Gap Year

By Jenny Middleton

We knew poems before
we’d read them
sucking them into our breaths

with the salt from the sandy lake flats
feeling their warmth steam from the wooden
boards of the deck.

Our voices were those of wolves
howling slithers of jazz
as we jumped into the water

letting its cold ripples lick us and swallow us
spitting us back from the murk as flying fish
wheeling against the sky –

we were not metaphors.
We became.

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“I’m writing to try to slow the spin of my thoughts and to shape them into something understandable. I’m a working mum and live in London. with my husband, our two children and two very mischievous cats.” – the poet

Used to Be

By Jim Latham

The three of us—Elena, Gabby, and me—smile on the side of my coffee cup. Used to be, you could do that: Print pictures on coffee cups.

Used to be, you could grow coffee, too.

Just Gabby and me on the other side of the cup. In the photo, she’s nine and knee-high to a grasshopper. Dirty-blonde curls, freckles, a serious look on her face. She’s explaining something to me. Wish I remembered what.

But that memory’s gone. So much is gone. Including the grasshoppers. Including Gabby. Of everything that lived before the Collapse, I miss her the most.

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“I write because it makes my brain feel better.” – the writer

Before the Fatal Breath

By Mark Tulin

I barely avoided a fatal mistake
while crossing a busy twelve-lane highway,
wearing a pair of Beats headphones,
grooving on a Rolling Stones song
when my transgression almost turned tragic

I had crossed against a red light,
when my life flashed before my eyes;
instant road kill at thirty-seven,
leaving behind a family of three,
an innocent stroll of mangled, bloodied bones

But I woke up from my mindless daze,
panic mode struck in oncoming traffic,
an angel’s hand tapped me on the shoulder,
before fate could steal my final breath—
I quickly retreated to the curb’s reprieve.

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“My writing is a passion and not an obsession.” – the poet

So Sorry …

By Mel Fawcett

When we were young you convinced me that one day you would be a great artist. That’s why I married you! At thirty, you were still telling me to be patient. At forty that was no longer possible. And by fifty, you had become a joke – except no one was laughing. But even when your mind began to wander and you couldn’t even remember your name, you continued to paint. Who would have thought that such deterioration would herald the long-awaited breakthrough? I’m sorry that I lost faith. And sorrier still that you don’t know how successful you are.

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“I write because I can’t ride my motorbike all the time.” – the writer

Learning to Write Poetry Late in Life

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By stevieslaw

Of course it’s magic,
the way the teacher coaxed
me off my easy chair,
where briared and booked,
I planned
to snooze away my twilight.

I find I’m curious again—
that odd peering into things,
I thought I’d
left behind.

Remember
that first poem?
Like a first solo flight—
ground dropping
like Newton’s apples,
the catch of thin breath,
and the wonder
of words.

           
“Sometimes I find the right word. And then I soar.” – the writer

Ornithology

By Kenna Wolbers

Father was cursed to be a Bowerbird. Today, he sings songs for relics discarded by time: Comics, Hardy Boys books, and scratched vinyl sit before him, enshrined in dust. Zeitgeist Messiahs sleep safely in his head, knowing he will keep them fed: Seger, Presley, Jett. His children gather to hear him. But Daughter is deaf to his plight. Magpie plumage sprouts from her skin, inflexible. She believes grime entwines his feathers, does not care for his aching. But somewhere beneath her proud crest, a naked chick chirps. One day, she too will know the joy of flight.

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“I write to know who I am.” – the writer

Instructions to a Camera

By Dianne Moritz

Find good light,
perfect angles.
Blur your focus,
soften scars,
furrows of frowns,
annoying flaws.
Catch a dazzling
twinkle of mischief
in sunlit eyes, a bright
smile on sultry lips.
Pause a moment.
Ready …
set …
click!

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“Sometimes I write just for fun, but still dream of collecting my drabble in a book.” – the writer

To the little girl whose daddy is gone

By Nisha

You wake up from a nightmare calling for daddy but find your mummy’s pillow drenched in tears so you creep back to your bedroom clutching your teddy bear tight. You look out of your window at the starry night sky and wonder which one is daddy. You watch the sunrise swallow the stars one by one knowing for sure the last one, the brightest one, is your daddy. You stand under the big sturdy tree, white blossoms brush against your hair like your daddy’s toes did in the exact same spot last week and you wonder why he left you.

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Nisha is a mum, accountant and chocolate addict. “I write to make sense of life,” she says.

The Puppet Master

By Keith Hoerner

The opera house was rumored as haunted, and the aged villagers could recall the puppeteer of ol’, but laughed in delight, not fright. Dares bandied about, and a handsome bounty was promised to the poor soul who spent just one night on its very stage. Greedy, a foolish, ne’er-do-well eagerly enlisted. Unceremoniously, he laid his spindly body to the floor mocking the ancient scenery and theatrical figurines about him, when a shadow voice sang: “You sunk; you strayed; now string be strung, be imprisoned in mind; be forsaken in time; I transform you now from man — to marionette!”