Clarity

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Contributor: Mario Amario

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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


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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

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Contributor: Timothy Nguyen

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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.


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Keepsake

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Contributor: JD DeHart

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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.


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Hidden

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Contributor: Jack Rider

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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

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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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

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Contributor: John Grey

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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?


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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

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Contributor: Korra Abraham-Whatley

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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

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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

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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.


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

Mermaid Ashtray

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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.


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Without Nothing

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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