Ten Days Before The Insurrection by David Spicer

After you’ve guillotined me and placed
my body in the sarcophagus I’ve
requested, after you’ve repressed me
and overruled my wish for lindens
to sway at the moment of my death,
a peace will saturate the burning cities,
and the children, ravens on shoulders,
will don babushkas and bayonets,
mourning me for twelve sunrises.
They’ll worship and clutch my image
on lithographed banners. You can’t
masquerade in disguises of my
caricature, for the children will menace you
because the savior of their republic sings
no more. Quarrel among yourselves,
prove you’re not the disease. Flex
muscles, gobble delicacies, allow
your eyes to twinkle. Either offer
them suffrage–declare that your mission–
or squeeze yourselves into the hothouses
of greed, dress in helmets and sashes,
and indulge in glorious last flings, because
the moment electricity ends, they’ll
overrun your battlefield, and you may
commit one or two atrocities, but it is then
that we’ll achieve victory you never knew.

David Spicer has had poems in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Gargoyle, Mad Swirl, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The New Verse News, The Laughing Dog, Chiron Review, Easy Street, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, among others, and in the anthologies Silent Voices: Recent American Poems on Nature (Ally Press, 1978), Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing From Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), and A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Best of the Net twice and a Pushcart, and is the author of one full-length collection of poems, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke’s Press, 1987), and four chapbooks. He is also the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

One Day The Thorns Won’t Cut by Linda M. Crate

sunlit rain
falls upon roses,
and i am
reminded of your
always cutting into my
body with the fangs
of wolves
i try to forget so we can be
strangers as you demanded
yet i can’t quite manage
for you haunt like
a ghost—
i know you’ve forgotten me;
left me in the past
probably only remember me in amber and scarlet
sunsets that sing hymns in summer
yet for me it is harder
i am always the girl that loves and cares more
here i am caught on the erosion of your
name against my
i should probably bury the hatchet,
but my temper spills over me like a hurricane
choking me out until i forget who i am;
but i cannot let it win
for i am love and light and so instead of burying the hatchet
i desire to bury you.

Linda M. Crate
Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has three published chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press – June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon – January 2014), and If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016). Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015. The third of the seven book series Centaurs & Magic was published November 2016. Her novel Corvids & Magic was published March 2017. Her novel Phoenix Tears is forthcoming.


My Mother’s Closet by David J. Thompson

I’m squeezed into a picnic table
with a bunch of people I don’t know,
dragged to this party by my sister
for free beer and food. In between
bites of a fat cheeseburger, I hear
the bald guy in the Yankees t-shirt
at the end of the table say, So, Ronnie,
how you been? Haven’t seen you
in a while. I’m doing better these days,
answers the guy opposite me. He’s got
the blown dry hair of an 80’s porn star,
now streaked with grey by the last thirty years.
Both my parents died last winter from cancer,
he continues after wiping spots of mustard
from his mustache, only six weeks apart,
so that was real tough. The whole table murmurs
I’m sorry, watches him take a sip of Diet Coke.
Yeah, he continues, they left me the house,
so I’ve been living back there since March.
It was weird at first being there all alone,
but now I’m sorta used to it. He takes some
potato chips off his plate and eats them slowly,
and while staring off over my shoulder
into the neighbors’ yard, Ronnie says almost dreamily,
Sometimes I go into my mother’s closet and look
through all her old dresses that are still hanging
there. Is that so weird? I feel the table become still,
all I can hear is the ballgame on tv coming
from inside the house.  The bald guy stands up,
says he’s going to go grab more beer for everyone.
I take a long, last swallow of Coors Light, shake
the can a little bit just to make sure it’s empty.
I look down at my plate, and push some cole slaw
around with my plastic fork. Looks pretty damn watery,
must be store-bought, I can’t help but think to myself.
Nowhere near as good as my mom used to make.

David J. Thompson grew up in Hyde Park, New York, and currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His latest poetry/photography chapbook, A World Without Horses, is available on Kindle. Please visit his photo website at ninemilephoto.com.

The Guitar Of My Heart by Anoucheka Gangabissoon

As I sit, and watch life go by
I let my feet swirl and twirl
To the beats of the guitar of my heart
A golden one it is
And its notes are played by a mysterious being
A being I claim to be my muse
My sole lover
My strength
My cause
My reason to hold on to life!

I just sit, fold my hands under my chin
And watch life unfold itself
Pray, its gardens are beautiful
Tempting, inviting
But I am not seduced
I never have been
Why, if life is to end
It is surely a dream
If life is to end
It is not be fretted about
If life is to end
It is not real

And the beats emanating from the guitar of my heart
Bid me to smile at clouds
To dance, while keeping myself still and composed
To paint, while keeping my hands tied
To write, while keeping my pen capped

Pray, of life and its many stages
I’ve had enough
Of life and its many stages
I’ve seen enough
Now, I wish to breathe the exalt of newness
And freshness

I shall do as my muse bids me to
I shall follow his pulls
By simply swirling and twirling to the tunes he plays
There, on the strings of the guitar of my heart!

Anoucheka Gangabissoon is a Primary School Educator in Mauritius. She writes poetry and short stories as hobby. She considers writing to be the meaning of her life as she has always been influenced by all the great writers and wishes to be, like them, immortalized in her words. Her works can be read on poetrysoup.com and she had also appeared in various literary magazines like SETU, Different Truths, Dissident Voice. She has also been published in Duane’s Poetree and also in an anthology for the Immagine and Poesia group. Her poems are often placed in free online contests.

From Wreckage To Mercy by Lana Bella

Think mercy balanced on its
treble notes, apotheosis tipped
soft-soled, petal-skin sheaved
like pressed beads on salt flats.
Hidden for years under pious
slabs, it stirred halo-hooked
with silver scratches of sundials
caught ineffably dearth, fertile
soil spread rot like seven years
farmed out in beetles and rain,
sucked in scent of burned drift-
woods. Then the glowing hours
streamed from the ends of their
fingers wreckage torn salient
pale, with the dark already gone
out of dull eyes, drifted back
to the terminus of annihilation
on taut, splayed wings, allayed
as a graceful arc of light cast up
nerves’ panoply, between buds
of resilience and yielding, as
the earth returned to the folds
of gospels and prayers, forklifted
serpents to its wingspan mouth.

Lana Bella
A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Lana Bella is an author of three chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016), Adagio (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming), and Dear Suki: Letters (Platypus 2412 Mini Chapbook Series, 2016) has had poetry and fiction featured with over 360 journals, 2River, The Acentos Review, California Quarterly, Chiron Review, Columbia Journal, Grey Sparrow Journal, Notre Dame Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, San Pedro River Review, The Ilanot Review, and Westwind, among others. Lana resides in the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a mom of two far-too-clever frolicsome imps.

Emptiness, or A Romance Concerning the Poet and the Dulux Paint Catalogue by Simon Cockle

At the beginning,
you were Almost Oyster;
pale, but still precious.
I ran my fingers across
the straight lines you presented.

By the spring, you’d changed.
Then, you were Elderflower Tea;
warm, in the morning’s chill.
I leant my back against you;
we could stay like this for hours.

All through the summer,
I named you Egyptian Cotton;
cool, but not distant.
I prostrated myself, my cheek
resisting your flatness; as one.

But, by the winter,
you’d returned to Soft Stone;
shadows engulfed you.
I reached out in the morning:
what returned was emptiness.

Simon Cockle is a poet and writer from Hertfordshire. He writes as part of Poetry ID, a Stanza of the Poetry Society. His poems have been published in iOTA, Prole, The Lampeter Review, An Algebra of Owls and the London Progressive Journal, amongst others. He was invited to read at last year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival as part of the Poetica Botanica event. He teaches English in a local comprehensive school, and has a wife and daughter who nod reassuringly when he reads them his poems. More of his poems can be found at https://simoncockle.wordpress.com/ .

When Neither Of Us Exists! by Katharine Battistoni

I will gladly pump my fist
I will jump and wail and jive
when not me nor you’s alive
I will sing and dance and bray
when we’re underneath the clay
when we’re underneath the dirt
I will faun and flounce and flirt
I will flirt with all the worms
when we’ve both lived out our terms
when we’ve gone to see our maker
I will play the drum and shaker
I will play the flute and fife
when we’ve given up on life
when we’ve gone to meet saint peter
I will buy a half-liter of coke
and we’ll mix it with rum and get drunk and make love after we croak

Katharine Battistoni lives in Austin, TX, with a typewriter, three guitars, and the complete works of e e cummings, if possessions designate character. She can be found here: crunchyfatt.tumblr.com and here: katiesolo.bandcamp.com.