page bled as I scratched and punctured its surface.
pen clearly marked its wake
it slowly marched from left to right—a nauseating routine.
stains mimicked the silhouettes of
the Earth’s soaring peaks and deepest
filled the once virgin plain.
Each stroke, a glacial movement,
destined to leave a scar.
its wounds clotted and dried,
within them were thoughts made immortal
the hopes that one day, they too will be great.
these thoughts turned to words
not my thoughts nor my words,
traces of a poison
ignorance of others) forced down my throat.
have infested my mind with lies
anchored my voice with judgement.
have killed my tongue.
have killed my tongue.
soul lay among the ashes—
of the fire over which my heart hung.
angry fire in the epicentre of a crowd
to feast. And feast they did.
turn the page,
herein lies no unthinkable secret,
a procession of words
solemnly skirt a silken black hearse
which a poet rests—a silenced poet
whose voice the world chooses to ignore.
I sinned and was punished.
Bound. Tortured. Banished.
I trusted and was lied to.
Accused of things I’d never do.
I was blinded and tossed.
My tongue clipped—speech paused.
Imprisoned by muted cries and screams.
Wounded by shattered dreams.
My breath ceased—body still.
Death shall stay to have its fill.
What have I done? Tell me at least. I’m no monster—no life sucking beast. I’ve not killed nor lied, nor hid in the shadows of my pride. Punish me if you must, but not for Envy—not for Lust. Ridicule me. Shun me. But first, stay to hear my plea.
Yes—I am a Criminal, a serial wrong-doer, but only here, in your world, where Love is no different from Murder.
think I am broken.
A shattered beer bottle
one too many. A mistake
swept up, dumped and forgotten.
I am beautiful.
catch the light
and make fragmented rainbows.
I will cut you.
I will leave a scar.
Go and tell your friends
about it years later,
over beers. I will
I try to tell my best friend
she is beautiful
I see my lips crumble away.
I see myself—scattered pieces—
Can you be two things at once?
sand castle reclaimed by the sea
before your mom could see
and before your dad could
you a pat on the back.
I am a wave diminished by the shore. Pieces of me burst— bubbles into oblivion.
sweat alcohol. I reek.
I am ugly.
spill. I am spilling.
I keep together like water.
Mop me up.
me up. Clean
I feel dirty.
have bumpy lines on my skin:
dried up glue that leaked from my
tried to fix me.
I am uglier.
you get it?
like your unfinished beer
that splashed all over
the bottle slipped,
the ground and smashed.
smash you up.
Kiss me and make a mess. Let me pool on the floor. I will evaporate by morning.
old guy left a lot of stuff behind.” Jason said to his co-worker Carl just as
Carl let out a loud triple sneeze due to the dust.
“The owner claims the old man
returned home from a trip, then vanished and left all his things, even his
wallet. No-one has been able to locate his family.” Jason added, as the two of
them placed down a large box and heard some small medal items fall near the
“Sounds like some nails fell, just leave ‘em.” Carl
said and they walked back to the 1950s style 4-unit building that was in bad
need of landscaping.
This day was not unlike most
late-December-Jersey City days. A frigid breeze cupped Sandra’s face as she
walked the two blocks to her apartment building from the Grove Street Path
station after work.
of her surroundings but lost in thought, she caught a glimpse of silver stuck
in a raised crack in the sidewalk. She hoped to add to her collection of old
coins and quickly picked it up and continued home.
Sandra heard footsteps uncomfortably close behind her. When she glanced back,
she saw no-one. Though it was dark out, there were people walking across the
street and not far ahead of her. She felt nervous but tried to shrug it off by
telling herself the sound was probably a strange echo. She quickened her pace
and heard the steps quicken as well.
Sandra arrived home, her hands shook slightly as she pushed the key into the
security gate and sprinted her petite, fit, 26-year-old frame up to the 3rd
floor and into her apartment. Once she was home, she paused-took a deep breath
in quiet relief to be inside.
Her cat began to cry loudly as she
walked into her bathroom. “Momma is going to feed you in a minute.” She called
out to her 5-year-old cat named Ruby. Out of habit, she closed the bathroom
door behind her and in spite of the brisk weather, opened the bathroom window
While she washed her hands, she
rubbed the coin under the stream of warm water which cleared it of dirt until
she could see the round disk had a candle printed in the center and beautiful
cuts with an unusual design around its edges.
turned off the faucet and was attempting to read the small writing on the back
of the coin when she suddenly heard the unmistakable sound of footsteps in her
living room, the wood creaked as the steps slowly moved closer to the bathroom
door. Did she forget to lock the apartment door?
“No, no, no!” she answered herself in
a whisper as her heartbeat sped up so fast, she could hardly feed her lungs
enough air to satisfy it. For a moment, she looked in all directions; ran her
wet hands through her hair-frantic for anything she could use as a weapon, she
grabbed a large heavy bottle of bubble bath in her right-hand while she still
gripped the old coin in her left.
Sandra was waiting for the door to
open when she noticed the doorknob slowly changed shape like metal/wax it
twisted, made a high-pitched grinding noise and gave off a smell like a cigar
as it formed into a knob sized head and face. She was first frozen to her spot
then dropped the bottle from her hand and it burst onto the floor.
back, let out small gasp of air as her bladder emptied into her jeans. Sandra
was terror stricken; tears streamed her face then the knob/head tried to talk.
It belched out words from what sounded like a strangled throat. “My…My” it
pushed the words out (through pinched lips) in a whisper that grew louder.
“Mine…Mine” Its pointy medal eyes looked at the coin in Sandra’s hand. Its
strange face had no chin nor a forehead.
one quick thrust, Sandra tossed the large coin out of the open window. The face
on the doorknob vanished as if it were pulled violently from the knob by her
throw. Sandra suddenly recalled a memory of her 4-year-old self in a basement
when the light bulb burned out and she searched alone in pitch blackness for
the staircase while she heard strange noises that came from every direction.
On this winter night, in her
apartment, she shook, cried and screamed to the top of her lungs until her
neighbors who knew her, broke down the door and found her crouched on the
bathroom floor; her blue jeans soaked in spilled bubble bath and urine.
tall slender young man walked through the courtyard of Sandra’s building,
noticed the large shiny coin at the very edge of the walkway near the grass. He
quickly picked it up and dropped it in his jacket pocket. The young man bobbed
his head to music on his earplugs, as he continued toward the bus stop, he did
not hear the loud commotion from the apartment above or the quick steps that
suddenly joined him on the walkway…
Beverly M. Collins
Beverly’s poems have appeared in many publications including The Nightmares Anthology, Journal of Modern Poetry, The Hidden and the Divine Female Voices in Ireland, Poetry Speaks! Year of Great Poems and Poets, The Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, The Galway Review, Spectrum, Altadena Poetry Review, The Wild Word, The Scarlet Leaf Review to name a few.
As The Sun Moves Into Sagittarius, Sweater Weather
haibun by KB Nelson
My hands, my fingers, they sparkle,
I think my knuckles might explode if I hold them still for too long.
The only peace I
find is when I walk in the trees. Leaves flip, exposing their underbellies in
the breeze. I return to the cabin, intent on reading a book or preparing
tomorrow’s casserole. The balls of wool compel me, or rather with the aid of my
hands they patiently form themselves into,
I stitch pieces
together and a jersey takes form. Such an odd hem. Short in the back, or at
least normal length in back, but long, long and tapered, in front. Opposite to
style or practical use.
I anticipate. I
wait for someone or something, here high in the forest. The garment has taken
form and I hear the arrival.
swarm of snowflakes
mornings, long evenings
Ruby Van Bendegem is retired after over three decades as a journalist and a lawyer, and is the recovering mother of four. She lives and paints in northwestern Ontario, Canada. On summer days you will find Ruby and her husband paddling a canoe or kayak on the waters of Lake Superior.
KB Nelson is a Canadian writer who thrives in the intersection of art and science. She has won awards in both poetry and short fiction, and is published in a variety of journals and anthologies. A graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Southbank writing program and mother of two, she currently lives in Greater Vancouver.
What is your greatest fear? I’ve been asked this question often throughout my life. Mostly, I have answered, “I don’t know.” I don’t really think about it. I’ve been bruised, beaten, cut, stabbed, I’ve been shot at and even had the pleasure of taking a round to my chest armor plate. I had tackled adversity head on with no other path ahead. But scars fade. Moments pass. I am afraid of the same as anyone i suppose. I fear being hungry. I fear pain. I greatly avoid discomfort. But none of these are unusual. None are a great fear that I devote any great measure of my mind to. Im not plagued by the worries of my next meal. I do not expect of corporeal harm as I go throughout my day. I do not think of the heat or cold or wind as anything more than an number. No I don’t live my life in fear. I have however been in the worst places i could go. I have spent a great deal of my life in darkness, watching the worst of humanity. I have seen and heard moments that are so unfathomable as to be beyond the scope of reality for my contemporaries. What would be described as nightmares. For some I have been the harbringer of death and held them in their final moments, brought to their god by my hand. I still treat these experiences as facts. It is simply another part of the world as it exists. No more, no less. I do not fear it. No. My greatest fear is no one thing. I fear a moment. That in which you can define your life as before and after, “that moment”.