From the Editor:
Welcome to the debut issue of Hidden Constellation.
Issue 1 boasts 31 poems of various styles and lengths on a wide range of themes and topics from 31 creative people. Some of the writers are more experienced than others, but I feel each deserves not only wider attention, but YOUR attention as well. It’s my sincere hope that you will read each poem in issue 1 and enjoy many of them.
A few comments on the formatting of issue 1:
I decided to use one poem per poet represented in this issue. Poets were welcome to send in up to four poems for consideration. I feel limiting each poet to one poem will lead to greater variety in the issues. I plan to continue this practice in each issue of Hidden Constellation.
There is no theme to this issue and I don’t foresee having themed issues in the future.
Poems are presented alphabetically by their titles’ names. Author biographical sketches precede each poem.
Finally, I have posted these poems pretty much as their writers presented them to me. I suppose in that sense I am not so much an editor but more of a host to the work of these engaging and emerging poets. In one case, formatting is not as the writer intended due to a quirk in WordPress and my own inexperience with tech. I hope to rectify my inexperience by next issue.
(See “About/Submission Guidelines” for information on our next issue.)
Okay, here are the 31 stars found in our first Hidden Constellation!
Dr. Yi-Wen Huang is from Taiwan and an Associate Professor of English and Linguistics at University of New Mexico-Gallup. She lived and attended universities in Long Island, NY and Pittsburgh, PA. Her research focuses on language and affect. Her hobbies include zumba, spinning, thrift shopping, edm, and traveling as a foodie and tea aficionado.
On the way back home to Gallup from Vegas
You high beamed me twice tailgating me
you, 18 wheeler gangster?bully of the high-speed lane
you tailgated me for about 10 minutes
there were three rigs adjacent
driving like a wall on the slow lane next to me
no place to go
then I changed to the slow lane and then I realized it’s an 18 wheeler
once you changed to the fast lane to tailgate me,
all the tractor trailers rushed to pass me, like a gang
You, 18 wheeler drove quickly like a small sedan changing to the fast lane
to get in front of other semis in the slow lane
you cut off me while I was right next to you in the slow lane
I could be dead
you changed to slow lane
you let me go into the fast lane, so you changed to the slow lane
you tailgated a small sedan in the fast lane
Once again you changed to slow lane and then you were in front of me
and THEN you were gone.
Daginne Aignend is a pseudonym for the Dutch poetess and photographic artist Inge Wesdijk.She likes hard rock music and fantasy books. She is a vegetarian and spends a lot of time with her animals. Daginne posted some of her poems on her Facebook page and on her fun project website www.daginne.com, she’s also the co-editor of Degenerate Literature, a poetry, flash fiction, and arts E-zine
She has been published in several Poetry Review Magazines, in the bilingual anthology
(English/Farsi), “Where Are You From?” and in the Contemporary Poet’s Group anthology
“Dandelion in a Vase of Roses.”
A Fiery Dragon
People say I’m slow
Not in my brain
but in my actions
Spontaneity isn’t my thing
It only leads
to wrong decisions
Since everyone thinks
I’m boring, the paragon
I got myself a fiery dragon
tattooed on my but
To set my ass on fire.
Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Three Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work. Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations.
and tight rows
Who else would
eloquence of one?
This fat place maker
known as zero? Why
at the holy seven?
While he slept his
Suddenly long division
subtracted an unknown
quantity yet sums still
Where had his equations wandered?
Vicki Bashor writes: “I’m from the midwest, born and raised in Ohio. I have a degree in English and wrote for three different newspapers over 25 years’ time. I also worked in the agricultural publications unit of The Ohio State University. During my time there, I was the liaison for OSU with six other Big Ten universities in the exchange of faculty papers and creative endeavors. I was also hired to transcribe and produce tradebooks from various seminars and working sessions between OSU and The Columbus Zoo Aquarium. I retired from print journalism in 2012. I am in the process of co-writing a book of fiction and especially enjoy creating poetry, my favorite writing medium. I have a 19 year-old daughter in college and she is the light of my life.”
You open your heart
to close it again
when I show one jot
and Oh, how I break
mistakes, and with black
mascara smears in the dark
alone again I ache, your part
in knowing me
in showing me
letting me go
as if I am nothing
an empty pen,
my ink spent.
how beautiful our love
how hard and dark
in black pieces
I could cleanse.
Ken Allan Dronsfield is a poet from New Hampshire, now residing in Oklahoma. He has been seeking publication of his poetry for just over a year. His published work can be found in reviews, journals, magazines and anthologies throughout the web and in print venues. Ken’s poetry has been nominated for two Pushcart Prize Awards and the Best of the Net for 2016.
Blue Spatter from a Bleeding Sky
Lightning strikes flash
in a sky of bluish black
shredded trees leave
startled birds scream
the eye now arrives,
calming of the storm
dripping blue spatter
from a bleeding sky.
A jovial bliss survives
within a lucid fantasy
frowns caught amidst
a dream catchers web.
bottle patiently waits,
the shot glass grinning
blue spatter blinding
within the bleeding sky.
Denel Kessler lives in the Pacific Northwest. Through poetry and song, she attempts to share nature’s stories and her own.
“Brittle” was previously published online at Hello Poetry.
in scorched ground
severed roots remain
rides the thermal
on a heady rush to heaven
only to drop shattered
in full splendid flower
abundance freely given
but for one desire
do not let me die
for lack of water
on the desolate highway
a once lush landscape
48-year-old Mark Symmonds from Northampton, England, started writing poetry and flash fiction on a regular basis in April 2017 and has already published over 100 pieces of work on his blog at https://marksymmonds.blog.
Mark writes freestyle rhyming poetry covering a variety of genre. His flash fiction is dark and haunting, often with an unexpected twist. Mark has started writing a novel, which, along with his poetry and flash fiction, he hopes to get published soon. Mark publishes his work all over social media with nearly three thousand followers on twitter alone.
Full moon against the black sky nature telling us lies, no wolves cry, just a bright moon against Black sky. Rippling shadows across the orb, light in the clouds to absorb, celestial strobe, large lobe glows in the night. Visions of light and sensory masters, fragile moon hanging so bright without the hindrance of street lights.
Orb of wonder shining in sun’s slumber, black velvet backdrop, secrets not unlocked. Cratered moon come visit again soon, shine your light on the canvas of night until you sleep in broad daylight, crouching down out of sight turning out your precious light.
Oh, precious moon have you taken flight, now you hang out of sight, will you be back to beam your light. Will you come to cast shadows of night, running across the sky showing your nocturnal flight. Light up the dark glow like a spark to eat through the black on your long night hack.
Stars a twinkle in your mighty presence, specks of light candle bright, floating at death defying height.
Through the cloud and thick night sky, their lights with yours they vie, like the sky is starting to cry, daring us to see what we can spy, picture framed by the night sky.
Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. Mr. Johnson published in 930 publications, his poems have appeared in 33 countries, he edits, publishes 10 different poetry sites. Nominated 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015 & Best of the Net 2016. 134 poetry videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos. Editor-in-chief of anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762 Second poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses, Editor-in-chief, Michael Lee Johnson, available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1545352089.
Children in the Sky (V2)
There is a full moon,
distant in this sky tonight,
Gray planets planted
on an aging white, face.
Children, living and dead,
love the moon with small hearts.
Those in heaven already take gold thread,
drop the moon down for us all to see.
Those alive with us, look out their
bedroom windows tonight,
we smile, then prayers, then sleep.
Lewis Bosworth, from Madison, WI, writes: “I realized I wanted to be a writer only in the last five years. I‘d been writing poetry since high school. Since then I’ve been writing in fits and starts; my most fertile periods were in the 60s – my college years – the 70s, 90s and recently.”
The rainy pathway to my door
Is traveled seldom by love.
Yet when I wake up suddenly
And deeply seek one true friend,
He breaks the knot of silence,
Leaving me behind his stare,
Making no sound.
This life-long journey’s just begun,
A three act play on justice.
And when I’m asked for action bold,
My haunting spirit dries up,
And some spiteful, savage dreams
Concocted by a puzzled brain
Take me over.
The distant torments weigh me down,
So I begin a letter
To myself in silent focus,
A jumble of mixed-up words,
Of wounds, of wonder meeting
A patch of juxtaposed doorways
Closed fast to me.
Erstwhile egocentric leaders,
Boasting childish rightful goals,
Preach democratic relations
Which, by cheating the ballots,
Become valid through heinous
And popular, unsuspecting
Sometimes we hope for miracles,
Or anything to mend us
And make our lives less sorrowful.
The bitter tastes and weirdness,
Which color our existence,
Re-educate our resistance
In sane motifs.
Spotting the detours of our world,
In advance of setting forth,
Will buoy the dangers only some.
And then our soul’s résumé
May howl and regurgitate,
In front of witnesses galore,
Its cruel intent.
I play at a game of pretend,
But only win in time to
Scare a hill of ants to submit.
If belief in twitter’s true,
My score is less than zero,
But my ladder of life is full
Jackie Chou studied Creative Writing at USC. She has been published by Lummox, the Altadena Poetry Review, amomancies, Dryland, Angel City Review, the Origami Poem Project, Culture Cult, Hall of Poets Anthology of Love, Silver Birch Press, and others. She was named one of top ten San Gabriel Valley poets in 2016 by Spectrum Publications.
You peeled the smile
off of my face
and yellowed my soul
of your pain
sugar coating everything
and letting the venom
seep in afterwards
The twenty dollars
you left on the ironing board
every other week
kept my mouth shut
they fell off
leaving my wounds
to bleed profusely
It is easy
to pretend not to know
to be cold like snow
But father, father
the men I meet
are a lot like you
They melt my morals
with the heat
and I learned
to say “yes”
to go along
with their every whim
My pliant flesh
bears all the misery
you gave mother
I get crushed
only to begin
all over again
Elizabeth Trondsen writes: “Writing has been a great passion of mine from my teen years. I am a writer of poetry, short stories, children’s books, non-fiction inspirational and nature articles, and am also working on a novel based on my own life. My poetry focuses on the Christian faith journey, nature, and relationships. But of course, as a writer, inspiration can come from many sources! I am a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, and have had three poems published in anthologies, two of which were published in January in a worship poetry anthology entitled “Stones Before The Ocean.” I am a member of two poetry websites online called Hello Poetry and VoicesNet.com. I currently reside in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and have three grown children.”
Freedom is Calling
I see birds overhead.
With white-tipped wings
in the wind.
And I am reminded
that God is setting me free.
And that I am flying free.
More every day.
One day soon…
I will be free…
Grant Guy is a Winnipeg poet, writer and playwright. His poems and stories have been published in Canada, the United States and England. He has three books published: OPEN FRAGMENTS, On the BRIGHT SIDE of DOWN and BUS STOP BUS STOP. He was the 2004 Manitoba Arts Council’s recipient of the Award of Distinction and the 2017 Winnipeg Arts Council’s RBC Making A Difference Award.
he can walk
in the middle of the night
between truck stops
& 3:00 am waitresses
unimaginable monsters await at underpasses
aliens from outer space hover beyond
to levitate me into their flying saucer
& just ahead jesus is thumbing a ride
he could keep me company
maybe share the driving.
we could talk about our favorite wines
wedding parties & parents
he is wearing a baseball cap
ah f**k it
he can walk
Krista Leigh Pinto writes: “I am a being with bagillions of emotions, and not enough space in my body. I’ve been writing since I was a wee one, and continued on because I’m guessing it is one of my callings. I hope that my words find, inspire, and comfort those going through life’s little sometimes seemingly monster like battles. Each poem I wrote, is a love letter to all of the universe.”
I don’t want to talk about bodies,
Or parts of bodies.
I would like to speak of
So much more
They are being
Kelsey May is a graduate of the Grand Valley State University Writing Department and Editor in Chief of “Hyype.” Her work has recently appeared in over twenty publications, and she received a nomination for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. She is a recently married woman, and she’s pretty geeked about it.
If I Could Fly
I’d make it to Jupiter and turn back
reminded by the eye of the hurricane that you were probably watching,
judgement a stone in your fist
my wings too fragile to withstand a blow
this balloon, I mean this dog, is open-mouthed
this slurpee is cold in my hand
so you should wish upon a star
and hope that star isn’t me
if I could fly over the river,
I wouldn’t swim back even if you begged
I would climb a parking garage barefooted
if it meant your body would stop parking in mine
your bark is worse than your bite
so why don’t you stop biting down on my tree trunk heart
and root yourself in your own concrete flowerbed instead?
I want to dog your footsteps so you understand
what shadows do to nerves, the way lightning only
strikes once in a lifetime but burns so bad you’ll never be
if I could fly, I wouldn’t have to hold your hand
which means I wouldn’t have to rub your feet
or lick the soles of your shoes or go anywhere with you
sometimes I dream about murdering you,
I know that sounds harsh but ten years in your bed is harsher
what will my sister learn from me but how to hold your pain
where it blinds everyone but you? my eyes are not wings
this dog, I mean, this bite, is a journey from saliva to matrimony
so I’m sorry I ever initiated the first kiss
can apologizing amend this relationship?
can a sorry fix what was broken by someone who is now dead?
can a flower grow where the soil is actually rocks?
can I fly if your signature is still withheld?
Sofia Kioroglou is a twice award-winning poet, published writer and prolific blogger residing in Athens, Greece.Her poems have played on the radio and are included in many anthologies, and a number of literary journals and printed books that include Dumas de Demain, Galleon Literary Journal, Pengician, Lunaris Review, VerseWrights, Galway Review, Degenerate Poetry, The Outlaw Poetry Network, Festival For Poetry, Verse-Virtual, Spillwords, In Between Hangovers, Writing Page, Excavating the Underground, Glance.gr, Silver Birch Press, The Blue Nib, Poetry Super Highway, Halkyon Days, Ashvamegh, Fractal.gr, and Winamop, to name but a few.
To learn more about Sofia Kioroglou’s work, visit:
Je t’aime infinitement
I will love you till the end of time
infinitement et pour toujours
Mon amour pour toi est aussi
grande que le tout monde
Tu es ma joie de vivre
Since I found you, amour de ma vie
I have sailed with every wind
Sirocco blowing in my face
Passing over my Mediterranean sea,
you picked me up with you
travelled me across the seas
kissed me like moisture-dipped grass
Butch Decatoria writes: “42/M/Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
‘The thing about love is that we come alive in bodies not our own’ – Colum McCann (Let The Great World Spin). The beautiful contradictions of our human condition, the experiences of our poetic verse. Get to know me through my words.”
Children bring forth
Joyous and nude
Boogie away the heat of our Cebu
Wash away the grime
The worries of Times
Of war, in Mindanao, in you…
Dance oh Children
Of Sulu seas
Mini Filipinos me’s
Though the air force jets
Weep not lil ones
They are further dead
And now in these drops of sky
Bathe in the Life
Which we give thanks
So, bring forth
All earthly deluge
We babes of Cebu
In the sacrosanct
In the truth.
(this is my Philippines)
I am You.
Blanca Alicia Garza is a Poet from Las Vegas, Nevada. She is a nature and animal lover, and enjoys spending time writing. Her poems are published in the Poetry Anthologies, “Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze”, and “Dandelions in a Vase of Roses” now available at Amazon.com. Blanca’s work can be found in The Poet Community, Whispers, The Winamop Journal, Indiana Voice Journal, Tuck Magazine, Raven’s Cage Ezine, Scarlet Leaf Review as well as Birdsong Anthology 2016, Vol 1.
“My Dear Me” was initially published on Winamop
My Dear Me
Please forgive me…
for all the tears you have shed,
for all those sleepless nights
thinking of what you did wrong,
for letting them clip your wings
and steal the smile from your face.
Please forgive me…
for making you feel lonely
when I was your only hope,
for letting the sparkle in
your eyes extinguish.
I understand now that I
should love you more,
that I should not let
anyone cut your wings,
nor let anyone steal the
shimmering Moon in your eyes,
the passion that’s within your heart.
My Dear Me… please forgive.
P.S. I Love You.
Michael Chin was born and raised in Utica, New York and is an alum of Oregon State’s MFA Program. He won Bayou Magazine’s Jim Knudsen Editor? Prize for fiction and has work published or forthcoming in journals including The Normal School, Passages North, and Hobart. He works as a contributing editor for Moss. Find him online at miketchin.com or follow him on Twitter @miketchin.
Power Up Turbo
Press B seven times, then hold down B, Y, and A for power up turbo, better than power up fire, because you stay fast the whole game, rather than just becoming a better shooter when you have the ball. It’s better to use the code for turbo, then get on fire manually.
Goaltending will not stop a streak of three straight shots that puts a player on fire.
Shove the CPU player twice, sometimes three times, then stand clear because he’ll swing his elbow and might knock you down, and you won’t get the steal.
Timing and rights being what they were, the two representative players from each team in NBA Jam do not include Michael Jordan on the Bulls nor Shaquille O’Neal on the Magic.
Forget expansions and downloadable characters. This was 1994. None of us had modems.
Alone, I played out fantasies. Played as Scottie Pippen on the Bulls and imagined a quest for redemption. Made my computer partner pass to me on every possession could rack up seventy-five points per game, or passed for the purpose of working toward a triple, then a quadruple double.
When Vinnie and played together, on the same team, we swatted at each other’s shots and competed to see who could get more points than the other. We only cooperated long enough to ensure the computer didn’t win.
Sometimes, the computer won.
We played on.
We played as if it mattered. As if we were gods affecting the little electronic people’s lives, as if the computer were another entity. One that deserved malice. We played on winter nights when it was too cold to play basketball itself, and those summer nights after it was dark. Like mashing buttons and all of these mounting wins and losses in some way equated to basketball.
I crammed a handful of cheese puffs in my mouth. Chased them with a swig of Mountain Dew.
Best friends, best game, that and every night for a period that felt it would last forever, there was no question as to whether we’d play another game. Just a series of buttons, capped with B seven times, then B, Y, and A until the following tipoff.
Naseha Sameen writes: I really appreciate that you are reading my book and sharing a part of my life and soul. Let us keep in touch.
Visit my website: http://naseha.world
Also, check out my latest books:
Ruby Drops – hyperurl.co/tmpduh
Rubaisha – hyperurl.co/0j4ble (Amazon) & hyperurl.co/px1zq7 (Flipkart)
Lash down on the rooftops,
tear the sky with your ferocious nails
baring the monstrous fury within.
Or come down smiling ever so gently,
kissing lightly the blooming flowers and careless wilderness,
filling them with elixir of love.
Stephen Schwei is a published poet with Wisconsin roots, who has experienced various journeys and adventures and now resides in Houston, Texas. A gay man with three grown children and four wonderful grandchildren, who worked in Information Technology most of his life, he can be a mass of contradictions. Poetry helps to sort all of this out.
“Satellites” has previously been published on the waxpoetryart.com website.
We have but one satellite
that we’ve barely bothered to name.
What if we had more?
Imagine the comings and goings,
of a planet with twelve moons,
or even just two.
We would see rare sightings,
alignments, and events,
confounding the ebb, ebb, more ebb,
and flow of the tides,
the source of a tortured zodiac,
many pearls in the skyto glow on fresh lovers.
Different size satellites,
various colors and atmospheres,
perhaps some twisting and turning
in strange wobbly orbits,
named for whomever from our past.
We would have a choice
of which to explore first.
A wealth of information
about our universe,
a treasure hunt for life
right in our own backyard.
As much as I like
the rhythms and patterns
of our Moon,
I feel slightly cheated,
having missed the dance
of a crowd of satellites
circling this sleepy planet.
MD Marcus is a freelance writer and poet who loves keys, the color blue, and a good nude illusion. Her work has appeared on Salon as well as in Eunoia Review, Rat? Ass Review, Communicators League, Calliope Magazine, The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society, In-Flight Literary Magazine, “Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness,” among others. Please read everything she writes and visit her on Instagram, Facebook, or at mdmarcus.com.
I am Not a Real Poet
My name becomes lost
behind the edges of a shriveled sticker
as prize winning stanzas
detail Michelangelo’s David
I press, in vain, the disarray
of “Ms. Wilson” flat back
against the bone
The others, who arrived on time
sit in cushioned seats
I sit in one made of wood,
against the wall
that creaks with every shift
highlights my inattentiveness
An old lady sits at an angle
that makes her oversized bun
dangle off the side of her head
her wild wandering cloudy eye condemns
my wild wandering curly hair
I hold my smile, unyielding
until she turns away
read their finest verses,
pipe in spurts like flutes
or blast our eyes wide
with trombone intonations
a vocal orchestra
grin at their own cleverness
My insolent ears
refuse to hear anything
outside of natural speech
though who should I critique
when I can’t even speak my own voice aloud
I who can barely pronounce
the words that I write
A lament of carelessness
I swear under my breath
the black pen held in the space between
a crooked ring and middle finger
scribbles its own indecipherable couplet
upon my yellow Calvin Klein
thrift store dress
A makeup-less porcelain queen
takes the podium
rubs her nose at the conclusion
of my murmured expletives
it gives in such a way
I imagine it contains no cartilage at all
it is really made of putty
Ignored and watched I remain
though the chortling clan’s
metaphorical back slaps
united purrs of awe
as each concludes a revelation unpredicted
but understood perfectly
wrapped in a tidy bow
Comprehension befalls me alone
maybe because I have a headache
from not having had any caffeine today
maybe because I say “Poem”
and not “Poeeemm” like they
maybe because I wear high heels
and not flat soles
Brent Fisher writes: I’m an unpublished writer with a passion for something I like to call “micro-narratives,” with a over-arching concept I like to call A Series of Lives. Essentially, I have a passion for telling stories from different perspectives and in different voices, giving just enough information to paint the picture, but letting the reader fill in the margins, yielding ownership and emotive control and interpretation.
out into the street,
strolling friends extolling
upon the many virtues of wine,
smiling, joking, laughing, prying,
first time in a long while feeling fine,
holding hands, making moments mine,
sun trickling astride concrete corners lying
heavy on the horizon, oh what a lovely light,
shades amber and gold, so heavy on the drama,
bright and low, basking us in deep in karma,
I take a drag, burn down the very last jack,
toss away the pack carelessly, callously,
casually place his arms around me,
take a big bow, conclude the show,
gave ‘em a lift home, driving slow,
till it’s time for the day to go,
though even in the dark,
our fingers entwined,
we shine, we live,
“My name is jan ferrierr. I am a visually impaired disabled poet living near Manchester, England.”
Spaces And Places
I talk to you.
You talk to me.
and the words glisten
in the warm sun.
The empty places that belong to everyone,
are the same for you and me.
These are the space where we disagree,
have nothing in common.
Fantasy fiction versus autobiography.
those spaces for the first time,
illuminated by the bright sunshine
you are not for me.
The spaces are too wide to bridge, you see,
with afternoon café conversations.
Jane Skidmore Bennett writes: “I started writing in 2008….. it helped me get over emotional hurdles…. began to reconnect … it was a lifeline…. i do art as well…. sometimes just art.. sometimes abstract… I have 4 kids and many grandkids…. i live in a small town… Ironton OHio…. though i am originally from Portsmouth, Ohio… some of my books of poetry are in Briggs library, Ironton OHio… i hope to keep on being something positive to someone..”
The Bare Tree …
Her branches are so bare, now
they are shivering,
for they have no more refuge
from the cold.
For all of her garments
by a drifting rag picker,
who sold them for Gold.
Now, she must brave the elements
more then ever before –
yet, staying hopeful that a logger comes
and saves her,
or at the very least
she’ll become someone’s front door.
“These words were felt and phrases with burning passion by Bianca Reyes, a 26 year old
woman from Los Angeles trying to find beauty in every second of life.”
The Ink and Paper
I swear ink runs through my veins
A piece of paper passes as my heart
I hold your hand like a pen
Press it against my chest to feel
Every beat leaves a word written upon it
Endless poems and prose
You inspire even when you’re gone
Rick Richardson is a professional archaeologist, a father, lover of mutts, and sometimes writes a poem worth reading. Rick lives on the coast of North Carolina, but calls the mountains of Tennessee home.
Rick’s poetry has been published in the University of San Francisco’s The Ignatian Poetry Journal, The Ginosko Literary Journal, and featured in Every Writers Resource/Every Day Poems, and The Winston Salem Writers Association’s Poetry in Plain Sight.
Rick reckons he’ll have to die before a publisher will accept his manuscript for publishing. He has a MA with no f**ing F in the middle.
The light of mourning
There was a girl
I used to swap paperbacks
and spit with, once
I fixed her wiper blades,
I remember the soft dead wings
on the windshield, pretty
as you please
She was alone in her shoes
listening to something
that kept getting darker
and glowing like morning
on the oil spilled under her truck,
she was drifting through
the rosewater of her soft red hair
She only wanted to be rolling
off a swollen river, sliding
out of a clean slip, turning
over in a deep sleep, trailing
a shimmering thread, hiding
under a pile of wet leaves
Then there she was sailing
in her river of blood, going
white and smelling like smoke
from a struck match behind
closed blinds on a ceramic floor,
a white blouse red as a sharp knife
collecting the light of mourning.
Ann Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware. She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her poems have been published in numerous poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies.
The plastic containers
Are so neatly stacked
They are piled high
And tightly packed
Many are repurposed
Some are bought new
Stored in a cabinet
Safely out of view
Oh those pesky lids
They seem to run away
I am sure they were here
Just the other day
I really don’t know
What to make of it
The tops and bottoms
No longer seem to fit
Perhaps they eloped
With my missing socks
Although that would be
Sam Filmore often writes while sipping iced coffees at his local book store listening to ’80’s New Wave rock.
of every story we tell,
of every story
we want to hear.
Constellation of one,
with orbits of other bodies
rotating around it.
A wealth of suffrage,
a trove of suffering
a litany of sympathies
all centered on it.
Bright star of long shadows,
no cloud obscures it,
no moon outshines
its uneclipsable light.
Alyssa Trivett is a wandering soul from the Midwest. When not working two jobs, she listens to music and scrawls lines on the back of gas station receipts. Her work has recently appeared in Tuck Magazine, VerseWrights, Communicators League, Duane’s PoeTree site, Ariel Chart, and Synchronized Chaos.
Waiting for Mail
We mangle our
stick-figure shadows through
hungover sunlight. Prop ourselves up;
forget the garage sale string.
Bike spokes round the subdivision course
and water guns bee stinger nudge in every direction.
Count steps in four seconds,
sprawling across the chess board lawn,
dispose of our skeleton keys and
train our magician hands
to open obtuse
towering above us,
creaky soundbites included.
Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and his writing has been published in 180+ publications in 25 countries. www.brandonmarlon.com.
When the hard road sidelines dreamers,
bypassed time and again by fortune’s favorites,
keeping faith in fairness is the hardest thing of all.
On the weary and crowded line of strivers’ row
the air is choked with equal doses
of longing, despair, panic at time slipping away.
Endlessly frustrated aims prompt doubt
in the minds of even the most confident,
increasingly uncertain of their merit and mettle.
Experience mars innocence, envy erodes goodwill,
and it’s all they can do just to carry on, hoping to live
to see themselves vindicated, pleasantly surprised.
Strange how they cherish and cling, even while
dispirited and brokenhearted, to inmost aspirations
safeguarded against outrageous slings and arrows.
Even when they quit they keep going,
cheating on their conceding,
unwilling or unable to surrender once and for all.
Always their best is never good enough,
yet always their best gets better and better,
itself a meaningful feat fueling further struggle.
Then one day, half asleep in the heat, the dazed glimpse
through dissipating haze at a space opening wide
for them to merge and mingle among smiling passers-by.
The on-ramp to success abruptly unobstructed,
they put on some speed and leave defeat in their dust,
bitter years of yearning blotted out amid skid marks.
Bronwen Griffiths writes poetry, novels, stories and flash fiction. She lives on the East Sussex/Kent border in southern England. Her first novel, ‘A Bird in the House,’ was published in 2014. Her book of short stories, poems and flash fiction about the Syrian crisis, ‘Not Here, Not Us,’ came out late last year.
Wood on the Downs
Whisper to me
You tall beeches
Whisper your shadows
The words of your leaves
On clouds I sit
Soft and downy
Remember your days
The way the sun climbs
And lowers itself
Remember drifts of snow
White as chalk
Whisper your secrets of leaves
Let me sleep
Beneath your shadows
Glad that summer is arrived