Mother – a Poem

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By Katharine Griffiths

Healing hands, harming fists
Comforting embrace, crossed arms
Soulful gaze, empty look
Validating ear, deafening silence
Understanding heart, selfish attitude
Heartfelt words, stinging criticism
In death sorely missed, free to find bliss

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Run the Ink Dry

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By Tanzelle Oberholster

No piece of writing is worthy of destruction – yes, it may be cringe-worthy, but half-formed ideas hide between the bad grammar and spelling mistakes. These precious little insights will be nourished when the water of the muses flow. Crumbs of inspiration quickly transform into beautifully composed pieces. Never throw away any article of writing you felt compelled to manifest. Place the offensive piece of ink on paper in a dark drawer if you must. Let it grow there, like a fungus. Soon there will come a time when these little writer’s blights will provide the antidote to writer’s block.

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.

Memories, No Memoir

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By John Davis Frain

She started in Vaudeville. “Disappearing nightly,” she’d say. Cinema arrived, and absent the beauty of a Mae West, she departed.

A Red Cross nurse, she was ribboned for saving thirty-two Yanks one night in Nazi-occupied France. “They were soldiers, and young.”

She returned home after the 91st Evacuation Hospital. Raised four successful daughters. “My most delightful job.”

Making ends meet proved slippery until she invented bottle caps that preserved beverages. “Pepsi purchased the patent.”

Today, her 100th birthday, her youngest, Elizabeth, said, “Mama, you should write your memoir.”

“Oh, dear,” she blushed. “I’d have nothing to say.”

Pack Your Bags

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By hombrehompson

They argue over everything, especially when it comes to packing the car.

Her approach is to plan ahead and pack methodically, whereas he grabs items on sight and packs with brute force.

One morning she challenges him to prove that his method is more efficient. He spends the rest of the morning squeezing everything they own into the back of the car, determined to prove her wrong.

Once finished, he brings her outside to inspect his work.

Thank you she says, before getting into the car and driving away forever, happy to have conceded their final argument together.

Of Artistic Temperament

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editors pick

By Sophie Flynn

I liked it when you said I had an ‘artistic temperament’ because it covered it all: tears in the carpark, not eating for days, refusal to choose paint for the walls because I just couldn’t look at the colors anymore; and instead made those days when I couldn’t cope, when I pictured cutting out my tongue and ripping off my skin, seem part of something greater to create something worthwhile, rather than days indulging myself. My artistic temperament was such a lovely phrase for what was really: unpleasant, unnerving, unbearable or, as you finally put it as you left, unlovable.