Joseph Grant

One Last Dance By Joseph Grant At the Shady Oaks Hospice, most of the nursing personnel had gone home for the holidays and the convalescent center was unusually light-staffed. Tonight Estelle Harri…

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Falling in Love By Jeanette Cheezum

Originally published on The Helium Network Falling In Love Moonbeams danced across the bay. Soon to permeate our hearts. The ship rocked but our souls stead fast. His Massive arms kept me close. Un…

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Falling in Love By Jeanette Cheezum

Originally published on The Helium Network Falling In Love Moonbeams danced across the bay. Soon to permeate our hearts. The ship rocked but our souls stead fast. His Massive arms kept me close. Un…

Source: Falling in Love By Jeanette Cheezum

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John Swain Debuts

Black Mountain Crest

Sky at the eagle black height
where the mountain arose
broken from my chest
above the frozen stream still
in its movement of blue rain.

Days of the sun and the light
I despised for my tiredness,
weak and ungrateful, disease
in the water where an elk fell
through ice in the shallow.

I fall asleep among the rocks
where I was born, being one
with no one, my outstretched
arms become a winter tree
giving nothing to your want.

John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Least Bittern Books published his second collection, Under the Mountain Born.

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Levi J. Mericle Debuts


There was a time when I would try to forget you,
in my mind where I was immaturely and improperly raised.

I was the pupil in my head, in a school of no rules.
I was also the teacher, the principal
my mother, my father – my god.

Tearing book pages like flower petals.
“Comply I will” or “Comply I will not”
And as they fell to become nothing but forgotten memories in the dust,
I understood the bitter smell of fallen lilacs, watching them slip away from beauty.
Yet I did nothing to try in revitalize what a true god created.

Decisions being deciphered by a child with a delusional sense of being a man.
I could pray to my crucifix and receive redemption,
while burning my Jesus piece in a barrel of no regrets
and do all this with a pure mind and clear conscious.

I was able to break hearts and forgot the past where broken hearts forget the misery.

I was a god, a teacher.
A preacher to audience of many (if many meant every personality I portrayed)
I needed glory to make my existence justified, yet I glorified the injustice of every person I hurt
around me.

I needed a jolt of power.

I needed to be in charge.

I needed to be God.

Levi J. Mericle is a poet/spoken-word artist and lyricist from Tucumcari, N.M. Currently he is associated with the New Mexico State Poetry Society and gives readings from his work. His work has appeared in multiple anthologies and his work can also be seen in multiple lit magazines and journals such as, Black Heart Magazine, The Mused, 101 Words, Eunoia Review, Awakenings Review, Penhead Press, Zaira Journal etc. Levi spends his days daydreaming about poetry and writes, at least a little bit every single day no matter what.

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Rod Drake Returns

Party in the Haight
A Sketch of Bygone Days

People come and go.  The party trails through the old Victorian house, in the expansive living room, the bay window, up the narrow stairs, out in the small back yard, around the house and back onto the steep front steps.  It has its own energy flow.  Everything does in the Haight in 1966.

Up in the attic loft, Jerry lays on stars and stripes pillows, blissfully walking among the stars in his own cosmic trip.  Mountain Girl sits beside him, reading to him from The Tibetan Book of the Dead.  Jerry can see each word in brilliant colors hanging in the infinite blackness of space, each one a new constellation.  He understands the wisdom of the ancients.  He gets the eternal message.  He feels like a new god.  A new god who is hungry for pop tarts.

Downstairs in the kitchen, Janis, who prefers to be called Pearl, laughs loudly, an electric presence surrounded by admirers like moths to her flame.  Someone lights her cigarette, which she uses to gesture wildly as she talks nonstop.  Someone else fills her paper cup whenever its empty.  She appreciates the attention, and her raspy voice dominants the room with jokes, observations and every now and then, she sings a line or two from an old blues song.  A tall, thin, lightly bearded young man produces an acoustic guitar and strums soft accompaniment for her.  Janis laughs again at something someone said, and touches the guitarist’s long hair gently, like a mother to a child.

In the living room’s big bay window, Country Joe and Paul from the Airplane talk politics and music, revolution and the Rolling Stones.  Some stoned girls, lost flower children from the streets, listen raptly at their feet.

In the tiny back yard crowded with tall, narrow trees, Neal flips an ax over and over, catching its handle perfectly each time.  He is a man of action rather than a philosopher.  He has to be doing something, and right now, it’s this.  Neal keeps count—215 times so far.  Two girls watch him spellbound.  They know he drives Kesey’s wildly painted bus, and Neal is famous in the Haight.  Each of the girls hopes that he will eventually notice her.  Either of them would sleep with him or both together if that’s how it works out.  He is sufficiently older than they are, but he is famous.

Out front there is a slight commotion.  Ken has just arrived, and the people sitting on the steps, loitering on the sidewalk and dancing in the street take notice.  He is a published novelist, but most everyone here knows him from the Acid Tests around southern California.  A young man in an army coat decorated with anti-war patches offers him a hit of purple Owlsley acid.  Ken swallows it and asks where the band is.  No one knows, but everyone smiles and nods hello to him.

Pigpen lounges in a community bedroom upstairs.  Two giggling young waifs sit on the edge of the mattress that lies on the floor.  The girls have seen Pigpen play with a band that performs in the Panhandle.  He has flirted with them from the stage.  They have thrown flowers to him.  He talks idly about taking them for a ride on his motorcycle.  The two girls are game.  It would have to be one at a time, he says.  One would have to wait for her turn.  The girls think he is talking about the motorcycle ride.

Bob and Phil from the Acid Test house band run into two members from Quicksilver.  They decide to jam but can find only a couple of acoustic guitars, harmonica and a bucket for a drum.  They work with what they have.  Music flows out of the house, up and down the block on the warm night air.

Pearl finds them, and lends a vocal to the improvised blues number.  Ken sits in a peacock wicker chair, keeping time by slapping his thigh, while Country Joe and Paul add a background chorus, making up lyrics as they go.  Everyone begins to dance, swaying to the rhythm and doing their own thing.  The dancers soon spill out onto the sidewalk and eventually out into the narrow, empty street.

Two San Francisco policemen lean against their patrol car and watch.  They are young and hip to the whole scene.  They both tap their fingers on the hood of the patrol car, their heads bouncing slightly in time to the music.  One of them takes a long drag on a joint some long-haired kid offers him.  It’s just another summer night in the Haight.
Rod Drake lives and writes in Neon City, better known as Las Vegas, although he grew up in the bucolic Midwest. He taught on the high school, college and university level for a number of years, and has worked as a writer in the areas of technical materials, publicity and public relations, advertising, website content and training instructions. But he enjoys creative writing the most.

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Adam Levon Brown Debuts

Dead silence
Breaks my fall.

The darkened corners
of my misbegotten laugh

Crack the edges of
the perforation
that is my mind.

The distant call
of dismal reckoning

Pushes the barrier
of right and wrong.


Doing Time

I sometimes sit and think about my past life
and the crimes I have committed
I wallow in guilt ridden despair,
I am morose and seem pitted

Against my own spirit and mind
What solace is out there to find?
Is this just me, or a symptom of all humankind?

I try to focus on the good times and run to reminisce
about the days I was free from my mental prison
It’s those days I cling to, and those days I miss.

What I have left is my ability to write and to rhyme;
I sit here and think about my most insidious crime;

When people ask me what I’m doing,
I just tell them “I’m doing time.”


Human Condition
This human condition placed into words;
muddied and discarded with no form
My mind going, my heart split into thirds
Mental distortion becomes the norm;
while greed is virtue, caring is for herds
Hating the weather,  riding the storm;
Was I blessed with this knowledge or was I cursed?
I am able to dance with the wind, but cry at the rain
Is there hope for us, or should I fear the worst?
Am I there for my family or am I their bane?


Adam Levon Brown is a poet residing in Eugene, Oregon. He suffers from
Schizoaffective disorder and identifies as Queer. He has two collections of poetry published with the group Creative Talents Unleashed. He has also been featured in several places including Section 8 Magazine, Leaves of Ink, and First Literary Review – East.

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