by Amanda Karch
to watch a dream
crushed into smithereens,
shards of glass,
tattered papers floating on the wind
with not a care in the world
that it was
ink smears on the paper,
dirty handprints on the glass,
a pure slate
a place for
pushing your limits,
exploring the world with an open mind and a
never to be the same again:
by Shane Rohane
The Flow to know
let go to keep going
Bound into words
Work inside each syllable
To keep and speak
Fuidity in motion winding emotions
Immutable, unmovable, irrevocable
Inside and out take me from within
Without, without, without. Within
Keep me from the insight
Strum vibrations into deeper meaning
Meaning to ghost-note through pages
Thrum and shift
Hum melody into organic circuitry.
by Carolyn Malone
I drifted with intangible restlessness
Until one day the world became diseased.
A global cyclone swept me up,
And washed me ashore a familiar coastline,
The fishing town that recklessly raised me,
That harbors the sunken shadows of my past.
I am flooded with childhood memories
Of the motherly ocean engulfing me
Jumping and splashing in her foam
Clothes drenched, curly hair tangled,
Shamelessly wild in the purest form.
I’d daydream of what it would feel like
To have my body dissolve into water,
Melt like a glacier into fluid motion,
And tumble gracefully through a blanket of blue space.
I remember falling in love for the first time,
With the untamed, lawless boy in the neighborhood,
An unlikely match for the shy girl
With carefully conservative parents.
He taught me how to love
With unbreakable willingness and devotion.
We burrowed in a trench of forbidden love,
As tragedy in his life struck blow by blow.
When the pain metastasized,
Hurt took the place of healing.
There was no more room for love to grow,
And I learned my first lesson in heartbreak.
As I sit on the shattered sea wall,
I reminisce over lost loved ones,
And the brokenness they left behind.
Trauma is left deeply submerged
in the hollow places of my heart.
I drown in a flood of questions,
What could I have done to keep you here?
Do you forgive me?
Where have you gone?
Can you hear me calling your name,
From this forlorn shoreline?
I can no longer run
from the silence and stillness
That have patiently prevailed
In the faded photographs of my soul.
The salty air lashes through me,
And the tears begin to flow.
I am struck with a rogue wave of nostalgia,
stripped down, raw and vulnerable.
I am forced to face my flaws of yesterday
To find forgiveness today.
I bring the salt water to my open wounds.
At first it stings, so intensely
That I think the pain might pull me under.
I stop treading and finally surrender.
Suddenly I feel weightless,
Free from the chains of my past.
My body dances weightlessly
In a cool bath of remission.
My roots are anchored deep
In the currents of this hometown battleground.
I finally choose to honor my wounds,
Let them flow through my entirety.
I skip a stone and watch it ripple,
As the undying ethereal energy
Travels through the vastness
Of the deep blue blanket of space.
by Shane Rohane
conscious, aware, yet
unaware of the mixture
I seek in the fissure
the voiceless voice that listens.
Play upon yesterday’s laments
my needless torments
vivid and beautiful imperfection
steal my breath. Stylize me
through the pictures inside
ambered and crystalline, sanguine yet
vivified inside your touch
Refinement in Confinement
by Sarah Hale Folger
In this time of confinement
We are forced to be released
Of our normal routines of escape
Our addictions, our anxieties appeased
Those outlets we regularly used
To escape our troubles and our fears
Those crutches we thought we needed forever
Have been broken
We left home to relieve our stresses
Turmoil and pain
Of jobs and marriage troubles
Of loneliness and self-doubt
We grew so entrenched in our behaviors
Like a well-worn path
We walked it daily, weekly, monthly
In casinos, bar rooms
Gyms, theaters and stadiums
Filled with vices and camaraderie
To escape the truth about who we are
This is a wakeup call
And before we are released
We must discover the truth
About what really matters
About our part in our own pain
Time to refine our minds
Time to weed the garden of our thoughts
Time to listen carefully
And let hope and love and peace
Be the exit plan from these times
The Struggle for Peace
By Sarah Hale Folger
It’s an uphill battle
Trying to build the bridge
Between our thoughts
You see it your way
I see it mine
But it’s all about taking a walk
Come over here
I’ll come over there
Want to see what you see
From where you stand
Will you please take a look
From where I sit
Beliefs are built on experience
Please let’s not hold on so tight
Perceptions can be a problem
When they cannot align
If only people realized
The full picture
Wise is the one that waits
Watching and listening
Mostly with the gut
When you truly want peace
You work overtime
Managing the words
Before they ever leave your mouth
And the actions before you take them
I’m in amazement to observe
What people say and do
It’s a cluster of barbed wire
I shall fly above it and get a better view
It’s up here I decide
The landscape has changed
Destroyed by violence
Of both words and deeds
Fueled by fires lit by sources hidden
Tapping into pain and anger
Fueled by borrowed branches
Of trees long torn down
My heart sinks as I shield the eyes
Of our children frightened and confused
Give us life again
Give us love
Give us all
The pursuit of happiness
Nothing good ever came from wars
Between us and them
I toss a towel
Thrown in to say
Please let’s stop
Let’s find better ways
To right the wrongs
And create new paths
That lead us to PEACE
by Don Watenpaugh
Not sure what all
the fuss is about
People complainin’ they can’t get out.
I been stuck in here for a long long time
But still feel like I’m doin’ just fine.
True, I got no worries, no one to love.
Not even sure ‘bout any god up above.
They feed me three square, and I can just lay here.
Guess the main thing is, I got pencils and paper.
‘Cause I like to write, and my mind has no limit.
Only thing is, my cell’s gettin’ too small.
Tall stacks of papers piled up the wall
All around, so now there’s not much space left in it!
But who cares, after I’m gone they will see
the stuff that I’ve written is more important than me.
by Katherine Burke
the coconut smell of her freshly shampooed hair
the feel of her bony body when I wrapped my arms tightly around her
the glow within her, after testing new makeup on her face
the stress of the amount of time (but also the hidden joy) of walking around the supermarket with
her) taking forever!!
now, the lists of things I have to get her at the supermarket and the much needed Lysol that’s no
longer on the shelves
now, the perseverating and worries about the most obscure things
when I snuggle her cat will the germs from me pass from him to her?
now the guilt, should I have seen friends... what if...?
now, the scolding of my daughter to limit contact with her friends because I won’t know if I’m
carrying anything to her
the unknowns, the wonder, the what if’s, the sadness, the anxiety when I think about her
the lost moments of comfort, the loss of a closeness, the precious time that I will never get back
now the awkwardness and pretending like it’s all okay and getting very used to tears welling in
both of our eyes as we try not to get too close
now the goodbyes from afar, blowing kisses, no bony body hugging me back
the silently crying in her bathroom before I leave her by herself…
as I pour some of her shampoo in a little bottle to keep, but can never tell her because she will
Hot Shot Yacht Rot
by Don Watenpaugh
OMG I’m so tired of this freaking yacht!
We’re at sea six weeks now and I’m gonna go nuts.
Yeah, some crew tested positive, but you know what?
I don’t give a crap. They need to get off their butts!
But the main thing is that we can’t come into port.
Word got out that COVID was all over my boat.
So my booze drugs and food are all getting real short
And it takes more than water to keep her afloat!
My only escape from this hundred-foot “cell”
Was diving, but then the compressor shut down.
The news says this virus is giving everyone hell.
WTF, IDC, I gotta do stuff in town.
So I’m done with this tub. My chopper! Thar she blows!
I’ll be back at my penthouse before restaurants close.
Quietus of Loneliness
by Don Watenpaugh
We knew each other since I don’t recall.
We played whatever while our Moms ruled the world.
But even when he and I were so very small,
Our eye contact could leave my brain unfurled.
Along the way we gave others a whim,
But our bond became deep love. We happily drowned.
Finish each other’s thoughts? We started them!
Now eight decades later, we’re still at the playground.
We came to that time to need others for care.
We were the life of the party in there!
But then this disease started tainting the air.
Before they took him away, we shared eyes to each soul.
Time without him has stopped: parting love’s callous toll.
I’ll soon take the pills nurses didn’t know I stole.
The Lost Year
by Kayla Conner
It’s a slow-motion train wreck.
I see it coming.
Taste blood on my tongue.
Feel constriction in my lungs.
We have four walls to keep us safe.
All we can do is wait.
Tread water until we drown.
What day is it?
What month? Still March?
March forth to April.
The longest April
Days into weeks into months.
May we stretch into Summer?
Shall we ever return?
I don’t think I want to.
Let it all Fall away.
Into oblivion. Darkness. Silence.
White Winter blankets the stillness of
The Lost Year.
We are all connected in our isolation.
Until yellow crocus Spring up from snow.
And we can begin anew.
Three Guards for One Prisoner
by Don Watenpaugh
It’s actually good that I can’t go anywhere,
And he goes out for stuff if we’re really in need.
The weather’s now warmer and I’d have to wear
A hat pants and long sleeves to hide where I bleed.
Either way, it would start up those people who stare
To see extra clothes, or the bruises beneath them.
And if they intervene, let’s please God not go there!
He’ll beat me so bad I can’t shield the kids from him.
What those people don’t get is I’ve loved him so long!
And he loves me too, and the kids (and my purse!).
But he gets really mad when I do things so wrong,
And this virus thing’s made everything all that much worse.
So I’m going to hang in there for him and the kids.
Oh shit! He’s back! The kitchen! I …
Weird and Scary Stuff in Second Grade
by Don Watenpaugh
We had lots of fun at school one day.
The teacher picked our group to read scary stuff.
Recess was awesome. They just let us play!
We made up a game where we floated like fluff.
But then Jimmy fell down when he floated too dumb
And scraped up one knee, and blood ran when he walked.
Then we went back inside and ate lunch. Then at one,
The Principal came on the speaker and talked.
She said there was this weird disease all around
Like a cold, but much worse, because some people died!
So for us to be safe, they were closing school down.
But that we will still learn stuff at home if we tried.
So now I’m just home and I miss all my friends.
And for this scary stuff, no one knows when it ends.
Within the Planes
by Shane Rohane
in you face you see
when all is erased and traced
eyes burn and pigments turn
to see without sight
all of you without your name
within you an image unheard
silencee inside thoughtless verbs
soothed out reassurances
reemerge and unfurl from the cocoon
words impart hope I can't
understand in petaled thought worth
hardened to demand grand gestures
brush color in my lips cover my face
kiss and blush within
light bends when time evades
your careful lines shade
flesh me out
I turn to you
I crave you.