In for the Kill

Ambient, radiance the pathway I walk.
Perhaps you have been down this path, too.
The smell is sweet and musty,
almost sickly like overripe fruit.
It is distant like a sun in eclipse.
It is a memory, a dream on the edge of forgotten.
It is too surreal for this world
that no longer believes in fantasy or emotion,
that is more into quick quips and wit.
The path that unfolds lays itself down
like quicksand and hardens like ice
to black concrete, asphalt that heats,
melts the snow and the hearts of the last
daydreamers. Do you know who they are?
They have slowly left this plane;
they have left this energy behind;
they want no part of this anymore;
they have helped all they can
and we are left behind to discover
what this great plan will be as the
sun sets one last time on this sad
and ungrateful world.
–Michael Aaron Casares

Michael is the author of This Reality of Man, a collection of poetry released by LT Press in 2011. His most recent publication is The Distance To The End, a novel released in June 2016. Michael lives in Austin, TX and can be reached on his website

Rhyme Schemes

Stepping stones skip silently

Across acrid acres of afflicted land.

Winter’s Wednesday wakened with worry.

Drought’s sorrow weakened in our house &

Humdrum hoovers harmonically hum along crunchy floors.

Flowers, fragrant, fill our kitchen air.

Baby boys bellow beyond their lungs

Blowing forward bayonets of sound.

Silently, around the hearth of windless hovels, fire burns,

And we are one, at last, captured among the sweet strong smells

Of its warm and weary soul.

–Laura Bernas

Laura is a freelance writer hailing from Buffalo, NY. Having lived in places such as Russia, Africa, and Alaska, she loves truly original short fiction, poetry, and pretty much anything to do with fantasy and adventure in foreign lands. Hoping to one day soon publish her first novel, Laura spends her time not writing making independent films, acting & singing in theater, and enjoying all the delicious restaurants NYC has to offer. You can contact her for any and all of your writing needs at laura.bernas13@gmail.com and on Instagram

Little Desert Flower

Out of this poem

grows a little desert flower.

it is blue sorrow

it waits for your return.

You escape so you must from me

refuge, folded, wrapped in cool spring rain leaves-

avoiding July, August heat.

South wind hellfire burns memories within you,

branded I tattoo you, leave my mark,

in rose barren fields fueled with burned and desert stubble.

Yet I wait here, a loyal believer throat raw in thirst.

I wrest thunder gods gathering ritual-prayer rain.

It is lonely here grit, tears rub my eyes without relief.

Yet I catch myself loafing away in the wind waiting fate

to whisper those tiny messages

writer of this storm welded wings,

I go unnoticed but the burned eyes of red-tailed hawk

pinch of hope, sheltered by the doves.

I tip a toast to quench your thirst,

one shot of Tequila my little, purple, desert flower.

–Michael Lee Jordan

Michael lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet, freelance

writer, photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. He has been published in more than

925 small press magazines in twenty-seven countries, he edits 10 poetry sites, and has 103 poetry videos on YouTube.

I Miss Those Days

By Sophira Bradford

“I miss those days.”

I stared at the words under the picture, next to a name that had formed as an expletive in my mind.

Here I was ten years ago, happy and smiling with the two people I loved most, once.

Facebook had a way of keeping you connected, even when it was ugly. Some friends we still shared, we were both connected to in this horrific virtual world of niceties and presented happiness and perfection. When I would wonder in those shameful and human moments of what was happening with them, I’d connect through a friend’s page to their own; looking at old pictures, numb or spiteful to new ones. There hadn’t been much new pictures lately. But then, I hadn’t looked at their page for a long, long time.

Information was like that; you didn’t know how you’d gotten it, but you just knew stuff. Like I knew that the account was in her name, but they both used the account and posted comments. Everyone who knew them knew that, I guess.

And so, here was a picture that one of them had posted of me, with them, together, before.

Before even our marriage, when our love was not new, but deepening into something more. Before the divorce, when their love had been new, forbidden, and painful to discover.

I wondered who wrote those words. Who was missing me, and why? Or was it even about me? Well, how could it not be? Why would they miss the days where I was a part of their life, but he had been mine, and she had been like my sister?

How could that have nothing to do with me?

I turned from the screen, my eyes pregnant with tears.

But they were old, tired, and numb tears with only ambiguous emotions echoed off of an old wound.

After seven years, I’d chosen to accept that my pain no longer had anything to do with them. I chose to remove their responsibility.

But I could never deny that I still loved him. When I looked at his face, it was there and serious like a heart attack. When I saw her face, I could think of nothing. Just white hot lightning shards of anger and hatred that I knew had been birthed in my trust and love for her.

Reminiscing should always be pleasant.

I tuned them out with television and red wine; then with a journal and thought for myself and my life, not theirs.

It was a couple of weeks later when I looked again at their page, deciding to remove criticism of my morbid curiosity.

The picture was gone.

Sophira has had a torrid, painful and passionate love affair with writing since she was old enough to pick up a book. They just can’t seem to break up. She’s  from Brooklyn, New York and she though she plans on leaving one day and never returning, it will always be home. She loves discussing good books and the perils of being a writer – her email address is sophirabradford@gmail.com if you’d like to reach out.

The Joe Torre Years

my city is a yankee fitted

the Sea & Sea Fish Market that doesn’t sweat its name’s redundancy because of the line out the door for the fried whiting and chips at three dollars a plate

my homey Pinky died twelve years ago next week, unbothered by the irony that he used to scream out fifteen-for-life when I walked down DeKalb to meet him towards Knickerbocker

years before, of course, the Nebraska gentry decided to send all their kids to become artists on this block

my favorite mug’s got the fiesta of New Orleans on it

I ain’t ‘ever been, but I’ve got a few silver dollars for the piggy-bank to snort, should be coming to by the time the bus arrives to pick me up

my liver’s spotted

marked by heavy years, heavy underpaid years where I pretended stoicism, pained pretended stoicism, a cocktail helps to get the time across, you see how the sunlight moves across the doorway, when you’re guarding the bookcase home alone

my smoke is golden

grown in honey humboldt, even though it decays the roots, I won’t have it any other way, when it burns it distinguishes itself, when it burns I understand it

my mind is an inn or an urn but something keeping

some part sleeping, like some encroaching warring lightning you can see from down the shore

my desire has become a vacuum

has learned to nullify itself, to inhale deeply in some method, some measured manner to expose, expunge then reenlist the world

my millennial wait, like mercury in the vein, waiting to perish

moonlit in her

I spin and see nothing but darkness for my second lifetime

and this waiting is vaguely spiritual and kind of dull

auroral in her

I breathe in the smell of her hair, but I’m afraid to hear it because I fear that it has gone all antiseptic, or not, what if the smell retains a memory

then the question becomes – can I handle a memory

and that’s why I don’t like questions

which is a shame, because there’s nothing much else to do, run them around, underneath the yankee fitted

my prayer is never heard and never uttered

but has existed long ago, and will exist until there’s nothing human left, until they clean the clutter, until there’s nothing left to mutter but

        alive, awake

                                alive, awake

                                                        but even then, only to remember

there’s nothing really left to do but to surrender, to her, to the world, to a schedule, to a nook where silence is magnificent, to matches shaking in a matchbox, delighted for the chance, it doesn’t matter, just surrender

take a deep breath and let it go

–Jack T. Tumult

Jack is a damned writer floating through the streets of NYC, and sometimes you can catch him performing poetry throughout different venues in the city like a drunken ghost; a few sweet, a few bombastic lines, and then he disappears into the ether. You can check out his work on his site and updates about future readings on Facebook

Hasty Memoirs

Sort of sullenly, I take the hint that I should leave.

I crinkle the scraps of tuna fish and bread crust

and seal them in the wrinkled cling wrap. 

Brow furrowed, cheeks flushed, I stumble home. 

My bright yellow backpack trails its straps behind me

and I turn my thoughts to all of the litter and dead leaves that tangle in them.

They are symbols of my flaws and -more selfishly- my hurt.

I am being unreasonable.

If I turned back and gave in 

the simple love between children could be restored.

Shame stalls me. I should not have cried and called him foul names. 

But, pride drives me onward.

He broke my favourite crayon. 

I do not turn back. 

 

*

 

My hands are of average size. To everyone else they are still much smaller.

I insist I be treated as a “grown-up”. 

I swing back and forth between monkey bars 

dreaming secretly of the tips of cigarettes 

floating in the ponds of rainy days.

I still don’t know about the change slot in phone booths

hiding dirty needles. 

 

*

 

In limbo: 

The trouble with confusion is perhaps not 

the uncomfortable nature of the feeling itself 

but its duration. It never will seize a body fully and completely,

rendering it incapable for a few moments of intense emotion. 

Instead, it drifts in and out through the window left open for impassive thoughts. 

I am sure of only the things others decide for me. 

It is safer, I cannot change their minds. 

 

*

 

I can tell you all about myself, but I couldn’t tell you who I am.

I am a painter, a writer, a full grown child 

groping my way through indecision. 

Even that, I cannot commit to. 

Addicted to the thrill of finding the “meaning” of my life, I find a new one every day.

I lie. I do everything I will tell my children not to do.

I am selfish still, and despite the fact it was so long ago

the pain of the broken crayon is still with me, only now it is a broken trust.

I look to the future. There, I will be complete. 

I envision shades of happiness in golden hues, 

but I am unsure of what they are. 

Sunshine Yellow, Sherbet Orange and Creamy Manila are the swatches of my adult life. 

Impossible aspirations not only frustrate, they exhilarate.

I foresee an eventual contentedness to reward the passion of a confused mind.

 

*

 

The silent virtue of absolution is routine. 

My intake of food, work, play and love

are restricted to designated hours of the day.

I have reached the height of my self-actualization,

and yet, I am unable to rid myself of the panic and queasiness

that stirs in my belly and rises in my throat. 

For an eternity, I have slaved for the present.

But the “what comes after this” resides in a series of empty spaces 

that I until now I hadn’t known I had to fill.

I am faced with the reality 

that my life may require more than one absolution. 

 

–Bel Harris

Bel is a writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. She hopes to one day complete her lifelong goal of travelling between universes. Find her on Twitter, or head to literaryleftovers.wordpress.com to see more of her poetry.