Categories
Creative Nonfiction

Impressionist Art By Jennifer Ly

Impressionist Art

By Jennifer Ly

nothing good starts in a getaway car
I’m still trying to figure you out. I still talk about you in bars, to strangers that I’ve just met because my friends are sick of hearing of you, a man I barely knew but left his fingerprints pressed against the skin of my neck, the impression of your impression of me slid permanently on how I would look at myself in the mirror for years to come, even when I’m sure you don’t remember how it felt when we kissed. When we first met, I was just out of a job and lingering around the edges of an existential crisis, four years of my life gone into a career I no longer wanted and the foreseeable future mired in the shadow of a looming pandemic, September 2020; in hindsight, that winter would be the worst of my life, dealing with your ghost, my grandmother’s loss, a friend’s suicide, the mounting death toll from COVID, the dark, sweeping depression that felt like years. I would not be the person I am today without that winter, but I wish I was. I want to go back to who I was, before you.


the water filled my lungs
The first piece of writing I ever got published was about you. You were one line in a piece about my ex-boyfriend, that guy I told you about, but I still think about that line all the time when I write anything else. That piece is the last time I’ll ever write about him,
but I still find you in every single page of mine, all my insecurities bled over the still image of your face, blurry, I forget what you look like, I look you up on Instagram every time to remind myself. I wonder if you ever read it – if you recognized yourself in that one line, or if that moment simply lives with me, forever, and never even graces your
mind. I have to write about you to get you out of my mind. Some version of you must care.

all the kingdom lights shined just for me and you
Sometimes I worry that the guys I’ve dated will find out I’ve been writing about them on the internet, but then I remember that most guys I date don’t read. When we first met, you told me that you’d been reading some self-help books, finance textbooks, one fiction book your ex-girlfriend gave you that you haven’t had the heart to start or to throw away. I thought that was romantic. Now, almost two years later, I realize that it was a warning sign, flashing bright red, and I closed my eyes against the sight, let the afterimage of you burn itself into my mind, flicker and burn in the darkness. I’m over her, though, you said,
or maybe I imagined you said – her picture is still on your Instagram, baby girl is the caption, and I wonder about her, now, what she’s doing, if she wants her book back.

the world moves on, another day another drama
When I started writing, at 11, I began with fanfiction. I used to be ashamed of this – pretended that I didn’t know what people meant when they talked about shipping, about Tumblr – but these days, I wish I was that person again, that I hadn’t squashed her down
into the hidden corners of myself and of the internet. I want to love something that much again. I want to watch a show and wonder what-if and dream of scenarios between characters, in alternate universes, in songfics, where lyrics would be randomly incorporated through the story, would they still fall in love if they were in high school
instead of a magic boarding school, would this group of friends still find each other if they were in space instead of an ancient Japanese land, would they kiss this time and not break each other’s hearts? My definition of love keeps shifting as I grow older – no longer all-encompassing, but now it’s that my boyfriend texts me before he goes to bed, handing me my preferred mug even if he didn’t have to – but I think the foundations are found in the fan-fiction I read and wrote growing up, oh, love is two people falling in love because they want to, they choose to, and in each story I tell, I make it happen. Even ours. Even though you didn’t want it.


i want to wear his initial on a chain around my neck
You said once, after it all, I used to date a writer. I wasn’t aware that we’d been dating – you specifically told me that we were not dating when we were together – that was something you reserved for other girls –


we tell stories and you don’t know why
When writing about you, I think of how a colleague jokingly or seriously, I couldn’t tell, said to me once that I was writing about my exes so much that I was turning into Taylor Swift. It’s not that serious, I said, but then I started to wonder if Taylor Swift was taking it seriously or if she stares at herself in the mirror and wonders what that boy from 2020 thought when he saw her, and tried to put that feeling into words, despite knowing that she’ll never really know and it’s all conjecture, and at this point – what does it matter what he saw when he looked at you, besides the fact that it meant something to you, that
you could put pen to paper and immortalize how you felt in that moment, that fall, that time? Let it go, my colleague said, let them go, as if I haven’t. Sometimes I think of you and wonder what you look like when you think of me, if you ever do, and wish I was able
to paint, or draw, immortalize the way I can still imagine you between the pages. It is a sickness and an antidote and I’m not sorry, you live on here, you live.


Photo by Eriks Abzinovs on Pexels.com

Jennifer Ly is a Vietnamese-American writer from Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in Hobart, the Daily Drunk, and others.

Categories
Poetry

Stateless by John Chinaka Onyeche

Stateless

By John Chinaka Onyeche

in a silhouette of time as of a nation.
glooms and leadership attrition breezes in,
chiming.
entertainment
easily jogged to.
a nation trudging into the abyss of gloom,
youths celebrate idiocy in pictures.
none
penitent
parliamentarian
echoes stateless as a polity
after many thousands of births.
crimes
easier
than
crowns,
thugs,
thrones
traditions
mired.
norms,
ethics;
reverse
for
gains,
as crimes are wearing naked eyes.

one street after another they walk unharmed,
as we applaud no labour wealth.


Photo by Eriks Abzinovs on Pexels.com

John Chinaka Onyeche “Rememberajc” (he/his) is an author of three poetry collections “Echoes Across The Atlantic”, a husband, father and poet from Nigeria. He writes from the city of Port Harcourt Rivers State, Nigeria. He is currently a student of History and Diplomatic Studies at Ignatius Ajuru University Of Education Port Harcourt Rivers State. John Chinaka can be reached through the following means: Rememberajc.wordpress.com Facebook.com/jehovahisgood Twitter.com/apostlejohnchin Apostlejohnchinaka@gmail.com https://linktr.ee/Rememberajc

Categories
Poetry

Pretty in Pink By Emma Giammanco

Pretty in Pink

By Emma Giammanco

“Come on time to dress up.” My mother says.


What about the days I don’t wanna be pretty in pink. All dressed up for everyone to see, not my choice, no one can hear my voice. It’s not fair, I can’t bear it anymore. I look at my
mother in her gray eyes and give a pleading look.

“I don’t wanna wear pink anymore.” I whisper.
“Pinks what you’ve got. Suck it up.” She replies.


I nod and accept my fate, sucking in a deep breath before stepping into the baby pink
dress. My brown hair is bouncing as my chubby feet find their way back to the floor. Does
everyone have to be forced into a color like this or is it just me? It’s not fair, I don’t want to hear
it anymore. I no longer wanna be pretty in pink.
My grubby little fingers grab the bottom of my dress and begin to lift it up gently before I
get frustrated and tear it off. I hear the tears and so does my mother. We stare at each other and
her mouth is wide open.


“What did you do?!” She scolded.
“I said I didn’t wanna wear it anymore!” I stated.


Photo by Eriks Abzinovs on Pexels.com

Emma Giammanco is a 16-year-old junior at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. She’s on the school’s literary journal ‘The Siren.’ She’s from Beaver Pennsylvania and in her free time volunteers at Ready Yourself Youth Horse Ranch and the local Center. She loves to write fiction mostly and sometimes poetry.

Categories
Poetry

The Tracks of my Tears By Dan Raphael

The Tracks of my Tears

By Dan Raphael

I’ve been given a new task
chosen for my proclivity
to cry for no direct reason.
couple years ago, except for my mother’s death,
i only cried at movies,
a couple songs always brought tears

But now i just cry, 3-4 days a week;
i hope there’s not something wrong with me
that my tears are helping somehow
thousands of us, crying without knowing why
whether for those who have a reason to cry—
poverty, violence, disease–and can’t, or won’t,
or for extinct species, melting glaciers, dying reefs and forests

So far i haven’t had to pull over while driving
because of tears. many people at the gym.
pause between reps, but probably none
because they’re crying. we’re all invisible
at our machines, working for longer lives
without wondering if that’s what we want


Photo by Eriks Abzinovs on Pexels.com

Dan Raphael’s new poetry collection, Out in the Wordshed, will be published by Last Word Books in November of ’22. More recent poems appear in Unlikely Stories, Mad Swirl, Pangolin, Otoliths and Synchronized Chaos. Most Wednesdays dan writes and records a current events poem for The KBOO Evening News.

Categories
Poetry

Grow By Nolcha Fox

Grow

By Nolcha Fox

Seedlings sprout
from stumps and
from charred trees.


Cancer cells
eat everything
in sight.


New life bursts
from old, we
cannot stop it.


Life is stubborn,
it will not be denied.


Photo by Eriks Abzinovs on Pexels.com

Nolcha has written all her life, starting with poop and crayons on the walls. Her poems have been published in Lothlorien Poetry Journal, The Red Lemon Review, Dark Entries, Duck Head Journal and others. Her chapbook, “My Father’s Ghost Hates Cats,” is available on Amazon.

Categories
Poetry

A Hole in the Sky By Jayne Martin

A Hole in the Sky

By Jayne Martin

I’m not sure what to do about the hole in the sky
heat that sears my skin desert dry when

no rain falls to quench the earth’s thirst and
we all still want to be first to own the latest 

insert-toy-here made by children over there
for two cents an hour and our planet cries, 

species die, to stroke mascara on eyes filling screens
in the hands of beings consumed by their own desire.

Never mind the lands gone barren, famine
hollowing out bodies to bones, bellies that bloat.

Never mind fish that now float in oceans of fire
Never mind wondering why. 

We know, you and I.
We know, you and I.

***


Jayne Martin is the flash fiction editor at The San Franciscan Magazine. Her collection of microfiction, “Tender Cuts,” was published by Vine Leaves Press. Coming in spring of 2022, “The Daddy Chronicles-Memoir of a Fatherless Daughter” from Whiskey Tit Books. She lives in California, but dreams of living in Paris.

Categories
Poetry

Two Poems By Charlie Bowden

New Iberia

There’s a red man under my bed, ugly as sin

with pitch-black fur and a voice that pricks like a pin;

his claws are obsidian, his tongue is dynamite

but most deadly are the dreams he hurls into the night.

They toy with telepathy and send a message shining

to say that he’s made me a bed that I best lie in.

But then

there’s also

a woman

in my mind

who’s made

of the sun

making sounds

I can’t quite

articulate

but still

she leads me

safely

into reverie

away from

the red man

and his swarm.

Is this

heaven?

I think

as she

drags me

further

into

the blue of the cold wet night, no sun to light my way.

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

The Sound of Simon Armitage’s Shed

When it gets dark outside,

the sound of Simon Armitage’s shed validates me. 

I can ignore the bitter of winding of the wind as it howls

down stairs, up trees, through leaves and out again

and sink into the welcoming, well-worn chair of Imtiaz Dharker’s rhyme.

I’m made glad when the muscle memory of my heart

makes a mark against the viscous, sharp resin of the sky,

my fountain pen spidering over its moonlit sheen

from the soft breath of the warm shed on my flowering seeds.

The scent of sweet pomegranate surrounds me.

I come home smelling of glee, my smile a patchwork tapestry.

Guests often come and go through the shed,

the ghosts of those who are blessed to hear what the garden says.

They sense the echoed sound of a hand reaching to pick from the poets’ tree,

the delicate feel of handcrafted paper beneath their feet, evergreen.

There’s poetry in the stars, you know,

and in the stories of the seats in the park

and, most certainly of all, in the poignant moment:

 the Passover of stress into relief in the dark of the Poet Laureate’s fief.


Photo by Eriks Abzinovs on Pexels.com

Charlie Bowden is a student from Hampshire, England, who discovered a love for writing poetry in lockdown after spending years studying it at school. His poetry has been included in collections by Young Writers, Amnesty International and the Stratford Literary Festival and recently he won the 2021 Forward/emagazine Creative Critics Competition.

Categories
Poetry

The Man in the Moon By Frances Huffman

The Man in the Moon

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By Frances Huffman

Moon

My first word, my mother says.

I pointed at the big, shining bulb in the sky

and met for the first time a new friend.

The Man in the Moon.

“Goodnight Moon”

was the first book I ever read.

It was my favorite too. 

Every night before bed my mother would tell me to rest my head

and say goodnight to the man in the sky.

The moon is so comforting,

a beam of white in the dark of night.

I began to talk to him, The Man in the Moon,

my celestial diary, keeping me awake with his light.

My need for the Man soon ran out,

a total eclipse of my life.

New friends, new people to tell.

I left all of my secrets with them instead.

How lonely he must feel,

without our daily talks.

No one’s secrets to keep.

The loud silence of space, alone, a floating rock.

I hope someone else shares their life with him,

because he is a very good listener,

A wonderful friend when you need one.

The Man In the Moon.


Frances Huffman is a gazebo-loving junior at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. She enjoys writing poetry and creative nonfiction. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA and loves taking her dog for walks.

Feature Image by Georges Méliès

Categories
Poetry

Two Poems By Ivan De Monbrison

With both a Russian and English translation

Изгнание

Море белое.
Мы ничего не видим.
Желание не имеет никто.
Солнце ходит вниз
гора как
мяч.
Дверь открывается.
Входит тень
и проходит через комнату
перед проходит
через стену.
Я тебя никогда не знал.

Exile

The sea is white.
We don’t see anything.
There is no desire.
The sun is going down
the mountain like
a ball.
The door opens up.
A shadow comes in
and walks across the room
before going
through the wall.
I never knew you.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Странный портрет

Горизонт в коробке.
Рисунок карандашом,
не похож на тебя.
У тебя рука в кармане.
Но это чужая рука.
Голос за дверью,
это твой.
Ничего не имеет смысла.
Мозг – странный орган.

A Strange Portrait

The horizon is in a box.
A pencil drawing,
does not look like you.
You have a hand in your pocket.
But this is someone else’s hand.
The voice outside the door
is yours.
Nothing makes sense.
The brain is a strange organ.


Ivan de Monbrison is a poet, writer and artist living in Paris born in 1969. He has studied oriental languages there after high school, not with great success. Ivan has autistic and schizophrenic tendencies that he has been trying to cop with through art, in the past twenty years of his life. His writing and art reflect maybe also the feeling of the decadence of today’s society, centered on its own vacuity and its lack of real purpose. He has been published in literary magazines globally.

Categories
Poetry

Two Poems By Victor Ogan

The Cold Sermon

Scared to break the ice,

Skin thick with frail goosebumps,

Afraid to fight the icy battle,

Ironically, the battle was a common masterpiece,

Like the werewolves transform every full moon,

Thus, it was a match set in heaven,

‘Braven yourself, to face the brunt of the hard edges,

Or stand still, till eternity pass,

Leaving skeletons dry and emptied’,

A cruel price to pay for a fear of something light,

Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Stronger(What Doesn’t Kill You)’,

In the mind, now a continuous war chant,

A laughable attempt to stimulate the ego,

But its eccentricity, in whole shades,

A whole lot plausible, than the fantasy,

Of the gifted fire benders, with the telekinetic ability,

To break off this ice with not a sweat,

But fantasy must needs meet reality,

Yet in their union, a chasm still maintains,

In the gulf that rents the middle,

The skin finally toughens to break the ice,

Chills that block the lungs,

With entrapped air, falling in its use for animated screams,

Lost in the chasm, a bottomless pit,

Light’s blindness, in the abyss of loneliness,

Herein, the most awkward fears meet reality,

Imprisoned, in a dungeon, disguised as a fortress,

The only companion, a clown who fails at his job,

Bright enough is he though to entice fear,

A genuine performance, he learned to give,

From a careful observation of It’s ‘Pennywise’,

Indeed, the ices broken,

But were the tales, it entailed,

Worth setting a play, whose tussle with it, was the driving conflict?

Photo by jimmy teoh on Pexels.com

Generals of a Fallen Empire

Que será, será,

The broken hearted, strummed on his guitar,

Each twang, a consolation, for the one who got away,

A blind eye, it attempts to throw on his failed cues,

The resolution to his loss.

Rome wasn’t built in a day,

The seeker prayed monotonously into the morning air,

The epic inspiration, a cover,

For the epic failures to match,

Sorrows of the previous days,

The Ends of whose darkness, he had never seen the light.

Have faith in the gods, trust them and they will not fail you,

The pious one sang,

Songs of praise,

To ignore his shame,

Which heavily bothered him to Lamentations,

The cold waters troubling his loins, heated by the burning blood,

Its cruelty aroused by the rising tensions in his heart,

Synonymous with doubt,

For akin his previous experiences were,

To a kid who believed in the total salvation of the human race,

At the hands of some existing superheroes.

Now, broken, yet seeking and pious,

Three heavy weights, a crowd to bear,

Lusting in denial, a desire to push on,

But the heart knows the truth, which the mind can’t be lied to,

That to some clay,

The potter destined to be honoured at The Queen’s Palace,

Loathsomely, to some others,

Dejection was predestined, their final honour,

To be displayed around the city as spoils,

Like the legendary vanquished and prisoners of war,

At Caesar’s Gala,

In limelight of their impending execution,

Thus finding a common ground, lay their greatest achievement,

‘To die is to have lived’.


Victor Ogan is a writer who has strong interests in the fields of Literature and the Arts. He draws inspiration from his internal self-reflection and a careful observation of the world around him.