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Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

- -
freewheeling down hill
wind tears at my face
before the slog up
next steep so steep

pressure hard
on each pedal

sweat under-arms
slides forehead
pools on back

reach plateau
lean into curves
bend low on straights

smooth gear changes
brake for sharp turn
skid correct
go go go

- - -
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.

But I Digress...

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Contributor: Grace An

- -
Starting here is when
things became unclear, I just
couldn’t understand.

It was a time of
break down- it just wouldn’t stop.
Doubt and fear came in.

Thoughts began to cloud,
restless was my mind and I
was stuck in a rut.

Because I’ve dug a
hole so deep, there was no light.

- - -
Grace An is an outdoor enthusiast who lives in Cypress, California. She takes full advantage of her down time to explore various beaches, hiking up mountains, and more. If you can’t find her at her next adventure, you can reach her via email at


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Contributor: Lily Chen

- -
Clean white hospital
Surrounded by family
The heartbeat fading

A dark alleyway
Knife glinting under moonlight
Blood paints the ground red

One drink too many
The car veers out of control
A crash then silence

Empty bridge at dusk
Nowhere to turn, no escape
Close your eyes and jump

- - -
Lily Chen is a Midwestern transplant currently living in Southern California with a little gray cat. When she isn’t attempting to write, she’s catching up on her latest television shows or obsessively browsing bookstores for new releases.


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Contributor: Shelyn Wongso

- -
Nothing feels real now.
Everyone is telling lies.
It’s impossible.

What if she’s still here?
We would tell each other tales,
until clock strikes twelve.

My eyes are hurting,
from all the fallen teardrops.
Body is trembling.

She is away now.
Time to get back on my feet,
and move on with life.

- - -
Shelyn Wongso is Chinese but she was born in Indonesia. Her mixed culture inspire her to travel, mostly around Asia such as Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It also influenced her to open an online business selling Indonesian groceries.

A Gift for Swifty's Moll

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
"If you don't like the gun, my dear,
I can exchange it for a negligee but
I've given you many negligees.
I think a gun's important
to have around the house
when I'm at home with the wife.

"Let's say some guy breaks in
looking for your money
or maybe for your honey.
Will you smile and say,
'How can I help you, Mister?
I hope you brought protection.'

"Remember, a gun's your guardian angel
whether you're sleeping or awake.
That's what I told the wife when I
gave her a gun as big as this one.
She needs it for the nights
I'm over here with you."

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

5 Haikus

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Contributor: Aren Laure Lizardo

- -
Heavy rain falls on
my thundering umbrella
while my skin turns blue.

Let's talk space,
the universe, but not us–
for I am afraid.

When we were in love,
I changed myself you, babe.
Now, I'm dead inside.

You procrastinate
like all the others do, too.
Yet, you fall further.

Tell me you moved on–
I need to know. I'm fearful
that you'll be happy.

- - -
Aren Laure Lizardo lives in Lakewood, California, where spends most of his time procrastinating everything, and would rather excuse it as "creative exploration."

Kitchen Vibes

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Contributor: Srijeeta Fareeha

- -
I am tandoori chicken being spiced
and salted by my mother
as she stirs it serenely to reveal a golden reddish hue
She waits for it to sizzle as she hums an old melody
and tends to the potatoes
She peels,
chops them swiftly into perfect portions
and throws them in, the pot now a dancing mix of ingredients
She turns up the heat and looks down
content, proud of her day's work.

- - -
Srijeeta F. Islam lives in Cerritos, California with her beta fish, Doughball.She can sass you in four different languages and also argue about the benefits of ice cream and feminism. For leisure, she reads mystery novels and watches detective shows.

A Friend

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Contributor: Leeann Sheu

- -
I am the jacket I’ve worn since 6th grade.
It has grown faded from use,
but still remains
comfortable and warm.
The hood doesn’t drape
over my eyes anymore,
but the sleeves still hang
past my fingers,
stray threads dangling
and pockets widely gaping.

My brother and I convinced Mother
we needed these,
matching hoodies with our elementary school’s name and a tiger
embroidered on the front.
“These better be worth it,” Mother complained,
“You both better wear these.”
The zippers now get stuck,
and stains eat at our sleeves,
but we wear them.

My brother stole my jacket once
after letting his soak in the sun
a moment too long,
ashamed of wearing the yellow
of green cotton bleeding.

- - -
Leeann Sheu is a writer with a fondness for dragons and other things green. In her spare time, she draws and toys with programming. Despite also liking music and having over 2000 mp3 files stored in her laptop, she has no musical talent.

Make of the Earth

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Contributor: Grant Tarbard

- -
What's the Earth made of?
A wage of sheep grazing in the azure,
they could be clouds.

Yes, the sky is on the turn,
just filthy water poisoning babes
while scholars yak over their clutched bodies,

spellbound with their pot bellies erupting in lilies,
pearl beards stroking away their deaths.
What am I made of, for I am the Earth?

Brass knuckled, filled with roads,
eating the leafy tree of dawn, I divver over the scent
of sackcloth primroses and the sins of flesh.

In the Earth’s soul pastiche looms
like tainted meat repeating,
belching from my shadow of guts.

Swelling in my misplaced philosophy
is the plastic decadence of the hair-eyed,
raging in the wildness of my tooth.

Endless contours lying in the gutters,
drunk, no dotted lines on the continents,
shedding whimsy, a blood letting.

Monoliths from ages past, elemental as death,
spring up, the altogether nervous stone
when the destructive drill comes,

dipping soil into raw betrayal with a stab of kisses.
every piercing cut was a perfect sonnet.
The Earth’s art is lonely with sleep,

content with dream, vanishing into the steam
where foam tigers are vanquished by dwindling water.
The curved brow of lips is constantly hatching

swallowing greedily a jar of jellied tears,
an earthenware pot of naked torsos
displayed in swathes of white galleries.

O keep my head warm with eyes pecked free
while I recite the Earth’s elegy, my elegy;
out of harmony comes chaos.

- - -
Grant Tarbard is internationally published. His collection As I Was Pulled Under the Earth, published by Lapwing Publications, is available now.

Mudsale (Senryu)

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Contributor: Ingrid Bruck

- -
crowds bump shoulders
Mudsale mix in winter shades
black hues on denim

Amish next to English:
My People, plain and simple,
stick to their own

Old Order, black and white,
New Order, blossom colors,
a rainbow tinged black

summer reprieve
no heavy black winter coats,
black sweaters left home

sexes move in flocks,
boys with men, girls with women,
birds in migration

men and boys wear night,
add straw hats, red suspenders,
a flock of robins

females in public:
sneakers, apron, long plain dress,
cover hair on head

barefoot in home and field
many children, none to spare
many hands share work

all solids and blacks
patterns and prints saved for quilts
no ornamentation

youngsters and elders,
little fathers and mothers
shadows and flowers

they follow the sun
cars hit buggies and horses
out of time and place

- - -
Ingrid Bruck, a poet/storyteller/retired library director, grew up in farm country across the river from Albany, New York and lives in rural Pennsylvania in Amish country. Her work has appeared in Howl of Sorrow: A Collection of Poems Inspired by Hurricane Sandy, Topography and Panoplyzine. She is a member of The International Women’s Writing Guild and a charter member of The Avocado Sisterhood.


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Contributor: Rehan Qayoom

- -
You came far enough
Weary like a bee
To welcome the honey drudge
Let those tears fall

Your eyes galvanised
Your smiles were silent speech to me before your lips would open
To receive
A question playing upon them
Like a host of fairies flitting on the waters of a tranquil woodland pool
Open to receive
An answer like fecundity

So this is just not to say
I am here, still
I was never more alive than when I was with you
When we were fools in love

- - -
Rehan Qayoom is a poet of English and Urdu, editor, translator and archivist. He lives in London.


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Contributor: Ruth Z Deming

- -
Mom said it was 80 that made her
feel old. Unstoppable, she's
now that rare bird, a

Nonagenarian, accordion
folds on her face playing
melodies of all the people
she's loved and lost

We rolled back the years
as we conversed in the
room with the fireplace
and Amy's hanging quilt

Her pain lessening each
day from the fall she
sustained on the hard
cold blacktop on the drive.

All five of her living
children did their duty
mandated by our Bible

Our numbers rose like a
good day on the stock market
to a baker's dozen

adding our voices to
the conversation of

What use am I now?
Unlike the she-elephant
who gives birth
thru her sixties

My eggs are stone dead
like an omelet stuck
to the iron grill

I pretend not to
notice my ossifying
brain, spent reading
thrillers at midnight

Watching Netflix and
listening to swaying
jazz right across
the room

As the last of the
Xmas lights sparkle
in our neighborhood

Not mine, I turned
them off and buried
them in the basement

I await the final
lights out. Oh,
keep them on, ye
few neighbors, I
gotta believe in

ole Saint Nick's

- - -
Ruth Z Deming has had her poetry published in lit mags including Mad Swirl and Literary Yard. A psychotherapist, she is founder/director of New Directions, a support group for people with depression, bipolar disorder and their loved ones. She lives in Willow Grove, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.

Many Years Later When I Meet Her Again

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Many years later when I meet her again
on my way out of the Russian Tea Room
I notice how beautiful she is dining with him,
a man more attentive than I was back then.

But I see chaos dancing in her eyes
and I wonder if she has told him.
I doubt she has since she needed
ten years to tell me.

I accept the offer to join them for dessert,
and when she goes to the powder room,
I have a nice chat with her newest suitor.
He's as decent as the others have been.

On her return, he leaves to use his cell phone
and that's when, struggling for words, I say
"If you meet the right one, you can get married
in many states and more are likely to come."

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


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Contributor: Alex Rubsam

- -
You are the gleam of joy with those who know,
that you are the smiling eyes of every child,
the sound of the falling tree and its thunder,
its form conceived, its vibration perceived.
You are the rippling energy in between the
movement of every fluttering leaf,
with every bated breath the moment it loosens,
as it always remembers to let go.
You are the salt from the Tyrant's troubled brow,
that beaded from the sun's warming embrace
that followed the atomic blunder
from the bomb's twisted tango
with the earth's reshaped sand that protected
the heads of the young and old for a time.
You are the alto, the soprano, the tenor,
who's gentle tones beat your intelligent heart
into the place amongst the very atoms of every
exhilarated spirit and every woed sight seen,
of the morning's glow, of every sigh of relief
of every astonishing birth
of every living thing.
You are the kneading paw, the eager sprout,
and the serpent's cool blood,
who seek the familiar warmth and promise
of the stars that crafted us long ago.

- - -


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Contributor: Hogun Lee

- -
I am the three minute instant curry
Settling on aged rice
Garnished with more than a few puffs of pepper
Glorifying its taste
I went down like force fed baby food
But I was better than any other frozen mess
Or any other unworthy newborn
I am made to satisfy
And whether or not I am digestible
I will still do my duty
To fill up bellies instantly

- - -
Hogun Lee is a Korean American from Gangnam, South Korea and finds most of his inspiration from nighttime runs while blasting house music through earphones. On the side, he works for a video production crew that posts daily educational content. You can search for Hogun Lee at his gmail:

In The Slipstream, Between The Viaducts Of Your Dream

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Contributor: E.S. Wynn

- -
Did you love her?
I imagine you asking me
while we're wandering sleepless
through the pre-dawn hours
of a day yet to come.

Very much,
I know I'll say.
She was my light.
She was my muse.
She gave me reason to live.
She gave me purpose
before I was able
to find my own.

Do you miss her?
maybe you'll ask

I did, once,
I'll say
when my memories
colored her more kind than cruel
when I believed
there was no better fit for me
when I wondered
if anyone like you could possibly exist
when I doubted
I'd ever be lucky enough
to find someone like you
to find you
and eventually, maybe
come to love
and be loved by

- - -
E.S. Wynn is the author of over sixty books in print and is the chief editor of Thunderune Publishing. This poem is one of many featured in the book titled "What Will Be"


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Contributor: Morgan Ling

- -
Salivating mouth
tasting like the ocean wave
wanting more of it.

Tongue recoils in shock
as acid spears down my throat
sharper than a sword.

Chocolate rivers
flowing like a waterfall
of liquid honey.

Flaming heat explodes
mouth becomes a burning cave
as spit becomes fire.

- - -
Morgan Ling currently lives in Cerritos, California and hates vegetable juice. His favorite author is Dr. Seuss. He spends his spare time playing piano, to music produce.

My First Home

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Contributor: Agatha Heng

- -
I am beige
like the walls of my fifth house
because that is where I've stayed the longest.
It is where my little brother's footsteps
smacking against the wooden floors
greeted the morning
and the smell of my grandmother's beef broth
filled the early afternoon.
It is where my mother's heels would be thrown
towards the shoe rack after work
and where my dad would place
his camouflaged uniform.
My fifth house was not my last
but it was the first that earned the title of a home.
It wasn't the nicest I've lived in.
There were open patches
along the bottom of the walls
where insects would come through
and chipped countertops
that caught our blood several times.
But I would have rather been encompassed
by the patchy beige walls
than spend a luxury night
in temporary comfort.
I was tired of the boxes,
the pick up trucks,
and the hotel rooms.
I was tired of the airplane rides
and goodbyes.

- - -
Agatha Heng currently lives in Cerritos, California but that is not where she finds her inspiration. She has ridden in gondolas through the murky Venetian waters and walked through the markets of Barcelona. If she is not experiencing these sights, then she is dreaming of the next time she will be able to.

In A Previous Life

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Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
I used to ride
Abused buses
Past battered houses

Where faces stared
From bloodshot windows
With reptile hatred

At twisted streets
Belonging to them
Burying them

Next to vacant lots
Where ghosts found ways
To relive their deaths

But sometimes I’d see
Flowers emerge
From cold hard earth

Miracle children
Playing in dirt
Passing like dreams

- - -
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.

Hands (Senryu)

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Contributor: Ingrid Bruck

- -
granddaddy’s strong hands
accent from the wrong country
no one will hire him

nana’s able hands
fourth finger missing the tip
feeding the family

my father’s soft hands
blade of grass between his thumbs
whistles from the past

my mother’s smile
a gift to all her children
a warning slap

free city concert
Louie Armstrong plays the heat
Harlem doesn’t burn

some manicure lawns
but my family mows the weeds
two Americas

- - -
Ingrid Bruck, a poet/storyteller/retired library director, grew up in farm country across the river from Albany, New York and lives in rural Pennsylvania in Amish country. Her work has appeared in Howl of Sorrow: A Collection of Poems Inspired by Hurricane Sandy, Topography and Panoplyzine. She is a member of The International Women’s Writing Guild and a charter member of The Avocado Sisterhood.


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Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

- -
snippets fall
before click
flick scissors

a thin lock spills
skims my chin

quick clip
clip behind ear
swish of comb

skin whiffled clean
of split bits

trimmed primped

unhitch glide
to fill her till

- - -
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.

Nearing the Finish Line

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Walking very slowly, ancient Wally's
right behind his ancient Molly who's
stepping down the garden path,
her first time out in weeks,

wobbly still on her new knee.
She's been housebound far too long,
leg propped up, reading books, gazing out
the window for some sign of Spring.

She wants to trust her Wally when
she sends him out to check her garden
and he comes back bubbling to say
"Spring has sprung, my dear"

but Molly needs to see that for herself.
Wally may have missed a sprig or sprout
and it would not be the first time.
On a lovely day, many years ago

when they were young, didn't Wally claim
a patch of dandelions were crocuses?
So now Molly hobbles out on a silver cane
and leans slowly down the path

toward the first of seven gardens with
Wally right behind her, arms outstretched,
ready to catch her if she slips, a man
wearied now by many weeks as caregiver.

He's a man of many years, most of them
spent in a hurry until his stroke, a factor
that's a hallmark of their lengthy marriage.
Molly's always careful, Wally not so much.

In fact, he still roars into everything,
a second stroke waiting to happen.
But for the moment he forgets the present
as his memory darts into their happy past

and he whispers over Molly's shoulder,
"Let's take our time, my dear.
Let's make Robert Frost a prophet.
Let's have many miles to go before we sleep."

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

The Four Kings

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Contributor: Sarah Tseng

- -
A blade has been set,
against your will, to your mind,
the king that bleeds red.

Showered with jewels,
but can only see one way,
stubborn one eyed king.

A king without luck,
yet you stand with lasting pride,
though a petal gone.

An upside down heart,
the king who looks away from,
his cold dark black soul.

- - -
Sarah Tseng currently lives in Southern California. She enjoys zip-lining, cliff diving, and hiking. Her activities are very similar to her favorite stories which include anything that makes her cry, sweat, and laugh.

Lipstick Party

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Contributor: Mary Bone

- -
Our lipstick party ended at midnight
at my house on a summer night during
our Junior year.
Rear view mirrors held the smudges of our
freshly applied paints.
We had all the lipstick colors in our make up bag.
We sat in the yard in my brother's car applying makeup.
The windows were down and the music was up.
My friends and I finally went in and the laughing began.
What a party to remember!

- - -
My poems have appeared in magazines, journals and newspapers and a few online blogs. My latest poem, "Other Warriors", has been accepted for the July/August issue of Oklahoma Today magazine.

Words As One

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Contributor: E.S. Wynn

- -
I want to look into your eyes
And see you
And feel you
And pull you in against me
And hold you there
And bring my hands
in against your body
caress you, seduce you
with nothing but my words
with nothing but my tongue
and my eyes
and my mind
and all of me
that you need
in the moment
in the now

When nothing matters but the need
When nothing matters but the now
when there's nothing to keep us apart
when there's nothing between me
and my moment
with you.

- - -
E.S. Wynn is the author of over sixty books in print and is the chief editor of Thunderune Publishing. This poem is one of many featured in the book titled "What Will Be"


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Contributor: John Tustin

- -
If you were next to me
I would be crying and smiling
Softly sobbing
With the surrender of missed chances
And the validation
That beyond tomorrow
Lies the future

The future of your hands
In the graying coarseness of my
Stroking my slowing body
Back to quickness

Your lips on the edge of my ear
Voice subtle in the dark
Of the night
Of my heart

We would come to the bed
And stare face to face
The brilliant coal of your eyes
Becoming diamonds

As I hold my breath
And fall in love with you
In the renewed faith
Of our shared space
Among the falling
And the fallen
And the attempting
To rise again

- - -


| Filed under

Contributor: Ruth Z Deming

- -
I wasn't there when they lashed her like Ulysses
to a a buzzing howling machine that
splattered through a mind that
had forgotten how to work

She thought she was dead
She thought all her organs had been removed
She thought her husband and son had
abandoned her for good

Happiness basked on a distant shore
Ballets, musicals, plays, grandchildren
she once loved them all

They wheel her in every morning
her white hair thin, her breath
rank, her mind as blank as
the cold wintry skies outside

Please let the jolts of the machine
do its work, let Stella swim ashore
once more, like the barefoot girl
she once was when she married
her beloved, who she yells at now
every single day.

- - -
Ruth Z Deming has had her poetry published in lit mags including Mad Swirl and Literary Yard. A psychotherapist, she is founder/director of New Directions, a support group for people with depression, bipolar disorder and their loved ones. She lives in Willow Grove, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.

For Brittany C.

| Filed under

Contributor: Frank Grigonis

- -
You leapt
Into my life
Like a dolphin
Bursting up
Through the ice
Of a dark,
Frozen ocean
Into the warm
Waiting arms
Of the sun

- - -
Frank Grigonis writes poetry and fiction. His work has appeared in Leaves-of-Ink, Nerve Cowboy, PANK, Whiskey Island, Every Day Fiction, The Horror Zine and elsewhere. He is currently seeking an agent or publisher for his novel MAIL ORDER ANNIE.

The Test

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Contributor: Taylor Harrison

- -
Would you come
if you knew
I was alone behind my house
on the cool cement,
breathing dry heaves and gasps
with my knees curled to my chest
trying not to wake anyone?

Would you fix it
when my façade finally cracks
my eyes become inflated and crimson
all because of how mad I was at you.

Would you offer me
your shoulder as my personal pillow
and let me dampen the fabric of your favorite shirt
until dark patches were left like ugly designs?
Swollen, crescent moon indentations
pressed in your arm from my nails
grasping you too tight.

Would you take me
to my favorite spot on the empty pier,
when the horizon is only lit
by orange city lights?
Feel the dewy air against our goose bumped skin
and watch the foam tides
ripple below us as they tease the coastline,
with each wave mending me
until I was whole again.

I don’t think you would.

- - -

the fool and the quitter

| Filed under

Contributor: Guppyman

- -
it is the fool inside you
who likes to smoke
they know the health risk
they think it is a joke

so when you are lying
in a hospital bed
riddled with cancer
full of regret

remember the wisest words
a man ever said
it is the quitter who is living
it is the fool who is dead

- - -
i am known as the poet guppyman
i have grave concerns for the environment
my mission is to make people more aware


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