Each life a novel
Beginning, middle, and end
Last pages left blank

No two blanks alike
Nor where and when they get filled
Ghost writers take note

by Sharon Wood Wortman

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With four children, 11 grandchildren, a great grand, and a full-time husband, Sharon Wood Wortman faithfully (mostly) attends the meetings of her writing/critique group: 29thstreetwriters.com


The Skirt

Yes. For our dinner date, I'm wearing
an embroidered skirt: hand-woven, blue

as cornflowers, with white daisies stitched
in vertical rows, a family heirloom purchased

by a cousin of a cousin, repeatedly re-gifted
until it came to lucky me. Yes, the waistband

is tight. Its pleats emphasize my tummy's mound
in a way that resembles the swell of yeasted dough

in a bread pan. Do you remember the last time
I called? You hung up. Sure, it was 6 AM,

but I wanted to talk about us. Since then I've gained
a friend. She won't give her name but calls

the landline to ask about my love life.
It's wrong to lie, but I embellish,

just to hear the pickaxe in her voice.
Odd, all the flattering clothing I own,

the stretchy things that glide over my curves,
have disappeared into the arcane recesses

of my closet. This skirt was all that I could find.
And for that reason, no, I can't change

into anything more suitable for our date.
Sorry. But go ahead, have dinner

without me. When she calls,
I'll tell her where she can find you.

by Peggy Turnbull

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Peggy Turnbull enjoys living in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, a corner of the Rust Belt where cheese, bratwurst, and beer remain economic powerhouses. A retired university librarian, she finds poems among the algae and alewives of Lake Michigan's shore. Read her work at: peggyturnbull.blogspot.com



Love letters lure, levitate,
legend's letters liberate.
Letters label latterly
life's libretto lastingly:
Letter landscapes, lovesick letters,
lazy, lavish, lipstick letters,
letter litter, limelight letters,
loose-leaf, loose-lipped landslide letters,
linking life's lanes limitlessly,
labelling lives luminously.

Looped letters lull, looped letters lull,
looped letters lull, looped letters lull,
looped letter's lot. Logistical
letters label leaflets, lorries,
left luggage, landmarks, lavatories,
lead ladies, loonies, liberalize,
label landing lanes likewise,
livid legislator's letters,
lucid liberator's letters,
legitimizing liberty.
Lee's longhand lacks lucidity.

by Alex Dreppec

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Alex Dreppec will keep on copying little poems that no one would publish otherwise like YELP (“You yokel”, yelled Yasmin’s yachtsman, / yoghurt-yearning, yokeful yen. / “You yob yielded yukky yam! / Yeasty yolk!” yapped Yasmin’s yachtsman.) into what is supposed to be his bio as long as no one stops him. www.dreppec.de


When Teetotalers Go Caroling

Here we come a-wassailing awash in naught but tea.
We seldom feel the urge to puke (though frequently to pee).
Drier joys come to you, with a mug of sober brew.
May God bless you and send you a year with no beer,
May God send you a year with no beer.

We are not red-nosed revelers that lurch from door to door.
Our noses are a righteous blue the bibulous deplore.
Lemonade come to you. Ardent spirits we eschew,
Yet we ardently wish you a year with no beer.
Raise a cheer for a year with no beer.

We're morally superior to all you sodden lot.
We smugly shake our heads when you're hung over and we're not
Temperance tunes come to you as our soft drink-swilling crew
Belts our anthem that drunkards might draw near and hear
Word of year after year with no beer.

by Chris O'Carroll

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Chris O'Carroll has been the featured poet in Light, and has appeared in Angle, Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online, Literary Review, and Rotary Dial, among other journals, as well as The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology and Poems for a Liminal Age (even though he's right at the threshold of not even knowing what "liminal" means).


A Visit from St. Zachary

'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house
not a new piece of clothing, not even a blouse.
The papers were graded with consummate care
in hopes that my students would say I was fair.
The pencils were nestled all snug with their lead
while visions of movie screens danced in my head.
And my Lab in his collar and I in my cap
lay down on my loveseat to take a long nap,
when out on the lawn there arose such a hubbub,
I turned to my dog and asked him, Wassup, Bub?
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open my notebook to show some panache.
The sun on the drops of new-fallen rain
gave a hint of the warming we hope to restrain,
when what to my bloodshot eyes did appear
but a yard full of students, some heads dulled by beer.
More sluggish than turtles the stragglers they came
and I whistled and shouted and called them by name:
Now, Jaedyn! Now, Kaelyn! Now, Lucas and Lizzie!
On, Vixen with short shorts that make my head dizzy!
Put your cellphones away, read the sign on my wall,
take those dang earbuds off—I'm done with them all!
And then, from the bushes, I heard someone say,
Is it true that we must have our textbooks today?
As I drew in my breath and was turning around,
down the driveway St. Zachary came with a bound.
He was wearing no headphones and chomping no chaw,
and he knew where to place a comma and clause.
A bundle of stories he'd flung on his back
and he looked like St. Nicholas opening his pack.
His verbs—how they twinkled! His headlines—how merry!
His leads were like roses, his prose like a cherry!
His sweet little kickers were tied like a bow,
and his nut graphs were followed by just the right quote.
He was timely and stirring, an eloquent elf,
and I smiled when I read him, in spite of myself.
His narrative leads and well-crafted heads
soon helped me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word but went straight to his work,
not at all like some pothead or arrogant jerk.
Using no danglers, not padding his prose,
up and beyond the grade scale he rose.
At the end of the hour I gave him a shout
and told him it's time for an internship bout.
But I heard him exclaim as he walked out of sight—
It's Christmas, Professor. Go have a Bud Light!

by Margaret DeRitter

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Margaret DeRitter taught journalism at Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College and is a writer and poetry editor for Encore magazine. She won this year’s Celery City Chapbook Contest, and her first full-length poetry collection is due out in 2020 from Unsolicited Press. Some of her feature stories can be found at encorekalamazoo.com/search/node/deritter and encorekalamazoo.com/features-full-life-poetry


My, How Things Change!

It's now two thousand sixty-five.
You'll hardly recognize
old Santa Claus. He's been revamped
from boot tips to his eyes.

Concerned for him, Mrs. Santa hired
a trainer. Gladly, he
worked hubby hard, and now that gut's
as flat as it can be.

Then all those suits made magically
were way too big. The mass-
produced ones, an insult to him,
he'd not wear. They were crass!

The elves who made the suits and toys
left Santa long ago
for better jobs. Now seldom does
he utter, "HO, HO, HO!"

Next, Santa had to lose the pipe.
We've long known smoking's bad.
The kids must not see one more puff.
This change made Santa mad.

The last straw—Santa went to jail
for animal abuse.
He lost his reindeer; now his sleigh
no longer is in use.

How will you recognize him now?
Look for a hot, buff guy
who works full-time for Disneyland.
This sight might make you cry.

He wears a patch on his right arm,
since he still craves the pipe.
He still works out four times a week
just so the wife won't gripe.

The last time he had fast food and
a Coke was long ago.
Give him a four-meat pizza and
he'll holler, "HO, HO, HO!"

by Janice Canerdy

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Available in print


Trying on Clothes on a Winter's Evening

Whose shoes these are I think I know.
She's gone to town in snow boots though,
She will not see me try them on
Or at least give them a go.

Alas, my feet are just too long.
My little cat must think it wrong
To see me in my girlfriend's shoe,
But better that than in her thong.

He gives his collar bell a shake
And, though I know it's a mistake,
I don her dress so soft and sheer.
Oh it's a risk I should not take,

To wear this feminine veneer,
And soon my girlfriend will be here,
So I must change and quick, I fear.
Yes I must change and then, a beer.

by M C Green

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Available in print


Merchants of Vehemence

The effort of their lying is not strained;
It droppeth as white-washing dew from pigeons
upon all those beneath. It is twice cursed;
It curses those who speak and those who would believe.
'Tis baseless in its baseness;
it becomes their monarch better than his smirk.
His sceptered cabinet make farce of power,
where attributes of awe and majesty fail
'neath the dread fear of tweets.
But truth is beyond their scepter's sway,
enthroned not in their un-kingly hearts;
Such attributes of higher power do not show
where untruth seasons justice.

by Ken Gosse

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Available in print


The Suspect

I frankly admit I am in love
with Perry Mason—
a man's man with his broad-shouldered
suits    a lady defendant's last
His smoldering eyes lock
onto mine and he reads
truth or else
his those brown orbs burn
it out of me.
He gives no ground    suffers
no fools.
He is hard city night
and the sins committed
under its cover.
He does not judge the divorcee
nor the daughter of a disgraced
He is wise and sharp
the owl perching
until the time
is right.
How he wields courtroom
evidence    and the tongues of liars
against themselves—O
how sweet to see his reflection
in the shine of his black
shoes while my own eyes
glitter with appreciation
behind my hat veil.
Gladly would I squirm
in the witness seat
brave the barrage
of questions and serve
up myself as suspect
just to be held
in the web
of his justice.

by Taunja Thomson

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Taunja Thomson is a child-free feminist vegetarian tattooed atheist cat-lover, hated by many people for each of these things. She is also a co-author of Frame and Mount the Sky, a collaborative chapbook, and Strum and Lull, a finalist in Golden Walkman's 2017 chapbook competition. When she's not writing, she can be found disapproving of children, shirking meat, getting more tattoos, and cuddling with cats. Oh, and she has a Cuthulhu fetish. Come take a gander at her writer's page at facebook.com/TaunjaThomsonWriter


Dawn of the Bread:
Biting the Hand That Kneads, A Rye Deal

Violence, baguettes, violence:
a cycle.
Baking and battering
bread, kneading and heating.

abuse of
bread, needed for eating;

A fuse
within the flour, an ember,
results in the
monster of yeast.

In your final hour, remember
rising aloof, to make
money for years.
It was life, it was everything.

Rising, a loaf of hate.
It grows now, breathes too.
It's alive, everything
you've cooked.

The dough now leaves you
baked and battered.
You're cooked.
Violence baguettes violence.

by Alberto Sveum

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Alberto Sveum studies English and Philosophy with a minor in Creative Writing at the University of Northern Iowa. He has won awards of excellence for his short fiction and poetry from the UNI Department of Languages and Literatures. He is currently polishing his writing sample for MFA applications.


E.E. Cummings at Jurassic World

She being brand New
and consequently hungry for meat,
hid amongst the leaves
with Her tree frog lineage,

(having deceitfully marked the
wall to lead Her food inside,
to make sure it was nice
and fresh)

they pulled the lever and entered the door
as She stood watching,
so slowly,
as she moved

they moved
in sep-
as She edged
until She
could smell the mar-
row in the bones,
Her heart beating faster
as she came upon the first
of Her feast
and its heart
at the sensation
of Her teeth
as they clamped

snapping into its tiny body,
warm liquid gushing,
meat stuck between Her teeth
and with two bites
and a quick swallow
She finished the first
and moved on to
the second;
the first, just a snack
to wet Her insatiable
laid out
across the
in front

by Angela Spires

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Angela Spires is a writer, teacher, and mother in Reno, NV. Her fiction, flash fiction, and poetry have appeared in multiple journals. She likes to experiment with different writing styles and work in multiple genres. She loves to match elements of past and present that wouldn't normally fit together and see where it takes her.



Queued to renew driver's license,
I spy some forms that plead donate
your organs, don't take them with you.
I consider how the mortician
will make chopped steak of them or burn
to dust to decorate some garden plot,
or scatter and make some mountain
or lake a couple pounds bigger.
I decide to get a leg up on immortality,
go green, join the recycle revolution,
implement piecemeal reincarnation.
I remember the old adage Charity begins
at home
, so hereby make a plan
and will—donate some parts
to folks I know.

My right foreleg to Pegleg Pruitt
who donated his to a jungle in Viet Nam.
Two toes go to cousin Tom who blasted
his off with a shotgun propped on his foot.
My right hand I hand to classmate Karl
who shot his off to escape the draft.
Uncle Nehi gets a nod—both knees,
he wore his out begging Aunt Nancy
for forgiveness. My intestines ship
to neighbor Nabob who I heard Dad say
one time lacked the guts to stand up
to his bossy wife. My heart I hope shall
enliven Aunt Hilda who some folks
claimed never had one. My chin I will
to Uncle Charlie whose own so weak
atop a long neck, he looked like
a terrapin without the stripes.
My teeth shall be titled to cousin Tim
and tell his daughter Tina she won't
have to see her dad gum it anymore.
My bountiful nose I offer to neighbor
Norville who insulted mine so he can
know how it feels to walk a mile
with another man's schnooze.

My eyes please send to Grandpa George,
who often said he didn't "see into it"
about Social Security rules.
My bad ear I bequeath to Brother
Barney who would love a bona fide
excuse to listen to his gabby
Gertrude only half the time.
And finally, I bestow my brain,
wrinkled and lightly used,
to my buddy Billy Bob
whose teacher once declared
he didn't have one.

by Wesley Sims

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Wesley Sims has published one chapbook of poetry, When Night Comes (Finishing Line Press, 2013). His work has appeared in Connecticut Review, G.W. Review, South Carolina Review, Praxis Magazine, Liquid Imagination, The Avocet, and others. He lives in Oak Ridge.


The Aisle Not Taken

Two aisles diverged in a grocery store,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one shopper, long I stood
And looked down Aisle 1 as far as I could
To cookies, chocolates, candies and more;

Then took the other, as just as good,
And perhaps the better for my health
With low-calorie foods on the shelf
And no sugar laden goodies anywhere,
So I'll look better in underwear,

And yet both aisles that morning lay
In front of me and my cart.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Knowing I would be tempted back
To all those sweet things, stack after stack.

I shall be telling this with a (heavy) sigh
Somewhere pounds and pounds hence:
Two aisles diverged in a store, and I—
I *once* took the one better for my thigh,
Not that it ultimately made any difference.

by Karen Poppy

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Karen Poppy is an attorney licensed in California and Texas. She lives in the Bay Area, California, with her family and is an avid equestrian. She also just completed her first marathon event: writing a novel. Follow her online at karenpoppy.wordpress.com and facebook.com/kgpoppy


To Her Boy, Distressed

Had we but money enough, and time,
Our slothfulness would be no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To take the garbage out today.
You by the TV would reside
Remote in hand: I curled inside
The marital bed with a book.
At disarray we would not look.
And we should if we please, refuse
To clean, until I have no weight left to lose.
A hundred dollars we would spend
To find a means to a tidy end.
Others would deal with our squalor
I would still be a woman of valor.
Never would our hands touch dirt
Only our pocketbooks would hurt
As we hired help for that and this
In a constant state of bliss.
I know this to be your ideal state,
Sleeping long and sleeping late.

But at my back I always hear
My mother's voice hurrying near.
And yonder all before us sits
Knowledge of her impending visit.
Driven with unrelenting passion
To a perfect home (after a fashion)
Neither hide nor hair is out of place,
No heartbeats at breathless place
Her palace is free of disorder & dust.
Another glaring omission: lust.
Her house's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.

Let's begin the task at hand,
Respond to the implicit demand
Present a home with sparkling surface
A cold and antiseptic place.
Romance is hard to sustain
While scrubbing to remove a stain,
But toil away we must.
My mother's eagle eye for rust
Will see under the varnish
To anything we did not finish.

Why must we conform to her ways?
Because I always do what my mother says.

by Elisheva Pomrenze

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Elisheva Pomrenze has a BA and MA in English literature and watches a lot of TV. Her master's thesis covered both literary women who worked and literary women who didn't and killed themselves.



A Lady of many lovers' fame
Moaned, "Life will never be the same
Without Vladimir and Fred
Pierre, Pablo and Ted
And Chiang and Salim and Prem"

by Satish Pendharkar


Too much? Never! Scoop
ad infinitum. I want
ice cream a la mode!

by Russell Novotny

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Satish Pendharkar lives in Mumbai, India, and has a full-time job. His short stories have been published by New Asian Writing, Savvy, Flash, etc. His poems have appeared in Agave Magazine, Maverick, dotdotdash, and elsewhere. He has published a book of poems titled Nocturnal Nomad. His play The Last Journey was one of the 3 plays short-listed for the Hindu Metroplus Playwright Award in 2012.

Russell Novotny has a drawer full of "closet" poems, mostly about divorce and mental illness. He once wrote a short story for a vampire anthology in which nothing much happens except for a vampire telling stories. He lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio. His favorite food is, not surprisingly, ice cream.



no-one relies

a red wheel-

filled with rust

beside the dead


not much depends


of the mun-

by William Carlos

by Lance Nizami

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Lance Nizami has more than 240 poems in print (not online) in recognized poetry journals. Recent publications can be found in Spillway and Eastern Structures.


The Pangolinnet

Now if you will just keep still for a minute,
you may hear the song of the pangolinnet.
While most birds have feathers from heads down to tails,
the pangolinnet's have morphed into scales:
major and minor, of course—they're quotidian;
dorian, phrygian, locrian, lydian,
chromatic and Messaien, whole tone, Hejaz.
Whatever he plays, he plays with pizzazz
as he hammers it out with his claws and his beak.
I wish I had the pangolinnet's physique!

by Esther Greenleaf Murer

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Esther Greenleaf Murer is a relic of the twentieth century who took up poetry writing in her dotage. She published a collection, Unglobed Fruit, in 2011 and has been featured in The Centrifugal Eye and KIN.


Crab Lice

Crab lice—Crab lice!
I lost my sense—
Crab lice is now
The consequence!

Surrender—all thought—
Of amorous arts—
Start putting lotion
On nether parts!

And change out—the locks—
Ah—I'm free!
At last from a—parasite—
Like thee!

by Gary Mesick

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Gary Mesick studied wit at West Point and Harvard—and couldn't find any. Later searches, first as an infantry officer and then in aerospace analytics, also failed. Recently, his poetry has appeared in several literary journals—often scribbled in the margins of library copies throughout the Seattle area.


Ballad of the Nervous Air Passenger

How do I hate to go up in a plane,
up in the air so blue.
Oh, how I think it's the scariest thing
ever a tourist can do.

Up in the air 10,000 feet high
through the clouds grey and white,
my nerves run amok, I certainly cry,
I can't bear an aerial sight.

When I look down on the land or sea,
I can only imagine the fall
down through the air clutched by hard gravity.
It's a wonder I travel at all.

by Paula Mahon

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Paula Mahon hails from Derry, NH, where she works as Medical Director of Healthcare for the Homeless in Manchester, NH. She has 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 grown son out of the house and sort of self sufficient, and a husband who cheerfully tolerates the mess that creativity produces in their home.


Sigmund Freud

"A dream," said Freud, "can set you free,
Exposing truths within your mind
That your conscience just can't find.
But still my own dreams puzzle me,
For since I made this theory,
I can't figure what it means
To dream about a hill of beans."

by Bob Lorentson

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Despite not having an MFA, Bob Lorentson persists in writing. When not writing he likes to indulge in his passion for wondering. He is a wonderful wonderer who wonders about nearly everything, including why he would write this silly bio when he could be wondering why he can't find a publisher for his novels. Recent stories and poems however have found homes or are in the adoption process at Sleet, Praxis, Better Than Starbucks, Leaves of Ink, and Quinnehtukqut. He lives in rural Connecticut.


The Code Not Taken

Peace is Our Profession
Strategic Air Command (SAC) motto

Two codes converged in SAC H.Q.
and worried I could not discern
which one to enter. Seconds few
to verify... is that a "1" or "2"?
What the Hell: Give the key a turn...

I confirmed the first and that's enough;
I'll bet the second is a decoy code.
I picked the first—it wasn't tough,
and took aim at the Russian stuff.
I told my crew to lock and load.

And moments later that fine day,
in scrambled codes I knew by heart,
the order came to send the birds away!
"Our duty not to question why," they say...
I flipped the switch and let the missiles start.

I shall be telling this with a sigh,
after I smelt the burning stench,
two codes emerged from SAC H.Q., and I-
I entered one that let nukes fly;
and that has made all the difference.

by Charles Kersey

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Charles Kersey, @charleskersey, is an IT Systems Analyst to pay bills & artist-humorist during his off-time. His work has appeared in Network Computing Magazine, Candelabrum, WordART, art gallery walls, and discerning private collections. He served in the US Air Force but was never allowed near push buttons or keys without "supervision."


A Briefer History of Time

A Briefer History of Time

It's now.
And then,

It's now again.

Something About Birds

Birds are settled among the wires
like a staff of music notes.
Song notation for avian choirs?
Or, just warming feet on invisible fires
and staving off sore throats?

by Alan Harland

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Alan Harland blah blah blah.


How to Write

Erasure from section 5 of How to Write a Thesis by Umberto Eco

Speak your chance
            to the hands of thousands

Most certainly
            nods do the work

A key less widely known
            is a minor hero

Your pig must first be solitary
            then genius

The weather hints at humility

You are not   Proust
You are not   e. e. cummings

are you a poet
are you crazy

by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

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Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a closet German Lit major and a retired clinical psychologist. She likes ducks, also duck, a conflict leading to her tragic view of life. She believes that if you want to hit someone with a fish, you should just hit them with a fish. cloudslikemountains.blogspot.com


Deplorable Times

'Tis a time of sheer madness, when
 all through the land
Blows a rumble and roar from a man,
  "I'm so grand."
He revels in ignorance, bigotry, "close every gate,"
   throws in misogyny, anything to bait
His mean mass of followers,
  all snug in their hate, with visions of America,
Their un-United States.
They dress in their anger and he
 in his rage,
I spring from my bed to put
 words on this page.
Away to my pc, I fly like a flash
it's Donald, it's Trump,
The Pres., with the bundle of cash,
  a miniature man with a mind
In the gutter, "Don't come down my chimney,"
 I clearly did utter.
His hair like an orange, his mouth like a guppy,
  a fake tweet comes out and even disgusts my sad puppy.
A blink of Trump's eye, a twist of his head
  confirms, yes, for sure, I have everything to dread.
Every word that he speaks signals danger ahead.
  I so want to run, hide under my bed,
When I hear him exclaim, (wish he'd drive out of sight),
 "Make America great again," I know, he's not right.
He wants to return to a time from before,
  when freedom and justice were not for the poor, and the others
All unwelcome at his White House door.

by Nancy Freedman Goldstein

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Nancy Freedman Goldstein says:

I think I always knew I'd be
A poet, writer happily.

A poet first, when in third grade,
My classmates chose the poem I made.

A melody we did create;
Sang my poem on stage, first rate.

Then to grown-up publications,
Plus two more qualifications.

Teaching kids, then entrepreneur,
Now poetry, rhyme connoisseur.

Poems, parodies, love of words,
Celebrate poets - we're not nerds!


A Gentle Farewell

If you should go, to take away my peace,
and turn the wrinkled page, I would not grieve
as medieval ladies seek release
in rage or madness when their lovers leave.

Or death. Leaping from a parapet
is high romance, but harmful to the bones,
but that's what medieval maidens get
for messing with their wayward pheromones.

When you are gone, I'll make a cup of tea
laced with just a thimbleful of schnapps,
rejoice a moment in my liberty,
and call or text a former friend, perhaps.

You think you hold my key to happiness,
but what I have is post-traumatic stress.

by Conrad Geller

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Conrad Geller has been a poet since Harry Truman was president, since which nothing has changed much. A native of Boston, he now lives in northern Virginia and publishes widely in electronic and print media.


A New Endian Dilemma

If you seek milk there, no such luck—
The middle's milk; the end is muck.

by Daniel Galef

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Daniel Galef's poetry has appeared in Light Quarterly, The New Verse News, and Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics. He is currently studying at McGill University, where he won First Prize at the 2016 McGill Drama Festival and is editor-in-chief of the humor magazine The Plumber's Faucet.


The Donald at the Plate

The votes were tough to come by in the Congress on that day;
The leaders sought agreement but the members had their say.
And then one member voted "No," another did the same;
With this failure of consensus, the Chairman laid out blame.

The faces of the members showed a shadow of despair;
And desperate for a winner, held a meeting with the Chair;
Said, "Let's eke out a margin and get Donald to the plate—
To the bully and his bluster, we'll entrust our party's fate!"

But the House preceded Donald, and the Senate, goodness sake;
The House's dealings riotous, the Senate's were opaque.
So upon the true believers, a piteous sadness sat,
They'd dreamed of killing health care with one swing of the bat.

Then the House cooked up a bill, to the wonderment of all,
And the Senate dreamed up another, in a most astounded hall!
When the smoke-filled rooms were opened, all saw what had occurred,
They were desperate to pass anything, lest Donald break his word.

Donald's strident partisans let loose a thunderous roar;
So sure the one they'd chosen would find a way to score;
They called out loud from every door, and at the White House gate,
As mighty Donald waved his hat to Make-America-Great.

Confident, Donald felt himself a tribute to his race.
Pride fueled Donald's swagger; a grin adorned the Donald's face.
And greeting the adoring throngs, he lightly touched his hair;
Even foes could not deny,'twas Donald under there.

Like eagles we all watched him and the hacks that he inserted;
But partisans applauded Cabinet missions he subverted.
As pleading migrants wailed when thrown back upon their ship,
He hired brutal border guards to tighten his harsh grip.

And such his cruel pronouncements came tweeting through the air;
Seeing, we could scarce believe how coarse the drivel written there.
Immigration court's injunction, then past the Donald sped—
"That ain't my style," said Donald. "Strike one!" the judges said.

On benches black-robed jurists, with calm dignity they bore
The rumblings and the grumblings of Donald's partisan roar;
"Fire them! Fire the judges!" his base shouted long and loud;
"Crooked Hillary!" screamed others. Nodding, Donald worked the crowd.

When questions came of fake news traced back to Russia's zone;
Attention was diverted with tweets a-flying from his phone.
His poison pill for health care, the Senate finally withdrew,
Donald just shrugged off defeat, as the Congress said, "Strike two!"

He redirected wrath toward a foreign terror foe.
Believers knew that Donald wouldn't let that third strike go.
Hushed, they watched him hunker down—muscles tense and senses strained,
They knew as Donald promised, he'd make sure that swamp was drained.

His crew knew that Donald would ne'er admit a loser's fate,
His pledge to build a border wall, still left upon his plate.
Fed up with his cruel prejudice, we debunked this sorry show,
"We won't allow your border wall. We The People just say—No!"

O'er rocky mountain majesties and plains of wind-swept grains,
The sun still smiles on city streets and factory window panes;
But in the Oval Office—head thrown back, lips in full pout—
Darkness fills his tiny space—mighty Donald has struck out.

by Don Fleming

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Don Fleming of northern KY has slipped the shackles of gainful employment and turned to selected commentary. His poetry was included in the exhibit EAT: A Literature + Photo Installation at Centre College and in the anthology These Summer Months: Stories from The Late Orphan Project (The Backpack Press).


Characters in Horror Movies

The Babysitter

There's two types of these we've come to know.
    The first is the irresponsible one,
the girl who spends her time on her ass and on the phone,
    inviting her boyfriend over the instant the parents are gone.
She dismisses screams as the wind starting to rise,
    the killer's steps are the skitters of a mouse,
and she's the only one who's surprised
    to learn the call's coming from inside the house.

And then there's the second kind,
    who to me seems the much better hire.
No matter the slasher, she keeps her presence of mind
    and exhibits at least some flustered grace under fire.
She doesn't investigate upstairs, as countless others have done;
    such prudence serves her well.
At the first sign of trouble she grabs the kids and runs
    and lives to die in the sequel.

Some are doomed to get picked off before they can get paid;
others manage to make it through and die another day.

The Hero

He has a name like Tom or Chip or Clay,
    an incredible head of hair and a square jaw,
a smile that could brighten any cloudy day
    and eyes made for close-ups, objects of awe;
the camera's just waiting for his shirt to come off,
    as are the fangirls who flock to the theaters in droves.
He's perfectly built for some gore-laden popcorn fluff,
    plucked probably from the cast of some CW show.

Tom-Chip-Clay is often on a quest of some kind,
    seeking some lost sibling, loved one, friend,
but there's also usually a love interest that he finds,
    and we have to wait and see if they make it to the end.
He's the kind of guy who no matter the danger refuses to waver,
    the kind of guy who's kind to everyone;
of course, the machete-wielding maniac won't return the favor,
    but damn, does Tom-Chip-Clay's ass look nice when he runs.

It doesn't matter by what monster you're being chased
as long as you still look good with blood and dirt on your face.

The Kid

They're either innocent little angels or the spawn of Satan
    (and around here that can be frighteningly literal);
if one suddenly develops an imaginary friend,
    then the whole family's in deep trouble.
They're often the way that evil gains entry
    to the home, preying on their friendship or fear,
and it's not a good idea for them to watch too much TV,
    especially if they turn around and say, "They're here."

Some of them can see dead people;
    others have what they call "the shine."
Sometimes one's head will spin around like an owl's,
    and some hear voices that aren't theirs in their minds.
Some are bad seeds and some are creepy as hell,
    like the ones that live out in the corn,
and though some of them turn out rather well,
    for every rose there's always a Thorne.

No matter the movie, the kid rarely dies,
unless it's Stephen King—what's wrong with that guy?

by Sarah Cannavo

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Sarah Cannavo feels cheated because although she lives in New Jersey, she's never met the Jersey Devil in person. She was always told that sarcasm of hers would get her in trouble someday; now it seems to have gotten her published. She reads a lot, writes even more, and sleeps less. moodilymusing.blogspot.com


Trolls: Three Haiku

     "Remember, there will be trolls who move in. Also remember, sunlight is their bane."
            - Jane Hawkner

In the dark of night,
Trolls gather to celebrate.
Sunlight is their bane.

Bugs under a rock
Are always surprised by light.
Turn the rock over.

Trump is elected.
We have four years of sun.
Pick up the rock now.

by Jane Yolen

Advanced Alt-Rightitis

Twenty and beautiful and already showing
signs of a condition that once started gets
handed down from generation to generation.

I lost my ability to inoculate him when I lost
custody of his father, almost fifty years ago now—
first the son and then the grandson who grew up

far states and the attitudes of caregivers away—
leaving me little room to intervene or quarantine.
I watched as both were exposed, helpless

to stop the judgmentalism that invaded
and spread to their tissues and cells;
the mind infiltrated first, and then the heart—

the males in our family the most vulnerable
to the wiping out of the function of motivation
to budge. No matter how many M.D.s

or clergywomen I might pray to or call upon,
our family's case of advanced, full-blown Alt-Rightitis
Republicaniasis remains a diagnosis real

as an elephant this mother and grandmother
has no choice but to ignore if she wants
to be allowed today's in-home visits.

by Sharon Wood Wortman

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Jane Yolen has published over 360 books. She writes a poem a day and sends them to subscribers. To subscribe: http://eepurl.com/bs28ab. Of her many prizes for her work, one set her good Scottish wool coat on fire. She takes that as a warning.

With four children, 11 grandchildren, a great grand, and a full-time husband, Sharon Wood Wortman faithfully (mostly) attends the meetings of her writing/critique group, 29thstreetwriters.com


Ode to the Bagel Eaters 

hearing the express toaster ding ding
letting the waitress know the bagel is done
time for the cream cheese
spread a schmear so thick
that it looks like a glacier formed
one lucky customer receives the bagel
and takes a big bite
and now has a cream cheese mustache
which he doesn't notice
and no one in the restaurant cares enough to tell him

another one is ready for the schmear of a lifetime
a customer takes the two halves apart
and licks the cream cheese first
as if this were a giant vanilla Oreo
the glacier melted quite quickly
what's left looks like the frothed milk of a cappuccino

a rabbi came in for lunch
ordered an onion bagel
with a medium schmear, not too much now,
because it gets everywhere, but not too little because then
the bread gets lonely
when asked what he wanted to drink he ordered
a smallish coffee, not too large, not medium, but bigger than a small
with half and half, and sweet-n-low
it must be the sweet-n-low because it's sweeter than sugar,
which he can't have because he's diabetic but that doesn't matter
because it tastes like dreck in coffee anyway
the guy behind the counter waited to see if the rabbi
was going to say anything
"nu? what're you waiting for?"

a very handsome man with a black beard came in
had a yen for an uber-thick schmear,
you know, where there's so much cream cheese
between the two halves of the bagel that it looks
like two humongous snow mounds, not made to scale
his beard enjoyed the sandwich as well
he had to beat the crumbs out of his beard,
the way one beats a carpet

a woman comes in asks for a toasted bagel with butter
she shamed the cream cheese
it should be noted that the cheesy spread of goodness
committed no crime
other than to be delicious
the other customers stared at her as if she committed
a mortal sin
she took a bite and all eyes were upon her
she smiled and all the poppy seeds in her teeth
looked like she hadn't seen a dentist in years
served her right

by Lady Samantha

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Lady Samantha (a.k.a. Samantha H. Weiner) is from Long Island, New York. Her book, The Poetry of Emotions, is available at lulu.com. You can find her writings all over, including Songs of Sandy, Bards Annual 2015, cynicmag.com, Poetry Super Highway, Asbestos, and Enigma. Her poetry and short stories would fit into many genres: mystery, humor, science fiction, fantasy, history, and so many more that the editors are unwilling to keep listing.


Fixing Her Wagon

Shall I compare thee to a tinker's dray?
Thou art more broad-beamed and less sensibly ornate.
Bronz'd cowbells that doth swing doth say
the services they vaunt are far more delicate
than your misguided taste you think divine:
thy Easter bonnet seen immensely-brimmed
sets off, for common view, a vacant mind
from which tresses flow by stylists trimmed
to flagrant flaunt the hair you've purple dyed
in Clairol's promise, worthy of its boast,
while nothing that I do can turn your tide
of red-ink oceans washing up my coast.
   So long as mind can seethe at female sham,
   there's nothing for it but a tinker's damn.

by Harvey Steinberg

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At age 83, in Lawrenceville NJ, Harvey Steinberg finally decided he needs a steady career, so he's gone into unremunerated creative writing. He writes in whatever genres he feels like—recently journalism and history with his wife Marcia. He's published poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and whatnot. Whynot?



And it was at that age... Mr. Taxman arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
he came from, but he threatened he'll find me
come hell or high water.
I don't know how or when,
no his were not invoices, they weren't easy
words, nor silence,
but from my workplace I was summoned,
from my substandard worksite
owned by millionaire
tax evaders
who can afford,
there I worked below minimum wage
and he taxed me.

My pocket didn't know what to say, its mouth
agape and without
a dime,
my wallet bound,
yet hope stirred in my soul,
unfolding forgotten wings,
and I resigned and walked away,
my passport,
and signed the dotted line
for employment overseas.
Makes sense,
sheer wisdom
of one who knows something,
and soon airborne I saw
the heavens

opportunity opened,
cash windfall,
blinding beach zones,
for an ESL teacher
in Middle
East, with untaxed Riyals and Dollars.

Then I, small but oh-so-hopeful being,
high on grandiose
got a call; it was
Mr. Taxman telling me the part
on "taxation
of worldwide income,"
and my heart broke, lost in the wind.

by Karlo Sevilla

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With poems featured in stateside publications, Karlo Sevilla concludes that literary magazines in the USA are more welcoming than the USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services). From his residence in Quezon City, Philippines, he badgers magazine editors for a US visa recommendation letter and airplane tickets to be mailed along with his free contributor copies.


A more pronounced degree of bravery, which comes with exhilaration, is the ability not to give a damn for possible consequences; not only to ignore them but to despise them.
- Ernest Hemingway 
In eating a burrito,
I aspire
To ride the edge of Death.
Full habanero searing,
Eyes tearing,
Engulfed in a triumphant fire,
Never happier. That flavor
Obliterates the drab world like a savior:
Exhilarating, perfect,
The burrito is worth it,
Though I get night terrors later.

by Elizabeth Sanker

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Elizabeth Sanker is a wilderness explorer, surly drunk, and general lunatic. She lives and writes in Salem, MA.


Somewhere Between Angel and Gargoyle

i just love that image
of all those old timers
just sitting at the wishing
well in the middle of the mall
with all those glistening coins
thrown in the fountain by romantics
and delinquents sincerely hoping
and wishing for a better existence
and they got that look on their face
with eyes glazed over like please
just leave me the fuck alone and
seen it all and just grateful that
their wives are just giving them
a couple moments shopping
with no crises or psycho
dramas and whether
someone picks them
up or not all good
and like that feeling
of feeling stranded
and no one to be
responsible for
and irrelevant
and doesn't matter
and all the better
a certain kind
of postmodern
wasted and wired
version of buddha

by Joseph Reich

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Joseph Reich is a social worker who lives with his wife and twelve year old son in the high-up mountains of Vermont. He has been published in a wide variety of eclectic literary journals both here and abroad, been nominated six times for The Pushcart Prize, and has many books in poetry and cultural studies.


The dinner lottery

Most people don't cook any longer.
They don't know how or fear
time in the kitchen will turn them
into sad housewives in chains.

Then there are those who imagine
they can. Some despise recipes
invent gooey stew the texture
and taste of Gorilla Glue, chops

fried to shingles good for water-
proofing a roof, salads only some
man hoping to get laid would eat.
Nobody ever threw together

an edible cake. Some at the other
extreme think It's high living
to cook only recipes that require
40 ingredients, some so obscure

you don't know if they're animal
vegetable or beetle grub. Perhaps
scrapings of some moon rock.
I used to visit friends who'd begin

cooking hours before we ever got
a taste. We'd all hover in their
kitchen salivating, fantasizing
take-out, and still the host

would have yet another glass
and chatter and forget an item
or two or three. At ten-thirty
we'd sit down to something grey

we'd fall upon, willing to eat
raw worms, cat food or even
the tablecloth. Dining with friends
can remind why restaurants exist.

by Marge Piercy

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In spite of being told by the head of the English Department of her high school in Detroit that she should give up poetry as she had no talent, and in spite of being informed by her first English Department professor at the University of Michigan that what she wrote about were not "proper poetic subjects," being all wet and smelly, Marge Piercy has insisted on publishing 19 books of poetry, 17 novels, a book of short stories, a memoir, and four nonfiction books. She lives with Ira Wood and four cats in the woods of Wellfleet where they grows lots of vegetables and annoy Republicans.


Larry Ate a Little Ham

Larry ate a little ham,
it had no cloven toe;
and anything that Larry did
his guilt just wouldn't go.

He went to synagogue one day,
poor Larry broke the rule;
the rabbi just sent him away
'cause he was skipping school.

And when the rabbi threw him out,
he still had ling'ring fear.
So, Larry prayed and was devout,
and just what did he hear?

"Why does the ham bug Larry so?"
Moishe asked of G-d.
"He is reformed, so I don't know,"
the LORD said with a nod.

by Will O'Brien

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Will O'Brien currently lives, works, and writes in Cairo, Egypt. A self-avowed dog person—and cat allergy sufferer—Will is learning to cope with a number of stray cats who have made a game out of trying to sneak into his apartment every time he opens the door.


For a Special Someone

I gave her a ring as a birthday present,
told her the amethyst reminded me
of the way her eyes glowed
when she talked about Mozart
or the paintings of Dali,
that it once belonged to an aunt of mine
who died of cancer last year,
an aunt who always hoped
I would find the right woman.
We made love that night to Don Giovanni.

Our relationship lasted four months.
I let her keep the ring
in the hope that breaking up with me
would make her feel guilty.
Plus, my deceased aunt was a hoarder
and I have ten more rings,
with assorted semi-precious stones,
waiting in my nightstand
for the next ten special someones.

by John Muth

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John Muth is a reluctant resident of central New Jersey and a reluctant employee of Rutgers University. Satire is his favorite coping strategy. His first book, A Love for Lavender Dragons (Aldrich Press) is available online. Order ten or twelve copies today!


The Oral-B Toothbrush Question

My mind reels, I have questions, I do wonder:
Are they ranked first to last, low to high?
Can you find just the best without blunder?
I'm not sure how to choose but I try.

1 is better than 2: that we know.
D's no good, C's ok (so we say).
I have found Oral-B... but oh no!
Where oh where can I find Oral-A?

by John Mudge

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John Mudge studied English at New York University and now lives near Seattle. He believes the human soul is filled with all sorts of things, not the least of which is humor. His favorite authors include Kafka and Vonnegut. He is a recovering Catholic with Buddhist leanings. He used to be a Republican, but now fancies himself a Libertarian. He is half German, one quarter English, and one quarter everything else including (it is rumored) an Indian woman. He has been married almost 30 years to his first wife.


For They

In perfect rhyme and strictest meetah,
I sing in praise of Annelida.
(If high school Latin made you squirm,
You may not know that s/he's a worm.)

To turn the pebbles into soil,
S/he plies hir lowly, mighty toil
Dissolving dirt, digesting loam.
No light nor air, s/he's quite at home

In hardest clay or rain-soaked bed
To burrow forth without a head.
S/he bores a path for future roots
So nimbly, though s/he has no foots.

To compensate this lack of legs,
Her fore makes sperm, his aft lays eggs!
What biologic elegance—
Two tickets each to Darwin's dance.

Some folks are fond of clear, bright lines,
They take affront at androgynes—
But why should they be made uptight?
Earth's crawling with hermaphrodites!

Their bodies compass two in one,
So copulation's double fun.
Slugs and grubs and flowers, too,
They pack both sperm and egg; what's new

Is separation.     Such a fuss,
Such rigid norms from brutes like us!
And thus this poem finds its ender:
Celebrate diversive gender!

by Josh Mitteldorf

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Have you ever met a 9/11 Truther with a sense of humor? Have you ever met a scientist who can talk about his research without making you yawn? (To learn more, Google, "mitteldorf cracking").


Stopping by the Institute for Widget Studies Annual Conference

This work's been done before I know.
The speaker is a student though;
he has a script he reads too fast.
I wish I could get up and go.

If only this talk were the last.
I feel like hours and hours have passed.
Another conference session blown
in wastelands barren, bleak, and vast.

I noticed I was not alone
when reading email on my phone.
So how much longer can this take?
Just now I heard a stifled groan.

The coffee's bad the cream is fake,
but I just want to stay awake,
with hours to go before the break,
with hours to go before the break.

by Bruce McGuffin

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Bruce McGuffin has been writing light poetry for years, despite the long-ago urgings of his high school English teacher to give it up. His children do not look forward to being mentioned in poems, but his wife and dog are okay with it. He lives outside Boston where he works as a radio engineer at a laboratory full of coworkers who tend to agree with Bruce's former teacher.


Computer Virus

Microsoft Windows are always infected.
My laptop is always in need of a fix,
some hacker's always creating a virus,
playing their ugly Yahoo-ish tricks.

Microsoft Windows are always infected.
The hacker's new virus has ruined my phone.
I'm sure it's a matter of time till I see
that my oven and TV are not left alone.

Microsoft Windows are always infected.
Don't hackers have anything better to do?
Their mischief has cost us a few billion dollars.
I wish them a case of the avian flu.

by Paula Mahon

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Paula Mahon hails from Derry, NH, one mile from Robert Frost's farm. Her writing hobby has recently landed her in The Boston Globe and The Lyric. It also snagged her a finalist spot in the narrative poetry contest by Naugatuck River Review. Despite this, she keeps plugging away at her day job as a family physician in Manchester, NH.


April 14th

dedicated to Joe O'Brien, CPA

These income forms, I think they show
I owe the IRS some dough.
And worst of all is my great fear,
my savings balance is too low.

My finance planner thinks me queer
to wait until this time of year
to figure out my math mistake,
an error I don't want to hear.

There isn't time enough to make
the funds the IRS will take.
I wail and whine and fuss and weep.
The taxman has no heart to break.

I will not get a good night's sleep
until I learn to save and keep.
I owe the IRS a heap.
I owe the IRS a heap.

by Paula Mahon

To a Dependent

Wife, what is thy date of birth?
I must inscribe it on this form.
If thou dost coverage desire, then first
Tell me before I leave for work.

Say not that I forgot when thou wast born.
Put down that book thou wast about to throw.
A forgotten birthday is nothing to mourn,
While insurance lets us to the doctor go.

Thou art my dependent on this claim,
For "in sickness and in health" was our vow,
And I depend on thee who shares my name,
Though I have also forgotten our anniversary now.

Dates hold no value in the mind of man
When he shows his worth with dental plan.

by Mitch Frye

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Paula Mahon hails from Derry, NH, one mile from Robert Frost's farm. Her writing hobby has recently landed her in The Boston Globe and The Lyric. It also snagged her a finalist spot in the narrative poetry contest by Naugatuck River Review. Despite this, she keeps plugging away at her day job as a family physician in Manchester, NH.

When a radioactive cup of coffee spilled on a stack of ungraded student essays, English teacher Mitch Frye shambled into existence. He seethes in Mobile, Alabama.


Trump vs. Big Bird

Crummy day
Stealing our hopes away.
On his way to where
Thought is tweet.

Can you tell Trump how to get—
How to get to Sesame Street?

Tweet and lie.
Environment's gonna die.
Friendly neighbors leave,
Not safe to meet.

Can you tell me what's the deal?
What'll happen to Sesame Street?

Tragic day:
Alphabet Z to A,
Numbers upside down,
Songs miss a beat.

Can you tell me how to save—
How to save our Sesame Street?

How to save our Sesame Street?
How to make America sweet?

by Kathleen A. Lawrence

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Kathleen A. Lawrence:

Negative Column: Can't follow instructions. Terrible with deadlines. Hates to talk about herself. Hates to write about herself even more.

Positive Column: She's thrilled to report she has 8 siblings so she seldom has to write about herself. Lawrence is also a Sagittarius, Collector of Ephemera, Consumer of Cupcakes, and Lover of Lavender and Lilac. She has never met a flower she didn't like. She bakes the best amaretto cheesecake ever, although there are no witnesses to support her claim.


Sarah on Aging

I am the woman with the wrinkled wrinkled skin
I am the laughing woman with the wrinkled wrinkled face
I am losing my mind to thought (no dignity—no grace)
  I am searching just to please
  And gave up praying on my knees
    And I laugh
I am the laughing woman who's never quite felt whole
I am the laughing woman who doesn't trust a soul

by J.M. Green

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J.M. Green is the author of two chapbooks, The Novice Angler (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and Super Rich (Pudding House, 2008). Green is not a professor and he has never been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lives in West Chester, OH with his wife and daughter.


The Beagle

She bites the bone with jowly jaws;
Halts its escape with padded paws,
Flush in the fire of sport, she gnaws.

In quiet triumph up she creeps;
Onto the master's bed she leaps,
And like the happy dead she sleeps.

by Daniel Galef

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Daniel Galef has written light verse, heavy verse, sketch comedy, prose fiction, comic strips, death threats, one short-lived scientific advice column, and just about everything else for a hundred different venues in a half-dozen countries. His latest musical play, The Original, is currently running at the Montreal Players' Theatre.


Therapying Thunderstorms

Thunderstorm! Thy thoughtlessness
thrums the throng. Thy thanklessness!
Throttle thy thickening,
that thunderous threadbare thing!
The thermostatic threat,
the thrilling thunder that
thrashes the thicket thick.
Thoughtless thingamajig,
think through the therapy!
Throw thunderclaps thriftily.


Robespierre's Ruin

Robespierre's regency
repressed resistance rabidly.
Radical, raw revolution's
result: ruthless retribution
ruined Robespierre's rivals,
ruleless racketeer's revival.
Raiders roared: "Recrimination!
Repressor's rotten reputation
razes, razzes radically,
racking rattler's rabies rally,
rampant rampage, ruptured, rare!
Rope repressor Robespierre!"
Robespierre returned: "Rough raiders!
Royalism's renovators!
Revolution's revelation
requires revitalization!"

Raiders roared: "Resolutely
rumple Roby's raw rump, rudely!"
Robespierre raved: "Reunite,
raze reaction, regicides!
Royalistic relic's rising
requires rough reorganizing!"
roaring, running, restlessly,
rancorous rabidity.
Raiders razed rude racketeer
Robespierre's rabid rear.
Recall, recapitulation:
Robespierre's ruination,
revolutionary rat race:
revolutionaries replaced
resolutely, radically,
rotten Robespierre rascally.

by Alex Dreppec

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Alex Dreppec has a lovely 16-month-old son who keeps him from writing bios with ideas like paddling in the toilet, watering the remote with his baby bottle, or putting little chocolate wafers into the shoes of his father. Who is a happy man! www.dreppec.de/english_dreppec.html


Sometimes Overt, Often Stealth

Let me tell you about my friend,
Fuck You. He's been with me for
so long now that I don't remember
when we met, but he's always been
on the roster, always been in my
ear, always been a presence,
sometimes overt, often stealth.

Let me tell you about my friend,
Fuck You and how I've missed the
way he stiffens my spine and
hardens my resolve, the way he
transforms frustration into fuel
like some kind of deep-set
photosynthesis that only exists
when the circumstances demand.

Let me tell you about my friend,
Fuck You and how he seems to
come around when I need him
the most, when I begin to buckle
and sway from the weight of all
that's come before and what
appears to lie ahead, a tightrope
walk in blizzard conditions.

And let me thank my friend,
Fuck You. Let me thank him for
the steadfastness and the rough
required shoves, for the no-shit
stares and the late night talkdowns,
for getting me this far and for
waiting in the shadows until he's
needed once again.

by Eric Evans

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Eric Evans is a writer from Buffalo, New York with stops in Portland, Oregon and Rochester, New York where he currently resides. His work has appeared in Steel Bellow, Decades Review, Dead Snakes, decomP magazinE, Red River Review, Posey, Xenith Magazine, Anobium Literary Magazine, Pemmican Press, Remark, and many other publications and anthologies. He has published eight full collections and three broadsides through his own small press, Ink Publications, in addition to a broadside through Lucid Moon Press. He is also the co-editor of The Bond Street Review.


Three haiku which all wound up on the same page for no particular reason

Count beats with fingers.
Math and English intercourse.
My haiku is born.

by Douglas S. Malan

Spring pollen unleashed:
trees having sex in my nose—
arboreal orgies.

by Deborah Davitt

smoking pot
the casserole
almost forgotten

by Robert Witmer

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Douglas S. Malan likes words. Some other journals have published his poetry, and some people have paid to read his sentence groupings that aren't poetry.

Deborah Davitt remains as astonished as anyone else that she writes poetry—and even more so that people apparently read it. Nothing could seem more improbable, and yet, here we are. For more about her increasingly implausible assortment of poetry, short stories, and novels, please see:

Robert Witmer's life is reflected in one of his haiku:
returning home
from home.

This aging émigré seldom knows if he's coming or going. Resident of Tokyo, fortunate in family, friends, occupation, and creative vocation, he often prefers to play pétanque. He has recently published a book of haiku: Finding a Way.


The Orange Predator

I think that this poet never shall see
a predator foul and so smarmy as he.

His fowlish predation is ever so sweet,
he can grope any chick without moving his feet

which, along with his hands, are really quite tiny.
His brain is so small and his mouth is so swiney.

With faked indignation he tries to deny,
though he sees little need for a gal to comply,

or so he told Stern on Stern's radio show,
boasting to Howard like some horny crow.

"I can do what I want because I'm so famous
and handsome and charming and rich and
smart and huge and did I say very very rich and
very very handsome and just very very,"
(laughing Ivanka sits tall by his side,
enabling her father, the snide ignoramus).

Orange refining the meaning of smarmy.
Orange re-whining out lies to his army.

He steps like a goose and cuts down the tall trees,
honking and hinking and fouling the breeze

His lily-white shit that he dumps on the ground
is for Conway to gather and sell by the pound.

But this poet finds peace in the presence of trees,
even the trees that can cause him to sneeze,

and a walk in the forest does help him recoup
the hope and belief that the foul orange dupe

will goose-step and shit such a large smelly mass
that Congress will finally impeach his (not so) small ass.

poems are fashioned by fools like me,
but no one can help the brand new GOP.

by Michael Coolen

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When Michael Coolen was born, he swears he heard Thus Spake Zarathustra blasting in the delivery room. His father said he didn't cry when he arrived. He sang "sounding just a teeny like an opera by Bellini." In addition to published writings, Michael is also a published composer with works performed around the world, including Carnegie Hall, MoMA, and the Christie Gallery... without having to rent any of them himself.


Who'll Be Chief Scorner?

Who'll be chief mourner?
I, said the Dove.
Who Killed Cock Robin?

Who'll be chief scorner?
I, said the Critic,
With barbs analytic,
I'll be chief scorner.

Who'll settle the will?
I, said the Lawyer.
Ms. Thrush? I'll destroy her.
Then I'll send in my bill.

Who'll write the obit?
I, quacked the Hack.
I, who know jack,
I'll write the obit.

Who says, I told you so?
I, said the Teacher.
Me and the Preacher,
We told him so.

Who'll gloat without shame?
The Angler affirms:
He stole my worms;
I'll gloat without shame.

Who'll sully his name?
I, cried the Prude.
His very name's rude,
Yet he ducked all blame.

Who'll build on his grave?
I, said Big Business.
Progress is progress.
We'll build and we'll pave.

Who'll rub out all trace?
I, said Fox Robin.
No sense in sobbin'.
Gone to ground's no disgrace.

by Dan Campion

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Dan Campion is the author of Peter De Vries and Surrealism (Bucknell University Press) and coeditor of Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song (Holy Cow! Press) and has contributed poems to Able Muse, Light, Measure, Poetry, and many other magazines and anthologies. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa.