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Other notable work by Terry Anastasi, Bartholomew Barker and Renata Lader.

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Bruce Lader-

The Angels of Refugees

traverse the multiverse in no time,
blonde gossamer wings softer
than cashmere surround the diseased
and dying, like haloes, cocoon misery.
Weeping is the most heavenly music
the angels have ever heard.

The tears of dispossessed people
well up with agonizing prayers,
so tear-aholic angels (the sea’s
distances in their eyes) constantly
intercept dark notes of distress,
detect pheromones of fear,
watch out for children in wars,
radioactive zones, natural disasters.

When sunlight floods Earth
and the nightmares of violence erupt,
father and mother angels of sorrow
eager to help, poise for sacrifice,
unfold feathers. The divine divers drop
like exquisite pearls from the overflowing
cup of God’s dream of deliverance,
swallow seas of tears.

Traces of grief and pain disappear
like grains of salt in water,
complete euphoria removes gravity
from troubles, regret, old age,
the guardians of life rescue the refugees
in keeping with celestial order.

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Angel Classifieds

FOR RENT: Like new 2,300-year-old seraph, all six wings
working, knows alchemy, philosophy, world languages, metaphysical conceits, oracles, utopian visions, recites
Homer, Bible, Quran. Interested in naughty cupid trade. Contact: Timeless@Kingdom.com

DEFINITE MAYBE: Kierkeguardian angel, knows alternate universes, bittersweet temperament, moderate mischief,
wry cynicism, middle of the roader, nothing permanent,
all offers more or less considered. Contact before noon: thisorthat@whybother.net. Insist! Desist?

LOOKING FOR WORK: Invisible op, mileage only 7,800 light-years, sent down in 1860, martial arts, Secret Service experience: Lincoln, McKinley, Kennedy, Reagan, details contact: deletesnowden@stopleaks.gov

WON’T LAST: 30 Angel Sonnets, signed, celestial cond.,
voltas off the charts, metonymies, scintillating slant-rhymes, sensual images, synecdoches, diacritics, fully annotated,
best price, no hidden fees, instant delivery, don’t delay.
Contact: The.Immortal@Antiquarian.edu

NIRVANA NOW: Escape reality, retire forever in fields of
flowers from remote planets, be enraptured by pastorals,
the euphony of floating blue bells, extinct butterflies &
birds. Final offer, pleasant dreamers preferred, contact: Divinerainbows@beautiful.prayers

MARRIAGE-MINDED: sui generis, tiptop shape, sings
like a nightingale, virtuoso flute, trumpet, clarinet,
recites sestinas, villanelles, prothalamia, enthralling
vibrato, stellar mystic lyrics. Serious only contact: Gabriel&Rafael&St.Cecilia@Eternalmusic.org

PROPHECIES REALIZED: Why stress the unknown?
soothsaying more accurate than Tiresias, Pythia,
Greenspan, Cayce, turn doubters into believers,
get the raises you deserve, the love you want now,
contact: Elijah, theotherside@séances.net

HAPPY MEDIUM: Seraphim Univ. grad., Messenger
the Zion Galaxy & Sunflower Nebula, 75 alliances,
82 treaties, loves animals, children, refs: St. Francis,
St. Nicholas. Contact: Peaceconnect@paradise.net

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Cemetery Soldiers
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
—Wendell Berry

We took for granted
the Divine Rights
of kings and presidents,
the way we took for granted
infinite clean atmosphere.

We bought into convincing
spins on the domino theory
the way we took for granted
unlimited pure water.

Rulers wagering perpetual
infernal and cold wars
for the most crude,
deployed our platoons

like chess pieces,
parlayed heavy losses
into heavenly profits.

The way we thought supplies
of food would last forever,
we obeyed officers’ commands,
executed their strategies.

In the minds of children
and credulous adults,
the flares and missiles
looked like shooting stars.

Our side never pretended—
except to spy, collect intel,
outmaneuver the devious
enemy, give allied battalions
and flyboys the edge.

Honor seemed always at stake,
missions urgent, operations
in jeopardy, heroes rare
as Purple Hearts, Silver Stars.

Untold rows and columns
of monuments watch over
our regiments dealt like
video games, items of traffic.

Flowers of dust decorate
our uniform of eternity.

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Depleting the Armaments

Fill the multilateral ceasefire
emulsifiers with grenades,
missiles, and mobile gun systems,

liquefy in gargantuan solvent mixers,
sprinkle Himalayan salt,
favorite spices. Serves millions.

Want a fast, low-carb energy boost?
Many dieticians recommend
yogurt rocket-launcher smoothies.

Order the gefilte warplane wings
at friendly franchises, and you get
a free Mazeltov Cocktail.

Reduce nuclear nervousness—
try a tenderized bomb or tank
marinated in the Mediterranean.

Enemies and allies agree
that nothing beats fondue of land
and sea mines in garlic sauce.

For disarming desserts,
taste the aircraft-carrier parfaits
drenched in chocolate syrup

and the surveillance satellite
coconut cake garnished
with powdered-sugar rifles.

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Bruce Lader is author of five poetry volumes, including Fugitive Hope (Červená Barva Press, 2014) and Discovering Mortality (March Street Press), a finalist for the 2006 Brockman-Campbell Book Award. His poems have appeared in The Southern Poetry Anthology,Poetry, New Millennium Writings, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, Confrontation, Potomac Review, and many other journals. He has received a writer-in-residence fellowship from The Wurlitzer Foundation, and directs Bridges Tutoring, an organization educating multicultural students.

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Terry Anastasi-

peeping tom-tom

peeping tom-tom goes the drum
skin stretched taut on hollow lusting
he is up from his recliner heading out
for a smoke his wife wishes he’d quit
no idea he is drunk with dusk night falling
called by the pattern of lights next door
leaving him crouching in the holly bushes
as a woman moves through rooms distracted
lost in a familiar routine unaware of him
watching her outline through the mini-blinds
peeping tom-tom goes the drum
blood beating surging tingling in his skull
a thrill hammering its own stake in his heart
trembling fingers fumbling for a cigarette
he places against his bottom lip but doesn’t light
biting the menthol filter drawing in a breath of air
electric that is when he remembers to breathe
he swallows casting shadows silence breaking
staccato barking of a scroungy dog nearby
a pumped up truck guns in the distance
peeping tom-tom goes the drum
moving closer to panes and sill and sash
he stares at her separated into a dozen slices of life
drinking her down like a long island iced tea
seven liquors drunker quicker an entire summer
spent stupid reckless roaming the neighborhood
peering into windows jerking off in a hand towel
cleaning up his messes quit the booze but stands
here sober with a buzz leaving him hard pressed
for an answer why he doesn’t head back home
peeping tom-tom goes the drum
he is a voyeur torn on wanting her to know
would depend on her reaction whether she
be warm wet from a window to a door opening
inviting or calling the cops about a man outside
toppling plastic lawn chairs with the ill wind
that brought him he lights his cigarette drawing
deeply a sigh of smoke exhales feeling foolish
unclear what is missing or why he’s risking
tomorrow he will give flowers to his wife
peeping tom-tom goes the drum.

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SantaMonica

tourist driving 101 a ribbon of road wrapping the gold rush
on the California west coast, earthquakes mixing my mojito
slivers of lime stuck in LA traffic creeping through smog
bumper to bumper 10 Freeway West asphalt & impatience
SantaMonica
licks her lips tracing the outline of her mouth before she kisses
me hello, biting my bottom lip leaving gloss the color crimson
same shade as bougainvillea wrapped on the wrought iron railing it’s been three years since it rained, longer since I’ve seen her
SantaMonica
arches invitingly, nods in lustrous agreement as we lean in
anointing her flawless caramel skin, sun slides toward the Palisades
enchanted city sparkles across a terra cotta roof, her smile shimmers glo-stick spokes of a ferris wheel light the amethyst sky
SantaMonica
sets her pulse to swaying palm trees as the tide keeps time preferring the Promenade to Saint Mark drumming down in Venice
pounding out rhythm rising deep throaty growl hissing sex
urgent and animalistic beasts fuck on the boardwalk but
SantaMonica
makes love sweet endless aching appetite no drought of desire
salt-stiffened curls glisten on high thread count expensive excess
eyes shine sipping Prosecco listening to Betty LaVette’s cover of
“Love Reign Over Me” we are sun-drenched even in darkness.

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Terry Anastasi was born in Western Pennsylvania before it became a notch in the Rust Belt. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a Master’s degree in Art Psychotherapy, working in mental health until 1995 when he relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina to make a career in child welfare. Terry has a lifelong love affair with words and is intrigued with the challenges facing the human spirit. His poetry has appeared in Chiron Review, Best of Fuquay-Varina Reading Series Anthology, Bloodshot Journal, Inspired Heart Anthology, Iodine Poetry Journal and Blue Fifth Review. Terry has a chapbook entitled “fending” published by Main Street Rag.

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Bartholomew Barker-

This is class warfare and we’re losing

There’s a club and we’re not in it.
Those serious men in suits,
when caught lying on television,
might lose a job for a month,
but soon enough they reappear,
even more tanned under Klieg lights,
having paid their pittance,
sitting quietly in time out.

No matter how many people die,
no matter how much money is lost,
as long as it’s ours and not theirs,
they will never have to choose
between insurance and rent,
gasoline and electricity,
medicine and food.

Once you’re in the club
as long as you don’t speak ill
of anyone else in the club,
you’re set for a luxurious long life,
wrapped in comfort and securities,
surrounded by spoiled children and trophy wives
while we work until collapse
and our family savings disappear
down hospital drains.

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Our Little Secret

Like a black lace bra
under a frumpy sweater,
our love remains hidden,
therapeutic and dangerous.

At an affair with friends,
nothing bold as a wink
passes between us,
just narrowed eyes
and raised brows
across the room,
the subtle signals
that spark excitement

and revive the confidence
that time has neither drained
nor left us crumpled.
There are still desires to fulfill
and plenty of poor judgment
to exercise.

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A World Without Eyes

Consider a world where
Humans have no eyes
Like deep cave fish
Whose ancestors relinquished
Useless sight eons ago

Consider a world where
Fresh snow is only wet cold
Bluebirds only a song
Oranges only delicious
The stars unknown

Consider a world where
A woman’s beauty is only
Timbre of speech
Scent of hair
Warmth of skin

Consider a world where
The sun is only heat
Art only sculpture
Poetry only voices

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Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry readers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. His first poetry collection, Wednesday Night Regular was published in 2013. 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.bartbarker.net

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Renata Lader-

Memorial Day Celebration

Goose bumps on my arms,
tears on my cheeks. I listen
to a famous singer in a sparkling dress,
her patriotic songs rise to the gray skies.
An enormous American flag flutters.

Thirteen years in Iraq and Afghanistan,
thousands dying – the ultimate sacrifice, they say.
Their souls departed, indeed free.
The surviving invalids angry, suicidal, bearing
survivor guilt – the ultimate sacrifice
of distorted minds and spirits.
“Pray for a miracle because you’ll need it,”
the words of a commander don’t mean much.

Year after year, after year,
uniformed officers stand at the doors of over 6,800 homes,
“I regret to inform you …”
The families left with this earthly life,
nights of shrunken hearts, clenched teeth,
their days lack a purpose.

On a screen in front of honored guests and the public,
video clips of hide-yourself-and-seek-the-enemy,
explosions in rough terrain, uplifting speeches,
mentioning World Wars I and II, dramatizations,
as if the real drama isn’t enough,
the overly theatrical voice of the narrator
make my fingernails dig in the couch’s cushion.
I yell “Shut up! Shut up!”

I do honor those fallen, I do respect those living
with their missing-body-parts, I send prayers to their families.
Still, my question stands: Why do we, the people,
let disastrous wars control us?
Why can’t we learn not to fight?

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Father on the Wall

I watch her climb up on the couch, stretch her hand
and with the softness of a two-year-old,
she touches the cold, shiny paper. Her daddy
smiles to her from an enlarged picture displayed
on the living room wall.

Her eyes, blue like Forget-me-not flower in the
coloring book she will give him the next,
half-hour-visit in prison, look up at the picture.

She moves her fingers over his hair,
stops on the forehead, gently caresses his cheeks.
She gazes into his dark eyes then whispers,
“I miss you daddy, come back, I’m a good girl.”

I clench my teeth, tears on my cheeks.
How can she comprehend her daddy’s passion
for truth against a communist government
that left her joined to loneliness
and mama’s sad face?

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Congratulations

Wet joy smears my face,
bundles of tissue
miss the waste basket.
My daughter became a-big-somebody
last Tuesday,
her financial future well-set.

At the same moment self-pity
crawls under my nails
ready to scratch
my aging years.
Where’s my promotion,
office party,
framed shiny letters
for the hard work
I have hauled three decades?
Why do these salutes avoid
my disappointing job?
A short “Good work,
here is your balloon
and a lollipop,”
never caresses my ears.

My child,
I praise you in my arms,
your accomplishment
will serve you well,
the way
you serve your country.

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Renata Lader’s talents include photography, painting, jewelry-making, pine-needle basketry, Faberge and Ukrainian egg-making, quilling and quilting. She has published poems in The Final Draft, The Village RamblerThe Sounds of Poets Cooking anthology, and Heron Clan III anthology. Originally from Poland, Renata lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and two cats. She is completing a memoir about experiences during Communism and the Solidarity workers’ movement in Poland, and a book of poems about her perception of American lifestyles during her house-cleaning services. Her other hobbies are gardening and bird-watching.  www.RenataUniqueGifts.etsy.com

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Masthead

Editor, Lisa Zaran

ISSN: 1095-732x

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2007

January - Roger Humes
February - Jimmy Santiago Baca
March - Graham Burchell
April - Ruth Daigon
May - Anne Fraser
June - Corey Mesler
July - Scott Malby
August - James Keane
September - Maurice Oliver
October - Robert Pinsky
November - Louis Daniel Brodsky
December - Bill Duvall

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2008

January - Kelley White
February - L. Ward Abel
March - Maura Stanton
April - Dr. Charles Frederickson
May - Peter Magliocco
June - Penny Harter
July - Gary Beck
August - Jéanpaul Ferro
September - Fish and Shushan
October - Kenneth Gurney
November - John Gallaher
December - Carmen Alexandra

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2009

January - Karen Rigby
February - A.D. Winans
March - Donald Illich
April - Stephen Ferreira
May - Tracee Coleman
June - Ernest Williamson
July - Sally Van Doren
August - Nanette Rayman Rivera
September - Gianina Opris
October - Judson Mitcham
November - Joel Solonche
December - Peycho Kanev

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2010

January - Louis Gallo
February - Buxton Wells
March - Labi Siffre
April - Regina Green
May - Howard Good
June - Carol Lynn Grellas
July - William Doreski
August - Sari Krosinsky
September - Ben Nardolilli
October - James Piatt
November - Robert Lietz
December - John Grey

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2011

January - Robert Philbin
February - iolanda scripca
March - Tad Richards
April - Katie Kopin
May - Jacob Newberry
June - George Moore
July - Rae Spencer
August - Jim Richards
September - Antonia Clark
October - Tannen Dell
November - Christina Matthews
December - Charles Clifford Brooks III

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2012

January - Anniversary Issue
February - Jim Davis
March - Ivy Page
April - Maurice Oliver
May - Lori Desrosiers
June - Ray Sharp
July - Nathan Prince
August - Robert Klein Engler
September - Jenn Monroe
October - John Grey
November - Andrea Potos
December - Christina M. Rau

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2013

January - Maria Luisa Arroyo
February - Journal on haitus

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2014

April - Rebirth
May - Timothy Walsh
June - Brian Fanelli
July - Carol Smallwood
August - Elizabeth P. Glixman
September - Sally Van Doren
October - Sherry O'Keefe
November - Robert McDonald
December - Gerry McFarland

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2015

January - James Keane
February - Liza Hyatt
March - Joseph Reich
April - Charles Thielman
May - Norbert Krapf
June - Lynne Knight
July - Sarah Brown Weitzman
August - Tom Montag
September - Susan Palmer
October - Holly Day
November - A.J. Huffman
December - Tom Pescatore

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2016

January - Richard Perin
February - Linne Ebbrecht
March - Sheri Vandermolen
April - Molly Cappiello
May - Caleb Coy
June - Paul Lubenkov
July - Domenic Scopa
August - Adam Phillips
September - Timothy Gager
October - Bruce Lader
November - Holly Day
December - Al Rocheleau

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2017

January - Robert Lietz
February - Jocelyn Heaney
March - David Brinkman
April - Lana Bella
May - Kaitlyn O'Malley
June - Ruth Kessler
July - Chanel Brenner
August - Darren Demaree
September - George Moore
October - Joshua Medsker
November - Ralph Monday
December - Howie Good

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2018

January – Simon Perchik
February – Julia Travers

Artwork

Image of bird by contemporary artist, Courtney Smith
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