The Poems I Have Not Written

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By johnlmalone

I am outside late at night
Writing poems
About the poems
I have not written
The ones I’ve shied away from
Because of embarrassment
Or timidity
Or fear of shedding my jovial persona
And find
Somewhat alarmingly
That the poems I have not written
Far outnumber those I have

           
John Malone is a South Australian writer of short stories, flash fiction and poetry.

Inspiration

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By D.A. Donaldson

“It’s called The Drabble,” she said. “One hundred-word limit.”

He sneered, “And you call that being published?”

“It’s something. It’s a start. It’s better than your Letters to the Editor.”

“At least people read those!”

“Do they? When’s the last time you heard from a reader?”

“Gimme a break,” he swigged his beer, “I don’t see any book deals coming out of your online dribbles.”

“Drabbles,” she corrected. “And my last post got 147 likes. At least I know that someone is reading and enjoying what I write. And you know what else? You just inspired my next submission!”

Unwritten Poetry

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By B.

Hell-bent on repentance
I dug up my past
– a stack of confessions
in black ink and metaphors –
my religion,
true and false,
unstructured and incomplete.

Forgotten in the pages was
a decade-old whispered poem
to a future lover,
the writer of words and dreamer of dreams
who could make me believe
his theories of history and heaven
and me.

I wanted to write him poetry while the world burned
through its tribulation.
But you only like poems that rhyme.

The Envy of the Village

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By J. E. Kennedy

Old Mrs Bergman’s roses were the envy of the village. The bushes bloomed in a congregation of scarlet and coral, sun-flare yellow and delicious tangerine. They spilled over the walls and lit up the pavement with their scattered petals, like delicate wishes skipping along the breeze, destination unknown.

Mrs Bergman plucked and preened, watered and fed. She whispered sweet nothings. She told the roses all that she would have told him if he were here. And they bloomed.

At night she would take the fading telegram from the drawer: Missing in action.

And she waited to meet him again.

Grief

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By J. Hardy Carroll

After the funeral, I made arrangements for the bills to come to my office.

Every month, I paid her rent, her electric, even her phone.

At least once a day I would call her number and pretend she might answer it, hear her voice on the answering machine.

At first I left messages, but then I couldn’t.

I’d turned her apartment into a time capsule.

A shrine.

In September I got a letter that her lease was up.

Time to face it.

I needed to move on.

I stood at her door a long time, key poised in my hand.

On The Beach

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By Gerard McKeown

I scratched your name in the sand with casual strokes of my big toe. Like I’ve done on every beach I’ve visited since we met. As I wiped cold sand off my feet and put on my socks, I saw people in the distance, walking my direction. I looked down at your name and wondered if, by some chance, they knew you.

I pished the letters away before they arrived. The tide was coming in, but not fast enough to erase you. I couldn’t be bothered waiting. Besides, you were already gone, regardless of ways I try to evoke you.

     
Gerard McKeown’s work has been featured in The Moth, 3:AM, and Litro, among others. In 2017 he was shortlisted for The Bridport Prize.