By Jim Bates
They grow tall in a pot on a sunny window sill. Four soft pink flowers tinged with swirls of red set against a winter background of white. He touches the petals wistfully, thinking of spring and working in the garden. Mood uplifted, he puts on his warm clothes, heads outside and tramps through knee high drifts to the shed. He pulls it open against an icy wind and gazes longingly at his gardening tools. Just then he notices more snow beginning to fall and sadly reaches for his shovel. Spring’s just around the corner, he tells himself. But not today.
“I love to try and express how the natural world can have a positive impact on people.” – the writer
By John L. Malone
“Hey! Where you going? Don’t you know we’re in lockdown?”
“You might be. I’m not.”
He’s at the door. It’s open a little to let in the breeze and he’s about to make his grand exit. I must admit. Full moon, galaxy of stars. It is pretty enticing.
“Why should you have all the fun?” I say.
“‘Cause I’m a cat. Cats just wanna have fun.”
John is having plenty of fun writing miniature stories about his cat, Rosco.
By Ran Walker
Grandpa Tobe would tell us about his time working at the Grierson House on the other side of Jefferson. He’d worked there since before the old man died and swore the daughter didn’t have any skills besides being a Southern belle—which wasn’t worth much.
Grandpa Tobe had to damn near brush her teeth for her, to hear him tell it.
“But it wasn’t all her fault,” he offered. “She ain’t have nobody to love on her. That’ll make folks do crazy things.”
We swore we could see just a hint of horror behind his eyes when he said that.
Ran Walker is the author of twenty books. He writes “because there are millions of stories that need to be told.”
By Sofia Gamba
Her face is colorless, eyes dull. Heavy lids veil earthen green that used to sparkle there. Smile lines crease the skin around her mouth but they’re twisted the wrong way. Hair hangs loose, pale and cold like the rest of her. Fingers clench into fists that whiten her knuckles but she’s not angry. No. She’s chilled, exhausted; a strong wind might blow her away.
She’s a bad day I had once. She was searching for sunshine through the mirror. I still see her sometimes, for a second or two, never long enough to tell her that she found it.
“I write to relax and unravel the knots in my spaghetti brain.”
By Lynn White
We see the sights, gawp at the spectacles,
go on expensive excursions to view them.
We have forgotten that they were built to subdue us,
to shock and awe
make us feel small
to know our place in the scheme of things.
But we take for granted the everyday enormities,
the skyscraping giants of utilitarianism
towering over our Lilliputian selves.
We have long ceased to wonder,
to be impressed by their scale.
We play our games,
and live our lives
under their shadows,
and we don’t even see them.
It doesn’t matter our subjugation is complete.
“I write to let the words escape.” – the writer
By Nick Pipitone
I feel like a conquistador when I walk down Wharton Street in South Philly. Do I belong here? Construction crews clang steel and kick up dust, pushing out black and brown people the city doesn’t want, making room for pet stores, record shops, and other novelties some in the neighborhood see as red flags.
I walk gingerly. We want unity in our pluralistic cities, but is this possible? When the neighborhood’s transformation is complete, and the city’s unwanted pack dusty photo albums in battered boxes and bitterly relocate, the cycle repeats like a doomsday playlist.
Nick writes because, if he doesn’t, he “may sponatneously combust.”
By C.R. Daugherty
The man lay,
dying in his hospital bed.
For weeks, they had
unseasoned food with salt on the side,
a saline drip over his bed …
He rose from his retractable mattress
and began to chant, a long litany
of words often sung, though
not often together …
Buildings around the hospital began to fall,
yet his hospital and bed still remained.
He rumbled evanescence to the mountainsides,
only to have them fall in the wake of his words …
They came in, the orderlies, and plastered
masking tape over his mouth.
He died as the hospital fell,
“I write for illumination, exposition, expression, and aesthetic portrayal of a beautiful world.” – the writer