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Issue 4 - 8 July 2018

When the ghosts come

When the ghosts come for us at night

Run, my brother, and don’t look back

Grab our sister, run and hide

Run far away and don’t look back


When you see their fires bright

Run, my mother, and don’t look back

Father tried to put up a fight

They got him— and he won’t come back


Keep each other safe tonight

Run, dear family, and don’t look back

I’ll fight the ghosts with all my might

I’ll keep you safe and not look back


The ghosts will not get you this night

I’m going out smiling, and I won’t look back

Just laugh as I spit on their hoods of white

And proudly tell father I had your back

Kevin Andersen has previously been published in the journals Jitter Press, Tanka Journal, Three Line Poetry and Poetry Quarterly. He lives in Aarhus, Denmark, where he works as an assistant editor for the publishing house Snepryd.

Hard Look at Leggings


After years of being visually assaulted

by floppy fat asses and bony skinny asses

and tight rounded asses and flat asses

and enormous asses and wobbly asses

and asses that peep through holes in sheer

audacity and high-heeled assassins’ assets

and assorted shop assistants’ barely-clad,

well-defined bottoms… I’m assuming

there’s no asylum for those who’ve come

to suspect there’s a mass phenomenon

in which assertive women wil-

fully refuse to put on skirts.


Allan Lake, originally from Saskatchewan, has lived in Vancouver, Cape Breton Island, Ibiza, Tasmania and Western Australia and now calls Melbourne home. He has published two collections; Tasmanian Tiger Breaks Silence (1988) ; Sand in the Sole (2014) plus the chapbook, Grandparents: Portraits of Strain (1994). Allan won Elwood Poetry Prize 2015 and Lost Tower Publications (UK) Poetry Comp 2017.


The boy enjoys the rifle’s noise,
the hard recoil, the bullet puncture--
its violence, the hot heart’s rupture,
the steaming eyes. He isn’t pleased

by carcass size-- it’s blood’s rapture
feeding his urge-- the maim and capture,
his foot upon the softest doe
amid scattered fur and snow--

a hunter’s dream grown big and tall.
His mother dead when he turned nine,
he doesn’t know he hunts her when

his father cries and leaves him well
alone to hold a loaded gun--
a trigger-happy angry fawn.

Marc Darnell is a floor tech and online tutor in Omaha NE. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa, and has published poems in The Lyric, Skidrow Penthouse, Shot Glass Journal, The HyperTexts,  The Fib Review, Verse-Virtual, and Blue Unicorn, among others.

My Wholesome Ideas for Global Acts


The Garden of Eden grew green,

Her leader created for merry creatures,

Now; our world, our life,

My wholesome ideas for global acts.


People are here

Climate change will be omnipresent;

From dawn to dusk,

My wholesome ideas for global acts.


A crocodile of disaster,

Swallowing a frog of earth,

We have no excuses today- for it pains us,

My wholesome ideas for global acts.


Litter; here and there,

Let’s ride the cycles of 4Rs,

And hold our heads high for this small pride,

My wholesome ideas for global acts.


Nature is life,

To have smoke-free lungs, concerns won’t be solutions,

Let’s walk the talk,

My wholesome ideas for global acts.

Tashi Gyeltshen is the author of the a collection of poems entitled Throb of Loneliness, a short story collection entitled A Soup for the Souls, and a volume of nonfiction, Value-Based Modern Essays. Born on the tiny, beautiful landlocked Himalayan nation of Bhutan, his writing reflects the rich Buddhist cultural heritage of the subtropical/sub-alpine birthplace.

Benediction Of Oceans

Her lips are salt tang of waves

Anointing me with the kiss of oceans.

Her voice is whispered solace

A brief dalliance on the headland

Where we lay

Watching the wind fly a kite of gulls

Their screams histrionic a catastrophe 

In the making

Tossing and turning as if in the white fever

Of volcanic ash.

She sings, a mermaid in a choir of dolphins,

Her song the murmur of hidden worlds,

Soft yet strong enough

To cut through the volcanic eruption 

Of the gulls.

Her lips part and I enter tasting the salt tang

Of waves

Floating away on the benediction of oceans.

Dennis Moriarty lives in Wales, with his wife. They run a small business, have five grown-up children and five grandchildren. He likes to walk the dog in the mountains, read and write. He won the 2017 Blackwater poetry prize.


Blown Away


I’m gonna have lunch with

the sky. It’s been way too

long since we got together.


I’ll run downstairs through

hallways into bursts of blue.

Perhaps never return to work,

words, paper clips, bookshelves.


Who needs cash when there’s

so much green grass to hoard?

Forget about food. I’ll drink up

sunshine, nibbling juicy clouds.


O sky, you are my solar mate.

We will be faithful always.

Come home now… I will

never look at another.


Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary zines such as Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Halcyon Days and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of A Hurricane Press and Poppy Road Review anthologies. She has been nominated four times for Best of the Net.

Only a Goodbye


Only a goodbye

Could sweeten the bitter jus

Seething over the years


Only a goodbye

Even awkwardly said,

An incarnation of pretension 

Spurious concern mockingly dressed


Only a goodbye

A scythe of smile

Trimming the edges

Of a smooth separation


Only a goodbye

Could weigh the brine less

Than the ocean held it

Fossils inhumed under her breast


Could you hear the lullaby

That the phoenix of grief cried

In a wild, painful shrill

Asking for

Only a goodbye? 


Christiana Sasa loves to write. Through writing she finds a vent for her strangled feelings and emotions. She believes in love, peace and humanity.

Adam and Little Eve

(after the watercolor by Paul Klee)

Eve was so little

so littler than me

she needed my ribs

to hold her in place

and make her a person

like me.


She was my puppet

and I her puppeteer

my monkey on a leash 

and I her grinder

my wife, my slave

and I her absolute king.


Through what magic

has she grown

now bigger than me

she rules

with utter contempt

for my size

and makes a fool of me

a motley jester

in her garden court.

Neil Ellman is a poet from New Jersey who has published numerous poems in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world. He has been nominated twice each for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

In the Friendly Sky

The prostitute is sitting next to my wife on the train reading Vonnegut,


Listening to a track from Steve Miller’s The Joker.

We were coming back from the airport.

What can be said after a long trip?

Which was harder, our trip,

Or hers?


Jason Gallagher was a contributing editor at Evergreen Review. He is a member of The Unbearables poetry collective and has had work appear in The Otter as well as in the Kind of a Hurricane Press anthologies The Seasons and Storm Cycle and in the first two issues of Post[blank]. He has also had his book reviews published in Sensitive Skin, Gainsayer and The Otter. He lives in Upper Manhattan with his wife, fellow poet Brendaliz Guerrero, and works as an adjunct English instructor at Borough of Manhattan Community College and Brooklyn College.

In the Garden

Sunshine caress my face

invite freckles

to a dance on a shimmering sea


Beads of moisture

rivulets course a haphazard path down my spine

in search of an inlet


Dirty fingers grope

through mounds of fertile soil

fatty worms full from feasting


Blackened knees caked with mud & muck

rich loam under bare feet

ooze between naked toes

Dried brown leaves & twisted foliage

gathered & discarded

make breathing space for all that is new.

Nancy Zielinski is a published writer and poet who lives on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan where she can be found either shoveling snow, picking up pine cones, or shaking out sand.

A soggy day


A grey greyhound’s coat for a sky-

Through which Nature clawed white,

Crackling the bark of a tree

And delivering its gentle drizzle:

A cajoling lick to an abrupt bite.


The rain on the trail of its tail,

Running ropes religiously,

Fixedly and with fidelity, fulfils its duty

While at the window, hands pawed into weariness,

Puppy eyes peeping with profound politeness,

Purpose a prayer against this predicament-

‘O Master, just some respite’-

And suddenly the skies are dug to the bones of their blessings,

And appears a sunny big ball hurling hope to be fetched and found.


The excitement exuding from this tasked chase

Dripped down from their contented buccal cavities,

As did the benefit of their blessedness.

Hence the clouds packed together, growling,

And, once again, it was raining cats and dogs.

Shruti Woosaree, from Mauritius, is a literature enthusiast residing in fiction and fumbling with reality.

Forgiveness is so easy with you


The computer reminded me

of how much I love you, so I decided

not to pick a fight

over the laundry.


When you came to bed

your body was as heavy

as wool that engulfed me

like cigar smoke or a stale bar.



I leaned in for a kiss

before you collapsed

upon my rib cage

and wrapped

your arms around

my torso

as if nothing

else mattered

and nothing

had happened.


we wiggled and

settled our profiles

into shared pillows

and breaths.


Summer solstice


Walking in a concrete field

surrounded by statues,

unnaturally placed trees,

and a wildly daunting sky

- the black and electric blue 

mirrors the contradiction

between my apprehension

and restlessness. 


Upon the summer solstice

the sky is bathing the earth

with pellets of secrecy

and desire.

I can feel the clouds’ need

for release

like an exhale

after holding one’s breath

without realizing it.


Moments ago,

I was taking photos

and talking to a boy

who kissed me once,



I am alone

among this vastness

searching for communion. 

Margot DeSalvo (Ed.M, M.F.A) is a college composition and creative writing instructor in NY and NJ. Her poetry has been published in Dying Dahlia Review, Streetlight Press, Teaching English in the Two-Year College as well as an article for Whale Road Review forthcoming in Fall 2018. She is also co-editor of Flatbush Review.

Aftermath (After the Fall)


A dead soldier among dozens was being escorted by the beautiful, terrifying, Angel of Death

when he turned to ask her a question:

“Who are you?” He asked.

“What is your purpose?”

The soft, white,

alabaster eyes

of the Angel of Death

flashed for a second

before responding:

“I am the origin of dreams. I am the first thought.

As long as men dream of me, I will exist.

My purpose is to carry out the desires of men,

and you, You are the result

of the desires of men.

Now come with me.”


The Best of Intentions


In the end

all that’s left

is a hasty phone number

scrawled on a piece of paper,

the smell of a musty bathroom,

a strand of her hair,

and a used bed

at a nearby motel


the best

of intentions…


Originally from Bandung, Indonesia, Jean Jones received a BA in English in 1986 from UNC-Wilmington, and an MFA in Creative Writing: Poetry in 1988 from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Jean currently teaches English as a Second Language Part Time in Continuing Education at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Haunting Hope


Heart beats,

Breathing quickens.

Something hidden in the smile,

Frozen over the years.


Insecurity clouds the mind,

Doubts haunt the heart.

Wariness of hurt

Harms the peace.


Picking petals apart

Trying to decide

Whether or not

To live or die.


To stay or hide,

To kill the thing

Haunting the mind,

Echoing through every line.


Heart beats, breathing quickens.

The frozen smile

Cracks at the breath of hope,

Finally arrives with grace.


Misty Drake is a 27-year-old stay-at-home mother of three young boys. She has been writing primarily poems since she was about eleven years old, and has lived in Idaho for the past twenty years. She is a singer as well.


Movie Star


How can I know,

while the sun and moon

shift height and bright,


that you will not alter

and become other than

what you were yesterday?


I will know you are my actor

when the reel I see

plays the same

each time it rolls.


I will now you are my constant

when I can take stock of your lines

and be convinced they are not being spoken

as the voice of a ghost.


Stay with me and speak only truth.

Stay with me and comport yourself

in honest form.


Let the heavenly bodies reverse themselves instead.


Linda Imbler is the author of the published poetry collections Big Questions, Little Sleep, Lost and Found, and The Sea’s Secret Song. She is a Kansas-based Pushcart Prize Nominee. Her work has appeared in numerous national and international journals. Linda’s creative process and a listing of publications can be found at


Blue Lights in the Rain


He knew that it was her

the moment he saw the blue lights in the distance

instantaneously he saw his entire future

as a half

as less than a half


he felt his throat contract in self defence

ahead of jagged closed-door screams

he thought of his daughters, sitting in their classrooms

not four hundred yards from the blue lights

unaware of being halfway orphaned


he turned off the windscreen wipers

to blur the outside world

the traffic crawled forward

taking him toward his broken life


then, he saw her

and he realized that death is a real thing

he hoped that her new coat did not get too wet in the rain

as he drove on pretending

not to see the twinkling blue

in the rear-view mirror


Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. He has been published in The First Literary Review, Better Than Starbucks, The Opiate, Sky Island Journal, Poetry Quarterly and many others. His poems are to be published in upcoming issues of Evening Street Review, The Folded Word, Ink In Thirds, Fowl Feathered Review and Third Wednesday and as a microchapbook as part of the Origami Poems Project. One of his poems was recently shortlisted for the Ireland Poetry Day Competition.


Calm, Peaceful, Serene


I am calm, peaceful, serene,

I am one with Mother Nature

Nurturing her wonderful creations.

I see flowers blooming

And vegetables growing.

I take in all their beauty

And express it in verse.

From mums to marigolds

From daisies to daffodils

They are all gorgeous

And they all deserve my praise.


In the Meadow


The birds chirp in the meadow

I used to sing and dance

to the music of the wind

in the meadow.

Raising cows and sheep

My life would be more free

in the meadow.


David Ira Fox has been published on the web at such places as Laughter Loaf, and The Shine Journal, and in print at the Aurorean and WestWard Quarterly. He publishes the print journal, The Poet’s Art, that publishes family-friendly poetry. Contact him about submission information and prices or questions at: or just send poems to 171 Silverleaf Lane Islandia, NY 11749.


House of Mirrors, Wisconsin Dells


The entrance was the exit.

I, metal head banged

my noggin against glass mirror

countertops placed

in front of our lively corpses.

The employee with a gas station name,

Dave, plays hands charades,

shooing us away.

Maybe we were just

meddling kids at the end of a

Scooby Doo episode.

Maybe we still are.


Alyssa Trivett is a wandering soul from the Midwest. When not working two jobs, she listens to music and scrawls lines on the back of gas station receipts. Her work has appeared at In Between Hangovers, Two Drops of Ink, Five 2 One, and others.


On Squash


How did the vegetable squash get its name?

For something you eat, it’s really a shame

for a verb meaning crush and to squeeze and to beat

into a fine pulp would name such a treat.


And if it’s a noun, then it may be a sport

played with racquet and ball inside a walled court.

Which has nothing to do with vegetable matters.

It’s completely distinct from something that splatters.


So how was it named? I have no real clue.

Maybe by someone with nothing to do

but to give a strange name to something that grows.

Or maybe it’s better if nobody knows.


Bob Welbaum has had a 15-year experience as a book and magazine editor with Tomart Publications in Moraine, OH (1990-2005). Currently, I write and work part time as a substitute schoolteacher. He has seven short stories on the website.  He is the author of the children’s books The Cactus Who Wanted To Be a Christmas Tree and Sunny & Victor: Best Friends Forever, plus Some Poems About Life. All are available on and His website is


Night Sky Phallic Symbol


Star-death, glow lasts but millions of years

We see faded light old whimpering

Like toughened skin, like toughened years

How the U.S. could lose over 1,500 children

Like that, forget them like that, forget us like that

Like the swallowing of sin, how deadly the game of existence

& universe is—like us, trying, raging

Hard & blood resting amid a sacred place

Not-so-sacred he will whisper to me

Or whisper to her, only my eyes set

Intimacy I want him to know, but he does not

Will not, cannot, stomach me the way I need so burst Big dipper in shadow

On a new constellation him above me

Soaring, sore-sulking

Come, just come out of the woods

Into the hills, rest easy shade among us, safe place here

For once—we do not scatter like bouncy light

Or bouncy music rest on the evening dirt

Right there—outskirts stones stiff & aching

Need, pulsing like something between—being found.


Mateo Lara is from Bakersfield, California. He has a chapbook, X, Marks the Spot available on Amazon. His poems have been featured in Orpheus, EOAGH, Empty Mirror, and The New Engagement. He is an editor for RabidOak online literary journal.


Hiroshima’s Children


Gods touching fingers,

A necessary evil,

Women who breed death.


Isabelle Kenyon is the author of poetry anthology, This is not a Spectacle and micro chapbook, The Trees Whispered, published by Origami Poetry Press. She is also the editor of MIND Poetry Anthology Please Hear What I’m Not Saying and her latest release, Digging Holes To Another Continent, will be published by Clare Songbirds Publishing House this May. She performs at spoken word events such as 1000 Monkeys, in Guildford, and has opened Coventry Cathedral's Plum Line Festival. She is set to open the New Mills Arts Festival later this year. Her poems have been widely published.


Out Streets


So many of us


don’t know

our way home


a blur of streets

nameless under clouds of compassion


years passing like the shuffle of cards

faces like the delete of pics


music in a lift of breeze

memories bordered by sparkles of stars


in our place now

leaning against the back of some

broken building


we take a step out

in faith

forgiveness holding us


the Lord calling our name.


Something Has Happened


All the people standing

free in a silent place


a great field

surrounded by trees


endless trees

green to the horizon hills


no one afraid

as the sun rises


shadows disappearing

all scars seen as yesterday



the end of all wars

without and within ourselves.


Stephen Jarrell Williams has had over 1,000 poems published nationally and internationally in print and online magazines. He has been “the poet on call” for Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine, called by some The Great Poet of Doom, and has been the Editor of Calvary Cross, Dead Snakes, and UFO Gigolo online magazines.


Sweet Poison

Your poison, I freely drink for a drop of your love

Each dose erodes my own beliefs

Churning and changing them into mud

Murky judgments cloud my ability to think


As it drips down my throat, through me it cycles

Its false promises burn

Spreads its rancid, tentacles

Strangling lessons I should have learned


Eardrums scorched, it changes lies

Into false affections

I fall for your false rhymes

As I dance wildly to your love sessions


Your sourness smells sweet

My senses truly betray

I can’t pinpoint what others say reek

As I bed down and lay


My skin, molting, dead

Acidic hands leaving imprints

Scars, bloody, dripping red

My body no longer soft, innocent, pink


When you walk away from me

Salty tears will clear my vision

My soul finally free

Healing from your sweet poison


Yong Takahashi won the Chattahoochee Valley Writers National Short Story Contest and the Writer’s Digest’s Write It Your Way Contest. She also was a finalist in The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, and runner up in both the Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest and Georgia Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest. Some of her works appear in Cactus Heart, Crab Fat Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, Gemini Magazine, Hamilton Stone Review, Meat For Tea, River & South Review, and Twisted Vines.




gently and so slowly placed

her hand upon his chest

he ceases inane prattle

closes eyes and takes a breath


the warmth of palm and fingers spreads

where once pervaded cold

in mind's eye he perceives a smile

for him - a thought too bold


for when he seeks to close the gap

and form a warm embrace

her hand holds firm the distance

resolute he keep his place


nearby but never intimate

for her a bridge too close

that he of all will never cross

despite eternal hope


to which they cling

through orbit neat

forever dancing



Frederick Andrew lives in central Maine and is a planner in a naval shipyard. He has been published in the online magazine Indie Scribe and is a moderator of the Words on Fire online poetry community.


Tending Her Rows of Perennials


Within her mind, the librarian tended rows of perennials, aisles of memoirs.

In her altered state, she never experienced sorrow, but faced equivocations.

She knew that young, unctuous medicos compared unfavorably to many

Supernumeraries that swept halls, emptied bed pans, distributed bromides.


Patient-centered imbroglio mostly proceeded without administrative correction.

No verges gilded by fairies or visits to execrable glens altered her gelid reads.

Falling plaster, exposing gaster-like brick beneath, belied odd Autumnal hues

Her ward’s lambent dams swarmed with vitreous minerals piled high by lamps.


Nonetheless, the bibliognost appreciated that Power Woman should endure

Beyond Menopause, the Musical. The phlebologist and the night nurse both

Hummed crazy, punk music, stuck psychedelic decals on her bedroom walls,

Realizing that validity accepts explicitness among the best curative varieties.


Those caregivers’ attempts to change the status quo, notwithstanding elder abuse,

Reigned along pockmarked corridors and in communal bathrooms. Orderlies got

Blamed, but docs, quacks, and similar staff, questioned nothing about their peers.

Science’s whole approach of hypothesis testing left guilty parties off the hook.


So, Granny gently reaccepted her work, shared some marketing tips, welcomed

Systemic challenges to her twilight days and nights; she liberated companions

From holding pens- until the hospital’s warden isolated her on the psych ward.  

There, bereft of sleep, her delamination, “among posies” was pharmaceutical.


KJ Hannah Greenberg captures the world in words and images. Her latest photography portfolio is 20/20: KJ Hannah Greenberg Eye on Israel. Her most recent poetry collection is Mothers Ought to Utter Only Niceties (Unbound CONTENT, 2017). Her most recent fiction collection is the omnibus, Concatenation (Bards & Sages Publishing, 2018).


When roses bloom


in eastside alleys

Drunk on the midnight


Halos will settle

in Serpentine diabolism

Creating Peace

between good and evil

While kissing the

Creation of Adam

with lips

of forgiveness


Adam Levon Brown is an internationally published author, poet, amateur photographer. He is founder, owner, and editor in chief of Madness Muse Press. He has had poetry published hundreds of times in several languages, along with 2 full collections and 3 chapbooks. Publications include Burningword Literary Journal , Firefly Magazine, and Five 2 One Magazine.




The water I walk over commuting

from my day job

cradles the moon, the face of a man whose aging

will never stop.


Slender rain pinpricks his foamy cheeks and rounded jowls,

shatters as I walk through it into infinitesimal pools

on the shabby sidewalk all the way to home.

It’s swishing and tangling in branches


of the drama-queen weeping willow

(I, too, want to cry and never stop)

I asked my dad to plant next to the greedy lilac

I imported to my own garden from Pop’s.


Is there a better way to honor passing eighty-three years

on kneepads among bees and peat and painted petunias,

all to lay fallow and eventually be remembered by no one

in a listing world


that never stops?  I could have paused in my white of orbit,

tended the lilac with him while it was still his,

taken my here and there to his here and now.

I only have these holes, a waft of budding, a dent of rainfall.


Megan Wildhood is a creative writer in Seattle, WA. Her work, which centers social justice, marginalized voices and hope for healing, has appeared, among other publications, in The Atlantic, The Sun, and America Magazine. Long Division, her first book, was released by Finishing Line Press in September 2017 and she’s currently working on a novel.


Ellis Island, 1892


Tired eyes. Tired, hungry, broken eyes. 

Eyes longing, hoping, dreaming, yearning for something more. 


The land of milk and honey,

where the streets are paved with gold.


Eyes that have seen terrible things

war, poverty, hunger, thirst, hate, greed, tyranny, death.

Eyes reaching, grasping at threads of hope.


Wide, curious, questioning eyes scanning the tired huddled masses.

Eyes lost in a crowd of hundreds, thousands of others just like them. 


All with one uniting dream.




L. Oetting is an avid reader, poet, and enthusiastic theatre actress who currently resides in the South Eastern United States with her family and her lovable (but slightly goofy) Siberian Husky. She is the editor of her school’s literary magazine, The Roundtable, and has written several articles for her school newspaper, The Knightly News. In her spare time she enjoys painting murals on her bedroom walls and creating chalk art.


Waiting At Rainbow’s End


I have a picture saved,

in a stack of thumb printed

dog eared memories.

Emily sits on a redwood deck railing

peering back at the camera,

large eyed and hair wind tossed,

rainbow tie-dyed shirt

ice cream stained

and wet from a recent rain.

Behind her right shoulder

are towering black

anvil-shaped thunderhead clouds.

Behind her left,

a brilliant shaft of sun

throws light upon

the rain washed summer evening.

The overhead rainbow

tells me all is right.

I slowly return

the picture

to the box that I go to

when I need to find my smile.


Lou Marin was born and raised in the western hills of Maine, then spent 20 plus years wandering the world and country in the United States Air Force. He is a published poet and short story writer but now mostly writes faith based devotionals. He lives in Bethel, Maine. His five poetry anthologies, published by Publish America and entitled, Awash With Words, Old Waves, New Beaches, Whisper of Waves, and Sea To Shining Sea, Version 1 and 2, are available in print and online.


No Words After the Election


a duck waddling in your throat

before a thunderstorm


try to quack all you can

navigate through water


(your wings

do not function)


remain afloat you remember

your body floats (what’s the word)


go fast as you can

in this pond you call home


you duck

you slow duck


come home to algae







James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in Columbia Journal, Hobart, FLAPPERHOUSE, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle from Columbus, Ohio. Find more at


Día Del Corazón Quebrado


after being subfusced all last week

hands and cheeks marmoreal


it was sweet to see the sun

and perhaps at last the indian summer

my neighbor from india had such a curiosity about


the trees cling on to the leaves


autumn always gets away from us

orange cannot be considered recalcitrant


thinking of issa


under the full moon

are all poets broken



Vincent Zepp believes he is blessed to have such a rich tradition of poetry, art, music, and culture available to him.  This allows his poetry to flourish in a rich loam of influences.  From Ferlinghetti who opened his eyes to Pound and Eliot through the various significant literary and art movements of the 20th century, there was the haiku master Basho who showed him frogs leaping into the pond of his mind.


The city of Kolkata


The city of Kolkata in India, my birthplace,

Has given so much to world on culture;

Famous poet, renowned scientist, God incarnation so on…

The name of Ramakrishna, his disciple Swami Vivekananda,

Nobel laureate poet Tagore scientist Raman are renowned.


Holy river mother Ganges has beautified this city

With temple of Dakshineswar, Belur Math - two prides.

All devotees get pleasure and solace from there.

Kalighat temple of Kali, the goddess, is sacred.


Freedom struggle in India has made this city

Well known as British had ruled from here.

Many children of Bengal made history by sacrifice,

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is greatest of all.


Durga Puja of Kolkata is celebrated with glare;

The art of decoration of pandals and idols

Are unique which makes the occasion very special.

The autumn clear sky after rains brings smile.


Birds chirps in bushes, small cottages in villages

Are enjoyable and attract many visitors from outside.

The fertility of land is treasure for us

As wherever one sows the land gives gold.


Sandip Saha is a chemical engineer and PhD in metallurgical engineering from India. He has published one book of collection of poems, Quest for freedom. His poems have been widely published. He is a life member of The Poetry Society (India).


Musings of a Teacher


From the road I see them, strewn

over the mown fields like a child’s


building blocks dotting the carpet

without pattern or purpose.


Night and day those bales cense

the air, the sweetness lingering


as I drive by. A completed task,

quickly done at the right time.


Soon go the bales to the barn,

sustaining life as the cycle proceeds.


Envy slides over me. My task

almost done for another year


but I wonder if the timing is right,

and whether what I leave on my fields.


will be stored somewhere and

perpetuate another cycle far away.


Deathbed Playlist

When I have more hours than days,

(hopefully my Belgian genes take control


and I will be deep in my nineties) play

every day, every night, two pieces;


Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler; let

my ears ring with the melodies as once


again I ride the U-Bahn to and from Dahlem

with the sun reflecting off the yellow trains


and I smell the sweet summer grass

growing in and around the Scherbergärten.



Then play the selections from Parsifal which

envelope me in their grandeur. Once more I


stand at the flower-ringed graves of Richard

and Cosima on a resplendent August afternoon.


Let me join in the transcendence as the Grail

hovers in mid-air and bask in redemption. 


Arthur Turfa lives in the Midlands of South Carolina. His poetry reflected other places where he has lived or traveled, and people he has met along the way.  He is the author of Places and Times (eLectio Publishing 2015, Accents (2017), and Saluda Reflections, coming in 2018 from Finishing line Press. In addition, he has been published in anthologies and journals both print and online.


The Word


Lifts us up

to a refined


where death



to follow.


Randal Rogers, 56, is the editor of the online and quarterly hardcopy, The Beatnik Cowboy. A former international Sociology professor he now teaches at Oglala Lakota College, the Rapid City, South Dakota, branch. He is also a taxi driver. His book of poems, Cambodian Poems is available at the local Mitzies Bookstore.


The Fix


Mon dieu! I did not expect to find you

Splayed out on the recliner

Exuberant but bewailing


The new Great Recession’s turn

Around, land cheats – and

Government laxity


That’d make a penny squeal

Louder than

Bagged bobcats in mid-winter.


‘Go easy’ was the best I could do.

‘Don’t forget

Lumbago flares when...’


You sprang upright. Stormed

To the baby grand.

Bach’s “Sleepers Awake”


Set the dog yowling off-key.

Apparition you were – yet how

I miss your state of grace.


Journal Entry


It’s no illusion:

That Pavarotti



While she works


An ochre

And red backdrop

One shy


At a time...


Stefanie Bennett, ex-blues singer and musician, has published several books of poetry, a novel and a libretto – worked with [No Nukes] Arts Action For Peace, and been nominated for the Pushcart and Best of the Net. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee], she was born in Queensland, Australia.




How do you measure mint

in your mouth when you are chewing?


Mint is like a god and it can’t be measured

only your mouth can be measured for 


elasticity and happiness and hygiene and 

that’s where mint comes in with the other gods


who of course cannot be measured but exist 

to make you happy which makes them happy


so in a way gods are your slaves

and you are theirs 


just like mint when you have mint in your mouth

the joy is yours the joy is theirs the joy is ours


it’s a win-win, win – 


but a joy that can only be 

measured once


There’s Not Enough Time


I always wanted to be a cowboy.

Because cowboys never die.

How could they?

They are so powerful. 

And they can save the day.


Then one day I turned on the TV.

And on the TV was a cowboy show. 

I found out that even the powerful die.

Even the cowboys with all their muscles, die.

Sometimes they don’t even save the day.

And sometimes they die covered in blood.

And drool. And unsavory things.


I cried and I cried that day.

And then I went to bed.

The next day I woke up.

And I cried.


And then I ate a big bowl of chocolate pudding

and a brownie and watched a cartoon about a flying mouse

tying up a villainous alley cat with the astounding might of his own velocity.




I own a brushed bell.

Every day before I send it to school,

I brush it.


Its skin is a smooth, lustrous gold.

It shines bright in the morning sun.

When it is cloudy, I let it stay at home.

We watch old Lone Rangers on TV.

We eat peanut butter and honey.


I wanted children so bad.

That I bought children.


That I bought bells.


Ricky Garni grew up in Miami and Maine. He works as a graphic designer by day and writes music by night. His latest book, Wowed by Lard, was released in the Spring of 2018.


The Bench


Sitting alone,

On a bench that's made for two,

Only one side is empty,

For that place is meant for you.

As I look out

Onto the beautiful sea shore,

Memories overtake me,

And wishes of making more.

Do you remember this special place?

And the moments we had here?

You made my life that day,

And that I will always hold near.

I find myself walking,

Not knowing where to go,

But I always end up

In that special place that we know.

I sit down, can't move,

Waiting for you to show,

And when I feel your hand on mine,

That's when I will go.

Do you see, my darling,

That this bench was made for two,

And one day in the future,

It will be filled again by me and you.


Reena Choudhary, from India, is the mother of a six-year-old son. She does her best to shape him into a good human being. She adores writing.




Chirping of the birds

Door to the world of sunshine

Songs of the lost souls.


Sravani Singampalli is a published writer and poet from India. She is presently pursuing doctor of pharmacy at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Not Like You


The next time I fall in love,

it won’t be someone with

beautiful eyes,

rather someone who sees

the beauty in everything.

It won’t be someone with

kissable lips,

rather someone who

speaks the word of God.

It won’t be someone with

big, toned, body,

rather someone with a

big heart.

And last thing, it won’t

be someone like you.


Frieda D. Taller lives in Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. If not writing, she is busy with her day job as Finance Supervisor in a media company. She is fond of traveling and exploring beaches, reading manga online, watching horror and action movies or checking out food parks. She loves to sway to any new dance craze.

My Tiny Bit of Green


On Earth Day I plant a tiny sapling

in a nice spot with lots of sun and space.

It looks so skinny, such a fragile thing --

I wonder why the teachers clap and praise.


“You kids are like this tree-to-be -- so small,

but you are both the future of this Earth.

Now learn this most crucial lesson of all --

replant, retell the story of its birth.”


I do as my teacher says and water

my tiny sapling every day with care.

I do it for the ones who don’t bother

but sometimes I cry out loud, “It’s not fair!”


“It’s only because there are those like you

who do their bit to help save our planet,

that we still have a chance to start anew,

undo the bad by those who began it.”


Well, I started this tiny bit of green,

and although it may not seem very much,

it adds a splash of color to the scene --

in twenty years it’ll be too tall to touch.


If only it makes it. I go one day,

heavy watering can hanging from an arm,

to find them all cut down and thrown away --

all we planted with their tree-to-be charm. 


Where warm soft grass once fluffed under our feet,

now splayed lumpy earth churned up like porridge.

Growling from the fenced-off grounds of concrete,

dozers prowl like guard dogs to discourage.


But the part that really makes my heart sink?

The sign out front reads -- ‘Future Builders Inc.’

Azrael Tseng tackles turning whims and memories into attractive arrangements of words, when he is not being tackled by his three-year-old son or the monster made of pots and pans hiding behind the door. His most pressing concern is making enough to keep his family fed, and the electricity from being shut off. He sometimes blogs at https://www.Writing.Com/authors/azrael.tseng/blog.



Lorie, you want to see me clearly

through this joy of my naked body

avoiding the sweat of my emotions,

just breathing on my neck

rubbing this baseline of my groin-

will not find us here again.

Go away, leave me thinking

louder than your breath-

body moves quietly

in a lazy sway of indifference.

Classic 70’s Chick


Classic 70’s chick

scent of these times

gold digger want to be.

Poet & scholar stuck on

T.S. Eliot “The Waste Land.”

She tracks down a few stray men,

prospect hunks, & greenback dreams.

Her long legs stretched out

beneath this dinette table, these

high wooden heels hang out

@ Dusty, Dingy Bar & Grill.

She’s drenched-Charlie by Revlon 1973,

high hopes 4 sugar daddies,

fragile body, insecure but lean.

She wears that hot apple, sex red, jumpsuit.

That yellow bandana hangs

around her neck lowered downtown

below her bosom with a grin.

Her head stuff, insulated with cotton candy dreams

cramped in a Chinese fortune cookie aphorism.

G-String strung up itching @ her buttocks

positioned in spot her world for a change.

In action verbs flow,

this dance, these melodies,

Walt Disney world,

her magic pen, her ink that flows.

Michael Lee Johnson, nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/and 2 Best of the Net 2017, lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. Published in more than 1016 publications, from 36 countries, he edits, publishes 10 different poetry sites.


Bloody Red


All good writers have written

We all lie in grass; this is,

For all of us, a waste of time

This much is true, how much?

Throw out numbers with bocce balls

For lovers on horseback


I have never breathed fire

I’ve broiled over one, I crackle

In the fireplace surrounded

By tumbled decanters of

Red blood and bloody poems

That I don’t know how to stop writing

John Maurer is a 23-year-old writer of fiction, poetry, and everything in-between. He has been previously published at: The Amethyst Review, Soft Cartel, Claudius Speaks, Quail Bell, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Thought Catalog, The Scarlet Leaf Review, and The Foliate Oak. Twitter: @JohnPMaurer


The Reincarnation


I’m walking home from the gym when I see this homeless guy

lying against the door of the antique store, which is closed.

Immediately I think that the guy’s face looks exactly like Charles Bukowski, 

so I stop and say to him, “ Hey buddy, do you know

who Charles Bukowski is?” And surprisingly he answers,

“He’s a writer, isn’t he?” And I reply, “He’s a dead writer.

One of my favorite dead writers. And you look exactly like him!”

With that, I pull out my cheap wallet-- in which I never carry much

cash when I’m going to the gym-- take out the five dollar bill

and hand it to the guy. “I want you to have this because you

look like him. You inspire me to want to read some his work again!”

“What do you want me to do with it?” he asks in a serious tone

as if he really doesn’t understand what to do with the money.

“Spend it on something. Spend it on something that you like!”

I say in parting, thinking that he must be the reincarnation

of Charles Bukowski, but just doesn’t know it…

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher, conga drummer/percussionist who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas, and a writer of poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction whose work has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent publishing credits include Mocking Heart Review, Third Wednesday, Soft Cartel, Brickplight, After The Pause, Spider Mirror, Rosette Maleficarum, Hedge Apple, Riggwelter, Cacti Fur, and many others.




Mrs. LaHoy met with my grandparents

on Parent-Teachers night

and afterward

they came home


faces nearly ashen

and Gramp had me get my math book

and sit down

at the kitchen table


he said

I would stay all night

maybe even

for the rest of my life;

he showed me how to solve a few problems

and then he left

to go to work

and I got my story book out


and soon

I was on the trail

with Kit Carson

deep in the Rocky Mountains

and did not hear Gramp

sneak back in through the front door

I only felt the slap

to the back of my head

(feel it still)

I stuck with math


but never did get the hang of it

never did trust Gramp again,



Wayne F. Burke has published four full-length poetry volumes with Bareback Press and two poetry chapbooks with Epic Rites Press. He has lived in the central Vermont area of the USA for the past thirty years.


The Body

Muriel’s upset stomach turned out to be
a twenty-two pound tumor in her intestine.

How your body seduces and betrays you,

strings you along with pleasure and sensation,

only to deceive you, leave you in pain.


Keep brushing and flossing your teeth.

They’ll rot and fall out one day regardless.


Wouldn’t it be better, after all,

to lose your mind first,

so you wouldn’t be aware

you were falling apart?


Muriel’s best friend in the nursing home,

Soledad, is sinking in the quicksand of Alzheimer’s.

Can’t remember a thing.

Muriel tells her over and over again

who Frosty is –

Soledad’s son who visits twice a month.


Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, where he lives. His most recent books include American Zeitgeist (Apprentice House), which deals with the populist politician, William Jennings Bryan and a chapbook, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, published by Main Street Rag Press. Another poetry chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press.


The Old Folks


You can see her;

that little old woman who peers out secretly from behind the yellowing 
curtains on the window.

This is as close to the outside world that she dares to come.

She sees no one and no one comes to visit.

you can see her..

Here he comes;

that small, bent-over little old man with the rickety cane.

He hobbles as quickly as he can down the street,

not looking up at the people who stare as they pass by.

Here he comes..

They live this way thanks to us and our society;

She, afraid to come down from her 2-room apartment,

and He, racing (as fast as he can) by all so as not to

have his few packages taken, or be knocked down for the

few pennies he has in his ripped pockets.

Look at them..

Look very closely..

We be BE them shortly..

The Old Folks!

Look very closely.. 

Wendy Lee Klenetsky is the 66-year-old wife of a great guy, and mom of 2 fabulous girls (married 11 weeks apart in '13). Until old age kicked in, she was a 20-year league bowler who scored a 259 clean game/630 series.


Poem of Poison

Skitter, titter, heave
crawl away keep 

A hunting band
teeth and 
armed with
brass hate

Hissing, snapping near
Those muddy 

Gnashing, squealing, digging
echoing in the vast 
hidey holes


Martin Freznell was born 2nd January 1982 in Merksem, Belgium, the second of three brothers. He has worked as a development helper in Congo, Philippines and  Palestine, librarian, factory worker, teacher, stage technician and bartender. He is also the world’s worst bassist. As a writer, he has built a reputation as an accomplished satirist and is known for the dark imagery he uses in his thrillers and fantasy writing.


Dree One’s Weird


Is the catalog in alphabetic order? It will never

bonk someone with B as the first letter of her/his

name. This is the preoccupation of those dug in

with latter types. Does your doppelganger shame

you? At night on our sheet exchange is expensive.

Daylight is depressing too. There are parts to play.

The board meet with practicality is slotted for 8 a.m.


Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three books of poetry. His poems are in venues around the world: A Restricted View From Under The Hedge, M58, Bonnie’s Crew, Morphrog 16, London Grip, The Broadkill Review, After the Pause, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Stickman Review, Postcolonial Text, Otoliths, Communion Arts Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.




A deserted ground I stumbled upon. Felt like a monotheistic cult under Pharoah’s aton.

Dimensions unfold into a broken heart once. I was forfeited by unlucky bunce.

Was lost years ago, with those dark foes and a hoe.

Dig up thousands of holes, dissenting thoughts arouse.

He gets lost in my nightmares, simile to daydreamer’s affairs.

Fought like warrior, against strongest palpitations, bravery medals I owe.

Once chance, one dance, for his just one glance, I’ll make anything let go.

Diabolical, illogical are this lone world’s thought. Ignorant lovers, now Mayfield’s drought.

He was right there, right here, could touch, kiss and embrace him into my arms.

Teardrops under his warm jacket made me run into homeland, lurky woods to warm-barn-farms.

Amidst the corny meadows, the lonely-grumbling river flows. Farmers plough, while the beavers sow.

I sat on haystack clutching multi-grains against my garments, watching dusky rim sky.

“Oh Lord! Get married.” shouted mother from behind the red tractor awry.

Emotions messed up! A place between heaven and hell.

Thy substituted lovebird’s eyes melt when they hit Church’s ring-o-bell.

Bridal shoes walks at midnight to graveyard. Lonely eyes lurking for dead lover’s card.

Tonight will be the night, blue moon-light. Where the dead once comes alive. Please bring back what was mine.

Today the unloved rings I wore and fake-adore. Keep your beloved ones close to your heart’s shore otherwise chose solitude more.

Waves will come and go, into the gentle amaranthine horizon.

Beware of almighty dark hue forlorn.


Ruchi Acharya is a 23-year-old Indian writer, poet and dreamer who has been dividing her work in between writing and travelling for the past six years. She wrote several poems, short stories on her personal website and daily quotes in She did Bachelor in Electrical and Electronic engineering from India. Now she is giving up her degree to pursue her dream career in writing. She is a member of Geneva Writers Group, Switzerland.


One, Two


Damaged man,

Singing out the words to “The Needle and the Damage Done”

With his chest.


Not a single note hit correctly, nor played,

Though in his distant eyes you could see that he had lived the words of the song.


It had been a habit of the crowds that they would allow him to stand in front of,

To beat it very quickly out of there while he tuned; which he never did seem to take notice of. Even if the room was EMPTY, he would wail as hard as was possible.


He sang for me, (I was the only one standing there)


A woman later told me that she had often attended my own performances,

She offered what I believe was her critique, that she had often attended, but for only the first time she could HEAR my words,

Where she

Could not

Before. She said my average amount of profanity was disgusting.


I left it unsaid that we do not sing it for you spectator,

We sing for ourselves,

If you have attended than it is your role to design a place in the song.

That is to say that if you attend,

We speak for you, but only if you choose to sync ALL matter of complex emotion,

Not just the comfortable ones alone, not only the fine-tuned, professionally edited and politically corrected.


The ragged voice of the damaged man will always sing for you if you attend, that is his way.

But he would have sang for himself, if you were never there at all.


Matthew Catanzano has been a part of the Snohomish/Everett/Seattle poetry community for over a dozen years. His poems are freely formed and lightly edited.


The Glacial Speed of Certainty


All the facts are in, decades after the event.

Most of the principal players have since passed

out of the world. Now we ascertain with accuracy

which side’s claims had honest substance.

No more shifting theories, now we finally

know we know. Almost no one gives a rip,

among living folks. And these kids won’t

learn much history. Sorry. The great argument

is settled, for what that is worth. And I had

a sandwich for lunch, if that interests you.


Todd Mercer won the Dyer-Ives Kent County Prize for Poetry (2016), the National Writers Series Poetry Prize (2016) and the Grand Rapids Festival Flash Fiction Award (2015). His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance,appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer’s recent poetry and fiction appear in Eunoia Review, The Lake, Literary Orphans, Michigana, Plum Tree Tavern, Red Eft Review, Split Lip Magazine and Vending Machine Press. Mercer and his wife Michaeleen Kelly recently made their motion picture acting debuts in Return of the Scarecrow.


The Devil Whisper


Alone I sit, wondering
Silence rings out through the night.
Mist seeps in from under the door,
caressing me in a shroud of fog.
Moonlight shimmers and encircles my chambers.
From the shadows of my mind
I hear the whispers – malicious.
Telling me of things to come.
Alone I sit, wondering
about the devils whispers.
I see wings of black,
and ivory skin, eyes blazing.
Holding his hand out for me to take.
Voices in my mind – tantalizing,
promises of love and sin.
Alone I sit, wondering. 


Ann York resides in Norman, Oklahoma.  Ann is a Reiki Master/Teacher. And has a good healing practice from her home. She feels it’s time to spread her wings in writing and begin her career as a freelance writer and poet.  She has had two articles published in the Circle Magazine and poetry in The International Poetry Digest.


Dead Leaves


Time piles on time

like dead leaves pile

onto forest floors.


I like the dead leaves,

I like the dried blood

beneath my sheets.


The sky is white

but I like the peppermint wind numbing

the plums of my fingertips,


I like the bustle of the city streets

and the quiet moments where I

catch myself forgetting you—


I like the sharp smile of my vampire teeth

and the wide open moon

and the whispers of the howling wind


blowing away

all those dead,

dead leaves.


Caitlin O’Beirne is an Emerson college alum where she studied Writing, Literature, and Publishing. She currently works as the Creative Marketing Manager at Trident Media Group Literary Agency in Manhattan. In her down time, she loves reading, napping, and watching Netflix with her beautiful cat, Sylvia. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.


The reeds sway with the evening breeze,

Catching the last rays of the Sun.

A ballet of perfection,

A last waltz, for a day now done.


Inside the boggy marshlands,

Shy corncrakes tuck in their wings;

While two black swans snuggle up,

As a sedge warbler starts to sing.


Coots scoop through the water,

In their hurry to get home,

A fish jumps for an evening fly,

Sending ripples towards the shore.


The Sun descends - the Moon appears,

Showering gold and silver on this place,

The creatures of the night have come-

While the day ones, sleep in peace.


John Anthony Fingleton was born in Cork City, in the Republic of Ireland. His poems have been published in journals and anthologies in Ireland, UK, USA, India and France; he has had three plays produced as well. His first solo collection Poems from the Shadowlands was published in November 2017.

To my mother, who is still dead

but keeps turning up

in me. The way she leaned

forward, the curl of her lip.


My husband calls me on it.

He remembers her nodding

at him at our wedding altar

and swears that I nod like that

now. Some nights I can still


hear her voice. The words

too soft for my teen-aged ears.

My head too full of need back

then to care about hers. Now,


I can imagine all the generations

that came before stacking up

and storing themselves

first in her and finally me.


If my mother were alive, I

could share those things

we both know now, one

grownup to another, the

two of us nodding and

leaning in like bookends

Francine Witte is the author of four poetry chapbooks and two flash fiction chapbooks. Her full-length poetry collection, Café Crazy, has recently been published by Kelsay Books. She is reviewer, blogger, and photographer. She is a former English teacher. She lives in NYC.


The Fate of a Beautiful Flower

In a glamorous morning,

a gorgeous flower had blossomed

with a ferocious texture of vermillion glow

Glinting dews on feathery petals

bursting in brilliance like sequins

with its soothing velvet touch

Swarms of bees buzzing around

for hunting and gathering pollen

mesmerized by its amorous delicacy


But, a few days later,

in a traumatic evening,

the flower had withered

Its splendor vanished

in a yellowish brown pallor

Petals not vigorous enough

to bear the dews and about to fall apart

And the sepals dried off

No bees to dash above the dead stigma

Thus the once glorious flower had faded away.


Indunil Madhusankha is currently an Instructor in the Department of Mathematics of the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Even though he is academically involved with the subjects of Mathematics and Statistics, he also pursues a successful career in the field of English language and literature as a budding young researcher, reviewer, poet, editor, content writer and proofreader. His creative works have been featured in several international anthologies, magazines and journals. Moreover, Indunil was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2016 by the Scarlet Leaf Publishing House.


What is a scar but a battle that has been won?

A mark of a fight and a survivor that stands.

A badge of honour and a sign of strength,

The ability to heal when one’s pain does feel.

A trophy we hold in each scar, so why shun?

Do not limit to feel through just your hands,

It’s impossible not to blemish at life’s length.

There is no need to hide or to conceal,

Your marks of a warrior, a soldier in fight,

Be proud and shine your scars in all’s sight.


Eyes forced closed the memories flash,

One’s entire life, being, in a millisecond,

Like an eagle circling its frightened pray,

In the distance a lion raw, filling my ears,

Damped grass bathes my knees as I crash,

I feel the reaper, I am being beckoned,

I look him in the eyes and bid him good day,

A spinning world, full of my darkest fears,

I still remember, I remember the time,

Every morning, every night, every moment,

Leaning on my shoulders the memories press,

The past is the past, I yell, I stand up to the test.

I clench my tender fists, I ignore the grime,

I laugh, no longer I live in this postponement,

Swamping emotions, the trauma, I must address.

Battle I did, I made it through and I can now rest.

Standing tall, lifting the world with my might,

A strength inside, pure, stronger than firearms,

I am a survivor I say, even when there is fright.

I am a damn survivor I say, though all my harms.


She leans on his warm shoulder,

He promises to always hold her,

A love so pure cannot be denied,

Sweetly tragic as she decides he lied.

Piercing her heart is an embedded thorn,

From a past of the most harrowing fairy-tale.

A prince disguised as a cunning villain,

With a mirage of faultless promises – sworn.

She would never wear her mother’s lace veil,

Her life is set to be no more than a civilian.

Poison she drank willingly from a love so pure,

Death became her – for a future she is not sure.

Charlotte Underwood is a 22-year-old from Norfolk, UK. With a passion for helping others and writing, she has found love in words and expression of them.

Summer Sonnet

I’d love to spend another summer’s day 

Exploring all our city parks with you 

To hear the pretty things that you will say 

While l pretend that all of it is true!

You’ll hold my hand and then you’ll draw me near

And whisper those three words that speak of love 

The words that every woman wants to hear 

The words that send us to the moon above 

But then, again, your phone will hum or ring

And you will tell me that you have to go 

But Honey, “Where ‘ya goin’?” is the thing

Your quick departure, always leaves me low

So, ultimately I must thank your phone!

Come autumn, I’d much rather walk alone.

Luanne Pumo Jaconia, CSSW, began her career in child protective services, and currently facilitates parenting education workshops. She is mother of two, and hands-on grandmother of three. Many of her poems reflect the difficult and exhilarating experiences that happen within families as they grow.

Go-go Girl

caged, by the hazy,

smoky stench of pot,

and tobacco

born to be wild

a pretty young thing

prances and dances

scantily clad

across the stage


with a sense of remorse


suffering the informal injury

of ancestry and gender

teetering on the edge

of the instinctual urge

for freedom


random thoughts tease

and taunt

dreams of Broadway

the what ifs, the why nots,

the would’ves,


                        and could’ves

later, she scrubs the bathroom

Peter Dugan is the current Nassau County Poet Laureate (2017-19) and has published five collections of poetry and co-edited and formatted two poetry anthologies. He also hosts a reading series at the Oceanside Library on Long Island, an open mic at Sip This Café in Valley Stream and a reading at Starbuck’s Long Beach.


One thing I count on in life is being

dead one day, I don’t know when, one day I’ll

know for sure, or maybe not, it will be

too late for knowing if I’m no longer


alive and I’m just trying to make sense

of it all and so I go to regular

school and Sunday School on top of that and

if I’m not too hungry for an early


lunch then church to boot, no matter how dull

Preacher is or how worked up he gets, he’s

pretty damn moody, but at Sunday School

there’s Miss Hooker, she’s always pretty


evened-out and if I want to stay late

a few minutes and ask her about God

and the Bible and Jesus and so on

and so on she doesn’t mind as long as


I don’t make her late for church service, she

likes to sit front-and-center or as close

and as central as she can, I think that

She’s in love with Preacher and last Sunday


after church I saw the two of them to

-gether at the Korn Dawg King, that’s where it’s

happening around here for dinner-out

on Sunday and though of course they sat on


opposite sides of the booth they shared one

order of large fries with each other

and I think that I heard Preacher ask if

Miss Hooker was going to eat her free


kosher pickle and she must’ve said nix

because the next second he reached for it

--and she did, too, to hand it to him and

speaking of hands theirs collided and he


said O, I’m sorry, Bertha Lou, that’s her

first name and Miss Hooker said Oh, all my

fault, Preacher Todd, Preacher Todd Butterworth

is his name and right then and there I knew


that they’ll be getting married someday just

as surely as I know that they’ll both be 

dead and maybe buried side by side and

since I’m only 10 I should be around


still and go visit them in the churchyard

cemetery and read again their names

and dates there on their stones and wonder what

they look like now if I could dig them up


--I can’t help myself but I'm sure it’s not

Satan makes me think this--and what their souls

will look like, too, when I’m dead myself and

get to see them, that is if I go to


Heaven when I die and not to Hell and

Wouldn’t it be funny if I rated

the Good Place and one or both of them went

to the Bad or even funnier if


we all wound up burning and squirming in

Hellfire? With my lousy luck I’ll go to

Heaven but watch me burn and squirm up there--I

know when I’m not wanted. After Sunday


School this morning I asked Miss Hooker

if she’d cry if she should learn that I’m dead,

not that I am right now or want to be


but I mean dead between the time that church

is over and the start of Sunday School

next week. Yes, Gale, she said, and so would you.

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Florida Review, Slant, Poem, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, Orbis, and many other journals. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008). I have taught English at university level.


Human, the forever- immigrant, wanderer


going, returning

or, never 



to the points of 



moving forward in arcs and circles

fueled by dreams and desires

many, a material force,


keeping the global trotter, restive

undaunted, the frontiersman

out to demolish and create

out of wasteland


global demographics

on the move


negotiating spaces---mental, emotional, physical and internal.

Every act of stepping out 

of the comfort zones


is audacious


a declaration of faith

in an idea and single journey

to a strange shore, often hostile;


every adventure, big or small


confirmation of a will to transcend

heavy odds


be it Syria, Afghanistan or some other geography

marked by bullets or bombs

ethnic cleansing





a personal odyssey undertaken over choppy 

seas or busy skies

or crowded, crawling highways

to glittering destinations, Paris, New York;


each journey, for a public and private space---liberal


and equal


where each is treated as a fellow species,

not an alien from outer space




You cannot be


should not 



by any state decree or walls!

Sunil Sharma is an English teacher with over twenty years of degree-college teaching experience that includes administrative one (as vice-principal and now as full-fledged principal); a freelance journalist with 15 years experience writing for the supplements of the Times of India, Mumbai, India and a widely-published bi-lingual writer, poet, novelist, interviewer, blogger and reviewer, he is also a respected literary editor.

When Nietzsche Strikes

In the thick of things as years shattered

around me as pinpricks of a heavy torrent,

Nietzsche hit me in the face. 

The boundaries blurred. 

Unlearning is the after shock of gluttony-

of gulping in all that is there 

to learn and not to. 

Layer by thick layer, it gets peeled off

And what remains is a bud of an onion. 


When life comes this far with you,

the shields become sturdy and impenetrable. 


Nothing drives the nail home -


Goodbad Badgood 


All is same.

Malkeet Kaur hails from Mumbai, India. She works as a teacher in a public school. She loves to express her deepest feelings in the form of verses. Many of her poems have found places in online poetry journals and anthologies.



In the weeks I waited

for the biopsy results

I had the same recurring dream


Standing at the French door


As a hulking black bear

paced the lawn

Pugnacious and unfazed

by my attempts

to spook him


He wouldn’t leave

Kept scavenging for food

Stripping berry bushes

Digging up bulbs

with paws the size

of snow shovels


Eventually I worked up

the nerve to reach

for the knob

Pull open the door

Only to find myself awake


Lying in bed


The scar still there

The threat still close


Corey D. Cook’s fifth chapbook, The Weight of Shadows, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. His work has recently appeared in Akitsu Quarterly, the Aurorean, Freshwater Literary Journal and Northern New England Review. Corey works at a hospital in New Hampshire and lives in Vermont.

Fence Post Garden


Nature knows how our eyes

cherish beauty, how they look

for it as we stroll through the woods

beside the lake.  It rewards us

by painting out drabness,

growing a miniature flower garden

on a dull brown metal gate post,

planting a broadcast of blooms

of pale green lichen up and down,

mulched with tiny ocher leaflets.

Mourning Doves


Two pink-breasted mourning doves

descend with murmur of wings,

alight a thin, wooden fence rail,

dappled gray on gray, against background

of greening grass. Warming weather

has drawn them out for early breakfast.

Flurry of purple finches at the feeder

has attracted their attention.


The mates sit stone still in silence

and close together like newlyweds.

Unlike the flighty finches, feisty cardinals

and hoppity wrens, they wait with patience,

as if queued for their turn, or delaying

until I leave my usual learning perch

by the sliding patio door.

Wesley Sims has published one chapbook of poetry, When Night Comes, Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky, 2013. His work has appeared in Connecticut Review, G.W. Review, The South Carolina Review, Liquid Imagination, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, and others. He enjoys camping and gardening.

hot, moist


There is a time when

There is a person who

There is a place where

There will be

There will be


It could be now

It could be


The birds speak sharply

And youth beats, one on the other, in their supple heat


I am olding

I am olding


There will be more

There will be more than this

The world is opening to far more than Earth

We are 8 billion strong—I, one alone

Our tomorrow is divergent potential, more than opportunity



In the moment of tipping,

When they don't return at the scheduled time.

Do you wish they never would?

Or do you wish they would hurry back?


Alone is not so hard.

Being-with is a way to navigate.



Fibers twist, strain.

With a crackling snap,

the palm yields coconut.


From the other side of the driveway,

I have time to find it in the air.


It falls longer than one second

in wind-swept silence, a light brown mass.


This object, impossible hazelnut

magnified by distance, impacts the Earth.

The pressure, sound penetrate, resonate.


Coconuts have become a danger.

Adelaide S More lives in the Midwest with a golden lab named Sa and spends time teaching English as a Second Language to more recent arrivers at an adult learning center. Writing has become an occasional distraction from life.


The Hawk


   The hawk, with its reddish underbelly,

  flaps its wings,

and flies high above calm waters.

The bird with its tapered wings

instantly swoops down.

In a breathtaking dive,

he plucks a chipmunk from forest ground.

The tiny animal struggles

sensing the end is near.


 Night approaches.

 The hawk, ghostlike,

  searches as stars in the sky

  watch the nighttime hunt.


Pat St. Pierre is a writer of adults and children's short stories. nonfiction, and poetry. She has published both online and in print. Her third poetry book Full Circle has been published by Kelsay Books. Her poetry has been published in places such as: Ephrastic Review, Black Poppy Review, The Metaworker, Outlaw Poetry, Poppy Road Review, etc. Her blog is


Rachel weeps for her children,

refusing to be comforted,

because they are no more. — (Matthew 2:18)

As she enters the desolate room,

blue wallpaper glares at her

from all directions.


Two cribs lay barren there

like her womb.


She kneels down before two coffins

confined in the hallowed recesses

of her mind.


And she begins to weep

for her children.

Maribel C. Pagán is a Latina writer. She has appeared in Gone Lawn, Foliate Oak, 7x20, Cuento, and others. Additionally, she is the Editor-in-Chief of Seshat, a Prose Reader for Apprehension and a Poetry Reader for Frontier Poetry. Visit Maribel at




daffodil fields

sprays of sunflowers

beams of light

toasty warm faces

smiles’ radiant glow

over-baked oat fields

in mid-summer.

Sarah Tun has been writing stories since the age of seven, when her school principal published two of her stories which she wrote after being sent out of class for talking too much. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, she has lived on three continents and traveled to most of the others. Her ideas come from imagination and a love for people. Her novel, Confronting the Darkness, is one for young people.

Michele Obama


She is beautiful and intelligent,

well versed in law. But while shopping

at Target, a worker tells her

“Put those boxes on the shelf!”

The mirror is opaque: she’s been

featured on the cover of Vogue,

so people rush to buy the clothes

similar to the ones she is wearing, forgetting

for a moment the definitions

that were made long ago, but are still sharp

and direct as knives. Our country

has constructed boundaries

that some people cannot cross

and they are everywhere, visible

only to those who have been defined.

Although surrounded by people

who have standing and the grounds

where she lives are in public view,

she has planted a vegetable garden

because she sees what so many

are oblivious of as they hurry through

their own lives and concerns, that children

who are poor need healthy meals.

Her life is a story that has many

chapters: her inner light, and wisdom,

the accomplishments that are

not applauded, the phrases she hears

that are flung arrows. What would you do

if she rang your doorbell in the evening?



The mountain rises above the slopes,

and villages, erasing distances,

accompanied by clouds,

but on the wire that stretches

before our window a tiny

bird perches every evening

claiming its right.

Marguerite Guzman Bouvard is the author of ten poetry books, two of which have won awards. Her recent books and poems were featured in the November 2017 issue of the Blue Heron Review. Her poems have been widely published. She has also written a number of non-fiction books on social justice and human rights.



You look up from your crib

Your face missing a smile

Without good role models of me or him

Life for you will be a series of trials


I’ll be leaving at first light

Cutting all bonds with you, baby

Hoping your new family will teach you right

From wrong, and shield you from your legacy


When you look in the mirror

I’m assuring history won’t repeat

You won’t see your dreams burned upon the pyre

Like my broken memories


A fresh, blank slate

Your future - crisp, white, clear

Never will you see rotted, water-laden crates

Holding your ancestors’ tears


Fractured, I’ll be nothing more than

Someone who couldn’t raise you

Who like a coward, I ran

Watching from afar as you grew


Whispering in my mother’s ear, the Fates

Coerced her to jump down the well

Right before she told me I was a mistake

My heart and eyes tear-swelled


Gambling nurture is stronger than nature

That the poison inside my womb

Didn’t weaken your chances of a fruitful future

Strangling you inside your infested tomb


If only DNA could be scraped out of your memories

And your only thoughts consisted of rainbows

Days filled with laughing and climbing trees

Your hopes and heart never hollow


One day, if you slip and see me

Reflecting back from the mist

Smash it and break free

Shatter the past into bits


Yong Takahashi won the Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference National Short Story Contest and the Writer’s Digest’s Write It Your Way Contest. She also was a finalist in The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, and runner up in the Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest and Georgia Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest. Her works appear in Cactus Heart, Crab Fat Magazine, Emerge Literary Journal, Flash Fiction Magazine, Gemini Magazine, Hamilton Stone Review, Meat For Tea, River & South Review, Rusty Nail Magazine, Spilt Infinitive, and Twisted Vines.

From Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside


Born in Russia, my father had many qualities

typical of Vermonters: he was quiet, frugal, taciturn.

Maybe it was that lack of warmth, that withdrawn,

brooding, often depressed mood, a dark coldness

that endeared my father and Robert Frost to each

other.  I used to see Frost wandering around Middle-

bury in baggy green pants, carrying strawberries. He

bought those pants in Lazarus Department Store, my

grandfather’s store, and he would only let my father

wait on him. Afraid to take a creative writing course,

I submitted two of the only poems I’d written and

one was published My father, without telling me,

got a copy of that poem and showed it to Frost who

wrote on it, “Very good sayeth Robert Frost,” and

told my father he liked the striking images and

wanted me to come and visit him, bring him more.


Born in Barre, Vermont, Lyn Lifshin was raised in Middlebury, Vermont. She has been called The Queen of the Lit Mags and The Queen of Modern Romance Poetry. Over 120 books and chapbooks of her work have been published. She has also edited four anthologies. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and cultural publications. She currently divides her time between a home in Niskayuna and a residence in Virginia.

A Sonnet to the Siren Ameli

Ill-fitting loose clothes, poor complexion, snippy


Furious fiery haste has taken to the mediocre of any other places

The very rigged up is her contemporary setting to illicit a blinder

But passionate hurting space must have to swell with the anticipated

Usually confined to a spotted and anonymous soundless poor aces

Are ready to resolve the middle of the wanting not so much her finder

Is so much more ready than to be confined to a sparkling chair undated


It was the lucid promptings to see what could have to assault the remains

Are from another side of the pagan not ridiculous is the furry simple pulse

That holds her together with the so much as it is seedy to refrain from a leap

Who could have to see only the friendliest of the modicum is any or stains

Has erupted to the frozen not so mild a ridiculous flipping aside is a false

For who was the rounded out and tempered to the fisticuffs has been a creep


Lenore S. Beadsman lives in Pittsburgh, PA. She believes the Truth lies in Russian and French literature. She is very serious about her Sonnets. She has written three cycles of Sonnets; Witch, Goddess and Siren. A number of these have been published online and in print. She is currently working on a cycle of Mermaid Sonnets. When not writing Lenore enjoys driving fast cars and listening to Mozart (not necessarily simultaneously).


Breathless lungs

In a glass stone bubble, Worlds alternating in and out of self with
every breath, lost in oblivious mists of selected clarity, a hearted
soul, Changing virtual realities of memories and dreams as one, she’s
in a black space, looking through white space eyes, wings of canvas
meeting to the world in between, the eye is like the end of a
sentence, the escape into the next part, writing poetic codes of
mysterious known wonder and discovery, the fated heart and soulful
dream and connection, integrated into our dna of infinite freedom, of
what never was, the weapon of all and one, self belief and creation of
self, enter the code of you and beyond, it’s already deciphered
inside, I’m the director, the actor, the solution and the problem,
dreaming of a dreamer dreaming it, dreaming the dreaming of a real
fantasy reflection, standing on a dead ladder of chosen growth, a
risen circumstance and point of delusion, breathing out through
breathless lungs, empty clouds of solid reality, filling ourselves up
with heavy nothings, warped filtered sounds, sing without singing,
create without hands, love without heart, like the sun and moon
circling around, they always reach the end, you are them in your own
way, what you are around isn’t you, anything in one time is the time,
a reflection in one time and all is that time, the cold night is our
frozen youth, the hot day is our rebirth, the space in between is
where the two hearts. Life, views meet, it’s a Connection and core
coming together in between that makes it free and Alive, we reflect
out of our bubble and space, meeting in between a white and black
space world, reflecting infinite winged returns as one, we were never
breathing and not.


James Milano has 8 stories and a lot of poetry. He grew up in New York until he moved to Florida. His biggest inspirations are final fantasy, chrono trigger and zelda ocarina of time.

How Far Away and Nearby


How fare and how close,

With knees that remain through the times of sadness,

Spreading through grey waves of confusion

To genuine soul, anger and sadness.


How far and hour close,

We the owners of freedom and angst

In the bridges and lost horizons

In the intersections of turbulent fates.


How far and how close,

In the magic that has appeared at dawn

With thirst after an empty pride

And through the streets without a return.


How far and how close,

Touching the whitest dreams

At tomorrow’s hope and frightens

At the simplest humility, greatness.


Peter Tase is a contributor, freelance journalist and a research scholar of Paraguayan Studies and Latin American Affairs in the United States; he is the founder of Paraguay Economic Forum in Milwaukee, United States. Educated at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and Marquette University, Peter is namely the author of Simultaneous Dictionary in Five Languages.

The Three Magi


I see them in the Safeway produce aisle,

three guys in tee-shirts and the hardened tans

of men who get by with handouts and guile,


and all the booze they can drink with a smile,

since even from a distance, I still can

smell their whiskey reek in the produce aisle.


They measure exactly all they compile

in their cart of veggies and fruit: this clan

of men who get by with handouts and guile.


I’m in “invisible” mode: a shrouded isle

in their alcoholic fog that has spanned

all of this Safeway’s shiny produce aisle,


I pray I’ve vanished into the lane’s tiles,

and they’ll walk past me, at least that’s my plan,

my own gambit of necessary guile,


so they won’t stop me, and, falsely servile,

beg for some change.  But one says, “Sir,” and hands

me the shopping bag I dropped in this aisle,

to make me ashamed of my coward’s guile.


Robert Cooperman’s latest collection, Draft Board Blues, was named one of ten great reads for 2017 by Westword Magazine. Forthcoming from Main Street Rag Publishing Co. is That Summer and from Liquid Light Press, Saved by the Dead.  Robert’s work has appeared in the Sewanee Review namely.


Snapshot Resurrected: A Confession


The photo is quite faded now

holding hands in downtown Montreal

August 9/66 penciled in the back

an almost perfect day


in your parent’s living room you smoothed a blanket

over the carpet

deciding that we’ll do it there



You twirled like a ballet dancer

And told me to take a good long stare

because this would be the first time I’d see you naked

and  you wanted me to remember

that experience



and after when you  asked “do you love me”

I said “yes”

I confess now. I lied.


but I did like you


 A lot.

Albert Katz is a 70-year-old Canadian University Professor (Cognitive Psychology). He has published some poems in small, long-defunct magazines during my undergraduate days. When he started writing poetry again, he was published by Poetry Quarterly, Inwood Indiana, Three line poetry and Ariel March.

My Story with You


I want to write a story with you.

A story of life and love.

It won't have a natural beginning.

Nor will it have an end.

It will tell the tale of two hearts

Living their life plans

Following their dreams

and giving the universe their best

Until in that moment, their hearts crossed paths.

And life, as it was, would never be the same.

Their hearts intertwined and their souls

found a home - in each other.

Years from now others will read this story

A story of life and love.

And they will know that the two hearts and souls

never stopped writing, living or loving.

I want to write a story with you.

Mark Dobosz is a non-profit executive with a passion for creative and professional writing. He has been published and served as editor on a number of publications. Mark resides with his wife Stephany and their dog, Winnie, in Sarasota, Florida.

Overcast Ghazal


Guitars sliced through stale smoke like holy clouds.

Drummers beat out jokes, their hair in unruly clouds.


On some cold but naked peak, she called down rain.

Her chanting never spoke to those holy clouds.


One day below a lost path, he hid his sacred texts.

He forgot them when he broke through a lonely cloud.


Evening falls heavy on a blue-gray city—

Still and silent, choked—wholly by clouds.


The next morning the commuter trains disappeared.

Unused tokens dropped through holey clouds.


No more songs. Burn all the chants in profane circles.

Unmarked victims must poke up through unholy clouds.


Rondeau Beginning With A Line From The Gospel Of Judas


I laugh at the errors of the stars,

dazzled by the impossible dance of cars

and headlights. They didn’t foresee our streets,

our cities. They only circle and repeat

their timeless dance and are held out too far


 away. They don’t remember how men are—

 how they breathe, sleep, forget, love, how they eat

 what they shouldn’t. How they scatter and meet

 to ponder the errors of the stars.


 Of course, their mistakes are different from ours,

 with deeper punishments, strange rewards.

 They vanish into the hollow lands of grief

 while we make up games and find relief

 laughing at the errors of the stars.

Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks— Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble..  He lives with his wife the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.

White Nights

The silence of white,

snow falling on ice.


Inside, lantern flame

flickers; light fossils,


the disconnected bones

of Winter dreams.


Alan Catlin has published dozens of chapbooks and full length books of poetry. His most recent chapbooks are Blue Velvet winner of the 2017 Slipstream Chapbook Award, Hollyweird from Night Ballet Press and Three Farmers on the Way to a Dance from Presa Press. His next full length book will be Wild Beauty from Future Cycle Press which also published his book American Odyssey.


I trusted you,

my soul companion

We shared our moments

of joy and sorrow

I couldn’t believe it

when you stabbed me 

in the back, leaving me

helpless and bleeding

My wounds are healing,

lingering, painfully

Yet, my mind

has classified you

You’re a marshmallow,

a sweet taste in the beginning,

however, the aftertaste

is bitter


Daginne Aignend is a pseudonym for the Dutch writer, poetess, photographic artist Inge Wesdijk. She likes hard rock music, fantasy books, is a vegetarian who loves her animals. She is the Poetry Editor of Whispers and has been published in many poetry journals, magazines and anthologies.

Before the Storm

Nocturnal lamps

blind lightless shadows

outside darkened windows


The wind and mist

pull you into an empty void;

a fringe of fog


The streets have emptied out;

stone deafening quiet overwhelms

and pulls you along


Your mind is hidden and deserted

in a hollow of trees

where nothing can be seen


Doors are shut tight

blotting you out along the mean streets

where no one follows


Moving forward with a quick step,

you keep thinking of home

—any home

Richard D. Houff has had poetry and prose published in Conduit, Louisiana Review, Midwest Quarterly, North American Review, Rattle, and many other fine magazines. His most recent collections are Night Watch and Other Hometown Favorites, from Black Cat Moon Press, and The Wonderful Farm and Other Gone Poems, from Flutter Press.

An old friend

Like a comet, he loops back into

my orbit after a half-life’s absence,

with a trajectory that could be mistaken

for carefully-planned meandering

from a distance, or if viewed through

an inadequately-powered telescope.

His changes only illustrate how little

he’s really changed. Fewer teeth now,

yet those remaining scream with a

Hollywood whiteness. His hair is thinner,

longer. And there are new laughter lines

with which to frame the familiar sadness.

All those opportunities to take the other

road through the woods, to let the

undergrowth get in the way, and yet

here we are, picking up the same sweet

argument exactly where we left it. Two old

crows, still pecking at one another.

Robert Ford’s poetry has appeared in both print and online publications in the UK, US and elsewhere, including The Interpreter’s House, Dime Show Review, Butcher’s Dog and San Pedro River Review.

Lost Between the End and the Beginning

In the end she held my hand,

                Receded with each breath

open-mouthed and raking,

                as she turned and turned her head,

seeking comfort more than morphine

                in her death.

It recalled to me first holding

                my newborn child’s head,

turning, blindly turning,

                open-mouthed and red,

to the awkward-proffered comfort

                of my breast.

And I who was entrusted

                with hand and head and breast

to attend the newly born, the nearly dead

                was yet less-knowing

than those helpless two

                who I was, what I was to do.

Carrie Danaher Hoyt is a life-long lover and writer of poetry. She lives in Massachusetts, USA where she is a wife and mother of three school-aged kids; she also works as an estate planning attorney. Carrie has poems in The Cabinet of Heed, Amethyst Review and Twitterization Nation.


Staying late at the office,

proposals to write,

presentations to finish.

What’s her name, I whisper.

He slides into stammer mode.

I won’t wait up, I'll be out, I say. 

Okay, he says.


I start packing,

don’t stop until sunrise,

leave the keys,

my ring

the detritus.

Diana Rosen has published poems, flash fiction, and essays in Silver Birch Press, Rattle, Tiferet Journal, the anthologies Altadena Poetry Review and The Poetry Box: Love Poems, among others, and has poems and stories forthcoming in Poetic Diversity and CWR. She lives and writes in Los Angeles, California.

Soldier’s Load

Long, long into the night your footsteps haunt,

drag and shirr on cement, you again drunk

trying to kill desert nightmares,

tongue like a ripple lapping

underside the pier of your palate,

moon the reflected streetlamp in the pools

a circuit-timed sprinkler leaves on cement.  


I wake in twilight to the soft thud

of purple plums as they fall full and voluptuous,

and walk outside where hummingbirds couple

with honeysuckle, lilies bend incandescent, wet.  


When I roll you from the puddled cement

lunar scars obscure your face,

white pocks mares of illusory radiance

you have tried to grasp and failed.

I stop, drop, and roll you, then squat and lift.

My heart pounds once like a gong, then sustained waves

of struggling beats like oars in difficult waters.


How long must I wake to the sound of plums,

your chest pressed against my back?

Jeff Burt lives in California with his wife on a two-lane road wide enough for one car. He has work in Spry, LitBreak, Sweet Tree Review, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review R.T. Smith Poetry Prize.


Had I met you first, or yesterday


I would have believed in love at first sight

had I met you first, or yesterday.

I knew you before we met this time

and you’ve made me believe in reincarnation.


Long ago we planted a tree, and when it grew last year

it already had our names carved into its bark.

I know I have loved you before, a few times,

while the rest of the country fought the revolution,

or learned to program a VCR,

and I now spend my days battling ghosts of the past,

keeping them where they’ve been hiding

and not here and now.


But I’m the one who now needs an exorcism,

because time heals all wounds but mine,

and although internal and invisible to the rest of the world,

they are centuries deep, if not more.


And to combat this I love you like it’s today,

but I’ll love you another way tomorrow,

because to me this is therapy.

And as we come to the end of this time around

I am confident I will love you again.


I will find you again, somehow.

Steven Harz is the author of multiple collections of love stories and is a multi-time winner of The Iron Writer Challenge. Originally from West Virginia, he grew up in Maryland, and now lives in New England. You may recognize these places in his stories. is a graduate of Towson University’s College of Fine Arts and Communication. He loves music and reading, coffee and Dr Pepper, sports and Broadway, and watching his boys perform on stage and the baseball diamond.


Sikes Avenue Self-Storage


black asphalt, gray paint

white metal roofs, roll-up

doors, few cars, office in the rear


she opens the gate at 7 AM

closes at 5, lives alone

a widow, half a shed for a house


pots of dark pansies on the tiny

doorstep, one patch of grass,

three exquisite pink flowering trees


outside her windows facing a steel wall

geese fly overhead honking,

never visitors— self-stored


Invisible Signs


If we begin with the hypothetical, the abstract thoughts

that occupy a bored mind, how can we ever get to

those specks of cows off on the yellow grassy rises,

the dirt barely covering recent volcanic flows,

who amble or stand still or file behind a chosen one

down a faint trail to some destination only they know

with a hidden sign that reveals a few green shoots or a muddy

depression where water pools over the basalt;

we would miss them entirely if we drove by too fast.

Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Over 400 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. She is a Best of the Net and twice a Pushcart nominee. The natural world of the American West is generally her framework; she also considers the narratives of people and places around her. She is a retired teacher living in Oregon.


My Dream


a proud balloon

it’s knot knotted with a satisfying thwok

released by an earth man


a park, a city, Sunday, early

walking with her daughter

both of them swatting the proud balloon


earth man pondering a thought

imagining words, their relationships

ready for a line to drop


I feel him, I can feel his feelings

I wake, careful to not disturb her

reaching through the darkness toward the bedside table

Chuck Joy, poet. Author, Percussive (Turning Point), poems selected for their narrative quality. Poet host, Poetry Scene, weekly poetry event, Erie PA. More at


The Bus was Like a Can of Sardines


The bus was like a can of sardines: 

inside, everyone was feeling compressed

as we headed to Main Street, Flushing, Queens…

the bus was like a can of sardines

and we felt skinnier, like back in our teens,

if only we could all be so naturally blessed…

the bus was like a can of sardines,

inside, everyone was feeling compressed.

John A. Todras did some recording of his rock songs while at Queens College. He started writing poetry in 1989 when his ex served him with divorce papers after nearly 20 years of marriage. He won a Shelly Society first place prize in 1995 for a Villanelle about family. He and his wife are both members of The Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs.



The Mustang

I sat and stared
at a young man eating
a double burger with fries
hoping he would notice
and share

he looked past me
at a bright red Mustang
top down
in the parking lot
sun glinting off chrome

I dripped saliva
on my t-shirt
and sipped cold coffee
spinning it out…

Joanna M. Weston is married, has one cat, multiple spiders, raccoons, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen-houses. Her works Frame and The McGuire was published by Tradewind Books 2015, and A Bedroom of Searchlights by Inanna Publications, 2016. Other books are listed at her blog:


A god and the Guy


free falling from the sky

i land

some hardcore memories

on the body

you offered so many other people:

a lot of people;

random people;

i got lost in this crowd.


the state of being

not appropriate:

anti-escape thoughts

and the no-news mood

turned against me.

i must forget the whiskeys we had, i know i should

and you... you could

be nicer? No, you could




i miss a hundred somethings

i don’t even recognize,

borrowed right from the hell

that’s buried within my very self…

“you miss it, you miss it, you miss…” & no rest!

the rest which I certainly don’t deserve.

self-sufficiency please,

because overreaction is dangerous.

[i, probably, shouldn’t have been allowed to care.]


checking the phone, a deep sigh:

still no message via Skype.


God, that guy...


I wasn’t something

To be reduced to nothing:

I was seduced to the nothing

I am now.

While breathing rust and consuming horror, Alexandrina Barajin came to translate a few bipollar crises into words. Debuting soon in Soft Cartel and hunting words for the Looking for Oranges? book.




Hanging in that liminal state

I float

Half way between here and there

I drift

Half way between consciousness and nirvana

I flow

Thoughts float like butterflies on the still air



The sound reverberates through me,

Like ripples through water

Waking me to a new reality, and I surge

The power builds, my body vibrates

and I climb to new heights without ever leaving my seat

Faster I race,

My thoughts are a bullet train

My mind has left the station

Zooming faster and faster

Hovering butter-thoughts

Nothing more than a blur

Train zipping

This way

Now that

My mania reaches

Higher, faster, more, more, more

Clackety, clackety, clackety

Wheels of the train churning

Fingers to keys typing

Thoughts to words

Words to sounds

Clackety, Clackety, Clackety




Losing, my grasp

The Butter-thoughts now bullets

Crashing through the train

Tearing their way

Beautiful scenery shredded





My net nothing but tatters

My life nothing but tatters

In the wake of my mania

Words that can’t be unsaid

Clatter that can’t be unclacked


The prescription bottle sits empty on the table

I’m better I told myself

I’m better said my bi-polar self

I’ll never be sick again said my Mania

The prescription bottle sits empty on the table


A. Devia is an author, spiritual leader and photographer. Her book Rune Spirits is available on Amazon. She also publishes weekly non-denominational sermons on her blog that feature a funny pixie by the name of Ophelia and original mythological stories to illustrate her teachings.


Thin Place

Heaven and earth are only three feet apart,

but in the thin places that distance is even

smaller. — Celtic saying


Leaves on far trees glow yellow-orange,

translucent and quivering in late-day slant sun.

October afternoon. I sit with my husband,

lay my head on his shoulder, watch. Obligations and

responsibilities crouch behind us, mercifully silent.

Now is the time for tenderness.

Even the near highway has grown quiet

in the transcendence from ordinary to holy.

Two crows flap overhead, cast deep, heavy shadows.

One jumps to the roof peak, faces west.

Guardian. Silent observer.

The other lands on a garage roof and drinks from the gutter,

claws clattering against metal.

How long ago did it rain?


Laurel Szymkowiak is a member of Madwomen in the Attic and resides in Ligonier, PA. She has published in several journals, including Perihelion, The Del Sol Review, US 1 Worksheets, Rune, Pretty Owl, and Voices from the Attic.




A weed by any other name would be a flower, 

welcomed in the meadows and green pastures, 

admired in dusky woodland glen or shady grove.


But let that slender being dare to grow uninvited 

in our gardens, then instead of adoration, they are

vilified and extirpated with a gleeful, bellicose vengeance.


Daisies and dandelions, so charming in the meadows,

require fanged digging tools to uproot them completely

from our pristine,  compulsively ordered gardens.


As for oxalis, the nodding pink heads a joy when seen in 

swathes on highway medians, they are the enemy once our garden 

is colonized by their insistent corms and fragile rootlets.


Perhaps we can learn from weeds to be adaptable 

to our changing environment, 

to be hardy and resistant as a wild flower,

to bloom even in adverse circumstances,

to stay humble and grateful for the

gift of a simple life.


Susan P. Blevins was born in England, lived twenty-six years in Italy, and now resides in Houston Texas.  In Italy, she had a weekly column in an international newspaper and now writes, and publishes, stories and poems about her adventurous life, travels and philosophy in various literary magazines.


Waving Not Drowning

(Acknowledgement to Stevie Smith for inspiring my title)


All that boring old

you did this,

you did that stuff is


to me after all I’m the one wants to scarper;

minimum fuss is what I wanted

not you going

on and on and on

assuming that pained expression

you tried before

a thousand times

to show you really wanted

me to think you loved me.



Now you only put it on

when I’m leaving.


Haven’t you noticed I'm

waving goodbye?


Janet Cameron has an MA in Modern Poetry and has been published in Acumen, Equinox, Logos (Open University) Connections and a few other lit mags. Mostly she has earned her living writing on history and philosophy as well as teaching, but now retired, she wants to devote herself to her first love - and try to be as good a poet as she can.


The Water Lillie Contemplating Suicide


The flower rickshawed through her,

a water blossom yellow and strong

like a plank of wood, smooth and narrow,

a one by two, only true as if true

could ever be exact or honest

or even a deity worth dying for.


The stem of her body fluid and full,

her root work deep and philosophical

as if the voice of pain could ever be a flower,

the thick trunk of a tree, a nearby stream

bubbling over river rock, the carcasses

of the dead fish who swim there.


Michael H. Brownstein work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, and others. He has nine poetry chapbooks including A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004) and The Possibility of Sky and Hell (White Knuckle Press, 2013). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).


Striking into Light


Isolation laps below the dock.

Its upright angles protract the soft harbor. 

Sailboats rouse, mast-lights nod and a dinghy bobs in the wake.

Crests cover blackened sand, slap polished hulls: aft and bow, starboard and port.


Waves abrade sand around pylons, flush minute barnacles,

            dance with supple seaweed churned overnight. 

Ripples deposit everything broken about the channel, flushed by marsh’s high tide.

An empty wine bottle whistles, lone survivor from last evening’s toasts to wild youth,

            recalling dismissed offenses now distilled into pleasantries –

                        raw truths eluding incongruities. 


A grey heron joins me, another covert scavenger resisting sleep’s coercion,

            erect and devout, prone to a bountiful strike into rising tide. 

Knees crook back, twin spindles motionless, fixed akimbo

atop stained planks, but this hunter remains still: eyes affixed

            for a silver gash of light to stab,

                        a meal weaving into peril. 


Neck coiled, the bird lowers his head. 

Sudden snap and flutter of rainbows clamped in the beak. 

The heron soars to the reeds, and, from supine posture,

I redeem myself to meander toward coffee.


Sam Barbee’s poems have appeared Poetry South, The NC Literary Review, Crucible, Asheville Poetry Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina.   His second poetry collection, That Rain We Needed (2016, Press 53), was a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award as one of North Carolina’s best poetry collections of 2016.


Rain of Colorful Ribbons


I cannot see summer at night, but often

I cannot detect its essential soundings,

listening hard, then haunted, for hours.


Insects fall silent in rain that taps broad

leaves like Harlem drums of Chick Webb,

riffing toward a cow bell clap as he ups

the tempo ante to crescendo of the peal.


Chick sledges his hammer to the anvil

to ring as a torrent on the roof, through

overflowing drains, flushing windfall

into black ravines, to low wood edges:

black puddles rage there, at the edges.


Often I rouse from a jolting memory,

unrefined by dream, opaque, ugly,

clustered dryly with dull abstraction:

dull night sacrifice sans dreams’ magic.


I may rise, I may dress, I may wander

into dark rooms, trailing echoes, listening

through stupid silence for Chick’s joy:

rising to listen to night’s silent terrors.


“Come down!” I shout. Sousa torrents

burst to bounding cadence, volleys of fire,

not military march but pitched operatic battle:

blood pictures, ribbons for sudden heroism.


Morning calm can multiply many delusions.


Keith Moul’s poems and photos are published widely. Finishing Line Press released a chap called The Future as a Picnic Lunch in 2015. Aldrich Press published Naked Among Possibilities in 2016; Finishing Line Press released (1/17) Investment in Idolatry. In August, 2017, Aldrich Press released Not on Any Map, a collection of earlier poems. These poems are all from a new work about prairie life through U.S. history, including regional trials, character, and attachment to the land.




We’re the net that catch

and pull—catch and pull

memories drowned beneath

the ocean line where spiny crayfish

needle and whine, and blue prawns

swift then fall between the lull.


Amid water trawl and seeping

sacks full of spinning krill, their

reflection shines a silver grin and

traipse along the netted vine,

immersed and swatted by the handful.


We could have been born beneath

emerald kelp, laid on tawny sargassum

floating dense, heavy with salt water to taste.

Or left in shells to cry for crackled help,


Or kept behind a threaded fence,

then badged with zest and laid to waste.


Cymelle Leah Edwards is an African-American poet and student of English in Arizona. Other poetry has appeared in The Cerurove.




Like a delicate piece of alabaster, your body was carved by the sea, a slab of granite heaved from the earth, it took rain and storm to mold me.

Sea nymphs spun your silken hair, and the sun’s kiss turned it gold, while coarse grass grew upon my head, turned hard and dark by the cold.

It’s water from the sea, the font of life, that surges through your veins like wine, and from the Earth's bubbling cauldron; it’s molten rock, that slowly flows through mine.

It was a fragrant kiss from a summer breeze, that awakened you to life, while I awoke to the cold north wind, which cut me like a knife.

You walked the sand along the sea, in search of love to make you whole, and love cut my heart with a jagged blade, so I cast it from my soul.

While you offered love to those you met, which they took but never gave, I implored the gods to send someone, to pull me from this grave.

Then one night to escape a storm, when you left the sand for the trees, you heard my anguished cry of pain, as life knocked me to my knees.

You placed your hand upon my chest, and stopped my bleeding heart, then kissed my lips and gave me life, for you’d found your missing part.

Now hand in hand we walk along, even our very thoughts are one, heart joined to heart in love’s embrace, we kiss beneath the sun.

And the granite is worn much smoother now, it shines like yellow gold, your love was all I ever needed, to shield me from the cold.

So, my beloved Judith sent me by the gods above, we each have found another, to give and share our love.

My heart has learned to love again, and the gods I do implore, let us always be together, forever, ever, more.


Antaeus writes humorous science fiction, adventure, and fantasy stories. He has published four fiction novels and four nonfiction novels. His poetry and short stories have also been published in various magazines such as Gravel, Ariel Chart, and The Lycan Valley Press. For more:


The language of touch

you speak to my heart in the language of touch,
in whispers of soft skin sliding up my arms,
in phrases of affectionate gazes lingering,
in drawn-out syllables of passionate hugs.

i have learnt to speak in borrowed tongues,
in stutters of feigned love, in signs and symbols of
muted desires and the language of estrangement.

i have forgotten how to speak in my mother tongue,
i find it hard now to form the words to respond
to this touch that titillates. your hands are vines that creep

up the walls of my heart, the moss growing in the
cracks of my ailing heart. your touch is the spore delicately
carried by the wind, seed scattered across my dampened soil

you are a garden of olives and vines, sacred and sweet
your leaves desecrate my morning meditations.
and i, drunk on your juices stagger slowly into the darkness
of repressed memories.


Ogundare Tope is a Nigerian poet, short story writer and shrink. He has works that have appeared in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Kalahari Review, Pilcrow and Dagger, DASH, Intima and TinyTim Literary Review. He also has works published in anthologies of poetry and short stories. Writing for him is cathartic. He blogs at


The Stone Bird Cannot Migrate


Ruby throat

you haunt the colors

of my garden

with invisibility of wings


Ruby throat

you dart the winds

with impossible flight

wearing lush iridescence


Ruby throat

you have abandoned me now

for a season

of hard migration


Ruby throat

you have left

for the eternity

of my anguished anticipation


David Anthony Sam lives in Virginia with his wife and life partner, Linda. Sam has four collections and his poetry has appeared in over 80 publications. His chapbook Finite to Fail: Poems after Dickinson was 2016 Grand Prize winner of GFT Press Chapbook Contest. In 2017, he began serving as Poetry Editor for GFT. Learn more on him:


The Truth About the Truth


In real Truth, the Truths we find

in our own Thoughts of finding

Truth from out the rampant hypocrisy

is Truly unknown to be the real Truth

or not. It leads to endless Questioning.


Well, I think that Truth should peel off loosely

and unforced. I don’t think a person should

have to delve too deeply into the Intellect to find it.

If the Truth is the Actual Truth

then it should come quite easily from

the deception abound? Shouldn’t it?


Heath Brougher is the co-poetry editor for Into the Void Magazine, winner of the 2017 and 2018 Saboteur Award for Best Magazine. He published three chapbooks in 2016, two full-length collections About Consciousness (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), To Burn in Torturous Algorithms (Weasel Press, 2018),, and has three forthcoming collections. He is a multiple Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee. His work has been widely published, namely in Taj Mahal Review, Chiron Review, Setu Bilingual and Scarlet Leaf Review.


The One Who Stared


It’s hard to be the one who stared

out in the snow, sun blind lunatic

in a tattered coat. Envy the tiny

birds as they scour frozen ground,

envy worms, warm in their tunnels

beneath the earth. Once, in a small

tourist shop, I watched a woman

push her children toward the door.

Their hands were filled with bundles,

their eyes were red and hard.

The children moved into the street

silent as a dream, and I saw them

no more, not even when night

swallowed and swirled my weary brain.


Steve Klepetar has recently relocated to the Berkshires in Massachusetts after 36 years in Minnesota. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including three in 2017. Recent collections include A Landscape in Hell(Flutter Press), How Fascism Comes to America (Locofo Chaps), and Why Glass Shatters (One Sentence Chaps).


So much for the Warsaw Concerto

For being Bached and Beethovened
until beyond repair,
for being proper and prepared
as long as we both shall live.

Living with that thing
on the wall that looks
like last week's supper
reminds me:

won't you ever understand
that candles can't substitute for light bulbs?
Do I ask you to sit in darkness?
All I ask is that you say right things at right times,

always be pretty and agreeable,
supper at seven
and bed at eleven,
so we could live happily forever.


Dennis Herrell lives in a 1920’s bungalow in the old historic Heights of Houston, Texas. He writes both serious and humorous poems about his life in this civilized society. (Poking fun at himself is almost a full-time job.) He especially likes to look at the small things in everyday life that make us (him) so individual and vulnerable. About 500 poems published in various U.S, Canada, British, Austria, Australia magazines since July, 2000, plus 3 poetry books.


Random Thoughts on a Home Town


Days pass 

and the rains come 

washing all sins- 

The cleansing of the air 

rains of my destiny

your abrupt self 

stares me  in the face.


Rain washed hills 

look askance

disturbing philosophies 

what have you been 

doing so long? 

carousing, idling, basking in self- glory? 

O hills of ephemeral childhood 

I seek salvation in you

those whispering pines 

sun melted tarred roads.


This is my fairy land 

my monsoon- spilled home town 

my frost- smeared land 

Lazing, have spent years 

to feel every morning 

a whiff of freshness 

a tang of hilly aroma 


When evening arrives 

tiredness enters 

with history 


The pain of a night 

and, poetry gratefully 

comes in, stoops by 

the bed side.


Ananya S Guha lives in Shillong in North East India and has been publishing his poems for the last 35 years.




Waking up together

Tangled into knots

A hint of strawberries

On your morning breath

I watched the fire

In your eyes flash brightly

A shade of amber

I’d never seen before.

I kissed you

With my eyes open

And still feel you

Staring back


Ayeare, an Ohio native and Michigan transplant, is a mother, poet, writer, rainbow warrior, artist, bohemian traveler, musician, and sow farm worker. Most often found snuggling their dog, or sharing memes on Facebook while enjoying a strong cocktail. Currently available for purchase is the first collection of poetry, Invertebrate.


I Met the Australian Man


I met the Australian man with the Russian wife again.

Neither looked to pleased to see me

almost straight away he asked me what I did.

I have been waiting a long time for someone to ask I said

and I was tempted to say I am retarded

and when they ask again

I would say retired.

His wife said he was off to oz for good in October,

he said it was because of his mum.

He asked me about my family

I told him my mother was dead but I couldn't tell him how long ago.

He asked me what age she was when she died

and I had to look around the room until I could make up some excuses

Then in the end, I said, in fact you are right I was a terrible son.

He invited me to Australia after that

must have felt a bit sorry for me.

The thought stayed with me all night, as others spent the night trying to kill me.


Marc Carver has published some ten collections of poetry and has had over two thousand poems posted on the net but his worst fear is having to go into a room filled with poets and listen to their poems.


Hide and seek


Was a game I thought I would

Always play. What is it that

Adults do exactly? I am asking.

I wish someone would tell me.

They have no spare time, but

Complain about the time they have.

It is a mystery. They all look the same,

Sound the same. It’s worrying. Now me,

I pack into a day, I spy, coloring in,

Running in circles and hide and seek.

When I go to bed I am tired, dog tired.

Real tired can’t get up tired, don’t know my own.

Name tired.

My eyes close when I hit the pillow

And I never see midnight. Adults…

They hide from fun all day long and

Wonder why they cry at night.

I could tell them, but they swat me away.

My legs twitch like a dog as I sleep.

My dog dreams are fast and furious.

When I play hide and seek

I expect to catch no one, only myself.

Only her. She is cute and daft and furious.

I remember,

I was 16 when I wanted to stop playing,

It all seemed too fantastic and boys

Seemed easier to catch.

No need to hide, just wiggle the hips,

The arse.

And a new game is begun.

Now I want the old game back.

And I would win.

I would play it till I dropped.

I would cherish it.


Helen Burke is a UK poet. She is 45 and widely published.




Forget Dante. Let’s get down to Earth. What’s hell?

Mayflowers in the soup of hungry skunks.


Milton maintains we bring it on ourselves.

Hell is other people, Sartre claimed.

An endless feast of brief hopes,

                              according to Milosz.

Bukowski named Hell body's banes. 

Twisted genes, the crack of cancer in unlucky breaks,

or when the retinas detach, some claim, or heart’s thick stroke.


Who knows the gall’s clumps of stone?

Life’s piecemeal cuts. The body constant achy in the brain,

the piss-poor prostate airs.


Serenity will not skirt this way again.

We wish for hell to go back where it came.


Left with Living

You know what’s coming. The title tells

all, or what’s left, with no return

to before when life was not less

but love made it more. Ah, love.

But when it’s gone – burnt match, shallow

living;. Not quite the onward, upward optimist!

Don’t get me wrong. I value onward,

upward too, though now they both resemble

downers, a kind of homelessness,

feeling sidewalks, sleeping sweat,

no use lingering on pretended smiles.

Let’s say you see

differently, that’s all. Left with living

on the passing grates.

W.M. Rivera’s most recent collection of poems is a chapbook titled The Living Clock from Finishing Line Press (2013). His full-length collection, Buried in the Mind’s Backyard (BrickHouse Books, 2011), has a cover print by Miguel Conde, one of Spain’s prominent artists, and is available from and Amazon. Born in New Orleans, he began publishing poetry in the 1950s. His early poetry appeared under the names William Rivera and William McLeod Rivera in The Nation, Prairie Schooner, the Kenyon Review, and The New Laurel Review among other publications.




At the breath’s edge

spirit left the body

to commune with exploding

pinpoint light arriving

opening eyes in the universe


black-winged agents placed

a diamond in my head

to carry back into the world


I began full of force and fury

among blue waves of warm fire

flowing in their ocean-making


but ink is a fuse in a burning door

and each word etches away

what the diamond has to say


Douglas Cole has published four poetry collections and has another forthcoming this year called The Gold tooth in the Crooked Smile of God. Nominated for two Pushcarts and a Best of the Web, he received the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry; the Best of Poetry Award from Clapboard House; and First Prize in the Picture Worth 500 Words from Tattoo Highway.


The Village Carnival


As a creamy moon mounted above the fairground,

eclipsed by the chimerical glow of the carousel,

adolescent shrieks competing with the calliope

and popcorn-pulverizing footsteps on asphalt,

her hand twisted his,

causing his stomach to clench with more thrills

than he'd hidden while lurching on the roller coaster.

Her surreptitious smooch behind the fortune teller's tent

tasted of candy floss and mischief, and,

under the deepening night sky-

which he joked was God's black velvet cape-

she looked at him with such-.

then a Buick

backfiring rudely in the early morning tranquility

jolted him into sun-slashed reality.

He's mourned the loss of his dream

but not of her,

for he never had her to begin with.


Adrian Slonaker works as a copywriter and copy editor in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Adrian’s work has appeared in Aberration Labyrinth, Squawk Back, The Bohemyth, Queen Mob’s Tea House and others.


No Garden


I have no garden,

dead peonies push petals under Spring,

the season of my discontent.


It sits upon unhallowed ground

where trees will still admonish

barren earth beneath my feet


and sing the swish of boughs for no one,

no one being buried six feet deep

within the warmth of worms and other crawling things.


I have no garden

but create one in my dreams of Summer

flocking to the lands of amygdala,


Memory, the bricks of magic

building bridges ‘cross the burnt

dark edges of forgotten.


Rose Aiello Morales has been writing poetry almost as long as she has been able to write. And she is still doing it at her home in Marrietta, Georgia, in the USA.


Nothing But Light


Nothing but light

And a single leaf at dusk

Can remind me of that of image of purity…

I loved you like love

I forgot you like childhood shells

Expecting that I would find them again there the other Saturday…

Nothing but light

Reminds me of those times

When the shells fled to other seasons

To other autumns

To other heavens

To sow the purity of my longings…

Dear lover, you first abandoned your own self

Then you turned your back to me and all the horizons

Never to turn into an image

Never to remain an infinite longing…

Nothing but light

Reminds me of your berserk parting

And I tremble like a leaf

Whenever my branches ache…


Alisa Velaj was born in the southern port town of Vlora, Albania in 1982. She has been shortlisted for the annual international Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in UK in June 2014. Her works have appeared in more than eighty print and online international magazines, including: FourW twentyfive Anthology (Australia), The Journal (UK), The Dallas Review (USA) and The Seventh Quarry (UK). Her poetry book With No Sweat At All (trans by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj) will be published by Cervena Barva Press in 2019.


Afterimage I

The white night always leans against the hill — Georg Trakl


A granite flame

shrinks to the tip

of the dominant peak


which absorbs it in a cleft of ice.

The last flash

of silver

slices into a ravine


from a moon with sharpened points


through a torrent

of ragged water


and a summer frost

leaves crystals


on the white slope of the mountain.


Afterimage II

In the evening, when we walk along dark paths,

Our own pale forms appear before us. — Georg Trakl


Shadows soak into us

and we drink

from our hands that fold and spread

with water running through them.

With their necks hooked

above the lilies,

two swans

in the light

are at rest.

The trees grow long


across the water

where dusk comes early

with its quicksilver chill.

Afterimage III

The wanderer quietly opens his eyelids;

Sun breaks out from a darkened gorge. — Georg Trakl


The sky is layered with thin ice

and the grass

beneath it glows.


Blue flowers ring in the clefts

high on the rock face

while the drumbeat

in the water grows louder as it falls.


Mirrors are embedded

in the storm-struck rock.

The wanderer quietly opens his eyelids;

Sun breaks out from a darkened gorge.

David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in Manchester, England, and lived for several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in 1978. Arizona’s landscapes and wildlife have become increasingly important to him and a significant part of his poetry. Meanwhile, he retains an appetite for reading Eugenio Montale, W. S. Merwin, Tomas Tranströmer and many other, often less celebrated, poets.

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