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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Neck in Noose

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
Flush of wind burst
of sound, lickety split
slipping buttery through,

Young escape artist
beaming briefly proudly
a voice of liberty fleeing.

Neck in noose lives
another day, short
stretching moment, until

Thieving hands find
loaves of bread again,
not fast enough to outrun

Hunger, then all over
again until escaping
into thicker night.


- - -

Heaven's Lost Sailor

| Filed under

Contributor: Ian Castorillo

- -
Shipwrecked
Oceans in the sky as I swim to fly
Submerged in the water
I am a vessel made of life

For it is the heat of passion
For it is the cold of isolation
For it is the cruel wind
That tries to push the sails

Issues of the ship are surely sufficient
But it is the sand that makes my heart coarse
Lost on the shore
As a burning bush beckons me towards the sea

Calm waves tame my brain
And as the walls of the sea split and separate
My feet move like turtles
On a clear path clean and complete

Worship brings forth rising tides
bringing me towards the clouds
Walking carefully close to the stars
A voyager hoping to return


- - -
Ian Castorillo was determined at the age of four to reach all of the strings of the guitar, now, he talks with chords. Subsequently, he eats gourmet Subway sandwiches with calloused fingers. Sitting in his broken studio chair, writing songs and poems, Ian dreams of being on a concert stage.

STAY

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
Stay, give me one more loving night
Just hold me close, til morning light
Whisper your secrets, kiss my wanting lips
Let us sail away on colossal ships

Leave the shores behind, we'll fly by
Over waters deep and star-punched sky
The sun won't break through, unless we've seen
Beauty inside the dream of a dream

We'll taste the sweet nectar in the air
Delighting of a fragrance we both share
Tangled in the moonbeams, silver streams
Raining down by uncharted means

Feel the sounds immortals will roar
When through their heavens our bodies soar
Souls entwined on golden wings of lore
Glorious visions never known before

We can ignite the all-consuming blaze
Radiant illuminations and fantastic displays
Leaving behind a memory meant to amaze
Give me one more loving night, stay.


- - -
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.

SOMETIMES YOU ARE THE VOICE

| Filed under

Contributor: SAMIR RAITI MTAMBA

- -
Sometimes you are the voice
And I the echo
That you must follow and find.
You do not recede from me
But open up warm and bountiful
For me to settle
And together break into a field of flowers
Colourful as a million butterflies.

Sometimes I am the call
And you the echo
That I must follow and find.
I gather you into my arms
A bouquet of flowers
Sweet-scented, succulent and fresh
Cooling my thirst like water
In the middle of a thicket
As together, we fly into the horizon
Bound for the kingdom of the sun
Where we coalesce and forever are
Call and answer
Answer and voice.

When capricious weather
Separates us
Creating unfathomable distance
Between us
We become voice and echo
Echo and voice
And seek each other again and again
For I am your voice’s distinctive echo
And sometimes I am the voice
That you should echo to the end of time.


- - -
POET, SCRIPTWRITER AND AUTHOR AT ZIMBABWE OPEN UNIVERSITY, NOW INDEPENDENT RESEARCHER, ZIMBABWEAN OF MALAWIAN ANCESTRY EDUCATED IN MALAWI AND PUBLISHED IN USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA AND MANY ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRIES, NOW WORKING ON FILM SCRIPTS AND ENGLISH TEXTBOOKS FOR SCHOOLS.

Strange Protection

| Filed under

Contributor: Anita Cheng

- -
My words are potters, sealing away secrets with silence,
hiding anger and hatred away.

My words are like David,
defeating Goliath problems with expected ease.

My words are my sanctuary,
consoling me with impossibly compelling lies.

My words have never been a siren’s song.
Instead, acerbic and brutal, they spill too easily from me.

My words, like sharp, quick knives,
break through the silence and wreak destruction.

My words are a stronghold, a tempest, the breath of life.
My words are my power.


- - -
Anita Cheng defies death on a consistent basis through the consumption of food she is allergic to. Ironically, Anita is a food aficionado and cannot escape this fate. When she isn’t ending arguments with her sarcasm, Anita undertakes the role of a part time mother to those around her.

5 Haiku

| Filed under

Contributor: Corey D. Cook

- -

by the sink
her vintage hairbrush -
estate sale

# # #

in the grass
a new shadow -
her headstone

# # #

in the window
my reflection -
sleepless night

# # #

walking home
our shadows
lead the way

# # #

wave reaches out
then pulls
away

# # #


- - -
Corey D. Cook's fourth chapbook, White Flag Raised, was released in 2015 by Kattywompus Press. His poetry has recently appeared in Chiron Review, Dime Show Review, Muddy River Poetry Review and Yellow Chair Review. Corey edits Red Eft Review and lives in Vermont.

Here Comes the Sun

| Filed under

Contributor: Emily Garcia

- -
Blind as the bright blue clear July sky
with no worries or clouds in sight,
I thought nothing could go wrong.

These were the happy days--
sleeping, sparring, singing,
all fueled by the bright fiery sun of happiness.

All the lonely people always playing,
whose stories I grew up with,
whose sadness was written in songs that I couldn’t understand.

But I would soon learn, as an unforgiving cloud stole the sun
and everything was painted gray and cold.
So, the gray I became

and the cold I radiated
as rain clouds began to multiply,
and crowded the skies like my mind:

Who was I without the sun,
Who was I without the light,
Who was I without the warmth?

These were the desperate days--
over-thinking, draining, waiting,
wondering if the sun would ever return

rain began to fall from my eyes,
covering everything in sight.
The weight in my heart grasped the air in my lungs.

I became the endless frustration
of the angry purple skies
illuminated by reckless, impulsive lightning,

but suddenly thunder declared,
Your sun will soon come to rise
Once darkness disappears.

So I closed my eyes
and dreamt of my sun
at the reach of my fingertips.

and I dreamt of all the lonely people.
There were fools sitting on a hill,
content with being misunderstood.

There were Eleanor Rigbys in their imaginary worlds,
deserving more than the days they spent
lost without a place to belong.

I transformed into the deep mellow blue of the night
and the beaming stars calmly winked and assured me that,
Everything would be alright.

These were the hopeful days--
obtaining, overcoming, optimistic
knowing the sun was about to rise.

Hours, days, and months
did I spend in quiet, peaceful slumber,
remembering all the lonely people and hoping that when I awaken

I would be the soft blue
that embraces the sun and greets the morning
with the hope of the tomorrow.


- - -
Emily Garcia lived through childhood hoping she’d one day impress Simon Cowell and win American Idol. However, instead of on the stage, you could find her at her happiest today when she’s amongst the audience watching her favorite live bands. She finds solace in the possible existence of aliens and a parallel universe where English subtitles aren’t necessary.

Dancing on the Fourth of July

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
All that hair
trapped in a braid
silver to the waist
Opal this morning
nude in the mirror
brings the braid up
between her breasts
and around her neck,
a python of her creation

that she promised Elmer
she would cut off
for a pixie hairdo
like Audrey Hepburn
if he would take her
on the Fourth of July
to the Senior Dance,
something Wilbur
would always do

if she wore high heels
and that red dress
and those black
nylons he found
with the seams
like the ones she wore
the day he came home
all crew cut and cowlicks
from Korea.


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

entropy

| Filed under

Contributor: j l courtney

- -
everything e s c a p e s
laundry
dishes
to-go boxes [full belly fleeting]

fast-food saviors
ring a doorbell
white with web
spiders [things less savory]
wave howdy-do

dust bunnies tumbleweed
through ketchup-mustard sunsets
[splattered dripped s l o p p e d]

deadlines skip [close]
all ribbons and bows
squeaky-clean smiling


- - -
jl courtney is an aging mother of three. She has been published at Postcard Poems and Prose, Black Heart, Page and Spine, and others.

AND IF ONLY THEY HEEDED HIS CALL

| Filed under

Contributor: SAMIR RAITI MTAMBA

- -
And if only they heeded his call and did not dance
How wise they would be and how fulfilled he would have become!
But unheeding his call
They pulverize the earth with their wayward feet
Kneading the dust with fancy footwork against his call
Lumps of complimentary whistles
And corpuscles of adulatory ululation
Spangling the night air like a spray of fireworks.
All these errant bon vivants feed on his scathing wit
Sharp barbs spiking their habit of taking alcohol
Their habit of spending time and money on loose women
In the company of idle companions
But like little children they guzzle their bitter concoctions
Taking his gibes as if they were tonic
To chase away the tardy day.
His song swells in intensity like a cicada’s trill in the eerie forest
Castigating the folly and vices of their habits in scornful rhymes and rhythms
Pontificating to them about the virtues of frugality and providence
And the benefits of the straight and narrow path
Teaching them how not to dance to godless music
Teaching them the dangers of improvidence and profligacy
But with their usual open-handedness
They call out for song and more song
Throwing pieces of silver at his feet…

His act over, he collects their money, now his money
As they go out into the night fulfilled
For he has given them what they wanted
To chase away their cares but not their folly.


- - -
POET, SCRIPTWRITER AND AUTHOR AT ZIMBABWE OPEN UNIVERSITY, NOW INDEPENDENT RESEARCHER, ZIMBABWEAN OF MALAWIAN ANCESTRY EDUCATED IN MALAWI AND PUBLISHED IN USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA AND MANY ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRIES, NOW WORKING ON FILM SCRIPTS AND ENGLISH TEXTBOOKS FOR SCHOOLS.

Sun of Blood

| Filed under

Contributor: Ken Allan Dronsfield

- -
The sun drops, a ball afire

temptation swirls in blood

Shakespearean sonnets

whilst rhyme within desire.

Careful whispering hum

pious tout of blasphemy

in the devil's twilight sky

a Sun of Blood is chaste.

The long serial disguise

covet a mask by Ed Gein

as a reddish snow melts a

town is raped of innocence.

A woman hangs in the barn

carved by a demon's praise

lampshades urgently made

from skin of those betrayed.

Lessons discretely shared

by all of this desperate flock

the house razed and burned

Sun of Blood did icily shock.


- - -
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.

Dreamscape

| Filed under

Contributor: John MacKinnon

- -
As I slept on silver sunshine
From the moon's reflecting gaze
All the stars stood staring strongly
Through their universal maze

And the children dreamed of climbing
While their mothers kept them close
Could have been the perfect timing
To forget their worldly woes

Now the silent darkness listens
To the thoughts of billions' souls
As their rising hopes do glisten
While they turn into set goals

Lest the slivers of much moonlight
Reconsider where they'll land
Guess I'll just keep dreaming of you
While I reach out for your hand


- - -

CAPTAIN OF MY HEART

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy Maddox

- -
Oh, captain of my heart
You have captured my love
Sailing on your bountiful sea
How I long to see you again

I adore you my handsome man
With your soft blue eyes
And sweet, sincere smile
You are the maker of my dreams

I have waited here for you
Standing on this lonely shore
Listening for your sailor's song
Always to come back to me

Gold and silver you bring as gifts
After your endless weeks away
A kiss or two upon your return
Until you venture out on your ship once more.


- - -
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.

Inside The Echo

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

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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

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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.

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