Between Death

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Mrs. O’Malley

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Mrs. O’Malley
from across the alley
has another small job
for my father to do
which makes my mother

unhappy because
Mrs. O’Malley’s been
bothering Father for years,
parading around in shorts
and halter top, watering

flowers in her yard
when Father goes out
to cut the grass and weed.
Neighbor ladies have
warned my mother

about Mrs. O’Malley
from across the alley
because too many husbands
have too often helped
Mrs. O’Malley too well.


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

Morning at Soul Sisters Retreat

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Contributor: Ingrid Bruck

- -
Stella Maris
the ocean, my office
peace, my work

rain whistles
shakes the window
surf sounds inside

dawn
comes and goes
in haze

I expect nothing
sun breaks day
retreats

out of clouds
volcano explodes
horizon fades pink

(Soul Sisters Retreat, October 13-18, 2015, at Stella Maris Retreat House, Long Branch, NJ)


- - -
Ingrid Bruck lives in Pennsylvania Amish country, a landscape that inhabits her writing. A retired library director, she writes short forms and poetry. Current work appears in Unbroken Journal, Eunoia, Peacock Journal, W.I.S.H and Entropy.

Giving Respect

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Contributor: Vraj Patel

- -
I try to fit in
No matter how hard it may be
The people that surround me
Are those that hate me and love me

But I am also human
I do my best to understand
How I want to be treated
And how others want to be treated

Everyone should be given
The chance to be heard
From those who oppose
And from the people that love them

We are not robots
But people who aren’t perfect
We make mistakes
Ones we don’t want to make

We need to respect each other
To not make fun of each other
To be a part of society
And to be heard


- - -

Watching the Flow

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Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

- -
Sitting on the bank of the river,
Watching the water go by,
A road of raindrops before me,
That fell on the earth long ago,
Giving water to all
Who lived in those days,
Long before you and I,
Gathered by sun,
Carried by clouds,
Loosed on the earth,
And finding its way to the sea,
I watch as the past and future,
Slowly flows by me.


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

Arthur

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Contributor: Steven Jakobi

- -
He lived in a shack, an old travel trailer
he built up with scrap wood and siding
and shingles discarded by others.

His rusted old truck always broke.
Then he would get another. A Ford.
Always a Ford - red or blue or green,
sometimes one with all three colors.

He was a tiny man in old grimy clothes,
Wore a greasy cowboy hat that just about
made him disappear under the frayed brim.
But his dog, always groomed,
ran with a bright red collar.

He was my neighbor. A "Good Egg" who
cut my grass and fed the cat when I was away.
For ten years I knew him.
Over a beer, he would talk about
hunting and horses and life.

I moved away. Said "goodbye" and
"see ya sometime."
Always meant to.
Always too busy.

I drove by his place the other day.
His shack, the truck
and dog were gone.
As though he never lived there.

I regret never going back
while I could. Just another
missed opportunity in life.
Another "Good Egg," Gone.


- - -
Steven Jakobi is a retired biology professor. He and his wife live in rural Allegany County, New York, with three dogs, two cats and a mess of chickens.

Wake Up Fools

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Contributor: EG Ted Davis

- -
Finely manicured landscaping,
strongly constructed Victorian style
home sits atop rich soil,
and you think you own it.
Fools! (wake up).
It belongs to the earth,
and she'll do with your
possessions as she
damn well pleases.
Torment you as it may,
these are only your's-
on borrowed time.


- - -
Old time poet who has returned from a hefty 25 year plus hiatus. My work has recently appeared in Gold Dust (UK) Poydras Review, Scarlet Leaf Review and The Penwood Review, along with various online websites.

Deliverance

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Contributor: Rajnish Mishra

- -
How can I ever return to my city now? I’ll need a time back,
and me back from that time. I’ll need them back too, men and women,

children and plants, and a cow, yes the cow that would come
to the door for me to rub its back, then leave, every day.

That time and place, this time and place, complete my city of the old.
Too many deaths in twenty three days have hit me hard,

kept me shaken for minutes at length. Death
is not to be trifled with, and flash: images

of a street, they sell fish and vegetables for some length
on it and then there’s a bend, the end of the street,

and then I return. Early this morning an aunt passed away,
yes, that’s what we called her. We’d been neighbors

my whole life and that of our families for as long
as we have lived in our houses. I am far removed in place,

in grief too. Or else, how do I explain my not rushing
back where I’m needed? I have changed. I have come a long way

from my home, from myself. I think I understand
Tithonus’ wish a little. It becomes difficult to live

once all have gone, and those around are not your people,
the time and place also not yours. Then a shadow walks,

a ghost in a shell, and waits for
deliverance.


- - -
Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India and now in exile from his city. His work originates at the point of intersection between his psyche and his city. His work has now started appearing in journals and websites.

Cleavage

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Contributor: Todd Mercer

- -
Some days you succeed at the task, split the stone open.
Other times you stall out because you stayed up
over-late and didn’t favor choices that make
the body beautiful. Suspense surrounds attempts
of those who’ve halved it before but choked since,
like that iconic skier tumbling the length of the Seventies
on that sports show intro. The Agony of Defeat guy
could still kick ass in a bar fight, but the mercy rule
suggests we let him be by now. The sword is certain,
but the spirit needs caffeine. If one split the stone
in ‘86, ’95 and 2010, must one cleave it each try
to stay a slight hero? Survey says: Yes.
Fair is what would be if your mother ran the planet.
She has no pull here, zero. Certain mornings
you wake up foolproof and divide the stone.
So far no one can manage it every blessed day.


- - -
TODD MERCER won the Grand Rapids Festival Flash Fiction Award. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Recent work appears in 100 Word Story, Literary Orphans and Praxis.

Inside My Cube

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Contributor: Jun Lit

- -
Inside my cubic sanctuary,
metered four by three by three
alone is not equal to lonely.

Silence is a deafening music
to which I dance with muted speak
scribbled on the monitor of this phone petite
the one which plays my concert pieces
accompanied by cooling blows of the aircon unit

Within my mind, I think of nothing
Not a slight voltage of worrying
Yet rivers of images keep flowing
some familiar, some quite puzzling.
The dams of slumber are all collapsing.

Within this ‘Invictus’ heart’s galleries,
The messy series of documentaries
rolls, a non-stop soap, a marathon of movies.
I am the privileged viewer
of incoherent video clips, where
I am the major performer
The director inside me, forever
in this reality show, always a newcomer,
trial and error, action here, cut there
Mother Nature is the producer
Chance and some talent, the sponsor, the manager.

Inside my cubic sanctuary,
reminiscing makes me happy,
I know that my Love loves me
and yes, alone is not equal to lonely.


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

A FOREIGN INTERVENTION

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Contributor: Michael H. Brownstein

- -
You go away an albino garden snake
and come home the color of gecko.
The air smell, the lake of legs,
this ether of vocabulary—
what is familiar in darkness different somehow,
even the familiar pattern of blemish and scar.
Tonight lightning comes without thunder,
tomorrow an almost blue sky
full of mountain’s breath, heat,
soiled chom chom, vendors of the motor bikes,
a click of guitar accompanied by insect and frog,
and one dark cloud melting until it too
blemishes the almost blue sky,
the almost always blue sky, even at night,
not blue black, but almost blue black,
the moon an icicle folding into shadow and sweat.
When the wind lifts the flower
of mang cou and braids the bamboo,
there is something you must learn to do,
the dust of day an imprint
on all of the clothes you wear.


- - -
Michael H. Brownstein has nine poetry chapbooks including A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004) and The Possibility of Sky and Hell (White Knuckle Press, 2013).

Snake Charmer

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
After 50 years Wilma
at her class reunion thinks
Waldo’s changed with age

that he’s nice now, not
the snake she wed
right after high school

and quietly divorced.
Both are widowed now
and Wilma looks lovely.

Tonight she has Waldo
swaying to the rhythm
of her voice but Wilma

needs to know a cobra
coiled in its basket can
wait to nip its charmer.


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

Walls

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Contributor: Barbara Carlton

- -
Even when the rooms are empty, they echo
with watercolors of muted voices, edges blurred,
from the decades when their walls breathed in the tints
and textures of the lives they sheltered. They knew
her yearning for the clear air
of the mountainside; his long look
out the window before he left
for the last time; my quest
with the girl who has no name to
the castle that lies east of the sun
and west of the moon. Hush, sweetheart,
put your ear close, you can
hear the walls thinking, like a stream
that rustles through the woods at night.
Here
is a clean shape left behind where the little
landscape used to hang. So often she looked
through its painted surface and wondered
where the time had gone.


- - -
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.

Haikus

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Contributor: Jasmine Som

- -
Skate atop the creek
As the aurora enchants
Gaze up to the stars

Crows caw and fog creeps
Yet the pale moon gleams so bright
Scarecrows stand alone

Up above, bees buzzed
Sweet aroma of honey
Pleasant to the thought

Red flushed cheeks, tanned skin
Taste the saltiness in the air
Enjoy golden rays

She is beautiful
Since birth she gave all she could
With a kindred soul

Centuries of life
With its shell as strong as rock
Slowly crawls to me


- - -
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.

Under the Moon

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Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

- -
What were your thoughts
When you saw the moon,
Low and red in the sky?
Did its beauty seduce you,
Were you under its spell,
Or did you think it
Just a rock in the sky?
As it lost its red hue
And grew pale,
Did it seem to shrink
As it climbed?
So many souls,
All throughout time,
Have watched as it passed
Through the night.


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

A Low Voice and a Nice Walk

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Gramps by the fire
in his rocker hunched over
is rolling his smoke with care

when Tom, his grandson, asks,
“What’s the most important thing
to look for in a wife?”

Gramps stares into the fire intently
then finally says, “You want a wife
with a low voice and a nice walk,

a low voice because later in life
your ears give out but her odd jobs
become more numerous

and a nice walk because you want to
let her go first forever and make
all that extra work worthwhile.”


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

The Forgotten Treasure

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Contributor: Kavitha Yarlagadda

- -
I spread my roots to be strong
I grow tall and big to live long
I grow fruits and flowers to nourish you
Oh let me love, let me live

I give you shelter, I give you a home
I protect you from sun, rain and pollution
You sit, sleep and work on me
Oh let me love, let me live

I am your stationery, your security at home
I give you fresh air, I give you food
I decorate your city with greenery
Oh let me love, let me live

I give you respite from the sweltering heat
I spread the green cover to give you rainfall
I fill all water bodies and quench your thirst
Oh let me love, let me live


- - -
I am a Civil Engineer by profession, apart from my work, I am passionate about reading and writing, a crazy book lover, an aspiring writer and a person who cares about our environment and nature

Flatline

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Contributor: Christina Cruz

- -
The humming of the monitor
pierces my ears.

Suddenly the crowd of physicians vanish
and the room begins to fade
into a black space,
leaving the two of us alone.

As I stand in front of him,
taunted by his stillness,
my mind plays tricks
into making me think
that I see a pulse in his hand,
or a rising motion in his chest.

And the room torments me
with visions of another world.
One where I could still hold his hand.

Tears spill from my face
turning into an ocean.
And I desperately thrash through the
waves trying to reach him.

Completely and utterly isolated.
Everything was swept away,
including him.


- - -
Christina Cruz hates smiling. Instead she prefers staring blankly at people with her heterochromatic eyes. Her work has previously been published in Vox Poetica.

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