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

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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

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

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

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

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

I'll draw rosettes
with the tip
of my tongue

on your nipples,
await your orders to
bivouac elsewhere.

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


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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Strength

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Contributor: Robin Goodfellow

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

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

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

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

But they ask for more.

Always for more.

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

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

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

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

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

I love them, those unanswered prayers.

I love them.


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Unspoken love

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Contributor: Pranab Ghosh

- -
Is it a pretension
Or a confession?

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

Is it spoken
At all?

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

Is this poetry?


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

Pursuit of Perfect Me

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Contributor: Ellie S. Vend

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


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I Tell Him

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Contributor: Stacy J Maddox

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

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

I tell him
what my heart
no longer feels.


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

Butterfly Hurricanes

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Contributor: Sam Ballard

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

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

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


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

Unattended

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Contributor: JD DeHart

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

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

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


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Where is Irrelevant

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Contributor: Wyatt Mitchell

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

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

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

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

Is this what you meant by diversity?


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MAY YOU ALWAYS REST

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Contributor: Stacy Maddox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Easter at the Nursing Home

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
When bread
is this good
a morsel

will suffice
and when wine
is this good

a sip is enough
for the wraiths
and specters

coming toward
the altar now
on crutches

walkers
in wheel chairs
celebrating

the last Easter
some of them
will know

as they await
a resurrection
of their own.


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

Soft Shelled People

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Contributor: Michael Kagan

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


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

Genocide of Pins

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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Beneath the bowling-alley
bar marquee
the rain tonight

hammers off
the concrete.
Inside, beer flops

bottle into glass.
Beyond the bar,
bright lights

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

and everywhere
a roar so loud
one can barely hear

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


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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Shave Away The Pain

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Contributor: M. Elhaz Eir

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


- - -
Pseudonym for nonbinary poet exploring transgender issues.

Shades of Brown

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Contributor: Jacob Santos

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Forgive Me

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Contributor: Wyatt Mitchell

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

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

For what reason would they have?

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

Though what other reason would there be?


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Heaven Interrupted

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Contributor: Michael Kagan

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


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

Unquiet Scars

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Contributor: E.S. Wynn

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


- - -
E.S. Wynn is the author of over sixty books in print and is the chief editor of Thunderune Publishing. This poem is one of many featured in the book titled "Trans Physical Dynamics"

First Day on Parole

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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

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

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

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


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

Cut Me, Leave Me

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Contributor: Desmond Xander Norbo

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

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

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

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

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

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


- - -
Hoping to be read, we write.

The Search

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Contributor: Catherine Zickgraf

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Unstable Desires

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Contributor: A.L.M. Kamner

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

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

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


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