Trying to Write – by TIM TIPTON

Trying to Write

 

I reached deep into a empty well

 with questions, not words

 

Questions such as

 will I ever write again?

 

My body cries to lie down

 but my heart refused to obey

 

I struggled to form

 anything from the pen

 

The house was quiet like the backyard

 so quiet you don’t even know you’re alive

 

Moon shined hot florescent white

 on a humid summer night

 

I sat for hours trying to write

 my hand resigned the pen and turned

 out the light

 

Nobody could blame me if I

crawled in bed, could they?

 

There was nothing new inside me

 the well was bone dry

 

I studied the paper gleaming from the

 moonlight where I saw it quivering

 when my breath touched it

 

Before long, before I knew it,

 morning came  

 

The sun was ripe for the eye

 The well was full and plentiful

 Morning nourished me, everything was

 fulfilling.

 

I took all the time I wanted as

 pen came together with paper and

 words flowed from the ink, this  

 pleased me greatly.

***

me-reading

Tim Tipton was first seduced by the craft of poetry when he read the “Panther” by Rainer Marie Rilke. Tim is a graduate of California State University of Northridge where he received a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. He also received a degree in Substance Abuse counseling.

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Sleeping Beauty – by MARISSA LaPorte

Sleeping Beauty

 

In an attempt of suicide

She pricked her thumb

On that lonely spindle

A drop

Of virgin blood

And the deal was done

Rather than sweet release

She fell into a deep sleep

Cursed with another breath

Worse than a violent death

They ripped out her tongue

Scooped out her eyes

Taped over her red lips

For good measure

Suitors arrived

They weren’t in search

Of true loves first kiss

Her body rotted

Under their poisonous touch

This tale doesn’t add up to much

No one saved the beauty

No longer beautiful

And she never woke up

***

image1-1

Marissa LaPorte is a 19-year-old student currently attending Grand Valley State University. She recently returned from studying abroad in England. LaPorte has been selected as a winner and a finalist for many flash fiction and short story contests held on the writing website Figment.com and she was a runner up the “Letter’s About Literature Contest” held in Lansing, Michigan. LaPorte has most recently been published in the “Hedge Apple” of Hagerstown Community College, “Serendipity” of Bay De Noc Community College, Literative.com, and she will be published in The Flash Fiction Press in September.

Here at the End of All Things / On Learning How to be a Husband / The Stutterer – by RYAN GARESIO

Here at the End of All Things

 

Thank you for calling me ‘honey-bear.’

Thank you sewing the shirt that I’m wearing

And for patching me up with violet yarn.

Thank you for loving the rain.

Thank you for loving the quiet

Of the world we live in.

Thank you for teaching me how to breathe.

Thank you for giving me a chance

On life, life with you.

Thank you for remembering my birthday.

Thank you for reminding me how important

My birthday is to you.

Thank you for being my friend.

Thank you for catching me

When I fall to the ground.

Thank you for smiling, and

Thank you for the gentle push

Off the ground, so I can stand tall again.

 

The world will always be ours, honey-bear.

It’s quiet now.

Breathe. Do you remember how?

It’s raining, honey-bear.

I’m here to fix you.

You’re broken.

I’ll patch you up.


 

On Learning How to Be a Husband

 

Love is not just

a home,

nor is it the sun.

 

It is the desert

and its bitter cold;

The blood on our fingers,

the blisters on our soles.


 

The Stutterer

 

I mumble and stumble and jumble

My words.

Not just any words;

The important words:

Words to get my point ac-c-roooss.

Words toletpe ople know howif-f-fee l.

Words to tttttttellmymotherimmmmmssssorryfor not beingthththththere.

(Sorry? Oh…)

Words to tell my mother I’m sorry for not being there.

WordsforallthetimesI’velost…

 

I don’t feel like I’ve ever really won

With words.

 

Is this m-m-making sense to y-y-y-you?!?!


***

unnamed-14

Ryan Garesio is an emerging poet residing in Meriden, CT. He spends his days with his wife and dog, and watches football when he can. He is currently pursuing an M.S. in English and Secondary Education from Southern Connecticut State University.

Poetry Collection – by LINDA M. CRATE

without the sea

 

you peeled away me

so there was

only you,

and the gnawing tiredness

of bones;

you made me weak and weary and tired

and sad and angry all at once

there was no escape

from this blind crawling like a baby sea turtle

i was fighting against the birds and sand

to reach my final destination

hoping that i wasn’t devoured by some hunger

that existed outside of me—

i don’t know

what you wanted,

but it wasn’t me and i don’t know what you loved but

she wasn’t me either;

because you destroyed the person i once was

made me give up everything i was and changed my future

by shattering my past—

this growth while perhaps necessary was painful

so much so

that i lashed out at strangers

because my hurt was so large and i was so small and nothing

seemed to soothe the throbbing, burning pain

within my soul;

before i met you i was full of energy and life

afterwards i had to remember how to grow because for

a while i was only broken and exhausted

without a view of the crystal jade sea who always

nourished me.


 

the maddest of hatters

 

there’s a plethora of girls that

call themself alice,

but i am the

mad hatter;

there is no white rabbit that could

even entrance me

my joy is in ribbons and lace and creation

and perhaps a bit of tea

sitting by the edge of the wood

muttering to myself

about everything and nothing at all because

sometimes you need expert advice,

after all,

and no one knows me better than me;

even the cheshire cat knows that

with his ate the canary grin—

i always admired the white queen and i wanted

her to run away with me,

but she was busy

falling in love with independence and men

that were not me;

she’s the only woman i ever loved but she was not

mine to hold

i don’t care much for alice

because she’s always slaying jabberwockies and red queens

and chasing knaves—

there’s only ever been one woman for me,

and she will remain beautiful always

even when time

takes her away from me.


 

let every sunset haunt

 

someone has to play the villain, baby,

so let it be you

let it be you;

running for your mirror

draped in the perfectly disguised wounded warrior

mask that you wear so well,

narcissus,

and you let my voice echo

my love for you

over and over without reply;

until like ophelia

i’m laying in the river with flowers and you rejoice

in the silence—

but like the immortal phoenix

i rose from the ashes of your chaos

to haunt you

in the eyes of every sunset

that ever made me smile love in your eyes.


 

the terror of your name

 

i am going to drop

all the hour glasses

watch the sands as they

drift

across the floor in a slow

retire

ignore your screaming

when you ask me what’s wrong with me

because i’m not the one with

the issues,

you are;

always self-assured the world will

give you all your wants and aims and you’ll never

meet conflict or have to face your problems—

i am going to shatter all your fish tanks

that hold mermaids like me,

and i will destroy all your gilded cages

you keep for birds like me;

and i will set on fire every pedestal you have

for ladies like me—

because i am a wild, untamed creature

and you have for too long tried to put out my fires

creative or otherwise

to have complete control in every domain;

and i will free any woman i must

so that she can not know the terror of your

name.


 

sprite of music

 

dancing frees me

of your expectations and judgments

inhibitions flow out the door

lose myself in the heart and soul of

the music,

and there’s no getting me back

until the music leaves

so you best make yourself comfortable

if you’re not dancing with me;

closing my eyes

the dance floor isn’t even a factor

cannot see the other dancers

because i’m putting my heart and soul into

the beat of this song—

drink that drink for me, darling, because

i’m not interested;

would rather be alone than with someone

and lonely

wouldn’t expect a small person like you to

understand so feel free to crawl back from that

hole you came out of

because this song speaks to me on a deeper

level than you ever could.


 

***

2007

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. Recently her two chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press – June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon – January 2014) were published. Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015. The third of this series Centaurs & Magic is slated for a November release. Her third poetry collection If Tomorrow Never Comes(Scars Publications – August 2016) was recently published. Her poetry collection Sing Your Own Song is forthcoming through Barometric Pressures Series.

Poetry Collection – by KEN ALLAN DRONSFIELD

Diabolical Nature

 

That little spider moved quickly

into my small cabin on the lake.

Through a slight crack by the door

I stared, undaunted, eerie but inquisitive

as it slowly began weaving a lovely web.

I thought of all the cans of bug spray

and repellents waiting in the back room

but I was rather intrigued at her brash

nature and egotistical style displayed.

I questioned whether I should let her

stay, after all; less mosquitoes, flies,

and those infernal crickets, cricketing

all damn night never to be found.

She finished the web by nine o clock

soon the sound of a cricket echoed

then stopped and I checked my spider.

She let the cricket go, so I stomped her,

a size ten at eleven and went to bed.

The diabolical in nature will not win!

I awoke at two with a mosquito bite

itching on my forehead and that damn

cricket under my bed cricketing away,

scratching and tossing shoes all about,

am sure it’s now a great time for Plan B.


 

Officially Verklempt

 

the damn tire is flat

my air has been stolen

or perhaps the seal gone

complications in my life

places to go in town

things to do all round

I could change the thing,

but only flat on the bottom.

a Master’s in Engineering so

I’m thinking I can fix this crap

just then my wife turns to say,

“don’t worry, AAA is on the way!”

I wait for this mechanical man

to come and repair my incident,

so here I sit, listening to this shit

and now I’m officially verklempt.


 

Golden Locks Upon a Morning Breeze

 

incessant jovial mumbling aghast

golden locks upon a morning breeze

convertible top down in harsh sunlight

Siamese cat rides proud upon the dash

casting hazy shadows from stem to stern

quieted ride upon the marshmallow tires

pizza bites sizzle on the red hot headers

as my brain awakens in a drunken stupor

crossing the plains, without fear or disdain

seeking or freaking like a two headed clam

memories absolved of all pleasure or piety

golden locks flow upon a morning breeze.


 

Blissfully Waiting for Lithium’s Last Kiss

 

Heartlessly waiting and regretfully abating

questioning the motif of an abstract work

wishing to feel the tweak or feted treats

as the prick in the arm burns so slightly.

Stand in a street now feeling less bleak

the Count reaches ten, the Muppet’s dance

the pain is long gone, Miss Piggy looks hot!

June thaw they say, what time is it anyway?

The officer stands looking me in the eyes

he checks my name on his computer list

asks why I’m on the roof, trying to fly, say I

just blissfully waiting for Lithium’s last kiss.


***

bio-pic-ken-allan-dronsfield

 

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet who has recently been nominated for The Best of the Net and 2 Pushcart Awards for Poetry in 2016. His poetry has been published world-wide in various publications throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. Ken loves thunderstorms, walking in the woods at night, and spending time with his cat Willa. Ken’s new book, “The Cellaring”, a collection of haunting, paranormal, weird and wonderful poems, has been released and is available through Amazon.com. He is the co-editor of the poetry anthology titled, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze available at Amazon.com. A second anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses will be released soon.

Walking Home in New Spring / Picking Corn with Boys – by JOHN BROWN

 

Walking Home in New Spring *

 

Today, like that day

in our first April, the sun low,

your hand new on the small

of my back, we were caught

 

in a torrent of rain. It hit

harder than planned

when we balked at clouds,

ignored their black, the burden

 

of wet in their bowing bellies.

We ran like we did that day.

A quarter-mile to your house, sprinting

hip-tight, kicking up the wet in swaths

 

from our heels. That day in April we hung

our clothes to dry in the bath,

let jeans drip a room away, the heaviness

gone by morning in a drain swig our eyes missed.

 

But today we slogged

arm’s-length, wind searing,

screaming through the space.

You wrung your shorts off the side

 

of the porch while I longed

to feel water lift from my skin,

for a warmth in new dryness—

 

for an us we left in the storm.


 

Picking Corn with Boys

 

I wanted to give

you a weightlessness

with corn silk in your hands,

the way those leaves slice

dizzying thwacks on your chest

and arms, the whiteness

of young kernels

under newest daylight.

 

With your fist formed

over my shirt collar

I led you to the center

to be lost in a new

dewed body. Poised

for an ear to shake out

her hair, I tore open

a tight, veined wrap,

and you leapt at the sight

of the something inside.

 

I picture your face

as you jumped back

through a wall of stalks:

scrunched in maybe

disappointment, disgust,

or fear—nothing

of magic to find

hundreds of mites

crawling blind

in fresh sun, starved

and burrowing deep

in the folds of the leaves.


***

190

John Mark Brown is a queer poet from Southern Illinois, a senior creative writing student at Eastern Illinois University, and a cardigan enthusiast. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the Indiana Review (Online), Yellow Chair Review, Indiana Voice Journal, and Rat’s Ass Review, among others. He can be found embarrassing himself on Twitter @johnbrownie13.

Poetry Collection – by AVALON GRAVES

Broken Mirrors and Black Cats

 

I am the breeze that haunts your midnight’s,

the last twinkle of hope

in your sky.

As darkness falls

you fall

for me

and wonder why…

A black cat hissed at you

this morning,

you cursed my name and

kept walking.

The phone rang-

it was you

calling. I didn’t answer.

Tonight, you will break an

arm or,

another mirror and

yet again

my name will dance on your tongue.


The Cycle

 

I look at you-

like what I see.

You look at me,

wonder what could be.

You desire,

you want

you crave…

I reciprocate.

You get a taste-

I captivate.

I wander. You wait.

I stop

I think,

I no longer want.

I look away.

I miss. I might regret…

so I look back,

while you forget. So then,

I need.


 

She 

She wanted to be everywhere and

nowhere simultaneously.

To pause the now

and soak it up

like rain, or like tampons do blood

intentionally, without really trying.

Often she fancied

finding solace in fragments of her

past which she kept hidden

in a heart shaped locket

tucked between

breast she uninhibited

bra-less;

her love was reckless

but real

and that’s precisely what made her feel

more human, than most.

She smiled so sweetly, lips

like the first sip of

lemonade on a hot day that isn’t promising.

Her little differences, refreshing.

And although her life was an unfinished

road map

with fairy tale islands and highways leading

no where, you bet she had direction.

It was certain that if she aimed East, you would

follow and if she claimed West you’d never

rest until you got there.

That’s when you realized that sometimes

it takes something

beautiful like a painting,

or thong or

a pretty song or poem

or red head on a swing

to move you and

maybe, just maybe

live a little.


 

Dichotomy

 

Came to visit dad again,

Little Havana’s humid air

lingered with my childhood

secrets.

Every few months or so

his Santerian Magick compelled me

to ring that dirty doorbell,

greet his whores,

and smile politely while I hold on to

my purse like I would a new

born.

His apartment was

a trip to the twilight zone

a blast from the past,

incense and peppermint.

Cabinets filled with trinkets and relics

you’d find at Goodwill or

a fancy vintage museum.

I kissed him hello and realized

my big, brown, impartial eyes

made me the biggest freak

in his circus.

There he was,

intimately romancing his crack pipe.

I always wondered what his secret was..

he just kept grinning.

A sort of zen I was sorry I didn’t own.

Did he not care of tomorrow

or travel

or time?

Not a care in the world from his

stained sheets

and un-fluffed pillow point of view.

The fumes of his cigarette

danced in the humid

stillness.

I almost choked.

He played an old tune on his

rusty piano

but it wasn’t long before

he took another hit.

What is happiness, dad?

He knew something that I didn’t,

that’s for damn sure.

I always blamed it on my zodiac sign.

Damn Capricorns,

so dark and moody…

why couldn’t I be a care-free

Aquarius like him…

humanitarian of sorts,

he looked after these women and felt

an equal contempt for all

of them.

He grinned, and said the only profound

thing left in his post-tumorous head,

 

“happiness is nothing more than a fleeting moment”

 

I grabbed a beer and walked out the door.

A fleeting moment.


THE BIRTH OF CREATIVITY

 

there is an infinite source,

and it is a vast

porous swirl

with every thought ever

thought up

and every creature ever

conjured

in the most

vivid

parts of our imagination.

a tunnel with no particular

destination;

and it’s empty

until you try to reach it.

if you are still and quiet

and cunning,

this source will allow

you to touch it

and become it.

the portal of wonder

penetrates

through you and

beautiful beams

of nothingness will come

bursting down

like uncontrollable tides

don’t run from it.

pry your mouth

open  wide,

make a wish

and swallow.

swish these waves

tidal wave tongue,

until they turn either

sweet or sour

and when you spit it all out

alas,

creative wonder.

congratulations,

collective consciousness

has blessed you

and now you swim in the

solace of reassurance,

someone else

understands you.

creativity is bred this way.

a blind mother reaches out to

nothingness and gives birth

to a baby that weeps before

the agony of growing

into someone who yearns to

be worth knowing.

***

fb_img_1479130199840

Avalon Graves is a 27 year old Miami native, who writes taboo poetry for the open mind and reckless heart. She’s currently majoring in Creative Writing, and working as a behavioral therapist for children with autism. Miss Graves is a fan of matcha green tea, trail blazing, and watching cult classics on rainy afternoons. You can usually find her making collage art with an old record playing in the background, usually Bob Dylan,
or Joni Mitchell.

Something – by THOM YOUNG

Something

something

isn’t

right

the trash trucks

are late

the neighbor’s dog

isn’t barking its head off

its name is Pepper

but I heard one of them

call it Jack

everyone around here

is a poet

or claims to be

and there’s no way out

no chance

you’ll never find love

in the city

but it will meet you

in the back alley

just come

packing heat

you never know

you might win.

***

thom

Thom Young is a writer from Texas. His work has been in The Commonline Journal, 3am magazine, Crack the Spine, Word Riot, 48th Street Press, and many other places. A 2008 Million Writers Award nominee for his story Perico.

Tesco’s Is Not The Same Without You – by PAUL TRISTRAM

 

Tesco’s Is Not The Same Without You

He stands at the bargain section,

half-cut, frowning deeply

but still wishing upon hopeless stars.

An 8 pack of beer, toilet roll

& some boil-in–the-bag food

fill his single man’s basket.

Unwashed in over a week,

drained & lethargic to the very core.

Whilst she’s pulling into Waitrose

in her new man’s BMW.

Filled to the absolute brim

with vitality, smiles

& fresh spunk trails.

To pick up some more

red wine & champagne

ready for their 3rd

cocaine & sex party this week.

They are both exactly 1 and a half

miles away from each other, yet

orbiting 2 completely different planets.

In their messed-up heads

one’s a winner, one’s a failure.

Yet, the reality is that

they’re both hamsters in cages,

spinning on wheels going nowhere

and achieving nothing but parting ways.

© Paul Tristram 2016

***

paul smoking

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet. Buy his books ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press)  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1943170096 ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036 And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326415204 You can also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/

The Window Washer – by MATTHEW LAWLER

The Window Washer

There’s a man who washes windows

along Western Avenue.

Seemingly irrational, he blurts stories

about giant pythons circling his steps,

Latching on his flesh, choking every breath

as blood spurts from his nostrils.

His awkward stance resembles

an avalanche of some sorts,

Disheveled by the devils he snorts.

Entangled in the cobwebs of cobblestone.

One of three million who call Chicago home.

He works for a living, but only to feed

his habit of alcohol and coke,

He sleeps under the viaducts with the other addicts,

Those with skeleton skin,

The lepers who’ve lost hope.

 

There’s a man who washes windows

along Western Avenue,

From sun up to sundown,

With squeegee fresh pressed against glass,

He sees a haunting image loudly

conjuring shadows from his past.

He’s been a prisoner for years

held captive by that helpless hunger

that pelts urges with no restraint,

Wishing for excursions perhaps

to a transcendent state.

 

What keeps him going?

He finds meaning in the washing.

It’s a cycle of blissful anguish.

 

Clean the outdoor storefront windows

while the insides he can’t touch,

Wipe the stains from the outside window panes

while the insides remain full of gunk.

 

He’s a surface cleanser with squeegee in hand,

Divested of self-esteem, to himself he’s hardly a man.

He washes for the fix, transient as it may be,

He sees the world as he sees himself

in a flask drunk and crazy.

 

Walking up and down the street for pennies

at least he’s working for a living,

Blood dripping down his nose from

all the snow he’s been sniffing.

Strolling along the sidewalk

Talking to the summer heat,

He notices stress cracks carved in windows.

He stops to gaze inside and look,

But turns from his reflection,

Realizing his days are pages in a book.

Years vanishing like his once youthful face,

Shards of glass cracking on his feet

from a car’s broken rear view mirror

parked alongside the street.

Bars line up like pillars across

the windows of a church,

He sees the bars in his own eyes

and can’t seem to escape,

Been afraid for so long

to try and change his fate.

He hesitates to look deep inside

fearing what could be,

That he’s a prison to himself

and can’t seem to get free.

 

There’s a man who washes windows

along Western Avenue,

With mechanical hands in

a methodical motion

moving up and down like a seismograph.

His life is an earthquake,

Rumbling, shattering the

Windows.

***

picture-2

Matthew J. Lawler is a poet and Chicago native. He was raised on the Northwest side of the city and began writing poetry in his teen years. His writing is a blend of narrative and philosophical thought. He is published in numerous online journals, Visual Verse, Unlost Journal, Caravel Literary Arts Journal, People’s Tribune, and Dissident Voice. You can find more of his work at www.facebook.com/matthewjlawlerpoet