Treading Water

Calm is the best way to describe the night. Silence hangs in the air strangely unperturbed by the only man that’s awake at 3 A.M. The same man that is currently climbing past the suicide barriers at Clifton. More silence, then the ugly crash of skin meeting water at 90 miles per hour. Organs rip from the chest; an unconscious man’s lungs fill with water. The smug silence returns.

Michael morris 1997-2017

 

Bio:

Isaac Izekor is a sudent from the UK who can usually be found hiding from pointless responsibilities like: a University degree and a family that loves him. Most of his work is collected on www.informedbabbling.wordpress.com.

© Isaac Izekor

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You Are Free To Leave Anytime

I know everything they say on the news is a lie. I know that everything I’m reading in the paper has been approved by the government, even the things that are critical about our leader. I know he watches us. I know it’s better to have stability than absolute liberty. You only have to look at our neighbors to see what happens if people can just do whatever the hell they want. Morality must be unconditional. Any deviation, however small, to the common good brings you closer to evil. Soon enough they will do all sorts of unnatural things they think is harmless. Our leader knows what’s right for us. He studied history. He knows the sciences. He knows the human spirit and how it must be contained.  Freedom is overrated. If you are free to explore yourself without limits, you will lose yourself into the abyss. The only recourse will be all kinds of deviancy. You could have avoided this, if only you listened.

This regime purifies us. All of these restrictions is for our own good. If we have a real election we will just vote for the wrong person. If we let people question our leader too much it will infect simple minds, the parasitic meme of dissent, and there will be chaos. Believe what they tell you. Even if you know it’s bullshit. Believe it all. Bow down when they tell you. He is our king. Our Tsar. Our prime-minister. Our president. He is your God. Obey. We must wake up before we allow ourselves to sleep.

 

Bio:

Chris van Dijk is a human animal who likes to write. He’s mostly interested in politics, history, the rights of humans and other animals and has a particularly unhealthy but rather fun obsession with cinema. His favorite writers are prof. John Gray, James Salter and Kurt Vonnegut. There are still a great many things he wants to write: a novella, a historical novel, a screenplay which he wants to adapt on the screen himself, a play which he wants to adapt on stage himself, several books of political science and countless books dedicated to his beautiful polish woman.

© Chris van Dijk

One Percent

Her purse serves as the divider between her and the stranger

Losing angels,              the train tiles are just a shade darker

As the lives of the                   innocent are extinguished

 

Bio:

Darrell Herbert has poetry featured in the likes of the “Best Teen Writing of 2014,” by Hannah Jones, NotMyPresident Anthology, Writers- Black Artists Connected Blog, A Shared Format 4 Poets, Yellow Chair Review, Poetic Treasures Magazine, Section 8 Magazine, Blacktopia: Black Utopia Society Blog, Works in Progress, Woman of P.O.W.E.R. blog, Media Blast Press, Madness Muse Magazine, cocktailmolly, New York Rising Blog, thisis50.com, Supastars Magazine, downsouthhiphop.com, Beat Yard Magazine, All Black Entertainment Magazine, Southeast Hip-Hop Magazine, Poets & Writers Magazine, Tuck Magazine, Wild Sound Festival Review, Dwartonline, Zoomoozophone Review, as well as in HangTime Magazine and The Lemonade Stand Magazine.

© Darrell Herbert

The Neighbor

She waved at me from across the street

with her flabby arms, like she was in a parade.

There was no candy at my feet. She was still

in her slippers, we didn’t need each other

just the gesture. She had everything she needed,

water, shelter, food, and heat.

Long ago the natives depended on each other

for survival. Now, she with her kind and me

with mine, we look good on paper downtown.

Hell, I don’t even know her but we have watched

each other’s movements for sixteen years now.

Perhaps we will meet?

It’s a quiet street, no outlaw’s just sparrows

and squirrels that watch for hawks. We don’t need

each other for safety, for trading whiskey, furs,

guns or gold dust. The ground doesn’t rumble today.

My lever action collects rust.

We have become bells that ring only when things

go wrong. We are somewhere between apathy and ape

alienated by the white lines in the street.

We will never go into the hills on buffalo kills,

we will never watch the wolves run with jaws full of

red daggers from a dark cave.

Sunset falls bitterly late. I don’t blame her any longer,

we are as enduring as stones.

We will never meet.

 

Bio:

Billy Malanga (M.S. in Criminal Justice) is a first generation college graduate, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and the grandson of Italian immigrants. He played college football and worked for many years in a state prison system. All of these influences have undeniably shaped his way of thinking about his art. His poetry reveals his small victories and also his struggles in redefining masculinity in an effort to better understand the beauty and brutality of the world around him. His recent poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The Ibis Head Review, Cold Creek Review, Dime Show Review, Rat’s Ass Review, Spindrift Art/Literary Journal, and at The Naga.org. He currently lives in Urbana, IL.

© Billy Malanga

My Date With An Indian Goddess

As a photographer, I capture beauty around the world. One face in particular ate my heart like a tea cake in one date, I felt for her in an odd way. Well, this is the way it went:

So, this Indian goddess sits across from me. Dark long locks brush her shoulders as she speaks with intelligence illuminating gold sparks in her almond eyes. I study her mouth’s every move. I gaze at her thin cushion top-lip as she grasps her straw with her thick bottom lip wrapping round, and she sucks up a Tequila Sunrise.

As she tells her life’s tale to me, her brown cheeks hue pink, and I laugh with her to make her white teeth gleam. In awe of this creature before me, my eyes travel her neck to watch the rise and fall of her breasts, squeezed together to perk up her silk blouse. She gesticulates with a poised right hand while her left sits upon the table across from mine.

I envision laying my white hand upon her long tan fingers, reading her palm so I can tell her she has nothing to be insecure about. But lonely is as lonely does, and she goes on and on about how she gets her dates online to find her perfect man.

We both went home alone, but I learned beauty doesn’t make a woman feel more in control. A woman is a woman despite her face, for those who possess beauty know it fades.

Bio:

I write under the pen name Hopelessly Inappropriate. I’ve been writing since I graduated from Ball State University in 1999 with my BA in Secondary English Education. While teaching the literary canon throughout Arizona, I continued creating stories and poetry, taking ESL and creative writing courses for my MA through Northern Arizona University. A year into my master’s program, after ten years of teaching high school, I met my husband, got married, and had a beautiful baby. I’m a writer, a woman, a wife, and a mother who has been a paraplegic for over half my years alive, giving me an interesting perspective on life. This is why I write.

© Kelley Bush

Girl in the Sun

My father went back to night school when I was fourteen.

He would come home around 11:30pm and sleep in the

basement. It was altruistic, he said. I wasn’t sure what that

meant.

There was less of him and more of burnt out lights and leaky

faucets around the house. Mother never mentioned neglect.

As the weeks passed, the recycling bin filled with empty

bottles of red blend. She said it was good for her health.

Years later, I noticed an oil painting in the basement propped

next to the rusty bed frame. I held it in both hands captivated

by its jagged unsigned surface. The silent barefoot woman in the

countryside with flowing hair seemed to be moving with each

short thick stroke of viridian cobalt blue. It had collected mildew

on the cold cellar floor. I left her facedown in the pillow.

I mentioned the art work to mother. I could see that we were both

holding our breath like hot air balloons. Your father actually

ran off with a young art student, she said.

 

Bio:

Billy Malanga (M.S. in Criminal Justice) is a first generation college graduate, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and the grandson of Italian immigrants. He played college football and worked for many years in a state prison system. All of these influences have undeniably shaped his way of thinking about his art. His poetry reveals his small victories and also his struggles in redefining masculinity in an effort to better understand the beauty and brutality of the world around him. His recent poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The Ibis Head Review, Cold Creek Review, Dime Show Review, Rat’s Ass Review, Spindrift Art/Literary Journal, and at The Naga.org. He currently lives in Urbana, IL.

© Billy Malanga

How We Train Our Arms

Her arms are so long that they touch the ground
Her arms are so long that they touch the ground and get in her way
Her arms are so long that she is constantly tripping over them
Her arms are so long that she can get no where that she wants to go
Her arms are so long that they wind around her and tie her up

Her arms are so long that they now make like snakes and become her biggest fears

Her arms are so long because she trained them to grow as such-

This is exactly what happens when you reach for things outside of yourself.

 

Bio:

Fee Thomas is a poet and activist from North, Minneapolis. She doesn’t call what she does writing, rather she says “it is the loosening of her heart and Spirit.” Her favorite thing is sitting on the grass with her niece teaching her to play the guitar.

© Fee Thomas