A Well-Formed Squiggle

| Filed under

Contributor: Wyatt Mitchell

- -
I’m nothing in relation to me
A white picket fence dripping in sobriety
Painted four months clean
With two eyes too blind to see

A body dead inside the living
A soul that’s nothing more than giving
Is breathing considered sinning?
I’m bleeding but I’m still grinning

So empty I can’t cry for myself
My tainted heart upon a broken shelf
Sitting silent and all alone
One-of-a-kind and it can’t be cloned

A perfect pair of listening ears
Yet all I hear are internalised fears
A childhood filled with parental abandon
What trauma creates is far from canon

Scared to speak the thoughts I hold within
My mind’s a burden considered too maudlin
Tortured by all that I contain
When I die will my life still remain?

Biting my nails is far from my worst habit
The one I need to break is that which turns me rabid
Drinking of myself to see what has been seen
Eating my own flesh to stimulate self-healing

Holes in my skin become scars that are indenting
Bug bites are wounds with scabs that are impending
Performing minor surgeries with tweezers and a scalpel
But not everyone considers such masochism to be palatable

I hurt myself and I like the pain it takes
It reminds me of reality when I disassociate
Shamed for enjoying that which causes harm
Is infection reason for all my future alarm?

Bandages cover my legs and sleeves disguise my arms
I find I must admit that self-abuse has its charms
The taste of iron oxide pouring from my mouth
Skinning my lips in chunks for I am devout

Seeking alternative pleasure often bloody and obscene
Picking apart the pieces of me; an addiction most unhealthy
Drawn in by the desperate need to control what’s even real
Not noticing I’m a contributing factor to why I’m yet to heal

The desire to stop means nothing without commitment
Upon many things is ending dependency contingent
For relapse is not a single part of recovery
One cut or burn is a moment I’ve stopped loving me

Drowning in the epitome of my own insanity
Unable to tell the difference between what’s false and what’s me
Scared the lies I tell myself are those that I’m becoming
I look into the mirror and wonder if I’m coming or if I’m running

Tripped up by the love that’s in my shattered heart
Aiming to be passionate from an unexpected start
Never questioning these feelings that I was meant to have
Yet trembling at the thought of what could possibly go bad

What if giving all I’ve got doesn’t ever make it enough?
What if light is the darkness of which we’re meant to snuff?
What if God is, He who leads us to the Devil?
What if a converted spirit doesn’t put you on a saintly level?

What if screaming for help doesn’t mean that you’ll be heard?
What if preaching religious scripture doesn’t make it the lord’s word?
What if miracles and blessings aren’t necessarily holy?
What if my heart hurts because it’s limited by “If only”?

Scrounging for emotion; I’m pissed, numb, and on the verge of tears
Three days I’ve wanted to smoke and I’m not yet in the clear
Trying to suppress all recent addictive desire
Fighting my mind often leaves me drained and quite tired

Spending my nights and days tossing and turning my life away
Biding hours of my time just to regain what energies are rightfully mine
Sundown arises and I find strength to put on my human suit
Covering depression in various fabrics so no one has the slightest clue

A breakdown is coming; I can feel it in my eyes
The devil is inside me; my body is his disguise
Drowning the world in tears; I fall and then I rise


- - -

A Man's Cave Is His Castle

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Contributor: Perry Gardbakken

- -
Alone
where even the silence echoes
where the black marks of high fires
scorch the painted stone
the prints of magic hands
pressed in paint for all to see

Alone
and I love it here
and I wish I felt as free
in every moment
as I do in the confines
of this stony hole.

Alone
and no one to find me if I fall
but I want it that way
I want my bones to lay in this cave
until even I
become one
with the Earth.


- - -
Perry saw twenty winters before he left the mountains. He writes in nature, sometimes while sitting in trees.

The Eye of the Storm

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
Wind blowing the trees –
Waiting

Rain pelting the roofs –
Waiting

Warnings – fear – panic –
Waiting

False alarms and near death situations –
Waiting

Tree limbs, branches and twigs
Scatter the lawn now
Tearing asunder
A long standing dream

Follow the plan – follow the leader
Running to safety or so they believe
Storing up water – storing up food-stuffs
Counting the days they’ll all do without

Fixing the time, it can’t last forever
Praying they’ll all see the very next dawn
Watching the wind – moments of calmness
Gusts overtaking those moments of ease

Clouds overhead as dark as the night now
Following shadows cast off on their own
Ev’ryday fears amplified grandly
Leaving all thought and reason behind

Lightning and thunder – power lines bursting
Freezing the time in a moment of light
Tracing the tempest with photograph mem’ry
Timelines projecting the hurricane path

Watching the day creeping by slowly
Hours of watching and waiting to come
Watching a squirrel scamper up tree limbs
Looking for shelter from the eye of the storm


- - -
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, articles and a screenplay His nearly one-hundred-fifty works are published in magazines, over twenty-five on-line journals, thirty books and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin. He lives in New York with his dog, Daisy. Visit him at www.brucelevine.com.

One Of Your Poems

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Contributor: Lyla Sommersby


I, a leaf
from your book.
I, a sheaf
of inkspotted paper.
and I
I'm just one of your poems
now.

I saw your face
a reflection in a window
and I stopped to see
how you were
how you've fared
through all the years of silence.

but you're the same.

you've changed
only in one way:

you've forgotten me.

I remember what was
I remember
for both of us now.

and the shard in my soul has dulled
has softened enough
that I can see you
smiling with her
hear your kisses
romantic words
and not hurt
so deeply
inside.


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

Seasons of Our Life

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Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

- -
We lived through many changes,
Some hard times with strife,
We laughed and cried,
We loved and lived,
We knew pain and joy and sadness;
We took what we were given,
Enjoyed the good,
Endured the bad,
We thought both our due,
We made of them the best we could,
As we tended to the seasons
Of our life.


- - -
Bruce Mundhenke writes in Illinois, where he lives in a small town with his wife and their dog and cat.

Wish In One Hand, Spit In The Other

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Contributor: J. White Welchev


If I could escape this grind
if could slip the bonds
the linear of time
and unbind
all that I am
I'd gather the best days of my life
compress them to a single, endless moment
and live within it
forever.

But, then again
who's to say my now
is not as good as my then.
I have a different spouse,
different friends
different job
different likes

Where I am
doesn't feel like progress

Where I am
feels like a different me
a different everything

But then again,

The grass is always greener
on the other side of the fence
by the sewer pond
we crawled out of.


- - -

The Way You Tasted

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Contributor: Obellia Pitlex


My heart races
I miss you

I miss the way you watched me
I miss the look of love in your eyes
I miss
the way you undressed
the way you laid back
the way you showed your world to me
the way you arched at the touch of my breath
the way you tasted
the way you opened to me
and held me
until we both were lost
in the sway
until there was nothing left
but endless initiation
into cloudborne castles
of a future I thought would last forever
though you knew
secretly
the we I needed
was just a feather
in the drifting wind.


- - -
I build bits and suffer fools only because the pay is great.

Hávamál 52

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Contributor: James Ashton Fiddlestone

- -
A smoke
a cup of coffee
something to cast the blizzard out
to warm the bones
to bring heat
into ragged fingers
for one
succulent
moment

We work the streets
we laugh, we share
what little we have
because half a cigarette
or a pinch of the good stuff
buys a story and a smile
when you need it most

and you need it most
in the winter.


- - -
The poetry of JAF has been featured in such street-zines as Cannery Retrograde, Stabat Pater and Zenmerica Plus.

The Stallion

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Contributor: Cynthia Pitman

- -
The raven-black stallion,
tired of being saddled
with people and their problems,
broke from the barn
and headed straight for the hill.
The closer he got,
the faster he ran
and the more he sweated
until, at last, he reached the top.
There, in his own sweat,
he baked in the kiln of the noon sun,
becoming a hard, dark totem
of running free.


- - -
I am a retired teacher with work published in Leaves of Ink, 3rd Wednesday (contest finalist), Vita Brevis, and others. My book, The White Room, is forthcoming.

Things We Don't Discuss

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Contributor: Perry Gardbakken

- -
Bringing babies into being by the bunches
my Mormon cousins keep white skin in circulation
but we don't talk about that
just like we don't talk about the "Mark of Cain"
or the lack of lay-pastors
of colors deeper than Grecian

Leniency toward Leviticus
is always a popular option
except when it comes to acceptance
of all the gay cousins
massacred by black guns
in angry white hands.

In truth,
I've seen all I need to see
in the casinos that crowd against the Utah border
but my cousins keep on calling
saying "jack" this and "daniels" that
while I share my drinks with sinners
on a Saturday evening
knowing I won't be waking
to meet the "needs" of the ward
I've been assigned to.


- - -
Perry saw twenty winters before he left the mountains. He writes in nature, sometimes while sitting in trees.

An Alternate Universe

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
Living in an alternate universe
Ignoring pop culture
By choice
Searching and seeking another reality
Another voice
Unaware of mainstream hyperbole
Disdaining ideology
Disavowing hypocrisy
Technology
Longing for another era
Through socio-anthropology
Fearing the fate of society
Civilization
The human condition
And the disappearance
Of humanity
Portable souls in cell phones
Replacing perception
The golden age of the written word
Reduced to a hundred and forty characters
Life condensed to a text message
Social interaction forsaken
For a higher score of tech magic
Leaving the alternate universe
The only hope
Of sanity


- - -
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, articles and a screenplay His nearly one-hundred-fifty works are published in magazines, over twenty-five on-line journals, thirty books and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin. He lives in New York with his dog, Daisy. Visit him at www.brucelevine.com.

Personal

| Filed under

Contributor: John R. Parmensonne



Don't take it personally
we say

but we never take our own advice
never stop to think before we yell
before we beg for vengeance
try to find
ways to obliterate the inconvenient
leave scorched earth
where once
someone tried to help us
tried to do nice
and tripped
or fell
back into human ways
maybe snapped
under the strain
of too many red-faced anuses
clouding up the day
with self-important rage
while the leaves blow on
and autumn comes
and nothing but the scars
remains.


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

Our Poetic License

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Contributor: Carrie Hooper

- -
To obtain our poetic license,
We do not need to complete an application,
Show multiple forms of identification,
And wait for a document
To arrive in the mail.

God gave us our poetic license
When He created us.
It gives us the freedom to choreograph
The rhythms, rhymes, and meters
Of our life dance.
It endows our voice
With silver toned songs
Accompanied by the harp strings
Of similes and metaphors.

With poetic license in hand,
Our playful contemplative souls
Find artistic pleasure
In versifying every wondrous moment.


- - -
Carrie Hooper lives in Elmira, New York. She teaches voice and piano lessons, gives vocal concerts, teaches and learns languages, and writes poetry.

Every Breath Is Vicarious

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Contributor: Maria-Theresa Zehendstrom


A wet release
likely illicit
carried you into being
and the whole world spun on around you
until the last wet breath
before the grave.

"But what more?"
you cry
for even the rushing waves
crushing pains
of life on earth
leave you longing for more
leave you clawing at the door
as death drags you into abyss
and nothing remains
nothing except the pain
left for someone else to endure.


- - -
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.

Black Bone

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Contribitor: Korra Abraham-Whatley


These bones
wind-blown
brittle as baskets
too long in the sun

These bones
the stories they tell
the hidden humours
in every hole, every condyle.

These bones
for those who listen
for the language of rustles,
for the dash of scratches
speaks more than any leaves of autumn ever could
speaks of trees yet to sprout
and winters distant yet
and white fields
where the only black is bone.


- - -
I live in a suitcase and enjoy writing poetry while watching the glittering lights of Los Angeles, Rome and Ontario.

Meat Me

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Contributor: Vaunna Fostertagg

- -
I lost myself in a wall of meat
I lost myself in a vat of pain
I lost myself in life
blurred and burned
and twisted
and turned
and became
what you wanted of me
not the wind
not the feet
but the stolid mass
the meat that goes to work
the meat that makes the money
the meat that takes and buys
and dreams only meat dreams
inspired by meat shows
commercials for meat needs
imposed on meat me
instead of the wind I was
the snatch of song
the breath within
now squelched
now lost
a glimmer only caught
when meat me sags on the couch
through the sweaty, too-short days
of weekend's cocktail haze.


- - -
Florida native with a heart of gold, sometimes.

Wherefore Art Thou, My Love

| Filed under

Contributor: H.L. Dowless

- -
When our time is said and done,
our moments on earth are through,
I shall relish those cheer filled days neath a shining sun,
and those hours lying close to you.

Know this single fact of being,
My love;
an eternity can feel like a fleeting moment,
My sweet dove,
when in company with one heaven sent.

Valhalle is only a stones throw away,
a hook cast into a spring time mill pond;
yet nothing puts more joy into a darkening day
than the sight of you approaching from a shimmering horizon far beyond.

I behold thy delicate face on stormy nights,
with blue fire flashing wildly again and again,
falling rain slashing so madly that it invites
a perception of childlike voices on the blustery wind.

I still lie in waiting inside our chateau bed chamber,
my dearest love,
patiently longing for thy glorious return;
even if ye be only a spectrum forever,
my sweet dove,
my passion still shall ne’er waver.

The flame of our love candle dances by our bedside,
eerie shadows quiver on the stone wall,
I often feel thy unseen presence at yuletide,
I long to follow you deep into that dreary hall.

With the flash of blue fire on the stormy twelfth striking,
the rumble of rolling thunder from beyond,
I behold thy delicate form in the bleakest darkness,
I sense a warm embrace from a heart so kind.

Why didst thou flee so far from me?
Why does there exist this gulf so deep and wide between us?
I mix crushed hemlock with the strong wine inside this chalice of silver that you see,
a single heavy drink therefrom shall be enough, I trust.


Then far from this authoritative collective world where I do not fit,
shall I forever flee,
Oh, so nice when this deed is soon done,
a place of adventure and true opportunity is where I need to be.
This great gulf that separates us shall then be no more,
you see,
and us twain can be together again underneath a celestial sun,
dwelling for all infinity in timeless paradise,
where secular imagination possesses not the ability to fathom a great pleasure there in store.


- - -
The author is an international ESL instructor. He has been a writer for over thirty years. He has numerous publications under his belt.

Who is she?

| Filed under

Contributor: Sheshu Babu

- -
Even before the sun rises
She rises
From her sleep
To peep
Into the dark kitchen
And find out what to cook and when

Who is she?

While the rice and porridge boil
She dresses for daily toil
In a machine-dominated factory
Mechanically churning out products
Fulfilling owner's set targets

Who is she?

While the faint rays of sun touch the earth
And birds chirp and children mirth
She speeds away nonchalantly to catch the bus.
If late for a minute, she has to bear the cuss
Words of the owner and his unnecessary fuss

Who is she?

Getting down and confirming her presence,
Immerses in her work 'til dark night 'lights' her sense
Before leaving, other workers surround
Elated that the day's work is over, they make noise and sound
She addresses them: "previous month's wages have not been paid
Tomorrow starts our protests 'til the matter is settled"

Who is she?

Returning late after the congregation
To the abode of male domination,
She completes her domestic chores
Sleeps forgetting wounds and sores
So as to wake up to another dawn
And continue life's journey like a swan.

She is an ordinary worker
She is a courageous protester
She is an aggressive activist
In a world of many a male supremacist
She is a Feminist!


- - -

The River of Time

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
The river of time
Flows through the essence
Of human existence
Forging canyons in the soul

Following a path
Of its own creation
Leaving silt in its wake
Stones along the shore

Rapids interrupt
Its meandering migration
As the current overtakes
Rocks scattered in the bed

Casting spray on daydreams
Leaving empty holes
Where the future
Would have been

The river holds the mem’ries
Of sailors long since gone
Waiting for new entries
Dragged against their will

Shadows from the trees
Quiver in the wind
Darkening the river’s path
Where sunshine should have been

Shallow pools created
As the river branches off
An oasis holding time
That the current ignored

Skipping stones on the surface
Thrown by people on the shore
Setting off vibrations
Concentric circles spreading out

Fastening forever
As the ripples disappear
Time alone remembers
The river that flows along

Leaving empty caverns
Cut in solid stone
That once had happy endings
Before the ebb and flow


- - -
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, articles and a screenplay His nearly one-hundred-fifty works are published in magazines, over twenty-five on-line journals, thirty books and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin. He lives in New York with his dog, Daisy. Visit him at www.brucelevine.com.

The Greatest Song

| Filed under

Contributor: Tyler Zahnke

- -
When I find myself alone,
A cheerful song I tend to sing.
When she decides to sing with me,
The bells of heaven start to ring.
We sing in peaceful harmony
The songs that come from deep inside.
And when our song has reached its end,
The gates of heaven open wide.
The light from heaven says our names.
We sing a song to welcome it.
It joins us in our song of love,
Assuring that our lives are lit.
The moon plays drums, the wind plays flute,
While Mars and Venus play guitars.
The asteroids play bass and keys,
To compliment the humming stars.
The orchestra up in the sky
Accompanies our song of peace.
The light says in a calming voice,
"Your song of love will never cease!"
The song of joy, the song of hope,
The song of everlasting mirth;
The heavens have enabled thee;
The greatest song on planet Earth.


- - -
I was born in 1997 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am a totally blind musician, writer and technology enthusiast. I believe that music is powerful, and that people should make music whenever possible.

The Unsaid

| Filed under

Contributor: Cynthia Pitman

- -
Keep a tight rein on me.
Otherwise, I’ll kick and scream
and fight to unleash
what cannot be said,
what must stay hidden,
what dare not raise its head
and reveal itself to the world.
I keep it close.
I know what it can do,
what pain it can cause,
what chaos it can wreak.
I know that the unsaid
cannot be let loose
or I will stand accused,
denounced, ashamed.
Hold the reins.
The unsaid will pull and pull,
wanting to sound the alarm
to warn against me,
against the reality of me I keep inside –
not the unreality I keep on the outside
where I try and try
to stand quiet and still.


- - -
I am a retired teacher with work published in Leaves of Ink, 3rd Wednesday (contest finalist), Vita Brevis, and others. My book, The White Room, is forthcoming.

Apple Of My Eye

| Filed under

Contributor: Jack Dolvermorris

- -
If the apple fell into a pie
willingly
how far from the tree
would it be?

I fell into
everything I've lived with
I fell into
everyone I've lived through.

I fell and rolled
without a say
without volition
or salvation
just going with the flow
wherever it would go

Until you

I chose you
the apple of my eye
I chose you
and for the first time
since the fall
I didn't roll
I didn't roll on
or out
or away

I stayed

with you.


- - -

A Basket Of Blessings

| Filed under

Contributor: Perry Gardbakken

- -
A basket of blessings
he offered me
in his passing
from life to life.

A basket of blessings
I turned into bridges
to carry my soles
from one life to the next.

A basket of blessings
I left for my son
when he walked into manhood
when he walked from life to life.


- - -
Perry saw twenty winters before he left the mountains. He writes in nature, sometimes while sitting in trees.

Blue Jays and Cardinals

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
I noted one day
The dearth of any Blue Jay
To come within my view
Nor Cardinals
That astonishing bird
Covered in a regal hue

Then as I watched
A Blue Jay came in sight
And landed on my balcony railing
For seconds few
And then it flew
Off without any warning

As it flew away
I did proclaim
Astonished as I was
As if on cue
Several more did fly near
More Blue Jays did appear

And then I asked
For a Cardinal to alight
One came directly into sight
And landed on the rail
But in seconds it did regale
Into lofty flight

I’ve been told with those red wings
A Cardinal is an angel
So when I asked to see that bird
My simple request seems to have been heard

Now I watch
For Blue Jays and for Cardinals
To come within my view
Each day I hope
The dearth be gone
And an angel comes anew


- - -
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, articles and a screenplay. Nearly one-hundred-fifty of his works are published in over twenty-five on-line journals including Ariel Chart, Literally Stories, Visitant, Foliate Oak Magazine; over thirty print books including Poetry Quarterly, Mused Literary Review, Dual Coast Magazine, and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country. His seven eBooks are available from Amazon.com. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin. He lives in New York with his dog, Daisy. Visit him at www.brucelevine.com.

Hell is a Bureaucracy

| Filed under

Contributor: Vaunna Fostertagg

- -
Hell
is the woodchipper of busy work
of productive apathy
of the dead
herding the dead
denying grasping hands
with bureaucratic handwavium
go back to the back
of the back of the back
and start over
because what you've provided isn't right
and we'll need at least six weeks
to process your immediate needs
while we sit here dead
and dying
rotting at the same pace
as the system that the lawyers built
to keep layabouts from suing the system
into sweet oblivion
because someone lost something
somewhere
in hellish bureaucracy.


- - -
Florida native with a heart of gold, sometimes.

Over Time

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

- -
Seemed like a long time
On the way,
From first steps
To a head of grey hair,
But looking back on my life now,
It never took long
To get there.
The excitement of youth,
Slowly gave way,
To an elder's
More thoughtful days.
The lust for things
Not so important,
Eventually faded away.
Knowing a little more than before,
But still lacking knowledge,
It seems...
Alive in the present moment,
Now no longer waiting in dreams.


- - -
Bruce Mundhenke has been everywhere except the electric chair and seen everything but the wind. He writes poetry and fiction and is learning to relax.

A Rainbow of Hope

| Filed under

Contributor: Carrie Hooper

- -
When life's rainstorms
Drench the window of your soul,
The sun of God's presence
Continues to shine,
And He creates
A rainbow of hope
With the colors
Of endurance and renewal.


- - -
Carrie Hooper lives in Elmira, New York. She teaches voice and piano lessons, gives vocal concerts, teaches and learns languages, and writes poetry.

The Future

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
The black lace of winter
Permeates the view
Barren trees at sunset
A panoply of sorrow
Recounted in a single verse
Monopolizing thoughts
That once were golden
Filled with brightly colored hues
A rainbow of mem’ries
Now erased by shadows
Encased in a shroud
Questions not yet answered
Yet terminating the sunrise
In a recurring pattern
Drifting on inexplicably
And only time can reveal
The future


- - -
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 late wife, Lydia Franklin.

Fallen

| Filed under

Contributor: Cynthia Pitman

- -
O Seraph, stone of the gods,
how is it that you were torn
from the crag above and flushed
by the tallest of all waterfalls
to be lodged into the bottom
of the chosen river?
Though at the world’s peak,
you fell so hard that you sank
deep and deep and then beyond.
Did the rock of all ages
strike you from sight?
Or did you mine yourself
from the heights of glory
to join in the cacophony
of the rushing waters,
to be forced forever
into the rough bedrock
and be slowly shaped by eternity?


- - -
I am a retired teacher with work published in Leaves of Ink, 3rd Wednesday (contest finalist), Vita Brevis, and others. My book, The White Room, is forthcoming.

Hungarian Wizardries - Musings

| Filed under

Contributor: Paweł Markiewicz

- -
Something of Hungary would give thanks to Austria for the historic-ontological suitableness, a weird-like spirit.

I was with my hound in front of the primordial oak
I harvested there tree glamorous-meek acorns
I have left behind the acorns in addition to a thermal spring
with the result that the water-bow is able to sheen
dainty sempiternity fulfilled in me
when my dog masticated subtle-propitious acorns
three glamour-like ghosts were freed
from these acorns yea with the brilliancy
there was the Erlking the King of the pixies
with the butterflies-King of a dreamy night
in the Erlking prevailed – the witchcraft
in the pixy-like King reposed – the dreamery
in the King of butterflies Your vanlet
a bewitched waking dream in the Erlking
a dreamier enchantment in pixylet-like King
I have dreamed with Kings over the day
that was more marvelous than a night-dream aforetime
and the King of butterflies wore magic
day-dream hex and also enthusiasm
as far as an angelical autumn-starlet
beguiled of meek ghost-moonlet
I will dream simplemindedly with the threes
with attractive magic-eons


- - -

To Say Goodbye

| Filed under

Contributor: Michael Seeger

- -
Sunset’s glow fades
into the west
through hospital shades;
let go your last
earthly breath,

Dearest Mother,
beneath strange long hair.
Rise to some other
place somewhere—
entering death

your bony limbs
stretch out with a new
strength as light swims
through the blue
by-and-by

above, now below;
the here and now.
I want you to go.
You taught me how
to say goodbye.


- - -
Michael lives with his lovely wife, Catherine, and still-precocious 16 year-old daughter, Jenetta, in a house with a magnificent Maine Coon (Jill) and two high-spirited Chihuahuas (Coco and Blue). He is an educator (like his wife) residing in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, California. Some of his poems have appeared recently either published or included in print anthologies like the Lummox Press, Better Than Starbucks, and The Literary Hatchet.

The Alpine Sun

| Filed under

Contributor: Tyler Zahnke

- -
As I drift off to sleep on a dark, cold night,
The voices slip into my dream.
I hear them on the mountaintop,
A most fantastic singing team.
They yodel in the sweetest way,
Commanding all the stars to shine.
Those yodeling voices on the peak
Have all agreed to form a line.
Those voices singing in the Alps
Have scared the sun into its tent.
Its lifelong fear of yodeling songs
Explains the reason why it went.
A dozen million years ago,
The sun would shine all day and night.
But when the yodelers first appeared,
Their voices scared the God of Light.
In the morn they went to bed,
The singing stopped, the sun shone bright.
But when the yodelers sang again,
The burning sun was filled with fright.
He hid back in his tent so cold,
Below that spooky mountain tune.
But then the stars who loved the song
Would join their cousin, Mister Moon.
On winter nights the yodelers sang
For longer than on warmer days.
As soon as all the singers stop,
The sun again emits its rays.
I was awakened from my dream
And stepped outside to face the sun,
Amazed at the fantastic things
These yodeling mountain folk have done.
For if these singers left the peak,
And chose to never sing again,
The sun would shine all day and night,
And never go back to its den.
The sun in North America
Has crickets as its only fear.
The same goes for the English sun,
Though in France it is not clear.
The great Swiss sun is brave and bold,
No insect scares this mighty beast.
But when those yodeling songs begin,
The great Swiss sun won't dare head east!


- - -
I was born in 1997 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am a totally blind musician, writer and technology enthusiast. I believe that music is powerful, and that people should make music whenever possible.

Creativity Halted

| Filed under

Contributor: Arlene Antoinette

- -
The cpap machine has overtaken
the spot where my pen and paper
once sat awaiting midnight scribbles
and shadows cast from silver moonlight.

Last night as inspiration hit me, I rolled
over and whispered a new poem into
my sleeping husband’s ear.

This morning, he remembers nothing.
He swears to the poetry gods that he
heard nothing, only felt cool air
blowing on his skin like a kiss
from chilled lips.

My darling begs my forgiveness, but I
can’t bring myself to forgive him
as I watch my Muse wave goodbye,
no longer willing to work in such
deplorable conditions.


- - -
Arlene writes poetry, flash fiction and song lyrics. More of her work may be found @ I am not a silent Poet, Tuck Magazine, Little Rose Magazine, London Grip, The Open Mouse and Literary Heist.

In Search of Truth

| Filed under

Contributor: Sheshu Babu

- -
Splendid flowers of fragrance
Have myriad attractive colors
If Truth is like a set of flowers
It has multiple unexplored odors

Different shapes of many a creature
Inhabit the vast territory of Nature
If Truth is a manifestation of Nature
It embodies every beautiful picture

Every Truth in the world
Abstract form with meanings multifaceted
Is mercurial and dialectic
Its composition oxymoronic

Nothing is Absolute
Truth is not astute
Its changes are sublime
And conform to situation, space and time.



- - -

The Undertow

| Filed under

Contributor: Mark Tulin

- -
I took my life for granted;
figured I’d never lose my balance; thought I could walk a tightrope
on a single toe.

I don’t need to take precautions or wear a life jacket
or even scream for help.
I'm special, that way;
nothing’s ever going to overpower me.

But the next thing I knew,
I was pulled by the undertow.
The planet reversed itself and I became a casualty, drowning in my ego.

They found me floating
like a piece of driftwood
from the shoreline to the sea.


- - -
Mark Tulin has an upcoming fiction collection, The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories, and a poetry collection called Awkward Grace.

The Great Master's Mistress

| Filed under

Contributor: H.L. Dowless

- -
The elegant chateau high on a hill,
what a magnificent sight to see,
where the Great Master held such a supreme will
during his fight for liberty.

He penned those cherished manumitting documents,
he advocated a redeeming battle with swords,
his words were spoken with such splendid elegance,
to this very day he is still adored!

Prior to the days of machinery,
since his grand estate was so expansive,
generating such a fabulous line of prosperity,
it could only be manned via human persistence.

The acreage was tended by burly men,
the kitchen controlled by factotum attendants.
The most gorgeous among them accommodated important clients,
offering lavish quarters and condiments.

Upon this illustrious homestead the most endowed vixen was chief,
while the Great Master was away.
From the weight of toil she had astonishing relief,
relishing in an insouciant stress free day.

When the months had passed
and the Great Master finally returned,
a heavy cloud of lust descended,
and for the allure of delicate flesh his entire body burned.

Since the Great Master held total power and abundance,
from all others this vixen abstained,
while ‘neath the estate shelter he remained;
yet when he was absent she allowed him to engineer the happenstance,
for his business accomplices to reap their riotous gains.

When the Great Master soon made his way back to his station at work,
this vixen retained an uninhibited liberty throughout home and berth,
making herself readily available to whom e'er afforded the most lavish accommodation,
whilst the talented champion labored to construct a new nation.

In our own day some national apostle spreads a provocative lie,
that this presumed innocent youthful harpy was compelled into an abominable service,
without any petition or inquiry;
yet were it not for these words the truth might remain buried for all perpetuity,
and the Great Master blamed for her gross indolence.


- - -
The author is an international ESL instructor. He has been a writer for over thirty years. He has numerous publishing credits underneath his belt.

Where It All Went

| Filed under

Contributor: Cynthia Pitman

- -
Come with me to the center of time,
where caverns are carved from black onyx.
We can watch our reflections in envy
as they dance in the sheen of the dark walls.
Yours will lift mine and spin me around,
breathless, in the airless cave.
Mine will hold yours close, and closer still,
absent a heartbeat to keep time.
Together we can watch ourselves dance eternally
in the echoing cavern of love undone.


- - -
I am a retired teacher with work published in Leaves of Ink, 3rd Wednesday (contest finalist), Vita Brevis, and others. My book, The White Room, is forthcoming.

On A Roller-Coaster of Fate

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
Blistering weather withers
As cooler climes take over
Reflecting
Revealing the emptiness that surrounds
Pervading the hollowness that echoes
Like an empty cavern
Floating through a ravine of longing
Waiting
For the improvements that signal
Recuperation
Regaining the equanimity
Of our own circle of life
Holding fast to passions and fancies
Foibles and follies
Hopes and dreams
Fears and failures
Following the road to the precipice
Onward
Holding hands
Always reaching for the next plateau
Always seeking the unanswered question
And laughing
To cover up the unknown
The sham laughter of sorrow
To hide the tears
That flow too readily for propriety
Yet shrink with hope
Fleeting
And rise again
On a roller-coaster of fate


- - -
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 late wife, Lydia Franklin.

Prison Mind

| Filed under

Contributor: Aakriti Bikash Kumar

- -
I, a captive clad in dark and light
I too, its captor of wicked might
The placid bars of this turning mind
Shroud the shrieks of my echoing plight

And mice of vices gnaw at the bread
Of my soul; those inmate vermin I dread
That crawl and creep up my feet
And fester and toy with my head

With shackles, pinned myself to the ground
Chastised myself, in a mind's solitary sound
With mice of vices and shackles of shame
A free man's mind and soul were bound

Yet, the bird beyond the bars calls and cries
With a voice from within; the darkness dies


- - -
Pursuing B.A. in History (Honors) at Maitreyi College, University of Delhi
Classical Literature Enthusiast and Aspiring Diplomat :)

Never Touched

| Filed under

Contributor: Vaunna Fostertagg

- -
I never drink, she said,
as she opened the closet
the most well-stocked bar I'd ever seen.

People give me gifts in this industry,
she said.
I do the same.

You regift? I asked.
When I can, she said.

She closed the door.
I wondered how many attorneys
kept such well-stocked larders
of gifts,
regifted endlessly

otherwise
never touched.


- - -
Florida native with a heart of gold, sometimes.

On and On

| Filed under

Contributor: Kendra R. Grosfelt

- -
Clocks are the shackles of civilization
never loosing enough time to do everything
that must be done
with utmost urgency.

Cancer is the rash of progress
a reaction to the pollutants of industry
and to stress
so much inescapable stress.

Death is the rest we all secretly crave
the blessing of the yawning grave
just a quick bliss, then gone
and then it's back to work again.

- - -

The Painting She Left

| Filed under

Contributor: Barry B. Belmont

- -
The painting she left
the painting I found
sitting vigil
on the thrift store shelves

I wondered what they thought
those who saw the date
the dedication on the back
of the piece

I wondered how many other weddings
generated their own ephemeral memorabilia
now only sitting vigil
on thrift store shelves


- - -

Dependent

| Filed under

Contributor: Perry Gardbakken

- -
He says he wants to leave
wants to live in space
wants to live completely free
independent
of all this
of all this green
this blue and red and brown.

He says he wants to don a spacesuit
all decked out in red, white and blue.
he wants to stitch it all himself
of things he made himself
without waiting on anyone else
without being dependent

He says he wants to see the stars
while the rest of the world spins on
dark and blind
like crabs in a bucket
except him
all except him

He'll be independent
he'll exist without relying on anything
except himself

(and all the things that others helped him build.)


- - -
Perry saw twenty winters before he left the mountains. He writes in nature, sometimes while sitting in trees.

Finding Home

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Briganti

- -
A place to call home
Familiar sights and scenery
that warm the eyes
or maybe
New possibilities
New places yet
to be discovered

Meeting new people
Exchanging smiles
Diversity, runs far and wide
Different voices
Changing customs

Where does one
belong?

A place called home
Somewhere, anywhere
one feels safe
Feeling they belong
without hesitation
without any second thoughts

Home is where the heart is
or so they say
Home is where you are
when you're not wishing
you were away!


- - -
A Native New Yorker, she believes poetry is the souls way of communicating with itself.

Artificial Silence

| Filed under

Contributor: Sheshu Babu

- -
Cut communications
Impose curfew for any number of days
Curb movement of every citizen
By militarization
Install barricades
Threatening public to stay indoors
Issue 'shoot on sight' orders

You feel
You have full control
On law and order
And silenced people

But,

You cannot stop wind
From blowing
And voices
Reaching every person

Sooner or later
Collective voices
Will emerge and challenge
All the obstacles
And break artificial silence


- - -

Air Conditioned Hells

| Filed under

Contributor: Jack Dolvermorris

- -
A swirl of something southern
a wet splash of something eastward
my parents were a slosh of secrets
of lives lived to tide the urges
built in air conditioned hells
where nothing happened
(except in the mail room)
(except in the back of the family car)
(except in sagging hotels on business trips)
(except in the driveway
and in the bed
and on the floor
and in the kitchen.)

A swirl of something southern
a wet splash of something eastward
all that was needed
to keep the separation only simmering
the normalcy of every air conditioned hell
paid up with greasy checks
like gas
like air
in the end.


- - -

American Trench Work

| Filed under

Contributor: Tarren Jordyn

- -
I sit at the intersection
of tasteless drama
and bureaucratic barbarism

I sit amidst the tangled wires
and try to sort the snot from the chaff
after the cream is gone
and the wheat is wasted
each stalk shot like an arrow
by a man in a suit
until none are left
until the suits are left
blindly milling
coughing awkwardly
with hands out
hoping
always hoping
for something more.


- - -

The Win or Lose

| Filed under

Contributor: Arlene Antoinette

- -
Little brother is in love with a woman
who will undoubtedly do him wrong.
She’s the kind of woman, fifty percent
of all broken-hearted country songs are
written about. Well, maybe seventy percent.

First, she’ll toy with his heart, steal his
money, and of course sleep with his best
friend (and most of the guys in the pool hall)
before the end of the month.

Little brother’s going to end up sitting in his
pickup truck with two six packs, drinking
himself into a stupor, trying to figure
out what he did wrong. I hope those bottles
last him through the night.

A week later, little brother’s going to buy
himself a banjo, no, maybe a second hand
six-string guitar (as it holds the residue
of hundreds of broken-hearted melodies).
He’ll strum those strings like he wished
he had strummed the chords of her icy heart.

Most likely I’ll visit him and listen as he pours
out his achy-breaky soul in song, a little off-key,
but heartfelt all the same. Too bad she won’t hear
a word of it, she’ll be shooting pool and flirting
it up with some pretty boy, down the street
at the bar we locals call, Win or Lose.


- - -
Arlene writes poetry, flash fiction and song lyrics. More of her work may be found @ I am not a silent Poet, Tuck Magazine, Little Rose Magazine, London Grip, The Open Mouse and Literary Heist.

Fear Lives In The Body

| Filed under

Contributor: Madlynn Haber

- -
Fear lives in the body.
Fear hides in the body
deep in the muscles
fear stores itself away,
waiting, lurking, until
with the right trigger
it is released.

The muscles tighten or loosen,
contract somehow, then fear oozes out.
Catching a ride on some internal fluid,
fear starts to float all over.
Cheeks and ears redden,
the neck, top of the chest get rashy
when fear is floating by.
Chills in the spine. Excess water
in the eyes drips out,
not like tears so much
because it’s fear not sadness.
Slight tremors in the hands,
legs moving without direction.

There is too much to be afraid of now.
Too many people gunned down for no reason.
No place is safe when every place is vulnerable.
People are full of misplaced rage.
Angry for the wrong reasons,
directing it in the wrong places,
at the wrong people. Hateful speech,
words spoken that shouldn’t be said,
shouldn’t even be thought.
Not recognizing the sameness of all beings.
Seeing differences in an extreme.
Believing lies, made up stories that
entitle one group to have more,
to be more important, more pampered,
more cared for. Entitling some to be fed,
while others starve, some to be carefree
while others are chained.
Anger misdirected brings on fear,
greed overwhelms with fear.
Ignoring in ignorance the truth
that we are all the same.
Fear lives in the body.

The body breathes,
The body moves.
The body dances, stretches.
The body is nourished and heals.
The body makes love,
fills up again with goodness,
with delight, with pleasure,
with sensations that soothe,
ease and calm the spirit.
In tranquility fear goes back to hiding.
Fear quiets down. It stops screaming.
There is sleep. There is rest.
There is wholesome recovery
in the face of compassion, of understanding.
At least for a time, there is love.


- - -
Madlynn Haber has work in Anchor Magazine , Exit 13 Magazine, The Voices Project, The Jewish Writing Project, Quail Bell, Mused and Hevria.

A Half-Dozen Little Necks

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
(for Lydia on an anniversary)

A half-dozen Little Necks
Clams on the half shell
Whetting the appetite
Eaten raw
A squeeze of lemon
And cocktail sauce
A perfect respite

Afternoon snack
With a bowl of clam chowder
Or a prelude to an entrée
Like trout almandine
With crabmeat stuffing
An ideal combination
For dinner any day

Supper after theatre
A lovely aperitif
With after theatre talk
A half-dozen Little-Necks
And a seafood soufflé
Impeccable repast
Before a homeward walk


- - -
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 late wife, Lydia Franklin.

Moonbeams

| Filed under

Contributor: Dorian J Sinnott

- -
You’re made of moonlight;
a celestial radiance that comes to me
in dreams where your beams
illuminate the dark corridors of my heart.

I once bathed in the soft glow,
watching meteors and stardust
erupt in your eyes;
galaxies return.

I want to sit on the brim of hourglasses,
watching the sand rain down in endless turntables,
flipping over and over—
lost in infinity.

Lost in the moonbeams
the moonlight
the radiance your spirit sings;
soft white specter adrift on a sea of stars.

But by daylight…
I mourn the darkness and fragility;
your face lost in the cosmos
of my mind—and the night sky.

I greet the Sun and
he tells me of his love:

the great and gentle Moon.
His beams—though harsh—
make me at peace
when I tell him of you.

And I weep at the thought
of being lightyears away—
lost and interstellar
amongst the blackness;
waiting

Waiting for twilight’s curtain
to fall on the stage of Earth;
for your crest to break the horizon—
igniting the skies in encore.

And the Sun told me
how he longed for his Moon;
how he would pray a million dead stars
for her to light up the night.

And I smiled—
and I said:

“But the Sun and Moon coexist
in the changing hues of sky.
In the day he shines
and drowns her heart out;

but every morning—

she can be seen nearby.

The Sun only sets
to give life to his Moon—
when all the Earth has gone still.
He gives up his light
and his pride
so her beams kindle, tranquil.”

And the Sun
with silent rays
felt a little warmer
while standing in his glow.

“And that’s why sunrise and sunset
are all the more beautiful,
breathtaking,
and sweet.
For in their banners
of radiant color across the heavens;
it’s where day and night—
where lovers—
meet.”

But still,
we wait for the Moon.


- - -
Dorian J. Sinnott is a graduate of Emerson College's Writing, Literature, and Publishing program, currently living in historic Kingston, NY with his two cats. When he's not writing, he enjoys English horseback riding, playing violin, and traveling to comic cons up and down the east coast. He is the social media editor for Coffin Bell Journal. Dorian's work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including: Crab Fat Literary Magazine, The Hungry Chimera, and Riggwelter.

A Click Away

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Briganti

- -
Her heartbreak was posted for reading
he was there, poetically reciprocating
night and day, a button click away

Amity and love gave her fortitude
to cross the ocean and have credence
leaving behind a life, an ocean of strife

New horizons awaited her arrival
time elapsed like passing winds
skies of gray ultimately turned azure
not needing more, a poet she'd adore


- - -
A Native New Yorker, she believes poetry is the souls way of communicating with itself.

89 Ways to Say I Love You

| Filed under

Contributor: Milton P. Ehrlich

- -
I love the way you walk
and talk and never stop,
and love your smile and
when you call my name.
You are prim and proper
yet remain sensually alive,
and how I love your yawn
when I scratch your back,
and how you always dress
so your total outfit matches
as if you are on a runway
in a photo fashion show,
and how you wash my clothes
even when it’s not necessary,
but do prepare warm pajamas
in the winter and short ones
in the spring and summer,
and how you shine my shoes
and thanks a lot for trimming
the hair in my ears, and I love
how our bodies always meet
in fine dove-tailed fashion
like old pine floor boards,
and how you always hum
my favorite tunes and sing
and dance at the drop of a hat,
and eat like a bird all day long
and don’t eat meat and worry
about me when I cross a street,
and feed me great vegetable soup
with tarragon and rosemary,
and think of new original ideas
for your super-duper visionary art,
and have such a huge loving heart
that never fails to embrace me
and your kids and grandkids
and Sparky and Aretha,
and how brave you are
even when you’re scared
how you sailed across a bay
just to keep me company
how wonderful to know you,
who knows about everything
and doesn’t forget anything,
and how you can tell if an omen
is really an omen and you have
such great intuition to know
what I’m feeling before I know it,
and who to trust and who to avoid
and did I mention how I love it
when you talk in your sleep
and give such good massages
whenever I can’t fall asleep,
and how much I love your hands
and fingernails which are never
painted red or purple like others
and how cute your little feet are
and how much I love each toe
especially your delicate pinky,
not to mention your mighty bosoms
and buns of steel that never wither
and how much I love you for loving
snails and being afraid of snakes,
and always worrying when I drive
that I won’t hit the brakes,
and did I mention how much I love
your charm and friendly curiosity
about everyone you meet on the street,
and how wonderful it is that you are
always taking pictures of this and that
and how brilliant you are making art
and also that I never heard you fart,
not even once, a Guinness Book of Records,
and that you don’t love real money
but hide it in your knipple, crunched up
in a ball, just green bits of paper to you.
I love you for loving my sense of direction
and fertilizing your eggs for you to hatch
3 amazing kids and 6 wonderful grandkids,
and I love you for not being afraid
of leaving your body and when you do
please be sure to take me with you.
Thank you very much for spending
so many splendid years with plain old me
providing us with a nest of Le Mariage Parfait!


- - -
Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 87- year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published many poems in periodicals such as the London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.

Finding Clues To The Ones Who Lived Here

| Filed under

Contributor: John Grey

- -
The shard of pottery holds the answer.
Or could it be the splinter of glass.
They linger after the lifetimes,
are buried looser and nearer
than bones.

Just dig in the soil a little
or get down on your knees,
peek behind the refrigerator.
Look, there’s something in the garden,
glinting from moonlight.

They have stories to tell,
of your ghosts,
back when they were living.

So listen in with your fingers,
feel the sharpness,
the finish, the lightness;
a fragment of utility,
a whole of majesty.


- - -
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.

Restroom Line

| Filed under

Contributor: Mark Tulin

- -
Patiently, we wait for the door to unlock
like well-behaved school children,
hoping the man who just went in,
the one who ate the big cinnamon bun
didn’t use the entire roll of paper
and did a number one instead of two
for the benefit of us all.

Unfortunately, we have a lot of down time
waiting in the restroom line,
sphincter’s squeezed tight,
mind searching for answers
to fill the endless void.
Our hope steadily fading
while maintaining the faith to carry on.


- - -
Mark has two upcoming books entitled “Awkward Grace,” and “The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories.

Modernity

| Filed under

Contributor: donnarkevic

- -
I think it is sometime
after Fascism, maybe,
or sometime after
the Beatles broke up.

I think it is complex
as my daughter, graduating
from mere dawn
to supernova.

It is sexy
as a black miniskirt or Bikini
Atoll just before
an atomic explosion.

It is the price of Guernica,
the absence of color,
the eclipse of the Sun
record: “Old Black Joe.”

Modernity is brief as a birth-
day candle, a wedding
bouquet, a eulogy
for the death of God.


- - -
Retired, I find myself looking back to see what is left standing and what remains to be built. So, I keep writing. I invite you to read one that still stands.

It Could Have Been Beautiful

| Filed under

Contributor: Steven K. Smith

- -
We met in the usual way,
over drinks and cheese,
you – dark ale and cheddar,
me – Chardonnay and brie.
In the following weeks we
shared walks through old London,
sunset at a Jamaican beach,
and hours chatting together,
and finally, made love
all through a December's night,
you – in Boston,
me – en Paris,
neither of us caring about
the data transfer fees.

Then you asked to "really" meet me,
as if you hadn't already,
like you wanted to touch me
the way Neanderthals did,
sharing the same air and germs.
I cried all through the next week
for thinking I had loved you,
and you were such a creep.


- - -
Writer, musician, renaissance festival performer, and struggling gardener who LIKES dandelions. Some work published in Pudding Magazine, and Plum Tree Tavern.

From Unknown To Well-Known

| Filed under

Contributor: Sheshu Babu

- -
We were travelling in different directions
When we first shook hands
With some apprehension
Starkly exposing our contention
On various issues regarding life
Their endless strife

Our mentality was unknown
Our beliefs were unknown
Our philosophy was unknown
To each other, goals were unknown

But something held us together
As we got to know each other better
Like Marx-Engels attraction
Or teacher-student bond of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan

We agreed and fiercely disagreed
We, for days, intensely discussed:
We parted our ways with anger and spite
But met again, forgetting all that unpleasant sight

After years of acquaintance
And our struggle for existence
We, in our tumultuous journey, learnt a lot
That taught us to tackle differences with skill and tact

Recognizing differences of opinion is sportsmanship;
Accepting differences of opinion is relationship;
Understanding differences of opinion is statesmanship;
Complimenting each other even in difference of opinion is friendship!

Now, each other's character is well known,
Our strengths and weakness are well known,
Our goals are similar and approach well known,
Our sacrifice for the cause of friendship, to each other, is well known.


- - -

Distant Pastoral

| Filed under

Contributor: John Ogden


We put stone to soil
your father and I
With tools old and heavy sweat
we cut the earth
we bleed our waters
into furrowed lines
furrowed brows
furrows of seed
that turn sweat and sun and earth
into gold
into grain
into future and food
for the future's children
and all the others
who will put stone to soil
long after we fall
like wheat
like chaff
rising once again
again and again
never long in the sun
never long
on the other side
of the dirt.


- - -
John Ogden was conceived of a government form and a passing mailbox. He lives somewhere out in the woods of a rural land more akin to the fantasy realms of literature than real life, and his favorite dirt bikes will always be the broken ones.

Life is a Stream of Questions

| Filed under

Contributor: Jun Lit

- -
When the deep well of unwanted tears
have been emptied into deserts called pillows
but the orphaned sadness still flows,
where does one chase the smile
that brightened each day,
each day that stretched a step a mile?

If at the end of the dreaming rainbow
one finds not the proverbial wealth but naught,
where could one dig for the elusive pot of gold
that every pauper and prince sought?

When the last spring of cheer has dried up
and abandoned the riffles and pools
that used to be musical in the days of old,
where could one find the headwaters
of that reassuring look?

One thousand and one hundred questions
reached, discounting the ones uncounted,
now ages old and still unanswered.
And for every interested “What?”
and anxious “When?” that bade farewell,
one puzzled “Why?”,
or one astounded “How?”
and weary “Where?”
knocks at the doors of heart and mind.

Oft I was told by many,
almost a tyranny,
that one supernatural superhero
is the answer. Presto!,
Yet they didn’t know my question,
the questions.
Arrogance, the accusation -
but simply asking
not so simple poetic queries
on realities of nature – not poetry
and on nature of realities – that is poesy!
apparently, in nature,
is not that simple,
and the answers cannot be simplistic
and neither poetic.

I just know
that when I stop asking,
or writing lines, verses, rhyming
or not, and when questions stop coming -
that’s when life ceases
and I
would not
know.


- - -
Jun Lit (Ireneo L. Lit, Jr.) teaches biology and studies insects at the University of the Philippines Los Baños and writes poems about nature, people, and society.

Success

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Briganti

- -
Is success failure
turned inside out?
Would you have succeeded
had you walked
a different route?
Are you proud
of decisions you made?
Happiness for success
may be a trade
Success for everyone
is not the same
Some want love, money
and others fame
The seeds of success
are yours to sow
But without failure
you will not grow
To evolve
and die content
one must understand
what life really meant


- - -
A Native New Yorker, she believes poetry is the soul's way of communicating with itself.

Point of View

| Filed under

Contributor: Phil Huffy

- -
As I looked up
at Hardwood Hill,
I saw a branch
sway in the breeze.
Except for that
the earth stood still
and granted time
to take my ease.

When winter days
compel the wood
to waiting out
their frosty reign,
I’ll find once more
that place I stood
and if it snows
shall not complain.


- - -
Phil Huffy writes at his kitchen table, sometimes during meals. With nearly 150 published pieces, his method seems to be working.

At Home in New York

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
The trees go from bare, barren branches
Agonizingly bursting with buds
That become leaves in their palest shade
Reaching for the sun and darkening in color
Time to reach their fullness of life

At home in New York
Time to breathe the energy
That only New York air carries in its wake
Time to let the New York rhythms transfuse
Transform
Reshape itself
As a prelude evolves into a symphony

At home in New York
Where ideas float in the air
Like grains of sand in the Sahara
Waiting to germinate
Waiting to be gathered
Cross pollinated
And become grand arches of infinite rainbows

Glass and steel rising
With sculptural ferocity
Like Jack’s beanstalk
Towering into the sky
Reaching for the golden egg
Transformed into an apple
To be plucked from the tree of life
That only New York can succor

Electro-magnetic
Drawing toward itself
Like the moon controls the tides
And returning to the atmosphere
Like solar flares
Volcanic yet enigmatic
Waiting to be recaptured
Waiting to be nurtured into being


- - -
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, articles and a screenplay His nearly one-hundred-fifty works are published in magazines, over twenty-five on-line journals, thirty books and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin. He lives in New York with his dog, Daisy. Visit him at www.brucelevine.com.

Spinning

| Filed under

Contributor: DAH

- -
I spat on a web
just for the excitement
it caused the spider:
a gothic villain
raced over the surface

The spittle fell through
like white oil, and
the sticky lace
oblivious to the hole
my curiosity made

Late in the day
the villain was spinning,
mending, restoring
the delicate fabric,
despite its hunger


- - -
DAH is a poet having a human experience. He is a Pushcart Prize and Best Of The Net nominee, and the author of nine books of poetry

Haystacks (series)

| Filed under

Contributor: donnarkevic

- -
Oil on canvases, 1890-91, Claude Monet

Across the meadow, Monet’s stepdaughter,
Blanche, carried canvases in a bumpy wheelbarrow
to help capture the transience of light.
As she prepared another canvas,
Papa said, Hurry, the sun sets so fast!
Throughout the day, each half hour,
the color of the haystacks changed
like a bruise on the skin.



On my father’s farm, Mother chooses to die.
Splotches on her legs, the only modest place
my father shows me, ugly purple and red,
like sunspots, as if the sun appeared to perish.
I run to the harvest haystacks to hide
from death. But he finds me.

In the parlor, Mother looks like Mother
except for her skin. Gone the soft hands
that washed my dirty face. Gone
the tender cheeks, rouged as apples.
Gone the supple lips that kissed my forehead.
Instead, a hardness, like rock
I tote from a fertile plowed field,
like the brick of the silo, storing continuance,
like the bark of a tree heavy with fruit.
Even the hard earth as I sit at the grave,
the sun setting, Father’s callous hand
reaching for me, lifting me, his little girl,
into a world I know will be forever hard.


- - -
Retired, I find myself looking back to see what is left standing and what remains to be built. So, I keep writing. I invite you to read one that still stands.

My Wizardry

| Filed under

Contributor: Paweł Markiewicz

- -
In me a tender hunch wakes up
the meek-smooth-blissful aeon of a dream

a winged immortality
which is still a delicate fledgling
of my psyche in hopes

like the rose canvas-van
of my heart in a dreamy wind

such a lilac enchantment of the sentiment
of all soft seagulls in the glamorous tide-time

and like aqua angel
he is consort of the sorcery

or a dreamer-mariner
he imagines sentiments seals of the meres
dreaming of fire of many druids

at sea and ashore
both most marvelous daydreams
I feel love

in the eternal mirror the moon
an entranced heart is leisurely

frail like a masterly poemlet
Apollonian pennons are carrying me finely
into lands rife with the poetical fantasy

Athena female angelic companion
is flying into enchanted Zeus-like clouds


- - -
Paweł Markiewicz - poet from Poland, in 3 languages

Reflection

| Filed under

Contributor: Sheshu Babu

- -
Turbulent waves
Of water
Reflect serene sky
And stars

But stars in the sky
Face constant turbulence
Not reflected
By waves of water
On Earth

Waves of water
Reflect
Nature and life
In various hues
But inner struggles and turbulence
Of life remain non-reflected

Ground Reality
Is not just 'Reflection'
By waves of water
But more complex, concrete
Inner turbulence
Inner contradictions


- - -

Within

| Filed under

Contributor: Srinivas

- -
Failure speaks to me in a thousand different tongues
Failure, dressed in hundreds of garbs,
The progenitor and progeny of nightmares
The sharpener of dreams
The (k)night against false dawns
The dispenser of lessons and love
Failure with a face and a thousand facades

Success speaks to me in a single silver tongue
Success, clothed in the novelty of recentness,
The prognosis and diagnosis of moonlight
The deepener of shadows
A delighted blindness against new horizons
The container of laughter and limits
Success with a thousand facades and a face

Life speaks to me in absolute silence
Life, naked beyond failure and success,
Dream-instigator, nightmare-inspirer,
Screamer of shadows, silencer of moons,
Stage for thoughts, deeds, legacies, luck…
Purveyor of everything, holder of nothing,
Life without a fac(ad)e, life Within.


- - -

A Butterfly is Born

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Briganti

- -
Her eyes met his, her body tingled all over
He spoke but she heard nothing
Deafened by her own thoughts
"my soulmate stands before me"
Undeniably, she wanted him, she needed him
He completed her, her heart pounded
Together forever for the rest of their lives
Young and pure, their hearts yearning
Blinded by love, they were inseparable
Seas of emotion filled them both
A tidal wave of passion
Trials and tributes, the power of love
Emotions fluctuated between love and hate
A line so thin, invisible to the naked eye
Cascades of joy and rains of sadness
visited throughout the years
Storms flooded innocent hearts
Drowning fast their love
Life changed like the seasons
Luminous rays cleared gray clouds
bringing hope for yet another day
Though shadows of torment
still lurked nearby, just waiting
Silent anguish bled their hearts dry
leaving their souls hollow
Jubilant memories forsaken
soon replaced with heartache
A void now filled her existence
She was lost in her own despair
Once a muse, now she was gone
Isolated and alone
Trapped in a cocoon of sorrow
she awaits metamorphosis
Her love for him lies dormant
buried deep within, never forgotten
A love like no other, it feeds her
She breathes this love
An endless oxygen of glory
A butterfly is born!


- - -

Captain Dirty Boy

| Filed under

Contributor: Michaeleen Kelly

- -
Travis jerked his soiled sweats
over yesterday’s Batman drawers,
frustrated over being denied his pre-battle cleansing ritual.
Why couldn’t he shower again today?
“It’s the damn drought”, his mother yelled back,
pursuing her haughty lips in resentment
over her own lawn-watering restrictions.

He slammed the door of their Valley home,
then dodged potential enemy vehicles
cruising down the six-lane boulevard
running along the dried L.A. riverbank ravine.

He began his assault on the alien invaders
occupying the desert terrain,
disguised as airborne tumbleweed.
Then ratcheted up the ferocity of the attack
after coming upon a suspected enemy bunker,
disguised as a makeshift human shelter,
with a sentry made of tumbleweed blocking the entrance
and shielding the life and shame within.
The boy retreated quickly when his war cries were interrupted
by manly moans and groans.

He ceased his whipping in horror,
wondering if this guy could be his Uncle Kevin,
Mom’s homeless brother.
Rivers of shame rose up to redden his Dumbo ears.

Emboldened by making contact with the enemy,
he decided to put such unmanly feelings aside
and to embrace his newfound destiny as Captain Dirty Boy,
Commander in Chief in the War on Drought.
Maybe he could get his mom to find him
some Mad Max underwear.
He needed to head back to home base for supplies.
The world needed Captain Dirty Boy now
and he was just nasty enough to do its dirt.


- - -
Michaeleen Kelly is an Emerita Professor of Philosophy at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her poetry has been published in Dunes Review, Praxis and Main Street Anthologies.

When She Speaks, They Always Listen

| Filed under

Contributor: E.S. Wynn

- -
You cannot catch the sky
even in your steely jaws
even stretching wide
from horizon
to horizon

You cannot steal the golden mask
tied about her muzzle
buried
in the ages of earth
in ages of dreams
in ages of dark words
and hate

You cannot bind her
you cannot cut the howl from her throat
you cannot kill the poetry
in her moon-upon-midnight voice.

Even blinded
Even rotted
Even lost

Still, she cries her magic to the sky.
still, across the dark and silent ages,
she stands side-by-side with the gods
watching over them
shepherding them
feeding the innocent young,
nurturing them.

The wolf has a thousand names
and needs none.
the wolf speaks
and the gods
the gods who know the wolf
the gods--

When she speaks,
they always listen.


- - -
E.S. Wynn is the author of over 70 books in print. He maintains a main author blog at: www.eswynn.com

A Dream

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
The kangaroos are jumping over hill and over dale
The leprechauns are leaping through fields forever pale
The spectrum of the mermaids is growing by the day
And happy ever after is one more day away

The unicorns are dancing to gigues of their own devise
The ancient mariner speaking in rhymes that once surprise
Pegasus parading ‘round clouds of soft ice cream
And never ending stories are more than just a dream


- - -
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, articles and a screenplay His nearly one-hundred-fifty works are published in magazines, over twenty-five on-line journals, thirty books and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin. He lives in New York with his dog, Daisy.

Night Secret

| Filed under

Contributor: Ingrid Bruck

- -
night-blooming cacti
wake in the dark
when people slumber
in muffled shadows

full buds inflate
bracts burst
perfume gusts
blooms unfold

fifty moon globes
fruit born of shade
hover on leaves
stretch in the moonlight

many-armed
white shivas
stroke the darkness
of summer

at first light
moonflower bounty
night magic
silently slips away


- - -
Ingrid Bruck’s current work appears in Poetry Breakfast, Better Than Starbucks, Otata and Failed Haiku. Her debut chapbook, Finding Stella Maris by Flutter Press was released this year. Poetry website: www.ingridbruck.com

Photo Paper Self

| Filed under

Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
I flatten myself
in a representation. This is
not me.

It’s just photo paper. It’s
just a bit of life contained
in a glimpse of an image.

What bit that is we shall
never know. I ain’t telling.

I can scratch the surface, no
sore marks are made. Just
the fabric of a canvas, dinged
up a bit.

My real face doesn’t flap
like the cardstock print. It doesn’t
float away in the wind.

I’m much more complicated
than that. Maybe.


- - -
My new book of poems, A Five-Year Journey, is available from Dreaming Big Publications.

The Dream State

| Filed under

Contributor: Jane Briganti

- -
Vacillation
the internal enemy
disturbing sleep
occupying the mind
Subconscious thoughts
crossing pathways
of reality

The body, the mind
lie awake in agitation
eyelids tightly shut
restless thoughts
The dream state
a distant yearning

Morning comes
without repose
silent chatter
tires the mind
with distorted
perceptions

A faculty of
consciousness
awaits tranquility
The dream state
perhaps tonight


- - -

The Night Laughs Like a Hyena

| Filed under

Contributor: Jon Carter

- -
calm summer night, clear,
the stars are out and the life
is dripping away into another day.
the fear is sinking in.
some things cannot be undone.

it’s hard to know that your heart is rotten.
it’s a thing I’ve learned about myself,
and knowing it hasn’t done me any good.
so long as the bottles stay around
then so will I.

I want to feel that fire again,
but sometimes things are just so cold.
my fingers are going numb from alcoholism,
my mind is going numb from thinking
too much.

the night is young though, and it’s
really quite wonderful. carrying
a burden quietly is the best way to
carry it, and if you’re strong enough
you can still enjoy some of the things.

things can get weird, though,
and fast. the world changes
every minute and one day
someone will care about the
consequences of their actions,
but it won’t be tonight.

tonight is not a night for seriousness.
and I hope tomorrow never comes.
this night laughs like a hyena
and I’m always quick to crumble
in the street.


- - -
My name is Jon Carter. I am a psychology major. My writing is honest.

I Can Be His Heart

| Filed under

Contributor: Arlene Antoinette

- -
I think he can love me,
even if it is from a distance.
I’m not the woman in his
dreams,
the woman whose lips
he misses. The woman
whose body he knows
better than his own. When
he’s weak and doubting, I
give him my shoulder
to lean on, it’s big
enough for that. I hold
him when he cries.
He whispers to me in a
voice so low I must read his
lips to understand his words:
She has my heart. Yes, the ghost
of her has taken up residence
in his heart. But I can give
him a new heart, let my heart
beat for his. With my arms
wrapped around him, I whisper
to him: I won’t let go until you
ask me to. I won’t leave unless
you tell me to go. He lets out a sigh
and places a hand on his chest
as if his heart needs holding; caressing.
But I don’t let go or recoil. She has
his heart. I’ll take what’s left.


- - -
Arlene Antoinette writes poetry and flash fiction. Additional pieces may be found at Your Daily Poem, Literary Heist, Amethyst Review, Mojave Heart Review, Spillwords Press, CafeLit and Poetry Pacific.

Musician

| Filed under

Contributor: Carson Pytell

- -
They crowded in for the performance.
From miles from manors, mundanity and misery they had trekked
For a mere hour's witness.

The overheads were cut, the stage curtain dropped
And a spotlight from behind it was triggered to cast the
Silhouette of a man holding a guitar onto it.

A silence overtook the excited murmur,
As it always does, and there was no introduction given -
That would have been unnecessary.

Soon enough he began playing,
Sending his music into the air with a generous
Ineffability.

If one were watching him closely,
They would have seen his hands navigating the guitar
Innately as one's chest rises and falls as they breathe,
but would be too entranced to say so.

After a while he concluded,
And his notes were left to perform their duty, which they did -
Exemplary.

He played many other shows today;
Some on grand stages to dignitaries,
Some on unadorned platforms to couples lying in the grass,
Some on warped floorboards to winos.

Never are two at quite the same setting or to the same crowd.
And on occasion he plays at home,
And his music, apotheosized then,
May only be heard through the walls by mice.


- - -
Carson Pytell is a poet and short story writer living in upstate New York. He reads and writes daily. His work has been published in Vita Brevis Press.

My Reflecting Glass

| Filed under

Contributor: Brittany Alaine

- -
It all started with a mirror,
And me staring at its reflecting glass.
It’s glaring truths.
I had never seen such horror.
Who was that woman with pale skin and empty eyes void of life and emotion?
I cannot look away.
What have I done? What do I do? Why am I even here?
All I can see if what is right in front of me.
My pain, my past, and this reflecting glass.

I think back to when I was younger and brighter.
When my heart was a little lighter,
And I wonder what happened between point A and B.

Between the boyfriends and the booze,
The screwing over and being screwed,
Nice cars, brand new shoes,
And taking, taking, taking,
always taking what I was due.

Between my misery and pain,
And selfishness and what I could gain,
Casting the first stone,
Playing the game,
And always having you to blame.

Between last call and the open bars,
And forgetting the beauty in the stars,
And not listening to the whispering breaths that I was
Running, running, running
Closer to my death.

And hating you and hating me.
Hating everything in between.
Feeling trapped. Not being free.
Wanting somebody to love me for me.

Finally, I drop to my knees.
Crying over and over,
Please, please, please.
My pain, my past, and this reflecting glass.

The tick of the clock as the minutes pass.
Praying. Finally praying at long last.
Forgiven.
For the past is in the past.
Acceptance.
By finally taking that second chance.
By searching within not just giving a glance.

By tolerating the intolerable.
Loving the unlovable.
Creating the uncreatable.
Making possible out of the im-possible
For we are miracles.

By not looking at the glass as half gone.
Who I will be not what I have done.
The places I’ll go,
The people I’ll meet,
The victories I’ll have.
Never. Accepting. Defeat.

And I see more now than what is right in front of me.
I see the birds and the bees and all the points C, D and E stretched out into infinity.
And that I can love me for me.

My pain, my past, and this reflecting glass.


- - -
Brittany Alaine currently is living in the countryside of Hanover, Germany, where she is teaching English as a foreign language and working on her travel and lifestyle blog outlining her life abroad as a recovering alcoholic.

If I Were a Water Lily

| Filed under

Contributor: Susie Gharib

- -
If I were a water lily,
I would leave my oars ashore
but beat the ripples of your pupils
with a pair of translucent rods,
made of buds.

If I were a water lily,
I would slumber among your thoughts
which float unruffled by turgid currents
that the subconscious stirs in myriad forms,
maintaining poise.


- - -
Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in multiple venues including A New Ulster, Crossways, The Curlew, The Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ink Pantry, and Mad Swirl.

A Child's Book

| Filed under

Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

- -
Baghdad
sand & minaret
place of myth mystery
destination of pilgrim & trader

gold blazed by sun
on turbans & burnous
camel trains riding east

I hear shrieks of drivers
cries of salt miners
watch slaves in seven veils
dance into paradise
on hashish wings

all alive in reading
The Arabian Nights
under the bedclothes


- - -
JOANNA M. WESTON. Has had poetry, middle readers, and short stories published for thirty years. Her poetry, ‘A Bedroom of Searchlights’, published by Inanna Publications of Toronto.

Love in the Milky Way

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

- -
I live near a small star,
That's where I stay,
Out on the edge
Of the Milky Way.

And I live my life
From day to day,
Out on the edge
Of the Milky Way.

And Love is the same
As it was yesterday,
Out on the edge
Of the Milky Way.


- - -
Bruce mundhenke writes poetry and short fiction. He lives in a small town in Illinois with his wife and their dog and cat.

Academia

| Filed under

Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
My dream of academia
Is an idealized one
Mr. Chips and the Paper Chase
Classes of five hundred
In lecture halls the size of stadiums
Students focused
Totally absorbed
Hands flying skyward
With thoughts, questions
And answers
Always thinking
Always searching
Always seeking the challenge
Digesting facts and adding knowledge
Connecting dots from places obscure
Yet always looking for hidden meanings
Layers and levels and subtexts
That clarifies cognition
And opens the portal
Of the enigma unknown


- - -
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, thirty books and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin. He lives in New York with his dog, Daisy. Visit him at www.brucelevine.com.

Catskills

| Filed under

Contributor: Ingrid Bruck

- -
chipmunks skitter along the Taconic
busy
over the rocks
busy
flag tail raised
busy
the stream runs with chipmunks, rocks sing with chitter

brown wings splash
warm
shallows in sun
warm
brush tangled shade
warm
warbler splash bath in the Taconic

birds hopscotch on water
flit
skim the stream
flit
tree to bush
flit
catbirds hopscotch and fish the Taconic

the fifth ant after midnight crawls on me
crawls
I can’t sleep
crawls
strip my sheets
crawls
I wander the grounds, wrapped in sheets,
looking for another place to sleep



- - -
Ingrid Bruck’s current work appears in Poetry Breakfast, Better Than Starbucks, Otata and Failed Haiku. Her debut chapbook, Finding Stella Maris by Flutter Press was released this year. Poetry website: www.ingridbruck.com

Scarecrow

| Filed under

Contributor: Cynthia Pitman

- -
Dedicated to Paul Plyler

Keep a scarecrow on your shoulder
to ward off the black-winged birds
that nibble at the fruits of your heart.
They like to pick at them slowly,
each little peck stabbing in time
with every throb that pulsates
through the veins of your life-blood.
Hold them off.
These blood-thirsty predators
do not scare easily,
so you must make your scarecrow brutal,
with a vicious lust for a fight.
No straw hat, plaid shirt, and blue jeans.
Instead, steel armor, steel sword, and steel shield.
These are the weapons your scarecrow will need
if you are to be saved from the onslaught
and live free in life’s field.


- - -
I am a retired high school English teacher. I began writing again this past summer after a 30-year hiatus. My first book of poetry, “The White Room,” is forthcoming from Kelsay Books.

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