By Karen Southall Watts
Have humans always had to pay for an understanding ear?
Where did heartbreak go before Freud?
I need someone to talk to who doesn’t want anything;
A listener who doesn’t want me to research anything, loan them money,
Tell them they’re right, or have sex with them.
Women-of-a-certain-age have fewer options,
When emotions and tears burn and decisions are curdling in the stomach,
Aunties, mothers, and grandmothers gone, we turn to each other,
But our individual suffering has stopped our ears,
And all we hear is the roar of our own pain.
“I write as a part of my self-care, and in hopes of changing society … a tiny bit.” – the writer
By Keith Hoerner
I have a bipolar friend who—now in our late 50s—texts me: “Who am I?”
How do I respond; do I respond?
I tell her she is a dear old friend, a beautiful, talented, and intelligent woman. When in fact, I feel like she is *past tense.* I AM her friend. WAS her friend. She is all but lost to me now. Even herself.
This is the nature of disease. The disease straddles our world and the next, leaving her to blindly balance on the sharp edges of crescent moons—offering no rounded or soft places to fall.
Keith Hoerner lives, teaches, and pushes words around in Southern Illinois. His memoir, The Day The Sky Broke Open, (Adelaide Books, New York/Lisbon) is out now.
By Mark Tulin
I don’t want to be a healer anymore.
I grew weary of helping people,
massaging and soothing a troubled spirit,
absorbing their pain and suffering,
and spending years redirecting them
to a manageable change.
I don’t want to be a therapist anymore,
sitting across from a client who distorts the world
and help them out of crisis mode
from a one-hour session to the next.
I want to take care of my woes,
treating my wounds and hurts
and befriending my child-within.
I want to find a sense of place,
discovering the joys in life,
and getting good REM sleep.
“Writing creates an intimacy with the world.” – the writer
By John L. Malone
I’ve come to mistrust the little guy inside my head. He used to be calm, dependable but over the years he’s become a little loopy, his thinking transgressive. Now I hardly know him. He’s a loose cannon, an IED waiting to be stepped on.
Look, I say, let’s be reasonable. You can’t say that! And you definitely can’t do that! You want us to end up in prison? Sometimes I give him drugs to quieten him, talk him down, get him to see reason. I love the little guy. I just wish he was more like me.
John Malone is a South Australian writer of short stories, flash fiction and poetry