Frankensteins of Fashion

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Contributor: Teddy Kimathi

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We walk across the streets and malls
with tops of 60's,
and pants and dresses of 80's and 70's

Ladies gracefully attend operas
with hairdos of Elizabethan period and 90's,
and 80's heels to garnish it all

Gentlemen race to casinos riding vintage
cars, as they fit well with Al-Capone’s classic
hairstyle, tuxedos for night outs,
and 1800's Cuban cigars held by their mouths

Indeed, it is a clash of fashions, creating a fashion
that cannot be described,
like Frankenstein’s creatures with different animal parts

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The muse of poetry-writing visited Teddy in the mid of 2002, as a high school student. Besides poetry, he loves writing fiction and new stories. He also has a sweet tooth for sky-gazing.

Striking Fires Of Our Own

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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Although we’ll never again
be body to body or mind to mind,
you and the place and the years
are alive every night in the letters
I’ve stored in my room.

In your letters it’s still
that day in July
when we met on the hill,
with trees in applause
and the sun all over the water.

In your letters we’re always
body to body, mind to mind,
far out on the sea,
kissing and striking
fires of our own on the water.

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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Looking In

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Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

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side-by-side a couple sit
on the chesterfield
both grey-haired
holding hands loosely
eyes forward watching
not me peering in
through the front window

they don’t move
don’t notice my face
hands cupped around eyes

a picture of kittens
hangs behind them
a coffee table in front
with empty mugs
a plate with one cookie
the sound of voices
from the TV

- - -
JOANNA M. WESTON. Has had poetry, reviews, and short stories published for twenty-five years. Her poetry, ‘A Summer Father’, was published by Frontenac House of Calgary.

(They Say)

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Contributor: John Ogden

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“We need your help!”
(they say)

Until they see that I am white.
Until they see that I am male.

“Savior complex”
(they say)

(they say)

(they say)

so I sit back
(do nothing)

and try not to watch
(the looting)

- - -
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.


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Contributor: Joel Van Valin

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Alexander had one blue eye
and one brown eye.
So did his horse. They conquered
half of Asia...

While France, they say, was rescued by
a shepherdess from Domrémy
and I’ve heard of a
captain’s daughter who cut her hair
rode off and fought Napoleon.

What is the wind that rustles about these loved
ones of history? Do they see
a clarified air, a sky with a
slightly different shade of blue?

I think of Hart Crane, whose father
invented Life Savers
walking off the end of a Caribbean ship
and Lead Belly singing “Goodnight, Irene”
to free himself from a Texas prison ...

And who knows, perhaps one day even you
will show up at your own funeral
or passing by dark water, find a sword
risen from the lake, the white hand of a lady.

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Joel Van Valin is the publisher of the literary journal Whistling Shade. His poems have appeared in publications such as Half-Drunk Muse, Free Verse and Poetry Motel, and his sonnet "The Empty Road" was a winner of the 2012 Great River Shakespeare Sonnet Contest. He lives with his wife in St. Paul.


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Contributor: Mirranda Eid

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I should know better than to expect
to see your freckled face so soon again,
but I can’t help wishing for what I want.

I fell for someone who forgets fears
and would rather remain a lost boy, a carefree
soul than to place a claim on anything—
but the boy who owns nothing has everything.

With that mischievous glint in your eyes,
you tell me to lighten up, and that you’ll
be back soon. Soon for you is later for me.

Time means nothing to you, who comes
and goes as he pleases. Still…
my window stays open each night
as I wait to see the boy of my dreams.

- - -
I'm a 21 year old who's majoring in English Education and writes for herself whenever she can. Writing for me, is both a way to test my creative side and a stress relief at times.

The Transfer Student

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Contributor: Ken Wolman

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The campus bookstore does a brisk trade
in Tim La Haye novels that promise eternity:
a lake of burning horror for the unsaved,
but bliss to those with paid-up tithes and mortgages,
recession-proof jobs, and concealed carry permits.
So I teach, or try, whoever they send me,
and feel a bit like the Civil War battlefield surgeon
who cannot be choosy or (in spite of all) judgmental.

For these children are sweet, naive of soul though not of body:
jocks, cheerleaders, body-pierced and tattooed artists,
profane and beautiful as a Manet picnic,
all bemused by what to make of me
who is not one of them, yet still surprises:
too old to be attractive but able to speak
a disarming shared earthiness and knowledge
of a world beyond what my age is supposed to be.

Sadness clouds the cafeteria we all share,
the dark, Satanic mill where true learning happens.
I overhear that some of the girls are easy marks
who fight the thought of being pegged
since high school as The Low-Priced Spread
by clinging to the forgiving touch of Jesus the Christ
and his emissary on earth,
the boyfriend who pulls out in time.
This explains the boyfriend, spent and hung-over,
who falls asleep in class, oblivious to the insult,
going from one conquest to the next
until, like Bristol Palin's boyfriend,
he thinks he's hit pay dirt because
her daddy's rich, her mamma's good-looking,
and he can get a gig driving a Ditch Witch.

But “his” girl in the first row,
who crossed her legs to get (and got)
my attention, transfers to Rutgers at term’s end,
sends me a curious Facebook note,
then disappears from campus, a Sphinx who proves
that character is born despite the curdled seed
of the dozing boy who will remain so.

- - -
Previously a resident of New Jersey, I am now living in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. I am a former winner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. I have been widely published both on paper and electronically.

Crop Circles

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Contributor: Anne Higgins

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"Early in my writing career I came to believe that the stories I wrote were already written in the unconscious by a hand other than my own."
- James Lee Burke

Geometry was my worst subject,
but I love it slicing its way through the cornfield.
Flowers, Mandalas, Pentagrams,
twelve years now, each summer
new theorems.
Snowflakes, insects,
quilt squares,
Who speaks here?
What message whistles
in the high corn?
In the wheat, what coded words
have I been ignoring?
The cure is part of the art,
the unfolding of the origami of pain.
At the approach of the reaper,
sheaves bow down like Joseph's dream,
not cut,
but bent.

- - -
Anne Higgins teaches English at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg Maryland. She has five books and two chapbooks of poetry published.

The Misplaced Man

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Contributor: Tobi Cogswell

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A long wait for the bus,
he buys two bananas
and a bottle of rum.

Sounds like a sea shanty
but he has not seen a ship
in a long while.

He’d turned toward a journey,
not away. Not because of love lost,
but a pilgrim’s need

to find something—
indescribable and worthy, and he did,
so now he returns.

The rum to warm and to cool him,
a rag to dry tears, sweat,
and the day’s rust and relief

from his face. In his pack
he moves a spare shirt
and two books to make room

for his gifts of food and fatherly
things. And husbandly things.
We see him from our window

and we love him for the story
of the man that he is, wish
him a safe return, a life full

of all the love he has found within,
and who he has become—a blessing
for his family. A lesson for us all.

- - -
Tobi Cogswell is a five-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Her seventh and latest chapbook is “The Coincidence of Castles” from Glass Lyre Press. Her collaborative full-length collection, “The Color of Forgiveness”, is forthcoming from Mojave River Press. She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (

Inertia Baby

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Contributor: Paul Tristram

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Inertia baby get over here
come straddle my tired face.
Get your lazy arse over here
come dim this depressing place.
Let me feel you pressing down
as we feed upon each other.
Inertia baby get over here
straddle my face and smother.

- - -
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!


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Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

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tarmac streams away
under turning wheels
on one side
of double yellow
that keeps me
focused in the moment
the clock the distance
both leading
to the half-hour
when my meeting
will begin on time
or late depending
on members held up
by domesticity
traffic vagaries
of personality
while I ponder agenda
speed limit
weather and the time
it takes

- - -
JOANNA M. WESTON. Has had poetry, reviews, and short stories published for twenty-five years. Her poetry, ‘A Summer Father’, was published by Frontenac House of Calgary.


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Contributor: Lyla Sommersby

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Sometimes I dream
that we've mingled genes
that we've grown so close
our hearts now beat
with the same blood
with the same soul.

Sometimes I dream
that traits from you
merge and meld and mold
with the traits I see
(in me.)

Sometimes I dream
that my body is a sea
that you are the sky
that your soul is rain
falling into me
my depths

- - -
I am a student in Miami, Florida. Painting is my other love. My first book, Sketches of Someone, is available through Thunderune Publishing.

Have a Little Faith

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

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Put the pen on the paper,
even if you have nothing to say,
trusting in the subconscious fire
to bring up its roaring flames.
Trust that all you’ve ever read,
all you’ve ever heard,
all you’ve ever been witness to,
is stored somewhere in the
mass of electrically charged neurons
that make up your brain.
Trust that millions of years
of ancestral DNA are swarming
in a cosmic soup of sorts,
creating something meaningful to write.
Trust in your instinct as an artist.
Trust in the habit energy
that has been established
over the past fifteen years of work.
Trust that when it’s time to deliver,
you can, and you will,
because you must, because it’s
what you were born to do.
Trust that when you knock on
the door, it’ll fly open, with wise
words streaming out in alliterate fashion.
Trust in the vital energy and passion
that propels you, that urges you,
that demands you put one foot
in front of the other, to write
one letter and then the next, to live
one moment at a time.
Trust that there is a purpose.
Trust that it is being fulfilled.

- - -
Scott Thomas Outlar lives simply, spending his time writing poetry, essays, rants, and experimental, existential, prose-fusion screeds dedicated to the Phoenix Generation. He can be reached at

At Hatteras Shore

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Contributor: John Swain

- -
The sea nor’easter reveled in its madness wrath,
I held a black scallop
as my leather boots sank into the changing dune
where the wind blew
to unearth the carapace of a shark-bitten turtle.
The tower of a broken ship rusts above the waves
gathered in a grey siphon to create a separate island
of common reeds swaying.
As the blue dark began to swallow,
I watched the tallest lighthouse candle
a mausoleum hall.
Salt, grit on my skin, sweat like a marooned horse
washed and in love
as the water calms
before the fog roll white with the roosting gulls,
I pledged my joining silence to tremble within.

- - -
John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Red Paint Hill published his first collection, Ring the Sycamore Sky.

Ferguson in Black and White

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Would the death in Ferguson
have been as black and white
as many seem to think it is

if the victim had been
white as anthrax,
and the shooter

black as tar?
Would the aftermath
have been the same?

Would Pastor Sharpton
have flown to Ferguson
to address the masses

while the President
spoke gravely from afar?
Would businesses

have burned as bright
long into the night while
frozen cops watched?

I watched it on TV
with a cup of hot cocoa.
I’m the one to ask.

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


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Contributor: Richard Schnap

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A weak light filtered in
As he looked around his room
At things that once were others

A blue shirt in the shape
Of someone else’s bones
Slowly melting into his

A book with creased pages
As if read over and over
So not a word was missed

A pewter statuette
Of the majestic Eiffel Tower
Rising like a tiny grey dream

Then he wondered just what
They all meant to their owners
Now unknown or underground

And whether whoever
They would pass to in time
Would feel the same way

- - -
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.


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Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

- -
barely visible to the naked eye
these pale green creatures
thrive on the sap of trees
and touch my lips so lightly
giving birth continuously

wondrous light-framed beings
in their strange winged forms
hover on the edge of breath
like wilted leaves or flying seeds
that tickle prickle startle

each one lies on warmth of skin
small soft-bodied pear-shaped
secreting a substance called honeydew
that tastes like summer evenings
though a sooty mold may flourish

and form a roof over their backs
which will curtail flight
and stifle whole populations
halos burned and wings dried
to airy nothingness against blue

- - -
JOANNA M. WESTON. Has had poetry, reviews, and short stories published for twenty-five years. Her poetry, ‘A Summer Father’, was published by Frontenac House of Calgary.

Sitting Shiva in a Hotel Lobby

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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For a year this image has haunted me.
Over and over I hear on the gramophone
Cohen put in my ear
“Feature this:
On a crowded elevator
a strange woman in a baseball cap
unbuttons your fly.”
That image is on the ceiling every night
as I sit shiva in the lobby
of this small hotel,
a hookah, like a tired cobra,
coiled at my feet,
a shamrock in my buttonhole
dead from the last parade.
Night after night,
I think about this strange woman
as each hour I watch
the doors of the elevator
part and give birth.
I observe each new guest carefully,
hoping the woman in the baseball cap
will tire of the rain and ride up
in the elevator and register.
I want her to sit in the lobby
and talk with us.
We who are guests here forever
have eons to hear
what she has to say.
We have paid our rent in advance.
We can afford to sit here and see.

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

I Was Aflame

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Contributor: Lyla Sommersby

- -
I was aflame
the whole day,
the whole week.
I was aflame
I burned
because I thought
you didn't love me
because I thought
I was about to lose you

I was aflame
I was a wick
on a candle
I didn't even know was burning
until it was too late
until the nub
was all that was left
of me.

I was aflame
until you touched me
until you held me
through the rain of my falling tears
and told me
what a fool you'd been
what you'd meant when you'd said
you could see
leaving me.

- - -
I am a student in Miami, Florida. Painting is my other love. My first book, Sketches of Someone, is available through Thunderune Publishing.

Silent Night

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Contributor: Ben Riddle

- -
For Antonio Martin

Somewhere in America
a mother grieves for a son
gunned down in cold blood.
he was just a boy and
they killed him.

She's crying by the television
as old, white men lie about her boy;
she sobs as they demonise him
condemn him
try to justify
his murder.

He has presents wrapped and waiting
underneath her Christmas tree;
he was so excited to see
what she had made him.
He'll never know
what the future
had in store.

After a little while she stops;
and listens to the silence.
It's all she can hear

- - -
A twenty year old aspiring poet and athlete from Perth, Western Australia; Ben Riddle studies Political Science and English and Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia. You can find more of his work at

Missouri Is a Sorry State

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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The woman, 81, is sightless.
She receives a blind
pension check from Missouri
and has for 60 years.
Her first check was for $51.
She received that every month!
Now, 60 years later, she gets $718.
And she gets that every month!
Some see the ogre of inflation rising.

Amid the cacophony
surrounding the death of
Michael Brown, the governor
has announced that this January
blind pension checks will be cut
$33 a month, saving the state $730,000.

In quieter times, the governor
might have found
the savings elsewhere.
He might wisely look again
because advocates for the blind
are livid to the max.

Normally the blind are quiet,
just trying to get along but
one can almost see them
with their German Shepherds
and their tapping canes
descending on the state capitol,
scattering the Governor,
Congress and the lobbyists.
Missouri is a sorry state.

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

Red Light-Green Light-Go

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Contributor: KBounds

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In relationships are where my fear tries to flourish
Little dark corners of inadequacies
the sun rises
to light up my flaws

I don’t (and can’t) always feel beautiful
I should feel worthy
worthy of love (insert shoulda-coulda-woulda here)
and my love is
a big-open-warm-enveloping
“I’m so happy to see you – my heart smiles to be near you” Love.

I feel a deep need (Desire to be realsies here because I can/do/will live without)
inside of me to share this Love
with just a wondrous abandon, a child-like delight,
fear of a landmine disguised as a gesture-word-touch-Nope: “I changed my mind”

If “it” is …Real Love… you CAN’T change your mind - not arbitrarily
Isn’t Real Love beyond the self-will?
Wouldn’t the heart have to Be closed and the mind Decides to change
or do they just Reveal their Truth?

More likely the latter (or so I hope though I don’t understand, I just don’t understand)
while perhaps the intent to love
that Desire-hope-Dream was there
heart and mind must agree – or –
disappointment will follow. It has been mine.

I don’t want to say
I don’t know how
I find it “easy” to say I trust God – but do I trust in me?
My gut, so spot on in my surrounding life
in Love?

I want to trust, I think so, Almost Know So but doubt
falls from my head toward my heart
covering my path with little breadcrumbs
I keep looking back over my shoulder
Can I find my way back
If I do see a landmine? Before I place my foot down?

Can I really move forward
If I keep looking back?

Just how long do I stand on this corner?

- - -
I write to share what my head says and to know I'm not alone.

A Different Vision

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Contributor: Catherine O'Brian

- -
Hers were pale blue eyes impaled by sunlight,
squeezed almost shut behind dark glasses
on merciless blue skied and cloudless days.
She saw this as an oversight of natural selection,
while coping with a compensatory inner vision
peopled by imagined forms embodying her fears.

Gray objects floating in the moonlight
were discerned by her as mere shadows
of the daylight visions of the healthy ones,
those sensible creatures of the light,
surefooted and without self doubt,
free to play at the limits of their imagination and then
return to the solidity of reality unscathed.

- - -
Catherine O’Brian is a scientist and a poet who works at a nonprofit in Chicago. Her poems have been published in The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Ann Arbor Review, and elsewhere.

The Bansuri God

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Contributor: Amit Parmessur

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Dearest lotus-eyed deity from Mathura,
tonight, the intense fascination I feel for You
is oozing serenely into the icy cold fingers
I am about to use to open a fresh window,
onto the cleansed river of eternal happiness.

The new love I have for You is turning
my dust-ridden soul into fragrant sandalwood.
I feel like a carpenter poised to transform
this cruel world into a baby-swing, adorned
with beautiful pearls, jewels, gems and gold.

Tranquility waltzing in my heart, You move
my melancholic feet above obstacles and make
me stop, stare and reason my disjointed shadow
reflected onto the bejewelled pillar of my mind.
I feel now priceless, pristine and One.

O Murlimanohar! Tonight,
the intense fascination I feel for You
is oozing, serenely, into the mellifluous sounds
working wonders on my heart a thousand times,
with Your flawless flute enthralling each pious ear.

You make me dream of sleeping inside
a hollow Banyan leaf, of shining like a hundred
bright moons, of dancing on serpent Kaliya’s hood,
of drawing and painting ravishing rainbows.

The bitterness of the entire world cannot defeat
the sweetness of Your butter if one believes in You,
O Yashoda’s red-lipped infant from Mathura.

- - -
Biography: Born in 1983, Amit Parmessur has appeared in several literary magazines, including Transcendence, Ann Arbor Review, Salt, Black-Listed Magazine, Kalkion and Red Fez. He was nominated for the Pushcart Award and Best of the Web. Hailing from Mauritius he also writes in Creole.

Strange Breeds

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Contributor: Georgette G. Winters

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The man who grows strange breeds
of alien corn, extraterrestrial melons
descended from a single star
on a beam of light
one night.

Lured in
by the neo-hippie scene
by dubstep and trance-hop
he stayed for the bud and the dope
he stayed and built a house in the woods

where he grows strange breeds
of alien corn
and extraterrestrial melons.

- - -
Resident of Vallejo, California.


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