Remember

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By James Formosa

I remember everything.

I remember everything even though I don’t want to.

I remember everything even when it hurts.

I remember everything especially when I make others hurt.

I remember how I hurt them.

I remember how many times.

I remember how much I don’t care about that.

I remember the worst part.

I remember that I wasn’t always like this.

I remember that everything used to matter.

I remember that you used to matter to me.

I remember that I used to matter to you.

I remember that I used to know how to be whole.

Now, I’ve forgotten.

          
James is an Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces currently working on his first novel.

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Casual

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By Diana Diamond

Nothing is ever casual about sex
Casual sex is coward’s sex
An empty charade
No one really ‘takes off’ anything

The “hit-and-run” culture
Has created a generation of cowards
Afraid to look into themselves
Afraid to relate
Because everything is oh-so-painful
Everything is offensive

But how can you ask others for intimacy
When you can’t even be intimate with yourself?

“No strings attached” is a huge lie
Created by opportunist men
Who convinced women that selling their soul
is true freedom
Don’t you believe it
There will always be a rope
On the ethereal plane
From my navel to yours

           
Dana Al Rashid is a writer and poet from Kuwait. She has a weekly column in Al Jarida newspaper (Arabic), as well as occasionally writing in Kuwait Times newspaper in English. She has published a poetry book titled Reflecting Moon.

Memorial (Willows Beach)

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By Cate Sandilands

only a slight opal glow
distinguishes the tiny corpse
from the bleached driftwood
that encloses it

lilliputian flippers show
a harbor seal fetus
white and eyeless
mouth frozen in a question

only dogs notice
summoned by whiffs of decay
they nose the passing

close by a garish
handmade shrine
for two murdered daughters
draws a line of passers-by who

can only bear to glance
at the bright gaping wound
of such unholy deaths
for the briefest of seconds

lest they be forced
to attend to their own grief

and wail openly

          
Cate Sandilands lives part time in Toronto and part time on Galiano Island, BC.

Cancer

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By stevieslaw

“I’m still here,”
you whisper,
in a voice as old as anguish,
barely discernible over
the din of the everyday—
scented like Sunday
with the musk
of onion-skinned prayer books
and the lingering
sadness of dusk.

          
Steve Deutsch lives in State College, PA. His work has appeared (or is upcoming) in Panoply, Algebra of Owls, The Blue Nib, Thimble Magazine, The Muddy River Poetry Review, Ghost City Review, Borfski Press, Streetlight Press, Gravel, Literary Heist, Nixes Mate Review, Third Wednesday, Misfit Magazine, Word Fountain, Eclectica Magazine, New Verse News and The Ekphrastic Review. He was nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2017 and 2018. His Chapbook, Perhaps You Can, will be published in 2019 by Kelsay Press.

Waiting (Strip Mall, December)

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By Catriona Sandilands

a beige table with a light dusting of someone else’s crumbs
a thick white mug with a residue of espresso and steamed milk
next to a tidy pile of cards
at last addressed and stamped

a plate-glass window with a view to nowhere except
another plate-glass window across the plaza and

an artificial tree with blue lights
white plastic snowflakes
and red balls sparkling with
a bank logo

on top of an over-pruned yew in
a mildewing concrete planter

three house sparrows fluff out their feathers

and for a second look
like kings waiting for
something holy to happen

         
Catriona Sandilands is a Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.

 

Clowns and Vagabonds

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By Mark Tulin

I am a pushover.
I let people call themselves my friends.
I give clowns and vagabonds permission
to insult me, stomp on my pride.

I sleep with them.
Feed them meals I can’t afford.
Call them when I’m lonely.
Lend them money I don’t have
and tuck them in at night.

I let them flourish like invasive plants
ravaging my soul, pillaging my goodwill
until eventually,
they take everything I own.

If only I had a backbone.
That elusive thing called courage.
I’d draw the line clear and strong
and change the locks on my heart’s door.

         
Mark Tulin finds richness in the lives of the neglected and disenfranchised. He has a poetry chapbook called Magical Yogis.

They Wheel Him Out

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By Lee Robison

They wheel him out doors,
lock wheels.
The old dog brings a stick.

He heaves it from his seat—
a wheelchair in wanlight—
Sun through empty branches.

Days past he’d fetch the stick again.
He leans down,
strokes the wiry nape—

         
Lee Robison is in his third or seventeenth career. (Lee tends to career with abandon.)