Renee Adams

Renee Adams

Renee Adams is a woman who retired from being a psychotherapist within the community mental health system and began to write poetry. She triesin her poetry to express my experience as a woman in this stage of a woman’s life. She is a member of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire.

Exhibit in the College Chapel

 

The drawing is of a woman

with her hand to her breast;

the line is delicate –

perhaps sketched as a madonna

on the crest of ecstasy.

 

The woman leans

far to the right of the page,

hand to our heart,

as though she will float away,

as though it is all too much.

 

It is a gesture we women know well –

when life has welled up

and gone beyond the boundaries

of the skin,

 

when we are holding in

what we can,

time beating against the fingertips

and the palm:

 

the weight of betrayals,

the weight of griefs

without the balm of absolution.

 

The artist, Barbieri, called Il Guernico,

works in ink and brown wash

that appears to caress the madonna’s

breast and limbs;

 

for him she will pose multiple times,

obediently, silently,

as she 

disappears

from within.

The poems go here

Henry Bladon

Henry Bladon

tread gently with tender feet

 

 

We were both barefoot on the beach. Pebbles are just rocks that are worn by the sea, she said, that’s how I think of friendship with people, they sometimes start out craggy and over time you get to know the person and they get to know you. I told her that was a nice thought, but I didn’t really want to meet craggy people and that I like to think of my journey to recovery when we walk on this beach. I told her that if you tread gently with tender feet you won’t disturb the others, and that way you can tiptoe along and the steps you take will accumulate until you finally reach the sea. She smiled and said and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Henry Bladon

Poets Name Henry Bladon

Poets biography

Henry Bladon is based in Somerset in the UK. He is a writer of short fiction and poetry and teaches creative writing for therapeutic purposes. He has degrees in psychology and mental health policy, and a PhD in literature and creative writing. His work can be seen in O:JA&L, The Beautiful Space, Local Train Magazine, Mercurial Stories, The Ekphrastic Review, and Spillwords Press, among other places.

Zinc Horizon

 

 

Trapped in the inky lines,

incomplete memories battle

 

within a coal-stained cage

looking to the zinc horizon

and begging for help.

 

Alone and cold and empty inside

amidst the confusion,

 

another teardrop

will force its way out.

 

Conjuring broken bones

and dismembered limbs

 

jagged attack helps border your space

disconnecting you from the world

deprived of sympathy and understanding.

 

Your stage is a memory

dragged over unending emptiness

 

but done without pause

and done without fear.

Tiffany Buck

Tiffany Buck

Chimera

 

 

 

I live in TZ3

Third colony of the Cnossus planet

The humans are gone

They mostly killed themselves

The people that didn’t die violently,

Died of disease

What is a simple illness to us, was deadly to them

I’ve been here five years and I hate it

The heat is unbearable

And the water that the humans loved so much is salty and changes the pigment of my blue skin

We rarely go in it

To pass the time, I dig

Looking for things left behind by the humans

I find a lot of bones, shiny objects, some in brilliant colors and others chrome, and dishes

One day I found this human-like creature made of stone

It looked human, but it had wings

I wondered if this could be a petrified superhuman

Maybe they had powers and could answer all my questions.

What is music?

Why are humans as fragile as glass?

Why did the humans want to destroy each other?

I brought this stone winged human home with me and put it under a light

I hoped the light would bring the creature back to life

Although something inside me knew, it was impossible

I knew I had to try.

Jerome Daly

Jerome Daly

Jerome Daly is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire and winner of the Richard “Dick” Shea Memorial Prize. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Charles River Journal, The Manhattanville Review, Gamut, The Slag Review, Leveler, The Chafee Review, and the Long River Review.

 

Child’s Play

 

The ants came crawling

Out of the splintered cement

Into oxygen,

 

While I sped through them

With Matchbox cars—blue & red,

Speeding & crashing.

 

I went to the shed,

Grabbing a rusty container

Full of gasoline.

 

Smashing the windows

In the tiny vehicles,

Dropping ants inside.

 

Over them I drizzled

A licorice shimmer,

A fluid rainbow.

 

Six windows line

The west side of the house,

All closed up with curtains.

 

In the living room

A clock encased in glass sits on the mantel.

I snip the two wires.

 

I snap the crayons

Left out

By my parent’s older son.

 

 

 

I take father’s belts,

Slap them on the cutting board,

Chop them in half.

 

On the burners of the stove,

I place ground pepper,

Turning the flames to high.

 

Inside is coated

With ashen specks everywhere—

I’ll have to scrub for months.

 

I take a packet

Of dental floss & wrap it

Around the house, twice.

 

I kneel. Blowing hard,

I watch the flames—

The ants keep moving.

 

They always keep moving.

David Dephy

David Dephy

David Dephy is a trilingual Georgian/American poet, novelist, essayist, multimedia artist. An active participant in the American and international poetry and artistic scenes, such as PEN World Voices, 92Y Poetry Center, Voices of Poetry, Long Island Poetry Listings, New York Public Library, Starr Bar Poetry Series, Columbia University – School of the Arts in the City of New York, Bowery Poetry Club which named him a Literature Luminary. His poetry has been published in USA and all over the world by the many literary magazines. He lives and works in New York City.

 

 

The Autumn’s Silent Consent

 

 

Sitting in the Central Park in New York City I am

breathing alone with the trees and I feel the fall in me.

The fall’s silence is transparent, I think fall is my best friend.

Who are we dear friend, can you tell me who we are? I only

know that no one can make me feel insulted without my consent,

no one can make me feel alone without my consent, my silent

consent. Yet, I only know that it’s better to remain silent and

be like the air everywhere, than to talk. “Words are very unnecessary…” 

do you remember? Yes you do of course and yet we know our time—

there are so many delights and risks, it’s always better to remain silent.

Yes it’s better at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove

all the ugliness or beauty of it, remove all the devotion or dubious

honesty of it, called the questionable advantage of our time, where

sleepless fools are still waiting for the miracles at dawn and

every wise man knows himself to be a great but fool, to be

a favorite of the moon. When I am looking up, I see

that lilac shadow of the whole universe where our silent

consent pushes us beyond our limits, I see — we will all

get out of here alive, a second lasts longer then a millennium.

Nancy Devine

Nancy Devine

Nancy Devine lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where she taught high school English for over 25 years.  Her poetry, short fiction and essays have appeared in online and print journals. She is the author of a chapbook of poems, “The Dreamed,”  published by Finishing Line Press in 2016.  “Dogma,” her latest chapbook of poems, is forthcoming from FLP.

 

Lost and Found

 

My mother’s voice has retracted

its feet,

floating already somewhere.

 

I would be lying

if I told you

I heard this long ago

in the hill town

where I grew up,

the lifting, the utter lifting.

 

But one afternoon,

when I was a kid,

I went

from one house to another,

visiting friends,

into a valley and back.

My mother found me

standing on a curb

a block from where we lived.

 

I felt

as bad as oil,

as grit,

that I had made her worry so,

because she couldn’t place me

soon enough.

 

Now I cannot situate

my mother in decline,

because it is up and airy

and somewhat like flight.

All the reaching in the world

or just beyond it, ineffective

and awkward, yet

I try to find

some way,

some way back.

John Drudge

John Drudge

John Drudge works as a clinical social worker and holds degrees in Social Work, Psychology, and Rehabilitation Services and has studied philosophy extensively. He is an avid traveler and a long-term student of the martial arts holding a 3rd degree black-belt in Kempo Karate. His diverse educational and experiential background gives him a broad base from which to approach many topics in his poetry. John currently lives with his wife and two children in Caledon, Ontario, Canada. 

Angel

 

We have tasted much and swam

In the tender moonlight

Of misgiving

We have walked with shadows

And drank away our sorrows

With desire

We have breathed the fickle scorn

Of creation

And touched with trepidation

The ever faster flutter

Of the angel’s waiting wing

 

 

Up in Idaho

 

The cold came up

In an instant

As the days grew shorter

In the cabin

On the lake road

A small fire

Sputtering as a backdrop

To the silence

Of his shadow flickering

On the wall behind him

Everything

Was behind him now

The smiles and the darkness

The points of melody

And contention

A still symphony

Of the entire thing

Laying lifeless

Beneath the carcass of it all

 

 

Vice and Style

 

With the heavy curtains drawn

A photograph of lost smiles

Propped against the lamp

On a dusty end-table

Spilled red wine

On a vast brocade sofa

Vice and style

Inextricably intertwined

He sat receded

In an oversized chair

By the fire

Staring into everything

That had gone before

Paris

Her face

Her touch

And the whispers

Of a forgotten wind

That he struggled to hear

Just once more.

Sean Hanrahan

Sean Hanrahan

Sean Hanrahan is a Philadelphian poet originally hailing from Dale City, Virginia. He is the author of the chapbook, Hardened Eyes on the Scan, published in 2018 by Moonstone Press. His work has also been included in several anthologies and journals, including the Stonewall’s Legacy anthology. He currently serves on the Moonstone Press Editorial Board, as a poetry editor for Toho, and as an instructor for Green Street Poetry.

Acquaintance

 

I think it’s important to remember our dead—

it’s one of the most human things we can do.

I once spent the night on this man’s couch

where roach clips smiled on the coffee table

and kind bud and coat dander flecked the nap.

His apartment was left the way his dead parents

decorated it. China patterns from a Floridian

antiquity laid out for a bachelor type breakfast.

He wanted to know how my husband and I

clicked. He was always on the lookout for a

younger man, but depression slowed him down.

Too many setbacks perhaps caused the stroke

or heart attack. He could be any gay man of a

certain age—he had the wit and the pop culture

knowledge. Chemical dependence may have

rubbed the difference away. Found dead with his eyes

open, was he surprised to see the world go? Relieved?

Like all gay wise men, he will keep the knowing

to himself. If only he could light a joint, and tell

us about it, or remind us again how his life paralleled

The Return of the Secaucus Seven. After I answer the call,

I go for a walk, not sure whether I have the right to mourn.

I see shoes dangle on the telephone wire and wonder

if they’re his size. It’s as if someone lobbed them there

in his memory—blue and white swooshed Nikes

blurring into the afternoon sky. Like we do with so

many of our acquaintances, I just took him for granted,

and the tears I shed may be for my own mortality, not his.

Crying for that sorrow may be the most human,

I never said admirable, thing we can do.

 

 

Avuncular

 

 

We are watching the decline,

the uncles we barely know die.

We are shivering in the late,

last winter of capitalistic decay.

 

We tasted it in the anomie of the nineties,

could never quite believe the shiny,

science optimism of the fifties and sixties,

beliefs as mutable as an ill-fitting hairpiece.

 

The aunts who kept us safe have left the house.

They used to soothe. They used to grouse.

Their curses have weakened the patriarchy,

the imbalance, the unfair power monopoly.

 

They divorced jolly uncles with bellies full of laughs

and suitcases full of travel trinket graft.

Mysterious men who kept the status quo, made it look fun

as society kept others pressed under a calloused thumb.

 

Days spent coveting magazine advertising shams,

a slimmer self, toned arms, shapely gams,

the right hat, the right suit, the right dress

would make you irresistible, a sartorial success.

 

It was the avuncular nature of our culture

that led us astray and turned us into vultures

pecking away at earth’s entrails,

caught up in the genial, the general,

 

while we should have been concerned with the details.

John Hicks

John Hicks

John Hicks is an emerging poet: has been published or accepted for publication by:  Valparaiso Poetry Review, I-70 Review, Ekphrastic Review, Glint Literary Journal, Midnight Circus, Panorama, Mojave River Review, and others.  In 2016 he completed an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska – Omaha.  He writes from the thin air of northern New Mexico.

Illumination

 

A small slice of light pushes morning

along a path over a shoulder of the Sandias,

and eases it beneath the portal at the spot

where a post holds it up, then makes its way

over the narrow window ledge to glow

on a corner tile in our front hall,

and reveals a daddy long-legs with a shadow

so slight its legs appear only as gray lines.  

 

Considering how far this light has come

to find him in our local menu of alignments—

which lasts less time than this writing—

it seems somehow this must be instructive.

And if it is, to which one of us?

Linda Imbler

Linda Imbler

 

Linda Imbler’s poetry collections include two self-published works, “Big Questions, Little Sleep,” and “Lost and Found.”  Soma Publishing has published her two e-book collections, “The Sea’s Secret Song,” and “Pairings,” a hybrid of short fiction

and poetry.  Examples of Linda’s poetry and a listing of publications can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com

Mondsüchtig (Lunatic)

 

 

What is the sound 

of starvation?

When the flames of expression

die in the grate

When your tangle of memory,

like twisted sheets,

strangle on a bed of thought

The weapon of your tongue

now dulled

If words come from thoughts

and thoughts make the world

will you now expose

the unexpected guise

of the lunatic

within your sphere?

your grand optimism to still the world

with your single word

“me”

lies dead on the ground

as millions of voices rise above yours,

all of them asking others

“what can I do to help?”

 

 

The Hunter of Words

 

 

I was never a predator

until I discovered books.

Like the last call at the bar,

I tell myself I must finish

the current chapter

before closing the cover’s door.

My reader’s attitude never grows jaded.

Every re-read of Pinter’s Betrayal

is more bitter than before.

Each revisit to Narnia,

a fresh slice of Heaven’s sweet pastry.

For too soon the pulse of life is stilled,

And while, many say that at worst,

death is a nothingness.

I disagree.

At worst, it’s a place without books.

William J. Joel

William J. Joel

William J. Joel writes, All things are connected. That’s the premise of what William J. Joel does. Each of Mr. Joel’s interests informs each other. Mr. Joel has been teaching computer science since 1983 and has been a poet even longer. His poems have appeared in Common Ground Review, DASH Literary Journal, and The B

Print

 

 

I open a book that’s never
been opened before
and breathe in deeply.  Ah, the scent
of freshly printed words, a scent
so rich and full of aromatic
thoughts and feelings as if
by smell alone I might know
what lay inside the writer’s heart.

The poems go here

Laurie Kolp

Laurie Kolp

Laurie Kolp’s poems have appeared in the Southern Poetry Anthology VIII: Texas, Stirring, Whale Road Review, Pith, Rust + Moth, and more. Her poetry books include the full-length Upon the Blue Couch and chapbook Hello, It’s Your Mother. An avid runner and lover of nature, Laurie lives in Southeast Texas with her husband, three children, and two dogs.

Dream Vision

~ inspired by The Dream, Henri Matisse (1940)

 

 

The egg lies within the mother

while she sleeps like a baby.

It is unaware of its destiny:

to live for 90 days and die.

The mother dreams of the egg

come fruition, a child to cradle

in her arms and hold to her breast.

Little does she know she’ll never

have the chance even though the egg

vibrates its love into her heart.

 

 

The Hypnotic Hour

~inspired by Pablo Picasso’s, A Dream (1932)

 

Drunken passion splits

sleep, a nest

of probing hands.

In minutes, logic

leans to one side

while the other side

stirs in yearning.

Forbidden consent

is silenced by

metronomic waves

she rests upon, dreams.

Half undressed when awakened,

she peppers blood as if their love

was meant for more than

abandoned mornings after.

D.S. Maolalai

D.S. Maolalai

D.S. Maolalai has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)

Dandelions

 

guys standing outside

of a 7/11

with petrol pumps. or sitting on the pavement

sharing a glass

of lemonade. the sun above moves forward,

slow as an hour hand in traffic.

drying things up. blowing them away. dust

like lightly done toast

without butter –

and they’re not homeless,

either. just bored. sometimes,

 

there’s one selling drugs, but often

not even that. just standing about, bending the sun

like dandelions

or the discarded tops

of bottles. entertaining themselves

as the day passes on. moving among pedestrians

with the attitude

of stray dogs; casual and confident

and hot.

 

chilled

by the cold

hard light inside, I test the weight

of iced coffee

and pick up a tube of toothpaste.

I wander out, pausing briefly

to explain that I didn’t buy

any smokes.

 

 

 

The cigarette.

 

sometimes, hungover

on a saturday morning,

I pad naked

through the naked house,

so as not to wake up chrysty,

to the room where my grandmother lived

when she lived here,

before they brought her with them

to the hospital.

 

I lie down naked, stretched

on clean sheets with my legs

sprawled out. I smoke a cigarette,

and read books

from 8am to 12

while the shadows

move across the room

like clockhands. I look at the pictures

of my grandfather at parties, tables

covered in wineglasses

and ash, always

holding a cigarette. he held them well,

like a teacher with chalk

casual,

and willing to spell letters. he held them

like a child holds a daffodil

plucked and confident

as a gift for their parents. he died coughing

and we visited him

in the hospice

only twice. and I was too young

for the burial, only the service

and then home to watch tv.

 

I put the photos down shuddering

and go back to books – he left a lot

of classic crime;

lately,

I’ve been getting into highsmith.

Patrick Meighan

Patrick Meighan

 

Patrick Meighan’s poems, reviews, and translations have appeared in The Common Online, Cardinal Points, Alexandria Quarterly Magazine, and other online and print journals. His latest chapbook “Poems for a Winter Afternoon” was published in 2018 by Unsolicited Press. He teaches writing, literature, and journalism courses as a nomadic adjunct at several four-year and two-year colleges in New Hampshire

Mamicka, in small gestures

 

a sweetness in the simplest memories

her bare feet crossing the kitchen

her small hands kneading dough

                        like flesh

fingers stained with cinnamon and nutmeg

 

 

her kitchen was a country with its own music

                        she reigned      sometimes with benevolence

sometimes as a despot

                        banishing her children to the siberia of the backyard

when they got underfoot.

 

 

                        i, the youngest, must imagine her pregnant,

a young postwar bride kneading dough like her captain’s flesh

                                                singing softly to herself

in her mother’s language, the language of babushkas and scrambled eggs

 

 

such songs of nadej and laskavost

(too hopeful, too kind for what the future held)

 

 

David B. Prather

David B. Prather

David B. Prather studied writing at Warren Wilson College.  His debut collection of poetry, We Were Birds, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Publishing.  His work has appeared in several publications, including Prairie Schooner, Colorado Review, Poet Lore, The Literary Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Open: Journal of Arts & Literature, and several others.  He lives in Parkersburg, West Virgin

Man Who Pretended to be Timmothy Pitzen Charged

 

 

I can be your long lost love.  I can recreate the past

in ways you’d never expect.

 

I can walk across a bridge to become someone new,

someone to give you hope

 

despite all the evidence otherwise.  I can be a savior

come down from the hills

 

with promises like no other, but I’ll understand

if you are unconvinced.

 

And I can rise with the morning sun, pull myself

together from photons and rays,

 

from particles and waves.  I can be a phoenix

reborn just for you.

 

I know how long you’ve waited.  I can be

your hopes and dreams,

 

your miles and miles of Paradise.  And best of all,

I can be your prodigal son

 

come home begging to be taken in, begging

for the moment I am found.

 

 

The First Man

 

 

His name was not Adam.

That would have been too coincidental,

 

too Biblical, too much a miracle.

Short, dark hair, I laid my hands upon his head

 

as he opened his mouth and spoke to me.

I’m not talking about words here.

 

A slight paunch, he was older than me by a decade,

knew more than me of giving and taking, knew more

 

of the pains and pleasures the body can endure.

We never bothered with the fancies of the world,

 

not the dogwood tree bare and shivering a winter wind,

not the hint of weeds whispering through a chain link fence,

 

not the quiver of ravens

in a season too cold for reason.

 

We preferred hotels and bedrooms, showers and couches.

We drank top shelf.  We breathed our lines of blow.

 

There was no garden to walk through, nothing to name.

There was no creation set before us,

 

nothing more than our naked bodies in lamplight,

our knowledge martyred to our flesh.  Yes,

 

it ended, badly,

as these things often do.

 

But his name was not Adam.

Wouldn’t that have been too cruel?

The poems go here

Daniel Romo

Poets Name Daniel Romo

Poets biography

Daniel Romo is the author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press 2019), When Kerosene’s Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014), and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). His poetry can be found in The Los Angeles Review, PANK, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. He has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and he is an Associate Poetry Editor at Backbone Press. He lives and teaches in Long Beach, CA. More at danielromo.net.

 

Whittier Has No Freeways

 

For Maria

 

 

A 70 mph straightaway is the road to being spoiled. And any open road is cause for conserving brakes and patience. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but sometimes, waiting in traffic and taking the long way is the intended design. The most beautiful creations celebrate both process and final product. Side streets lead to appreciating and embracing the suddenness of turns, twists and curves the shape of a lovely, new smile my Google maps never saw coming. Boulevards remind us to maintain faith in the face of obstacles that we successfully swerved in and out of long before we learned each other’s middle names. I met you in Los Alamitos in the evening. Would you really have turned around and went home having never met me just because the parking lot was too full? Question mark. There are days and nights when I take it all in, how this all began with an unsuspecting tweet and think, I can’t believe this! Exclamation point. Your city has no freeways. But for you I will drive to Whittier or Wyoming. Los Alamitos or Alaska. There is no mileage too great to navigate the distance between taking a leap and belief. Period.

Margarita Serafimova

Margarita Serafimova

 

Margarita was shortlisted for the Montreal Poetry Prize 2017, Summer Literary Seminars 2018 and 2019, and Hammond House Prize 2018; long-listed for the Christopher Smart (Eyewear Publishing) Prize 2019, Erbacce Press Poetry Prize 2018 and Red Wheelbarrow 2018 Prize, and nominated for Best of the Net 2018. She has three collections in Bulgarian. Her work appears in Agenda Poetry, London Grip, Waxwing, Trafika Europe, Landfill, A-Minor, Poetry South, Great Weather for Media, Orbis, Nixes Mate, StepAway, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Leveler, Mookychick, HeadStuff, Minor Literatures, Writing Disorder, Birds We Piled Loosely, Chronogram, Noble/ Gas, Origins, The Journal, miller’s pond, Obra/ Artifact, Arteidolia/ Swifts&Slows, Memoir Mixtapes, glitterMOB, TAYO, Guttural, Punch, Tuck, Ginosko, etc. Visit: https://www.facebook.com/MargaritaISerafimova/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.

Awe.

Stars in procession.

Sensual love.

 

 

It was a river.

We were being held by the smoothness of the waters.

Nothing stood still but the shores.

 

 

Κυκλάδες 

 

(Cyclades)

 

It was a circle.

The islands – my lives, were seeing

one another.

 

 

The wide open tulip, its red filled with slender dark brushstrokes,

commensurate and lightly potent as the thoughts of the Cosmos,

is capturing the rays of that which humankind calls soul.

 

 

I do not see you in the multitude

on deck.

You are the ship.

 

John Sweet

John Sweet

John Sweet, b. 1968 and still numbered among the living, sends greetings from the rural wastelands of upstate NY. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the continuous search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest poetry collections include HEATHEN TONGUE (2018 Kendra Steiner Editions) A BASTARD CHILD IN THE KINGDOM OF NIL (2018 Analog Submission Press) and A FLAG ON FIRE IS A SONG OF HOPE (2019 Scars Publications). All pertinent facts about his writing are buried in his life.

dogs, or wolves

 

 

or the ice where it melts or

your heart as it bleeds

 

the myth of innocence

 

man with broken fingers for eyes,

with teeth filed down to points,

says no one needs to get hurt

as he slips the knife in

 

says christ was

the king of crows

 

five hundred thousand bastard children

and they all want  

to fuck you up the ass hard

 

they all want to pass laws

in the name of freedom

 

need you to believe that life is not a

gift but a chore,

that hope is the provenance of the rich,

and what these parasites are

is the enemy

 

what they’ve forgotten

is humility

 

give every hand a chance to

hold the whip if what you

truly want is democracy

 

 

he wakes up to snow, to the news of his father’s death

 

 

ugly my whole life and

then old on top of it

 

faith in the absence of faith

 

hope

but inverted

 

the age of slaves

which is eternal

and then the kingdom of nil

 

the corpses and the corpse flies and

all of our favorite songs

on the radio

 

summer 1983

which i thought would matter

 

fall 1989 and my first suicide

 

not much, but all i ever asked

is that you let me be

less than nothing

 

let me be in love with a future

that has no

connection to the past

 

we will burn with our own

blinding light there, you and i

 

we will nail christ’s

trembling hands to the wall

and teach him what it

means to pray

 

his sugared tears are all

the thanks we could ever need

 

 

landscape with you as a crow in the shadows of november pines, searching for food

 

 

and hopelessness is a kind of hope,

or at least a powerful drug

 

you breathe in sunlight and

then you breathe out fear and there

is nothing more difficult than

denying christ, but here we are

 

a barren field, a dead lawn,

roadside ditches filled with the

garbage of anonymous strangers

 

twenty years of saying

i love you,

of waiting to hear it in return,

seems like more than enough

 

all objects shading to blue

 

all condensation turning to frost

 

i’ve forgotten how we ever

ended up here in the first place

Ann Christine Tabaka

Ann Christine Tabaka

Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry, has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from numerous publications. She is the author of 9 poetry books.  Christine lives in Delaware, USA.  She loves gardening and cooking.  Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her most recent credits are: Ethos Literary Journal, North of Oxford, Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Synchronized Chaos, Pangolin Review, Foliate Oak Review, Better Than Starbucks!, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review, Fourth & Sycamore.

Family Stories

 

I heard stories growing up.

Some of them were true.

Some had but a modicum

of truth buried deep within.

 

My father’s illness ruled his mind,

worsening with passing years.

No longer able to filter

reality from fiction.

 

A young lad in rural Poland,

he lived through the war,

witnessed untold horror,

he recalled throughout his life.

 

Listening intently to his tales

of soldiers invading villages

and untold hunger,

we grew up in the shadow

of his broken world.

 

Suffering at his hand,

not knowing his disease,

we hid, fearing his retribution.
Family curse passed on.

 

Broken bones and bruises,

some deeper than our souls,

reliving the torment that he knew.

Revenging himself on his own flesh.

 

Decades have passed.

Memories wander back

to things I can never forget,

embedded in my very being.

 

History now shows,

that within the fabrication

of my father’s stories,

many facts live among the lies.

 

The sadness of lifetime

lived in desperation.

In the end, the demon drink

was my father’s only friend.

And so the stories live …