New Tomorrows

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
New tomorrows
Sprinkled with uncertainty
Hopeful yet unknowing
Born of some spectral happenstance
That unites souls
Without knowing when or how
Looking in the mirror of time
And seeing infinity
Holding hands at the crossroads
Without questioning which way to go
Knowing the path to follow
Uncertainty gone in a tornado
Swirling in the core
Opening new vistas
And new tomorrows


- - -
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.

God

| Filed under

Contributor: J. L. Smith

- -
She believes in God after the rains come,
when prayers are heard
after the silence
of slammed doors,
a car skidding out of the driveway,
when the higher power can hear her voice
over the heart thuds and clogged throat.

After then, kneeling is not necessary
for he knows she is his servant,
at his mercy,
as she pleads with him the words
she cannot use aloud.


- - -
J.L. has published two collections of poetry: Medusa, The Lost Daughter and Weathered Fragments. Follow her on Twitter @jennifersmithak

Knowing

| Filed under

Contributor: Sandra Shaw Homer

- -
Fine strong planes
of face,
lines knowing,
beard tickle
eye twinkle
pain between brows.
I touch the pain –
here.
Soft ears listen
mouthcurve speak to me –
kiss
oh, kiss.

Curve of back
finely taut at hip
knee leg toes
sharp angles here
and soft here.
Fingers dry and strong
like rushes touch me
in the wind.
touch –
here, oh!


- - -
A Costa Rican citizen, Shaw Homer has written for the local press, as well as published fiction, nonfiction and poetry in on-line and print journals. Her travel memoir, Letters from the Pacific, was well reviewed by Kirkus and PW.

Never, Never, Never

| Filed under

Contributor: Frank Ferone

- -
I never chose to stumble,
never chose to be unseen.
Never chose to be your instrument
of letting off some steam.
I never chose where I've come from,
never chose where I have been
Never chose much of anything,
I'm just your mannequin.
I never chose your disappointments,
never chose your point of views.
Never once have I chosen your many colors of abuse.
I never chose to be your image,
never chose to over apologize.
Never chose to be a needless waste
of space within your eyes.
I never chose to be treated like an animal,
never chose to be the target of your screams.
Never chose to handle disassociation
with fragmented nightmarish daydreams.
I never chose your preconceptions,
never chose your bias representing.
Never chose your jokes at my expense;
your toxicity unrelenting.
I never chose to be a space cadet,
never chose your needs to sacrifice me.
Never chose to be your perfect pet
to put it more precisely.


- - -
NYC poet exploring some of his most inner thoughts and feelings on love, pain, depression, and anxiety.

Twelve Untitled Haiku / Senryu / etc.

| Filed under

Contributor: Robert Beveridge

- -
manacled hands take
the skull from the pit; cop digs
where he points next

* * *

I raise the silent
bottle the sad river flows
behind your green eyes

* * *

leaves fall
your poems written
between their veins

* * *

hunger
burning pain
dead dog

* * *

flash of brilliant light
catches lovers in the act
cop knows her father

* * *

eighty-four steps
in fallen leaves: beyond
the electric chair

* * *

dirty needles freeze
clink against solid sand
winter in Jersey

* * *

clock hands spin, the wait
for a message slow to come,
maybe never does

* * *

all tools have two sides
hammers can shatter but they
can also fasten

* * *

car's back seat, tinted
windows afford minimal
privacy...don't care

* * *

back against the wall
head bowed in supplication
one more day in wait

* * *

blonde waterfall
your spring spray draws me
I douse myself


- - -
Robert Beveridge
makes noise and writes poetry
Akron, Ohio

Wasteland Carousel

| Filed under

Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
So neat and tidy
outside the city
with two trashcans
at the top
of every driveway.

One full
of fake plastic bottles
promised to be recycled
anew.

But ain’t it true
that the messy trash
is what always
comes back around
when you forget
to clean up
your karma?


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

Ode To Silence

| Filed under

Contributor: Goff James

- -
In silence
Alone I sit
Upon the headland’s rugged cliffs
Where twilight’s fingers linger long
Captured by my weaving thoughts
Immersed within the setting sun’s
Descent beyond the aching sea

In silence
Alone I sit
Listening to the mournful music of
The rhythmic lapping waves echo ‘neath
The restless call of gulls full winged
With awe filled wonder I watch
The bees upon the heather dance and sing

In silence
Alone I sit
As the clifftop chorus gently fades
And drifts beyond the slipping sun
Carried high on evening’s perfumed breeze
Into the furthest cooling corners
Of the closing of the day

In silence
Alone I sit
Gazing at the rising crescent moon
Veiled in mellow lustred clouds
Heavenwards my weary eyes I lift
Offering to the waking night
A simple thankful prayer


- - -
Goff James lives in Wales. His interests are gardening, painting, photography, reading, travel and writing. His poetry reflects whatever seems to catch his eye at any one particular moment in time.

Old Man’s Sea

| Filed under

Contributor: Sunil Sharma

- -
on a solitary patch
of the beach
with bent palms
whisper things
in his attentive ears

the old guy walks regularly
morning and evening
doing the routine for years,
he
calls the breakers
by names and
smiles at the
orange-hued bosom
of the waves
as buddies!

An odd relationship of a tiny guy
with
a sea, dark-blue, mysterious

a mortal searching for gods and
a sanctuary, in a touristy place.


- - -
Bio: Sunil Sharma, a writer-freelance-academic from Mumbai, India, has published 19 books, solo and joint. He edits Setu:
http://www.setumag.com/p/setu-home.html

Master Poet

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

- -
You are the poet's Poet,
Yours is the greatest poem,
Full of beauty,
Filled with wisdom,
Perfectly it scans,
Majestic in its power,
Epic in its scope,
Brilliant in conception,
You placed it on the page,
An eternal message,
A gift of love and hope.


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

DRIFT

| Filed under

Contributor: Pat Ashinze

- -
nothing makes
a man look stupid
like wanton misery
and consistent failure.
And love.

i tell you, dear reader -
not because i have drunk sour wines;
not because i have seen the sky bleed;
not because my memories have grown
grey beards and have become arthritic;
i tell you this to show you the vanity
behind having an human existence.

if you see a man crying, run!
his soul is filled with shadows.
his memories are Unclad and silty.
run! - before the heaviness spreads and
makes you a city beneath the earth.

truth is: the mind of every man is filled with grief:
consisting of sorrows that sting like desert arachnids and
hurt like the jests of blasphemous demons.
we hide our pains behind our teeth everyday,
praying in dense notes for death to run away,
waiting for God to show his face in the clouds.

another truth is that happiness requires sacrifice.
it is the reward for hearts
that have chosen to ignore pain
and learnt to live in a world
filled with dangling windows,
punctured destinies, broken stories,
false friends, envied pedestals,
desolate cities and empty rooms.
happiness is not for cowards.
be illumined.


- - -
I write from Ilorin, Nigeria. Writing is the way i empty my mind of its load of colours and shadows. I write fluidly but poetry is my favourite genre. Writing is the only way i can talk without being interrupted.

Crossing The Ocean

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
Crossing the ocean

Is more than just miles

Or depth to the bottom

It’s battling sea monsters

And waves that try

To scuttle your ship

Only love can conquer

The daemons setting their sights

On the rarest of feelings

When truly aroused

When the heart and the soul

Join forces and become one

To take on all comers

And conquer the darkness

Like a knight in shining armor

To rescue the damsel in distress

And carry her off to Neverland

To live the plethora of youth and joy

That only true love can bring


- - -
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.

Alone

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Briganti

- -
Never by my side
always alone am I
In the beginning
there were signs
but I chose not to
acknowledge them
I buckled-up on the
roller coaster ride of love
with eyes wide open
throwing my hands in the air
surrendering to whatever
would come
He was handsome and gallant
I was naive
I wanted the fairy tale
and he provided the book
Together
we would fill the pages

Those early years
passed quickly
filled with passion
and anticipation
Gloriously wild and free
life revolved around
him and me
My Knight in shinning armor
he came from over-seas
Everything about him was
memorizing, tantalizing
And then just like that
on a nondescript day
he dropped the bomb
the ultimatum
In retrospect,
not an easy decision
for a starry-eyed girl

Follow him and live over-seas
or accept the unthinkable
Already in love, infatuated
wanting the fairy tale
afraid to lose the future
I followed
Surrendering my goals
along with everyone
and everything I knew

I would become a wife
without ever being a bride
Young and married by the law
no wedding, no reception
and in the end
no recollection


- - -
A Native New Yorker, I've been writing poetry for as long as I can remember. It is my hope that someone may find solace in my words.

Pushing For More

| Filed under

Contributor: Vaunna Fostertagg

- -
Give me a taste of purity
give me a taste of that happiness
that can't be found
in champagne bottles
in slaying stacks of paper
in drunken nights under neon
in beds that smell of stranger's sweat
in fists and back-alley brawling
in sharp smiles
and sharper knives
and secrets
that destroy families
quips
that tear down towers
and leave men standing in windows
contemplating the drop
to the distant ground.

Give me a taste of the joy
that comes from the ice
when children would eat sweet larvae
from the raw pelts of reindeer
and chew walrus fat
knowing that days were good
that life was rich

Give me a taste of the joy
that came with ancient gratitude
an acceptance of all that is
all that was
without ever once
pushing the envelope
against danger
hoping for more.


- - -
Florida native with a heart of gold, sometimes.

Chance Encounters

| Filed under

Contributor: Jun Lit

- -
The young man sweeps the mat of dried leaves,
all that decades-old bamboo clump has littered.
The tops and canes are green and fresh,
the over-matured culms are browning.

I am the old uncle watching,
feet raised on the extended arm rests
of my chair rocking,
a mug of brewed coffee on one hand, I’m sipping
just as in my childhood, aroma captivating -
to relieve the joints of uric pain, I’m trying,
to re-live the vibrant guitarist strain, I’m wishing.

The broom stick and rake he sways
with precise moves and muscular grace;
as accompaniment, the chirps of birds, the wind plays
as chickens cackling like backup singers race.

Breaking the seeming trance, the rooster crows,
"cock-a-doodle-doo" - loud and proud, the hens he wows
and I stare at this old boy - or the young man, he grows
He glances at me, then bows,
as I see my past, the youth that Sun did arouse
and he sees his future, as years thin and grey the brows.
Aging is inevitable, I know, he knows
And again, enjoying the day, the rooster crows.


- - -
Jun Lit (Ireneo L. Lit, Jr.) teaches biology and studies insects at the University of the Philippines Los Baños and writes poems about nature, people, and society

Flat Roads

| Filed under

Contributor: J. L. Smith

- -
We dreamt of far away lines of flat roads,
some hills to make it interesting,
some turns to give us some decisions,
paths to debate,
outcomes in which to blame.

But, together we took a detour
with neither of us consulting the GPS.
Blood in our veins
directed our course in off roads
made of vines of compromise.

Instead of our destination,
we got nowhere.
Now, we are lost
and we have only ourselves to blame.


- - -
J.L. has published two collections of poetry: Medusa, The Lost Daughter and Weathered Fragments. Follow her on Twitter @jennifersmithak

SHORN

| Filed under

Contributor: Dee Allen

- -
Getting the head
Shorn with a blade,
Hairless to the touch
And smooth, was how
Kenyan and Tanzanian
Maasai men historically
Prepared for battle
Against approaching hostile
Nearby tribes. Nowadays,
Maasai women strip
Themselves of wooly hair
For cleanliness and
Drawing the straying
Male eye on her.
As an African man

In America, applying
A good razor
To my stubbly
Scalp, lathered in
Thick white cream,
Backward and forward
Before the bathroom mirror
Over a face-bowl

Keeps the creeping
Ravages of grey
From settling in
All too soon--

My face,
All sharp corners
And high cheek-bones,
Receives the same treatment.

My ritual
Wards off age
For the time being.
Youth and
Cleanliness maintained with razor strokes.

This is me
In warrior mode
Preparing for battle
Against encroaching hostile
Western society.
_____________
W: 8.16.18

- - -
African. Italian. Poet.

The Contented Sow

| Filed under

Contributor: Quirby McNallain

- -
Eating bacon
Staring at the pig
her succulent piglets
wondering
why we render such wonder
in paint and paper
while keeping life contained
in such tiny boxes
nowhere near as ideal
as the contented sow
smiling
at the burnt bacon
on my greasy plate.


- - -
My parents were quirky, and that's how I'll always remember them. Longtime resident of Sparks, in Nevada.

Drunken Advice

| Filed under

Contributor: Uralave Minsraim

- -
Don't fix what ain't broken
Yeah
I wish less was broken
I wish the whole system
wasn't broken
wasn't a heap of trash
better left outside
ignored
where the rain could wash it clean
or the fire could cleanse it
or someone new
could carry the whole thing away
and make something useful
out of the mess
I sometimes call
my life.


- - -
I go from one meeting to another in an endless chain of absolute importance.

Despondence

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Briganti

- -
What in life did she really know
it's not what it all seems
Now all covered by the snow
buried are her dreams

A blanket made of icy white
lies heavy on her soul
Passing is each day and night
life has taken its toll

Beneath the bitter cold
tears of sadness fill her eyes
What she believed was real in life
was nothing more than lies


- - -
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.

On A Walk

| Filed under

Contributor: J.R. Night

- -
In autumn, when all is rotten, the winds fall
To spill the streets and summon sounds
one wouldn’t like to hear at all.

I walk and know
They hide, holding knives.
I hear my shriek, and realize
I made the wrong turn.
I’m far from home.

I quicken, clothes billowing and picture
From the shadows a nightmare’s hand shoot out
But instead they say things, whisper little secrets of mine.
Memories long thrown a blanket on
In the dead of night, now I run, hear the shriveled crunch
of those that couldn’t quite
hold on, but I go on, wipe the sweat from my brow
They’re faster, gaining on me now.
crunching louder, feet flying, flying, flying.
How I wish I could fly.

I cut the street, puff of a passing bus,
and all of a sudden
I hear nothing then
a high-pitched scream exits my body.
I catch my reflection, but no matter
I continue to scream, still long after.


- - -
J.R. Night is a recent graduate from The University of Maryland. He likes to write, draw, and exercise, all of which leave him breathless and annoyed.

Your Presence

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
I awoke several times last night

And looked for you on the

Pillow next to me

In my mind’s eye I saw you lying there

Your hair billowing around

Your beautiful face

Your breathing slow and gentle

The breathing of the content

Knowing of our love for each other

Feeling your presence

As I fell back asleep


- - -
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.

Footprints in the Snow

| Filed under

Contributor: Dorian J Sinnott

- -
I remember
frozen flakes dusting your lashes on the day you went away;
When they buried you deep in the iced earth
And I never got to say—

Good-bye
to the warmth of your arms in the chill of the night;
To your breath against my cheek
And your voice whispering, “It’ll be alright—

Just stay
with me, I love you more than you know;
But if I can’t be with you, just listen
And follow my footprints in the snow—

They remain
forever like fingerprints upon your heart;
Once touched, never forgotten
And unable to tear apart—”

But torn apart
we became so quickly it seemed;
As each day and touch grew colder
And I never dreamed—

You’d leave me
alone with nothing, lost in a world of winter gray;
Where only the snowflakes know my name
And I listen to them say—

“Follow me
to the window and look out upon the white;
Dry your tears, little one
And I promise you’ll be alright—

I promised
you many things some of which I could not keep;
But before you lay your weary head down
And go to sleep—

Just know
that I love you, forever, even if I’m gone;
This promise is forever
And one you can count on—

Always remember
if you’re lost and don’t know where to go;
Just close your eyes and listen
And follow my footprints in the snow.”


- - -
Dorian J. Sinnott is a graduate of Emerson College's Writing, Literature, and Publishing program, currently living in Kingston, New York with his cat. He enjoys horseback riding, playing violin, and cosplaying his favorite childhood characters at comic cons. Dorian's work has appeared in Crab Fat Literary Magazine, The Pangolin Review, Alter Ego, and Terror House Magazine.

You're Not In Bed?

| Filed under

Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
Screams that startle in the dark
As alone you cross the park
Golden eyes glowing in the trees
Make you tremble and lock your knees
Something brushes the back of your head
You can’t wake up if you're not in bed
Someone whispers your name down low
Hurry up, you're moving way too slow
Rustling leaves heard from somewhere behind
Sanctuary in the darkness is impossible to find
Things that scurry across my feet
Fear of what unknown creatures I will meet
Hairs that stand up on the back of my neck
My nerves are shot, my mind's a wreck
Moving faster when I see a far off light
I continue moving on through the night
The light ahead flickers and then goes out
You wonder what the hell is this all about
Now you start to move your feet real fast
Fear that you may have breathed your last
Just then you realize you're doomed to be lost
Forced to pay the ultimate cost
A dog barks so close you can feel his breath
You know it is a matter of life or death
Just when you think the end is near
A familiar voice you plainly hear
“Get up and roll on out of bed
You where sleeping so sound I thought you where dead”


- - -
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 25 poems on this site and one printed in "Stormcloud Poets second anthology".

A Modern Witch

| Filed under

Contributor: Susie Gharib

- -
In her magic sacred rites
she observes animal rights
so no ass's genitals will be boiled
so as to enhance a lover's performance
no lizard's tail will be cut
with which to touch a partner's butt
and make her thus forget him not.

Her cauldron is a butter-cup
which bubbles with dew
and a few tear-drops
all seasoned with a ripple's froth
to simmer in the sun
until dusk.

Her wand is a bough
from a Hibernian oak
deftly severed
by a thunder's stroke
one dip in the potion
and it starts to crawl
scribbling instructions
on a circle of logs
her Log-henge
if I may have recourse
to metaphors.

Her incantations are the murmurs of shells
the susurration of winds
in their ecstatic dance
the patter of rain
in its Spring elegance
to entrance
to transport a pining dame or lass,
ensconced within her father's glance,
from the turret of her kitchen
into your one-room flat
on the wings of a single chant.


- - -
Susie is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow) with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence.

Caught in a Vortex

| Filed under

Contributor: Mark Tulin

- -
I was trapped in a brick row house,
windows with steel bars bolted shut
caring for a woman who ate glass
who cut my throat with her mouth

who walked in the streets naked,
asking which way to Mendocino,
barefoot and delirious,
she hitched a ride on Route 66

But it was I who needed to escape,
run away to a place of my own,
where there were no four-point restraints
and howling wives under a full moon

I remember the day
when I screamed at the top of my lungs,
almost impaled myself on the bedposts,
thought I had pierced the sky with my cries
and gave God a stroke

I wished somebody could’ve saved me,
removed me from this house of horrors
and a wife with a toothless smile
and a hatchet in her eyes

The story continued,
had a twisted, distorted plot
It played out like the scratching on a chalkboard,
water torture for a prisoner of war,
a crazy Edgar Allen Poe fairy tale,
lost in a spiraling vortex
unable to grab onto something

I watched my wife get ECT
I turned the dials, upped the ante
She survived, although deep-fried
with her eyes bugged out
and a burnt-out glaze across the sky

Do you remember me? I asked
No, she said as death fell from her toasted lips
and her head broke from her neck.
Information about her past had evaporated,
only the smoky smell of brain cells
in a psychiatric hospital remained.


- - -
In 2012, Mark Tulin got up enough courage to move to California and has been writing poetry and stories ever since. He has published in the Santa Barbara Independent, Family Therapy Magazine, Smokebox.net, Fiction on the Web, Page and Spine, and Friday Flash Fiction. His poetry chapbook is called, Magical Yogis, and his website is Crow On The Wire.

Mountain Souvenir

| Filed under

Contributor: J. L. Smith

- -
We ascended the mountain
when the skies were blue,
cotton ball clouds,
no rain in sight.
Sun, warm hugs,
kisses, pet names in the dark.
You gazed into my pools,
all I saw was light.

Everyone was in a hurry to get to the top,
but I wanted to savor the beauty,
gneiss rocks under our feet.
One by one, tourists raced to the top,
a prize at stake
for whoever reached it first.
But, I didn’t care
for I was with you
and that was enough.

But, as we climbed the clouds darkened.
You wanted to climb faster,
but I held you back.
Your twisted smile betrayed you,
my first glimpse of it,
as you pulled me up.

As we reached the top,
the guide gave us the medallion:
cheap, yellow metal embossed
with the mountain’s name and date.
I looked at the clouds growing in the skies,
your tired eyes, as we started the descent,
medallion in hand:
a souvenir for me to remember:
the first time I saw you on the mountain.


- - -
J.L. has published two collections of poetry: Medusa, The Lost Daughter and Weathered Fragments. Follow her on Twitter @jennifersmithak

Alive

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Briganti

- -
I feel I'm alone
Whisper in my ear
I need to know
you are near

Come close to me
reach out and touch me
Whisper in my ear
I need to feel
you are here

Hold me in your arms
tell me you love me
Whisper in my ear
Come back to life this year

Tell me it's not true
tell me you're alive
Whisper in my ear
come home to me my dear


- - -
A Native New Yorker, I've been writing poetry for as long as I can remember. It is my hope that someone may find solace in my words.

Enlisted

| Filed under

Contributor: Sarah Henry

- -
The Army doesn’t want
the short, weak men,
the kind who gun
their motors
to impress the girls.
They fall by the wayside
at a recruiting station.
Tiger Woods had his
eyes fixed with Lasik’s
so he’s dismissed.
Facial tattoos and body
jewelry don’t rate.
The blind, paralyzed,
unhearing, alcoholic,
and those with one foot
toeing in aren’t admitted,
along with twits, jerks,
creeps and traitors,
the abnormal cases.

A normal person is rare
as normal weather,
which happens every
twenty years. Uncle
Sam doesn’t want
a woman like me.
I wrestle with billing
while bringing
up the rear. Uniforms
and camouflage aren’t
the right gear
for a workplace princess.
I fight the office wars.


- - -
Sarah Henry has published in Turtle Island Quarterly, Red Eft Review, Defenestration and journals abroad. She lives and writes without distractions in a small Pennsylvania town.

I Cry Poetry

| Filed under

Contributor: Quirby McNallain

- -
I don't cry anymore
I write poems
instead

my phone is full
of crappy, half-finished lines

My phone is full of chunks
words
ideas
always left undone

but in each
an ember of pain

in each
a little piece of me

let go
forever
let go.


- - -
My parents were quirky, and that's how I'll always remember them. Longtime resident of Sparks, in Nevada.

Chompers

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
I can tell you
what’s behind those doors.
As you walk down that
familiar unfamiliar hallway.

Inside, there are rattles, dancing
roaches, and old lines. Gossip
makes a merry way around.

I can tell you the faces
to trust. The words to watch out
for. It’s all blurry.

People can be kind in one
instant and ravenous in another.
They are territorial and misguided.

They can also be lovely, like
gems tucked away. It’s too much
advice, perspective, momentary
musing.

Best to be quiet
and let the moon roll over
I suppose.


- - -
I have a new book, A Five-Year Journey, just published by Dreaming Big Publications.

Depthless

| Filed under

Contributor: Vaunna Fostertagg

- -
How deep do I have to dig
How deeply buried
is my sense of self worth
is my belief
that things will get better
that there is more
to strive for
just around the corner?

How many years
and acres of dirt
do I need to move
to find my solace
to find something greater
than the dull spread of hours
between work
and work
again

Maybe it breaks you
when you realize there's no gold
no matter how deeply you dig
maybe you lose something
some sense of hope
held only by children
and the naive
who say they know
there's got to be gold
somewhere
in all this cold
and endless
depthless
dirt.


- - -
Florida native with a heart of gold, sometimes.

Rushing Windmills

| Filed under

Contributor: Uralave Minsraim

- -
Antlers and windmills
hit one
while rushing at the other
discover
the giants of lore
were nothing more than shadows
hungry meats
thirsty rivers
the weight of it holds you back
but still you run
run
as if against a wind
as if against a mighty wind
the wind of mighty arms
with a wall of stone
just behind


- - -
I go from one meeting to another in an endless chain of absolute importance.

SOULMEMORY

| Filed under

Contributor: Dee Allen

- -
My soul remembers

The rejection
From public life
My ancestors
Must've felt
In the distant past,
The bug-a-boo status
They've known
And the new
Incoming migrants
Border patrol or none
Border wall or none
Know now--

Back then, all

Laundries, dry cleaners, nightclubs, hotels,
Bars, restaurants, hospitals, clinics, schools,
Libraries, grocery stores, clothing shops, homes,
Bank loans, jobs, barbers, boneyards

Were open and available for everyone's use.

Unless you were Black.
___________________
W: 6.29.18

- - -
African. Italian. Poet.

You Never Change

| Filed under

Contributor: Edward Carl Xcenia

- -
You leave
but you linger
you always linger
you watch
when I don't want you to
ignore me
when I wish you wouldn't
like you know
somehow
like you've always known
just how to cut me
most deeply.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss you
or your knife
or your hate
or your lies
or all the words
you cut me with

I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish
it was you
I could wake up next to
in all your glory
in all your youth
all you once had
all the health and glee
we shared
when the sex was easy
and often
and you wanted
more than I could ever give

I'd be lying if I said I didn't pine
for even one word from you
for even one lie
for even one drip of something
to show I meant more to you
than the trash you left me with
the trash you left me for
the trash you made
of everything wondrous
we ever had

I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope
you might see this, read this
but I know you won't
and wouldn't say anything
even if you did

because you've always loved hurting me
you've always loved taking more
than I could ever give

You never change
I don't know why
I keep expecting you to.


- - -

The Beach

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Briganti

- -
Amid the rain and thunder
she's walking without shoes
She's wandering the beach
alone in search of clues

She wants to know in life
what is true and not
She wants to be thankful
for everything she's got

But something makes her sad
and she cannot understand
Why she feels the need
to hold somebody's hand

Why she can't be happy
just being with herself
Why it's not enough
taking care of just oneself


- - -
A Native New Yorker, I've been writing poetry for as long as I can remember. It is my hope that someone may find solace in my words.

A Special Warmth

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
It’s overcast and rainy

But I feel a special warmth

A warmth from above

A warmth inside

As if the sun were shining

For me alone


- - -
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.

Steps

| Filed under

Contributor: J. L. Smith

- -
Together, we walk over rock covered paths,
one foot at a time,
careful to land our feet
like our tongues,
along the uncharted path.

Sometimes my foot slips,
my ankle twists.
You used to catch me,
but now you allow me to stumble.

Your arms cup around me,
bringing me to you,
until you look around to see who is watching,
then you release me.

We leave the path exhausted,
one foot ambling after another,
in different directions.


- - -
J.L. has published two collections of poetry: Medusa, The Lost Daughter and Weathered Fragments. Follow her on Twitter @jennifersmithak

CONCRETE ALTAR

| Filed under

Contributor: Dee Allen

- -
Black lives
Don't matter
To the C.O.
Walking the cell-block.

Black lives
Matter less
To the salty
Beat-cop patrolling the 'hood, squadcar on prowl.

Black lives
Don't matter
To the vigilante
Bigot gone hunting for heads darker than his.

Black lives
Matter less
To sharp steel
Unprovoked

Insane wrath thrust
Into young
Necks on
A subway train platform.

One female left wounded. Her sister
Never saw past 18.

MacArthur B.A.R.T.
Past sundown:
Gleaming candles, flowers & photos,
Altar formed over concrete.
People, victim's family gathered
Among blaring Hip-Hop tracks
And wall projections of little

Light-skinned Nia
In happier times, the
Look of another adolescent
In love
With life

Demanded a justice for her
None of them knew.

Protect your necks.
Protect each other,
Little sisters
And brothers.
___________
W: 7.24.18
[ For Nia Wilson--2000-2018. ]


- - -
African. Italian. Poet.

Better Than What Never Was

| Filed under

Contributor: Kendra R. Grosfelt

- -
He'd stand on the corners
He'd watch for me
He'd smile
at my smile
reach for me

but I was always gone
I was always too quick
always lost
in someone else's arms

he saw it all
he fumed in silence
he tore at himself
he hated himself

and I screamed at him
and I told him I'm not his
and I told him I'm not an object to be won
I'm not something to be stolen
and he seemed to understand
though the rage would come back
the need
over and over again

It's been so long
but he sees it now
he sees me for me
finally
and we're free
we're both free

He's found his perfect match
and finally killed his crush
for me.


- - -

Persephone

| Filed under

Contributor: Nancy Botta

- -
4 a.m. woman
with too many bruises
and not enough suitcases,
she marches
through the bus depot
(children and pomegranate seeds
trailing behind her)
carrying everything
and the world on her back,
she hopes this time
is the last time she has to fight
over her expired voucher
for a one way ticket out of hell.


- - -
Nancy Botta lives in Berwyn, Illinois with her husband, son, and cat. She works for corporate America and has been previously published in WINK: Writers in the Know, Soft Cartel, Ariel Chart, Three Lines Poetry, Furtive Dalliance, and Haiku Journal.

Against My Battered Door

| Filed under

Contributor: Joseph G. Longan

- -
Give me a dream of something holy
give me a dream of something right
a dream of dancing
of those I've lost
of those I've come to know
as I've reached
into the unknown.

Give me a dream of something sacred
give me a dream of something bright
give me a pair of arms to fall into
a web of midnight need
to hold me
through every fire
through every storm
until there is nothing left
until there is nothing
to blow against my battered door.


- - -

Golden Grapes

| Filed under

Contributor: Barry B. Belmont

- -
Mountain madness grips me
the scream of swine
I howl fire
I howl ice
I howl the will of mine
I make all before me
part and open
and I'm amid the green
and I'm standing in handfuls
of grapes and gold
of glory
and all that I've ever asked for
resting well
in my shaking arms.


- - -
All that is holy, all that is free, is me.

Those Days

| Filed under

Contributor: Delvon T. Mattingly

- -
It’s just one of those days, you say,

Till you repeat this every day.

It’s just one of those days,

And your apathy bleeds,

Into everything you create.

One of those days,

And your depression,

It fails to go away.

Those days,

End it now,

You say.


- - -
Delvon T. Mattingly, who also goes by D.T. Mattingly, is an emerging creative writer and a PhD student in epidemiology at the University of Michigan.

The Music of Time

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
The music of time

Remains frozen

Drifting like snowflakes

Across the Himalayas

Waiting for dancers

To unlock the mystery

A simple Pas de deux

Lyrical and elegant

Filled with the joy

Of lovers

Joined by a thread

Suspended

But never touching

Until the final moment

As the music of time

Transports their reality

Into one


- - -
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.

Ancient Paradox Alive Today

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
After two thousand years
we still have folks
who blame the Jews

for killing Christ even though
Pilate the Gentile could have
let him go and kept Barabbas.

This would have meant
no crucifixion, no resurrection.
Heaven’s gates would still

be closed—perhaps forever,
thus making it impossible
for anyone to blame the Jews

for doing what they had to do
for Heaven’s gates to open.
And those who blame the Jews

would still be waiting for a Savior
the way the Jews await the Messiah
they believe will come.


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

Those Doors

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
I can tell you
what’s behind those doors.
As you walk down that
familiar unfamiliar hallway.

Inside, there are rattles, dancing
roaches, and old lines. Gossip
makes a merry way around.

I can tell you the faces
to trust. The words to watch out
for. It’s all blurry.

People can be kind in one
instant and ravenous in another.
They are territorial and misguided.

They can also be lovely, like
gems tucked away. It’s too much
advice, perspective, momentary
musing.

Best to be quiet
and let the moon roll over
I suppose.


- - -
I have new book of poems, A Five-Year Journey, just published and available at Amazon.

Stars

| Filed under

Contributor: Q.R.V.L.

- -
Touch the stars, young one
Reach out and ride
ride the hailstone path
and be
be among all that glory
with me
the mother who was
the mother who is
the mother you know
whose fire burns
in your divine sky blood.


- - -
I sit alone and ponder how the molecules in my body were manufactured freely in some patient generation of stars.

Nightswimmer Junior, Private Colossus

| Filed under

Contributor: Todd Mercer

- -
It’s not as issue of bravery or fighting against fear
when Nightswimmer Junior crosses open water.
She acts out of resolution. Picks a stretch
and next she’s doing it. Sometimes she’s too winded
by the time she hauls up on the far shore,
but that’s the life-wish in action. The triumph
of the urge to Be Here Now over any notion
rooted in self-destruction. When it’s over
and she’s back home, she smiles from knowing
what’s she’s managed out there. That satisfaction expands
because her swims are off or under the radar. Or sonar,
she refines, staying off the underwater scanner.
Floating it. She’s a colossus who disguises herself
as an average person during daylight. A fish
that looks so human no one’s checked for gills.


- - -
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.

Rusty Gallows

| Filed under

Contributor: Dee Allen

- -
Reddish-brown
Corrosion covers
The whole goddamn structure
Like a filthy blanket.
With so much widespread
Decay, this old
Tarnished bridge should have
Collapsed from crashing waters
Many floods ago.
By some fluke of nature,
Unscathed by time, it still
Stands over the muddy
Chickasawhay River in
Shubuta, Mississippi.

Once a passageway to a long
Forgotten Clarke County destination,
Twice an implement
Of execution
Like an iron crucifix.

THIS IS YOU
Skull and crossbones

Etched on the bridge's base
Cryptic warning
Meant for anyone
Unlucky enough to cross it
And the invisible line
Away from "their place".

Between both world wars,
Unspecified parties--
Let's re-phrase that--
Haters strung up
Four boys,
Two girls
Both pregnant,
Young, Negro and
Guilty of nothing
Hung from knotted ropes
Tight around necks
Tied to rusty girders
Over the coursing river
Like six
Black flags
Sailing in
The gentle
Southern wind.
____________
W: 8.17.18
[ Inspired by the book "Hanging Bridge" by Jason Morgan Ward.


- - -
African. Italian. Poet.

The Magic Fin

| Filed under

Contributor: Susie Gharib

- -
A boy named Sin
was born with a fin,
his family was at a loss
what to do with him,
he was taken to church
to learn many hymns
but the odd thing was
he could not swim.

Other kids went to school
he had to stay in
viewing the world
with a sardonic grin
for various epithets
had stuck to him
like the 'Impotent Fin'
and 'Good for Nothin'.

Sin's patience was wearing
so very thin,
his chances of integration
had grown so slim
he packed a little bag
left a 'goodbye' pinned
to the kitchen door
that mocked his whim.

To the wheel of fortune
he gave a spin
headed north, south, west
with a battle to win
enduring prospects
which looked quite grim.

Frequenting lanes
so littered with tins
Sin searched for crumbs
in empty bins
knew why cats and rats
were quite missin'
from the lean refuse
of poverty inns.

He stole into Tinsel Hills
where lights were dim
then luckily slipped
over a banana skin
breaking his neck
smashing his fin.

He lay in a pool of blood
a heap of limbs
was carried on a stretcher
to a nearby gym
where a surgeon carefully
operated on him
in an attempt to salvage
the banana-victim.

Sin lost the fin
but grew two limbs
so quickly learnt
to dive and swim
was appointed a rescuer
of the drowning
earning a new name
the 'Magic Fin'


- - -
Susie is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow) with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence.

Bubbles

| Filed under

Contributor: J. L. Smith

- -
We tasted the bubbles at dawn,
when the air was thick with August heat,
musty sweat.

Our tongues touched the soap,
but we shook off the cleanliness
for the taste of earth,
dew that dripped off our limbs,
tangled in embrace,
aftermath of raw desire.

Bubbles,
floating above our head high,
popping,
escaping to the sky above,
never to return again.


- - -
J.L. has published two collections of poetry: Medusa, The Lost Daughter and Weathered Fragments. Follow her on Twitter @jennifersmithak

Rewrite Man

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
At newspapers in the Sixties
typewriters reigned and rang.
Computers were a fantasy.

Being a “rewrite man” back then
was a dream job if one enjoyed
“improving” other people’s copy

rather than writing one's own.
Harry Murphy loved that job.
Harry said “rewrite" let him

adopt thousands of children
rather than give birth to one.
Far less painful, Harry said.

He was the midwife between
reporters in the field
who scurried after facts

and the editor who said
a story was fit to print.
Reporters phoned in stories

in the age before laptops
and Harry the Bard wrote them.
Harry’s motto was simple:

Even an obituary deserves
a touch of music, a polka for a Pole,
a reel or jig for an Irishman.


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

Piano Man

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Briganti

- -
I yearn to lie down beside you
naked, recumbent
to feel the tender touch
of your fingertips
dance across my body

Gently touch my cheeks
right beneath my eyes
slowly play a tune upon
my glistening lips
Feel the rhythm of my heart
as your fingers fondle around
my breasts
Embrace my hips and thighs
as the music bridges
and intensifies

Play all of my body
as you would your precious
ivories
stroking each key
with precision and passion
creating a melody of love
with each chord
upon my silhouette
Let me be your written score
your symphony

Let me be your
masterpiece!


- - -
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.

Lovers Parting

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
Lovers parting
Their hearts unfulfilled
Fending off the heartbreak
That should never have been
A heart stilled

Looking through the window
Of twenty years or more
Wondering how it happened
The days gone by
And washed ashore

To live on a deserted island
As emptiness abounds
No matter where the island
With or without people
Loneliness surrounds

All too many islands
In fantasy or real
To the lovers parted
Their hearts remaining still
Too empty now to feel


- - -
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.

Dear Maple Tree

| Filed under

Contributor: Sally Dunn

- -
I miss you.
I remember the long talks
we used to have
back when I was young.

You were in your prime then.
Are you still well?

Do you remember me?

Is there another girl
who has taken my place?

Does she put her hand
on your tough skin
and feel life
flow up from the earth
through your body –
through her body –
up through your limbs
and out into the vast sky

as I once did?

There are no trees
I can talk to here.
I own a woods,
but none of the trees
will speak to me.

Perhaps they have enough
of their own kind around them
and do not need to speak to me,
or perhaps they resent
that I think I own them,
or perhaps I’m too old,
or they are too young –
for it is a young wood.

There is one old oak
that stands on the edge
of the wood.
But he is silent.
He wraps his strength
around him
and will not speak
to me.

Maybe, someday,
when I’m alone
in the wood
I will come upon a tree
who will greet me,
and we will talk,
and, perhaps,
share secrets.


- - -
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.

All That Is Ever Needed

| Filed under

Contributor: Lyla Sommersby

- -
discard the skin
cut free the me
and fly free
as was meant for me
with wings
cut of widening fire
that never tire
never flit, break or shiver
steel-strong and steady-ever
carving lines in supple sky
cutting clouds
cutting night
filling light
with all the hues of blues
of the pregnant day
that brings
all that is needed
all that is ever needed
for you
for me
we.


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

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.

Archives

Powered by Blogger.