Contradiction

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Contributor: JD DeHart

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Contradictory,
you say, but of course.

I am a series of contradictions.

My opinions are constructed
of an elephant graveyard of my
experiences and biases.

Awareness of self leads to a notion
of a pastiche. We are as many and multitude
as the fragments light reveals we
have been breathing all day.

It begs the question:
What qualifications make an other
the arbiter of what’s right? I reserve

the right to be absolutely contradictory
to the point of incoherence. Making sense
to others is not my reason for being.

Who is in the circle that most speaks
to our lives? 


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

Bare Feet and Broken Shoes

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Contributor: Brittany Alaine

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There’s a price to pay being a wandering soul.
Seeing thousands of faces yet always alone.
Shiny watches and glistening boots,
Was not the life that I chose to choose.

I stare down at the rags I’ve worn,
The fabric faded and slightly torn.
My boots old, ugly, and battered
From the search of things that truly matter.

Bare feet and broken shoes,
That’s the life I chose to choose.

Raindrops on a tin roof.
The next adventure I’m going to do.
The simple pleasure of being close to you.
Those are the things I look forward to.

Not cellphone updates or selfies that are fake.
Living a life of the give and take.
Running from my mistakes.
Taking the world on my shoulders and buckling under the weight.

I refuse for that to be my fate.

So, here’s to life and to saying yes.
For taking the leap and forgetting the rest.
For being the person, you were meant to be
By living a life of simplicity.

Bare feet and broken shoes,
Winding roads and the choices you choose.


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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.

White Light

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Contributor: Susie Gharib

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In Memory of George Michael

In Mill Cottage was a room with a view
with only one viewer though meant for two,
but then London lured not his tunes,
he had to ingratiate his muse
with the sap of his own wounded soul.

The tinsel of his song, so translucent in the Christmas lore,
why did he have to die on the same day his music was born?
Why did he succumb to the White Light he had previously scorned?
Are apparently not to be known.

A man adored by millions had only a bed to console.
He died without a single smile to see him Through,
though to millions he had smiled like Jesus to the born
and the unborn.

In a Precious Box, he kept his rosaries and cross,
and though he argued with God
he was the kindest man ever born,
‘For he prayeth best who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.’


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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.

Friday

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Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

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I take today in my hand
turn it sideways
to stretch but it remains
stoic unchanged dour

a banal day armed with clichés
idle gossip and poor coffee
a day that leers through windows
refuses to laugh at good jokes
turns its back on roses
prefers to watch cars not sparrows
and claims not to comb its hair
not my favourite day


- - -
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.

To Go Forward

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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Going backward to go forward
Finding my true identity
The hidden core
That represents my reality
Overgrown with twists and turns
Carrying me in wrong directions
Swimming upstream
Pummeled by the surf
Battered by rapids
Working on goals
That seemed long forgotten
But only frozen by cryogenics
Waiting in the wings
Hoping to be rediscovered
Looking in the mirror
To another dimension
Past the vortex
That remains transitory
Fleeting moments pointing the way
To look backward
And go forward


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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.

Unity In Diversity

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Contributor: Sheshu Babu

- -
The world of dark
Precedes sunlight
The color black
Complements white

Joys and sorrows
Run throughout yesterdays and tomorrows

Anything that takes birth
Faces certainty of death

Good and bad have thin threads that join
Like two sides of the same coin

Even in the gloomy hour of pessimism
One can find a glimpse of optimism

Past mistakes help in future corrections
Balancing diverse thoughts and united opinions.


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Snowdrops

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Contributor: Ingrid Bruck

- -
bejeweled soil
black frozen bare
in dead winter

brings gifts
scattered by wind
watered by sleet

sunlight unfolds
strands of green
topped by ice tears

flowers appear where
none grew before
wind blown light

cold January
white sparks
burn in the dark


- - -
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

Phantom Lover In The Night

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Contributor: H.L. Dowless

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Darkening clouds up in the sky,
tempest coming by tonight,
rain shall fall in harmonious delight,
wind will blow with all its might.

Lightning flash and blue fire fly,
a presence looming closely by,
her face materializes in the light,
my heart is racing with great fright.

A phantom breath now breathes near mine,
this terror causes me to lose track of all time.
Unseen lips taste of strong rose wine,
yet her midnight body feels just fine.

I throw my arm upon her, but feel only empty air,
she is still there I do thee swear,
both of her legs open upon my thighs,
yet empty air still gives great surprise.

Thunder rolls to rattle my house top above,
while this phantom and me make passionate love,
our bodies rising in dim light,
I try to please her until the feeling is right.

Her face appears beneath me as the blue fire glitters,
down my spine her beauty sends shivers,
this phantom queen now in my bed,
who speaks to tell me we soon shall be wed.

Her voice does ride upon the wind,
unto the devil my soul she endeavors to send,
for this abominable sin I did commit,
with this spectrum woman from the Zargos summit.

Our shadows dance upon the wall,
as blue fire flashes to reveal all,
we roll and tumble through the night,
this spectrum queen or wicked wight.

Morning sun finds me not so well,
she once lay beside me, I can tell.
My bleeding heart cries upon my bed,
for this mysterious Scythian queen unto whom I shall
soon be wed.


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Howl For The Wolves

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Contributor: E.S. Wynn

- -
Howl for the coming of the sun
howl for the death of the year
howl for Her, howl for Him
howl for the shepherds of the stag
who chase the sun
to keep it in the sky.

Howl your animating breath
howl like the roarer, the shrieker
howl for the ones who came before
howl into the starry void
and echo liminal love
off the bilrost lights
of that starry bridge
that bears the feet of the dead
that path of birds
that and back
to the fertile earth below.

Howl for the living
howl for the dead
howl knowing there is no difference
in the end.
for wolves walk beneath our feet
knowing every echo is an echo of the whole
and even the starry mill
and the windswept tree above
bend for no one
but bend on evermore
echoing eternally
with the varðlokkur of wolves.


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

Brain on Caffeine

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Contributor: Mark Tulin

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The man is hard at work
in his private office
that has free internet;
the first available table
in a coffee shop.

He doesn’t have a home,
roams around in a clunky van
with his canine sidekick
and expired license plates.

He wears a short sleeve shirt,
a pair of bifocals put together
with homemade pins,
and the same PF Flyers
from when he was sixteen.

He slurps his coffee
between agitated scribbles;
dots and dashes
on a sputtering laptop
from the Middle Ages.

He scatters his mess
on the little square table.
Pages and pages
full of random numbers,
scratch outs, and erasures.

He seems busy
in an odd sort of way
with a furrowed brow,
a high forehead
and a brain on caffeine.


- - -
Mark Tulin is a former family therapist who lives in Santa Barbara. He has an upcoming book of short stories entitled, The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories.

No Airs

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Contributor: Susie Gharib

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He bows at every smile
he wordlessly illumines
upon her reticent mouth.

He puffs no arrogance into the air,
never hums or whistles down the stairs,
has never endowed her skirts with smirks,
or wryly grimaced at outlandish ways.

He only eats when hunger stirs
and sips his drinks without any slurps,
never darts his tongue, never slurs his words,
or blurs their meanings so as to impress.

He'll woo the woman whose wit never wanes,
whose aesthetic essence never dims with age,
whose unflinching strength is an intrinsic trait,
whose love and passion are not on parade.


- - -
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.

The Rain Tree

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Contributor: Cynthia Pitman

- -
The rain tree showers you
with her yellow flowers,
and, like her branches, your arms
stretch high and wide
while the flowers fall
from your silhouette,
as the two of you sway
to the wind’s violins –
perfect lovers
in perfect rain.


- - -
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.

Remains

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Contributor: Suez Jacobson

- -
Shards of life.
Fingernail clippings in the sink.
Blood washed down.
Body, dirt in process.
How will I remember?
These specks, concrete.
Too small to fill potholes of despair.
Sharp slivers, widening infection
In body-soul chasm?
Intangible
Shapeless, weightless memories
Linger, anguish, languish.
Sunny,
Horrific.
Neither willed away.
None neatly trimmed.
Metal snaps.
No scraps.


- - -
A poet in the making... maybe

The Romance of Home

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

- -
For some
Any place they hang their hat is home
For some
It isn’t physical
It’s metaphysical

There’s an essence
Intangible, unimaginable
Indescribable, but real

For every cliché in column A
There’s a single word in column B
Home

Travel and transience
Can never subjugate
The pull
The allure
Of the quintessential

And as the song says
A house is not a home
And the greatest love of all
Will yearn in tandem
For the romance of home


- - -
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.

An Errant Doubt

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Contributor: Joanna M. Weston

- -
my shadow stretches
like a doubt
reaching for certainty
given by this body
yet reaching for another

ready to touch
a different answer
not one easily given
as it moves over curbs
cars blind lamp-posts

finds resolution
in lights from a café
and spills itself
into coffee
and a friend’s ears


- - -
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.

Vested Interest

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Contributor: JD DeHart

- -
I’ve taken my interest
and given it a lovely corduroy
vest. There now, so dapper.

What a gentleman gesture.

It’s not that I’m disinterested.
In fact, the opposite. I have made
my curiosity as appealing as possible.

Just as we often play the actor,
practicing our lines in the rear-view
mirror. Shaping our mouth just so we

will be found human too, found
acceptable in another’s sight. An Other
who is practiced just like us.

Don't pretend you don't rehearse.

Dressing lively details up
like a lineup of dolls.

It sounded so much better in the car.


- - -
My book of poems, A Five-Year Journey, has recently been published by Dreaming Big Publications.

The Party Girl

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Contributor: H.L. Dowless

- -
I don’t know the reason,
I simply can’t tell why,
I’ll love you like I do ‘til
the day that I die.

I’m gonna spin it,
like a wheel,
where it stops I guess,
will be my deal.

You always go out,
to hit the town,
nobody knows when the party will stop,
but when it does, everything is already shut down.

You’re seldom sober,
you stagger round,
you only try to get up when you’re
plastered on the ground.

You’re headed for disaster honey,
you’re going down,
it will no longer be funny
when nobody is around.

I got you out of jail last night,
they had you locked down,
that place was filled with rage and fright,
the psycho beside you was dressed like a clown.

I don’t know where you’re headed honey,
but I’m going to hit it big,
affiliate marketing is getting me there,
money is coming in from everywhere.

You’re a loser baby,
and so is that man you’re running with,
everybody is saying that you’re a shady lady,
you’re as fickle as the sands that drift.

Well I don’t need you any more,
you’ll ne’er change,
this world has so much more in store,
so I am catching the next plane.


- - -
H.L. Dowless is an international ESL instructor. He has been an author for over thirty years. His latest publications were with the traiditional publishing company, Algora Publishing, and the online and print magazines; Leaves Of Ink, Short Story Lovers, The Fear Of Monkeys, and Frontier Tales.

Planet Earth

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Contributor: Jane Briganti

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This Planet Earth of ours cries in pain
Perhaps because we take her in vain
Who's to say how long she'll keep
Sadly true, her wounds run deep
Where will the children of tomorrow be?
No animals, water or even a tree
Innocent animals we know and love
are going extinct - no hope from above
Contaminated waters - pollution and more
the damage is done straight down to the core
Evergreen trees protecting everyone
providing oxygen and shade from the sun
For us they grow and weather withstand
Their survival depends on this earthly land
Respect Mother Nature and Planet Earth
Show her the meaning of her worth
Open your eyes - the expected is here
annihilation and all that we fear
The Human Race and greed are to blame
The world will end; what a crying shame


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The Vase

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Contributor: JL Smith

- -
was beautiful.
Red, filled with flowers
you don’t normally receive.
Daisies mixed with lilies,
other flowers the florist
had on hand that day.

You touch them,
the lilies silk smooth
like a touch on a shaven cheek—
something you haven’t felt in so long.
Soft, like a child’s hand—
something else you haven’t felt in so long.

You know who they are from.
You know why you received them,
a celebration that comes on the 14th day,
but the sentiment felt odd
since love had grown cold,
fading,
ailing,
like the floral arrangement,
long after the feed packets are gone,
water is changed out,
its life cycle complete.

Faded,
discarded,
forgotten after its demise.


- - -
JL Smith lives in Odenton, MD. She is the author of two books of poetry, Medusa, The Lost Daughter and Weathered Fragments, Weathered Souls.

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