.
Now 12 years later,
when I see an ad
featuring Urainian girls
on my favorite
poetry e-zine,
I have to remind myself,
“Not this time.”
And I try to stay away
from flowery poems
that rhyme.

- - -
Frank Grigonis writes. He is currently working on a novel.


| Filed under

Contributor: Adreyo Sen

Mothers were intended
to illustrate
with strange awesomeness
the power of worry
to contort
the human experience
into strange and terrifying

But mothers proved very good
at comforting away worries too,
from their little ones.
Other little ones too.

A case perhaps
of intent over design?
Or perhaps,
intelligent design?

- - -
Adreyo Sen, based in Kolkata, hopes to become a full-time writer. She did her undergraduate work in English and her postgraduate work in English and Sociology. Adreyo has been published in Danse Macabre and Kritya.

You Can Have My Stetson

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Contributor: Eddie Gordon Walsh

- -
You can have my Stetson,
you can have my boots
you can have my horse
you can have her stable, her shoes
you can have my coat
that brought me through many a lonely rain
you can have the miles of barbed wire
that cut my hands, left memories of blood, pain.

I’m putting my saddle up on the fence.
I’ve given this world one final ride
I’ve given the seasons a year to turn,
to show me something better
but now
now. . .

there’s a little house
with a little woman
bent over a little stove
her little voice
calling me inside.

- - -

Full of Sleeping Life

| Filed under

Contributor: Tess Hanglier

- -
Tearing at the eye
tearing at the skin
tearing at the soul
tearing at the light
to get the light out
to leak the light into the night
to leak the light into the shadows
that twist and scatter
full of life
full of sleeping life
life that must awake
must awake
or perish
forever asleep.

- - -
Tess Hanglier refuses to accept your reality and creates her own.

Standing Still

| Filed under

Contributor: Adreyo Sen

Beautiful women forever
in motion
must stay forever
in motion.

Beautiful women forever
in motion
must not stand still
and certainly not long enough
to let the wrinkles of laughter
from their beautiful faces.

There is such a thing
as being too beautiful.

- - -
Adreyo Sen, based in Kolkata, hopes to become a full-time writer. She did her undergraduate work in English and her postgraduate work in English and Sociology. Adreyo has been published in Danse Macabre and Kritya.

Starting at the Bottom

| Filed under

Contributor: Frank Grigonis

- -
I was ready
to start at the bottom,
but I didn’t know
I’d be wiping
the bottom
of each and every resident
at Green Acres Nursing Home,
during the graveyard-

Still, I was grateful
for that job
because it got me
out from under
my father’s roof
where I lived as quietly
as a housecat,
but not
quietly enough
for the old man,
who felt that everyone
under his roof
should sleep and wake
according to his schedule.

His mail-order,
third wife
seemed to agree
with him, and
went to bed
exactly when he did
every night.

In the upstairs bedroom,
I’d stay up and read
or write with pen and paper
because the electric typewriter
kept the old man awake.
But still he complained
that he could hear me
creaking the floorboards
while walking to and from
the downstairs bathroom
two or three times
a night. So I started to piss
in empty plastic bottles
and then
screw the caps back on,
but the old man complained
about the “smell”
of both the urine
and the air freshener
I’d spray afterwards.

I thought it was strange
that my father was so
obsessed with smells.
He was the same guy
who used to proudly fart
then laugh about it
in his blue Dodge
with my little brother
and me in it
when we were
still young and dumb
enough to go
on Sunday drives with him
after he left my mother
to shack up with
my aunt.
And when my brother,
then seven or eight,
would fart in the car
just like dad did,
the old man would scream and
threaten to stuff him
in the trunk
until my brother cried.

And our father chain smoked
in that old car
just like he did
in his house,
but if I so much as tried
to microwave a tv dinner
or even a sixty second
cheese sandwich
for myself
in his kitchen,
he’d rant and rave
about the fumes
and the smell
seeping into his wallpaper.

Even so I was
a little stunned
when I tried to bring
a dying kitten
I’d found outside
into his vast basement,
and the old man
wouldn’t hear of it.

So I took that job
as an orderly,
rented a small room,
and ignored the telephone
when my father’s number appeared
on the answering machine.

I lived blissfully alone,
though the job was tough
at times
to take.
There was Ethel in Ward B,
who regularly pleaded
for someone
to please kill her,
and there was Gunter,
who’d tear off his wet diaper,
then throw it against the wall
and cry,
when we were too busy
to get to him
in time,
and there was meek Edith,
who got assaulted by mad Marco,
because she wouldn’t give him
her apple pie at lunchtime,
and there was Tony, who dressed
up every Sunday for visitors
from his past who
never arrived.

I talked with,
learned from,
and cared for them all
as best as I could
for three years,
and I earned a good rep there.
The director even called me
St. Francis--
and only half-jokingly.

I still can see
the faces of the residents, hear the things they
confided in me, and see the flickers
and embers of hope, but mostly
anguish in their eyes.
I saw so much suffering
in so many pairs of eyes
marooned in as many
forlorn, wrinkled faces,
that I thought I’d mastered
the art of compassion--
until one day,
years later,
after I decided
to pick up the ringing phone
and heard my father,
by then quite old,
propose that I should
move back in with him
and take care of him,
in exchange for that
one year
when I lived
in his house
and he
took care of me.
He said it so seriously
that I had to laugh
and couldn’t stop
so hard in fact
that the tears came
and flowed,
until finally,
after the last laugh
I wiped the tears
from my face
with my sleeve,
then hung up on him
for the last time,
as he puffed away
on his cigarette,
in his house,
to contemplate
his perfectly
and silent

- - -
Frank Grigonis started at the bottom during the Kali Yuga.

Footprints in the Snow

| Filed under

Contributor: Bob Skoggins

- -
I watched as the cold snow fell
And stuck to the waiting ground.
A wind whispered softly.

I opened my door with a creak,
A whirlwind of air and ice hitting me.
I smiled as I blinked into the white carpet
Weathered with small impressions left behind.

This time I will find you.
I see footprints in the snow.

The chain of tracks led me forward
Blindly into places I had never been
Like a train that couldn’t run out of steam.

It was by the frozen river
That I found you silently waiting.
The snow stopped and you smiled.

We can go back now, we’ll find our way.
I see footprints in the snow.

- - -

TV Reality

| Filed under

Contributor: John Grey

- -
So here we are again,
surrounded by technology,
ecstasy at the push of a button,
the turn of a dial.

We've dammed up the classics,
no Beethoven can run away
from these ears
and to a distant shore.

And even Eisenstein,
that red Ruskie showboat
is trapped inside the television set
along with Bergman, Kurosawa,
Billy Wilder,
and they can't spin a reel
without our say-so.

We even have a video
of the kids,
corralled at seven,
can never escape.

He who holds the remote
controls the world these days.
And my favorite,
the 'repeat' button.
Can Mozart repeat?
No, but I can.

Not just miracles,
we even cage the drab.
Look, reality TV,
and our TV,
therefore our reality.

- - -
John Grey is an Australian born poet, works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in International Poetry Review, Chrysalis and the science fiction anthology, “Futuredaze”with work upcoming in Potomac Review, Sanskrit and Osiris.

April 2nd

| Filed under

Contributor: E.S. Wynn

- -
A vista of time spreads out ahead
Just as a vista of time spreads out behind.

Three years, we’ve been together,
Almost ten percent of your life.
Almost twelve percent of mine.
Equations expressing
Forever in struggles,
Seconds in the mind.

Thousands of smiles
Thousands of kisses
Thousands of happy miles
Thousands gone behind
Thousands more to come.

Age may catch us in the years ahead
But from here,
You’re still young
We’re still young
Catching each moment, each instant,
Wrapping it in happy
In love,
Writing it down,
The together ahead
Is better
Than the apart behind.

- - -
E.S. Wynn is the author of over forty books.

Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic p864

| Filed under

Contributor: LynleyShimat Lys

- -

Enter the hazards of the Wehr
where the English never quite
unfolds from the original German.

qabj – a kind of partridge, and
qawun – muskmelon, canteloupe.
I'm sorry if the rest of your neighbors
on this page get a little
unwieldy. Protect yourself
with a qawuq – a kind of high
headgear made of felt
Or a qayis - broad leather
strap, belt, girth, strop - enough
synonyms and you can almost
guess the word in German.

Partridges can always hide in a qubba –
cupola, memorial shrine,
not in qubbat al-islam,
the city of Basra,
but in qubbat as-sakra,
the Dome of the Rock, or in
qubbat milhiya, a salt dome,
whatever that may be.

Canteloupe, straighten your qabba – collar
and just pretend
that the verb qabba
means only to straighten up,
to ascend
(and not also to chop off, cut off).
Have some qubbar – capers.

Because now we get on to
qabaha – ugliness, and
qubha lahu – shame on him,
who brought them into
your partridge and canteloupe world.
Just qabuha – to be ugly,
or, in the second stem,
qabbuha – to make ugly, your
fruit and bird lives.
Or even, in the tenth stem,
because we don't see the full thirteen,
istaqbuha, you will
find something ugly in your way.

Perhaps you can qubara – bury,
inter, entomb the ugliness in a far away qabr –
sepulcher, in a forgotten
maqbar – burying place, graveyard..
And return to your partridge
and canteloupe past times.

- - -
LS Lys has an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Poems and other works are published in Verse Wisconsin, Flashquake, and Mayim Rabim.


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