Play It Again, Sam

you found me in the streets
but said i’d never know how to bleed real
emotions always seemed to scream
PAID PSYCHOLOGY EXPERIMENTS
a severed snake voice hissing:
turn up the dial, increase the pain
ignore the cries.
i took gatsby’s great american dream by the teeth.
it was never meant for me
i can only blame myself
for biting the curb.

i’ve earned my whipping girl bruises
by crowning the locks of low lying Lucifers
who whisper vows of everlasting light.
i’ve taken their pictures and i’ve stolen
their souls like a cocaine-powered grave robber
flying on the kick of a famous last heist.
they can’t compare; they never made me feel as low as you.

even after we died
i looked back.
you were my eurydice.

heaven as home is as grandiose and american as
your mother’s apple-pie and
your father’s gun.
heaven as home as you
killed our chances
ripped apart the threads of my mythology
made days tumble into unfinished sentences
made me lose myself
to prove that heaven as home could be true.

Pet Names

he liked my way
of fish tank living
i was never too far out of his reach.
he didn’t have to pretend
that i was a koi.
i was fast, easy.
no assembly required ornament
a shiny sleek model to impress
wholesome parents
too sheltered to look past the tops of their fences.
he liked my way
of taking affection
paying with choice cuts
strips of tender flesh
piecemeal work
labored for love lost.
nothing i do can extract
the siren ache of your voice
tearing down back alleys.
i part my lips to speak
and you fill my mouth with stones.
the only way to disarm your ghost
is by the parting of my thighs
even though each encounter
leaves me a little bitter, a little older.

Higher than High

we went adrift
you lost the ability
to read my skin.
you can’t see me
clearly. strung me up high
and promised that i was safe from a crash landing.
we penned an open-ended goodbye
our lines sewn across the mouth
of the Atlantic.
sometimes you kiss with your fist
to shock the romance and
your knuckles blush raspberry red.
sometimes i sip my cyanide
thinking it will kill you.
everything moves with the past
like water circling the drain
i’m falling asleep at the wheel
throwing myself at the mercy of your high-beams.

See you in 2015!

We’re on a publishing hiatus until the new year, but we’re still accepting submissions. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

–Crissinda Ponder
Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Publisher

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Motherhood

Little one depending on you 
No need to panic

Instruction manual
inside of you

It’s hard labor
But easy love

Giving your all
to a life so small 

Motherhood.

Bipolar

Moods go up and down 
Good days and bad
Happy or sad

Depressed to creative in zero to 60 
It’s all in a day 

Take meds or not 
Just love being you 

No labels 
Bipolar disorder, not a bipolar you.

Silence

Do you hear it?
That sound invading the canyon walls?
Echoing and burying itself against and within the vast perimeters of its landscapes
Do you hear it?

That sound so aggressive and yet so simultaneously subtle
That effortlessly pierces the mind, body, spirit and soul with such ferocity and nuance
That nestles rather comfortably on closed lips
That envelops open minds much like an aura
That causes the levees on thoughts to break free
And appreciation to slowly set in
That is the absence of

Shh. Do you hear it?
Listen and listen gingerly
Even pause for a spell
You heard it, didn’t you?
Didn’t you?
Silence

Stillness

A million busy bees press and swerve around me
Heads bowed monotonously towards the ground
Eyes fixed on only what they can see

Palms locked tightly around their possessions
Once in a while they might bump into something
Or be briefly distracted but quickly rebound
Continuing on with bowed heads, fixed eyes and locked palms
towards their destination

I don’t think they really notice me; the immobile person that stands in their way, that sometimes
Causes them to rebound and be briefly distracted
Continuing on with bowed heads, fixed eyes and locked palms

Once they’ve stopped and continue on they forget the reason they’ve even stopped at all
They are rebels. These busy bees
They refuse to acknowledge the law of stillness

As they continue on with
Bowed heads
Fixed eyes
and locked palms
Towards their destination

Peaceful Solitude

I am alone and yet I am not alone
I am not surrounded by others
I am not engrossed in conversation
And yet I do not panic although I am by myself
I am my own company
I find refuge in myself

Here presents a moment of acceptance coupled with relief
A moment of self reflection
A moment of thoughts only privy to me
After all, if I am not comfortable being around me

How can I expect others to be?
I relish these moments; these moments of peaceful solitude
Where I can find true understanding
My true definition coming forth and becoming clearer
Without other’s involvement or input

Solo, as I was at birth
Minus the nervousness & uncertainties
Just I, basking in the familiarity of one; myself
And never before have the number seem so enticing and safe

Obsession, Anonymous, Mourning Light

Obsession

For this is bigger, crisis of body and
soul only lifted when I write ─
glorious obsession, going nowhere.

Last quarter moon in a sunny sky.
Birds are endless friends, water waves in both
directions, lake can’t make up her mind.

How far is poetry from insanity?
How far am I?
I live for caffeine clarity nuanced by nicotine,

sustained by midnight kitchen trysts ─
why, when love lay beside me?
Love is my word processor, love is words.

Love is my words on the printed page.
How many roads to wholeness can there be?
For me, this one.

This one.
I have written and now must somehow
find a way to justify the rest of my day.


Anonymous

You’re a writer so write
the voice said.

Seize the inspiration
purring all around.

Your days are numbered
you know.

Do you think you’ll wish
you’d watched more TV?

Or spent what’s left
licking editors’ envelopes,

hoping to breathe life
into the already born?

You’re a writer so write
the voice said.

Your days are numbered.
You know you know.


Mourning Light

The early sun comes callously across the pane,
laying on hands, one that holds this pointed pen
transfusing words into a page.

I have not yet begun to write,
and the hand, exposed, exclaims “No!” 
The skin cannot already be this slack, these

blue and swollen river veins must recede and
bring alabaster answers back
to the quivering question of my tenuous time.

But the light denies my denial, quickening this
stranger’s hand, this hand that’s held the pages of
my plot, and is already foreshadowing the denouement.