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Contributor: Stefanie Bennett

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I've played down my stock of years
And kept the improvisation:
For myself:

I designed the first heresiarch.

Mother to stone, feathering atmospheres,
My children hung as pendants...
The genetics of all.

I set the showground going.

The Muse had something to do with it.
The torch-swallower. The giantess
Of 'o' - and the gale that followed.

The tongue? It won't cease there.

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


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Contributor: Judy Moskowitz

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The front line of hell, where silence dwells
through sealed lips
igniting a flame thick as anger
silence hears everything inside its vow
needing to have a voice
whether thin as a whisper or
making noise
silence carries the weight of conscience
when it becomes deaf to cries
inside a slaughter house

- - -
Judy Moskowitz, a professional jazz musician, has been published in Poetry Life And Times, Michael Lee Johnson's anthology, Indiana Voice Journal, Whispers Of The Wind. Her poem Modigliani was nominated best of the net.

Big Walleye for Emma

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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Never a man to dawdle
Gramps got around,
he reminded his Emma,
until gout told his foot
to marry his ottoman.

So he paid for a cab
to visit Doc Morton,
a man he hated to see,
then stayed off his foot
for another two weeks.

Neighbors came over
and Sally next door
brought a big apple pie
and a case of the flu.
Gramps sampled both.

In a matter of days
he developed pneumonia,
went to the hospital,
faded away after
telling his widow-to-be

no reason at all to worry.
He just had a bit of the flu.
Come summer, he’d catch
a mess of big walleye
only his Emma could fry.

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

The Pursuit

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Contributor: Alysia Wong

- -
Gone tomorrow and maybe even within minutes,
for she cannot be bought even by the richest.
Can she be received or must she be achieved?
For her name is Happiness and likes to be a tease.

I open my door to welcome her,
but she likes to make me wait.
I can hear her voice singing in my ears,
but she is nowhere to be seen.
I finally surrender and turn off my lights,
she is not coming tonight.

I slowly make my way to my bedroom,
dragging my feet as my head hung low.
I take a final peek out the window,
and see a silhouette waiting for me on the porch.

I rush to the door as my heart pounds.
Illuminated by the moonlight, our eyes lock together.
I welcome Happiness in and reach out for her.
She slips away from my grasp and tells me
to wait one more night.

- - -
Alysia Wong works part-time at her local optometry center. When she is not learning about hyperbolic paraboloids, she is watching vlogs on YouTube. Alysia hopes to one day visit the Eiffel Tower in person, instead of seeing it from her computer screen.

Horehound Candy

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Contributor: Carl "Papa" Palmer

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Seeing it on the country store shelf
reminds me of Dad.
Horehound candy, a name snickered
at when I got older,
a flavor not really to my liking,
a root beer licorice cough drop taste,
but still, it was candy
and what kid would turn down candy.

Dad would always buy one stick,
snap it in two, hand me my half and
say, "too much sugar'll spoil supper,
plus a penny a piece is ridiculous."

I don't remember the first or last
time he bought me a stick,
I just remember he always did,
a sort of father son rite of passage
when horehound was on the shelf.

So I ask for one of the candies,
pay the ridiculous price of a quarter
and put half the stick in my mouth.
It tastes just like it did back then,
but I don't remember when it ever
caused a tear to fall from my eye.

- - -
Carl "Papa" Palmer of Old Mill Road in Ridgeway, VA now lives in University Place, WA.
He is retired military, retired FAA and now just plain retired without wristwatch, cell phone alarm clock or Face book friend. Carl, Hospice volunteer and president of The Tacoma Writers Club, is a Pushcart Prize and Micro Award nominee.
MOTTO: Long Weekends Forever

Morning, Orcas

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Contributor: Barbara Carlton

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This is the ritual: stand naked
on the bluff before dawn and watch
the night begin to melt at its edge;
watch the hills across the water emerge
as shapes reflected in glass, for no air moves;
watch a band of light spread coral
at the horizon like a breath of grace;

pretend you are the first human standing, on
the first morning, the uses of air and forest, land
and sea still to be discovered: it’s just you
and the earth, all one, and the smells
of cedar and salt water make you want to run,
shout, be still, all at once;

watch the sun breach the ridge and drift
into the sky, where you can’t look at it
any longer; the breeze that rises
with the day swirls against your skin and
riffles the surface of the water, gusting drops
of sunlight toward you.

Reach for them. Understand you will
never touch, for you are separate now.

Later, run to Diamond Lake and watch the diamonds
skitter across the surface like wind made light,
while two ravens, who have been here since the beginning,
circle in the eddy overhead.

- - -
I am a writer and architect living in the San Diego, California, area. My parents are long dead and my children are grown. It's a good vantage point for thinking.


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Contributor: Sravani Singampalli

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I have seen those
Breathtaking cherry blossoms,
Wonderful cascades, serene woods
And lonely valleys.
I really felt happy seeing
All the beauties of nature.
I never thought of anything
More beautiful than this
But when I heard the laughter
Of those poor innocent children
When I saw them jumping in happiness
After receiving goodies
I changed my mind.
That old man in their street
Is perhaps more fortunate than me.
He can behold this every day
Selling his delicious roasted peanuts
And giving some to these
Poor little kids
At the end of the day.

*Elysium- a place or state of perfect happiness.

- - -
Sravani singampalli is a 22 year old poet from india. She is presently pursuing doctor of pharmacy at JNTU KAKINADA university in Andhra Pradesh, India.


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Contributor: Blake Garlock

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It was crisp and cool
But the blood was warm
Gathered in small pools
It led me through the ferns

Not far in I begin to worry
The mahogany red pools fade
Will I lose my quarry?
I lose faith, but morals keep me going

When morale has hit an all time low
A brown blob in the leaves fills me with life
Respect, thankfulness and honor overtake me
But there is no time for that, for the work has just begun

- - -
I am a current college student and emerging writer. I enjoy the outdoors and writing.

Strange Dreams

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Contributor: Peighton Macatuno

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I blanked out, about to give up control
What could I do
in a dream I couldn’t understand?

Suddenly the pain began to fade.
I was lying in bed, hearing nothing but the alarm
on the table by my bedside.

Was I still asleep?
Darkness was a recurring
character in these nightmares.

My eyes finally opened
and I wiped away tears
I didn’t know were falling.

Every night I slept
I could not remember
why I couldn’t forget these dreams.

- - -
Peighton Macatuno will eat anything once, as long as it’s at least half-dead. When she’s not eating, she’s practicing the piano or tutoring students in music theory. She chooses to help children over animals because they are easier to communicate with.

Last Slice (after William Carlos Williams)

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Contributor: Noah Kim

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I grabbed the very last slice
of the pizza in the box.
I saw your hand reach for it too
but I was much quicker.

From the sigh of sadness,
I felt your disappointment.
But I still held firm onto my slice
as if it was worth a million bucks.

Forgive my selfish deed,
but it was very delicious
with the cheese oozing like lava
and the crust soft and crunchy.

- - -
Noah Kim believes that there is no task in the world more exciting than being on jury duty because judging and punishing people are his two favorite hobbies. Noah has many special skills, ranging from microwaving minute rice in fifty-nine seconds to unwrapping Starbursts in his mouth. If Noah could some up his life in one line, he would die of embarrassment.

A Ticket to Somewhere

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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When I was eight
I jumped off a roof as if
I had a parachute
and broke a leg.
He was there when I landed,
told me to be careful,
said I was too young
and then disappeared.

In a high school game
I went up for a rebound,
came down on my head
and got a concussion.
When I landed
he was there again,
said I was still too young
and had better be careful.

In my late forties
I almost got hit by a truck
but jumped back in time
and landed on the curb.
This time he told me
I was no longer too young
and if I wasn’t careful
I might see him again.

Now decades later
I have been very careful
but I still watch for him
because the last time he said
every one of us has
a ticket to somewhere
with choices to make
and moments to decide.

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


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Contributor: Stefanie Bennett

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Hard facts sleep softly
If you let them:
Grey shepherds
Conjured up
In 'The Good Book'.

Such occurrences
The mind
To itself...
Its humming

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

No One's Calling

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Contributor: Suez

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An ominous rumble.
A blue chair
Balancing on two legs
In the dim corner
Against the grey wall.
Dingy yellow curtains
Ruffled edges dangling
Flit in the wind
Coming through the slimmest
Of cracks in the window
That rattles in its wooden frame.
A dead cell phone.
The freedom
Or the prison
To imagine
Almost anything
Or nothing
In pure isolation.

- - -

The Forest’s Not For Seeing Whole

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Contributor: Barbara Carlton

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it’s for the fabric of bark: ropes
of fir, ribbons of cedar hair, red
madrona peels, alder mosaics
in gray raw silk;

it’s for the way ferns explode like
little green fireworks, branching,
branching, branching--their tiniest
part a fractal mirror of the whole

it’s for the calligraphy of sunlight written
in air, and the glitter of a turquoise
dragonfly in a glow of dust;

it’s for the muffled crackle
of invisible deer, squirrels snarking
at the feast, the giant who breathes
in the upper branches, the patient snore
of a rock weathering;

it’s for the sharp burst of unripe
blackberries, the crumble of rotting
logs, the hum of damp earth living
and dying;

it’s for all the inventions
of green, the perfection
of stillness, the permanent hush
of expectation, a hint of the world
when everything was forest.

- - -
I am a writer and architect living in the San Diego, California, area. My parents are long dead and my children are grown. It's a good vantage point for thinking.

The Shifters

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Contributor: Ed Ahern

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The creatures of the night
don’t lurk in woods and mansions.
They cave in cubicle and condo
until their sunset bat flights
to score drugs and hookups.
They shift not shape but being
into things denied by day.
Their eyes, rheumed at three o’clock
bear witness to misshapings.
Their smiles are the crumpled wrappers
of what they’ve smoked or drunk.
These creatures of the night
skulk outside themselves and simper.
They’ve escaped into the darkness.

- - -
Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He's had a hundred eighty poemsand stories published so far, and three books.


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Contributor: Samara Golabuk

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Tip the dire ferment of my thoughts on edge
a spinning dime that slows and rests,
at tension with insistent gravity
(an unreasoning beast at best
and almost always right).

Where's this vaunted spell,
the perfect synchronicity of uncertainty and atomic structure
to let me bandit away on a thermal,
laughing breezily among the convections of clouds?
Unbidden skylark am I,
a would-be immigrant of the firmament—
the vault that hoards no windows, only stars.

- - -
Samara is a Pushcart nominee whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Inklette, Eyedrum Periodically, Anti-Heroin Chic, Eunoia Review and others. She has two children, works in marketing and design, and has returned to university to complete her BA in Poetry.


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