Nancy Scott-McBride 

ROAD KILL

If it seriously upsets  you,

don’t move to the country,

because it’s everywhere.

Each time you get behind the wheel

of a vehicle, you see it.

And it’s everything—deer, bears, foxes,

possums, cats and dogs, raccoons.

Yes, I know the latter are destructive nuisances,

but here’s the thing: they’re cute.

I saw one today as I drove back from the bank.

Curled on his side at the edge of the road–

not a visible mark on him–

he looked for all the world as if,

tired from scrounging in garbage cans all night,

he’d simply lain down to take a nap, 

delicate little hands tucked neatly beneath his chin.

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Laura Zucca-Scott 

A Perfect World

When you were eight,

you walked to the park alone

Your homework all done

Your Mom still at the office

The big kids let you play soccer

Nobody wanted to be the goalie anyway

The ball flew into the neighbor’s yard

just behind a bush of roses

The others told you to go get it

if you wanted to be on the team

You were scared

but a dare is a dare

A little girl was standing there

She was holding the ball

and wearing a yellow barrette

on her long chestnut hair

She smiled and asked,

Is this yours?

You nodded

She stared

She gave you the ball back

and whispered,

Will you marry me?

I think I love you

You ran back to the other boys

and kept playing

Your heart beating fast

If only life were always like that

And the sun would always shine

On a little girl and a little boy

You were about to lose everything

to the wrath of war

Yet, on that day, the world was perfect

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Yash Seyedbagheri Debuts

In A Sentimental Mood

Piano chords echo in the night, cigarette wisps rising into the air, the man playing the chords with tender precision, hands encompassing the piano, slowly drifting across the keys. Black and white, a mélange of notes and chords. He wears the fedora Mama bought him years ago, but no one notices, except for the occasional passerby who point, as if he is a freak. What costume is this, they utter? On he plays. He plays the songs of yearning. Moon love, proclaims one. Others proclaim of sentimental moods and windows, polka dots and moonbeams, the stories of starry nights. He plays, trying to drown out the scent of armpits and feet that pervade this little bar. A bar whose old signs have come down, replaced by new, sleek ones with no shapes, curves. Just straight lines, cold, electrical. The piano is all that is left, this old faded thing, blistered, delightfully out of tune.

Around him, the few patrons drink, sinking their livers in Amaretto Sours, souls in champagne. His smile is crumpled, staring out the little bar window, where a train flits past, brief, its call accompanying his chords. A long wail, insistent, sentimental, wailing for things lost, like cigarette wisps that will never return, burnt out embers of things enveloped by the lush night. On he plays, the songs of days he never knew, of eras that rise to his mind, of graceful fedoras and husky voices, of bartenders who knew you once by name and catered to your whim with time-rehearsed consideration. He plays on, the patrons hunched over their cell phones, listening to the low murmur of YouTube and rap beats. They wear smiles, not the smiles of graceful yesterdays, but the hypnotic dopey smiles of zombies, minds eaten. He keeps playing, trying to step up the music, but they sink into their phones, their occasional laughs so broken, so unnatural, he cannot help but feel his smile crumple more, crumple into the night. He will play, they will move about, until the night deepens, until the bartender proclaims the morning and shepherds them all, shepherds him out into the whirl of a mournful morn, a morn of T-shirts and baggy pants, a morn without his piano until the next evening rolls around, and he dons his dais once mor

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His story “Soon,” was nominated for a Pushcart and he has also had work nominated for The Best Small Fictions. Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in journals such as 50 Word Stories, Silent Auctions, City. River. Tree. and Ariel Chart.

 

 

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Pawel Markewicz

 

I as the being sui generis

sui generis – something odd

I have just returned from a walk with my beloved hound on foot, which has a good heart, the tenderly shaped by Erlking dog’s heartlet. I’m feeling very well at home, as well as blissfully. I have a light heart. It’s frosty outside, to wit It’s 3 degrees below zero, as If the Winter Queen ruled without any snow.

There is not a starry night. A moon is not visible. I dream of starlings of philosophers on sibyl-like heaven. I have not seen a red sky in the evening, such an Apollonianly marvelous charm, a weird of druids. All night long my dreams will be live in my dreamy soul. Afterwards I will sleep in a meek silence. I want to say You, my tender reader, a manifesto of my dearest dreamiest being.

As far as I’m concerned:

My immortal soul is typically German. I am able to feel a sempiternity, each poetical winglings, namely: Apollonianly tender-eternal vans that philosophize about dawn of ontology of poetries. My poetry, like a poesy of Poseidon’s dreamery, heralds fulfillment of each stars, morning starlet and shooting stars. Rilke likes me in the eternal time. Goethe said me he were proud of my meek poem, under the title: >Prometheus<.

In effect my body is Polish. I can indeed design neither robots nor spaceships such the Americans. My parents, my home, my language are polish. My polish blood seems to be indeed red. My nation knows: mourning and death, wars and subservience. This time is my polish time, the ontology and logic of starry night above the polish homeland.

In my heart the Japanese Basho lives who likes melancholic fantasy of a handful of haiku. My heart beats in rhythm of dancing samurais’, enchanted by each morning glow. My haiku are being carried by some metaphysical traces of the eternity which loves my gorgeous three verses. In each haiku the beauty of sirens-like dreamery-miracle comes true, as if the Japanese soul had told me: Be thankful valedictorian of a sheening time!

Outside the body, there are magical romantic notions, which keep me one step closer to heaven, namely the gorgeous English poesy. Some Herculean muses bring me into: a woodland in the midst of England, next to a druidical fireplace. The druidic altar is also my heart, my whole being of the sui generis-miracle. English muses dancing under the most philosophical stars such my English hound, the mixed dog, between cocker spaniel and field spaniel, my houndlet, that likes huntings in a fairytale-like holt.

Pawel Markiewicz

Poland

 

 

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Bobbie Troy

Happiness

much of happiness

is a choice

to get up in the morning

instead of hiding under the covers

to meet life’s challenges

no matter how hard

to find the positiveness

in daily life

to love and stay

when leaving would be easier

the choices build and build

until you have made your life

much of happiness

is a choice

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C. Derick Varn Debuts

 Après nous, le déluge

The grammar of the occasion

always seems to be slipping some

syntax like losing your panties

in a car after the last call at the local

Irish pub. In the old languages, we

would have had a dative tense

for the regret your felt from the

hang-over, from the pangs that

lingers like the sting of a slap

from a leather glove. In our mouths

we hope for kisses, but mostly

find the bitter coffee and copper

taste of blood, bright from our

gums and busted lips.  The

honeycombed rot that some

relationships mold into, the 12

stations of the hungry mouths,

the hells of hungry ghosts, clawing

at your flesh and unable to sop

from their tiny mouths.  In ending

the sweet ruin, you will dance

to the light of screen under the

mocking yellow of street lamp,

half think of stripping so the stars

could see your quivering. The flood

crests, and you leave knowing for

love it doesn’t end, sometimes

the commas can’t hold it together,

and every letter of love starts to erode,

we must keep swimming, the shore fades.

C Derick Varn is an editor,  poet, podcaster, and teacher. He currently edits for Former People and reader for Zero Books.  He has a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry at Georgia College and State University where he served as assistant editor for Arts and Letters: A Journal of Contemporary Arts.  He has served as managing editor for the now-defunct Milkwood Review. He won the Frankeye Davis Mayes/Academy of American Poets Prize in 2003. His poetry reviews have appeared in Hong Kong Review of Books and poetry has appeared at Unlikely Stories Mark IV, Zombie Logic Review, Writing Disorder, JMWW,  Clutching at Straws, Xenith, and elsewhere.  He is the author of the collection Apocalyptics from Unlikely Books in 2018.  He currently lives in Utah, but has spent most of the last decade outside of the US.C.D

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Bradford Middleton Returns

ALL THE SMOKE HAS BEEN SMOKED

It’s another damn day in the heart of addiction

And I’m dry, out of smokes and

That ain’t good as I sit here, feeling my nerves

Shredded as if I ain’t been here before.

Last night was a strange one but it’s the daylight

Hours that always seem to be the hardest

As night brings cover with under which I can

Operate normally, as if any of this life is ordinary.

I smoked the last of the smoke last night and

Then went out, unsure of what I might find

Out there on a wet and windy Saturday night

As I stepped out deep in the heart of addiction

I walked the street of ill-repute desperate for

Something, desperate for, well I wasn’t sure

As the young and beautiful, so full of confidence

In their own youthful naivety went out to party.

I walked on down and the street seemed almost

Quiet considering it was packed just a few hours

Earlier when the beggars were out begging and the

Street drinkers were out of their minds drinking.

One old local came and went as I made my way

All the way to the bitter end, pass another that I

Regularly hole up in recently and then a brief

Contemplation of a return to another old haunt of mine

But then I discover that one was full and it 

Didn’t look good as immaculately bearded men

Stood vaping at the front door so I wandered on

Round, pass some poor soul working and just

For a moment I thought about hitting town but

On a Saturday night at the end of freshers’ week

An old soak like me would stand out and be primed

For ridicule so I turned on back and returned to my usual stool.

I walked on in and immediately felt at home as I

Made my way to the bar where, I couldn’t believe it,

The barman had saved me my usual stool and at last 

I settled right on in, a beer and rum to get me started.

The DJ was the good one but he seemed tired and the

Music he played seemed to fit in with the mood, one

Of downbeat desperation for the night to be over as

The drink went down and my wallet emptied until

That moment when it finally was and at last I could

Go on home and sleep, hating the idea of waking 

In the morning, out of smokes and not even hungover

And as the day begun I knew I’d have to call my dealer.

Bradford Middleton lives in Brighton, England and began writing poetry about 13 years ago at the age of 35.  Since then he’s been published widely in the small press world and if you like these poems why not go follow him on Twitter for sporadic updates @BradfordMiddle5.

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Paweł Markiewicz

Winter rain in my muse-like homeland

the eyesome fay at the crack of dawn in winter

is weeping

the winter rain in the form of magnificent teardrops is dropping down

it is to be mesmerized in glaciated dreams of muses

the shepherd boy hears the falling of the more tender rain like meek tears

 

the docile Nixie by Christmas morning

is crying

the winter drops in terms of mignonne teardrops are falling down

it is becharmed in a snowy soul of muses

the child of a falconer tastes these Apollonianly meek drops

 

the meekly miraculous Siren at sunset glow

bawling

the winter snow – wonderfully tearling-shaped – falling down

it can be ensorcelled in frosted muse-like hearts

the druidical companion looks at flurries full weird of the tearlets

 

the magnanimous Sibyl at midnight in December

crying

the winter snow-rain – marvelously tearlet-shaped – falling to the ground

it’s worth being enchanted in the hazy fantasy of the muses

the guardian of Winter Queen’s touches some Herculean traces of the rain

 

Paweł Markiewicz was born in 1983 in Poland (Siemiatycze). He has has English haikus as well as short poems published in the good literary magazines, including Ginyu (Tokyo), Atlas Poetica (U.S.), and The Cherita (U.K.). He has published some poems in Taj Mahal Review (India) and Better Than Starbucks (U.S.). He has also published poems at Blog Nostics as well as a short prose piece entitled “The Druid.” Paweł has published more than fifty German-language poems in Germany and Austria and three Polish-language chapbooks in Poland.

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Bobbie Troy

Ashes to Ashes

the edges of the flowers

turned brown

like the rippled dirt

of the newly dug grave

why are we burying ashes

I thought to myself

it seemed such a waste of money

but we are all here

the entire family

gathered around the grave site

maybe that’s what it’s all about

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Ken Dronsfield Returns

Twilight

And I watched as she slid into the deep dark ocean;

we danced in the twilight and bathed in her fleeting rays

the harvest moon slowly rose in a glorious coups d’état

Tendrils of nightly mists slowly rise during the twilight

light gave way to the dark; stars exploded as fireworks.

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