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
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.
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
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
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
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,
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
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
your arms around
as if nothing
we wiggled and
settled our profiles
into shared pillows
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
Upon the summer solstice
the sky is bathing the earth
with pellets of secrecy
I can feel the clouds’ need
like an exhale
after holding one’s breath
without realizing it.
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,
of the Angel of Death
flashed for a second
“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
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.
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.
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 lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.
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 BewilderingStories.com 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 Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. His website is www.Bobwelbaum-author.com.
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
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.
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.
So many of us
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
we take a step out
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
green to the horizon hills
no one afraid
as the sun rises
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.
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
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
between good and evil
While kissing the
Creation of Adam
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
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
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 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 jimjakk.com.
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.
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.
Lifts us up
to a refined
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.
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
That’d make a penny squeal
Bagged bobcats in mid-winter.
‘Go easy’ was the best I could do.
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.
It’s no illusion:
While she works
And red backdrop
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
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.
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
rather someone who sees
the beauty in everything.
It won’t be someone with
rather someone who
speaks the word of God.
It won’t be someone with
big, toned, body,
rather someone with a
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.
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
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
they came home
faces nearly ashen
and Gramp had me get my math book
and sit down
at the kitchen table
I would stay all night
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
HOW THE WEST WAS WON
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.
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
Hissing, snapping near
Gnashing, squealing, digging
echoing in the vast
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 winglessdreamer.com and daily quotes in YourQuotes.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.
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,
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.
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
all those dead,
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.
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.
caged, by the hazy,
smoky stench of pot,
born to be wild
a pretty young thing
prances and dances
across the stage
with a sense of remorse
suffering the informal injury
of ancestry and gender
teetering on the edge
of the instinctual urge
random thoughts tease
dreams of Broadway
the what ifs, the why nots,
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
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
on the move
negotiating spaces---mental, emotional, physical and internal.
Every act of stepping out
of the comfort zones
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
be it Syria, Afghanistan or some other geography
marked by bullets or bombs
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
where each is treated as a fellow species,
not an alien from outer space
You cannot be
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 -
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.
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.
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, 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.
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 www.pstpierre.wordpress.com.
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 http://therollinghills.wordpress.com/.
sprays of sunflowers
beams of light
toasty warm faces
smiles’ radiant glow
over-baked oat fields
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.
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).
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
and after when you asked “do you love me”
I said “yes”
I confess now. I lied.
but I did like you
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.
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.
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,
Yet, my mind
has classified you
You’re a marshmallow,
a sweet taste in the beginning,
however, the aftertaste
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
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
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,
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.
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
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.
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 chuckjoy.com.
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.
I sat and stared
at a young man eating
a double burger with fries
hoping he would notice
he looked past me
at a bright red Mustang
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: http://www.1960willowtree.wordpress.com/.
A god and the Guy
free falling from the sky
some hardcore memories
on the body
you offered so many other people:
a lot of people;
i got lost in this crowd.
the state of being
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.
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
Half way between here and there
Half way between consciousness and nirvana
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
Nothing more than a blur
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 Wandererbat.com that feature a funny pixie by the name of Ophelia and original mythological stories to illustrate her teachings.
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
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, poetrysuhighway.com 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: www.antaeus-books.com.
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 www.zaphnathpaaaneah.com.
The Stone Bird Cannot Migrate
you haunt the colors
of my garden
with invisibility of wings
you dart the winds
with impossible flight
wearing lush iridescence
you have abandoned me now
for a season
of hard migration
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: www.davidanthonysam.com.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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,
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 Itascabooks.com 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.
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.
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
slices into a ravine
from a moon with sharpened points
through a torrent
of ragged water
and a summer frost
on the white slope of the mountain.
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,
in the light
are at rest.
The trees grow long
across the water
where dusk comes early
with its quicksilver chill.
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.