Category Archives : Poetry


“To: C-Jay” by Emily Anderson

my love is not a new love it has evolved over millennia;

i cannot say anything new about the feeling in my gut i have no revolutionary thoughts about

the afterlife i cannot tell you how to fix a pulled thread-

 

my love is not a new love it has fermented in the rotting grapes

it has fermented in the rotting grapes.

i have fermented in the rotting grapes.

it has germinated in the redwoods and i have died and been reborn.

 

i have endured frostbite and sunburns and stretched skin and scars from hot water

i have cracked but never crumbled

so i must be stronger than mountains.

 

you must be stronger than mountains.

 

my life has waxed and waned

i have watched the dirt rain down and shield me from the horror

i have been bathed in light cast from fluorescent bulbs and kerosene lamps and i have been baptized in

the sun-

i have watched black clouds collide and carve into the earth

like children with sticks in sand.

 

we have held seashells to our ears and listened closely.

we heard war

or were those waves crashing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emily Anderson is a creative writing major who moved from bustling Miami, Florida to the small village of Bidwell in the Ohio River Valley. She is a student at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and is currently working on her first novel.


“Pygmalion’s Dream” by Zachary Flint

Her lips cool as granite
Curves frozen in relentless beauty
My warmest desires forever rebuffed
She does not know me, though I have known her.

 

But in my dreams her lips respond
Sealing our love as the breeze touches her hair
Our hearts beat together with the eternal flame
I do not wish to wake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zachary Flint is a college student studying Mathematics in Boston, MA. His influences include but are not limited to: John Donne, Kurt Vonnegut, and his friend Mario. When he isn’t studying in Boston, he lives in Vermont with his parents because he has no money.


“Creatures of the Water” by David Hernandez

When I look at the El Paso Zoo’s alligator
resting in its pond, its eyes look back to me.

 

I try to imagine what it thinks:
“The gray clouds will engulf the light.
The rain will fall for a week
and send ripples throughout the pond.
The water will connect with the ground.
Light might pass through holes in the gray clouds
and send heat to warm my back.”

 

Then I try to imagine what it thinks of me:
“He probably needs a break from the heat.”

 

I walk to view the wolves by its side
and still its eyes stare back at me.

 

“When will he want to view the blue sky?
The heat makes you feel more alive
than the rain, which makes you sick
then puts you asleep.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.


“Militant Globetrotters” by Joseph Robert

We don’t believe in a cause
We believe in anything
That removes Society’s muzzle
& lets us gorge freely
On the blood of the brave
& lets us gnaw merrily
On the bones of the weak

 

Our dream is to become morality police
Empowered to behead the scum
Who used to live here
At the drop of a blade

 

Two war crimes make a right
To descend into sanctimonious savagery

 

Murder is the birthright
Of those made obstinate
Those born to the wrong clan
Them who won’t convert

 

We’ll get them gone
Gotta love our hate
Flexible problem solvers
We’ll go far

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Robert was longlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize 2015. His poetry has appeared in Decanto, Unlikely Stories, Dead Snakes, The Journal, Mistress Quickly’s Bed, Pyrokinection, The Commonline Journal, Mudjob, Spinozablue, Black Mirror, Message in a Bottle, Bluepepper, Eunoia Review, Inclement, Leaves of Ink, The Open End, The Open Mouse, and the Insert Coin Here anthology. His joint poetry chapbook with his poet wife, Leilanie Stewart, has been reviewed in Sabotage Magazine.


“59 O’clock” by Drew Marshall

The first day of Spring
When the thoughts
Of a late middle aged man
Turn to folly

 

A young lady walks
Several feet in front of me
With jeans
Painted on to her bulging butt

 

I’m on my way to the dentist
Tomorrow, a relative’s funeral
It’s not the first time
I witness a mother burying her son

 

Later that night, I am told
My neighbor’s daughter is dead
She died in a car accident
While upstate on vacation

 

My fears are irrelevant

 

It’s been years, if not decades
Since I have been this focused

 

The ass had faded

 

Only death is forever

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drew Marshall works as a Program Assistant in the mental health field. He has also worked as a Benefit Analyst and litigation paralegal. He enjoys practicing guitar and snorting vanilla scented candles.


“Risky Business” by Scott Thomas Outlar

Daredevil squirrels
up on the tightrope of life
leap on high
from one tree to the next.

 

The branches bend precariously,
sagging beneath the new weight,
and every time I watch
I just pray
that I never have to witness
a snap followed by a splatter.

 

After all, I’ve certainly seen
enough bloodshed in the streets
so far this season
as speeding mammals
with heavy feet
simply cannot swerve in time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott Thomas Outlar spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the ever-changing currents of the Tao River while laughing at and/or weeping over life’s existential nature. His chapbook Songs of a Dissident is available from Transcendent Zero Press, and his words have appeared recently in venues such as Words Surfacing, Yellow Chair Review, Dissident Voice, Section 8 Magazine, and Void Magazine17numa.wordpress.com


“Rainy Day in Baseballland” by Joe DeMarco

It was a rainy day in Baseballland
The players were home in bed
One rookie rolled over his eyelids a flutter
With dreams of a stand-up triple running through his head

 

The cleats and spikes were all on hooks
Along with mitts, bats, and caps
And even Cal Ripken Jr. had settled down
For a long summer’s nap

 

Outside the rain was pouring down
While puddles drenched the field
But little Eric Hopkins came to play
And his imagination refused to yield

 

His mitt lay soggy in a puddle
And his sleeves were drenched with rain
As his hands clenched a cold bat with a hope
“That springs eternal in the human brain.”

 

Little Eric threw the ball up swung and missed,
And the umpire bawked, “Strike one!”
He tapped his cleats, picked up the ball, and reminded the ghost crowd,
“This rain won’t ruin our fun.”

 

For little Eric loved the game
And he loved the feel of stitched leather in his hands
As he waved to his mom, who sat with his fabricated wife
And his invented kids up there in the fantasy stands

 

And now the imaginary pitcher holds the ball
And now he lets it go
But little Eric swung and missed again
Which made two strikes in a row

 

He metaphorically dusted himself off
And picked up the ball once more
For often he wished that instead of three strikes
The batter could get four

 

But today he realized, it was his day
His wishes were his commands
So as he squeezed the water from his jersey
He raised his finger toward the left-field stands

 

He was Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr.,
and Barry Bonds all together
And anything you said about lightning or thunder
Wouldn’t be getting him out of this weather

 

For in his head the sun was shining
And the grass was green and dry
And he sent that low and away 0-2 pitch
Like a rocket into the sky

 

And he arrogantly trotted around the bases
Stepped on third and headed toward home plate
While his mother yelled from down the street,
“Dinner’s cold and you are late!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph DeMarco was born in New York City; he lived most of his life in Buffalo, NY. He now teaches seventh grade on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. He is the author of the novels Plague of the Invigilare, The 4 Hundred and 20 Assassins of Emir Abdullah-Harazins, At Play in the Killing Fields, and Blind Savior, False Prophet. He is currently working on several new projects.  (authorsden.com/josephdemarco)


“Recovery” by Colleen Redman

I wake cold turkey like clockwork
to the sound of your car in the driveway
Solitude is the fix I want to alone with
but I fear the confinement
and my tolerance for abandonment is low

 

I try not to think
about the clutter in the basement
or the rain washing foundations away
I recreate my life like puzzle
Is everyone safe in their place?

 

I count the hours I’ve slept
like an addict counts pills
and then loses track

 

Sometimes I fall back to sleep
and imagine I’ll never wake up
or I stare out the window
at the tree losing leaves
and wait for an urge to take shape

 

The unexpected poem
like a dream just recalled
is an escape route
that gets my attention

 

It’s the secret life I depend on
and the recovery I faithfully follow
It’s the mystery I was made
to be hooked on

 

 

 

 

 

Colleen Redman writes and provides photography for The Floyd Press newspaper in Virginia. Her poems have appeared in Mothering Magazine, We’moon Journal, Floyd County Moonshine, and Artemis Journal. Online publications that have featured her poetry include Della Donna, Poetry24, and Clutching at Straws. She blogs daily at looseleafnotes.com. “Dear Abby, How can I get rid of freckles?” was her first published piece at the age of 11.


“Proximity” by Rowena Ilagan

You circle your arms around me,
Bring my body close to yours.
Your lips claim mine in a hurry
Lighting a thousand little flames
Under my skin.
I hear you groan…
A deep sweet rumbling
from your chest.
My body is singing,
humming–
Dancing in time with yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rowena Ilagan is a freelance writer living in beautiful Redondo Beach, CA. When not writing, she is pursuing one of her many jobs and interests, including martial arts, counseling, and metaphysical studies. (facebook.com/rowena.ilagan.16)


“The Art of War” by Al Rocheleau

When all trees fall
instead of one
do they make noise
if, when it’s done
it’s deafened as it stunned
the village
and villagers
in dell before it?

 

And what of the usual
raff, the pillagers
(elected of hell),
the Visigoth, Eulan, Arab,
and American,
one in rushes by a Mekong
flat, replete with lorries
and rat-a-tat, the little, late plumes
or, predictable
as Dakota dawns

 

the counting cold, then heat
of the very
long?

 

No answers. The
questions are wrong.

 

One figures, figures
then forgets philosophy
for the simple sings
of good war-songs, the sex of hate
as all the meatmen, we, in silkslings, pulled
and always hither milled
by one good clapping hand,

 

arbiter and profligate,
the us and it, so
ever stupid still
lies still

 

and strong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Al Rocheleau‘s work has appeared in publications in the US and abroad, including Confrontation, Evansville Review, Illuminations, Studio One, Van Gogh’s Ear, Iodine Poetry Journal, and Poetry Salzburg Review. He is the recipient of the Thomas Burnett Swann Poetry Prize, and author of the manual On Writing Poetry. His Twelve Chairs Poetry Course, accredited by the Florida State Poets Association, includes scholarships for high school students.


“Boardwalk” by Zachary Flint

She was just a girl
On the boardwalk
Smiling at me between
Licks of ice cream

 

Brown eyes consume my thoughts
Dark hair invades my dreams
But I walked away, afraid
For I was just a boy.

 

 

 

 

 

Zachary Flint is a college student studying Mathematics in Boston, MA. His influences include but are not limited to: John Donne, Kurt Vonnegut, and his friend Mario. When he isn’t studying in Boston, he lives in Vermont with his parents because he has no money.


“Quiet” by Eric Burbridge

A cloud of pollen surrounded the machine
I sneezed and finished the landscaping
Sunlight pierced the haze and stimulated the imagination
I reclined the glove soft leather

 

Pretty faces spread news and fear on high definition pixels
DVR temptation distracted momentarily
Discipline prevailed
And the power button restored tranquility

 

Sunlight drenched the family room
A squirrel paused on the window sill
It nibbled on an acorn and moved on
Admiration of a manicured landscape soothed wounded creativity
What beauty will come out of the silence?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Burbridge retired from public service after thirty-five years. Every since that wonderful day he has devoted himself to writing fiction and poetry.


“The Bite is Always Worse Than the Bark” by Colleen Redman

Worse than being bit
when I was eight years old
was the shame I felt
having to pull up my skirt
and pull down my pants
to show the doctor

 

Almost as bad as that
were the jokes that followed
and never having a dignified way
to say bum, butt, rear-end or fanny

 

For years I dreamt of growling dogs
German Shepherds that wouldn’t let me pass
at the school bus stop corner
of Spring Street and Nantasket Ave

 

I faced them down
Somewhere in my 30s
when my dreams changed from barking dogs
to being lost in strange cities

 

Worse than being bit
when I was eight years old
was being bit again at 65
being targeted then marked
with a vampire-like imprint
in the same place twice
for no reason

 

It seems that dog bites can be recurring
like bronchitis or ear infections
and that childhood bogeymen come back and bite
like dreams can bleed into your real life

 

And when you’re bit you in the ass
you have to ask “what is the metaphor
for this chewing out?”
What immunity have I been inoculated against?
What symmetry of destiny?
What betrayal?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colleen Redman writes and provides photography for The Floyd Press newspaper in Virginia. Her poems have appeared in Mothering Magazine, We’moon Journal, Floyd County Moonshine, and Artemis Journal. Online publications that have featured her poetry include Della Donna, Poetry24, and Clutching at Straws. She blogs daily at looseleafnotes.com. “Dear Abby, How can I get rid of freckles?” was her first published piece at the age of 11.


“Her Nursing Home Eyes” by Robert L. Porter, Jr.

At first she was bright and attentive,
Laughing at many things.
But slowly her musings diminished;
That is what Alzheimer’s brings.

 

Initially her eyes seemed normal,
But their glow began to ebb,
Progressing ever so surely,
Like a spider builds her web.

 

The light in her eyes grows dimmer,
Diminishing every day.
The sparkle, the gleam, and the glitter
Are slowly fading away.

 

She often looks without seeing –
Displaying a vacant stare;
It’s hard to hold her attention;
Distractions loom everywhere.

 

It’s hurtful to watch her vanishing,
And difficult to scribe this rhyme,
Explaining the tug at my heartstrings
With each painful passage of time.

 

It’s no small task to communicate
This ache that I feel inside;
I utter goodbye every visit
With tears that I cannot hide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert L. Porter, Jr. is retired. He spent many entrepreneurial years in the computer industries, but retired as a vice president in the financial/brokerage industry. He has written poems for over 40 years, but only began seeking publication in 2015. He had a father who read stories and poems of the masters to him; and he developed a fondness for Longfellow, J. W. Riley, Poe, and many, many others. After escaping the business world, Bob has had more time to spend with his life-long passion: poetry. Improving the style and substance of his poems is his continuing focus.


“Frigid Night” by Michael Britton

Cold, frigid night

Chugging and gasping against the wall of my breath.

The sharp air nips and bites my ear-curl

And freezes my eyeballs.

 

I pull my hat down a bit tighter to my skull box

As my knees become stiffened and bitter.

The worn soles of my boots crunch through the sleet-encrusted snow.

O tempest wind! Your fury ices my organs to their core.

 

Winter is a beast

And strong muscled as it wipes clean the trembling trees.

Voices ache and cry

And snap against the smothered snow…

and become silent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Britton is originally from Delaware, but currently lives in South Jersey with his wife and three cats.


“The Real World” by Albert Ruggiero

I walk the dog Puck, or rather, he walks me.
He pulls on the leash wanting to leave the ordinary
World behind. He stops, looks back, stares, and sighs,
Waiting for the sixty-five year old human to catch up.
My eyes sparkle, my cheeks burn rosy,
My chest aches for adventure.

 

After grooming, the Shih-chan looks like a white rat
Perched on short white legs. He puts his black nose
To the ground, sniffs, and picks up
The savory scent of a strange dog.
I count on him to show me the way.

 

At the end of the driveway, the little grey sparrows use
The hedges as a playground and shelter. Their peeps
Mix with the familiar bedlam of their flapping wings.
I chuckle at their frenetic love of life.

 

My journey takes us past single-family ranch-style homes.
A whisper, a desperate cry tickles my ear, pulls me up the hill
Toward a stand of lonely white pine.
The mournful song puts
It’s soft cheek next to my heart.

 

At the top of the hill
A blue uniformed guard patrols the street,
Directing traffic around orange cones,
Plastic horses, a large blinking florescent arrow.
Both resenting the delay in our journey,
I frown and my ears get red,
And Puck growls as we walk around the chaotic space.

 

A bottomless hole stares back up at us
As we delicately tip-toe by,
Sensing a force pulling us into the abyss.
Puck wines with fear, trying to pull me back down
The hill to the real world.

 

We have entered an unusual realm of strange powers and events.
My hair bristles and my muscles tighten
As the scream of a hawk, and behind me, the taunting “caw”
Of the crows echo through the halls of the trees.
The sun throws shafts of light through the yellow oak leaves
radiating an orange glow to the forest.

 

The white pine leans over and whispers in my ear,
“Please put my children in the soil, they are dying.”
I grab the cones and push them into the ground with my palm.

 

Across the street, three old maids, extremely independent,
Old, and reclusive, push aside the shades
And peak out their windows.
They are pale, squalid, and squat, with swollen knees,
With foul air blasting from their nostrils, ooze
Dripping from their eyes.
They grab at their chance, passing a monocle
To each other, at once holding it up to their eye.

 

I’ve seen them taunted by mischievous children.
“Look at the witches,” they shout,
Then run away into the woods.

 

The witches in unison twitch their pointer finger,
Beckoning me to come near,
But a dark-face Mastif barks
And growls warning me to stay away.

 

We reach the final leg of the journey when we are
Caught in the pocket of a cul-de-sac.
Perplexed, we look everywhere for a way out.
We believe the enemy has led us into the dead-end
To confuse, befuddle, and mystify us.

 

We spy the familiar orange radio towers
Scraping the belly of the sky like three needles.
They are pointers to home.

 

Puck pulls me through a hole in the chain-link fence.
The brambles clutch at my pants, snag at my sleeve,
Trying to keep me in their world.
My palms sweat and I bite my lip.

 

But Puck leads me onto a narrow, often-used deer path.
The trail curves down into a valley and then
Up to the top of a hill filled with weeping willows.

 

The next sunny day, alone, I go to the top of the hill.
Believe it or not, the signs, the guard,
The hole in the ground, and the witch’s house
Are gone, melted away into the darkness of the night.

 

If the truth be known, I yearn for that kingdom,
And wonder if there is any magic left in our real world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albert Ruggiero is a baby-boomer, so his view of the world has always been through his glasses of the 50′s, but his stories are filled with hope and a view of the future.  He is the author of two short-story collections; “The Curious Boy and Other Short Stories” and “Bestride the Narrow World,” and the novels “Wilson’s Wall” and “Daughter of God and Man.”


“The Goddess and Dostoyevsky” by Scott Thomas Outlar

Mercy me,
your beauty is too much
to bear…
I have to slip away,
but cannot help
to turn back
and steal just one last glance
to satisfy an urge
I know will never be fulfilled.

 

Some sugar
is too sweet
for this soured soul
that has escaped underground
in search of soiled answers
of questions far too existential
to ever reveal
the true nature of their core,
no matter how far
one burrows
beneath the earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott Thomas Outlar spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the ever-changing currents of the Tao River while laughing at and/or weeping over life’s existential nature. His chapbook Songs of a Dissident is available from Transcendent Zero Press, and his words have appeared recently in venues such as Words Surfacing, Yellow Chair Review, Dissident Voice, Section 8 Magazine, and Void Magazine17numa.wordpress.com


“Remedy” by Colleen Redman

If you are quiet
be loud
If you are loud
be quiet

 

Don’t laugh
if you don’t get the joke
Don’t cheat
Wear red

 

If you are generous
be frugal
If you are frugal
be generous

 

Give away
all your ill fitting clothes
Give up your place in line

 

It’s okay to ask
for directions
There is no bush to beat around

 

Fall asleep smiling
Don’t set the alarm
Wake up on the wrong side
of the bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colleen Redman writes and provides photography for The Floyd Press newspaper in Virginia. Her poems have appeared in Mothering Magazine, We’moon Journal, Floyd County Moonshine, and Artemis Journal. Online publications that have featured her poetry include Della Donna, Poetry24, and Clutching at Straws. She blogs daily at looseleafnotes.com. “Dear Abby, How can I get rid of freckles?” was her first published piece at the age of 11.


“My Surrounds” by John Grey

Dawn, lumberjacks are aching
to chain-saw a stand of trees.
Down at the docks,
fishermen already dressed for the damp,
unloosen their boats from the jetty.
Hunter’s up early, rifle in hand,
following tracks or stalking a blur of brown.
Nature’s like an early morning person.
It often happens just as the sun shows up.
I rise later to what sounds
like giant bees buzzing
or the kick of motors
as they split the watery surface
or the crack of a gun.
I went to bed with
the howl of a coyote,
the lapping of waters,
the rustle of an oak.
And I woke up alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions, and the anthology No Achilles, with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Coal City Review, and Nebo.


“Car Radios” by Thomas M. McDade

My reading at an open-mic included poems
of my youthful drive from Pawtucket, Rhode Island
to Boulder, Colorado in a hurting ’55 Ford
and its radio that occasionally squeezed
out a hum between increasingly loud engine knocks.
And no word of a lie, pulling out of the parking lot
it was as if my radio had listened in,
sympathized and empathized
with its long departed faulty brethren.
Without whimper, ear-splitting bang,
or roar, my 2010 Kia Forte sound system
that included both satellite and Bluetooth
just upped and expired, and presto:
I was back on Route 80 in Lincoln, Nebraska,
500 miles away from my destination, and after
an overnight stop at the Rambler Motel in North
Platte, Nebraska I white knuckled it
into Boulder, but no here and now
pale paws driving home,
and I wasn’t broke as at the end
of my journey west.
I bought a junkyard radio and magically
managed to pull the old and install the new
without wrecking dashboard
or electrical.
I wonder often what happened to the Kia
where my recycled radio once lived.
A lemon, victim of despair?
A death car, accident occurring
on Route 80 West?
What song was playing
when the first responders arrived?
Could have been switched off,
the driver filling in the eerie
silences between lines
of a poem perceived as prophetic
in a sparsely attended coffeehouse—
microphone crackling.

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas M. McDade is a former computer programmer / analyst now residing in Fredericksburg, VA, previously CT and RI.  He is a graduate of Fairfield University who did two tours of duty in the U.S. Navy.   He has also been published in Abbreviate Poetry Journal.