Something to Chew on

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Contributor: J. K. Durick

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I have eaten my words -- sometimes, they’re bitter,
sometimes, salty. And other times, they’ve been too
lumpy, clumpy, a bit too well done on the outside,

with raw, underdone middles, hard to chew, hard to
swallow. I have sat uncomfortably eating words and
trying to digest them. I have brought them home in

buckets and bags. I have sat down with others in
comfortable surroundings and properly dined on
them. I have dignified course after course of them.

I have eaten my words outside on the lawn, standing
out front, one-on-one, gathered groups to watch me.
I have played with them, chewed them slowly and

swallowed what I could. Then I have gathered up all
the leftovers and wrapped them, put them in small
containers, like this one, and put them away for another day.

- - -
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Write Room, Madswirl, Third Wednesday, and Up the River.


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Contributor: Richard Schnap

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I think of her when I see
A line of black cars
How she’d kneel down and pray
For my father to arrive safe

And I think of her when I see
That painting by Manet
"The Dead Toriador"
That hung in her study

And I think of her when I see
A preacher on TV
How she admired them
Their comforting words

But I think of her the most
When the forsythias bloom
Her favorite flower
How her heart would rejoyce

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Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

An Agony of Love

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Contributor: Ron Koppelberger

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Tender love and interposed depths
Of ageless pleasure,
The pause in passionate loves descried by the
Promised assurance of Eden and velvet
Sashay, a renegade kiss,
An agony of love in cascades of rain.

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I am aspiring to become established as a poet and a short story writer. I have written 93 books of poetry over the past several years and 16 novels. I hope you enjoy my work.

Scene from Yom Kippur 1972

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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It's Yom Kippur
this screaming hot day
in Chicago 1972.
An intermittent parade
of orthodox men are walking
in silence to synagogue,
foreheads bright
with sweat.

They're in uniform,
black hats, black coats
over their shoulders,
continents of sweat
breaking through
white shirts,
black ties stirring
in the breeze.

Five older men
have canes.
Two others
on walkers
have snakes
on their forearms,
reptiles from Auschwitz,
Belsen, Treblinka.

The numbers
in each tattoo
may be different
but the snakes
are as much
part of their uniform
as black hats,
black coats and black ties
on this screaming
hot Day of Atonement
in otherwise
oblivious Chicago.

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

Side Glances

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Contributor: Brittany Zedalis

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Your voice, a whisper lost in the space between what is real and make believe,
It makes its way to me, softly, unnoticed by those who do not hear but see.
A sound leaving me breathless when I understand the words,
Speak them again, my love, and join our worlds.
"Forever, faithfully." I whisper to you, sending your heart to a place it has never been,
Where there are no worries, no pain, no anger; only the love you will feel again and again.
Your touch, gentle, graceful, yet so strong it grabs my soul and ties it to yours,
Like the shadow of Peter Pan, except I will never run from you, you are a part of me down to my core.
We will grow on, from young adults to wise lovers,
Sharing our hopes, our dreams, and secrets with each other.
Our life begins now with these moments, these memories that will live on in the years to come,
Our love story will serve as the truth for our young.
That true love does exist if you take the chances,
It could be hidden from sight or right before your very eyes, in a room full of drawings and loving side glances.

- - -
I am 21 years old, married, and studying to be an elementary teacher. I enjoy reading, writing and crocheting in my spare time. I have been writing poetry since I was around 12 or 13 years old.

Christmastime in America

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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You see the oddest things
at Christmastime in America.
The bigger the city,
the stranger the sights.
I was driving downtown
to buy gifts for the family
and enjoying bouquets
of beautiful people
bundled in big coats
and colorful scarves
clustered on corners,
shopping in good cheer
amid petals of snow
dancing in the sun.

One of them, however,
a beautiful young lady,
had stopped to take issue
with an old woman in a shawl
picketing Planned Parenthood.
The old woman was riding
on a motor scooter
designed for the elderly.
She held a sign bigger
than she was and kept
motoring back and forth
as resolute as my aunt
who had been renowned
for protesting any injustice.
Saving seals in the Antarctic
had been very important to her.

On this day, however,
the beautiful young lady
who had taken issue
with the old woman
was livid and screaming.
She marched behind
the motor scooter and
yelled at the old woman
who appeared oblivious
to all the commotion.
Maybe she was deaf,
I thought, like my aunt.
That can be an advantage
at a time like this.

The letters on the sign were huge
but I couldn't read them
so I drove around the block
and found a spot at the curb.

It turned out the sign said,
"What might have happened
if Mary of Nazareth
had been pro-choice?"
Now I understood
why the young lady
was ranting and raving
and why the old woman
kept motoring to and fro.
At Christmastime in America
people get excited,
more so than usual.

When I got home
I hid my packages
and told my wife at supper
what I had seen.
I also told her that if Mary
had chosen otherwise,
I wouldn't have had
to go shopping today.
That's obvious, she said.

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

Two Decades

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Contributor: Mike Agombar

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Two decades old and still at the children’s table.

How’s school, everyone is so proud of you! And before I even take the inhale of air to respond, another chimes in

Waste of money that is. You don’t need school!

No, it seems I don’t. Some creativity can’t be taught. Ask someone with an Odd Future poster.

Family dinners are for brides and grooms and mourning where I’m from and there’s promised to be a big mucky punch up and insults thrown at strangers with a common last name at both.

Absolute waste of money school! You can learn everything you need to know if you come work for me! Make some tidy cash too.

But he sells cocaine… that could be fun I guess. It’s a risk. but once you fall enough find out your not made of glass, risks are hobbies.
Getting educated by professors and doctors is far more rosy than getting educated by football hooligans with an eye for ass and a nose for coke.

Because getting educated is the next best thing to finally being allowed to sit at the adult table after two decades. But those conversations about money, taxes and kids remind me I’m still a kid and of the fantasy world that is to become my reality.

I’ve realized something. Power is defined by the wealth and the materialistic possessions we have; but wealth isn’t defined by power. In my fantasy world, I create my own destiny. I create the wealth, the power, the materialistic possession by the thoughts I think and the choices I make.

I’ll be at the adult table one day, but not around the peddlers that insist school, education and free-thought is unnecessary.

- - -
Twenty year old student.


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Contributor: T. David Lauber

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I drank her pretty
she drank me witty
for one of us
that was never going to be enough
her broken down eyes blink no vacancy signs
red flashing dissuasions
but this is what she knows
a weary rider always slows
never sure what waits down a darkening road

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T. David Lauber lives and writes in Buffalo, NY. He is currently writing poetry and working on a collection of short stories. He may or may not take himself too seriously.


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Contributor: Christina C. Franklin

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Vehicle of flesh that carries our essence,
Why do we abuse you so?

You are the box that holds the gift,
A prize in need of protective wrapping.

So why do we bump, bruise and scar you,
Why leave you tattered and frayed?

Food, alcohol, cigarettes and drugs
Suppress the existence screaming to be heard.

Your voice is stifled with our misunderstanding
Why do we think this is good?

Vehicle of power, change and wisdom,
Smothered in weakness, stagnation and idiocy.

Why do we allow our ignorance and fear to blind us?
Why do we surrender to the easiest path?

Unleash our courage, strength and perseverance,
Allow us the confidence to stubble and fail.

Let’s throw away the self-defeating poisons,
And why not use you as we should?

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Having never lost her passion for writing, Christina Franklin always found ways to flex her creative muscle by writing website content, newsletters and business litigation blogs during her 20+ year career as either a legal and/or executive assistant. A reader of many genres and an incurable fan of the heat miser and snow miser, on a typical day, Christina can be found sitting under a pile of black and white fur in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, while attempting to pen her first novel. Currently, several of her short stories can be found on The Story Shack. She welcomes you to view her blog at:

Zambezi in Zimbabwe

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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River rafting in Montana
is a fine way to spend
your vacation but it's
not the same as
river rafting in Zimbabwe.
No Sir Ree, Bob!

You can roar down
the Zambezi River
on a big raft with other
tourists hoping
to get away from it all
in the splendor of Africa.

A thoughtful man,
your guide in the Safari hat
will explain before you
hit the water that your raft
will indeed flip over
at some point

and when it does
he says you shouldn't
worry and swim for shore.
No Sir Ree, Bob!
You should stay right there
in the washing machine

of rapids bobbing
up and down and wait for
the other guide in the Safari hat
to pull alongside in his motor boat
and pluck you out of the water
so you can live

to write something like this.
This is what guides
on the Zambezi in Zimbabwe
do for a living--send you out
on a big raft that will flip over
so they can save you.

But they're not in a rush
because didn't they give you
a life jacket and a crash helmet?
However, if you're in a hurry
to reach land and choose
to swim to shore

across the beautiful Zambezi
the way you may have swum
across a river in Montana
you'll discover close to this shore
that you are lunch for one
of many crocodiles

who wait in the still water
six feet or so from shore.
The crocodiles make a living
waiting for tourists who swim
ferociously like Diana Nyad.
Two chomps, maybe three

if you're a pleasantly plump fellow,
and then digestion begins.
You and your crash helmet
and your life jacket will
need a day or so to
convert to crocodile dreck

and dissolve in the Zambezi.
Whatever your faith,
believe me, it will take effort
to re-assemble you
in time for the resurrection.
Yes Sir Ree, Bob!

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

A Moment is Riding Time

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Contributor: Jason Sturner

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A moment is riding time
like a horse over the hill
bringing strength—

A moment is floating through time
like a ship across the sea
bringing wealth—

There is a moment
tossed by a fairy’s whim,
blown forward by her breath,
and carried away to find us.

There is a moment
set aside for you and me,
but it may take awhile
as these things do, my love.
It may take awhile
as these things do.

Our moment is conquering time
like a white flag rising
ending battle—

Our moment is drawing near
like a heart breaking chains
ending restraint—

- - -
Jason Sturner was born in Harvey, Illinois, and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago. He has published three books of poetry: Kairos, 10 Love Poems, and Selected Poems 2004-2007 (all available as free downloads; see website). He resides in Wheaton, Illinois and works as a botanist at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Website:

It Wasn't Long Ago

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Contributor: Chelsea L. Gipson

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It wasn’t too long ago when things were made of wood and metal and
people took their time to create one-of-a-kind pieces of work
and sell and/or barter with the people of their township.

Nowhere in their near future did they imagine a time when things would be
made with no care or finesse or time taken at all.

Nowhere in their far-off future could they possibly imagine things being
made with shiny, man-made metals and smooth fake wood with a color
matching finish and selling them for an over-priced profit.

It wasn’t too long ago we actually worked at the things we did
but now we simply work at not working and that is what we do.

- - -

Identity Crisis

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Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
Was that me in the corner of a mirror-walled tavern
Chain-smoking Marlboros with fifty cent drafts
Or watching through the graffitied window of a bus
The wounded neighborhoods of a stricken town
Or was I in the back of a crowded classroom
Studying the leaves on the trees outside
Or browsing through albums in a dusty record store
Searching for anthems for a price I could afford

And were you the one with the dog-eared diary
Scrawled with your story in a secret code
Or the one who wanted a house in the country
And five children playing in its flower-filled fields
Or maybe you were only the one I dreamed of
Who didn’t yet have a name or a face
Who I’d have to wait nearly half my lifetime
To hear you sing like a bird before dawn

- - -
Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

Third World Girl

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Contributor: D P Lambert

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Little third world girl,
The bones and skin of you,
Lie dying in the dust.

I see your eyes, wide and hollow,
On my screen.
Do you know of me?

The black flies buzz
And move about your face,
And you no longer brush them away.

For now you are waiting in the dust,
And do not feel the flies,
And do not feel the hunger . . . anymore.

You are waiting in the dust, little girl,
And you are looking at me
From the other side of the world.

If I could draw you from the tube
Into this room carpeted and clean,
Paneled and pictured,

What would you think of me?
Would you thank me?
Would you hate me?

Or, would you simply waste away.
Too lost and weak to hold my world--
My oh-so-civilized clutter.

These leather bound books
Of Shakespeare and Twain,
These disks of music and movement,

These Pollock and Picasso prints,
These calculators and cell phones,
These game cubes and computers,

This high definition, surround sound,
Color screen, wide-screen,
Flat-screen, miracle of technology--

Can it resurrect you from
The Great Darkness
That will be your dissolution?

How easily, with one God-like finger,
Can I bring this screen to darkness,
And to silence . . . as if you never were.

This could be, were it not
For my midnight dreams,
Where the shadow of you appears

To ask that unspoken question--
Whispering within me--
Whispering why

You are there and I am here--
So very far apart
Upon this great blue and ancient sphere.

- - -
I'm a writer of short stories as well as poetry. I have a Master's degree in British Literature at Syracuse University and the University of Bridgeport. I greatly enjoy my writing process.

Man's Destiny

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Contributor: Nick Davies

- -
We started out in Africa
Descended from the Apes
Life was very simple then
Food and fear and rapes
Survival of the fittest
Was non-negotiable
We live and died the harshest lives
Survived if we were able.

Our little bands would inter-breed
With stunning variations
Big and small, black and white
Became our varied nations
Others grew more cunning
Developed killing tools
Treating those they met and killed
As meaty tasty fools

Generations tried the North
And faltered in their tracks
Desert and wild animals
Hunger and attacks
Some got as far as Israel
To find the Promised Land
They perished in a distant cave
Their journey at an end.

But through the long millennia
Man prospered and he grew
His language and his braininess
He gained in knowledge new
His forays in the far Northland
Beset by climate change
A time of warmth and green green shoots
Whitened to an ice age

About ten thousand years ago
The weather became stable
Warm water from the southern seas
Put food upon the table
A tide of water moving north
Transformed the frozen land
Crops were grown, beasts were killed
By Man's sweet bloodied hand

We learnt to create metal tools
And cut the forests down
Machinery and metal ships
Did Gaia start to frown?
The Ice Caps and the glaciers
Began to melt apace
But Man was looking heavenward
A Space Race fall from Grace

Today the Gulfstream is no more
The new Ice Age is coming
The winter will kill many
Despite our guile and cunning
It was always going to happen
The default plan of fate
Take heart, Dear Friend, and look within
Find love and banish hate

- - -
Nursed for 30 years. Studied meditation and Zen. Developed unique therapy based on mainly CBT and the unique 5 stage breath. Currently starting a dance workshop 5-dai dance, find on facebook.

The Lovely Women of My Life

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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If I met the same women now
I probably wouldn't know them.
They're missing teeth, I bet,
and have gray Medusa hair.

Their eyes no longer dance, I'm sure,
and they have liver spots everywhere.
They likely wobble in their flats
and haven't worn heels

since adding fifty pounds.
Some of them, I'm certain,
wouldn't recognize me, either,
despite thick spectacles.

They can't recall the picnics
we enjoyed with wine and caviar
under oak trees in Grant Park,
never mind the nights that followed.

Who needs a woman that forgetful?
I need a younger woman now,
someone I can finally marry,
a girl with a figure like Monroe,

Hepburn's eyes and Hayworth's hair,
someone lithe, slim and graceful,
someone strong enough to push
my wheelchair up the ramp.

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


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Contributor: Ron Yazinski

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With its hills and cobblestones
Rome takes a toll on the feet.
After walking through the catacombs of San Callista,
We were struggling our way to the site of Quo Vadis,
Where Peter, escaping from the Mamertine Prison,
Met Jesus on the Appian Way, walking towards Rome.

“Where are you going?” he asked his Lord,
Who answered that he is going to be crucified a second time
Because Peter is too cowardly to do it;
At which Peter, humiliated, returns to Rome
For his inverted crucifixion.

Inside the Church built on this spot,
The guide book says, are a pair of footprints in stone,
Supposedly left by Christ as he stood his ground there on the Appian Way.
But our own feet are swollen from days of sightseeing.
We only limp as far as the field in which a flock of ewes

Are lying next to their snowy newborn lambs.
The mothers baa low, and their babies answer in their high pitched response.
Again and again, dozens of them, in a chorus of life,
Which we consider enough of a miracle for one day,
And so we return to the bus.

- - -
Ron Yazinski is a retired English teacher, who with his wife Jeanne, divides his time between Pennsylvania and Winter Garden, Fl. His work has appeared in many journals. His one collection is SOUTH OF SCRANTON.

Silent Touch

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Contributor: Ron Koppelberger

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Hyacinth perfections in azure prayers of romance,
In mischief and wild coquette,
The passion of teardrop honey in amber
Asylums of beauty, existing for the love of silent
Touch and swathed assurances of devotion,
Wandering by the precious flame of
Yearning hearts.

- - -
I am aspiring to become established as a poet and a short story writer. I have written 93 books of poetry over the past several years and 16 novels. I hope you enjoy my work.


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Contributor: Brittany Zedalis

- -
I miss your adorable laughter,
Though it sometimes haunts my dreams,
I miss those big, innocent eyes,
Staring up at me.
I miss your tiny hands,
Reaching for a new toy,
Why were you taken from me?
You were just a little boy.
Barely over a year old,
The world was new to you,
You had no time to explore,
There was nothing I could do.
It's been so many years,
My memories are starting to fade,
That is something I can't let happen,
I can't let that be taken away.
You never got your first kiss,
You never went to prom,
You were never able to find love,
This just seems so wrong.
You should have been at my wedding,
I should have been at yours,
There's so much we've missed,
I don't know what to do anymore.
I miss you, my brother,
I live my life how you would have wanted,
I see you in my dreams,
Your memory leaves me haunted.

- - -
I'm 21 years old, married, and studying at Francis Marion University to be an elementary teacher. I enjoy reading, writing, photography and doing crochet in my spare time.

Boxing Your City

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Contributor: J.Donnelly

- -
In city years
You get better at not wincing from the punch
Recoiling before a stint, a fake
You get better at not fanning
More rounds, more bells, more sweat
Bonding with trainers who keep you moving
Use towels to cushion the crimes, the fears
Clog the cuts in sympathetic wax
Lift you up for the crowds to see, to celebrate
And hug you in losses

- - -
J.Donnelly writes and lives in DC. He's a fan of the beat generation and contemporary writers like Bucky Sinister and Mums.


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Contributor: Jason Sturner

- -
She sails under a moonshadow
on the back of a white swan.
Tears fall down her cheeks
because her heart is unloved.

She sees twilight in the water
then turns around to face it.
A star shooting overhead
sparkles romance from its tail.

She thinks, Why can’t that be for me?

But each tear that fell on the lake
became a ripple towards shore.
And love waits patiently
just beyond the water lilies.

- - -
Jason Sturner was born in Harvey, Illinois, and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago. He has published three books of poetry: Kairos, 10 Love Poems, and Selected Poems 2004-2007 (all available as free downloads; see website). He resides in Wheaton, Illinois and works as a botanist at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Website:

Desperate Affection

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Contributor: Ron Koppelberger

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The blessings of sunrise attentions
And indigo fray in tentative
Excursions of dawn, a vagabond flame
In magic charms of affected desire,
The yearning want of mysterious
Romance and enchanted allure, a beloved
Balance between the need of trifles and desperate

- - -
I am aspiring to become established as a poet and a short story writer. I have written 93 books of poetry over the past several years and 16 novels. I hope you enjoy my work.

A Good Neighbor

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Cookies for George,
40 years back from Viet Nam,
are the only payment
the man will accept
to mow your lawn,
rake your leaves,
shovel your snow.

He sleeps behind
his brother's house
above the garage.
Every two weeks
he shaves and bathes.
His brother takes him
to the Veterans Hospital.

George has cancer again
40 years after Agent Orange.
But he'll mow your lawn,
rake your leaves
and shovel your snow
for nothing less than
cookies for George.

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


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Contributor: Ron Yazinski

- -
Because my adult daughter is ill,
And since my ex is out of town,
I agree to return to the house I abandoned years before.

Since the doorbell is broken, I knock.
As soon as I enter I feel as I did when I walked past the photos of my father
That were displayed near his casket as I went to kiss him good-bye.

But here it is my own dead life on display.
On the dingy walls are the framed pictures
Of vacations taken long ago.

And though I am in none of them, I’m in all of them,
Because I was the one who snapped the photos,
Like the one from the balcony in Taormina,

Of the sun rising over Italy
With the small sailboat in front of it;
Or the one of Mont St. Michele with late morning light reflecting off its windows

As if the church was a jewel with many facets;
Or the twilit reds and oranges of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado,
Where the two sandstone hills resemble kissing camels.

And I find myself suffocating as I did right before I left,
As if I’m in that moonlit photo
Of the St. Louis Cemetery in New Orleans,

One of the poor souls stricken with yellow fever,
And prematurely buried inside his family tomb,
Trying to ring the bell that will save his life.

- - -
Ron Yazinski is a retired English teacher, who with his wife Jeanne, divides his time between Pennsylvania and Winter Garden, Fl. His work has appeared in many journals. His one collection is SOUTH OF SCRANTON.


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Contributor: Brittany Zedalis

- -
If something were to happen,
And you were suddenly gone,
I would be an empty vessel,
A slow and dying song.

You bring a light into my life,
The smile upon my face,
You are a part of my soul,
One that cannot be replaced.

Your whispers in the quiet of night,
Remain close to my heart,
Bound by our deepest thoughts,
We will not be torn apart.

When our days together end,
If there is an afterlife,
That is surely where we’ll be,
Never to say goodbye.

- - -
I'm 21 years old, married, and studying at Francis Marion University to be an elementary teacher. I enjoy reading, writing, photography and doing crochet in my spare time.


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Contributor: Alvin Rhodes

- -
a feather on piano keys
a whisper in a sax
the stillness of a morning
as both sun and moon relax

the earth, at peace, observing
gentle song inside her chest
the leaves are skipping eastward
nudged by breezes from the west

a love that's tinted lavender
will coat your every dream
and trickle out into the night
escaping from each seam

the sky will speak your name
when mortal voices are not near
the clouds will spell out messages
that only you can hear

a soft caressing lullaby
with thoughts instead or words
the music of the butterflies
more subtle than the birds

a brush upon your shoulder
from a shadow, finely gray
the wind then strokes your hair
to let you know I'm on my way

- - -
I only write rhyming poetry... hippie, not a beatnik, I guess.


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Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
Standing in this moment
In the emerging dayspring
Awestruck, I find solace
In an offering from the sun
As it stretches golden fingers
Giving light to a barren sky

A breeze whispers around my body
Longingly caressing barren skin
And entangling me in his embrace
Our meeting only brief, he moves on
To fill every hungry sail
Crossing the mighty sea

Dreamer, I wish to capture
This very point in time
Suspend its delicate essence
And beautiful, bright display
To hold it within my heart
And remember when clouds gather.

- - -
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 had her poetry and photography published in over 15 books, print magazines and online websites.

Heavy Heavy, Light Light

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Contributor: Amanda Clarkin

- -
Heavy with the weight of skin cells,
feet and toes,
bones and blood.

Heavy with the weight of angst,
broken pieces of emotional waste
fall through cracks in veins
and steamroll straight to the heart.

Light with the feeling of a blasé attitude,
beer bubbles rolling down your throat
disinterest crawling over your brain
with the delicate touch of a spider’s legs.

Light with the feeling of impervious solitude,
because the stench of other humans
burns your nostrils-
the feeling of other’s skin torches your flesh.

- - -
I am an aspiring writer who writes as an escape and hopes that someone will hear me. A poem is raw and meaty. It is made of blood, bones, and guts just like me and I think that's beautiful.


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Contributor: Lewis R Humphries

- -
Astride the Harbor Bridge, bright radiance
shimmers through an airless summer, and gilds
the passageways of stone and providence.
Were it not for these columns of light, and
their multifarious smolder, he would
not have glimpsed the outline of her splendor.

Journeyed beneath the steeled arch, she is
heedless of her beauty, as she weaves the
indiscernible threads of time through her
fingers; then marvels at the neon blaze
of simulated day, its steeples
plunging through the course of cobalt torrents.

Her contemplations, imbued through mottled
rivulets, are not inflected by the
thrusts of his intentions. She is
sentient only to the malleable melds
of dark then light, his presence cast in the
consequent sheathes of far pitched shade.

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Lewis is a freelance writer and blogger based in Birmingham, UK. He also has a passion for creative writing, and has featured in magazines throughout the UK, U.S. and Oceania.

Street Sense

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Contributor: J.Donnelly

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Street sense
Street pence
Street people
Street car named desire
Into an alley
The man with the golden arm
Into an alley
The woman with the golden earrings
Into an alley
The kids with the golden grams
Snuggling fabric softener
The softener they are the harder they fall
From heaven
Into the alley
Dipped in
Dropped out
Pulled out before I blew
Before I turned blue
Before she knew
Too good for me
Too good for the scene
You’re too good to just be meat
Underworld wearing
You’re too good to be staring
Into the alley
To sleep
To beat
To read beats
To sing beats
To slam beats
Up and down the sidewalk
Cause you’re sense is strong
Cause you’re mind is strong
Cause you’re line is long
And changes
And chances
And dances with the new day
Hopeful of new diocese
Hopeful of new diets
Diodes blip on radar
How far are you?
Into the alley
How far can you go?
How fair can you go?
How much for that street sense?
I said, How much for that street sense?

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J.Donnelly writes and lives in DC. He's a fan of the beat generation and contemporary writers like Bucky Sinister and Mums.


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Contributor: Ron Yazinski

- -
In an old Italian neighborhood bar,
Three elderly women sit like the Fates on their stools.
The one in the middle looks like a prom queen emeritus,
While the ones on either side are her attendants,
Just as they were fifty years ago.

Each has dyed her hair blond and wears a thick glaze of make-up
Making her skin look like puffed pastry.
Each sips a water-colored martini,
Studying the room for men, a life- long habit,
Like making the sign of the cross in front of a church.

From the opposite end of the bar,
A short fat man who they know and tolerate
Like the harmless nerd who let them copy his geometry notebook
After talking to them for a few moments,

And eliciting some forced smiles,
He pulls from his jacket pocket a large thin package and lays it on the bar.
Playfully, he reaches his arms around the waist of the middle woman
Making her cringe as if he might grab her breasts.
Instead, he unwraps a large sopressata.

Looking at the shriveled, brownish- black foot-long sausage
The three women simultaneously laugh
And begin comparing it to dead lovers,
Saying things like “Carlo was half that, just like his father;”
“And young Gino never got it hard so I couldn’t tell you.”

“Tony felt that big when I had him take me from behind,”
The Hall of Fame prom queen says,
Which makes the one on the left stop laughing.
The speaker immediately realizes the mistake
Of mentioning her friend’s dead husband.

For a moment there are only silence and glares,
Until the queen says to the man who brought the sausage
“See the trouble you men always start with that.”
Then to the bartender, “Bring a sharp knife
“So we can cut this into bite- size pieces.”

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Ron Yazinski is a retired English teacher, who with his wife Jeanne, divides his time between Pennsylvania and Winter Garden, Fl. His work has appeared in many journals. His one collection is SOUTH OF SCRANTON.


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