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

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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.

The Ocean’s Pull

| Filed under

Contributor: Daniel Corda

- -
The ocean spray had engulfed me
Like a silk blue sheet, it washed over me
As I gazed into the serene, starlit, skyline
It had just become night, the sky engulfed in the moon’s light

A reflection of myself in the tumbling water
Shone through, making me realize I wanted to spend it with you
Now dragging my feet in the sand
All I could see was you and I hand in hand.

And so, I made a quick stop, its strong, sweet scent attracting me
And so, I strayed nearby, to the flower shop
And so, with you on my mind the entire time
I left with a handful of blossoms, bright, brilliant, and beautiful.

The bouquet I had bought
With beauty like Aphrodite
Had now shown me
That it was you who had set me free


- - -
Daniel Corda arrives home looking forward to greeting his two dogs after a long day. He looks forward to walking alongside his furry companions.

Clarity

| Filed under

Contributor: Mario Amario

- -
Recalling the time
We sat together
While discussing the future
Like we had a clue

We talked about children
Our future plans
It all seemed so blissful then
Together with you

Your hand felt soft
Intertwined with mine
Our hopes were so high
On that night

My last memory
Is of your laugh
As we kissed
And hugged goodbye

Now I see you
And our future is clear
As you lay there
In your wooden bed


- - -
Mario enjoys dominating opponents in Monopoly. When he is not ruthlessly crushing his
opponents he enjoys spending time with his dog Gastly. Together they search every park
looking for other dogs to pet.

Sparking Comedy

| Filed under

Contributor: Timothy Nguyen

- -
The light in my head flashes
As I process the words with a grin.
Looking at my friends,
I gauge their reactions.
I approach them with great anticipation
Mentally reciting the sequence over and over.
Before long, I have their attention,
And present everything to the punchline,
To see their smiles sprout like flowers,
Followed by laughter,
The most satisfying response.


- - -

Keepsake

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
The strange little box,
with its mythical childhood
properties.

I could slide one panel
out from the front and store
very slim objects inside.

Kind of like emotions
and psychology work, I suppose.

Most boxes are only as good
as what's inside them, but this
wooden keepsake with its

geometric markings proved
to be an interesting species
of its own design.


- - -

Hidden

| Filed under

Contributor: Jack Rider

- -
I breathe in the dark vapor
Shallow, sharp and shade
An eye, but not mine, shines
Who is she or he or me,

A Jack of all Trades?
Better yet a Jack of all Faces
Dividends of a dull old deck
Reveals rogue reflections

I move the rook on the board
White square, black square
A satisfying thud echoes
As the pawns falls from my blow

Someone stands inside the box,
Someone stares inside of it.
Someone, still that someone is not me,
Hidden in smoke and mirrors.


- - -
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.

Wheelchair with a View

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
When you sit in this chair all day
and look out the window for years,
the garden is calendar and clock

declaring the coming of seasons.
You know when to expect them
but spring is always a surprise.

After surviving long winters
you forget after so many years
the daffodils will shout again

and blooms on the redbud cover
leaves that will hide young robins,
their beaks open for more.

Winter is all you remember until,
for reasons only God knows,
spring smiles again.


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

To Migrate Or To Stay

| Filed under

Contributor: John Grey

- -
Evening grosbeaks,
black and yellow,
feed on grass tips.

I stand behind the glass doors,
watch them interact,
small almost imperceptible messages
passed between by eye or sound,
answering hunger one moment
and instinct the next.

They will fly south soon,
so the ones that survive that treacherous journey
can winter in paradise.
I'll stay behind,
feel the temperature drop day by day,
witness the gathering of gray clouds
and the surrender of the landscape
to snow.

There's nothing in me
to match the innate impulses
of these tiny birds.
Yes, I may turn up the heat.
But, much as I'd like to,
I don't head automatically for Florida
when the colors change.

I'm a year round resident
like the unlovely sparrows.
Day after day, I'm witness
as they eke out a perilous living.

I live in a small house
on a unremarkable lot,
that's occupied by
creatures that leave for a better situation,
those that don't
and a few, like me,
who'd leave if it were feasible
but stay because it's not.
Not much of a selection, no doubt.
And yet, who have I forgotten?


- - -
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Evening Street Review and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.

Genuine Forever

| Filed under

Contributor: Korra Abraham-Whatley

- -
When you left
it tore me
the knife
the pulling
the separation
flesh cut from flesh
heart cut from heart
and soul
slashed to ribbons
left to flutter
in icy winds
in icy eternity
a forever
so temporary
yet I couldn't see it
couldn't see it
until the ice had melted
until I stood on a hill
surrounded by green
and saw everything I've ever wanted
in a better man
in one
who reached out to me
with such a softness
who took my hand
led me
into genuine forever.


- - -
I live in a suitcase and enjoy writing poetry while watching the glittering lights of Los Angeles, Rome and Ontario.

Makes Forever Shorter

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
When a bullet goes in
and doesn’t come out
you read about it
in the paper, hear
about it on TV.

A person takes a bullet
near the heart and learns
a surgeon can't remove it.
It's part of him forever.
Happens like a drive-by

shooting when a loved one
makes a comment no
apology can remove.
The loved one doesn't
know there’s a problem,

doesn’t realize lightning
through the cerebellum
is by far a better option.
Doesn't let the victim linger.
Makes forever shorter.


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

Detour

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Blanchard

- -
The route would be routine by now
If only I remembered how.

The signs I am supposed to use
Are all too likely to confuse.

Some arrow at some intersection
Leads me in some obscure direction.

I go as far out of my way
As I did just the other day.


- - -
Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia. Her first collection, Unloosed, and her second, Tides & Currents, are both available from Kelsay Books.

Mermaid Ashtray

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
My brother came back home
at least three times.
First, after a chemical explosion
in Alabama.
I imagine he still carries some
amount of his lead in his body.

Then, after a divorce.
Messy, like a broken ankle
of the heart. He came
hobbling back to the family
casa.

I say all of this to suggest
what a shock it was to see
him in his native habitat,
I being so much younger.

The smell of smoke, an
obsession with out-of-place
exercise equipment, and a
mermaid ashtray with
breasts exposed.

I wanted to protect the rest
of my family from its crude
visage, but couldn't bear
to touch it.


- - -

Without Nothing

| Filed under

Contributor: Betal P.K. Pelario

- -
born in a silver trailer
born on the road
born forever following
the silver rails
born without nothing
never without nothing
just antiques
just old radios
old memories
all pieces of grammy
all going to dust
all up in ashes
all wind
dustdevils
white devils
flaming gasoline
devoured
like the trailer
like the land
we could never settle
or soothe.


- - -

Wander, Wonder

| Filed under

Contributor: Arianna Ramos

- -
I walked barefoot on hot coals
Down the mainest street
Of general catastrophe.

Fire under my feet,
I wonder who walked her
So heavy,
To make my stroll so strained.

I hoped they’d yell at me.
About where their life was going
Before they packed it under
The soles of their finest shoe

And dragged through
A withered world
In angered beauty.


- - -
Arianna is a young poet from Boston, Massachusetts. She is currently studying to earn her bachelors in Entrepreneurial business and Professional Writing. Her passion and favorite pass time is writing and finding new music.

Spite in the Ice

| Filed under

Contributor: Barretta Gardeni

- -
Her lies, her lies
we see them
we see their light
in her eyes
slithering
glimmering
slick skin of the snake
inside
inside ice
inside a sheen of strife
her malice
her mind
full of violence
teeth keen
iced tines
for slicing
biting
poisoning
purposefully tearing
the soul from the meat
the sweet
from the soft
until nothing remains
until nothing stirs
but spite
spit
in the ice.


- - -
I tend roses and write about the past.

Respite

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Blanchard

- -
Whenever I decide to leave
The suite for just a bit,
My ever-loving better half
Declines to have a fit.

He graciously bids me farewell
Before or after noon,
And I interpret “take your time”
As “don’t come back too soon.”


- - -
Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia. Her first collection, Unloosed, and her second, Tides & Currents, are both available from Kelsay Books.

My 57 Pork Pie Hat

| Filed under

Contributor: Michael Kagan

- -
Pork pie hats on brooding guys
standing tall with shiny brims,
Jazz found my ears, music so cool
my hunger ate the notes as they floated out one LP after another,
Vinyl fed the bones of my heart
until the grooves collapsed
sapphire needles worn to the nub,
alas the miracle of real connection
smitten bitten in little dives and joints
nothing said the same way twice
the mystery of this language
wordless expression a trillion colors
the pure breath of God's lungs
fire in the belly
sexy music in the veins
a touch of dirt in the love,
beautiful minds search for meaning
lost in the moment
working it out
under stylish pork pie hats.


- - -
Mike is jazz musician, discovered his passion for poetry a few years back...
he's been published on Leaves of Ink, Indiana voice journal The poet Community...etc

Go Softly

| Filed under

Contributor: Susie Sweetland Garay


- -
We all expand and retract
with the seasons

and today
on this first day of summer
I am expanding.

We shed skin like snakes and become tender,
until time passes and it builds up again,

but I want to stay tender.

The answer
to most any question
is practice,

and here too I think
it is the answer.

I am defined by motherhood

but am unsure what the consequences will be.
Perhaps too much softness.

We named our cat
after the most flawed
character in a favorite show

and now every time we say
his name in love or anger
we are reminded of
his namesake
and where his
softness took him.


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

Seasons of the Year

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Let’s not worry about it, Dearie,
life gets better, life gets worse.
We’re no different than

the seasons of the year except
we’re luckier than most having
lived our lives in summer.

We're falling now among
the leaves of autumn
and we have winter yet

to face with ice and snow.
Let’s put the kettle on for tea,
grab a blanket and stay warm.

We'll light a fire and discover
if we’re evergreen or tropical
when spring arrives next year.


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

The Signing

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
We lined up in a row
around what seemed
like the entire world.

It was just a bookstore.

I ran through my mind
threads and ramblings,
a well-rehearsed speech.

What would I say to the now-
famous author when I walked
by? How to make myself
memorable, if only briefly?

Julian Barnes questions why
we care about authors beyond
their words. It's a fair question.

I wish I could say it was poetic,
but I wound up spitting more
than talking, slobbering words
out like an autograph hound.


- - -

Brother Death

| Filed under

Contributor: Robert Ronnow

- -
Even in the last days you need clean clothes;
therefore you may be found in the laundry
mornings, small task against the larger one
of not breathing. With simple joy
men may forget to fear their deaths.
Six inches of snow reminds us of its dominance
in a pleasant way. Coming and going of sleep,
circling of the moon around the earth, earth
around the sun. The great man dies
and this makes death more noble for us all.
It is with joy that I accept the pains
that herald my end. I do my job well.
I go to the well and break the ice for water.
The bucket comes up full of dying wonder.


- - -
Robert Ronnow's most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at www.ronnowpoetry.com.

Prayer Seeking The Truth

| Filed under

Contributor: Ananya S Guha

- -
Mother, the smell burns
of the incense in your prayer room
it burns in my body
and I see pictures of Gods, Goddesses
the ten armed, slaying the devil,
the learned one of education
they smile in your room,
only the room is far away from
me, an apparatus reviving your memory
a prayer seeking the truth


- - -

All We Could Have Grown

| Filed under

Contributor: E.S. Wynn

- -
The seed of sickness
we started
so long ago
still tearing
through rich soil
through so much potential
spreading
spreading
until the words we throw
turn to money
turn to gold
feed lawyers
and dreams
of houses we could have had
of orchards we could have grown
of holidays we could have spent
together
hugging
not spitting
not slinging venom
through certified letters
and damning depositions
all designed
to tear us further
and further
apart.


- - -
E.S. Wynn is the author of over 70 books in print. He maintains a main author blog at: www.eswynn.com

Presence

| Filed under

Contributor: Brittany Zedalis

- -
I am a ghost
a shadow
sheer, just so
a silent voice
screaming
shrouded in night
trudging, slow
through stars
and constellations
meteors, crashing
burn, violet
wreckage


- - -
Brittany Zedalis is a 25-year-old mother of one. She has a variety of published poetry, some of which can be found in Dead Snakes, The Camel Saloon, Mad Swirl, The World of Myth Magazine, The Furious Gazelle, and Haiku Journal.

Season Haiku

| Filed under

Contributor: Victoria. B

- -
Going to the shore
Where we get a golden tan
We can stay all night

Weather is changing
This time of year there's some snow
The cold breeze is here

Autumn is coming
The leaves are falling off trees
staying near the warmth

Climate is changing
In this weather there’s some wind
The warm air is here

It’s finally here
The sky is clear and so blue
Where days are coming


- - -

Autumn and Spring

| Filed under

Contributor: Meynard Luciano

- -
Early morning dew
Sparkling grass like diamonds
Crisp as the breeze goes

Waking up in bed
Birds chirping early morning
Happiness flowing

Gold light passing through
Illuminating figures
Beauty all around

Reds, browns, and yellows
Beauty for the eye to see
Leaves on the surface

Turkey and gravy
Eating so much causes me
To be so sleepy

Wood chips and yellow soil
Walking through the pumpkin patch
Making pies today


- - -

Sine Qua Non

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Blanchard

- -
A hotel suite is quintessential
When treatment makes us residential.

Between the separate rooms must be
A door to shut you off from me.

We need the chance to get away
From one another night or day.


- - -
Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia. Her first collection, Unloosed, and her second, Tides & Currents, are both available from Kelsay Books.

Clearing Rusty Pipes

| Filed under

Contributor: Michael Kagan

- -
They say you've come of age
when you suddenly notice
old people coughing
clearing rusty pipes

there's a chill when placed
full mirror with an old craggy face
recalling velvet skin holding tight
to exquisite bones

giving in after long faught wars
throughout the middle ages
jowls have settled into a new display case one floor down, you can barely read the faded date
under best before

but in truth beauty grows stronger
without all that tension
the miracle of time relaxes expression
love waiting between lines and furrows with a million stories
that never forget a sweet kiss,
the things you do with vigor waning
I ponder
how many mistakes are you allowed to make.


- - -
Mike is jazz musician, discovered his passion for poetry a few years back...
he's been published on Leaves of Ink, Indiana voice journal The poet Community...etc

Let us accept this pain

| Filed under

Contributor: Robert Ronnow

- -
Let us accept this pain
and some fear
it will heighten autumn colours
crack of clean air
black crows in blue sky
lake.

Rather than fight pain, falling
asleep in front of tv,
understand the full
import of its situation
in the body. Blessed
once, cursed now
only fear prevents
full knowledge of experience.

The gray sky brings
winter, no blame.
The poet writes a few last poems
or continues to live with his pain.
In itself pain does not oppose
life, and may enhance it
or build character, create
wisdom. But too much fear
chokes the throat and burns
the eyes. It
destroys the last free
assessment of life.

* * *

Now I am going to live in my body
as it is, almost fearlessly
running in pain, working
to abandon immortality
as a hope, conceiving
sunset after sunset
feeling what I feel.

On the streets I meet
many beautiful young women
curious to a certain extent
what makes a man older.
I can only say ten years
and the hand that reaches through
the cloud. I can say
only the knowledge of mortality
which makes us brothers and sisters
with the animals. And only
the acceptance which gives us wisdom
to couple often and lovingly.

How am I going to live every day
as my last, hoping happiness
outgrows fear by an ounce
or enough? By running, writing
and loving. By moving uphill
and downhill like a bear.
By committing my last words
to a powerful lord. How
do the clouds accept my dead
self? A rock thrown, a crow.

* * *

When I am old
young girls will not be frightened anymore.
I will invite them
to my seat and tell
about the women I knew.
I will tell about
the clothes they wore
and how they earned a living.
I will try to remember
what was important to them
and if they had a favorite color
or knew how to divine.

Maybe I live and maybe I don’t.
The smoke is white or black.
The winds are bright or dark.
The coins are heads or tails.
What have I been afraid of?
Death is most of all like sleep.
We spend so long apart
after briefly knowing ourselves.
I need you to know myself
and without you all I know
is sun.


- - -
Robert Ronnow's most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at www.ronnowpoetry.com.

Summer Visit

| Filed under

Contributor: Ananya S Guha

- -
The wind yours or mine
belittling a savagery
a cloudburst, will the storm
come, drying up the cells
ticking in my brain
a storm, a storm
a pause, as thick clouds swivel
into a graying world
the two dogs are silent
the tap water falls stealthily
it is night in day, colors blanch
the roof top of hills, mine is
simply a summer's visit
into these hills of thralldom.


- - -

Strong Together

| Filed under

Contributor: Tyrean Martinson

- -
body, heart, mind, soul
all are sickened by pain
so I cannot stand
when I call the physician
who does not believe
when I suck in the pain

I call and call him
and I get no answer
so I call a new doctor
then another and another
until I get tests
and find more than one answer

three issues wrong in my body
or possibly there are five
I start to lost count of them
in my buzzing hive
of emotions, spirit, mind
all wrapped in a dive

spiraling from life into
death downward
until I find the right path
to walk forward
through surgeries, hugs,
fervent prayers poured

into my body to
reawaken my heart
to renew my mind
to create soul art
out of stained glass
strong together, not apart


- - -
Tyrean Martinson writes, dreams, and believes in the Pacific Northwest within a mile of the Puget Sound, which laps invisible to her view along the green-treed shore. She has had over 100 previously published short works and a scattering of books published.

Another Spring

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
I heard from Harold
this morning, someone
older than I am, the two of us
in winter staring at another spring

someone I haven’t seen in 50 years,
side by side in cubicles again
making plans for lives
that might have been

waiting for the quitting bell
to say it’s 5 o’clock, time
to dunk our time cards,
hop the trolley and go home.


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

The Best Days are Beach Days

| Filed under

Contributor: Lily Trouse

- -
I roll down the car window and inhale
the salty air mixed with boat diesel
stones crunch under the car’s tires
and the screeching of seagulls welcome me
home, washed of my troubles by the tide

The beach’s blistering sand welcomes my bare feet
sunscreen and tanning oil become my second skin
the tanner I get, the happier I am

Paddle ball becomes an Olympic sport
we sprint and dive like seagulls
going after a sandwich crust
no one wants to ruin the volley

I’m coated in sand
but I don’t mind
I savor every minute of sunlight, every drop
of melting ice cream


- - -
I am a high school student in Pompton Lakes New Jersey, and am hoping to get my poetry out into the world.

Directionality

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Blanchard

- -
Tests indicate your body needs
a little extra zapping:
The specialists go right to work
on necessary mapping.

We soon turn our attention to
some spatial calculations:
Rochester’s maze of subway and
skywalk configurations.


- - -
Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia. Her first collection, Unloosed, and her second, Tides & Currents, are both available from Kelsay Books.

2:37 A.M.

| Filed under

Contributor: Austin Davis

- -
You discover
the cruelest stillness,
both gentle and maddening,

when the fluttering
hummingbird wings of love
settle on a raindrop.

The foamy waves
clawing at the ivory shore
slip into a salty sleep

and every waving tree
takes a deep breath
and holds it. The moon

trades in her lazy chair
for a barstool
and the butterflies
in your stomach

fly out your mouth
as you realize
why the whole world
is giving you that look.


- - -
Austin Davis' poetry has been published widely in literary journals and magazines. Most recently, his work can be found in Pif Magazine, Folded Word, The Poetry Shed, In Between Hangovers and Spillwords. Austin's poetry is forthcoming from Ink in Thirds, Your One Phone Call, and Street Lights Press and his first full length collection, "Cloudy Days, Still Nights" is being released this spring by Moran Press.

Jet, cracked paint, tea

| Filed under

Contributor: Robert Ronnow

- -
The clouds take a little blue from the sky
beyond, how beautiful the weather makes life
seem. The sky is where the soul goes when
the mind runs out of destinations. We love
the mountains because that’s where the earth
meets the sky. If you just watch the sky
an hour each day, lie back in the grass,
you’ll never be ill. When it rains your face
becomes a holy bowl. Once I was a beggar, no
cares, by railroad tracks. They too disappeared
into the sky. A small town you could hold in your fist
on the prairie. A big city easy to hold in your mind
when you’re in the sky. The clouds take a little blue
from the sky. The sky takes a little blue from your soul . . .


- - -
Robert Ronnow's most recent poetry collections are New and Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at www.ronnowpoetry.com.

Games

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
The forest of childhood
offered many games.
Chewing the bark off
of trees, pretending to be
wild and free.
Pretending I was part
of the foliage.
Knowing that one day
words like debt would
close in.
There was no perfect
camouflage for this.
I wrapped tomato twine
around the trees to
construct a fort only
I could see.
Always thinking adulthood
would come and wrap
me away, how was I to know
the trick is your own feet
wind up chasing the ways
of grown persons?


- - -

Evening Jewel

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

- -
In the evening
He sat behind the house,
And watched the shadows grow,
And as the sun was setting,
And time was slipping by,
His mind was loosed and roaming,
He pondered many things,
In his ears were songs
Of birds,
Their singing filled the air,
And so he sat there listening,
As questions filled his mind,
He wondered about many things
He always wished to know...
He sat there till a star appeared
High in the southern sky,
He found beauty in the moment,
That could not be described,
And all his questions vanished,
Replaced by peace of mind.


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

Dyslexia, My old Friend

| Filed under

Contributor: Michael Kagan

- -
What would I be without you
I'm writing
Dear Agnes,
no one knows me better
no one else I could trust,
It seems they've discovered
a cure for dyslexia at this late date
an odd shaped bone that others don't own
forcibly moved to the curb
marked hazardous waste.

Then will I see as do others
thin postcards of life,
they tell me words stay calm
long enough to sound them out,
will I miss making up wild stories
original moments that made you laugh,
will I ever see the sun again,
the way I do
inside the fires of an ancient dance

And I wonder Dear Agnes
if a shooting star will still thrill me
like a mystical message
racing through time
and you know distance
cannot touch my love for you
apple cheeked fresh as powdered snow,
so I ask,
at this stage dear Agnes
would you choose normal
or remain a dyslexic rocket
flying upside down.


- - -
Mike is jazz musician, discovered his passion for poetry a few years back..
he's been published on Leaves of Ink, Indiana voice journal The poet Community...etc

A Storm is Coming

| Filed under

Contributor: J.K.Durick

- -
A storm is coming, they say
been predicting, talking about it
for over a week, setting the stage
showing us maps of its approach
various colors to show the varying
severity of things to come, to come
to us, unprecedented they say and
point, our homes, our lives in the way.
A storm is coming, they say, as if
we didn’t know, as if we weren’t
spending our time anticipating its
arrival, as if we weren’t always
ready for the next thing thrown
at us by the five mad gods who rule
our lives, cruelly bouncing us on
on their scrawny knees, like today
they say a storm is coming, they say
unprecedented, and yet the precedent
is set, has been set, and this god damn
storm is always coming, is always here.


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

Profit and Loss

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Either way, the gist is
profits for some,
losses for others

but what a difference
the Pill has made
in the lives of women

and what a difference
the new Pill will make
in the lives of men.

The new Pill will mean
profits for those making
pills and losses for

those making diapers
as people decide
more is less.


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

Windsong

| Filed under

Contributor: John MacKinnon

- -
Oh listen my children
To the song of the wind
Where unfettering truth
Lies born from within

A mountain for one man
A dream for another
A fountain found flowing
As long love from a mother

Believe in the trees
They have seen all the lies
Conceive their ideals
As they reach for their skies

And finally realize
This moment you’ve known
Was too born on the wind
As all that has grown


- - -

Even After Death

| Filed under

Contributor: Zachary Alba

- -
Grief filled the void in my heart
as I was the last person in line.

With each step I took, a tear added to
the river flowing down my cheek.

As I reached the casket, I stopped
to stare at my late mother’s corpse.

At that moment I felt it all:
sorrow, regret, anger, denial.

I leaned over to where we
could meet face to face.

My tears slowly trickled onto her cheeks
as I gave her one last kiss on the forehead.

As I carefully leaned back,
I couldn’t help but let out a snicker.

I’ve never been able to control my anxiety,
but that didn’t stop my mother.

She was always adamant that laughter
was the cure for all sorrow.

So that’s just what I did as my laughter
resounded throughout the hallways

As one final tear
kissed her face.


- - -
Zachary Alba believes that a bright, sunny morning is the appropriate way for the day to begin. The perfect weather allows him to go outside and walk his dog, while exploring for new places and experiences that are right at his fingertips. When it is cold and gloomy outside, he opts to wear an oversized sweater, while continuing his exploration through the confines of his home.

Ancient Soul

| Filed under

Contributor: Bhavani Rao Rangineni

- -
Beauty in beauty , believer in belief
appreciating the whole world through ancient eyes
like a sunburst clock
bringing sunshine at every tick
like an enchantress
spreading vintage spells
like a french wine
the older the better
like a roman candle
illuminating the illusions
like a vintage bloom
blossoming to be in blossom
like a danish credenza
too old to be modern.


- - -
I am an avid learner who likes to connect dots.

Grief

| Filed under

Contributor: Erin S

- -
I.
It was so
Sudden
She couldn’t
Be
Dead
I’d spoken to her
Yesterday
Over half full mimosas
That were mostly champagne
She
Laughed That deep
Hearty laugh of hers
I wonder if
She knew

II.
My nails stabbed holes
Into the soft flesh
Of my palms
I screamed
Until my throat
Was raw and
I tasted
Blood
How dare she
Leave me alone

III.
I hadn’t prayed
Since I was ten
But I fell
To my knees
And
Clasped my hands
Please
Bring her
Back
To me
I’ll do
Anything
I’ll go to church
I’ll recycle
If you just
Bring her
Back
Please

IV.
I was
F
a
l
l
i
n
g
Into nothing
The sheets she’d bought me
When I rented my first apartment
Were wrinkled and unwashed
The sunflower she insisted
Would
‘brighten’ things up
Was brown
I felt
Nothing
I was
Nothing
Without her

V.
I got used
To half empty mimosa glasses
Saturday afternoon brunches
Without her laughter
I
S p r e a d
Her ashes
In the lake
We used to visit
When I was young
She would look out at the water
With such envy
She always said she belonged
In the water
I never understood
What that meant
Until now
I looked out at that same lake
With that same envy
And took
A breath


- - -
Erin is a Literature major at Ramapo College. She loves to write.

Conference on Homeland Security

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
I can’t speak for the women
attending this conference
on Homeland Security.

They’re scholars, too,
brought here for their expertise.
Perhaps I can speak for the men

sitting in these rows with iPads
first session of the morning,
staring straight ahead at

two breasts above the podium,
two heat-seeking missiles
restrained by a suit coat

but programmed to fire
and wipe out ISIS, Al Quaida
and Boko Haram.

These men won’t duck for cover.
They are patriots forever
ready to die for the cause.


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

You Were

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
You were the answer
I found at a tender age.

All ages are tender
in their way.

Captured in the wind-
bent tree, unbroken, a metaphor
for your arms reaching.

I had to learn a new language,
a brand-new culture, yet another
place to fit and not quite form.

Maybe now I know your voice,
the trace of your finger on a
movement of storm clouds.

I’m learning these moments
are forgotten sooner than anything
can be remembered.

There is always something.


- - -

Nothing

| Filed under

Contributor: J.K.Durick

- -
was something, sometime, somewhere
I remember we had a word for it
made sentences of it, subject, verb, object
we had a song some of us would sing
to celebrate it, we wore it, swore by it
considered setting aside differences
so it could center us, comfort us always
always there, something to be proud of
some of us clung to it, but it began to fade
we knew as it blurred a bit, then strained
then pained, we knew what was coming
pretended not, even fought, sought, but
got this, this nothing, that was something
sometime, somewhere.


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

Love

| Filed under

Contributor: Carrie Ip

- -
I wish I knew what to expect,
From who I loved.
There wasn’t anything I could do
To help them see how important they were to me.
I wanted to show them a sense of affection,
Something that would reveal my gratitude.

Love is a strong word.
Love can make you feel alive,
Or slowly start killing you on the inside.
Sometimes love is good,
But at times it can be bad.

Love is more difficult than it may seem.
It can show your heart the world,
Or it can tear your life apart.


- - -
Carrie Ip likes being wrapped up in blankets and sleeping for as long as she can. She may be small, but she can eat more than you think. She also likes ice skating because she’s taller in ice skates.

Tragedy. Ecstasy. Doom.

| Filed under

Contributor: John Sweet

- -

-a triptych in ten fragments


1.

no ghosts

some days you
forget this but
on others

on others you
do just fine

you show mercy

you bleed

not a lot but
enough to
let you know
you’re alive

enough to keep the
glass half-full


2.

no ghosts and
no apologies

live w/ fear and
depression
and live w/ despair

the past is there to
be dissected but
good luck trying to
put it back to
gether again

good luck trying
to sustain the
joy you felt during
that last summer
before the flood

we’ve made it to
the dark ages now


3.

ghosts

no ghosts

empty streets like rivers of
dust flowing between
dull white houses and
do you need proof that
all silence is meaningless?

do you begin to doubt god
when so many children
are starving
are raped
are butchered by ignorant,
gutless cowards
drunk on power?

good


4.

no ghosts

no objects without
shadows

late afternoon
early evening and the
moment for redemption
arrives
and then it passes

sound of a church bell
ringing in the distance

sound of nothing
making a sound

if i were sorry
it’s here i
would choose to tell you


5.

no ghosts in
empty evening fields,
just the shadows of trees
200 feet long

single cloud in a
blue sky and
the children playing games

strangers crouching down
in the tall grass
out past the village

siren songs and knives out
and no one ever believes
how the story ends until
it’s too late

no one ever
wants to hear it again


6.

and ghosts,
of course

everywhere and
always
no matter how often we
deny it, and the clock at
six minutes to three

the train always
leaving in the distance

your life always
wasted

keep telling me i’m wrong
but i know you like
i know myself

we hold a broken window
between us and
call it a mirror

we get so fucking high
on this pure, glittering
rush of self-hatred


7.

no ghosts

no sunlight w/out
shadows

learned this from
de chirico
back before he found god

learned it from tanguy
and then kay went and
put a bullet
through her heart

went and bled out all
of the joy i’d been
trying to lay down
on paper


8.

sits up in bed
and smiles

arms wide open
says no ghosts

looks past me and
out to the future


9.

say it quietly say
no ghosts

to the wall or to
yourself and
then learn

the only good god is the
one who never needs to be
invented and so you wash your
hands in the river of filth and
then pick up your young
est child

i scream against the
darkness of empty rooms to
see if anyone answers

it’s a long way down
from here for
all of us


10.

and then finally
late afternoon, no
ghosts, only shadows

early evening and
the slow spread of despair

cracked and
potholed parking lots

pools of rusty water

abandoned factories here
in the golden age of nothing and
whoever calls them home

pretty words for
meaningless deaths

wars and genocides and failed
revolutions to ensure that
none of the children live to
become adults and then
late afternoon and then
early evening but
no ghosts

no shadows

only corpses


- - -

When Silence Speaks

| Filed under

Contributor: Kristina Jacobs

- -
Tell me
tomorrow will be worth it,
even if I can’t see where all this leads
or where it all ends

Tell me
I mattered,
even if I have my doubts

Tell me
somebody cared,
even if evidence says 1 in 7 billion
just slipped through the cracks

Tell me
I was never really alone,
even if I shut you out

Tell me
help will always be given,
if only I ask
for grace to bridge the gap

Even when the universe
was silent,
I believed


- - -
Kristina Jacobs lives in Minnesota. Her latest poetry chapbooks are: Dept. 56 and Drawn by Grace.

Last Day

| Filed under

Contributor: Linda Imbler

- -
We got up so early with so much to do.
We made plans throughout the day,
separate events that would happen,
where our paths would not cross
and would keep us further apart.

We sent each other messages to voice
rather than answering the phone.
We chose not to meet for lunch
because we both wanted different foods that day.

We promised ourselves
to tell the other those loving words.
We bought each other a gift
but gave not of our time.

We chose to spend one precious hour
that evening in a heated debate
whose outcome neither could control.

Only one of us rose the next morning.


- - -
Linda Imbler is the author of the published poetry collections “Big Questions, Little Sleep” and “Lost and Found.” She is a Kansas-based Pushcart Prize Nominee and her work has appeared in numerous national and international journals. Linda’s creative process and a listing of publications can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.

Between Death

| Filed under

Contributor: Marie Chu

- -
I started to feel faint
and stumbled to the floor
But before I did I hit the door
I sat in my blood
as my life flashed before my eyes
and looked up to see
the robbers on the fly

With my remaining strength I fired
That one was for my mother
This one is for my brother
who both laid dead next to me
because of those robbers

I was ready for some relief
to die blissfully
but knowing my luck
other plans were in store for me

Some might say
I was saved
but they’re not the ones
lying in hospital beds
slowly rotting away


- - -
Marie Chu has always been fascinated by the field of STEM. When she is not busy crafting helicopters out of balsa wood and designing experiments, she indulges in a good movie. Of course she’ll be wrapped in blankets and surrounded by snacks while watching it.

Shipwrecked

| Filed under

Contributor: Sarah Henry

- -
My computer tutor
brings up
the scientific calculator
on his screen.
For the rest of the lesson,
I wonder why
he doesn’t have
a different job,
why we are always
alone on the top
floor of his quiet,
empty house at night.
There are no clocks
on the walls.
The blinds are pulled.
He says he’s retiring
so he can invent things
he can’t explain
and I’ll have to find
a new tutor,
perhaps through
want ads or schools.
Places where
the light of day
shines.

My tutor may have
been an extrovert
once. He might
laugh at desert
island cartoons
on the internet.
They wash
to his online shore.


- - -
Sarah Henry studied with two U.S. poet laureates at the University of Virginia. Today she lives near Pittsburgh, where her poetry has appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Poetry Review. Sarah's work was also included in Leaves of Ink, Soundings East and The Hollins Critic, among many journals.

The Quilters

| Filed under

Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
They’re widows,
old and gray, bent over
a quilting frame, sewing
to meet a deadline

for the next raffle
talking and sewing in
grand memories
of husbands

dead for years
remembered daily
missed deeply
loved forever by

six quilters, all
cheerleaders waiting
to leap when their men
walk through the door.


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

Cubism

| Filed under

Contributor: Sana Tamreen Mohammmed

- -
Man on a balcony
his arm on the bronze railing
extends toward a faceless building
in the neighborhood.

Low sound of the street
mixes into the zigzag pattern
of his right pocket.

Legs crossed on the floor
facing the insides of his room
he retires too early that day.


- - -
Published across the world and co-authored Kleptomaniac's Book Of Unoriginal Poems (BRP, Australia).

No Longer

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

- -
If the earth should vanish
And our sun no longer shines,
And the money that meant so much is gone,
No more to be desired,
And no flag is there to rally round,
All causes gone away...
No murderer to murder,
Nothing left to steal,
No one left to hurt,
No one left to kill.
No more can evil find its footing,
When it has nowhere to stand,
No longer are there borders,
No longer any land.
No longer are there leaders,
No one left to lead.
No longer does the blood cry out,
No one left to bleed.


- - -
Bruce Mundhenke is an unknown poet who writes poetry in Illinois, where he lives with his wife and their dog and cat.

Hose Washed

| Filed under

Contributor: Jasmine Som

- -
I stand before my garden
With a hose in my hand
Watering my berry bush

I listen as
Birds chirp, hummingbirds hum
Like an orchestra warming up

And I turned around
Watering you as well
I am sorry

But I washed your jeans
Creating a new design
Drying beneath the hot sun


- - -
As a paleo-vegan, Jasmine Som loves dehydrating fruits to take with her when she hikes. While others stalk celebrities, she looks up new recipes to get creative with. Sadly, cooking with her heavy cast iron pots has her taking on a new workout routine that includes a weight lifting regimen.

Elegies in Sepia

| Filed under

Contributor: Joungbihn Park

- -
I’m lying on autumn grass thinning
leaves, dry and dead,
looking at the white clouds dragged west,
dissipating, traceless.

I walked past plains on the sides of asphalt roads
and the sand path covered in petals of dust.

The mirage of a lone mansion sinking in darkness,
something we didn’t question.

You hold your phone and take pictures of me.
Sepia tone effect
Vintage, worn
Desaturated
Black and white
Look at the photos now.
Wonder.


- - -
Joungbihn Park is a high school senior studying at International School Manila, located in the Philippines. Her work has been awarded by the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) at Johns Hopkins University and published in the Imagine Magazine. She has also been recognized by the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards for her writings and has attended the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop, where she contributed to their anthology.

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