Hell's Not So Far Down

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 thepoetcommunity.com

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

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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 http://therollinghills.wordpress.com/.

Wild Gratitude

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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.


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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

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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

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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

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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.


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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


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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

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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

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

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

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

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

our satellite

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Contributor: Karly Westfall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- - -

Pretty Baby and the Poem

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Contributor: Michael Kagan

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

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

Wind Storm

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Contributor: Susie Sweetland Garay

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

but it did not
feel angry,

perhaps instead
she was showing us
her power

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

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

and I feel somehow cleaner
than I did before.

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


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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


| Filed under

Contributor: J.K.Durick

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

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

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

and after there’s finally nothing more.

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

At the End of the Day

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Contributor: Gina Huh

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

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

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

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

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

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

- - -

Poem with the first and second lines same as Brautigan

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Contributor: Kris Johnson

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

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

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

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

The blue is from where?

And the green comes from where, too?

Light cream-colored, is it all the time?

Finding space.

Joining us both, together.

Find squiggly lines, our veins.

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

Theory of Evolution

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


| Filed under

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.

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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

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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.

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Dead Brother’s Note to Our Dad

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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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.

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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.


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