Usal, Awakened

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Contributor: E.S. Wynn

- -
Highway unspooling before us
rolling on endless
rolling on
like sliding
like snakes
through trees.

Single lane,
dirt road
warm convection currents
scent of flowers
mud water
up to the door.

Black sand
a ring of stones
a log, half burned
low grass
sea like a heart
wet wind spinning
threads of silken hair

cold sets in fast.
Cold, wet
struggling to start a fire
shivering in wet pants
but you're there
hands on my shoulders
rough towel warm
against neck.

Making love in the darkness.
silhouette body
raining moonlight
midnight umbra hair
falling all around me.

Morning sweat
stoked coals
the elks watch us
they know.

Returning to the world,
we know it too.

- - -
E.S. Wynn is the author of over fifty books in print. During the last decade, he has worked with hundreds of authors and edited thousands of manuscripts for nearly a dozen different magazines. His stories and articles have been published in dozens of journals, zines and anthologies. He has taught classes in literature, marketing, math, spirituality and guided meditation. Outside of writing, he has worked as a voice-over artist for several different horror and sci-fi podcasts, albums and ebooks.


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Contributor: Douglas K Currier

- -
He makes a ritual of inactivity,
sits in the same chair here,
the same there, moves from one
to the other cardinal points of his life.

It’s a ritual life disturbs. Life –
as in people, places, activities that cause
absences, cause him to leave
the vicinity of the chairs he knows
will be empty when he arrives.

Each going out, he measures
in the doubt he will have to endure.
Each face to face is a way for him
to fail, once again, in ways at which
he can only guess.

Happiness, he must estimate, having
no gauge small enough to measure it exactly.

- - -
I am a former college professor who has been published in Laurel Review, Dominion Review, The Café Review, and Fish Stories. My work appears in the anthology, Onion River: Six Vermont Poets. I live in Burlington, VT.


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Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
I remember her standing there
Fixing me with a cold evil eye
While grabbing handfuls of pretzels
As if she hadn’t eaten for a week

I see many like her at exhibits
Sometimes talking to the art
Each one a wounded casualty
Of an invisible war in their mind

But as they drain the cheap bottles
Of someone else’s wine and beer
They’re almost like heirs to a dynasty
Enthroned in the margins of the world

And when one of them seems to vanish
Another will soon take their place
To pick at the cheese and crackers
As if it’s reserved just for them

- - -
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.

Thanksgiving Day

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Contributor: John Ogden

- -
Thanksgiving Day is the day it begins to snow.

There's an inch of white
on the seat
of each
deck chair.

There's powder frost
all over
the driveway.

The truck
(hasn't run in years)
hauls a load of snow
in a rusty-sided bed.

like drifting marshmallows
and the smell of candied yams
just coming out of the oven.

And company
the voices and the stomp
of boots shedding ice
of coats rustled loose

heat of the stove stoked
to keep out the cold

and I in my sweater,

because Thanksgiving Day is the day it begins to snow.

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

At Bus Stops on Thanksgiving Day

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Before dawn, people
who work on Thanksgiving Day
wait in the wind for a bus
to arrive or maybe not.
It's too cold to talk
so the people stand
like minutemen and plan
a revolution that would shock
nice families who drive by later,
children tucked in scarves
and mittens, laughing
all the way to Nana's house
for turkey, gravy, stuffing
and later in the day
a ballerina of whipped cream
twirling on pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving is the day
America asks for seconds
and sorts its servers
from the served.

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


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Contributor: Teddy Kimathi

- -
Writing is like creating a new universe;
a blank page acting as an empty space.
You being the creator, you put every letter and word
in unique positions, creating your own universe; a universe
of literary splendor.

- - -
Teddy is a Kenyan native, interested in writing poetry and short stories. He has a first edition poetry book, published in lulupress, titled "Painting of Life in Poetry".

That’s it

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Contributor: Douglas K Currier

- -
I’m as good as my last haircut, as presentable
as the blue suit and a ten-dollar shirt and the tie
without the stain. Sometimes my shoes and belt match.

You see these guys – lots of dandruff, tie
too short, collar frayed, but not as badly
as the cuffs of the suit jacket, bad shave.

You see these guys – heels worn down on the one side
or the other, smelling of old sweat and cheap food, and attempts
to cover it – the smell of age, aging, age by default.

I’m losing the ability to see myself as others must – nose hair,
ear hair, receding hairline, bad teeth, glasses half on glasses,
half off. I can’t smell myself – just need, just desperation.

I guess that’s it.

- - -
I am a former college professor who has been published in Laurel Review, Dominion Review, The Café Review, and Fish Stories. My work appears in the anthology, Onion River: Six Vermont Poets. I live in Burlington, VT.


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Contributor: Cristine A. Gruber

- -
The room in the corner
smells of fresh coffee and old books,
meticulously organized, yet surprisingly dusty.

The window at the end has no discernible view,
yet it’s where she stands to gather her inspiration.

The blinds hang crooked; the window is cracked.
The vent in the ceiling has been stuck since the 70s,
and the stains in the carpet have been present for decades.

An ancient Underwood graces the far corner,
while a modern Dell sits on the desk near the wall.

In summer, the room is suffocating; in winter, near-freezing.
But regardless of season, she’s most often found
sitting on the floor, cross-legged, pen and paper in hand,

capturing the moments as they’re caught by the tail,
then expertly committed to a wide-ruled notebook,

thus preventing their escape through the cracks that linger
between the crispness of an onionskin page,
and the sleekness of a liquid crystal display screen.

- - -
Cristine A. Gruber has had work featured in numerous magazines including, North American Review, Writer’s Digest, California Quarterly, and Red River Review, among others. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, is available from

Coffee on the Way

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Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
We arrange our lives
with complicated coffee orders.
We converse about Hebrew
law and the inter-testamental
period with greater ease
than we utter skinny mocha
decaf, grande.
An old man stammers vente,
vente, I tell you vente
while the barrista looks at him
blankly, blinking college lashes.

- - -
JD DeHart is the author of The Truth About Snails, a chapbook. He is a staff writer for Verse Virtual and his blog is


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Contributor: David Henry

- -
If I,
for a moment
imposed beyond this silhouette

Would I reach refuge?

An asylum, bittersweet and speechless,
lament flagging shrouds
in stranger’s uncanny masquerade.

Crawling across a knife’s edge
where mimes, faceless without disguise
morn in lieu of laughter.

Desperately gesturing
warnings of chaos, while
clowns weep in chambers of
empty stages.

I linger, among the destitute,
lost in mirrored labyrinth
each sheet reflecting two identities.
The charade I am, and the delusion I long to be.

- - -
Dave Henry is a writer of poems and short stories, and a jazz bassist. He is currently searching for inspiration from grocery store shelves.


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Contributor: David Subacchi

- -
When I was young I dreamt about
A leather jacket with fringes
Tight and black with studded collar
Lots of motorcycle badges
Inside a faded red lining
To signal my experience
Yes all I ever yearned to wear
A leather jacket with fringes

But my parents strictly forbade
A leather jacket with fringes
All those zips seemed superfluous
Suggesting immorality
And though I tried to persuade them
It was really for road safety
They both remained quite unconvinced
Refusing to fund its purchase

Marlon Brando in ‘The Wild One’
Clad in leather with zips galore
Never wore those daring fringes
As if they were a step too far
But the wildest bikers I knew
Wore fringes from cuffs to shoulders
Yes all I ever yearned to wear
A leather jacket with fringes.

- - -
David Subacchi was born in Wales (UK) of Italian Roots. Cestrian Press has published two of his poetry collections: FIRST CUT (2012) and HIDING IN SHADOWS (2014).

Circa 1960

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Contributor: Deanna Morris

- -
Father returns from the office,
pours himself a whiskey, and unknots his tie,
removes his wingtip shoes, and hands them to me.
Mother brings him a plate of canapés.
I place the shoes in his closet, next to several other pairs,
polished and perfectly positioned.

I linger there.

Above hang his 23 business shirts. I pull one from the rack
and put it on; the sleeves hang from my arms like white flags
waiting on a northeast wind. Mother is in the kitchen,
a seersucker apron at her waist, stirring supper.
I sit in my father’s closet listening to my mother
swearing, slamming the spoon on the stove.
I pull my father’s shirt tighter around me.

- - -
Deanna Morris is a MFA graduate of Butler University with publishing credits for poetry, short stories and freelance pieces. She was awarded Best in Poetry for Indiana University/Purdue University Genesis literary magazine.

Child at Heart

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Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
He was midway between cradle and coffin,
Too old to draw treasure maps on the backs

Of restaurant placemats, too young to scan
The obituaries to see if anyone he knew

Had died. He had a computer and cell phone
But only knew a fraction of all the things

They could do, still reading paperbacks
And listening to CD’s, still watching reruns

Of Warner Brothers cartoons and Twilight Zone
Episodes. Yet inside he felt ageless

In some way, as if the world was passing by
While he was staying the same, still marveling

At the magnolia blossoms of spring, still
Fascinated by the fireflies of summer, still

Saddened by the soulful song of the cicadas
At its end, year after year after year.

- - -
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 Atheist on Sunday

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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On Sunday his wife
and children walk
to Mass

and he goes
into his garden
to work

all day
primping roses
lilies, dahlias

weeding, pruning
making things right
on his altar of life.

At dusk he brings
his heaven home
in soiled hands.

A big bouquet
for a wife
suddenly in tears.

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

Black Heat

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Contributor: A.J. Huffman

- -
3 a.m. and the circuits could not hold
out any longer. Darkness, thick as an anvil,
descended, stretched its suffocating embrace
across a six-city span. Desperation and 102°
of sudden blindness are constricting, breed
panic and paranoia as ears struggle
inside echoing silence, searching for potential
alarms, incapable of sounding.

- - -
A.J. Huffman’s poetry, fiction, haiku, and photography have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.


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Contributor: J.K. Durick

- -
Tired of talking, tired of thinking of things to say
I put all this on cruise control, going 55, 60 steady
Others whiz by, going away, the distances get wider
And wider, breeze in what’s left of my hair, the sun
On my balding pate, I adjust quite easily to this, for
I’m tired of talking, of thinking what to say, perhaps
I have almost used up the words allotted to me, I feel
Like the tank is almost empty, been running on fumes
For a while now, now on cruise control going 55, 60
Hoping nothing more gets in the way, when I have so
Little left to say.

- - -
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Black Mirror, Deep Water Literary Journal, Poetry Super Highway, and Rainbow Journal.

Drink to it

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Contributor: Anthony Keers

- -
“Just be yourself” she said, “and everything will be fine”.

The problem is,
they don’t want you to be yourself.
I’ve tried in the job interviews
with the promises of being in touch.
On the dates with women whose thoughts
of the perfect man were gathered from magazines.
In the conversations with strangers
who didn’t listen or care,
but continued anyway
because that was the polite thing to do.

Being yourself is a problem.
They want you to be scared of
your body,
your mind,
your soul.
They want you to listen to
the Vultures telling you that you are ugly without
chemicals on your face,
to the Peacocks shouting you look like shit
without beautiful fabrics on your skin,
to the Hyenas laughing at you because
you are alone.

Being yourself is the one thing
they hate.
They believe that you were born to be molded,
and burnt
until you are another
decorative piece.

Being yourself is probably the best thing
you could ever do.

It is the greatest
fuck you
you will

- - -

The Peter Thief

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Contributor: Paul Tristram

- -
Into my prison cell he stole
with his greedy little mind.
He pulled apart my bed pack
to see what he could find.
Searched every nook and cranny
until he found my radio.
Then with a sickly smile
he crept back out the door.
Last time it was my tobacco
before that my bar of soap.
But tomorrow I am going sick,
I’ll be waiting with a rope.

- - -
Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography 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. You can read his poems and stories here!

Midnight Conversation in a Bar

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
The dapper young man tells
the homeless man one stool over,
After I get my law degree,
I’ll get an MBA and go to Wall Street
and make a million before I’m thirty.

And after that?
the homeless man asks,
sipping the longneck
the young man has bought him.

I’ll start a business,
says the young man,
and make another million
by the time I’m forty,
buy a nice house in the country,
then franchise the business
so my kids can earn
as much money as I will.
You want your kids to do well.
Otherwise, why have them?
They cost money.

And after that?
the homeless man asks,
almost finished with his beer.

I’ll retire and buy condos
in Paris and London,
go on safari to Africa,
buy gold against inflation.
Once I retire I want to have fun.

And after that?
the homeless man asks,
lighting another cigarette
the young man has given him.

I’ll die when I get old
unless they invent something
that stops death, maybe a drug.
I’ll arrange my funeral
in advance, some big church,
don’t care which one
as long as they have a choir
to keep the wife happy.
And I’ll hire a good lawyer
to handle the estate.
Don’t want Uncle Sam
getting rich off me.

And after that?
the homeless man asks,
looking for another drink.

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

Coast To Coast

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Contributor: Reese Scott

- -
when i have a kid
he can watch anything he wants on tv
he can look at dirty magazines
he can drive a car without a license
he can beat up his teachers
he can shoot a gun
he can do anything he wants
as long as he doesn’t forget
how it feels

- - -
Reese Scott is from New York. He is currently residing in California.

Fifteen Minutes

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Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
It was 3 am. He sat listening to the lonesome cry
Of a train somewhere off in the distance, thinking

About a boy he once knew who sat on the stage
Of a run-down café with an out-of-tune guitar

Singing in a frail voice about people and places
That would either die or simply fade away,

Leaving behind only lingering memories
To be slowly forgotten as the years passed by.

Bars with black walls and mirrored dance floors,
Women with leather jackets and fishnet stockings,

Parties with bands playing in the basement,
Kegs of cheap beer that never seemed to run dry.

It was 3:15 am. He listened again to the train
Growing further and further away while glancing

At the out-of-tune guitar gathering dust in a corner,
Like a ghost that had lost even the will to haunt.

- - -
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.

The Bartender

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Contributor: Anthony Keers

- -
We were all sitting around on the garden decking,
under thin and thick blankets,
under heaters that pump out dancing waves in the air
under the slowly waking stars above.

I sat on a deck chair
with a Winston Churchill classic in my hand.
Surrounded by friends and strangers.
like we all should do.

I looked around and saw my bartender standing
behind his homemade bar.
Shaking delicious poisons
in a plastic container
and pouring them into different glasses
for his guests to drink.

It was a party,
but the mood was split.
And I was lingering in the opposite half.
The conversations swayed in the liquid he poured,
from the laughter of old memories,
to the sadness of the departed.

My favorite bartender
was leaving.
A one of a kind who
never cheated by pouring
water when you wanted wine
And never forgot his locals
for the ladies who only drank a few then left.

But he had now finished our orders
And we gave our final tips.

My friend has left
to follow his road to the finish.
Although his path is different,
I’m sure we will meet up
to take a breather.

And another drink.

- - -

Waiting for Superman

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Contributor: Teddy Kimathi

- -
Gazing at the evening sky,
as though watching a soap opera,
her bosoms partially bare,
she waits for a superman to help her
on her two feet again.

She has danced with strangers
for long, taking glasses of wine
with them; men who only want to know
her in bed, rather than know her name,
where she lives, what she loves,
her history.

Gazing at the stars glowing in silence,
she waits for a special man to save
her from her own destruction.

She waits for superman.

- - -
The muse of poetry visited Teddy in 2002. He has poems published in Leaves of Ink, Shot Glass Journal, Three Line Poetry, Every Day Poets, and Literature Today. He also has a fiction work in Every Day Fiction.

Old Men

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Contributor: Reese Scott

- -
In the end
when time stops
and the cigarettes
turn to cancer
and grown
men cry
in hospital beds
while wives
hold their
and nurses
make knock
knock jokes
and the children
in and out of their
stealing their IV’s
hiding their medication
and taking their

- - -
Reese Scott is from New York. He is currently residing in California.


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Contributor: J.K. Durick

- -
Eventually, after all the candles and cake
We come to know the past tense of things

The pull and peel of the years we celebrate
The undressing of time, ourselves revealed

More memory than hope, less time to spend
We count up or count down, numbers fixed

Inflexible, unforgiving aging, we grow older
New limits are set, distances, hours and days

After candles and cake we make a discovery
The irony of it all, celebrating time passing

The same song each year, they ask how old
And if we’re sports we sing back our age

How old are you? How old are you? And I am
Six or sixty, eighteen or eighty, never the same

It’s like peeling off wallpaper in an old house
Layer after layer never knowing which is last

It’s like whistling a happy tune walking alone
Down a dark street, always hoping for the best

Eventually, after candles and cake, that song
And all the embarrassing presents we pack up

Gather all the goodies around us and start out
Again, more birthdays, birthdays, birthdays.

- - -
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Black Mirror, Deep Water Literary Journal, Poetry Super Highway, and Rainbow Journal.

Beauty Evolved

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Contributor: W. T. Paterson

- -
I see you there in that tight shirt,
That designer skirt,
Dancing your way down the sidewalk.

Yeah, I see you.
That look in your eyes
That mischief in your smile,
It’s like you want me to follow you
Just because you know I will.

Well how about this,
How about I take that cute body of yours,
The flat tummy with hourglass hips,
Perky breasts and devilish lips
And give you a make-over.

I won’t change your hair
Or the fashions you wear,
I’d just get you pregnant.

The dance would change
New pictures in the frame
Suddenly holding hands
With a pair that learns your name.

I’d turn you into a whole new kind of beautiful.

- - -
W. T. Paterson is a Chicago writer. His recent work can be seen in Procyon Press' Anthology, Maudlin House, and Whispers from the Past. Send him a tweet @WTPaterson

I Lose a Piece of Me

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Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
My Sisters are all just like my Mother used to be
And every time I lose one, I lose a piece of me


They helped to raise me from when I was very small
They are mixed in my memories since before I could crawl
I remember they would pick me up whenever I skinned my knee
And every time I lose one, I lose a piece of me


Time passes and you think the pain won't ever go away
Then you realize all the good memories are here to stay
When you look at a photograph then you can see
And every time I lose one I lose a piece of me


My Sisters are all just like my Mother used to be
And every time I lose one I lose a piece of me.

- - -
I am The Father of two and a Paw Paw. I was born and raised in Ohio and now I live in Florida. I had one of my poems published in "Stormcloud Poets Second Anthology".

Savor Truth

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Part readily the skin
and readily the pulp

and readily the tongues
wild apples bore,

eviscerate the cores
and watermelon spit

the pits they
cannot swallow.

Do this before
you let the tongues

wild lemons bore
find no cores

and you will
savor truth

unlike so many now
still gnawing.

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

In 1975

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Contributor: Darian G. Burns

- -
They screamed their hatred:
Him to her,
Her to him.

Broken things littered around our lives:
in the night;
Muffled in pillows.

Passing car back and forth;
Through my window.

Reflecting much

They lived their anger;
Hatred and

Not meant for me:
Yet -
I was from them.
It stuck;
It always does.

- - -
Darian Burns is a writer, story teller and poet who lives in Greeley, CO.


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