Sun of Blood

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Contributor: Ken Allan Dronsfield

- -
The sun drops, a ball afire

temptation swirls in blood

Shakespearean sonnets

whilst rhyme within desire.

Careful whispering hum

pious tout of blasphemy

in the devil's twilight sky

a Sun of Blood is chaste.

The long serial disguise

covet a mask by Ed Gein

as a reddish snow melts a

town is raped of innocence.

A woman hangs in the barn

carved by a demon's praise

lampshades urgently made

from skin of those betrayed.

Lessons discretely shared

by all of this desperate flock

the house razed and burned

Sun of Blood did icily shock.

- - -
Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet from Oklahoma. He loves thunderstorms! His published work can be found in reviews, journals, magazines and anthologies throughout the web and in print venues. His poetry has been nominated for two Pushcart Prize Awards and the Best of the Net for 2016.


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Contributor: John MacKinnon

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

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

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

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

- - -


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Contributor: Stacy Maddox

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

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

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

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

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

Inside The Echo

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Contributor: Michael Kagan

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

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

Split Pea Soup

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Contributor: Judy Moskowitz

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

- - -
Judy Moskowitz, a professional jazz musician, has been published in Poetry Life And Times, Michael Lee Johnson's anthology, Indiana Voice Journal, Whispers Of The Wind

Remembering His Third Wife

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Contributor: JD DeHart

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

- - -

Wish I Had The Ovaries

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Contributor: Ellie S. Vend

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

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

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

- - -


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Contributor: Lyla Sommersby

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

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

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

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

Love Trust

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Contributor: John Dorn

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

- - -

Megaphones of a Waterfall

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Contributor: Nikhil Nath

- -
On the megaphone
of a waterfall,

I capture silence
in a tree,

dropping a mile
or two from

the sudden clammer
of a typewriter,

wishing money would
jump out of

a philanthropist's
pocket, to submerge

me in a sea
of wanton desire

letting me escape,
in a boat

made of leaves.

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

Twilight's Crescendo

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Contributor: Ken Allan Dronsfield

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

- - -
Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet from Oklahoma. He loves thunderstorms! His published work can be found in reviews, journals, magazines and anthologies throughout the web and in print venues. His poetry has been nominated for two Pushcart Prize Awards and the Best of the Net for 2016.

Cutout Hearts

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Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

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

- - -
He was born and raised in Ohio, and now lives in Florida. He is married and has two children. Most important he is a Papa. He has over 20 poems on this site and one printed in "Stormcloud Poets second anthology".


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Contributor: Wyatt Mitchell

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

- - -

Conflict of Interest

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Contributor: Michael Kagan

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

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

Carousel of Marriage

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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

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

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

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

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


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Contributor: Stacy Maddox

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

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

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

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

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


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Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

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

his hands one atop the other
on rigidly vertical metal cane

her hands sternly folded
over squashed leather purse

they sit and wait
staring ahead into nothing

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

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

Crime Story

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Contributor: Andrew Hubbard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He paused to drink, then paused some more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Good scotch.”

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

Mohave Monotony

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Contributor: Lynn Nicholas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Envelope in the Pigeonhole

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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

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

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

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

A Call to Action

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Contributor: Jared Wun

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

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

Then tragedy comes
Bringing with it destiny
A call to action

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

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

Starlight Fall

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Contributor: JD DeHart

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

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

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

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

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

- - -

Class Ring

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Contributor: George Siv

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

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

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

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

- - -

Old Mud and Memories

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Contributor: Michael Kagan

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

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


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Contributor: Taylor Choung

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

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

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

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

Dream of the Weaver Who Wove My Blanket

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Contributor: Beate Sigriddaughter

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

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


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