our depart

Max or Not

that somber november

whose air

sang umbral abandon
when nigh

your words
were the ember

god’s semblance
did spark

with aril,
this ruinous heart

the stoic did tremble

in silence, we cried

our world
now awash with despair

and those who had watched
from their crumbling spires

knew nothing
would cease
our depart

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Oblation… Lois E. Linkens and Eric Syrdal

My Sword and Shield....

We walk towards a
promised land,
soaked in milk and softest

hard trudge
of cracked feet, muddled in
the mire
roadside ditches
dirge laden as they walk.

chapped and broken
mouths cry out
for a taste of sweet water
to imbibe the knowledge of
man’s long
dance with death.

and I, from my mount
stand tall against the ruined
a king carried above the
filthy ash that

upon the fetid wind from
the west
in the last days of the sun.

Our feet are hot, the path is
We bend towards the
future’s will.

Your eyes are caved and bleak.
The road is long
when the trudge follows
only cloud dreams,
pink and blue and pale
but stupid drops in a
cracked palm.

Die – leave the children,
they can whisper
to the sky and gather
suck salt fingers with
dry pink tongues like

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It had been so long that no one remembers just when it had happened. You’d think an event like this would be clearly recorded in our history, but like the wholesale slaughter of the Native Americans, it’s something those in power would rather forget—in order to feel human, that they’re part of something great. 

These little statues appeared everywhere and all at once. There were more in the areas you would expect to find them, at schools, parks, and grocery stores, but there were quite a few that must’ve formed in secret…in backyards and in bedroom windows. Rooted to the very ground upon which they stand, many were tried, unsuccessfully, to be moved, like atrocities from high school, social studies, text books, so we could go back to feeling normal.  This just wasn’t going to be the case. 

This horrific tableau. These children who were neglected and/or…

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#tbt Erosion

Brave & Reckless

knowledge pours over me

ice cold waterfall that leaves me

stripped bare


pieces of the woman I used to be

washed away in the relentless flow

illusion of control and mastery



over rocky hillside

to unseen reservoir

I long to cup my hands to drink

quench my unending thirst

but fatigue and tremor

make them sorry vessels

for these baptismal waters

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

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Writings of Aakriti Kuntal

Hands-are-Shelves ( v )

What is the reckoning of a misplaced arm
as the wrist
cuts through the atmosphere
Twice in each halved circle

Every harvest the body must disintegrate
Petunias in a fire sky
Boxes of red shaved skin, skin after skin, mind after mind,
body unto matter, dead wolves, dead fish, dead clouds

I pick the remnants, membrane dispersed in membrane
Roaming unabashedly on granite patches
hopping on a single leg, a toothpick scratching square to square
Perimeter of this redder enclave

Death came first as five thousand chopped winter heads
breaking the dam of that certain summer
into tiny coagulated beings of redness
A streaming face, sunrise into sunset, over and over and over

A nail on the forehead, iron fists
It came as containers of cold splashing blood
wearing mammal tongue
A sundial face of indigenous love
What is it that love cannot hold, cannot take…

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If Only

A Wise Woman Writes

A wolf in sheep’s clothing
Pales in comparison
Persuasive and captivating
Enchanting and endearing
If only
Some premonition of demoniac possession
Brutal beast
Savage sadist
Throwing furniture and insults
A shape-shifter
That never left
Even after death
Haunting from the hereafter
Navigating nightmares
Destroying dreams
Believing I would let you stay
If only
You just yelled loud enough
Or landed the right punch
Pleading your case
Admitting your sins
Telling me how much pain you’re in
Actions speak louder than words
Even when you’re yelling
You couldn’t take a step
To back your tidings
Prove demon demise
If only
You would have cheated
Tired of the ole’ ball and chain
Left me a break-up letter
Anything would have been better
Than torment and torture
Selfish and sinister
You set my world spinning
Burned down my house
Comatose on the floor
Covered in ash
You are my life threatening illness

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Absent Lovers, Again

S. K. Nicholas


From somewhere in the distance comes the sound of music, and maybe it’s just me, but it sounds like Neal and Jack and Me by King Crimson. Stopping in the middle of a country road as the animals float on by, I turn my head to one side trying to decide if the music’s real or just my imagination. Noticing me getting sidetracked, my fox doubles back and stands there waiting at the edge of the road, not wanting to burst the bubble I’ve found myself in. Gazing at the sky but seeing not stars but memory, I catch the lead singer singing about absent lovers, and just like that the sky parts and I see a vision of X and I dancing to the very same song in some spit and sawdust bar not long after we’d first met. We’d arrived drunk after a meal in some Chinese restaurant…

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Prayer for the Dead

Brave & Reckless

my heart
dresses in
black lace
when I slide beads slowly
through my practiced hands
their surfaces warm
worn smooth
against calloused
it is the tender tissue
of my throat
that stings
as I murmur
their names
one by one
in order of loss
head bowed
in the candlelight
or I must return
to the beginning
start again
the ritual must be
performed perfectly
at the alter
of my dead

© 2018 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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