First Real Spring Day without You
It’s sunny but son-less, birdsong and blossoms, and I remember how
you loved the row of blooming crab-apples in front of the Cardella’s house
and the different flowers in our yard whose names you
wanted to be reminded of each year.
You loved having the side deck to sit on with your pant legs rolled up
so the sun could heal your psoriatic legs
as you watched the boisterous birds, scampering squirrels and chipmunks--
and to stand on at night to stare up at the stars, scanning for meteors.
Even in the rain you’d stand there in the dark and converse with yourself--
your racing brain a churning treasure trove of data and imagined adventures,
sleep merely an exhausted state to fall into on the couch in the middle of the night,
as if you knew how little time you had in the body that would betray you.
Lox and bagels or bacon and croissants for Saturday breakfasts,
And roller-coaster amusement parks:
I’m trying to remember the things you found to love after moving north
so I can comfort myself when I think how you never seemed as happy
after we moved from your childhood home.
You delighted in discussing different religions
and observing how they all boiled down to the same thing--
but sometimes you worried about Revelations and people who might go to hell,
because one of your strangest friends kept insisting both were real and imminent; but
your God was love, and you loved your friends, though they were few and,
The more fragile ones you always took under your big wing, my sweet child,
as the mother cardinal in the old maple does now for her babies.
Today the dog found a baby robin blown out of its nest by last night’s storm,
but you weren’t here.
Tonight a friend described a subspecies of salamander she’d seen on TV
but she couldn’t remember the name, and you weren’t here to ask.
You were an old soul
and you still are,
as I sense you come to remind me every night at bedtime.
I never had to worry about your light shining on so brightly--
only about its brevity here on earth,
where it seems so dark now, even in the spring.
(Denise Thompson-Slaughter was born in Washington, D.C. and currently lives in Western New York. She received a B.A. in English from Rutgers University and worked many years as an academic editor. Her literary publications include two books of poetry, a mystery novella, two short stories, and brief memoir pieces.)
The raccoon and I
see each other,
souls as animal
eyes do, dark
space to dark
space, in a
fur and claw,
skin and bone.
When Depression Steps Out
It feels, sometimes, like
a taboo to be happy, to
breathe in the morning,
glad to be alive, to pet
a cat’s belly and delight
in its impossible softness,
to listen to the endless
chirping of hopeful birds,
to believe that tomorrow
will come and the day
after that, to not give
up despite frantic
calls to do so,
to shower and dress
and stride through
the many doors that--
(Vivian Wagner lives in the village of New Concord, Ohio, where she's an associate professor of English at Muskingum University.)
I am not sure how I did it,
how I survived
a lucky chance
but here I am
against the wind,
the hot, hot wind
which has turned the soil
into rippling sand
the rippling sand
of the unwashed desert.
I am not sure how I did it
and I am not sure how long
I can stay here
in the rippling sand
of the unwashed desert.
(Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality and writes hoping to find an audience for her musings. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Peach Velvet, Light Journal and So It Goes.)
Fragrant and Amaranthine for Thousands of Years
One day I will come back by a red cloud and bring giant's picture scroll.
My lines of lightning songs will flutter gold greetings of prehistoric huge city.
The mountains that have been sleeping for hundreds of millions of years
will be transparent in an instant and the lights will be brilliant, like five-coloured gems;
And the songs of my soul in the skeleton will be in full bloom,
like the fairyland flowers of the Kingdom of Heaven,
that will be fragrant and amaranthine for thousands of years.
The Soul is Invisible Muse
Open the eyes of your soul you'll see countless yourself.
No time goes by,which as if the sun and the moon never set and rise.
The world is only a book of phantom and the soul is invisible Muse.
Before the words hadn't beent born yet, you have been a giant
of the the kingdom of gold, that know not what is meant by myself.
(Hongri Yuan, born in China in 1962, is a poet and philosopher interested particularly in creation. Representative works include Platinum City, The City of Gold, Golden Paradise , Gold Sun and Golden Giant. His poetry has been published in the UK, USA ,India ,New Zealand, Canada and Nigeria.)
And then there are the days I long
to open him like a host on Westworld
though I would have to grow claws
to rip his skull apart since he is no bot
but my lover and with dexterity and calm
to lift with the point of the nimblest of my talons
the pulsating taint that pulls him down
into depressions that drive me mad.
(A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. Nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and poetry, his verse appears this year in Headcase: LGBTQ Writers & Artists on Mental Health and Wellness published by Oxford UP and Lovejets: queer male poets on 200 years of Walt Whitman from Squares and Rebels. His essay "It's Been a Long Time Coming" was featured in The New York Times "Modern Love" column in April 2016. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry. Twitter: @JamesPenha)
A Labyrinth of Strangers
They’re all familiar enough in the beginning: parents,
aunts, uncles, grandparents—relatives who’ve been
part of your short, sweet life. Yet, as you move further
back in time, names, dates and places become increasingly
obscure until, eventually, you find yourself stumbling
about in a labyrinth of strangers.
Still you keep on digging, hoping to find that one luminous
figure among your ancestors. But, take care; what you uncover
may leave you wishing you’d left well enough alone, remained
in blissful ignorance, untouched by the viper which has been
waiting all these years to sink its fangs into your heel.
For in most things there is a balance of sorts—light versus
dark, good versus evil—you get my drift. And with a linage
that, theoretically, stretches all the way back to the first fish
which made its way up out of the ocean onto dry land, you
have to expect a Snopes or two, perhaps even a Hannibal Lecter,
hiding somewhere in the foliage of your family tree!
(Howard Brown is a poet who lives in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. His poetry has appeared in The Beautiful Space (May 31, 2018), Burningword Literary Journal, Blue Collar Review, Tuck Magazine, Pure Slush, Poetry Super Highway, Old Hickory Review, Lone Stars Magazine and Devil’s Party Press (forthcoming).
at the Meissen
cup and saucer,
white like the
lace covering the
polished teak table
where fingers drum
on a yellowing
inside on pages
sepia words crumble
like dried bones,
and the eyes
that once sought
at someone’s fingers
drumming on a
yellowing book cover
that long ago
and longer ago
on the polished
exquisite Flemish lace,
like the Meissen
saucer and cup.
(Louis Kasatkin is Founder of Destiny Poets UK and Editorial Administrator at www.destinypoets.co.uk He is also a life long community and political activist, inveterate blogger and has on occasion been dubbed a general nuisance to the status quo.)
The recent case of the phantom hand,
letting go of what it cannot hold,
catching moths in a window,
pawing away grief’s tears.
A hand that carried on regardless,
its master asleep and unaware,
his signature perfected to the iota,
penmanship an unappreciated talent.
The phantom hand that signed the checks
a lack of funds reneged upon.
That signed the freeman’s death warrant
with a controlled and unremarkable flourish.
(Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with over 1,400 poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are ‘The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press); ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy; (Cawing Crow Press) and ‘Like As If” (Pski’s Porch), Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).)
buzzing lights and humming pipes
synaptic fizz from coloured pills
for double vision and cracking lips
a train through the brain
pulls apart seams
to find empty thoughts
and misplaced images
that lie on the bed
or in a sponge for a head.
(Image is I Need a Private World, by Dutch artist Marcel Herms – marcelherms.nl)
(Henry Bladon is a writer of short fiction and poetry based in Somerset in the UK. He has degrees in psychology and mental health policy, and a PhD in literature and creative writing. His work can be seen in Entropy, FridayFlashFiction, thedrabble, Mercurial Stories, The Ekphrastic Review, and Spillwords Press, among other places.)
Life needs a testimony about love. It teaches us – either you control
your mood, or it takes power over you and to pain you have to answer,
to fidelity you have to answer, to braveness you have to answer and
you have all these answers - to friendship, you answered with a smile
and to fidelity, to pain, you answered with silence and tears, to meanness –
with indignation, to loneliness - with living for others, to abomination –
with disgust, to braveness you answered with your full heart and it is
and it was and it always will be your guide, your best friend, your God,
your loved one and your way and your home, your heart is your journey
across the cross-roads of human faith and darkness, human faith and
calmness, across the whole universe of solitude or joy every answer is
the price we pay for operating out of our automatic images of mind
and it’s telling you now: “This is actually called life and a man can
not prove love, a man can only experience it with his heart.”
January 15, 2019
I Go Away
The silence acts through our brains,
opens the world by our hands - I go away
and let go of radiant brainwaves.
The silence dreams of us, we are its dream,
when it wakes up, we vanish from him - I go away
and let go of noisy darkness.
The tale ends and then begins anew,
we go through death again into life - I go away
and let go of empty dirtiness.
Fall in love, we will again,
I see your hand is on my hand - I go away
and let go of magic spell.
When I woke up, you were beside me,
somehow I thought the night so deep – I go away
and let go of sleepy nakedness.
You are with me resembling the snow,
I know the answer for the secrets you know – I go away
and let go of holy silence.
May 8, 2018
( David Dephy – The Georgian/American poet, novelist, essayist. An active participant of the American and international poetry and artistic scenes, such as PEN World Voices, 92Y Poetry Center, Voices of Poetry, Long Island Poetry Listings, Bowery Poetry. His poetry has been published in the USA by the several literary magazines.)
The Beautiful Space-