| Filed under

Contributor: Steve Isaak

- -
Watching a Godzilla flick alone,
wishing my eight-year-old
kaiju eiga buddy
was here.

He, too, had a b-movie sensibility.

His made-up paper games
& wild scenarios
reminded me of my boyhood self,
his sudden mature gazes
& silences
betraying another veracity:
he was too often alone,
imagination his only companion.

I smile fondly,
wishing I’d been better
with him & his mother,
who confused angry volume
with violence,
whose drunk, tempestuous nature
turned up that volume,
like Godzilla’s siren signature roar,
no long monstrous,
but forgiven.

- - -

Native I Am, Cocopa

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Contributor: Michael Lee Johnson

- -
Now once great events fading
into seamless history,
I am mother proud.
My native numbers are few.
In my heart digs many memories
forty-one relatives left in 1937.
Decay is all left of their bones, memories.
I pinch my dark skin.
I dig earthworms
farm dirt from my fingertips
grab native
Baja and Southwestern California,
its soil and sand wedged between my spaced teeth.
I see the dancing prayers of many gods.
I am Cocopa, remnants of Yuman family.
I extend my mouth into forest fires
Colorado rivers, trout filled mountain streams.
I survive on corn, melons, and
pumpkins, mesquite beans.
I still dance in grass skirts
drink a hint of red Sonora wine.

I am mother proud.
I am parchment from animal earth.

- - -
MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era: now known as the Itasca, IL poet. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 26 countries, he edits 7 poetry sites. Michael is the author of The Lost American: From Exile to Freedom (136 pages book), several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems. He also has over 69 poetry videos on YouTube.

I Must Be a Lake

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Contributor: Jeff Burt

- -
Love's never done expressing
like an impressionist painting
of a lake which always seems to move into focus
but never finishes the moving
or the seeming to move.

Love's never done expressing,
like art it makes things more immediate,
less mediated
than math or science can make, like the sudden sound
of a storm of language which has gathered and risen
out of the sublimation of thinking to the feeling of thought
(as ice becomes vapor
without becoming liquid so do symphonies
from sentences form).

Love's never done,
and now I understand
how the warmth of two hands pressed against my shoulders
can still the dark drum of my heart,
can turn my life around,
how like a lake gone dry from years of drought
a sudden rain restores and reeds come back
red-winged blackbirds populate,
I understand I must be a lake
for I have taken in the excess of overflowing hearts,
found the flood of my life returning
after I had given it up.

- - -
Jeff Burt grew up in Wisconsin, Texas and Nebraska, loves water in all sizes, creeks, ponds, rivers, lakes, oceans, mist, fog, drizzle, rain.


| Filed under

Contributor: Theresa A. Cancro

- -
Scintillating scapula in the corner of my eye
you appear unbidden apace, a specter at the edge
of night, shriveled day, scratched dry limbs brushing
my bedroom window, crepuscular fingers
graze my hair when you whisk by, pleating
drapes, a grimace in the air, yet nearly in-
distinguishable from winter gusts seeped
under the door, no shadows to warm
the utter blasphemy, the dread history
you drag in to the middle of my scree dream.

- - -
Theresa A. Cancro (Wilmington, Delaware USA) writes poetry and fiction. Her poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in print and at online sites, including Jellyfish Whispers, Kumquat Poetry, The Rainbow Journal, Stormcloud Poets Anthology, A Handful of Stones, A Hundred Gourds and Shamrock Haiku Journal.


| Filed under

Contributor: John Kropf

- -
Dark redeemer
carrying legends of Sumatra, Arabia, Columbia

Creator of cultures
fuel for a Sufi’s whirling dance
drink of protests by patriots
in the days of revolution
drunk in heroic proportions
by Balzac and Beats
made mad by your power

Drunk black
by my father
on the troop ship
far side of the Pacific
World War Two
because green skin of slime congealed
on tins of curdled cream

The history
of why I drink you as a I do.

- - -
Maybe the best way to describe myself is to look at my books and other writing.


| Filed under

Contributor: Sean Isaac Garner

- -
There's a fire in me
that I'm trying to drown,
but I'm doing it wrong.
Should have snuffed it out with dirt,
but I poured booze on it.
I saw the pretty flame
draw higher and didn't
stop. I figure if I keep pouring
it'll burn itself out
and take me with it.
My trees
are catching fire now,
and I can't hear the birds anymore.
The alcohol burns
too fast and
I cry when it's gone.
Cry like a baby.
No baby bottle
little baby boy blues.
Can't find my baby girl
anymore. Not sure
if she's in the fire
or the trees.
Either way she's gone
and it'll take some doing
to find her. The fire has to die
but the fire can't die.
I'm too fond of it now.
I’m not willing to leave it,
not just yet.
It makes me feel
like a cowboy.

I don't think that's too much to ask

- - -
Sean Isaac Garner is a Nebraska poet and veteran of poetry slams and readings from Sioux City, IA to Omaha, NE and has been a featured writer at Wayne State College's Plains Writer Series. His work has been featured in "The Judas Goat" and "The Nebby."


| Filed under

Contributor: J.K. Durick

- -
They didn’t need to call us in for any of this
We felt it coming on a long time ago, a hint
A whisper of things to come, the grasp of it,
The trap of it snaps shut; the words he says
Give it life, a life of its own, separate from us,
Moves it center stage, knows its lines, its moves
Blocked out, produced, directed, well critiqued,
With these words the curtain rises on our last act,
His restless captive audience squirms in their seats,
The words begin to paint pictures, whole scenes
Come to life, the beginning, middle, and end,
The inner workings of things, the stages, progression
And the finally fading into inevitable darkness;
His words become monstrous, whirl around us,
Grab and pull at us, a pack of wolves around us,
Our backs to the wall, our firing squad readies,
Our blindfold slips a bit, and we finally ask if
Anything can be done, knowing full well the answer.

- - -
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Shot Glass Journal, Black Mirror, Third Wednesday, Thrush Poetry Journal, and Madswirl.

Honoring Bacchus

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Contributor: Marija Makeska

- -
We honor Bacchus
The ancient god of the wine
Who makes you take the glass
Pour alcohol to taste it
Thinking you are doing only a test
Of over fifty other drinks
While he dances with the Devil
Telling you to have some more,

Then he messes with your head
Your ability to control,
But he still asks you friendly
To have even more
He slyly teases you
Asking how many chairs do you see
And pours you even another drink
Making you unable
To walk yourself to home
Where even your wife and children
Will ask you to have some more

- - -
Marija Makeska is a writer, fine artist and a filmmaker whose passion are the Eurasian cultures. In 2013 alone, she had a number of publications for Dark Gothic Resurrected, The Northern Cardinal Review, Goddess Pages, Circassian Voices and many others, and her second self published book “The Book of Muses” came out. She’s currently a monthly contributor for The Spread Magazine by CinemaJam.

Bobby Pin

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Contributor: David Calbert

- -
I found your bobby pin
Slid absently in my jacket sleeve
I brought it to my nose
Hoping it retained a whisper
Of your perfume

I have dreams that I’m
A river
Bastard body scooping
Muddy fingernails through
A dry riverbed
In the valley of Apotheosis

The thirsty dust sizzles and shrieks
Like pork fat bubbling in a skillet early Sunday morning
Grease trap to catch discarded
Cartilage that dreamed of once
Hardening into bone

I found your bobby pin
As blameless as a wasp sting
It sang off my buttons
But gave away nothing

- - -
David Calbert lives in California. He writes fiction, essay, the occasional poem, and is still trying to find his place. He also tends to drink whiskey and talk about bad ideas for horror movies.

Mom At The Prom

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Contributor: Evalyn Baron

- -
There is one girl,
Born pure,
Whose vision
Remained her own.
Every time her young scene
Demanded over-writing,
She knew the wisdom
Of few words.
Her karma, clearly,
Was to walk with wisdom
Through the valleys
Of shadowy child play.
Her mission , manifestly,
To gently lead
Where others forgot to go;
Where others never even knew

So, this bleary high school steeplechase
Not only bores, but frightens her,
Though her mother, enlarged through time,
Dances, holding the picture of her daughter’s dress
Up to herself to see if it might have once fit.
All around the mothers smile,
Though only this daughter’s smile is sad.
The comedy continues, laugh track intact,
Though no matter how garish
The mother’s routine,
The clear-eyed girl moves to the rhythms
She hears in her heart.
Her dancing night will fade fast
From what’s important to this blessed child.
But her mother will be cursed
With never forgetting

Her daughter’s prom, and soon the memories
Of her own powder blue tuxedoed tragedy
Will mix, ineluctably, with the photos
Of her daughter’s perfect night
And the years of fat and regret
Will melt away,
Hope Restored.

- - -
Evalyn Baron is a retired Broadway actress, recently moved to San Francisco to get some serious writing done. Her memoir - For Better or for Better: A Story of Divorce, Dachshunds, and Everlasting Love - will get to bookstore shelves eventually. She hopes.

Waiting for the Same Thing

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
We're all waiting
for the same thing,
the old monk told me
on a tour of the abbey
the day after the monks
buried my brother
in the cemetery down
by the creek.

At some abbeys, he said,
monks make fruit cakes,
cheese, jams or fudge.
Every abbey, he said,
has to sell something
while we're waiting
for the same thing.

I know you and your brother
weren't close but he probably
told you we've been making
pine caskets for 70 years.
He was an artist with a chisel.
Never a word out of him.
Just shavings of wood
flying around him like moths.
We have no one to replace him.

And business is improving.
I don't know how we'll keep up.
It's no longer just monks
at the other abbeys
buying our caskets.
Suddenly civilians
like the simple design,
the plain box made out of pine,
no puffery, nothing fancy.
One man drove down here,
bought two and fit both
in the trunk of his Lexus.
Imagine that: our caskets
in the trunk of a Lexus.

The monks who make fruit cakes
and other good food buy caskets
from us and we buy what they make
but we don't need fruit cakes
the way they need our caskets.
Monks are getting older.
The jams and fudge, however,
and the sharp cheddar cheese
are a pleasant distraction
while we're waiting
for the same thing.

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

Winter White

| Filed under

Contributor: Theresa A. Cancro

- -
snow cloaks her angles, blizzard maps
the ways she beckons little girls out of doors,
innocuous frolics lead to glistening satin
drifts, glint mesmerizes until they climb
hills, leave their mothers behind, see beneath
soft crust surface, sit in early evening to watch
the sun melt across toy shelves, slough eyes droop
on pastel expanses, caught in red rose petal, the thorns of ice
prick their hearts, and at last they have arrived
at the casket, oh, without true love, bitters blight --
no turning back now.

- - -
Theresa A. Cancro (Wilmington, Delaware USA) writes poetry and fiction. Her poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in print and at online sites, including Jellyfish Whispers, Kumquat Poetry, The Rainbow Journal, Stormcloud Poets Anthology, A Handful of Stones, A Hundred Gourds and Shamrock Haiku Journal.

I want to know

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Contributor: John A Miller

- -
I want to know what it would be like to gaze into your eyes and see all the spectacles they have beheld.
I want to know what it’s like to hold your hand and never lose the sensation or its affectionate hold on me.
I want to know how it would be to hold you in my arms and relish the encirclement and feel animated as we embrace.
I want to know the true meaning of a bond that two people can share as one heart and one sentiment.
I want to know what it’s like to kiss your lips with a passion and hunger that will last always between us.
I want to know your fears, what makes you happy, and how I can make you smile without trying.
I want to know the true meaning of love and commitment that will last forever in relation for two souls.
I want to know if you can feel the same about me as I do you and the sensation last us a life time.

- - -


| Filed under

Contributor: Lori Wyman

- -
I’m never good enough,
I feel like crap.
Don’t look too closely,
take a step back.
Things that bother me,
others may not notice.
What is my purpose? Turn my focus,
to the sun, the stars, the wind and the rain,
to the moon, the sky and the earth to gain.
My heart is at peace and all is serene,
tomorrow looks different,
my slate will be clean.
Turn my head and all will seem new,
yesterday’s fears are all but a few.
Take my focus off of me,
and see my purpose entirely.
Break the ties that bind my mind,
to my body and spirit and all that I find.
Blind the eyes that curse myself,
and let me think of something else.
Sear the thoughts that think bad things,
so that I am free to laugh and to sing.
Take my focus off of me,
and feel my desires entirely.
Let me live as one with hope,
through all the stress so that I may cope.
To my surprise within all that lies,
I turned my focus and no more demise.
Two days later I stepped on the scale,
and shed four pounds,
no more beached whale.
My clothes are at last loose,
and I am thinner.
All that hard work,
and now a nice dinner.
Turn my head and all will seem new,
yesterday’s fears are all but a few.
Just when I thought that I was over,
sunshine stepped in with a four-leaf clover.
Bless the heart that still sees life sweetly,
jellybeans, flowers and chocolates wrapped neatly.
Let me live with one mind, body and soul,
that beats to a new heartbeat so that I may live whole.

- - -
I'm 53 years old and I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I love to write and am in the process of publishing a manuscript that I've just finished and have been writing for 30 years. I live with my best friend and adore my two Siamese cats. I work as a Sales Representative at Petsmart stores.

Best Practices

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Contributor: M. Krochmalnik Grabois

- -
In the cellars of the Vatican
priests plan their sexual assaults
hold secret conferences
share Best Practices
and the most modern techniques
for avoiding discovery

One priest works on applying
the Fake Dead Girlfriend Ruse
to their complexities

In the meantime
pilgrims stare at marble statues
that are heavy and dense as Neptune

- - -
M. Krochmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.

Chino and Chambray

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Forty years older than I,
Charles, in his tweed cap, stands starched
in gray chino and blue chambray.

For more than a year his broad tie
has let the same iridescent duck
fly against a vermillion sky.

Like a Vatican Guard
he oversees the parking lot
I cut through each morning

far corner to far corner
as I cleave two triangles of cars
parked in my wake.

I ask him one morning,
“Charles, do you mind
when I cut through your lot?”

“Not at all, sir,” says Charles
as he stares straight ahead
and starts the windmill

of his good arm to lead
the pearl Hummer
now pulling in.

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


| Filed under

Contributor: John Kropf

- -
You keep a memory in three competing worlds.

Scientists in white lab coats
engineered a world
that flawlessly remembers all your inputs,
your memory outsourced to a secure location,
like what a child thinks heaven is like,
where you ask God every question you ever wanted.
Until one day,
the server crashes,
or power is lost,
and the screen goes dark.

Since the time of the Han
the sheets have been there
reliable, tangible, unfiltered,
open to the page,
and the words are the same
as yesterday,
the same as today,
and will be the same tomorrow.
A dense treatise, today's newspaper, a 3x5 card;
you carry paper memory like a security blanket.
until one day
you misplace it
and it gathers dust on a shelf.

You and your synapses are
the ever present device.
You could be naked on a desert island
and it would be there with you
all you need to do
is exercise its muscles--
no external source
no object to hold
nothing to lose
till one day
you forget.

- - -
Maybe the best way to describe myself is to look at my books and other writing.

Faint Words

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Contributor: Monica Rose

- -
Their story was written in pencil.
Scrawled on a mere two pages of his moleskine,
promises of new beginnings dripped from his lead tip.

His words colored their moments,
fleeting memories printed boldly onto soft white sheets;
their time together summed up in incomplete poems and entries.
His sentences flowed free of grammatical errors,
edits and erase marks unnecessary;
their story not needing to be fixed.
His letters intertwined as his lines were written in cursive;
their embrace complex and striking,
beautiful and unordinary.

Their story was written in pencil and somehow, somewhere,
he stopped mid-sentence.

Turning back to bent and ripped pages, he rediscovered his past.
Although broken, the old stories he wrote still remained fresh to him;
flashbacks he held onto that were printed in ink, bleeding with permanence.

A confused author unwilling to continue a new tale,
his moleskine is open on his desk to the pages of ink.
The pages in pencil are no longer touched,
as the reader runs her fingers
along the moments he once wrote of.
Their story was short, with incomplete sentences and unfinished phrases.
Their story is now abandoned and fading;
what they shared and what they had now disappearing
into nothing but faint words, erasable figures.

Their story was written in pencil - temporary.

- - -
Monica Rose is a floral soul left to blossom in the Southern California sun. Her work has been published in her school's paper the Informer, and hopes to spread her pieces to new journals and sites.

The Old Director

| Filed under

Contributor: Evalyn Baron

- -
Gracious as fine, lined silver,
Stooped and warm,
Over the hand of his partner,
Dancing a minuet
On a polished parquet of words,
The elusive fox,
Among the grapes,
Juice staining his delicate paws,
Teeth sharp, hungry for sweets,
His delicate nostrils quiver.
He looks for the wine.
The soft white breast,
True with emotion,
Breathing for God,
And he says:

“Give me your finest linen,
White, embroidered, honest.”

A demanding animal,
This old fox.
Scaring young men,
Chasing bursting maidens
Into his soft thin arms
For their juicy hearts.

His soul beats iambic pentameter,
And he hears the words like music
Soaring around his sleeping shut eyes.
His snout smells all colors but,
(Having the miracle of human speech),
His mouth tells only stories
That light the dreary world.

- - -
Evalyn Baron is a retired Broadway actress, recently moved to San Francisco to get some serious writing done. Her memoir - For Better or for Better: A Story of Divorce, Dachshunds, and Everlasting Love - will get to bookstore shelves eventually. She hopes.


| Filed under

Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
There was the Italian engineer who played saxophone
Whose wife wore the latest fashions

And the Indian computer scientist
Who littered the lawn with cigarette butts

And the Chinese guitarist who strummed love songs
As if mourning the girlfriend who left him

And the Japanese woman so silent
It seemed she never spoke at all

And the gay Pakistani doctor
With the lover with the shaven head

And the Mexican mother whose children
Rode their tricycles around the front porch

These were my fellow tenants
These strangers from foreign lands

Who made me see how different
And how similar we all can be

- - -
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.

A Blue Jay on a Grey Afternoon

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Contributor: Joshua Bocher

- -
One day, while walking home from work, I saw
A blue jay carrying in its claws a canary’s egg.
It flew straight into a stranger’s home.
Curious, I snuck past the fence, following it,
And I saw it nesting in a tall tree.
Seeing me, it squawked,
And gave me a little grin
(Its beak turning upon
A most peculiar curve).
In the name of self-defense,
I pointed my finger at it
In the shape of a gun
And made loud sounds
As a child would—
Bam! Bam!—
It flew down towards me
With a wounded wing.
It crouched in pain
In the palm of my hand.
Looking straight at me,
It flashed its eyes at me,
Visibly perplexed and hurt.
Then, gazing at it from above,
I slit open its chest
With my finger, but
It was empty.
It flopped down to the floor
Looking like a deflated balloon.

- - -
Joshua Bocher's poetry has appeared in such journals as Illuminations, The Germ, Subliminal Interiors, and Counterexample Poetics. He works in public health non-profits in the Boston area and live with his wife in Somerville, MA.

Ode to my Autistic Brother

| Filed under

Contributor: Shaquana Adams

- -
Scrawny like me,
Almost a male twin.

He finds happiness
In the dark, in his head.

Communicates through pictures and
Sculptures made of aluminum foil he

Can sculpt Optimus Prime
Without missing a detail.

Laughs in public about private memories
And smiles at the nothings of life.

When he was younger and the diagnosis came,
I vowed to smile at him everyday

So he will always know that he is loved.

As an adolescent he tickles me even after
I say stop and smiles mischievously before he starts.

Sometimes he’d say the smartest things about
Love and loss,

And I’d wonder how he knew.

My brother, my brother.

His life will have unlimited happiness
Because even in sorrow he knows,

That happiness is all in the mind.

- - -
Shaquana Adams is an internationally published poet with a fondness for the color purple. Her poems can be found in Napalm and Novocain, Dead Snakes, Inkapture, Snow Island Review, Bicycle Review, Verse Land, and The World of Myth. She is quiet on the outside but goofy on the inside and writes because the best thing about writing is that she can say what she needs to say. It is an awesome experience.

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/QuanaWana
Website: http://quanawana.weebly.com/


| Filed under

Contributor: M. Krochmalnik Grabois

- -
On Facebook I unfriend people
and people unfriend me
usually with no warning
like an earthquake
not a hurricane

with no casualties
little regret on any side

doesn’t need a blood spatter analyst

- - -
M. Krochmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.

Passions, Unworried Heart

| Filed under

Contributor: Ron Koppelberger

- -
Realms of stray bond, blossoming evanescent,
Animal arrayed by the liking of a remedy in gainful riot,
By passions unworried heart and taboos innermost fire,
Ravishing the awaiting purity of passionate wars and kingdoms of warm rain, the adornments of consolable
Possession and romance at the last
Traces of

- - -
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 (RonnieWK.weebly.com)
* Website-Shadows at Night-Tide (Shadowsatnighttide.weebly.com)
* Website-WolfFray.Blogspot.com

Cats At Their Bowls Lapping

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
This time there’s a postscript:
“If ever I cook dinner for you,
it will be Coquilles St. Jacques
and Jefferson Davis Pie.”

Imagine Angela,
after all these years,
rising and gliding
to check on my pie,

wouldn’t that be something?
Angela, come to Chicago,
and bring all of your cats.
I’ll watch those cats

in your lap napping,
you in my lap napping,
the cats at their bowls lapping,
and I in my chair laughing.

Angela, bring all of your cats
and come to Chicago
to make Coquilles St. Jacques
and Jefferson Davis Pie.

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

Madison Avenue Marionettes

| Filed under

Contributor: Eric Vance Walton

- -
So spellbound
we count
dollars in
our dreams.

We chase dollars
while wearing
invisible collars and
strings from our limbs.
Dance, dance
Madison Avenue

Marching to
someone else's tune,
an ear worm
so cunning
that we swear and
be damned it's
our own.

We follow the piper
right into
A self-imposed
prison cell.
While all we really have,
this singular moment,
passes forever
from our distracted eyes.

Not enjoying nearly as
much as we oughta be
while the most
precious commodity
Time, our time.

Become Fluent in truth
an incongruent sleuth.
You won't fit their plan
but you'll be a man
Who still has time, your time.

- - -
Eric Vance Walton is a novelist, author and poet with a writing career spanning nearly two decades. He has self-published several books in different genres and has won awards for his writing including the, “James Thurber Treat Prize. A native of Columbus, Ohio he currently resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife and their beagle Amstel.

Soap Bubbles

| Filed under

Contributor: Robert Lavett Smith

- -
Loosed from a wire wand,
they drift indolently
over the playground
at the rehabilitation center,
glittering spheres of light
through which children
do an awkward but oddly
compelling dance. Some burst
on the rubber flagstones;
others vanish as quickly
as young hands try to grasp them;
the whole of the scene—crutches,
canes, and walkers, shrieks
of insouciant laughter—is mirrored
in the eyes of an autistic boy
who stands always to one side,
no expression on his features.
Bubbles tumble like stars
through an ocular darkness,
a deep and stagnant water.

- - -
Raised in New Jersey, Robert Lavett Smith has lived since 1987 in San Francisco, where for the past fifteen years he has worked as a Special Education Paraprofessional. He has published two poetry collections.

Change, In Charge

| Filed under

Contributor: Susan Palmer

- -
I didn't want to grow up.
But it happened anyway.
That's what did it.
Wanting to be accepted
I changed behaviors.
Wanting new toys
I plotted.
Wanting safety and comfort
When I already had it.
Only saints and babes
Greet life joyfully as-is.

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Now living in Colorado, Susan Palmer wandered her entire life, living in various places. As an adult, she spent most of thirty years in Hawaii on a little farm. She had written tons of poetry, much of which is humorous, and two novels, both fiction. Her poems and short stories can be found in over a dozen literary journals.


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Contributor: Tikvah Feinstein

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The sparrows are back, relentless as wild grapes.
I hear his chirps, he demands that I do, as he balances
on the cable wire A chirp, chirp, chirping
loud his announcement, while she inspects the nest
just inside my porch roof, under the gable’s edge.

She steps inside, slips her body through the opening,
there’s just enough space - his doing, rather undoing,
since two years before I had tried to close
the opening with tar - after the birds had left
for winter, of course. Nearby I placed a birdhouse.
He was furious on return that next spring, and spent
days peck, peck, pecking an opening in the still pliable tar.

Just over the wire fence, on the slippery birdbath, she
and a young one, tenuous, want to take sips, but are shy,
when he flies over to perch between us. I know him by the
brown shield on his chest. He motions; under his guard
beaks dip to sip. Then the three take off in separate flights
join together on the roof. My roof, theirs.

We exist, summers, the terrier barks away strangers,
the sparrows, and I, in some kind of community of trust and
rituals. Of long, steamy days, and cool moonlit evenings.
I grow flowers, berries and vegetables, ignore their droppings,
laugh at bird love antics, sweep up the broken egg shells,
and adore the babies, their first clumsy wing flapping,
cautious flights. Soon, they and their young are gone.

My bird neighbors, summer guests become a memory among
sunflowers bouncing in sudden rains, dew crystals, gleaming
wild grapes, dusk in the glow of a purple sunset.

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Tikvah Feinstein,editor of Taproot Literary Review for 25 editions, is author of three books and is widely published for poetry and short fiction.

Across the Silent Distant Sea

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Contributor: Stanley M Noah

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You see. I'm standing at the window looking out
while in the moment the mirror must see my
reflection. Three of us---window, mirror, me and
the landscape, and lighthouse beyond. You came
in beside me. And we viewed the distant sea, the
lay of tides like then-and-there like now-and-here.
The displacements no matter stay. You can see far
away as well as me. You and me in the same room,
three dimensional, French doors, the mirror looking
on, window cracked. Once again you standing there
alone like a lamp of fire when I'm gone and return.
You standing here and the sea and the mirror near
the coffee table with flowers and yellow fruit, dark
chocolate and drifting memories. You, beside the
window like a painting above in the room of French
windows and silent sea.

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I have a BGS degree from The University of Texas at Dallas. And have been published in the following: Verse Wisconsin, B.O.D.Y., Main Street Rag, South Carolina Review, Poetry Nottingham and other publications in U.S.A., Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

I spend much of my time watching old movies and drinking gallons of coffee.


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