“Words Unformed” by Anthony Laird

Bois de Vincennes, (Paris, France) by Eric Ellena

WORDS UNFORMED 

A lingering touch.
I trace the line of life in your palm,
but feel my life,
as my heart beats faster.
How warm the skin,
and the fingertips,
would they brush my skin?
The memory of your kiss
so fresh in my mind
as the taste still holds on my lips.
The words I have yet to say
still unformed in my heart
that is beating faster, faster.
And so other words come
that mean less but buy me time,
as we sit close and I feel you,
touch you,
want your kiss again.
I let your eyes find my soul
and hope you think it beautiful,
and though I hold back a bit,
I am wanting you to want more.
To need more,
as I need more.
And I lean, knowing why,
not disappointed,
filled with words yet unformed,
as again your lips find mine.
And I am haunted by a memory to be,
of when you won’t be there,
holding me.

Venter Anthony Laird

Anthony Laird

“Broken Window Music” by Heath Brougher

brokenglass

 

Broken Window Music

Similar to fractured light
a jagged crystal sparkle
lives slowly through the air
clear as a bell
its ridges tearing the wind
falling sideways then down
as that broken sound blooms
a pure cacophony early
on Shatterday morning.

Heath Brougher is the poetry editor for Five 2 One Magazine. He recently published his first chapbook, A Curmudgeon Is Born (Yellow Chair Press, 2016). His work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Diverse Voices Quarterly, Chiron Review, SLAB, Main Street Rag, Crack the Spine, Of/With, Lakeview, X-Peri, Blue Mountain Review, strange POE try, eFiction India, and elsewhere.

Image used under permission from CMG Worldwide.

 

“Shooters Valentine” by D. Louis Morgan

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SHOOTERS VALENTINE

If you say you love me
If you say “I do”
Remember me tomorrow
Send your love anew.

Put it in a bottle
Put it in a can
Put it in a box
Stamped Afghanistan

We fought up in the mountains
We fought upon the seas
We fought out in the desert
In the towns and through the streets

If you say you love me
If you say “I Do”
Remember me tomorrow
Send your love anew.

Drop it on a freighter
Stuff it in a pack
Sail it on the water
Mail it to Iraq.

We stood upon the ramparts
We watched our comrades fall
Some, they gave a lot
And others gave it all.

If you say you love me
If you say “I do”
Remember me tomorrow
Send your love anew.

Fire it in a rocket
Ship it overland
Pack it in a crate
To the country where I am.

When a soldier meets his maker
He does it all alone
If you can’t make a shadow
You ain’t goin’ home.

We died up in the mountains
We died upon the seas
We died out in the desert
In the towns and on the streets.

Who sees that train a comin’
The plane upon the ground
Or ships moored and anchored
When the family gathers round?

Flag draped caissons mount
Hills where staid white rows abound.
The mournful calls of the bugle’s sound
Echo ‘cross that hallowed ground.

If you say you love me
If you say “I do”
We live within HIS memory.
HE knows I love you too.
HE knows.
I love you too.

“Jamie, With the Blue Eyes” by Betty J. Sayles

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Jamie, With the Blue Eyes

By

Betty J. Sayles

 

 

A small boy trudged wearily along a country road. His golden wheat-colored hair and youthful features looked no different than those of many other small boys his age. His jeans and navy blue pullover were dusty from the gravel road.  At first glance, he looked like any seven-year-old boy—until you looked into his eyes.  Those deep blue eyes mirrored the sadness of his soul and spoke of wisdom far beyond his young years.

The boy’s name was Jamie.  He had been a fun loving boy and he adored his father.  They played catch, went to baseball games and went for walks when the father told his little boy about his plans for them when Jamie was older.  “We’ll add your name to the firm and we’ll become Calder and Calder, Attorney’s at Law.  We’ll be the biggest firm in the state and the best,” he boasted.  Jamie looked at his father with love in his eyes; he wanted, more than anything, to please his father.

In his sixth year, Jamie was struck on the head by a car while he was trying to save a kitten in the car’s path, He recovered and seemed fine, but from that time Jamie noticed a change in his father.  He was sure his father was avoiding him.  One night, Jamie overheard his father talking to his mother.  “Ever since the accident he reads my mind, Jane, and he makes me do things by looking at me with those eyes.  He actually made me let that stray dog go, the one that knocked over our garbage can.  He said they’d kill him at the shelter.  Mrs. Murphy told me he cured her back pain just by laying his hands on it and Dr. Preston said he talked to Jamie in Bridgeport last week.  That’s 60 miles from here and Jamie was home in bed.  That’s crazy.  The boy is not normal. His wife replied quietly, “There was an Italian priest I read about, his name was Padre Pio.  He could perform miracles and was seen in two places at the same time.  They called it astral travel and the church made him a saint.  Jamie is a good boy, Robert, he has only done things to help people.  He has been given a gift and we should be proud of it.”

“He’s a freak, Jane, he’s scary, and I can’t cope with it.  If he comes out of this coma, I’m going to find him a boarding school for troubled kids.”

Jamie’s eyes filled with tears.  His beloved father saw his gifts as a curse and couldn’t stand to be near him.  Jamie didn’t wake up the next morning.  The doctor said he was in a coma and he was moved to a hospital bed.

It was evening when Jamie came to a farmhouse. When he knocked on the door, a sad faced man opened it.  “Hello, sir, my name is Jamie and I wonder if you have any chores I can do for some supper.”

“Why on earth is a small boy out alone with night so near,” wondered the man.  As the question formed in his mind, he looked into a pair of deep blue eyes. “Yes,” he said, “you can feed the chickens, but first come meet my wife Mary and have some supper.”

Jamie saw traces of tears on the woman’s face.  After eating his supper, he said to the man,” There’s a man here who wants to talk to me.”

“There’s only my wife’s father who’s very ill. The doctor doesn’t think he’ll last the night,” said the farmer. Once again, he found himself peering into Jamie’s eyes.  “I’ll take you to him,” he said.

 

The bed-ridden old man was surprised to see a young boy, but as he looked into his eyes, he felt a calmness he hadn’t felt in a long time.  “Leave us alone for a while, please,” he said to his son-in-law.

Jamie sat in a chair near the bed, put his young hand over the old wrinkled one and said: “You feel alone and scared and want to talk.”

The old man nodded.  “You see they’re afraid of death, too—for me and for themselves.  They take good care of me, but they never stay to talk. They don’t know what to say, and don’t want to hear my fears.  It makes them uncomfortable. You’re not afraid, are you?” he asked the boy.

“No, I’m not afraid”, answered Jamie. “Tell me what you’re afraid of, maybe talking about it will help. I’ll stay with you as long as you need me.”

The old man talked for a long time to the boy.  As the night passed, he became quiet, only rousing to say, “You’ll be with me?”

Jamie answered, “I’ll go with you as far as I can.”

 

As the clock chimed 2:00 A.M., Jamie looked at the door.  It opened and the farmer and his wife entered the room.  While they looked at the peaceful face of the old man, who had quietly passed away in his sleep, Jamie slipped out of the door and was gone.

Jamie was nearing a farmhouse when two German Shepherds raced toward him, barking loudly.  He stood still, his blue eyes looking at brown eyes. Immediately they stopped barking and followed docilely as he approached the farmer in the yard.

“Good gosh, boy, what did you do to those dogs?  They don’t like strangers.”

“I get along well with animals, sir.  Do have any chores I can do for something to eat?

The farmer wanted to ask the boy who he was and where he came from, but he never got to those questions.  Instead, as he looked into those deep blue eyes he had a vague feeling he had left something unsaid—but couldn’t remember what it was.  “Why, I think we can find something for you to do to earn a meal, son.  Come along.”

“Thank you, my name is Jamie”.

After the boy had completed the light tasks he was given to do, the farmer took him into the house and told his wife Dorrie that Jamie was staying for supper.  The woman had a kind face and fussed over Jamie in a motherly way.  She did things slowly and with obvious pain, because her hands were badly deformed from rheumatism. Jamie offered to help her.  “No, child, a little exercise is good. It keeps these old hands from stiffening up completely”, she said.

 

They invited Jamie to spend the night, but he thanked them and said he had to be on his way.  As he was saying goodbye to the woman, he took both her crippled hands in his young ones and pressed them lightly.  Then he stepped out into the twilight.

The woman sat at the table with her hands in front of her, tears running down her face.  Her startled husband asked, “What is it, Dorrie, what’s wrong?”

His wife raised her hands for him to see.  They were old hands with age spots and loose, wrinkled skin, but they were perfectly normal hands.

 

A bearded young man sat on a park bench by the river, staring at the water.  Then his eyes moved to the high bridge a few blocks away.  He was annoyed when a small boy sat down beside him and said, ”I’m Jamie.  The water is warm this time of year. I guess it would be peaceful to sink beneath it letting all your problems float away.”

The young man was startled to hear such words from a child. It was uncanny the way he mentioned the river as a way to end one’s cares.  He turned so he could see the boy’s face. Looking into those blue eyes, he saw his mother standing there broken-hearted beside the river, the terrified face of his young brother and a pretty, young woman struggling to cope with the problems he was leaving her to face alone.  “Oh, Lord, what was I thinking? There has to be a better way than this.”

Jamie said, “Tell me about it.”

The young man talked for a long time.  Finally, exhausted and much calmer, he turned to face the boy, but he had quietly disappeared.

 

Jamie was desperately tired; he wanted to go home. Maybe things would have changed while he was away. At the sound of his father’s voice, he opened his eyes. He was still in the hospital bed. His father was saying, “I’ve found a school for problem kids that will take the boy if he comes out of the coma.  That will be best for everyone, Jane.”

Jamie looked at the drawn faces of his father and helpless mother and closed his tear filled eyes.

A small boy trudged wearily along a dust country road.  He looked like any other seven-year-old, unless you looked into his sad blue eyes.

 

Betty J. Sayles has had short stories and poems published in Storyteller, Mature Years, Creative With Words, The Oak, Nomad’s Choir,  Ultimate Writer, Persimmon’s Tree,  Spontaneous Spirits, PKA Advocate, Amulet, Mystical Muse, LOS, CC&D, The Enchanted File Cabinet, Conceit, Shemom, Pink Chameleon, PBW, Down In the Dirt and Stray Branch.

 

 

 

“Van Gogh to His Mistress” by Margo Taft Stever

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“Moonlit Dreams” by Gabriel Joseph Marie Augustin Ferrier (French, 1847-1914)

  

 

Van Gogh to His Mistress

He sensed his ear,
but he could
not see it.
In the blind
this is called
blindsight.

The last failed
effort
of the body
to survive—
Keep this
object carefully.

The ear rested
on the table
alone
among blue tints
and suppressed
shadows.

To present
an ear
in the middle
of the night,
an arterial flap,
flap of
bat’s wing,
wing of angel.

First published in Salamander, 2014, and, also, included in The Lunatic Ball, Kattywompus Press, 2015, and in CRACKED PIANO, CavanKerry Press, 2019.

Margo’s latest chapbook,The Lunatic Ball, was published by Kattywompus Press (2015). Her other three poetry collections include a chapbook, The Hudson Line, Main Street Rag (2012); a full-length collection, Frozen Spring, winner of the 2002 Mid-List Press First Series Award for Poetry; and another chapbook, Reading the Night Sky, winner of the 1996 Riverstone Press Chapbook Prize (Introduction by Denise Levertov).

Her poems have appeared widely in literary magazines and anthologies including Salamander (forthcoming), Blackbird, Poem-A-Day, poets.org, Academy of American Poets, March, 2016; Prairie Schooner; New England Review; West Branch; Poet Lore, Cincinnati Review; Rattapallax; Webster Review; Cadence of Hooves; Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence; Chance of a Ghost Anthology; The Breath of Parted Lips, Volume II; and No More Masks. She is the founding and a current co-editor of Slapering Hol Press and the founder of The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. For more information, please see: www.margostever.com.

“She Waits” by Daniel Knauf

datum 24-05-2004

 

SHE WAITS

 

In her favorite wingback chair
Her beloved dog curled in her lap
For the cavalry to come
And rescue her.

The bitter cold wind of yet another winter passing
Brushes her hair

A man stands behind her
His hand on her shoulder
A gesture of fondness
Were it not for the vise-grip

The bitter cold wind of yet another winter passing
Brushes her hair

And the dog is puzzled
Because the cavalry already came and went
Trumpets blowing
Banners flowing

Yet still she waits
For their arrival

And for each year past,
He takes ten
And for each of his dreams realized
A thousand of hers are
Stillborn.

 

“I Dreamed of John Gilmore” by Tina Faye Ayres

I DREAMED OF JOHN GILMORE
John Gilmore (photo by Ian Ayres)

John Gilmore (photo by Ian Ayres)

 

I dreamed of John Gilmore

last night

John had left a journal

mentioned Ian and me

we were reading it

out in the woods

there was something about

a tree it fell

to the ground

I was making it

into smaller pieces

saving every scrap

because I was building

a house out of it

it was a nice dream

had a wonderful feel

and in it

I actually knew

how to build a house

I admire people

that can do that

it has always amazed me

what people can do

sigh

I miss John

I’d been worried

so long

at one point

he had taken to

telling me

he wasn’t well

but he wasn’t

gone yet!

lol

I love him

there aren’t many

people in the world

I am close to

an odd day

felt like something

touching my shoulder

for about an hour

which is new to me

can’t remember

the last time

I got to feel

what it is like

to be touched

ghosts are strange

seems like if you tell them

to go away

they do

evening rides

would be wonderful

right now

it is just me

and the animals

and the fog

I’ve lived far longer

than I was supposed to

I don’t think I have

any business, really

in this life thing

but I am here

till I am not