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Two Poems by Nicholas Abanavas

After the Wash

The early moon


on Bleeker shades
streets piled
high. Way off-
white crystal mud
packs beneath toes
of leather.

Why is it
every time
I say
you laugh?

She wants to know.

I cannot drop
the bludgeon
from my mouth

and say
Autumn follows
Spring

as
lips are lonely
servants.

Beasts

You've looked before and


turned away

to fix your secondhand smirk. Only


this time you see

swollen ankles crawl over tops


no longer hand-me-down shoes. This time

you see
over-ripe faces with gum-soft smiles

drown in gutter rivers; human flotsam


insufficient worlds

stuffed like tasteless groceries in double-strength


bags. And the bags stronger than beasts

who shuffle beside their burdens


carrying it from red to red, stopping

to adjust afternoon light


through pale eyes.

This time
you see animals that lack lemming sense

any cents, innocence; de-


generations left to fill cracks in gray fog.

Nicholas Abanavas received his M. Ed. in Teaching At-Risk Students in 2008. He recently
retired from a career in public education. He has written two books: Scissors, Cardboard &
Paint-The Art of At-Risk Teaching and Lemnos-An Artist and His Island. He is currently working
on a book about gargoyles and grotesques. Born and raised in New York City and he is an avid
fan of jazz music. His work has recently appeared in The Basil O'Flaherty, Wayne Literary
Review and Lime Hawkmagazines. His poetry has also appeared as Poet of the Week on
the Poetry Super Highway.

Three Poems by Steve Brightman


On The Weekends, My Back Is Turned To The Sun

Thursday was not as easy


as it normally is.
Thursday normally sits upon
the bridge of my nose,
keeping my eyes from straining
too hard to see the sun fall,
quiet and mostly red.

The Center Of Anything

In the days of birds,


food and water
were plentiful.
Blankets and automobiles
were centuries away.
Sun still circled the earth,
hoping to one day be
the center of anything.
In the days of birds,
canopies were lush.
Electricity and gravity
had no place in
the garden.

Moon Is Hiding Behind Every Locked Door

Up the steps
into a carpeted

blue infinity,
ripe fruits and

honey await you.


Mimicry is less

vital than
you think.

Steve Brightman lives in Akron OH with his wife and their parrot. He firmly believes that there
are only two seasons: winter and baseball.

Four Poems by Partha Chatterjee


Danger

Transforming rider's
Helmet into a skull
The road runs as usual.

Crossing the road

Father,
Don't let me hold
Thy finger.
It may slip
My mind may distract
By colourful balloons.
Rather, you hold my finger
within thy firm grasp
And help me crossing the road.

union

Soul is trying to penetrate soul


Body is a barrier.

Father

honeycombed shirt,
Decreasing shoe-sole,
Blurred spectacles
Cannot suppress your
Smile in days of festival.

your neck always bears


the sign of a yoke.

on the eve of festival


Counting each and every
Member of the family
You present them new dresses
but never buy for yourself

Father, You are like a thumb who


never counts itself while touching
each and every knuckle of the remaining fingers.

Being questioned about your new dress


You reply with a smile, "I don't want to cover my soul with a second skin."

Partha Chatterjee lives in India with his wife papia and an adoring daughter princia. He loves
music, painting, poetry and cricket. He believes what Paramananda says :we need not more
religions, we need humanity.

Two Poems by Linda M. Crate


impatient for spring
the silent hills of winter
draw breaths
of white
like the snow falling around me,
and i sometimes hear
the birds
more than see them;
the sun seems so very far away
winter seems endless
just want spring to stretch her warm palm
light the land with all her flowers
from the crocus to the daffodil
enjoy the fragrance
of the flowering trees and the tulips
hanging in the air--
everyone tells you to be grateful
for each moment,
and i hate to seem as if i'm not;
but i don't like winter and his coldness
the way he ices over roads and takes the life
of flowers
how people can be buried in the snow
weak and hoarse whispering 'help me' and if found
too late can be left there dead--
don't like how
everything is muted in her colors
until winter pirouettes away,
and spring comes rushing in with all her life and flowers
nesting birdsong in our ears.

a more welcome sight

the man hobbled


out of the bar
calling for shirley,
and then insisted i wasn't
she;
but i told him i wasn't
when he called me by that name--
he's the same man
that came into work twice
a year apart asking
if my name were jessica,
and each time i told him no;
don't know these women he keeps
seeing semblances of in me
but i am happier when he keeps
his distance--
every time i see him
i wonder who i'll get mistaken for,
but fortunately i rarely see
his face but once in a blue moon
though i think a blue moon would be
a much more welcome sight.
Linda M. Crate is a writer born in Pittsburgh, yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville, whose works
have been published in numerous anthologies and magazines online and in print. She is a two-time push
cart nominee and has a Bachelors of the Arts in English-Literature. She has four published chapbooks, A
Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January
2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), and My Wings Were Made To Fly (Flutter
Press, September 2017).

One Poem by Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto


LOVERS WITH LOVERS
(Inspired by Kang-Kang)

Before supper, they needed to be in their homes.


It was blissful for them that very evening in a hotel as they lay on the same bed. The society,
distance and responsibilities had separated them for a long time now. It had been a year when
they last saw each other. The day Chinedu's car broke in the middle of an expressway was when
they met. Since that day, they had shared a bond that was like the food you ate, like the water
you drank, and like those feelings you had for that special person and nothing else matters.

Chinedu smiled often and his lover felt much secured. They chatted, drank, laughed and soon re-
knew happiness. But somehow, they knew that this kind of happiness was an enemy; it
weakened one, created doubts in one's mind that something was to be lost.

Chinedu shifted his lover's leg and arm aside and settled the head gently upon his chest. Then,
they kissed. The past they had shared soon started trooping into their heads like pictures
displayed in a phone's gallery especially Lenovo.

"I really have missed you," his lover confessed. Chinedu smiled. They caressed and felt each
other skin to skin. And soon, they made love throughout the evening and slept off in each other's
arms.

Chinedu awoke first, turned and looked at his lover's peaceful face. He stared at a distance and
then crept out of the bed. He checked the time on his BVLGARI wristwatch and started to get
dressed. He tapped his lover who soon woke and got dressed too.

They had wives and children waiting for them.

Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto (@ChinuaEzenwa) is a Nigerian and a lover of literature. His works


have won the Association Of Nigerian Author’s Literary Award for Mazariyya Ana Teen Poetry
Prize, 2009; National Association Of Students Of English Language and Literary Studies
Certificate of Honour as the Best Student Poet, 2012, Delsu Chapter. He became a runner-up in
Etisalat Prize For Literature, Flash fiction, 2014 with "I Saved My Marriage." And some of his
works have appeared in Lunaris Review, AFREADA, KALAHARI REVIEW and Elsewhere.
Four Poems by Becky Fawcett
Under a bridge

Lorries thunder and roar overhead


Noise echoes all around
The bridge shudders
A road held aloft by wires
A sprawling bridge with two towers
Metal grinds against metal
The ground vibrates underfoot
Green slime drips down concrete supports
Where pigeons nest, fight and splatter
A split, brown sack spills its contents down a grassy bank
That gives way to scrubland
Full of bottles, cans, used nappies and dog shit.
A green light beams from the base of the tower
A beacon for ships
It rotates hypnotically
And casts out an eerie glow
On to the river.

Road

There’s the road. A long road


Long, straight road
Slate grey tarmac road
Single file road
Lined by hedges road
Disappear into the distance road
Cars fly along road
Spray mud on passers-by road
Delivery vans speed and swerve road
Wheels lift up off the ground road
Keeping to the clock road
This pot hole and skid marks road
No markings no cat’s eyes road
No signs or symbols, no clue no warning road
This nowhere patched-up lumpen road
This scratch mark on the earth road
Asphalt carpet runner to oblivion road
Bottles of stale orange urine and fast food road
Soiled nappies and pants in the verges road
Get me off this broken glass and dead rats road!
She loved the sun

She loved the sun


She would lay out and worship it
Shut her eyes and see that baked bean red
Cadmium red
Glorious red
Shun the claggy sun lotion
How she would burn and blister
Always on the beach,
In the Spanish heat, smoking fags
Soak up the rays and sip Pina Coladas
Toes wriggled in the baking hot sand
The sun had turned her into a brown, leather bag
That brilliant, yellow flaming ball
Lashing her front and back
Now she can’t stand the light
The blinds are closed up tight
She turns her face away
Lost her tongue and her pride
Once portly limbs now mere spindles
Her bald head has a hole drilled in it
A nurse dabs her dry lips with a wet sponge
Dresses bedsores on her back
Checks the IV drips and the morphine machine
So many scars on her aged, cadaverous face
The catheter bag is filling up with blood
Years and years at that sun altar,
The drinking and the smoking
Was it worth it?
She suddenly lurched forwards
Coughed up black ooze
Eyes sunken and yellow
She points to the blinds
For them to be opened
So she can worship that brilliant, yellow flaming ball
One last time.

Star Certificate

In grief she bought a star for her


A star in her name
There soon arrived a certificate
And a set of coordinates
She typed them into a website
A black square appeared
Glitching and pixelating
Then scores of blurred, white stars came into view
A low-res, grainy snapshot
Of what?
Which was her star? Where was she?
She rang the helpline number
Number not recognised
She looked at the screen through teary eyes
Number not recognised
She needed her, desperately, to be a star
To still exist, to be somewhere
And shimmer over everyone
But now she could only cry
And in the corner of the room
A deflated, helium balloon
It had withered and drooped onto the floor
Emblazoned with those hateful words,
‘BABY GIRL’.

Becky Fawcett is new to the medium of poetry. She took up writing a poem every day after a
stroke left her with reading and writing problems. Before that she had worked as an English
teacher. She writes mainly about everyday life in the Lincolnshire/ Yorkshire border where she
lives. She uses themes such as illness, isolation and the grittiness of northern England.

One Poem by Colin James


15 ILLUMINATED SEESAWS

I have an acquaintance
who has a friend who has
devised these ingenious little nets
for catching poems
usually on a summer night
but occasionally during
blustery winter gales.
She stores them in thick books
weighted to keep the edges crisp.
I inquired about nabbing a few
but was told, "No!"
There is a matter of rights
also bringing out the correct voice
or attempting to. So I've stopped
loitering in her garden
inappropriately wearing overalls
when shorts would do.
Indiscreetly escorted off the grounds
all sweaty, effective as ridicule.

Colin James has a book of poems Resisting Probability available from Sagging Meniscus
Press and a new book of poems forthcoming from Wondor Editions. He lives in
Massachusetts...........direct link to SMP titles

Three Poems by Steve Klepetar


Footbridge

So much of any year is flammable…

Naomi Shihab Nye

Sometimes our hands hold so little,


just light and a portion
of rain spilled from the sullen sky.

Maybe our eyes grow dark


and in our blindness we walk for miles
pushing against heavy air.

When clouds break with a wail


of wind, we turn away.
All night we sense lanterns burning,

shadows careening along the walls.


Our knees ache as we descend.
At last we reach the bottom land.

We know the place


by its tidal music and howling dogs.
The year leaps up again, rising

from flame, another mound of ash.


Across the footbridge we return
where white river swirls among stones.

Incognito

Dark all day, but rain holds off.


Out the window, yellow leaves
drift onto grass. The mail truck
passes, otherwise nothing seems

to move. Our eyes tremble


with the weight of silence
and thick air. Day’s heart beats
slowly, struggling against sleep.

Our fingers push against grayness


of clouds, we ignite the sky.
Smoke pours through the yards.
There is a way of looking at things,

to stare until every surface burns.


That’s how you unmask the world.

To the Tree Line

Long silences don’t upset us.


We walk toward the tree line

as if our legs were made


of sand, just that heavy and slow.

It’s not because we can no longer


bound, frisky as fawns,

but because we’ve learned


to pay attention to the stones,

to wave patterns in the sky,


to the subtle motions of our blood.

Your hair floods down your back,


and your lips, pressed together

like that, are more beautiful


than I can say. All the way down

the road, I sneak looks at you,


and the air shimmers around

your face, silver and glowing


like a lantern in a limestone cave.

Steve Klepetar has recently relocated to the Berkshires in Massachusetts after 36 years in
Minnesota. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart
Prize, including three in 2017. Recent collections include A Landscape in Hell (Flutter
Press), How Fascism Comes to America (Locofo Chaps), and Why Glass Shatters (One Sentence
Chaps).

Two Poems by Liza Libes


Unchange

Vindications wild,
A melody she saw bursting through the trees,
Verdant sonnets of a springtime’s cheap caress.
Yet it is all the same,
The seasons turning round in vortices of sleek unchange,
A prospect of a new tomorrow beating,
Beating softly through her adolescent days.
Yet it is all the same,
Expectations flattened in bombardments of restraint
Accusations mirrored in a pair of eyes afraid.

Amendment Thirty-Six

You were imbibed with parsimony


In an amphitheatre redolent of coarse perfumes.
Perfunctory ambitions soaring worthless
In a train car bound towards New York.

You were a faultless parasite


Knocking doors and travelling hallways.
Studious in quantum physics
Bound up in a dream.

Threnodies of taxi cabs and tarpaulin


Pistachios and chocolate wafers
Warbling commission and obedience
Something something impecunious.

Caffeinated kisses and a lisp of alcoholic fumes.


You knew well to fumble with the snow.
Maestro Noam Chomsky
Do not teach me how to play with words.

You were a consternation who did not desist


Thundering in the simulation of a cabaret
Imitation of a reverie by Heraclitus
Fountains draining faster than the blood of Caesar.
Modernity refuses to depart.
You cried a basin of bucolic tears.
Smiles interspersed with wonderment aborted.
You composed a series of infinite regress.

You were a flawless paradise.


Now I recline and sip a cup of tea.
I do not remember how to burn for you.
Immolation devolves into felicity.

I cannot remember how to recreate


Your chirrup and its haunting scent.
I cannot pretend to know your novel placement
Fiddle through your spaces.

Tomorrow sends a blitz of fallen snow.


You shall see it through Manhattan windows.
I shall send my wishes through the windows.
I remember how you used to love the snow.

Previously published in former People, January 2018.

Liza Libes is an English major at Columbia University. She is originally from Chicago and does
not miss the freezing temperatures. You can find some of her poems on her
website, pensandpoison.com

Two Poems by Rose Aiello Morales


Something He Said

Air crackles with life,


grackles commence their explanations,
they are only crows with fragrant pedigrees.

Blue the color of something someone knows,


intangible, the bird cries forgotten remembrance,
cannot pronounce its vague misnomer.

A flower opens out of season,


reminding birds of paradise,
now that Fall is here, it doesn’t matter.
Broken

A woman gave me broken pieces,


shoes belonging to another,
I’d not accommodate nor reminisce.

Pendants missed their jewels,


gold sparks turned to brass,
green grew age and acid memories.

I could not be her feet and walk,


not fitting into flats and sharps,
my callouses were never hers, could not become her.

Thanks could do no more,


the devils of my better nature laughed,
but goodness knew I’d be there soon.

Rose Aiello Morales has been writing poetry almost as long as she's been able to write. And she's
still doing it at her home in Marrietta, Georgia, in the USA.

Two Poems by Jose Oseguera


RED AS A ROSE WAS SHE

She rose in early morning, the day


Of new hope, spring in January,
As the Sun thawed her heart
Blossoming red once more.

The silk of a man’s tenderness;


Lost in her rent memories of a husband--
Bruised petals at his feet,
A youth he strew about
Wildly as if love were a trinket to torture her with--
Violence on her scars.

Years plot in bad soil, her rose wilted, waiting for


No one, allowing her beauty to shame from the Sun:
Falling backwards into his empty embrace,
Gouging the double-edged thorns of his promise blind,
Learning that mistakes can’t teach you a thing until you make them;
That even so, you make them again and again.
The blood she shed for others
In tears and petals withered,
Rid her of the flower befuddled by masculinity,
Palming grit aimlessly for romance’s indecipherable leaves--
The charm of his eyes, the vow of his smile, the succor of his virility--
But rather for what love had deprived her of;
For what it still owed her.

We watched as if we saw her,


But witnessed what she no longer was.
Miraculously, as dead as plucked on asphalt, arid by the
Everyday, at its core, the bud entombed in petals, ever so
Crimson fluttering on her cheeks,
Bled love anew on the day of her wedding.

BEATLES SAUDADE

Saudade
A feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia.

The thought came to me as I listened to Abbey Road apathetically,


Glancing up at a mirrored ceiling--
En vogue in the late ‘70s, tacky by the early '80s--
The more I stared into my eyes,
Pupils eclipsing their Milky-Way-brown irises,
The farther I felt from myself.

My past floated lazily like a striped, annular flotation device


On a pool of what I held in my mind up to that point:
Deep enough to drown in, but shallow enough to see the sun
Gleam past molten glass vitrines insulating the wet from the dry,
Dancing flames on the arabesque-tiled sphere.

I could see individual drops of water as clearly as pearl grains:


Each a moment in time--
Of pain, sorrow, joy, and fear,
Songs I loved, ones forgotten;
Canticles of undying youth, sung out of the mouth of babes and sucklings,
Their backbeat jangling crystalline out of sunburst hollow bodies--
Multiplied as tears wept awakening from a dream.
Their imperfect sphericality, thousands of moons
Glowing with feeling-light— the tumult of being— thrashed the once still pool
As tepid, calm breezes, unbeknownst to all, slowly morph into violent storms.

The lifesaver, exiled relic proving Pepperland’s existence,


Rapidly pinwheeled 33 1/3 revolutions per minute:
Candy cane, barber's pole, lollipop swirl,
Moptops, LP-black, questioning a world full of questions,
Their melodies detaching problems from their consequence, not their weight;
A galaxy of neumes traversing the entirety of my ears.

The blackness of the gyrating disc concaved into a singularity,


A spider knitting its web in the midst of the storm--
A translucent house filled with empty people--
Strong enough to balance a walrus, high enough to befuddle an eagle,
Yet it's frailty clear in the impending tide's stultifying massacre.

Seemingly vicious, the arachnid invoked a paralyzing spell on all who stared,
But the fortress built around herself,
To protect her from a world much bigger and dangerous,
One whose full extent she would never know existed,
Relied on the architecture of others--
Man-made or God-spoken creation— to secure her livelihood
For nourishment, binding her wounds, and hiding forever in her loneliness.

Oblivion of the lifelines she cast out, one after one,


By one swift, five-fingered strum, could bring
Heartache's wounding blow.

Jose Oseguera is an LA-based writer of poetry, short fiction and literary nonfiction. Having
grown up in a diverse environment, Jose has always been interested in the people and places
around him, and the stories that each of these has to share.

His work has been featured in Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, Rigorous, Sky Island Journal,
Jelly Bucket, OTHER. Magazine, and Authorship by The National Writers Association.

Two Poems by Judy Shepps Battle


The Best Laid Plans

Turning seventy-four is something


I never planned on doing

twenty is old enough


my college self declares

besides

death is certain to intercept


pleas and plans and abort hope
with razor sharp whim
producing belly-up goldfish

motionless parakeets and


silent canaries.

Twenty is as far as I can see


bachelor's degree in hand

graduate school an obligation


then the abyss reforms

but what else is there to do?


Surely not turn seventy-four.

Waiting For Elizabeth

Icy Baltimore breeze laps gentle


winter grey poses gruff and passive
pale clouds peek-a-boo with cobalt sky

Your scent lingers on wrinkled sheets


fiery essence endures as crisp
noon air mingles with stale musk

stretching across passion's still warm bed


empty fingers remember and reach
hungry for your trembling thighs

primordial energy, raw excitement


16th-notes steam as Sappho celebrates
two kindred minstrels.

Judy Shepps Battle has been writing essays and poems long before retiring from being a
psychotherapist and sociology professor. She is a New Jersey resident, addictions specialist,
consultant and freelance writer. Her poems have been accepted in a variety of publications
including Ascent Aspirations; Barnwood Press; Battered Suitcase; Caper Literary Journal;
Epiphany Magazine; Joyful; Message in a Bottle Poetry Magazine; Raleigh Review; Rusty
Truck; Short, Fast and Deadly; the Tishman Review, and Wilderness House Literary Press.

One Poem by Sravani singampalli


Life is a glass of coke

I sit with a glass of coke


I take small sips
And enjoy its refreshing taste.
Conversations with my friends press on
And after sometime
When I start taking another sip
It no longer tastes refreshing
No longer like coke
But like a tea decoction.
The coke lost its effervescence
Just like our extended conversations
Just like our cheeks and skin
Just like our behaviour.
The conversations become meaningless
Skin loses its elasticity
And we become forlorn citizens.

Sravani singampalli is a published writer and poet from India. She is presently pursuing doctor of
pharmacy at JNTU KAKINADA university in Andhra Pradesh, India.

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