Prometheus Should Have Doubled down for More

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
Sitting here
where the sky falls,
where the rain pours,
where the gods weep,
where the season shifts,
where the air growls,
where electric wonder
becomes second nature,
I can only smile
as my spine shivers
from a kundalini force
that packs a punch.

Breathe into me
with your sacred whisper
as my bones shake,
as my flesh sighs,
as my blood churns,
as my hope soars,
as my dreams scream,
as my heart opens
to the sound of your voice,
and I will promise
eternity and more
even if I must steal time
straight from the source.

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

our satellite

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Contributor: Karly Westfall

- -
a stranger in night
illuminated, still far,
true contradiction.

captivating goddess,
more brilliant in darkness,
ruler of the tides.

an intimate bond,
once. she converted each day,
a stranger yet again.

once exposed, now hidden.
classified with multiple
versions of herself.

each her, still golden
rarely touched, but defiled
by each foreigner.

she forgives and watches
her offenders from afar.
they remain praised.

foolish, we worship
violators; named heroes,
corrupt travelers.

yet they continue,
venturing new ways to touch
her, with tools and body.

still unaware these
journeys not for harm, our only
concrete holiness.


- - -

Pretty Baby and the Poem

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Contributor: Michael Kagan

- -
Don't worry pretty baby
Poems will take us to heaven
The poem and I formed a friendship
When a mystery led me to his lair
He's taken me under his wing
Pointing out impending collisions
And arguable fantasies
That refuse to listen
The poem's more relative
Than a brother
When you stop and think
Just how much he knows
Reading me deep inside
I feel anxious
When a poem mouths off
Explaining how you cut to the chase
Hard lessons make you listen
The poem knows
If not for him reminding magic
Between the pages
At the heart of things
Human beings
Would walk round and round
back and forth
Until youth shriveled
And their feet fell off
Don't worry pretty baby
I believe
The dream in a poem
Will take us to heaven


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

Wind Storm

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Contributor: Susie Sweetland Garay


- -
The wind raged outside
when we woke up
this morning

but it did not
feel angry,

perhaps instead
she was showing us
her power

through her lament
for the broken ground around us
and all of our children who did not go to sleep safe and warm.

The wind blows hard
and I watch the petals fall
from our magnificent magnolia

and I feel somehow cleaner
than I did before.


- - -
Born and raised in Portland Oregon, Susan Sweetland Garay currently lives in the Willamette Valley with her husband and daughter where she works in the vineyard industry. Her first full length poetry collection, Approximate Tuesday, was published in 2013 and she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. Her second collection, Strange Beauty from Aldrich Press, was published in 2015.

Lovers

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Contributor: Sara Abend-Sims


I’m back
here, mourning
the ground’s far below

I look through the curtain
to where you net-in the fish
fearless, silver sheen

I reach to where you screened off
my ghost state of inwardness
with milky breath of death

Where your vapor-veil
of opalescence is damming
our floods - condemning

Back here
I'm drifting in hung waters
suspended in blurred air

Smudged invisible drowning


- - -
Sara Abend-Sims started as a visual artist and is now weaving images into words.
Her poems, short stories and Haibuns are published online, in anthologies and in hard copy mags.
She is the recipient of two first award prizes (Community Literary competitions – 2009; 2015).

Secret Identity

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Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
No one has to be reminded
to wear a mask or make up a vigilante
pseudonym. It comes natural.

We are all performers.

No one has to pause and invent
stage directions. The tap dance has
begun. We are at the third repeat
of the chorus by now. God, how I wish
I had taken some lessons first.

In the absence of an audience, we
practice lines, listening to them bounce
off the walls. Projecting a polished
self, we hide the secret of obvious
frailty and isolation.

The words of a wise old man I know:
We are all just people playing our part,
trying not to look like fools in this phase,
or to wrap it in cliché: We fake it
‘til we make it. Whatever it is we are making.


- - -

On Tippy Toes

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
On tippy toes
with arms outstretched
my grandson asks

how old are you
and so I tell him
I'm sooooo old

that when I stretch
my arms like his
to exercise them

vultures land and
caucus there.
My grandson says

he puts his arms out
so robins will build
nests on them

and raise their chicks.
He never takes a nap
because he has to keep

his eyes on the clouds
to shoo away hawks
circling for supper.


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

Kiss of Death

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Contributor: Gale Acuff

- -
Why don't you close your eyes when you kiss me,
my wife asks, just after we do. And how
do you know I don't, I say, when you
have your eyes open? I'm checking, she says.
Well, you don't trust me then, I say. That's right,
she says, because you don't do it. You don't
close your eyes. You're missing the point, I say.
If your eyes were closed then I'd never know
whether mine are or aren't. I know, she says.
And that's the point. We're about to break eye

contact. It won't be pretty. One of us
is bound to look away first. Already
I see what I'll be seeing--the window,
and the outside I can't quite focus on.
There's an apple tree out there, and a nest.
The apples all have worms. The nest is bare
--it was there last year and just as empty.

That's if I look to the right. To my left
there's the sofa, where we used to make out
after we were married. Above it, Still
Life with Oranges. I hate that damned thing.
Her turn now: look to her left and she'll see
a corner without a corner table
to break it up, those walls and right angles.
Hard right, the right armrest of the sofa,
sans doily, because I sleep there some nights
when I can't sleep in bed with her in bed,

and my head pushes it off the armrest
and it disappears on the other side.
We can't see it but we know it's there. It's
wrinkled. We forget that it's gone. Let it
go. We should never have gotten married,
she whispers. She's weeping. You don't love me,
she says. She tries to walk away but I
hold her by the shoulder. Kiss me, I say,
as if it is our first kiss and the last,
both together. Huh, she says. Close your eyes,
I say. She does. And I close mine. Don't peek,
I say. I won't, she says. On three, I say.
On three, she says. Ready, I say. Ready,
she echoes. One. Two. Three. Our four blind lips

meet for the first and last time, together.
Smack. I open my eyes. She's opened hers,
or they were never closed. It's too late now.
What about all the kisses in between,
she says. What about them, I say. Can't we
kiss and include them all with the first and
last and make one really big terrific
kiss. No, I say. Why not, she says. Because
that would be too much for us to handle,
I say. That would be the kiss of death. Oh,
she says. That makes sense. But it doesn't.


- - -
I've had poems published in many journals and have authored three books of poetry. I've taught university English in the US, China, and Palestine.
--(Mr.) Gale Acuff

Playoffs

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Contributor: J.K.Durick

- -
It comes down to this in so many things
a series or two with your usual opponents
the same ones you have faced so many times
before that you know them well, but in this case

familiarity has bred more than just contempt
has bred an edge, built your defense, your offense
around what you know is coming, each move
each counter move, you trained, you practiced

viewed charts, scouted, consulted, even prayed
these are the big ones, the final ones, the ones we
face alone, we go into them hoping to survive
but we know that the finals are just that, final

and after there’s finally nothing more.


- - -
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Social Justice Poetry, 1947, Stanzaic Stylings, Synchronized Chaos, and Algebra of Owls.

At the End of the Day

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Contributor: Gina Huh

- -
When you step into the front door
you unstrap the four inch heels
and put on sandals
that embrace being 5’2”.

You unzip your skin tight dress
to slip into pajamas
and embrace the curves and edges.

You can let the tightly tied hair down
to drape across your shoulders
and embrace the mess it is.

You can take off the heavy necklace
to expose the scar on your neck
and embrace the imperfections.

You can erase all the layered makeup
to bare your face
and embrace each blemish.

You try to look as a supermodel
every day for the public,
but just be the picture perfect girl you already are.


- - -

Poem with the first and second lines same as Brautigan

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Contributor: Kris Johnson

- -
I want your hair to cover me with maps of new places,

So everywhere I go will be as beautiful as your hair.

And I find myself letting the sun, the light flow over your face.

It makes both of our eyes wake up, open up.

The blue is from where?

And the green comes from where, too?

Light cream-colored, is it all the time?

Finding space.

Joining us both, together.

Find squiggly lines, our veins.


- - -
At age 64 I am rediscovering my love of writing and poetry.

Theory of Evolution

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
Not every step in life
is meant to be smooth;
how else could we grow
and learn along the path?

Not every word from our mouths
can come out perfectly clean;
how else could we be pushed
to expand our language of love?

Not every truth that they claim to have
is quite so self-evident and clear;
how else could these documents breathe
and bring about a more peaceful union?

Not every glimmer in our eyes
is meant to sparkle with the stars;
how else could we seek God
in moments of silent darkness?

Not every song from the birds
can lead to a symphony under the sun;
how else could the hawks soaring the sky
find a feast to keep their wings strong?

Not every moment in time
can be blessed by the divine…
or maybe that’s wrong,
because I swear
that with you by my side
it all seems holy.


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

OCTOBER DAYS

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Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
I light the fire to dance so high
Arms open and stretched out wide
Voice raised to the barren sky
For my beliefs I would gladly die

Bittersweet sounds on the blowing wind
Messages someone wanted to send
My thoughts always drift away in time
Perfect harmony for the soundless rhyme

Swimming in the clouds of thick smoke
I wear it close, like an embracing cloak
Calling out to the darkness for reason
Give me hope, a sign, a bright beacon

The feel, the taste, of Summer's last kiss
Sits on my tongue in sweet, Heavenly bliss
The promise of Winter and longer days
Follow on the footsteps of an Autumn haze

Rain washes over the earth and cool air
A cleansing of my soul has left me bare
I will lay down this eve on deep green
Sleeping under stars that were made for dreams.


- - -
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.

not

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Contributor: Karly Westfall

- -
i hold my breath until he falls asleep
i do not want to upset him.
i lay straight as my hair (he likes it this way)
i do not want to wake him.

i do not ask why when he calls me a cunt
i do not want to release the swarm of bees in his throat.
i let him see me, impure, after he fucks me
i do not want him to know he is the wine that will not wash out.

i am silent when he ties his fingers around my wrist
i do not want the neighbors to listen.
i do not flinch as his knuckles indent my jaw
i do not want him to feel like a beast.

i look at my arms and see beautiful paintings
i do not want him to think his art is dark.
i learn to love the blacks, blues, purples, and greens
i do not want him to step away from the canvas.


- - -

Dead Brother’s Note to Our Dad

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Dad, happy to see
you’re taking a nap.
I’m down at the pier
so give me a shout
when you wake up
and I’ll come running.
The fishing’s been great--
three coolers of pike
iced in the trunk.

You always tell Mom
before we leave
you won’t be drinking
and she lets Tim and me
go with you but
you drink all day
here at the lake.

I'll get my license next year
so things will be different.
I'll drive back at night so
you can nap in the car.
I’ll keep the radio off
so you won’t wake up.
It’s always good
to see Mom.


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

Ephemeral

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Contributor: Sara Abend-Sims


A flash in the pan, a stab in the chest
one moment it’s felt, gone in the next
a jolly laughter, eyes probing deep
a bouquet of smiles, a hand wave to keep

A golden boy, charming, quick wit
words, tales - cutting through bits
arranged to excite, to punch, to impress
worked out to entice … to undress

And once you’re hooked
he’s scared, frightened, spooked
it’s all just too much
can’t hold the charge - ouch

Knowing it’s only a show - nothing but
one moment he’s here and then, he’s out
zooming-in onto what’s next’n where
a quick visit , a brief breath of air

It's sometimes - fresh
sometimes - stale


- - -
Sara Abend-Sims started as a visual artist and is now weaving images into words.
Her poems, short stories and Haibuns are published online, in anthologies and in hard copy mags.
She is the recipient of two first award prizes (Community Literary competitions – 2009; 2015).

Insanity

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Contributor: Ryan Manuel

- -
Repeating our mistakes
Expecting something else,
Expecting something different,
Expecting something to change.

Maybe insanity has finally set in.
Taking root in my heart and mind as I wait,
Hoping something, anything will change.

Each day creeping by taunting me,
Rubbing in the fact that I’m stuck in my same routine.
The same monotony of my daily life.
Living in a snug space of comfort,
With no room to grow or explore.

Waiting for the cage to open
I bide my time and think back on the things I’ve done.
The mistakes I’ve repeated,
The successes I’ve gained,
And the people I’ve come to know and love.

During these waning moments of content,
This when my perspective shifts and accepts it all.
Accepts every imperfection that comes with the repetition of my life.
No longer am I discontent with everything around me,
But instead I learn to appreciate what I have and who I can share it with.

At least these are the thoughts.
The thought that cycle through my head,
Time and time again always changing in the same pattern.
Ironic isn’t it?


- - -
With the sun on his skin and the wind in his face, Ryan Jay Manuel dives into life capturing every moment behind his camera lense. Although he photographs just about anything he often finds himself going back to his comfort, the ocean and marine life. From his many aquariums to regular trips to the beach there’s always a piece of the ocean in his camera.

Sweet, Fleeting Peace

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Contributor: Rachel Lu

- -
A beautiful mountaintop home to flowing creeks that are knee length deep
Serene magnificence fills the air and makes the wind sweet
A perfect picture that is distorted around the edges
Some place that can only be reached during sleep
A dark shadow begins to loom over the dream--the rising of the sun in the east
The amiable lamb grazing in the field disfigures into a ferocious beast
The night fades away, this utopia I cannot keep
Brightness envelops the world and brings false light
But I am not fooled by its cheery looks
Day is here, prepare for the fight


- - -
Rachel Lu is an artist and an adventure-seeking daredevil who dreams of going ATV riding and skydiving. An avid dog lover, you can find her enjoying the serenity of the outdoors as her German Shepherd prances in the distance. Of course, Rachel is nothing without her sketchbook and guitar which is always just in reach.

Shooting Stars

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Contributor: Zachary Cooper

- -
I used to look down into my pond
on lonely nights, watching the stars

watch themselves in that still mirror. I sat
with my legs hanging off the dock, too short

for my feet to reach the water; it kept the peace,
the water calm. Those nights were quiet.

Those were the nights before the towers
fell, before the war, before my little brother enlisted.

That’s when I realized there was another side
to this life, that there was more to see than

the reflections of my childhood. This is love,
and war. This is growing up…

These days I lift my chin high

and see what’s real, I see the stars without
the peace in-between, without the safety of

that mirror to protect my innocence, my memories
of a life without terror. These days I lift my chin high

and enter the fray; to die once more.



- - -
Zachary Cooper lives in a small town outside of Albany, New York. He is currently an undergraduate student at Suny Brockport, studying creative writing. He has published four poems in Jigsaw, and has three poems forthcoming in Eunoia Review.

Going Normal

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Todd’s tired of being odd
he tells his wife as he lights
candles next to their breakfast tea

and pours two steaming cups.
He wants to be normal, he says,
the rest of his life

no matter the changes
he’ll have to make
in his modus operandi.

It will be worth the effort,
not having people gawk
and mumble under their breath.

He pours more tea
and butters some toast
and tells his wife

beginning tomorrow
he’ll never again excavate
his Roman nose

with his pinkie.
He’ll dig with his index
finger instead.


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

yellow summer

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Contributor: Ashley Farley

- -
Flaxen roots,
with gold caught in a mason jar
asexual blond/e-heads,
running toes digging into the wet dirt,
burying themselves
crushing against their earth-born twins,
Rooted into the ground wishing to chase after
free-running ten-digit agencies.

It is the season where the frogs
holler and dandelions bloom.


- - -
Ashley Farley is a senior at The College at Brockport pursuing her degree in English Literature. She enjoys all things summer.

"Response to 'I am in need of music', poem by Elizabeth Bishop"

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Contributor: Kris Johnson

- -
I am so in need of music--you all know this--

You Gods who create and maintain the light we

hope the outside is drenched with, and pouring.

I wait to see if my breath knows it is part of your air.
Your muscles flexing from cold and windy to warm and still.
My sitting quietly, so still, to restless Sun coming through.
Oh, you knew,

Knew I felt you

Oh, so round our day our night play

Sparkling dust motes beyond Earth's breathing us both,

Still in time, holding our breath, our hands

Warmth encircling us.


- - -
At age 64 I am rediscovering my love of writing and poetry.

Civilization

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Contributor: Emily Deyo

- -
Dawn breaks in the distance

A rosy, buttery haze

Reflecting on the blue gray expanse


The morning sun will continue

to stretch its radiance further toward the shore

Reaching the homes

painted primary colors

sporadically scattered atop the icy mass.


These dwellings lie serenely

despite the bright buzz of their hues.

An unnatural intensity burning the pale snow

The stains of humanity marking its territory


An iceberg drifts beyond the civilization

From its corners and slopes,

the form of four walls and a roof emerge

like a white bedsheet draped over a house.

Waiting for humanity to see its potential

as a place they can claim as their own,

too.


- - -

End to End

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Contributor: Nikhil Nath

- -
I have to build
a ship in the middle
of a desert

full of camel dung
and cactus flowers
with a mirage

called an oasis
thrown between here
and the moon,

drowning a centimeter
of rain in the pelvic
thrust of a belly dancer

as geometry becomes
another hemisphere
in the land of no return

borrowing heavily from
old habits, the ship
will be loaded with

compass, maps and
courage and will sail
desert, end to end.


- - -
Nikhil has been writing poetry for nineteen years. He has been published in various magazine in India, the USA and the UK. Nikhil Nath is his pen name. He lives and works from Kolkata, India. “Write rubbish, but write", said Virginia Woolf. This is Nikhil's maxim for writing. Allegro, Aji, Ink Sweat and Tears, Laughing Dog (Poem of the Month), Ehanom, Ithica Lit, Germ Magazine, Leaves of Ink, Linden Avenue and Pif Magazine have recently accepted his work.

To See Her Soon

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Contributor: Gina Huh

- -
She is my best friend,
The first person to comfort me
and the one who would be there
at the end of the day.

Laughing at my jokes,
wiping my tears
rolling down my cheeks,
she was my other half.

Sharing the same mother,
born two years before me,
it felt as if she was born
only two seconds before me.

With similar values,
but polar personalities,
we quickly clicked since my birth.
She became the cornerstone of my life.

Leaving her side made me cry,
every night with no one to wipe my tears.
Her laughs were empty memories
I replayed in my head.

The unfamiliar ambiance
of competitively driven students
and reckless partying adolescents
made me discover the true introvert I was.

My best friend was no longer
by my side when I came back from school.
She became the girl in the picture frame
sitting on my dorm desk top.

But soon the holidays will bring us together
to laugh hysterically at jokes together,
and cry at the painful memories we grew from.
My best friend, I look forward to meeting you soon again.


- - -

Sparsity

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Contributor: Maggie Elise

- -
the ancient Greeks believed the soul was a ship floating but secure against the winds of life
I think my soul is a monster truck

belching smoke and black tar
furious in its path
steadfast against the sand and dirt
and grime
that is hurled against it

my soul is rusty
pitted
if it were to be touched it would crumble
leaving not but a red smear on the fingertips
it flakes from the wind
its path can be seen by the trail of itself it has left behind
once grotesque
in its brilliance
now piteous in
its decay

it has cannibalized itself for sustainability
the most important bits becoming less them-
selves

my soul is cobbled together
sputtering for-
ward draining, out-
beat back, stumbling

my soul is the engine
overheated


- - -

David in the 3rd Grade

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Contributor: Connie Bae

- -
Don't let that boy in 3rd grade
suck on your pen
when the ink doesn't come out.
It does,
in his mouth

That kid is really strange.
Don’t give him pencil lead.
He won’t use it.
He will eat it.

He has a goofy smile
and is actually really nice.
So for his safety,
don’t give him stationary.


- - -
Connie Bae enjoys making people laugh even if it means making a fool of herself. The only books that have made her cry are all about animals. She believes she loves oranges because she was born in Orange, California.

Talk

| Filed under

Contributor: J.K.Durick

- -
We say so little
so often now
the room around us
is almost silent
as if
we are almost out
of words to say
as if
the script
we were playing
is down to its last
few pages
so we read
our parts
our lines slowly
in fragments
like this
as if
to keep things going
just
a little longer.


- - -
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Social Justice Poetry, 1947, Stanzaic Stylings, Synchronized Chaos, and Algebra of Owls.

Sundown at the Abbey

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
After a day in the fields
plowing and sowing,
the old monks see
sundown is near so
they put away tools,
clean up for supper.

It's soup and bread
torn from a loaf,
chunks of good cheese,
a rainbow of bright
fruit from the orchard,
coffee as black as tar.

There are 20 monks left,
slow and ailing, a drop
from a hundred or so
a few decades ago.
The harvest is small,
their lives still simple.

They work in the fields
and pray in the chapel.
But birds in the air
sometimes hear prayer
rise from the fields
and soar past them.


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

My Open Arms

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy J Maddox

- -
Now that I have finally
found you
After searching for so
many years
I can begin my journey to
loving you
Venture into a lifetime
of discovery

I will devote this heart with
open arms
Come lay your head upon
my breast
Listen to how it beats
for you
Let me touch your soul
at last.


- - -
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 40 books, print and online magazines and websites.

Dutiful Daughter, Dutiful Wife

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Contributor: Rhonda Johnson-Saunders

- -
In taking first shadowed steps as wife,
wide-eyed and wispy in winter white,
eyes fall below an arch of wicks flaming orange.
Daughter shall bring honor to her family.
Duties fulfilled without question,
for what is true love to a subservient
bride but an impractical wall built
by a modern world, she only sees
from afar, a needless barrier from
what is truth and what shall be?
Too much grief kept alive and fanned
out by instinct to survive, only tears
rain on their hardened land.
Without a dowry, without a chance
for more in life than the plight of mothers
who came before her, daughter resigns
to hide for two cycles of the moon,
mysterious rituals performed, she’s told,
will beautify her form and purify within.
Drained by coming days, she slants
but shall not break. She, his chosen one,
knows her worst fear. She may still be rejected,
returned, but never reprieved. She hopes
to be desired by his dark eyes and prays
she will be suitable to his stringent parents
who unbury old traditions with charred hands.
The fate of a daughter’s impoverished family
depends on her union, her obligatory vows.
For what is love but a weighty, hand-me-down
coat worn to burden a woman? She has shed
her layers, her tender dreams of youth, beneath
orange candlelit glow of arranged marriage. All
who belong to her new world more than she,
sing solemn wishes to husband and wife into
the chill of a moonless night.


- - -
Rhonda Johnson-Saunders is a lifetime lover of reading and writing poetry. She enjoys writing all types of poetry, especially free verse and haiku and has been published in The Heron's Nest. When not writing, Rhonda enjoys music, genealogy, travel and best of all, being a mom to her two young sons.

Constellations

| Filed under

Contributor: Erin Schwarz

- -
The ground pressing into her back
was frozen, browned grass husks
pricking her exposed wrists. Cold air
blanketed her body, clinging like the leaves
enmeshed in her hair.
The dark sky was broken
by the blinding stars.
She stood, her feet barely on the ground,
her white dress stained from the earth.
She desperately reached for the stars,
tracing the patterns
with her slender white finger.
She cried for the constellations
wept for the moon.
The sun overtook the sky,
but the night was forever
with her.


- - -
Erin is a senior in high school and loves to write.

Orange

| Filed under

Contributor: Nikhil Nath

- -
In oranges, you
won't find small

islands of sun burnt
pen drives mesmerized

by the Giant Panda
in a enter key

or shift reason
to the top floor

of a sub zero
refrigerator full

of unwanted art
where piano and

violins sit with
fake Picasso or

print Chagall,
as Rome rests

on a mouse
with laptop screen

savers running to
Alaska, post global warming


- - -
Nikhil has been writing poetry for nineteen years. He has been published in various magazine in India, the USA and the UK. Nikhil Nath is his pen name. He lives and works from Kolkata, India. “Write rubbish, but write", said Virginia Woolf. This is Nikhil's maxim for writing. Allegro, Aji, Ink Sweat and Tears, Laughing Dog (Poem of the Month), Ehanom, Ithica Lit, Germ Magazine, Leaves of Ink, Linden Avenue and Pif Magazine have recently accepted his work.

Cat the Candle

| Filed under

Contributor: Sharocks

- -
She is only lit when I walk past,
close enough for her to swat
like the flame divots with the air my body
cuts through with my leaving, the room
mutes, don't come around
when she gets upset, blood
red and orange flickers across your skin,
when I am in her presence, a fire lights in her eyes,
the room grows heavy with a burning light.


- - -

On Learning a New Word Late in Life

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Harold, I'm sorry to call you at three in the morning
but you're older than I am and you may have less time
to relish a word you may not have heard of.
It's "rejectamenta," and I stumbled upon it
early this morning when I couldn't sleep.
I wish I had found rejectamenta years ago.
It means exactly what you might think:
"matter rejected as useless or worthless."

Imagine how useful that word would have been
in our younger days as a weapon of choice.
I would have shouted it often when leaving a job
or leaving a nice woman who thought we should marry.
I would have extended my arm like Adolph and shouted
"Rejectamenta!" with the roar of "Sieg Heil!"

For the remainder of my life I will shout it when nettled.
I will shout it at the waiter in that Polish restaurant
the next time he plops pickled pigs feet
in front of me obviously short on gel.
I loathe those feet but the gel is marvelous.

We may be aging, Harold, but we have a word now
we can whip out of our quivers whenever we're miffed.
Perhaps the embalmer will tattoo it on my forehead
if my wife isn't looking, assuming she survives.
Carry on, Harold. The finish line is just ahead.


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

200 in Harmony

| Filed under

Contributor: Casey Ackerman

- -
One who stopped believing an hour before the email was sent,

one who traveled from New York to Nashville performing for large crowds,

one who was forced by his mother to audition,

one bound for Yale, singing for her resume,

one pair of friends who screamed Can you believe it?,

one group from Rutherford who gave up their lunches for this,

one who said I am proud of myself for this first time,

one who walked at a fast pace, wore a bowtie, and wouldn’t dare miss a rehearsal,

one whose father said Music will never get you anywhere in life,

one who has been to Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and Turkey playing eight different instruments,

one whose mother said Perfection is the only path to success,

one who will never sing again after high school,

one whose mother always sits in the front row, crying at every concert,

one who always shows up late, never forgetting to leave his music scattered on his bedroom floor,

one who is classically trained, who spent her summers in and out of practice rooms,

one from a small town in North Jersey who always sings off pitch,

one who has been to New York City thirty seven times, seeing a different Broadway show every time,

one who said I am good enough and was.


- - -
Casey is a senior at Pompton Lakes High School and plans to further her education at The College of New Jersey as a Music Education major.

My Future

| Filed under

Contributor: Ellie S. Vend

- -
A body with apps
with characters I wear
and each one a painting
each a piece of personality
a facet of me
carefully cultivated
with an eye toward perfection
placing every artistic detail
so carefully

identifiers
so my friends know where to find me
no matter who I am,
what side of me I'm wearing

hazers
to help me blend with the crowd
when I'm feeling introspective
or in a hurry
flitting from errand to errand

and the ability to tinker
to sew new patches
on new sides of self
to ink my own new tattoos
to lay down elegant lines
on skin that can change color and tone
with a thought
make them mobile
make my whole being a canvas
I can save and switch to blank
at a whim
in the space
of a breath.

freedom
true freedom
to be a man one day
to be a woman the next
to be someone undefined
when it suits me
to blur the line
to play with it
to dance over it
and around it
and celebrate it
and make a thousand human masterpieces
and wear them all
and wear them all
and each only when it suits me.


- - -

Year 15

| Filed under

Contributor: Brittany K. Fonte

- -
it was wedged in the atoms between
sanity and self-doubt/ threadbare/ insecurity

filled the spaces of their porous marriage like caulk
adding callous words and grooming to the problem

but in Algebra, Y rarely meets X or looming expectations
and the ex lies on the opposite side somehow equal

the sum of their parts was less than a whole heart, or
geometry was never her strong pantsuit

they used fraycheck/checked for loose ends
lost their marbles in pressing “send,” and cushions


- - -
Brittany Fonte holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) and has three books published. She was also an editor finalist for Lambda Literary Award in poetry. She lives with her wife and two children in Maryland.

Clarity

| Filed under

Contributor: Lynne M Hinkey

- -
My things. My beautiful things.
Gathered from far and wide
From adventures lived.
Photos and letters, jewelry and books
From family, friends, and lovers.

My windows. My beautiful windows.
Covered in plywood.
From the lumberyard.
Water jugs, sandbags, and flashlights
Hold the darkness at bay.

The screams. The terrible screams.
Of failing wood screws
Boards fly from windows and roof.
Battens be damned. The incessant
Wind howls an urgent demand.

Choose. Choose. Choose.

My cat. My beautiful Jaguar.
My dog. And my pillow.
Plunge into the bathroom.
Huddle, with a waiting mattress,
To bolster the door against the threat.

Choose. Choose. Choose.

The clarity. My perfect clarity.
When wind lashes into my home.
One-hundred-and-fifty miles per hour
Of understanding.
My cat, my dog, my pillow.


- - -
Lynne Hinkey uses experiences from her years living in the Caribbean to infuse her novels with a bit of tropical magic, from the siren call of the islands, to the terror and hysteria caused by the mysterious chupacabra.

The Ocean Is Not a Good Boyfriend

| Filed under

Contributor: Brendan Gillett

- -
I must feel like the ocean
how I dry on your skin
how I let you float on
my back, weightless
for once
how I have depths
that your light cannot reach
how you try anyway
how the salt water drips
how I pool
how I envelope you
how I am tidal, flowing
in and out, advancing and
receding, leaving ugly things
uncovered, returning and
preserving with my
salinity even as I
corrode

I know
how I must feel,
how it makes you forget
that even the ocean
is finite


- - -
Brendan Gillett doesn't eat candy for breakfast.

Stubble

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
Does my stubble
say I am unkempt, on
the edge of a philosophical
breakthrough? Or perhaps
that I am a loafer
with a preference
for sleeping late?
It is now my father's stubble,
flecks of salt and pepper,
showing a bit of aging,
reminders of him not only
on the surface of my face,
but also seen in the lines
and shape.


- - -

Riding Schwinns in '56

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
You had to have a Schwinn
to lead this pack of boys
riding bikes full speed
baking under the Chicago sun
laughing after senior year
heading to the local park
to play a game of ball
or lob a cane pole
in the park lagoon
with stinkbait on the hook
to catch a bullhead,
cousin of the catfish,
small but just as tough.

Riding Schwinns was High Mass
in the summer after high school
before everyone would join the Army
or wait to be drafted.
Maybe one or two of us
had sober fathers working
and we would go to college.
I was one of those.
Going to college was something
I was told I'd do from third grade on.
So do the homework, my father said,
or he'd wash up and visit the nuns.

Korea ended not too long before.
Two guys ahead of us
would never ride a Schwinn again
or go to college on the GI Bill.
One guy did come back.
For years he walked in circles
around his family's back yard
smoking real Pall Malls,
unimpaired by filters, very long.
Butch was shell-shocked,
neighbors said.
We'd have to pray for him.
They didn't call it PTSD back then.


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

Even In My Dreams

| Filed under

Contributor: Rhonda Johnson-Saunders

- -
But chances are I may never dance on mountaintops, even in my dreams.
In dead of night, I wonder if the sun will rise again even in my dreams.

A long-ago love note slipped under my desk, answered now or never.
Oh, how tragic! A young heart never mended, even in my dreams.

Two pennies rubbed in your able hands could once save the world.
Two palms full of ashes scattered, I remember when even in my dreams.

Glossy smiles and paisley dresses frolic between my paper pages.
Voices from past days forget to call. I feel them often, even in my dreams.

Senility of age never fools the mourner. Winter clouds still feel gray.
Sad songs drift from open windows, taunting the trees, even in my dreams.

Forty years of fires and floods have come and gone, and still I run.
No shame in getting sidetracked by a poet's pen or chasing you again -
even in my dreams.


- - -
Rhonda Johnson-Saunders is a lifetime lover of reading and writing poetry. She enjoys writing all types of poetry, especially free verse and haiku and has been published in The Heron's Nest. When not writing, Rhonda enjoys music, genealogy, travel and best of all, being a mom to her two young sons.

Mike Gosses

| Filed under

Contributor: Mike Gosses

- -
Enough with the constant pacing and tapping of your fingers,
the late nights spent in the company of blank screens and bloodshot eyes,
the endless futile formulations,
enough shouting at me with reeking breath,
love, just write.

I’m tired of being your maid,
cleaning up as you doze on your desk,
filing away the same scribbled pages each day,
only to hear about how tough you have it,
please, just write.

Another bottle down,
this time left to rot in whatever pile of success you've got,
left along with all your letters addressed to me,
written in red and left at the bottom of every bottle,
just write.

I wish I could feel sorry for you,
as you light a match and drop it in the trash,
incinerating every promising idea you once had,
but I’ve long since abandoned my keys on your bed,
why won’t you just write?


- - -

Winter Tarry

| Filed under

Contributor: Theresa A. Cancro

- -
Winter peers around the corner,
her white-tooth smile,
icy but tame,
wisps among trees.

Skeletal branches
finger her gray cloak,
caress the muff clouds,
tempt a long sojourn.

Firefly snowflakes
escape her grasp,
flitter and glint,
impish and sass.

Back to her sense,
true nature takes hold –
she moves along,
ever north.


- - -
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.

The Bell

| Filed under

Contributor: Kyle Shafer

- -
I sit at my desk
slumped
a soldier
buried deep in a trench
waiting out his final days on the front line.

I am a patient
lingering faintly in his bed
surrounded by sickly peers
deathly sounds
ready to move on to a distant place.

Doodles occupy my book page after page
an obituary burdened with murdered thoughts.

The clock beats echo
inside my skull
like water droplets
hammering down on my forehead

the torture is ended finally
one last, deafening hammer liberates me.


- - -
Kyle Shafer is a junior at Pompton Lakes High School. He is excited about sharing his poetry with the rest of the world.

The Samaritan Can Handle It

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Ebenezer woke to find
rats in his basement
so he called PETA
to take them away
and the lady hung up
so Ebenezer prayed
and the doorbell rang
and there stood a preacher.
He waved a Bible,
yelled and screamed
"All you must do is believe
and you will be saved!"
and Ebenezer replied,
"I do believe but
what about the rats?"
The preacher smiled,
turned to leave and
tripped on the stairs.
He never moved,
his head a Vesuvius
lofting a spume of blood.
Ebenezer closed the door
and said to no one, "I believe
the Samaritan can handle it."


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

Save Our Planet

| Filed under

Contributor: Catherine G. Wolf

- -
“Think globally, act locally.” Common expression in the Sixties
President Covfete desires
to murder his grandchildren,
put Mar-a-Lago underwater
with a sweet tsunami sea surge,
both literally and financially.
Why else would President Tweeter
have pulled the United States out
of the Paris climate agreement?
When ocean waves reach the
penthouse at Trump Tower,
rustling gold like a tenement,
we’ll see if the FLOTUS can float.
Or will POTUS rescue her?
Nope, busy groping.

But, hey, we don’t need the
madman-in-chief to save
our grandkids and the planet!
Starting with governors of New York,
California and Washington state,
pledged their states
to follow the Paris accords.
Soon three were a wave of others.
A flood of cities joined.
Good billionaire Bloomberg donated
fifteen million to pay our part.
Hawaii passed the first law to save their fragile islands.
We should do this deal on health care
and a million other issues.
Trumpeter, you’re irrelevant. Go tweet!


- - -
In 1996, when I was stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease, my ability to speak was taken away by this disease. I found poetry had a special capability to express my innermost feelings. By losing my physical voice, I found my poetic voice.

Fear of The Unknown

| Filed under

Contributor: Casey Ackerman

- -
Anticipation fills me with angst.

Doubt swarms around my mind

like mosquitos ready to pierce my calm.


The possibility of acceptance,

a temporary repellant,

kills off any signs of negativity.

Fading, projections of failure play

over and over in my head.


My future is a clean pair of spectacles

free of smudges or scratches,

but my fear fogs its lenses.


If I fail will I ever be able to get up off the ground?

Continuous questioning of the unknown

consumes every part of me.


All positivity is trapped in waves of ambiguity.

Confidence swims to the top,

only to be forced back under,

and hidden from the rest of the world.


- - -
Casey is a senior at Pompton Lakes High School. She plans to further her education at The College of New Jersey as a Music Education major.

The Fire

| Filed under

Contributor: Kasey Cox

- -
Living in a matchstick forest,
I’m unable to put out the fire you set
to my life. I stared holes into your
picture, the curling edges ran
into everything that stood beside me.

My heart is ash.

You could still be my comfort blanket
but the smoke pouring from your heart
while you stoke the fires, blur my vision,
as I watch our memories fade,
becoming lost within the flames.


- - -

The Box

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy J Maddox

- -
I went to visit her today
And I realized the seasons had changed again
Standing there between the bare maple trees
I thought of the box marked, 'Memories'
That I could never bring myself to open
After she was gone

Laying the flowers at her feet
I said one last goodbye
And as I walked back down that old road
I tried to think of the things I would say
If she were here with me now
Oh, did she really ever know?

Sitting in the attic
Holding onto the box, I cried
For I remember the day she sealed it up
She said we would open it, when we grew old
And as I watched her put it away
She turned around to say, “I'll always love you”.

I took her in my arms and held her tight
When she smiled up at me
For there were no words to describe
How I felt at that moment
And now, missing her so much
I wish she were here to hold once again

Laid inside the box were souvenirs
Long forgotten to me
A little stuffed bear I had won for her
On our first date together
A guitar pick and an old shirt of mine
She used to love to wear

Dried roses and cards
Brought back glimpses of her
Letters full of promises
And pictures that made me smile
At last I picked up her diary
Kept since she was a child

Scattered dates and tales of growing up
I saw a side I never knew
She had written about the day we had met
When she was just sixteen years old
And how she felt it in her heart
That I was the only one for her

The final entry she had made
Were the words of a love song
It was the one I had sung to her
On the day we were married
And as I read each line, there was no doubt
That she had always believed in me.


- - -
Stacy J Maddox is a varied hobbyist & artist, living in the fast-paced and diverse city of Lawrence, KS USA. She loves to soak up the sun by the river and feel the water rush over her feet, or walk the trails to take photographs and explore. Stacy has been published in over 30 books, print magazines and online websites, and has been has been passionate about Art, in all forms, for over 30 years.

Steel Staircase

| Filed under

Contributor: Jessica Mara

- -
Two bony legs and hazel eyes;
he wakes up each morning to the sun
beating down on his matted hair.

He created a makeshift bed
at the foot of rusty fire escape stairs
under the window of the place he calls home
to avoid the slamming doors that echo inside.

Litter, scattered on the cracking concrete below.
Swirling when the wind picks up
and settling in a new location.

No matter how far the waste travels
or how noisily it rustles
in an attempt to grab the attention of passerbys,
it will continue to be ignored.


- - -
Jessica Mara is a senior at Pompton Lakes High School, 18, excited to share her poetry with the world. Enjoy!

City Rain

| Filed under

Contributor: Evana Christopher

- -
Dancing like crystal ballerinas
Raindrops pirouetting into each other
Forming an iridescent glow
On their dusty concrete dance floor
Now performing solo acts
Each drop does a kick and then executes a grand jeté
Creating an individual ripple
In the silver gloss they have become
On the once dull surface


- - -

Still We Dream

| Filed under

Contributor: Rhonda Johnson-Saunders

- -
We ride high on clouds of glory.
We love life and dream after
all these years. Untethered from
our fears, we gallop to our heartbeats
and sleep in peace on the arc
of a clear, crescent moon.
Our heroes never fall – the brave
cowboys on midnight trails, rising
with steely eyes from unmarked graves,
dreamers awakened to lasso sun light
and wrangle rogue guardians posing
at the gates of heaven. We, wide-eyed,
watch their daring spirits as they tame
wild beasts in night’s orbit and steer
Pegasus through mosaics of striking
constellations. We strive to be like them,
our heroes, the bare-backed riders
of brilliant skies in our own western reel
of eternity. We circle in Luna’s forbidden
dance, weed flower beds in her garden
and pray aloud as angels sing around
her campfire of stars. Look up
into the blue-black sky, do you see
gold? We are timeless, gems shining,
pure energy. Like our heroes, we are free-
still we ride, still we dream.


- - -
Rhonda Johnson-Saunders is a lifetime lover of reading and writing poetry. She enjoys writing all types of poetry, especially free verse and haiku and has been published in The Heron's Nest. When not writing, Rhonda enjoys music, genealogy, travel and best of all, being a mom to her two young sons.

This Dark Morning

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
If I were a possum
with a tail that long
I too would hang
from a tree limb
this dark morning
and hiss to frighten
the cats off the deck
away from the food
and water, and then

I'd drop from the limb
and eat as soon as
that fat raccoon
climbing the steps
with the lurching sway
of a hungry Grizzly
washes his food
gobbles his fill
and rumbles away.


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

Get Used To Seeing Us

| Filed under

Contributor: Ellie S. Vend

- -
Long blond hair
pretty pink earrings
is that a man?
does it matter?
get used to seeing us.

Shaved head
great abs
is that a woman?
does it matter?
get used to seeing us.

Combat boots
tattoos
sequin dress
glitter beard
and earrings to match
they're just clothes.
it's just a look
so hey,
get used to seeing us.


- - -

Isolation

| Filed under

Contributor: Jessica Kellenbach

- -
Standing all by itself,

In a green, open field.

Arms shaking with fear,

Of the nearing dark clouds.

Lights flick,

On and off.

The wind works against it.

As my sister works against me.

My parents see her as a flash.

Bright, with electric energy

Waiting to be tear me down.

There I stand as the tree, alone.

An open target,

The lightning’s brightness beating on my roots.

Battling against my family's storm.


- - -

Apart No More

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy J Maddox

- -
There
You were
Standing
Alone
With your
Heavy luggage
Waiting
At the
Bus station
After
So long
We've been
Apart
From
One
Another.

No more.


- - -
Stacy J Maddox is a varied hobbyist & artist, living in the fast-paced and diverse city of Lawrence, KS USA. She loves to soak up the sun by the river and feel the water rush over her feet, or walk the trails to take photographs and explore. Stacy has been published in over 30 books, print magazines and online websites, and has been has been passionate about Art, in all forms, for over 30 years.bio here

So Many Hummingbirds

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
This August evening
so many hummingbirds
helicopters of the garden

hover and dart
iridescent in the dusk
flower to flower

sipping perhaps
a last supper
then flying South

before the leaves
before the snow
us at the window

praying they'll stay
knowing they can't
praying for spring


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

Shelter

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
The mix is off. Rain falls
but there are thick flakes of snow.
It's too late in the year
for this kind of occurrence.
Someone should really tell
the year about this.

I run to take shelter, keep
the unclear weather from
surprising me in new, even
painful ways.
Then I realize I can't find
any roof or even an awning,
but it's just a metaphor
anyway.


- - -
JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. He blogs at jddehartpoetry.blogspot.com.

One Truth

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy J Maddox

- -
I was the one to love her then
As long as she was here
Holding her close, touching her skin
For all those lonesome years

I tried to show the many ways
She made my life whole again
Even on the darkest of days
She was my love, my best friend

But when Fall came back around
She said she was just too tired
There was no more love to be found
I wasn't the man she now desired

I still remember the look in her eyes
When she finally told me the truth
Standing in the doorway, saying goodbye
I was sure this time we were through

There was only sadness, written without pen
No tears were shed to slip down her face
Leaving rivers where a smile should have been
I saw then, my heart no longer had a place.


- - -
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 40 books, print and online magazines and websites.

Honeyed Words

| Filed under

Contributor: Evana Christopher

- -
She was fourteen
Sweet as fresh clementines
Straight A’s and Honor Roll
She had too much faith
In people she barely knew

He whispered honeyed words in her ear
She now choked on menthol smoke clouds
Strawberry Smirnoff rushed through her veins
The backseat of his white Pontiac
Became a sudden safe haven
He gave her absolutely everything
That she didn’t need

Her body became an instrument she let others play
In hopes of forgetting he left her
The closest feeling to the taste of him
Was when she kissed the lips of a red solo cup
Longing for the terrible sting of his cheap cologne
She once hated

She tried to forget him
But at fourteen he left her hopeless
With nothing else to remember


- - -

Sudden Screeches

| Filed under

Contributor: Jake Newton

- -
On the night of April 14, 1912,

a man sat in a silk stitched chair

staring at the suspended ice in his glass of scotch,

waiting for business to come out of a colleague’s mouth.

While men talk about money,

women stare into the dark, icy waters

laughing at their drunken friends

kicking the block of ice on the deck.
In the cabins below the thick layers of metal,

warm mothers tuck their kids into rented sheets

calming the children of their fears of drowning in the dark.

Immigrants sit in the ballroom dreaming of New York,

dreaming of a new and better life!

The perfect evening, just as the one prior!

The speaker in every room let out sudden screeches,

stopping every laugh,

waking every body,
Injecting icy fear into every heart.


- - -

Sleep Paralysis

| Filed under

Contributor: Danielle Shafer

- -
They whisper my name twice
into my right ear
waking me into terror
two presences at the foot of my bed
watch me, paralyze me,
my neck strains to turn
my throat strains to scream
through the paralysis
but nothing comes.

Released, my heart beats
like the pounding of my footsteps
I’ve stopped looking for them
throughout my house, intruders
of my mind, the house empty
except for my searching.

With each mention to a friend,
explanation to a parent,
the presences arrive more often,
seizing my body, cementing the questions
in my mouth. My heart beats harder
every time and I am almost convinced
that we will explode.


- - -

YOU AND I

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
You and I will have our dreams together
See the world as pink and green together
Knowing that we’ll always be together
Feel the morning, rise upon us
Hold the feeling, all wet with dew.

You and I will spend our days together
Moving right on through the maze together
Playing games and making plays together
Happy endings, ever after
Like a story, we’ll spend our lives.

With time for holding you
And time for loving you
We’ll make our dreams come true
You and I.


- - -
Bruce Levine is a native Manhattanite who lives with his wife, actress Lydia Franklin, 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 writings have been published widely including in Brimfield Publications, Heuer Publishing, Rodale Press, Every Writer, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Friday Flash Fiction, Visitant, Grey Sparrow Journal, WestWard Quarterly, Leaves of Ink, Eskimo Pie, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Bookends Review and Literally Stories.

We Invisible

| Filed under

Contributor: Rhonda Johnson-Saunders

- -
Love
should be
more than
invisible
weak
like a dying wind
once a rush
tangible
robust
then gone

skin alive
warmed
by beams of
smiley-faced sun,
too happy
me flowing
into you
(my skin now stings
in wounded night)
soft stroke
caress of moon
arms like wings
open
adventurous spirits
risen
heights feared
love feared

history
we dare not repeat
on worn pages
crumbling
like this us
dying to be seen
eyes fixed
lost like a kiss
of summer breeze
in September

our love
dead from lips
to fingertips
failing
fading
and yet
we believed
felt motion
inside
unified
cocooned
in our selfish design

we swept
in stormy gusts
carried
weightless
lifted to
diamond-carved stars
then struck
spiraling
from highest altitudes
clouded turmoil
ashes smolder
at crash site
broken hearts
dug our graves
buried pain
in shallows

memories loosened
tuck easily into pockets
of washed-out blues
and smudged-gray days
never shared again,
we invisible


- - -
Rhonda Johnson-Saunders is a lifetime lover of reading and writing poetry. She enjoys writing all types of poetry, especially free verse and haiku and has been published in The Heron's Nest. When not writing, Rhonda enjoys music, genealogy, travel and best of all, being a mom to her two young sons.

Six Haiku

| Filed under

Contributor: Theresa A. Cancro

- -
magnolia bud
curled against the window
a Siamese kitten


our breaths
crossing above the path --
a meteor shower


apricot jam
on a fresh croissant --
the shop door's bell


purple martins
returning to roost –
my long to-do list


blind date –
the mosquito and I share
a Bloody Mary


cotton candy
sticks to my fingers –
summer's end


- - -
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.

Seamus and the Rest of Us

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
After Reading 'Blackberry-Picking' Again

For many years
Seamus Heaney wrote
while the rest of us typed

none of us striking
keys as grand as those
in "Blackberry-Picking."

Not a sour syllable
nor bruised word
in any verse.

"Blackberry-Picking" tells
the rest of us to keep typing.
Excellence never dies

although it may not be ours.
We will hear poems
Seamus is writing now

when we sneak into heaven
and Seamus gives them to
the Seraphim to sing.


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

August

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
This August summer's eve closed
Quickly sinking to the West
With the slanted shades swinging
In a blast of turbulent vent air
Sun peeking through the holes
Casting light shapes on the walls
Like dancing fireflies in night

Outside a whitewashed window
Dry cornfields wait for harvesting
Dust runs in circles over rock
Jumping and swirling, twisting
Like small tornadoes in a storm
Leaving behind lazy, buzzing locusts
To call to the Moon's beams.


- - -
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 been published in over 20 books, print magazines and websites.

Naked

| Filed under

Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
Naked we are born and naked we will die
Shame is taught and I don’t know why
Children will run free outside in the buff
They laugh and they play they can’t get enough
People are told they must keep their clothes on
Hide yourself from sight until everyone is gone
Man and woman walk this path through life
Modesty and shame as you walk on the blade of a knife
It would be nice if some day we all could be free
That would be nice, if the choice was up to you and me
Covering our bodies for someone else's shame
Doesn’t seem fair when it’s their modesty that is to blame
If child-like abandon was what we all suffered from
Then casting off our clothing would not seem so dumb
Naked we are born and naked we will die
Shame is taught and I don’t know why


- - -
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".

THE VILLAIN IN CHARGE

| Filed under

Contributor: John Grey

- -
She can feel the dread
of the growing tumor.
Damnable tyrant,
it assumes its throne
at the bottom of her lungs,
from there consumes.

First gingerly felt
like a pin-prick
now there is no sensation
that does not report back
to that malevolent lump for orders.

How long I watch,
await the inevitable takeover
of the body.
The self, at least,
will not buckle under
to this bully of her breathing.
Her memories seek sanctuary in her smile.

She takes my hand.
Life fights back
even when its armies are limited.
The villain is within her walls,
looting and ravaging,
By the time it's done,
it will have everything
but her.


- - -
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Cape Rock and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Lilith's Return

| Filed under

Contributor: Monica Rose

- -
I’ll do anything to prove to him
that I am the wickedest witch of them all.

I sensed his intentions from the start,
I had already begun to plot my revenge,

I didn’t even give you the chance
to hurt me yet...


How did I end up in the same time,
at a different place,
with a different person?
This clash to ache,
maybe I let the ghosts linger
for too long?

Karma...
I could feel her weighing heavy
on both of our ends.
She revealed our biggest wounds to each other,
and made us believe we could never be able to stop the cause of our bleeding.

Only this time feels different from the first time.
I now know you’ll keep arriving
in forms I didn’t know
I could make manifest.

That time will come
when I have completely shed this skin,
when my downfalls fall humbly.
When my ancestors give me the okay,
“you have made it right for us, too.”


- - -
Sometimes here, sometimes there. Psychology major with an art history minor at the University of California, Riverside. Rekindling my passion for poetry one heartache at a time.

Chromatic

| Filed under

Contributor: Grace Li

- -
The colors of childhood:
the bright yellow sunshine,
the vivid green forests.
the vibrant blue sky,
Soon faded into lackluster gray fog.
No longer in the Scheinwelt
of childish innocence,
with the herd nowhere to be found
beneath a cold, colorless sky,

I journeyed on.
Today,
the colors have become:
the radiant yellow of joy,
the deep green of ambition,
the poignant blue of sorrow.
A spectrum shifting with time.

Tomorrow,
I may see new hues
and those will be the ones
I won’t want to forget.


- - -
Grace Li spends her summers battling mosquitoes in the mountains. She is persistent in her attempts to set the world record for eating the most muffins. At a young age she proved to be an animal whisperer when she miraculously convinced three cats to follow her home.

Six Haiku

| Filed under

Contributor: Sean Lynch

- -
birds mate early
among wooden pillars
encircled by steel

hail mother of grass
virgin soil saturates
with cloud tears

fresh leaves mask the brown
underneath green small softness
below brittle death

the ancient tree bends
and belies a solid core
myself in reverse

the pure poet leaves
cicadas chirp in trees
in this vacant city

no memories now
umber skies and charcoal clouds
consume nostalgia


- - -
Sean Lynch is a poet and editor who lives in South Philadelphia. You can find his work at swlynch.com

The Parish Carnival

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
That's Bernie's wife on the carousel
laughing and waving her arms.
Once again she won't get off
even though Bernie is yelling
next to the concession stand
jumping around in his wheel chair.
He's finished his cotton candy
and wants to go home.
He probably has to pee.
He never goes anywhere
except to the parish carnival.
He loves the cotton candy.
He says it's the same as when
he was a kid years ago
before he fell out of the tree.
He needs Stella more than ever now
to push his wheel chair and she does
except when she comes to the carnival
and gives old Bernie a big plume
of cotton candy and hops on the carousel
laughing and waving her arms
once a summer every year.


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

Stella Maris Seabirds: Senryu

| Filed under

Contributor: Ingrid Bruck

- -
awake at dark
to greet the morning
seagulls and I

silence of dawn
east over the deep
we wait for sunrise

gulls flap at sun call
flit back and forth
skim the waves

yo-yos in the sky
wings skip the edges of swells
and dive for breakfast

nacreous sea reflects
pearlescent sky
mirrors of day

sky ripens red to pink
sea echoes pearl
singing the light

gulls ski the surf
drop in surging rollers
corks bob and float

quiet wait
for sun under water
to break free

plovers skitter
run into surf and fish
new waves push them back

birds run in and out
pan the shoreline
wet sand glistens

red orb swims water
mounts the sky
we watch

and catch a silver ribbon
cast from sea to shore
to Stella Maris


- - -
Ingrid Bruck lives in the Amish country of Pennsylvania that inhabits her writing. Her favorite forms are haiku, haibun, senryu, rengay and short poems. Current work appears in Unbroken Journal, Halcyon Days, Quatrain.Fish, Under the Basho and Leaves of Ink.

Ambitions of Sweet and Shallow

| Filed under

Contributor: Isaac Szu

- -
Clinging to the ashes of ages long past
Gray dust smoulders longing to be rekindled
Stagnant air no longer feeds the fire
Once fed by shallow tufts of grass.
Like the fate of a fickle flame
Hesitation is Hamlet’s greatest regret

I am
A reed caught in a river of rivalry
A conflux of purpose and passion
Doubtful of what lies ahead
Blind to what lies before
But reminded of what lies behind.
Waiting for a tomorrow that will never be

As time fades, ideals fade
Leaving me to wonder
Whether they ever existed
Sewing my lips so no more
Empty promises are made
The hardest truth to accept
Is one which denies itself


- - -
Isaac Szu lives for only one thing, perfecting his backflips. He often pretends he is a vegetable in hopes of one day capturing the unrequited attention of his turtle. But as for his friends, he only judges them by how much they owe him.

Stages of Growth

| Filed under

Contributor: Peter Said

- -
Coming out the womb
Unbreakable connection
I need you to live

Pre-school in the south
Look at my new toy mommy
Okay love see you

Middle school, thrilling
Soccer club, I´ll see you at night
I´ll wait for you home

High school, new chapter
Leave me ´lone, I´m an adult
Tears of letting go


- - -
Peter Said travels all around the world battling other soccer players and collecting scenery for his paintings. In his travels, he has not only found one way to be healthy, but universally, he learned that he can't eat french fries.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Nothing is anywhere anymore,
Dad shouts over the phone.
His reveille again at 4 a.m.
Will I come over and find it?

What's missing, Dad, I ask.
It's midnight and I'm in bed.
It'll take awhile to get there.

Your mother went to make
pineapple upside down cake
hours ago and still no cake.
She's nowhere to be found.
I called the neighbors.
They won't come over.
It's just me and the dog
and he's asleep.
Son, I need your help.

Mom died 10 years ago, Dad.
You and I went to the funeral.
We buried her at St. Anthony's.
Remember all the rain?
And then the rainbow shining?

Son, you're right again
Sorry I woke you but where's
the pineapple upside down cake?
I've been waiting for hours.
A little snack and I'll turn in.


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

Crossroads

| Filed under

Contributor: Trisha Satish

- -
I am crumbling at a crossroad of constant pressure
Not knowing if this move will be the last

Giving ears to the gruesome voices of my ghosts
That tell me I will always return to where I started

I am the thunder finally breaking through the clouds
Understanding that I am not defined by my history

Leaving behind the fear that brought disconnected tears
Realizing that there is more to life than just a location

I stand there unmoving like an anchor in the ocean
Staring at waves that once controlled and wilted me away

Seeing the burning bush that tells me to let go and start anew
And I finally fit in place


- - -
Trisha Satish is awoken by the cat-like bark of her Golden Retriever. She is driven through her day to fight political injustices and promote feminist movements whether it’s through her vibrant voice or her drumming. At the end of a busy day, Trisha always finds time to catch up on her favorite Netflix shows.

Running to an End

| Filed under

Contributor: Eriberto Uribe

- -
Always on the run.
Always in our warm corpses.
Until we turn cold.

We pass eventually.
It depends on our choices.
Faster or slower.

Strong or not you lose.
Smart or not, time always wins.
Live without worrying.

Our most noticed day.
Dressed nicely, in a box.
Everyone watches, silent.


- - -
Eriberto Uribe drives to the pharmacy in his lab coat for the opportunity to intern, knowing he will not get paid in cash but instead in experience and knowledge. As he continues his journey to assist the ill, he finds friendship with Waldo, his pug, that doesn´t care how poor he is or whether his poems are too internal.

Confliction

| Filed under

Contributor: Francis Olivares

- -
I live between my love and my choices
Like a couple who is struggling to stay together

I live between my top half, which is fragile and skeptical,
And my bottom half which is structurally strong

I live between a smile and a tear
And didn’t know what or how to feel

My left side always distracted and curious
My right on a train track towards greatness

But for my eyes are set on different goals,
Like how Zeus and Athena were when against Typhon

No one would have thought
That I did not know what to do

I guess I’ll just lay on my back,
Close my eyes, and sleep this trouble away

My love will fight through Pandora’s box of crimes
It is a tiger that has escaped its cage

My mind running as if it was funneling through the tunnel
That was the tunnel of my thoughts.


- - -
Francis Olivares an adventurer who courageously climbs cliffs with a camera in one hand and a grip in another just to take the perfect picture. A person who is so dedicated that he has gone around the globe and climbed many mountains to reach his end goal. When not looking through the lens of his camera you can find him unwinding with a coffee at a local Starbucks.

206

| Filed under

Contributor: Ian McDonnell

- -
Everyday, same thing, same thing,
The wake of a new day, but my mind is still asleep,
The subtle scent of sorrow lingers throughout my mind,
I need a new light.

Anxiously waiting for the desire of success — it’s now breakfast time
I eat to release the tension,
Flowing down the banks of the river,
I continue my insight.

My heart longs for the love it deserves,
Dreading for the break that it always anticipates,
An exposed atrium altered by all,
Never really knowing when the doors will close for last time.

These tools that were gifted that compose beautiful art,
Fingers graze the paper gently, tracing the reality I wish I had,
Forcing me into a sense of relief,
I am fine for now in this home away from home.

Every tree has their own trunk, where they contain their sense of settling,
My trunks never have their anchorage,
Constantly on a journey to find where to plant my roots,
These legs won´t take me to the heights I wish to reach.

Pitch black, drawn back, where did the time go,
The final chapter, the ending to the story, dusk to dawn,
The journey has yet come to an end, my feet can no longer take their next step,
Comfortably found horizontal, it all starts again tomorrow.


- - -

FOREVER UNTAMED

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
Steal the sheer, tempted quick breaths
From these offered, longing, crimson lips
Tantalize deep, dark coveted corners
Hoping for a sweet and salty taste

Savor slowly, ripe, flushed silhouettes
Linger, caress, shamelessly explore
Kindling that glittering, lucid flame
Shimmering in its full, intense desires

Create embracing ecstasy, secluded paradise
With that blessed, first flourishing kiss
Set fire to this tempestuous, lonely being
Ready to arise, phoenix-like, and waken anew

Claim this euphoric, arousing, stimulating dream
For a few captivating, suspended moments
Surrender an incited, fervent, wandering soul
To a consuming burning passion, forever untamed.


- - -
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.

Elemental Joy

| Filed under

Contributor: Suez Jacobson

- -
July's sticky heat
creates the opportunity
to merge with
the wandering, blue alpine puddle
ringed by pines,
tended by mountains
still marked with
winter's snows.
cold, clear, ripples of joy
spread out
from the body
imagining herself as fish
surrounded by
the tingling cold
that reaches deep
into her core.
she stays immersed
in the elegance of wild
until the shivers
overtake her deep desire for
the pure pleasure
of melding with
the elemental
reality of life.


- - -
Suez Jacobson is a person who would like to swim wild waters

Ivory and Charcoal Memories

| Filed under

Contributor: Allison Luan

- -
Each sigh shook my fragile frame,
The once pristine performance dress is stained with tears.

My fingers are rough, my hands are muscular,
The scars of years of practice and constant critiques stumble me.

From the brightly lit stage, the glaring spotlight judges me,
Just as the audience watches my every movement.

The lump in my chest continues to expand with each shiver,
And my palms become sweaty and numb.

Sitting on the leather seat, my hands shake as I take a final breath,
And the black and white keys feel familiar again.

Each staccato of the key to the legato of a measure travels through my body,
And drowns out the tears and anxieties that come with the performance.

The keys have formed together to soothe me,
To help me forget the demands of teachers, parents, audiences.

My movements are timed to the millisecond,
And perfection is an expectation that I have grown to hate to reach.

With a single note, I exhale and embark,
On a journey I have repeated a million times before.


- - -
Allison is often found slurping on a hearty and familiar bowl of Pho or picking through the thousands of titles on Netflix. Her passion for the youth and her lifelong hobby of playing the piano fuels her childlike personality, spreading optimism and inappropriate laughter.

A Senior Citizen's First Email

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Things are quiet here, a friend writes
in the first email of his long life:

Most mornings I drive to Gillson Park,
sit and read beside the Lake.
The waves are a symphony.
Books are better there. Sometimes
a redwing blackbird will attack,
protecting its nest. The weather's
cool and there's rain at night.
It's not summer in Chicago
as you and I remember it.

I have a cell phone now too
and I use it all the time.
The landline's just a holdover
from the good old days.

Speaking of holdovers,
we should get together
while we still can.
At our age, who knows
how long either of us has.
People our age drop dead
without too much ado.

Tell you what: Whoever gets sick first
will notify the other one who'll take
a plane and race death to see
who arrives at the bedside first.
If I'm talking to a priest, wait outside.

Forget the small stuff like amputations.
They have prosthetics now for everything
except for tallywhackers.
Who needs more kids anyway.
My wife will send you an email if I die.
Ask your wife to do the same for me.


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

Self Portrait in a Mirror

| Filed under

Contributor: Humaira Nasir

- -
Hand prints mar its formerly shining smooth surface,
As my familiar dark eyes stare straight into me.
They scratch and dig at the walls of my mind,
Looking for answers to questions I’ve only learned to ask.

Why did I lose my carefree heart?
Why did the innocent gleam fall from my eyes?
Why did the glass shards of insecurity settle in my stomach?
Can I go back to before?

Before the time I stumbled and fell,
With no lighthouse to light my path.
Where I fell into line, a spirit hustled into Charon’s boat,
Uncertain whether I’d go up or down.

Now I am bound between the luminescent pages of the past,
And the blank pages of my future that is yet to be written.
The changes made to my reflection were drawn in black ink,
Each stroke cracking my reflection a little more.

Monday morning comes and I pass my mirror,
Morbidly curious of my own broken reflection
Wednesday night passes, my eyes wet with unshed tears,
Frustration over previously veiled changes laced through my fingers.

Sunday afternoon blossoms brightly,
The midday rays bouncing off my cursed mirror.
No flaw can hide from its omniscient sight,
Leaving me with no option.

I stand before my mirror and my strange new self,
Hand clenching the fabric of my shirt.
I tilt my chin up high, spine straightening, shoulders back.
And I stare right into the eyes of the beast.


- - -
Humaira Nasir often lays on the ground, wheezing from her latest attempt to scrub the layers of ink and watercolors from her cartooning projects, off her formerly pristine white walls. After giving up for the day, she sneaks into a hidden corner of her closet in her room turned art studio to find a large bag of KitKats and Reese's, which she quickly devours and falls into a sugar induced bliss.

Caved In

| Filed under

Contributor: angeliquebaum

- -
I’m on a ball and chain
Key held by the one closest to me

She says we’re moving again
Is this my chance to be free?

From the breezy ocean side
To the pine tree filled suburbs

Leaving everyone I know
Maybe things will be different this time

I know what I want
I want to be free

I am a woman like Eve
I have made mistakes too

Set myself back
Closed off from the Garden of Eden

The longing, yearning, craving of freedom
Eyes lust to see what’s out there

If only I had the key
If only she would give it to me

- - -
Angelique Baum scavenged and hunted around Asia for rare souvenirs that brought joy to her closest friends, her dogs. On the weekends she can be found with her windows down serenading everyone on the beach as she drives by. She’s very misunderstood like her favorite animals, sharks.

Family

| Filed under

Contributor: Sunny Bawa

- -
Mom

She loves her children
She cannot live without them-
She hates Italian food

Dad

Working seven days
Number one goal was to provide
for his family

Sister

She is the fourth slice
Without her it is uneven-
She is a loving sister

Brother

Growing up he thought-
His sister was competing
In reality it was love


- - -
Sunny Bawa was born in Punjab, India. He has been in the U.S. since age 5. Sunny grew a strong passion for movies and his favorite movie is “Don’t be a menace”.

The Spider and the Spray Can Man

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
He's my buddy, this tiny spider
sitting in his web, not moving,
waiting for a fly that never comes.

The problem is, he spun his web
in a bathroom on the 30th floor
of an office building

where in 20 years I've never
seen a fly or other insect
never mind a spider.

The man from pest control
comes after hours
and sprays in silence.

We call him Spray Can Man,
He has "Butch" on his shirt
and creases in his pants

pressed by a wife who packs
hearty lunches, I suspect.
I've watched Spray Can Man

twenty years and never heard
him speak to anyone working
overtime in a little cubicle.

Years ago we'd say hello to him
just like Trash Can Man and Mop Lady.
I said "Merry Christmas" to him once

and Spray Can Man never looked up.
He kept looking down, like an anteater,
spraying one baseboard after another.

When it comes to insects,
Spray Can Man is a serial killer.
Yet the spider in the bathroom

has escaped his gaze and lives on
despite the lack of any flies to eat.
The spider doesn't know death's

his destination even though
I know some day soon
his life will be swept away,

perhaps by execution if
one of my fellow workers
sees him waiting for a fly

or if Spray Can Man spots him.
This spider will discover
life is just a belch in time

as I'll find out too some day.
If I'm wrong about what's to come,
I'll have missed a lot of fun.


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

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