Ananya S Guha Debuts

Who Mourns?

withering, decadent
death in oblivion
matrices of poverty
disillusionment and becoming
destitute of hopes
candles wax and wane
who mourns?

Ananya S Guha lives in Shillong in North East India. He has been writing and publishing his poetry consistently, in India and abroad for the last thirty years.

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John Kaniecki


by John Kaniecki

A child of incest
This pure angelic dove
Of raging raping conquest
With no tender act of love

But she is a child
Sweet, innocent
But she is a child
With nothing to repent

I see the cross
Spray  painted upon the wall
It’s a heavy cross
For one so small

Smile, dream
Let life lazily flow by
In time
For the crime
You shall scream
And cry

A child of incest
Take my trembling hand
The wages of sin
We all understand


To Candace

by John Kaniecki

Life is a journey a long perilous trail
With times of joy with  times of sorrow
With every footstep telling it’s tale
So here is wishing you a better tomorrow
For you my child have grown
And today you no longer walk alone
For in this day of wedding bliss
Two became one in a single kiss

May you learn to enjoy the sunshine
And understand the necessity of rain
In the mysterious ways of Love divine
No kindness is ever in vain
Be a shoulder to lean upon
Kiss away the pain until it is gone
Do not be afraid to weep
Never keep anger into sleep
Forgive as if it was easy
Learn to surrender freely
Look to the Lord in all things
Hope in what tomorrow brings
If the agony is too much to bear
God awaits for your anguished prayer
If you must break down and cry
Have faith there is an answer why
Share the good that you have found
Above all let Love abound

Hand in hand on the trail narrow and straight
In the hands of the Lord is your fate
Learn the true nature of amazing grace
Till the day you behold God’s face
For at the end of your trial
Our cruel cross seems more than worthwhile

One last dream to come true
May God Bless You!


A Father’s Love

by John Kaniecki

When I was young my daddy
Sat me upon his knee
He said “Son”
A man’s work is never done
So fight, fight, fight
Until  you go gently into the night

Words you know come cheap
But promises are made to keep
Daddy didn’t pass every test
But I know that he did his best

Now I see my reflection
With careful inspection
I must honestly report
That I have fallen short
But I can say this with no lie
I gave it my best try

Thank you father for your living lesson
Your Love was the best blessing
And now as I say a brief farewell
I know everything will be well
Because you taught me long ago
All I needed to know

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Donal Mahoney

Stranger Comes to Town

Beautiful fall day
in a potter’s field
outside a small town.
A funeral is underway
but that doesn’t stop
the leaves russet and gold
a few still green
falling among the stones
without a name.

The minister reads a verse
over the grave of a man
found by deer hunters.
No idea who he is or
where he came from,
a body dumped.

Four people from
the clapboard church
with the wayward steeple
over the hill gather ’round
heads bowed, hands clasped.

An old worker with a shovel
stands like a soldier
near the shed and
waits for everyone to leave
so he can finish up.
It’s almost lunch time.

One by one cars pull away
and now it’s just us, the dirt
and a gold leaf falling on me.


A Widow and Her Pekingese

Summer evenings
after the news at 6 p.m.
the Widow Murphy comes out

of her tiny bungalow and sits
on her front porch swing
with her ancient Pekingese

yapping mournfully in her lap.
She waves to certain people,
just a few, while ignoring most

although she knows every neighbor
after her long reign on the porch
as the queen of our block.

We live next door but she never
waves to us or says hello to me
not even back when I was 10

and offered to mow her lawn free
for nothing, as I used to put it.
She simply looked away and let

the Pekingese yap her answer.
My father told me then not to worry
about the Widow Murphy’s ways.

Her husband died in Korea, he said.
They never found her son in Viet Nam
and she had a daughter doing life

for murdering a man the jury must
have known had beaten her for years.
The man was her husband and a cop.

Later in my teens my mother said
the Widow Murphy had every right
to be a private person and live out

the remnant of her life as she saw fit.
But when I was 10 cutting our grass,
I thought she was a ventriloquist

and the Pekingese her dummy
yapping for all the world to hear:
Life isn’t fair, isn’t fair, isn’t fair.


Martha and Mel Wait for the Elevator

I died from a rattlesnake bite
and found myself in line with
other zombies in front of a bank
of elevators, the doors opening
and closing as if by metronome.

Every time a door opened a voice
called the names of 12 zombies
who boarded the elevator single file.
As the doors closed, Led Zeppelin
or Bing Crosby played in the background
depending on whether the elevator went
up or down according to the light
winking above the door.

The rest of us waited our turn
as more zombies arrived
and lined up behind us.
I saw no one I knew except
a couple who looked like
Martha Stewart and Mel Brooks
discussing the future.
Mel was on stilts so he looked
Martha straight in the eye.

When the rattlesnake bit me,
Martha and Mel were alive on Earth
so I had no idea why they were there
with us zombies but nevertheless
I listened as Martha told Mel
she didn’t care which way
the elevator went as long as
she found prime rib and a glass
of Dom Pérignon waiting
when she arrived.

Mel didn’t care either, he said,
as long as he found a steamed
Nathan’s Hot Dog with two squirts
of mustard, lots of relish,
raw onion and sport peppers
hotter than hell and a
tankard of seltzer iced.
Seltzer is better, he said,
than Dom Pérignon.
Ask any sommelier.

Another elevator arrived and Martha
and Mel, arm and arm, boarded.
This time I didn’t hear Led Zeppelin
or Bing Crosby in the background.
I saw Martha stare Mel in the eye,
wag her finger and tell him to try
prime rib because too much
cholesterol lurks in hot dogs.
Enough to kill you, she said.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. His work has been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize and has appeared in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review and in online journals in the United States and overseas.  Some of his online work can be found at

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Bobbie Troy

Shadow Walk
By Bobbie Troy

light moves restlessly
on the wall behind me
edgy shadow
making me wonder
how I have
walked so far
lived so long
with this other self
that I do not know

She: Older Than I
By Bobbie Troy

she is older than I
more wrinkled
and drawn
more wine, cigarettes,
and loneliness
in her past

while sitting on the edge
of her seventieth birthday
she contemplates
whether to go on

and I try
to win her back
with a smile
and a story
of our youth

Under Your Wing
By Bobbie Troy

you took me
under your wing
when you had
no wing to give

we were together
in our free-fall
with nothing but hope
that we caught
on an updraft

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ED Dean Returns

A Simple Story of a Boy and His Dog..

For months, Jimmy begged his parents for a pet dog through his younger years.
And on his twelfth year it arrived. The tiny Brittany spaniel had more stature than Jimmy’s parents anticipated but it was Jimmy’s wide eyed connection that bonded the two.
Jimmy loved and understood simple and he just named his new friend ‘Dawg’. The eye connection was their communication device forever. Words were unnecessary; it was that easy eye contact that they both understood. Obedience school was facial expression and pointing and love was hunkering down on the floor or in bed when his parents were unaware.

Their long seasons in the sun would soon come to an end that fateful summer, when an eighteen wheeler challenged Jimmy’s disrespectful walk across the road. Dawg jumped into the fore and barked his objection with bared teeth and all the ferocity the spotted creature could muster. The drivers swerve saved Jimmy but there was a latent, distant ‘Yelp’ that would imbed itself in Jimmy’s psyche forever.

High school passed on a summer breeze of anticipation and Jimmy’s taste and youth asked for action. The Military was offering big rewards like ‘free college’ and Jimmy bit hard on that tasty morsel because his parents could hardly support his existence…..
Jimmy was the perfect candidate in basic training for the specialty corps and he chose wisely for the K-9 corps and just to one up his buddies, it was the Paratrooper K-9 corps and that’s where he met “Deuce Dawg.” The animal had no name only a number and Jimmy instantly gave the number a meaning into his life. For him there would only be one ‘Dawg’ in his life but Deuce was his chosen tag. Deuce wasn’t the biggest or the best in the kennel but Jimmy instantly pondered the dog’s eye’s and that connection was his read, ‘friends forever’, and all that was necessary for the young PFC…….

They trained together for months and the ‘knowing Cadre’ just shook their heads at Deuce Dawg but Jimmy persisted. There was a huge gap between ‘knowing and ‘feeling but in the end Jimmy won with his choice of Deuce Dawgs eye’s…

The first, second and multiple parachute drops into Afghanistan were uneventful but the bond between them simply evolved. Deuce would always be in the forefront for mines and trouble but his big Shepard eyes were always glancing behind for his friend Jimmy and his handler knew and absorbed that uncommon connection.

It was the beginning of their second year when they dropped into a mountainside village that Deuce Dawg got antsy and human sense and animal anticipation diverged. Jimmy sensed it when Deuce continued to whine in almost an intelligible voice after that fateful drop.

The hail of fire was devastating as the free flowing chutes touched the ground but Jimmy and Deuce Dawg got lucky behind a protective ridge. Carnage and mayhem are not easy things to explain but in war, reality is ugly.

The firefight ensued and the U.S. Commander called for evacuation. Jimmy got caught with an upper mountain sniper shot to his helmet and fell. Deuce Dawg licked his face and protectively climbed onto his back. What seemed like hours for Jimmy, a young Taliban soldier approached the fallen trooper with malice and rifle ready but the sight of Deuce protectively on his back, spoke to his own youth. His dark eyes refused to engage Deuce Dawg’s menacing growl. This was such an easy target for the neophyte warrior but his understanding humanity overruled his hate. An older tribal chieftain took the weapon from the young man’s hands and reproached him. 
“You stupid children don’t understand war. I was your age when the Russians came and my great grandfather fought the British. The only thing these intruders know is death is final. Kill him and wipe the American chapter out of our lives!”

Their attention and intent was redirected by the loud drown of the incoming helicopters and headed off for cover but not before the angry elder could pull a fleeting burst of bullets from the AK-47 that Deuce Dawg absorbed for his friend. The horrid, distinctive ‘Yelp’ registered in Jimmy’s semi conscious brain, a sound that again would be imbedded into his soul.

Jimmy’s head wound still confuses him and haunts him till this day. But his heart still wanders to those distant Afghani plains where Deuce Dawg‘s body feeds the insatiable sands of time and war.

Waiting in anticipation for the next foolish nation and hero that yearns for a path to nowhere. A simple sign post on this huge earth that says ‘no entrance and no exit’.

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Scott Thomas-Outlar

Blood and Tears

like a broken wound

from a vital heart

The color red is an angel
This puddle on the floor is a masterpiece

God wept
at your beauty

by careful hands

The sound of flesh is a revelation
This siren is calling me back home

Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, and interviews can be found. His chapbook “Songs of a Dissident” was released in 2015 through Transcendent Zero Press and is available on Amazon. His poetry collections “Happy Hour Hallelujah” (CTU Publishing) and “Chaos Songs” (Weasel Press) are both forthcoming in 2016./scitt

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Nancy Scott-McBride



Once, as I was leaving a 7-Eleven,

I collided with a woman coming in.

“Well hey there Billie Jean,” she laughed, “watch where you’re going, girl.”

Catching my blank stare, she said,

“You ARE Billie, aren’t you? You look exactly like her.”

I didn’t answer, stunned that I’d been given a name for the woman who lived in my mind and haunted my dreams, the woman who’s all I’m not, the woman I’d like to be.

She’s an extrovert and I’m the opposite, a risk-taker where I’m timid, the life of the party while I’m often the death of it.

Billie Jean does as she pleases. I try too hard to please others.

She’s a tough talkin’ mama. I can’t say boo to a goose.

Billie doesn’t age. I’ve stopped counting birthdays.

She’s the light of the world to my dark night of the soul.

Billie drives a yellow convertible I was too shy to buy.

She’s behind the wheel right now, cruising in another reality.

The top is down and her red hair’s a-flyin’.

The radio’s blasting a bluegrass tune about love and loss and hooch and hormones and she’s singing at the top of her lungs, not caring at all that she’s out of control and over the limit and courting a speeding ticket.




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