Joni Caggiano

Nature Changes 

Hearts of love hang by spider silk, painting the rust-colored leaves,
shedding old clothes as dying flowers bid goodbye to bees.
Impatient is the fall wind, causing green to intermingle with the color brown.
We are watching the movement of the last squirrels digging holes in the ground.
Kisses fall from the sky from migrating birds as they say their goodbyes.
My soul spins restless, as I imagine nature, cutting so many gorgeous ties.
Yearning as I watch this from inside our bedroom, my love, this silent picture show
Seasons together have been our treasure, our love, continuing to change and grow.
Passion like a blanket of red starlings covers us inside, as we see the shadows chill.
God is painting his earth for another season; how blessings come with his will.
Your mouth is warm, and your smile inviting, oh darling, like a flute you play me.
Blue tears fall down my cheeks, my spirit is alive, so thankful, it is I, you see.

Lost Love 

How can I begin to soothe the covers of the bed with my sad tears?
I thought we would pave a path of red stone throughout the years.

Can’t you hold me, my love, just one more time so I can see white?
Please breathe me in like you can, just for one more delicious night.

Half a person when you are not with me, I am lost in a sea of sorrow.
I cannot bear the dream or the truth of such a loveless tomorrow.

The weight of my burdens without you are just too much to bear.
Music no longer plays its notes for me, but you no longer care.

Did I forsake the waves of the sea or the love that I gave to thee?
I shall turn to liquid, for without you love, I just no longer wish to be.

When you find the puddle of orange on the floor, don’t be sad,
You gave me a glimpse of what love is like and what I have had.

If you return, place me in a jar and my light will be your beacon.
My heart will shine bright and for you, my light will never weaken.

The Lighthouse 

your song plays and tiptoes inside my loving head
erasing any static in the air, with your pleasing voice
your sound stills my watch’s long blue arms, stopping time
four months have gone since you left on a fishing boat
now only the brooding sea life is here to cry tears for me
darling, in the lighthouse, I still await for your return as
waves crash and melt upon the rocks, and icicles hang
a white bird dies as he hits the thick wall of lighthouse glass
I plant red water lilies in our tub and hum your song
inside the warmth of the water, with your voice within my heart
waiting until I become a purple lily in this garden, for I shall grow
my eyes will be still, but you will join me, and you will know
we are your song, my love,
 and in this lighthouse,
 it was always so

~~~

Joni’s blog is the-inner-child, where she has published poetry, photography, and short stories. Take a look at Joni’s work in Spillwords Press NYC, Vita Brevis Press, and The Finest Example. Her blog – The Inner Child – is an effort to give back – she is a surviving Adult Child of Alcoholics. Joni is a retired nurse and paralegal.

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Carl Scharwath

SILENT WORDS

Imprisoned by my own poem
Plain-speech slang
Circled Barbed wires
Contain pools of grammar

Poetry is a constructed conversation
On the frontier
Of word dreaming and
silence on paper

Speechless in a world
Of riotous birdsong
A sense  of being caught
In a future temporal myth.

Obdurate

Proscribed from consciousness
Will oblivion remain
In the porous life streaming?

Unmoved by persuasion,
Pity and tender feelings
Resistant to moral influence.

As the frequency
Of the sameness
Becomes abstract in old age.

The truth haunts
In the  freedoms of doubt
Growing dimmer in faith.

HIS LIFE REMEMBERED

An evening walk, lights reflecting off the raindrops
Of a city in desperation.
Our eyes meet- his face mirrors both freedom and sadness.

His world is hopeless, a never-ending search for life and
Subsisting.
Mine in kinship with my nameless brother, a loneliness
No one sees.

Is he on this pilgrimage because family love has deserted him?
Did his career end, or was his dying path ordained to drugs and
alcohol?

Grass grows through the cracks of a decaying city.
The hardest path is living, the freedom is what draws
Life.

Before we pass, I want his knowledge, for he has tasted
Failure.
Afraid of my own destiny- we gaze for one second in passing.

The dark lonely figure disappears into the youthfulness of our
Own past.
Has anyone thought of him the way my reflection relinquished
Purpose?

~~~

Carl Scharwath has appeared globally with 150+ journals selecting his poetry, short stories, interviews, essays, plays or art photography. His photography was featured on the cover of 6 journals. Two poetry books ‘Journey To Become Forgotten’ (Kind of a Hurricane Press) and ‘Abandoned’ (ScarsTv). This is Carl’s second feature on The Short of It.

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Ali Grimshaw

I will sing you…

with low notes strongly pure
light through dust of your worries

courage for times of cold silence
when you need the music to return

I will sing you in truth until
you remember the voice born with you.

Yet to be Seen

where blue crosses yellow
melting green, life will meet us
in colors combined

Surfaces

How is it that water
is such a crafted artist?

Consistently she reflects
the whole of light and darkness

grays blurred or glint of rose
upon watery wavering waves.

Then offers still life in contrasts
days of no wind, glasslike

surfaces smoothly reflective 
that stop me in time.

Thunderstorm Conversations

Lean into the loud
hold curiosity’s hand
consider this thundering
consider it may not mean what you thought.

This crack clashing boom 
only an illusion of danger.

Maybe it isn’t a disastrous end
but a calling of resounding strength
a breaking through from your ancestors
reverberating out across the sky,

“We are with you.”

~~~

Ali Grimshaw contributes to the world as an educator, life coach, and a poet. She is passionate about facilitating shared writing experiences and group inquiry so that others can experience a connection with their own authentic voices. Her poems have been published in several anthologies and journals including Vita Brevis, Right Hand Pointing, and Ghost City Review. You can find her writing circle offerings and her poetry on her blog at flashlight batteries.

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Anita Neal

A Monarch Task

The warmth awakens me but I am tightly bound. I can’t move. My lifeblood is pulsing through my veins, waiting to explode. My head is pounding and screaming to break free of this dungeon. Yet, I can’t move. A crack appears at the top of the cell, bright light is filtering in. I push with my might against the wall, as the crack begins to grow. I feel the closeness of freedom. I can taste it in the air, and feel it in the warm light. Pushing again, the binding splits. I roll out of the slit, stretching, feeling the ecstatic of freedom. The warmth strengthens me for my mission, my colors unfurl refracting the light on the leaves. Time is wasting, I must hurry, only six weeks of life at best. 

Honorable Purple

Of all the colors in the rainbow, one color shows more fare
It adorns the kings of foreign lands, woven in robes that they wear
But clothes and robes that are made by man cannot even compare
With the delicate beauty of nature’s flowers that bloom without a care

Their colors may vary from bloom to bloom, simply soft to very rare
Bees and butterflies don’t care about color as the nectar is there to share.

Please Don’t Leave

The most life-sustaining force in all creation is that of showing love
It melts together the heart and soul like was meant from above.
All of God’s creation was given this ability to express this vital feeling
For love, tenderness, and nurturing is what keeps this life from reeling
With no love around, darkness will ensue with a deep sense of foreboding
Fear will arise, and hope will flee leaving the heart and soul eroding
Don’t allow this eroding but hold on to loving, allow the sun to come in
Always keep these feelings alive, so if lost we will know how to begin.

~~~

Anita Neal enjoys writing poetry and shorts that reflect the beauty of nature and importance of love. The first two pieces are reflections of the beauty God created for us to enjoy. The third one shows the honor and importance of love we all need.

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Marjorie Maddox

Duo of Dusk and Past

Always
the high notes crack
at the edge of sunset,
then slide past horizon into
never.

Never
into then. Past horizons slide
toward sunset. At the edge,
cracks sound high notes
always.

All Souls’ Day, 2018

Even now, awash in the world’s weeping,
Joyce, Richard, Rose,
they do not rise, but float,
bloated reminders of hope
Jerry, Cecil, David, drowned, drowning,
tense too often a matter of attention
to soul or soul-
full of what we’ve lost,
Bernice, Simon, Daniel,
the memory and the chanting
twinned tightly to whatever
belief we sing, whatever
Melvin, Irving, bodies we cradle
in the dark grave of corruptibility.
O slain cousins of ancient faith,
pray this day for us.

Not-so-hostile Takeover

All red-hot July,
            yellow bobs
                        in a sea of green
                                    until a blue breeze
                                                            and gray time
finally take aim,
            fire a whiff of wind
                        across wispy white seeds
                                    that parachute far and wide,
                                                            house to house, yard to yard
and all is gold,                             Gold,                                  GOLD!

The Day I’m Supposed to Read Poems on Blizzards a Blizzard Arrives

And it whirls me up into white—pages twirling
out and away, cold the stranger in the front row
I owe an ode to when all I have are ballads
on blizzards, like the one that uncovered
for my father a stranger’s still-pulsing pump
in a pile of wrecked cars, yes, that one,
plus other assorted disasters of the heart
and will, which—piled up these weather-
stricken days—did, I confess to sleet,
give me the survivor’s desire to not
careen down the blank highway
past ditches and near-misses
to read to an audience
of no one—everyone
else with a backbone
of sense/sensibility
hunkering down,
as I did after all,
here by my
electric fire
typing
ice.

A boy and a girl

hold my hands into the next decade,
their minute fingers tightening
by the second over the life-lines of my palms,
a Morse-code of blood tapping through the skin
we share, bodies clasped like chromosomes.
Our threesome two-step is together and apart,
similarly ticking our differences.
here will our feet and hands click us
on this new giant clock, calculating the years
with such loving and hostile precision? 

                        Snowboarding Live at the Olympics

               Lose the wheels and score with so-cool-you’re-cold,
       better-than-a skateboard, foot-sleds for snow that alley-oop
   through air with dare-you’s as slick as any acrobat’s triple flips,
          as tricky as a magician’s slight-of-wrist that’s now just
                  feet and hips jiving for that perfect winter 10.

~~~

Professor of English at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry, What She Was Saying (prose), 4 children’s/YA books, including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises; the anthology Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (PSU Press), and Presence(assistant editor). www.marjoriemaddox.com

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Suzanne Lea

Leaving 

She kissed the lip of every teacup
in the cupboard,
tasting each daybreak
born on mismatched posies.
Touched every spoon
with damp fingertips,
leaving only the impression of loss.
Whispered into the pockets of overcoats,
a story about cold days
and castoffs.
Asked the spider
behind the bathroom door
to remember to pay the paperboy.
Finally, she touched the corner
of the tattered Afghan throw.
The one with the intricate pattern of squares
holding everything together.
Then she gently pulled a single thread
and began the process
of unraveling every stitch

14

He is dead now. In a small beige room, I realize my hands are empty. A stranger in a navy blue suit is talking about Jesus. I do not remember where I left my cup of coffee but I am told that Jesus is nearby. The man in the suit suggests we pray for comfort. Asking Jesus for comfort feels like asking my abuser to hug me after he has punched me in the gut. I cannot find my coffee cup but I wish I could. An empty cup would be so much easier to hold than the weight of this.

Learning to Write

I am learning to write all the words I have carried around inside me. This requires a gentler touch than I am used to. Noisy is easy, writing is harder. Each time I intend to write, produce a snapshot of a thing that isn’t me, every landscape becomes a self-portrait. Without me, I can not anchor my words to a story. My writing is still in its infancy. A larvae of the animal it will become. Until it has grown to its full potential, I offer each word as a gift, a prayer, an invitation and I leave myself, willingly, caught up in the meaty tissue at the center of every story.

The Happy Hour Wolf

Leaning in heavily
ham-fisting his highball like a vice
he drops his wilted butt on the floor between us.
Smoke oozing from between his pointy teeth
he licks his juicy bourbon mustache
and smiles hungrily.
“How about a bite to eat?” he whispers into his highball 
and immediately, 
I am sure he means me.

That Kind of Girl

I wish I was the kind of girl who’d taken a left instead of a right and ended up in a different town. Perhaps if I was another kind of girl, I’d meet you in a bar and I’d tell you that I thought you were pretty, even though I meant you were handsome. I might let you buy me a drink. I might kiss you in the bathroom, pressed against the stall. If I was that girl, I’d write my name in sharpie on your hand, only this time, you’d call.

~~~

Suzanne Lea is a southern writer with a fondness for dark chocolate and swear words. She has been published in numerous online journals and magazines, as well as the print anthology, Crooked Letter i: Coming out in the South

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Hiram Larew

Valentine

And up is low
And famished full
And night is day in many ways
And hardly if
              is really so

And love stays still and sways
And summer shivers slow
And inside’s out
And up is down
And high feels low

Flinch

The world is full of skills
And knowings of
     with eyes wising —
Too bad then
     that smarts don’t come from veering off
Too bad that keen hates bang
Because flinch is where all the weather’s made
Flinch is really where we feel akin
     (Ask any cringe)
Flinch is how the teach of sirens go
     or more badly said
How guessing knows

Forasmuch

What to notice really is
          the almost did —
What’s intended
What’s perhaps —
         its feathers spread

So yes to that – that should have been —
         how ruffles lift the wind
          where just about to
                      is the Spring
Or is that wink that skips from why to when —
           right up to where trouble’s
                      almost been

~~~

Larew’s poems have appeared widely and have been nominated for four Pushcarts. His Poetry X Hunger initiative is bringing poets to the anti-hunger cause. On Facebook at Hiram Larew, Poet. 

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Carl Scharwath

TRUE BEING

For a moment,
Frozen in the window of my soul.
Immersed in a disquieting vision.
Knowing I will never see you again.

NOMAD

The moon quivers in the morning ecstasy
Red roses dance with reflective dewdrops
Heaven’s knowledge and eternity held
In the rapture or a wanderer’s anguish.

AXIS

The passion shall escape
  While the past,
   Flickering hungry
Is bleached invisible.

You gaze at
  The unfeigned light
   Walking out determined
From your world.

Knowing how it feels
  To be broken
   And have a black hole
On your timeline.

CREPUSCULE

Living between all boundaries
the light is always within grasp
winding through the face of another.
Entangled in the capsule of darkness
waiting to move forward in love
and paint a new beginning.

~~~

Carl Scharwath has appeared globally with 150+ journals selecting his poetry, short stories, interviews, essays, plays or art photography. His photography was featured on the cover of 6 journals. Two poetry books ‘Journey To Become Forgotten’ (Kind of a Hurricane Press) and ‘Abandoned’ (ScarsTv).

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Shontay Luna

Surprised Septolet

  I
stomped inside
too loud, too quick.

She screamed,
startled
out of her slumber.

Doors Diamante 

The Doors
wild, dark
refreshing, probing, satisfying.
Unique, theatrical (respect, reverence)
glorifying, worshiping, adoring
illustrious, eminent,
legends.

In sleep

  In sleep’s dimmest
darkness,
it is there.
The figure stands in
the open closet,
not moving.
And she barely
sees shadow
and still silhouette
and in her room.
Until she realizes
it’s only
the mischievous
night.

Faces 

 Faces in the folds
of a curtain in
the afternoon sun.
In fleeting shadows
behind vibrant
light bulbs.
In vision specks
after sudden sneezing,
in opening of the eyes during
night’s reign.
And,
in my heavily medicated
presence,
the faces are
everywhere.

1-21-13

Sweet,
the sweetest sound
ever made.
The whisper from 
your lips,
calling my name.
Never in the world,
has there ever been,
a sound so 
sweet.

~~~

Shontay Luna is a lifelong Chicagoan who studied Poetry at Columbia College before finishing her studies elsewhere. She’s most recently published in Anti-Heroine Chic, Rigorous and The Daily Drunk. Her books include Reflections of a Project Girl and Recollections & Dreams.

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Fizza Abbas

Scribbles 

Mouse scurrying around the house, 
stops near the site 
where remnants of a delicious meal 
are scattered around, 
to find a slice of meat 
he saw others enjoying 
at a dinner table 
yesterday. 

Upon finding his favourite cut, 
he smells the scent 
to visualise how welcoming 
would his other senses feel 
once he took a bite. 

Good food for thought, 
he would say! 

Eggshell

I agree,
since you have ingredients
to make an omelette,
you got the right

to judge my broken egg.

Words

As the darkness rolls in,
the karaoke night of mice at my house
is in full swing:
they snake around a network of hedges,
talking in riddles
with the disjointed pieces of a tale,
that they secretly narrate
to their friends
to dupe me.

Their slight eye movements
trigger the eardrums
to look too,
for a navigation map
that they think has the license
to authorize their reckless movements
and a drunken state
at this hour of the night.

The remnants of a delicious meal
make for a lack of a map,
and they end up thanking me
for a blissful evening –
Lilliputians who use ink to blot us down
matter too,
they finally say.

~~~

Fizza Abbas is a Content Writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. She is fond of poetry and music. Her works have been published at many platforms including Indiana Voice Journal, Poetry Pacific, Runcible Spoon, Better Than Starbucks, The Poetry Village, Bonnie’s Crew, Cabinet of the Heed and Foxglove Journal.

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