Fire Opals - A Sonnet

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Contributor: Shawn Chang

- -
Beneath the moonlight’s silver silken shine,
I see these eyes of yours, so mirror-clear;
Imagine I am yours and you are mine
For all our lives, our future - many a year.

These eyes of yours in many a flagrant flame
Do glow and gleam and glimmer on their own -
Brigades of brimming blazes fly to fame,
Through rainbow rays they flare by force unknown.

Beholding stones already honed with care,
I hold it twice a joy to hear you speak
Of love for me in lilt so fine, so fair -
For you’re the One, the only One I seek.

It counts not how the dice of fate are cast;
For us the truth is held - our love will last.

- - -
Shawn Chang is a 16-year-old writer. His poems have appeared in several anthologies. A horror story of his is set to be published on Hallowe'en.

Why Be It

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Contributor: Ananya S Guha

- -
The blue of everything
summer torn hair
winter of the wind
hair pins falling
glut of rains
why be it
why be it
again its coming back
mannequins ( of past)
hoary syndrome
why be it
why be it
cymbals will clash
annual festival of Goddess
and her cohorts
slain devil
why be it
why be it
they will look at stars
immerse her bedecked body
weep, and from the streams
anklets and bracelets will be stolen
why be it
in autumnal lingering shadows
come Goddess give me shades
of your ten armed strength.

- - -

Waiting for Answers to Resumes Mailed Weeks Ago

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
A phone call from anywhere would be nice,
even a call from that clerk at Sears
with an apology for charging that dryer
to my last employer
or even a call from the company I phoned
for estimates on the fence we need
to run to the alley, take two lefts,
and dash back to the house,
the fence we hope will keep the kids
from threshing the neighbor's
lilacs and phlox
or even a call from my wife
about the fever Meg had this morning
and a third reminder to record
the check for the penicillin.
Yes, today or tomorrow,
a phone call from anywhere would be nice.

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

Side Swipe

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Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
Don't tell me you are blinded
we both knew this day
would come

Bits of glass decorate
our personal night sky light
a blinking tablet broken

A fantastic twist of fate
or just restless redlight running
led us to this moment

A ceaseless but thoughtless gaze
or listening too loudly
to a static radio silence

When we should have prodding
reading and thinking
so we might have stepped aside.

- - -

Red Sweater December

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Contributor: Lyla Sommersby

- -
I cannot cull the tide
the rise of Pine and Yule and Christ
the wash of wet weather
in red sweater December
and the sea of gifts
That shining, glittering breaks
and scatters glass, trash
rotten, sodden and sad
at the edge of abyss
as it has
so many times in the jagged past

for once, I pray;
for once, a joyous flight
for once, a warm surrender
no more broken nights riding
over the shards of shattered lives
no more cold descents to liminial light
to promises unfulfilled by futures foggy-white
when comes the cliff where presents part
where fever breaks and night descends
to softly snuff the last glass bauble
to deftly choke our final false cheer
in a heavy cloak of crisping ice
to die another temporary death
when wet December ends.

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

The Supplicant

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Contributor: Andrew Hubbard

- -
I know what a house is.
It’s warmth and safety and food.
This house smelled kind.

I’d been lost so long
I couldn’t remember anything else
And hungry so long my legs shook.

Somewhere I cut my paw
And there was blood on every footprint.

I don’t remember how I climbed
Onto their porch, but I did.
I laid down and decided
I wasn’t leaving, even if I died.

I couldn’t go any farther anyway.

When they found me
They made surprised noises.
She smelled gentle,
Him, I wasn’t sure.

She brought me a big bowl of food
And held my head up.
I ate it lying down.

She brought me another bowl
And I ate that too.
They made more surprised noises.

I was very tired.
He picked me up and carried me inside,
Now he smelled just fine.

When I woke up
There was a big, warm cover over me
And she was putting sharp smells
On my paw. It hurt a little.
Then she wrapped it in soft cloths.

I was still very tired
But I smelled something without a name
And sensed it all the way through—
I was home.

- - -
Born in Maine. Schooled at Dartmouth and Columbia. Educated in New York, Carolina, Nebraska, DC, and now Indiana.

We Walk the Streets

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Whenever Lolly stops me
on my midnight rounds
just to chat about the night

I shine my flashlight in her eyes
and whisper low so the other
working girls can't hear me,

"Lolly, it's your intelligence
and taste I find so appealing.
I appreciate that upper lip

you've lit up in neon red
so artfully with lipstick."
We talk about mortgages and kids

whether hers are back in school,
whether mine are still in college,
whether my brother ever sends a check.

When finally I say I have to go,
she giggles like Monroe, gets all
blonde and bouncy, saucy to a fault,

waves good-bye with a grand sashay,
thrilled again to be on her way, pleased
that once again I won't take her in.

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

Upon the Dawn

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Contributor: James Dennis Casey IV

- -
Ships that come not home
Perhaps you know
In the valley of forgotten dreams
There is a god

The apple tree
God's autograph
Nature his temple

The soul of music

Earth's supplications
Things I need not buy


In a dream
That lied like truth
The elders
Spoke of good omens

Only the wise have real eyes

Prepare your ships
For landfall
Upon the dawn

- - -
James D. Casey IV was born in Colorado, grew up in Louisiana, and currently resides in Mississippi. Mr. Casey has independently published two books so far, 'Metaphorically Esoteric' & 'Dark Days Inside the Light While Drunk on Wine,' that are available on Amazon. He is featured in the poet archives of Artvilla, Poetry Life & Times, and Realistic poetry International just to name a few.

Whatever Happened

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Contributor: Daginne Aignend

- -
Whatever happened
to the little bird
I sawed out of wood
when I was a kid

Painted in bright colors
Red and blue
with little yellow dots
The perfect combination
in my child's eyes

Took me days
I wasn't so nifty
with a fretsaw
Perseverance made
me finish
my work of art

Proud of myself
Learned I can
achieve anything
as long as
I didn't quit the job

Whatever happened
to the spirit
of a child
Lost in some draw
of adulthood

- - -
Daginne Aignend is a pseudonym for the Dutch poetess Inge Wesdijk.
She likes hard rock music, photography and fantasy books.
She is a vegetarian and spends a lot of time with her animals.


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Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
She tries to be brave, when speaking of him
But her voice cracks, swollen lips tremble
Looking wistful, as if in some faraway place
I watch the emotions passing over her face

Arms crossed for protection, her pulse quivers faster
It dances on her neck, she thinks I won't notice
Her shoulders stiffen slightly beneath a timeworn shirt
Shifting her position, she quickly wipes lucent tears.

- - -
Stacy Maddox lives, dreams and writes in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS. She loves to soak up the sun by the river and feel the rush of water over her feet while spending time with her family and pets. Stacy has been published in over 15 books, print magazines and online websites. She has been passionate about Art, in all forms, for over 30 years.

Blind Shepherd

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Contributor: Shawn Chang

- -
Between horizons, skies and seas apart,
Is but a postern that hath long begun
To echo breaths of lungs and beats of heart
Of He whose eyes do shift but take in none.

A blind sole shepherd, cloak’d and hand with crook,
Doth lure and lead in namely happenstance,
With shadows the morose moon doth thus hook
In sad serenity and tranquil trance.

Imaginary immortality
Of He sans whom the Sun would never climb
No starlight, moonlight, nor gold sunlight be
Without th’ eternal ripping tide - Him, Time.

Away, do come, to hear the maiden’s sigh
As moments wane and phantom dreams do die.

- - -
I am 16 years old.

Briers and Brambles

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Contributor: Ken Allan Dronsfield

- -
Rambling through

the brambles as

scrub and briers

grasp upon me as

honey bees buzz

all about the brush.

Blackberry wine

dreams, while an

intoxicated mind

forever schemes.

Another splash of

Jack from the flask

in a life of fails we

keep filling the pail

with those fine ripe

sweet blackberries.

- - -
Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet from Oklahoma. He loves thunderstorms! His published work can be found in reviews, journals, magazines and anthologies throughout the web and in print venues. His poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net for 2016.

What Purpose Does A Rabbit Have

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
The same nightmare woke my father
every night for years.
He had no idea what it meant
and so he wrote the story down
and saved the note and hoped
some day he'd understand it.
But a note like that
can be misplaced.

Decades later Father
found the note
in a drawer of socks
he hadn't worn in years.
He found it underneath
his old glass eye the night
Mother came back on the Harley
to "make their marriage work."

He reminded Mother they had
been divorced for years
and then, despite her tears,
he told her, "After all this time,
we both know now that you
were gone before you left.
But now you're back so
let me tell you all about

the nightmare I've had every night
since you took the bike and left.
I wrote the story down to tell the kids
when they grew up but they ran off
before I had a chance to ask them
if they knew what my dream might mean.
You'd like the kids. They're pretty smart.
Anyway my note says this:

'What purpose does a rabbit have
other than as prey?
What difference does a rainbow make
in a rabbit’s day?'
You tell me now you love me,
always have and always will.
But the kids are gone forever
so take the Harley now and go."

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

Black Hole

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Contributor: Judy Moskowitz

- -
Her bedroom was on the top floor
A mystery lies cold
Down in the black hole
Dark as asphalt
Drowning out the murmur
She built a doll house
From a shoe box
And played for hours
Living inside its contents
Where she created a family
Straight out of central casting
Made from dreams and fantasies
Its card board roof
Couldn't stop the rain
Trapped inside

- - -
Judy Moskowitz, a professional jazz musician, has been published in Poetry Life And Times, Michael Lee Johnson's anthology, Indiana Voice Journal, Whispers Of The Wind


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Contributor: M. Protacio-De Guzman

- -
In the standstill I looked for you.

The expressway was a tongue of light
That licked the dripping star-less night.

Your hands were clutching the wheel.

Cars purred and hissed like alley cats
While trucks grumbled in discontent.

My fingers traced circles on your thigh.

Raindrops fell and burst on hoods, roofs,
And human heads, tracing sporadic paths.

We crossed each other’s machineries.

Entangles behind the windshield fogged by
Our very breath, so reckless in this unleashing:

Our passion sliced the sordid night air.

Gasping for air finally, the journey home
Extended a most unwelcome invitation.

Traffic’s gone, traffic’s gone.

Memories of lips and skin flew past me
As the night peeled away layers of doubt--

For I found you in the thick of things.

- - -
M. Protacio-De Guzman is from Manila, Philippines. His poems have appeared and have been anthologized in local and international publications, most recently in Off the Rocks Anthology Volume 19.

Finding the Right Dimensions

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
There is a time for this
a time for that
and a time for the other
(loving and/or hating).

For all things
(be they large or small),
there is a proper place
(be it here or there).

We do what we can
(to the best of our ability),
and then we move on
(leaving the rest to God).

So it goes
(so it went),
and so it was
(so it shall ever be).

- - -
Scott Thomas Outlar spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the ever-changing currents of the Tao River while laughing at and/or weeping over life's existential nature. Singing and dancing are also involved in the process.

Walls Between Races

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Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
Take away my color and the texture of my hair
Forget the way I dress, it’s only clothes I wear
I must stop doing the things that I know are wrong
Don’t hate anyone because of words in a song
Stand up for yourself and give others a hand
Think before you choose where to make a stand
Stay away from people that talk hate with every word
You must learn to love, to start to heal, that is what I heard
Keeping us separate, making sure we stay apart
Is the way they control us or at least that's how they start
If we ever join together we will be an unstoppable force
It will be difficult but possible if we stay the course
Teaching hate and mistrust because of how we look
Baiting us with lies, reeling us in like a fish on a hook
You are black and I am white just another part of life
They twist the truth behind our backs like an assassins knife
Governments that build walls between races need to be replaced
Deeds done to innocent by the guilty must be bravely faced

- - -
He was born and raised in Ohio, and now lives in Florida. He is married and has two children. Most important he is a Papa. He has over a dozen poems on this site and one printed in "Stormcloud Poets second anthology".

Flawed Diamonds

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Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
The middle-aged debutante
Conned by her lover
Into giving him the funds
To the organization she ran

The housewife that brought up
An unstable daughter
In the same way her own
Mother had done

The author that composed
A biography of an artist
Trapped in a madness
Similar to her own

And in each of their eyes
Could be seen a skewed sparkle
Of a gem that was wrought
By a jeweler from hell

- - -
Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A two-time Best of the Net nominee, his poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications. His debut chapbook, "A Wind From Nowhere", is available from Flutter Press.

Ode to a New Hell

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Contributor: Ken Allan Dronsfield

- -
blame me not of heartless vengeance
spoken words nor intolerable pestilence
a keeper of life's incandescent tolerance
mocked by the icy queried inquisitions
smoky breath within pious incantations
that raucous mind of an incessant joy
home in purgatory, layered with evil
I'm not afraid to walk this world alone
in dungeons of darkish desperation
percolating a new hell from deep within
roaming the covenant on ancient paths
uncovering graves of the fallen saints
through battlements and gated horrors
into bunkers of suicidal choreography
saltpeter and brimstone explode in envy
seeing the stars within eternal darkness
the sky a dark hazy purple with red hues
I'm missing the blood moon in all her glory.

- - -
Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet from Oklahoma. He loves thunderstorms! His published work can be found in reviews, journals, magazines and anthologies throughout the web and in print venues. His poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net for 2016.

A Dream of Utopia

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Contributor: Jason Constantine Ford

- -
The rulers in charge of pleasures sweet which never dry
Promise to provide an endless food supply
For citizens desiring wealth without the sweat.

As droids are gathering crops around a field,
Databases print records of healthy summer yield
Across the many zones secured within a safety net.

A system where the people have the choice to roam
Zones without restriction like another home
Cannot prepare for virus ready to attack.

As city’s key defenses sleep throughout the night,
Ignorance rapidly rises to a greater height
As fiends observe protective data they desire to crack.

- - -
Jason Constantine Ford is the assistant editor of the print edition of Thought Notebook and has over a hundred publications of poetry from around the world.


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Contributor: Ben Riddle

- -
There are holes inside of me
in which I always assumed
someone would fit
so I tore more
it would call you to me
a little faster.

- - -
Founding member of the Said Poets Society and recipient of the Fred Simpson Prize for Poetry in 2014, Ben Riddle is a graduate of the University of Western Australia and is really just another twenty-something unsure of where he’s going in life.


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Contributor: Theresa A. Cancro

- -
I have no blind, only
lace curtains gracing
my back, similar to clouds.

I release the walls
from their oppression,
loosening rigid structure.

No eyes necessary yet
plate glass is my skin,
solid and viscous at once.

Those within gaze through me
each day, laugh at squirrel antics,
murmur among birdsong.

They obsess over doors,
safety, fear in the lock
that keeps them in, ills away.

Wind ekes between layers,
soft shrill gives me voice,
they finally listen, sense my raw.

- - -
Theresa A. Cancro writes poetry, especially haiku and related short forms, as well as short fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared worldwide in dozens of publications.

A Dalliance with Dysfuction

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Contributor: Shirley Jones

- -
I covet misfortune,
it's a black obelisk of damaged
psyches that tower over me
as I try to pick up the pieces
from the last emotional storm

I worship worry,
it's a barrier of bondage
tightening around my heart
as I try to break free from the malaise
that threatens to suffocate me

I bow, bereft of all feeling
watching it wither away
like leaves in autumn
and are blown away
and forgotten

- - -
Shirley Jones-Luke is a poet, writer and educator from Boston, Massachusetts. Ms. Luke has an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing. She has been published in The Voices Project, Raising Mothers, ENUF and the Creative Ezine.

One Old Gigolo Counsels Another

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
You take care now, Harold,
and don't slip on the ice
looking for a good bookstore
on the streets of Chicago.

Print is dead, Harold,
and it's being waked
in empty bookstores.
Soon all bookstores

will be dead, Harold,
and then you will have
no good reason
to go out on the ice.

At our age, Harold,
ice can be lethal
so take my advice
and do as I do:

Walk head down
even if there's no ice
so you can avoid
not only the ice

but also the women
disgruntled with men.
Believe me, Harold,
they're out there

armed with bumbershoots.
They prowl the streets now
more than when we were
young and dashing

and making them angry.
They haven't forgotten us.
So for God's sake, Harold,
go out for a walk but

bundle up and take your cane
and walk with your head down.
Do you believe in God, Harold?
I hope you do because

at our age, Harold, ice or a
woman could be the chariot
that takes us over the moon
faster than we'd like.

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

The Chapel Inside Out

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Contributor: Jun Lit

- -
I’ve been here before
I’ve seen these all, I’m sure

the priestly garbs of black and stripes
that fit this atmosphere of masquerade
the golden tasseled black berets
that hide
the emptiness,
the mindlessness,
the heartlessness
the flowing capes of silk and wool
too hot to wear – they’re never cool
in this clime of eternal steam…
the roll call of names
like summoning all the saints -
the confessor’s ears are ready
but nobody dares
to speak out the sacred truth
the naked truth
the blank walls
behind the pretending pomp
and disguising pageantry

these palatial halls
conceal with draperies of elegance
sculptured paupers
a multitude of shanties
an army of dark shadows
digging mountains of rubbish
for spoils to salvage

holy hypocrisy?
emperors parading naked?
or beggars in velvet cloaks
of royal blue?

The blind loyal servant bangs the gavel
as Lord Hunger knocks
at the door
of the Almighty Loo

- - -
Ireneo L. Lit, Jr. (a.k.a. Jun Lit), Professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, is an entomologist who also writes poems about nature and society.

Five Haiku

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Contributor: r soos

- -

name on a placard
outside the hospital door
now all that is left



all the leaves to burn
in one pile this afternoon
set the flame tonight



empty body forms
the shield atop the mattress
protecting journeys



your shallow breathing
under a sheet supports the
outline of body



everything in line
with empty colors inside
repeating patterns

- - -
r soos has 20 books of poetry still in print. he is aging with a grace no one believes.

Fall Senryu/Summer Senryu

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Contributor: Ingrid Bruck

- -
Fall: Senryu

sun glitters
diamond dust on clouds
caramel on apples

half cloudy
sun skitters in the grass
and dives down a burrow

wind sweeps
clouds heap
blue floods through

crescent moon rises
tapestry needle
threads dusk

crickets sing
corn tassels and tobacco
evening gold

distant lightning
ignites the tapestry ~
a silent movie plays


Summer: Senryu

yellow-black web weaver
carnivore hunts
I pick her tomato

goldfinch eats
petals of sunflower drop
loves me - loves me not

the walls and roof shake
Crepe Myrtle bends under the weight
of the downpour

between moon-glow
summer tree stars

night secret
silver twins echo
moon flower

faint blush of sky
cicada shrill
cat moon grins sideways

- - -
Ingrid Bruck is nature poet who lives in rural Amish country in Pennsylvania, a landscape that inhabits her writing. She likes writing Japanese short form and short poems. Current work appears in Mataroyshka Poetry, Halcyon Days and Quatrain.Fish

I Hate Goodbyes

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Contributor: Judy Moskowitz

- -
When my brother left
I did not grieve
It set me free
To tap into my own
Natural resource

When my mother left
I was in conflict
Music released me
To the other side of the moon

When my father left
I felt homeless
A train wreck
Head on collision with fiction

When my sister left
I cried for both of us
She left her secrets in my care
I disposed of them
On the page

When he left
Heart torn
I bled for days
I bled for days
I hate goodbyes

- - -
Judy Moskowitz a professional jazz musician has been published in Poetry Life And Times, Michael Lee Johnson's anthology, Indiana Voice Journal, Whispers Of The Wind

At the Shore

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Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
Picking seashells up at the shore
My arms are full can’t hold anymore
Fiddler Crabs that scurry past
Can’t catch them, they move too fast
Popping in and out of their holes
Running through shallow tide pools
Waves that break upon the rocks
Hitch up my pants take off my socks
Wading through water up to my knees
Splashing around doing what I please
Seagulls flying high over head
Turning to look as if it’s something I said
A couple of dolphins swimming along
I can see they are sleek and strong
As the sun sets on the shimmering sea
There is no one left on the beach, but me

- - -
He was born and raised in Ohio, and now lives in Florida. He is married and has two children. Most important he is a Papa. He has over a dozen poems on this site and one printed in "Stormcloud Poets second anthology".

Old Man At The Diner

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
He slaughters his hamburger steak
with a fork and a butter knife,
massacres ringlets of onions
again and again

thumps catsup all over
the bloody commingling,
then ever so slowly
peppers and salts

and reminds me of Hrebic,
whose wife, back
on the block of my youth,
sat all summer out on her stoop,

knees awry, one eye black,
the other turning gray,
sunning the great white hydrants
of her phlebitic legs.

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

The Bathroom’s On The Right

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Contributor: Paul Tristram

- -
So, I finally managed
to get him to agree
to a meeting in town.
I spent 3 days
physically getting ready
& mentally preparing
to try to win him back.
I had a different speech
composed every hour.
Practicing each line,
sometimes out loud,
in the street,
like a crazy bitch.
I was there 3 hours early,
circling the park
and nipping at a bottle
of Thunderbird Wine
I’d bought to take the edge off.
Waste of time, completely!
He winced ‘Hello’
listened for a few minutes,
then interrupted me
with an excuse to leave
with one of those bored
tones strangers use…. like
‘The Bathroom’s On The Right’

- - -
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.
Buy his book ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press)

Deep Infatuation

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
Distance makes the heart grow fonder,
so it’s no surprise
why I’ve forever been
completely head over heels
for a source that cannot be seen.

My spirit yearns with a fervent passion
after that ineffable mystery of creation
which has no tangible touch
but can always be felt
at the innermost core of intuition
where the soul of the matter
is guided ever-closer to truth.

Subjectively, I dance across
the woven web of synchronicity,
laughing at the materialists
who scoff with objective displeasure
at all concerns they cannot fathom.

What need have I
for atomistic eyes
when the most beautiful visions
are found deep inside?

Answers arrive in waves
when least expected
from a plane of existence
beyond this world of time and form,
and space is just a place
where I can roam freely
in magnetic dreams
which align my electric pulse
to a frequency most divine.

- - -
Scott Thomas Outlar spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the ever-changing currents of the Tao River while laughing at and/or weeping over life's existential nature. Singing and dancing are also involved in the process.


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Contributor: Ken Williams

- -
You say:
You are the spokesperson
for your generation…
Except the millions who served,
suffering without voice

You say,
You are the creative genius
maker of movies
making millions
you ignore the stories
of those who served

You say,
your lyrics
speak the heart of all
you’ve never heard
a bullet
fired in anger

You claim,
your books
tell truth of the ages
you never took an oath
that separates you
to bleed and die
for your country

You stayed home,
started families
chased down passions

While families
and the passion for life
Beld white in
As those dreams died
for their fathers’ and
uncles’ at
Khe Shan
A Shau Valley

You went on with life
ignoring the forgotten ones
A generation too busy,
to care for
your brothers,
who quietly bled
came home
not whole

At least the 60s
Generational Comrades
cared enough to,
Creative Insurrection
to the madness of war

Your generation shouts
with silence
pursues materialism and fame
with gusto
rather than confront
the greatest injustice of all

A generation without heart
without soul
millions condemned because
they weren’t hip
aren’t cool
in the know,
Carrying the heartache of war
the loneliness of being
shut out,

They may have been lied
into war
deceived by dishonorable
abandonment by
Generational Comrades
cuts the deepest
producing the greatest pain…

The aloneness
of that abandonment
To be
nightmares shared only
with the darkness
PTSD coloring the day
with wide brush strokes
spouses driven mad with despair

The madness ends
only when
you care enough
to raise voices
passion for something
other than yourself

In the meantime
your silence
condemns you
as it defines you
A generation
gone voiceless
in a time of
desperate need

- - -
Ken Williams worked as a social worker for the homeless in Santa Barbara CA and severed with the WALKING DEAD—1/9 Marines in Vietnam. His literary pieces have appeared in numerous media outlets both in the U.S. and abroad. He is a combat Marine veteran of the Vietnam War. FRACTURED ANGEL is his most recent novel.

No New Woman

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
I’ve found no new woman,
as you’d like to surmise.
But the next one
who braids
my mind with my heart
won’t get away,
not even if she’s a nun.
The next one like you
I’ll lock in a room
near the sky and there
will I kiss her until
she is certain
a thousand butterflies
one by one
are lighting
all over her body.

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

For You

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Contributor: Natalie Crick

- -
This month her depression began.
He obsessed her.
She tied her heart with ribbon like a present,
Licking his fingers and kissing his feet.

Words failed her.
She breathed him in like a terrible secret,
A childless woman beneath the ivory moon.
But what about his eyes, his eyes, his eyes.

Walking in the Winter trees
Were his shadows in the fog.
He was innocent as a lamb.
Sleep, my Angel,

Deaf and dumb
As the drugged summer sun.
My Love,
I want you.

- - -
Natalie Crick has found delight in writing all of her life and first began writing when she was a very young girl. Her poetry is influenced by melancholic confessional Women's poetry. Her poetry has been published in a range of journals and magazines including Cannons Mouth, Cyphers, Ariadne's Thread, Carillon and National Poetry Anthology 2013.


| Filed under

Contributor: Lynn Cooper

- -
Contusions cry out for ice
Comfort from a Frigidaire
Headaches hammer temples for aspirin
Excedrin an easy fix
Sore muscles search for a masseur
Hands-on relief an alternative

Bruised egos bleed
Beg to be bandaged
Stressed psyches scream for solace
Psychotherapy a band aid peddled
Without an expiration date

Only the heart aches
In an empty vacuum
Waiting for its intangible relief

- - -
Lynn Cooper is retired and lives in Florida.
Her poetry has appeared in anthologies in New York and Florida.

Withering Memories

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Contributor: Malkeet Kaur

- -
The sequined ivory frame has come undone
And squeaks in squirmish, sweaty fingers;

The serrated shades
Blanched now with tears shed
Every time I visited
The inquisition wall
In the past
And dangled myself
In the pulpit.

I sometimes
Look for you
Within the junctures captured.

I can no longer
Recognise your face;
It is becoming pale
Day by day alongside
The fast vanishing verdict.

I step down and
Walk past.

The lacerations laced in sutures
Are slowly bleeding their last.

- - -
Malkeet Kaur resides in Mumbai in India. She holds a post graduate degree in English literature and Applied Linguistics. Many of her poems are published in various anthologies and online journals.

Moments of Mess

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Contributor: Patrick Jordan

- -
I need to
enjoy these moments
of awkwardness.
These moments of
Moments of chaos.

At the end of the day
the crazy is what
sets the tone.
It's what makes
life real.

Bask in it.
I often feel
an uneasiness
about it.
But that's the magic.
That's when you're
teetering on the edge.
Those are the best moments.

Most of the day
is surrounded with normal.
Most of the day
is bathed in average.
Average gets old.

Welcome in the disorder.
Welcome in the anarchy.

Welcome in the unknown.
Flow with it.
Drink it.
Dine it.

Be a part of the feast.
Feed off it.
Feel the awkwardness around you.
It is the realist
moment you will know.

- - -
Patrick Jordan has been writing poetry and prose since he was ten years old. Through poetic expression and creative writing Patrick sets himself at the center of his search for the truth. Patrick created the Facebook group "Notes From The Edge” & “Stay Weird & Keep Writing Pub Co.”

Return to Sender

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Contributor: Michael Adams

- -
I sent a love letter around the world
With a wreath stamped in one corner
and my feelings standing stark against the white envelope.
It flew like an albatross
Its wind, my devotion tucked within the pages–
enough to keep a cold chest warm in empty winter.
Now summer’s flush has left me burned
And my little envelope flew home
Scuffed and stamped from a thousand miles
With just a three word reply:
"Return to Sender."

- - -
Michael Adams is an award-winning poet, author, and playwright. You can find his work on his website or in his first published chapbook, Attempted Ramblings, available on Amazon.

Pied Piper

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Contributor: Ananya S Guha

- -
Down with eyes
that follow
as if I am,
quicksand time flees
creditor/ debtor
I assiduously follow paths
of trespasser
so, can't call me cheat
(call me!)
beat it, with your drumstick
spinning yarns
and Pied Piper

- - -
Ananya S Guha lives in Shillong in North East India. He has been writing poetry and publishing his poems for over thirty years.

Steady Lungs

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
I am tempted
when you test me
with these trials
and tribulations
to succumb
beneath the turbulent waves
and wash away
to the depths
of an ocean
that cannot be fathomed,
but I know
that the goal
is in reach,
and if I just keep
taking one more step
I will breach
the surface
to breathe
the beauty
of your divinity
and grace
into these lungs
that are ready
to seize
such a blissful taste.

- - -
Scott Thomas Outlar spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the ever-changing currents of the Tao River while laughing at and/or weeping over life's existential nature. Singing and dancing are also involved in the process.

The Tank

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Contributor: Pranab Ghosh

- -
The water trembles
holding the reflection
of the morning sun.
A street urchin throws
a stone at the sun,
the ripples reach
the shore.

There is a woman washing
clothes on the bank.
She bathes there everyday
sharing space with the sun.

In the evening the moon
replaces the sun and
the silver water stands
still reflecting the voices
of the local belles who
gather on the bank
bathing in the cool breeze.
Their laughter creates
ripples in the water
that dissolves in
the middle.

The tank lies still
through the night
listening to the crickets
and reflecting the
flying bats silhouetted
against the sinking moon.
The local belles then
dream of their lovers.

Water whispers in their ears.

- - -
Pranab Ghosh is a journalist, blogger and poet. He has coauthored Air & Age, a book of poems. His poems have been accepted in Tuck Magazine, Scarlet Leaf, Literature Studio Review etc.


| Filed under

Contributor: Tyrean Martinson

- -
Waves rolling into the sand
covered by
covered by
covered by
rolling waves into the sand.

- - -
Tyrean Martinson writes, dreams, and believes in the Pacific Northwest within a mile of the Puget Sound, which laps invisible to her view along the green-treed shore. She has had over 100 previously published short works and a scattering of books published.

The Melon Phenomenon

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Contributor: Sarah Valeika

- -
I’m beginning to believe the only union worth
preserving is that which binds
melons to their rinds.
Skin them, and you sculpt an organ so
pulpy, so infant fresh, zygotic

and when the flesh, as it will,
wraps itself in a soft, white film--
what then, dearest?
It has been shelled for naught and
its death sentence is written by a hand which
would declare that the melon was “scooped,”
not gutted

gutted, nibbled and rotted

- - -

The Garden Outside The House

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Contributor: Natalie Crick

- -
She was out there again that morning.
Talking, laughing, singing,
The garden filled with sweet birdsong
And the aroma of summer.

The sunset leaked red blood,
Annihilating him.
A love gift or a
Romantic invitation.

She had one eye, he had two.
He was waking from a fitful dream.
It soon became dark,
The sky full of storms.

He saw her solemn death dance,
Wet and electric,
An Autumn widow wearing grey.
It was starting to happen again.

- - -
Natalie Crick has found delight in writing all of her life and first began writing when she was a very young girl. Her poetry is influenced by melancholic confessional Women's poetry. Her poetry has been published in a range of journals and magazines including Cannons Mouth, Cyphers, Ariadne's Thread, Carillon and National Poetry Anthology 2013.

Under Wraps

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Contributor: Alyssa Telgenhoff

- -
A dress.
One simple dress.
Fabrics intertwined together,
exactly like the lies we tell to each other.
I know my mom imagined me
dancing, twirling, in this dress.
The only dance I'll be doing is
around the truth.
My mother will want to sweep
makeup to cover my flaws.
Like when she sweeps the truth
under the rug.
I regret telling her,
She made me do it.
She pushed her dresses,
I don't blame her though.
All my mother wanted was a little girl.
To be her little doll.
I told her,
yelled actually.
“Mother on the inside,
who I truly am is a
She turned slowly,
slapped me across the face,
and bought the

- - -
Alyssa Telgenhoff has two of her works published. Her current project is a young adult novel about time travel.


| Filed under

Contributor: Sara Abend-Sims

- -
Forgotten pleasures. Remembered pain
You said, ‘I won’t forget. I promise’

Searching my face, you’re hopeful
looking for admiration, for adoration
A one way traffic that’s heading
someplace which isn’t home
nor it is togetherness

Fun is by the window, waiting
Imagination isn’t dipping it’s toes
refusing to soar, it’s hidden or goes all
the wrong places. Despair’s humming
softly. Hope’s wings are tied folded tight

When still, I close my eyes, letting
pictures fill my mind. Windows are shut
glass is smeared, clogged, opaque
blocking the sun

I open my eyes and shuffle our cards
Hope comes first, face up. Despair
rustles next face down, competing
to be noticed, to be faced

Looking back, the past murmurs that
we’ve given Despair attention aplenty.
It nudges me, ‘Now is a time to turn
your gaze’

I look again, ‘Who are you, Hope?’
I whisper. ‘Can I touch the place
where trust and caring are soft or
round, a biscuit-coin... a full
golden moon or days of grace’

- - -
Sara Abend-Sims - a poet and writer of fiction, who has degrees in counseling and visual art education.

Sara exhibited her paintings interstates and overseas for two decades, before weaving into words her visual fascination and the experiences of growing up in Israel and life in Australia.

She’s the recipient of two Literary Awards

Sara’s literary work is published Online - Campbelltown council’s website (literary awards 2015), InDaily (Oct.2015), Hibun Today (Dec. 2015), and in anthologies - Friendly Street Poets 2015 & 2016; KNWG 2016 and U3A 2016.

Make Verdant Again The Hills

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
She walks the rack of bright frocks
as her husband, an Angus aging,
paws at the carpet behind her.
She wants the right dress

to make verdant again the hills
that summers ago
brought her young bull
into her valleys.

Now he needs prodding
even to graze.
Now she no longer

has to rope off
what he used to rip up.
Now he causes no pain.

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


| Filed under

Contributor: Ken Allan Dronsfield

- -
I'm in lust with a sky
that I've yet to see;
in love with people
that I've yet to meet.

Whilst lonely lips
await whetted kisses;
cool hands caress
no trembling cheek.

Time spent within
graceless dark dreams;
queen of hearts vivid
in a diamond flush.

Struggle upon a chair
with three wobbly legs
where will the break lead
of a precious love bared.

I know where life goes,
surely not purely sacred;
amnesty found wanton
in pious infected liars.

Wicked colors flickering
grace and piety ascend
fantasy begets harmony
in dark dreams we sigh.

- - -
Ken Allan Dronsfield is a Published Poet from New Hampshire. He enjoys writing from the dark side. His published work can be found at numerous print venues.

Death dreams under the cerulean sky, poolside

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Contributor: Haley Guariglia

- -
Death dreams under the cerulean sky, poolside

sun never sets on skin
skin settles for the sun

sunscreen caught in the cracks
carvings etched in blood

pool, palms, the widespread sky
sometimes paradise withholds

hatches spare stumps and limbs
lost my mind when I took a dip

a lifetime of ideations tow
a body unrecognizable

knives and nooses cloud
a mark of madness

on this exquisite perfection without
weights no way to explore the deep

new neurosis, symptoms who counts
three palms are erect and waving

wave back to ensure my limbs are still
attached by coarse black stitches

turn on my stomach, eye-level
the water a deep, velvet, maroon

my name is called by no one
I scribble to tether me to time

pains denouement; a cloud arrives
past selves carry present self to old

wounds, re open them and gouge
when death seems the only way out

of the gate I walk home
under the quintessential California sky

- - -
Haley Guariglia grew up in the creeks of Columbia, MO and currently resides in Kansas City, MO with her boyfriend and 18 year old cat Fedora. Her interested include interpretive dance, bugs, costume creation and reading aloud. Her favorite poet of 2016 is Kate Marvin.

Autumn Dream

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Contributor: M. Protacio-De Guzman

- -
And light falls
On leaves that revel
In their verdancy.

I like to think
Them brown,
Dry, and brittle,
Spiraling their way
From their perch
To the ground.

The wind blows
On my sweat-soaked
Back, shocked
By its coldness.

I like to feel it
Hinting of snow:
Biting and cold,
Creating shivers
That rise and fall
Within my spine.

But there
Is no autumn
In my country.

There is only
My imagination
Coaxing the senses

Into believing that
There actually is.

I like
To think
It real.

- - -
M. Protacio-De Guzman is a poet from Manila, Philippines. His poems have appeared and have been anthologized in local and international publications, most recently in the Off the Rocks Anthology Volume 19.

Night’s End

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Contributor: Natalie Crick

- -
Snow had fallen, I remember,
At the night’s end.
Do you hear his voice?
I am never alone.

And at the end?
I do not live.
It is forbidden to die.
The winds are changing.

Our dead brother waited
But very dark, very hidden,
As the earth became black.

The field was parched and dry,
Filled with death already.
You walk through it.
You see nothing.

- - -
Natalie Crick has found delight in writing all of her life and first began writing when she was a very young girl. Her poetry is influenced by melancholic confessional Women's poetry. Her poetry has been published in a range of journals and magazines including Cannons Mouth, Cyphers, Ariadne's Thread, Carillon and National Poetry Anthology 2013.

Matrix of Malignancy

| Filed under

Contributor: Adam Levon Brown

- -
Holding down the hordes
Of memories which seep
Their way into my mind
On days of peace

The demons which
Keep my muscles
Tense and armed,
Retaliate at any sign
Of rebellion

Tetris-like head games
Are commonplace
In this deserted alley
Of synapses

Another night hits
The ground and I am
Left with only the discarded

To defend myself

- - -
Adam Levon Brown is a published author, poet, amateur photographer, and cat lover.


| Filed under

Contributor: Lynn Cooper

- -
My feet pace a shiny tiled
hospital floor
tapping sounds in sync
with a racing heart

Eyes roll up and down
like slot machines
return to stare at a TV
in a waiting room

I watch your ten year old grandson
on a gurney
wheeled into an operating room
upshot of handling your target shotgun

Your guilt hidden
in a drawer full of bullets
An accident!
what do you mean accident?

- - -
Lynn Cooper is a Published Poet and former New Yorker who now resides in Delray Beach, Florida.

When Every Day is Halloween

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
It used to bother me
to see odd people
leapfrog parking meters
and shout every day
is Halloween until
I realized I'm as odd as
they are, always will be.

That's the way it is.
Not much I can do about it.

On Halloween I ring doorbells
without a mask or costume
and whisper "Trick or Treat."
My neighbors do not know me.
We may never meet.
If they put candy in my bag,
I say nothing more than "Boo!"

That's the way it is.
Not much they can do about it.

In time you learn to live
with who you are even if
both of you are strangers
who may never meet.
Normal people are the ones
you have to keep an eye on.
People with monocles are fine.

That's the way it is.
Not much I can do about it.

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


| Filed under

Contributor: J.K. Durick

- -
From thirty thousand feet it’s more of a rumor
Something hinted at by that GPS animation
They show of our flight, a distance, a drop that
Haunts us as we go, but easy to imagine though,
The mountainous swells, those shoreless waves
All around, everywhere the dark and cold of it,
This is the North Atlantic, merciless and eternal,
Its size and power become god-like, picturing
Ourselves in it, treading water or alone in a boat,
Like Cowper’s Castaway or the Ancient Mariner;
Yet the airline assures us, there are emergency exits
And life vests under our seats, the inflatable chute
Can be used as a raft, so after the drop down, belly
Down on the waves, we can set off, parts of Canada
Are only a few hundred miles away, or the Coast
Guard might get us before those mountainous swells,
The shoreless waves all around, and before the dark
And cold of it finally reminds us of our place in it all.

- - -
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Pyrokinection, Record, Yellow Chair Review, Madswirl, and Haikuniverse.

The Vine

| Filed under

Contributor: Kevin M. Tenny

- -
Who am I, but a fruitless vine?
Pining through thought and mind
To produce a ripened fruit.

The flowers blossom,
The trees burgeon,
Even the weeds peek
Through the toiled Earth.

Where is my desired bud
That recapitulates my tired

What to do? Nothing,
But grow.

On and On
I grow.

Rising ever onward,
and touching clouds.

Then I see!
Look, there it is!

The view from
My height.

The trees below,
The flowers below,
The weeds underneath.

My fruit is not
A berry, lemon,
Or rose.

My view from
Atop this
Realm is my

But where was this
Height? Surely it was
Not hidden
In plain sight!

It was not.

Growing to new
Heights is a fruit,
Cultivated by

From thought and
Mind – the pining
For fruit is
One in the same.

What more could
A poor vine need
Than the will to stretch
An old-planted seed?

- - -
An undergraduate engineering student seeking right-brain stimulation.


| Filed under

Contributor: Erik Bergholm

- -
We grow tall
for the same reason
the plum tree
gropes for the shimmering stars
and like its sleeping blossoms
each one dreaming of
a powdered world
dispersed by the sigh of its sun
we stir in our beds
in the soft, quiet hours
at the memories
of the dust dissolved in our veins

- - -
I am a journalism student at the College of St. Scholastica.

Raiments of the Heart

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Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
The woman in black
Passes angrily by
As she punishes the stones
With her heels

The woman in blue
Walks slowly as if
She is held by a
Hard burden

The woman in red
Seems eager to find
A foe that is worthy
To conquer

And the woman in white
Drifts past like a cloud
On the threshold of the hem
Of heaven

- - -
Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A two-time Best of the Net nominee, his poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications. His debut chapbook, "A Wind From Nowhere", is available from Flutter Press.

The Red Corvette

| Filed under

Contributor: Judy Moskowitz

- -
swimming in a pool of genes
she came through the doorway
a clean slate
no visible ink stains
a child alone in her bed
a shadow on the wall
that would chase her down
too afraid to shut her eyes
until she grew teeth
had her first fall from grace
liquid thoughts running wild
a red corvette
mag wheels
five speed with overdrive
sophisticated suspension
she became the riff
of her own invention

- - -
Judy Moskowitz a professional jazz musician has been published in Poetry Life And Times, Michael Lee Johnson's anthology, Indiana Voice Journal, Whispers Of The Wind

2:22 PM Zen

| Filed under

Contributor: Sudeep Adhikari

- -
Truth, I don't seek you.
I see multiple fields,
and well-rounded structures
happy faces, dejected spirits
and I am alive, breathing
existence and endless conjectures
going tangent at me, at 2: 22 P.M.
a fractal tree, stand on my drive-way
a monotonous caw
carries the sounds of the other-worlds,
spans some moment
nonetheless, an eternity in itself.

- - -
Sudeep Adhikari is from Kathmandu, Nepal. He works have appeared in many literary journals and magazines.

Little Cartons, Little Sacks

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
The mug of tea
I drank at dawn,
the tea that drove

me to the train
needs a refill.
At my desk,

I don’t do much
but wait for lunch
when every day

I eat so much
the waitress gawks.
She doesn’t

realize the years
till supper
when I’ll dine

alone again,
bolt everything
that I bring home

in little cartons,
little sacks.
She’s not there

when the couch
becomes my slab
till ten

when bed
my mausoleum.

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


| Filed under

Contributor: Sanjeev Sethi

- -
In this stillness I can see my silence
serenade my sight which beckons smell
to dip into this draught of feelings,
resulting in a rash of rhythms --
autograph from forces I have no control over.

Hieroglyphics of hate try to discombobulate.
I have no space for surgeons with insidious
operations. This vow of words is a serape
I wrap myself in. It makes me serene like
in a séance: my Hippocrene.

- - -
The recently released, This Summer and That Summer, (Bloomsbury) is Sanjeev Sethi’s third book of poems. His poems have found a home in The London Magazine, The Fortnightly Review, Ink Sweat and Tears, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, The Galway Review, Otoliths, Off the Coast, Literary Orphans, Café Dissensus Everyday, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Futures Trading, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.

Rome in a Day

| Filed under

Contributor: J.K. Durick

- -
From a tour bus everything seems so temporary,
Rome, built in a day, is stuck in traffic right now,

Horns and hassle build moments like this, shuffle
And shift the day this way, hundreds of years,

A thousand or two go by, whole empires summed up,
The work of emperors and popes become anecdotes,

Excesses of the past meet the economy of the present,
An hour in, a fountain or steps leading up this hill or

That, another temple or church, religions blend so well,
Just feel the gods’ presence in this, the irony they loved,

Lines of buses, tourists at the gate, endless cafes and
Gift shops, impatience, summer heat and open wallets

Our history can read us like this, knows what we want
Western civ in digest, just a few hours and then we’re done.

- - -
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Pyrokinection, Record, Yellow Chair Review, Madswirl, and Haikuniverse.

I Don't Play Games, Child

| Filed under

Contributor: Paul Tristram

- -
You have not beaten me.
I am not your victim nor anybody else’s.
You did not win at some contest
or sporting event.
You simply set me Free!
Now, excuse me
whilst I learn from my mistake
and happily get myself
back onto the right path again.

- - -
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.
Buy his book ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press)

Blowing your Life

| Filed under

Contributor: Ken Allan Dronsfield

- -
Hypnotic stare in a greasy fog
chug on an ice cold frosty beer
driving fast singing 'Slow Ride'
blue light special; a race is on.

Night fun in my old Rambler
jurist hastens with the gavel
blow a nine can get you two
if the count is off by just one.

Staring towards the tall walls,
I'm free just beyond the wires
tower guard glares egotistically
hypnotic stare repels my exhale.

Ten months down, almost done.
good time helps, shaves off a year
positive vibes and prayer helps a lot
swinging to the beat of a 'Free Ride'.

- - -
Ken Allan Dronsfield is a Published Poet from New Hampshire. He enjoys writing from the dark side. His published work can be found at numerous print venues.


| Filed under

Contributor: Renee' Drummond-Brown

- -
Sow a seed
Plant a tree
Water ‘n’ Son
Reap the growth
Leave it be
Fend for self
Watch the weed

- - -
I, Renee’ B. Drummond-Brown, am the wife of Cardell Nino Brown Sr. and from our union came Cardell Jr., Renee and Raven Brown. I am the offspring of Mr. and Mrs. Peter C. Drummond of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My siblings are Delbert D. Drummond and the late Pastor Shawn C. Drummond. I was born in North Carolina, at Camp Lejeune US Naval Hospital. I am a graduate of Geneva College of Pennsylvania, and my love for creative writing is undoubtedly displayed through my very unique style of poetry, which is viewed globally. My poetry is inspired by God and Dr. Maya Angelou. Because of them I pledge this: “Still I write, I write, and I’ll write!”

“Renee’s Poems with Wings are Words in Flight” is flown across the seas by God’s raven. There are several Scriptures that I love; however, this one speaks volumes during this ‘season’: “And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.” (Genesis 8:7 KJV)

Theory of What Might Have Been

| Filed under

Contributor: Gary Glauber

- -
You complicate
what brings us here,
rife with intricate twists.
You smile knowingly,
awaiting camera’s
capture of the fleeting.
Careful worlds collapse,
dreams implode.

In the dream, we ignore the clamor,
the gaping pain gnawing beneath,
will against power,
love versus loins.

This explored touch with benefits,
benefits none.
In harsh daylight,
this babel teeters precariously,
a heart’s phrase gone misunderstood.
Silent symbols
resist explication,
fading to whispers
in eternal swirling wind.

- - -
Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. His collection, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) is available through Amazon, as is a chapbook, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press).


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Contributor: Michael H. Brownstein

- -
--because Deborah Lynn loved a tree so much, she gave it a name

Some things come out of no place:
a jerk and a brake:
a flash and a fire:
a text and a heart bends itself in two:
the monster came with the rain,
the night bright blue then gray.
The soil on the hill tripped over itself
and the great black walnut
nesting on our back forty forever
took one tentative step,
then three and when it reached six
blocked its fall against the roof of our old barn.
Roots separating from the ground
where they had always planted themselves
and let its buried essence breathe the flesh of air.
Beautiful things cannot retain their beauty forever
like a mountain pass, a blue green river
the face of youth aging into thinness.
The Asian mulberry tree nearby did not let go of its fruit
and the purple sand cherry in the front yard hung to its seed.
When the madman passed,
the rain slowed to a stroll in the park,
our tree changed the focus of windows,
one limb now pointing straight into the air
as if it were a middle finger and knew how to shout.
After all what holds more beauty
then a middle finger across the palm of sky.

- - -
Michael H. Brownstein is the author of Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside And Other Poems (Kind of Hurricane Press, 2013) among others. He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011) and head administrator of Project Agent Orange (

Letter to Annie Far Away

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Every evening,
up in my room,
I try to finish a poem
but Chicago is hot
and it’s better outside,
strolling along the Lake
or driving anywhere
with the windows down.

You sound good,
if undecided about things.
My life gets better
no matter how hard I try
to make it worse.
No medicine
for a month now;

no poems, either.
I can’t recall my last
spontaneous erection.
I’d blame it all on the heat
but you’d know better.

Summer in Chicago
makes people accessible
and I’ve become chatty
in these later years.
I find that small talk

with people oiled
and stretched like tarps
on Pratt Avenue Beach
trumps any summer attempt
at revising a poem winter
revisions never made right.

We’ll see if my new affair
with society lasts.
How long will I
continue to meet strangers
who introduce me
to myself?

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


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Contributor: John Grey

- -
I'm not a scholar.
I'm just passing through.

I haven't a thesis
on Roger Bacon to write.
I'm merely taking in
the splendid architecture
from the Radcliffe Camera
to St Mary's Church.

I'm no don, no student,
merely a tourist
with a day to spare,
watching punters in the river,
poking around in
the Bodleian library.

This is part of my education
no doubt
but no fancy degree
comes at the end of it.
Maybe an ale in a pub,
a round of darts,
and a train back to London.

Tomorrow, I'm off
to the Tower of London.
Not to be imprisoned.
tortured or executed.
But surely
you've guessed that already.

- - -
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Searching for Specks

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Contributor: Andy Brown

- -
There are dark places where
the only light that can shine is
a speck of minuscule hope
searching for reason,

any little reason
to stay alive;

from that often unseen dot of a speck
the glow of rejuvenation can spring.

There have been quite a few times in my recent life
when I have been thankful for my cowardice
held back from ending it once and for all
and instead have decided to grasp
that morsel of hope and
make a grab at life.

- - -
Andy Brown shares his life as an ex-prisoner, recovering addict, regeneration award winner living in one of the top 100 deprived UK areas.


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Contributor: Sanjeev Sethi

- -
Those were happy hours. Unlike discounted firewater
ours was a rebate on rejoicings. Adagio to allegro con
brio, like a well-prepared orchestra it played on our
rundle. We laughed vacuously if the timpani was out
of sync. In such a setting nothing mattered. When
wads swell even the stingy are advised not to worry
about chump change. We didn’t fuss, it was shipshape.
From god-knows-where nodules of nastiness erupted?
First love and its privation are usually one’s phantom limb.
For me it’s with all my loves. Why do I live in the past?
Does it free me from fear of mutability?

- - -
The recently released, This Summer and That Summer, (Bloomsbury) is Sanjeev Sethi’s third book of poems. His poems have found a home in The London Magazine, The Fortnightly Review, Ink Sweat and Tears, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, The Galway Review, Otoliths, Off the Coast, Literary Orphans, Café Dissensus Everyday, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Futures Trading, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.


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Contributor: Ray Miller

- -
All was lost on a daily basis:
she believed that there must be a thief
who was stealing for other faces
in need of spectacles and teeth.

The nocturnal feast was unfinished:
a weak bladder and toothless gums
left lipstick stains on the Guinness
and a trail of biscuit crumbs

to the Inco pad down the toilet
and a pool of piss on the ground.
The baby alarm had gone silent
and her knitting was all unwound

around a false breast on the carpet
that no-one was eager to touch
and her diary with the targets
that she’ll miss so very much.

She liked Flanagan and Allen,
and subscribed to The People’s Friend,
was a fan of Britain’s Got Talent –
she never made it to the end.

- - -

Scarlet Raindrops

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Contributor: Ken Allan Dronsfield

- -
Jumping from clouds into a sun dog
high sky diving towards the ground
a drizzle, fog then a summer storm,
a raucous deluge all the way down.

Raindrops greet a spattered roof
upon all at night be a scarlet haze
gutters spew a torrential wash
truth be known, I'm sad today.

Forever arrived in a lightning flash
wonder of lifeless breath sensations
sweet sip of a fruity cold daiquiri
equal only to a chilled brain freeze.

- - -
Ken Allan Dronsfield is a Published Poet from New Hampshire. He enjoys writing from the dark side. His published work can be found at numerous print venues.

Leaving the Station

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Each morning
I step from the train
and march with the others

leaving the station.
The weatherman's warned of rain
so we're armed

with umbrellas,
our briefcases swinging.
Across from the station

there's an old hotel
high in the sky. King Kong,
everyone calls it.

In tall windows
old men appear,
disappear, reappear.

It is August in Chicago
and the old men wear
overcoats and homburgs

so no one can steal them.
They light cigarettes,
mumble and curse

at the daily parade
leaving the station.
Traffic is thick

but even in winter
no one looks up
since no one can hear them.

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

Oh Say Do You See

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Contributor: Wayne F Burke

- -
Mahoney and me were
tough-guy poets and
radicals on campus,
State College,
Mahoney cut people to
shreds with
caustic words
the faculty held a special meeting
how to shut Mahoney up?
they could not do it
Mahoney played politics
with administration
was on first name basis with
we became undesirables
who smoked pot openly
made fun of the jocks and
future Susie-Homemakers of
one night we went to the
basketball game
and sat up high
in the bleachers
away from everyone else
when the national anthem began
everyone in the gymnasium stood and
turned to us
only ones not standing
and Mahoney began to giggle
as I became self-conscious
and did not realize until
end of the music that
we had sat
in front of
the American flag.

- - -
Wayne F. Burke's poetry has recently been featured in Scarlet Leaf, Ink Sweat & Tears, Meat For Tea, and Loch Raven Review. His three published poetry collections, all with Bareback Press, are WORDS THAT BURN (2013), DICKHEAD (2015), and KNUCKLE SANDWICHES (2016). He lives in the central Vermont area, USA.

Dinner for a Lost Love

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Contributor: William Speakes

- -
crushing tomatoes between
stained fingers, standing on

bare feet – corns, blisters, and
callouses worn from old shoes

years past their expiration like
the love that sits at the table

waiting for dinner that may come
with a touch of arsenic hidden

by salt from tears shed for children
lost to social services due to addiction

ravaged minds who forgot them
in the cold in the broken down Ford.

- - -
Poet, Spoken word artist, aspiring novelist, and chef. Father of three and constantly trying to juggle my life's passions.

It will trickle down

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Contributor: Julia Hones

- -
It will trickle down
according to his plan,
where his connections are,
straight in the direction of the ones
that are blind to atrocities and crimes.

It will trickle down,
believe it,
just like a magnet
toward the ones that can align with dust,
or like a bomb encroaching
those who disagree.

Down and up again,
akin to a boomerang
leaving no trace behind,
and there will be no need to search:
It is his right to hide the filthy parts.
He will be celebrated all the same.

- - -
Julia Hones's works have appeared in a vast array of magazines and anthologies, both in print and online. Her poetry has been shortlisted in various contests. She published her first poetry collection, "She Opened the Cage" in 2016.

"Lost within the words I never said."

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Contributor: Frank Ferone

- -
When I was strong,
I didn't have to worry about
who'd come along,
To pick me up off the ground.
I'm all alone; yet I move on,
and sing my song.
When no one else is around.
I just can't help,
cant seem to figure it out.
Yet time goes on.
Am I really just kidding myself?
Scorned for desperately grasping at the flame.
You were lost deep within
the notes of every song I sang.

- - -

San Xavier del Bac to Summerhaven

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Contributor: James Robert Rudolph

- -
Still as yellow as ever but
the sun swoons in January and the cold
blushes cactus plum, chilly bruises.

To summer then to green palo verde trees
bark the color of frog skin they sift
the night with bitty leaves the gauzy drape
of a modern dancer.

Spiky-headed date palms, punks
lithe or gangly carry their fruit on sticks
like hobo satchels cacao colored achy sweet
on the tooth a brown sugar chew.

Longhorn cattle dull in dry pastures of
dirty blond grass edging grapes that
suffer for the wine prayer beads of grapes
calcified by fallen bones purified in
the eye of a scourging sun.

Mt. Lemmon saguaros on its foothills arms up
a field army of surrendering Gumbies
on top a winged aerie over brown canyon
shadowed canyon to ringing mountains
erupted and holed with outlaw hideouts through
high passes hard by palisades to
a great south desert of burr and dust
with white plaster missions roseate
with martyrs’ blood, frescoes of martyrs
where old sins cauterize in the fires
of expiation and this blue burning sky.

- - -
James Robert Rudolph is a retired psychologist and teacher having returned to old haunts in northern New Mexico after a busy career in Minneapolis. He believes in old-style magical realism, that inspired by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the high desert, and the deep, broad sky of the American mountain west. Recent poems have appeared in The Artistic Muse, Mad Swirl, Black Heart Magazine, and Poetry Super Highway, among others.

Lazy Wakening

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Contributor: E.S. Wynn

- -
Few feelings
are so sweet
as waking softly
to your scent
to the touch, the warmth
of you, all tangled
in sheets, in me
and smiling
while subtle sunlight
slips across and dapples
sun-honeyed skin
and stirs us
to start our day
to start slowly
savoring the silence
the succulent stillness
of a world yet to wake.

- - -
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"

Monsanto Man, Retired

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
You think it's easy,
embalming bodies
in these nightmares
I have every night,

bodies a vulture
wouldn't touch,
bodies rotting
decades later

in the afterglow
of Agent Orange,
bodies found in
villages and fields

in Vietnam where
I have never been
except in nightmares.
I'm Monsanto Man,

chemist nonpareil,
retired now,
but working hard
embalming bodies

for eternity
in nightmares
I know now
will never end.

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

Moving Out

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Contributor: Liam Strong

- -
for the culled heart. for the inheritance bequeathed
your patient hand. for the clumped patches of grass we fall to,

sandy loam laced into jean and flannel. for the night
we watched amber snow dwindle from downtown radiation.

let’s move back in to where we got kicked out.
your last night there was mine as well, that house

eviscerated of belonging, where we’ve been replaced,
and new furniture with a new family has been transplanted.

i grew up with you in a basement, covering our favorite
pop-punk songs on miniscule bass amp and riveted cymbals.

she was there, and every she that came after. this is for
everyone that opened the always unlocked door.

this is for you and how we could have returned life
to your home. for your empty wallet and churning stomach.

for your forgotten drum set, the burned posters,
the unwatched dvds, the sold video games.

for the scrounging of lifeblood from shag carpet,
icy cement, and the searching after placing home

into the backseat of your new one.

- - -
Liam Strong is a poet from Traverse City, Michigan. You can find his work in the NMC Magazine, Dunes Review, and Poets' Night Out.


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Contributor: Michael H. Brownstein

- -
Morning, dishes in the sink,
crud on the stove, garbage
needs to be taken out,
my wife who went to bed late
still asleep, my daughter
who went to bed early snoring
soft air pockets of breath,
my son gathering his work
for another day in the lab.
The dogs need to be walked
and the paper trained puppies
have done what they are to do.
The air is breathable, sky blue,
crisp and cool, a slight
curve of breeze, almost
noticeable. My mother in a comma
five hundred miles away, the MRI
not studied yet, her hands
able to squeeze my sister's finger
reflexively, my mother breathing
on her own, the stroke to her
right side overpowering. Listen
to the chatter of the house wrens
entering their home through
breaks in the old siding.
In the distance, a barn owl.
Outside the dog owners begin
congregating in the parking lot
behind our old house, their dogs
silent as if they too know
the condition of my mother.
I plan to catch the next available
train and I'll try to get there
soon, the sun growing in color,
not a cloud in sight, the mulberry
tree allowing the squirrels, possums,
and robins a place to eat.
No one is talking. The dogs
do not bark. I can see the design
of vine rising over the neighbor's
fence, the hole beneath it
his dogs dug to escape, the break
where the children opened the wood
to retrieve overthrown balls.
My mother breathes in and out
as is our habit, her chest rising
and falling, her eyes closed,
she has nothing to say. My sisters
who live within driving distance
are with her, talking over her bed,
their cell phones in their hands.
When I finally take the dogs out,
I find other dogs blocking my usual
way, and I turn--one of my dogs
a fighter--and find another path.
They pull me this way and that
as is their habit and in a place
of weeds, linger over something.
I go to see what they are busy
studying. A dead something--too long
dead to be recognized, I tug at them
gently as is my habit, speak to them,
and begin my walk uphill back home.

- - -
Michael H. Brownstein is the author of Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside And Other Poems (Kind of Hurricane Press, 2013) among others. He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011) and head administrator of Project Agent Orange (


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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
If he were perfect, then
he wouldn't be
Dan the Handyman,

laying tile
in crooked rows,
painting windows shut,

installing commodes
that flush up.
If he were perfect, then

he wouldn't take jobs
that he can't do,
because if he did,

he wouldn't be
Dan the Handyman,

when things go wrong,
cursing when
things go right.

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

Rolling Back The Rock

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Contributor: Judy Moskowitz

- -
Going back to playing vinyl forty fives
Singing "doo wop" on every street corner
Cigarette rolled sleeve or muscle shirt
That was the fifties
Moving forward to a changing time
Where music and politics
Did not rhyme
Motown Afros and Dashikis
Marching in time
To a new culture
Rhythm spitting out anger
Janis Joplin singing Mercedes Benz
Sounds change with the flow of time
Poetry's energy writing songs
A slamming reflection
I can't get no satisfaction
And the beat goes on

- - -
I am a professional jazz musician originally from New York and now residing in Florida. I started writing poetry three years ago and have been published.


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