Horses in February

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Contributor: Lauren Lubrino

- -
The road will lead you to the edge of the map
Eroded gravel, torn billboards, a ship graveyard
Arthur Kill’s museum of nautical failures
Floating metal skeletons, landmark of years gone by

“Keep out” is scribbled in graffiti
On the gates of abandoned house
I heard the rumors about him long ago
But didn’t want to believe them

The sky grew dark
Fog blanketed street signs
Wrapping its arm around every memory
Blurring the past, I go in circles
I deleted his number

But my fingers memorized the digits
And they dial his number without my consent
The road ends by the edge of the water
There is nowhere else to drive
In the far away distance, I think I see horses
Running along the shoreline
I wonder, in the winter
Do the horses ever get too cold
To run?

- - -
Lauren Lubrino is a Native New Yorker. She teaches writing at the College of Staten Island.

The Sea is a Great Place to think of Endings

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Contributor: Anna Dunn

- -
People think it’s strange I cry at sunsets
But the sea is a great place to think of the past
To confront the worst scars and watch them fade
Waves crashing into insecurities
Washing off the dust and dirt until
They’re laying raw and exposed

Reminding me
Anxiety makes my heart race
Like a mighty thoroughbred
And I’m Always the quirky friend
Never a beautiful lover
Though love crackles static on my fingers

Instead random boys ask my chest where its from
and girls decide I’m too socially awkward for something
so casual that I never wanted it anyways
And anyone who mentions I’m returning home
I want to superglue their lips shut
Because this is home
Where everything is exposed and complicated
but also vibrant and supermassive in its intensity

And We’re Hopscotching around the world like giants
Nowhere and everywhere all at once
Shipmates singing the top of their lungs
Broken harmony with eyes crinkled
Laughing like the world is theirs
With light brighter than any sun
Even when setting a hot pink
Too unrealistic for a Dali painting

So much better than it once was
Where I was a shell and light went right through me
Delicate like glass
So scared of endings
That starting anything
Never really happened anyways

The sea is a good place to think of the present
Slamming into language barriers at full speed
Crying in war museums
Tears blood on my hands
My privilege is weapon
And I’ve always hated guns

Because destruction is pointless
Nationhood is a human construction
And we are the only things that divide ourselves

But there are places forgiveness grows
Like flowers in the rain
And each place The sea brings me
The sky rips apart and reveals
Something raw and beautiful

The sea is a great place to think of the future
I apply sunscreen three times a day
Just so I can live a bit longer

And each day my dreams are little pieces
Of outer space swimming in the palms of my hands

People think it’s funny that I cry at sunsets
But now as pink and gold fades to red
And plunges me into a new night
I know it will birth thousands of new beginnings
Coming to be like matter from supernovas
Sun rising and falling over and over
As I love with everything in me
Continue to laugh until neighbors bang on the wall
Embracing every moment
Looking at every sunset knowing
I’m not scared of endings any more.

- - -
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.


| Filed under

Contributor: Jagari Mukherjee

- -
I will soon be gone
To the land where
Sugar maple trees line the roads,
And the stationery shops are full
Of "back-to-school" supplies.

When I am away from you, I will write
Of what it is like to be away from you
In a college composition notebook.
I will look at the Huron river and think
Of the times I described its wooded banks
For you.

I will get for you gifts --
Intriguing river stones, a tiny acorn
And a little purple journal
With green butterflies on the
Vinyl cover.
A photo of the sugar maple tree
Outside my balcony.
A vial of the river water
To cool your soul.
A sketchbook with paintings
Recorded as my vain attempt
With watercolors to capture the
Trail parks where I tread.
A handwritten recipe for my sister's
Five-minute chocolate mug cakes.

This time, I will rove only so
that I can tell you.

- - -
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.

Loving Her

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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He remembers loving her
lost in an orchard
peaches, pears, apricots

falling on his head
every day
always out of breath

stunned, dizzy
seeking shelter
he never found

then hating her
the night she sent him
whirling into space

dodging stars, planets
no sign of life anywhere
wondering whether

he would ever hear
a songbird welcome spring
or kiss her again.

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

Martial Lust

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Contributor: Maria-Theresa Zehendstrom

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When the only me they want
is immediate
and the only now that satiates
their grabbing mouths
is right now
this instant
its hard to stand against the tide
of needs
of hunger
of martial lust
and clawing
against clawback
with claws bared
to take all of the money
the dead left
couldn't take with them
couldn't spend on houses
all impartial things
and monuments
and edifices
to envy
their graves
like hardons
stabbing sky
in one last
at a breath
at life
at more
than worm-eaten eternity
with only the clothes
and the coffin
to keep you company
to show
how hard you worked
how much you saved
how much you bought
when buying
could have saved so much more
so many more
than the weak, weekly stipend
you begrudge your sun-browned gardener
for mailing to his family
in Mexico

- - -
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.

Flames of Hate

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Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

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Flames of hate can not grow if you do not add fuel to the fire
Prejudice is hate created by fear and fear is an illusion created by a liar
Fan the flames, the fire burns brighter, without added fuel the ember dies
Unrest and violence are tools of weak, greedy people spreading their lies
Villages and bridges are built by the strong so the weak can enter or cross
Wars are caused by prejudice, hate, fear, greed and leaves us at a loss
Don’t fan the flames with words of hate, prejudice, fear, and greed
Put out the flames of hate, stop being a follower and with pride take the lead

- - -
He was born and raised in Ohio, and now lives in Florida. He is married and has two children. Most important he is a Papa. He has over 20 poems on this site and one printed in "Stormcloud Poets second anthology".

The Lake

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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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
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

swimmers dive
into pale blue
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
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

Roatan, Honduras

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Contributor: Melanie Browne

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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

- - -


| 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

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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.


At New Orleans a few months ago

I walked down
Frenchmen Street
At 12 am
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!

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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

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

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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

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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
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.


| 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

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Contributor: Maria-Theresa Zehendstrom

- -
to your self-important
suicidal end
of shopping
financial planning
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
into the underground
six feet underground
with nothing
just to get away
from it all
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

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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

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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
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
left to wander lost
without a root
without a line
to the towering ash
to a people once sundered
under blows from Olaf's Hammer
the crush of xtianity
the shards of Sigurd
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.


| Filed under

Contributor: Mark J. Mitchell

- -
Every landscape is located nowhere.

—Fernando Pessoa
The Book of Disquiet


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


| Filed under

Contributor: Anna Dunn

- -
Small rejections
Are little papercuts

Scratching at the skin
So quiet but
When amplified

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.


| 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

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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
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.


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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

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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

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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.


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.


Late storms torment the usual places
Where everyone’s had enough.
Out here at the warm end of winter,
Almond blossoms pass for snow.


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

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Contributor: Stefanie Bennett

- -
The dark has a door
all of its own
through which
the begotten
of sorrow.

To name it - you
claim it.
high road
so faithfully

- - -
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

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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

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Contributor: Wisen Erlach

- -
I look into the eyes
of all the women
who aren't you
who seem a piece of you
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

- - -


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