Clearing Rusty Pipes

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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