Nine Poems by Abby Kahn

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‘Rain’

Soft and melancholy,
With the grace of a child
Its limbs scattered past my reflection
Pitter pattering along the edge of silence
A measly break for another drought
I will wait until it comes again, and again,
And again

‘Pancakes at Grandmas’

There’s syrup on the floor
It trapped me in it’s web
I know it’s maple because my joints ache
I’ve been here since last tuesday

‘Luna Friend’

Moths chew at my eyelids
My ears have become too warm for them
I like having company

‘A Rose Is A Rose Is A Pen’

The last time I cried at an empty diner was Tuesday
My waitresses name was Wendy
She had coral lipstick on her teeth
I didn’t bother to tell her
I was handed a rose to sign my paycheck

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Three Stories by Jack Caulfield

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‘RECOGNISING ONESELF AS A GHOST, AND TRYING NOT TO BE ONE ANY LONGER’

The following is true, in a sense:

I have realised I am a ghost. I am in bed, weeping and consumed with the problem, when the sound of a party, loud music and the buzz of conversation, floats up the corridor towards me. This is not conducive. Here I am in tears, in my underwear, in bed, under what feels like a profound weight, and there they are—

I spring from bed without thinking, leave my room without dressing, walk down the corridor without ceasing to cry, to interrupt the party interrupting my breakdown. If you are a ghost it is best to be a disruptive presence, a poltergeist. I locate the source of the noise and knock. A guy opens the door whose easy grin vanishes for nervous laughter upon seeing me there almost naked, whose expression sours on seeing the tears. Bewilderment. (Since I am sick of my own feelings I am focusing on his.)

The guy turns away to catch the eye of someone, anyone, for counsel on how to react to this, and I feel almost good. He is obviously drunk, and not a sensitive person to begin with, how could he be? His instinct is to preserve the social equilibrium of the party, not to help the person (only a ghost) in front of him.

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Three Poems by Belle Valentine

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What My Season’s Greetings Hold in Promise

In my core seats honey
Drank from a glass handed to me
On that sprayed stool, sitting pretty
If I had grabbed for more,
Would it have settled in so nicely?
Swivel room stopped short,
I gave my low gaze gently to the branches
And realized for you,
That flushed recollection was fanciful
“I’m happy to just have you here.
Why not enjoy the moment?”
In what way then would I work my words,
If not for in sealed envelope?
“Don’t worry so much…
Just relax and lay here for a bit.”
Our bodies ironed warmly to the bed
Left my heart safe to wander towards the winter
A Christmas card, I thought wishfully

 

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Two Poems by iukinim

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Seasons Die

Summer came beaming
donating light
but i was not bothered
as i was a piteous barnacle
seeking warm entrails

Spring came delighted
asking to share his mirth
but i was not bothered
as i was a brute
seeking only shade from his allurement

Autumn came staggering
gifting solitude
i was delicately engrossed
as i was companionless
seeking abyssal tranquility

Winter came brusque
offering a withering corpse
absorbed in white silence
as i was tormented
seeking immortal harmony

I visited summer glowering
asking for a twinkle
but summer refused
as he became impoverished
donating only darkness

I visited Spring whimpering
begging for levity
but spring refused
as he became a miser
sharing only naught

I visited Autumn mourning
gifting solitude back
but Autumn refused
as he was injurious
gifting only agony

I visited Winter sorrowing
offering a withering corpse
absorbed in white silence
as i was tormented
seeking immortal harmony

 

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‘Human Resources’ by Smal Crime

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Muggy heat feels like suspension in Jell-o in the burnt orange afternoon and the A/C in the office struggles to keep pace. Deb: angry, loud, and very middle-aged, very high on something if not just scarily high strung, is being escorted out by the managers. She can come retrieve her belongings after hours, just not today. She needs to cool off. It feels like a Sunday, but it’s Monday.

I watch as she finally leaves the room and then there’s a tap on my shoulder. It’s Phoebe. She asks if I can give her a ride home today even though I just gave her one yesterday. I’m starting to think she thinks she found a way out of paying bus fare, but then again she sends me pictures of her naked chest on most nights so it sort of kind of almost evens out.

She’s asking for a ride home. I say “yeah”. I think “great”. Sarcastically, mind you. Think sarcastically that I love having her around and love the fact that I’ve accidentally let work fill every gap in my life like peroxide in a nasty scrape. I’m satisfied with the fact that I’m just a creative kind of guy who entertains himself with these kinds of half-assed analogies. Sarcastic and satisfied with myself and my little problems and how I handle them or usually don’t.

I look and it’s almost time to clock out. It’s about this time that I start thinking of ways not to kiss Phoebe when I drop her off. I will be uncouth today. Insensitive. A dick. I will stop her as she leans forward and explain to her that I never did want anything serious. After 6 consecutive weeks of parking lot blowjobs and refusing to go into her apartment because I’m too afraid to park my new car in her neighborhood… I don’t want anything serious.

The heat is made worse by the black leather car seats and when we sit down she burns her skirted legs and squeaks. She asks if I have anything for her to cover the seat with. I don’t. I leave the radio off. We’re driving and we can only hear the bumps in the road. Her hands are between her legs. She’s on her best behavior.

She asks in a soft voice if I heard what happened to Deb.

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‘FATAL FAILURE’ by Matt Lee

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When I returned from the city I settled into a new routine.  During the day I slept, dreamless.  At night I walked laps around the basement, blowing smoke at the concrete floor, the cracks underfoot growing bigger.

In between I watched television, infomercials mostly.  For hours I sat on my mother’s couch, silently wishing I had the money for those four easy payments.  I wanted Billy Mays to solve all of my problems, but Billy Mays was dead.

I was without work so I started spending a lot of time in the woods, partly to get out of the house, but mostly to contemplate self-inflicted violence.

There was a spot up the ridge where someone else had done it before about ten years back.  A kid, still in high school, hanged himself from a tree.

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‘Josie’s Thread’ by Richard Greenhorn

There was one thin thread of flesh which was all Samuel really liked about her. Josie claimed it was a great embarrassment to her, from an unfortunate experience in high school and in the present day, when she wore tights or shorts. Samuel could only assign this to stupid vanity; to him, Josie’s thread was a manifest sign of his love for her. To simply set his tongue on her was to resolve that evening’s bitter dispute, was to soothe whatever qualm had set some unspoken barrier between them during the day. The messiness of morals, temperaments, and all the better angels of the universe could be subjugated beneath the mild application of pressure, and all life’s complications smouldered when Josie threw her head back and burst into a white flame.

Josie’s thread provided a linchpin in Samuel’s mental conception of her, and at times when his affection for her was waning, he could think of her thread and resurrect his former feeling. He could sit and think about Josie’s thread for a quarter of a hour at a time, behind his desk, not contemplating a particular motion, not immersed in any thrall of passion, but simply thinking of her thread in appreciation. Every moment they shared together was a movement towards her thread. All the attributes of hers he found unpleasing, from her vestigial religion to her yoga to her mercurial tears, were hollow ceremonies in the two great seasons of their relationship: Having her thread, when he was very happy, and fasting from it.

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