Saturday, March 16, 2019

Shadows of the night

"Shadows of the night" by Tracy Woodhead
Walking alone down quiet streets
no person is out , yet the quiet is disturbed
aching souls, neither heaven nor hell bound
wandering endlessly upon this middle ground
should i tremble, show fear
the corners display
memories like movie films
I can watch but have no role
a faceless man flees down an alley
so close theres an air that whips the flesh of my arms
I turn to glance at the leaving silhouette
he continues , never seeing me there
across the road a lady weeps
aged and weary she seems
tying flowers to a lamp post
a flower for a year she leaves here
twelve flowers
twelve years,
before the car took away her child
who stands before her , with frozen eyes
fixed upon her face
whilst his own, an expression -less canvas
his body frail dressed in blood soaked clothes
holding in his hands the twelve flowers
I wander on heart aching
to find two lovers dancing
drenched by maybe rain
they dance their way out of view
an eagle swoops down
before me to my right
catching a mouse in its claws
then just as quick retakes its flight
the sun now starts to spread her light
the streets upon where i tread
will soon be filled
with new memories to show
***

BIO: My hobbies are reading and writing, but mainly helping others. I never had help with things she has suffered had to fight for everything so it determined her to give herself freely to all who needed help around her because she couldn’t bear to think of anyone else enduring the life she had. I love people the way they help and comfort others she strongly admires those with big hearts who don’t shy away from being a helping hand to another. I have always loved to write, it gives me a voice when I was younger dealing with m/h i didn’t have a clue what was wrong with me except i could never find the words to speak so i wrote and in doing so found a freedom away from the world at times and other times it was my way to explain herself to the world and to myself .


666 Hope Avenue

"666 Hope Avenue" by Holy Godfrey
That new house smell
has long faded__
drifted away to more deserving
abodes, to noses that cheer
the heart and tame the mind
That hope smell
no longer waft from my chimney
It lies dormant, burried in shoot
with roots hard to uproot
Copacetic the view
yet like dirty dishes in a sink
We waste away in a ship that
just won't sink
That first love smell
has all gone foul__
Drains clogged with unopened regrets
pipes frozen by icy silence.
Pent-up contempt hoarded
in greasy hearts,
hate spattered backsplash
evidence of a spoiling
broth.
That lost smell
has invaded my home
faith dying within her walls daily.
That basement stench has taken over,
failure pickled in sadness,
the moldy overbearing stench
of unused life slowly
rotting into
divorce.

***

Holy Godfrey is an aspiring poet born in Thika Kenya. His work has been published in several anthologies. His poem "Rivulets" is also featured in Ayo Gutierrez's book "Yearnings" He currently resides in Boston Massachusetts with his wife and three children.

The Marionette

"THE MARIONETTE" by Wayne Olson

It seemed as if he had been put aside by the Master
No longer his favorite puppet to tell stories with
Or that his character had no current role to play
Did children once so excited no longer ask for him?
Did they grow weary of his tale and forget his name?
For a time he was content with his lot in life
To be merely a spectator and not a participant
Content to let the story unfold without him
When the strings no longer guided but bound him

After a season something vague began to stir in him
A growing hunger, a need to emerge and engage
An awareness of a chasm between body and spirit
And a deep longing for the two to be one again
For the spirit to once again rise up and be true
To sort out the strings and bring life once again
One with purpose and meaning like never before
As the Master worked the two with a deft hand
For another important tale in the story of his life.

***

BIO: I started writing in my late teens.  I took to writing short stories at first, then poetry later and love the ability to say much with few words.  I have always been on the introverted side, very comfortable in my own space, so writing suited my need for expression. I have had a very rich spiritual life since childhood which is very much part of my nature, so much of what I have gleaned from those experiences finds its way into my writings.  Poems are my ship’s “logbook” on this voyage thru life.

Victory without Laurels

"Victory without Laurels" by David Wagoner
Stepping down the wind,
sandaled foot upon
the temple roof,
what laurels does Victory bestow?
What glory in a child pined?
Will the dead soldier know?
Facts without proof.
War crimes lead on.
Laurel wreathed grave,
glorious memorial.
Only wretched
in the bloody battlefield
beyond the nursery door
Orders dictatorial.
Victory’s wings
Outstretched.
The bomb sings
not victory, but horror.

***

BIO: I am a retired CAD Programmer and Master Machinist who oversaw a machine shop making parts for extreme environments. I made parts for satellites and the Space Shuttle. Author of “Scratches on Scraps” and Editor of “A Promise of Doves”.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

I Am Everything

"I Am Everything" by Andy Carpenter

Dreaming of a rainbow, let’s wish upon a star
Keep our spirit close to us and spread the love afar.

I climb the highest mountain to quietly find myself
Praying to The Universe and receiving back it’s help.

Sat in the wild grasses connecting with the flowers
At union with the earth below ascend through misty showers.

I float inside the Grandest plan a single conscious thought
Look toward the teacher within to guide with cosmic force.

When the questions rain on me I look to my awareness
Harnessing an energy for courage to be daring.

I am the Earth, the stars and trees
I am everything that I believe.

***

BIO: My name is Andy Carpenter, I am a poet and somewhat of a dreamer. I live in the east of England in a small town called St Neots (Cambridgeshire) with my partner Katie and two young children Kieren (5) and Rhys (4). I have two previous publications titled "Holding Hope In My Hands" which is a collection of my own work and "The Winding Path of Life" which is a collection of work from myself and other poets compiled into an anthology. I am currently in the process of building my second Anthology "Dreamer" for my group Voices of Freedom. Some days I write very positive poetry fueled by hope, personal growth and self-improvement and other days I reflect on my own battle with the demons mental health. Not an hour goes by without words and ideas jumping around my mind, poetry and creation is very much part of my soul and colours the world around me.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Medusa and the Stone

"Medusa and the Stone" by Thomas Spychalski


Somewhere there is that attraction for everyone,
Confusion about fusions, Shining star or mock sun?
Maybe I should grab the ropes mother tosses down,
Rope chafes, so does safe, burns only hope to turn around.
I don’t know exactly what to make of you,
You draw me in like some high powered magnet on high,
My shielding has denied, so many in hindsight I made die,
In the magpie, I collect only to deny myself, to not comply.
Drawn in and shocked when I find I have some pull,
The voice in me tells me no, do you wanna be a fool?
Silence him to move forward regroup, retry, retool,
Will I let the toys in the attic space, shatter another jewel?
Maybe it’s because we cannot quite explain,
The way someone can take away all the strain,
Even if we fall, I forgot the universe makes it plain,
So maybe this time forgo the strain and let magnets reign.

***


BIO: 
Thomas Spychalski has written for various online and offline publications since 2006 including Kasterborous, Whotopia, the 2011 book Ultimate Regeneration and City to Country magazine.  Additionally he also worked as a reporter in Texas and still writes a column remotely for the same newspaper for the past six years.

Lee Todd Lacks

Untitled by Lee Todd Lacks

We're in the middle of the
ocean, on a moonless night
no island in sight, tossed by the
tourmaline waves, battered by the
ill-tempered wind, how can our sail be saved?
It's so torn, and the boat appears to have
sprung a leak, and neither of us have the
will to speak, the scent of destination
only travels quite so far, my vision isn't
clear enough to see the brightest
star, the osprey and the seagull
are nowhere to be found, the
serenade of killer whales is
the most uplifting sound. With all
the strength we still have left, we
push upon the prow, wordlessly
questioning,
"Where do we go, now?"

***

BIO:  
Lee Todd Lacks seeks to blur the distinctions between rants, chants, anecdotes, and anthems.  His experience of living with significant vision and hearing deficits often informs his writing and artwork, which have appeared in The Monarch Review, The Quarterday Review, Crack The Spine Anthology, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Bop Dead City, Liquid Imagination, and elsewhere.  In May of 2017, Lee Todd presented selections of his poetry at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) in collaboration with a group of multimedia artists from the United States and Romania.  In August of 2018, HellBound Books Publishing released his second book, entitled Nothing Between Friends.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Echos's Song

"ECHO’S SONG" by Steven Fortune
Fairweather condolences I file
for the weeping bell
A robotic capacity to process hell
denied
Married to reaction, no relation
to the message
Over apathy the automatic media
preside
For the dialect abated
it is fated
to be hated
more than melody is loved
Who would believe I was a novel lass
not the novelty
the wraiths of femininity and jealousy
in one
deduced in her reaction’s signature
vindictive flair
that my charisma, innocently served, must be
undone
The measure of seduction
covets suction
of its substance
from a loopy ruling stick
I never was a hot anomaly
among the clique
whose feet appeared to plant the flowers we accrued
to court
the keeper of a throb without a heart
We were all donors
to a cause existing only for our charity’s
retort
How sadistic if my friends
subscribed to omens
searing my ends
and extinguishing my means
Godly gift of gab, I undermined you
with modesty
The waves you could have made I quelled in urgency
to blend
Charisma could have been my cue to shun
the team approach
I would have got to him and left them with the fortune to
offend
Curse my indecision
this incision
in my mission
to be loved for who I am
Randy gods are wont to follow flowers
with a prick to pluck
when their domestic petals shrivel into flytrap
designs
Out to find him out, she found me dialed in
to puppy love
arousing the romantic plague her vitriol
defines
Now her puppet strings are fastened
to my vocals
and the locals
shun my salutations, saying nothing
The man I sought belonged to nobody
and everyone
Sentiments she must have used to vilify
her god
Begrudgingly I siphon sympathy
from this arrangement
as I ponder all the hearts on which my futile man
has trod
In the end we all were doomed
to be an equal
Not a sequel
lived to compliment his tale
But as irony would have it
I’m the one to live
with banality to give
to introductions under courtship’s open-ended veil

***
A resident of Sydney, Nova Scotia, and graduate of Acadia University, Steven Fortune has appeared on CBC radio, and his poetry has been recited on several online shows, as well as appearing in a number of literary journals, both print and online. His fifth book will be released in January 2019.

Hold it Down

"Hold it Down" by Andrea Lodge

Now I get it kid
It’s really the reason we do any drugs
To get away from it all for while
Not the ‘it all’ everybody else runs from
The ‘it all’ like we do.
That ‘it all’ inside.

There are weird scars
And I’m sure there are weird stars
And I’ll burst someday
I’m telling you, I’ll do it
I’ll fucking burst!

You were the worst and then
there were more and was more
and they wouldn’t quite and 
they just came and there I 
was and here I am and maybe
I could’ve stopped maybe I
should’ve found a way to 
stop it but I didn’t stop
it and neither did you or 
would you or I think could
you left you and them are 
gone but I’m still here

I’m still here.

It’s shaking in my skull again
Teardrops falling inward 
Hear the slosh of the liquid?

I was expecting something
I would never expect.

Sometimes I’m Eileen
Once upon a time I was Margaret
Andge, Andy, Ann, Annie
And Vivian

No Rain came
And the bee did her dance
And I told that red-headed freak
That everyone said I resembled her
And he acted sick at the thought
Of me in that costume
But in the Dark Room
Of Shop Class
With that nameless teacher
He had no problems 
With shoving his hands up my shirt.

I refuse to exist automatically
Or let anybody leave into smoke
Into poofs
Into the ether
Into something not the ether.

Sin tastes like velvety blood
I need confessional
And I am a tick
A mosquito
A mother fucking vampire

He shadow boxed me 
And I criminalized myself
But that’s how those things go
As kids
Just kids, man.

Don’t avoid me
Don’t ignore me
I’m sore inside
And I miss easily
And cry.

***

Bio:  My name is Andrea, though my closest peoples call me Ann.  I'm from Philadelphia where I live with my almost husband and two disabled cats, Budgie (because he's all smushy and budged up) and Loki, because he was an evil mofo when we got him, but who has since adopted the name Poki, as he now weighs 20 pounds and is sweet (thanks to his balls no longer being there) and he just slow-pokes around the house, sweeping the dust off of the hardwood floors with his hangy belly.  He is also sometimes 'Pokapotamus.'  Enough about odd cats.  

I was once a middle and high school English teacher, but the last time I lost my job, I sort of became a homebody, introvert, with a bit of a fear of leaving the house; opposite, complete opposite of the wild woman I once was.  I lost that job because of mental illness causing me to call out one time too many.

I write tons and tons of poetry.  I'd say that ink is in my blood and I've been making up stories since I could hold a pencil; tiny scraps of paper, held together with a staple that say things like 'Mommys are love,' and shit like that.  All I've ever wanted in this life was to be a writer with a capital 'W' and I might just be on my way.  That's what I'm hoping for.  I also write many Non-fiction shorts, I'm working on a memoir, I plan to start a novel soon, and for the first time in 15 years, I've started writing short fiction stories.  Enough about me.  Just hoping to make something of this writing thing.  Not for money.  Just for me.  Like I said, it's all I've ever wanted to do with my life.

Chicago Street Preacher

Chicago Street Preacher by Michael Lee Johnson

Street preacher
server of the Word,
pamphlet whore, hand out
delivery boy,
fanatic of sidewalk vocals,
banjo strummer, seeker of coins,
crack cocaine and salvation within notes.
Camper on 47th from Ashland
to California promoting his
penniless life, gospel forever
Kingdom drifter here comes your reward.

***

Michael Lee Johnson lived 10 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.  Mr. Johnson published in more than 1042 new publications, his poems have appeared in 38 countries, he edits, publishes 10 poetry sites.  Michael Lee Johnson, has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/2 Best of the Net 2017, 1 Best of the Net 2018. 


Jonathan Butcher


Time Immemorial

I rest that second drink upon that rickety
wooden table over a crudely inscribed
inscription left over a decade ago. I over
hear from the table opposite that most heart
attacks occur on a Monday, and realise
I'm safe for the time being.
To my left, the local frustrated celebrities
gather like autumn sparrows on frayed
telephone lines. Their conversation cuts
across what was once a comfortable silence,
and I remind myself they only have a few years left,
if time decides to be so kind.
My grip slowly weakens around this glass,
a consistent cycle over the last few days.
That taste for outward dwelling now numbed
by that taste; less bitter than anticipated,
but which burns my tongue with the only
argument I'm now prepared to lose.

***
  
The Sitting Room

That scrape of sentiment falls lost
among the decay and rubble of these
buildings. Unable to save even an inch
of mortar, they slowly melt into the
the unforgiving pavement; a betrayal of
their support.
And under our own makeshift shelters,
our walls far more stable than those outside,
we avoid the limp wrecking balls and collapsing
street signs. Our supposed arguments deplete,
and fester in this nest of compliance and
cobwebs.

We slowly count the hours and days
as they fall like a shower of blunt needles,
the ends nestling perfectly into each pore
of our skin; acupuncture for the agreeably
slovenly, as our feet eternally rest upon
cushions stuffed with nothingness.

***
  
Rusted Lines

Back when we would lay upon that
railway embankment, those evenings
the bulk of our days. Those jagged rocks
that would embrace us and prevent any
drunken fall, no matter how hard we
staggered.
Our heads heavy under the pipes, cans
and marker fumes; our bones grinding
against our innocence as they grew.
Our voices now slightly harsher but still
as sharp as ever, but never puncturing
our meaning.
As the sun set we sheltered under
that towering bridge, its walls now forever
stained with our presence like a gallery
of gleeful stubbornness, we attempted
cleanliness later, but two decades on
our fingers still remain stained.

***

Bio: Jonathan Butcher has had work appear in various publications both online and in print including: Outlaw Poetry, Drunk Monkeys, Picaroon Poetry, Popshot, The Transnational, The Morning Star, Ink,Sweat&Tears, Plastic Futures and others. His second chapbook 'Broken Slates' was published by Flutter Press. He lives in Sheffield, England

J.J. Campbell

like a dull knife


there’s a
bleakness
to your love

like a dull
knife tracing
over all the
old scars

again and
again

cold sunshine
bleeds through
and old window

i can still picture
your dress on
the floor and
a bottle of
whiskey in
your left
hand

i didn’t notice
the gun in your
right hand until
you told me not
to move

good thing
i tend to work
well under
pressure

***

i never forgot the look in his eyes


my father never taught
me about mercy or
helping my fellow
man

how to drive a stick
or knock my own shit
out of my underwear

my father thought his
only requirements were
making sure there was
food on the table and
a roof over our heads

i remember when i was
eight and told him i wish
he wasn’t my father

i ducked the punch but i
never forgot the look in
his eyes

he told me he was going
to kill me one of these
days

he tried five years later

like most of his life
he failed

my father has been in
the ground for three
years now

i don’t feel like much
of a winner

***


J.J. Campbell

Jai Thoolen


Life.
A message in a bottle,
Could float around the sea,
And may never reach the man,
For whom it was meant to be.
Or maybe it’s discovered,
With its message to convey,
Whole generations later,
And a half a world away.
Or tides and wind might take it,
Just a mile up the shore,
And yet it brings a smile,
When those words are read once more.
Or floating on forever,
To not ever reach dry land.
Words that will be never read,
Once that message leaves the hand.
A message in a bottle,
Is the way our lives can be.
We’re bobbing in an ocean,
Searching for uncertainty…
***
I Cannot Die Today.
I couldn’t die last week, I was still yet to decide,
And I couldn’t die all yesterday, it was far too nice outside.
I cannot die today, I have a dinner to attend,
And I cannot die tomorrow, I’ve got to help a friend.
I cannot die the next day ‘cause I need to pay a bill,
And I can’t die the day after, I am yet to sign my will.
I can’t die before the weekend, there’s that wedding… and that walk,
And all next month is busy and you said you’d like to talk.
I can’t die preceding Christmas, surely, some would be upset,
And I can’t die until I’m ready, until I’ve got no regret.
I can’t die until I right the wrongs of those i have aggrieved,
And not until I’ve said sorry to any I’ve deceived.
I can’t die before I know my truth and all that can be known.
I can’t die if you’re not ready lest I leave you all alone.

No matter your appointments and regardless of your plans,
Someday, 
When least expected, 
Your ‘cannots’ become your ‘cans’.
***
Don’t Mention Dementia.
Footsteps echo in my mind,
Of memories which fade.
Scattered dreams that I can’t find,
And promises I’ve made.
Treasured times are waning fast.
My sanity declines.
I can’t recall my precious past,
Nor read between the lines.
Nor read between the lines.
I can’t recall my family.
I can’t remember parts of me.
Nor read between the lines.
Footsteps echo in my mind,
And my sanity declines.
Search in between the lines.
***


Jai has always been a Mornington Peninsula local and always will be. He has enjoyed writing and reading ever since he was able. Jai would always write more than was required for stories at school... the short time he attended. He left school at 14 to work in a small supermarket in Red Hill South for the first year of his working life. Then, carpentry and fencing for a couple of decades. And now, after some knee troubles, he has rekindled his love of writing. Jai is loving every minute of creating stories and poems. Publishing his first book toward the end of 2017, Jai has two children's titles, an activity journal and a poetry book (Recomended for 15+) to his credit with more on the way!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

I'm 22

"I'm 22" by Tiffany Carbaugh


I’m 22 with 3 kids.
I have 3 sets of eyes watching everything that I do.
3 sets of eyes learning and mocking everything that I am.
They are my heart and I am their world.
I am 22,
But have a mindset of a 60 year old.
I should’ve been born in another lifetime.
I’m old fashioned.
I do things most people gawk at.
I am 22,
But I have been through what most won’t go through in a whole lifetime.
I’m independent.
I grew up raising myself.
I learned from life mistakes at a very young age.
Not all were my own,
But from my eyes watching carefully of those around me.
Don’t let that fool you.
Being independent can get you into a lot of trouble.
Never be afraid to ask for or accept help.
A piece of my own advice that I still need to listen to.
I am 22,
I’ve been cheated on one to many times.
Almost more than one can count.
I’ve been lied to.
I’ve been mentally, emotionally, and physically abused.
To the point of which I started to believe everything was my fault and I deserved everything he did to me.
I was consumed in fear.
Terrified of leaving.
Led to believe that no one else would want me anyways.
I am 22,
I have been held down and raped.
So much so, that eventually it became routine,
To the point of which my body would freeze up and the whole world would stop in those moments.
I am 22,
I was “knocked up” at the age of 17 because he eventually “stopped caring.”
I can still hear his words.
“I’m going to dump in you like the trash you are.”
I built up the courage to leave him 3 months into my pregnancy because he didn’t care that I had another life growing inside me.
Everyday I thank god for my brother’s help.
I am 22,
I spent 5 years emotionally drained with an alcoholic who did the same things when intoxicated.
Those 3 sets of eyes that are watching me, had to witness their mommy being hurt.
Had to witness their daddy drinking alcohol like it was water.
Had to witness doing things he wouldn’t do if he were sober such as peeing on the floor.
Had to witness him hurting their kitty, destroying the house, and him being held at gun point by 10 cops in the driveway because he had his pistol to mommies head.
I am 22,
I realized staying with daddy for the kids sake was hurting them more than helping.
I knew I needed to walk away and jumped from place to place with 3 kids until I got on my feet because he took everything from us.
I am 22,
I have been through more than what most won’t go through in a whole lifetime.
But I have learned that even though I am damaged,
It is easier to go through life laughing than it is angry.
Because I have 3 sets of eyes watching me.
Learning everything that I do.
And though I have been through a lot,
Those 3 sets of eyes are what makes it all worth it.
And if I could go back in time, I’d do it all the same because it’s made me who I am and gave me those 3 beautiful babies. They are who gave life meaning.
What’s life, without meaning?