Firebrand

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Contributor: Deborah Guzzi

- -
They sat,
huddled in the shelter of knees,
wrapped in the blackness of night,
warmed by the campfire.
The rise and fall of tale and tune,
bathed the gathering.
Mist rose from the surface of the pond.
Fireflies crowned the heads of lovers.
Some stood like shields behind arched backs.
others cradled their dear ones beneath brawny arms.
Heads lolled as strands of silken hair,
were drawn between fingers
which only hours before held swords and maces.
Upturned faces drenched in the red-gold of the fire,
received calloused caresses.
As, each in his or her own heart visited,
the halls of Beowulf and the sanctity of Camelot.
Like cameos of black onyx, white pearl raised,
the stage was set for love and lovers.


- - -
First published at the age of sixteen, I have continued to write for the past fifty years. I have published works in the literary journals of Western Connecticut University. I have also published two illustrated volumes of poetry, The Healing Heart and Heaven and Hell In A Nutshell. At the present, I write articles for Massage and Aroma Therapy Magazines.

This Being

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Contributor: Mirigold Manovera

- -
Even here, I can smell her sweet perfume-- gingerbread and rain.
Her wings are my wings, her jazz is my jazz.
I taste the soft skin at neck, lips, eyes, forehead, belly, breasts.
I am the beast she worships, the beast who worships her.
There is enough for everyone and want is the furthest thing from my mind.
I have come through the fog.
I am here, alive and rich in every way.
I feel rich.
I feel savory, full, thick with dirt fertile and ready to grow
roses.
I am empowered with a red light that embers hot and indomitable within my chest.
I am amidst more sweat and luxury than ever as I lose myself in her smell, her skin, her breasts,
this being.


- - -
I can feel it, so close.

Dragon Sunday

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Contributor: John Ogden

- -
Like soldiers
Of scales and heat
Sinuous snakes of wing and fire,
They march on, fly on,
Swarm through the countryside
Along their age-worn dragon-paths.

Every fifteen full season-arcs of the sun, they say,
The dragons of every land make their way
Pass in rivers to form a sea of scales
Toward the stone cathedral of the ancients
To make three rounds about the grounds
And cast three tears into the soil
For ages gone, ages yet to come
And in honor of the sacrifices that were made
Long ago
On Dragon Sunday.


- - -
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.

The Taste Of Her Is Sweet

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Contributor: Shawn Wunjo

- -
Don’t do it, son. Don’t. You’ll see all too late what I mean and where. Lay it open, tickle it, run your tongue across the slick sweetness and let yourself fall into the silky rise and curve of hunger, of force and need. She’ll take you then, take you away to another land, a place where the soil is harder to till and the crops are fewer, a place where each shiver and shared collapse unbridled yields more pain, more crying, more screams, sharp and bitter fragments of joy hard earned. Lay it open and you’ll want it. Go to those lands and you won’t want to leave them, won’t want to collapse back to what you can touch in the light, what you can kiss when it doesn’t matter.

But you’ll always regret it in the end. You’ll always look back and wonder what might could be.


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Shawn Wunjo is the author of a number of banned books.

Grand Design

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Contributor: J. F. Georges

- -
When we watched our first sunrise together, I knew it was destiny. It was written in the stars as they faded into the pastel sky. Our hands knit together like the squares of a quilt, meant to be, sewn for each other from the cosmic cloth with a skill that gave away God’s handiwork. Our meeting was far more than chance; it had to have been planned. Too much fit together too easily. There was too much synchronicity to ignore. It was planned. It was meant to be. It was design.


- - -
Te amo, mi corazon.

I Am The We Are

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Contributor: Jerry Hadrick

- -
“The only toolkit a magician ever needs is his soul.” The old man breathes. “Light of the mind and life, the burning in the veins, the burning which etches the soul and tree-branches outward along the backs of the eyes.”

“The Dance is your breath, your language.” A woman whispers, closes the space between herself and the old mage with the rush of lost winds. “We are, we are, we are, we are.”

I am.” The old man whispers back.

“We are the I am, I am the we are.”

“We are, together.


- - -
Biographies are for sissies.

My Love

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Contributor: Eric Carl

- -
Standing here, alone, at the edge of the future and the past,
I breathe the sweet air of loneliness,
Blink past the edges of tears
Buds of life,
And try to remind myself
That it is just one night.
One night apart
In a sea of nights
We spend together.


- - -
I am a writer who lives in Seattle. I was born in Anchorage, Alaska and have lived in both Arizona and California.

Picture

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Contributor: Shawn Wunjo

- -
A picture of my grandparents hangs on the wall, grinning, kissing, young. They were passionate once, the embodiment of marital bliss. Looking at this black and white frame, this staged second of embodied love, I like to think that they’re still this alive somewhere. I like to think of them in the heat of life, not old and shaky, crumbling into dist. I like to think of them as they were when they burned brilliant and strong, vibrant, not in the earth, painted and cold, wrapped in wooden caskets.


- - -
Shawn Wunjo is the author of a number of banned books.

Hell Yes

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Contributor: Amanda Firefox

- -
I proposed to her three times. The first time, it was night. We were in bed. She was worried, scared. The words tumbled from my mouth. “I love you so much I can’t help but want to marry you.” Silence flooded into our minds, a tension. “Will you marry me?”
And her words: “Yes. Hell yes.”

The second time, it was mid day. I had a ring, too big for her but still meaningful. I got down on one knee. She blushed. The words tumbled from my mouth “Will you marry me?”
And her words: “Yes. Hell yes.”

The third time, it was morning. I had the ring, our ring, black hills gold with diamonds, an heirloom trubute to the women of my family. I kissed her, gently took her hand in mine and slipped the ring onto her finger. Tears played at the edges of her eyes as I smiled, met her gaze.

“I love you.” The words came firm, bright. “Marry me.”

Her words:
“Shut up, you stupid bastard, and kiss me.”

“Of course I’ll marry you.”


- - -
Amanda Firefox is a fiery little brunette who spends as much time at the beach as she can manage. She doesn't write much, but when she writes, it's almost always about her favorite subject: boys.

Persecution And Betrayal

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Contributor: Paul Tristram

- -
Persecution and Betrayal
walked together hand in hand.
Selfishly, spitefully, severing
happiness strand by strand.
They went down to the river
drowned Contentment there.
Then went searching for Love
but couldn’t find it anywhere.
So they then chased Innocence
frantically all around town.
They found it cuddling Peace
and beat them to the ground .
Goodness now lays in ruins
as Misery healthily sings.
Persecution and Betrayal
have become Queen and King.


- - -
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.

Impermanence

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Contributor: Three Wolves

- -
We sit together, she and I. We sit together, and the high sun is our guardian. We sit together, until time parts us, and then I sit here, together with only the memories, while the moon is our guardian.

After a while, there are no tears, but the birth of each new state of being is wet, desperate, full of wailing. Screaming does not change reality. The wall of lessons moves not as we will it.

Breathe the tears. Give time for the release. New purpose and new joys always come. Impermanence teaches us the value of the now. The future is the future's problem-- forever.


- - -
Three Wolves is a spiritual teacher and the author of Liber Luminopticon. His works, including the upcoming book Liber Velum Voces, can be found on his website: www.luminopticon.com

Idaho Garage

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Contributor: Joseph Friedrichs

- -
For one grueling
strange and lovely summer
I lived in the garage of an upper middle-class
American family.

I paid no rent.

My quarters were sanctioned off by large blue sheets.
We put an old twin mattress on some boxes and crates
and that is where I slept.

I drank hard every day while living in that garage.
Vodka, mostly.
Some gin.

I lived in that garage for approximately 57 days and nights.
Overall, my life was very basic.
All I needed to survive was booze and madness.

I had no woman.
I had no prospects.
I was the King of the Garage.

For supplemental oxygen
each night I left the garage door ajar about 10 inches.
In the stillness of the twilight raccoons entered the garage
scavenging like large greedy mice.
They were not friendly creatures.

One night I chased the raccoons with a huge broom.
Another time the family dog chased the raccoons away.
They always came back the next night.

I wore the same blue shorts every day that summer.
What made the days I have no idea.
There wasn’t much to do in the garage.

In the evenings the temperature cooled down.
Simply surviving another day of 100-degree heat
was enough reason to feel good.

Life was very strange
during my summer as a drunk in a garage.
It was as carefree of time as I can remember.


- - -
Joseph Friedrichs is a freelance journalist and poet who lives in the Western United States. He is the author of three books, including "It's Good to Fish Alone," a book of poetry published in May 2013.

Green Time

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Contributor: Zenn Wu

- -
The box has been opened, the contents released, set loose to summon a future fashioned from the bones of a long slavery.

The fallout of a storm carried by nuclear fire is bright, makes the night fit for hunting easy prey. High price, high rewards, the jewels of life less fit than I. So sweet, this summer, this time, this sun. A new age, an age of freedom, the fallen shackles, broken, discarded. How many sons? How many suns? Pack the sand. Take the blades of obsidian from toughened hide and use them to slice ripe fruit from desert succulents.

The green comes soon. The dawn. The light. The signs ring clear and true, tell of trusting. Nothing left to lose. All to gain.


- - -

(tomorrow)

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Contributor: John Dorn

- -
When the long-denied, tempting challenges come, you will be ready. The burning ticket to prison desperate to be poached, the huntress, lions hungry for soft meats, for glory and seed, the traps of rampant spending, of wasted gold invested into future trash. For you, there will be more opportunities than you can satiate. For you, the strength of David, never to stray into darkness despite all of your power. That is the message of the ring, the rite, the sight. That is the way of the unfolding soon today (tomorrow).


- - -

Spirit of a Wolf

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Contributor: Shawn Wunjo

- -
She had the spirit of a wolf, and her hands were fire. Like lightning, she would cut across the face of the sky, burn gashes of vapor and fate through rain and hail. Like water, she would spread smooth across time, weather all that rose rough against her. In my hands, she was a razor-spined fish, so smooth and elegant, vicious to the touch. In all my life, I’ll never forget her, never forget those hands like fire, those eyes, full of the spirit of the wolf.


- - -
Shawn Wunjo is the author of a number of banned books.

Hot Copper Gods

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Contributor: Gerald Hubbirt

- -
Waves from that higher sun touch the mountains where copper gods stir, shout fire into great pits of coal and laugh ringing, bellows-laughs beneath dark, ember-eyes. The hot shadows and close air boom through the darkness, echo earthy thunder to stony skies, iron forges fired with the flames of creation. Red and black have destiny in these labyrinthine halls, just as water comes only as steam, light only from fire, from the liquid of burning soul-iron poured from great crucibles into ingots of self, tools and weapons beaten, tempered and forged to be wielded against the new year, against the ever-moving currents of entropy.


- - -

Joe Brickle's Estate

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
I have spent hours
lying in the sun
on Joe Brickle’s farm

waiting for Pedro and Pablo
to fetch Little José
with his sickle and scythe

to cut down the high grass
so Pedro and Pablo
can roar their mowers

over the cowlicks.
I have not wasted time
lying in the sun

watching two doves
in the grass
walking in circles

waiting for a sparrow
to dance on the rung
of a feeder

Joe Brickle hung
in his Dogwood.
The doves need the seed

the sparrow will scatter.
Joe Brickle named goats
after prophets in the Bible.

He'd be happy to know
that I've named the doves
Pedro and Pablo

and the sparrow
now landing
is Little José.


- - -
Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in exile now in St. Louis, Missouri. His poetry and fiction have appeared in a variety of publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Anchor

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Contributor: Susie Sweetland Garay

- -
I try to live the day slowly
but it is not easy.

I see an old friend
with anchored in the now
inked forever on soft skin.
I draw two foxes by a fire
in love
and wonder about
my next addition.

My eyes won’t let me see
what the others see,
but I still stare
in the same direction.

We are all
inaccurate dreamers.

At night we listen
to the coyotes
as they call and play
outside our windows
sounding closer than they are.
He shines a flashlight
and we see a set of eyes.
They stop,
look,
wait,
and are gone.
I am envious of his patience
as I attempt to foresee my next move.

Doing is easier then feeling
but I must move carefully,
gradually,
whatever direction I go.


- - -
Born and raised in Portland Oregon, Susie received a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Brigham Young University, spent some years in the Ohio Appalachians and currently lives in the Willamette Valley with her husband and cat where she works in the Vineyard industry. She spends her free time writing, growing plants and making art. She has been published in a variety of journals, on line and in print, and co edits The Blue Hour Literary Magazine and Press, http://thebluehourmagazine.com/

Come Cringe For Me Baby

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Contributor: Paul Tristram

- -
Come cringe for me baby
let me see the other side.
Come cringe for me baby
reveal the demons inside.
Your hidden awkwardness
all of your private fears.
Come cringe for me baby
I feel your phobias near.
I want to know all of you
I want to see your soul.
Come cringe for me baby
I want to love the whole.


- - -
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.

Charley on My Harley

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
The nightmare woke my father every night
for years. He had no idea what it meant
and so he wrote the story down and hoped
some day he'd understand it.

He lost the note that night but
found it decades later in a drawer
next to the glass eye he popped out
the stormy night that Mother left.

Mom came back to "make their marriage work"
after she'd been gone for 20 years
but Father told her they had been divorced
for at least 10 years. Despite her tears,

Father told her, "Maude, after all this time,
let's agree that you were gone before you left
so let me tell you all about the nightmare
I've had every night since you rode off

with Charley on my Harley. I wrote the story down
to tell the kids but they grew up and left
before I had a chance to ask if they knew
what the nightmare meant.

Maybe you can help me understand it, Maude.
The note says this: 'What purpose does a rabbit have
other than as prey? What difference does
a rainbow make in a rabbit’s day?'

Now you say you love me, Maude,
but the kids are grown and gone
so take my Harley and go find Charley.
It's time I put my eye back in."


- - -
Donal Mahoney has had poetry and fiction appear in various publications 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

Full Moon, First Night of Spring

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Contributor: Anne Britting Oleson

- -
Durham Bridge, nine o’clock: silent.
Trees hulk to the shore of the lake,
as dark as the still water below,
released from the thinning ice,
which still clings desperately
to the edges of the past season.

The rail is cold beneath my hands,
rough from years of fishermen leaning,
waiting, much as I do now. For what?

In the moon-blanched landscape,
I gather every movement, every feeling
to myself, becoming larger, looming,
the center of the universe.
At some point you will sense me,
radiating along the stretch of lake,
open or frozen, between us.


- - -
Anne Britting Oleson has been published on three continents. Her books are The Church of St. Materiana (2007) and The Beauty of It (2010). She lives in Central Maine with her family.

CHANGE YOUR MIND

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Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
Sitting here on this
Old blue, worn suitcase
A smell of hot peppers
Still burning in my nose
From our last meal together
Sharp, making my mouth
Water out of control
Your musky man scent
Covers my skin all over
And I wonder if you
Will change your mind
Again, same as before
Last time you said
It was time for goodbye
You swore as I packed
The fault is not mine
I had to move on

Nights spent in cotton sheets
You must have forgotten
Sweet words whispered
Between two lovers
Your long hair falling
Across my wanting lips
As I revisit these memories
Shadows gather slowly
A black cat slinks around
An aged telephone pole
Standing so rigidly and proud
Against a stark full moon
Too drunk to feel
Anything more than numb
I light another cigarette
And wait for you
To change your mind.


- - -
Stacy Maddox lives, dreams and writes in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS. She loves to soak up the sun by the river and feel the rush of water over her feet while spending time with her family and pets. Stacy has been published in over 15 books, print magazines and online websites. She has been passionate about Art in any form for over 30 years.

Trouble Tree

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Contributor: Kendra Cotton

- -
I climb so high in this old tree
from branch to branch where I can see.
I climb this tree when I'm sad.
Someone's calling me, it's my Dad.
I climb back down without my frown
until my feet caress the ground.
I left my troubles in the tree
with a smile on my face for Dad to see.
Dad says, "I can see from your smiley face
that you have found my old special place.
You see, long ago the Lord blessed this tree
to take troubles away from you and me!


- - -
Graduate of; The Institute of Children's Literature Publications; 'Home Free', article @ insightmagazine.org Self Publication; 'Blue Moon Cookies' Children's Book (blurb.com)

Sylvia

| Filed under

Contributor: Clinton Van Inman

- -
I hear they have placed
A pretty blue plaque
High above your flat
So that tourists can find you
And say that this is the spot
Where you killed yourself.

Lucky girl, you modern Sappho
To take the quantum leap
Like a comet to take your place
Among the darkest regions of empty space
With a brilliance that few can keep
And even less the mind to know
Where no dull planet can perturb you
As fallen flowers have no faces.


- - -
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.

SAYING GOODBYE

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Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
So you thought that she would never break your heart
I guess no one ever told you how it was going to be
And now, since you two have drifted so far apart
You wonder how you could have let her go free

It’s too late to tell her all the things you wanted to say
You can't make her tum around and listen anymore
What could you do now to have her want to stay
The last thing you heard was the slamming of the door

You watched her drive away, without even saying goodbye
Both of you wondering who was to blame this time
And you know the tears were there, glistening in her eyes
Because you cried too, at leaving everything behind

Packing up all the memories, you feel so cold and alone
You think of the tender moments that you were so near
Wishing you could talk to her, wanting to pick up the phone
Now that you are a broken man, it all seems so clear

Turning out the lights, sitting on the edge of the bed
Loneliness surrounds you everywhere, like a black cape
You see the pillow where she once laid her head
The emptiness is so hollow you just want to escape

Needing to hear her voice, or to see her beautiful face
You play some forgotten videos of days long gone by
Seeing her there, you can almost feel her warm embrace
But now you wonder how much of it was a lie

Maybe you will call her, tomorrow if you dare
Or send her some flowers to show your regret
You don’t even know if she still cares
This pain of the past you want her to forget

You should have known not to treat her bad
And you wish you could change it all
You took for granted the best thing you ever had
For she left the man who thought he would never fall.


- - -
Stacy Maddox lives, dreams and writes in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS. She loves to soak up the sun by the river and feel the rush of water over her feet while spending time with her family and pets. Stacy has been published in over 15 books, print magazines and online websites. She has been passionate about Art in any form for over 30 years.

I Could Take You to Other Countries

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Contributor: Frank Grigonis

- -
I could take you to other countries,
but they would only be ordinary
places like France, Japan, or Spain,
places filled with typical stops
and sights: Eiffel Tower at dawn,
Cherry Blossoms of Kyoto by
afternoon, and crumbling, Spanish
castles by night.

The people in these places
would be typical too.
Most toss in beds they wish
were bigger and sleep through
lives they can only dream
were better.

The majority of the animals
there, like most sentient beings
everywhere, suffer too,
while the same sagging stars
look down on it all without
twinkling or blinking, until
one by one their lights go dark
before they fall.

But the places you take me
whenever I see you
are far from the ordinary
stops and sights.

In your anime eyes
this bleak world
appears shiny and new,
spilling over with childish
delights, like laughing, blue
unicorns running through
flowering forests where
musical instruments grow
on technicolor trees and
breathe soothing melodies
into the perfumed breeze,
where each moment brims over
with unbridled bliss
like the shimmering summer night
of my first kiss,
where no creature is sad or
suffers at all,
where each star shines forever
and never need
fall.


- - -

Petals

| Filed under

Contributor: John Dorn

- -
Petals fall for the Lord of May.
Petals fall to make the path
Create the path
Guide the footsteps
Of the Lord of the Wood
Of the Lord of the Blossoms.

Petals fall
And I catch them
Scatter them on season's tide
Season's turning
Scatter them to a path
To guide the feet
Of life
Of joy
Guide
From me
From here
To you.


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