Frank Adams


I fail at relationships.  It’s what I do, have always done.
I lack an explanation.  I have good intentions; I respond
promptly to telephone calls, e-mails and text messages.
I show-up for meetings on time, dressed appropriately,
and I pay my share.  I do not argue or make a fuss.
I mail out thank you notes, send condolences, follow
the rules of etiquette.  But, truth is, I am not good at
being with people, never have been.  I am now and have
forever been an outsider, an alien.  I believe I may be
from another planet.  Sent here as an observer, or as
an exile for reasons I can’t recall.  Either would be fine,
if only those who sent me, would check in once and a
while to let me know I am where I am supposed to be
and doing okay.


There Was No One There

I feel their hands on me.

they touch private places.
They hold me down
molest me and more.
Tears stream down my face.
My body burns red hot.
I want them to stop
and I want them to continue.

they say; don’t tell,
don’t say a word,
this is your fault,
you wanted this,
and I remained mute
at their command.

Frank Adams is a Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow in Poetry.  His poems have appeared in various on-line and print venues including: Down-go Sun; Iris; Glitterwolf; Chelsea Station; Q Review; Vox Poetica and in Between: New Gay Poetry.

Frank Adams

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Michael Ceraolo Returns with Haiku


Cleveland Haiku #413

Upward mobility—
have moved to the suburbs


Cleveland Haiku #415

A church—
lighted at night
with a neon cross


Cleveland Haiku #417

Morning dew—
automatic sprinklers
in the rain


Cleveland Haiku #420

Man on a park bench—
a dead ringer
for the Cowardly Lion

Michael Ceraolo is a 59-year-old retired firefighter/paramedic and active poet with a long list of credits he won’t bore you with at this time, though he makes no guarantees about not doing so in the future.

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Sunil Sharma Debuts

The city of dead lilacs
—Sunil Sharma

The lilacs are dead. They never get a chance here!
Every nook and corner, in Rochester, NY,
you find them in bloom, flooding the area
with the invigorating scent that uplifts.
But here, in this grey mega city
in the broad streets and narrow houses
the lilacs pink and white grow stunted
in the dainty corners—and then die fast
emitting a putrid air that puts the viewer off.
The global travelers find this fact— odd!
In this city of malls multiplexes international cuisines
fancy cars casinos call-girls packaged goods and exotic flowers
the lilacs in the yards, corners, the gardens or
graveyards—bloom not, ‘Coz, in the spring every year
frosty winds come unbidden from mountains far-off
turning the windows and hearts into a frozen state
and kill the tender lilacs that remain un-mourned
like the poor kids found dead in winter on the rough streets.


Mumbai-based, Sunil Sharma writes prose and poetry, apart from doing literary journalism and freelancing. A senior academic, he has been published in some of the leading international journals and anthologies. Sunil has got three collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, one novel and co-edited five books of poetry, short fiction and literary criticism.
Recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012.
Another notable achievement is his select poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree-2015. He edits monthly Setu, a bilingual journal published from Pittsburgh, USA.

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Sudeep Adhikari, Debuts from Kathmandu Nepal

My Ache is Winter 

The words suffer a dearth, and the world a death
when it snows inside. The white woes cover,
pervade my little world, the bricks and bones
of desires. Dungeons of despair,
underneath / within.

A shimmering lake, shivers and silvers
ripples of mercurial tears. Please!
reflect me gently
your ripples hurt me, deep down
where my thoughts live an unholy life
of a junkie, who fell  in love
with a mermaid. Maze of vines
one day he exiled to.

Fireflies of grief, as they swarm my space
when meanings are awfully hard to find
I am left untouched and stoned
and you can drink  a liter of me..In and out
when the wind will sing aloud
your gospels, for me.


Sudeep Adhikari, from Kathmandu Nepal, is professionally a PhD in Structural-Engineering.  His poetry has found place in many online/print literary journals/magazines, the recent being Red Fez (USA), Kyoto (Japan),  Devolution Z (Canada), Pinyon Review (USA) and Your One Phone Call (Wales).

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Neil Ellman Debuts

Any Kind of Cruelty

(oil painting by Paul Klee)

Any kind, every kind
of cruelty
is much the same.

Pull the wings off a butterfly
or waterboard an enemy;
shoot an elephant
and sell its tusks for gold;
or let the children starve.
It is much the same
as any, every kind..

Best at cruelty
worst at compassion
and empathy
we are the chosen few
the privileged nobility
of the world
we think
and they are not.

Neil Ellman, a poet from New Jersey, has published numerous poems, many of them ekphrastic and written in response to works of modern and contemporary art, in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world.  He has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Net.

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Tonya Eberhard 


Recollection, 20 Years Later

I don’t remember.

Not the fat green grapes sitting on the
airplane tray table as my mother shook
my sleeping sister awake. Or being led up
the mocha-brown dirt path to my grandparents
house after the airport. I could never recall
for you going to the beach with my cousins,
or climbing up the bamboo ladder to my
aunt’s house where she poured us soda and
gave each of us pillows for an afternoon nap.
My head on the pillow, I didn’t peer through the wide
bamboo slits thinking—the floors in America
don’t have holes in them. I did not unknowingly
drift off, awakened by my uncle and aunt speaking
in a dialect that was gibberish to me. I don’t
remember crying when my cousins gutted freshly
caught fish, their thin blades slicing beneath heaving
gills. I never watched them scale up the coconut trees
barefoot. I didn’t play with the newborn kittens until
the mother hid them from me. I don’t recall sneaking
my hand into a cupboard for a sandwich I wasn’t
supposed to have. My grandfather’s moonish dark
brown face did not scare me. Maybe I found it strange
mosquito nets hung around me as I slept, ghostly wisps
of gauze that entered my dreams. There could not
have been a time when the electricity went out and
candles were lit. In the morning, I don’t remember
following grandma out to the water pump to fill
the bucket, or staring at her walking stick and
gnarled toes.  I don’t think I ever had chocolate
ice candy, content with the sugar. Did I cry a few weeks
later, wanting to go home to my father? Did I run
into his arms at the American airport? Maybe it was
then I waved to my mother when she went back on
the plane to go home to that foreign place,
never to return.

Some Moonlit Kingdom on a Beach 

The birds that fly above us could be stars.
Anything is true with the night.
The moon hangs on Sylvia Plath’s own verse:
Bright, white as a nurse floating down
hospital hallways. We fill our mouths with
pebbles from the shoreline to try to understand
water speak. By 2 am we give up language lessons,
spit out the rocks to the other side of the water—
filling our mouths with each other’s tongues
instead. That is to say what kissing without
consequence is. Two hours later the earth unfolds
at our feet, and the night dissolves into moonlight and
heartbeat and stars. It is then I am fooled
into believing I am healed, the answer to the question
Do you want to keep living? suddenly an obvious yes.


Tonya Eberhard recently graduated from the University of Missouri. She currently lives in Minnesota. Her work has appeared in Dirty Chai, Lingerpost, Yellow Chair Review, Open Minds Quarterly, Sun & Sandstone, among others.

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Nancy Scott McBride


He could have been a great one,
his mother always maintained;
an Astaire or Kelly, perhaps even
a Nureyev or Baryshnikov.

Well, I don’t know about that,
but he was a great party dancer.
When he got going on “Light My fire”
or “Jumpin’ Jack flash,” people just
backed away and gave him the floor.

The only thing he couldn’t do was
partner a woman. Strictly a solo act,
he either danced alone or didn’t dance.
I should know. I married him.

Once when he was working on a roof,
he fell and crushed both feet. “I doubt
he’ll dance again,” the doctor said.
But he did, right into middle age, then
stopped when he joined a church
that said it was a sin.

Now every morning when he gets out
of bed, he does a little soft-shoe shuffle as he
puts on his slippers, and hums a few bars of
a tune I can’t remember, or maybe never knew.=



I eat the days whole now,
I eat them alive,
all of them,
the good and bad of them,
the in-between of them,
the gourmet and garbage of them.

Nothing gets by me.
I strip the skin with my teeth
and devour the flesh,
gobble the gristle,
munch on the muscles and
crunch the bones,
then lick the plate clean.

There’s not a scrap left behind,
nothing to turn into compost
or take to the dump,
nothing to put in the freezer or
save for tomorrow’s lunch.

I’m as indiscriminate as a pig
because, you see,
having reached my three-score and ten,
I simply can’t afford to waste
another morsel.

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