Category Archives : Poetry


“Alleys” by d.w. moody

alleys

 

that bend and wind
like rivers
spiraling off as tributaries that hide behind
the streets of the city

 

around the dilapidated apartment complex
where we live

 

like tunnels carved through the hidden spaces
of the bursting boiling festering city

 

whose traffic flows by raucously

and where people shout in angry bursts

 

the alleys branch out

 

our secret passages
that we take
to school
the store
to our friend’s house

 

the alleys

 

with old furniture falling apart
graffitied trash cans

left-behind tires

and broken glass
from parties sadly ended
reminders of lives left behind
where stray cats prowl
searching for food and shelter
mewling afraid in the darkness
under skies that pour
oceans of pain

 

in alleys we wander

 

 

 

 

 

 

d.w. moody grew up between California and the Midwest.  He has lived on the streets, hitchhiked around the country, and held a variety of jobs in Kansas and Southern California until settling into life as a librarian.  His poems have appeared in Shemom, The Avalon Literary Review, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine.


“Behind Cold Walls” by Ted Aronis

now that I am at that point I see what he was talking about
now that I’ve lived this long I understand his words
he taught me valuable lessons that I had been too young to learn
he told me it was all about choices, choices that put us here

 

perhaps I was not old enough or wise enough
not prepared to pass these lessons on
perhaps too young and making decisions before the path had begun
staring blindly before the track was laid

 

he warned me it could go this way, driving
driving while still having to pay, headstrong unwilling to sway
I thought I knew better than he, my mistake
my bond to hold tight in my own foolishness

 

I thought it was ready to pass it on
I thought I had seen enough, my mistake
for one I love, through my lack of guidance
paid with days he cannot get back

 

my son, I have let you down, the hour was late with the word
you went that night as a boy and fate and pain forced you on
forced you on into an early manhood, days lost, forever lost
wearing the green, waiting for us, behind cold walls

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ted Aronis (1961-2017) was an engineer, father, and grandfather.


“Making Guacamole at Midnight” by A.M. Pattison

Running through the sprinklers
before telling him goodbye
she thought about making guacamole
scraping the green from its black shell

 

He’s going to fight in Iraq
He doesn’t know what he’s fighting for
And she wishes he could stay
They could have made love
a second time before he left

 

The night before she asked
if he was afraid
he said it’s only human
He was cleaning his gun
and she half joked, told him
not to shoot her, and he took
it seriously, said her name,
“It’s not loaded”

 

And she tilted her head back
so he and the walls wouldn’t see
the tears licking her eyelids
Went to the kitchen and ate another cookie
said she’d start her new diet on Monday

 

She was wearing bright orange and white
Her hair strung out as it wetted
and she laughed and lay down for bed
wishing he would lie next to her

 

But some other girl claimed him
and made a scene about telling him goodbye

 

That’s why she had said nonchalantly
“Give me a hug so I can go to bed”

 

Chest pressed against damp breasts
she inhaled the side of his neck
his shaggy hair cut off with a number one
gelled up, so unlike his natural style

 

Listened to outside’s muffled conversation
Late into the night till 3 AM
Decided she wouldn’t park
in his space again while the tears
joined her head on the pillow
like a wash of confetti
from the corners of her eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

A.M. Pattison is an assistant professor of English at Alabama State University in Montgomery, where she teaches composition, creative writing, and literature. She currently serves on the editorial board of Whale Road Review. Her poems have appeared in Failed Haiku, Roadrunner, Oysters & Chocolate, and Southwestern Review.


“The Question” by Ted Mc Carthy

Always, I see now

I have been asking the wrong question:

not “Where are you?” but “How did you get there?”

Dragged in a river I know to be the same,

whose course has shifted day by day,

I cannot bear to face the sea,

I stay afloat by looking back.

 

 

 

 

 

Ted Mc Carthy is a poet and translator living in Clones, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines in Ireland, the UK, Germany, the USA, Canada, and Australia. He has had two collections published; November Wedding and Beverly Downs.  (tedmccarthyspoetry.weebly.com)


“Four Poster” by Peter Savigny

Half the pillows
Upon my bed
Are never used
To rest my head.

 

I stay just on
The side I sleep
The floor below
My slippers keep.

 

I have no cause
To cross the line
It’s been that way
For quite some time.

 

The covers stay
So nicely pressed
The taught white sheets
Are never messed.

 

Perhaps one day
I’ll toss and turn
With love and lust
And fury burn.

 

To toss the sheets
Both far and wide
The way I did
With my new bride
When she would pull
Me deep inside
And passion took
Us on a ride.

 

Maybe that half
Serves as a shrine
An untouched ode
To better times.

 

One night I think
When lights are dim
I’ll go around
And slip right in.

 

Then nestle deep
As sleepers do
To see my room
From this new view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Savigny is a 25-year art director in television turned poet and sculptor. He is an avid change artist and experientialist.  (timestories.com)


“Drug of Choice” by Kaitlyn Pratt

I wonder about her
empty brown bottles, dirty wine glasses
that reach her height high above happiness.
Drowning in
the drug of choice,
merlot, bud, or her own self-worth she sips
and gulps until she hits her low.

 

Her body lies in soaking pearl carpet
one hand stretched, the other
reaching for
the drug of choice.
Eyes glazed and blood filled to the rim as
depressants stream through her vitals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kaitlyn Pratt is in the process of obtaining a Creative Writing Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University.  She writes what she sees and what she feels. She lives in San Jose, CA and enjoys every second of it.


“Dream Catchers” by Steve DeFrance

Things
are
what they
are.
Coloring Jupiter green
won’t make it so.

 

Yesterday’s meaning
was for yesterday—
today the sun comes up
on another planet
entirely.

 

One night’s sleep
divides us
from an uncertain past.

 

The dead & the living
can’t mix often except
in poetry or dreams
where everyone’s illustrated
in a few fictive lines

 

purple cows here or there—as words
exculpate whatever they please.

 

Until they don’t and then
they damn the very thing
they’ve once raved about.

 

One minute now
until this day’s cares disappear.
Daylight hisses into dark,
and night barges into the frightened
corners of our mind—until at last,
the eternal stage manager lowers our curtain,
and consciousness skips,
among stars & rampaging raptors,
slipping right off the spinning earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve DeFrance is a widely published poet, playwright, and essayist both in America and Great Britain.  In England, he won a Reader’s Award in Orbis Magazine for his poem “Hawks.”  In the United States, he won the Josh Samuels’ Annual Poetry Competition (2003) for his poem “The Man Who Loved Mermaids.”  His play The Killer had it’s world premiere at the Garage Theatre in Long Beach, California (Sept-October 2006).  He has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Chapman University for his writing.


“With Smiles and Photographs” by E.V. Wyler

Sparkling like the midday sun, resting

on the sea’s crystalized horizon, Emily looked

lovely, smiling in her royal blue cap and gown,

touching the golden tassel on her mortarboard,

topped with the words “Thanks Mom and Dad.”

Tassels on the right turn to the left; Emily poses

with classmates and poses with family;

each segment of her day is punctuated

with smiles and photographs…

 

Three days after the graduation,

we fly Jet Blue to Orlando, visiting

4 Disney parks in 5 days…

With our skin sautéing in sweat and

sunscreen, we repeat the tourists’ ritual:

pose… smile… click…

until it makes us all impatient and cranky

(because there is no “fast pass”

for smiles and photographs…)

 

Five days after the family vacation,

a large U-Haul truck backs out of our driveway,

heading towards Chicago and Emily’s new job,

studio apartment, and her next life’s chapter…

Yet, in Emily’s old bedroom, on top of her empty

dresser, there’s still the mortarboard

that reads “Thanks Mom and Dad,” and on

our closet shelf, there is a new album, filled

with smiles and photographs…

 

 

 

 

 

 

E.V. “Beth” Wyler grew up in Elmont, NY.  At 43, she obtained her associate’s degree from Bergen Community College.  She and her husband, Richard, share their empty nest with 3 cats and a beta fish.

a middle-aged homemaker and poet who lives in New Jersey with 3 children, 3 cats, 2 beta fish, and her husband, Richard. Her poems have been featured in The Storyteller, WestWard Quarterly, Feelings of the Heart, Nuthouse, The Pine Times, The Pink Chameleon, The Rotary DialVox Poetica, and on The Society of Classical Poets‘ website.


“The Library” by d.w. moody

rows and rows of books

so orderly and clean

unlike the streets we play on

 

the light warm and inviting

unlike the shadows

from the buildings on our block

at night

 

the smile genuine

no ulterior motive

and as usual she greets me

as if truly glad to see me again

recalling things I’ve said

weeks or months before

finding one more magical book

to transport me

away from the grime and violence

 

in that moment

I know I am always welcome

not as a poor dirty kid

but just like everyone else

I hold back tears

that want to wash across my face

I wish I want I need

everyday to feel like this

 

 

 

 

 

d.w. moody grew up between California and the Midwest.  He has lived on the streets, hitchhiked around the country, and held a variety of jobs in Kansas and Southern California until settling into life as a librarian.  His poems have appeared in Shemom, The Avalon Literary Review, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine.


“Local Glamor Queen” by John Grey

She longed to be made into a movie,

see her life on the big screen

in three different theaters at the multiplex,

a dazzling presence blinding

a string of male co-stars

while the audience looked on in awe

and dollars rained down on her.

 

She was weary of her ordinary life;

the job behind the fingernail polish counter

at a local department store,

the shame of a third floor apartment

that she shared with two roommates-in-kind.

 

She filled her imagination

with characters and storylines.

Surely, she told herself,

it’s only a matter of time

before the cameras begin rolling.

 

But Hollywood looked elsewhere

when she sauntered down the street

in dark glasses, tight jeans,

and the fox wrap

with the tiny stuffed head at one end.

 

She turned the heads of some guys

who wouldn’t even make it as extras

in her fantasy world,

and construction workers whistled

from on high,

but none of what she was

ever made it onto celluloid.

The best she could do was

pick up a credit or two

in some poems I was writing.

But I didn’t show them to her.

Her CV never knew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Grey is an Australian poet and US resident.  He has been published New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Big Muddy Review, Louisiana Review, Cape Rock, and Spoon River Poetry Review.


“August Farewell” by Linda Barrett

On August’s last day,

the sinking sun bleeds red in the west.

From an open car window,

The radio blares Sinatra’s “The Rest of Your Life”

The clouds hover around the descending sun

Their flat palms turn purple

Cupping over the flame of the day

Back ground Violins weep as Sinatra pleads

To the unknown woman in his song

Does he cry out because she’s leaving

Or because August is departing

And taking the summer with her?

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Barrett seemed to be born with a pen in her hand, or so her mother says.  As a prolific poet, she won the Montgomery County Community College Writer’s Group Contest four times over a period of years.  She lives in Abington, a Philadelphia suburb.  Her work is featured in Twisted Sister Literary Magazine and Night To Dawn Horror Magazine.


“Swimming to the Moon” by Steve DeFrance

Tonight my fingers stiffly stumble across

my keyboard as my mind is repulsed,

as I am frightened of this task, as I am afraid

of the pain of thought, as my spirit fills & trembles

with the mystery in words.

Words that once flashed

in the eyes of the dying,

words that fade into a wet cough,

words brushing past the living

with silken lips as cold as marble,

their frightened gasps merge into darkness.

Ancient images tumble into my mind, I pass the

rough tips of my short fingers across my

damp forehead—very carefully as I

rehearse for my passage to the moon,

knowing all of us will have to make this swim

through skin and blood and memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve DeFrance is a widely published poet, playwright, and essayist both in America and Great Britain.  In England, he won a Reader’s Award in Orbis Magazine for his poem “Hawks.”  In the United States, he won the Josh Samuels’ Annual Poetry Competition (2003) for his poem “The Man Who Loved Mermaids.”  His play The Killer had it’s world premiere at the Garage Theatre in Long Beach, California (Sept-October 2006).  He has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Chapman University for his writing.


“A Love Note for John C.” by Jimmie Ware

The second set was over and I showed no emotion as a seductive storm brewed beneath my skin in this smoky room of half empty glasses of beer

 

His forehead drenched with sax sweat and his well tailored suit wore him so well, he was jazz in human form and I longed for his sheet music

 

I sat quietly hair styled in a sophisticated French roll black seamed stockings adorned my crossed legs, red lipstick accentuating my sultry expressions for I dare not smile

 

I absorbed every note knowing they were written for me I could feel the cadence of his saxophone sonnets translating poetically to my soul

 

He reappears from backstage and stands before a dark velvet curtain as the spotlight glistens on his handsome face he wipes his lips with a white handkerchief…it is time

 

Lips to sax, heaven floats from his horn and I lift one brow, secretly tap one foot and politely refuse yet another drink from across the room

 

I cannot look away, his lovely notes command my attention with such musical finesse as he creates unforgettable memories

 

Tonight, time stands still and my heart applauds his genius, I sway softly as a subtle yet lovely tune fills this place, I am unable to prevent tears from falling as he deliberately invades my emotions

 

He is beyond beautiful, he is complex, spiritual and charming with a daunting presence, he is the epitome of musical devotion

 

How easily his gospel goes blues… I long to worship at the altar of this rhythm after all that jazz

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmie Ware is the founder of The Black Feather Poets in Anchorage, AK.  She is a freelance writer who has been published in several anthologies as well as two books, including Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems.  (facebook.com/jimmie.ware2)


“The Magic Kingdom” by d.w. moody

the first time

entering those gates

bedecked with the smiles of that giant mouse

my older brother and sister were beaming

their joy

their excitement

bubbling off of them infecting everyone

so that my dad’s eyes for once shown with such delight

having forgotten for a moment

the struggles to keep his kids

to provide for them a home all their own

having forgotten the daily worries to keep afloat

while I bounced and bounded along

looking up to each

 

we eagerly waited in that too-long line to ride

the rushing speeding coaster sailing through the dark

with screams echoing through the void

 

that I took for yells of terror

and as we came out of the dark

my brother boiled

my father

frustrated

 

I did not ride that day

nor did my brother

 

 

 

 

 

 

d.w. moody grew up between California and the Midwest.  He has lived on the streets, hitchhiked around the country, and held a variety of jobs in Kansas and Southern California until settling into life as a librarian.  His poems have appeared in Shemom, The Avalon Literary Review, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine.


“That Teenager” by Kaitlyn Pratt

Puberty takes over

With lust in mind

She lets him in–now.

Following what she learned from

Her mother

To drink, leave, disregard.

Footsteps she follows

Carelessly

Through catastrophe; love

Ruined once again.

 

Does she love me

Does he love me

Do I love me

Let’s drink either way.

Reckless souls twisted from

Her memory

Still not there, she hides from me

Lies, betrayal, childhood

Scratched on wood by

Bloody nails.

 

Bare souls linked

Together

She holds the chain,

Never restores or states the truth

She doesn’t care for me.

I can’t escape, her wrath;

She has this hold on me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kaitlyn Pratt is in the process of obtaining a Creative Writing Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University.  She writes what she sees and what she feels. She lives in San Jose, CA and enjoys every second of it.


“Sending Messages by Text” by David Hernandez

A plane from El Paso, TX
finally arrives in Sarasota, Florida.

 

A planned vacation for the writer
has him passing several food courts,
waiting in the baggage claim.

 

Free from a simple town,
the writer plans to see
the aquariums, art museums, zoos,
beaches, and other attractions
throughout Florida.

 

A mailbox waits to send his letter, encased in an envelope,
yet the writer refuses to endure another unanswered response.

 

Why should I write to them?
A shadow without a body,
whose friendships were never honored,
was seen without a purpose.
With fish as my companions
and the presence of a shadow,
I could finally live as a writer
without the mood to visit anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Hernandez is from El Paso, TX. He has also been published by Down in the Dirt Magazine, CC&D Magazine, Feelings of the Heart, Home Planet News Online, Oxford Magazine, Eye on Life Magazine, and Zylophone Poetry Journal.


“Easy Fit” by John Grey

An epiphany

or maybe a flashback to

her younger years -

she bypasses her usual safe mall clothing store

for the innest of the in boutiques.

 

The music blares songs she’s never

heard before, wispy female vocals

over jackhammer beats.

 

And the other customers are half her age,

barely out of their teens most of them

and, in the dressing room,

she overhears conversations

about parties on the East Side

and something called “ecstasy.”

 

She struggles to fit into a pair of jeans

but her belly’s uncooperative

and the zipper fights in vain

to turn back the years.

 

Thankfully, one of the help,

a girl dressed all in black,

leads her, like a mother with her child,

toward a small stack of a style called “easy fit.”

She makes a purchase without even trying it on.

 

Later, she sits at the coffee shop,

sipping a latte,

while her latest acquisition

rests on the chair beside her,

with the logo showing proudly.

 

Awkward, out of place,

a great risk to her self-esteem,

and yet, as that shopping bag proclaims,

she did it.

 

If anyone were to ask,

she’d tell them, really,

it was an easy fit.

 

 

 

 

 

John Grey is an Australian poet and US resident.  He has been published New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Big Muddy Review, Louisiana Review, Cape Rock, and Spoon River Poetry Review.


“Piano” by Linda Fuchs

I watched in horror as my dad chopped up our piano.
Getting ready to move he said
“I’m not moving that damn thing again.”

 

8 years old, I desperately wanted to play.
I dreamed of the day I could have lessons.
As one of twelve, I had to wait my turn.

 

Wood splintered and piano wires snapped
springing and sproinging.
He heaved chunks into the fireplace.

 

Mother with red eyes, silently turned away
walked into her bedroom and closed the door.

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Fuchs was born the fourth child of twelve in northern Ohio.  She states that she is one of the lucky ones that are ambidextrous and believes having a brain that works that way helps her to be both technical and creative.  Linda has had three books published; The Midnight Ramblings of an Insane Woman, Life’s Complexities, and Healing Times.  She has also had more than 150 poems published in various literary journals.


“The Piper Talent” by Elizabeth Shelnutt

I am a pied piper’s daughter,
curly bangs and gaunt alike,
but I lack the same snuff the sire was made of.

 

Many I led through the streets,
many I was wont to leave in peace.

 

But, I am a pied piper’s daughter,
and his will be done.

 

I chatter, I charm,
I spin miles of yarn.
All the same year round for a long time.

 

Women, men, the young were best,
I did it all at his behest.

 

I am the pied piper’s daughter,
and his will be undone.

 

My pipe has long since rusted,
my voice box soon to be busted.
My charm’s all but dried up.

 

I’ll never be the same snuff,
so I’ll stop being, thinking, and existing.
That I am, and will forever be known, a pied piper’s son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Shelnutt is a college student in the South who has been writing poetry as an emotional outlet since middle school.  Their style has become more abstract as they’ve been adapting to the stresses of college life.  (twitter.com/toasttotheroast)