The Sweetness of a Long Bath

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        The Sweetness of a Long Bath   By Charles Clifford Brooks III       Let me admit upfront that our imbalance is a byproduct of my bent cerebellum left too long to itself.   So, I stayed awake all day and had our inhibitions darned like an old sweater. The good sheets and I (and you) are now spotless.   Maybe you’ll cook Thai tonight. Later we’ll rest well, ready to take any new strife in stride tomorrow.   This evening, I will clean the countertops, then draw your bath, and these hands will heal your sore muscles. When the lights wink out, we can pray for whatever you want.   The world stays starched and fresh because of our equal faith in spirit and flesh.            

February 22, 2015

The Keeper of Grief

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  The Keeper of Grief   (dedicated to Sosha Pease)     By Charles Clifford Brooks III         Case files are photo-copied on wax paper with ink drawn from formaldehyde. My job is to log a child’s long haul, and scribble down the basics, after they’ve been mauled. It is an act of incessant hindsight.   I am an intruder, the poorest man’s confessor. Childhood curls, hopeful girls: You sleep in shit so thick it’s slick on my shoes. Daddy's lullabies are prison terms, cigarette burns, and unwanted daughters. The un-orphaned orphans have faces vacant in the important places.   Tonight, my black robe is faded on its hook, white collar frayed. I pray. New dawn is new hate. I point out the liar, the arsonist, the thief. I am the hypocrite, the idiot, the Keeper of Grief.            

February 20, 2015

Letter to the Editor

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    By Charles Brooks III         A man said to the universe: “Sir, I exist!” “However,” replied the universe, “The fact has not created in me A sense of obligation.”   “A Man Said to the Universe” -Stephen Crane     …   Hear my problem, Old Man: I wear the world, anguished by its lacking.   I write. I write so others might wail as well.   They don’t. I do.   That’s the problem.

December 11, 2014

1st Place Winner in Poetry: “Zombie”

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Zombie   By H.R. Zeio     Raw rubbed knees, razor wire carpet fiber Flashing fisted hair, bared teeth bitten apple cheek Scalp Scrubbed pleas, throat on fire (‘M not a Survivor!) Collapsing wishes (SCARED), spare me! wit will help me sneak   AWAY!!   The knives of dancing lives scar so deep inside, too hard to not hide Emergence comes with the setting of many funs And, Then I Am Done. Look, there   A way.   Iron hot strike, tock and ticked waste Steel fraught fight, -SHOCK- wind, your burned face Turn around in case! The danger still beats, Thus the stronger stranger within Holds an unfinished feat Masculinity crimping in the heat Don’t cry, finish the soul-releasing sin Muscle finity, control the dying meat An ultimate domestic win   Congealing anger pooled around my feet The relaxing ...

August 13, 2012

2nd Place Winner in Poetry: “Unbeaten”

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Unbeaten   By Cathy Bryant     You can never beat her now, the woman   who was the wide-eyed, silent child   beaten in so many ways.   After much bleeding and pain she healed   enough to scar; scar tissue is hard, strong.   Yet she has come further, learned to open again   to be soft at times; like the fragile blooms   of plants that broke through concrete to grow,   tiny, sweet miracles for the eye to learn.   The regaining of a self vulnerable enough   to open up to love, to caring, to possible hurt,   is her greatest gift, her prize for the effort   she made when her abusers thought   the light had died in her eyes,   that they had beaten her in all ways.   She stands straight, complete, in a life   and a ...

August 13, 2012

From the Archives: “Dancing for Exercise” (3rd Place Winner in Poetry)

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Dancing for Exercise   By Barbara Loyd     When my parents divorced our move ended my tap and ballet dance classes; now, decades later, a new opportunity to dance at the YMCA has rekindled my passion.   Offerings such as tap, ballet, belly and Latin Dance tantalized me. It became hard to choose, so I signed up for all classes. For four days a week I perform tap routines, plies, hip thrusts and Sambas with lively groups of women, some older, most younger.   We give it our all, fascinated to see our progress move from awkward to graceful after a few weeks. I cannot keep my feet or hips still once the music starts. Now, the rhythm in my soles finds expression.   Others like to exercise using machines, ...

August 13, 2012

The Plucky, Lucky Grasshopper

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The Plucky, Lucky Grasshopper   By Lucy Redding     On a summer’s drive down ’95, A hitchhiker took his place. He was browny-green and barely seen, Till noticed by keen-eyed Grace. A little grasshopper, just one inch long, Apparently wanted to come along, As we drove to town from country. He must have thought he was running late – Perhaps for dinner, perhaps for date – So as we zoomed down the interstate, He managed to cling to the window. Grace and I were safe inside, But much more daring, he chose to ride Outside, on the window. How did he do it? We started to wonder, For surely ...

February 28, 2012

The Tempest

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The Tempest By Jayanthi Manoj On the wet sands of an unknown island draped with strange sights, I sit beside my ruined ship and I write, “My Master! I adore you! You made me survive The Tempest.” A few minutes back under the turbid sky, I captained a deck with pride. A ship with fortunes for life sealed with my ego, gallantly rode over the tamed waves. I floated in a mood of arrogance and clinched on my closest pride, gently sailed on the feathery waves. The sound of destitute were queer, my pathetic pride perched on my peacock peak, hailed haughty smiles across infirmities. I jeered the poor, derided the low as I passed small ferries ...

January 10, 2012

Something Predictable

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  By Simon Diamond Cramer     Dawn breaks and drives an airplane-shaped wedge between us, tears us lip from lip and hand from hand, and I think we could have had more two more one more minutes seconds even would have been enough And when I find my flight’s delayed it’s time we could have used the extra minutes breaking into scanty hours we’d grasp and spin into new days and weeks together in our minds and then watch slip away just an hour just a minute just a second more just more it would have been enough it would have No. It would never be enough. We knew what we were getting into, saw the ticking clock before the very start, knew it would have to end like this and so I sit and ...

November 12, 2011

Armor

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    Armor by Gila Heller raw onions attended my father's funeral they sat in the back of the sanctuary and listened with bulbous ears to the eulogies by then I was accustomed to the stinging pain of onion eyes but I had never known the bitter aftertaste of death I started cooking because I loved food because my mother was always too tired to cook because I didn't want to live on casseroles made by well-meaning family I started cooking because the drugs that prolonged my father's life also had some nasty side effects and for weeks he couldn't swallow I started cooking because my father had loved food because I imagined that he had forgotten what it felt like to chew dinner instead of ...

October 4, 2011