When you write in prose
you say what you mean.
When you write in rhyme
you say what you must.
Oliver Wendell HolmesSource
POEM OF THE MONTH
by David Fraser
I did not keep my first poem
that the teacher said
my mother wrote.
I remember shyly stating that
I had written it
but she didn’t hear those words.
My mother hardly read,
So often she said
“I haven’t got my glasses here.”
She seemed to know
what her knitting patterns said,
could read the numbers
on the bills that needed to be paid,
could read the headlines
in The Telegram, but never had
the details to a question asked.
I didn’t say any of those thoughts
or state to the teacher
“How could she, write a poem?”
one about a river
a soldier on a bank
an imitative gurgling of the stream
as it began its journey to the sea
the slow winding
meander mimic of the verse
as it matured,
so I made a mistake that day
sank back deeper into myself
never wrote a thing for many years
didn’t give that teacher the time of day
blocked out English learning
for at least that year,
held a grudge.
I wonder now
if she were still alive
if she’d recognize my mother’s style
in some verse I have in print and
if she’d ponder on
who really wrote the poem?
I wonder if I’d shrugged off
her comments so long ago
got angry, fired up
wrote and wrote,
if I would have made
her eat her words,
made her see something behind
my cold stone eyes,
made my own new words
a little finer then?
I wonder if my mother
would have liked
the first poem that I ever wrote.
DAVID FRASER lives on Vancouver Island. He is the founder and editor of Ascent Aspirations Magazine, since 1997. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including recently, Rocksalt, An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry. He has published three collections of poetry, Going to the Well (2004), Running Down the Wind (2007) and No Way Easy, 2010. To keep out of trouble he helps develop Nanaimo’s spoken-word series, WordStorm. Contact
by Anthony Palma
There’s art in it.
There’s art in it,
in letting go,
to just once
know what it's like
for the jazz guitarist,
cigarette dangling between
to tease his guitar
with smoke as
into blue note
after blue note
after blue note.
ANTHONY PALMA is an adjunct professor in the Philadelphia area. He lives in West Chester, PA with his family. Contact
A DIFFERENT AGE
by Patricia Crandall
In Aunt Mim’s day
I would have considered
having nine children
as she was mule enough
Today I spend my energies
Hers was a different age,
when children romped freely
through dandelion pastures
and daisy fields.
Evil did not lurk
a boogie man appeared
and was dismissed
with a hoot or a wave.
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, New York. Contact
I HAVE A LITTLE BUTTERFLY
by Callie Patsellis
I have a little butterfly
That I call Hopes and Dreams
I keep him in a cage
He never sees the light of day
He lives off lasting fantasies
And unspoken desires
He drinks in my passions
As I feed him aspirations
Not many know of him, you see
I keep him tucked away
Fearful that the harsh world
Will crush his frail and fragile wings
I have a little butterfly
That I call Hopes and Dreams
I keep him in a cage
He never sees the light of day
CALLIE PATSELLIS is a teenager, who loves reading and writing poetry. In her own words: “I love finding inspiration for my poetry in the smallest things, then relating it to something big.” Contact
by Raquel D. Bailey
with fading laughter
RAQUEL D. BAILEY, originally from Jamaica, is the Founding Editor of Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine, sponsoring haiku, tanka & short fiction contests year round. An F.S.U. English graduate, she has earned Honorable Mentions in the 2009 Satoyama Haiku Contest and With Words Haiku Contest (U.K./Japan), among others. Her poetry appears in many publications, including The Heron's Nest, Atlas Poetica, Modern Haiku, Acorn, Red Lights, Simply Haiku, Wisteria and Cider Press Review. Raquel resides in Florida. Contact
THE SEA OF LIFE
by Floriana Hall
The boat is rocking on an unknown sea
The captain of the ship is still trying to be
In charge of the steering, port and aft.
The rain is drenching the rollicking waters
The days of cruising have suddenly been altered
By design of the Maker of the craft.
The channel is deep, the ocean bottom in sight
The captain is fighting with all his might
His courage noted by all his staff.
The clipper is flipping, but stays the course
For all past transgressions, there is remorse
Seeping through the piled up stacks.
The schooner is weaving to and fro
Getting back on course, though very slow
Steady there, mates, strength coming back.
In charge or every movement, he takes the wheel
To balance the ship on an even keel
The storm is over, now he can laugh.
FLORIANA HALL is the author of 12 books, six nonfiction and six inspirational poetry books. Her nonfiction book, FRANCIS, NOT THE SAINT has recently been translated into Spanish (FRANCISCO, NO EL SANTO). Her new poetry book SELECT SANDS OF RHYME AND REASON and young children's book SIMPLE PLEASURES are now available at Cyberwit and Amazon. Floriana teaches poetry at LssWritingSchool.com under YOU, ME, AND POETRY. Contact Website
by Maria Ercilla
I do not know why it is
that poems come to me in the shower,
but they do,
as if pouring forth from the shower head
and like flying fish
swirl ’round and ’round
doing flips and leaps
shimmering silver in the blackness
of my mind,
at times so many
I feel myself drowning,
reaching desperately for paper and pen
to save myself.
MARIA ERCILLA was born in Havana, Cuba and came to the US at the age of four. She graduated from UCLA and has taught English, ESL and Special Education to high school students for the past twenty-three years. Her latest writing accomplishments are Second Place in last year's Writer's Digest Competition for Poetry and publication in Calyx and CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE LATINO SOUL. She has written a short story collection called THIRTEEN MIRACLES AND COUNTING and is working on her second novel. Maria lives in Los Angeles, CA with her family. Contact
by Marie Delgado Travis
Ah, at night, I melt in you!
Butter over hot bread.
Battered yolk and egg whites.
Drops in a
At night, when all
the world is silent,
Just before the
break of day…
I melt in you!
MARIE DELGADO TRAVIS was recently honored as Author of the Year at the Eighth Annual Houston Hispanic Book Festival (2010). She writes poetry and prose in English and Spanish. Website Storefront
by Mary Ann Goodwin
Our two dogs dug themselves
a hot weather dungeon
beneath the shade of the cottonwood
between the storage building and fence.
From the kitchen window,
a backyard once subject to order
sprawls in rumpled deterioration.
Deep wounds to manicured grass
mock illusions of control,
pulverize pride of ownership,
remove all hope of redeeming
the disheveled remains.
Soothed by a gentle summer breeze
that hums through the cottonwood,
two heaving heaps of canine flesh
curl in comfortable camaraderie.
Ear twitches and whimpers
of secret inner lives occasionally
interrupt contented dozing
in their self-customized lair
of cool bare earth.
Sure of our affection, they nap,
unaware of our self-reflections
and momentary envy.
MARY ANN GOODWIN is a retired aerospace software project manager who now writes poetry and children stories. She is a member of the Gulf Coast Poets, the Galveston (Texas) Poets Roundtable, the Poetry Society of Texas and the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators. Her first chapbook is titled unleavened bread and includes the above poem. Besides Long Story Short, her poems have been published by Gulf Coast Poets. Others are scheduled for publication in Windows 2010 (Alvin Community College) and the Poetry Society of Texas Bulletin. Contact
WAITING FOR THE WELCOME WORDS
by Betti Bernardi
The book, my book, my soul,
‘Tis launched–naked, clad
only in sturdy drape of poet’s
Boxed words of heart conjoined
with hopeful others in piles
editors wade. First readers be
Tracking the parcel, find delivery
complete, begins the quickening.
Rushing blood of pounding doubt
Poets write the inside out.
Baring raw emotions, begging
truth. Pray, tread gently, read
Words–handle with care.
Will it, can it, does it strike the
chord intended? Will I, might I
survive the wait while words recline–
How to live the days ‘tween boxed
journey and hoped for assent, first
book, first courage to lease work.
Fragile? No, sturdy, I, who wrestles
with questions to disturb my peaceful
mind. Waiting for the welcome words–
BETTI BERNARDI is a Colorado freelance writer with a background in Behavioral Science. Her articles have appeared in Collector’s News, Writer’s Guidelines Magazine, Fathers, Brothers, Sons magazine, Mothering Magazine, Indy’s Child Magazine, Moondance and Antiques and Collecting Magazine. She also has had articles published in Antique Weekly, Moondance and online in the Boomer Women Speak website,. Her poems have been published in Country Kids News, Writer’s Journal, Once Upon a Time, Our Journey, Beyond Katrina, Shemom, Nomad’s Choir and on the World Peace Australia website, among others. Contact
so much, so often
there’s no time
to read it
lay it down
move to the next
not anything good
just a lot
every once and awhile
i stumble on a particular
words and lines
from my eyes
the side of my face
through these fingers
on the page,
then rushed out the door
by speedy stagecoach
to a secluded
the words and lines
cover the ground
like the leaves in fall
of heartbreaking agony
“did i write that?”
then, like always
forget to see,
on my face
CHARLES MARIANO is the author of THE WHOLE ENCHILADA: Recipes, Photos and Stories from Merced, CA, available on Amazon. Charles is, in his own words, "Elusive, reclusive, and otherwise quiet." Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
by Barbara McCarthy
I kissed his hand because I could not kiss his lips—
Imperfect creatures sitting side-by-side,
A union that can never be,
Forever out of reach,
Though not unrequited,
His hands intertwined in mine—
His grip strong and warm,
A sweet release of salty droplets came—
Yet only two or three escaped,
The rest returned to a tear-filled heart—
Now held within his hands,
On that day he cried for me,
So I kissed his hand because I could not kiss his lips.
BARBARA McCARTHY is a writer living in the always-complicated borough of Brooklyn. Her non-fiction work, “The Singing Lesson” recently appeared in “The Legendary.” She attended Pratt Institute’s Writing Program. Barbara has been a nurse for twenty-five years. She writes because she cannot sing. Writing allows her to hit the high notes and the low notes without annoying the neighbors. Contact
by Patricia Wellingham-Jones
Rusty penny boy,
that’s what I call you,
that’s where you fit in my life.
Not the bright shining quarter
of the slick man I almost married
or the tarnished dime
of the one I did.
You with your auburn hair
and modest ways get overlooked.
I’d pluck you off any street
for the sheer solid worth
of your copper.
Silver gleams on my ear lobes,
copper keeps the pipes
of my life running smooth.
PATRICIA WELLINGHAM-JONES has a longtime interest in "healing writing" and the benefits people gain from writing and reading their work together. Her poems, stories and articles are 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 B.J. Lee
A fiery streak of passion illuminates a cool night sky;
ruddy breath, glowing blaze, against deepest black.
Can’t every poet relate to the comet’s
screaming heat and sudden impact?
Isn’t that what we aspire to:
to crash with dizzying energy into minds and change them;
to feel the consummate instant when the head explodes
and the heart bursts;
to be mourned with the kind of tears that recognize our sensation?
Shattered comets, dead poets,
B.J. LEE is primarily a children's poet and author, although the adult poem/novel seems to slips out with increasing frequency. She has many publication credits to her name. Formerly a music librarian at The Boston Conservatory, B.J. has a M.L.S. from Simmons College in Boston and a B.A. in English. She lives in Florida with her husband and toy poodles. Contact Website
THE FAR SIDE OF THE HILL
by Abi Wyatt
We set off, cheerful, an hour before dawn:
it promised to be a fine day –
No – surely, you recall the way
the morning sky burned red?
‘Shepherds’ warning,’ you said,
and then you laughed –
‘Damned few sheep in
these barren parts…’
We started up the hill
at a right brisk pace –
Brisk! You call that ‘brisk’?
Fast enough alright that I thought
my heart might burst inside my chest.
Didn’t your mother teach you that,
when the race is done,
it may not be to the swift alone
that bays and laurels come?
The truth is we cracked on
so fast we missed our chosen path
and, later, growing weary, found
we had to double back.
Have grace, at least, to tell it right –
you got us well and truly lost!
We crossed the scrub land, then went down.
There, in the valley where we walked
the air hung sweet and clear –
Things changed. –
Somehow, I felt you knew the way.
And so, I felt no fear –
but followed in your footsteps that,
by nightfall, brought us – Here.
ABI WYATT lives in the beautiful county of Cornwall in the United Kingdom. She was formerly a teacher of English but is now a full-time writer. Her poetry has been published in a number of independent magazines, most recently Word Salad, First Edition and Poetry Cornwall. Contact
MY LITTLE GIRL’S HAIR
by Terri Kirby Erickson
Sunlight lingers in my daughter’s hair,
as if it is captured,
somehow, when she flies across a field,
pulling a kite—or skips through the garden,
gathering flowers. Night and day, it shines,
as if angels run their fingers
through it, when no one’s
TERRI KIRBY ERICKSON is an award-winning poet. She is the author of two collections, Thread Count (2006) and Telling Tales of Dusk (2009). Her work has appeared in numerous publications, and she received nominations for both a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net award in 2009. Contact Website
by Shonda Buchanan
John Brown holds me
Whispers in my hair--
Light and amber
Arms and silence
Church and rain
Earth and hand
Never as slaves.
SHONDA BUCHANAN, poet, creative nonfiction/fiction writer and an essayist, is the editor of "Voices From Leimert Park: A Poetry Anthology." She is currently working on a second collection of poetry, memoir and novel and is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Hampton University. Contact
WHAT PARADISE LOST
by Luke Armstrong
In Paradise, a childless father combs the beach,
Walking in and out of the moon’s methodical tug,
While watching for discarded treasures to shimmer
Finally from that blue murky mystery to his sandy hands,
Out of paradise he once walked through
City secrets and bouncing between the
Exceptional acoustics of rouge reasoning
Took a that to a this, that did not just
Begin with a ring and a promise,
He reflects now on the shore.
In paradise all the locals always smile, making
Beads and beds, cooking calamari and carrying coffee,
Saying thank you sir and ma’m, they hold out a hand,
The tips in paradise just large enough to keep them here.
And what keeps him here, sighing at the sea, is not
The waves or surf or sun or sand,
But because there’s no way in a far off city they’ve
Left afloat a light for him this long.
As a non-fction writer, LUKE ARMSTRONG’s work has been featured in dozens of travel publication including Outside, Perceptive Travel, Folate Oak, MatadorTravel, and his piece Finding Maximón was nominated for the 2010 anthology of Best American Travel Writing. A volume of poetry "iPoems for the Dolphins to Click Home About," published by Small Poetry Press, is available on Amazon. His second novel, How One Guitar Will Save the World, is scheduled to be released in late 2010. Luke resides in Antigua, Guatemala, where he directs the humanitarian development organization Nuestros Ahijados. Contact
by Frank De Canio
Because we did not kiss goodbye,
the tears that should have fostered bliss
now stain my cheeks.
The breast that should have cradled sleep
now bears in folded arms my grief.
And love, which might have had a start,
lies buried in my distant heart,
while I lament, as one apart
FRANK DE CANIO was born and bred in New Jersey. He loves music of all kind, from Back to Amy Winehouse. Shakespeare is his consolation. His work has appeared in Sunken Lines, Genie, Write On!!, Red Owl, Nuthouse, Love‘s Chance, Words of Wisdom and many others. On the web, he’s on on POETZ, Contemporary Rhyme, Language and Culture, and Thick with Conviction. Contact
by Nancy Bowman-Ballard
Hearts of stone or glass, ice or flesh,
beat in time
to the heart of the clock,
and the pulse runs quick,
the rushing feet
fall in time
to the tune in their mind,
or the ring of the phone,
"don't be late"
do not be late!
Whizzing cars and honking horns
reflect the shouts
that lovers later give to one another
as darkness falls,
A bird sits perched in his cage,
listening for that soothing voice,
and leftovers await tired feet
that hurry through the door.
NANCY BOWMAN-BALLARD’s poetry credits include the Lynch Award from the Poetry Society of Texas for her poem, "Waiting", and another poem, "Quiet Hills" recently published in the Dec/Jan issue of Pennine Ink Magazine, UK. Also, "Of The Night" was published in the Spring 2010 issue of miller's pond poetry e-zine magazine. Nancy won Honorable Mention in the Poetree Contest with publication in a chapbook that is being sold to benefit AncientTree .org.. Other writing credits include second place in the People's Choice Awards for a short story in The Storyteller Magazine, as well as a short story and essay published by Redrosebush Press. Contact:
TIME I WASTED MANAGING A DINER
by John Tzikas
Waxing floors with my heart
Bending forks with my mind
The pantry door slams
An old timer peels carrots
In her undershirt
Another wasted time song
This one’s plain broken English
We don’t care for the language
So we speak in nods
Blending sauces with my eyes
Searing steaks with my shoulders
Florescent tubes dim
A newbie sautés peppers
In his Speedos
Just another cooking show
It’s in censured subtitles
It’s a writers strike
We don’t care for the sub plots
So we seethe in sign
The waiter in the diaper
Cracks nuts with his shoes
While paying patrons pant
About naked greed
JOHN TZIKAS is a Toronto, Canada based poet/ free verse writer with a passion for classic literature and history. His poems have appeared in Canada in Authors (1995), Quills (2008, 2010), and in the US in Poetry Super Highway (2010), Word Catalyst (2010), Midwest Literary Magazine (2010), and Ditch Poetry Magazine(2010). He has performed readings for more than five years in small coffee house settings, while living in Guelph and Kitchener, Ontario. Contact
DESDEMONA OF THE HEIGHTS
by Henry Sosnowski
in your lap,
on your back stoop,
from this angle
the midnight blue sky,
your hair shrouds the stars
a scented auburn curtain
narrowing around me,
shutting out their world
closing on your kiss
HENRY SOSNOWSKI’s poems have appeared in more than 3 dozen publications. Henry lives in Reno, NV, where he works as an English and Poetry professor. Contact
WINDOW ON THE WORLD
by Alan M. Toback
How can I see this world?
Where is this place of salvation?
I am alone here, sitting in a chair by the window, in total darkness
The muted sun fills the east side of the room
Exhibiting a warm glow to my face
As the earth turns its magical circle
I sit alone waiting, listening to an expressive world
The robin redbreast sings outside the window
A soft breeze rustles the tree branches
Shaking them against the lower pane
I can hear the sounds of cars passing on the street below
People talking, a radio booming
Sounds reach up to encircle my ears
This life I live is limited, but fulfilling in many ways
A wooden window frame
Looking glass to the world
Seeing with eyes that do not see
Yet eyes that still sense the beauty
ALAN M. TOBACK is a man with endearing dreams who has lived a lifetime. His work has been published in Museitup Club's “The Muse On Writing,” Shadow poetry’s anthology “Before The Last Teardrop Falls”, Literati journal, Passages In Time anthology by JMW Publishing Co., on Poets.com and Thoughtcafe.com, to name a few. At this time Alan is also working on a full-length novel as well as a romance-suspense story. His inspiration is, and has been, his wife Mary. Alan writes in free verse style because the words come straight from his heart. He now writes flash fiction, as well. Contact
CATCH THE CLOUDS
by Moe Fawaz
I climb pine trees attempting to reach the clouds,
and as I go up, clouds rise and become further,
beyond the reach of my hands.
I reach the top of the tree and see Grand Rapids from above
but clouds remain far and high
close to my view, but way beyond my reach.
Disappointed, I run to my mom
with dirty and torn clothes
that have wiped the sharp, rough and sticky tree-branches.
I couldn't reach the clouds, I cry.
my mom asks with surprise.
With an angry look, she points to my clothes,
but I disregard her look and bathe my face with tears.
Clouds shunned me, I say with sobs.
A smile defeats her angry look;
clouds aren't to be touched, dear, she says,
they are gas—air, visible but intangible to the hands.
I understand nothing and vow to resume,
my attempt to reach the far grey clouds that soak me every summer;
gas, air or whatever, I'll reach them one day.
MOE FAWAZ is a Grand Valley State University Alum with dual degrees in Creative Writing and Psychology. Contact
SUNNY SUMMER DAYS
by James Piatt
The air, diffused with fiery arias
Of youthful, vibrant joys
Inspires gentle thoughts,
Soft, chiming memories
Hot precious summer days
Painted with shafts of gold,
I yield my soul to the moment
and play the child again,
Romping happily in warm thoughts.
I dream of past sunny days
And my heart blossoms.
JAMES PIATT earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University. He earned his doctorate from BYU. He is retired now, and spends his summers along the river, reading, writing, and penning poetry. Two of his relatives, John James Piatt and Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt, were prolific poets who wrote their poetry in the eighteen hundreds. Contemporary American Voices (featured poet), Word Catalyst Magazine (featured poet), Apollo’s Lyre, Caper Journal, Vox Poetica, Shadow Poetry Anthology, The Penwood Review, Wilderness House Review, Front Porch Review, A Handful of Stones, Autumn Leaves, and Hanging Moss Journal, have published or will be publishing his poetry. Contact
JULY CELEBRITY POET
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar--
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.
Read the entire poem at
and Holmes’ biography at
Quoted for educational purposes only.
All work the copyright of the respective authors.
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