Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thief, Katy Comber

The Bowling Shoes

The night I experienced the high of small scale kleptomania in the name of “character development research,” something magical was set in motion in my small Chester County town. Something that years later, whenever I tell this story, people shake their heads and wonder if I’m telling one of the tall-tales I generally save for the page. For some, this story just affirms their belief in a higher power, God as Author, writing one hell of a micro-story. For others, it is just another example of how damn small the world truly is and how fortunate my 17 year old self was to have pulled off The Great Bowling Shoe Heist of 2000 during a time when the world wasn't so serious.
Saturday, March 19, 2016

Beast and Imaginary Friend, Anna Kocher

"Beast"/"imaginary friend"
Oil on canvas, 10" x 8"
Anna Kocher

Heartbreak, Joe Persch

The Day it was Destroyed
by Joe Persch

 Everything was going great. It was better than I could have ever hoped to plan it. Then I woke up one morning and it all came crashing down in the span of a few short hours. For you to understand what I’m talking about, I’ll have to take you back about 12 years to where the dream all started so you can understand why it was so horrible when it was destroyed.

Road Trip, Melissa Taggart

Open Road (I Gotta Stay Strong)

The open road calls me
A mysterious song
I stare off into the distance
And I wonder how long
It'd take for the world to see
How long I've been gone
But that road will have to wait
I gotta stay strong

Another dark morning
Of another small life
I make myself coffee
And put away the knife
I hold back the tears
Cuz I gotta be a good wife
The road it beckons and now I know
I'm livin' a lie

We hear your words
And they tear us up inside
Don't you know our children listen
Do you hear them when they cry?
A country torn from the inside out
Has all our love died?
Let's take the road together
And run away from all the lies

First Day of School from 2 Perspectives, 2nd Perspective, Joe Persch

My First Day, 2nd Perspective
By Joe Persch

I resisted the idea at first. I didn’t want to go because I was terrified. I would never have admitted to that a few weeks ago when the idea was first presented to me, though. I think the fear had me in its grips more than anything else. Fear of being lost in the shuffle, of being left out, of being hurt (physically and emotionally), and many others.
    Despite this, I was taken anyway. I fought it as best I could, but it was a lost cause on my part. No amount of kicking, screaming, or biting (yes, I bit. I’m not proud of that one, but I did it) could stop it from happening.

Heartbreak, Katy Comber

By Katy Comber

If there were candles
that once lit
echoed sounds
attune with scent
(Ours would smell of
old textbooks, m&ms;
Trident Original gum),
I could strike a match
to hear our laughter
free and unfettered

Until then, memories are fleeing
from my grasp

and I have lost your number

Heartbreak, H.M. Poley

written by H.M. Poley

Hope (dissolved) to peeing on a stick.
One day late, maybe.
Two days, for sure.
It must be this time, It must be this month. Open the wrapper.
Scan the directions, as if the words
you memorized
may have changed. You just need to see in writing, black and white, how long
you have to wait. How long has it been? You try not to look.
1 minute.
“This is stupid, nothing is different. You feel just the same

as always,
as last month. There won’t be
anything positive.”
2 minutes
“Maybe this time, I mean, I was 3 days late after all. I think, maybe,
I should count again.”
3 minutes
deep breath.
Turn it over.
Hope (dissolves)
Next Month.

Echo, Abbie Overbey

Echo, an Artistic Hand-Lettering 
By Abbie Overbey

Three Siblings Reunion, Katy Comber

The Dream House Chronicles: Adam, Joe, and The Kid
By Katy Comber

Henrietta sang an old tune 
she sang it low like a thorn 
in the side…

The song echoed in Billie’s ears as she jolted awake. Was it in her dream? Was it the house? The house. Her ears perked and listened as a bass line thumped softly from downstairs. Billie reached for the softball bat under her bed. She was an attractive, single woman living in the large family homestead alone for the first time in her life. The bat was a gift from her dad. Dad. The graying mustached man with the crinkling eyes flashed in her mind. Crap. What was that? She never thought of her father if she could help it these days. Maybe it was because the bat was a gift from The Great Before. 
A clatter, a gruff and muffled curse, and a girly giggle sounded from the direction of the farmhouse’s kitchen. The owner of the giggle was foreign, but the low voice and that particular word belonged to, quite possibly and quite impossibly…

Alternative View of Love, Jennifer Lejman

Preserving Dandelions
by Jennifer Lejman

I practice playing dead
For the real thing,
For the day it finally happens
And that last dandelion is plucked
And it’s all gone
And I’m gone
And no one can ever save me,
Because my last hope
Just plucked all that was left of me
Held it in the sun for a moment,
Then tossed it into the creek.

There goes my heart, downstream.

First Day of School from 2 Perspectives, Perspective 1, Joe Persch

My First Day: Installment 1
by Joe Persch

 I stepped into the classroom with my plan firmly in place. But as any strategist who’s even half competent will tell you, the best laid plans are only good until the first shot is fired. The same holds true in any aspect of life. The truth of it is that you need to make a plan, but it needs to be flexible, not rigid. You need to prepare for the unexpected.
 And so, with this tidbit of knowledge in place, I glanced around and noticed the room was empty. It was like a clean slate. I set my bags down by the door and began decorating. I had brought some things along that I wanted the kids to see. Sure, there were the standard things: seasonal-themed frill for the announcements board, fun calendars, school-themed nametags for the desks of each student, and even standard cliché posters encouraging kids to read. But then I got to the fun stuff.
 Out came the stuffed animal that would become our classroom mascot: Darigan the Dragon. This guy’s purpose was to encourage the kids to write about whatever they wanted. The purpose was for each student to take him home for one weekend at a time and write in a journal about their adventures. They could include pictures, stories, drawings, and anything else they wanted. This little guy was step one.

Alternative View of Love, Grief, and Desire, Melissa Taggart

Love, Grief, Desire (a found poem)
by Melissa Taggart

Love imposes impossible tasks,
Or is about to deceive me,
Visions of delight revealing
Early one morning, just as the sun was rising.
Get busy on a day that is fair and bright.
Remember me to one who lives there.
I day or night find no delight.
Every day, my mammy land, you’re simply gran,
For fatal excess will enslave the free soul.
Despair and anguish fill my breast,
Eats up all the mossy corn.
Since I have lost my blooming rose, 
I’m ready to start again
Runnin’ with a rough crowd
Early one morning.

This found poem is created from traditional folk songs that cover the subjects of love, grief, and desire.  Melissa Taggart chose lines that started with the letters in the words and kept them in that order, narrowing it down to one line per letter. 

Alternative View of Love, Grief, and Desire, Katy Comber

The Days
by Katy Comber 

Day 1
Chelsea woke up grinning from last night’s dream of him. Energized and ready to face the world, she sprung out of bed and hopped in the shower. 

Day 374
Chelsea woke up, still shaking from her nightmare. Not another day. The thought of getting out of bed settled on her as if it were sheet of chainmail. Her to-do list consisted of 1) sit up. 2) remove blankets. 3) place feet on floor. The list swirled around for a moment, broke, and halted. Chelsea closed her eyes. 

Day 503
Chelsea woke up with a yearning to be anywhere but here… anywhere but where she would think of him. She took out her suitcase, threw some random things in, picked up her jar of tips--the amount in that jar would chose her next destination. She needed to go. Now.

Meet Cute Gone Awry, Melissa Taggart

The Coffee Shop (a country song)
By Melissa Taggart 

I walked to the coffee shop on just another day
The world was lookin' up, everything going my way
When I saw a handsome man peering over his cup.
I know we both were thinkin', "Ain't we in luck?"

Makin' love in a coffee shop
When I saw you there my heart nearly stopped
How could we 
Ever know that your cappuccino
Would end up all over my lap?

Well, I ordered my drink and made a subtle eye
At the man and his drink - he wasn't all that shy.
I sat myself down by him with grace and ease
But then I felt that warm feeling creeping down my knees.
Because we're (REFRAIN)

He jumped up all frazzled, not knowing what to do
As I screamed in surprise and pain, with coffee in my shoe.
He scrambled with some napkins, and wiped 'em on my legs.
"Haven't been touched like this a while," I thought in my head.
No thing like (REFRAIN)

The crowd around us grew and grew as I tried to hide in shame
That handsome man, he backed away - no one else to blame.
Well, I took a breath and thought, "Oh, what the heck!"
I kissed that man right on the lips as he tried to pay my check.
That's how it is (REFRAIN)

Garden, Abbie Overbey

Garden, An Artistic Hand Lettering 
By Abbie Overbey

Two Strangers Meet in the Woods, Stephanie Anderson

The Forest
By Stephanie Anderson

The bed of the forest under her feet alternated between soft moss and stabbing sticks. Tall trees towered around her, no specific path laid out to a destination. With hurried urgency, Annie made her way through the foreign land, weaving around the trunks of pines and deciduous, looking behind her periodically, certain they’d be upon her soon.

The tree-studded forest was foreign to her, yet here it had always been. For seemingly as long as time existed, the flora and fauna cohabitated peacefully, their symbiosis unspoken. The land needed the trees that needed the plants that needed the woodland creatures that needed the plants that needed the trees that needed the land. Living together in harmony, unaware or purposely ignorant of the oppression, lies and deceit happening just steps away in the populated cities along the coasts and stretching in between. 

It existed, unaffected by the untruths. Yet Annie had lived amongst the untruth, within it, captured by it her entire life.

Until now.

Two Strangers Meet in the Woods, Katy Comber

The Destructive Development of Somebody
by Katy Comber

Owls hooted somewhere in the murky fog. Limbs reached out for Tom as his legs pumped him forward. Distance away, and not destination, was Tom’s goal. That creature. Woman? Thing?  The shriek echoed in Tom’s ears. A branch caught his cloak and tore its right elbow. Brown strips of fabric clung to the wooden hand, and Tom ran with only one concern--to get away. 

“What the h-”
“Who are y-” 

Tom straightened himself quickly and his eyes swept the area nervously. A howl sounded. Distant. Approaching.

Invisible Friend, Katy Comber

I Will Call Her Mara
by Katy Comber

I will call her Mara. 
Mara clamors! and gambols! and spins! 
in my mind 
when desperation grows  
for solitude 
for grace
for restoration
my imaginary friend is L O U D

I will call her Mara.
Mara cautions my bravery
Mara calls me Burden
Mara nestles into my reluctance 
and Mara wraps herself 
in a quilt of my regrets

I will call her Mara 
As I cling to the hope 
of Naomi 

Ruth 1:19-21

So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. And when they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was stirred because of them, and the women said, "Is this Naomi?" 20She said to them, "Do not call me Naomi [delighted, lovely]; call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21"I went out full, but the LORD has brought me back empty.”…

Shadow and Invisible Friend, Katy Comber

The Dream House Chronicles, Part 3: Shadow and Bright
By Katy Comber 

“Shadow!” Maggie felt Bright’s presence before he shouted across the cafe. The nickname made her cringe. Heads swerved in wonder at who could attract such an exuberant response from the man with the radiant smile. Disappointment and vague curiosity hung in the air when several pairs of eyes swept over to view a gaunt lady in dripping snow boots and a heavy cable knit sweater. The round-faced, perfectly styled, brunette behind the counter eyed the girl and thought, must be his cousin. She sniffed warily as the gorgeous man swept the woman into a generous hug and beamed down at her. The woman’s bashful returning grin made the barista second guess the relationship between the couple that caused such a stir in the otherwise quiet cafe. A writer in the corner cleared his throat and pulled on an extra large pair of headphones with contempt of the interruption. The other three customers smirked in empathy with the writer, but the two in the center of the cafe paid them no attention. 

Shadow, Melissa Taggart

Who Am I?
by Melissa Taggart

Who Am I?

Yesterday you held my hand as we walked to mom's car
We ate lunch together, you even gave me your candy bar.
What fun we had running through the snow
You laughed and cried with me
When momma said we had to go.
She tucked us in to sleep at night
You turned to me and smiled
With the love that only comes
From an innocent child.

Then, the morning came, out of the room you ran.
You left this soul behind, I don't quite understand.
I wait, and wait, but you never call my name.
And now I know you wo't be back for me again.

The hardest goodbye is said to those
We love with all our hears
I pray you find a sweeter friend
For I now know we must part.
Yesterday I was your closest friend, I know

Today I'm nothing more than a shadow.

Shadow, Fred Feldman

The Shadow
by Fred Feldman

Your feelings matter, and your opinions are important
Context is everything and propriety is god i.e.
“there is nothing you can say that means anything at all”
and I’m sick of sitting at tables and being sober
under the pretension that it means anything at all
I could fill a book with the words I’ve spoken that nobody heard
Yours is longer and more interesting – you should self-publish!!

Reading another op-ed piece in a magazine
reminds me of all the stuff I can’t articulate
The parties where I sat at a table and wished I wasn’t sober
and wishing – oh, wishing! – that my head was removable
And I had a thought – but now we’re talking about something else
There are ideas I keep a secret, though I’ll tell you if you listen
but I know it’s hard to hear with the music turned up so loud

My friends and I, we went on a long car ride together
It is nobler to be a stranger, and praiseworthy to keep thoughts unknown
After about several hours, I feel that I know everything about everyone
and of course it’s untrue, but context is everything (in the way that it is for food)
Left overstuffed, I willingly bear nothing more than my own four walls
and maybe music, but not always – I prefer the concept of it
though it’s pretension to say that it means anything at all

You must concede that Meaning’s lost with repetition
but repetition’s what gets the people to listen
Trust me that you’ll like me better if I don’t exist
and I’ll be less embarrassed if I choke back tears
So it goes that after an evening of focused self-effacement I’ll 

get the hankering to see my own face in the mirror
so I turn on the light and disappear

Shadow, Abbie Overbey

Shadow: An Artistic Lettering

By Abbie Overbey

Invisible Friend, Joe Persch

             By Joe Persch

My earliest memory is a day when my twin brother and I were playing in our shared bedroom. We were maybe 3- or 4-years-old. I’m not really sure now. That doesn’t seem too weird, does it? I mean, how many people really remember exactly how old they were during their earliest memories? We certainly don’t remember the day we’re conceived (that would be really awkward) or the day we’re born. But, in a way, our earliest memories still shape us. They help us to see how we’ve grown.
 Anyway, we were playing on the floor with our cars. He had a mustang and I had a model of the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard. Despite the fact that we were really young, we loved that show. Our parents would sit us down in front of the TV when it came on and we would just watch with rapt attention. Although we loved it, I really couldn’t tell you what many of the episodes were about. It’s another one of those memory things.

Beast, Renee Cree

Former Beasts Unite
By Renee Cree

Puberty is tough on everyone. But, Good Lord. In a past life, I must have really pissed someone off to an insane degree. Let me paint the picture.

I’ve always had a lazy eye. You know—one eye is looking at you, the other’s looking for you. Well, mine was not only looking for you, it was about to leap off my face and follow you home. And I would’ve welcomed that; I could’ve been a pirate. And pirates are cool.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, my teeth were incredibly jacked up. Snaggletooth didn’t have shit on me. I had an absolutely SAVAGE overbite, and one of my front teeth was growing UPSIDE DOWN—like you do—so it had to go. Slap some braces on that hot mess and I was the belle of the monster’s ball.

Peculiar Phone Call, Anna Kocher

Peculiar Phone Call 
By Anna Kocher

Bad Poetry, Stephanie Anderson

Are Those Space Pants? 
By Stephanie Anderson 

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in 
this little suitcase, you know the kind with
wheels and an extendable handle) so it’s always with me 
(a muscular vessel
dripping with blood 
like how my love overflows 
for you, 
my love)

She walks in beauty
with hair down to there and an ass that don’t care.  
This is real Kayne shit up in here, because DAMN
You. Are. Fine.
Keep walking. 
I’ll just keep staring.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
Ok. So that’s a lot. 
Which means I love you a lot. 
A lot a lot.

I do not love you as salt-rose or topaz
because who the hell has ever heard of “salt-rose?”
Is it a flower? A condiment? 
Both of which I’d give to you.
And when your eyes close I will watch you
all night long and count your breaths and JUST WATCH YOU.

I love you with my every breath
So don’t ever leave me because I’ll

He loves me, he loves me not.

Fuck him, amiright?

Beast, Peculiar Phone Call, Bad Poetry, Joe Persch

The Strangest Night
By Joe Persch

I woke from a deep sleep
To the sound of the phone
I got up from my bed
With a loud, angry groan

I grabbed the receiver
Ready to yell
Because I hated to hear
That late night bell

I greeted the caller
My chest was heaving
All I got back
Was low, heavy breathing

It must be a sicko
I thought to myself
So I hung up the phone
And put it back on the shelf

I turned on my heel
And went back to the stair
Then it rang again
It was just so unfair

Once more did I grab
That object of my ire
The blasted old phone
Of it did I tire

I said, “Stop calling!”

Beast, Melissa Taggart

Tighten the Chains 
By Melissa Taggart

Beast and Peculiar Phone Call, Katy Comber

The Dream House Chronicles, Part 2: The Dream Home
by Katy Comber

James Robson sighed and glanced down at the picture on the dashboard. A cartoon scribble of a wobbly man grinning a wobbly grin and holding a SOLD sign kept him from hitting the brakes and throwing the other passengers out of his newly leased sudan. I’m doing this for them. The mantra repeated over again in James’ sleep-deprived mind. His smart and gorgeous kids. His smart and gorgeous wife. His world. I’m doing this for them. 

The stylish woman in the passenger seat huffed to herself and filed down previously bitten nails. Every minute or so, the dapper man in the back, who had ignored James’ request to buckle up, would scoot forward and shoot his hand into James’ line of vision to gesture wildly at something in regard to the current location. Usually it was something he found distasteful. The Bowmans were hunting for the perfect house and James Robson was their foxhound. 

As James pulled into the cul-de-sac, a kid with thick blond curls and a chocolate milk moustache tricycled past. James held his breath. Please don’t see him. Maybe he’s just visiting his grandparents. Or, maybe he’s being watched by one of the neighbors.

“No.” Jacki Bowman glared. “Turn around. I’m not interested.” 
“Honey? Look at that house.” Rhett Bowman’s hand shot forward and narrowly missed hitting James’ face in the process. 
“Child. There.” 
“Mr. Robson. We specifically told you. No children.” 
“According to my research, with this neighborhood, your neighbors would be a retired couple and a--”
“Mr. Robson, apparently your research is wrong. Next house. C’mon.” 

James Robson pulled into the pristine driveway, looked at a house that would make most clients gasp with joy and possibility, and turned around. The tricycling kid lifted his chubby hand and waved as they passed.

Full, Krystal N. Adams

By Krystal N. Adams

God, help me.
I can't even move. 
I'm lovin' what you're givin' me-
Sinks me in a groove
of what you have to offer
even though I don't understand.
But I'll keep myself open
if you give what's in your hand
God, I'm lovin' this feelin'
I want it to last all my days
Engorged by your presence

Sailin' on your endeavor's bay.

I Want..., Krystal N. Adams

Love and Adele
By Krystal N. Adams

I want you to love me

That’s an Adele song.

It’s also how I feel.

This is gonna get awkward quick.

I Want..., Katy Comber

The Heaviness of Time
by Katy Comber

Lights up. Tiny studio apartment. All owned furnishings are sparse, neatly laid out, and visible. Two 30 somethings walk around in the loft as if in a routine synchronized and perfected over many years. The man stops abruptly, and turns around to face the woman. 

I want--


I want-- 

Julien stop. You don’t- 

I want--

Don’t cut me off! You know how I feel about that. 

But, I-- 

You don’t know what you want, Jules. That’s the problem. 

Oh, oh right. I get it. You know what I need to say. You’re trying to stop me from saying it. From saying how much I want--

You’re right. I’m not ready. I’m stalling.