Poetry from Merrell Miles

Dirty Desperation 
I carefully grab a fork from the yellow-stained sink,

dip it under the rushing chlorine-saturated water,
which scalds my hand, hot like a nice shower.
I plop the filthy fork into the naturally white (but now
a nice shade of secondhand) and red checkered dish
rag, scrubbing away toxic gunk that grew around its
edges in the sink while I ignored the souring dishes
for a couple of weeks. The gross pieces
make my stomach shift and shake like a child’s leg
under a mouse.
Here I stand, washing dishes at midnight,
and wishing that I could do the same with life.

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Short fiction from Doug Hawley

Prodigal Father

Duke’s Story Part One – I was drinking Black Butte Porter at my favorite bar after a miserable day at work. I’m the actuary at an insurance company that is losing money and possibly having its rating lowered. I tried to tell the president that we need to raise rates, but the marketing head was fighting me all the way. The bad news at work led down a dark hallway into everything else I hated about my life. Here I was in my fifties with few friends, little family left and not much to show for all the years. Wife Sally was about my only joy. The more I drank, the more I started to slide towards depression.

I had had my head down concentrating on my beer and was surprised to see a guy looking at me. Even stranger, he looked a lot like my late father had when he was in his thirties. Dad had done weightlifting in his youth and was totally studly before becoming obese. Except for eye color and his prematurely graying wavy hair, he could have been my father fifty years ago.

I left when I got to the staggering stage. I saw the guy from the bar following me and I worried about him being a mugger. In my state, I couldn’t put up much of a fight. I was surprised that he just gave me a note: “Duke, this is your son Walter. Please don’t contact me. Janine”

My knees buckled and I started to hit the pavement.

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Short fiction from Jaime Mathis

Lightening

The first time he saw her, the sky screamed lightning. That’s what he told anyone who asked in the years after their breakup. He knew it was a desperate move; painting his failure with bold foreshadowing only made him look stupid and weak. Still, it was a chance he was willing to take. At least there would be something on record for people to reference when she moved on to her next victim.

He was sick of feeling like a host for her parasitic needs. The apartment was perpetually trashed no matter how many hours he spent picking up empty pizza boxes, video games or the juice boxes crammed between couch cushions. As fast as he moved, she was faster. Her stamina showed no signs of flagging.

“You should be more respectful,” he’d tell her. But just as quickly, she’d remind him she never forced him; he’d jumped at the chance to give her a place to stay. To make sure she was off the streets and getting regular meals. At least that’s what he’d told her. And himself.

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Poetry from Nathanial Caudel

There are far too many in the world

For anyone to try and number.

Yet they all after a while

will send many into a deep slumber.

 

There is no doubt that religion in itself

will bore you out of your mind.

I believe we get the gist of it:

let us all be kind.

 

What is so wrong with religion you may ask.

How about their hypocritical values on which they stand?

A world full of hunger and poverty

but hardly ever do they lend a hand.

 

Religion at its core may be ideal:

however, now money is the main goal.

Far from what it should be:

to give hope, love, and peace to hurting souls.

 

Many people see religion as a way

to be able to connect personally to the universe.

All it seems to do is give hope to those

who need it before riding in the back of a Hearse.

Poetry from Lewis Humphries

The End of Something

Beneath the windows bay, in a perfectly

angular square of shade, there slopes the

sunken hollow beside a mound of grassy loam.

And in the space lies her remnants, arched yet

lifeless as the void dictates, an existence

rendered idle by the motion of the blade.

She is consorted in indolence, (just

as in the feats of covetousness)

by her partner lying prone in juxtapose.

They were red hot lovers these two,

joined in a licentious collective, until their

ardor paid heed to the soft brogue of steel.

Its whisper so persuasive, as the

contentions of an adulterous tongue,

beguiling lives along a barbed incline

to meet their end. Fleet, sinuous thrusts,

and their vigorous monotony, soon

curbed the wield of fanciful promise.

Whilst song, their song, diminishes to resonance

through a density of fabric, gallant fleets

of soil bound in time to throttled beats.

From a plunging brink towards the fractured

earth, each altruistic wisp gives itself to the

necessary exploits of reprisal.

Lewis is a professional writer and blogger based in Birmingham, UK. He also has a passion for creative writing, and has featured in magazines throughout the UK, U.S. and Oceania.

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Essay from Jaime Mathis

Te Huarahi O Rongo Marae Roa

Jaime Mathis

 

Humanity has a common language. We all walk, in our minds, on our feet, and we all have sacred trails that we honor. Whether it is a path through nature or the morning race on Wall Street, we all carry a cadence that moves our bodies and souls. We all have stories that propel our lives and give them meaning. I want to build a library of these treks and take one step closer to seeing our sameness.

“There were people living on New Zealand thousands of years before the Maori set foot here.” Barry says, glancing at his partner Cushla. Her eyes remain on his face. She nods. Barry continues. “They arrived in their wakas and had faces like the rainbow.” His white hair is a cloud around bespectacled eyes. “Some,” he adjusts his right hand around a carved walking stick, “Were white skinned, some brown, others black, red, or yellow. Each person had a specific skill; navigating, building, steering, paddling.” His round cheeks inflate and settle, belly balancing over his waistline. I cradle my tea cup and scoot in closer. “They came seeking the stone of healing and peace to carry into the world. In the mouth of the Arahura River, the Waitaha discovered pounamou. They imbued it with love and strength on its journey into the world. The trail was guarded and maintained by women.”

I am too pragmatic to believe in magic. I spend too much time chasing it to convince others I’m beyond it. My guts shiver, legs shaking beneath the table. Te Huarahi O Rongo Marae Roa, The Way of the Peacemaker leaps across time and burrows into my lap. The words are strange as he speaks, so rich I almost need a pinch of salt to calm myself.

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Poetry from Andrea Carr

Honorificabilitudinitas now, lost in sorrow
To know my worth is meaningless
I beg with mercy to a past I lost
To meet again; guide the way
Surrender thou judgments, thou hast
Smirk in merriment at hungers wake
To fill thou belly in evil’s make
Thou shalt mock thee away
With my soul I plead you take
Your grace; forgiving of the sins I made
I received your blessings a countless mass
Before my death, the last time I ask
Forgive me father you know my sins
My heart knows love
Though mistakes I made
I don’t deserve the grace you gave
When you see me after I am gone
I know not what to expect
Divine your purpose, I only guess
What lies ahead after, my death
When I reach the foot of your throne
Bow my head with my knees bent
To thank you father through all I done
To be with love in its purest form
Let me gaze my eyes upon thee
Oh beautiful one, eyes doth love thee
Thy spirit moved my heart
Now broken, longing for thou to touch.
A winter’s morn, doth willow wake
Scratch thy window
Early morn
Heavy snow fell from thy branch

Poetry from Joan Beebe

DREAMS
I feel myself floating high above and I see everything below so small
It is like a bird winging its way by me on a journey only he knows
There is beauty and peace to enjoy with not a sound to distract me
I float with a freedom that is unknown to me on earth
My dream takes me over oceans with their constant waving and moving
Their tides ever changing and baring soft sand and pretty shells
I float by over mountains so lush with forests grand and the scent of pine
Reaches me as I pass by
Sunsets are more brilliant and alive with their fiery glow and as the sun appears
In early morn, it has a gentle and slow rising with such beauty all its own
I awake but the dreams stay a part of me and my day begins with peace

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Poetry from Howie Good

Choose Love

It’s impossible when looking around

not to imagine some prior tragedy,

a figure on a cross, tears spouting from his nipples.

And what’s this supposed to be a drawing of?

A snow-white angel? A ballerina under sedation?

Given a choice, I would choose you,

standing amid strangers in a busy street

and grinning up at the face in a cloud,

and every day would contain the secret

to the perfect something – that if less is more,

then nothing must be even more.

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Poetry from K.C. Fontaine

Zen-like
life-Force:

the flow of ideas quickens beyond chronicle..

My last liberal cup
of coffee astral projected
from Hyde Park to Riverside
one late weekday morning..

No longer ‘agreeing’
with conservative ideas,
I now live and breathe them;

In other words,
no longer “a liberal
transformed.”

Poetry from Christina Murphy

Two Visions of O’Keeffe

by

Christina Murphy

The snow is a flute of multiple blessings,

a pale blazing of crystal light that renews

the loving heart and gathers up the world

into the exultations of a white-cold sky

from circumference to core

Sea winds flower in the twilight

and rocks sing softly to waterfalls;

and everywhere, always,

there is the desire to know

what light there is within the light

that splits darkness into a silver moon

lifting, like an eagle, into a peaceful sky

Christina Murphy’s poetry is an exploration of consciousness as subjective experience, and her poems appear in a wide range of journals and anthologies, including, PANK, Dali’s Lovechild, and Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, and in the anthologies From the Roaring Deep: A Devotional in Honor of Poseidon and the Spirits of the Sea, The Great Gatsby Anthology, and Remaking Moby-Dick. Her work has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and for the Best of the Net Anthology. 

Poetry from A. Barnaud

to katie

while the trees
greet rainwater
you & i fear
dried tears in dimples
a day the suns
(or we)
refuse to rise
our hearts
breaking ribs
our hearts
too big for prison bars
have you ever
sat in the midst of a storm
thinking what if
it never stops
i have
but when
my hand’s electric
at the touch of yours
i want to be
your lightning rod
i want to let
the thunder scream
through my skin
then silence it
with the song
of my chest
still beating
next to yours

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