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  • 12/27/14--05:24: Stephanie Smith - Two Poems
  • A Lament

    your skin
    smells of sandalwood
    and sleep
    the reek
    of winter’s corpse
    your lips of mint
    and silk kisses
    like slippery rooftops
    skeletons dance upon
    like my morning coffee
    the dolor
    of life without you
    the cold embrace
    of this poem


    Breath and Shadow

    you are
    still life

    the breath of feathers
    in an empty galaxy

    the shadow
    in a child’s nightmare

    you are oxygen—
    artificial and alone

    the cry
    in claustrophobia’s
    dark closet



    Stephanie Smith is a poet and writer from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in such publications as Strong Verse, Pif Magazine, The Literary Hatchet, Bete Noire and The Horror Zine. Her first poetry chapbook, DREAMS OF DALI, is available from Flutter Press.

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  • 12/28/14--05:31: Nathan Blan - One Poem
  • The Italienne

    What were those sentences
    I wrote for her and polished


    again and again
    what did those letters say exactly
    the epistles that I never sent
    but kept hidden
    beneath my mattress until
    I would take one out
    to rewrite once more
    while thinking of her
    that girl with eyes like black olives
     
    the exact sentences so much forgotten
    I do not believe
    even a hypnotist could help me
    no matter how shiny his watch
    and monotone his command to remember
    those sentences cannot be recovered
    so I might think on them
    when I remember her
    that girl with eyes like black olives
    who I have not seen
    in more than thirty years
    and once heard died
    in childbirth
    long ago



    Nathan Blan is 39 years old and lives in Kentucky. He shares a house with his sister, two nieces, four cats, and a dog. His hobbies include horology and reading Thomas Bernhard.

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  • 12/30/14--00:18: Donal Mahoney - One Poem
  • The Parish Carnival
     
    That's Bernie's wife on the carousel
    laughing and waving her arms.
    Once again she won't get off 
    even though Bernie is yelling
    next to the concession stand
    jumping around in his wheel chair.
    He's finished his cotton candy
    and wants to go home. 
    He probably has to pee.
    He never goes anywhere 
    except to the parish carnival. 
    He loves the cotton candy.
    He says it's the same as when 
    he was a kid years ago 
    before he fell out of the tree. 
    He needs Stella more than ever now
    to push his wheel chair and she does
    except when she comes to the carnival 
    and gives old Bernie a big plume 
    of cotton candy and hops on the carousel
    laughing and waving her arms 
    once a summer every year.
     
     
     
    Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in various publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com

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    Miniatures)  Uncle Jean

    Jean had a 3rd grade education, and never really
    said a whole lot.  He was my mother’s uncle, so that’s
    how we’d address him.

    When he did speak, it was always in the past tense;
    his stories were generally plain and very simple—
    almost nonchalant, and yet, some of them were damn
    serious in content.

    All of his tales were centered on railroad lines
    like the Arkansas Western, Kansas City Southern, L&N,
    Southern Pacific and even the most obscure of them
    being the Maine Central.

    For those of us who listened, they seemed
    so surreal and unapproachable.

    And then he interweaved that one particular and unforgettable 
    story, about how he went on the bum with his father;
    sometime after the 1929 stock market crash.

    He talked about riding the Illinois Central,
    and how his father took sick.

    He then proceeded to tell us about how he died
    in his arms coughing up blood, and two days later,
    how he buried him under a pile of rocks near a trestle.

    Jean said, it was real peaceful, a place the dead could call
    their own, and then he stopped talking.



    Richard D. Houff was the editor of Heeltap Magazine and Pariah Press, from 1986 to
    2010.  He has had over twenty books published in both poetry and prose.  His work has
    appeared in numerous magazines and periodicals, both nationally, and throughout
    Europe.

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    Random Notes
     
    It’s Dylan on the stereo again:
    “A Simple Twist of Fate” with lukewarm sun,
    obligatory coffee, and my man-
    ufactured thoughts. The dogs asleep, and Ann's
    downstairs, I dive inside the music. . . . When
    will hidden stars align their fires,  or one
    of Hades’ weird sisters lift her skirt
    to tease me with the answer that I know
    conceals an undertow of human woe?
    My learning’s only half-digested. Hurt
    and anger, existential dread entwine
    with motorcycles, basement tapes, and love
    affairs. An idiot knows more. Above
    the trees, a crow tries random notes. They’re mine.
     
     
     
    An Exhumation
     
    Along the cemetery’s edge, I wedge
    my bones and hedge my bets on getting home
    before I’m dead again. Dawn-pink ledge
    with cat above my head, that balding dome
    an egg fresh-laid and warm to break and eat
    with fur and Momma’s old Tabasco, brown
    as bedsheet blood. And now the rain falls sweet,
    like chili heat, Louise’s hymen down
    her leg. That morning’s lives ago, the house
    across the way on wheels down Some-such Ave
    or Street. I’m home to try the knob, but dowse
    the door with vodka, strike a match. Where have
    the good old visions crept, the ones that made
    the portals creak, the hemlock bloom, not fade?
     
     
     
    At Starved Rock State Park
    The milkweed floats like jellyfish in air,
    but there’s no sting: it’s only ghosts that make
    us wheeze. I squeeze your shoulder, but your stare
    says, “No, not yet.” I walk behind, mistake
    the rhythmic cling-release of cotton on
    your hips for bedroom curtains once in Nice,
    Laguna Beach, or Bath. I want to catch
    you like a fish, but when will you release
    me? Meadow grass was ocean once, and dawn
    revealed, beneath the sway of dinosaur,
    beneath some trembling leaf, a rodent: this
    was über-papa, our progenitor.
    Your mouse-brown hair is clinging—let me snatch
    it—there—from just behind your ear, and kiss.



    Thomas Zimmerman teaches English, directs the Writing Center, and edits two literary magazines at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His chapbook In Stereo: Thirteen Sonnets and Some Fire Musicappeared from The Camel Saloon Books on Blog in 2012. Tom's website:
    http://thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com/

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  • 12/31/14--16:30: Jonathan Simkins - One Poem
  • Determinations of June

    I

    Somewhere it’s winter, somewhere the flesh closes,
    Too, in another womb; inside that womb
    The luminous seed wakes; and we assume
    It barren, drum the season, thumb our noses
    At the bald lack that finds the lack of roses
    Announcing nothing- where nothing can bloom
    Until the deed is writ, and then it closes.
    It’s June now. Far off from this place it’s winter:
    You tell me that it stays, you never grieve
    It, and what you can’t outrun, you enter.
    In entering the barren what I leave
    Is this womb, heart entrenched, a bloody splinter.

    II

    You told me that in Germany a child
    Torn limb from limb awoke: before the sweat
    Soaked the sheets he turned and looked at you-
    Him dreaming of his death, dreaming of you,

    A beautiful woman and your warm, wet
    Places. But was your dreaming it that wild?
    Another child in India had eight limbs.
    But that one was the dream! You couldn’t shake it.
    Mutant or human, it will never wake,
    You told yourself; it’s not a her or him,
    It’s not a demon given legs by dream,
    And should it turn to me and scream, I’ll wake,
    Turn towards the one I love, and only him.

    III

    What shall I do about this spinning top
    But spin it? Lesser lovesick phantoms set
    My feet on this path; but these are my feet,
    The hair I’ve lost my hair that cannot crop
    The younger’s head or warm it with the heat
    This spinning may endow. Or will it? Drop
    Anchor on the bonfire, let the blood I let.
    The plug, like a light stick, becomes a flaming
    Brand: in the You and Not You unliving fires
    Devour the top, that Out of what it came
    The labyrinth gives back the living fire
    To us- of a ghost- a ghost’s right, still flaming.

    IV

    The five and seven fix the weight to me
    At fifty seven; the bell tolls in the bleachers
    And I stand afraid, the ground beyond my reach;
    And shuffling beneath me I cannot see
    The thing laments its origins or touch
    The superhuman- me, it says. Agree
    The empty frame is empty- and part of me.
    I found it in the jagged diction of
    Your teeth. I knew the years of grinding softened
    It back to form. I knew the body, yours, left
    The blueprint: blood encrusted keys above
    The island towers, where we saw the wave
    Breaking the body . . . O phantom of the soft
    Corpse, all renewing, teeth bared as if for love . . .

    V

    Winter Island, it’s always, never not, June.
    The thing existing and the thing denied
    Have commerce. Sealed, absolutely denied,
    The third that lives through two speaks through the rain.
    We crane the ears: nothing. The winter rain
    And nether heat, unrelenting, defied
    What it demanded: this unliving June.
    Sometimes a rainbow greets us on the shore.
    Cloth hung on the rainbow, cloth of birth or death,
    Stands us up naked, interrogator:
    Had we not wanted something more from earth,
    Had nothing that we done demanded more?



    Jonathan Simkins lives in Ybor City, Florida. He works as a psychiatric registered nurse. His first published poem appeared recently in Stepping Stones Magazine.

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  • 01/02/15--15:24: R.J. Stanford - One Poem
  • Fall and Rise

                The tides will fall and rise eternally
                As crisp winds cut across my face.
                Alone, internally—
                My quiet place.
                Journey
                To trace
                A vernally
                Tender soul to embrace.
                Once again, I, externally,
                Neglect to substitute that empty space.
     
     
    R.J. Stanford, 25, is a currently a student at Southwest Texas Junior College with his sights set on both writing professionally and becoming a postsecondary education administrator. He resides in Hondo, Texas.
     

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    The Milky Way Poem

    (After viewing a nine gigapixel image)
     
    You can’t hold it in just one hand,
    it is ordinary in the universe,
     
    It is everything we know,
    it is everything we do not know,
     
    special to its inhabitants.
    What makes it so?
     
    It is all things to all people,
    it is nothing in the awesomeness of time.
     
    Some call its nine gigapixel image
    a muddy creek, some will call it false god.
     
    A single flower is more worthy of devotion,
    and God must surely know.
     
    A cup, a bow, tree of forever growing branches,
    sanctuary and nursery:
     
    how must we think, worship,
    contemplate?  Let us eat from the same plate.
     
    In its bulge, in its spiral arms,
    in its dust is our history and future,
     
    but we fight and consume,
    love and die,
     
    and try to hold in futility,
    crave and grasp
     
    while this vast companion of our sleeping
    is too real, too sentient
     
    and again, it is we,
    it is us.
     
    The secret of this galaxy is its art.
    Let no one know.


     
    Oceanic
     
    Giant squid in the depths
    Of the calm Pacific,
    How does your last breath
    In the sunlit darkness feel?
    I can only imagine how jealous
    You might be of my successes,
    Of my historical youth,
    Of my bicycling on a summer evening.
    But I return to you, slowly sinking
    To the ocean floor
    To be divine in the stomach
    Of another living creature.
    I, too, consider myself divine,
    But I eat mindlessly
    And sleep some nights without
    That wandering thought
    That is a soundtrack to days
    Where space between the trees
    Holds my mind like an empty
    Hand.  


     
     
    Tu Vates Eris
     
    (With the poem, “Ver erat”, Rimbaud
    took the first prize for Latin composition
    in verse. The story said he finished in
    an hour and he did not consult his
    Gradus ad parnassium.)
     
    You are born naked
    beneath the cordial blessings of lifting hands.
    Unseen, silent, white in blueness,
    the shabby ground swells its pregnant belly,
    shakes the thundering word -
    learn!
    You must grip the scattered sounds
    and give them - no - build them
    a house to inhabit,
    with the milk of your eyes and hands of thought.
    When the seasons have brought you
    to equilibrium, to a graciousness of contentment,
    then you will know they will not be lost,
    and you will be clothed.
     
     
     
    Paul R. Davis does not hold an MFA, and believes in a simple poetic philosophy:  the joy of expression, the necessity of communication.  His poems are imagistic, philosophical, lyrical, and take you somewhere you may have never been. 

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  • 01/06/15--11:26: Marianne Szlyk - One Poem
  • Cabin Fever
     
    The green leaves outside glitter as if welded to the tree.
    Birds perched there sing harshly, if at all.
     
    Clouds are piling up like traffic.
    The air tastes like car exhaust.
     
    You are hoping for a storm this afternoon,
    something, any thing to break this spell.
     
    Outside young men in tank tops and baggy shorts
    march up and down the street with their children.

    Couples bike.  The neighbors drag in their trashcans.
    The roofers walk back to work.  You stay in.

    You stop the dryer, fearing its heat’s
    popping the pocket of cool around you.
     
    The wash piles up.  Fearing the air outside,
    you hang your clothes over tables and chairs to dry.
     
    Now the rooms grow damp with Apple Mango Tango.
    You choke. You curse the sheets.  You restart the dryer.
     
    A CD of saxophones and shadows plays in your head;
    the long, slow notes and rolling drum remind you of thunder,
     
    of when the weather seemed more manageable,
    when you lived up north and only ice storms kept you in.
     
     
     
    Marianne Szlyk recently published her first chapbook, Listening to Electric Cambodia, Looking Up at Trees of Heaven, at Kind of a Hurricane Press. Her poem "Walking Past Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Winter" has been nominated for the 2014 Best of the Net. Her work has appeared in print and online, most recently in Carcinogenic Poetry, bird's thumb, Of/with, and Walking is Still Honest as well as Kind of a Hurricane's anthologies, most recently Switch (the Difference).  She edits a poetry blog-zine at http://thesongis.blogspot.com/.

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    Verbal Masturbation

    in the age of talk media
    exercising freedom of speech
    no matter how stupid
    is considered a moral imperative

    hate and ignorance
    are deemed justified
    by the need of the individual
    to express what they feel

    with no responsibility
    for new feelings created
    in the next caller

    and no awareness
    that their own buttons
    have been pushed
     
     
     

    Herb Kauderer is an associate professor of English at Hilbert College in Hamburg, NY. He holds an M.F.A. from Goddard College in Vermont.
     
    Alan Katerinsky is an assistant professor of computer security and information assurance at Hilbert College, and repeatedly a graduate of the University at Buffalo.


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  • 01/12/15--15:54: Trish Saunders - One Poem
  • Life After Layoffs
     
    There was no need to duck your head
    when we saw you waitressing
    in Waimanalo,
     
    middle-aged and varicose-veined
    working under the table for
    tips so small they might be crumbs,
     
    Just tell the driver,
    I’ll pay next time,
    take your seat on the bus.     
     
    We, too, remember
    glossy brown hair.
    The beauty school will dye it for free on Tuesday.
     
     
     
    Trish Saunders has published poems in Carcinogenic Poetry, Off the Coast Poetry Journal, Blast Furnace Press, and Vox Poetica; she has poems forthcoming in Seattle Poetry Bus. She lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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    Night, South Dakota, No Fresh Water for Forty Miles
     
    There is an ease in the way meteors breeze into flame
    like the sudden change in leaf one night, late autumn
    when their lives bleed into yellows, bright reds,
    sometimes the frail lint of nightfall,
    stars tickling the sky, sunlight
    hiding everything alive in the dark.
     
     
     
    Jack Frost Sleeps with Goldilocks
     
    Cold sleeps in the room with Beauty
    rearranging itself into frost giants and lumberjacks.
    Snow White is still in development,
    and Loki—well, he’s already a myth.
    This I know: Beauty sleeps under twenty blankets
    and always feels the pinch of the pea—grows her hair
    long enough to cut, and cuts it—carries fresh meat pies
    through the forest to lure wolves to their death,
    to skin them—and when she falls asleep in her brass bed,
    the cold remains, unremitting, a poisoned apple,
    a hundred year sleep, a broken glass slipper 
    Humpty Dumptied into so many pieces
    no prince in love wants to glue it back together again.
     
     
     
    Michael H. Brownstein wrote Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (http://booksonblog35.blogspot.com/) and one night while camping in Kentucky, had a rattlesnake snuggle up to him inside his sleeping bag. Apparently he survived that mishap as well as the one with the sniper who could not hit him as he crossed a field along 44th Street in Chicago.

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  • 01/22/15--08:30: M.R. Briceño - Two Poems
  • Jim Beam

    Let my love die.
    Sink it in all of the
    dead dreams
    and full ashtrays
    of the world.
    Let it sink,
    and then let it die.
    Let my ambition die.
    Let me out of every
    ivy-league college
    and every law degree
    and every law book
    and every law man
    that promises
    everything for
    nothing.
    Let me sink further
    into perdition
    and let me rot
    without sunlight
    for years, decades.
    Let me look at the sky
    alone smoking a cheap,
    whore cigarette
    while I think of
    all of the things
    that I didn’t do,
    or I’m not doing,
    because
    if I look at the sky
    long enough,
    some day I will see
    a supernova,
    and it will be fire,
    and it will light everything
    for a second
    brighter than it ever
    was.



    The Tigress

    My dearest woman,
    I know now
    the wild cries
    of the animals
    late at night,
    the wolf,
    the cow, the chicken,
    the crow,
    but I always
    feel my fingers burn
    and my spine twitch
    when I hear
    your roar,
    the roar of a
    tigress
    leaping forward,
    her claws
    and teeth
    locked on a piece
    of red,
    dead
    meat.



    M. R. Briceño is a young writer from León, México. A slacker and a procrastinator, he wastes his time writing instead of studying.

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    Guillotine
     
    Underneath Kayla’s shirt you’ll find two quarters
    There’s a guillotine where her heart should be
    Fooled again--
    the cantaloupe was unripe when she sliced it open
     
    In no moment is she winning
    The grass on her mother’s grave is withering in the drought
     
     
     
    Broken Rabbits
     
    The rabbits in
    Broken Toyland
    have heads
    whose stitching is unraveling

    Mother Rabbit holds
    a jug of poison moonshine
    She wears a necklace of skull-and-crossbones
    and a perpetual sneer
    because she remembers the days
    when rabbits were symbols of innocence

    Now all the innocence is gone
    It might have been a myth
    but it was a good myth
    She enjoyed it
    Now there is nothing left

    Her husband
    smokes a joint
    and talks about moving to Colorado
    where they can smoke dope legally
    day and night
    and forget
    all the things that have gone wrong in their lives

    He remembers when his wife could
    reliably pop out a litter of twelve
    and coat their nest box with
    fine warm fur

    But that was a long time ago
    and she has used up all her eggs

    The pitchfork he holds is rusted
    and the idea of American Gothic
    no longer thrills him

    The sun in the sky is prickly
    like a porcupine
    and gives little light
    and no heat

    It is lucky they are furred
    but their fur is
    mangy now
    bare in places
    and smells of barns
    and feral cats

    Broken Toyland
    once held allure
    the mystique of the outlaw
    but it’s no longer where they want to be
    However they have no choice

    Broken Toyland is all they know
    They have no transportation
    and public busses
    have stopped running
    out here
    so far in the country 



    Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over seven hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for work published in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver. 

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  • 01/24/15--08:00: Hannah Newcomer - One Poem
  • A Slowly Dying Star

    i.
    as i lay here and listen
    to the soft jazz playing
    over the simple quiet
    of my house,
    i know.

    ii.
    what i know is that
    i must write,
    that if i didn't write
    the tumbling words,
    the words that come
    pouring out of me like
    water from the tap,
    i would quietly combust and
    explode, much like a
    dying star.

    iii.
    i feel my words are
    merely water from the tap.
    transparent, a little dirty, sometimes
    gritty, sometimes makes you
    wonder if the government is really
    slipping fluoride into it.
    it always leaves a
    metallic taste in your mouth.

    iv.
    i wonder at those
    dying stars, the way
    their light can shine
    for light years.
    i can only hope
    mine does.



    Hannah Newcomer was born in Texas and raised in Austin. She eats, sleeps, and breathes poetry. It is her life. She has been published twice. Once in Eber & Wein's "Passport"anthology, and again in the America Library of Poetry's "Accolades"anthology. She hopes to one day touch the hearts and souls of the world with her words. 

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  • 01/27/15--10:42: Scott Vanya - One Poem
  • Right

    When you stop
           being a poet
    and start
           being a poem

    The World
            hugs you
    as if to say

            "Welcome home"

    Speed limits look like
           a good idea:
    All saying

              "Enjoy this moment
               as well as
               the next"

    Daylight dapples
            across your hands
    and face
           and dogs barking
    are
           "yourself".

    Just drifting off
            as if
    someone else
             wore your
    flesh.

    And "to write"
             means
     
            "to be"

    and

            "to be"

    means

           "to love".

    And all around
              are nothing
    but sweet
            sounds
    as words
            and
    they all
            are true.

    And it no longer
            matters if
    you seek nor understand.

    Just existing is enough.

    And it no longer matters

    whose hands write
            them, it,
            or
            us.

    Just children's
           voices
    filling up
           the emptiness
    where joy
           will soon reside.

    "forlorn""abstract"
    "real""imaginary"
    it is all
              chaff
              swept away
    by the words
             of what you
    once thought you were.

    To sit to be
    and smile with Grace
           and awe
           and wonder.

    That is what it is
            once the poet goes
    and all that is left
            is poem.

    a poem.

    All that is left
              is a poem.



    Scott Vanya is an Austin, TX area poet. He has been writing for a long time and favors sharing his work at open mics where he performs extemporaneously and plays guitar. His work has appeared in Walt’s Corner, Manna, Perigee, Chicago Literary Review, Mobius, Cosmic Trend, Pitchfork, Romantics Quarterly, Artisan, Pegasus, The Neovictorian, and The Blind Man's Rainbow. He is author of poetry collections, Free for an Unlimited Time, Conduit's of the Sublime, and CarryAway Seeds. He operates Open Mics Austin, a blogsite that archives various Austin area open mics and performances. 

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  • 01/28/15--07:00: Linda M. Crate - One Poem
  • New Beginning
     
    the winter has come
    blessed us with ice and snow,
    and the grumbling
    is enormous;
    but the cold never bothered me,
    and perhaps winter
    isn't the curse we want to believe it
    to be
    perhaps it's a new beginning
    killing everything in our lives that could
    destroy us if given the opportunity
    to breath past it's expiry,
    and the snow can be beautiful
    glittering like diamonds
    or sapphires when the blue of the sky is
    lost in its velvet skin;
    perhaps winter has not come to undo us,
    but make us stronger
    than we ever knew we could be
    sometimes the cold is a refreshing snap
    reminding us that we're alive,
    but like all remembrances sometimes she
    can be cruel;
    but i don't think old man winter is as
    evil as everyone would suggest.
     
     
     
    Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. She currently resides in Meadville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. Recently her two chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014) were published. Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic is forthcoming from Ravenswood Publishing.

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    Doubtful
     
    Doubtful
    Peal of clothes upon the back porch will
    Help her
    Feel the old exhilaration
    Back when
    No pangs of guilt
    Anonymous males
    Raked her leaves
    In moonlight shows of secrecy
    Their great dark eyes over the bare earth
    Scandalous moves repeated
    Never foreseeing
    This night
    Low rain clouds coming
    Self pity
     
    She shakes her head fighting it
    Stepping down the stairs
    Timid dance
    Naked titillation
    The years disappearing as the rain falls
    Washing her
    Down into the mud
    She smears herself with chocolate soil
     
    Something missing
    So unconnected
    She slumps in the shifting colors
    Pink skin gleaming
    Untouched
    By those youth-drugged hands
    Faceless smiles filling her
     
    She pushes them away
    On their backsides spread-eagled
    She clutches a brick from the flower bed
    Hurls it down
    Breaking their teeth
    Smashing their lolling tongues
    Yard crawling with snakes
    Escaping her
     
    Doubtful
    They’ll ever come back.
     
     
     
    The Pits
     
    You’ve always been what you are
    No matter how hard trying to change
     
    The days slip into familiar ruts
    Safety in the mundane and occasional venture
     
    Lift of an eye into the underworld glints
    Crawling home at dawn without your pants
     
    8 to 5 working and tolerating the gossip
    Always hoping someone will charge your battery
     
    Weekends too quick with too much of nothing
    Forcing yourself to watch church on T.V.
     
    Wanting to soak in the bathtub and fall asleep
    Never waking except in the blurry waters of dreams
     
    Coughing up your entire life over a plate of beans
    Picking through the ruins for a Cracker-Jack prize.
     
     
     
    Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to write in the middle of the night with a grin and a grimace and flame in his heart.He is the editor of Dead Snakes at deadsnakes.blogspot.com

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    The Art of the Stoic Face

    Wearing a hat to match her dress,
    Queen Elizabeth waved a gloved hand
    from balcony, carriage, and cathedral
    for four long Jubilee days.
    Her smile,
    like dentures hiding
    the absence of teeth,
    masked distress
    over pouring rain
    and the health of her husband,
    hospitalized before the celebration.

    At 86,
    and a lifetime in front of cameras,
    she is the stooped master of the stoic face.

    I wonder if she uses needles, injecting
    something akin to Novocain or Botox,
    to paralyze thoughts that wrinkle. 
    And if, when the cameras quit clicking,
    she is left, like I am,
    with phantom swelling in her cheeks
    and two dry sockets,
    no longer capable of tears.



    The White Flags of Spring

    They have sprouted
    on bare branches
    like fluffy white popcorn
    weeks before
    scarves and hats
    have been tossed in the closet
    to hibernate for the summer.

    And now, clutching each other
    in a brisk wind,
    frail petals cling courageously,
    stems joined in solidarity

    after yet another season
    of plunging Dow, pink slips,
    and Congressional gridlock.

    My steps quicken
    running towards them
    as if they were white flags
    on Red Cross trucks
    bringing bandages and bottled water
    and I was an embattled child
    with a dirt-streaked face.



    Author of the poetry chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum, published by Finishing Line Press and Stronger Than Cleopatra, published by ELJ Publications. Online at www.jacquelinejules.com.

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  • 02/01/15--07:00: Sudha Srivatsan - One Poem
  • Unforgiving

    A feeling so numb
    Like lost my little finger,
    Befriending the tail
    Gone missing for long
    A fragment of soul neatly exsected
    Long warped my mind with denial
    Content traded smartly
    For the organic melancholy
    Seeded in the soil of willing fault
    Like meaningful the whole life
    A residue so charming
    A sensation so blissful
    In the fullness of unwillingness
    To let go and forgive.




    Work due to appear in the Commonline Journal January 2015, Indiana Voice Journal April 2015 issue, winner of poetry contests and shortlisted for the Mary Charman Smith November 2014 Poetry Competition.

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