the erotic mind by Diana Raab

the erotic mindis not one born from dirt
but is one born from love—
only if you allow it to be
as you sit upon life’s teeter totterz-venus
pregnant with the possibilities
of all the joys which propel your happiness and peace
erasing the sin from lust
while embracing its beauty
and how it makes the heart pump
and come alive when it’s
just landed upon its deathbed.

Reach out and touch someone
who will move you into the lust you deeply need,
the lust you crave every day,
Just allow lust to bring together your yin and the yang
leading to your everlasting ecstasy.


Diana Raab, Ph.D. is an award-winning poet, memoirist, blogger, essayist and speaker.  Her book, “Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life” is forthcoming in 2017.  Raab is a regular blogger for Psychology Today, Huff50 (The Huffington Post), and PsychAlive. More at dianaraab.com.

a frog does not have a tail by Michael Coolen

I watched an old man finishing his evening prayers
when a boy squatted next to him and said
I hope you are at peace, grandfather
peace only the old man responded
and you, boy, are you at peace
no, grandfather, I have questions
keeping peace away
what questions asked the old man
my little brother just died for no reason
he just died grandfather
why did Ebrima die so young
why can’t my mother stop crying
why does Allah let bad things happen to good people
the old man sat quietly for a minute
domanding, domanding, domanding boy
he replied
le ka nowulu
little, little, little comes the understanding of Allah
even for me some things make no sense
you may as well ask a frog why it does not have a tail


Michael Coolen is a pianist, composer, actor, performance artist, and writer. His works have been published widely, including the Oregon Poetry Association and Creative Non-fiction. He is also a published composer, with works performed around the world, including at Carnegie Hall, MoMA, and the Christie Gallery in New York.

Valediction by Robert Beveridge

Valediction

It just doesn’t seem to matter to you if I’m here or not

Hiss of rain outside
the blank tape that ends the mix
unavoidably

You just ignore me

no more single drops
steady stream down the windows
grey light blurs to blue

goodbye

grey room,  air pregnant
with moisture
clouds on ceiling
will this rain ever end?


Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Pink Litter, The Algebra of Owls, and Main Street Rag, among others.

Before Valentine’s Day by Kathamann

My clumsy suggestion lilts off my tongue
before any caution is exercised.  It closely
appears to clutch at palpable implications
thickening with its weak composition
and becoming courage.  The twisted
failure bends and shifts into my latest
list of blown communiqués.

I quell the urge to carry the heavy roar
of human impulse, worthy though they
may be, of robust vigor.  Guided to the
opposite, I sense minor implications reflected
with high gloss.

Keeping the cosmic sparrows from predicting
grim behind-the-scene news stories, a mere
move may generate chaos.


I am a returned Peace Corps Volunteer/Afghanistan and a retired registered nurse.  I have been active in the Santa Fe arts community for 30 years exhibiting in juried, group and solo exhibits.  (kathamann.com)  My poems have occasionally been published in local and regional anthologies.

School Bus by Michael Chin

He was tired on the ride home. His head dipped once—twice—

The fifth time, he slumped into me and caught himself. I looked straight ahead at the taped up alligator green seat back.

On the eighth dip, his head descended onto my shoulder more gently. Maybe he knew what he was doing. No jolt. He rested.

And I let him. I knew I shouldn’t. One boy sleeping on another was childish. Gay.

But I didn’t push him off or think of pulling away so he’d flop down on the seat.

I let him—I let him nestle in as I were his pillow. I let him snore. I thought I’d only stop him if he started to drool. That that was the limit.

But in the meantime, for the first time, I eased into the role of protector. The last line of defense from anyone writing on his face. From a wet willy.

I looked over his head, out the window and watched the way sign posts blurred into nothingness as the bus sped past them. As if the signs themselves were hovering and I could stick my hand right through the space beneath them. As if the laws of matter were subject neither to fact nor my will, but the whims of the space between what was and was not. In dream.


Michael Chin was born and raised in Utica, New York and a recent alum of Oregon State’s MFA Program..He won the Bayou Magazine’s Jim Knudsen Editor’s Prize for fiction and has published work in journals including The Normal School and Bellevue Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter @miketchin.

AWP Poets, Writers, Authors, and Teachers Plan Protests in DC

Usually around this time of year my Facebook and Twitter feeds are overrun with cheerful posts about the various AWP events that my friends and colleagues are planning to attend, but with all the attention-grabbing, anxiety-ridden news that has daily shocked social media these last few weeks, it’s almost as if everyone has forgotten.

They haven’t, of course. There are still shouts out among fellow writers and acquaintances trying to connect with each other, tips for first time attendees and, because this year’s conference is in DC, some encouraging chatter about several politically centered events.

Maybe what’s really happening here is that posts about AWP are just getting buried by all the fearful factoids and scary statistics swirling around all forms of media right now. Or maybe, and this is probably more likely, those are the posts I allow to capture and hold my attention.

I am struck, nonetheless, by the auspiciousness of AWP, a conference that attracts a wide range of diverse writers, taking place in DC just weeks after the inauguration and subsequent Women’s March and the more recent protests against the Muslim Travel Ban, and how this confluence of events adds gravity and weight to such typical pre-AWP activities as making travel arrangements, sending ahead boxes of books, making plans to see friends and, most importantly, contemplating what it means to be a writer in “Trump’s America.”

This year, in addition to looking forward to the book fair, after-hours parties, and copping a frenetic high from mixing adrenaline with too much alcohol and too little sleep, some conference-goers are looking forward to converging on Capitol Hill the afternoon of Friday, February 10th to “make a case against the Trump Agenda”(flavorwire.com) while others will be participating in Split this Rock’s  Saturday vigil and speakout on the White House lawn. There is also word of a Cave Canem protest-reading at Howard University and, no doubt,there will be numerous other off-site politically motivated events that are evolving even as I write this post.

It is my hope that these events are heavily promoted and heartily attended and that each receives ample news coverage and sets itself forth as stellar model for a successful, effective demonstrations by which others can emulate. Most of all, I hope these events will encourage other groups and individuals to speak out, to become active in whatever capacity makes sense for their circumstances, and that professionals who have the power and ability to make changes in Washington view these gatherings as encouragement for their continued vigilance in the resistance against tyranny. Most of all, I hope that writers and artists around the globe feel bolstered not to “keep their moths shut” as Steve Bannon would admonish, but to respectfully continue doing what they do best, which, of course, is to write on.

 

 

A Lesson in Romantics by Danielle Lowery

A Lesson in Romantics
-Mayday Parade

I am a machine and a skitzo.
A savage cave woman
and a drone.
I scratch at every movement
Every wrong word
Every memory,
Like the beaten stray cat
on the street corner.

Never enough oil to grease my joints
Never enough medication to silence the storm,
I am stiff  and enraged.

Swallowed by the quicksand
enveloping me for so long,
One fourth of my life
devoted to your every need,
One fourth of my life
destroyed by your massive greed.

You were a Dragon,
a Siren,
a Leech.
For five years  I never knew,
I never imagined  the traitor  was you.


Danielle Lowery is a Senior at Chatham University. Her fiction has been published in The Minor Bird. Danielle has studied Creative Writing at both Sweet Briar College and Chatham University.