What We Planned

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Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
Greed is taught but so is sharing
Hate is taught but so is caring
Selfish children learn one for all and all for me
Caring children learn to give as it should be
Thinking of yourself sometimes is fine
You can still help someone to cross the finish line
Greed and hate always go hand in hand
So can we if that is what we planned


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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".

She Was Gone

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Contributor: Richard Tilly

- -
I didn't believe it.
She wasn't gone.
Someone was playing a prank on me.
She was still here; it was just a prank.
She couldn’t be gone.
Someone was coming to tell me they were playing a prank on me.
A sick prank.
But none ever came.
There was no prank.
She was gone.
And I had to accept she wasn't coming back.
That she was never coming back.


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Richard Tilly is currently a student living in the north of Sweden. He's been writing short fiction and poetry for as long as he can remember.

Evening

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Contributor: Hilda Doolittle

- -
The light passes
from ridge to ridge,
from flower to flower—
the hepaticas, wide-spread
under the light
grow faint—
the petals reach inward,
the blue tips bend
toward the bluer heart
and the flowers are lost.

The cornel-buds are still white,
but shadows dart
from the cornel-roots—
black creeps from root to root,
each leaf
cuts another leaf on the grass,
shadow seeks shadow,
then both leaf
and leaf-shadow are lost.


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Born in 1886, Hilda Doolittle was one of the leaders of the Imagist movement.

Treetops

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Contributor: Divya Gautam

- -
Let me fall from treetops
Intrepid like birds on cliffs,
Shadows are hard to come by,
When cloudy days are all I know.

There is passion in the wind,
Willing my mind to obey my heart,
On uphill battles I seldom falter,
Even tiredness trudges along, quietly.

Velvet winds steer me away,
From paths that I used to call my own,
I sit in foreign lands now, staring,
At boulders crumbling beneath my feet.

Honour is fickle, like pain and time,
Promises I have seen break aplenty,
In hell there is no ashen sky,
I lay at rest beneath the one in heaven.

Even pain is sick and tired,
Of being a drawn out metaphor,
Why then should I linger here,
When asphalt cracks have done enough.

I will leave one day, soon, I know,
And forget all I am yet to learn,
Even then I will seek contentment,
In a silence that isn't loud enough.


- - -
I am an undergraduate student majoring in Mathematics and Economics in New Delhi, India.

New Arrival

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Contributor: Lu Lin & Dawid Juraszek

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Had to go
didn't know which way
knew only to go across
the place was supposed to be there
trees
lakes
bridges
fences
at dawn everything was different
knew it would be
but wasn't ready
alone and crushed, silent and deafened; waited.
If only she could do what she wanted
if only she could be who she was
but not here
not her
urged to find within herself someone else
or better yet, become someone else
by dusk she knew
putting on other people's clothes wouldn't do
they were wet anyway.


- - -
Lu Lin is Chinese, Dawid Juraszek is Polish. She lives in Norwich in the East of England and he in Guangzhou, southern China. Their work has appeared in various outlets in Poland, China, Japan, USA, and UK.

Anonymity

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Contributor: Sally Dunn

- -
Last night I saw
a flickering star
– a binary,
or a pulsating variable?
If a binary, what type?
A book or the Internet
could answer.

But why ask?
Why know?

I used to care about
knowing things –
this variety of tree,
that species of bird,
that exact type of seaweed.

I no longer
want to know
these neighbors
of mine.

So I swim with
nameless seaweed,
watch nameless birds
flit about nameless trees
all under billions of
nameless stars –

and try to forget
I ever had
a name.


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Sally Dunn’s poetry has appeared in 2River View, Rio Grande Review, The Perch and Straylight Literary Magazine. Her poetry won honorable mention in the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest. She lives on Cape Cod.

OMG

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Seeing is believing
smart people
often tell me but

no one ever told me
believing is seeing
except this blind lady

I help across the street
who taps her cane
and tells me

you’ll find out
when you leave Earth
and whirl among the planets

and soar behind
the sun and moon
on the way to your place

believing is seeing
someone some say
isn't there.


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

The End

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
The end
Is the beginning
The next piece
The next moment
The next chapter

The end
Is movement
Moving forward
Moving backward
Moving wherever

The end
Is transitory
Tracing progress
Tracing moments
Tracing journeys

The end
Is a signal
Guiding airplanes
Guiding steamships
Guiding lifelines

The end
Is the ending
Holding loved ones
Holding mem’ries
Holding forever


- - -
Bruce Levine, a native Manhattanite, has spent his life as a writer of fiction and poetry and as a music and theatre professional and is published on and in numerous internet and print journals. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his wife, dancer/actress, Lydia Franklin.

Turn, Turn, Turn

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
This is not a poem
but a simple reminder
that all of these experiences
are temporary
and fleeting,
yet still
far more beautiful
than any fallen human being
could ever ask, hope,
or dare dream of.

Like a cat fight
by an oak tree
under the blanket of midnight.

Like a last kiss
on a bridge stained
with the smell of smoke.

Like a first breath
from two fresh lungs
inhaling accidental evolution.

Everyone has a breaking point.

The trick
is to come away
at the end of the process
with even more
pieces of the puzzle
in place
than there were
to begin with.


- - -
Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, live events, interviews, and books can be found.

Dangling Participles

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Every time something breaks
like the pipe in the wall
we heard gushing

this morning
my wife wants to call
a repairman because

I can’t fix anything
except split infinitives
and dangling participles

and I usually agree
but this time
I mention the kayaks

in the attic and say
why don’t we hop
in the kayaks

open the front door
and sail down the street
wave to the neighbors

cutting their grass
planting their peonies
worrying about crime

and shout best of luck
we’re tired of the good life
we’re sailing away.


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

The fair weather Baseball fan can't get no satisfaction (a found poem)

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Contributor: Melanie Browne

- -
Wish they played to their potential
We probably don't have a chance now
Congratulations bullpen,
You got what you wanted
We are no longer in first place
this is so embarrassing
stick a fork in my eye
he's very bad
really disappointing,
our bullpen couldn't
even drive in
two runners with no outs
We have some work to do
it's not like we're bashing out team but
They are just going through the motions
This is hard to watch right now
They aren't hungry anymore


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DEATH OF A PIG

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Contributor: Patrick Campbell

- -
Don't be angry, Bess, he says,
as to an old friend.
It’s the way of the world,
though not the way I’d choose.

He's made the journey for her sake,
but wishes he’d never caught the sight
of Bess between the trailer's slats,
so tightly pressed she has to rest
her head upon another's back
and strive for air above the stench.
How distant now the tranquil farm
where never did he do her harm.

Now at the place where life is taken,
those eyes that once regarded him
with something passing for affection
are fixed upon his, trusting still,
yet anguished by this strange new turn.
He'll save her surely, even now,
from the hell she hears and smells,
screaming death beyond the walls.

But when he leaves her at the gate,
fear seizes her: she starts to run.
Yet in a final show of will,
she holds her ground in bold defiance,
refusing to stir an inch towards
the chamber where the hot gas stuns
(they haven't coined a word for this,
for only men are mourned and missed)
And then the last indignity.
A stick corrects the wayward pig
for slowing down the flow of blood
(numbers count in take-home pay).
So sharp the pain, she now rejoins
her new and ultimate companions.
At the edge of darkness now,
no pity's shown the innocent sow.

Before, the children stroked her back,
delighted by the playful Bess.
But could those children ever guess
that even 'ere the year was out,
she’d perish in the cruelest way,
as her litters had before,
after not a year of life,
throats cut with a kitchen knife?

He’s done his best. He gave her pasture,
(he’s seen the way the factories do it)
But he is heir to ancient ways
upheld by scripture and the law
and founded on the myth that God
speaks only to the human strain
of ape, and not to soulless beasts.
So why not kill them as we please?

Thus the butchering of Bess
into favourite cuts of meat
doesn’t shock or prick the conscience,
as long as the sights and sounds of slaughter
remain unseen, unheard …. unjudged.
As so they do, behind closed doors;
for who would eat a pig again
having seen its hideous end?

Do we really think that Bess
will feel the pain and horror less
than human beings so despatched?
A stain is left on humankind
that though we rue a thousand years
will never quite be washed away.
Better by far that they never draw breath
than be born in the shadow of infantile death.


- - -
I am a retired British diplomat living in Spain, the country where I last served. Now an old man, I feel more strongly than ever about the killing of animals for meat.

The Trickster Answers

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Contributor: Sally Dunn

- -
Filled with anguish,
I scream and
lash out at the universe.

I reach up into
the night sky and
claw down the fabric
of the firmament.

I roar into that
which is beyond.
Then cry when
no answer comes.

My legs crumble beneath me.
I dig my fingers into the dirt.
The earth ignores my pain.

With one hand gripping the earth
and the other clutching the heavens,
I howl into the void.

Stark silence answers me.

Until, finally, I hear
the distant yip of
a coyote.


- - -
Sally Dunn’s poetry has appeared in 2River View, Rio Grande Review, The Perch and Straylight Literary Magazine. Her poetry won honorable mention in the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest. She lives on Cape Cod.

Vanity

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Contributor: Andrew Hubbard

- -
He was a boy
When I knew him then,
Just started shaving
Cheap clothes, bit his nails.

He couldn’t take his eyes off me
And I’d stare at him
To watch him look away and flush.

It was a game
And I was proud in a way
To have that power
But if you want to know the truth
He was a little beneath me,
And there was another boy
Who had a blue pick-up truck.

Then he moved out of state
And I moved out of state.
He went to college somewhere
And I went to cosmetology school.

I married Mark
And then the babies came.
All but one were Mark’s
And I honestly loved them
But a lot of time
I just wanted to hold my head
And scream. Mark, he worked
As hard as he could,
I’ll give him that,
And he got us by
But nothing more than that.

And then, oh my God, the kids
Were in high school when he called.
He was going to be in my little town
On a campaign stop and wanted to see me.

I said no. He called again,
I said I had a conflict
And that was true in a way.

He called again, and I agreed
To meet him, and I meant it.

I worried for a week what to wear
And when the day came
I just couldn’t do it.

I no-showed on him
And I’ve never been so ashamed.

I almost never drink,
But I got into Mark’s beer
As soon as the kids were off to school
And spent most of the afternoon
On the toilet peeing and peeing.

That night I threw up on the pillow.
Mark asked what was wrong
And what the hell was I supposed to say…

That I couldn’t let him see
The purple veins on my thighs,
The cover-up that doesn’t?

My friends say I’m still pretty
But I say the same to them.
I’m lying, and I’m pretty sure
They are too. No,
I just couldn’t do it.


- - -
Andrew Hubbard was born and raised in a coastal Maine fishing village. He received degrees in English and Creative writing from Dartmouth College and Columbia University.

Fireflies of God

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Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

- -
Precious jewels,
Scattered out on velvet
In the night,
Bear witness to
A greater light.
And though they seem
To shine forever,
They will vanish
Like a firefly
In the night.


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

Muscles

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Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
Don’t worry, dear
one, even if the stories
are true, they are so muddy
it is hard to be clear.

A flushing rush of whispers
and collusion are like
dirty icebergs floating
in the dark.

The most exercised muscle
is the mouth, the only sliver
of the body some people
seem to use. I myself

prefer the fingers, joining
words, or the entire arm for
making lovely brush strokes
on the canvas of the world.

These are muscles worthy
of use, like the unseen matter
of the mind, like the talent
for finding a bird’s song.



- - -

Sweetest Halo

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
The scent of lemon honeysuckle
where the rain fell
where the summer grew

I’m here for the water
coconut sugar through my veins
kiwi kisses in every sip

Laughter triggers in the aftershock
sends shivers along my spine
golden bodies burn and rise

There are lucid states beyond awakened
purple, pink, orange, and green
uncaged in a dream of motion

I’m here for the wisdom
owls offer so sweet
angels cast with crown and halo

Morning dew gleams in sunlight
smelted silver drips a puddle
melted butter swirls in coffee

I’m here for the smiles
smirks are not enough by far
upturned lips are all I’m after


- - -
Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, live events, interviews, and books can be found.

A Boat in a Tree

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
A boat in a tree,
A silly place to be.
Why would there be
A boat in a tree?

There came a great wind,
That wouldn’t rescind.
That couldn’t be pinned
Before it had sinned.

The ocean did roar,
Like rarely before.
And finally did score
By coming ashore.

The wind picked up things,
Like butterfly wings.
And powerful as kings
Or a lion who sings.

Then up it did go,
Just like a show.
The boat travelled slow
Before it did know.

Over the sand,
And over the land.
To find a tree stand
Just like it was planned.

Out of the water,
Not what it ought-a.
Something it sort-a
Never have thought-a.

A boat in a tree,
A silly place to be.
But I happened to see
A boat in a tree.


- - -
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 www.brucelevine.com.

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