| Filed under

Contributor: Daniel N. Flanagan

- -
And my whole life has been like;
I am the flowers
The pretty flowers sitting in the vase,
Decorating the mahogany dining table;
Silently dying

Smelling of tropical plumeria petals.
Sucking up water while leisurely wilting.
Looking gorgeous,
And then presentable,
And then accordingly.

All my owners do is force feed me more water;
Drown me.
Gaze upon me with disgust as I,

But I cannot live without sunlight,
Without love.
My petals are all set, all ready
And yet they go no where

Sitting in this vase, I slowly decay.

- - -
Daniel N. Flanagan is an American short-story writer and poet. He is the author of over two dozen individual pieces, with his debut poetry chapbook scheduled for release in the summer of '14. His work can be found at Follow him @DanielNFlanagan.

Outside, the Silent Garden

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Contributor: Jason Sturner

- -
and rain.
Silent flowers under thunder.
She tends the garden
by staring through the window.

A downpour of thoughts
mixing daydreams and doubt,
splash in her mind
and channel off.

The green in her eyes
runs down her cheeks,
like unripe berries
falling and bouncing out of sight.

She’s waiting for new scenery
with laughter in her pockets.
The hair across her shoulders

And the heartbeat beneath her skin
waits patiently
for his kiss.

- - -
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:

Echo In Velvet

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Contributor: Ron Koppelberger

- -
Chasms of breechable exhalation, by the breath of sweetened
Desires in nearness and yesterdays accord,
A day done by seconds, one by one unto the time
Of blissful confederate embrace and a vision of the future
In care, exposed by the boundaries
Of an echo
                                              In velvet.

- - -
I have been accepted in England, Australia, Canada and Thailand. I love to write and offer an experience to the reader. I am a member of The American Poet’s Society as well as The Isles Poetry Association.
*Website-SwampLit (
* Website-Shadows at Night-Tide (

Gift from the Daughter Who Disappeared

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Your package arrived last night.
When my wife brought it in, I said,
"Make certain it's not ticking."
It wasn't, so she opened it.
I grabbed the wedding pictures
without reading your letter

and saw you and your groom
graciously attired except for
the flannel pajama bottoms.
"My God," I yelled, "they had
a Hare Krishna wedding!"
Not that there's anything
wrong with that.

My wife said your letter explains
why you wore pajama bottoms
over your wedding outfits--
to stay warm on a wintry day.
I should have guessed.

The package arrived late
so I felt it unfair to read your letter
when I wasn't at my best.
After all these years,
one more day in absentia
shouldn't be held against me.

Your letter looks long, ominous.
I would expect nothing less.
I asked my wife to read it
to see if any land mines lurk.
She said she saw none
but she wasn't at our Nagasaki
so she might have missed
some deft allusions.

I'm more careful these days
guarding the remnants.
On dark Tuesday mornings,
when I wheel the garbage cans out,
I make certain your brother isn't
on horseback at the curb,
scabbard unbuckled,
primed for another debate.
You were both so young.
He was a tyke who suffered
the fallout, not the conflagration.

You look good in the photos;
your new husband as well.
The priest looks the way
priests used to look.
He'd be good in old movies
standing in for Spencer or Bing.

You're a beautiful lady
as the pictures make clear.
Always were, always will be.
Please know it's difficult
after all these years to dodge
bombs of memory dropped
by what happened
and what never will be.

I promise to get back to you
about all that you've sent
and all that I haven't.
Some day we must
catalogue everything
in case a genealogist
is born into the family
generations hence
and wants to know
what we know.

Till then, much love.
Give my best to the groom.
Tell him pajamas at his wedding
are only the beginning.
A monocle or pince-nez is next.

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


| Filed under

Contributor: Kambria Vance

- -
Your voice box sent
Shock waves Sound waves Shivers
through my systems

You couldn’t look at me
out of drunkenness
I couldn’t look at you
out of fear
that I would get lost.

Your sounds charm me
Noises fascinate you
Our entangled sensations
Shot out an infectious vibe
Everyone could feel
But not experience, because


were at the epicenter.
It was the most beautiful
fleeting moment I have ever attended and
I didn’t know how to tell you
That you
The shell encasing my human.

I will take the titles you have given me
And brand them on my collar bones so
People can see how you make me feel.

You said
You, miss. You are beautiful.

I said
You, sir.
You are unlike like anyone I have ever met. And you asked me what I meant.

I said I’ll write a poem
And maybe figure it out that way.

Well… at 6 a.m. while listening
To your ribcage cadence
I tried.

But somehow I lose the words in
The words get lost on the only road that leads
my brain
to my fingertips.

So I’ll tell a truth for every dare I give you.

I just can’t right now
Try anyways
I don’t know who I am
Go exploring with me
I’ve never been alone before
Tell me I don’t have to be
You’re leaving in a year
The star that shines twice as bright burns half as long

I fear that this is something that belongs
in a museum
on a pedestal
rigged with alarms
surrounded by guards

because if I were to touch whatever this is…
surely it would shatter.

Dare: super glue and duct tape

- - -
I am a 20 something year old girl.
I like pizza rolls, Monster energy drinks, and Camel Menthol's.
I write about the people I meet.

Broken Mirrors

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Contributor: Ben Riddle

- -
The reflections of a broken mirror
perceive more than the eyes
of strangers; or our own memories.

Each shard bears witness
to some facet of the truth
that assembles our identity;

Each reflection a new angle,
a different truth or revelation
to the one we strive to picture.

Perhaps our fear of breaking,
and our belief in bad luck;
Reflects our fear of truth:

Perhaps what we fear most
is seeing who we really are.

- - -
An aspiring poet from Perth, Western Australia; Ben Riddle is a nineteen year old student of Political Science and English and Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia.

It's Time

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Contributor: Alyssa Hanchar

- -
His pace is steady
Leaves crunch beneath his soft steps,
Thick hair windswept in a light breeze

The sky electric blue,
White puffs shelter the sun in shifts
In momentary darkness,
She appears

Up ahead, strolling
Ear buds in, lips mouthing the words
Blonde hair billowing behind her

He picks up his pace, nearing
Calling out her name, but she doesn’t hear.
His feet pound on the sidewalk
Tripping on fallen leaves, he catches himself

Finally, it’s time

She turns around, pulling her ear buds out
A slow smile spreads onto her face
Expecting him to speak
Words fail him, as she takes his breath away

She speaks his name, in a soft whisper
He loves that sound
Gazing into her eyes, voicing that imminent question

In one simple reply, she declines
Wandering back through the fallen leaves
The sun disappears into the clouds.

- - -

My Grandmother's Eyes

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Contributor: Zach Thomas

- -
My Grandma's Eyes
They tell no lies
They are perfect blue
A soft ocean hue
They have seen love
They have seen war
Inside a factory
Mad to build bombs
The kind they dropped
Upon old Hiroshima
They have seen birth
They experienced death
The death of loved ones
They are pure and clean
Never tainted by hate
Her life was a legacy
For me to remember

- - -
I am 22 going on 23. I started dabbling with fiction when I was six years old. I have written two novellas and am currently working on two more. I have yet to be published. I do not normally write poetry and when I do it usually equates to song lyrics. I am a native of Tennessee. When I am not writing I am brainstorming new ideas for a book or watching a movie that is either comedy or action. The genre of my novellas started out being supernatural horror with an influence of allegory, yet as I grow older I tend to not write horror, instead I write stories that are more just about life and growing up. My influences are as follows: John Irving, T.C. Boyle, Stephen King, Charles Dickens, and J.D Salinger.

A Darkness About Him

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Contributor: Paul Tristram

- -
Sobriety in small doses
can cleanse a weary soul.
Yet, sobriety without measure
can bore beyond control.
I have a snake pit in my belly
that always needs feeding more.
The downside to dependency is
not knowing through which door?
The Demons will come visiting
to trick or treat my sanity.
To milk away my goodness
to forge a darker personality
There is a darkness about him
I hear people often say.
The Devil holds his heart
which is why he smiles that way.

Twice this week, I hit the street
directionless but determined.
To break down the barriers
to play Pied-Piper to the vermin.
I glow inside with discomfort
my speech is slurred with sarcasm.
My memories have become physical
each one a painful, shameful spasm.
The future looming always ominous
is the wick to which I fly.
A miserable moth of melancholy
sizzling onwards just to die.
Oh, but I am only joking, ha, ha!
I’m really as happy as the sun.
The darkness that is about me
is just the shadow of your fun.

- - -
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.


| Filed under

Contributor: Nicolette Brick

- -
hair bows and combat boots have become a part of who she is

yellow eyes hold more than you’d expect.
Her dark tangles hold everything in.
Including her sanity

she’s got high socks and highly held beliefs, morals, and dignity.
always wearing spandex.
no tolerance for liars
or drinking in the dorms.

she leaves her room unlocked because she trusts you- she shouldn’t.
her room is a mess and so is her head
“but in a good way”

she drinks with a with a fake identity and gets high with the corn.

don’t ask her for her name,
she’ll give you the wrong one.

- - -
college student. poetry fanatic. happy.

Herbie Gets Emails

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
When Herbie gets an email
from one of his sons,
it's never a problem.
Usually it's about the game
one of them has tickets for

or a chance to go hunting.
But when he gets an email
from one of his daughters,
it's different because
her dead mother's face

is a watermark talking
behind the message.
Dead for a decade,
she wants to settle
an argument

Herbie can't remember,
an argument neighbors
can no longer hear.
This time the police
won't be coming

which makes Herbie thankful
as he tries to sound cheerful
in his reply to his daughter
who's still as beautiful
as her mother back when.

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

A Wind From Nowhere

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Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
She used to sit near the corner library
With her plastic bags of thrift store clothes
Wrapped in a coat a size too big
Whose color had faded a long time ago

And then I would see her in the early morning
Buying a loaf of bread at the supermarket
Which she’d scatter in pieces along the sidewalk
As if it was her mission to feed the birds

And when night came down she’d disappear
To find some shelter away from the cold
Leaving a trail of uneaten crumbs
The only sign she’d been there at all

But then one day I passed by and saw
Her place had been taken by a young girl
Sitting on the ground with a cup of coins
Wrapped in a coat a size too big

- - -
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.

What I've Become

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Contributor: P. R. Armitage

- -
I hate to say I need the people in the morning streets
as they walk up and down the boulevards
dangling thoughts from their sleeves.
I have to look and see the tendrils of gossip on the walls
shimmering and glistening,
saying more than I would have thought.

In the eyes of every passer-by
a dull-mirror lies within.
The spark of truth that mixes
with the lies, tarnished with sin.
For as they look at me I know
they see what I've become:
how I've deteriorated from gifted
to just another "someone."
They tell me that I am too fragile,
they tell me I am weak.
They show that I spend too much time inside
the mind that has become bleak.
They shout their truth to the skies above
see it shimmer and glow,
and then as it starts falling
watch as it turns to snow.

Without their judgement, how could I see
what's tattooed on my skin?
What am I lacking that makes me so shallow
that I alone can't see where I've been?
There's a letter on my jacket
but God knows what it says.
So I look into the eyes of strangers,
as they whisper what I am.

- - -


| Filed under

Contributor: John Garmon

- -
Vacuums whirring their incessant sucking
early in the office mornings
before the people wearing clean clothes
enter and geneflect at their appointed stations
and sit down and begin again their rituals
the many prayers they will pray to make it
to endure another day in the vacuum
where the big meat=eating city sucks
lifeblood from those who are young once
before the machine comes calling
and the priests of profit intone
chants to the gods of gigantic goings
trading trash for treasure and testing
everywhere there is merchandise to be sold
or a new way to exact perfect costs
from what was merely static before
as dust and bits of forgotten paper shreds
on the hard carpet lying in supplication
prostrate for the early vacuums
to clean things up and get the place
in order again for greater gain.

- - -
John Garmon is an assistant in the writing center, College of Southern Nevada. His poems have been in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, and other journals.


| Filed under

Contributor: Kerry Alan Denney

- -
My heart has places
Where the ashes scatter in the wind
Just like every dream
When I reached out
Yearning for your touch

My soul bears the scars
Endless shifting runes in ever-scorching dunes
Each grain of sand a story
Erasing every lie
And embracing my sorrow

My love burns the pyre
In the hearth of your content
It smolders there 'til the wind returns
Whisking it away
To where only shadows dare

Where do you go
Whenever I fall?
Dying all over again
Just to hear my name
Pass between your lips

I was there
Long before we met
I'll still be there
Long after you've left me
Alone here

- - -
Multiple award-winning published author of fantastic fiction - novels and short stories.

Fortune’s Unkempt Temple

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Contributor: Colin Dodds

- -
Because we are not born into nothingness
wherefrom trees
and cities grow around us,
the world begins on a bus
that takes us there.

This bus is delivering us
to desires that do us no good.

A catastrophically old woman
trembles to the bathroom at the rear.
Her wool hat reads: MILLENNIUM.
Chemicals and poo fill the air.

The movie on the bus is a comedy
about people obsessed with sex
long after it has any use for them.

Brakes hiss, squeal.
My friend and I establish ourselves
among the bus terminal cases.

If the busstation-casino hieroglyph
sums everything up for you,
then read no further.

I wake with my pockets full of money
and a deep feeling of fear.

My friend hits me
with the voodoo gibberish of an addict
about sixes and sevens ebbing after an ace,
flowing after two face cards,
trying to get his money back.

The tv is full of old people,
so I get some cold air.

In the daylight, the building’s inscription
dedicates it to:

At night, a motorized vulture
above the casino lobby says

The sight of all those
potential porkchops down there
makes my buzzard-stomach jump for joy.

There’s a deep perfumed stink on the wind
where the sea should be.

One day they made
too many seashell-covered jewelry boxes.
And the seashore became a swamp
of what people desired then discarded.

All the demure treasures of childhood
sit piled below signs that sing their worthlessness.
Pigeons walk the retail floors.

A glacier of sadness
cuts up the farms, the towns,
spearheads rivers to the sea
and demands that it be addressed.

On the boardwalk, that sadness is me.
And still I tell it
that I’m the wrong guy to talk to.
I can’t do anything.

Night falls, the bus nears,
nightmares ring in the air.
The weeks have put my situation
out of euphemism range.

The casino that gave my money
and the casino that took my money
continue to gleam against the sky.

It’s back home to the old bet—
the paycheck down on en vino veritas,
ending up drunk, broke and mistaken.

Men live in the lights I whiz past.
Remember that about the bus.

The mystical womb-defying bus
makes a cheap Odysseus of me.
It moves through the world
as if there were a way out
or a way in.

The movie on that bus
says God will buy you a donut
and help you do what you don’t want to do
one more grueling time
before you can finally forget
the whole affair forever.

The movie says heaven
is full of hunger for our lot.
And I will never doubt
the dexterity of desire.

- - -
Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education in New York City. He’s the author of several novels, including The Last Bad Job, which the late Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” Dodds’ screenplay, Refreshment – A Tragedy, was named a semi-finalist in 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. His poetry has appeared in more than ninety publications, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Samantha.

Three Ways Of Looking At A Father

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Dead these many years,
Dad's still there for me
every day, pointing

from a star
toward excellence,
the goal we shared.

I missed two free throws once
at the end of a high school game
and we lost by a point.

On the way home
after the game, he said,
"Why did you miss

those free throws?"
Years later in college
I came home with all A's

and one B. I showed him
my grades and he said,
over his newspaper,

"Why did you get the B?"
After graduation I was thinking
about getting married but I

wasn't certain. So I asked him
what did he think. Once again
he was there for me.

Sipping his tea, he said
"You asked the girl, right?
Follow through."

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


| Filed under

Contributor: Krystina Balogh

- -
I sit and watch the embers float by
On a warm summer breeze, tinged
With the pungent, acrid, scent of smoke, freshly cut grass,
Charred hot dogs, and wet swimsuits.
A leaf rimmed with fire catches
My eye. It mesmerizes me. I follow its meandering path
As an updraft lazily lifts it
To the sky. Yellow and orange dance seductively,
Flickering and leaping (clumsy, graceless)
Across its dried face. Peals of
Laughter ripple through the air
Mingling with excited shrieks and whoops,
Drowning out the snap, crackle, and roar
Of the raging fire
Before me. A loud popping snap
Brings me back to
My current adventure.
I pick up a stick and
Strip off the soft, papery, bark.
Impaling a marshmallow (Stupid, silly girl!)
On its point, I walk towards
The clubhouse. The chain
Looped through the
Door’s handles glimmers in the firelight.
A twig snaps under my
Foot alerting them to my presence outside.
They bang on the door
Making the chain rattle. They move from
Frantic begging to pleading to
Threatening to crying to silence.
A siren wails in the
Distance as I extend my marshmallow
Laden stick towards the (giggling, pointing)
Hungry, eager, flames devouring the clubhouse.
They should not have laughed at me.

- - -
Krystina Balogh is a freelance writer that haunts the mid-Atlantic region of the USA. She dabbles in the horror, science fiction, and fantasy genres and is the author of numerous short stories. When she is not busy writing, she indulges her love for the supernatural and video games.

Soft Shadow

| Filed under

Contributor: Ron Koppelberger

- -

Harmonies of sweet asylum and engaging
Eyes borne of perplexity, by love, sweet days of love
And breaths of mazy mist gaining the flurry
Of scarlet spears in indigo skies, of soft shadow and
Horizons attended by the pain of distant
Dreams and babes in castes of quiet concern.

- - -
I am aspiring to become established as a poet and a short story writer. I have written 98 books of poetry over the past several years and 17 novels: I have been submitting my work for the past year and a half. I am thrilled by acceptance.

And So...

| Filed under

Contributor: Gary Mansfield

- -
Once we came. . .
to see the pilgrimage. Tall, our ideas were not. The imagination, however, soared, and we became one; as only one can become: Mutual. And we traveled, thinking wildly of the past; laughing and grinning at things we did. And that is how—in the fog—we became friends. . .

And so
We saw ourselves. ..
as pioneers, seeking formulas and coming away with inventions. We explored, employed, and yelled at those who did neither. We were such a bother—but—so you don’t get the wrong impression, not everything was about us. Oh, no. There were others; plenty of others who forged their own concepts, precepts, opinions and then became a bother of themselves. . .

Tall tales were told. . .
stories that were real or as real as they will ever be. And they penetrated our souls, our hearts, our pure idealism, entrenched in memory as they were to become; become complete and whole. These were the stories of us and they were glorious, because they were ours. Oh, yes, they were real; so, so real, despite what some might (did) say about them. (Those who did complain were
transient---we pretended to listen to them, without much interest). So, yes, as stated, they were real, Alright . . . as much a real thing (story) can be when imagination attacks the enemy and the memory. . .

We felt ourselves. . .
slipping beyond, beneath, almost, like idiots, into a quiet-lonely solitude. But it was not sad, this quiet-lonely solitude (a story in itself). On the contrary. It was needed and therefore, we were needed and they became needed and there were smiles all around. These feelings of mental attributes, became, at times, tiresome; wearisome; and perhaps (oh, push-posh, perhaps) a bit like Russian literature, full of love and violence all at the same time. So, we picked a violet and tried—for once—not to make poetic it’s being. . .Seeing that it had been done before and then done again. And there too, as you shall see one day, became a story (in itself). . . Our stories. . .

And so
Once we came, again. . .
the end, dramatic, conclusive, permanent. Once the past had been catalogued, and the story (stories) told. . .then it could stand no more on independent charm (legs) and was permitted (quietly) to unfold and float away. Unless, we grasped its content; we took hold of its original state; the state of permanence. Then it stayed. Sad, you say, that such a thing—as a story (stories) would stay and not be shared; sad, you might think; ambiguously-profound you might declare. And hell, who knows, you might be right. For in “the end” it’s your story that matters most. . .

And so
I met the Status Quo
Neither friend nor foe, neither lo and behold, neither someone I wanted to know.

- - -
My Name is Gary Mansfield, I live in Apple Valley, CA...married, retired, and writing everyday, poetry, fiction, and essays.


| Filed under

Contributor: Jennifer J. Pruiett-Selby

- -
My neighbor next door said
God doesn’t exist because
he’s never seen the One that
allowed his son to die in Iraq

My fifth grade teacher said
there’s no such thing as ghosts
or the supernatural—everything
can be explained in scientific terms

At the mall last December, a crowd
held signs saying the world will end
soon. I wondered why they wasted
their last days standing in the cold

My mother told me that I must believe
what feels right in my heart. Dad said
he doesn’t have all the answers, but he
knows there’s certainly more than this

My big brother, who’s in college, said
the Mayans were wrong ‘cause we’re still
here. He knows a girl that saw her cousin’s
ghost, and a guy who practices voodoo

TV shows provide evidence for the possibility
of extraterrestrial life, and we’re probably not
the only creatures capable of emotional
connections—like trust, or fear, or love

- - -
Jennifer J. Pruiett-Selby is a teacher and mother of four, with a Master’s degree in English from Iowa State University. Jennifer currently lives in very rural Iowa where her column {just a word} appears in the local newspaper. Her work has been published in Red River Review, Matter Monthly and Four and Twenty.

Gentleman's Club

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
With feline grace
and feral eyes
a ponytail

of raven hair
bouncing, bouncing
waitress tall

wisp of skirt
spaceship heels
weaves among

tiny tables
tray held high
in a disco sky

ice cubes tinkling
a lioness amused
by eyes of prey

never brushes
a single shoulder
as the men drink up,

reach for money.
Maybe she will.
Let's order another.

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

My Father

| Filed under

Contributor: John A Miller

- -
My father in heaven looking down on his son.
I hope you’re proud of the man I’ve become.
How come it’s so fresh when it’s been four years?
I think of you often as I stand here in tears.
I miss you so much for this day was your last.
Where has the time gone, it moved so fast.
When we’re together I know I’ll be glad.
I was your son and was proud to call you my dad.

- - -
I like to write fiction novels and short stories and dabble in poetry when the mood strikes me.

Only a Dream?

| Filed under

Contributor: Jason Sturner

- -
As she closes her eyes
for the night
her lashes mingle
and dreams begin behind them.

Fireflies lead her across
a garden he has grown her
as a wind full of whimsy
lifts her hair down.

She steps out of a pink negligee,
igniting her skin with the goose bumps
he’ll conquer with an embrace.

And her beauty commands the killing of a flock of clocks:

Victor Hugo writes one last poem by coffin candlelight;
a blind man sees his wife while reading it in Braille—

The aurora borealis falls in love with a rainbow;
nature sends a new species of butterfly into the world—

Scarlet tanagers drop rose petals over the ocean;
hands of sunlight push lovers face to face—

But before that first kiss the locusts cause an eclipse.

As he tosses and turns
in white sheets
werewolves crawl in
from the shadows.

Fireflies explode
in the wilting garden
as a sky full of bats
pull her hair up.

But it’s only a dream,
Only a dream, she says
as she wakes him quietly
with an empathetic kiss.

- - -
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:

She Continues Onward

| Filed under

Contributor: Christina C. Franklin

- -
She sews.
The humming is rhythmic and purposeful,
The pedal stays depressed,
She continues onward.

Her mind wanders endlessly
Never at home base
Too many images
Why are so many bothering her?

“Stay away”, she whispers
Sewing faster and more determined.
They won’t stop talking to her.
She’s at their mercy.

Her whispering grows louder
Hands grasping threads tighter
The fabric screams to be released.
“Shut up!” she says.

The walls keep talking.
She gets up to pace a never-ending track
Trying to sort through the messages,
But never sure of reality.

She cooks.
The clicking is rhythmic and purposeful.
The whisk keeps turning.
She continues onward.

The purple plate annoys her,
Colors dance an important role.
Pacify the voices,
Reach for another in the spectrum.

They stay by her side
Telling her stories of grandeur,
But spilling only lies.
“Leave me alone”, she spouts.

Louder the tales are told
Of far off lands of kings and queens
That live in a fantasy castle
Inside a blurred veracity.

Messages pound into her conscious.
“Stay away”, she pleads
Strangling the pot handle
As its contents overflow.

She gardens.
The digging is rhythmic and purposeful.
The trowel collects soil.
She continues onward.

- - -
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:

Hearts Aflame

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Contributor: Ron Koppelberger

- -

The prevailing belief, billowing blue and
Syrupy scarlet, by hearts aflame and eyes of
Distant love, the
Sweet alliance of surging passionate affection
And comfortable embraces done in velvet shadow
And seasons of silent sugar, of calm reverie
In sustained touch.

- - -
I am aspiring to become established as a poet and a short story writer. I have written 98 books of poetry over the past several years and 17 novels: I have been submitting my work for the past year and a half. I am thrilled by acceptance.

[Waiting is a kind of trap you get caught]

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Contributor: Firestone Feinberg

- -
Waiting is a kind of trap you get caught
in when you're caught in the supermarket
or the bank or you're in line at the bus
stop or in the appropriately-named
Waiting Room in a doctor's or a dentist's
office and usually while you're waiting
you don't even realize that you've probably
spent half your life waiting for something
to happen or for someone to do something to

you or for you or sometimes you're even
waiting for someone in the train station
or in the lobby of a hotel or a museum and
so you either stand there like a statue or
you find some place to sit and either read
something or entertain yourself by looking
around or remembering or just watching
other people wait for whatever they're
waiting for or maybe you just dream about --

- - -
Firestone Feinberg is a retired teacher. He taught music at New York City's public high school for the arts (La Guardia High School) for twenty years. Besides being a poet, Firestone is a painter, a pianist, a composer -- and --eight months ago he became a proud grandfather!

O Muse, Oxymoron

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Contributor: Roger Brightley

- -
Maybe it’s poetic to think poetry is in the blood,
that when you shackle the man by his wrists,
nailing his breadth, stretched along a wall of pride
and take the blade of anguish to his torso
to tear through his demeanour and unleash a riptide of emotions —
Poetry gushes from his blood song.

Maybe it’s poetic to think poetry is in the blood —
Poison his blood:
Hear him cry, hear him moan, hear him curse, hear him in pain,
hear him, O People of the World, hear in the silence and in godforsaken prayer;
O Existential Pain, you have turned a layman into a poet
You have put intoxication in his hand to dull his thinking mind
and like an enema, flushed out frustrations so bitter and Bukowski;
This severe stating as is, this guttural structure of bile.
O Existential Pain, you have made man immortal
In your irony — immortally mortal.

Maybe it’s poetic to think poetry is in the blood,
Then let me break this glass to forehead
to write words alliterative and simple
in the red destruction of nature and nurture:
These are the walls I claw with useless fingers
These are the floors I crawl in search for hopeless mercy,
These are the people I strangle with my fucking tendons
Break my heart strings, shatter my ribs
I am a disingenuous danger — an animal in me awakens
thrashing, clashing, smashing, gnashing horror.

Maybe it’s poetic to think poetry is in the blood —
So make him bleed.
And then, call him: Poet.

- - -
Human. Writer. Poet. Crazy Banana.


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