Ken Gierke

Milestone

Well worn,
our path together,
though not

well-traveled.
Our destination
nowhere near

the one we chose.
Where we parted,
all that remains

is a milestone
of what once was
our life together.

Reading Between the Lines

Expression

Fine lines, creases
Framing the lips
Corners of the eyes

Within those eyes
A gleam of enthusiasm
The dull shade of weariness

Regarding those lips
The glimmer of teeth
A solemn line of doubt

Impression

A gleam in the eyes
Taken for joy
Or is it anger?

Teeth shown in anger
Or is that a hint of laughter?
The lips might say

Or is it all weariness?
The answer lies in both
Behind the mask

Shorter Still

Far from brief, the time left
when viewed in the past.
A lifetime to shape a future,
with no end in sight.

Shorter now, it seems.
The slideshow of bygone images
little more than a time-lapse,
details fewer each day.

Shorter still, ahead.
The end on the horizon,
while goals slip beyond,
their time misspent, gone.

Beneath the Waves

Nearly whispering, I say,
“Every wave that ever passed over
this shell is held inside for you to hear.”

Eyes wide, you ask, “When I get bigger,
can I dive with you and hear the shells in the water?”
And so your thirst for knowledge was born.

Yours is now a world of numbers,
but you have known wizards and knights,
poetry and prose, music and art.

And, from time to time,
you still hear the waves
washing over that shell.

In the Dark

What transpires in a week? In a month?
You show a different face, revealing more, yet less.

There is a cloud hanging over you. Below,
around you. Are there secrets you would share

under different circumstances? The greater the light,
the less I know of you. Are you more open to another,

while I am left in the dark? You make no promise
I’ll see you this evening. We play this game,

you keeping your distance as I try to read you, each day
the window ever smaller, till you fade from sight, again.

Passing Madness

There’s a madness to it
this rush to color

From a blanket of green
to red
yellow

blazing orange

and, finally,
to brown

We are seasoned in this experience

And so we wait
for the return of green

Until, once again,
the madness of color
that marks the passing of the seasons

Path to Winter

golden leaves
warm light on cold day
honeyed tea

maple leaf
on path to winter
will not wait

fallen leaves
carried by river
memories

bare branches
seen in fading light
shorter days

single leaf
clinging stubbornly
winter wind

~~~

Ken Gierke has been published in The Short of It, Vita Brevis Press, Silver Birch Press, and Amethyst Review, as well as in The Moons of Autumn from Word Weaving and easing the edges: a collection of everyday miracles, from D Ellis Phelps.  His poetry blog: https://rivrvlogr.wordpress.com/ Ken also had pieces selected for the first anthology – The Sound of Brilliance.

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Katey Sutherland

Bloomin Awake 

With each passing minute
I unfurl and greet the day.
I am here.
Blessings as I expose myself fully.
My open stature beckons examination
As the beauty within is revealed.

Loves Me/Loves Me Not 

Oh, ox-eye daisy! Tell me of fortune today!
With sorrow, I destroy your beauty revealing my fate.
Forgive me.
But I must know – does he love me?

In Netherland 

From the buried bulbs
Appear dizzying rainbow fields
Happy recipient

~~~

Poetry and nature are the only things that make sense for Katey. This is Katey Sutherland’s first feature on The Short of It.

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Reena Saxena

THE MIDAS TOUCH

I am no Midas
yet everything I touch now
acquires new meaning
Is it an artist’s vision
or a poet’s call and yearning?

LIAR MIRRORS

change seeps in
imperceptibly
entrenches
itself in
deep psyche layers
mirrors lie with the same face

PRESSED FLOWERS

memories unfold
-a pressed flower in the book
crushed before its time
I strive to read stories etched
on petals, not the pages

BEYOND THE RAINBOW

rainbows show
multiple layers,
complex truths
in seven
predefined colors
-I look for what lies beyond

~~~

Reena Saxena is a former banker, coach, and writer from Mumbai, India. Published works are available on Amazon – When Time Stopped (Fiction), Com Pen Di Um (Poetry Anthology), Life As It Happens (Poetry Anthology), Basic Banking for Debt Recovery Agents, and E-books on Money Psychology available on the MoneyGoalz website. This is Reena’s first feature on The Short of It.

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Lisa Tomey

Memories Sweet Taste

Taste the memories
Harvests after sweat and spade
Earth has its own soul

This Thing About Trees

leaves tangle in her hair
from aging trees
roots locked
in shared vibrations

spring brings growth
rings stretch the girth
age is crowned with colors
changing in time

sangria scented lips
tease in her shade
youth finds folly
yet, the wisdom
of the sage
overseer
prevails

there is no way for youth
to escape the elder court
its shadows and arms
hold all there is to know
about the beating
of the drum
of the heart

There Was A Night in Raleigh

Twinkling little lights
captured my attention
stars about the night

A celebration
clinking glasses
over charcuterie

I walked to the window
once formalities are done
I gaze downward

My eyes are drawn
to the thrift shop
on the corner

Bright lights spill
to the sidewalk
an elder struts his girth

Another day of gratitude
to make a scuff and repast
to take the flavors in

And we haven’t had dessert
but the man wrapped
in the blue blanket
sleeping on the bench
warmed to a cotton-filled dream
which was just enough to forget
the planets did not align
for him or his kind

Sprinkle, twinkle
make a fire in the barrel
warm the hearts
of humanity

Dessert is best served
to those who deserve
the sweetness
let him have mine

An Uncertain Life

he cuts through the night
with the sharpest knife he finds
from his busy mind

fast pacing his life
he stumbled over leaf piles
not noting the signs

waiting for the train
a kitten rubs against him
he shoos her away

coffee and bagel
riding the speed track subway
ready to get off

panhandler plays harp
he calls his job to check-in
stops dead in his tracks

what he heard is how
this day ends all his ventures
now he’s on his own

he sits on a bench
full of angst stares at his cell
not sure what to do

he stands up and looks
at all that surrounds him now
could he be the man

with harmonica
maybe the bagel schmear guy
how about those leaves

blowing, floating, gone
they’re no longer in his path
lost at the turning

~~~

Lisa Tomey is a poet, writer, & publisher from Raleigh, NC. She is an editor for Fine Lines and manager of the poetry circle of the Garden of Neuro Institute. Follow her on ProlificPulse.blog & ProlificPulse.com. Lisa was featured twice on The Short of It – May 2020 and October 2020. Her piece, Silence, featured in the first anthology – The Sound of Brilliance, and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

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Scott Richmond

trees

branches reaching up
wanting to touch the bright sun
roots keep them grounded

beaches

turquoise blue waters
soft white sandy shoreline
paradise surrounds

seasons

rebirth, then living
gracefully ending, then death
cyclical weather

snakes

slithery rubber
some safe, some totally not
coiled up beautiful 

flowers

colors of rainbow
multiple shapes, mostly round
such joy for noses

pets

human companion
best friends until very end
part of family

~~~

Scott Richmond worked in IT for many years, then discovered haikus, and has since become addicted. He lives in Southern California. This is Scott’s first feature on The Short of It.

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Bartholomew Barker

Roses

I only pretend to smell the roses
when I kiss their petals with lips
chapped by twenty years of thirst.

I never expected to live this long
without you.

For the Bird who Smashed into my Window

All that remained airborne
was a solitary feather
on its final flight

Not understanding death
drifting down

Galileo

Poets have been howling at the moon
since before we invented language

Our ancestors gazed at the stars
noticed five among thousands
that wandered the skies like chariots

Astrologers and scientists tracked
Jupiter as he marched along
regularly retracing his steps
at his most glorious

No one knew of his four escorts
each brighter than the little dipper
until Galileo pointed his telescope
up — and revealed what had been hidden
by the Jovian glare

And I mourn for the eons of reflected sunlight
wasted on our puny human eyes

for Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto

A farmboy sees the ocean for the first time

I remember my first visit to The City,
stepping onto a straight flat boulevard,
shuddering at the endless street lights
and buildings marching to the horizon.

I was afraid to cross traffic,
be swept away by a river of iron,
but trusted most drivers would stop
if only to avoid insurance paperwork.

Now I stand on a beach
and can’t see the other shore
and the fear is different
than it was among the works of men.

These waves are relentless,
waxing and waning with their own logic,
the guttural voice of the ocean
propelled into the land,
                                   beckoning,
                                                     compelling.

The fear is different here—
The ocean does not care
if I can swim and yet
I step into the surf.

Liberation

Harder to jump my first boxcar
than to leave my life behind
no more cellphone leash
no collar on my left ring finger
no nine digit dog tag
they’re all behind me now
where the rails converge

But no more pleasant dreams
beneath these naive stars
the fear of being jumped
the hunger of moldy food
the cough that won’t go away

Freedom means detachment
lost a tooth in the last fight
lost a toe in the last cold snap
lost my faith in mankind years ago
though a Styrofoam of alms offered
as though I were a monk
reminds me we’re not all bad

Hope they won’t find my body
that I’ll feed the earth that once fed me
can’t stand the thought
of being trapped in a box
for all eternity

~~~

Bartholomew Barker is an organizer of Living Poetry, a collection of poets in North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit. www.bartbarkerpoet.com Bartholomew was initially featured in 2020 on The Short of It and had selected pieces in The Sound of Brilliance.

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Skye Genteen

*EDITOR’S NOTE – The following pieces are considered mature content.

Kink

You’re getting me started, teasing me with promises of pleasure.
Soft yet urgent kisses land wet on my mouth, sliding past moans escaping,
A tingling begins as the trail of your tongue traces a path of whispering
Licks around protruding lips, those up and down.

You don’t know me yet, but my thing is pressure.
Build me up just so until I’m ready to let go.
Stop. Listen to me. Do this, please…

Dig your thumbs into me, pressing your hands forcefully into my skin.
Mount me and take me with hungry insistence like a rag doll.
Cover every square inch of my body with yours, pushing me down.
Make it hard for me to breathe as you expel my air.
The weight of your body makes me struggle dangerously for more.
I want to feel your dominion over me, propelling me closer to release.

It’s hot, and it’ll get hotter; let’s burn together.

Touch Me

Caress my tongue with yours
And whisper your desires to my being.
Let your legs wrestle mine
While my arms discover your back,
Feel down to the curve of your ass,
Then find the moisture between my legs
Awaiting your entry.

You’ve touched every inch of my mind, body, and soul,
Let’s come together.

Romance at Noon

You were amazing.
Are you still, I wonder?

My last memory of you was in an abandoned house, shedding my leggings and panties, lifting my green-striped midi-dress above my head, and having you remove my bra deftly with your warm hands. The room was bare except for a carpet. We tumbled down to the floor, but your arm skilfully braced me from harm. My legs splayed open, urging a meeting of the minds. Your eyes focused, and your smile acknowledged the next move. I gasped as your tongue caressed my hard clit, and your fingers massaged all the pleasure points of my vulva. I came quickly, riding out every wave of pleasure you gave me. It didn’t take long before your cock was inside of me, thrusting hard and taking me as yours until we both came. I’ll never forget feeling so exhausted from our encounter, not even wanting to pee afterward.

Please, still be amazing.

Impatient

I am tired of waiting. Whir….

~~~

Her mother calls her a free spirit, and her friends call her wild, but she thinks she’s oddly normal with her blue hair. Skye is 25 years old, and figuring things out. Pronouns are She/Her. This is Skye Genteen’s first feature on The Short of It.

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Lorraine Lewis

ETERNITY BURSTS OUT

Garden
You once held time
Under the willow tree
But now eternity bursts out
Singing 

BROKEN SONGS

Broken songs shiver
In the winter’s cold waiting 
Soon the ice will melt

WINTER’S  BEAUTY

Branches
Bare now naked
Stark in winter’s beauty
In vulnerability point
Skywards 

A TEAR

On the ground a tear
Glistens bright in the darkness
Love living in grief 

ECSTASY

Whispers
Catching in hair
Wild and wanton fire burns
In ecstasy we cry as one
Spellbound 

LAST ROSE

Last rose
I watch you die
As your incense rises
On scented wind you live again
Sighing

~~~

My name is Lorraine Lewis. I have always written poetry but began to write more in earnest following having serious advanced blood cancer and going blind and becoming wheelchair-bound. I greatly enjoy experimenting with different forms of poetry, preferring shorter forms. 

Lorraine’s work was originally featured in 2020 – March 27 & December 18, and published in The Sound of Brilliance. This year, she was also featured on June 3.

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Chanah Wizenberg

The Demise of Mr. Smith

He was an evil man, bullying, belligerent.
Then, he hit her.

On his phone coming down the stairs, 
I screamed,
he startled and tumbled down,
landing in a grotesque arabesque.

I sniffed his nose, satisfied,
returned to my place in the sun,
purring, with my tail neatly tucked in.

Wake Up!

There is nothing like
loving pets
a dog and cat
both rescues
both quirky sweet
and comical

They are my alarm clock
punctual proud and prompt
they wake me each morning

Marmalade first
head butts and purring songs
pouncing on my back and
springing off again

Asha’s turn
her specialty
a wet willy
with that
cold nose

If that doesn’t work
nibbles to my neck

The Call and Response of Spring

The trees stand tall and proud
their branches dip and bend
with the wind’s gentle push
the Kelly-green leaves
sway and dance their
call and response

The squirrels chase each other
spiraling up and down the great oaks
and slim pines across the ground
and back up again chattering their
call and response

The birds glide and soar
and sweep around and past
each other until they take a
timeout on a branch high
or low to the ground singing their
call and response

Birthday Discovery

For twelve years
my birthday
was celebrated
on April 7th

And then
Searching for a vet record
I came upon my birth record

A truth was revealed
my birthday is
April 9th

Birthday, Oy

61 Oy, I don’t relate.
Feel like thirty-eight.

Looking in the mirror
I hear my father say,
“Who the hell is that?”

I contemplate,
who is that?

Salt and pepper hair,
double chin,
turkey neck,
Oy.

Don’t look!
Go for a swim instead.
Revel in the compliments.

Ambiguous Sunrise

Exhaustion permeates our beings
autopilot kicked in last Tuesday
or was it this Tuesday?

None of us know
it’s the holiday season
you know

the time of year chefs
bakers and candy makers
are in full steam production mode

the time when sunrise can be
sunset and sunset can be sunrise

the lights the same
the fatigues the same

Whether it’s sunrise or sunset
we’re on automatic
cranking out the croissant

Rolling out the pie dough
knotting up the bread dough
and shaping the marzipan

Circumference

Expanding circumferences abound
pandemic bellies world around

Baking bread loaves perfectly round
with mounds of butter
to wash it down

Circle back around
bound for seconds
even thirds

No wonder rounder bodies abound

Martini Heaven

Chilled glass
four parts gin
one part vermouth
extra olives

Ice cold and breezy
smooth and piney
notes of evergreen

And the olives
salty effervescence

It’s heaven

~~~

Chanah Wizenberg received her BA from Hunter College in English and Creative Writing. Her poetry has appeared in several magazines and anthologies. Chanah has been a professional ballerina, a pastry chef, and an English teacher. She resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with her dog, Asha, and her cat, Marmalade. This is Chanah’s first feature on The Short of It.

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Amee Redden

Into the Sunrise of Albuquerque 

The brilliant mass ascension,
five hundred plus hot air and gas balloons,
billowing a multitude of colors and shapes
while gracefully lifting up to the morning sky,
and removing all the air from the spectator’s lungs
as they gaze upward in awe.
The sunrise smiled
and accepted the new friends.

Sharing a Meal with Strangers 

Chance encounters, the prelude to an enchanted evening.
Friends of friends, invitations warmly extended.
Festivities are dotted with good food, good people, and good drink.
A lifelong memory of the best of times with locals.

Going Down with the Sun 

I watch from afar as the brave sail off a high cliff jutting sharply on the coastline, aiming their course directly towards the crescent of the sun. They hang in the air seemingly for an eternity until dipping too close to the turbulence of the ocean waves demands a return to the land. They ride out the last cushion of air to safety, and jubilant cheers from friends.

~~~

Amee Redden started writing at a very young age, mostly stories from traveling with her family. Amee imagines she will one day retire in a place she has come across. This feature is her first on The Short of It.

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