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Other notable works by Sophia DuRose.

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Kaitlyn O’Malley-

LAUDANUM

We love to give away that which we earn
Or sacrifice that we did once refuse,
Build up and then in raging fire burn.

When life ensparks a feeling of concern,
Without a sift of sheer intent to lose,
We love to give away that which we earn.

The accolade and laurel, in return
Are used-to-be’s; lowly, misused –
Build up and then in raging fire burn.

Often there are things that we can’t discern
Important this, the unexpected muse,
We love to give away that which we earn.

I tried to stop it but I didn’t learn –
Even the love we had which I did bruise,
Built up and then in raging fire burned.

It hurts; absent of a silvered touch, I yearn.
I’m done, no more will one inflame that fuse.
We love to give away that which we earn,
Build up and then in raging fire burn.

_______________

REBORN

If I die on a plane
Heading somewhere,
Then that is a good way to die.
Maybe I’ll sprout wings
And cocoon myself in the clouds.
Perhaps they’ll bury me in Turkey,
The Old City will be my tomb.
My soul will leave my body
And rupture into shivers of myself.
My spirit will pulse
Through the streets of Sultan Ahmet.
Maybe I’ll become a genie
Trapped in a merchant’s lamp.
Perhaps I’ll be an angel
In the mosque named for the sky,
Or melt into the Turkish strait,
My eyes, the seas, divide.
All will wonder who watches
Through their walls,
Whose presence lives
Within their city,
Which foreigner, a protector,
Follows.
If I die on a plane
Heading somewhere,
Then that is a good way to die.
My soul will leave my body
And rupture into shivers of myself.

_______________

BODY COMPOSITION

Anyone who we have ever feared
Or lost,
Is seventy-two percent H2O.
Two parts hydrogen.
One part oxygen.
And everyone who we have ever loved,
As well.
Me –
I am seventy-two percent water.
But it doesn’t feel that way sometimes.
We are hearts,
And brains,
And nerve endings,
The blood that runs through our veins,
The rib cages and shoulder blades,
The bones, worn down
And remade.
We are worlds inside of people.
We are atoms, 7 octillion,
To be exact.
Hydrogen, oxygen, carbon.
Signals and commands and cells, that facts
With science, studies can explain.
But it doesn’t feel that way.
Sometimes,
We are stardust –
Cloud people,
Shaped with the powder of a thousand stars,
Forged with the fires of the suns
That circle us.
The irises of our eyes are stratospheres,
Pupils black like telescopes set to the night sky,
And the universe whose true expanse
We’ll never know,
Or created why.
Because science can’t explain all of us.
Not the days when I’m alone,
Or lost in the world I am made of.
Not when dreams are the nightmares of my days,
When I can breathe, yet inside my lungs ablaze,
When my heart is pumping,
But stripped of love.
The sleepless nights,
When I’ve cried so much that
I’m down to one percent.
My functioning brain only torture and torment.
We are galaxies,
Complex in their simplicity,
More than statistics of science,
Or biology.
We are the memories buried in the wrinkles,
The bruises that only the dead can see,
The salt on our cheeks,
The smiles of our loved ones,
And the aches in our hearts.
We are people –
Made of water and stars.

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THE GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING
based on the Johannes Vermeer painting of the same name

If a picture is worth a thousand words,
I wonder why I can find no explanation
For the turban-wearing girl
With apples in her cheeks,
And cherry lips, parted only for the single
Breath,
Save for her allure.
One request lest I should die,
I wish to live inside her canvas,
To discover the pleasures concealed
In paint strokes,
And the insecurities in blackened air.
Brush blue from her forehead,
Brown from her gentle skin,
Uncover the mystery of knowing.
Witness her golden headdress unbound,
If her hair matches the darkness of the room,
Or the sparkle of her gaze, like the sun
That is yet to rise.
If that pearl on her ear has a sister,
Hidden away in the secrets of her brows,
Or if she only managed to steal one.
That is all I wish to know.
Is her soul as pure as the whites of her eyes?
As fragile as the silver teardrop falling
From her ear?
Her hands as gracious as her glare?
Her heartbeat as quick as it is
To love her?
Is who she truly is
Tucked away
In the wrinkles of her robes,
The crook of her neck,
The curves in her back?
Or sprinkled into
The colors of the sky
Never to be found again?
That is all I wish to know.
See Vermeer’s muse in all her mystique
And beauty.
A stargazer under moonlit sky;
How ephemeral perfection,
That men search the world for
Their entire lives,
Is isolated in its momentary existence.
How the world’s displayed, so subtly in space,
By a girl,
In a tender stroke of white,
An earring of pearl.
That is all I wish to know.
And ask much, I do not.
For the price of imprisonment
In art,
I give away,
Lose, myself to find her,
Lose myself for knowing
Of things such as these.
For explanation of
The turban-wearing girl,
Save for her allure.
Of that I know too much.

_______________

INNOCENCE

I fear the time when dreams turn into
Simply sleep-induced sensations,
And tiny teeth under bedheads
Don’t conjure up mystical riches.
I fear when happy endings become
Trapped in children’s storybooks,
Hourglass eyes uncontaminated,
As long as you don’t look too close.
I’ll miss when friendship means forever,
And the skyline is crayoned blue across the page,
And the gay and happy, naïve feeling
That fills you when they ask your age.
When work means learning ABC’s
Chalked across boards with picture diagrams,
And gifts are macaroni painted red or blue,
Strung onto popcorn necklaces.
When birthday constitutes a number,
Said with a smile and not a sigh,
And the bed is something you don’t look under,
Home to the creatures standing by.
I’ll miss when life no longer stands
For the things we said we’d always feel.
I fear the time when all we dared to dream
Simply becomes not real.
But I suppose I know that’s why I’m here,
For the inevitable we must defy,
To remember all our innocence,
All we can do is try.

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Travel has played a large part in my life. I was born in Russia and lived in Saudi Arabia before moving to America. The cultures I have experienced and the people I have met have all shaped me to be the person that I have become. I write because I know that words can make a difference in this world. I have seen it, and I hope that “Contemporary American Voices” will help me do the same.

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Sophia DuRose-

FDR Memorial

All men are eventually lain in their grave.
It only depends on when and who you are when you fall.
“It is not new and it is not order,”
Stretches across the back of stone,
Like a cape of historical bone, declarations of rebellion,
May 2nd, 1997.
The memorial’s hands are new and recently unveiled
Yet they yield the same lines of weather
And exhaled promises. His face was carved from memories,
Creases around the nose like parenthesis,
Even winkles on his hands like ink,
Lifelines in his palms,
And “systems of government” engraved instead of psalms.
The sky’s orange glow feels like a smile,
And the cherry blossoms in town bloom for a while,
Like flowers at a wake.
Sixteen years later,
His eyes have not blinked, and his hands have not moved.
His dog sits watch, never barking, only obeying,
Looking more like an old man than the guy in the green.
Leaves dance like crystal wasps, beating their wings in a silent room…
All men eventually die,
But only some remain breathing in a stone-cold tomb.

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Amputee Therapy

I asked my mother for paper dolls
And my mother did comply.
I took my scissors, I took my string
And cut the dolls before her eyes.

I named each doll for a member of the family.
And sliced them how they each were maimed.
My mother sat there watching,
As every body part, I reclaimed.

Bob’s lost an arm,
Grandfather’s a finger.
Grandma’s both her legs,
And at mine, I did linger.

Most of them were lost to me,
Though I was still whole and young.
So I took my scissors, I took my string
And back on their bodies, I strung.

Markers and pencils questioned me
As a lilting scrawl filled the air.
My dolls were lifeless- simple paper,
But also solemn prayer.

Bob’s new arm said “Father.”
Grandfather’s finger said “Marines.”
Grandma’s legs said “Nurse,”
Their new limbs, fitted to their dreams.

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Atonement

Arguments don’t write letters pitying the fools
Drooling on the doorsteps of trite and right-
They only curse the moons starving the sun rays
Of yesterday’s long-gone.
Arguments don’t find purpose in the mortar of
A Colosseum or the hoarder of flowers from a
Mausoleum.
Arguments don’t find cracks in promises
Because they are the tracks of bitter kisses
Across cheeks of forgotten ones and orphans.
They are the cigarette burns on skin
And the useless apologies of what could have been.

Forgiveness scratches x’s and o’s
Into thin little lines of understated love.
Forgiveness barricades soap from eyes,
Girls from back corners of streets,
Pushes insomniacs into sleep.
Forgiveness cares about the mishaps in your youth,
Co-signs the loan you make out to your own heart,
As you start to realize reclamation is costly
But not impossible.
Forgiveness does not mention the mistakes of
Rainwater and sardonic waves.

If Arguments were parents,
Forgiveness would be the flowers at their graves.

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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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