Brexit Update

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- -
We view the prospect before us
with the uncertain mood of our weather
clutching all kinds of lucky charms
in shallow sleep we stormed away from the mainland
now all our fingers are crossed
that we don't wake up up
to our necks in deep water

Our seers are forecasting like mad
but who can really see around corners
no-one here would like to
find themselves adrift in a slo-mo crash
but our brave faces harbour fears
of tragic pile-ups on this treacherous road

A fever runs throughout the land
all that could be said to others gallops
round and round our splitting heads
yet at the chance to speak we trade
slogan for slogan laughing off the gravity
posed as bouyant and light-headed hahaha

- - -


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Contributor: Aureane Roullier

- -
A poem to challenge your mind
To test if you are truly kind
Below trees, a tin man entwined
His heart adrift, but stars aligned

A song to move your heart and soul
To prove to you exists a soul
You’re hurting, diamonds look like coal
Your love torn, may it never dull

An aquarium to burst from
To take a risk, and try a plumb
A mind loved created outcome
A mind loved is sung like a hum

- - -

Haibun: April 19, Tuesday

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Contributor: Adam Henze

- -
Bumblebees are back, listing between bushes outside sliding door. Burly and yellow, twirling like little helicopters. Dancers at daybreak. One bee more curious than others, bobbing almost robotically at my eyeline. Wonder if she’s the same bumbly from previous spring I used to obsess over. Used to stare out shades fixated.

"It’s well-documented that the government is funding development of nanotechnology."

Last spring I screamed at bees and swatted at air. Swore I’d slice it open and find camera parts inside. Last spring I told Leslie the bees are spying on me. Looked at me crazy. Pretty sure she was already thinking of leaving.

Last spring I closed the blinds and cried conspiracy. But today, shades are pulled high. All I see outside are happy bees.

cherry blossoms and
coralburst crabapples bloom
stuck inside writing

- - -
Adam Henze is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University, specializing in literacy and education. He is the director of Slam Camp, a summer academy for teenage writers, and also hosts a writing workshop series at the Indiana Women's prison.

calm in the chaos of our hearts

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Contributor: Justin Hedstrom

- -
is there a light
in that poem
i sit at a window
at the river
of saint paul
the stormtroopers
down the hill
upon us
but we are not alone
we are beacons
of a commemoration
we stand unafraid
of the failure
of governments
as sons and daughters
of Whitman
calm in the chaos of our hearts
and strong

- - -
Justin Hedstrom is a writer and photographer from St. Paul, MN.

A Figure Stands There

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Contributor: Adam Whitworth

- -
It worries me not I seem a scarecrow
only the odd wind fluttering my suit
sunsets I've seen at the old riverbank
and faraway lights on the other side

colour draining slowly from the landscape
when day ends his project and turns away
in the gloom melancholy is mine yet
the very next day I'm inclined to paint

and sometimes it's clear I'm not even there
but flailing away in the capsized mind
I could be muttering angry curses
or fled to fields I wish into being

and so I'll seem a scarecrow if you will
buffetted by such enlivening winds

- - -


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Contributor: Aparna Sanyal

- -
This day seems pregnant
A coy, fertile inamorata
Of Time, in his most masculine form
Rushing, striding, belligerently forth
While this day
She waits
Trembling, collects dry leaves and moss
From the season, past
To pad her womb make it ready, soft
For what is surely to come
It will not stop

This day seems pregnant
Fulsome with seed, joy on her face
Fear underneath
Her water waits
To be broken in gushing waterfalls
Make verdant valleys, streams
Parched croaks turn into tuneful bird calls

This day, she is waiting
Breath fraught with thoughts of fruition
Palpitate her core of twigs and leaves
See! Flowers and berries commissioned

- - -
An MA from Kings College, London, Aparna has co- authored over 30 scripts for an award- winning animated show. She is a writer with the Film Writers Association, India.
She has written a short film, produced two critically acclaimed plays and is an award-winning furniture designer.
She is a well-known Spoken Word Poet and performs at several venues across India. Represented by a literary Agency, she is actively seeking publishers for her 2 manuscripts of poetry.
She has Recurrent Depressive Disorder. Poetry is her release from this consummate shade.
She lives with her husband and 3-year-old son in Pune, India.


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Contributor: Jun Lit

- -
I asked friends much younger
if they have ever
tried catching
June beetles and tying
each on the hind legs
with a piece of string,
and swinging
it round and round to fly
like imaginary choppers,
buzzing . . .
they looked at me,
staring blankly.

nah, Sir, can’t relate (lol!)
and all they can say
is, they know how to play
fidget spinners
they’re online gamers
a year ago AngryBirds
and recently EverWing.

Ages apart
Worlds apart
Nature’s afar,
A place called Avatar.

- - -
Jun Lit (real name: Ireneo L. Lit, Jr.) teaches biology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, conducts research & publishes scientific papers on insects, and writes poems about nature and society.

The Good Citizen

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Contributor: Judy Moskowitz

- -
Validated ignorance a true bliss
they pass along their special gift
reading headlines with frozen smiles
a silicone nightmare
with a bite deep
as a rabid virus
cutting through to the bone
they say some snakes can eat
a body whole
life is a complex organism
one cell at a time
it starts to multiply and divide
into a sea of bottom feeders

- - -
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

As Ashes Dissipate

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Contributor: Jose Maria Carpizo

- -
As ashes dissipate
Birds stop singing
Dropping from heights
Broken necks on the ground

No more cinders in air
Golden dust hangs in the afternoon
Everything is clear now
Like irides blue of your eyes

Patched in gray semen ashes
And black fresh hemoglobin
Burned mountains are in mourning

Breaking hides behind bushes
Rattles. Roars. Howls. Feathers.
Flame. Latent seed
Waiting to light the hills

Frogs spring into the lake
For shelter. No one speaks.
No one shouts. Everything wails.
When no one sees you
You are safe.

Hawk's yellow eye nebula
Glides hidden beyond ocher clouds
Whistles long. Sharp. Rapacious.
Stares with galloping indifference
Fire growing on heels
Of fleeting people to
Countries closing gates

We inhale uncertain smoke
What are we so proud of?
Better to exhale
Bougainvillea blossoms
Of constant sheltering wine

- - -
Immigrant from Mexico. I've been here for long time. Bilingual poet. I start writing poetry since 2012. This is my first submission. My greatest challenge, writing poetry in English.

Midnight Squatters

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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Homeless man
in a Trayvon hoodie
under an old raincoat,
a gift today from

the Salvation Army,
sits like a capital L
against the wall
of a downtown bank

while a homeless cat
strolls around him,
hoping for bits of ham
from the gnawed remains

of yesterday's sandwich
as happens many nights
when the cat visits him
despite no bell or kettle.

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

The Wind

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Contributor: Pat St. Pierre

- -
Howling like a coyote
The whipping wind
Knocks on windows
Which rattle.
Creaks and noises
From floor boards
Pop helter skelter
Throughout the house.

The intense rain
Pelts on siding and
Pings on the metal roof.

Lightning flashes
Across the sky
Bringing illumination
To the darkness.

Not knowing when it will end
The young child screams;
But no one hears him. He hovers
Underneath the blankets
Waiting for the night to become
quiet again.

- - -
I have been writing poems, fiction, and nonfiction since before high school. Putting small vignettes of life down on paper allows me to experience life through different eyes. I also am a photographer who loves to capture images and share them with others.


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Contributor: Anne Fall

- -
The belief that distance can be finite carries
her over the bridge
between fear and hope.
The middle sways under her,
and the ecstasy of extremes
offers the only certain ground.

There's a cracking of grey branches
that comes with the frost white bite
of January.

Black and white days—
sometimes colored in with pale greys.

Wintering over geraniums
with their pale green gingko leaves─
they have not died, and neither has she,
but the blooms are gone,
and every part of her longs
for red.

- - -
Anne Fall is the author of Rosa Scriptum and has been featured by Fallon Publications and Virginia Poets. Living and writing in the Shenandoah Valley, Anne Fall is a rosarian, poet, and novelist.

A Dream of Utopia

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Contributor: Jason Constantine Ford

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

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

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

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

- - -
Jason Constantine Ford is from Perth, Australia. He has over a hundred publications of poetry and fiction in various literary magazine, ezines and journals from around the world. Edgar Alan Poe and William Blake are his main influences for poetry. Phillip K. Dick is his main influence for fiction.

Helen of War

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Contributor: Nikita Gill

- -
You are a face
not like any other,
a face that folds
empires and cities.

Heralding hurricanes
inside your hair
you ran from rancid
archaic responsibilities

Did you know, Helen,
when the horizon
swallowed Greece
as you, guarded, gazed.

Did your dormant
latent Goddess
erupt with the ichor
as it sung in your veins?
Helen of Troy,
Helen of Zeus,
Helen of Wild,
Helen of War.

Bearer of beauty
Bringer of blood
Donor of death
Maker of lore.

Does the weight
of your freedom
still plague your

Or is a Goddess’s
freedom equal to
the cry of children
as their city falls?

- - -
Nikita Gill has been featured in Foliate Oak, Monkeybicycle, and elsewhere. She has released her first book last year, and her second book Wild Embers, to be released with Hatchette Publishing this year.

Playing God

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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Want to know how
God may feel at times
about us mortals?

Then every dawn
in any weather
place a tin

of Fancy Feast
on the deck
for the feral cat

behind the oak
who won’t come out
till you go back inside.

Then take a peek
and watch old Tom
come up the steps

and eat his fill
before rumbling off
to find a harlot or a saint

to accept his genes
before he comes back
to feed again at dawn.

You may be a deity to Tom
but you will never get
one meow of worship.

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

And The Rains Came

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Contributor: Ann Christine Tabaka
- -

The storm had passed, after raging for hours.
A deluge of major proportions. Last evening
the main road was a swift moving river. Now
it was up to the ankles in slimy brown mud.

Everyone scratched their heads. What was
to be done now? Even the dog from across
the way stood frozen with concern, like some
comical statue. He seemed determined that
muddy paws were not to be part of his day.
Mud baths being for swine, and not canine.

Shattered tree corpses caught up in the
flooding, their branches emerging from the
mud like a scorched forest. Reminiscent of
a bizarre miniature landscape from an old
science fiction film, barren and colorless.

Old folks tell of similar storms. They
happened decades ago, or so it is said,
memories being such as the are. Stories
cannot be relied upon from their retelling.

Looking up, the sky hangs heavy and
dark. More rain will come, adding to the
already distressing situation. Even the
birds are silent. No echoing songs from
the woodlands. The dead quiet, an omen.

We all walked away knowing more mud
is coming, and for the moment, nothing
more could be done. And then once again,
The rains came as if there was no end.
And, perhaps, there wasn’t.

- - -
Ann Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware. She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies. Chris has been selected as the resident Haiku poet for Stanzaic Stylings.


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Contributor: Nikhil Nath

- -
You ride
a tongue

to meet
the waves

burn incense
sticks before

the portfolio
of a dream

cleaning a box
full of nothing

in the polished
hour of noon

where rubber
stamps buy you

no dinner
and drink,

is not an

for your

- - -
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.

A Monoculture of Man

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Contributor: Bob Lorentson

- -
I think that I shall never see
A poem as heartbreaking
As Earth’s vanishing biodiversity.

The night train of extinction
Hurtles brakeless,
Gathering speed, ever nearer the brink,

As a Monoculture of Man,
Stokes the fires that devour the life of a planet.Story here

- - -
I live in rural Connecticut with my wife and two sons. I am an environmental scientist, musician, and author of many stories, poems, two and a half novels and other miscellany, my last story appearing in Praxis. When not involved with any of the above, I hike, bike and kayak.

Even Then

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Contributor: Justin Hedstrom

- -
i dreamt again
of your white dress
and the river
when i was your
age i was everywhere
and lost
a worn out motor
cycle broken and sad
the wet mechanical
dream of the east
a flash in a mirror
thousands of miles
three years
of the desert
the mountains bleeding
wanting you even

- - -
Justin Hedstrom is a writer and photographer from St. Paul, MN.

You Won't See Me

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Contributor: Helen Sparrow

- -
Hey, you over there!
Yes, *you*
With the mop of golden hair
And the red bag
And the St. Peter t-shirt.
I see you.
Why don’t you see me?

Don’t my eyes sparkle enough to catch yours?
Is my demeanor so cold that I drive you away?

I’m no great wit, I know.
Is that it?
Have I tried too hard to be clever
To sound smart?
Do you see right through my façade
And not like what you find underneath?

Perhaps you think I’m far too vain
About my nails, my face, my stupid, stupid hair.

Do I smile, laugh too much
For someone stoic like you?

Or do you think me too uptight
Too cowardly
Too tractable?

What’s wrong with me?
Pray tell me, sir.
What is the sin
That makes me so vile?

Look my way, I beg of you
Meet my eyes, just for a moment
Smile at me, say a few words.
It doesn’t have to be big.

All I want to know is that you care.

- - -
Helen Sparrow is a history student from Dayton, Ohio.


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Contributor: Peter Magliocco

- -
Details of daily life pale
before the pregnant facts of being
the cormorant's beak pecks blood from
soft skin of cherished desire
decadent monks pray for
at night in hedonistic crucibles.
She is the new talk show co-host
nobody really knows yet,
but she knows when to speak or listen
to rambling voiced-over facts
provided by the newspeak narrator
who holds forth from a regal office chair
only a few have ever sat in.
She dies on camera but nobody notices
because she fell asleep intermittently
preceding each commercial break anyway
when the world's destiny hung
in a precarious balance,
before Superman and Batman arrived
to save the day in each sequel to come..
Now the cormorant emerges from her belly,
having devoured blood & entrails
while staring into the shaky camera lens
as ratings plummet and censors wail
at the bird not being a turkey.

- - -
Peter Magliocco writes from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he occasionally edits the lit-zine ART:MAG. His recent sci-fi novel is SPLANX from Cosmic Egg Books.

Gramps Is Still Nuts about Granny

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Granny wants to go to a movie
back in the old neighborhood
where she and Gramps used to
neck in high school but Gramps

doesn't want to drive that far
and tells Granny he’ll go if she sits
in the balcony and wears a skirt
he can slide his hand under

during the Coming Attractions.
Granny asks Gramps if he isn’t
a little old for that kind of thing
and Gramps says he’d rather put

his head under there and let Granny
box his ears with her thighs
and listen to his sighs as he harvests
fruit still ripe in the orchard.

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

Narrative Prism

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Contributor: Brian Glaser

- -
I looked forward for days
to the demonstration at my university against xenophobia.
When it began,
two hundred students and a few others
gathered on the steps in our plaza.
They raised their fists in silence.
They chanted and sang; a few spoke.
I stood in a sweater in the February sun.
In the middle of the demonstration a friend,
also a colleague, came up behind me
and touched my elbow.
We exchanged hushed words about her infant granddaughter.
She was a student activist in Argentina
and was a political prisoner for more than two years.
She has written many novels and a book of poems.
Standing beside her, I began to experience
the event through my ideas about her reactions.
I looked for her expressions from time to time,
waiting for her to smile,
to applaud like everybody else,
to change her uncharacteristic look of hardened sadness.
After the event ended, we made plans for our monthly lunch.
Then I asked her, “What were you feeling?”
She said that memories came back to her of her participation in protests,
of being accompanied by professors.
They paid, too, I said.
Yes, she said, yes, they paid.
And now, she said, we are really in trouble.
And I have just heard that a friend from those days, she said, has died.
I am so glad you were next to me at this event, I said.
She smiled unguardedly for a moment
and then looked searchingly in my eyes.
At a loss, I disappointed her.
We’ll talk at lunch, I said.

As I was leaving I walked past an economics professor
who has taught at my school for fifty years.
He was seated alone on a stone bench
at the far end of the plaza.
Hello, Professor Booth, I said.
No one will answer my question, he said.
What is your question? I said.
Do you lock your house at night?
Yes, I lied.
Do you think about the homeless people you are keeping out,
the hungry people you are not feeding?
As a teacher of literature, I said, awkwardly,
I ask students to think about metaphors,
how they are appropriate and how they are not.
I don’t think that is an apt metaphor.
Do you invite everyone into your home? he said.
Even people who are not your friends?

- - -
Brian Glaser has had a writing practice for twenty five years. He's published over sixty poems, translations, essays and reviews.

Reading Is . . .

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Contributor: Richard Hartwell

- -
Reading is shared interaction
between a writer of text and a
literate interpreter of that text.

A writer creates meaning through
selection of specific textual code.
A reader extracts meaning from that code
by creation of assumed mental images.

A writer provides transmission of meaning,
based on concepts central to one perspective.
A reader provides interpretation of meaning,
based on prior subject knowledge and a personal
world view possibly central to another perspective.

Both methods are imperfect, insofar as a writer
can never account for missing information nor an
altered perception on the part of any specific reader;
and a reader can never presume to be able to recreate
with exactitude the meaning a writer sought to convey.

Reading is an ongoing process of active,
never passive, compromise of meaning.

- - -
Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) living in Southern California. Like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, he believes that the instant contains eternity

Something New Every Day: Found Poetry

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Contributor: M. Stone

- -
"It was a very pretty home wedding
with only the home folks and a few friends
as witnesses."

NOTICE - I will not be responsible
for any debts or bills contracted by my wife,
she having departed from my bed and board
without any cause whatsoever.

FOR SALE - Child's mechanical cradle
in good condition, in use one year.

WANTED - A puppy of some small breed,
as playfellow for a little boy. Will pay
reasonable price.

LOST - Heavy winter overcoat, on Monday,
between Warden Bridge and a point
about one mile beyond Prosperity.

"Do you know how pretty
these garments are? We would like
to have you come and try some on."

NOTICE TO TAXPAYERS - Pay your taxes
and save interest. All taxes must be paid
on or before June 1st.

NOTICE - Our daughter, Ruby, left our home
on Sunday, without good cause or reason.

TAKEN UP - I have a stray cow
in my possession; she is brindle
with white face and had on bell and halter.
She is getting good feed and being milked
and cared for.

WANTED - Experienced salesladies
at good wages. Apply by letter.
Inexperienced need not apply at all.

"My aim is to please, I can fit you out
no matter what you want, try me."

NOTICE - The person who took a camera
from a Moon car in Beckley recently
is requested to return the exposed roll of film
that it contained. The thief is welcome
to the camera, but we would like to have
the film.

FOR SALE - Combination residence
and business building and two lots in Sophia.
Owner wants to return to old country
and is anxious to sell at once.

TAX NOTICE - Your 1919 taxes
are long past due. Pay now
and save further interest.

Source: Raleigh Register. 24 Apr. 1919; 25 Sept. 1919; 16 Oct. 1919; 30 Oct. 1919; 20 Nov. 1919; 11 Dec. 1919; 4 Mar. 1920; 25 Mar. 1920; 6 May 1920. Vol. 39, No. 46; Vol. 40, No. 16, 19, 20, 22, 25, 36, 39, 45. Ancestry Web, 6 Jul. 2017.

- - -
M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

8 Haiku

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Contributor: Jennifer Montgomery

- -
the husk of a home
papery layers like ash
wings are hushed, stone-still

after the rains
slip of mud on stone

the memory lodged
like a bullet or a thorn
needing extraction

pain as sleeping limbs
a slight buzz then engulfing
as blood rushes back

a faint song
dust dances in light
walks old rooms

the mist rich, woolly
a stillness swallowing sounds
drinking bird call, time

her conduct pristine
on toe-tip, flitting, dancing
a brief smile, cordial

flushed cheeks
under the street lamp
a new play

- - -
"'There are no such things as synonyms! he practically shouted. Deluge is not the same as flood.'"

Born to Blush Unseen?

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Contributor: Jun Lit

- -
“Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear . . .”
- from Thomas Gray’s Elegy

In the midst of growing weeds
I see the gold in your green beads
Fruits of the years your young hands swayed
The sword of life, survivor made

The brush of air on android canvas
Acrylic primaries touched by Midas
Sad as it may that your pen’s healing verses
Hide folded in the moldy corners of empty purses

As mute guest in dark streets of your youth’s animé
A privilege indeed for a hermit of hair grey
Tell me the stories of platoons of Jesuses
Battling seductive come-ons of a thousand muses

Heaven is the warmth of your worn mattress
Hell is the smoke, a neighbor burns the West
Prayers for the dead Chow-chow to bless
Prophets in denial that they were impressed

Amidst your season, your eighty-eighth typhoon
Witnessed by no one but your nth rented room
Imagine one Superhero ushering your Spring soon
Catch up, the ylang-ylang trees, tonight will bloom!

- - -
Jun Lit (or Ireneo L. Lit, Jr.) teaches biology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, conducts scientific research on insects and the environment, and writes poems about nature, people and society.


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Contributor: Victoria Nordlund

- -
I wish I could move
a transducer over my scalp
to find you forming,
to measure
the thickness of lines
on your skin,
check that your metaphors are sound,
that your structural elements function,
detect septal defects,
examine for obstructions,
for abnormal accumulations:
an abstract edema
I cannot reabsorb.

And if I see you missing vital verses,
I could terminate you early in gestation
and prevent the labor
of pushing out
each of your letters
onto this white sheet,
of cleaning up the afterbirth,
of not hearing you cry.

- - -
I teach creative writing at Rockville High School in Vernon, CT. I am this year’s NEATE New England Poet of the Year and took first place in the CWP’s poetry contest. My work is published in Pank Magazine, Amaryllis, Eunoia Review, and Strange Poetry.

Where have you been again?

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Contributor: Anagology

- -
Your eyes dig mine tonight.
Palms reunited, conscious of the crazy nerves.
Can't resist you're here again
Breathing with me the same air.

Seeing this place I've never been,
Watching the boundless night sky.
Your warmth supresses the cold breeze,
Your smile conquers the darkness.

Listening to your silent thoughts,
Takes me everywhere in the world.
Tell me all your stories, I want to know.
Everything about you, unfathomable.

I more than wished for this moment,
Not seeing you is so unwanted.
How hard I pray this would not end
let's stay like this everyday.

Then the stars start fading, my hands freezing.
The darkness is as dark again.
The silence is deafening, sight of you vanishing.
I'm getting insane, what's happening?

Oh, it's 5am, my eyes burst into crying.
Some time after five years,
It's still you that I dream.
My love, where have you been again?

- - -
I am a botanist who is usually kind, laughs hard, a 'grandma'. I write based on my own experiences.


| Filed under

Contributor: Nikhil Nath

- -
I cannot

a fish
a semi colon

or rise with

from the
Dead Sea

bringing a


on a passport

eyelashes painted
with a

false idiom,

the Hindu Kush
on the

Ballerina of a

- - -
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.

Old Drunk's Advice to an Anxious Beau

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
I’m no expert on marriage
but you asked me so
here’s how I see it,
decades removed from
making the same decision.

If the woman is pretty,
has a voice you want to
bathe in forever, she
may be the right one.
But at my age or yours

I would marry only
a woman who made me
grunt at the zenith.
If she did that,
I’d buy the ring.

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

... ink ...

| Filed under

Contributor: C. Z. Heyward

- -
i took off the mask.
pushed it inside out
so the dark might be known.
it was covered with mucus
and blood.
the tenuous sinew that held up
my hollow smiles and hollowed eyes
were now revealed.

the muted eyes of others are now turned on
to my writhing technicolor reality.
i've scalped myself
and hold it as such.
it dangles as a pendulum
from my out stretched arm
marking Paleolithic time.

black tufted hair coats my neck
matching the hue of my flexing flanks.
i am a beast among many.

until I gaze upon you.

but all i do is cower
because i am faceless.



i can only mark this time with
ground stone.
fat and blood.
etched in granite for a thousand millennia.

but there is no you in the crevices.

just a trellis of bones
with no indication of where
my heart was buried.

lunar eclipse
wrangles white tip wake.
i sit moored among the living
though wishing i were not
still searching for you.
Nephelai washes my unknown stench
as i rake the dark warm gore
of octopi for indigo pulp.
his spine my quill.
my skin my parchment.
yet no one reads me.

i whistle a whaler's chanty
"Spanish Ladies"
as a lullaby for Aeon
to end my nightmare.

i wake.
weary in my bones
broken in my spirit
rubbing remnants of Hypnos
from my eyes.
wishing his brother Thanatos had kissed me instead

i reach towards my nightstand.
grabbing my cell.
i read your simple text.

I love you

Fate has me write this
as you have done.
turning myself inside out
through my spine

so nothing is hidden.
though few like this truth

it is me.

embracing peace.

- - -
C. Z. Heyward is a Harlem (NYC) born poet whose work has found platforms in Greece, France and the U.K.

What Weighs a Soul?

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Contributor: Richard Hartwell

- -
It matters!

For if a soul is damned to hell,
may it pass terminal velocity at
thirty-two feet per second per second,
or is a soul limited, as if it were of
some discrete mass subject to
universals of gravity and momentum?

Again, if bound for some heaven,
is a soul encumbered by attaining
escape velocity in order to rest in
peace among the stars? Then,
if of no mass, a soul is not limited
to traveling below the speed of light,

But may roam galaxies without number
as pure energy, not to be frozen in place by
entropy at a terminal death of this one universe,
or collapse many souls into a singularity!

- - -
Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) living in Southern California. Like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, he believes that the instant contains eternity


| Filed under

Contributor: Brittany Zedalis

- -
I remember the innocence of childhood,
like one remembers the smell of their mothers' perfume,
I remember that, too,
easy recollections of railroad ties
and the thrill of hiding
at the bottom of a pool,
hastily replaced with the loneliness
of watching the moon rise
from the center of a midnight field,
overtaken by teenage fury,
violent and vengeful for a stolen childhood,
now adults leaving ink footprints
through the new age,
teeming with a different variety of rage,
unwavering and driven,
lamenting on what could have been

- - -
Brittany Zedalis is a 24 year old mother of one. She has a variety of published poetry, some of which can be found in Dead Snakes, The Camel Saloon, Mad Swirl, and Haiku Journal.

Waiting for Peter

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
If I hadn’t died, I’d still
be bouncing along
in that Greyhound bus
through the mountains
swigging a Coke.
Don’t mind being dead but
dying almost killed me.

When the bus hit the boulder
I flew out the window
and was tossed in the air.
My head hit the rocks.
No one survived.
They found us later
covered with snow.

But it’s nice up here
on a cloud waiting
with the others now.
We wonder what’s next.
Moments ago an angel
landed and said Peter
would soon be here.

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

I; Boundless

| Filed under

Contributor: Jessica Enriquez

- -
My legs were not made to be still
they do not fall vertically
they are rebellious branches
that bend at their pleasure

my voice is not a songbird’s
it is rough and hurried
words don’t flow out gracefully
they erupt unpolished

my hands are not delicate
they are not gentle nor kind
they are strong and versatile
they have sown and they have reaped

my eyes are not opened windows
nor is calm river reflected within them
they are dark opals
projecting fierce seas

my spirit is not submissive
it is free and transforms
it does not restrict to boundaries
it was not made for human prisons

- - -
A poet and a lover of nature, Jessica Enriquez is a 24-year-old college student majoring in English Literature. She enjoys cycling, gardening, and autumn. Her poetry was published in the most current issue of her college's literary journal.

Mortal Mornings

| Filed under

Contributor: David Hanlon

- -
I wonder why
it is always
on the brink of morning
I think so intensely
about death.
I walk to work at 5.20 am,
the streets are dark,
anticipating sunrise.

As I walk, I’m fascinated by it:
the thing
that has the power to smash
us into smithereens;
tear off
the coasting calmness,
the quiet bumbling along
of life,
release endless screeches.

When I arrive at work,
I make myself a cup of coffee,
pour in the milk
and watch
as it swirls into the black
and makes it disappear.

- - -
David Hanlon is from Cardiff, Wales and currently living in Bristol, England. You can find his poems at Ink, Sweat and Tears and Fourth and Sycamore.

Her Love

| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy J Maddox

- -
She looks at me with eyes
As hopeful as a new day
And I wonder if I can fulfill
The promises that I made
Because she says
She knows in her heart
I am the man
She desires me to be

Deep inside my soul
She lives in every way
She is the one
Who has led me to believe
Her love is my greatest need.

- - -
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 is honored to have been published in over 40 books, print and online magazines and websites.

Play Your Tambourine

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Contributor: Adrian Slonaker

- -
Play your tambourine,
bang your bongo!
The ghosts are exiled
to a cedar chest bolted securely
against prying eyes,
even your own.
The toy balloons have been released,
bright colors representing myriad moods
into whirling currents of serendipity and whim,
overwhelming dreary demons,
You've banished them for the last time;
with halcyon hope you toast the future
with get-up-and-go
and with cheek.

- - -
Adrian Slonaker lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA, working as a copywriter and copy editor, with interests that include vegetarian cooking, Slavic languages, Victorian horror fiction, wrestling, and 1960s pop music. Adrian's work has appeared in Better Than Starbucks, CC&D, Dodging the Rain, and Three Line Poetry.

Everything She Does is Magic

| Filed under

Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
I never truly knew
what love is supposed to be
until she straight up
denounced Shakespeare
right in front of me,
capturing my heart
like no silly sonnet
from the standard canon
ever could.

I never truly knew
just how pure an emotion
love could grow into
until the moment
I saw her face
squish up and shake
from the texture of the grits
which she’d just taken a bite of
on a righteous Sunday morning
in the holy house of waffles;
but what did me in
even more
was how she set down the fork,
composed her lovely smile,
and then proceeded to say
that they actually tasted good
despite the fact
they feel like baby food in one’s mouth.

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

My Mother’s Secret

| Filed under

Contributor: Linda Imbler

- -
I found my mother’s secret
tucked away in a
drawer beneath some bras,
after she had gone away,
inside five boxes
of feminine pads.
Pills of all descriptions
without prescriptions,
such a canny mind.
What I first thought as gross forethought,
in fact was brilliant,
the elegance of her secrecy.
All these years of mindful outlet
with numbness as the goal met.
She, closeting her pain,
keeping the pretense of
a younger woman's necessity
when in fact,
no younger woman could harbor
so many years of ache.

- - -
Linda Imbler is the author of the published poetry collection “Big Questions, Little Sleep.” This writer, yoga practitioner, and classical guitar player resides in Wichita, Kansas.

Hell's Not So Far Down

| Filed under

Contributor: Ken Allan Dronsfield

- -
mellow whispers through turquoise hazes

blossoms of hatred sprout in the homeland

floating through space, a prism in rhyme.

journey onward, carrying crosses of fury.

dapperly dressed as we arrive at the gate

unescorted tours, leaving faith at the door

wander the maze while contemplating faith

with an eternal bright blaze now at the core.

inhaling decaying essence of sinister deeds

neurotic dreams and a breathless scheme

seeking an inhale but gasp rings of fire

an irrational screaming indulgent chant

pestilence billows from a darkening abyss

old troglodytes dress as saddened clowns

singing a sonnet of a love for brimstone

we waltz in time as Hell's not so far down.

- - -
Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet from New Hampshire, now residing in Oklahoma. His poetry has been nominated for two Pushcart Prize Awards and the Best of the Net for 2016.

Into Eternity

| Filed under

Contributor: Laz

- -
As I was climbing the cliff of hopelessness
My feet tingled with feathery galactic mindfulness

I turned inside myself and proclaimed then
Oh my!
What a splendid façade!
I want to burst into lightning pudding droplets!

So then my being was alight with laughter
You are such a vast vessel of cosmic laughter powder
My beloved one!
Please do not stop
Continue to shed your awesomeness
Unto the multidimensional Kingdom!
Be the tickle of the bumblebee on the rose petals
Be the spring of scalding yet soothing water
A tired old man needs, to shrug the hand of death off!

Electrocute the system of fake tennis ball!
Slap the face of denial!
Smite the Imp of Terror!
Clip the nails of the Hag of Trickery!

Innovate the hard drive of Mankind
And strike a new deal with the Horns of Doom!

Let darkness dissolve under your mirth
Let the Iceberg of Pain melt like ice cream
And let the angelic tongues lick the melting, rotting ice cream
And spit it with Holy Might
Into the Machine of Disruption
So that it may short circuit
And burn the fuses of Dichotomy !

Laugh aloud!
Laugh with your Whole Being!
Laugh into Eternity!

- - -

I Sleep

| Filed under

Contributor: Ananya S Guha

- -
and crows cawing
repetition of mind
or dream
crows cawing seven
figures and numbers
suddenly they stop
cessation is endless
no other sounds
only movements
a bird swoops
chattering, the rains
sky opens into fervid cry
movements up, down
I ease myself in a chair
the hills brood
over time
the crow snaps at a twig
a dog moves languidly
I sleep

- - -

Dancing With Destiny

| Filed under

Contributor: Judy Moskowitz

- -
The anatomy of sorrow
is where the heart bleeds
your destiny rides
on the back of grief
and grief becomes the country
where you will reside
until the wind changes direction
and intervenes with a sound
echoing the strings of a harp
desire comes alive
inside a waltz
when destiny rides bare back

- - -
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

The Wonder of Self Repair

| Filed under

Contributor: Michael Kagan

- -
the sound of fresh blood rushing
to heal a wound
I feel myself turning deep inside
watching things repair
under a glorious sun
at other times I think about
months on a calendar
torn away
how buoyant joy and sorrow
going up and down
a human brain could complain
as the heart skips beats
waiting for the sneak attack
born naive with instincts and tendencies
we can only wonder
and trust the gut as it cycles
drinking the nectar of creation
urging on the future
until it doesn't seem to matter
feeling your way in an ink black tunnel
a hint of light from a pin hole end
you hear fresh blood rushing to the wound
making repair
an occasional good idea
and a warm smile
promise to take us around again

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

After Writing A Story and Hearing Others Ask for the "Real" Ending

| Filed under

Contributor: Maribel C. Pagan

- -
They asked
for a conclusion,
the end to the story,
but sometimes
we never know the end
of the story,
no matter how many times
we ask what happened
after the closing line,
no matter how much
we want to know
how it all ends.

- - -
Maribel C. Pagan has appeared in Blue Marble Review, Zaum, Persephone’s Daughters, and others. She has received 5th Place in the Word Weaver Writing Contest, and other awards. She is currently a Prose Reader for Apprehension, and a singer and musician for The Angelic Family Choir. Visit Maribel at

Wild Gratitude

| Filed under

Contributor: Suez

- -
A long wait – 50 years – to learn
How deeply and completely
The wild magic of the Boundary Waters
Could burrow.
A self-identified mountain girl
Lost to the still, flat, black water
Contained by granite outcroppings
Layered in midnight green pines
Topped with iridescent spring birches.
In a place of pure stillness.
In a quiet a city dweller doesn’t know
And a peak bagger can’t experience.
I savor the indelible memory of
The night’s all-consuming darkness
Its lavish gift of stars,
The raucous cacophony of loons.
The fog and the suns
One in the sky
One in the glassy water.
Envelop me in the silence of
Wild gratitude.

- - -
A recipient of a letter addressed "Dear Poet" I revel in becoming something other than an academic economist.


| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
At approximately 3 AM
the neighborhood is surprisingly
clear, as are life’s goals and mysteries,
a solid purpose in silent society.
An entire world of busy hurry
suddenly wrapped in freezer silence,
no one walking by, not even a dog
bothers to bark –

But the tableau is soon broken
by two other figures, wearing hooded
shirts, traipsing through this private time,
muffled conversations whispered in shout;
How dare they interrupt
my communion with this hour?
Where was their root born?
And what is their intent?
Robbers or fellow philosophers, they
walk on, leaving all feelings of solace
in mildly shattered disrepair, reminding me:

None of these thoughts are first
my own, not one, the world is stuffed.

- - -

I’m 23 and I’m Wearing a White Kurta

| Filed under

Contributor: Sreyash Sarkar

- -
I’ve heard bleeding of grasses.
I’ve heard peeling of onions.

Drop by drop.
Skin by skin.

Emotions, slashed on the cutting board.

Please don't splash that. Please don’t.
I’m 23 and I’m wearing a white kurta.

Most days are bland. Most days are good.
Most days are days of dogs and kittens.

Most days are sure. Most days are true.
Most days are pages. Most days are chairs.
Most days,
I’m 23 and I wear a white kurta.

I’ve stepped on stones.
Stones have history.
History of marks.
Marks of water.
Water of ‘Me’.
‘Me’s of density
Smoked and bewildered.

Opening and not opening.
And not closing.
And not chasing.

Keys, hurling familiar sounds.
I know,
I’m 23 and I’m wearing a white kurta.

Somedays it’s the sun.
Somedays it’s the rebound.
Somedays it’s the hillside ground
Somedays it’s the hollow, hollow ground
Somedays it’s with a ballad, with a sweet ballad
Somedays it’s the sudden flushes of the landscape.

Lift me over human cravings,
Lift me over these ‘somedays’
Lift me, so that I can see,
I’m 23 and I’m wearing a white kurta.

The untruth of being
The shackled heart
The colossal loss
The intrepid woe
All circumvolve

Into nothingness.
Nothingness of sarees
Sarees of colour
Colour of consciousness
Consciousness of sea
Sea, the febrile sea.

When the zero hour closed in
Someone whispered,
‘Are you 23 and are you wearing a white kurta?’

I scarcely comprehend the words,
‘I’ve lived’ or ‘You’ve lived’
When I’ve made sense of,
‘I’m the thought of things’
When I’ve made sense of
Something less fleshed than time.

The time of the melancholic moon.
Alone, important and wise.
Darker than earth’s dark.

The first day after death,
When grief stopped being a purse,
I realised,
I’m 23 and I’m wearing a white kurta.

- - -
bio here

They Don’t Know I’m Listening

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
So here I am, all decked out
in a new suit from Brooks Brothers,
haberdasher to corporate stars.

My wife just got here, rattled.
The kids have been here for hours,
flying in for the occasion.

My wife will make certain
I look as spiffy as possible.
The oldest boy just told her

a neighbor has agreed
to cut the grass, rake the leaves
and shovel the snow, chores

I performed for decades in return
for a mug of coffee and wedge of pie.
Now my wife is asking the undertaker

to puff out my tie, something she did
before I’d go to the office, armed
with a thermos and brown paper bag.

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

Jumping for Joy

| Filed under

Contributor: Kris Johnson

- -
I am trusting and believing in the light, jumping for joy

Come so unexpectedly through clouds, through wind

(and will it come through life again?) shines on me

And everyone. I am told
like with a period on the end. Who will believe it?

The wind shows itself, reminds me of me--

My shifting to let the sky shine

While the wind plays.

Playing when young, jumping, finding self while

(dancing a jig) the ropes curl around our play, our feet

Touching air, while skipping on earth. And sometimes

Laughter, singing, chanting and love of moving,

While air around us plays. Breath of Joy

And sometimes sun around us

We stop and go, all fun as we
Switch places. Our breath with song and eyes sparkling, knowing ground.

Joy, life, and light will continue coming all again.

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


| Filed under

Contributor: Gale Acuff

- -
Miss Hooker crosses her legs up high and
locks her right foot behind her left ankle.
She's my Sunday School teacher and I love her
and want to marry her but I don't know
why. And we'll have children but I don't know
how. I just have a feeling, or a hint.
She's too old for me, nearly thirty, and
I'm 9. By the time I'm 30 she'll be
--don't tell me, I'm good at arithmetic
--51. That's pretty darned old, too old
to have babies, I think, wherever they
come from. I think it's against the law. But

in the Bible who's that old lady who
thinks she's too old but has one anyway?
It's hard to pay attention in class, what
with Miss Hooker's red hair and blue eyes. It's
real red hair, too, not out of a bottle,
I can tell, and besides, Father said so
at supper last night. Miss Hooker's dresses
are a little short, Mother says. Father
smiles but doesn't say anything. How short
is a little short, I ask. Eat your peas,
she says. I wonder if her hair is real.
Father says, It's real, alright--I know real
red hair when I see it. He looks at me
and winks. I wink back. Mother doesn't see.
It's our secret. I wish I knew them all

but I guess I'm too young. I can marry
Miss Hooker when I'm 18. That's the law,
I think. That's nine years from now. Nine years is
the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost times
3. That's a lucky number unless you
go to Hell and I sure as Heaven don't
want to and I don't know all the rules yet.
Miss Hooker will be 39--still old
but not 51 and good for babies
but just barely. Where do babies come from,
I ask Mother, during dessert. Peach pie.
She drops her fork. Father tries not to laugh.
Another smile, but into his plate, and
no wink this time. But he says, Yes, Honey
--where do babies come from? We'd like to know.
Mother's face turns the red of Miss Hooker's
hair, or almost. The hospital, she says.
Eat your pie. I want ice cream, too, I say.
Yes, Father says. We want ice cream. Ice cream.
Mother says, You know where the icebox is.

Tomorrow's Sunday so it's back to church,
then Sunday School, for more Miss Hooker.
I tried it myself--crossing my legs and
hooking my foot behind my ankle. Ouch.
I'm almost finished with dessert when I
ask Mother if she can do it, too. Oh,
Father says--I'll bet you can't. He's smiling
right at her this time. She's smiling back. Who
do you think taught her, she says. And shows us.
I wish that I had married her myself.

- - -
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


| Filed under

Contributor: Stacy J Maddox

- -
I hear the words of lovers
Whispered upon your lips
Your soft voice is music
That floats all around us

Reaching out with longing
I feel your desire
Quickening my every breath
In an elated bliss

Caresses from your fingertips
Search deep into my soul
Awakening this lonely being
From its longest sleep

Your kisses linger and probe
Tantalizing my bare skin
Passion burns like a flame
Spilling over our aching bodies

Your heart beats the rhythm
In time with mine
When you lay beside me
And we become as one

A thousand times I have dreamed
Of this dance with you
Waited an eternity it seems
For this moment of rapture...

- - -
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 is honored to have been published in over 40 books, print and online magazines and websites.

Sometimes I Hate Sad Songs

| Filed under

Contributor: Jun Lit

- -
Sometimes I hate sad songs.
They make me feel the nights are colder
when you’re away –
in fields of endless greens
or islands of pollen-laden winds
smelling sweet nectary yellows
as you chase mimics of monarchs
regal in their black-lined orange capes.
Those dainty fairies never visit me here.
These sheets aren’t warm enough
to keep them flying
to sprinkle dusts for dream-weaving
into these greying strands thinning
on this stubborn head tirelessly waiting.

As Bruno hits the consummated notes,
I reach the empty pages of a companion book of quotes
but nobody close enough to hear soft murmurs
like one Adele begging for love
in one last night together in some distant abode.
The youthful pitch leaves me envious
and squeezes a pinch as my heart argues
for those wasted chances of holding those hands
or missed opportunities of touching your hair
as I pass the now cobweb-covered chair.
The red velvet cover’s long gone and bald
but the hint of Victoria’s still there

The Old Band wails of our yesterday
when our woes were simpler and far away
as adventures in the jungles of our life of awe
become frames in a passing slide show
of demented mementoes – an array
- this bed is the only place to hide away
and the linens cover reverberating questions
of unceasing why’s and what if’s of illusions
but the care-giving pillows have only mute answers.
For all things and persons come, warm wine and verse,
then most will go frozen into long winters
and only a loving heart remembers
and hums the last sweet song of dying embers,
caring not for the ghosts of lyrics that each beat enters
into that long list of departed love letters
now entombed in graveyards of their volcanic cinders.

Fantasies bloomed
as countless Blue Moons guided
the ylang-ylang scented paths
Tales of you, the Beauty inside,
and I, one Beast on the outside,
The rich pink petals have now dropped
But the fruits are golden
and the sprouting of seeds
have never stopped.

Tomorrows may come –
near where Yellow Brick Roads
lead to dead Ends of missed Rainbows,
no pots of gold to find or mend
Yet as a distant Old Harmonica – a rusting friend
I am – blows and gasps struggling for asthmatic tunes,
those still familiar lines – mine’s not a Wooden Heart –
when the now creaking knees had once danced
cha-chas, boogies, swings
but promised the Last Waltz with you, tarried
but not tired. The acid-washed jeans are now faded,
but the double-stitched Love we have
And again
I am Always – Right Here Waiting . . .
For You.

- - -
Jun Lit (or Ireneo L. Lit, Jr.) teaches biology in the University of the Philippines Los Baños. He also writes poems about nature, people and society.

Prometheus Should Have Doubled down for More

| Filed under

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 where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found.

our satellite

| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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

Wind Storm

| Filed under

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.


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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


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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 where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found.


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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.


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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.


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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).


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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.


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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,


- - -

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.

- - -


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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
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-

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

my soul is the engine

- - -

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.


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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
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

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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

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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.


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