One Poem by Danielle Hark

Stuffed Animals Held My Secrets

I whispered in their fuzzy ears, bears,
bunnies, dogs, elephants, they simply

stared ahead, wide unblinking plastic
eyes storing secrets in their fluff,

behind colorful buttons and velvet
noses. mouths of string sewn shut.

my still companions never breathed
to anyone what happened, truths

hidden under covers, drowned in tubs,
and buried beneath twisted old maples.

 

Danielle Hark is a writer/artist who lives with PTSD and bipolar. She’s the founder of the non-profit Broken Light Collective that empowers people with mental illness using photography. Danielle lives and creates in NJ with her husband, two young girls, one Samoyed pup and a Scottish Fold cat.

One Poem by Kate Young

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Brothers in Art

Conjoined, separate
they leg-toddle on
across Klee’s canvas
bathed in gold,

a pair of eyes
in lineal logic,
a glareframe-staring
egocentric,

a strange geo-monster
wrapped in ‘isms’,
Cubism, Futurism,
Miro-like Surrealism

releasing the key
to peel back the lid
from a rusted tin,
rolling, unfolding

a pulsating heart
shared by pairing
Picasso and Braque,
the brothers in Art,

walking in step
to a balanced beat
of metronome
on constant repeat,

shapes and shades
in light and space,
harmonious lines
of Cubist grace,

bodies blended
minds fragmented
soulmates, rivals,
Cubist survival,

Klee the optimist
soothing palette,
texture round
with static passage.

 

Kate Young lives in Kent and is passionate about poetry and literature. After retiring, she has returned to writing and has had success with poems published in magazines internationally and in Great Britain. She is presently editing her work and writing new material, particularly in response to ekphrastic challenges.

One Poem by Sheree Mack

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

salt screams in our blood

you say
               hold this mottled memory close
and stretch           your    hand
a     c     r     o     s     s
                                        the dark

a watery mass of unspoken woes
grow between us
I hold on tight                shackled to your story


your eyes touch me
and
       I
        tumble
                       through
                                       a


                   hole

caked in sea-salt
ribboning through
straits of grief

I say
         remember we share the same heart
and think how you always steal it

blood screaming wild in our darkness
I dream of you
                          walking home
a     c     r     o     s     s
                                      the ocean floor


you are dead to me
you’re dead to me

 

Sheree Mack is a Creatrix living on the North East Coast of England. She facilitates visual journaling workshops, nationally and internationally, supporting women in their exploration of their authentic voices. She is currently writing about traveling and working in Iceland as well as the next instalment of her creative non-fiction memoir.

One Poem by Heather Nolan

night on The Burren

the way the dusk gathers,
a week before the solstice – long
and lean, a moony blue dripping
from limestone.

we trace circles up the hill
in echoing air, close yet
wide open
to the table tomb, Poll namBrón.

older than the pyramids, you say,
shaking your head.
the past here
unfathomable.

nearly midnight, dark falls
like a gavel. you still pointing out landmarks,
through windows thick as turf now.
deep black. headlights just enough

to show we still occupy space.

 

Heather Nolan is a writer and musician from St. John’s, Newfoundland. Her poetry and prose can be found in journals and anthologies across the U.S. and Canada. She was awarded the Gregory J. Power Poetry Award in 2019, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2017. She is the author of This Is Agatha Falling (Pedlar Press, 2019).

One Poem by Randal A Burd, Jr.

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

We Siblings Three

Attempt to add the hours we have shared:
One hundred thousand, maybe thousands more?
Our paths conjoined for several years before
We struck out on our own and even dared
Imagine we would chase our dreams beyond
The borders of our joyful, sheltered lives.
But now we live with husband and with wives
In separate towns and rarely correspond,
Or so it seems when measured and compared
To neighborhood crusades we daily swore
Would never end. But we would soon respond
To destiny. What from those days survives?
That we still share a special sibling bond
Though kept apart by long, infrequent drives.

 

Randal A. Burd, Jr. is a married father of two and an educator who works with the disadvantaged in rural Missouri. He holds a master’s degree in English Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri. Randal is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Sparks of Calliope magazine. His latest collection of poems, Memoirs of a Witness Tree, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in Summer 2020.

One Poem by Lynn White

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Better Together

We will always be together,
said my little brother
if he felt lonely
or if we were sad.
I would give him a hug
to comfort us both
we will, we will.
We will always have each other
always walk together
even if broken into little pieces
even if distorted by pain
we will pick up the pieces somehow
and put them back together
even if they’re re-arranged
even if not in the same places
we will still be us
together.
But later
we forgot
and walked away
from each other.

 

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Find Lynn at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynn-White-Poetry/1603675983213077?fref=ts and https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com

One Poem by Lana Hechtman Ayers

Traveling Through Time

I took a wrong turn,
decelerated
to E=MC2,
spun out of control,
free fell
to a random moon
where gravity
trampolined,
I bounced and bumped
until I hit sand
and encountered a man
with eyes like prayer candles,
no smile because no mouth,
skin glistening like melting ice,
which I took as a sign
he’d understand,
so with the air remaining
in my lungs asked,
Can you point me,
please,
back to 1962,
year of my birth
on planet earth?
The man took my hand,
touched it to his chest,
where three hearts beat
orchestral rhythms,
spoke tingles to my fingers,
then answered in Morse code,
Every man must love
nothing more
than himself
in the guise of others.

 

Lana Hechtman Ayers, coffee-enthusiast, stargazer, has authored nine poetry collections and a novel. She manages three poetry presses and is a manuscript consultant. Lana lives on the Oregon coast of the United States where she enjoys the near-constant plunk of rain on the roof and the sea’s steady whoosh.

One Poem by Darrell Coggins

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Sister

Tightrope walking

enfolded in transparent
layers –
and now but two

from the same mother
we shared the same heart

drawn in closer –
I listen for our secrets
whispering

sometimes, tender songs
against my fingertips

sometimes, brushed in raw
my feelings traced over
a first draft

between contoured lines
against infinite yellow

moments which hover
close to me –
that press on my skin

so quickly hours
passed by

 

Darrell Coggins is a poet, artist, and musician from Adelaide, South Australia. His poems are of moments seen, heard and felt.

One Poem by Simon Daley

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Twinned and entwined

We are, they say, peas in a pod.
Simply ludicrous, as it’s obvious
just how very different we are.
Genetics clearly can’t confine us.
You and I are built of the same
jigsaw puzzle pieces, perhaps, or
kindred shards of kaleidoscope.
But that does not tell our story.
Relatively speaking, we are the
same and yet as different as pages
shed from a well-thumbed book.
Abstract observance by untrained,
uneducated or even just lazy eyes,
suggests an affinity, that we look
alike and akin, yet we hold dear,
our own unique narrative within.
I am folded into, and out of, you,
and it is you I am wrapped up in.
My reality is bound, spiritually
and corporeally, by your being.
Your definition gives me form.
Without you I need not exist, for
it is plain to see, that whenever,
there’s no you, there can be no me.

 

Simon Daley is a police officer who aspires to write poetry that people are glad they read. He is studying creative writing with Open University. He may never be published but can live with that. He lives in Scotland between houses and a campervan and misses his daughter terribly.

One Poem by Janna Grace

I am just as angry as you

but I do not slam my mouse down
against the uncut table
gesticulate at a screen that only means to project
and whisper angrily at the air that you chew
and spit out, when it just wants to float
down to your lungs.

Instead I take tiny bites
of my body, from the inside
wet and shadowed places,
gnawing, but stopping
before my teeth reach my
outer layer, my whale skin,
my snail’s porcelain shell,
cushioned by muscles
that are collapsing.

I somehow always leave
enough
below the surface or on the outside to absorb
everything
you fling, so carelessly at the world
for being what it is.

It is the moon behind my eyes that only wanes,
a rocket’s booster turning, then falling back to earth,
the ocean floor trying to remember the glow
of one lone pilot-fish
cold, and slumped at the back of my ribcage.

After looking at the statistics, even though I’m a woman
and you’re a man—
I am sure I will die
first.

 

Janna Grace lives in a half-glass barn and her work has appeared in Plastik Magazine and Red Eft Review, among others. She has work forthcoming in Otoliths and she teaches writing at Rutgers University. Janna edits Lamplit Underground and her debut novel will be published through Quill Press in 2019.