Inside The Echo

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Contributor: Michael Kagan

- -
I blow song after song
my secret audience hiding behind the plaster
in between the walls
I feel her presence cheering me on
in the kitchen and through the halls
the horn cry's out
the voice of my thoughts
I fill these rooms with music
until the floors begin to shake
we are together inside the echo
oh how she warms me
in this cold place


- - -
Michael Kagan is a jazz musician residing in Canada. Published on thepoetcommunity.com

Split Pea Soup

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Contributor: Judy Moskowitz

- -
Whispers in my ear of guilty pleasures
remorse when past meets present
secrets kept hidden behind a trap door
the high cost of living free
cupboards bare in a soundproof house
where insomnia walks the floors
It's complicated
decisions made in years past
sworn to tell the truth
the whole truth
but the heart interfered
a complex organ with ventricles
arteries and plaque
in the end the heart knows
it can't live without magic
deep into the delta blues
raw cane sugar
brown and sweet
savoring memories of velvet skin
while eating split pea soup


- - -
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

Remembering His Third Wife

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Never speak ill of the dead,
his father always said,
and his father was a pastor
who preached from the pulpit.

That's why whenever
he thinks of his third wife,
and he does almost daily,
he never says anything bad.

Instead, he sends himself an email
and records for history yet another
evil deed she managed to execute
during the years they had six kids.

Between kids she drove him nuts.
He never thought she'd die
and never hoped she would
because as he said in an email,

the Devil has his hands full.
Then he saw her death certificate
and, by golly, it was embossed
so it had to be good as gold.

Since he couldn't keep the original
he took it to the office
and made a giant photocopy.
Now he wants the right frame,

black as he claims her heart was.
So far he has sent himself 400 emails
about his bonfire life with her, a brief
prologue to the Hall of Fame injustices

he maintains he suffered simply
because so long ago he said "I do."
He isn't certain what she said.
Perhaps it was "You're through!"


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

Humanimal

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Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
Wanting to believe
in the goodness of the species
I return to a portmanteau.
Knowing the struggle, vicious
quotes, rumors held up
like knives, agendas so sharp
they slice through all reason.
A smile just looks like bared
teeth to me, at least this week
it does.
Wanting to believe in a modicum
of kindness, holding out a cup
to see if it appears.
Entering the room, I see the lions
waiting. They are hungry
and it isn't even lunch yet.


- - -

Wish I Had The Ovaries

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Contributor: Ellie S. Vend

- -
Wish I had the ovaries
to be this, to wear that
wish I had the womb
to rise wise and proud
to tower in heels
to pad in flats
and all with equal ease.

Wish I had the ovaries
to be the me that I am inside
not hide, but rise
and cultivate the confidence
to open my hands
to take the lefthands
and the backhands
and the dark stares
and the trash talk
as compliments.

Wish I had the ovaries
to stand without quavering
to be steel staunch and solidly set
on a course of my own devising
without waivering
without wondering
if maybe I'm making a mistake
if maybe I'm making
a million meaningful little mistakes.


- - -

Wonder

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Contributor: Lyla Sommersby


- -
Autumn eyes,
so hard to find
I'm so lost sometimes
without that kind
of intensity
so hard to find
a life to dance
upon the rainbow with
so hard to reach
for soft and solid
instead of sharply sweet
gold and smoke
and shadow

but if our paths never cross again
if we never dream between
the interims and twilight times
if I never live to see
never live
to match your beauty
again

maybe we'll meet
at least
on the skyward end
of bifrost bridge
maybe we'll meet
and share a hug
or a high-five
or a mug of mead
and maybe you'll smile to see me
see me
as I truly am
maybe I'll be free
of the sting, of the chains
of this, all this
maybe I'll be the me
beneath all this blackened stubble
beneath all the thickened skin
stitched tight with the scars
you gave to me.


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

Love Trust

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Contributor: John Dorn

- -
Lay me down
let me rest
really rest
into complete convalescence
wash away everything
that keeps me on guard
that keeps me worried
leave me safe
wrapped only
in the arms
of the one I love
the life I love
let me drift
to the tunes
of truly chill music
and be, simply be
in perfect love
in perfect trust
in all ways
and always.


- - -

Megaphones of a Waterfall

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Contributor: Nikhil Nath

- -
On the megaphone
of a waterfall,

I capture silence
in a tree,

dropping a mile
or two from

the sudden clammer
of a typewriter,

wishing money would
jump out of

a philanthropist's
pocket, to submerge

me in a sea
of wanton desire

letting me escape,
in a boat

made of leaves.


- - -
Writing Poetry for the last 18 years
Have been published in several magazines including Leaves of Ink
Virginia Woolf had said "Write rubbish but write"
That is the maxim for my poetry.

Twilight's Crescendo

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Contributor: Ken Allan Dronsfield

- -
absent of pearls in a grand ocean mollusk
crying self righteousness without salty tears
seeking to find truth in an unrelenting fervor
see the dark drift in during a twilight crescendo.
dancing in the dark, or waltzing in a whirlwind
depraved and decrepit as a one legged snake
sweet tea from it's spot in a cherry wood box
steeped in red clay pots amongst the ingrates.
lightning strikes throughout the lower treeline
disturbing thoughts of ambivalence in dreams
hoods in mourning whilst a crypt-like fog lifts
gates of iron grasp upon the spirit deep within.
rain hits upon leaves making a steady tapping
bare feet hit the road, a slippery slope aghast
a poncho saves the day, in a simple pious way
for we all knew it would rain, on that Saturday.


- - -
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 two Pushcart Prize Awards and the Best of the Net for 2016.

Cutout Hearts

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Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
Cutout hearts are a symbol of love
The sign of peace is a snow white dove
Hate has no sign, except a one finger salute
This is what the haters use to recruit
Dealing with our love is a easy task
Dealers of hate wear a solemn mask
Working towards a peaceful end to hate
Stopping the battle before it is to late
The time for love is close at hand
Bring out your heart and make a stand
Cutout hearts are a symbol of love
The sign of peace is a snow white dove


- - -
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 20 poems on this site and one printed in "Stormcloud Poets second anthology".

Today

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Contributor: Wyatt Mitchell

- -
Today is not hopeful, cheery or optimistic. Today is not talkative. Today is exhausted, unmotivated, not worth the effort and just better off dead. Today is waiting for tomorrow. Today is not lazy but drained. Today didn’t sleep until five in the morning. Today would rather read. Today doesn’t want to be touched. Today cannot breathe or smile. Today is depressed. Today only ate three pieces of pizza and a chocolate-chip cookie. Today wants to exercise but cannot find the energy. Today is lethargic. Today has mail. Today doesn’t care. Today is not awake. Today is zoning out. Today finds pleasure in the pain of a nervous picking habit. Today wants to throw up. Today is endless and not fit for consumption. Today’s mouth and tongue and throat are dry. Today cannot feel emotions whilst empty inside. Today is loveless and unenthused. Today is disappointing. Today woke up wanting to die. Today cannot pursue death. Today cannot move. Today is immobile. Today spent ten dollars and is questioning that decision. Today pulled an ingrown hair. Today is not satisfied. Today looks at miscellaneous scar tissue. Today has gone near three years without self-harming. Today is not interested in starting over. Today just wants to feel the blade just to feel something. Today never wanted to leave the house. Today doesn’t care how nice it is outside. Today cannot think. Today knows not what to say. Today’s lips are sealed. Today wants to go home and has decided to leave. Today must wait. Today is not particularly patient. Today is difficult and miserable. Today is inexplicable and therefore incurable. Today is insane, irritated and not in the mood. Today doesn’t know why it has nothing left to give. Today’s not sure what to do. Today only masturbated once. Today wants the dishes out of the bedroom. Today doesn’t want to go downstairs. Today is lifeless. Today’s heart is beating. Today should be grateful. Today is drowning but still not dead. Today should try harder. Today is unlikely. Perhaps tomorrow.


- - -

Conflict of Interest

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Contributor: Michael Kagan

- -
Beyond the titillation and caress
beyond any stunning expectation
is the softness of her cheeks
at the end of the night
I tenderly kiss the left and right
the countless inconsistencies
complexities and secrets
pain in the nostrils of pleasure
how much time is left
winds of. worry push you over
lay you flat on sands
of denial burning truth
in a smoldering
conflict of interest


- - -
Michael Kagan is a jazz musician residing in Canada. Published on thepoetcommunity.com

Carousel of Marriage

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Harry and Grace had a carousel
of marriage while it lasted.
There were arguments galore
and children by the score
or so the neighbors thought
as they counted kids
running across their lawns
causing divots to fly and
dogs to bark, a canine
tabernacle choir.

Fireworks on the Fourth
were peaceful in comparison.
The kids would light their
crackers in the yard while
Harry and Grace sat
and swirled vodka on ice
in plastic tumblers.

Harry and Grace had arguments
so loud the cops would come
but no one was ever arrested.
Grace would say Harry was wonderful
and Harry would say Grace was too.
But eventually Harry moved out
and Grace got a job doing hair.
Harry sent money for years
and the kids went to college.

Decades later a neighbor saw Harry
at the Mall and they had a nice chat.
Harry said he was happy his kids
got degrees and it was good Grace
had married the farrier and moved
to Wyoming where there were horses.
Not much work for a farrier in Brooklyn.
He had time to break up a marriage.


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

A WHISPER OF YOUR NAME

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Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
Thought I could honestly say
I was over you
But my lips cannot suppress
A whisper of your name
From passing through

Memories flood every crack
Of my broken heart
Loneliness creeps around
In the quiet moments
There is no escaping its depths

You will never know
What it meant to love you
Now I'm falling apart inside
Because losing my dreams
Is the hardest part of all

Silence darkens the doorway
At last, I have seen the truth
So I turn my eyes away
From the day you never came back
Leaving too many things unsaid.


- - -
Stacy Maddox lives, dreams, tends her gardens and writes in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS. Indulging her time in the outdoors, connecting with nature, walking the Kansas River trails and discovering new writing and photo opportunities, is one of her greatest pleasures in life. Stacy has been published in over 25 books, print and online magazines and websites. She has been passionate about Literature and Visual Art for over 30 years.

IN THE WAITING ROOM

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Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

- -
a couple planted in front of me
feet at ten past two
eyes at twelve noon

his hands one atop the other
on rigidly vertical metal cane

her hands sternly folded
over squashed leather purse

they sit and wait
staring ahead into nothing

I would like to go behind them
poke for signs of life
but am afraid there would be
no response that they like me
fear what the doctor will say


- - -
JOANNA M. WESTON. Has had poetry etc. published for twenty-plus years. Her middle-reader, ‘Those Blue Shoes', published by Clarity House Press; and poetry, ‘A Bedroom of Searchlights’, published by Inanna Publications, 2016.

Crime Story

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Contributor: Andrew Hubbard

- -
The old man said he’d tell me a story
If I brought him some scotch.
I did so.

He turned the bottle in his hands slowly
Like a jeweler appraising a rope of pearls.
“Malt,” he said slowly, “none of that
Blended shit. You’re a good boy.”
I’m forty four.

I brought him another gift:
A Waterford crystal tumbler,
I even had it gift wrapped.

He opened it very slowly
And smiled behind his white moustache.
“Let’s go on the porch,” he said.

It was just past sunset.
Bats did their spirit dance,
Coyotes were tuning up far away.

A cork squeaked, and a most excellent aroma
Glided into the cool air.

He drank, closed his eyes,
And pressed the tumbler to his forehead
Like a sacrament. He started talking
Before he opened his eyes:


“Must be forty years gone now
I was rasslin’ pulpwood near Oldtown, Maine.
I stopped in the bar and an old man took me aside.
He said a couple of low-life’s
From the reservation were planning
To rob me that night at my cabin.
He was pretty far into the Budweiser
But he sounded straight up, and I believed him.”

“I got a nap, picked my hiding place, and waited.”

“They came on the dot at twelve.
I let them get well inside
And then they were looking at my flashlight
And a gun barrel.”

“I had them cuff themselves together with a zip tie
Right wrist of one to left wrist of th’other.”

He paused to drink, then paused some more.

“I almost never lie,” he said
And I don’t like it.
But when I have to,
I can do it pretty well.
I said to them, ‘I ain’t
Going to hurt you boys
But we’re going for a walk.’”

“I made them go first
And I followed with the flashlight.
One of the guys was silent, the other was sobbing.
We went through the woods,
Then past our cutting area
Into a dark stretch of virgin timber.”

“When I judged we’d gone far enough to kill the sound
I shot the one on the left in the back of the head.
He pitched forward so hard
He pulled the other guy down on his face.
He was making little puppy noises, and then
I shot him in the back of the head too.”

“I pocketed the shell cases, found my way home, and slept.”

“I knew they’d find the guys eventually
And they did.”

“The newspaper made it out like a hate crime
But they didn’t have much to go on.
I remember one headline:
‘Officials have determined that the shots
Were fired from a nine millimeter handgun.’”
He chuckled. “That’s like saying, ‘The getaway car
Was found to have four wheels.’”

He’d been working at the scotch judiciously,
Now he took a gulp.
He coughed a little and yawned.
The bottle was down almost halfway.

“I don’t know why I did it that way
I could have called the cops.
Sometimes you just do things
Cause they feel right at the time.”

“I guess there’s no harm
In talking about it now…
And what can they do to me anyway?
Walls of my heart are tissue paper,
I’d never survive a trial.”

“Good scotch.”


- - -
Andrew Hubbard was born and raised in a coastal Maine fishing village. He has had six books published, and currently lives with his family in rural southern Indiana.

Mohave Monotony

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Contributor: Lynn Nicholas

- -
Trees tremble, branches shimmy,
sitting-out the dance between gusts.

Leaves toss, exposing pale undersides,
littering stone patios with organic debris--
detritus of the unfinished season.

Sickly sun, bedridden and cold,
hides under a grey comforter of clouds

Birds fluff insulating feathers,
beaks curved like question marks,
eyes hooded, awaiting spring.

Grey lizards lounge on grey block wall,
under grey skies unbroken by rainbows.


- - -
Lynn’s creativity is nourished by solitude, the companionship of animals, the energy of plants, ballroom dancing, sunsets, good wine and chocolate. Her writing is supervised by a black cat who loves to straddle her keyboard.

Envelope in the Pigeonhole

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
This evening when I return to the hotel
I see in my pigeonhole
Angela’s writing
on a yellow envelope.

What excuse will she have for not writing?
Too busy, perhaps,
stirring cauldrons of soup
while the cats dash about licking her calves.

Or don’t the cats know enough
to lick at her calves?
Would that I were the cats
and the cats were taller.


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

A Call to Action

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Contributor: Jared Wun

- -
Power comes to those
Whose will burns brighter than fire
Like lightning, it strikes

Strength is then showcased
Impressing those around them
Solely for self gain

Then tragedy comes
Bringing with it destiny
A call to action

Risen from despair
A man searches for justice
A hero is born


- - -
Jared is an aspiring rapper and Hip-Hop artist who enjoys writing the occasional poem. When he is not spending time writing or producing music, he reads comic books and doodles on Post-It notes. He dreams of one day receiving a Grammy nomination/award for Best Rap Album.

Starlight Fall

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Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
I am the crash
of starlight fall
when heaven in
its oscillation
shared crests of waves
of promise and power

I stood at the edge
of my known universe
listening to the lap
of galaxies on the shore
the siren song of another
planet

where I could find a new
name and feet to plant
a family to raise

but images of what I hold
sacred dashed akimbo
on the rocks stopped me

So, here I am
beneath the pattern of stars
trying to reach up
never touching.


- - -

Class Ring

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Contributor: George Siv

- -
Paging you into a daydream
The rise of nationalism on a dead battery
JV squad on a weeknight league
No custom concerns or college degrees

Korean war vets and concrete parking decks
Talking through the walls and hiding in the trees
Midnight suns and humid summer evenings
Thoughts of you hung on a flowing breeze

Wax paper and plastic kings
Standing fiddling twisting my class ring
Smiling bright, staring fresh
Making ‘em look from their backseats

Shadowboxing the start of the day
Forgetting where you are and thinking of me
Biting into the photo’s flash and tossing your phone
Remembering who you used to be
Standing twisting fiddling your wedding ring


- - -

Old Mud and Memories

| Filed under

Contributor: Michael Kagan

- -
Stuck in old mud
knee deep in dirty memories
trying to pull himself out
open some windows
there's no fresh air in this space
walking among the trees
that line his property
people look through him as if
he wasn't there
ashamed of his mind
washing it down with bourbon for years
denying himself a golden treasure
knee deep in elixir
smothered tears
remembering ecstasy
a merry go round
spinning out of control
lost and found
inside dirty little secrets


- - -
Michael Kagan is a jazz musician residing in Canada. Published on thepoetcommunity.com

Metamorphosizing

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Contributor: Taylor Choung

- -
I am the broken
winged butterfly,
still trying to fly away
I am the cloud that is calm
before the thunder.
I am the flower that stood
out amongst the others.
I am the dusty thorned rose
a sickly purple hue
that’ll never be a perfect purple

Steadily, stuck between
the blue and the red
I am the coastline
that cannot cope with change
I am the crashing of the waves
making its way up the shore
for that last grain of hope
reaching the Garden of Eden

I was the one who found answers
to problems that no one else could solve.
I became God in their eyes.
In reality, I was lost in the ocean of my mind -
too soon caught myself and thought.
Who am I? I am who I am.
Just keep moving forward.


- - -
Taylor Choung has danced jazz for five year, but that's not her only creative outlet, she has also been known to doodle one hell of a flower.

Dream of the Weaver Who Wove My Blanket

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Contributor: Beate Sigriddaughter

- -
When she came to me I lay at the entrance of sleep,
sunlight streaming bright against closed eyes. At first
I thought she meant to say, "I weave, don't weep for me."
I watched her weaving dawn and dusk, my blanket of five colors,
waiting for strangers flying in chrome to take her things
for pennies and to turn them into riches. I am already rich,
she reassured me, seeing all this interweaving. Children playing
at her feet, banana leaf dolls, a daughter beside her,
impatient with thread, wanting to go with the girls
to the river for water, a bowl with ground corn, a husband
bowing at the door, and the weaver herself stepping out
at sunset, drinking up deep patters not yet used, the walking
to her sisters, speaking through the fire and smoke of
the remnant of the day, her face growing older slowly.
Now she was saying, more clearly, don't weep for yourself
in your prison of logic and clocked time. Take the structures
and weave your life around them, your stories. In your world
a long time men were at the loom. They have wove a curtain of
money to hang between matter, and endless partitions between
you and themselves and their gossamer god. This isn't good
or bad. It happened. Don't forget. But remember your own
thread now, go closer. They may try to threaten, but they cannot
chase you from the loom. So I opened my life to sunrise
and began to weave our story in the center of geometry
with the beautiful uneven thread of my heart.


- - -
Beate Sigriddaughter lives and writes in New Mexico, USA, the Land of Enchantment. In 2018 FutureCycle Press will publish her poetry collection Xanthippe and Her Friends.

The Four Horsemen

| Filed under

Contributor: Iana Delapaz

- -
One rides, bow in hand
and a crown upon his head,
his aim to conquer.

Another appears,
with the power to wage war
and a fiery steed.

Yet a third comes by,
a pair of scales in his grip;
hunger plagues the earth.

Atop a pale horse,
the last rider approaches,
and Death is his name.


- - -
Iana Delapaz is a lover of all things hamster and is the owner of one named Sachi. Her favorite color is blue but she owns a lot of pink items. To combat boredom, she enjoys doodling and singing while playing her ukulele.

Monks in the Orchard Picking Peaches

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Young monk
and old monk
in the orchard
picking peaches,
sunny and plump,
ready for canning.

Carrying bushels
to the wagon cart,
the young monk
asks the old monk
what to look out for
when growing old.

The old monk
pauses and says
not much.
Life stays the same
for the most part.
Monks work and pray
but an old monk
works slower and
prays faster.

But not to worry,
the old monk advises.
He admits he's
going deaf
but that's just
an inconvenience
since God uses
sign language.
Peaches like these
have no need to talk.


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

Purity

| Filed under

Contributor: Claire

- -
Growing up, I loved the color of seafoam green-defined as:
the color of water, except in a visible form.

The beautiful, Pacific waves and the memories made
in the ocean, brings me nostalgia of the fun times I had.

I was raised up with water, it became my third parent
always with me, and my second sibling.

Seafoam green reminds me of the first few times I went swimming
and I pretended to have powers like Poseidon;

Reminds me of when I was still scared of drowning, and placed
all my faith in the lifeguard jackets that helped me stay afloat.

Reminds me of the times I spent, sportively spraying water-guns
with my neighborhood friends in the hot, summer afternoons.

Or when I helped my anxious three year-old preschool students
slide down miniature water slides at church.

Or when my mother, sister and I
dunked our cold feet in a tub of hot water.

Or when my family visited Zion National Park, to rest our feet
in the refreshing rivers, and where I realized the environmentalist in me.

Growing up, I loved the color of my choice, seafoam green,
which was influenced through my interconnection with water.


- - -
Claire finds joy in actively voicing her opinions that challenge the societal norm. Mother nature never ceases to leave Claire breathless. She wishes most for time to stop when she spends time with her friends.

Five Haikus

| Filed under

Contributor: Janea Dominique

- -
New Holiday

We put up the tree
cheer gives way to a silence-
but our star is gone.

Morphe

A small fluffy brush,
brown colors blend and sparkle-
one finished eye pops.

Home

Unwanted tears fall,
the cold air bites at my cheek-
its warm in her arms.

Camp Counselor

Tomato red skin
kids running through the sprinklers,
nothing beats my job.

Runners

Salty, soft and pink,
came so far on your journey-
don’t die young salmon.


- - -
Janea Dominique is an adrenaline junkie who sneaks into abandoned asylums and rides dirt bikes in the desert. She also is a homebody, often curled up on the couch with a cup of tea in her lap and a Disney film playing on the TV.

Hustle

| Filed under

Contributor: Christie Kim

- -
How many times must you be reminded to hurry up?
Mom’s car is gone.
She drove off,
without you.
Don’t you dare make that pouty face.
She doesn’t hate you.
Yes, your sister is with her;
don’t read into it.
She doesn’t love her more.
She doesn’t hate you.
Calm yourself and dial your mother now,
there’s a reason she gave you that phone.
She just forgot you.
Although you’re baffled,
don’t show your tears
because there are bigger things in life,
to cry about.
Just let it pass;
it’ll become a moment to laugh about,
later on.
What are you waiting for?
Quit stalling and call mom,
now.
I promise,
she doesn’t hate you.


- - -
Christie Kim thinks that the sun will make her taller. She stands outside hoping for inches, but only comes home as red as a tomato. She needs to realize that photosynthesis isn’t her forte.

TWILIGHT

| Filed under

Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

- -
the time when cars pause longer at stop signs
cats are a glide of shadow by the fence
and I wait wait for darkness

in which I can hunt new wisdoms
that rise and drift into knowledge
become words I will try out over coffee
next morning and wonder if what I learned
during the half-light of yesterday
is truth or imagination to be painted on canvas
or written into a poem though I would lose
the inflow of mist and the half-seen owl that blinks
while I pass as a spectre among street lights


- - -
JOANNA M. WESTON. Has had poetry etc. published for twenty-plus years. Her middle-reader, ‘Those Blue Shoes', published by Clarity House Press; and poetry, ‘A Bedroom of Searchlights’, published by Inanna Publications, 2016.

Hope and Mr. Neery

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
I saw Mr. Neery,
ninety if a day,
wobbly on his walker

on his way to Sunday Mass.
He won't accept a ride,
insists on walking.

He's easy to spot,
a St. Louis Cardinals fan
in a bright red jacket

and a Cardinals cap
that halts a hurricane
of snowy hair.

It's his first Mass
since burying his wife
a month ago when

someone lent him
a black suit to wear.
Now he's in red again,

a sign of hope,
even if he's bent over,
his humped back a

question mark growing.
But he's no different now
than he was before.

He still comes to Mass
like everyone else
looking for the answer

and to pray for the Cardinals
who play the Mets
at 1 o'clock this afternoon.


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

Sweet Sorrow

| Filed under

Contributor: Patricia Santillan

- -
I am a midnight blue of the lost hour,
a company to those that can’t sleep.

I am a sunny yellow of the afternoon,
the energy for those that need it.

Arms that are used for close embraces with another
can also push them far away.

Ears that are used for listening to the beauty of songs
can also hear the terrifying screams of anger.

Eyes that are opened wide to look for wonder
can also be closed to stop cries.

Just like Pandora’s Box, I keep my evils locked away.
However, someone will eventually open them up.

A person who is calm and collected
can also be an irrational radical.

A person who is full of innocence
can also be corrupted by sin.

I am a midnight blue of the found hour,
helping the sleepless into their slumber.

I am a sunny yellow of the afternoon,
burning those under my rays.


- - -
Patricia Santillan speaks multiple languages. She is a lover of Greek mythology because there has to be more than what she learned in Catholic school. Her last publication can be found in the Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans from when she was nine.

In The Quiet Moments

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
In the quiet moments
Buried in the depths of darkness
You are right there beside me
Surrounding my every sense
Whispering your truths from lover's lips

My soul is at peace with yours
Reassured of the promises made
From the man who cradles this heart
Never to let it slip away and break
I have needed you for so long

You speak my very name
It is the sweetest sound
Of love I have ever known
A fire burning so brightly
The beacon to call home

One with you, in harmony
Feeling your presence on the wind
Taking me higher and higher
I close my eyes and I am there
Wrapped inside your golden wings

You are all that I know
Taking me to those places
That only dreamers have seen
A song playing low and slow
Collected in the memories of our story

In the quiet moments...


- - -
Stacy Maddox lives, dreams, tends her gardens and writes in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS, USA. Indulging her time in the outdoors, connecting with nature, walking the Kansas River trails and discovering new photo opportunities, is one of her greatest pleasures in life. Stacy has been published in over 25 books, print and online magazines and websites.

Leave Me

| Filed under

Contributor: Shawn Chang

- -
With a jar of feathers and tar in the lorn lands, the farthest star,
Thou the sick and sinful thief count thy so many a captur’d heart.
Running about with brine and knife, salting deep wounds and steering strife,
Bringing Death to those still in life by tearing their souls apart.
Turn to me not, I impart.
Leave. Depart.
We part.
Should have done so at the start.


- - -
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.

Disperse

| Filed under

Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
The sun will always die
whenever faith in its light is lost

and now I have gone blind
without the vision of love
that left a beam in my eye

As the smoke from my cigarette
drifts through the air
I am reminded
how all things in life
eventually disperse

including the love
that once carried
promises of eternity


- - -
Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, and books can be found.

Pushed Aside

| Filed under

Contributor: Carolyn Morales

- -
I am sunshine yellow,
only focusing on the bright side.
What else can I do,
when I’m always shoved to the side.

I never get the spotlight,
no matter how hard I try.
My dream is to be
as known as Leonardo DiCaprio.

It’s not easy being a twin,
especially when I’m always the runner-up.
I am a yellow rose,
that refuses to stand behind.
I won’t stand behind the red roses
my mom gives my sister.

I shine in my own way,
it’s just never good enough.
I’m proud of being different.
There can only be one winner.

When we were younger,
we tickled, teased, and tackled each other.
Now that we are older,
we shun, shout, and shut each other up.

I love her but the longer I’m in her shade,
the more I want to shine in my own sunshine yellow.


- - -
Carolyn Morales enjoys spending her afternoons with her neighborhood cats. During her free time she likes baking cookies with her identical twin sister.

The Island

| Filed under

Contributor: Michael Serrano

- -
My mind is an island,
Separated from continents by a sea
so treacherous that only a few can cross.

Inhabited by haunting hatred,
hiding from the world,
the Island stands alone.

During the day a storm rages,
battering the bitter earth below,
but at night, calm surrounds.

Searching for connection.
Searching for peace.
Searching for hope.

The land, desolate and dead,
like the fallout from a nuclear explosion,
broken buildings, broken boats.

As if it were the city of Atlantis,
lost, the cost too great for those who wish to stop,
feeding the constant feeling of abandoning.

Maybe one day a raft can be built.


- - -
Michael Serrano has been to nine countries that are not his home, such as Mexico and Slovenia. When he isn’t cruising the globe, he can be found playing games with friends or battling with family for the last slice of cake. An avid sports fan, he never misses any Anaheim Ducks games, attempting to get tickets however he can.

Stage 3

| Filed under

Contributor: Ariana Gonzalez

- -
Stage 3

Don’t try to save your abuelito.
In eighth grade he will move in with you.
Mom will try to downplay the situation.

Your family will try to leave you in the unknown,
yet that isn't for long because you find out abuelito has stage 3 cancer.
The hospital will be your school after school.

After two years of surgeries and doctor visits you will spend winter break with him in Mexico.
On January 4, 2014, you will experience the worst pain ever imaginable.

One day he will suddenly collapse, you won't know what is going on until you see abuelita burst out into tears.
In that moment you realize abuelito is dying.

Numerous failed attempts will result from you trying to open the oxygen tank.
Don’t try it, your mind will be blocked.

Eventually you give up, but it won’t matter anymore.
Sit by your abuelito and ease him into a better place.
The tears he will shed when you say you love him will be heartbreaking.

For years you will feel guilty everyday of your life.
Thinking that you could have saved him.
Deep down you know his passing was inevitable.

Don’t try to save abuelito, don’t feel guilty for his passing, and cherish every memory.
Most of all don't be sad, he is looking over you from heaven.


- - -
Ariana Gonzalez was born with six fingers and ever since has known her right hand from her left. When she isn't learning the anatomy of the human body, she is putting together the complex pieces of puzzles. One of her obsessions include binge watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Illusion

| Filed under

Contributor: Sophia Virdi

- -
Don’t mistake his smile
for a suicide note.
You are traumatized
by the passing of a former classmate.
You now believe every smile
is owned by someone that
practices tying knots
in their free time.
You now believe that
it’s your job to be
the light at the end of everyone’s tunnel.
You can’t carry that weight though.
Back away from the computer
and don’t write that letter to his sister.
It will only end in an angry
drunk text from him
and you crying yourself to sleep.
Pick up the phone
and talk to him.
You will find that his smile
is very much alive.


- - -

It All Just Happened

| Filed under

Contributor: Samantha Serrano

- -
She was just a friend
yet became so much more.
Sit back and wonder;
if she will be with you again,
if she will finally leave you,
or if you will finally walk out of her life.

A fickle young thing,
playing hard to get has never been her strength.
She wants everything on her own terms.
Ambitions and work hide her
perhaps purposefully and perhaps not.

You hope one day she becomes
What you know she can be,
And yet you dread that very moment
for it means you won't be in her life.


- - -

THE WHOLE SELF

| Filed under

Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

- -
this complete alphabet
from ankle to zygoma
lacks but one letter
contains hand quadriceps
liver and xiphoid process
with everything between

my anatomy embraces
any turn of phrase
until all is said
except the question

that important missing y

which signs its way
into my life story
complete with spine & head


- - -
JOANNA M. WESTON. Has had poetry etc. published for twenty-plus years. Her middle-reader, ‘Those Blue Shoes', published by Clarity House Press; and poetry, ‘A Bedroom of Searchlights’, published by Inanna Publications, 2016.

Transcended Enigma

| Filed under

Contributor: Brittany Liu

- -
The salty breeze evokes the happiest memories.
Reminiscing to when the sand and sun sang to me.

Like Poseidon, I rule over the depths of sea-
a sea of memories, thoughts, and dreams.

My heart a pastel cloud
and my mind a neon sky,
with dreams only attainable with Jacob’s ladder.

My wayward walk renders me wrothful like an obstinate wave.
Clear ocean waters make up seventy-two percent of me.

I am the sun
I am the sand.
I am walking water.

As I stroll on the shores of a sparkling sea,
I speculate about my future and what I aspire to be.


- - -
Brittany Liu fears tomatoes. When she has free time, she builds dog houses for homeless dogs or she is at the beach with her own dog.

SEDUCE ME...

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
Please be mine and set me free
Let truth fall, from whispering lips
Unveil the way you covet solely me
In a caress of longing fingertips

Keep me close with the awakening of dawn
Murmur dark secrets, kiss me with fire
Weaken my senses, until I am gone
Tantalize my needs with every ounce of desire

Blazon my dewy skin with a slow hand
Leave a burning trail where bliss explores
Your pleasure is only my greatest demand
Falling as a feather, suspended over the floor

Tempt me over and over, from my liquid dreams
Tangled in white linen and gossamer pillowslip
Dancing languidly between slanted moonbeams
Quivering breathlessly where passions drip

Seduce me...


- - -
Stacy Maddox is a varied hobbyist and artist, living in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS USA. She loves to soak up the sun by the river and feel the water rush over her feet while spending time with her family and friends. Stacy has been published in over 20 books, print magazines and websites.

My Scars and Ashes

| Filed under

Contributor: Jupe Odom

- -
Through time and night
my hands have lined
cut and scarred
with all the shards
of all the futures
I tried to build
all the dreams
that shattered
while I held them
so delicately
so delicately.

All I have is ashes
wrists seized in chains
I took on willingly
knowing
I could do no better
I could never do better
no matter how hard
I dream.


- - -

French Fries, Tater Tots, Potato Chips

| Filed under

Contributor: Jahnavi Shah

- -
My mother holds out a potato,
freshly washed.
I grab it from her,
and feel the various curves
that remind me of myself.

The shade of the potato,
is similar to that of my skin tone.
The individual peels
Resemble each wild curl on my head.

I grab a knife and slice the potato.
The long strips,
hint at my height.

I grab a handful and dump them into the oil.
Immediately, they change into crisp chips.
The versatility of this valuable vegetable,
implies my astonishing ability to adapt.


- - -
Jahnavi Shah’s perspective is generally influenced by the ocean and summer weather due to her residence in sunny California. She is a swimmer because the ocean flows through her veins. In her free time, Jahnavi enjoys traveling and cliff jumping.

Language of the Xylophone

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
If a man lives
with a woman
long enough
it doesn't matter
what she says.
She can say anything
and she may,
barring chronic
laryngitis.

What matters is
the xylophone she plays
when she says it.
Tones can range
from dulcet to
cacophonous
depending on her goal.

Tones can tell him
if the sun
shines on him at
the moment or if
Hurricane Jane is
swirling toward him
from across the table

so every man
must learn
the language of
the xylophone.
But above all
every man
must never marry
any woman who
plays the tuba.


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

A Call to Action

| Filed under

Contributor: Jared Wun

- -
Power comes to those
Whose will burns brighter than fire
Like lightning, it strikes

Strength is then showcased
Impressing those around them
Solely for self gain

Then tragedy comes
Bringing with it destiny
A call to action

Risen from despair
A man searches for justice
A hero is born


- - -
Jared is an aspiring rapper and Hip-Hop artist who enjoys writing the occasional poem. When he is not spending time writing or producing music, he reads comic books and doodles on Post-It notes. He dreams of one day receiving a Grammy nomination/award for Best Rap Album.

Five Funny Haikus

| Filed under

Contributor: Dev Bhatia

- -

Read the news just now.
Said it was going to rain.
I forgot my coat.

Light travels faster
than sound. Don’t judge until they
open their big mouth.

It’s not rocket science.
Just read all the instructions.
I threw them away.

I cough and sniff now.
I get the flu pretty soon.
But, ice cream I eat.

Scream and shout out loud.
People look at you with disgust.
It’s a library.


- - -
Dev Bhatia is a science fiction fanboy and “We need to go to Mars” ambassador. Also a basketball card collector, his memorabilia ranges from the golden Jordan Era to new school rookie cards. When not writing, he enjoys making robots and cheering on his favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Constant Dinosaur

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Some day soon
Wall Street giants
will walk on their hands

never sit or sleep.
They will eat
with their feet

as nostrils drip
and neckties droop.
With toilets extinct

they will launch
missiles that blot out
the sun and moon

while in the dark
the constant dinosaur
of greed will roam

the avenue and eat
the little people
one chomp at a time.


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

No Ordinary Rose

| Filed under

Contributor: Gina Grace Huh

- -
My father was the first man to give me a red rose,
a small bud with thorns.
He told me, this is his love.

The deep crimson shade will always be
the unknowns and the mysteries love has stored.

The young rose will always be
who I am to him, his little girl.
The small but sharp thorns will always be
the imperfection and pain that comes with love.

But through the years, he clipped each and every thorn off
reminding me his love was perfect and pure.
Slowly but surely, the rose soon stood upon a stripped stem.

The thornless rose continued to grow
because of my one and only protector.
He told me, this is his love.


- - -
Gina Huh is a tireless homebody who often loses track of time getting lost in new books. She loves to go on hikes and take in the beauty of SoCal.

Broken Branches

| Filed under

Contributor: Patriz Daroy

- -
Potted and cared for
The small seedling germinates
Nurtured as a bud

Watered, protected
But given room to mature
Bolstered by its roots

Small, colorful leaves
Attracting devil’s insects
Harming the tree’s health

Dead limbs are pruned off
Making more room to blossom
Growing with its faults


- - -
Patriz Daroy has never stepped out of the country but is an avid travel enthusiast through her Pinterest travel board. When she isn’t updating the latest version of her recent coding applications, she is at her local coffee shop customizing rudimentary objects with her hand lettering. She loves munching on a bag of Hot Cheetos as an award for her morning jog.

My Forevermore

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
A hundred, even a thousand years
Would never be long enough
To be in love with you
And to look into the bluest eyes
That possess your radiant soul

Resting in the circle of your arms
Listening to your steady heartbeat
I am touched by the very essence
Of a past and future
I did not know could exist

Loneliness no longer creeps around
Stealing the hours at midnight
And holding my heart prisoner
Whispering secrets that bring no light
With the new threads of dawn

It has always been, only you
That I have waited a lifetime to discover
To hold, to touch, to feel, to know
And to need, with a passion unexpected
My lover, my friend, my forevermore.


- - -
Stacy Maddox is a varied hobbyist and artist, living in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS USA. She loves to soak up the sun by the river and feel the water rush over her feet while spending time with her family and friends. Stacy has been published in over 20 books, print magazines and websites.

Dear Six-Year-Old Andreya

| Filed under

Contributor: Andreya Garcia

- -
Even though Albert is wild now,
he’ll get better as he grows.
He is still going to run around and be loud,
but not as much as before.

He’ll grow to be bigger than you,
but you’ll always have to be the bigger person.
Going to therapy with him will be annoying,
but totally worth it.

You’ll be able to have conversations with him,
and have so much fun together.
I know it may seem like he gets everything he wants,
but he never wanted autism.


- - -
Andreya Garcia takes a twenty-minute drive to Disneyland every week. She likes animals but will never have a pet. The third degree black belt teaches young children how to fight.

Found in an Attic: World War II Letter to a Wife

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
When I get home
things will be the same.
I haven't changed.

The sling
comes off the day
I get on the plane.

I'll be able
to cut the grass,
rake the leaves,

shovel the snow,
all the stuff I did before.
And every morning

in summer, fall,
winter and spring,
when we wake up,

I'll draw rosettes
with the tip
of my tongue

on your nipples,
await your orders to
bivouac elsewhere.

Nothing has changed.
I'm feeling fine.
We'll cleave again.


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

Strength

| Filed under

Contributor: Robin Goodfellow

- -
Eroded buildings sleep upon vain memories, though scorching warmth cascades from poisonous air. Sirens silently plead for pain undone, all the while writing within pages of neglect, shadows etched into the words. Crimson caresses callous white, as it quietly watches dreams course by, like a child curiously reflecting the world around it, or a lullaby mesmerized by its demonic
symphonies.

Time marches along moral boundaries, and keeps going after everything’s been said and done, after every insult under the sun had finally relinquished its self-control. Until emotions are rung out good and dry, the human heart evanescent in bittersweet
melodies.

Families and friends, lovers and beloveds, heroes and the forgotten. I see tears fall, wracked against wrangled, lifeless bodies. Unanswered prayers,all the while screaming why why why why why why,
echoing silently against my mind. I see them all, sitting around an icy hearth, serenity adorning them.

Hearts torn asunder, with crestfallen faces
staring down the same destruction; innocent
breaths stolen, empty cradles with empty dreams in the emotionless fray.

But they ask for more.

Always for more.

Kept hoping, though hopeless cries resound against the air.
Kept fighting, though they’ve been trampled beneath their society over and over again.
Kept loving, though they’ve stitched their already beaten down hearts many times over.

I love you. Don’t go. Please stay. Once long ago. Discipline. Do your homework. Take out the trash. Kiss me. Hug me. Tuck me in and say goodnight. Love. Cherish. Sorrow. Anger. Contentment.

And as I stand, I see their fallen, weary souls.

But those still souls come to me, smiles upon their faces, as they kiss their loved ones goodbye. As they fade with their mercies in hand, the angels calling them home.

I turn away, just as they vanish. I linger near their loved ones, before closing my eyes.

I love them, those unanswered prayers.

I love them.


- - -

Unspoken love

| Filed under

Contributor: Pranab Ghosh

- -
Is it a pretension
Or a confession?

Is it a soliloquy
Or a dialogue
Spoken under
The breath?

Is it spoken
At all?

The unspoken love;
The subdued desire;
The parting touch;
The spoken words-
The offer and the
Rejection…

Is this poetry?


- - -
Pranab Ghosh is a journalist, blogger and poet. His poems have appeared in Dissident Voice, Scarlet Leaf Review, Tuck Magazine, Hans India, Literature Studio Review and this magazine among others.

Pursuit of Perfect Me

| Filed under

Contributor: Ellie S. Vend

- -
To start with nothing
to start with hard dirt
to start with clay over concrete
with rusty nails
and shattered glass
to start with salt and ashes
to start with hands
and dig
until your nails are chipped
until your palms are worn
and bleeding
to see tiny drops
become tiny seeds
to see trees
soaring between earth and sky
to see miracles
come to life in increments
to see change
in hours spent like seconds
in years spent like days


- - -

I Tell Him

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy J Maddox

- -
I tell him I love him,
but I don't know
if it's more
to convince him
or me.
Maybe both.
I'm not in love
with him
anymore, not like
I used to be.
I'll always cherish
the moments
that he touched
my very soul
where no one
came before
and we soared
through the Cosmos.

But my light
for him
has dimmed
and I don't see
him shine
like a bright,
new silver coin,
any longer.

I tell him
what my heart
no longer feels.


- - -
Stacy Maddox is a varied hobbyist & artist, living in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS USA. She loves to soak up the sun by the river and feel the water rush over her feet while spending time with her family and friends. Stacy has had her writing and visual art pieces published in over 30 books, print magazines and websites.

Butterfly Hurricanes

| Filed under

Contributor: Sam Ballard

- -
So many times, I've heard the howling
of nature herself arising,
frothing
the boom of liquid stone
the churning of the earth
about to fountain
as if waiting for you and I
to go up in flames

And all those car accidents
all the violent crashes
that came when you cried
as if the tearing between us
was tearing at the fabric
of too-fragile reality

Ripples,
the little ripples we make
all the rage and pain
of a pair of butterflies
and all of the hurricanes
that follow in our wake.


- - -
Sometimes, when my fingers find the strings of my favorite instrument, I still think of you.

Unattended

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
Lonesome party with few voices
standing listlessly beside the lunch
Perhaps I should just pace?
I'm so good at pacing.

Also finding myself frequently
in the place of meting out hard
truth in an otherwise polite
conversation. Steering away
from controversy but always
circling back to it.

A restless introvert, a nervous
extrovert, walking balancing act,
offering small munchables
to swallow the evening.


- - -

Where is Irrelevant

| Filed under

Contributor: Wyatt Mitchell

- -
Out the window. Down the street. Across town. Screaming desperately. Crying echoes into the night. Alongside sirens and alongside fright. Disco terrors. Blood out of sight. What does this mean? What do others write?

Don’t question a wordsmith by his ways. His spoken word goes on for days.

Don’t you see him? What will you say? Why is his life your price to pay? You don’t own him. You don’t even know him. You can’t see his potential let alone to show him. What would you ever owe him? Respect and basic human rights?

The definition of poverty. Fighting for equality. Dehydrated. No money. No appetite. Just hungry. He hasn’t eaten. Not for weeks. His throat is dry. He barely speaks.

Is this what you meant by diversity?


- - -

MAY YOU ALWAYS REST

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
You asked if I had seen the pain
To your brave and troubled past
The hungry need in your eyes
Truth revealed at last

My heart cries out
Your broken soul bleeds
To touch the sting
And know what it means

Suffering has been no stranger
Haunting every dark door
It comes as relentless waves
Like tides chasing the shore

The sun has set too many times
Leaving no sign of light
All hope bitterly lost
Closing in for the night

Love has come and gone
Lonely paths and unshed tears
Unfinished and never forgotten
Timeless, through passing of years

I want to take away
The hurt that you feel
Show you a genuine love
That is more than real

Come soft to my waiting arms
Lay your head on my breast
Safe at home, sleep sweet
May you always rest.


- - -
Stacy Maddox lives, dreams, tends her gardens and writes in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS, USA. Indulging her time in the outdoors, connecting with nature, walking the Kansas River trails and discovering new photo opportunities, is one of her greatest pleasures in life. Stacy has been published in over 25 books, print and online magazines and websites.

Easter at the Nursing Home

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
When bread
is this good
a morsel

will suffice
and when wine
is this good

a sip is enough
for the wraiths
and specters

coming toward
the altar now
on crutches

walkers
in wheel chairs
celebrating

the last Easter
some of them
will know

as they await
a resurrection
of their own.


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

Soft Shelled People

| Filed under

Contributor: Michael Kagan

- -
Now I tell you to breathe
Into your poem deeply
As deep as my love for the sea
And the creatures that left
Their shells behind
Rocking back and forth
Empty on the sand
Where did they go without their armour
Soft shelled people in a world gone mad
The capacity to engage in battle
Going blind inside the insanity
If you breathe into your poem
With all your love
It may not have to be this way


- - -
Mike Kagan has been a professional jazz musician throughout his life and has recently discovered his love of poetry as well as music and has been recently published .

Genocide of Pins

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Beneath the bowling-alley
bar marquee
the rain tonight

hammers off
the concrete.
Inside, beer flops

bottle into glass.
Beyond the bar,
bright lights

reveal a Bowler’s day:
fluorescent shirts
red, yellow, green,

and everywhere
a roar so loud
one can barely hear

the genocide of pins
slain by balls
a lifetime now in transit.


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

Shave Away The Pain

| Filed under

Contributor: M. Elhaz Eir

- -
It's about freedom
not fetish
it's about feeling
about being
your highest self
striving
to shave down
all the rough edges
turning every angle
into a curve
until you are you
until you can look in the mirror
and smile
and see
someone you recognize
see you
the inside on the outside
for the first time
in all the dysphoric days
of your upsidedown life.


- - -
Pseudonym for nonbinary poet exploring transgender issues.

Shades of Brown

| Filed under

Contributor: Jacob Santos

- -
My blood flows like a crossroad
tempting those craving answers.

My heart is a soldier with no fears of fighting,
in a war without a victor.

My eyes are sirens singing canciones romanticas
as they sink their victims.

My skin is carved with the
memory of those long lost.

My body is made of stardust from the tears
of the unjust August.

My rhythm is the rough corridos of Sunday afternoons.
My rhythm is the surgical strike of a marimba’s bar.
My rhythm is the silky sway of merengue.


- - -
Jacob Santos loves church. Especially when he waits outside to sell Pupusas to the exiting parishioners. He listens to the stories of his elderly customers which will later on be his own. His work has appeared in Eskimo Pie, Teen Ink, A Day with Graham-Pa, and Forced Entries.

Forgive Me

| Filed under

Contributor: Wyatt Mitchell

- -
I’m unable to identify what exactly is haunting me.

Is it that I love myself yet struggle to believe anyone else could?

For what reason would they have?

I’m just a pot smoking, nature loving, daylight fearing, self-loathing, undiagnosed, manic-depressive, awkward, anxiety-filled, struggling to see the self-worth I know I have, every day a sinner, self-pitying, hallucinating, non-smoking, quiet, humorous, sarcastic, up all night, barely eating, bisexual, bipolar and suffering borderline, sexually active, transgender, six months grieving, ten years in mourning, still have a bottom retainer, self-conscious, full of self-doubt, tongue-tied, occasionally stuttering, kind-hearted, scared, weird, geeky, messy, artistic, book addicted, knife collecting, fighting mental unhealth, helping those in need, self-repairing, work in progress, scatter-brained and full of unanswered questions, bloodshot eyed, insecure, forgetful, tragedy-driven, grief and guilt stricken, inspired when inspiration hits, motivatingly unmotivated, picky about certain things, grateful just to have a place to lie awake contemplating the unknown, dreaming of you, emotionally hidden and abused, openly non-consenting, sexually misused, trying to move forward, looking in the mirror and seeing your face, boxer-brief wearing, shaved head, always look irritated, obsessively observational, broke and broken, constantly disbelieving, doing more for others than myself, hopeful, optimistic, curious, thinking, overthinking, thinking about how I’m overthinking, looking outside the box, lending a helping hand, spiritual, respectful of religions and their people, confused, creative, concerned, ambitious, goal-oriented, exhausted, haven’t showered in days, more productive at night, only hungry or thirsty or sleeping when I’m reminded, constantly inconsistently consistent, easily distracted, obscure, easily irritated, losing track of time, ignoring the urge to throw up, head barely above water, freezing to death, antisocial, overly caring, unacceptably flawed, empty without you, crying on the down-low, degraded, dysphoric, disturbed, defeated, abomination, mistreated, looking for attention, made-up character, simple, complex, quirky, day-dreaming, close your eyes and face the wall, all of who I am resides in my bleeding heart and mind and soul, filled with everything and nothing, often avoiding sobriety, not without manners, mostly smelling of weed and cologne, completely incomplete, mysterious, challenging, difficult, damaged, selectively personable, happily unhappy, passively pyrotechnic, easily satisfied, content, relaxed, insane, mad, brilliant, tortured, self-mutilated, terrified, infernal, interrupted, genius, raw, technically homeless and supposedly hell-bound writer.

Though what other reason would there be?


- - -

Heaven Interrupted

| Filed under

Contributor: Michael Kagan

- -
I feel my own light shining
When her mouth curls a smile
In a certain way
And that other expression
That speaks without saying
How good it feels
Then the other times when buckets
Fall from the sky
Threatening to crash through our lives
And I can't stop thinking
About what's coming
A one hundred year long drought
When parched lives scream out
From painfully cracked streets
Over spilling with questions
That all start with why


- - -
Mike Kagan has been a professional jazz musician throughout his life and has recently discovered his love of poetry as well as music and has been recently published .

Unquiet Scars

| Filed under

Contributor: E.S. Wynn

- -
can you beat her book
with clinging hands
with terrified eyes
or put an end
to a dance
with ribbons in her hair
with a dozen forbidden kisses
can you kill
the first lights of confidence
with a connection that lasts all night
with the pull of an undertow
silence it all with a moan
given up to the thunder and rain
can you end it all
with a single stormy night
spent between cold concrete
and the heat
of a steaming tub
and love
so much warm
immediate
love


- - -
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 "Trans Physical Dynamics"

First Day on Parole

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Sometimes a person
can go too far,
Mickey said,
two stools over
downing another beer,
his first day on parole.
Someone like that
cops can find dead,
he said, after
newspapers start
littering the lawn.

A bullet in the temple
that no one hears
because of a silencer,
he pointed out,
is sometimes
the culprit.

Such a good person,
the neighbors say
about the deceased,
and that may be true,
Mickey admitted,
but sometimes a person,
even a nice person,
can go too far,

say the wrong thing
to the wrong person
at the wrong time
and take a bullet
in the temple,
Mickey said,
because it's hard
to put a cobra
under a bed.


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

Cut Me, Leave Me

| Filed under

Contributor: Desmond Xander Norbo

- -
You can keep your kindness
I feed on cruelty
lust for nothing less
than a heart full of razors
black nails and biting teeth
to flay me, filet me
and erase me.

I'm so sick with sugared poison
that I can't crave anything less
my skin's seen the bite of so many knives
that each cut's become a comfort
a hit for the addiction
for the pain I know I need.

I'm a collector of scars
cleansed only by the cutting
endlessly seeking a shearing
that shaves too close
cleaves right to the bone

Love me openly
love me
with roses instead of razors
and I'll only grow to resent you
will only respect you
when you beat me
when you scream at me
when you slash me

Leave me
and I'll want you back
will crawl through broken glass
(and love every minute of it)
just for the stories I can tell
of all I did
to stick
with you

bleed me
slowly, steadily
and I'll be yours
and I'll slide along your knives
and love you
and do it without regret
and do it always, forever


- - -
Hoping to be read, we write.

The Search

| Filed under

Contributor: Catherine Zickgraf

- -
The world is tucked in.
The houses sigh heavy in sleep.
The stars sprinkle down—
on the carpeted forest,
you lay on the ground.

Your back against the earth.
The night births a liberty,
releasing me to search for you,
so I can search your eyes.
Do you feel me fly above the tree line?

Between the branch heights and moon fog,
I open my wings of sleeves,
unpin my hair in streams.
In the air like the ocean
I sway in the waves.
Through clouds like lace,
the starlight rains.

And I see all the sounds in the trees,
how their notes grow and drown
in the midnight sea.
And your eyes glow somewhere like sapphires,
while the fires of all the longing hearts
blow tonight around the roof spires.

I feel you, can’t find you, I smell your smell.
But the hell of this longing I hold every night.
In the light under my eyelids,
you live in my reach.
But my heart can’t even reach over the earth—
I don’t know where you live anymore.

That day at the door,
like waves on the eroding shore,
we pulled apart our fingers for the last time.
This is your last rhyme, I can't suffer anymore.


- - -
Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan, and three dozen other cities. Her new chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press and is available on Amazon.com.

Unstable Desires

| Filed under

Contributor: A.L.M. Kamner

- -
be perfect,
shave when I say
smile and sing
(but not when I'm brooding)
dress up for me
impress me
never say
anything bitter
anywhere near me

be perfect,
(but not too perfect)
try hard to impress
to anticipate
my whims
but not too much
not too much
because then you'd be boring

be bad, be mean
but only when I say
only in ways I deem okay
and my parents better love you
better think you're perfect
too


- - -

Still Life

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
"On the window sill
the sun's pure gold today.
Usually it's white,"
says drooling Nell,
in her hospital smock,

her tea turning cold
as she braids
ram horns of hair
high and tight

to the sides of her skull.
"On gold days
like this, I warm
my hands for hours
on this sill.

"Yesterday, the doctor said
someone should paint me,
the fool. A still life,
that's what he said."


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

The Futility of Fortresses

| Filed under

Contributor: Desmond Xander Norbo

- -
Too many bridges built
Too many chasms
I couldn't fill
too many towers only charred
and never lit again

There's a cold and jagged rip
that divides the lives
I lived
the loves
I lost
when whole armies turned
torched all our golden fields
so suddenly
and left only ash
to stir
in sour winds
while other wars
still
are waged.


- - -
Hoping to be read, we write.

Phases

| Filed under

Contributor: Ben Osborn

- -
you ask me of the moon

with your right eye nearly closed, you see a sliver of light
a sliver of silver night

moon-less

a silver of slithering light
your left eye hints at opening, you see a sliver of night

you ask the moon of me

of the silverlit night
and your right eye is almost open, to let in the light

moon-full

and the night has left your eyes, slithering
into the silver light

you ask me of the moon


- - -
Ben Osborn is a writer, composer and librettist based in Berlin.

All These

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
Well, my goodness,
the elder says, I've collected
all these things in my attic
and basement for years

Too many

All these boxes products
arrived in, shelled out like
hulls, restuffed with other
items, plus love notes,
train sets (now what am I
going to do with those?),
other peoples' trophies,
outdated college textbooks,
household machines that
died decades ago, a life time
of names I can't remember
anymore. Some I don't want to.

So I'll sell it all, sort it out
even throw some away.
Can't take it with you.
Surely not.


- - -

THIS MOMENT

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
I feel your tender lips upon my soft skin
Retracing the trail where you fingers caressed
The flames lick higher, bearing your name
And I hear your voice whispered in my soul

I close my eyes and the darkness surrounds me
But you are there, seeking every one of my senses
Tempting my desires and holding me prisoner
To the passion ignited in our lonely bodies

I taste the pleasures lingering on your lips
Salty and sweet, capturing my breath inside
And as I find the warmth of your waiting arms
I pray for this moment to never end.


- - -
Stacy Maddox lives, dreams, tends her gardens and writes in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS, USA. Indulging her time in the outdoors, connecting with nature, walking the Kansas River trails and discovering new photo opportunities, is one of her greatest pleasures in life. Stacy has been published in over 25 books, print and online magazines and websites.

Prism To My Soul

| Filed under

Contributor: Rishikesh Ingale

- -
My soul is a die with an unknown number of sides:
a conundrum that number theory or combinatorics can’t solve.

My face is the puzzle which conceals it,
a colorful Rubik’s cube waiting to divulge the answer.

My mouth is like a changing landscape:
sometimes it is sweet, sometimes it is spicy, mostly it is bland.

My nose is a guide;
it finds and recognizes--the acute sense.

One ear hears music,
the other hears screaming.

My eyes are biological cameras that give me power
to command computers and talk to Newton and Einstein.

Uniformity is an anomaly,
for this is an ever-changing world.

A gray area is given with great measure,
and my brain is the Supreme Court.

Discrepancies, difference, and disparities define me in some odd way
for the sake of purpose, plan, or principle.

Maybe my soul is actually a source of bright white light,
my face being a prism showing separate colors of the spectrum.


- - -
Rishikesh Ingale resides in Southern California. He loves to code, play tennis, and read novels. He tries to find an explanation for everything and is also a realist.

For Andrea Gibson

| Filed under

Contributor: Lyla Sommersby


- -
I want to turn my scars to poetry
I want to stitch together shards of pain
until they take on tragic life
I want to rip into the raw
I want to tear away all that isn't
until only the bones of our brutal beauty
are left to shine
wet and vivisected
but honest
so honest

I want to touch the wounds
we've all been left with
I want to bring hope to the hurting
in the same way that you do

I want to burn with a voice
as bright as the knife
you cut your words with

I want to face all that is inky
excise it
and be
unapologetically
honestly
me.


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

Eric

| Filed under

Contributor: Jared Wun

- -
That funny smell from his room
is not a skunk.
Don’t ask about it.

When he swings
Dad’s golf clubs in the backyard,
don’t stand behind him.

If he lets you play
video games on the XBox,
don’t play on his save files.

If there’s a soda in the fridge
that belongs to him,
don’t drink it.

When Mom begs you both
to stop fighting,
don’t egg him on.

Finally,
no matter how much he picks on you,
no matter how hard he socks you,
no matter how much he upsets you,
don’t forget,
he’s your brother.


- - -
Jared is an aspiring rapper and Hip-Hop artist who enjoys writing the occasional poem. When he is not spending time writing or producing music, he reads comic books and doodles on Post-It notes. He dreams of one day receiving a Grammy nomination/award for Best Rap Album.

Dots

| Filed under

Contributor: Jenna De La Paz

- -
Brown paint masks the red,
but can do ultimately little about the bumps and craters.

From pores to my eye mole
To nostrils and pie hole

From the freckles framing
To the bites beginning to become scars

My face is a canvas on which
Seurat and Signac’s thorough work lives through the design.

The mole married to the bit under my brow mocks me.
My fault, for trying to rip it out when I was twelve.

Please notice my dot covered nose no longer!
Unlike Joseph’s coat my multicolored dots are not to be envied
Rather they should be covered with another layer of paint.


- - -
Jenna De La Paz has been known to take action on impulse. She once bought a ukulele because she was stressed. She thinks in cartoon logic and therefore sees every mistake as an opportunity to shine creatively.

For The Sake of the Scorching

| Filed under

Contributor: Birta C. Long

- -
In dreams, I chase you
run through wet-slapping
branches
just to glimpse you
just to hear your breath
your heart
pounding
whispering
throbbing
with the need
of me

Every inch of me
needs you
every inch of me
comes alive
when I think of you
when I imagine
myself close to you
feeling you
breathing the scent
of mutual need
of fire
and flying sweat
as we meet
mate
solely for the sake
of the scorching
the horny
devouring
lust.


- - -

HOW I LOVE YOU

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
When I am with you
Life is wonderful!
The sky is clear;
The sun shines.
Cool breezes caress the earth.
Rivers flow smoothly,
And all is at peace.

You stand before me
As a vision.
Your loveliness radiates from within,
And outshines the light of the sun.
At night you light the sky,
As would a meteor.

The decadence of the world
Is purified by your presence,
And life becomes worth living.

Your love is far more precious
Than the most precious gem.
And to be worthy of your love,
Is a life-long quest.

When you are near me,
My eyes are blinded from everything
That is not pure and wonderful.
Oh! To be with you forever!


- - -
Bruce Levine is a native Manhattanite who now lives in Florida with his wife and their dog Daisy. He’s spent his life as a writer and a music and theatre professional. His shows have been produced in New York and around the country and his works have been published in a variety of media, including Brimfield Publications, Heuer Publishing, Rodale Press, Every Writer, Eskimo Pie, Friday Flash Fiction, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine and a soon to be released story in Visitant.

Ice Cream Honeymoon

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
On a sunny day
in Harvard Yard
blonde from Norway weds
son of chieftain
from Rwanda after
both receive degrees
with high honors.

They drive off
in a silver Porsche
touring America
on their honeymoon
until they're stopped
in a small town.
A taillight's out.

The officer says
"You're the first
salt and pepper
I've ever ticketed"
and the bride says
"Sir, we're your first
hot fudge sundae."


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

What Bodies Will We Be?

| Filed under

Contributor: Tina J. Pinelli

- -
I cry
for want
of a watery science
to try
to explain
the heat
of who we are

I cry
fill the stone soles
of solid stellar orthodoxy
and wonder
when all our days burn down
when all our fires
smoke and smother
what ash will we inhabit?
What cold and ageless
bodies will we be?


- - -
I write most often at work, but sometimes on my deck while watching the rain and the pines. This is my first published poem.

The Wet Green Forest

| Filed under

Contributor: Susan Sweetland Garay

- -
I am from the wet green forest,
where leaves decompose
under our feet
and moss drips
from the trees.

Where ferns grow
from the cracks
in cement walls
and it seems that
nature always wins.

In this place we
release what is
dark and thick
and smells like life

to prepare the ground around us,
so it is full of richness
from the selves that
we let fall away.

Then in the fall time
when the harvest comes
and the air turns cool,
we reap.

We dig
and eat
and dry
and enjoy
and try to make
it last for as long as possible.

We bring the colors
of the outside in.

We peel and plan
and watch the rain that
hasn’t stopped falling for days.

Water makes a million tiny rivers
unconcerned about what
they may wash away.

The land is powerless
against it.

Her power
is found in
her softness,
her flexibility,
her knowing that

we are not
the center
of anything.



- - -

The Rich Taste Like Chicken

| Filed under

Contributor: Anne P. Wallace

- -
sharp movements of lizards
of chickens, feathered dinosaurs
driving the hands that grab
the hands that take
that seize
dragging cash across
every empty table
every unstained plate
while hungry eyes
hungry minds
wait

maybe thinking
maybe wondering
if such hands
might feed families
might taste
like chicken


- - -
Anne is busy running up that hill.

U. S. of A.

| Filed under

Contributor: Lynn Cooper

- -
Anger, confusion
derangement
stir homegrown devastation
Oklahoma, Colorado
helpless children, adults
victims of horrific massacres

Upscale quiet neighborhood
Sandy Hook School
Connecticut's unmatched carnage
Tennessee tragedy
speeding yellow school bus crashes
sobbing, collapsing parents
live out their worst nightmare

Where are the days
of opened windows
unlocked doors
time of innocence
restfulness
lost forever in the
United States of Anxiety


- - -
Lynn Cooper is a published poet and former New Yorker, who now resides in Florida.
Her poetry has appeared in print anthologies in both states, as well as online.

THE STARS FOR YOU

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
I took a blanket of stars
And blew silver dust
To remind me of your eyes
When they shine with hope

I made them the color white
For the innocence of you, my love
Pure as the dawn at sunrise
When you are so near

I molded the shape
For the number of years
One hundred times eternity
Of the days I need with you

I cast them so far away
To show the extent
Of this love I hold for you
In truth, there is no measure

I placed them against
A black cosmic canvas
To show you the light that glows
Through the night as I dream

I kissed to them, an enchanting magic
Displaying throughout the heaven's
The way you make me feel
And all the things you are.


- - -
Stacy Maddox lives, dreams, tends her gardens and writes in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS, USA. Indulging her time in the outdoors, connecting with nature, walking the Kansas River trails and discovering new photo opportunities, is one of her greatest pleasures in life. Stacy has been published in over 25 books, print and online magazines and websites.

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