Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Great Day for Shadows by G. Louis Heath

At the sunny event in our public park,
There were many shadows. Shadows
To ride on, shadows to cry on, shadows

To hide under, shadows everywhere. 
Shadows cut across our faces uplifted to
The bandshell. We stood and sat at their 

Beckon. Shadows inked our bodies, pooled 
At our feet. They hid beneath our chairs and 
Hats. Shadows fastened on us all, stole along

Our chairs, tread the grass into the trees that 
Sent shadows marching on the day. Colorful
Banners bent down to adorn each speaker in 

Dusky runners. Shadows jumped to our applause, 
Stood still when we booed. Shadows absorbed us  
All as light faded. It was a great day for shadows.


G. Louis Heath, Ph.D., Berkeley, 1969, is Emeritus Professor, Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa. He enjoys reading his poems at open mics. He has published poems in a wide array of journals. His books include Leaves Of Maple and Long Dark River Casino.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Girl on Fire by Alexi Elias

Overalls faded, torn, slung over 
a striped top cropped, with 
one strap, low off-shoulder, 
I pocketed pills that promised 
moments of peace, distant from 
my daunting mind. 

Hair crimped, atop a choker glued 
snug on a slim neck, below 
my midnight stained mouth, I wore 
the craving of Newports hovering 
endlessly on my dark, sinister lips. 

A cross dangled down my chest, 
pocketing prayers, strange and wonderful; 
all for the tiny chambers of my soul 
that begged to shake the ash 
out of spaces that burned 
empty promises.

Alexi Elias is a writer and artist born in New York, raised in Florida. She teaches her students how to push boundaries and entertain with their own pieces of writing.  She is co-editor at Varnish Journal.  Her poetry has appeared in Red Fez and In Between Hangovers.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Lunatique by Ken Allan Dronsfield

Your light will not shine
this night.
you'll walk dead streets
confused, again.

dance till dawn in your
Jimmy Choo's.
your red nails tarnished
and broken.

the music refuses to play
in your mind.
hugging your shoulder
is Herm├Ęs.

the vodka is cold and
melts red lip-gloss.
pigeon's scatter upon a
bleak skyline.

cabbies ignore your hail;
enjoy your walk.
enraptured in luxury with
your Vera Wang.

Clive Christian's essence
follows your shadow.
the depth of your hell has
only just arrived.

in a lighters flash, savor
your last party.
on a ramp by the tracks,
sleep well lunatique.

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a disabled veteran and poet from New Hampshire, now residing on the southern plains of Oklahoma. He has one poetry collection, "The Cellaring" and is Co-Editor for 2 anthologies, "Dreamers of Yellow Haze" and "Dandelion in a Vase of Roses". His work has appeared in The Burningword Journal, Scarlet Leaf Review,  Black Poppy Review, The Blue Heron, The song is..., EMBOSS Magazine and more. Ken has three Pushcart Prize nominations and two for Best of the Net.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Other Side / Shadows on the Wall by Jan Darrow

The Other Side

she was in the kitchen
when they plowed the house under
on that flat tar road
farm country
but keeping it under
has been the issue  
pieces of glass that sparkle in the sun
are always cropping up 
fragments of porcelain knobs and silver faucets 
come to the surface like blue water tuna 
wanting a glimpse of the other side
and she’s there still  
whispering through papered walls
and open windows
locking secrets into mahogany drawers
in the downstairs bedroom
layering always decades 
nearer to the truth

Shadows on the Wall

They came in the evening to talk and I would listen.

Some were just wisps and spoke with gold colored voices.  The others spoke in echoes.  Sometimes in the fading October light they sang songs I had never heard before.  But mostly they talked about the witches.

“On the third floor darling,” they would say.

I didn’t tell them I didn’t go up there anymore.  Why should I climb stairs to rooms full of dusty boxes?  I hadn’t opened the door to that staircase in years.  I had even thought about having Henry nail the door shut, but he was much too busy with the garden.

Then one night I heard whispers, and I wondered.  So I took my slippers and crept up to the third floor staircase.  Slowly I opened the door, but heard nothing.

Back in bed I listened to Henry breathe, it calmed me, and I fell asleep, but in the morning I remembered, and in the afternoon in my study I put my papers away and waited for the shadows.

“What do the witches do all day?” I asked when only the smallest wisp danced under the window sill.

“They fold themselves into the tiniest cracks into places you would never think to look.  Oh darling, you can’t see them until later!”

And I believed…… that is until I came to my senses and thought how ridiculous the shadows were.  I mean really, shadows can’t talk.

“Witches! Ha!”  I said out loud as I climbed the stairs to the top floor.  I would see the rooms in the daylight.  I would see them for what they were…empty and full of dust.  And as I made it to the very top the sun moved low enough to stream through the window panes and I stopped to see Henry outside.  Won’t he laugh out loud when I tell him about the shadows?

But as I turned away from the window in the hall I saw them.  Not just one or two, but thirty or maybe forty on the wall. Black wicked shadows: witches pointing, laughing, and riding brooms.  Everywhere the witches were in groups whispering, planning, plotting, holding court while the blackest of cats screeched, and dripped between cauldrons of steaming potions.  The hypnotic acid filled the air until I could no longer breathe, and I stumbled down to the second floor and slammed the door behind me.

It was later that Henry found me in the tool shed with a hammer and nails in my hand.

Jan Darrow is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She has always been interested in the paranormal and finds abandoned places utterly beautiful. You can view more of her work at 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Visiting the Ancestors by Marianne Szlyk

The deer are visiting the ancestors,
nibbling on grass at Mt. Calvary,
waiting in the shade of winter

underneath the low trees that could be
on a riverbank in the deep
South that the ancestors fled from.

The five deer browse on the
pale green fringe of the cemetery,
limp parsley left on winter’s plate

beside the river that neither flows
nor freezes.  The deer have bodies
the color of earth in shadow,

but they could be spirit animals
of family living elsewhere come to
visit great-grandparents in the ground,

the great-grandfather who was gentle with
farm animals, remembered horses and mules,
the great-grandmother who kept a pot

on the stove for family, neighbors,
and friends, served Red Rose tea
with milk and sugar like coffee,

The deer linger on the fringes
like the awkward children they
once were when the ancestors

were alive.

* Previously published in Literature Today, April 2016

Marianne Szlyk is the editor of The Song Is... Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, was published by Flutter Press.   Recently her poem was selected by Red Bird Chapbooks for its Weekly Read.  She encourages you to send work to her magazine. For more information about it, see this link: 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Chimera by M. Stone

I stole your body from a pious man
whose eyes were shuttered to me
by fondness for his wife.

I stuffed your flesh as I would fill
a cloth doll with cotton, endowing you
with all the qualities I desired:
never-ending devotion, 
fierce loyalty, and an ability
to see my physical flaws,
my awkward gait and spiteful ways
and adore me nonetheless. 

You were a Frankenstein creature
in my sixteen-year-old mind, 
a fantasy companion to soothe
the shameful throb between my thighs.
Nursing you on a steady pap 
of melodramatic scribblings,
I willed you to materialize.

Now, alone—always alone—
I welcome the passing years,
the way this ache subsides.
Yet there are still nights
when the waxing gibbous moon
makes a spotlight of my bed,
and I find myself gripped

in the fever dream of you.

M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in San Pedro River Review, SOFTBLOWCalamus Journal, and numerous other print and online journals. She can be reached at

Monday, October 9, 2017

In the Dirt / Black Angel by Paul Ilechko

In the Dirt

She’s happiest in the dirt. Watch her smile
as she trims the rose bushes.
See how little she cares for filth under her
fingernails, for thorns that scratch her arms.
Let her take a corner for a mulch pile.
Buy her two kinds of secateurs,
one for the living branch, one for dead wood.
The clean wind blows her hair, the black
soil enriches her life: let it then be so.
Create a garden for two; and thus, we grow.

Black Angel

I climbed the mountain to see the hawks fly over
on their annual migration south. But all I saw
was a passel of vultures, crouched and wizened on a
dead tree stump, languidly stretching out their wings. 

At least their putrid stink did not reach me at that distance.
Unlike the time I cycled past the farm where a dead
deer still lay, half in, half out of a tiny pond, encircled
by a dozen of those red-faced buzzards.

I slowed to get a better look, but then the stench
arrived. The creature closest to me unwound itself,
six feet at least from tip to tip, unleashing from
its black angel gloom a terrible extra dose of carrion funk. 

Paul Ilechko has always lived by a river, although he sometimes dreams of forests and mountains. He currently lives in Lambertville, NJ with his girlfriend and a cat. Paul has had poetry published recently by Dash Literary Journal, Pomona Valley Review, Full of Crow, MockingHeart Review and Slag Review, among others.