poem

At Night by Lisa Mottolo

hummer_InTheLight
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At Night
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I had a round, wooden keepsake box in which I’d smudge

                                                                                             out my cigarettes

and if it they weren’t burned quite down to the filter

                                                               I’d retrieve them from the ash

and smoke them again

This way I’d have something left to calm me

                                                                     when there were men outside

my bedroom window like hummingbirds that think

                                                                      everything pretty is a flower

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lisa

Lisa is a life-long writer and the Project Manager for Atmosphere Press. She studied copyediting at UC San Diego, and her writing has been published in Barren Magazine and Coffin Bell Journal. Lisa is from upstate New York and currently lives in Austin, Texas. She loves birds and has four adopted parrots at home.

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Funeral in the Rain by John Grey

rain
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Funeral in the Rain
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warm rain,
cold blood
.
the women have kissed
all the cheeks they’re ever
going to kiss
.
the men have waked
until they can barely wake
no more
.
funeral rolls by
sacred haunts –
sad faces press to glass
stare out at the living
as they pass on by
.
rosewood coffin
carries him off –
among the mourners,
fingers grip like
claws in flesh
.
preacher stands amid
the wildflowers,
tries to convince
those present
that the deceased
has never been so far
beyond darkness
trees shake,
leaves tremble,
all out of respect
for raindrops
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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Sin Fronteras, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in West Trade Review, Willard and Maple and Connecticut River
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Sitting on the Porch With Mom by Catherine A. Coundjeris

goldfinch
Photograph by Diane Sahms
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Sitting on the Porch with Mom
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We sit in the sunroom,
admiring the green world
with song birds flitting by. . .
She is fair today.
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Cooler weather comes
again, we sit in the sunroom.
Dark green changing to gold
maples red
green grass browning
autumnal skies
cat on the porch
making eyes at Mom.
Silent and still we sit some more.
.
She is not herself
and in a thoughtful fancy
 I can see us
changing space
years ahead I will be in her place
tied down to a chair
watching the mountain
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But for now, she is
passing time with me
yet another day gone.
Winds stirring
hair raising
spirits flying…
.
Electricity in the air.
She speaks,
I love you
and then we sit still,
watching the mountain
change and yet remain the same.
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Catherine has taught writing at Emerson College and ESL writing at Urban College in Boston.  Her poetry is published in literary magazines, including 34th Parallel Magazine Ariel Chart Magazine, The Drabble, Nightingale and Sparrow, Rune Bear, Backchannels, Inkling Magazine of the Storyteller’s Cottage, Finding the Birds, Yellow Arrow Journal, The Dawntreader, Visions with Voices, and Nine Cloud Journal.  Currently she is living with her family in Frederick and she is working on a YA novel. Catherine volunteers as an ESL Coordinator with the Literacy Council of Frederick County.

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Wild Onions by paul Bluestein

wild onions
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Wild Onions
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Spring came and, as they always do,
the wild onions
 poked their miserable shoelace shoots
up out of the ground.
Like rude subway riders,
they crowd in close
to my young, delicate flowers,
trying to push them aside
as if they owned the ground in which they grew.
They may not think of themselves as weeds,
but weeds is what they are.
Oh, some people would say
wild onions are vegetables,
like parsnips or beets,
but I say they are weeds
and they will find no comfort in my garden.
I will unsheathe my spade and stainless steel claw
and do battle with the April invaders;
root them out wherever I find them
and let them serve as a lesson
to mint that might be thinking of
becoming delinquent,
wild and uncontrollable.
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Ireland
paul Bluestein is a  physician (no longer practicing) and a blues guitar player (still practicing). he was born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, a short walk from the Oxford Circle. He currently lives in Connecticut with his wife and the two dogs who rescued him. His poetry has appeared in many online and print journals and his first book-length collection  – Time Passages – was published earlier this year by Silver Bow Publishing in Kindle and soft-cover formats.

Howard Beach: Queens, NY by Doug Holder

doug
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Howard Beach: Queens, NY
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Uncle Marty.
eating chickpeas from the strainer
greets me in a t-shirt and underwear
his 90-year-old mother
in her corner
in disrepair.
.
“I got no regrets,” he said,   “I’ve seen it all,
 I’ve seen Bobby Thompson hit that ball.”
.
His mother says through her toothless smile:
“He was always good with maps
that’s what they said,
he always had maps
in his head
that’s what they said.”
.
Marty scratches his crotch
takes another shot
of the cheap scotch.
.
Marty despises the family barbecues
wears a polyester suit to the beach
often spits
and has a toothpick
in his teeth.
.
“Yeah,” he said to me,
as he glances out to the sea
“Yeah I seen it all,
I was there
when Bobby Thompson hit
that ball.”
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**** One of the most famous moments in baseball history, Bobby Thomson’s pennant-winning 1951 blast for the Giants….
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doug
Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. His work has appeared in Rattle,  sPoKe, Harvard Mosiac, The Boston Globe, Artword Quarterly, Hazmat Review, Word Riot and elsewhere. Holder has a new collection of poetry due out this summer from Big Table Books, ” The Essential Doug Holder.”  The “Doug Holder Papers Collection” is being processed at the University at Buffalo.
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Strands by Michael A. Griffith

spider 1
Photograph by Diane Sahms
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Strands
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Why deny the obvious necessity for memory?
              l  Marguerite Duras, Hiroshima Mon Amour
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Walked through her spider’s web
on my way to take in the sun.
The silkhair strands stick to my skin,
eerie tracings of where her fingers
once slid.
.
As the sun bakes my flesh.
I feel the strands melting into me,
phantom limbs of amputated desire.
.
I should move to the healing shade.
(That coolness beckons.)
.
But baking, simmering in her strands seems
somehow more enticing, more satisfying,
than that soothing shade
I see
inching away.
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Griffith Photo
Michael A. Griffith teaches at Raritan Valley and Mercer County Community Colleges in central NJ. He is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, Bloodline, Exposed, and the forthcoming New Paths to Eden. Recent works appear in Ariel Chart, Miletus Literature Review, Ramingo’s Porch, and U.S. 1 Worksheets. Mike lives near Princeton, NJ.
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Leave Meeting by Bruce E. Whitacre

brick
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Leave Meeting
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One of my professor friends posted a screenshot of his seminar,
the one he conducts for good students at a good school.
I can see you there, center row, third from left.
My friend is in the little box next to you.
The famous guest author is the lower right corner.
Wish I could have been on that game show.
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If you’re here it means you made it,
that you’re not in permanent couch-surfing mode,
that you stopped drinking after those black outs,
that you don’t have a glove compartment rattling
with glass pipes and lighters,
that you kept a waitress job long enough to pay
a bit of rent and what it takes to join
this array of the bright and the bored.
.
So many of these students have the same white bookshelves
every influencer sits before these days.
Would they have the same books I read to you,
the ones you threw across the room
when the letters wouldn’t stop dancing,
and that you had to read all over again the next year?
Would the sleeves of that hoody cover your tracks?
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This is what I always hoped for you:
to know that not every brick building is a courthouse, or a jail;
not every group is a gang.
Even in this checkerboard you can almost read these lives—
the texts firing off off-line to the BFFs,
the renegotiations with OK, Boomer over
the unexpected homecoming.
You’ve been there, too.
.
If only you could have learned that not every grown man wants
something from you that takes the light out of your eyes,
the light I see in theirs, box by box,
the light I would see in your eyes
if only they would open in time.
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bruce
His work has appeared in Cagibi, HIV Here and Now by Indolent Books, North of Oxford, Poets Wear Prada, and World Literature Today.  He has been a featured poetry reader at the Forest Hills Public Library. He has read his work at Poets House, the Zen Mountain Monastery Buddhist Poetry Festival, Kew Willow Books, Lunar Walk, and other venues.  He completed master workshops with Jericho Brown, Alex Dimitrov, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, and Mark Wunderlich.   He holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is an activist and advocate for the arts and social justice.  He lives in Forest Hills, Queens.
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Cast Iron Bookends of Girls in Ladderback Chairs by Katherine Barham

bookends
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Cast Iron Bookends of Girls in Ladderback Chairs
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No doubt your books neatly lined up
between these cast iron chairs
my sister and I occupy
bring you delight
but consider what the sculptor had in mind:
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Our hair is tousled from sleep,
our nightgowns wrinkled,
our legs akimbo, our feet bare,
but most of all we sit sidesaddle,
halfway on and halfway off,
rocking back in laughter,
holding on with one hand
to the top of the chair.
My little sister’s kitten
barely rests between her midriff and thigh.
The older cats stay wisely
underneath the chairs.
.
But the source of our gaze
and reason for our laughter
is ours to know and you
to find out–and reading
is the last thing on our minds.
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katherine-barham
Katherine Barham has an MFA degree from Warren Wilson Program for Writers and has published poems in the following journals:  The American Poetry Review, The Drunken Boat, Spillway, Hubbub and Mad Poets Review.  Moonstone Press published my chapbook, From the Familiar, in 2015, and forthcoming is my book How It Shone, by atmosphere Press.
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Two Poems by Amy Barone

azaela
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Ensnared
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She returned to the place where she first
experienced longing and surrender.
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Where past loves had been tangible as mercury,
elusive as ghosts.
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By day, butterflies clung to spikes of blue veronica,
crimson azaleas filled in bright green bushes.
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At night, dazed and glowing with a moon tan,
she caught the sole pulsing star,
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then tossed her shillelagh, vowed to engineer life’s voles
on her own terms.
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Medea’s Cameo
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I wonder if Medea wore a coral cameo
when she embarked on the journey
with Jason seeking passion and gold.
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A brooch revealing Athena on a raised relief,
an ancient campaign button of hope,
an amulet for an enchantress who divined.
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Under a watery sky, did she dance
to wind songs on the hunt for treasure?
Did she regret her treatment of the King?
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Love is love—it nurtures and heals.
But pride can trample hearts.
And when revenge turns gruesome,
.
a magical charm can’t stop a blazing rage
that ignited more than her soul.
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amy-barone
Amy Barone’s latest poetry collection, We Became Summer, from New York Quarterly Books, was released in early 2018. She wrote chapbooks Kamikaze Dance (Finishing Line Press) and Views from the Driveway (Foothills Publishing.) Her poetry has appeared in Paterson Literary Review, Philadelphia Poets, Sensitive Skin, and Standpoint (UK), among other publications. She spent five years as Italian correspondent in Milan for Women’s Wear Daily and Advertising Age. She belongs to PEN America Center and the brevitas online poetry community that celebrates the short poem. A native of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Barone lives in New York City.
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