Two Front Teeth – by Ani Keaten

Two Front Teeth

 

When did I learn to smile for photographs?

When did this expressionless urchin up to

her ankles in a yard flooded with hose water,

eyes on the camera man,

lurch into a broad bright-toothed girl?

As beaver teeth devoured baby teeth,

my tongue resisting its enamel encasement,

my words spilling through shifting cracks,

at what point did I turn to my mother and say,

This doesn’t feel natural, teach me how to smile?

When did she demonstrate that, for a camera,

you will perch on a chair uneasily,

tie your hair back until it pinches,

hold your breath and body still?

And when did I discover that for a picture,

even beasts gather together for the feast.

anikeatenAni Keaten is a poet grown in the desert mountains of Idaho. She writes about daily life. www.anikeaten.weebly.com

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Translucent – by David Cook

This hurts more than I’d thought, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Matt’s gonna love it.

 

See, I was flicking through this book I found on the bus, and in it a man saw a lady and was ‘transfixed by her translucent beauty’. That’s what I need, I thought to myself. Translucent beauty. Then asked my mate Sarah what translucent meant, and she said ‘sort-of see through,’ and I said, oh, and then I asked what ‘transfixed’ meant and she said something about superglue.

 

I’ll worry about the superglue bit later, but right now I need to be translucent. If that’s what boys like, that’s what I’ll be. Anything to get at Matt from the bike shop. I’d love to ride on his pillion. I’m not sure how see-through I need to be, mind you. I guess if I hit bone I’ve gone too far.

 

This really hurts, though. I’m losing quite a lot of blood. And I’m not sure sandpaper is the best way of doing this. You can get posh make-up that calls itself translucent, but I’m too skint to buy any. Then I thought a razor might work, but my dad moved out last year and took his with him. My mum used to shave her legs with it, but now she just doesn’t bother. She looks like a wookie from the waist down. Me, I just nip round to Sarah’s once a week and use her wax.

 

There’s flakes of skin all over the bathroom floor. It looks like it’s been snowing in here. Mum’s gonna go nuts when she sees this, our hoover’s broken. There’s even more blood now, too. Let’s have a look in the mirror. I dunno, am I more see-through? It’s hard to tell under all the bleeding. Let me wipe it off with a towel. Damn, I shouldn’t have used that white one. Our washing machine’s broken too. Right, let’s see. I dunno… maybe I’m a bit more see-through. I’m pretty sure that cheekbone’s about to pop out. And my chin definitely looks more… chinny.

 

I don’t think I can carry on any more, mind you, this is too painful. Yeah, this’ll have to do. To be honest, I reckon I look a bit of a state. But the book can’t have been wrong. It’s one of those really old ones, like they teach in school, not like the Hunger Games or anything. Old books are never wrong, are they? That’s all my school bloody has.

 

All right. Tell you what. I won’t go out and see Matt. I’m just not sure I’ve done the right thing here. I’ll send him a photo instead. I got his number from that girl Jess who’s always hanging around him. He says she’s just a friend, nothing romantic or anything, and I don’t think he’d lie to me. Okay, here we go… pout those lips and work those eyes… done. And send.

 

Beep.

 

He’s messaged me back! What’s he saying?

 

‘What the fuck have you done to yourself? I used to think you were quite hot, but now I wouldn’t touch you with someone else’s, lol.’

 

And now I’m crying.

 

The tears sting where they’re dripping into the scars in what’s left of my face.

 

davidcook

David Cook lives in Bridgend, Wales, with his wife, daughter, cats and guinea pig, and

writes as a way of filling in the time while waiting for the rain to stop. He has been

published in Short Fiction Break, Flash Fiction Magazine, Sick Lit Magazine and Spelk

Fiction, and was also featured in A Box Of Stars Beneath The Bed: The 2016 National

Flash Fiction Anthology.

He also publishes work at http://www.davewritesfiction.wordpress.com. You can find him on

Twitter too – @davidcook100.

To The Sea – by Seb Reilly

There is a strange psychological effect on people who grew up by the sea. Not in every case; but for many, the idea of living away from an edge is something they struggle with. I definitely fall into this category.

Seaside people need the land to end. They need that boundary, a cut-off point. Rolling hills, lush forests, fields and meadows are all lovely. Cities full of people and bustle are exciting and vibrant. But we seasiders require water. We need the waves to lap against the shore of our home; the horizon to exist at the point where the sea meets the sky.

I love living by the sea, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I could move anywhere in the world, as long as it was on the coast. Where I happen to live, where I was born, is a former island called Thanet. It used to be completely separate from the rest of country until a few hundred years ago when the channel finally filled with silt. Thanet has the great benefit of being surrounded on three sides by water. We have the mainland to the west which prevents us getting claustrophobic on this little isle; but the north, east, and south all lead to the oceans. This is a truly remarkable place, an island that is not an island.

The water is something we often take for granted. It is there every day, and we sometimes ignore it, yet when we leave and go inland its absence is notable. Whenever I am away from the coast I can tell – the air smells and tastes different. The lack of salt in the atmosphere, the silence normally filled with the cries of gulls and the crash of waves, the sun descending into the land instead of the water, it feels off. I love the sea, and the closer I am to it whilst remaining on solid ground, the more I am at home.

It even inspires me, every now and again, to express my connection with it through words. I have written poetry, prose, articles, stories; all about the sea. I am drawn to it and I cannot look away.

I often indulge the water by submerging myself in the ocean. I walk out into it, as far as I can, then lay back and let myself float as the sun is setting. The view is incredible; the sinking sun from the water’s surface is a stunning sight. Afterwards I return to the beach to watch the final moments of the sunset, and often as the glowing orb slips beneath the ocean a green flash appears from the refraction of the light. That is something you would not see inland, and a memory I will cherish for years to come.

The ocean, to me, is a comfort. It is my environment. It is home.

sebreillySeb Reilly is an writer, fiction author and occasional musician. He lives by the sea in Kent with his family and two cats, and when he is not writing he enjoys music and film.

sebreilly.com
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Photo-GRAPHIC Perfection – by Ki-Ana L. Tonge

Young black female

Young black female, society and stereotypic hashtags

Hashtag you to be nothing but a tool

Nothing but a hammer or electric drill invented

To fulfill the desires of the stereotyped typical male

Nothing but a side dish beside some cooked rice, beans, and fried fish

But I don’t blame you baby girl

It’s what you’ve been taught

What you’ve been told

You’ve been told that if sold a couple one night stands

That sole dollar would in time add up to your weight in gold

And as her heart broken soul danced in synch with that pole

He pictured her.

Not in a sense of anything more graphic that the single lace of lace that covered her body

But in way in which he placed her on a pedestal,

So Godly

In a white dress

Hazed like the slow rolling Purple Haze that rose to cover her face

As she slow rolled in his face

He pictured her.

Sitting under a tree

With a sketch pad

Or a book of sincerely written poetry

Writing about lost loves, and great wants, and dreams

He pictured her.

With an easel, channeling her rightfully owned,

Inner Picasso

Picturing the finest strokes of brush man had ever seen

Conveying

Messages you’d see if you would read

Between the lines

He pictured her.

Freezing moments behind a Cannon,

Or freshly purchased Kodak

Snapping photos of rows of red roses

He thought to be as beautiful as she

He pictured her

Vision in perfection

So clearly it was scary

He was prophet,

Gazing upon his reincarnated Mary

She was something

Oh, she was something.

But only if she could picture it.

Picture a world more positive than the naked pictures sent,

Sent to more than just the men her long shift nights are often sadly spent

If only she could picture it.

If only she could picture herself

The way he pictured her.

kianaKi-Ana L. Tonge is a humble,  outgoing, creative,  and ambitious nineteen year old from St.Croix , USVI, with a love for writing. She is on a mission to be the very best she can be,  and strives to make a difference with the tools and talents God has given her

That Which is Left on the Harvest Breeze – by B. W. Evans

THAT WHICH IS LEFT ON THE HARVEST BREEZE

Autumn has its pleasure as the orange moon rises high

taking its place among the multi layers of darkness

shinning its eloquence in piercing pronouncement

colors the night in shades of harvest.

The day fades as its survival is destined

leaving the hollowness of the night in the howls

of the coming season as it blows free forcasting

the days to come.

The night crowns from the heavens to the horizon

spreading herself

beyond the stars and the seas, touches each creature

in a way that only their partnership can interpret

as the cool air embraces the season’s scents.

I too have felt the fragrances of Autumn touch my soul

enriching my heart to reflect on memories

earnestly gathered

brings youth and its folly back with smiles and silent laughter.

I at times like to walk with the night in my reflection and smiles.

No fanfare no remembered event larger than was, just the honesty

of those precious moments

relived as I look upward to an orange harvest moon.

And if luck be my companion on those chosen nights

Fall’s breeze will be at its most activity

veiled in the passing faint scent

of that legendary dark rose crossing the horizon

of the old man’s smile, and gently embracing

the healed heart of a man with fond remembrances.

bwevans

B. W. Evans is a man of romance and poetry, as told in the poetic stories he has written over the years.  His first book- FRENCH TOAST is now in its second printing and still bringing in new readers across a diverse map.  Between 2017 through 2018 the full series of FRENCH TOAST, consisting of the four books in the series, plus two other independent collections will be published.  During this time B.W. Evans will be dedicating majority of his time to writing his children stories that have been told to children for over thirty years.  A man of determination and strength who has worn many hats, but one he has never taken off is that of a writer.  

Real Life Degenerates – by Bridget Langdon

Real Life Degenerates

Real life degenerates in JC Penney today.

I thought I recognized them from a Rob Zombie movie.

Ghastly mistake.

Trapped in a neanderthalic conversation

Yearning for a time

When I could sacrifice them to the Gods.

The presumable father-uncle inhaled

Audibly for five minutes

Before speaking.

Revealing teeth fragments

Taunting me from inside the gums.

I recoiled in terror.

Obliviously proceeding,

He innocently reminisced of a time

When he was mistaken for a carnie.

The room exploded

With deafening squeals of excitement.

The unquestionable son-nephew greets

His own unrecognizable reflection

With unadulterated hopes of kindled friendship.

From a distance

I empathized with them.

bridgetlangdon

Bridget Langdon is a second year Master’s student at Illinois State University.  She is in the creative writing program with an emphasis on creative non-fiction.  Her stories provide entertainment through self-deprecation and/or humor. Bridget’s list of achievements is short, and her only other full length article can be found in the spring 2017 edition of Grassroots Writing Journal.  Incidentally, her writing career was more successful when she was nine.  She can be found on Twitter under the name @FormerAltruist.

the little golden man / lost shade, volume iii: jennifer – by Zachary M. Hodson

the little golden man

 

the basement had scabies and passed them to you

they thought it was chicken pox

i called you a chicken

my apology was lost amongst the howling burrows on your limbs

 

i started to wonder how many times i had held your hand

my forearm began to itch

dear lord

please just let me be rebirthing my winter coat

 

the misdiagnosis swelled your refusal of western medicine

there would be no aspirin for a body bent from the auras of moonstone or amethyst or the thirteenth day

please kindly remove your tone and the rosy odor of calamine lotion

further please

i can still smell it

 

even as you leant on yoga to subside the pain

breathe in

breathe out

the defiant toxins would not follow suit

red leaf orchards sprayed across your body and shed scarlet bitter fruit

spotted and irresistible to touch

 

as is a woman

 

as was that woman

 

it is always really about a woman

 

she was your miracle salve

but also western as the earth spinning backwards

& so became your thoughts and intentions

 

years later we will meet again at the renaissance festival

your weakness evident in the pot holes that freckle your limbs

& cost effectively bedazzle the thousands of dollars of self mutilation

 

this proud galaxy of constellations still battling for attention

from the weak stomached and poor minded teenagers not as cool as you

 

those people don’t understand

the rebuilt human body is just so damn beautiful

 

you will juggle knives and breath fire and we will laugh

i will shake your hand without worry

& wonder if the pink contrails and planetary rings still tingle her toes and fingers

 

i will meet your russet eyes with prospect

only to see inside the razed shell of the little golden man i once knew

the back of your skull bleached clean by heartache

your once sodden brain long in need of vicious squeeze

now just a loofah molding in a trailer park shower stall

 

if only i could have been there to reach in with puissance

& watch it spate the stage with infatuation

 

how can something so intangible and fabricated

hurt you so much more than a tattoo needle or branding iron

 

these scars are not nearly as attractive

they lack healing

 

but for now you go to lose yourself in the basement to exterminate

every single blood sucking parasite before further fission

can overrun the dank air with damn dirty scabies

armed with rubber gloves and scorn

you jigsaw favorite old sentiments onto a cranky two wheeler

& then out to the fire pit

 

where you’re going

you won’t need them anyway

 

lost shade, volume iii: jennifer

 

there was the hay fire blond

who flirted her fingernails into my arm flesh back when i was worth catching

                                   i am relatively sure i didn’t just make that up

 

she

the untaken track of fate working the book section with my chosen one

i recall their slack jawed gazes of affection webbed upon me in tandem

wide eyed stares from the bottom muck of a cold sales floor sea

 

see

their super slow motion anime eye blinks

trapped in air bubbles lazing upwards towards the surface and me

only to be popped by the asshole sharks like toddlers or golden retrievers

 

the asshole sharks in this case being asshole customers with asshole questions

 

she was abysmal at drawing penises

                                  at least when she had been drinking

               which was reportedly quite often

                                               it is quite possible she is the world’s most famous erotica illustrator

                                                                                                                                               by now

 

this was a tragedy the roof of my civic had to endure for several years until its end

though it could have been the old magic marker’s fault

or the nervous hate giggle of her fiance beneath her

he had shelled out many dollars for a downtown hotel suite on valentine’s day

just so they could come see my shitty band play instead

 

her last hour on the job

she must have taken eight drinks from the water fountain just outside my boss’s office door

wherein he and i debated whether angel berroa was for real

 

i

saw her hover

yet continued talking for several more hours

knowing she would be gone

 

i have never been any good at things like this

zacharymhodsonZachary M Hodson is a multi-genre artist based out of Kansas City, MO. Holding a B.S of Psychology with a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Central Missouri, he has spent the last decade focused equally on poetry, music and music/sports journalism. His writing has been featured in many print and online outlets, including but not limited to Euphony Journal, Leveler Poetry, The Literary Nest, Future’s Trading, Skidrow Penthouse, Royals Blue and The Deli Magazine.