Ash Wednesday

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Ash Wednesday I saw Quinn again,
first time in years, sailing the streets,
weaving through people,
collar up, head cocked,
arms like telephone poles sunk
in the pockets of his overcoat,

the brilliant pennants of his long red hair
waving over the stadium
where years ago he took my handoff,
bucked off guard, found the free field,
and heaved like a bison
into the end zone.

Tonight, when Quinn wove by me muttering,
I should have handed him the ball.
I should have screamed, “Go, Quinn, go!”
He would have stiff-armed the lamppost,
found the free field again,
left all in his wake to gawk

as he hit the end zone
and circled the goal posts,
whooping and laughing,
flinging the ball like a spear
over the cross-bar,
back to Iraq.

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


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Contributor: J.K. Durick

- -
It's just as you imagined it would be.
It's night, it has to be,
and you're alone again,
as quiet as the rest of the house.
Perhaps you're reading,
or, better yet, shuffling bills
poised just this side of a decision
about your life
like leaving Margaret, or Henry,
a diet, the guitar, even at your age,

and then you hear him bump into the chair
you left out of line for that purpose
in the living room,
or you hear him trip on the stray shoe
in the kitchen,
perhaps, the floor creeks in the hallway
just outside the bedroom.
The sound is subtle, slips to silence, but
it's there, he's there,
like you knew he would be.

Already you feel the knife go in,
his hands on your throat tighten,
or, it's a bullet this time,
with all that noise you hear
like the flash, the smoke,
then the numbing pain
then nothing.

- - -
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, Eye on life Magazine, and Leaves of Ink.

I hope snow doesn't turn red

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Contributor: d0ll

- -
Counting my scratches
Which won’t become scars
In my pain I linger
Walking in the gutter
Ignoring the stars
Walking through the streets
licking snowflakes from my fingers

Suddenly I start to run
I run from your hatred
I run from your anger
Fuelled by fear and five shots of vodka
The good old S word was never enough
And it never even worked
I lift my arms up in defense

Your name that I carved into my skin
Years ago it seems
It is still there
The only scar that doesn’t fade

- - -
A young student, djane, alternative model and DIY enthusiast from Slovakia. I enjoy travelling, surrealist art, writing and music, mostly post punk.


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Contributor: Joshua A Colwell

- -
The edges of the morning
clouds, fluffy and plump
like a pastry, with edges
crisper than those of
over-cooked brownies

lazily bake underneath
a sun that feels more
room temperature than
one that could fry eggs
along the sidewalk.

Leaves start to change color,
less cucumber-green and more
a sickly-brown, the kind you
might find from leaving butter
to sit in a hot frying pan too long.

Spring-born babes wail like tea kettles,
Their bodies expanding like popcorn
kernels, toes waiting to be gobbled up
with butter from excited onlookers

- - -
I currently work as a submissions editor at Apex Magazine. I have been published at The Story Shack, Every Day Poets, The Linnet's Wings, Eunoia Review, and The Penguin Review, among others.

Death of Fairy Tales

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Contributor: Tamara Turner

- -
Dance and dream and pink and sky blue fading
From lush to desert where nothing will be born
Shadows come from brightest places good
Seeping around corners into tiny and vast spaces
Ponies and ponytails no longer seen do not hang
But lurk in depths of red paint too bloody to see
We should not grow a momentary lie tranquility false
Murder foul ultimately damaging so extreme
Poor girls who once believed as they were taught

- - -
Tamara currently lives in Southern California's Inland Empire with her favorite scarlet macaw.


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Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
In the 3 am darkness
I look across the parking lot

And see a lit window
Framing a man’s silhouette

He seems about my height
And about my build

As if I am looking
At a mirror of myself

And I wonder what woke him
What impossible dream

That keeps him from sleep
And its intimation of death

Or maybe like me
To just look out and know

That he’s not all alone
In the emptiness of the night

- - -
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.

Around Sixteen

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Contributor: Ashley E. Cox

- -
I suppose you don't know
That I can still see you
I remember blood in my veins
The bliss of a ripe green bruise

I am vapor but I confess
Watching your fingers
Twirl blades of grass
Weighs down my phantom chest

I’m beside your slight bones
When you toss in your sleep
If I had limbs I would brush
Wet hair stuck on your cheeks

Watching you write
Your hand carves with a pen
Oh, to be the paper
Once more feeling your skin

I wait for each sunrise
For your shutters to crack
Your eyes begging the sky
To let me come back

You looked heavenly in white
I tried to count each snow
I hear the birds sing
Watching your stomach grow

What are you dreaming of
When you cry out at night?
Damn the human next to you
He’s not holding you right

Are those lines of silver
Spreading through your hair?
What are you looking at
Alone in your chair?

Rocking by the window
Your eyes dripping with streams
Clenching a photo of me
Around the age of sixteen

- - -
Ashley E. Cox is a writer from Denver, Colorado, currently residing in Los Angeles, California. She began writing poetry at the age of eight; twenty years later she learned how to turn her poetry into lyrics. In 2014, she spent time writing with musicians and is currently composing her first book.

Count to Ten

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
The grass
under the moon
grounds a soul
to earth,
charges the flesh
with fire,
synchronizes all signals,
and electrifies
the magnetic poles –
a calm respite
could save the world

- - -
Scott Thomas Outlar survived both the fire and the flood - now he dances in celebration, waiting on the next round of chaos to arrive. He spends his time reading, researching, taking meditative walks, gazing at the stars, laughing at life's existential nature, and writing prose-fusion poetry dedicated to the Phoenix Generation. Scott can be reached at

The Deli On Granville

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
I lived in the attic back then,
and late those evenings I had to study
and couldn't afford to go drinking
I'd run down to the deli and buy

bagels and smoked lox.
I'd watch the lame son
wrap each item in white paper
while his father, coughing at the register,

pointed to the cans on the wall
and screamed, "Serve yourself! Serve yourself!"
I'd grab a tin of baked beans and he'd smile.
Now, years later, I return to the deli

and find that it's closed.
The sign on the door confirms
what everyone else already knows:
There has been a death in the family.

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

Marilyn Monroe

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Contributor: Joe Russo

- -
We all want to
Be like
The blonde, curly hair.
The perfect physique.
A perfect beauty.

We all pain like her
See how others
Can’t find that
Piece of happiness.

We were all
Like her.
But it takes
Grabs hold.
Covers you up.
Like all she sees

- - -
Joe Russo is a current writing student. He has three flash fiction pieces already published and is currently working on his first feature length screenplay.

My Hands

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Contributor: C. M. Allen

- -
I have small hands

As a man
This is a handicap
Something to be overcome

Oh sure
They are wide enough
Fingers almost thick enough

But my digits are short
Giving the appearance of sausages

No man
With such hands
Is afforded respect

I examine them
Scars burns calluses
And am flooded with memories

Amazing things
Have been done
With these hands

They have built
Written and painted

Held new life
With strength
With care

They have been soaked
In the blood
Of fallen friends

Given comfort
To the dying
And rest to the dead

Wrung themselves raw
In agonizing regret
Over deeds of war

More importantly
They have loved
And made love

Yet still
I am judged
By their size


- - -
An auto-didactic combat veteran with a penchant for strategic misspellings; currently a police sergeant residing in Germany with Bohemian spouse, Haitian daughter, German-American son, sycophant street-dog, and a head full of pseudo-philosophy and post-traumatic stress.

Winter Rose

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Contributor: Theresa A. Cancro

- -
A single winter rose defies
January's blustery garden.
Her lengthened stamens glory
in deep sun's cast-off rays.

Lush branches, pregnant blooms
tangle, untangle as they slice
a mephisto waltz across
remnant snow mounds,

bleak skies. She must have traded
the grim reaper piles of chintz
petals for the five leathery spikes
that last for days, never seem to fall.

Now she fools the eye, with pink-
tinged giddiness, making us
ponder last spring's awakening
through dust motes and ice sheets.

Her evergreen arms blunt
the teeth of short days, long nights.
We're mesmerized by lightness,
avoid the demon's grip.

- - -
Theresa A. Cancro (Wilmington, Delaware) writes poetry and fiction. Many of her poems have appeared in online and print publications and anthologies internationally. She also enjoys music, dance and gardening, as time permits.

This Maze This Woman

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Every man
needs a cane
and a German Shepherd
to ford the mind
and engage the maze
of any woman
single or married.
It doesn’t matter

which maze
which woman
as long as he
trundles on
when he marries
supports his children
grows old
and then rises

one hot morning
blinks in the ether
and asks himself
why did he marry
this maze
of a woman
only to find alas
she’s gone

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

Out On The Town

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Contributor: Paul Tristram

- -
My pay is in my pocket
My new shirt’s upon my back.
Another week of work is over
Time to give sobriety the sack.
The thirst is taking over
I’ve got that Friday feeling again.
It’s time to lose control
It’s time to go insane.

I’ll take a cold Stella can walk
I’m a one man party cruiser.
All the boys are meeting at eight
In our infamous local boozer.
The police are out in numbers
But that doesn’t bother me tonight.
It’s not trouble with the law, I’m looking for
It’s soberness I want to fight.

Give me cider, give me lager
Give me Newcastle Brown.
I’ll drink them all dry
When I’m out on the town.
No one is going to stop me
I’ve waited all week for this night.
If I remember the end of it
Then it did not end right!

I don’t care what you say
It’s not over when the fat lady sings.
It’s over twenty minutes after
The closing time bell rings.
So Get Them In!

- - -
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.

Sounds of Summer

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Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

- -
rise early for quiet
motor-biker rides away

chainsaw shrieks
slices woodland hush

lawnmower growls
from neighbour’s yard

another renovates
with hammer power-saw

open garage car stutters
fails again again

stay up late party-goers
loud music fireworks

- - -
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.

The Reanimation of Love

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Contributor: Bill Danskin

- -
For years we meandered to jaded drums
Lives transfixed on the repeatable bursting boulevards
In dreams we cradled love’s aching call
Its siren song- we marched to diminishing redoubtable chords
Of transcendence though not yet come.

Our hearts turn to a hall of looking glass resplendent
As radiance shines on the Temeraire, the sea unfolds its symmetry
A lunar pool speaks to itself as if in rhyme
Seeking only reconciliation of our years; our exquisite exile
We cling to that which is here.

What guides our name for the unnameable?
Brings us drink from the fluent and fickle stream?
Why cross oceans of time to be the abecedarian?
Our experience abates - recedes from its puissant perch
And brings a beginning to the quietus

So as the snow feathers its way like silent incandescence
A shimmering scape wraps round our open hearts
We walk as slow as the tranquil haze…….we whisper only in thought
Our soft eyes ahead – we share…we adore future fire
And dare we not to wake.

- - -
Bill Danskin is a writer and former ecommerce executive at AT&T. His work can be found at After many moves is currently lives in Fayetteville PA where he enjoys the American agrarian ideal.

Back to the Trees

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Contributor: John Ogden

- -
Couldn't breathe
Set off hiking
Had to get back to the trees.

Found old, familiar hill
Place where washed out rocks
Weathered by placer hoses
Make grooved hand-holds
Also, places to sit.

Found a home
Just until dusk
Just long enough
To watch the sun set.

- - -
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.

Mind Chatter

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Contributor: Patrick Thomas

- -
At last,
The natural vibration that travels through space.
Arrives without a name, providing it all with out a trace.
Trapped, inside a distant dimension, a sliver of the universe.
Time creates patience, along with an inevitable curse.
Truth evolved from the dust of stars, Love, a reason for continuous birth.
Through chemicals arises a new being, a beginning of worth.
Mystery with in our past and future, forever becomes unsolved.
We grow up, get old and tomorrow we evolve.
Only to conquer and kill, our war is forever endless.
Coordinated by the elite, who use the misinformed, even senseless.
Lives that become forever wasted.
Survivors live on, we're thankful, they face it.

A forgotten spirit radiates from our inside.
Pulling like gravity’s reverse, the depths of a celestial tide.
Born with it, struggling just to get by, every day Freedom.
Mass Mentality focused on luxury and survival. Stress turns into paper, just to feed’um.
Every man for himself, walks a land of history.
The birth of war, civil unrest, all controlled sinisterly.
Remember pure nature, a motherly peace,
Even after we color it in, with exhaust and concrete.
One day we’ll forget what once tasted real.
Like the health from a garden provided meal.
Yet some take their own lives, unknown or in fear of never finding bliss.
The rest caught up in the race for material, so hard to resist.
The youth plays like their ready to die, until their screen blinks game over.
Families fight in a fight to stay sober.
The reasons we die, unanswered questions, before and after we cry.

Time goes by fast when we’re together.
Treading the surface through thick and thin,
Embracing through thunderous weather.
But one day we’ll bypass the stages of passion and sorrow.
Never worrying about the infinity that brings tomorrow.
How again did we arrive? A future question that may fail to matter.
The slow died off, so the fit could survive, inside your mind continues the theoretical chatter.
Then why exist if we’re born to divide?
Intolerability emanating from one another.
Like the cut short birth from an unsure mother.
Every day another relationship ends, in the murder of the significant other.
This exists.
Believe that it doesn’t matter?
That our intellect has pushed away the soul’s ladder?

At last.
The future has arrived, it’s here.
We mimic our memory and obscene lives without fear.
We’re stored in systems, of government software.
Lured in by what we named Internet, a being without a face, no hands or hair.
Evolved from numbers, codes processing new life.
We too will evolve again, maybe forgetting what love was like.
We will exist infinitely, but no longer be alive.
We’ll be transferred and saved
Life was and will always be, a hard-drive.

- - -

Why Sweat the Small Stuff

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
My wife told the mailman
she plans to leave me

and my boss said Friday
I’ve been laid off.

My doctor says
I need four stents

even though
I’m not that old.

My son hates our nation
and plans to join ISIS

and my daughter says
she’s three months pregnant.

Last night I told my story
to a drunk at the corner tavern.

He used to be a preacher
and now can’t find a job.

He says I shouldn't worry
about life’s ups and downs

because if, like him, I'm saved,
why sweat the small stuff.

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

Affinity (Six Cinquain)

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Contributor: Cristine A. Gruber

- -

The warmth
of your smile speaks
of your joy; the love in
your eyes mirrors the sentiment


emotion creeps
up again, warming the
heart and soothing the lost spirit
once more.


Hold and
revisit the
best of memories as
often as needed during time


the most vital
task in a whole day is
that moment we breathe deeply and


make anything
harder than it has to
be; life, on its own, will provide


true sentiment
flows once again throughout
the unfettered body and soul;
breathe free.

- - -
Cristine A. Gruber, a Southern California native, has had work featured in numerous magazines, including: North American Review, Writer’s Digest, California Quarterly, The Homestead Review, and The Write Place at the Write Time. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, is available from More of Cristine's work can be found and enjoyed at

I Fly

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Contributor: Rebekha Hadtha

- -
Walking through the woods
he and I
walking over streets
that wander through the night
he and I
walking to the door of my house
he and I
he and I
and the leaves blow by
and the leaves they fly
and I fly
and it lasts

- - -
Former student of Argus University. Lives with two cats and a big pile of dreams.

No Longer The One

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Contributor: J. Ruolde jr.

- -
Kissing him,
Smiling at him
Telling him
You love him

I remember when I was the one
You spent so much time pursuing.

I remember when I was the one
You told all of those lies to.

I'm glad I no longer have to be the one
Who believes you
Who believes I can trust you
Who believes you're worth
Handing my heart to.

- - -
Resident of Vacaville, California. Retired janitor and father of three.


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