Imagination by Len Kuntz

I am making up a new world
Ripping away the barbed wire fences
Creating a moveable clay landscape
Turning cedars into palm trees
Despots into doves
Demons into ordinary parents
The kind that don’t smirk
When they say I love you
The kind of parents that
Don’t make you tremble

len-kuntz
Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State, an editor at the online magazine Literary Orphans, and the author of I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE AND NEITHER ARE YOU out now from Unknown Press. You can also find him at lenkuntz.blogspot.com
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Rainbows and Moonbeams by Mitchel Montagna

A thousand
mirrors, always brown
eyes: dull, disturbing,
constant,
pitiless.

Something inside you breathing
wrong, you think
you’re a hero they
care for.
Dashing into a sunset
of burning rainbows.

You say goodbye to
window panes
polished metals
clear rain puddles.
All of you have
the same brown eyes, your
faces change like
moonbeams.

Mitchel Montagna
Mitchel Montagna is a corporate communications writer for a large professional services firm. He has also been a special education teacher and radio news reporter. Publications include White Liquor Journal, Naturewriting, The Penwood Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, and Amarillo Bay. He is married and lives in New Jersey.

The Past Keeps Running Ahead of Me by Grant Guy

The Past keeps running on ahead of me
It is always out of my reach
I can’t keep up  Wait for me
      I shout

You can’t follow me  You got to go back
      The Past yelled back

I don’t want to
      I shout
As it is disappearing over a hill of Time
You got to go back

I can barely hear it now
I can only see its cowlick is sinking beyond
What if I just idle here   The Past is out of sight

Okay  You can idle for ten minutes
      Its voice diminishing

The Past is gone
I step on my accelerator and rev my motors

And slip eternally into the future

Grant Guy is a Winnipeg, Canada, poet, writer and playwright. His poems and short stories have been published in Canada and Internationally. He has three books published: Open Fragments (Lives of Dogs), On the Bright Side of Down and Bus Stop Bus Stop (Red Dashboard). His plays include an adaptation of Paradise Lost and the Grand Inquisitor. He was the 2004 recipient of the Manitoba Arts Council’s 2004 Award of Distinction and the 2017 recipient of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Making A Difference Award.

Kids in Florida by Dan Provost

The Trials of Nuremberg
never slowed down the anguish
that man tried to pass on within a stepping stone
of dissociated guilt…
And if Buddha is your “thing”
Well then bow down to the chanting
harmony of want…

Do we ever climb into the space that
saves seventeen kids? Theorize what
agony is within our own little mind…

Prancing with false bravado…a
Twitter rant or faceboob comment about
how actors can play the role of deviant
political farce…
Then the sickening larva will
lick their glistening lips…looking
over the bodies of souls in camps or
step around the blood of a freshman band member…

Crying “the horror, the horror…” That was good
enough for Marlon Brando…but it could never
extinguish the rationalization of another, another
Pathetic look-away.

Dan Provost
Dan Provost is old. He has had eight books of poetry published

Minding Sin by Gale Acuff

I want to get married to Miss Hooker,
my Sunday School teacher, right when I’m old
enough, 16 say to my current 10,
though maybe she’ll be 31, which means that she’s
25 now, so I won’t go to Hell
and burn forever like she says I will
if I don’t stop my sinning or at least
try not to, even though I will because,
she says, everyone sins thanks to Adam
and Eve, or no thanks to them. Then she says
that if the First Parents hadn’t sinned we
would’ve have gotten to know Jesus, He
would never have had to come down and be

crucified even though He ascended
to Heaven. Religion confuses me
sometimes but if I marry Miss Hooker,
who will almost hands-down go to Heaven,
and thumbs-up, too, my chances for going
are a lot better if I don’t, marry
her, that is. I’ll bet she’ll keep me honest
and tell me when I’m sinning and remind
me not to say Hell or damn in front of
our children especially, and since she’ll
always be fifteen years older, at least
until we’re both dead, she’ll probably die

first–of course I’ll miss the Hell out of her
and all that, but if something goes well
I won’t die myself for a few more years,
but when I do and if I mind my sins
’til then, maybe our kids can help me there,
she’ll have had enough time to talk to God
and maybe Jesus and the Holy Ghost
about me, how she wants me up yonder
with her and even can’t live without
me even though she’s got eternal life
and can never die again so I guess
she’d be exaggerating and that’s close

to lying and lying’s a sin but if
anyone can get away with slipping
something past God then it’s Miss Hooker sure.
So if God’s God He’s got to let me in,
either that or let Miss Hooker down and
that’s like not letting the Saints go marching
in or making Moses and his people
swim across the Red Sea or David not
bean Goliath and chop off his big fat
head or Jesus not doing miracles.
Unless, of course, I go to Hell and God’s
so bothered by Miss Hooker that He busts

her down all the way to be with me in
the fiery furnace of Hell, but at least
we’d be together unless Miss Hooker’s
sore at me and gives me extra Hell for
eternity. After class I asked her
how anyone can get to Heaven since
it’s so hard to be perfect like God and
she said even though I’m going to sin
I must try not to and when I do fall
to my knees and beg to be forgiven
as soon as I can do so because if
I die in sin then I’ll wake up in Hell

or at least before the Throne of God, Who
will look for my name in the Book of Life
and if it’s not there then I’m sunk for sure.
She has red hair and green eyes and freckles
and now I think I’ve learned another sin,
what’s called lust but at least I’m not sure just
what to do with it–maybe she’ll show me
one day. I can wait another six years.
I’d say that’s like an eternity but
now I think that every second is. I
wanted to kiss her when I said goodbye
and I damn near did. It’s a sin I didn’t.

I have had poetry published in Ascent, McNeese Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Poem, Adirondack Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, Orbis, and many other journals. I have authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008).

The Wait by Gareth Culshaw

Every day when he wakes
then walks into the world,
he sheds his father’s skin.
The shreds lie around him
like autumn leaves in a wood.
His height has reached the zenith,
and we wait for his tongue
to talk of higher things.
His father was tall, but didn’t
have the eyesight his boy
has. His thoughts are released
like racing pigeons. His eyes
flicker, as if an idea has brewed
then tapped his brain.
Sometimes he will sit
like a forgotten lighthouse.
But we wait like fruit growers,
hoping the ripening from within,
will be here before he sees
his father again.

Gareth Culshaw
Gareth lives in Wales. He has his first collection out in 2018 by futurecycle.

The Lynching Of The Turnkey by Paul Tristram

It happened in the Introductory Cells.
No proper solid doors, like over in the main prison.
We’re trained to watch out for missiles,
as we’re about our corridor-work.
Besides the usual shit and piss flung at you,
the desperate, mad ones will even throw fingers,
if they can manage to bite them off.
You can lose an eye in the blink of an eye.
Never underestimate a cornered man,
oftentimes he’s in chains out of bad luck,
rather than incompetence or stupidity.
They got The Beggar, with stumps instead of legs,
to throw the loose, untied rag with rats in,
right up from floor level, never saw it coming.
The stinking, horrible parcel EXPLODED
upon hitting his chest bone…
sending razor sharp teeth and claws
upwards into his surprized and horrified face.
This sent him staggering to the other side of the walk,
well within reach of The Dockside Murder,
6’7” and built like a brick shitehouse.
He’d knotted his own trouser legs in preparation,
and once they were through the bars and around his neck…
well, that was a bloody end to it all.
We found him dangling, half a foot in the air,
with the Murder, naked from the waist down,
sitting upon the floor on the inside of the cage,
red of face, and still grasping the makeshift noose, tightly.

skull-bones-red-black
Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet. Buy his books ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press) http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1943170096 ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036 And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326415204 You can also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/