Baby Girl

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Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
Eyes that sparkle, hair full of curl
This is what I love about my baby girl
Smiles that light up even dull days
Hearing your giggles as you run and play
Watching you grow into the person you are
You have become my little shinning star
Knowing I love you as I hold your hand
This is the life I always planned


- - -
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".

My Destiny

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Contributor: Jane Briganti

- -
A warm breeze
glides across
my bare skin
blowing through
my once auburn waves

Droplets of water
sprinkle upon me
as the tide breaks
against the rock-lined shore
where I rest alone

My eyes are
open
My breathing is calm
and my mind at ease
I ruminate not
about life or love
but on the flow
of my breath and
the beating of my heart

I am surrendering,
just letting go
of all expectations
right here on this beach
Today, this day
on this towel
under this tree
which shades me

I surrender
to the Universe
I trust it completely
to lead me
to wherever I need to be

To lead me to my destiny!


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Born and raised in New York, I've been writing poetry ever since I can remember. Only recently have I felt a desire to share my poetry with others. It is my hope that someone may find solace in my words.

Fred Odowsky

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Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

- -
Last night I saw Fred Odowsky,
He was the star of my dream.
Big, as in life, and still very strong,
Still funny and playful, it seemed,
He had walked, while on earth, in Vietnam,
As other poor boys also had,
And once choked a VA rep in our town
With his own telephone cord,
When he told Fred a lie,
Right to his face,
About help, at the VA to be found.
He had tripped with me several decades ago,
We took my Chevy to the river to see,
In a bar by the name of Wells Fargo,
A friend, in a band it known to me.
He took the wheel of my Chevy,
When I could no longer see.
He has been gone now for decades,
But appeared to me in my sleep,
Surely he still remains in the dreams,
Of One who is greater than me.


- - -
Bruce Mundhenke writes in Illinois, where he lives with his wife and their little dog and big cat.

Displacement

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Contributor: Divya Gautam

- -
Why is it always a journey?
The displacement of people, minds, and hearts
From one place to another
From one person to another
From one dream to another
Between continents, there lie oceans of disappointment
Someone is always left behind
Some days are better forgotten
Some futures are better left unseen
Underneath these rocks of expectations
There is a skeleton of a man
His bones working for another's dreams
While time plays the background score
With decidedly morbid chords
I have seen dreams bend with norms
Leaving the young with tilted necks
Frowns are etched with charcoal
Onto fair faces that once belonged

It is always a one way street
That beckons in our minds
Gravel awaits the tread of your feet
Wishing that you knew
That this journey was over
Before it began.


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Divya Gautam is an undergraduate student majoring in Mathematics and Economics in New Delhi, India.

Your True Love

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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Finding your true love
Is not up to you
It can take years
Or an instant
Milliseconds
That equal lightyears

The heart chooses
And destiny is revealed
In a single moment
An hour
A week
Two people
Whose hearts are like
Opposite poles of a magnet
Drawn together
Inexplicably
Yet inseparable

Oceans apart
Or right next door
Love transcends all boundaries
Negating the past
Without tarnishing memories
Rejoicing in those memories
And yet looking to the new dawn
Another day
Another chapter
To be realized
Held in a hand
That only holds
Your true love


- - -
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. He lives with his rescued Australian Shepherd, Daisy. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his wife, dancer/actress, Lydia Franklin.

Country-Style Directions

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Contributor: Todd Mercer

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Drive
West,
turn where
the Smith barn
used to be. A tree
you may recall marked the driveway.
It came down in a tornado years past, but look for
the trunk rotting in the tall grass.
You can’t miss the place
which was there
way back.
Straight
shot.


- - -
TODD MERCER was nominated for Best of the Net in 2018. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s recent work appears in Literary Orphans, The Magnolia Review, Praxis and Zero Flash.

Life Lanes

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Contributor: Sarah Pouls

- -
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…” – Robert Frost

I don’t understand how traffic is formed;
just drive the speed limit, merge like a zipper, get off at an exit.
Maintain the flow of the road without delaying others.
Red light. Green light. Slow down and merge right for emergency vehicles.
Or for me.

Keeping up with traffic – with others – is exhausting.
Stop. Go. Pause. Slam on my brakes. Turn here.
Oops, the GPS – I – made a mistake. Turn around.
Don’t turn around? Slow down for me.
Please.

I don’t turn around. I can’t turn around.
The monstrous wall of semi-trucks didn’t let me merge.
I had a set destination in mind,
but plans don’t always work out the way we want them to –
despite preparation and fear.

I keep driving; the dark pavement is
luring me further down a path I stumbled upon unwillingly.
The GPS yells at me to turn around,
but I am stuck in a new lane –
a new road.

I am now in the express lane, to the GPS’s disdain.
All other cars were able to exit while I was left behind, now lost.
Except up on the overpass are the replacements of landmarks I recognize –
Bertucci’s, Dominick’s, Zany Brainy, Blockbuster,
Once thriving, now replaced and thriving again.

The path I’m on which once seemed foreboding
now feels promising, filled with lessons from my past.
I think I can maneuver my way forward. Express lanes have no exits.
So although I glance back at my past, I know I need to keep accelerating –
moving forward on my new route.

Two roads diverged on the highway, and the road less traveled by
is sometimes forced upon us by semi-trucks.

Keep driving.


- - -
Sarah Pouls is a high school English Teacher and freelance writer from Schaumburg, Illinois. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Written Communications and has a firm belief that all writing is based on forming connections through storytelling.

Life without Reason

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Contributor: Sally Dunn

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I live, but I don’t know why.
I look for reasons and
find ashes and chores.
I once thought life itself was
reason enough,
but always that life contained
him.

He took my reasons
with his life.

I eat, though all
food tastes of chalk.
I sleep so time will pass.
I sort his things.
Throw out some.
Save some.
Plan to sell some.

Life reduced to
piles and boxes.

Why live at all?

Still, my breath comes in and out.
The days dawn and set.
Tears come in
silent burning streams
or in choking sobs,
or they come
not at all.


- - -
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.

Spaces

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Contributor: Gary Thomas Hubbard

- -
Spaces left upon my calloused soul
Unfinished dreams leaving a gaping hole
Spaces left between love and hate
Feelings I must control before it is too late
Spaces unfilled from memories lost
Fearing the loneliness and what of the cost
Spaces like wishes that remain unfulfilled
Will be wasted like a farmer's untilled field
Spaces need to be filled with memories of hope
This is how the human spirit will learn to cope


- - -
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".

It’s Not for the Usher to Ask

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Many churches today
have a food pantry that never
had a pantry before.

I attend a church like that.
Some folks are well-fixed,
others poor, most betwixt.

Some had money before
but not enough now to pay
the mortgage and then buy food

so the pantry helps them
the same way it helps clients
it has helped for years.

Some folks in the pews quietly
support the pantry with
checks and canned goods

enabling the nouveau poor
to stand in line with the
forever poor on Mondays.

A neighborhood baker slips
into the church Sunday mornings
just prior to the end of service

and quietly stacks his trays
of unsold bread in the dark foyer.
He says nothing and disappears.

No one seems to know
who he is but the hungry
love his bread and word

of its excellence has reached
the woman who leaves church early
and always grabs two loaves

of French baguettes and is
out in the parking lot long
before anyone else and

drives off in a red Mercedes.
Perhaps she’s on unemployment,
low on food stamps or is still

making payments on the car.
It’s not for the usher to ask.
I simply hold the door.


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

Vodka Gatorade

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Contributor: J.R. Mookins

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Vodka gatorade
takes away the punch
the sweet
the dull
the hanging hell
of too many days
of too many screaming faces
soccer moms
boomer moms
angry moms
wanting everything
wanting it all for free
wanting it all now
yesterday
last week
entitled
entitled

Millenial tears
the struggle is real
ear-raped daily
for pocketbook pleasures.


- - -
Think before you speak. Those who live in glass castles throw too many rocks.

Everybody Tries Sometime

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Contributor: Tim Carlo Majeia

- -
silent judgments
silent eyes
shift left
shift right
shifty questions
shifty thoughts
trickling
trundling along
like traffic
in tiny minds

oh,
what wonders you'd see
looking at people
like me
if you could just be
as open and free
as we
as we try to be.


- - -
Father of three. AFAB. Church is life.

World’s Oldest Turtle

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Contributor: Sarah Henry

- -
St. Helena’s Island
is a good place for him.
The oldest turtle
in the world lives
well in captivity.

Jonathan jerks along
the ground, heavily
approaching lunch.
He’s big as a garbage
can and fun to watch.

He lumbers mightily
to a pile of fruit
and bites a slice.
The turtle made it
this far from 1835.

Tourists get a wide
view of him on film
and grin. The oldest
turtle in the world
has celebrity.

The island is a zoo
for one. The turtle
lives long in captivity.
He’s older than
some countries
and making history.


- - -
Sarah Henry is a vegetarian. She has written work about animal rights.

Echoes of Echoes

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Contributor: Lyla Sommersby

- -
echoes of echoes
we see, we be
tall and reaching trees
with roots deep
in the peat
in the earth
drawing up the dead
devouring the ghosts
dispersed through the land
and turning it into light
turning it into life
and breathing life
in echoes and echoes
and echoes
on and on
into the night.


- - -
I am a student in Miami, Florida. Painting is my other love. My first book, Sketches of Someone, is available through Thunderune Publishing.

Dude, What?

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Contributor: John R. Parmensonne

- -
cut to it
cut right down to it
slice away the sick
the slick-tongued
silver saccharine
safewords
and silence
the self-sacrificing
rhetoric
of failure
of giving in
and being
all they want you to be
here and now
and always
for their needs
for their greedy needs
their slick mouths
ever hungry
ever gnawing
even after death.


- - -
I live in a basement of my own regrets.

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