In Times to Come I

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Contributor: Susie Gharib

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In times to come,
the sun will cease to burn
at half-past one,
the moon to look outworn,
jaded and wan
without the sun.

In times to come
the wind will learn to pray
with stranded sails,
with leaves that Autumn has slain,
with the pinions of cranes
in migratory flocks.

In times to come
the earth will cease to breed
an exodus of refugees,
a racial disease,
and craters brimming with uncongealing blood.

In times to come
the sea will cease to expunge
footprints on sand and rock,
a quahog's blog
at anchored-seashells dot com.


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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.

Nothing But Nothing

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Contributor: Lyla Sommersby

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To write quiet into a poem
to write silence
and convey meaning

that
that

that
would be true skill

beauty

To write silence
without a word
convey every word
bring tears
to a reader's eye
with nothing
but nothing.


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

Between Us

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Contributor: John Ogden

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Life is full of games
but not with us
not between us

The jokesters tease, poke and sing
weave hoop after hoop
to leap through,
to dodge
to cry out against
when they catch you
in a loop
of legalese.

Roll the dice each day,
each moment
and move your piece from space to space
draw your cards,
read the text
feel the bite of failure
the cool wash
of success

But not here,
not with us,
not between us.

Between us,
All is love.
All is light.


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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.

The Age of Technology

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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My life is a wire
Forced upon me
Not by choice
Not by desire
But by obsolescence
Of former technology
No longer viable
No longer available
And yet it too
Had its own lifespan
Before the next technological epiphany
Superseded it –
Out with the old – in with the new
Armageddon

And is my life better?
Categorically no!

Simple became complex
Reliable became subject
To the whims of technology
The internet’s slow today
The program’s out of date
The compatibility declined
The system’s down
Functionality at a standstill
Armageddon

Go wireless
Go Bluetooth
Go further down
The layers of Hell
The layers of the Inferno
The labyrinth
Of keeping up
With the newest of the new
Keeping up with the Joneses
No longer humans
Keeping up with Microsoft or Apple

Pre-order
Post-order
Out of order

Spending money
On the gift that keeps giving
In the name of technology
The rich get richer
And everyone else poorer
Waiting in line
Camping on the sidewalk
All for the gadgets
All for the glory
Of holding the latest update

As I suffer
Their hypocrisy
Their purported need
To make the world better
Faster
Easier
Save the trees
Repair climate change
More and more technology
Force it on us
Like the slaves
Forced on the ships
Out of Africa

No more human interaction
Text me…
No more time
Social media…
Games
Addiction to technology
Armageddon


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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. Visit him at www.brucelevine.com.

I Am Woman

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Contributor: Amanda Firefox

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You know the woman who was standing in the coffee shop last Sunday,

Watching you,

That was me.

Watching you, admiring you, your beauty, loving you, hoping you would notice, hoping you wouldn’t.

I love you, want you, need you.

How do I put this?

How do I not sound desperate?


I’m not desperate,

I just love you, love you. . .

And I’m too afraid to talk to you.


I guess that you’re just going to have to make the first move.

If I don’t just reach out and rip your clothes off first.


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Amanda Firefox is a fiery little brunette who spends as much time at the beach as she can manage. She doesn't write much, but when she writes, it's almost always about her favorite subject: boys.

The Open Sea

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Contributor: Dorothea Mackellar

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From my window I can see,
Where the sandhills dip,
One far glimpse of open sea.
Just a slender slip
Curving like a crescent moon—
Yet a greater prize
Than the harbour garden-fair
Spread beneath my eyes.

Just below me swings the bay,
Sings a sunny tune,
But my heart is far away
Out beyond the dune;
Clearer far the sea-gulls’ cry
And the breakers’ roar,
Than the little waves beneath
Lapping on the shore.

For that strip of sapphire sea
Set against the sky
Far horizons means to me—
And the ships go by
Framed between the empty sky
And the yellow sands,
While my freed thoughts follow them
Out to other lands.

All its changes who can tell?
I have seen it shine
Like a jewel polished well,
Hard and clear and fine;
Then soft lilac—and again
On another day
Glimpsed it through a veil of rain,
Shifting, drifting grey.

When the livid waters flee,
Flinching from the storm,
From my window I can see,
Standing safe and warm,
How the white foam tosses high
On the naked shore,
And the breakers’ thunder grows
To a battle-roar…

Far and far I look—Ten miles?
No, for yesterday
Sure I saw the Blessed Isles
Twenty worlds away.
My blue moon of open sea,
Is it little worth?
At the least it gives to me
Keys of all the earth


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Isobel Marion Dorothea Mackellar (better known as Dorothea Mackellar), OBE (1 July 1885 – 14 January 1968) was an Australian poet and fiction writer. Her poem My Country is widely known in Australia, especially its second stanza, which begins: "I love a sunburnt country/A land of sweeping plains,/Of ragged mountain ranges,/Of droughts and flooding rains."

To Iron-Founders And Others

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Contributor: Gordon Bottomley

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When you destroy a blade of grass
You poison England at her roots:
Remember no man's foot can pass
Where evermore no green life shoots.

You force the birds to wing too high
Where your unnatural vapours creep:
Surely the living rocks shall die
When birds no rightful distance keep.

You have brought down the firmament
And yet no heaven is more near;
You shape huge deeds without event,
And half-made men believe and fear.

Your worship is your furnaces,
Which, like old idols, lost obscenes,
Have molten bowels; your vision is
Machines for making more machines.

O, you are busied in the night,
Preparing destinies of rust;
Iron misused must turn to blight
And dwindle to a tetter'd crust.

The grass, forerunner of life, has gone,
But plants that spring in ruins and shards
Attend until your dream is done:
I have seen hemlock in your yards.

The generations of the worm
Know not your loads piled on their soil;
Their knotted ganglions shall wax firm
Till your strong flagstones heave and toil.

When the old hollow'd earth is crack'd,
And when, to grasp more power and feasts,
Its ores are emptied, wasted, lack'd,
The middens of your burning beasts

Shall be raked over till they yield
Last priceless slags for fashioning high,
Ploughs to wake grass in every field,
Chisels men's hands to magnify.


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Gordon Bottomley (20 February 1874 –25 August 1948) was an English poet, known particularly for his verse dramas. He was partly disabled by tubercular illness. His main influences were the later Victorian Romantic poets, the Pre-Raphaelites and William Morris.

Rain, Rain Musings

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Contributor: Jun Lit

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Here come the rains again –
with clouds of million emotions
pouring ceaseless streams
of interwoven musings
germinating seeds of void feelings,
like unholy weeds
you straddled upon, or deeds
forgotten in one remote corner -
good as they really were
but not a single soul did bother
to thank, or at least,
remember.

Sometimes I wish I were one poem –
at least one may, on one day, or one morn
read or declaim, remembering a line or two . . .
the poet who wrote it will long be gone
but a verse maybe recited or pass review.

Drips of tasteless wine from rusting roofs
Color the shadows down the wounded hooves
Intoxicating captive audiences
with illusory mugs of rancid ale
make-believe liquors now stale,
stark when faced with truthful pilsen pale.

Even the sweetest of ancient brews
turns sour just like cider of uncured juice.
People cherish sangrias and Bloody Maries
as freshly mixed cocktails, not as diluted whiskeys,
forgetting that once in the brutal reign of winter
within one’s freezing soul, the maimed ember
of a Shakespearean line, kept the mind sober,
long enough to survive the loveless glacier.

But I’m here in the midst of the tropics
And on more serious thought, I must feel sick
that winters like autumns become empty rhetoric
when the Sun Queen imposes its wish
to rule the plains, the peaks, the streams
and even when hiding in slumber it seems.
The clouds and winds just obey its whims.
Its warm royal hands energize
as raindrops turn to double-edged knives
that blessings maybe sprinkled here,
but a destroyer’s wrath sways on the other side

And so after a few moments of respite
Here come the rains again –
pouring harder, torrentially relentless,
holding me hostage
but freeing the sigh, hiding the frown
setting serious thoughts up
but pulling mixed emotions down
cheering the chilling inside
but calming the restless mind
happy and contemplative
ah, like poles pulling apart
yet . . .
ah still . . .
united at heart.


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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.

The Woman of the Eon Mask

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Contributor: Susie Gharib

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They had robbed me of my history,
chiseled my name off the ancestral rock,
snipped my natal cord with a pair of pincers,
rewrote my stars with a single ink-drop.

They shipped me to some distant land
to be nurtured in a foreign pot,
no basin for my tender feet,
no anointment of temples, no armorial cot.

I search for the indelible image of my mother
in every blooming flower-cup.
Out of my reach my father's remains
are in a monitored jar and under lock.

Don't ask me about my language or creed,
they had been blotted out.
Though my genes can spell out my seeds
I remain the woman of the eon mask.


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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.

A Novel Choice

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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Chasing a rainbow
through a field of dreams
Holding the tail of a kite
as it floats to the top of the mountain
Piling up choices into mounds
of vanilla frosting
Holding forever moments in the
palm of your hand

Revising the past into the
hope of tomorrow
Time that seemed frozen
reawakening now
Pages and pages set
down in a journal
Defining the future
growing out of the past

A novel – a story
a tale told out of context
A time not forgotten
a wrong not resolved
With an eye on the future
moving on with the tide
Like the Gulf Stream through sorrow
shifting course once again

Arriving at the goal post
moved each time in the shadows
Out of reach and beyond longing
held by fate out of sync
As choices surround moments
encompassing pastures
For the grazing of cattle
and for opening doors

The time that seemed lost
on the pages of yesterday
No longer slumber on a shelf
high above
Out of reach yet not forgotten
with the help of a partner
Dusted off with a dust rag
climbing mountains of success


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Bruce Levine, a 2019 Pushcart Prize Poetry Nominee, 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. Over three hundred of his works are published in over twenty-five on-line journals including Ariel Chart, Friday Flash Fiction, Literally Stories; over thirty print books including Poetry Quarterly, Haiku Journal, Dual Coast Magazine, and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country. His six 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.

Memoir of a Cautionary Tale

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Contributor: JD DeHart

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Once, she was assembled,
a living whole, but now an embodied
puzzle. There is no way of knowing

at what age she fell apart,
or to trace the first rattle of brokenness.

It's a question best left unsettled
unless you have an army behind you.

What was the moment she
was disassembled? A wounding made
long ago in her history,

I suppose. Nightwalker, no longer
a dreamer. Another puzzle:

What happened? A folded-up passerby
waving his finger, or a wad of
stained cash. She went away, that's sure.

Yet, I still wonder. Did she think
before she was walking into the shadow
of trees? Did she remember

the sound of her own childishness?

A whisper through houses, over small
side streets, across rough country roads that says,

Don’t get in. Don’t go, stop,
this is where you fall. This is unholy second
earth shatters.

You can be better. There is still life to live.
You have a voice, girl. Don't silence yourself.
The world fights enough to do it for you.

But all the figures float by, still trying
to reach while each word became
a silent syllable on some unknown

forest floor.


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Words of Thirst

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Contributor: Utari V. Caircannon

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You're drawn to them
because you want them
because you want to feel them
you want to touch them
taste them
linger on the delicate curves of them

but know them
learn them
see them
as complete people
and all that changes

hot gets obscured by haughtiness
and the breakdowns
and the bad days
and the crying
and the flaws
that make every sexy body
that much less sexy
and you wish it didn't come with that brain
or that mouth
or that ideology
but matched yours exactly
though even that
would test your patience
because none of us are perfect
none of us are perfect
and even those most lusted after
have negative exes
weary of all the trash they've had to live through
for one dance
with the devil
you know nothing about.


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The Fanged Night

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Contributor: Jonah Polivoron

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She picks a bar
Not too dark
Not too loud
Not too crowded
Not too dead.

She picks a person
Man, woman, doesn't matter.
What matters is the clothes
The scent, brand name, expensive
The desperation
The nervousness
The shakes.

She picks a person
She flirts and plays hard to get
Leans in and pulls away
Keeps the quarry guessing
Keeps the drinks flowing

She strikes suddenly
A seductive offer
A night of forbidden pleasure
Leads her quarry to the alleyway
That is her abattoir
That is her cutting room floor
That is her nest
If only for a moment
If only for long enough
To strip her prey
Of everything of value
Leave them mewling in the cold
Leave them whining and wondering
While she cuts cross-country
Her eyes already on another bar
Another alleyway abattoir
In another city
Where she's just another face
Another anonymous face
Looking for an anonymous fix
With another
Anonymous mark.


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A Blink of An Eye

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Contributor: Jane Briganti

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Time passes by in the blink of an eye
People gather round discussing why
Pretending as if they don't know
Time passes by so that they can grow

What about life would they have to say
if life just stood still day after day
Mem'ries made with joys and pains
years of life with losses and gains

Life alone can give or take
causing many a heart to break
Time passes by and they grow wise
Living and creating emotional ties

Most of the time they don't know why
understanding comes before they die
Time passes by in the blink of an eye
and just like them I pretend I don't know why


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Jane Briganti's poems have appeared in Creations Magazine and in a variety of on-line publications. She lives and works in New York City.

Lost Count

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Contributor: Ajay Kumar

- -
My mother has a bag of Okra seeds
she got from her mother.
My mother plants the seeds
from grandmother in batches of eight.

Mother exclaims on the phone
to her mother, my grandmother,
that five out of eight have sprouted.

Vajra is thunder,
& sperm, energy,
weapon of the indra
of gods. Language
never lets go of hands
that speak them,
touch meaning.

Thunder-wet leaves,
this is an emergency,
what are the chances
of me seeing a leaf-doctor?

What are the odds of being first, I know
it only reduces. First first first
first first first
burst
first
thirst.

You were touched by a phallic meaning,
ruined with runes when read aloud guttural.
What is the probability of the last touching the ruined:
last ruin. I think my mother
is finally thinking about the three that didn't sprout,
I’ll call you later, she says.


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Ajay Kumar is a student and writer based in Chennai, India. He served as the editor of Abhivyanjana Magazine for 2017-18. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in The Bangalore Review, Amethyst, Eunoia, Literary Yard, and Isacoustic among others.

Poem

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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Empty laughter
Often fading
Among the trees
Of the nether-fold
Nirvana forsaken
Amidst the storm
Of the infinite
Paradoxical anagrams
Representing the
Vortex of time
Leaving in isolation
The magnitude
Unfulfilled
By a destiny removed
Renamed yet unknown
As a symbol
A metaphor
Held in an ironic
Twist of fate
Longing for the impossible
Parodies etched in paradiddles
Refocused without rhyme
Now forsaken
Amid the Pine Barrens
Of time


- - -
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.

A Bell of Frost

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Contributor: Susie Gharib

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I trudged my way with an overload of borrowed books,
my rented room, uphill, in a four-floor block,
where a frosted bed lay lusting for my blood.

St. Mungo’s Church, my first stop home,
I had to go in to anoint my dome,
my eyes, too weary,
my tongue, snow-stung.
I lit a candle and knelt to tell
the Blessed Mary how lonely I felt,
a legion of tears preparing to rebel.

My second stop was the Unwinking Shop.
What should I have for a grumbling stomach?
What series of flashlights hijacked my thoughts?
He emerged from his car like a conjured ghost.
My name rang out, a bell of frost.
I hastened to greet the homebound Ross.

We sat in the sepulcher of a breath-warmed car,
watching the skies trim out their hair,
wreathing our love with unspoken words.
When the time had come to bid goodnight,
I took my leave very loath to part,
a blizzard preceding me into the apartment.

The way to the kitchen lay through her hearth.
I had to ferry my hair, my lungs
across the Styx of cigarettes' smog.
A pint of milk with frosted flakes
was a meal not weaved with smoke-spun snakes,
so confronting bed I said my graces.
I dreamt that I had a house in a lake,
a boat was moored to a daffodil-gate,
and a troop of swans patrolled the estate.


- - -
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.

Your Love

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Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

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Give me your love in the morning,
Before the first bird sings.
Touch me once more in the darkness,
Feel again the joy your love brings.

Hold me again in the sunshine,
Laugh with me in the light.
Share with me every color,
That is hidden from us at night.

Sit by my side in the evening,
When the sky in the west is on fire,
Before the stars are falling,
Soon the night will be at our desire.

Be with me again in the darkness,
Broken by faint light above,
Touch me once more in the darkness,
Once again I discover your love.

When the sun is no longer shining,
And all the stars have fallen above,
And all the things from before are forgotten,
Yet still will remain your love.


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

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