From Unknown To Well-Known

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Contributor: Sheshu Babu

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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.

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Distant Pastoral

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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.

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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

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Contributor: Jun Lit

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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

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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.


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Contributor: Jane Briganti

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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

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

Point of View

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Contributor: Phil Huffy

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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.

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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

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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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
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

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


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Contributor: DAH

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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)

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Contributor: donnarkevic

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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

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Contributor: Paweł Markiewicz

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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

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Paweł Markiewicz - poet from Poland, in 3 languages


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Contributor: Sheshu Babu

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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
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

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Contributor: Srinivas

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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

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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!

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Captain Dirty Boy

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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

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Contributor: E.S. Wynn

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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
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:

A Dream

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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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

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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

white shivas
stroke the darkness
of summer

at first light
moonflower bounty
night magic
silently slips away

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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:

Photo Paper Self

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Contributor: JD DeHart

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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.

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


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