constellation of my name
there are songs sang for kings and queens, but not you and i; so i have found a magic deeper than their meaningless existence—once you find your voice and reclaim it from all those who say it doesn’t matter you feel the true weakness of others because they become ugly to quiet you, but i will not silence myself again; once was enough—sewn so deep in the stars of my wounds, i forgot i was part of the constellations, but when i remembered to shine again i lit up the night so brightly that i knew i could not stay quiet again; and some will tell you that i speak too loudly or too proudly but they do not know me fully just as i will never fully know them so take their judgments with a grain of salt—people are people, they will say what they want to say, but i am who i am; and i will not let the monsters that broke and break me to make me into a monster and i will be who i am without being abashed—for there is no shame sewn into the constellation of my name.
love isn’t to be earned
everything was always about you: your pain, your eyelashes, how you were a good man; but you never had time or affection to dedicate to me only offense at anything i did—you never took into account why or how i came to be, only what happened; instead of trying to figure it out, you would get annoyed and offended at everything—one of my exes joked that you would punish me for breathing, if my mother let you, i don’t doubt the reality of that statement; you were mean, and you were cruel; and i don’t care about your misery because of all the hell you gave me—i have and always love you as i refuse to become the nightmares that have brought me to my knees, but don’t expect me to say that the past is in the past because i am not past the pain; and i am still trying to piece back together my ego after years of insecurities, doubts, and self-loathing—love is nothing you’re supposed to earn, but i still tied; but i don’t think you could respect me even if i were dead so i’ve stopped trying—i care, i love you, but i don’t expect you’ll ever feel the same about me.
don’t spread the magic thin
don’t spread the magic thin
bathed me in the midas touch
even my eyes
turned to gold
everything around me
danced and shimmered in the light
did not seem so ominous
in this gaze
of pure pirouetting light
with a soft embrace,
and i felt if i was caught in the web
of this moment forever;
i wouldn’t mind
being felled by this spider because
the warmth and the magic were near me
majestic crows flitted and flew
by singing their song—
i felt a perfect peace
that i wish i could’ve spread over more moments,
but i have come to learn to appreciate
the calm tranquility of the wood when and where i can;
perhaps if i had it all the time it would spread
the magic thin.
get out of my dreams
get out of my dreams
you are the nightmare
sucker punching me
awake in tears or fury,
and i have but one humble request:
GET OUT OF MY DREAMS!
there’s a time and place for everything,
but i don’t need everyone who has hurt me
to haunt in the recesses of my brain;
my heart remembers
i don’t need your hand stretching
across the fruited plains of my dreams
turning the fruit rotten
it’s bad enough you stole years of my youth away
riddled me with insecurities and doubts
that steal across my mind sometimes today
you took away my past, but you won’t take away
my future, too;
i refuse to give it to you—
get out of my dreams
my dreams will be mine, and my truth will be spoken;
and nothing you say or do will stop me
from shining and becoming the woman i am meant to be.
gift of the future
gift of the future
beneath the gilded psalm
i uncover pieces of me
you never stole away
nor will i ever
take from me
you took enough as it is:
my mother, my childhood, my family;
leaving me bereft of anyone
i was left to my
you didn’t like that i could be comfortable
in my own dreaming skin
and i’ll admit it was painful and lonely at first;
but i’ve since learned
it is better to be alone than lone in a crowded room—
so go ahead and judge me
you’ve never known me and never will,
i was given years of hell and misery so you’ll only
be left to wither in the wings of the past;
as i put it behind me
the sun will kiss you into shadow as i gaze into
my present, the gift of the future.
Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has five published chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press – June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon – January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, September 2017), and splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January 2018).
At night he dreamt of birds, thousands of them,
imprisoned in his house.
Ravens screamed in the attic.
Sparrows panicked in the hall.
He sat at his desk. A Jay pecked
Frantically at his shirt sleeve.
The basement door revealed
Torrents of finches, erupting in the dark
A loud gray storm
Of beaks and tiny claws.
Seagulls suffered in the cupboards.
Parakeets in the rafters, trapped,
Raged in Etruscan.
He crossed the room.
Moaned under the floorboards.
Twelve red cardinals
Lined his kitchen shelves –
A discordant jury.
Peacocks plead in the oven.
In a jar of sugar
Titmice struggled for air.
At his desk were
Pens and a half dead Marten.
He reached for his old brown afghan but felt
Bone and feather
The heaving brown breast
Of a starving eagle.
Sometimes the scratch
Of pen against paper brought
Respite from birdsong:
Two less wings against the silence
One less voice in that
A parrot perched
On his paper stacks.
“Remorse,” it offered feebly.
“Regret,” he answered back.
Eric’s poetry and short stories have been featured by publications throughout the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia. These include Quail Bell Magazine, Dagda Publishing, Every Day Poets, Every Day Fiction, Illumen, Under The Bed, Dead Beats Literary Blog, Microfiction Monday Magazine, Dead Snakes, UFO Gigolo, Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, The Bright Light Cafe, Aphelion, Tales of the Zombie War, Haikuniverse, The Bees Are Dead, Poems-for-All, Poetry Pacific, The International War Veterans’ Poetry Archive, and elsewhere. His poems and short stories were also included in five anthologies: Dagda Publishing’s “Threads” in 2013, Dagda Publishing’s “All Hail the New Flesh” in 2014, and Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine’s 2016 Anthology, 2017 Anthology and 2018 Anthology. Eric’s science fiction/horror story, “At the End of the World, My Daughter Wept Metal,” was nominated for the Sundress Publications 2018 Best of the Net Anthology.
Behind the long granite steps
The mellow sun is fading, slowly,
Clutching a bucket of clouds,
The lights go out one by one
in the narrow, dark alley.
Leaving the courtyard open to the sky.
Shadows are carpeted as if with water hyacinths
No light on the corner of the room
Except for the lit brass lamp,
A lonesome bird lurks under the guava tree
and then settles over the parapet
ready to listen to the sound of his sleep.
The luminous moon light is leaning
over the glass windows, along with
the fragrances of flower floating in,
The evening is waiting for the twin planets
Glistening with sweat, which might perhaps
Tanned their bodies from the sun,
In the blue light of night stifling with pain
Empty stars are falling in silence and
Empty life in the pure silver of darkness.
Gopal Lahiri was born and grew up in Kolkata, India. He is a bilingual poet, writer, editor, critic and translator and published in Bengali and English language. He has had seven collections of poems in Bengali and eight collections in English and jointly edited one anthology of poems. His translation work from English to Bengali of the short stories of Israel ‘Not Just Sweet and Honey’, published by National Book Trust is widely acclaimed. His poetry is also published across various anthologies as well as in eminent journals of India and abroad. He is the recipient of the Poet of the Year Award in Destiny Poets, UK, 2016. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and gopallahiri.blogspot.com
The blue sky
spoke with a brush.
Painted stars said,
it’s already evening.
The moon, curled up like a cat,
was playing with imagination.
He did not dance,
it was the hand of the artist
that turned the clouds
into a soaring
Eliza Segiet is Jagiellonian University graduate with a Master’s Degree in Philosophy. She completed postgraduate studies in Cultural Knowledge, Philosophy, Penal Fiscal and Economic Law, and Creative Writing at Jagiellonian University, as well as Film and Television Production in Łódź. She has published three poetry collections and two monodramas.
thoughts cast out,
a catalyst of eternity.
when the clouds lose
Fading with thoughts
and with dreams, grow
old and leave no blemish,
|upon this mortal coil.
Ashes tossed down wind,
at the stroke of midnight,
intermingling with dreams.
A ravens caw caught in the
balance of moonbeams and
memories of you.
Riding the crest of waves,
knocking at the doors of
The impoverished voice cries
Set me free! Set me free! From
this one life! This one prison, I
am ready to venture on into the
echelon of the next realm.
Wayne Russell is a creative writer that was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. Wayne is the founder and former editor and chief of Degenerate Literature. Sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances and time restraints, DL closed in late 2017. Wayne’s poetry, short stories, and photography have been widely published both online and in print.
I pause amidst sandy storms on deserts laden in sorrow’s grey. I look unto a hazy mirage where your face shimmers in smiling curves. I would walk through a billion scorching grains of sand to reach out a listless hand to graze the illusions that form your smile. You fear I would walk away and yet here I stay trusting in a love with a heart that had long lost it’s gleam. You fear, whilst I, I love as I breathe. In and out, as organic as the lungs that take in air, my soul takes in invisible hopes and reluctant dreams. You fear, while I know love is pain and yet I know I would walk through the greys and the blacks to be bathed in your hues for the pause of a breath. It is you I love, in and out, as organic as the air we breathe.
Meekha Singh is an IT professional from Southern India. He has been writing poems for past few years and has been self-published in various poetic communities under the pen name Kali (short for Kaleidoscope).
(after the painting by Yayoi Kusama)
If time had a shape
it would be that of a pumpkin
not flattened by the ground
and perfect in its way.
If space had shape
it would be a pumpkin’s as well
proud and indifferent
defiant to the knife
with vines extending
like tentacles of light.
If the universe had any shape
it could only wish
it were a pumpkin’s
and forever expand
through its eternal patch
of time and space.
Neil Ellman is a poet from New Jersey. He has published more than 1,500 poems, 1,200 of which are ekphrastic and written in response to works of modern art, in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world. He has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Net.
The night is you. The darkness is yours
where is to find the difference,
when everything is just one?
It is strange, but the light comes
as the great divide, and I miss getting
monolithic with the entire world.
The monochrome of despair and dreams,
it is beautiful. And the black
painted by absence and moans.
Turn off the light. Now you can
find my pieces falling everywhere, there
are no photons to separate my skin from yours.
Let there be dark, the devil said. And the devil is fine.
Sudeep Adhikari is a structural engineer/Lecturer from Kathmandu, Nepal. His poems have appeared in more than eighty literary magazines, online/print. His recent publications were with Beatnik Cowboys, Zombie Logic Review, The Bees Are Dead, Silver Birch Press and Eunoia Review. He digs beat poetry, punk rock, hip-hop, science and good beer.
They say it will become less
the cramping pain
The suffering, apathy, a lead weight
on the chest, is this a heartache?
Not being able to get through
my daily routine, I sit and stare
I want to scream in grief
but my voice has fallen silent
I want to run and hide
but my body doesn’t respond anymore
Slowly I wither, excruciated by numbness,
as I drown in a pool of dry tears
Daginne Aignend is a pseudonym for the Dutch poetess and photographic artist Inge Wesdijk. She likes hard rock music and fantasy books. She is a vegetarian and spends a lot of time with her animals. She’s the co-editor of Degenerate Literature, a poetry, flash fiction, and arts E-zine. She has been published in several Poetry Review Magazines, in the bilingual anthology (English/Farsi), ‘Where Are You From?’ and in the Contemporary Poet’s Group anthology ‘Dandelion in a Vase of Roses’. Her website is http://www.daginne.com
I am one of many snowflakes
suspended in mid-air.
This is good for me,
being singular and yet
in the good company of so many
of my kind.
Sure crystals of ice
I prefer magic, even beauty.
While some may wish to
blanket the earth,
I am free, forever falling.
Besides, light is always
on the lookout for me.
I can surprise you
with my glitter.
It may seem as if
I’m a lonely prisoner of the winter sky.
But the Inuit have fifty ways
of describing me.
And only one of describing love –
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex and Midwest Quarterly.
Mhlophe heard the relative of the murdered victim
ask the peace-preaching relative of the murderer
“What qualifies you to pardon the murderer besides
your relationship to him and the associated benefits?”
Indeed the peace advocate had decided to unilaterally
forgive the murderer, to absolve him of the heinous crime
But how did you forgive someone who was unrepentant and unconcerned?
Did that action of forgiving honestly tie up with the tenets of justice and empathy?
Ndaba Sibanda has contributed to the following anthologies: Its Time, Poems For Haiti- a South African anthology, Snippets ,Voices For Peace and Black Communion. He edited Free Fall (2017). The recipient of a Starry Night ART School scholarship in 2015, Sibanda is the author of Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing and Football of Fools. His work is featured in The New Shoots Anthology, The Van Gogh Anthology edited by Catfish McDaris and Dr. Marc Pietrzykowski, Eternal Snow, A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Poetic Intersections with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma scheduled for publication in Spring/Summer 2017 by Nirala Press and Seeing Beyond the Surface Volume II.