Like an Existentialist – by William Doreski

 

After you crumpled me up
and tossed me like a soiled tissue
I crept to the edge of the flat earth
and peered into the vacuum
from which creatures like me evolved.
Stars fizzled and became black holes.

Spaceships collided in bursts
of shrapnel, spilling their crews
into bottomless places beyond
the boundary of the creation.
Now I’ve seen so much dark
I’m no longer afraid of your fits

and moods, your expression rumpled
to intimidate. Living alone,
sleeping in weeds by the roadside,
suits me. Collecting bottles
to redeem for nickels and dimes
provides exercise and cash

for apples, bananas, yogurt
in little cups. I could live like this
long enough for you to tire
of your Manhattan condo
with its view of the Hudson
and the sprawl of America beyond.

Eventually I’ll decay enough
to topple into a drainage ditch
and pull the ballast over myself.
You won’t feel the universe ripple,
but you’ll notice that buzzing
in your ears, faint and distant, has stopped.

When I’ve distilled to my essence
I’ll rise like an existentialist
and stand at the foot of your thirty
floor building and stare up so hard
you’ll think lightning has struck you—
a white flash exposing your bones.

 

 

 

William lives in New Hampshire and his work has appeared in various online and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013)

The Swamp Oak – by Ed Ahern

 

Balding leafage
lets the eye slip through
to scabrous bark
that runs past rot holes
hiding squirrels.

Twisted branches
contort around power lines,
reaching upward
and straining to
recover grace.

The tree sways
toward a century
it will not reach,
and strews its seeds
with wanton hope.

 

 

 

Ed Ahern is a US poet who resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had a hundred forty poems and stories published so far, and two books.

Half Kiss – by Nalini Priyadarshni

 

Rare, elusive and pure torture
you can’t possibly begin to imagine what
a half kiss is unless you’ve had one.
One moment it’s inside your mouth
melting your lower lip
you let out a barely audible gasp
and poof – it’s gone
just as its flavor begins to hits you.
Sometime earthy, sometime peppery
but mostly bookish, as sinfulness should be
like a jug full of Feni on a lazy afternoon.
Flighty and flagrant even on good days
a half kiss can seriously jeopardize
your search for happiness.
Like a blob of gum you step on carelessly
it tends to stick to your soul
gnawing it silently.
Half life of any half kiss is way longer
than regular kiss of any variety
typically, a lifetime.

 

 

 

Half Kiss originally appeared in In-Flight Magazine.

Nalini Priyadarshni’s lives in India and her work has appeared at numerous magazines and international anthologies including Mad Swirl, Camel Saloon, Dukool, In-flight Magazine, Poetry Breakfast, The Riveter Review, The Open Road Review and The Yellow Chair.

Modern Relationship – by Elan Mudrow

 

Have I not responded

To your voicemail?

Don’t worry, baby

I’ve posted a smile for you

Which I have pinned

To remain forever me—for now—for you

On Facebook, that endless e-novel (Free on Amazon!)

About I and I and occasionally you.

Where you know, baby, I’m always

PMing and DMing, liking your posts

Boasts and all the toasts

As well as that trip to the coast.

Like a moment that means everything

When nothing is actually happening

Except our love lives broadcast

Plus a few spats

Thrown in for interest’s sake.

Don’t get me wrong

“We’re in a relationship”

It’s been announced for all strangers to see

Keep me crammed with Instagram

Keep me in a constant state of Tumblr

My text messages mean so much more

With an image mixed, spliced, plum full,

Of emojis that outnumber languages.

‘Cause

The less we speak

The better our communication

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

We only have 144 words

To tweet our heat

And that’s counting hashtags

Which, we all know are

More important than what we’re saying.

That’s a Google plus, plus, win, win blog-uation

For the good of the opinionated nation.

Our love comes in soundbites

And we’re streaming high with unlimited data

Playing I-Games with each other

‘Cause that’s how we roll—with no dice

We’re free, baby

Our love notes are wordpressed

With just the right theme

To save ourselves from misunderstanding

Fuck,

We’re just like the news, baby

Ain’t that the truth?

 

 

 

 

Elan Mudrow lives in Portland, Oregon. Elan studied writing at Centrum, a partner of Copper Canyon Press in Port Townsend, Washington. Elan’s works have appeared in Von Reuth, Anotherealm, and Writers for Calais Refugees. Elan now seeks an M.A. in English at Portland State University.

An upcoming book, Rain Desert, is due out by July, 2016

A Cockamamie Diagnosis – by Donal Mahoney

 

In a life with many valleys
and a few mountaintops
Alvin has met many people
he thought were normal
and others he thought not.
If a man enjoys people
their stars shine in the sky
from different angles.
They are all wonderful,
Alvin tells everyone.

For years he’s asked doctors
where on the Milky Way of
normal and abnormal
his star shines but no
doctor would ever say.
They don’t want to be sued,
Alvin tells everyone.

A doctor he admired
told Alvin he was a star
betwixt and between
normal and not.
A cockamamie diagnosis,
Alvin tells everyone.

It was given to him by a man
with degrees all over his wall,
one of which on Alvin’s last visit
he turned upside down and
security guards carried him
out of the office down three
flights of stairs while Alvin
yelped and waved his arms.
The guards did the right thing,
Alvin tells everyone, saying
I’m no star betwixt and between.

 

 

 

Donal Mahoney lives in St, Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. Like many people he has been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes and has had poetry and fiction published in print and online in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found here.

 

Woman and Crow – by Julieta Corpus

 

Kiss, kiss me gently
Said the Crow
To the melancholic woman
Caressing its feathers.
Kiss, kiss me sweetly
Said the Crow
As her soft lips grazed
Its lowered head.
Kiss, kiss me, for I am yours.
Kiss, kiss me, for I am yours.
Kiss, kiss me into immortality
Said the Crow
And the woman’s slender fingers
Slowly tightened around its neck.

 

 

 

Julieta Corpus became infatuated with the printed word at an early age, devouring everything from Donald Duck comics to graphically violent news-magazines like Alarma! She arrived in the Rio Grande Valley from Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas in 1978. She has been published in various anthologies.

To Eat the Rowan’s Fruit – by Marianne Szlyk

 

The rowan is the sign of the thinker,
its fruit as bitter and seedy as thought.
Thin, orange pulp barely covers the pit.
Birds and deer avoid the rowan’s berries,
eating them last, after the frost.

I once knew someone who claimed
to have eaten this fruit.
It was something to tick off his list
like the juniper berries he smoked
or the rainforest he later visited.

One must boil the fruit, strain it
through cheesecloth, sugar it,
ferment it, or serve it
as a jelly with gout-giving game.

But he never mentioned
how bitter
or seedy
the rowan’s fruit was
as if he had gulped it down,
without thought.

 

 

 

 

Marianne Szlyk is the editor of The Song Is… . Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, was published by Flutter Press and is available hereHer first chapbook is available through Kind of a Hurricane Press for free here.