Since it was my first month as a CV I only had time to feature two pieces, but I've been getting some great suggestions, so thank you all. Keep reading, suggesting, and supporting each other!
Features by doughboycafe
A Conflict of InterestsAfter the months that went into planning the event the coordination between people across states and the advertising that went all over to the public. After everything, something still went wrong. Something had we known in advance, we would have just rescheduled, but thankfully we didn’t and I’ll tell you why.
It started out disastrous. Here we were trying to put on a civil war reenactment despite the fact that we lived further away from the actual battlefields. So instead, we pretended we were fighting the battle of Bull Run. Reenactors and living history groups had come from near and far, as well as crowds to watch us shoot each other with blanks and pretend to die.
I was a Union soldier of the 3rd Maine Volunteer Infantry. I was decked out in my blue wool uniform and kepi, with a pair of boots. I carried a long Springfield Muzzleloader and had a bayonet at my belt. This was my second time in a battle and my third living history event. This event would last for the whole
Outlive"No, wait, Dad is coughing up blood and you're freaking out because I have a couple stitches on my forehead?"
“You’re still my baby, and I haven’t seen either of you for days! You got me all wrong here. I’m surprised you’ve got stitches because they did nothing about him! Why isn’t he still at the hospital?” Mom barked. But I knew the real reason she didn’t care about dad. She never cared about dad, that’s probably why they got divorced. She just never cared enough, just like dad said about her.
“That’s the thing, mom, we had to leave the hospital. It’s lost. Dad didn’t want to come here, he thought you’d be fine on your own and that you’d only see him as an anchor. Is that true, mom? A zombie apocalypse is happening and you can’t put up with dad long enough to save all of our lives?”
“Jim, you’re my son and I’m always here for you.”
We both turned to dad who wa
'ScreamA new world was coming to life under his fingers. A snow-covered mountain of a landscape that he forged new valleys in with every pass over it he took. The sun beating down on his world with inescapable heat that he wanted to apologise for. The snow and glaciers on his mountain melting in waves that would cause avalanches if he wasn't careful, but he took his time and paid attention to it; removing the rivers of melted ice before they could become more than that.
Sometimes he took more than just the meltwater though, in his hunger and his greed. Sometimes he took it upon himself to cleanse the sinners from his world. Sometimes whole villages were removed with a mere flick of his powerful and mighty tongue. Sometimes--
The little boy accidentally dropped his icecream and sat down hard on the pavement in dismay. Glaciers hit the hot tarmac desert and forged new rivers in front of him, the inhabitants of his world screaming with the change, but he was too busy crying to care.
shells shockedthere is afterlife
for lost places -
you look through
and don't sense the earth
you remember bullets ripping with rage
through the crystal shelter -
the moment you understood
no-one bears a sword
the muses went silent
near the azure shore;
sunken lungs of yours
do not absolve
from insane dreams
and delirious hope.
reached the last edge -
the waves bent
and you waved
Don't Think About TomorrowThey take one look and they scream,
they cry, they stamp their feet and beg,
so with hands made of bone, you grab
the edges of yourself and you pull,
struggle into the resisting flesh
and the smile you pinch your lips into
is just enough to make them leave.
Thank god. You can take it off now.
AUTOPILOT (revised 21/7/17) Pictures came in waves; distorted and disjointed. His body was sluggish, painfully constricted and held up as though by fishing wire.
With the pictures came the pain, breaking over him like seafoam. A distant, nebulous thing it never seemed as painful as he thought it ought to be. And as each wave rolled by he soon forgot the details–everything was blurring together. Through the orange murky water he tried to peek through, try as he might to fight it, his eyes crossed and lids closed. Out of the roar and crash of the surf coolly called a collection of tiny voices.
Time was less a wave and more like the tide. Coming and going at modest levels, a neap tide, it was the rare and extreme spring tide that dragged with it the pictures and pain. Months or more passed between the spring tides which, as hot coloured blurs, hurried on in a frenzied afternoon.
Counting perhaps t
tell my fourteen year old self i said goodbyedear elise,
you will come to realise that even the most beautiful flowers will wilt.
in three months rosa’s cheeks won’t be so rosy anymore and you’ll be standing over an urn watering the ashes in the hopes that your sister will grow back without the thorns.
she’ll leave them behind, buried in parts of your heart that you never even thought existed and it’ll sting so much you’ll be
screaming at family or rather
the people you’re supposed to call family
to not bring flowers to a flower’s funeral.
thought she could hide it behind her petals
but she couldn’t and that means
you should have watered the roses more. that’s what your mom will tell you for years to come, and she’s right because it was her fucking garden you walked right into and tainted with god knows what. because of you, she’s going to cut off her green thumb and bury it somewhere in the corner of the garden so it dies with the rest of
buddingmarch, soon after death had grazed
a rotting hand over my heart,
came gallantly into the year
and stirred another start
her hands were strong and sage
and while they cradled me, a child,
by her sap-soaked barks
I formed my tears into a pile
march, with sooty eyes, could pluck
the burs right from my hair
came with her lily promises
and sung them in my ear
her mouth was moist and flush
and while I suckled like a babe,
no coffin once did pass me by,
my feet did tread no grave
march, with rending teeth that tore
and swallowed all my leprosy,
spit back the sun, spit back the moon,
spit back a thousand seeds
into my belly, ripe and huge,
and while I rhythmically breathed,
I felt the labours of the love
that we had so conceived
IcarusOut of selfish ambition and vain conceit
I jump off this plane so I can meet
My Maker in the sky
When I hit the ground
Look in His eye and stand my ground
Because I am human and I know all
I am man and will stand tall
I am god unto myself
I am ruled by no one else
So I jump and spread my wings to fly
Because I am human and cannot die
But the wind thinks differently
And the sun laughs
Because I am human
And falling fast.
ScoliosisThere is a poem within the curvature of your spine, that I know.
Somewhere within the scoliosis S of your back there are words,
but for now I cannot even find your muscles,
(asymmetrical along your shoulders
and wound up in knots that sailors would marvel at,
buried between and above the bones of your ribs
haphazardly like treasure, or mines, or pinched muscles
defying all conceptual knowledge of human anatomy
and thus my every effort to ease their tension,)
and it is making this back massage really unsuccessful,
but I keep searching anyway
if only because I love the feel of yo
A woman in town tells memy grandfather was a native;
there’s no paperwork to prove it,
but old pictures seem to say more
than new words. Told me she lived
on the same hillside as him when
they were young, that once they were
working around the same garden—
said she never knew he was there,
not until she backed into him while
raking the land, looked up to see the sun
cowering behind him like a shadow.
He frightened her with his footsteps:
my grandfather could walk across
dry leaves without making any sound;
a white man, she said, could not.
I saw it in his face, the nativeness
that she spoke of: the cut of his jaws,
eyes which spoke bluntly without
his mouth shaping the words. I learned
gentleness by the way his tired hands,
palm-rough and cradling, gripped
my small frame, how one might
cup water before bringing it to the lips.
Most depict him with harshness,
misunderstanding more than much else.
My grandmother, on the other hand,
and on the wrong hand, married him
for his looks. His darkness, too
the lion's tooth grave of pragueThe sidewalk is dyed green again
with dandelion blood:
white wispy limbs litter the cobblestone
alongside the scars of bony stems.
I am not a witness,
only a passerby. I stand
in awe but not in sorrow
of the departed dandelions,
their souls crushed under street mower hell.
I pull a survivor from the grass
and breathe to strip it of its flesh
so that its wish is granted:
to not be left alone.
hair cutnew york was blonde
the skies were pale and the hudson
chilled my body but refreshed
and all the people
spoke like frostbite
and pushed like glaciers.
but all their faces made me forget
yours, and times square lit up my face
more than you ever could.
tennessee was brunette,
burning asphalt and sun-kissed tourist towns
this is where i found myself
in bookstores and tacky restaurants.
there are pieces of my heart still
pieces you never loved.
wisconsin is an ombre
where my roots show
but the world has still
you did not hold this summer captive
like the last two.
it lived in road trips
and camera bags.
you will stay on the floor with the rest of my split ends
So Many Vile Things He stared at S'Tori as the plasma blasts rocked the ship. They were going to die certainly, but it didn’t stop Sharra’s overwhelming love for her. Was it selfish of him to want to die happily like this, next to the person he loved? Even if that love may be one-sided?
“Release the Xani-bots.” He spoke into his telecom and watched a couple of Vorcian ships explode as the robotic beings encased them with their mechanical limbs and crushed them. Sharra made a mental note to thank Dr. I’lleer for his brilliant creations.
“Why did you want to see me, Sir?” S’Tori asked, her voice startling him. The damage the Xani were causing made him forget about his assistant for a moment.
“I wanted to talk to you.” He said, red lights flashing as more plasma shots crippled the ship. “Do you think we’re going to die in this war?”
Blockades“Planet earth is blue and there's nothing I can do,” Dr. Vincent Laurent sung to himself as he pulled up the patient's chart on his tablet again.
She was lying in the bed, looking paler than usual. “So what's the diagnosis, doc?”
“The diagnosis is the same, Tanya. The tests just confirm what I already know.” Vincent took a deep breath. “We don't have the expertise or the equipment to treat you here, like I've said before. I thought maybe we'd missed something but it's definitely -”
"Doctor?” she interrupted. “My name's not Tanya.”
Vincent jerked as if he'd been lightly shocked. “I'm so sorry,” he stammered. “Of course, Kristi.”
Kristi shook her head, smiling. She reached out and touched his arm. “It's fine! I don't blame you. Honest. You and all the staff here have been nothing but kind and helpful.”
Vincent didn't meet Kristi in the eye. “I appreciate that.”
Features by BeccaJS
horizon meets sky'the wild wind'
the scarecrow's daughter
consorting with bold ravens
earth's child loves the sky
forgetting about her kin
she rises on the wild wind
'the scarecrow's daughter'
nailed on a south-facing fence
out where horizon meets sky
her shadow follows the sun
frayed faded lips softly sigh
day by day slow years passing
the clouds and birds sailing by
bold ravens tell her wild tales
of a life living so high
her heart of straw is longing
not even saying goodbye
soon she will let it all go
on a wild wind she will fly
the wild wind carries
her empty straw heart away
handful by handful
nothing left but sun bleached rags
hanging from a rusty nail
Expecto PatronumThe bright light of day may give you a fright
If you have been living in the black, empty night
Now out of the dark and into the light
And shoved headfirst into the fight
It's going to be hard, scary, and rough
You're going to think that you've had enough
Every day is a struggle, every day is a grind
But if you push through you just might find
That though this life is fraught with pain
You give and you give but don't see the gain
The gain had been staring you in the face
And the worth is weaved in the fabric of days
Every small smile and every kind word
Every friend, every laugh, that's your reward
Every memory you cherish can become a blade
A tool, a weapon to come to your aid
When the dark closes in and prepares to bite
Conjure those weapons, they are your might
Love is your armor, your bright, blinding light
You no longer belong to the black, empty night.
The soft tones of butterflies and mothsThe benches in the whole of the city
losing parts of themselves to weather’s bane
covered in micro-oceans of the letdown
tuned to the afterglow of rush hour
There is nowhere to sit so we stand
under the dripping overhang of a gazebo
in a park inhabited by lost dogs
It’s all I can do to stop you
from side-eyeing escape
I know you’ve ridden higher waves
and lived better moments, for lower stakes
I resolve not to comment on appearance
the red-rimmed scab on your ankle
where your shoes have broken you in
and not the other way around
Every province of your exterior
raises an independent flag
You talk about your mutinous body
and the revolts you have suffered
what it has taken to broker a ceasefire
and the casualties tallied along the way
Sometimes you break code
the ghost inside you hacking into
your channels and taking hold
You are learning to be someone new
self-taught and self-made
out of the discarded scraps of clay
Little Red and the Three BunkersOnce upon a time there was a terrible dragon, which crawled along the ground on endless feet. The dragon was an ancient beast—forged long before Little Red was born—and only Grandmama was old enough to remember it. But Little Red had heard stories, and so when she saw the dragon coming she rolled her bike into a wooden bunker nearby and waited for it to pass.
But the dragon saw her inside with eyes of infra-red, and so it spoke: “Little Red, Little Red, let me come in.”
“Not by the spikes on your tinny-tin-tin!”
“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your fort in!”
The dragon breathed out a huge gout of fire that burned the wooden bunker to ash, but Little Red was clever, and so in the commotion she escaped and rode away across the wasteland to a bunker of steel.
Here too, the dragon saw her, an
The Once and Future SuperheroArthur was beginning to think that the old man was some kind of half-crazed supervillain. He could have overlooked the loud Hawaiian-print shirt, cargo shorts, and socks-with-sandals ensemble; that was typical old guy fare, stupid-looking but ultimately harmless. The carved wooden hiking stick he carried around despite being hundreds of miles from the nearest hikeable patch of nature and the sunglasses worn even though it was night…that pushed it a bit more. The honest-to-god real live owl perched on his shoulder--was it even legal to keep a pet owl in this city? Arthur had no idea--that was…especially eccentric, to be kind about the phrasing.
But what really took the cake was him showing up out of nowhere, saying they needed to talk, and then…well, Arthur wasn’t really sure what he’d done. All he knew was that he’d blinked and somehow his surroundings had gone from a lonely street to the roof of a skyscraper, traffic lights blinking li
The BeastAngelo makes his way down the red carpet throne room. The King has requested an audience for the one who slayed the Beast threatening the city. As he reaches the steps up to the throne, Angelo kneels before the King with reverence. The King retrieves the ceremonial sword from his royal guard and begins the knighting ritual, an honor reserved for those recognized as true heroes."What do you make of this?" the seer asks.
"I don't know: seems like a good guy." the Captain observes.
Angelo is at his wit's end. Skeletal soldiers, fiends, and more vicious creatures surround the warrior. He grows fatigued; but, one-by-one, Angelo slays all that oppose him with his trusty claymore. The massive Beast in the distance towers over the city walls, calling in more creatures to ravage the city. Angelo finds a break in the encirclement and fires a blast of force through the ranks, annihilating his enemies. Path cleared, he dashes over to the Beast, which has broken through the city wall."
Linda, Lori, Cathy, CarolBibles with dusted musty leather
Stacked woefully unweathered beneath Time Warner
Pigshit and planners pregnant with impending
Affairs you conceal from "friends" and their
Quick heels who'd spread the double helix
Grapevine through holes of itching
Ears love-bit by younger men
Sweetly unbent by the same stale
Years you've been pent behind fences bracing against
White picket signs of uprising heroines setting afire
Generations growing into greatness immersed unkempt
In liberations like you've never sensed forthright
Freedom you insulated little icy wifey ignoring the
Innocent in causes you've strained to stifle pushing
Pretty role play and petty proper
Posturing oh so very well-to-do and
Hostile to any and all new
Chainlinked freaks bursting from
Bondage ideals that you know will damn but
Bewitch you even if only covertly though
Overtly appearing enraged whilst burning you hunt
Freebleeding hearts on internet crusades those fucking
Nagging neo-fem charlatans campaigning for days
in retrogradehere again i name myself an elegy for soft.
the ghosts unstitching their mouths–
impossible inevitable inconsequence.
the remainder. the echo. the wake.
pared to the bone, marrow unraveled;
a web of stars racked to the machine. soft;
you dead dreamweaver. threaded-needle-tongue.
here again this slingshot orbit cups an untouched moon.
claim yourself new. become untouchable. you remember:
this reassembly, this reinvention of choice.
become a fist pressed to the apex.
cut the compass out of your mouth.
soft; unspeak yourself again. you remember:
this funeral sacrament of a stopgap creed,
vacant planet unspun to wire–
clear the airwaves.
close the seams.
Olympus As it sprawled towards its own edges, the city seemed first to panic, and then to die.
It erupted first in neon light and screaming defiance of the night, flashing patchwork signs and music more felt in the bone than heard by the ear. It rioted the dark hours away with modern rituals of banishment, alcohol to forget, dance to warm the writhing bodies within it, smoke to obscure the darkness and strobes to banish it.
It fought against the dying of the light, but with each block, it fought a little less. It accepted more of the night into open windows and broken doorways, and lay grey beneath every heavenly body, like a graveyard erected in ambitious, haphazard masonry. Its sounds receded to a greater distance than their sources would seem to allow, echoing as if from the bottoms of wells or the wires of dying radios. Shutters banging without a breeze to move them. A lone wheel turning, turning somewhere out of sight, catching at the same point in its rotation with a sh
Drowning Love1 You have found easy prey. A man has taken to walking the beach at night, alone. From underwater you watch him through the rippling surface. But you haven’t taken him yet. Why? Why do you watch him every night even though you hunger for his flesh?
I feel so alone. (Go to 4)
Enough of this. I must eat. (Go to 10)
2 You walk a beach at night, unclothed and soaking wet. A man sees you and for a moment he is stupefied, helpless in your beauty.
3 You take your man to the ocean floor where the giantess of the sea resides. She goes to crush you with her leviathan hand but stops when she sees your man. You intuit it has been a long time since she has seen a human herself. For the right price, she’ll let your human breathe underwater.
She wants him. I’ll offer his legs. (Go to 8)
She hardly leaves the ocean floor. I’ll give her my memories. (Go to 11)
4 Perhaps he is alone too. Perhaps you can
thalassophileSilver light upon the sea
Sharp as scales, they slit the
Morning sun open -
Like a yolk it bleeds, ichor
Smearing the fish belly white
Morning with a splatter of life.
Golden light upon the sea
Warm as palms, they stroke the
Turbulent blue -
Like a cat it purrs, star-chilled waves
Tabby pelt flecked with shell white
And the gulls sing once more.
Gasroot EtherI see in one grain,
scared of silver
snakes swimming in the milk;
(save all my love
and the rot of leaving earth
in slow, ascending footsteps)
I see in one cool window:
the ghouls and goblins rushing
rushing to nowhere-
to a moon already plucked
of its best ambitions
to a pooling of the hate
in gravity wells
just beyond the layers of waste
choking out the light.
And here we are, on ground marred
cinnamon and clove
like burnt briar dogs, spitting orange
rattling our teeth for blood;
whispering old venom
in tired shades.
Here we are.
the daughter universeLonely men, I’ve noticed, will pay off their little houses
and live in them by themselves until they burn down
from a dead gas pilot and 80’s paperback philosophy.
In other words, out on one hundred highway north at dusk,
which is a daylight’s ride from the sack, the dunes simply
spill out on the road; the crazy thing being, nobody’s worried.
Keep driving until the damn thing just ends at the last rogue pier
on the island’s tip. There’s a dark night beach on the right
and if you wade into the waves, about 130 feet, east by northeast,
you’ll find a miraculous shoal where the salt from a trillion graves
will wash up on your thighs and the moon searches the dark pitch
of water like a frantic mother. Pick any wave and follow it fondly
until you forget of me,
Features by akrasiel
first and last (alcoholism)and i’ll never forget
the time between darks
i was ten
the water bottle in the freezer
(or the one hidden in your purse)
i found and tried to drink
and nearly choked, gagged on your addiction
(and it hurt the throat, burned so bad i cried
and hid in the bathroom, sick
understand now i only drink the tap)
and still have told no one.
little lights and far-off music across the (fermented) water,
a modern suburban mother’s Gatsby get-together
and before swerving over the double-yellow
and after a near-miss kiss with a road sign
and slurring curses and you dragged
little margaret into the parking lot
to dance on my tears
to the music too loud
for my little ears
she was only eight
and had wide sapphire, clueless eyes
that now soak in marijuana smoke
Djeser-DjeseruEverblue the river leading to the sea
straddled by desert, scorched by heat,
small wonder Sun gods ruled their land
limestone worked by hands and tools
precise, eternal in their strength
pillared stories replete with histories
of power-tales, duties obligate, violence
forgot, love unchanged, seeds of hope sown
with trees of Frankincense on vast parades
rising slopes with monumental steps,
vast stone parades royal in their commission
three and one half thousand years ago
arcane threds of time consigned to mystery
teachings lost, occulted, buried deep
for none to find but villains cheap
raiders of tombs, those whom claim respect
for things historical, then them tear
ripping-out, inhaling oils, dust and death
they descrate for vanity and study's sake.
To Hat-shep-sut's memory we dedicate
our further understanding of times past
we stare at stone, contemplating time
what it means to be old, then dead
then lost, civilisations fall, forgotten,
our daily breaded lives unmarked
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