Saturday, February 6, 2010


In poetry, you must love the
words, the ideas and the
images and rhythms with
all your capacity to love. 
- Wallace Stevens

by Shonda Buchanan

Watching her
           it has been eighteen years
Out of corner of my eye, I thought
           sun slanted peachcream into us
I have to remember 
           a tightly curled  ponytail, shades covering her eyes
Her shadowed hair
           buckroe beach crumpled beneath
The way sun creams down on 
           untender touch of sand castle builders.
Brown of her shoulders like a praise.
         she used to be that little black girl, ashened
Whispering reverence in cool crystal deep
       pushing grains into submission
A daughter’s cusp eyes
           folding salt and water into imagery mote. 
Young, at the beginning of life’s edge where
           she laughs at high yellow girl who, unaware,
Chipped bones of ancestors wade, pushing prayers
           threw her own hairpiece at another screaming friend
Into her old timey eyes, recognizing kin. They know my daughter,
           triflin’, curl of afiya’s mouth say.
Like rocking chairs and lamps that flicker out
           jellyfish slip up next to her, translucent with longing
At first lightning crack, at first thunder strike
           desperate for the kiss, the flesh of her.
Her knowing, full in the mouth of a storm.
           i turn
No paper, no pencil
           she is at once the girlchild I raised, washed, kept
I turned
           and the woman who will leave me behind
A space, then nothing between us
           i look again and she is just my daughter
The salt rising
          walking beside me, laughing.
This moment
           It has been eighteen years
The last, the first
           as sun slanted peachrain against our arms, lips
I memorize it, thinking, I must remember 
           there was a poem here somewhere.

SHONDA BUCHANAN, poet, creative nonfiction / fiction writer and an essayist, is the editor of "Voices From Leimert Park: A Poetry Anthology." Working on a second collection of poetry, memoir and novel, she is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Hampton University.  Website.  Email.

by Sudip Bhattacharya

Ah, pause awhile and feel
How it would have been otherwise
- Without the distilled moonlight,
And poems, and that old thunder
Now grown so old!
Like your smile’s sweetness,
For tired bones do not rebels make.

Like the thoughts which passed us
One stormy lovelorn eve,
For fires once put out do not burn again.

Yet nothing is for ever
So there will come other evenings
Of peace and laughter
Youth and joy
Glory and bravery.

There’ll be others like me and you
Someday, somewhere,
And sometime they’ll say what
We would once have said,
One stormy lovelorn eve ….
Ah, pause awhile and feel
How it could all have been otherwise!

SUDIP BHATTACHARYA is a teacher by profession, currently Reader in the Department of English, at one of India's premier colleges, the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira.  He writes poetry and prose fiction, but has only recently, at the behest of friends and relatives, offered it for public reading.  A Ph.D in English, his published work until that time had been largely academic.  Sudip is married and has a four-year old daughter. In addition to reading and writing, he enjoys spending hours at the computer.  Email

by Donna Carbone
My face has a few wrinkles
Body parts have sagged
My skin tone in places limp as a rag
The color in my hair the result of a dye
Imperfections unveiled yet with you I'm not shy
You see me forever the young girl I was
When we met and locked eyes and 
Knew it was love
Whether eighteen or eighty
In your eyes I remain
That beautiful woman whose devotion you claimed
With the touch of your hand and encouraging smiles
Together we've traveled down life's many aisles
And this one thing I know forever to be true
Through the years I have always been blessed to have you.

Married for thirty-three years and the mother of the two grown children, DONNA CARBONE began writing at the age of ten. She is presently working on a semi-biographical work of fiction entitled "Private Hell" and  writing/developing a potential series for cable television.  With her son, Michael, a writer living in Los Angeles, she is planning a series of books in the magical realism genre.  "Each day  inspires me... what I see, hear and experience. If it lingers in  my consciousness, I write about it."  Email.

by John C. Boylan

Let’s pretend
That it is fifty or so years ago,
That we are both young and strong,
That we are new to life, 
New to the world,
New to each other.

Now, let’s pretend
That life is easy for us,
That we can do almost anything we try,
That we succeed in what we do,
That we like what we see.

So now, we can pretend
That all is well,
And we are well,
And everything is as before,
That you are here
And there is still a future for us.

JOHN BOYLAN is a mostly retired lawyer who is at last succumbing to a lifetime urge to write.  Long Story Short is proud to be among the first to publish John's work.   Email.

FANTASY MAN  (Dear Edd Byrnes)
by CarolAnn Zito
How can I explain these feelings in my heart
We’ve never said hello or shared as much as a passing glance
Yet, since a child, these emotions hold true
I can’t imagine a love more pure
Than the one I feel for you
I think back and see young girl in complete adoration
Filling scrapbooks with pictures of your handsome face
Watching you on the silver screen
Cherishing every moment of each precious scene
Pretending I’m the woman in your warm embrace
Alas, fantasy gives way to real life
Busy days turn to years filled with endless chores,
All the things that are a must
Scrapbooks are tucked away, unopened,
Collecting dust.
I look at the man sleeping beside me
We share home, life, love and name
But, Fantasy Man, within depths of my soul
A longing to meet you will always remain
Watching an old movie just the other night
Hubby didn’t quite understand my small sad smile
Feeling those old warm fuzzies hug my heart tight
I explained with a sigh
Oh! he’s just a favorite of mine

CAROL ANN ZITO resides in Cutchogue, NY.  She writes, “I have been writing for as long as I can remember.  Probably for just as long, I have been an admirer of Edd Byrnes (a.k.a Kookie).  This is a tribute to him.”  Email.

by Raquel D. Bailey
       the sun fills
his wife's empty vase
with golden shimmers

RAQUEL D. BAILEY, originally from Jamaica, is the Founding Editor of Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine, sponsoring haiku, tanka, etc. and short fiction contests year round.  A Florida State University English graduate, she has earned Honorable Mentions in the 2009 Satoyama Haiku Contest, 2009 With Words Haiku Contest (U.K.), 2008 Ludbreg Haiku Calendar Contest (Croatia), 2008 Haiku Calendar Contest U.K. (Snapshot Press), and the 2007 Mainichi Daily News Haiku Contest (Japan). Her work appears in The Heron's Nest, Atlas Poetica, The Smoking Poet, Other Poetry, EPN, Asahi Haikuist Network, Modern Haiku, Acorn, Red Lights, Simply Haiku, Presence, Frogpond, Ribbons, Chrysanthemum, Magnapoets, Shamrock, Modern English Tanka, Wisteria and Cider Press Review.  Email.

by Joseph Roque

She is like a
porcelain souvenir,
white china beautiful.

Perhaps a doll.

Satinesque. Lips of fire and ice.
Dangerously sizzling to the touch,
but always statuesque in soft light.

What attracts eyes
to re-visit you repeatedly?
What propels clandestine fingers
across every hidden curve of your body?

Who decides how beautiful you are?

The casual observer, lips trembling with awe,
or the ghostly opaque spirit you hide, riveting
glistening sheen of silken smile outside?

JOSEPH ROQUE is a New Englander near retirement, who is re-acquainting himself with his favorite pursuit, walking in the woods, where he seduces nature and gathers words in glass jars.  Most recently, his poetry has appeared in Silver Wings Magazine, and A Tender Touch and a Shade of Blue online.  Contact

by Adelina Vartolomei
You lent me your skin for a while
I held it tightly with greed and obsession
Now my heart wanders despaired
Cause you took it back while I slept
My eyes were closed when your heart smiled
My ears were shut when you whispered you cared
I missed it when you caressed my hair
The mouth was dry with anticipation
One second too late, always a step behind
A moment apart, an ocean in between
My soul can’t fly that far with these wings
They're made out of wax and you're like the sun
Alone and scared, breathing is loud
Nothing can cover its monstrous sound
The lonely skin burns, the body aches
Everything makes me feel so alive

ADELINA VAROLOMEI is from Romania.  She is currently pursuing an MA in Anglo-American Studies.  She also teaches English at the university.  She says, “Writing is essential to my being!”  Contact.

by Patricia Wellingham-Jones  
His years soaked into that back room
licked the faded wallpaper
seeped into the rug
The rump-sprung chair
carried the scent of him
and the musty smell of a thousand books
A lifetime of evenings
then later full days
of reading under the old brass lamp
have soaked his presence so deep
we still feel him there
when we open the door

PATRICIA WELLINGHAM-JONES has a longtime interest in 'healing writing' and the benefits people gain from writing and reading their work together. Widely published, her chapbooks include DON’T TURN AWAY: Poems about Breast Cancer, VOICES ON THE LAND, and END-CYCLE: Poems about Caregiving.  Contact

by Samantha Shipman
I know him
in the morning
before I can even recognize myself.
Hanging in the haze of sleep
settled upon my weary brow.
I hear him
without words.
Echoing in and out of my consciousness.
As I lean in,
only to catch a farewell.
I feel him
as though
he was a part of me.
Not meant to be touched
or changed in any way.
I trust him
for no good reason.
As all that’s left of my faith
is caught halfway through the door.
Running for the finish line.
I hate him
because he does not see me.
No matter how hard I try,
I will be nothing
and quickly forgotten.
I love him
not knowing who he truly is
or who I’m meant to be.
Tucked into the back of my mind
for when my heart needs a memory.
I lose him
each time I find him
and remember him
every time I try to forget.

SAMANTHA SHIPMAN is a recreational poet who has been published in “The Poet's Haven” and “Teen Ink Raw.”  Born and raised in Kansas City, MO, she trains horses and teaches riding lessons for a living.  In Samantha’s words, “I'd like to consider my poetry something that everyone can relate to.”  Contact.

by Patricia Crandall
Percolating espresso-
the coffee bean aroma
scents the new pine kitchen.
Newspapers are spread open
on the Sunday morning table.
A smooth white hand
couples with a rough one.
Rain on the roof
and patterns on the glass.
Eyes liquefy,
conveying passion
yet to be expressed.

PATRICIA CRANDALL has three books in print: The DOG MEN, a thriller, Melrose, THEN AND NOW, a historical volume, and I PASSED THIS WAY, a poetry book. She is currently working on an adventure/thriller novel and a book of bottle mining adventures. She lives with her husband on a lake in the Grafton Mountains near upstate New York.  Contact.

by Abha Iyenga

Once again we meet
And I have to carry
A memory in my womb
For another time.

Waiting is all.

A leaf will flutter somewhere
To tell the state of my heart
And you will know
Its gold bursting
Its red bleeding
Its green holding.

ABHA IYENGAR is an internationally published writer and poet. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, magazines and literary journals, such Insolent Rudder, Gowanus Books, Mannequin Envy, Conversation Poetry Quarterly, Nefarious Ballerina etc. She is a Kota Press Poetry Anthology contest winner. Her story, ‘The High Stool’ was nominated for the Story South Million Writers Award. She is a member of The Poetry Society of India and ‘Riyaz’ Writer’s Group at The British Council, New Delhi. She writes articles on health and spirituality for several Indian magazines. She is Fiction Editor with Frog Books, Mumbai and recently produced a poem film ‘Parwaaz’ (flight) that is being screened at international film festivals. WebsiteEmail.

 by John Grey
And how did I come to be here,           
at your front door,
a corny bunch of red roses in my hand?
Do I push the button?
Is the buzz inside your house
the sound of the saw
that’s cutting my life off
from behind me?

I know nothing at all
of the meaning of life
but I’ve not given up
looking at its clues.
Doorstep. Flowers. Button. Buzz.
And then the sound of footsteps,
nearer, ever nearer.
The door will open.
So how do I come to know that much?

You smile.
You take the roses.
You kiss my cheek.
Such is the order things come in.

Soon enough,
we’re on the couch and hugging.
But soon enough
is not know enough.

JOHN GREY has been published recently in the Georgetown Review, Connecticut Review,  South Carolina Review and The Pedestal, with work upcoming in Poetry East and The Pinch.  He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.  Email

 by Barnali Saha

Unbeknownst to the mighty blue I have travelled lands afar, high seas and rocky mounds
My drooping eyelids have scathed the broad universe with unremitting ambitions
The traded turfs have travelled through time and are worn out like me
One unquenchable North Star rests high above, 
looking down at the earthly grace
The molten lava of the last rainy season ooze from the sinews of the mud

Unbeknownst to me I have been delighted, cradled and nurtured
When the weary feet stomped on the pricks, I saw brambles, new aspirations align.
The dark sword of the eerie night covered me with its starry blanket
I smelled the murk, a satisfied breath, an eye full of sleep
Uncertainties and vagaries kill me everyday, the nuisance of the dazzling land where they say Man dwells. 
I have had my share, my downtrodden, subservient roads to tread on.
My prenatal cries had once stained the white washed faces and had walked out.

To see, to see, to learn till I die. Lands forlorn, unseen islands, broken sand dunes of exasperated dreams: I have seen them all.
Far away from the culture of gizmos, I have spend a millennia peregrinating
Yet, as twilight paints my fa├žade, I have no where to go. 
Still unsatisfied in my heart, I crave earthly emotions of love and pain.
Unbeknownst to me I have been a pariah.  Unbeknownst to me I have lived a death. 
BARNALI SAHA is a creative writer from Kolkata, India, currently living in Nashville, TN.  Her poems and short stories have appeared in The Statesman, one of India’s oldest newspapers.  She also wrote for a woman's magazine, DNA-ME, and several e-magazines and newspapers in India.  In the U.S., her work has appeared in Many Midnights and Pens on Fire.  Barnali recently self-published her first book, FIGMENTS OF IMAGINATION through  Contact.

by Gloria Watts 

we are
eyes averted,
an unexpected
meeting this rainy day,
a smile, with a touch of hands,
brief as are the words we utter
before passing on, not looking back
at love’s past, at yesterday’s dream that died

GLORIA WATTS is a retired Further Education Lecturer, living in the UK.  She enjoys the time she spends writing short stories and poetry. Many of her stories and poems have been published on-line.  Email.

 by Floriana Hall
Our hearts are a reservoir for love
Ever filling up with tender emotions
All inclusive, every day of the year.

Come Valentine’s Day, the love is expressed
With frilly homemade cards and red ribbons
All around the border and words so dear.

Gifts and candy do not empty the chasm we keep
And refill each time we show our love
With charming chatter, caring and cheer.

The pool keeps growing to fill each day
Love of God, family and friends
Love of nature in all its splendor.

Loving life and living it to the fullest
Brings peace and contentment
Like whispering lullabies babies hear.

This Valentine’s Day in February 2010
Say it with flowers or candy hearts
And declare “I love you, dear!”

FLORIANA HALL was born in Pittsburgh, PA,  She is a Distinguished Alumna of Cuyahoga Falls High School, OH and attended Akron U.  She has been married to Robert for 59 years.  They have five children, nine grandchildren, one great-granddaughter.  She is author/editor of ten inspirational books, including two books of poetry, The Sands of Rhyme and Gathering Graces. Floriana is founder of the Poet’s Nook at Cuyahoga Falls Library and editor of the group’s four books. She is mentioned in Who's Who, Writers, Editors and Poets, Who's Who in International Poetry and Marquis Who's Who in America. She has been published in the US, UK, France and India and is a Poetry teacher at the Long Story Short Writing School.  Contact.

 by Marie Delgado Travis

I left, my darling. 

And just as you promised, 
the last image  
I saw was 
your eyes. 

 I don’t know if 
it’s because you 
were by my side 
in the final moments. 
Or whether you killed me 
with your own hands. 

All I know is that 
I left… 

In love with you. 

MARIE DELGADO TRAVIS is an award-winning author.  She writes poetry and prose in English and Spanish and was recently selected the 2010 Houston Hispanic Book Festival's local "Author of the Year."  Marie's poetry books are available at and  Website.  Email

by cm

at a time
when shocking
is long past,
and current age
my present,

you knocked on my door
thirty years late

it was like
looking through the peephole
at a shape and figure

“how did you find me?”
i asked,
as if it mattered

i was nineteen or twenty
forget which
and we
we were the earth opening
a thousand flashing
corny lights,

a wondrously wild
four years, maybe five

the ending,
a long, crippling sickness
but somehow
i survived

i opened the door
and it was you
“would you like to come in?”

we talked for hours
the words, images
fluttering, shaking

i’d always wondered
the longing, aching
far removed
that other life

i listened to your voice
a twinge of sadness
and your smile, your eyes
the light
strangely missing

once upon a time
the love of my life
my world

could have talked
for days
what could’ve been
what we’ve become,

but it was clear
as i gazed into your face
the years
our time
had come full circle

flashing lights
delirious innocence

and i knew

the sickness gone

CHARLES MARIANO is the author of THE WHOLE ENCHILADA:  Recipes, Photos and Stories from Merced, CA, available at  Charles is, in his own words,  "Elusive, reclusive, and otherwise quiet."  Contact

by Rebecca Rose Taylor

Have you ever realized
People are rarely satisfied?
Perhaps it’s human nature
Maybe we like to complain
But whatever it is
We’re rarely satisfied.
In the summer we say
“It’s much too hot, when’s winter?”
In the winter we complain
“So cold, can’t wait for summer.”
Whatever the weather
We’re rarely satisfied.

When it rains
We want it to stop
And when it’s dry
We complain about no rain.
We are rarely satisfied
Must just be our way

So ironic to be this way
To be happy
Would it rain and be dry
At the same time?
Or be as warm as Florida
And snow
All in the same day?
We are rarely satisfied
Because we want the impossible.  

REBECCA ROSE TAYLOR lives on a farm along the St.Francis River in Quebec. She works as a Secretary-Receptionist at a seniors’ home during the day and pursues her dream of writing in the evening and on weekends. Previous publications include Perspectives Magazine, Grainews, Bread n' Molasses, Write On! and on Michael Lee Johnson's website "A Tender Touch and A Shade of Blue."  Contact.

by Michael Lee Johnson

Graying in
my life
growing old
like stagnant
bucket of
rain water with moss
floating on the top-
oh, it’s now such
a bad deal,
except when
catches you
chilled in the
middle of a sentence
by yourself,
ticking away
like an old grandfather clock,
hands stretched straight in the air
striking midnight
like a final

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, Illinois. His new poetry chapbook with pictures, entitled From Which Place the Morning Rises, and his new photo version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom are available on and  He has been published in over 22 countries. You Tube Email.

February Celebrity Poet

Wallace Stevens


Nationality:  American

Poetry is a Destructive Force

Read this poem & learn about the poet at

Quoted for educational purposes only.

All work the copyright of the respective authors.

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