Playing God

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
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.


| Filed under

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.


| Filed under

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.


| Filed under

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

| Filed under

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.


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