Author Archive | Contributor

Pinkness of Rain by Richard King Perkins II

Photo by Jake weirick on Unsplash

Despite the pinkness of rain
there’s no floating pathway

brittle

for the lover you drag behind you
like waterlogged cherry twist.

Your friends drink fancy wine
and quibble with the moon

while you sing a nimbus of trees
that silently comes to rise around me.

Show me your hideousness
my love, and I will make it lovely

so you’ll release the battlements
of rust

into an uncertain metamorphosis.

About the Author: Richard King Perkins II

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.

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The Final Test of Canonisation by Robert Beveridge

“When did I become such an undesirable blanket?” –Mary Biddinger, “Beatitudes”

Warnings, even the outdated ones,
are forever spoken in hushed tones.
You walk up the ramp and the man
with the sparse combover and the appropriate
relaxed-bowel sportcoat: “to the right,
please,” he murmurs, just above silent.
“The casket shall remain closed for the duration
of the viewing.” I bite back the obvious.

The room is full, and yet I can see nothing
(what flowers for saints and stuff?) but that
closed box, a refrigerator door meant to preserve—
what?—the nutrients that should return
to the soil, allow us to give back something
so small for all we have taken?

The viewing is what it is, what they all are. Family
members catch up on gossip from pruned branches.
Dinner plans are made, forgotten in trips
to the restroom. The children, unaware
of the purpose of this family reunion, play
in the basement until mischievous, touched
Uncle Michael takes them on a tour
of the morgue. The sandwiches in the back
room have less appeal now then the Hanobska
Chateau Marionette ’95 in the coffee dispenser.

One to four, then six to nine, and the two-
hour interim in which the family flee,
some to a light dinner, some to the local
paid-by-the-hour motel, most to the Linen Lounge,
where the lingerie dancers dress in funeral weeds
and the most popular drink is the zombie.
The director, sportcoat over his shoulder,
steps out for a two-hour chainsmoke and finally,
finally our time is here. We slip the catches
on the drawers, roll ourselves out. This is
our viewing, our private time, and we approach

the casket with reverence, trepidation.
Lift the lid on three, and what we could
not bear to believe lies before us—your body
pristine, untouched by disease, by accident,
by trochar. We slipped our arms beneath you,
where blood would pool, decay begin, and found
what we expected, yet not dared to hope—
the only mark an outrageous hickey, just above
(what is that called?), I put there three
days ago, when you were still alive,
still capable of touching pen to paper.
We had heard Mother Church requires
first photographic evidence, then physical
proof.

We did the only thing we could,
the one most right thing: six pallbearers
lined up, lifted the casket from among
its forest, marched in languorous step
toward the open door of the crematorium.
The fire rumbled, a gut promised
a singular, delectable meal.

About the Author: Robert Beveridge

Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Borrowed Solace, Dodging the Rain, and Twyckenham Notes, among others.

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Typical Tuesday with Luanne Castle

On Tuesday morning, I wake up between 5:30 and 7 AM, depending on the slant of the sun. There is a gap between my blind and the window sill where the brilliant Arizona morning light blazes through.

I open my bedroom door, and my tortico cat Sloopy Anne is lying there waiting for me. I shoo her down the stairs so that my calico cat Tiger can make her way downstairs undisturbed. They get along fine in the kitchen and living room, but not upstairs.

Downstairs, coffee that my husband made awaits me, but I ignore it. Instead, I pour myself a Mountain Dew (you thought I was going to say tea? that comes later in the morning) over a full glass of ice and plunk in a red-striped paper straw. As I do this, the cats greet me, and I talk to each one individually.

We have six cats now. My husband and I have been volunteering at a local no-kill animal shelter for a few years, and we keep bringing home difficult to place kitties. They might not show themselves to advantage in the shelter environment, but they make loving additions to our household.

By 8 AM I’ve fed the cats and cleaned up after them: food bowls, water bowls, any random barf.

I sit at the computer and skim my new emails, my blogs, and other social media.  I respond to some. A genealogist from the Netherlands has written to me, giving me information on an ancestor I blogged about last week. I’ve learned so much more family history since I completed Kin Types that I now wonder if there is a Kin Types II in the future.

I keep two to-do lists. One is a preprinted form with exercise and other constants. The other is ever-changing, and it gets re-written every day. I check these over. I also check my datebook in case I have appointments. Mondays are always very busy, and sometimes it feels that the week as I want it begins on Tuesday.

After a breakfast of two Dr. Praeger’s green veggie patties squirted with sriracha mayo, I start to do the chores on the lists, respond to more emails and blogs, and answer the telephone. The business my husband and I own is operated out of our home, and in addition to many other job titles, I am the receptionist. I gaze longingly at the item on the permanent to-do list: WRITE. But I have more work to do first.

Late morning, I let my newest cat, Perry, out of his bedroom and follow him around as he interacts with the other cats. Luckily, Kana, the dominant one, is in a basket in the laundry room today and ignores Perry. Pear, Felix, and Tiger watch Perry make the rounds of the room.

But Sloopy Anne has decided he’s a thorn in her paw and tries to hiss him back into his bedroom. Today he holds his ground and lies down, facing her. They stare at each other while the minutes tick away. I think about that word on my list: WRITE.

Forty minutes later, Perry is back in his room, coaxed with treats and a kiss. Back in the kitchen, I pour a glass of iced tea that I brewed yesterday in my Mr. Coffee iced tea maker. With the glass in front of me on the kitchen table, I set to work on a blurb for a friend’s new book.

Kana asks for lunch with a warning nip on my arm. She has IBS and can’t eat very much at one time, so she needs many small meals throughout the day. Just ask her.

I put the blurb draft away to finish tomorrow because my daughter calls. All these distractions have made me unable to focus on the review needed for the back of my friend’s beautiful book.

My daughter needs me to fix a problem on her website. Although I am not a computer expert, ironically, I am better at these things than she is, probably because I’ve been blogging for five years.

My husband walks into the house and asks, “What’s there to eat for lunch?” What he really means is, “What will you give me for lunch?” Since he spent four hours in the yard gardening and supervising the roofing guys, it’s the least I can do, so I give him a half corned beef sandwich on gluten free toast. He has celiac and maybe IBS like Kana, and there are only so many things he can eat.

He leaves to go to a business meeting, and I know this is the best time to write, but first I have to move the laundry along. Oh, yes, I threw a load of laundry in at one point, as I was scooping litter boxes while talking to my mother on the phone about her latest medical appointment.

Eventually, I get to WRITE, as it says on the to-do list. I don’t have to worry about writer’s block or finding the zone because I am so eager after putting it off for hours and hours that I just jump in.  At first I scribble nonsense, but then the water clears and I see what lies underneath.

I am working on a poem draft I began six weeks ago. I’m addressing the diamond in my dad’s ring, a diamond that first showed up (in our family, at least) in my grandmother’s ring, then in a necklace for my mother, and only later in my dad’s ring. My dad gave it to me a few weeks before he died in 2015. It’s not easy writing to a diamond, but I’m trying to make the best of it.

 

For years I struggled with teaching (which included prep, grading, writing academically, and attending conferences), working at our business, raising my kids (and pets). I’ve had to fit in time for creative writing as I could.  Now that my kids are grown and our dogs have passed away,  I’ve added more cats, my father passed away, and my mother is elderly and needs my help. I’m still working at our business. Because I work from home now, everything is always happening at once: I might be revising a poem while answering the business phone and breaking up a minor cat scuffle. It’s hard to get a clear mind. But what I always try to do for myself is write a little each day. Sometimes something happens on the page, in spite of the chaos.

When my husband gets back, I’ve been writing for 30 minutes, and now the business phone calls heat up, and I have to handle business emails and write a letter.

Finally, I say to my husband, that’s it, I need to work out. He doesn’t give me a look like I’m sliding out of work because he likes it when I workout. I ride the stationery bike. I don’t have a lot of options for aerobic exercise because of my rebuilt foot. As a reward, I read on my Kindle (which I always said I would never get, but it’s so lightweight and convenient on the reading shelf of the bike!). Then I do some exercises for flexibility and strength in my hip and upper leg areas.

The day starts to close in on me. I’m tired and sweaty. I’ve gotten a lot done, but there are still 14 items left on my to-do lists. I don’t know what we’re going to eat for dinner, and I can’t get a pizza because of my husband’s celiac. Eventually, I have a meal planned and, with a glass of Chardonnay in hand, I cook chicken teriyaki in the wok with some vegetables I hope won’t make my husband sick (so many foods do). The rice puffs up in my Hamilton Beach rice maker. I feed the cats.

After the kitchen is cleaned up, I go into Perry’s room and cuddle on the bed with him and watch TV for an hour or more. We watch part of an LMN movie. You know, those crazy Lifetime-movies-meet-serial-killers ones. I never watched one of these movies in my life, until Perry moved in this spring. (He moved in because my husband found him hungry and homeless in our backyard). The movies are two hours, but if I only see an hour, I don’t feel I’ve missed anything. Besides, they seem to be contemporary gothic novels, and I pretend I’m going to write an academic article comparing the two.

Then I head back out to the living room where my husband watches TV and open my iPad or Kindle or a book. And fall asleep within a half hour. Eventually, I wind up upstairs in bed with my husband and Tiger who snuggles happily between us.

About the Author: Luanne Castle

Winner of the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, Doll God, Luanne Castle‘s first collection of poetry, was published by Aldrich Press. Luanne’s poetry and prose have appeared in Grist, Copper Nickel, River Teeth, Glass Poetry Press, Barnstorm Journal, Six Hens, Lunch Ticket, The Review Review, and many other journals. Published by Finishing Line Press, Kin Types was a semi-finalist in the Concrete Wolf chapbook contest.

Luanne has been a Fellow at the Center for Ideas and Society at the University of California, Riverside. She studied English and creative writing at the University of California, Riverside (Ph.D.); Western Michigan University (MFA); and the Stanford University writing certificate program. Her scholarly work has been published in academic journals, and she contributed to Twice-Told Children’s Tales: The Influence of Childhood Reading on Writers for Adults, edited by Betty Greenway. For fifteen years, she taught college English. She divides her time between California and Arizona, where she shares land with a herd of javelina. Visit her website.

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The Finale of December Fourteenth, Twenty-Sixteen by Æverett

Photo Credit: Caleb George via Unsplash

after a time had passed, he lay there breathing.

the stillness around him echoed, the night air cool on his skin.

the touches still lingered, tingling vibrations – whispers on hips, on thighs, on wrists.

it ached.

he ached, everywhere.

the violence was immense – torrid air in ragged lungs. the echoes of screams. the echoes of whispers.

finally, he lifted his aching arms, pushed the hair from his sticking face – drying sweat and sorrow.

from the next room, a gun shot from the tv, sirens, “Freeze! Get on the ground!” Lenny Brisco shouts. he wonders, “are there sirens coming for me?”

after a time had passed, he felt the bruises, the truth came flooding in. the cuts drove deeper. and he couldn’t breathe.

it ate at him, raw.

his skin caught fire in a rage and ran out the door into the falling snow.

his body remained caught in the rotation of the humming ceiling fan. in the silk of the cotton cocoon. in the dark of the deserted room.

the scraped bruises on his knees no longer bled.

the voice no longer made cruel demands of him.

but here he lay, trapped. his own skin a prison of pain. his whole body ablaze.

in the stink of drying sweat and sorrow.

About the Author: Æverett Æverett

Æverett lives in the northern hemisphere and enjoys Rammstein and Star Trek. He writes both poetry and fiction and dabbles in gardening and soap making. She has two wonderfully old cats, and a dearly beloved dog. He also plays in linguistics, studying German, Norwegian, Russian, Arabic, a bit of Elvish, and developing Cardassian. Language is fascinating, enlightening, and inspirational. She’s happily married to her work with which she shares delusions of demon hunters, detectives, starships, androids, and a home on the outskirts of a small northern town. He’s enjoyed writing since childhood and the process can be downright therapeutic when it’s not making him pull his hair out. It’s really about the work and words and seeing without preconceptions.

 

Nocturne With Bonfires and Volcanoes by Pat West

We celebrate our twenty-year class reunion,
notes vibrate through the atmosphere

full of frenzy like Debussy’s two movements:
Festivals and Sirens. Whirling around the bonfire

raising dust in the clearing behind the Grange Hall.
The band, a standup rock-and-crazy-roll group

with legs skinny as bed slats,
wail their tune of love lost and found and lost again.

The same story we heard back in high school
when we swayed to “Only the Lonely”

in the basement. Roy Orbison,
master of the romantic apocalypse

everyone dreaded.

A supersonic boom rattles windows

as Mount St. Helens blows out sideways.
The forest flattened

by a force equivalent to five hundred
Hiroshimas.

Ash billows from the new crater,
climbing miles into the sky. Blue lightning

flashes in the cloud. Downwind, for hundreds of miles,
day turns to night. Roads and airports close.

Ash falls like heavy snow. Downstream, rivers choke
with mud, trees and ice blocks.

Harry Truman, David Johnston and fifty-five others
lost under smoldering rubble.

About the Author: Pat West

Pat Phillips West lives in Olympia, WA. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.

How I Save My Own Life: The Healing Power of Words by Diana Raab

When I was ten years old, my mother gave me a journal to help me cope with my grandmother’s suicide. That seemingly benign gesture changed my life forever, and served as the groundwork for my life as a writer.

While I continued to journal over the years, I became much more regular after my breast cancer diagnosis in 2001. At the time, my husband, Simon, my three kids, and I were living in Orlando, Florida. My doctor suggested that I obtain a second opinion from a Los Angeles specialist in this type of breast cancer. Within a couple of weeks, my husband and I had boarded a plane to LA, and after enduring all the necessary tests, the doctor presented me with my options—either have radiation and chemotherapy, or undergo a mastectomy with reconstruction. After years as a practicing nurse, I knew that the best way to make a decision when given a choice by your physician was to ask what he’d suggest for his own wife. Because of how he answered, I opted for a mastectomy and reconstruction.

While in California, and a few days after my surgery, I sat in my hospital bed surrounded by orchids sent by loved ones from around the country. Tear-saturated tissues lay piled high on my bedside table, and the early-morning sun peeked through the large window in my room. The emotional pain of losing a breast had hit me hard. When my surgeon said he would soon remove the tight, corset-like bandage wrapped around my chest, I feared seeing what lay underneath—that is, what one of the breasts that had nursed my three now-teenage children would look like.

Just days after my surgery, my husband reached out across the sterile, white bed sheets to take my hand. Simon, an engineer and a “fixer,” had a difficult time watching me navigate the intense physical and emotional pain. He nestled up close to me and looked deep into my eyes, as he had years earlier on the day of my father’s passing.

“Right now,” he asked, “if you could do one thing that would make you happy, what would that be?”

Aside from transporting my children across the country to be with me, I confessed that I wanted to return to school for my master’s in writing. For years, this had been a dream of mine, and the recent surgery had forced me to confront my own mortality and my apparent race against time. I wanted to make this dream come true. “Well, then, we’ll make it happen,” Simon said.

It’s not that his offer healed the deep psychological wounds involved in having lost a breast, but the idea of returning to school gave me something to look forward to. After a fair amount of research, I applied to some out-of-state, low-residency programs. I was ecstatic to be accepted into Spalding University’s charter class, led by Sena Jeter Naslund. It was to commence on September 25, 2001, in Louisville, Kentucky, about a month after my surgery.

Ever since that day in my childhood when my mother had given me my first journal, I had always found solace in the written word. Journaling became a passion that I turned to during other turbulent times—whether my own adolescence, difficult pregnancies, or cancer. So, to meet the requirements of my graduate work, I decided to gather the journal entries, reflections, and poems I’d written about my breast cancer journey.

It took a full two years for me to compile all the information and journal entries into a book my mentor suggested I publish. The surprising part is that it took eight years for me to find the courage to actually write about my cancer journey.

I simply wasn’t sure whether its personal nature was something I wanted to share with the world. For me, revealing the intimate details of my story was akin to hanging my underwear on a clothesline outside my window. As someone who has always been a relatively private person, exposing myself seemed neither intuitive nor a good fit for my personality. In the end, though, after speaking with my mentor and some colleagues, we decided that the process would be cathartic and, most important, beneficial for others—particularly my two daughters, who would one day have to face the torment of possibly being affected by cancer.

In 2010, my second memoir, Healing With Words: A Cancer Survivor’s Story was published. It was a huge accomplishment for me and I was happy to be able to share my journey to inspire others to also write their story. The book is a narrative of my experience woven with my raw emotions. It also includes my journal entries, writing prompts, and poetry I wrote during my journey.

Here’s a sample:

To My Daughters

You were the first I thought of
when diagnosed with what
strikes one in eight women.

It was too soon to leave you,
but I thought it a good sign
that none of us were born

under its pestilent zodiac.
I stared at the stars and wished
upon each one that you’d never

wake up as I did this morning
to one real breast and one fake one;
but that the memories you carry

will be only sweet ones, and then
I remembered you had your early traumas
of being born too soon, and losing

a beloved grandpa too young. I have
this urge to show you the scars
on the same breasts you both cuddled

as babies, but then I wonder why
you’d want to see my imperfections
and perhaps your destiny. I cave in

and show you anyway, hoping you learn
to eat well and visit your doctors, but then
I wonder if it really matters, as I remember

what your grandpa Umpie used to say,
“When your time’s up, it’s up.”
May he always watch over you.

I’m so glad my husband inspired (and encouraged) me to get my master’s in writing. Since then, I’ve published two more books, Lust: Poetry and Writing for Bliss: Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life which is a culmination of my life as a writer. It was inspired by my doctorate research on writing for healing and transformation. I tell others to follow their bliss because that’s what life is all about.

About the Author: Diana Raab

Diana Raab, PhD, MFA, is an award-winner writer, speaker, and educator. She’s an advocate of writing for healing and facilitates workshops in writing for transformation and empowerment. She believes in the importance of writing to achieve wholeness and interconnectedness, which encourages the ability to unleash the true voice of your inner self.

Raab blogs for numerous blogs, including: Psychology Today, Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, Global Thrive, and PsychAlive. She lives in Southern California. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Reeling by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Reeling
behind a mother’s eyes
I watched you
learn on one day
you had cancer
and exactly four weeks later
breathe your last.
I only let those eyes
weep on you, my child,
twice in this brief time.
The tears will reside
always
in my heart.

About the Author: Patricia Wellingham-Jones

PatriciaWellingham-JonesPatricia Wellingham-Jones is a widely published former psychology researcher and writer/editor. She has a special interest in healing writing, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, Voices on the Land and Hormone Stew.

Studio Tour: Erica Goss and a Room of Her Own

Before I moved to this house, my office was a five-by-five space between the living room and the kitchen. I could open the refrigerator and grab a snack without getting up from my chair, but I had no privacy. The result was a lack of concentration, frustration, and a drop in productivity. However, I completed my book Night Court in that tiny office, so I guess I did get some work done there.

My current office is a room in the western part of my new home. I like that, because I have always loved both the word “west” and the direction “west.” It might have something to do with the spectacular smog-streaked sunsets I observed when I was a child in Southern California during the 1960s. The air is cleaner now, but I’ll never forget watching the red sun sinking into the Pacific on summer evenings. That sun appears in many of the drawings I made as a child.

I’m deeply grateful to have this space where I can work, this room with green walls and a quirky ceiling that goes in every direction. It has a door. It is private. Even though I have not occupied it for very long, it already feels like a sacred space. Virginia Woolf would be proud of it.

I do most of my work at the desk in the above photograph, but I also have an “analog” space with my grandmother’s 1932 Royal typewriter and a windup clock.

A triangle of light takes all afternoon to travel to the corner of the wall above the desk before it disappears. It reminds me of when Lily Briscoe says, “A light here requires a shadow there” in Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse. She’s talking about making a painting; a good poem is also a balance of light and dark.

I have a space on top of a bookshelf where I’ve collected a few mementos. The stuffed cat and teddy bear were my children’s, the Kalimba came from The African Store in Eugene, Oregon, the red car is from Dresden, Germany, and the book is a handmade art book I bought in California. I can’t remember where I got the Troll Doll. When I was a child, my aunt had a bunch of them and they fascinated me.

People often ask me where I get my ideas. Many begin as notes, doodles and sketches in journals. I started visual journaling about fifteen years ago – adding drawings, watercolor, and collage to the written word.

Here’s a journal page featuring a quote from Thomas Paine, some interesting postal stamps, some collaged images, and a note that might have made its way into a poem.

While pondering the meaning of life, Lily Briscoe concluded, “the great revelation perhaps never came. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark.” That’s what I want to discover, as the triangle of light travels across the wall in my green room. Like Lily, I try to “make of the moment something permanent.”

About the Author: Erica Goss

Erica Goss is a poet and freelance writer. She served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA from 2013-2016. She is the author of Night Court, winner of the 2016 Lyrebird Award, Wild Place and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets. Recent work appears in Lake Effect, Atticus Review, Contrary, Eclectica, The Red Wheelbarrow, Main Street Rag, Pearl, Rattle, Wild Violet, and Comstock Review, among others. She is co-founder of Media Poetry Studio, a poetry-and-film camp for teen girls. Please visit her at www.ericagoss.com and connect with her on Facebook, Linked In, and Vimeo.

Hello Dear Friend by Fabrice Poussin

Entry

Going back West had been a strong desire for quite some time. Many others make that part of the United States their summer destination as well. People from a great number of countries from around the world. Some of the National Parks are their aim, fewer are the National Monuments, and fewer yet those whose access is limited by unpaved roads. It is an experience I had in the last century, and now I can see why I may repeat it next year.

As I show in a photograph entitled “Entry,” one has to find his way in, but more than that has to find a way to let it all in, to give it the recognition it is due, to be ready to commune with some of the origins of all things earthly.

Those locales are rugged places to say the least, dangerous in some instances, and certainly risky when one is not careful as to where he walks, runs, or drives. But as “Charm” reminds us, this is not about the small details which may arise a sense of fear in us, it is about the overall image we can get and that is one which is overwhelmingly endearing.

Settling in of course would be a challenge, a great one at that, for those who first decided to live in those unforgiving territories. One may feel a sense of isolation as we see in “Alone,” yet in our day and age there is a great sense of comfort to be felt in the safety that nature offers.

But those are not just tourist attractions, not just backgrounds against which one may snap a few selfies, they are home to the many who, by choice, and sometimes not, have found that there is no other place for them. In “Hoping,” we are reminded that the rains do come in those desert lands, and that life does sprout from the most unlikely soils.

Traveling through the harshest lands in America, and ultimately reaching the higher elevations, one has to be surprised at the “Fertility,” which prevails. Lush plains and meadows where the bears may mingle with the deer and occasionally cattle, make it clear that if life struggles at times, it is in fact always victorious in close proximity to the most difficult climates.

The Earth is a “Monument” in itself, but what I find most amazing is those drastically different scenes coexisting within just a few miles from each other. One may pan the horizon with a gaze and find a completely opposite panorama, either a mountain range, or a perfectly flat plain, and let’s not forget the deepest canyons. The American West is the place for those earthly symbols, monuments to the making of a world.

Finally, as a visitor and lover of the scenery, the experience would not be complete without feeling the moment when night comes, or when daylight returns. These are the themes of “To The Night,” and “Warmth.” The darkness brings many mysteries with it, as unseen lives take over the land, but it also covers the sites in a welcome freshness so all things may rest, and find a new energy for the next day.

‘Warmth” is carried over the mountain tops, into the valleys, accompanied by the sweet dew of morning, and the life of the viewer is too renewed.

To have walked on the paths depicted in these images is to have become part of the scenery, to have one’s memories inscribed in them forever, and to be able to remember them for the emotions they brought about when I was there. No other humans were present in any of the photographs; it was a perfect time of solitude, and it was the ideal moment to commune with the place that sustains us, to look up to the stars, and be humbled by this limitless universe. We owe it our existence, and we must, from time to time, make a pilgrimage to at least say hello to this dearest friend.

About the Author & Photographer: Fabrice Poussin

Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and dozens of other magazines.

His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review and more than 250 other publications.

A Portrait of a Writer’s Studio by Diana Raab

Empty coffee-imbued mugs,
remnants of tea leaves
in blue Chinese tea pots,

a dimly lit purple lamp,
stacks of crinkled purple file folders
busting with shreds of wisdom,

dusty antique typewriters interspersed
with writing manuals and memoirs
once alphabetical, photos of my loved ones,

both here and gone, faded artistry of daughters
now on their own, a reading chair
beside a purple orchid crowded by

a crooked pile of books laden with stickers
on their best pages, purple pens
and yellow highlighters

clinging as bookmarks, pads of notes,
boxes of dated journals,
tins of obsolete manuscripts

flipped open for ideas,
scented creativity candles,
a sunburst mirror with an image

the computer’s back screen
paned doors facing the outside
water fountain shared with hummingbirds

and rabbits nibbling at fallen rose petals.
An Oriental end table harbors
a pen collection beside a floor heater

to dry the tears which pour from me
as my gel pen negotiates its flow.

About the Author: Diana Raab

Diana Raab, PhD, is an award-winning author, poet, blogger and speaker and author of eight books. She speaks on writing for healing and transformation. Her book, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life, is due out in September 2017 by Loving Healing Press and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. More at dianaraab.com.

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