Nightswimmers Floating the Tribe

| Filed under

Contributor: Todd Mercer

- -
Nightswimmer Junior and her eponymous predecessor
get their kicks from risks, love life more from it.
After their platonic friendship’s rolled a couple years
They take a month’s bills money to the casino.
When they slink out the exit, ninety-nine percent of it
has gone to fund the programs of the Grand Traverse Band
of Odawas & Chippewas. Nightswimmer, on his honor
retired from the rip-tide adventures says to Junior,
“Screw the promise. Let’s go swim.” Only then
can he clear his head of new financial anxiety.
That’s them at 4 am spotted miles off Charlevoix
by a John Cross Fishing vessel, logged on the report.
She crawls, he backstrokes. He needs more oxygen
than he used to, but hey, not bad for an old man.
He assures Junior she won’t need to drag him
to land. This one illicit swim, then the end of gambling.


- - -
TODD MERCER was nominated for Best of the Net in 2018. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s recent work appears in Literary Orphans, The Magnolia Review, Praxis and Zero Flash.

Infrastructure Swallows A City

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
It was an ancient city.
All the young people left
as soon as they could

but the old remained
in their mortgaged huts
surrounded by evergreens

that offered a haven
for cardinals and jays,
robins and finches.

No matter the season
birds flew from tree limbs
to feed on seed and suet

put out by too many widows
in slippers and aprons and
too few wives wearing

rouge and lipstick
for terminal husbands they
planned to stack on pyres.


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

Baby Girl

| Filed under

Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
Eyes that sparkle, hair full of curl
This is what I love about my baby girl
Smiles that light up even dull days
Hearing your giggles as you run and play
Watching you grow into the person you are
You have become my little shinning star
Knowing I love you as I hold your hand
This is the life I always planned


- - -
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".

My Destiny

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Briganti

- -
A warm breeze
glides across
my bare skin
blowing through
my once auburn waves

Droplets of water
sprinkle upon me
as the tide breaks
against the rock-lined shore
where I rest alone

My eyes are
open
My breathing is calm
and my mind at ease
I ruminate not
about life or love
but on the flow
of my breath and
the beating of my heart

I am surrendering,
just letting go
of all expectations
right here on this beach
Today, this day
on this towel
under this tree
which shades me

I surrender
to the Universe
I trust it completely
to lead me
to wherever I need to be

To lead me to my destiny!


- - -
Born and raised in New York, I've been writing poetry ever since I can remember. Only recently have I felt a desire to share my poetry with others. It is my hope that someone may find solace in my words.

Fred Odowsky

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

- -
Last night I saw Fred Odowsky,
He was the star of my dream.
Big, as in life, and still very strong,
Still funny and playful, it seemed,
He had walked, while on earth, in Vietnam,
As other poor boys also had,
And once choked a VA rep in our town
With his own telephone cord,
When he told Fred a lie,
Right to his face,
About help, at the VA to be found.
He had tripped with me several decades ago,
We took my Chevy to the river to see,
In a bar by the name of Wells Fargo,
A friend, in a band it known to me.
He took the wheel of my Chevy,
When I could no longer see.
He has been gone now for decades,
But appeared to me in my sleep,
Surely he still remains in the dreams,
Of One who is greater than me.


- - -
Bruce Mundhenke writes in Illinois, where he lives with his wife and their little dog and big cat.

Displacement

| Filed under

Contributor: Divya Gautam

- -
Why is it always a journey?
The displacement of people, minds, and hearts
From one place to another
From one person to another
From one dream to another
Between continents, there lie oceans of disappointment
Someone is always left behind
Some days are better forgotten
Some futures are better left unseen
Underneath these rocks of expectations
There is a skeleton of a man
His bones working for another's dreams
While time plays the background score
With decidedly morbid chords
I have seen dreams bend with norms
Leaving the young with tilted necks
Frowns are etched with charcoal
Onto fair faces that once belonged

It is always a one way street
That beckons in our minds
Gravel awaits the tread of your feet
Wishing that you knew
That this journey was over
Before it began.


- - -
Divya Gautam is an undergraduate student majoring in Mathematics and Economics in New Delhi, India.

Your True Love

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
Finding your true love
Is not up to you
It can take years
Or an instant
Milliseconds
That equal lightyears

The heart chooses
And destiny is revealed
In a single moment
An hour
A week
Two people
Whose hearts are like
Opposite poles of a magnet
Drawn together
Inexplicably
Yet inseparable

Oceans apart
Or right next door
Love transcends all boundaries
Negating the past
Without tarnishing memories
Rejoicing in those memories
And yet looking to the new dawn
Another day
Another chapter
To be realized
Held in a hand
That only holds
Your true love


- - -
Bruce Levine, a native Manhattanite, has spent his life as a writer of fiction and poetry and as a music and theatre professional and is published on and in numerous internet and print journals. He lives with his rescued Australian Shepherd, Daisy. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his wife, dancer/actress, Lydia Franklin.

Country-Style Directions

| Filed under

Contributor: Todd Mercer

- -
Drive
West,
turn where
the Smith barn
used to be. A tree
you may recall marked the driveway.
It came down in a tornado years past, but look for
the trunk rotting in the tall grass.
You can’t miss the place
which was there
way back.
Straight
shot.


- - -
TODD MERCER was nominated for Best of the Net in 2018. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s recent work appears in Literary Orphans, The Magnolia Review, Praxis and Zero Flash.

Life Lanes

| Filed under

Contributor: Sarah Pouls

- -
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…” – Robert Frost

I don’t understand how traffic is formed;
just drive the speed limit, merge like a zipper, get off at an exit.
Maintain the flow of the road without delaying others.
Red light. Green light. Slow down and merge right for emergency vehicles.
Or for me.

Keeping up with traffic – with others – is exhausting.
Stop. Go. Pause. Slam on my brakes. Turn here.
Oops, the GPS – I – made a mistake. Turn around.
Don’t turn around? Slow down for me.
Please.

I don’t turn around. I can’t turn around.
The monstrous wall of semi-trucks didn’t let me merge.
I had a set destination in mind,
but plans don’t always work out the way we want them to –
despite preparation and fear.

I keep driving; the dark pavement is
luring me further down a path I stumbled upon unwillingly.
The GPS yells at me to turn around,
but I am stuck in a new lane –
a new road.

I am now in the express lane, to the GPS’s disdain.
All other cars were able to exit while I was left behind, now lost.
Except up on the overpass are the replacements of landmarks I recognize –
Bertucci’s, Dominick’s, Zany Brainy, Blockbuster,
Once thriving, now replaced and thriving again.

The path I’m on which once seemed foreboding
now feels promising, filled with lessons from my past.
I think I can maneuver my way forward. Express lanes have no exits.
So although I glance back at my past, I know I need to keep accelerating –
moving forward on my new route.

Two roads diverged on the highway, and the road less traveled by
is sometimes forced upon us by semi-trucks.

Keep driving.


- - -
Sarah Pouls is a high school English Teacher and freelance writer from Schaumburg, Illinois. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Written Communications and has a firm belief that all writing is based on forming connections through storytelling.

Life without Reason

| Filed under

Contributor: Sally Dunn

- -
I live, but I don’t know why.
I look for reasons and
find ashes and chores.
I once thought life itself was
reason enough,
but always that life contained
him.

He took my reasons
with his life.

I eat, though all
food tastes of chalk.
I sleep so time will pass.
I sort his things.
Throw out some.
Save some.
Plan to sell some.

Life reduced to
piles and boxes.

Why live at all?

Still, my breath comes in and out.
The days dawn and set.
Tears come in
silent burning streams
or in choking sobs,
or they come
not at all.


- - -
Sally Dunn’s poetry has appeared in 2River View, Rio Grande Review, The Perch and Straylight Literary Magazine. Her poetry won honorable mention in the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest. She lives on Cape Cod.

Spaces

| Filed under

Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
Spaces left upon my calloused soul
Unfinished dreams leaving a gaping hole
Spaces left between love and hate
Feelings I must control before it is too late
Spaces unfilled from memories lost
Fearing the loneliness and what of the cost
Spaces like wishes that remain unfulfilled
Will be wasted like a farmer's untilled field
Spaces need to be filled with memories of hope
This is how the human spirit will learn to cope


- - -
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".

It’s Not for the Usher to Ask

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Many churches today
have a food pantry that never
had a pantry before.

I attend a church like that.
Some folks are well-fixed,
others poor, most betwixt.

Some had money before
but not enough now to pay
the mortgage and then buy food

so the pantry helps them
the same way it helps clients
it has helped for years.

Some folks in the pews quietly
support the pantry with
checks and canned goods

enabling the nouveau poor
to stand in line with the
forever poor on Mondays.

A neighborhood baker slips
into the church Sunday mornings
just prior to the end of service

and quietly stacks his trays
of unsold bread in the dark foyer.
He says nothing and disappears.

No one seems to know
who he is but the hungry
love his bread and word

of its excellence has reached
the woman who leaves church early
and always grabs two loaves

of French baguettes and is
out in the parking lot long
before anyone else and

drives off in a red Mercedes.
Perhaps she’s on unemployment,
low on food stamps or is still

making payments on the car.
It’s not for the usher to ask.
I simply hold the door.


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

Vodka Gatorade

| Filed under

Contributor: J.R. Mookins

- -
Vodka gatorade
takes away the punch
the sweet
the dull
the hanging hell
of too many days
of too many screaming faces
soccer moms
boomer moms
angry moms
wanting everything
wanting it all for free
wanting it all now
yesterday
last week
entitled
entitled

Millenial tears
the struggle is real
ear-raped daily
for pocketbook pleasures.


- - -
Think before you speak. Those who live in glass castles throw too many rocks.

Everybody Tries Sometime

| Filed under

Contributor: Tim Carlo Majeia

- -
silent judgments
silent eyes
shift left
shift right
shifty questions
shifty thoughts
trickling
trundling along
like traffic
in tiny minds

oh,
what wonders you'd see
looking at people
like me
if you could just be
as open and free
as we
as we try to be.


- - -
Father of three. AFAB. Church is life.

World’s Oldest Turtle

| Filed under

Contributor: Sarah Henry

- -
St. Helena’s Island
is a good place for him.
The oldest turtle
in the world lives
well in captivity.

Jonathan jerks along
the ground, heavily
approaching lunch.
He’s big as a garbage
can and fun to watch.

He lumbers mightily
to a pile of fruit
and bites a slice.
The turtle made it
this far from 1835.

Tourists get a wide
view of him on film
and grin. The oldest
turtle in the world
has celebrity.

The island is a zoo
for one. The turtle
lives long in captivity.
He’s older than
some countries
and making history.


- - -
Sarah Henry is a vegetarian. She has written work about animal rights.

Echoes of Echoes

| Filed under

Contributor: Lyla Sommersby

- -
echoes of echoes
we see, we be
tall and reaching trees
with roots deep
in the peat
in the earth
drawing up the dead
devouring the ghosts
dispersed through the land
and turning it into light
turning it into life
and breathing life
in echoes and echoes
and echoes
on and on
into the night.


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

Dude, What?

| Filed under

Contributor: John R. Parmensonne

- -
cut to it
cut right down to it
slice away the sick
the slick-tongued
silver saccharine
safewords
and silence
the self-sacrificing
rhetoric
of failure
of giving in
and being
all they want you to be
here and now
and always
for their needs
for their greedy needs
their slick mouths
ever hungry
ever gnawing
even after death.


- - -
I live in a basement of my own regrets.

Cheated

| Filed under

Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
When your spirt shines
Your happiness grows
The beauty of youth
Like a budding rose

With age comes wisdom
This is what I am told
Some how I got cheated
When all I got was old


- - -
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".

STAGE STRUCK

| Filed under

Contributor: Stefanie Bennett

- -
The evening put forth
A light show
Of chartreuse cloud
That sprang
The blue dog
Spooking
The neighbour's
Be-speckled
Chickens.

Anything goes
When you're
Truly
Half sober.


- - -
Stefanie Bennett, ex-blues singer & musician has published several books of poetry, a novel & a libretto & worked with Arts Action For Peace. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Qld., Australia.

Signs in Windows

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
In 1920 he came on a boat
from Ireland and found
his way through Ellis Island.

He found a room
in a boarding house
catering to his kind and

went looking for a job
but found instead signs
in windows saying

“No Irish Need Apply.”
A cemetery asked him to
dig graves and lower the dead.

In America today
there are no signs like that.
Black and brown

apply and whites
sometimes hire them.
My father was white.

But in 1920 his brogue
was a long rope that
almost lynched him.


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

Joy! Spring Comes

| Filed under

Contributor: Sally Dunn

- -
Early evening,
bundled up,
Venus bright,
cold stinging my nostrils,
Orion kissing
the western horizon.


- - -
Sally Dunn’s poetry has appeared in 2River View, Rio Grande Review, The Perch and Straylight Literary Magazine. Her poetry won honorable mention in the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest. She lives on Cape Cod.

Portals

| Filed under

Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
Stars are holes
in the sky
bleeding through heaven’s veil

I would swallow the light

I would choke on the hemlock
if I thought it might
bring you back
down to earth

I stare at the moon
every 28th day
and pray
that we survive another cycle

I watched you digest their poison

I watched you drink deep
with faith in their bombs
from the soothing lull
of that siren song

Chew on the edges of night
to taste the angle
where source floods
the shape of flesh

Your yawn could birth a universe

Your sigh could shake foundations
to the core


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

Norwich

| Filed under

Contributor: Lu Lin & Dawid Juraszek

- -
It's just a place
I keep telling myself.
Be here now
have fun
don't panic
do the mindfulness thing.
Air cold on my ankles
water cold on my cheeks.
I thought I was good on my own
didn't need them.
They would be ages away
if it were ages ago.
But it's not my call.
And hours don't translate into kilometres
miles
li
like they used to.
Not that I remember.
But that old cube on the hill
hidden in my blind spot
does.
To shift my field of vision
would be to move on.
Please don't mind
just don't.


- - -
Lu Lin is Chinese, Dawid Juraszek is Polish. She lives in Norwich in the East of England and he in Guangzhou, southern China. Their work has appeared in various outlets in Poland, China, Japan, USA, and UK.

GRAPH: REFERENDUM

| Filed under

Contributor: Stefanie Bennett

- -
Walking the rainbow's trellis,
Sun slung on my right arm
And moon on my left...

[Whoever says impossible
Does not
Offend].

Levels of sanity
Extend,
Bend...

Just take that rainbow,
Heaven's
Hunchback!

Beautiful
To a fault.


- - -
Stefanie Bennett, ex-blues singer & musician has published several books of poetry, a novel & a libretto & worked with Arts Action For Peace. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Qld., Australia.

The Capitalist Way

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
It is easier for a camel to pass
through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich

to enter the kingdom of God,
Jesus told his disciples.
Centuries later Warren

an investor in America
heard about this and
asked Fu a manufacturer

in China to make
millions of 12-foot needles.
Then he asked Ahmad

a bedouin in Oman
to breed smaller camels.
Look for the IPO on Wall Street.


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

The Crescent Moon

| Filed under

Contributor: Amy Lowell

- -
Slipping softly through the sky
Little horned, happy moon,
Can you hear me up so high?
Will you come down soon?

On my nursery window-sill
Will you stay your steady flight?
And then float away with me
Through the summer night?

Brushing over tops of trees,
Playing hide and seek with stars,
Peeping up through shiny clouds
At Jupiter or Mars.

I shall fill my lap with roses
Gathered in the milky way,
All to carry home to mother.
Oh! what will she say!

Little rocking, sailing moon,
Do you hear me shout — Ahoy!
Just a little nearer, moon,
To please a little boy.


- - -
Born in 1874, Amy Lowell was deeply interested in and influenced by the Imagist movement and she received the Pulitzer Prize for her collection What’s O’Clock.

Saner Than I've Ever Been

| Filed under

Contributor: Wyatt Mitchell

- -
I wrote this thing
Does it mean a thing?
Everything silent
Endless quiet
I find this much too violent
How do I write with nothing inside
Not a thought
Not a voice
Nothing but me
Where have they gone
My friends have left me
No reason why
How do I unfold
My life is untold
Why can't I cry
Nothing left but to die
Toxicity rings everclear
This silence is killing me
To have no thought worth thinking
To have no life worth living
Is sobriety the mind's worst enemy
Will I ever return to the previous me
These faces I see
What is there relativity
If this is my moment whatever will it be
Is it even for the likes of me
What can be sought if there's nothing left of me
Is this the last of me
To seek but never see
To live but never be
How does one color without blue or green
This fight is for the life of me
It's like my thoughts think less of me
They ran from me
Scared to be
In my mind with me
There's so much left to say
No words left to describe
All that's left is grey
I'm alone
Not a sigh
Not a groan
Just silence
All alone
No one's home
I rang the bell then fell asleep
How long should I bide my time
I only sleep to see what's left of me
If sanity is pollution it's taken over the sea of me
Invading my bloodstream
Silence
No commotion
All results in slow motion
I've lost my heart and soul
My brain will be the death of me
If I couldn't walk I'd be only half of me
Nothing but my mind
And still I wouldn't cry
My voice has lost its way
Unable to come back to me
I can't find me
Cry me
Die me
With no sound am I even me
Perhaps I've died already
Gone from this existence
Trapped within sanity
So far gone
There is no clarity
Am I gone
Is this greed
To want the words to come to me
This can't be all that's left of me
My mind is all there is of me
Is this the end
This life I've barely lived
I can't think
Can't read
Can't write
There must be something
Something more than the absence of me
Yet what if there's not
What if I exist solely in the mind of me
Maybe that's why within this silence I've all but gone and died
Never to arise
Dead in my heart and mind and soul and eyes
Would this make you cry
I tell you I've tried
But in the end it's all a lie
A false reality
Super-sized
And thus tomorrow only becomes today
And somehow I've faded away
Only to awaken everyday in a state so cold and grey


- - -

What We Planned

| Filed under

Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
Greed is taught but so is sharing
Hate is taught but so is caring
Selfish children learn one for all and all for me
Caring children learn to give as it should be
Thinking of yourself sometimes is fine
You can still help someone to cross the finish line
Greed and hate always go hand in hand
So can we if that is what we planned


- - -
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".

She Was Gone

| Filed under

Contributor: Richard Tilly

- -
I didn't believe it.
She wasn't gone.
Someone was playing a prank on me.
She was still here; it was just a prank.
She couldn’t be gone.
Someone was coming to tell me they were playing a prank on me.
A sick prank.
But none ever came.
There was no prank.
She was gone.
And I had to accept she wasn't coming back.
That she was never coming back.


- - -
Richard Tilly is currently a student living in the north of Sweden. He's been writing short fiction and poetry for as long as he can remember.

Evening

| Filed under

Contributor: Hilda Doolittle

- -
The light passes
from ridge to ridge,
from flower to flower—
the hepaticas, wide-spread
under the light
grow faint—
the petals reach inward,
the blue tips bend
toward the bluer heart
and the flowers are lost.

The cornel-buds are still white,
but shadows dart
from the cornel-roots—
black creeps from root to root,
each leaf
cuts another leaf on the grass,
shadow seeks shadow,
then both leaf
and leaf-shadow are lost.


- - -
Born in 1886, Hilda Doolittle was one of the leaders of the Imagist movement.

Treetops

| Filed under

Contributor: Divya Gautam

- -
Let me fall from treetops
Intrepid like birds on cliffs,
Shadows are hard to come by,
When cloudy days are all I know.

There is passion in the wind,
Willing my mind to obey my heart,
On uphill battles I seldom falter,
Even tiredness trudges along, quietly.

Velvet winds steer me away,
From paths that I used to call my own,
I sit in foreign lands now, staring,
At boulders crumbling beneath my feet.

Honour is fickle, like pain and time,
Promises I have seen break aplenty,
In hell there is no ashen sky,
I lay at rest beneath the one in heaven.

Even pain is sick and tired,
Of being a drawn out metaphor,
Why then should I linger here,
When asphalt cracks have done enough.

I will leave one day, soon, I know,
And forget all I am yet to learn,
Even then I will seek contentment,
In a silence that isn't loud enough.


- - -
I am an undergraduate student majoring in Mathematics and Economics in New Delhi, India.

New Arrival

| Filed under

Contributor: Lu Lin & Dawid Juraszek

- -
Had to go
didn't know which way
knew only to go across
the place was supposed to be there
trees
lakes
bridges
fences
at dawn everything was different
knew it would be
but wasn't ready
alone and crushed, silent and deafened; waited.
If only she could do what she wanted
if only she could be who she was
but not here
not her
urged to find within herself someone else
or better yet, become someone else
by dusk she knew
putting on other people's clothes wouldn't do
they were wet anyway.


- - -
Lu Lin is Chinese, Dawid Juraszek is Polish. She lives in Norwich in the East of England and he in Guangzhou, southern China. Their work has appeared in various outlets in Poland, China, Japan, USA, and UK.

Anonymity

| Filed under

Contributor: Sally Dunn

- -
Last night I saw
a flickering star
– a binary,
or a pulsating variable?
If a binary, what type?
A book or the Internet
could answer.

But why ask?
Why know?

I used to care about
knowing things –
this variety of tree,
that species of bird,
that exact type of seaweed.

I no longer
want to know
these neighbors
of mine.

So I swim with
nameless seaweed,
watch nameless birds
flit about nameless trees
all under billions of
nameless stars –

and try to forget
I ever had
a name.


- - -
Sally Dunn’s poetry has appeared in 2River View, Rio Grande Review, The Perch and Straylight Literary Magazine. Her poetry won honorable mention in the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest. She lives on Cape Cod.

OMG

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Seeing is believing
smart people
often tell me but

no one ever told me
believing is seeing
except this blind lady

I help across the street
who taps her cane
and tells me

you’ll find out
when you leave Earth
and whirl among the planets

and soar behind
the sun and moon
on the way to your place

believing is seeing
someone some say
isn't there.


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

The End

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
The end
Is the beginning
The next piece
The next moment
The next chapter

The end
Is movement
Moving forward
Moving backward
Moving wherever

The end
Is transitory
Tracing progress
Tracing moments
Tracing journeys

The end
Is a signal
Guiding airplanes
Guiding steamships
Guiding lifelines

The end
Is the ending
Holding loved ones
Holding mem’ries
Holding forever


- - -
Bruce Levine, a native Manhattanite, has spent his life as a writer of fiction and poetry and as a music and theatre professional and is published on and in numerous internet and print journals. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his wife, dancer/actress, Lydia Franklin.

Turn, Turn, Turn

| Filed under

Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
This is not a poem
but a simple reminder
that all of these experiences
are temporary
and fleeting,
yet still
far more beautiful
than any fallen human being
could ever ask, hope,
or dare dream of.

Like a cat fight
by an oak tree
under the blanket of midnight.

Like a last kiss
on a bridge stained
with the smell of smoke.

Like a first breath
from two fresh lungs
inhaling accidental evolution.

Everyone has a breaking point.

The trick
is to come away
at the end of the process
with even more
pieces of the puzzle
in place
than there were
to begin with.


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

Dangling Participles

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Every time something breaks
like the pipe in the wall
we heard gushing

this morning
my wife wants to call
a repairman because

I can’t fix anything
except split infinitives
and dangling participles

and I usually agree
but this time
I mention the kayaks

in the attic and say
why don’t we hop
in the kayaks

open the front door
and sail down the street
wave to the neighbors

cutting their grass
planting their peonies
worrying about crime

and shout best of luck
we’re tired of the good life
we’re sailing away.


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

The fair weather Baseball fan can't get no satisfaction (a found poem)

| Filed under

Contributor: Melanie Browne

- -
Wish they played to their potential
We probably don't have a chance now
Congratulations bullpen,
You got what you wanted
We are no longer in first place
this is so embarrassing
stick a fork in my eye
he's very bad
really disappointing,
our bullpen couldn't
even drive in
two runners with no outs
We have some work to do
it's not like we're bashing out team but
They are just going through the motions
This is hard to watch right now
They aren't hungry anymore


- - -

DEATH OF A PIG

| Filed under

Contributor: Patrick Campbell

- -
Don't be angry, Bess, he says,
as to an old friend.
It’s the way of the world,
though not the way I’d choose.

He's made the journey for her sake,
but wishes he’d never caught the sight
of Bess between the trailer's slats,
so tightly pressed she has to rest
her head upon another's back
and strive for air above the stench.
How distant now the tranquil farm
where never did he do her harm.

Now at the place where life is taken,
those eyes that once regarded him
with something passing for affection
are fixed upon his, trusting still,
yet anguished by this strange new turn.
He'll save her surely, even now,
from the hell she hears and smells,
screaming death beyond the walls.

But when he leaves her at the gate,
fear seizes her: she starts to run.
Yet in a final show of will,
she holds her ground in bold defiance,
refusing to stir an inch towards
the chamber where the hot gas stuns
(they haven't coined a word for this,
for only men are mourned and missed)
And then the last indignity.
A stick corrects the wayward pig
for slowing down the flow of blood
(numbers count in take-home pay).
So sharp the pain, she now rejoins
her new and ultimate companions.
At the edge of darkness now,
no pity's shown the innocent sow.

Before, the children stroked her back,
delighted by the playful Bess.
But could those children ever guess
that even 'ere the year was out,
she’d perish in the cruelest way,
as her litters had before,
after not a year of life,
throats cut with a kitchen knife?

He’s done his best. He gave her pasture,
(he’s seen the way the factories do it)
But he is heir to ancient ways
upheld by scripture and the law
and founded on the myth that God
speaks only to the human strain
of ape, and not to soulless beasts.
So why not kill them as we please?

Thus the butchering of Bess
into favourite cuts of meat
doesn’t shock or prick the conscience,
as long as the sights and sounds of slaughter
remain unseen, unheard …. unjudged.
As so they do, behind closed doors;
for who would eat a pig again
having seen its hideous end?

Do we really think that Bess
will feel the pain and horror less
than human beings so despatched?
A stain is left on humankind
that though we rue a thousand years
will never quite be washed away.
Better by far that they never draw breath
than be born in the shadow of infantile death.


- - -
I am a retired British diplomat living in Spain, the country where I last served. Now an old man, I feel more strongly than ever about the killing of animals for meat.

The Trickster Answers

| Filed under

Contributor: Sally Dunn

- -
Filled with anguish,
I scream and
lash out at the universe.

I reach up into
the night sky and
claw down the fabric
of the firmament.

I roar into that
which is beyond.
Then cry when
no answer comes.

My legs crumble beneath me.
I dig my fingers into the dirt.
The earth ignores my pain.

With one hand gripping the earth
and the other clutching the heavens,
I howl into the void.

Stark silence answers me.

Until, finally, I hear
the distant yip of
a coyote.


- - -
Sally Dunn’s poetry has appeared in 2River View, Rio Grande Review, The Perch and Straylight Literary Magazine. Her poetry won honorable mention in the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest. She lives on Cape Cod.

Vanity

| Filed under

Contributor: Andrew Hubbard

- -
He was a boy
When I knew him then,
Just started shaving
Cheap clothes, bit his nails.

He couldn’t take his eyes off me
And I’d stare at him
To watch him look away and flush.

It was a game
And I was proud in a way
To have that power
But if you want to know the truth
He was a little beneath me,
And there was another boy
Who had a blue pick-up truck.

Then he moved out of state
And I moved out of state.
He went to college somewhere
And I went to cosmetology school.

I married Mark
And then the babies came.
All but one were Mark’s
And I honestly loved them
But a lot of time
I just wanted to hold my head
And scream. Mark, he worked
As hard as he could,
I’ll give him that,
And he got us by
But nothing more than that.

And then, oh my God, the kids
Were in high school when he called.
He was going to be in my little town
On a campaign stop and wanted to see me.

I said no. He called again,
I said I had a conflict
And that was true in a way.

He called again, and I agreed
To meet him, and I meant it.

I worried for a week what to wear
And when the day came
I just couldn’t do it.

I no-showed on him
And I’ve never been so ashamed.

I almost never drink,
But I got into Mark’s beer
As soon as the kids were off to school
And spent most of the afternoon
On the toilet peeing and peeing.

That night I threw up on the pillow.
Mark asked what was wrong
And what the hell was I supposed to say…

That I couldn’t let him see
The purple veins on my thighs,
The cover-up that doesn’t?

My friends say I’m still pretty
But I say the same to them.
I’m lying, and I’m pretty sure
They are too. No,
I just couldn’t do it.


- - -
Andrew Hubbard was born and raised in a coastal Maine fishing village. He received degrees in English and Creative writing from Dartmouth College and Columbia University.

Fireflies of God

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

- -
Precious jewels,
Scattered out on velvet
In the night,
Bear witness to
A greater light.
And though they seem
To shine forever,
They will vanish
Like a firefly
In the night.


- - -
Bruce Mundhenke writes in Illinois, where he lives with his wife and their dog and cat. He enjoys nature, where he finds beauty, inspiration, and revelation.

Muscles

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
Don’t worry, dear
one, even if the stories
are true, they are so muddy
it is hard to be clear.

A flushing rush of whispers
and collusion are like
dirty icebergs floating
in the dark.

The most exercised muscle
is the mouth, the only sliver
of the body some people
seem to use. I myself

prefer the fingers, joining
words, or the entire arm for
making lovely brush strokes
on the canvas of the world.

These are muscles worthy
of use, like the unseen matter
of the mind, like the talent
for finding a bird’s song.



- - -

Sweetest Halo

| Filed under

Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
The scent of lemon honeysuckle
where the rain fell
where the summer grew

I’m here for the water
coconut sugar through my veins
kiwi kisses in every sip

Laughter triggers in the aftershock
sends shivers along my spine
golden bodies burn and rise

There are lucid states beyond awakened
purple, pink, orange, and green
uncaged in a dream of motion

I’m here for the wisdom
owls offer so sweet
angels cast with crown and halo

Morning dew gleams in sunlight
smelted silver drips a puddle
melted butter swirls in coffee

I’m here for the smiles
smirks are not enough by far
upturned lips are all I’m after


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

A Boat in a Tree

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
A boat in a tree,
A silly place to be.
Why would there be
A boat in a tree?

There came a great wind,
That wouldn’t rescind.
That couldn’t be pinned
Before it had sinned.

The ocean did roar,
Like rarely before.
And finally did score
By coming ashore.

The wind picked up things,
Like butterfly wings.
And powerful as kings
Or a lion who sings.

Then up it did go,
Just like a show.
The boat travelled slow
Before it did know.

Over the sand,
And over the land.
To find a tree stand
Just like it was planned.

Out of the water,
Not what it ought-a.
Something it sort-a
Never have thought-a.

A boat in a tree,
A silly place to be.
But I happened to see
A boat in a tree.


- - -
Bruce Levine, a native Manhattanite, has spent his life as a writer of fiction and poetry and as a music and theatre professional. His literary catalogue includes four novels, short stories, humorous sketches, flash fiction, poetry, essays, magazine articles and a screenplay His works are published in over twenty-five on-line journals, over twenty books, his shows have been produced in New York and around the country and he’s the author of the novellas Reinvented and An Accidental Journey. He lives with his rescued Australian Shepherd, Daisy.
His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his wife, dancer/actress, Lydia Franklin. Visit him at www.brucelevine.com.

Horses in February

| Filed under

Contributor: Lauren Lubrino

- -
The road will lead you to the edge of the map
Eroded gravel, torn billboards, a ship graveyard
Arthur Kill’s museum of nautical failures
Floating metal skeletons, landmark of years gone by

“Keep out” is scribbled in graffiti
On the gates of abandoned house
I heard the rumors about him long ago
But didn’t want to believe them

The sky grew dark
Fog blanketed street signs
Wrapping its arm around every memory
Blurring the past, I go in circles
I deleted his number

But my fingers memorized the digits
And they dial his number without my consent
The road ends by the edge of the water
There is nowhere else to drive
In the far away distance, I think I see horses
Running along the shoreline
I wonder, in the winter
Do the horses ever get too cold
To run?


- - -
Lauren Lubrino is a Native New Yorker. She teaches writing at the College of Staten Island.

The Sea is a Great Place to think of Endings

| Filed under

Contributor: Anna Dunn

- -
People think it’s strange I cry at sunsets
But the sea is a great place to think of the past
To confront the worst scars and watch them fade
Waves crashing into insecurities
Washing off the dust and dirt until
They’re laying raw and exposed

Reminding me
Anxiety makes my heart race
Like a mighty thoroughbred
And I’m Always the quirky friend
Never a beautiful lover
Though love crackles static on my fingers

Instead random boys ask my chest where its from
and girls decide I’m too socially awkward for something
so casual that I never wanted it anyways
And anyone who mentions I’m returning home
I want to superglue their lips shut
Because this is home
Where everything is exposed and complicated
but also vibrant and supermassive in its intensity

And We’re Hopscotching around the world like giants
Nowhere and everywhere all at once
Shipmates singing the top of their lungs
Broken harmony with eyes crinkled
Laughing like the world is theirs
With light brighter than any sun
Even when setting a hot pink
Too unrealistic for a Dali painting

So much better than it once was
Where I was a shell and light went right through me
Delicate like glass
So scared of endings
That starting anything
Never really happened anyways

The sea is a good place to think of the present
Slamming into language barriers at full speed
Crying in war museums
Tears blood on my hands
My privilege is weapon
And I’ve always hated guns

Because destruction is pointless
Nationhood is a human construction
And we are the only things that divide ourselves

But there are places forgiveness grows
Like flowers in the rain
And each place The sea brings me
The sky rips apart and reveals
Something raw and beautiful

The sea is a great place to think of the future
I apply sunscreen three times a day
Just so I can live a bit longer

And each day my dreams are little pieces
Of outer space swimming in the palms of my hands

People think it’s funny that I cry at sunsets
But now as pink and gold fades to red
And plunges me into a new night
I know it will birth thousands of new beginnings
Coming to be like matter from supernovas
Sun rising and falling over and over
As I love with everything in me
Continue to laugh until neighbors bang on the wall
Embracing every moment
Looking at every sunset knowing
I’m not scared of endings any more.


- - -
Anna Dunn is a student at Sarah Lawrence College studying creative writing and psychology. She just got back from a journey around the world on the ship and hopes to travel in the future.

TRAVELS

| Filed under

Contributor: Jagari Mukherjee

- -
I will soon be gone
To the land where
Sugar maple trees line the roads,
And the stationery shops are full
Of "back-to-school" supplies.

When I am away from you, I will write
Of what it is like to be away from you
In a college composition notebook.
I will look at the Huron river and think
Of the times I described its wooded banks
For you.

I will get for you gifts --
Intriguing river stones, a tiny acorn
And a little purple journal
With green butterflies on the
Vinyl cover.
A photo of the sugar maple tree
Outside my balcony.
A vial of the river water
To cool your soul.
A sketchbook with paintings
Recorded as my vain attempt
With watercolors to capture the
Trail parks where I tread.
A handwritten recipe for my sister's
Five-minute chocolate mug cakes.

This time, I will rove only so
that I can tell you.


- - -
Jagari Mukherjee is bilingual poet from Kolkata, India. She is a gold medalist in English Literature from University of Pune. Her writings have appeared or are forthcoming in several international newspapers, journals, and anthologies, including Plum Tree Tavern, Labyrinthine Passages, Duane’s PoeTree, Vox Poetica, Margutte, Tuck Magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, and others.

Loving Her

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
He remembers loving her
lost in an orchard
peaches, pears, apricots

falling on his head
every day
always out of breath

stunned, dizzy
seeking shelter
he never found

then hating her
the night she sent him
whirling into space

dodging stars, planets
no sign of life anywhere
wondering whether

he would ever hear
a songbird welcome spring
or kiss her again.


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

Martial Lust

| Filed under

Contributor: Maria-Theresa Zehendstrom

- -
When the only me they want
is immediate
and the only now that satiates
their grabbing mouths
is right now
this instant
its hard to stand against the tide
of needs
of hunger
of martial lust
and clawing
against clawback
with claws bared
to take all of the money
the dead left
couldn't take with them
couldn't spend on houses
all impartial things
gravestones
and monuments
and edifices
to envy
their graves
like hardons
stabbing sky
in one last
desperate
attempt
at a breath
at life
at more
than worm-eaten eternity
with only the clothes
and the coffin
to keep you company
to show
how hard you worked
how much you saved
how much you bought
when buying
could have saved so much more
so many more
than the weak, weekly stipend
you begrudge your sun-browned gardener
for mailing to his family
in Mexico


- - -
Inspired by the writings of Herne, Norris and Moreno, I write the song that splashes from my hands when I pour my soul on paper.

Flames of Hate

| Filed under

Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
Flames of hate can not grow if you do not add fuel to the fire
Prejudice is hate created by fear and fear is an illusion created by a liar
Fan the flames, the fire burns brighter, without added fuel the ember dies
Unrest and violence are tools of weak, greedy people spreading their lies
Villages and bridges are built by the strong so the weak can enter or cross
Wars are caused by prejudice, hate, fear, greed and leaves us at a loss
Don’t fan the flames with words of hate, prejudice, fear, and greed
Put out the flames of hate, stop being a follower and with pride take the lead


- - -
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".

The Lake

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
driftwood floats
to a corner
of the lake
hidden from view
in a cove
shrouded by trees

sailboats glide
on a breeze as
mild as september
over water as
smooth as glass
tinted amber

hidden depths with
spring-filled caverns
limitless
against the
ebbing tide

summer haze and
autumn colors
new day’s glory
turns to
evening shade

flying fish and
water urchins
fishing rods
with baited
hooks

swimmers dive
into pale blue
water
crystal clear
with a hint
of green

fishes ride
in the wake
of rowboats
speedy oars
pulled by
teams of men

gentle times
as the lake
remembers
passing times
that remain
the same


- - -
Bruce Levine, a native Manhattanite, has spent his life as a writer of fiction and poetry and as a music and theatre professional. His literary catalogue includes four novels, short stories, humorous sketches, flash fiction, poetry, essays, magazine articles and a screenplay His works are published in over twenty-five on-line journals, over twenty books, his shows have been produced in New York and around the country and he’s the author of the novellas Reinvented and An Accidental Journey. He lives with his rescued Australian Shepherd, Daisy.
His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his wife, dancer/actress, Lydia Franklin. Visit him at www.brucelevine.com.

Roatan, Honduras

| Filed under

Contributor: Melanie Browne

- -
This place sings to me,
even though I am
feeling a little anxious
and the bus driver
is trying to kill us;
wildly passing
construction vehicles
and school kids
who are trying
to cross the street.
"School," he points,
clearly proud of it.
and because he is proud
it makes me that way too,
and I want to haul trash bags
around the island
with dogs and monkeys
chasing me.
But I got
lost in my thoughts-
the bus driver
is trying to kill us,
even though,
This place sings to me


- - -

Frozen

| Filed under

Contributor: Hannah Kuo

- -
I am a hare,
Going on as I trudge
Along this snow-covered bridge.
It’s quiet throughout, not even a shout.

Trying to limit my movements,
Hoping to stay lost under the nature,
When suddenly, a twig snaps from underneath me.
I freeze, standing still as if
Medusa just laid eyes upon me.

But I slowly continue my trek in the pine-filled forest.
Pitter-patter, snow scatters,
Covering my shadow.
My fur and everything around me,
Is now as white as a polar bear.

I feel cold.
I feel regret.
I feel nervous
In this big, lonely forest.


- - -

Cherry Bomb

| Filed under

Contributor: Jagari Mukherjee

- -
I loved him.
Then he asked, "Do you drink?
Drinking is bad. Good Indian girls don't drink.
I cannot marry you if you drink."

I am compelled to think.

Flashback

At New Orleans a few months ago

I walked down
Frenchmen Street
At 12 am
Watching
A party on the road
People lost and found in dancing

I held
A cherry bomb
Dark cherry rum
Heaven in a ball
Swilling every few steps
A blue and silver velvet dress
Blue lace agate earrings
For the concert attended
At Preservation Hall
And an alligator dinner
At The Court of Two Sisters...

(Moon in gauzy sky
Voodoo magic in air)

"You're beautiful!" A young man
Told me poetically on the road --
I nodded in acknowledgement.

Life's an enchantment.

Back to the present

He asks. "Do you drink?"
I look at him.
"I'm beautiful. I have tasted alligator flesh."
I say.
I walk away.


- - -
Jagari Mukherjee is bilingual poet from Kolkata, India. She is a gold medalist in English Literature from University of Pune. Her writings have appeared or are forthcoming in several international newspapers, journals, and anthologies, including Plum Tree Tavern, Labyrinthine Passages, Duane’s PoeTree, Vox Poetica, Margutte, Tuck Magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, and others.

Happy Birthday!

| Filed under

Contributor: David Hong

- -
I am gas (oxygen, helium,
Nitrogen) setting my invisible hands around
The fleshy throat of your room and knowing the vascularity
Of my right forearm as it corkscrews into the jugular
Until volume is just a postulate
since the lungs could explode or crumble before the
Spark,

After which I am
Everything like the son of Juno and Jupiter and
The applause of incinerated rubber, flesh,
Plastic, napalm
Ripping apart the terrain from Gaia,
Viscera from melancholy until only I
(And I myself) engorge this cavernous gape with
Ragdolls and the Doppler effect.
Since one dance of the diaphragm and
Your frosted breath,
I am gas ( ).


- - -
David Hong is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in the heart of South Korea with his loyal dog, Maxwell.

Right to Flow

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
One day the faucets of the world
became irate when people
turned them off too tight and so

they chose to drip in anger,
a cacophony only they could hear.
When their demonstration ended

water flowed out the windows,
down the streets, flooding villages
and cities everywhere, a tsunami

sweeping everyone away.
No faucet could refuse to flood.
They have a union now, you see.


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

More than Freckles

| Filed under

Contributor: Anna Dunn

- -
I don’t know how to be
What I wanted to be when I was nine
But You don’t have to be an astronaut
To feel stars soaking into your skin
walking the earth and sea
Creates its own tiny universe

Where you exist alone
But with 800 others
All children of the ocean but
Siblings are very different

Sitting on the top of your odyssey
Surrounded by look alikes of
Your High school bullies
Getting back from lands unseen
Doesn’t seem to change they way they think
Like you’d wish to see
And traveling the world may as well be
Sitting at home if you can’t remember
How it felt to inhale every second

Not getting to let a breath back out
Before people try to cram meaning into your chest
By treating students like numbers
Checking off names on clipboards
Like items on a to do list
Not really hearing

When I say Privilege Is in my skin and blood and cells
And each day I try not to
fire off the bullet that is myself
But it’s inevitable as I pass through each new country
Five days is nothing
I’m lightning
Politics shouldn’t be egg shells
Don’t act like you’re scared to cut your feet

Step on new ground with your feet bare
And heart full of galaxies
And watch the sun sink into the sea
And the moon laugh at the clouds
While I inhale the sky into my lungs
At the thought that the
planet rotates differently for us
Everything crumbling and rebuilding without us and
We without everything else

I met a new person in the mirror the other day
Freckles have bloomed with the springtime
and created constellations on
A newly carved face
I met new friends and we grew into each other like vines and
carved each others DNA into our feet
Creating a home where the anchor drops

A home with a girl who’s distinctive
In her love
that she doesn’t think is Enough
Calling herself insensitive
When she burns red hot protection

Miranda is a moon in our solar system
But my Miranda is more like the sun
Giving off energy
We’re plants photosynthesizing her being
And her everything
Growing and growing

Until we reach the clouds
My neighbor is going home to Texas
She’s made of all natural ingredients
And kindness branches through her bones
Where her arms wrap around me as tears create salty rivers on my cheeks

She’s the clouds making it cooler at day
And warmer at night
Alyanna will always stick into
My memory like the
Way my name is a part of hers
Never to be invisible again

And when it’s dark
My friend, The moon is always there
Like I thought when I was young
But I’m not going back to abandonment issues
Or thinking I’m not good enough
When she shines down on me
Laughing like the world is hers

Shannon is a lucky name
And it’s lucky that we met in the first place
More lit up than streets that might in Hong Kong
Starting something strange and tentative blooming higher than the moon reaching
All the way to you
Breaking past barriers
Creating craters exposing more layers
And we’d never hesitate at what we found
Underneath and never will

And I could go on until I’m blue in the face
So many people I would try and swim the pacific for
and
These memories will last until my feet rot in the dirt and
I don’t know how to be When I return
when I leave my new floating home
For the final time it will be a second birth
My shadow will be haunted by the memory of my name
Thinking she's afraid of traffic and romance and change
But she is me before thousands of miles
And change is the only thing that’s consistent anymore

I don’t know how to be what I wanted to be
When I was nine
But if she knew all I’d see
And the people I’d meet
She’d want to be me and want this life to be mine

And when I return
It’ll be like breathing the clouds back into the sky
Until there’s nothing left in my chest
And anyone who could understand
Is here tonight
And won’t be with me in the quiet
It’ll just be me new and returning to the home of a stranger
Because when you see enough of the world you come back a foreigner
Lonely and changed but
Never regretting a single step

I don’t know how to be
After tasting the sun
And walking on the sea
I don’t know how to be


- - -
Anna Dunn is a student at Sarah Lawrence College studying creative writing and psychology. She just got back from a journey around the world on the ship and hopes to travel in the future.

Flight

| Filed under

Contributor: Perry L. Powell

- -
So this is what it is to be naked
kneeling in the jaundiced snow
as the cormorants array themselves
like Isaiah's angels
on the bare branched elm.

This is the dream that went
North for the winter.
Faith of my heart, sing your song
and then let us put
old Bismark to bed.

And this is how it is to be left
when the candles fly away
and it seems we stand on the dark pier
in a moment without tickets.


- - -
Perry L. Powell is a systems analyst who lives near Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. His work has appeared a number of venues, including Leaves of Ink, Aphelion, eyedrum periodically, Frogpond, Futures Trading, The Heron's Nest, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, and vox poetica.

Six Foot Hole

| Filed under

Contributor: Maria-Theresa Zehendstrom

- -
Rushing
to your self-important
suicidal end
of shopping
financial planning
nightmare
ten houses
but what's one more?
the debt
is mounting
is mounting
as the mountain crumbles
no place
left to go
no more
no nothing
no nowhere
left to go
but down
down
into the underground
six feet underground
with nothing
just to get away
from it all
forever
for everything you've ever wanted
to swallow
in the six foot hole
you call
your soul
is weighing you down
and the only way out
is down.


- - -
Inspired by the writings of Herne, Norris and Moreno, I write the song that splashes from my hands when I pour my soul on paper.

Diamond of Jello

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
From my stool in the diner I watch
the old woman with elm tree arms
command the big booth in back

and roar for a menu,
take a half hour to read it
before placing her order.

Watching her eat, I realize
life for her is a dollop of whip cream,
a twirling ballerina, on a diamond of Jello.

I raise my water glass
in a silent toast. Bravo, I whisper.
I wish her good cheer.


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

The White Lie

| Filed under

Contributor: M. Elhaz Eir

- -
The white lie
hiding the white why
all too casual,
all too cool
the asserion
that secular schooling
creates school shootings
leaves your demonic god
slavering
for dozens of deaths
and all of them innocent
and all of them
in all colors
and not just yours
not just black or white

Ask the white why
the lie to hide the truth
the unmet needs beneath
the white cardboard sundays
of happy-meal churches
the sickness of soul
in the slashed spirit
of the tribal white
cut free
bleeding
left to wander lost
without a root
without a line
back
to the towering ash
to a people once sundered
under blows from Olaf's Hammer
the crush of xtianity
the shards of Sigurd
displaced
and silently begging
for a divine reforge
for something primal
something true
a hit to the heart
stripped of Nazarene trappings
to break away the jotun ice
and set free the fire
that still runs wild in the veins
give each lost ghost soul
so much more to strive for
so much more to connect to
a culture
as rich and real
as any other
a root
as true
as all the roots
that cross back to ape days
days when fire was god
and man
was a brother to man
regardless of creed or color
because anything less
would be a sacrifice of self
instead of survival.


- - -
Pseudonym for nonbinary poet exploring transgender issues.

ELLIS STREET

| Filed under

Contributor: Mark J. Mitchell

- -
Every landscape is located nowhere.

—Fernando Pessoa
The Book of Disquiet



1.

Roy’s left hand dangles over Ellis Street
His cigarette glows soft as a brake light
while late evening becomes early night.
The only music a lunatic shriek
from a tired bus. Neon crackles outside
and stiff voices argue next to the closed
post office station—its only windows
still cracked. He exhales smoke through the good side
of his face. Pearl’s the devil’s true daughter,
he thinks, or some fisherman’s ex-wife.
Coughing, he remembers her cold laughter—
it’s threaded through his dreams—a leitmotif
composed of broken glass and cracked shutters
and lost salt air blown off an unreal reef.


2

Pearl kicks her cigarette down Ellis Street
wondering how many fish build a house,
if he was really her perfect Jim, how reefs
choose just one man—that captain lied, of course—
Jim left—like smoke, like ash from that window
dropping from above the Serv-More. Sidewalks
aren’t safe these days and her cigarette floats
overhead. She scans up and down the block:
No one. Roy’s eyes don’t move. He knows she’s there—
Not some animal sense—she makes his bones
ring loud as a cracked church. Her soul can snare
him at a distance. Past the last pay phone
in the Tenderloin. His ears twitch. He swears
she’ll call. His cool window’s her only home.


3

Once a month the full moon licks Ellis Street.
Roy tilts his broken face, missing lost bones.
The hard light smells of all the blondes he’s known.
But Pearl was moon-cool and still threw a heat
that fused his memory with dreams. He stares
at his dark wall, decodes voices from the store,
cut by sharp notes from dropped bottles. His door
can’t close. He never hears steps on the stairs.

The curb’s cool, concrete’s blue and almost soft,
so Pearl sits, looks at her aging cigarette,
drops it in her pocket, dreaming sailors
in stranger’s smoke. She can light up later.
Her teeth ache for lost Jim. A last minute
pain moves her from low sob to a loud cough.


4

A lost fork eats noon sun on Ellis Street—
blinding—Pearl kicks it past the broken phone
that rings like a lost fork with damaged teeth.
She could answer, but never in daylight—
That reminds her of how she drew a gun
on his back—her fingernails red and hot
as that fork. She drew smoke and a white beach
and he moved like a knife in water-time.
No shades spare Roy’s window—just wanton knots
stretched across the glassless space that hides him—
his sniper’s nest where he guards Ellis Street.
He keeps it safe as milk so she can own
her reef, his wrecked face, the unbroken light
glaring from the fork so her eyes won’t dim.


5

Roy exhales a cowl of smoke. Ellis Street’s
the cloister he’s never walked. His lost prayers
are still as breath. His stiff face avoids air—
devout as a fish—religiously neat.
After dark he practices his long stare.
His mind’s empty and his cold walls are bare.
He listens to night for the sound her feet
make on pavement. His faith says she’s out there.
Handing out messages, Pearl sees the pulse
of neon. Reads the language, not the words—
afraid of the glass—certain it will hurt
when it rains down on the sidewalk, hard as grace.
She tucks a perfect smoke behind her ear
and minds the fogged window with its mute seer.


6

Pearl dreams: A parrot falls on Ellis Street—
Not wild—a refugee from mirrors, scared
outdoors by its face—dropped by concrete stars
beside her cold ear. She knows she’s asleep—
but feathers still tickle. Its cherry beak
is hard as Jim’s eyes. The parrot’s sly ghost
wakes her. This sidewalk’s her bed, not the reef
that stole him. She still hates it. Her dream floats
past Roy. His lighter blinks like the cracked port
light on a smuggler’s skiff. Forgotten coasts
prey on him. He prays too—for her. Precise
as a fisherman’s knife. It's craft—he’s not nice.
This empty world is full of sins and most
are his own. He’s guilty in his home court.


7

Roy stands back and examines Ellis Street
from an oblique angle, mapping a board—
no game—he forgot the rules years ago.
She’d stand right there and haunt the slanted row
leading nowhere. He wants her force restored
to a perfect square that blocks her retreat—
or might. It’s been too long since he was sure
of things—just this wall, his face, his scarred feet.
Pearl moves where she wants. She knows
each puddle of light. She can play with bones
and visions—juggle them with her unskilled hands—
they’re tied by his lost touch—the kiss that began
this trip to her sidewalk. She’ll map fissures,
broken glass, knowing where Jim will fall down.


8

Pearl stops. It has snapped dark on Ellis Street
but only here—where she stands. Music drops
from above the Serve-Well. Slow, damp notes, not
quite rain, but a melody built of mist
and failure. She knows Jim’s not his real
name, but he was so perfect—lithe and tall—
his arms shaped her form. He left and she fell
right here. She shudders at the smell of fish.
Roy owns only one record and he plays
it once a week. Satie’s piano notes
feel cool to his broken ear. He repeats
one side over two hours. It’s his Friday
magic—erasing her face as it floats
down to that strange dark reef on Ellis Street.


9

Roy hated sun. The fog loved Ellis Street.
Day drinkers were loud, formless spirits.
Ashes fall from his window. He retreats
to blue shadow—cracked glass—duct tape, warm spit
and will save it—Movies on his cool wall—
sub-titled with prime numbers—her face calls
his lost name. He glares down to the sidewalk
as if she’ll stroll by. Fog always fooled her.
Pearl’s lost in Chinatown—she followed chalk
Murals past tea shops to an alley where
a pile of antique cassettes promise lost
foreign films. She’s in love with hungry ghosts
and flying knives. But Ellis Street’s his home.
She smells his pacing, willing her to come.


10

Pearl cleans her striped heart. Lights on Ellis Street
kiss fog as gates are pulled closed and locks snap.
She mouths numbers, watches alarms get set.
Cars growl homeward. She smoothes her cardboard flat
below his window. She sees reflected light
leaking around tape. This quiets her cough
and her slack nerves. She slips off on low tides
to dream of fishermen who escape rough
seas. Roy takes a look out through blue shadows
and lets fog cool his burning face. He’d shut
the window if he could. He doesn’t like noise
after dark—it reminds him of squeaky hoists
on lost ships and that night he couldn’t cut
the tail line. He steps back. His face won’t show.


11

Roy squints. The mail has come to Ellis Street.
Pearl waits her turn. There’s no bottle, no note.
Roy paces, sets his record to repeat.
Sun washes Pearl white below his window.
Street boys come and go. They count on dull fights
to break their day. Pearl could toss them a cause
but she wants Roy to sleep. These foggy nights
are cruel to him and she won’t break the law.
The dead Frenchman’s notes bring up Roy’s cracked ships
and Pearl’s lost eyes. She quivers. She looks up.
Roy splashes coffee, cold as a dead fish,
then breaks his cup. Pearl is taut with lust.
Roy runs through his window to Ellis Street.
It rains glass, blood and tape. Pearl and Roy meet.



- - -
Mark J. Mitchell’s novel, The Magic War appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied at Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work appeared in several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. He lives with his wife, Joan Juster making his living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.

Paper

| Filed under

Contributor: Anna Dunn

- -
Small rejections
Are little papercuts

Scratching at the skin
So quiet but
When amplified
Explosive

Bloody nails on chalkboard
Screaming you’re tar not stardust
That nobody even looks twice
At someone who’s cat got her tongue
Way back when she was young
And it’s never growing back
Never growing beautiful
Never blossoming with the springtime

Instead you’re a flower wilting
Petals collapsing
A puzzle with missing pieces
Thrown into the garbage disposal
Never to be caressed
With satisfied fingertips


- - -
Anna Dunn is a student studying creative writing and psychology at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. She spent the last year of her studies abroad, and hopes to travel more in the future.

Because

| Filed under

Contributor: Anne Mikusinski

- -
We write.
For an outlet
A barbed wire connection
Ignited by the rasp
Of an impulse against emotion’s
Sandpaper matchbox strip
A noisy reveal of words
Or music
Flashing briefly
Burning one
Or many
All protection lost
In complete vulnerability
Consequences be damned,
We write.


- - -
I have always been in love with words and have written stories and poems since I was seven. My influences range from Dylan Thomas to David Byrne and I hope that one day, something I've written will inspire someone as much as these writers have inspired me.

The Rose

| Filed under

Contributor: Mitchel Montagna

- -
You take a drag of
a cigarette,
and blow the taste up
toward the sky;
You do not see the
smoke tonight,
instead you see
her eyes.
They glow the way they
always did,
in swells
of memory.
And a sense of wonder
carried her,
like a mist
across the sea.

You’re sleepy but the night
seems real,
and your heart tells you
she’ll stay;
Her skin spins moonlight
into gold,
then vanishes
away.
Her beauty breathes your
dreams to life,
you still can see
it shine:
Her secret smile
like a rose,
across the drift
of time.


- - -
Mitchel Montagna is a corporate communications writer for a professional services firm. His poetry has appeared in Adelaide, In Between Hangovers, and Oddball Magazine.

Fries

| Filed under

Contributor: Jack Rider

- -
I apologize for grabbing
Those last few fries
The lingering warmth
The salty touch

I knew you ordered it
And reluctantly shared
After my pleading
You generous soul

But the crunch
Between my lips
I savored them
Smiling at you


- - -
Jack is an avid cook with an expertise in classic grilled cheeses. Along with cooking, he loves to let his dogs loose to chase the birds at the park. His home is on the road as he explores new locations from across the block to around the world.

Adrenaline and Poison

| Filed under

Contributor: Kristi Yamachika

- -
I was a nebula, forming and floating and
fighting to be something but failing to have
what I needed to do so.
But then you passed by.
A shooting star that whizzed by like it was looking
for someone to show off to.

It’s only the two of us.

You moved like you were a snake in a
room full of white mice.
Your words flowed through my veins
like adrenaline and poison and
I felt more alive than before.
Your eyes were bright and calm
like a blue moon.
I know they would’ve taken me if I looked for too long.

It’s only the two of us.

When I can’t feel my limbs or take a breath,
your hand grasps mine and your strength holds me upright.
The view is breathtaking from up here.
We let the pink satin sunset wash over us
and wait for the moon
to ease our selenotropic minds.

It’s only the two of us.


- - -
Kristi Yamachika can give a detailed psychoanalysis of her favorite TV character, but cannot solve a math problem if her life depended on it. When she’s not competing in sports, she wraps herself in a cocoon of only the fluffiest blankets and rewatches her favorite Disney movies. Her dream is to travel to Santorini, Greece, with her close friends and family to get her mind off the stress and chaos of everyday life back at home.

Four Quatrains

| Filed under

Contributor: Don Thompson

- -
Temps Perdu

The old snakes stay up late at night
And go out searching for their sluffed skin.
It glitters like frost in the warm moonlight,
But somehow they never find it.
*

Scorcher

A death rattle of leaves as the wind dies,
Then silence. And no shelter,
Not even under the trees with their febrile,
Uninviting shade like sliced obsidian.
*

Marginalia

Late storms torment the usual places
Where everyone’s had enough.
Out here at the warm end of winter,
Almond blossoms pass for snow.
*

Calico

Frosted dead grass below a dead tree,
Patches of shadow, and rusted leaves
Fallen years ago that no shiftless wind
Has ever bothered to blow away.
*

Big Lonesome

Out in the scrub, scattered tumbleweeds
Stand around like sheep, content
To be still and graze on desolation—
Unless panicked by the wind.
*


- - -

Homage to John Logan

| Filed under

Contributor: Stefanie Bennett

- -
The dark has a door
all of its own
through which
shines
the begotten
love-light
of sorrow.

To name it - you
claim it.
That
argus-eye
high road
so faithfully
trampled...


- - -
Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugusset-Shawnee] Stefanie was born in Qld., Australia & worked with Arts Action For Peace. She has several poetry books published.

Father Spoke in Code

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Father spoke in code
Mother understood.
She would cry
once he went to bed.
I never understood the code.
My sister didn't either.
As we got older, we quit
asking Mother what he said.

A feral cat claimed our yard.
It would leap the fence
when anyone appeared.
Except, of course, Father.
When he came out to walk
around the garden after supper,
the cat would sit straight up,
then rub against his leg
and look at him as if it understood
what others never could.

My sister used to say
the two of us were proof
Father and Mother
got together twice.
I told her I wasn't so certain.
I looked a lot like Mr. Brompton,
the next-door neighbor.
He used to buy us sugar cones
from the ice cream truck.

My sister, by the way, didn't look
like anyone in the family either,
but that was 40 years ago
when I last saw her.
I went away to college
and she got married.
We were never close after that.
Not even Christmas cards.

Forty years is a long time.
Now, we plan to get together
for a weekend this summer
before one of us dies.
I suggested we wait
till one of us is terminal.
What's the rush, I said.
But my wife told her
I was only kidding,
that we'll be coming
and not to make a fuss.
Burgers and hot dogs
will do just fine.

I know what Sis and I
will talk about that weekend,
the two people we'll always
have in common, no matter
how many years and miles
may lie between us.
Father and Mother have been
dead for decades now
but they're still alive in us.
I talk in code, my wife says,
and my sister cries a lot,
now that her husband's dead.
The one thing I want to know
is if my sister knows
what happened to the cat.
It knew the code,
may have had some answers.


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

Deeper Lines

| Filed under

Contributor: Wisen Erlach

- -
I look into the eyes
of all the women
who aren't you
who seem a piece of you
somehow
in the eyes
in the distracted
vaguely irritated gazes
the faces
of disinterested
long dead models
who carry all the elegance
and vague hatred
I've seen
in your own eyes
in the lines
that divide white from white
the lines
that get deeper
and deeper
with every passing year


- - -

The Numbness Pervades

| Filed under

Contributor: Adam Levon Brown

- -
Two lone wolves
prowled the vicinity

Their father lay
broken and ensnared
in magical chains

Hati and Skoll
Howled to the misery
of desperation



Forging a bond
that could never
be undone

Blood dripped
from the crescent
razor at the feet
of the Gods

Not one moment
did the Aesir relent
in their ideals

A golden Valkyrie
Watched on and knew



That the night would
end in bloodshed


- - -
Adam Levon Brown is an internationally published poet, and amateur photographer living in Eugene, Oregon.

Missiles and Land Mines

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
After the poetry reading
the lights go on and a lady
under a big hat rises
behind dark sunglasses
and asks the poet why
he never writes about sex.

He says for the same reason
he never writes about war.
What more can be said
about missiles in flight
and land mines that need
the right touch to go off.


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

Older, Higher, Wiser

| Filed under

Contributor: T.L.R. DeLong

- -
From beast to overman
and all in less
than ten generations
and you still say
there's no way
anything could have come before
that the screws in the stone
or the carbon in the cracks
between our many varied ages
are merely circumstance
hoax piled upon hopes
that show
the folly of human belief
human endeavor.

Heap high the wild tales
the bible stories
of fallen Gomorrah
of floods and Noah
obscure the truth
that we were once more
that we were once
so much more
until everything
came crashing down around us
until everything we had built
went belly-up
for all our expertise
all our insight
and all for nothing
against real disasters
that leveled real cities
crumbled real cultures
even in those ages
of our own hidden, distant past.


- - -
I write about what stirs my passions. I write for the fire of it, and nothing less.

Laughter

| Filed under

Contributor: Jack Rider

- -
Do you remember that moment
When we drenched ourselves
With water balloons on Saturdays and laughed?

Do you remember that moment
When we fought each other
In a tickle war under the blankets and laughed?

Do you remember that moment
When we nearly blew up
Your kitchen trying to bake a cake and laughed?

Do you remember that moment
When we snuck out at 3 A.M.
For those delicious tacos and laughed?

Do you remember that moment
When we ditched our dates
On Prom Night for a walk on the beach and laughed?

Do you remember that moment
When you married the love of your life
And he tripped walking you out and laughed?

Do you remember that moment
When our kids drenched each other
With water balloons on Saturdays and laughed?

Do you remember that moment
When we sat on those rocking chairs
Talking about the old days and laughed?

I still remember all those moments and
I hope we come together again and laugh.


- - -
Jack is an avid cook with an expertise in classic grilled cheeses. Along with cooking, he loves to let his dogs loose to chase the birds at the park. His home is on the road as he explores new locations from across the block to around the world.

Fool’s Gold

| Filed under

Contributor: Jefferson Ma

- -
All he ever wanted was love
Even if it meant becoming a slave
A slave to the passion of a brown eyed girl
Who in casual fashion, played him for a fool
Oblivious and blinded by her dazzle
Fell head over heels for the damsel

Money make 'em feel good, but does she make me feel good
Known for gettin' that guala out in Europe, but I'm still hood

He fell deeper into her perfect and flawless
While she fell deeper in the depths of his pockets
Consumed by her hoax of a smile
Endeavored into her coax of love
He thought his world was changing
While his bank account starting breaking
He was ready to give her everything
and threw his money into giving her a ring

Money make 'em feel good, but does she make me feel good
Known for gettin' that guala out in Europe, but I'm still hood

Five months for her to cash in his money
Five minutes for her to smash all his feelings
Like a bad rash she disappeared
As he realized the last half year had been trash
All he ever wanted was her love
Even if it meant becoming her slave

Money make 'em feel good, but does she make me feel good
Known for gettin' that guala out in Europe, but I'm still hood


- - -
Jefferson Ma is the reincarnation of Beyonce every time he steps into his car. He has also known how to bargain before he could walk, convincing his parents he needed a 5 minute timeout instead of 10. He will spend hours thinking of how to be a successful villain while binging seasons of The Flash and The Arrow.

Archives

Powered by Blogger.