Laura Saint Martin – Online Open Mic


This is poesy’s true home, the unshined
genius, the cracks between paydays, where I
am forced to reinvent water, or a
wheel or two, turn it into wine, or latte, drive
to the store on two square wheels, and
shoes with no sole, ne easy task for the
soulless. What mothers can I invent
with no gas in my tank?

Under the Bus

Is it the same sun
that shines on the homeward bound,
the relieved nurse, scurrying out
from under razor wire?
Is it the same road
that takes her to her ease?
An ambulance earns a backwards glance,
a transient concern.
Is it one of her own?
What bullet dodged beyond yon sallyport?
She will rest easy, smile uncoerced, guilt assuaged.
The flotilla of squad cars, official seals adorning doors,
light bars strobing,
are nothing to do with her.
Is it the same sun
that shines just once more on a last choice,
the same road that runs
now guttered in blood?
The ambulance stops and waits by the bus;
nothing to be done
for a head popped like a melon,
chromed wheelchair stalled and upended
under that last-chance sun.
Is this the same sun that shone exactly
seventeen times on that same road,
that carried a thwarted lover
from courtroom to treatment
in an officially sealed bus?
The nurse is almost home,
the officials in her wake
not happy: the coroner late,
and a bus driver done for,
pension no pillow
at the feet of such horror.


Find the face that
frames your narrative; doe-eyed toddlers or
grimaced miscreants. Where is the
sanctuary for your native sons,
the daughters of your revolution?
There are no three strikes when
the tax man lobs the ball, no
rehabbing the hungry pensioner, no
asylum from eminent domain.
The outcry from behind walled compounds
drowns out the bulldozers.
Celebrities pass unicorn farts while
our civil rights bleed out in landfills.
The song of the common man is
too ugly to sing.
The agonal screams of the unpretty
are flushed into
thoughtless oceans.


Cucamonga, where the blood
of subjugated natives still produces
miracle fruit, where the San Gabriels sit
in your lap while you sip lattes, ill-mannered as puppies
but with a thousand hallelujahs,
may be my forever home.
Cucamonga, my miraculous mandarin,
my obstreperous strip mall,
my vineyard,
my punchline, may be the last joke I ever tell.

Daddy 1962

Saturday was made of
cigarettes and insulation,
a boxer named Cassius Clay,
the cobalt bell of a piano,
and always, stars.

Simple Gifts

Know that we survive,
the threads are thin, but
we find ways, set up payment plans,
take our little mercies.
We attract to ourselves
good people, and we say
Please and Thank You.
We subsist on gratitude.
We leave the best crumbs
for the least gods.


Laura Saint Martin writes mystery novels set in the foothills of Southern California, featuring horses and their eccentric, courageous owners. She also writes poetry about life on the autism spectrum and blue collar struggles. She works at Patton State Hospital and for

San Lin Tun-Poetry – Online Open Mic

Mum’s Girl

A little girl is gazing distantly,
Beside her lay garlands of Jasmine,
Which she sells for her living.

The scene becomes blurred.

Neither moving nor standing,
She is just sitting on a concrete bench
Which is facing the steady flowing Yangon River.

In her heart, she wants to see
her mother and native place again,
So carefree and frolic with childhood friends.

An image comes to appear in her mind,
She, holding with her mother hand,
Proudly she was walking down the market street.

People were shouting, cheering at her,
She felt happy, satisfied and overjoyed,
Being proud to be her mother’s daughter.

She could tell to everyone
That the beautiful and gracious woman was her mother,
Who had got long ebony coconut oily black hair,

Wearing botches of Thanakkhar on both of her pouty cheeks,
Beautiful eyes like Myanmar movie star Khin Than Nu,
Walking as modest as a typical Myanmar woman should be.

Her mother embraced her tenderly,
Bought an adorable Myanmar doll on her 11th birthday,
Making a wishful wish for her.

“Be as beautiful as a princess,
Be as bright as a scholar,
Be as brave as the Lady.”

The girl smiled at her mother,
Who smiled down at her, in turn,
Inside both of their hearts,

A warm sensation was brewing,
As strong as mother and daughter’s love
Is binding together,

At this instant, future seems bright,
Bountiful, and promising,
With their love, and with their sincere hearts.

She looks back again at the River,
Which lays calm in the Yangon urban twilight,
Phew!!! She let her mind drifting with its flow.

Khin Than Nu – A renowned Burmese actress who was the apple of her audience in
1960 and 70’s, when she starred in many good Burmese movies. Her fame is still
going up to now.

Thanakkahar – A natural Burmese cosmetic which is used for protecting sun and
beautifying one’s self. It has got soothing and cool sensation when one applies its
paste on cheeks.
Yangon – former capital of Myanmar/Burma

What the most important thing will be,
In life for a man; how he will find out and prove;
There will be different opinions, and views,
But, the decisive action will be his due.

Find the way, don’t messy with others,
Who want to find glory, fame and eternity;
Being forgetful of the ephemeral nature of things,
The more they attach to them, the more they suffer.

Though they know, they stick to them more,
Hard, solid life they will lead and tread on;
When there is no one around them, solitude, and desperate,
To whom will they tend to when they feel sorrow.

To whom will they share their love when they feel merry,
Needed in life is companions, and friendship;
Living solo or alone is out of question, inconsistency in life,
Life is not meant for that, but for living.

Think about it, then take action,
To share is a must when you live your life;
It is a human value, and pride to share with others,
So, empathy will be recited as a mantra.

Won’t let it happen before your eyes,
Which should be wide open, together with your heart;
This is life whether you like it or not, but accept it as it comes,
You will learn and experience a lot to be a matured one.

They said save enough to spend later and secured,
Orient yourself to be a bountiful person;
A good scheme is what we need in life.
Then, life will be in delight with full bright.

San Lin Tun is a freelance writer of essays, poetry, short story and novel in Myanmar and English. His writings appeared in Asia Literary Review, Hidden Words/Hidden Worlds Ethnic Short Story Anthology, Kitaab, Mekong Review, Mad in Asia Pacific, NAW, PIX, South East of Now, etc. He is the author of a novel “An English Writer”. He lives in Yangon, Myanmar.

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One can reach him at –

Linda M. Crate – Love Starts With You

the only home i’ll know

i learned to love myself,
but it wasn’t easy;
first i had to let go of
everything they told me i was
and learn to define myself—

i had a beauty and a power
all my own, always;
but i had to reclaim my voice and my magic

once more before i could call
myself mine—

jealous and petty mean spirited people
have mocked me all my life,
they told me i was stupid or ugly and fat;
and i believed them—

i didn’t realize there was value in being me
until a guidance counselor insisted if i were
more normal i would fit in,
and i decided then and there that i would never
strive to fit in when i was born to stand out;
that i would be proud of myself and my weird

because the only person i can ever be is me,
and since i am the only one that will always
be there for me; i need to accept myself for
my flaws and my scars and i have—

i love myself because i am the only home i’ll ever know.

remind the heart to dream

self-care isn’t always
retail therapy
or bubble baths or
isolating from the world

sometimes self-care
is letting the tears flower
like blossoms in the spring
until your soul is purged
of the heaviness it is feeling,

and sometimes it is talking to
friends and releasing all the pent up
steam you’ve been holding onto;

even a nap or a simple shower
can be an act of self-care in a world
that sometimes feels full of nightmares
sometimes its necessary to remind
the heart to dream.

learned to say no

i had to teach myself no
because it felt like a swear word
and i always hated to let people down;
but i learned the hard way
you cannot please everyone and trying
only displeases everyone especially yourself—
so i stopped trying to please people,
and started doing what i could
only if i felt like helping or being or doing
was i there;
and some people got angry and some people
walked away from me
but i figure that’s the price of being authentic
to yourself
not everyone is going to understand or be there
on every leg of your journey
so you have to clap and be proud of yourself—
you cannot pour from an empty cup
so if you feel depleted,
it is okay to say no;
and if you are tired it is all right to let someone down
because life is too short to make our souls miserable—
you have to take care of yourself because
no one else will.

don’t hate myself anymore

i used to hate myself,
and wonder what she had
that i didn’t;
what made you love her and not me—

in the end, it doesn’t matter;
because i am beautiful and i have worth
all my own even if you will never recognize it

i am magical, powerful, and beautiful;
with meanings and roots deeper than the ocean—

i thought i needed you once-upon-a-time
but it turns out i only wanted you,
and i am doing better for myself now that you are gone;

sometimes the heart wants the exact opposite
of what it needs—

i am not afraid of being alone, i am not afraid of the darkness;
because i know i am strong enough to defend myself and rise
from the ashes of any death given me thanks to you.

picked myself back up and learned to love me

i love myself now
like i didn’t

you wouldn’t recogize me now,

but i’ve grown from that spot
where you left me to die;

there was a woman
behind the glass that grabbed my hand
she led me to a future where
you didn’t stand and showed me of sunsets
i had yet to witness and moonbeams
that yet had to sing against my skin—

so i fell in love with flowers,
the wild, and the seas all over again;
i fell in love with wise old trees
and redcapped mushrooms and orange fallen leaves

i recognized there is worth to a crow song,
and found love even for myself;

to you i may not have been worth it but i am wild
not everyone can hold a flame but the person
who can appreciate my mountains and my oceans,
my fires and my trees, my fangs and my wings;
i welcome them into my tribe

even if sometimes my only hand to grasp is my own.

Check Out This Artist:

Linda M. Crate

Ponder Away – Conclusion

We have reached the end of our first online open-mic. It has been even better than I imagined! A big thank you to all the incredible artists who participated!

But don’t be sad, because there is much more to come! Next month we have Love Starts With You, a series on receiving love first for ourselves before we give to others. The submissions are open until February 1st, 2020, so go check it out to participate: Love Starts With You

Hanalena Fennel – LTNC Series

Tall Tales

When I was a child

America was full giants

Of a huge man with an axe

That left footprints as lakes in his wake

Ate through logging towns

Felled entire forests with a single swipe 

Worked better alone

But always had his Babe 

The cowboy was never filmed with cows in the same shot 

That was left for offscreen vaqueros 

American Cowboys got stars and big guns 

Never missed

Never left the shoot out to find those clapboard houses offer no protection for the family cowering inside

The child in the gingham dress is still corpse no matter which gang shot her

The Hammerman we loved for his size

He’s “too dumb to quit” even as it killed him 

Nobody worried about the teaching his big black hands a skill

We just cheered on from bandstands in the desert as America sacrificial gladiator fought the machines were meant to save him 

As a child the only thing I learned of giants is 

           they kill everything they love 

          die alone 

Sleep giants. 

Rest on the earth as mountains.

You were never really here

 And our gingham dressed daughters have someplace to go.

Upbringing: A found poem of quotes from Donald and Ivanka Trump

Providing an Order of Succession Within the Department of Justice 

If being complicit means…1 

Locker room banter 2 

You have to treat ‘em like shit 3 

And when you’re a star 4 

Grab them by the pussy 5  

Perhaps I would be dating her 6 

Quality for me is key 7 

My father values talent 8  

Low I.Q. crazy 9 

A special place in hell for… 10 

You are a pussy 11 

Hard to be a ten 12 

Gosh, I sound like my father 13  

That’s part of the fun 14  

1 Trump, Ivanka. Television Interview with Gayle King. ​CBS This Morning​. CBS. April 5, 2017  

2 Trump, Donald. ​Campaign Statement​. Donald Trump Presidential Campaign. October 06, 2016  

3 Trump, Donald. ​Told to friend Philip Johnson according to ​New York Magazine​. 1992 

4 Trump, Donald. Video Recording with Billy Bush. ​Access Hollywood​. NBC. 2005 

5 Trump, Donald. Video Recording with Billy Bush. ​Access Hollywood​. NBC. 2005 

6 Trump, Donald. Television Interview. ​The View​. ABC. ​March 6, 2006 

7 Trump, Ivanka. Online Interview with Andrew Bevan. TeenVogue. March 28, 2012 

8 Trump, Ivanka. Listed as Headliner. 2016 Republican Convention. July 21, 2016 

9 Trump, Donald. Tweet. Twitter. June 29,2017 

10 Trump, Ivanka. Interview with unnamed reporter from Associated Press. ​Ivanka Trump says child tax credit ‘not a pet project’ by Catherine Lucey​. Associated Press November 15, 2017 

11 Trump, Donald. Video Recording with Billy Bush. ​Access Hollywood​. NBC. 2005  

12 Trump, Donald. Radio Interview with Howard Stern. ​The Howard Stern Show. ​WXRK. September 2005 

13 Trump, Ivanka. ​The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life.​ Touchstone. April 20, 2010 

14 Trump, Ivanka. Interview with Rachel Gillett. ​Ivanka Trump describes her life as the daughter of a potential US president, running the Trump empire, and building her own brand​. Yahoo Finance. March 17, 2016 

About the Artist:

HanaLena Fennel is a Jewish-Hawaiian American poet. She has writtten a book, Letters to the Leader, published by Moon Tide Press in response to the numerous executive orders issued during Trump’s term in office.

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Existential Ponders – Mia Savant

Questions for Death

Drawn from the movie Meet Joe Black that is not usually classified as a Halloween movie, but really, what evokes more existential thought than death embodying life?

What were you searching for, oh death

That you did not already know?

We seek for our meaning beyond the grave

While all this time you’ve been seeking yours in life?

You searched for the excitement

The whisper of a thrill

Things we often miss in our own time

We are told to be serious

To not turn to frivolous materials

That what matters is not this world

We stress for we cannot be spiritual enough to get out of our bodies before our appointed time of taking our last breath

To inhabit

What we believe to be

The true essence of being

And yet

Our material body

Has purpose

To you?

You hold the power to delay inevitable

Or end a being before their time

Yet a simple spoon of peanut butter

Feeds a part of your soul

(Or whatever your being possesses)

When you found love

You knew

The same way we do

That for some unknown reason

It means everything

And just like us you wanted to keep it forever

The thought of being without

Hurts your core so deeply that you would be willing to give up everything you have

Go back on every word you’ve ever given

And put to the test anyone who would try and take it from you

But you are just as confined as we are

Shackled by the conundrum

Of wanting true love to hold forever

But true love isn’t about holding

It isn’t about forever

To love

Is to live fiercely

Then release

Whether they stay in our hands or not

Belongs to something else

All this time

We thought it belonged to you

You were Death longing to experience life

And a life about to die

Had sympathy for you

So maybe

We are all lost together

And every moment in life and death

Means nothing and everything

Rolled together as one

What did you find, oh death?

You have now seen both sides

Is there truly

Nothing to fear?

Or is your calm an acceptance

Of eternal unknown?

Mia Savant