Sleeping with the Lights On (and Other Remembrances of New Jersey) (Short Stories by Kerry Gleason)

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What a gentle soul and all around great guy, gonna miss our joking around and stories. My sincere deepest condolences to your family and friends. Until we meet again keep jammin up there with all the greats. We are so sorry for your loss. Our family has lost too many lately including our infant niece. When the pain seems unbearable we find comfort in the promise God gave us at Revalation My deepest condolences go out to you and your family and this great time of Sorrow May Raymond rest in peace and may Perpetual light shine upon him he is now a guardian angel.

Ray was one of my dearest friends. We met about 20years ago and stayed close friends up to now he will always be remembered as a dear friend I will miss him. He always had my back. So sorry to learn of your passing you truly were a gentle giant. So kind to all you will surely be missed. I will miss your larger than life personality, your spirit, and your laughter.

May you rest in eternal peace Ray. Until we meet again. Sorry for your loss he was good friend and he will missed very much. Sending prayers and condolences. Ray I went to school with you at St. Joseph and have many happy memories , may you rest in peace. My deepest sympathies to Ray's family. I am really sorry to hear of his passing. I really enjoyed playing baseball with him. He was a great teammate and friend- R. Jenn and I are so sorry for the loss of this great man. May he rest in peace. So sorry to hear of Jolie's passing.

Our love and prayers are with her and her family. So sorry to hear of Ray's passing. Love and prayers to his family. He will be missed. Leo Ortega and family. So sorry to Hear of your passing. Just reconnected on FB. May God keep your family close in this difficult time. Always looked up to this jolly giant!

One of my brother's best friends! Well Raymond, tell my brother Dave i love him! Rest in Peace Ray. We mourn here on earth as Heaven celebrates your arrival. My deepest sympathies to his Loved ones. May you be by the side of God my dear friend. You were unlike the others always fair and kind. May you Rest In Peace Raymond. My heart goes out to Rachel and Linda, he loved you both with all his heart. Ray will be missed by many. Rest in peace my friend. You will be missed my Brother! Childhood friends since grade school when our sisters did dance together. You were bigger than life with a heart of gold!

Say hello to all of our Brothers and Sisters in heaven. Ray , you was sure the life of all parties. Bless you big guy. All the good stories from our childhood always involved you, Ray. You were sunshine, laughter and sarcasm - loud and big. You know I loved you. Shine down on all of us and keep us happy, like you did when you were with us.

So many great memories of you Ray Love. I'm going to miss you alot. Our deepest condolences to Ray's daughter and family. He brought so much laughter to our lives. He will be sorely missed. Always remember the mailbox. Mary Paliouras was a light filled soul who was a joy to know and teach. What a tragic loss for one so young and full of promise. I send my sincere thoughts and prayers to Mary's parents and sister Christy, who I remember so well from their time in Southold. May all be comforted by their happy memories of Mary.

Hola buenos Dias aunque no la Conoci quiero Darle mis mas sincero pesame a su familia. Yo tambien perdi a un familiar que era mi Hermano. Pero quiero hablar de la Esperanza que nos da la biblia y se encuentra en revelacion To the Joyce family and friends please accept my deepest condolences for the loss of your loved one Jolie. Very soon Jesus Christ the loved ones we have lost in death back to life Acts There are no words that I can say to comfort you or to try to make sense of this horrendous loss I know that your faith has been extremely tested and speaking of God right now is probably not the words you want to hear No one can understand this Jolie has not left you Look for the signs they will appear and you will feel her warmth and love Stay strong stay close to your family cause there's nothing better than their love to get you thru And I will keep your baby's gorgeous smile in my mind and heart to remind me WAT true bravery is!

God bless you all. Jolie and your family will always remain in our thoughts and prayers. Leo, Debra and Leanne Ortega. No words, but just simply so unfair. You were a fighter always with a smile on your face. With all the pains you went through you were something else. We will miss you dearly but one thing is we will never n I mean never forget you. Fly high our beautiful angel. Team Jolie will carry your memory always. Our hearts are broken but you are at rest and no more suffering.

Jolie you were such a beautiful person inside and out. You fought hard and I'm so sorry for your family's loss. We never met, but I know your daughters story from a mutual friend and we spoke about Dana Farber in Boston a few months ago. I know you must have many wonderful memories of Jolie and I pray they will ease the pain of your loss until you can once again embrace her.

Your family and Jolie are in our thoughts and prays. Donna always has wonderful things to say about her niece when we talked. Always mentioning how strong or funny Jolie was. Our love and prayers sincerely go out to the entire Joyce family. Our condolences to the Joyce family. You are all in our thoughts, hearts, and prayers. I love you so much. May god always guide your path. Mary, you will always be in my heart.

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Our summer together in with Winant Clayton was the best summer of my life. You are a beautiful soul and will be missed by many. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. May the words at 1 Corinthians Dear Benny and Family, I am so deeply sorry to hear about the sudden passing of your lovely mother. Although I never met her she sounded like and definitely looked like a beautiful woman. I enjoyed Benny's stories about her and you knew by the way he talked about her, how much he loved her. I know how painful it is to loose someone you love so much, however, the love you have for her will forever live in your hearts.

She will be watching all of you from above and the day will come when you all will be reunited with her. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. NYPH security are sending their thoughts and prayers to the family during this difficult time. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. We love you Mom! Sincere Condoglianze per la perdita di zia Filippa che Dio possa avere cura della sua anima e che vi dia a tutti voi la forza di continuare.

Ciao Zia Filippa R. Dear Joe, we are so sorry to hear about the passing of your mom. Our heartfelt condolences during this difficult time for you and for the entire family. With all our love and sympathy, Wayne and Rebeca. May you find strength in God to help you through this time. Everytime I saw Filippa, she had a big smile and a hug. Fillippa always had a big hug n always remembered my birthday.

She loved her family so much especially her grandchildren. She will be missed. Fillippa will be missed. I'll be keeping all of you in my prayers that you can get through this terrible time. Take care of each other To Wally, Frank, Joe and Benny our deepest condolences to you all and to your families as well. May you all find the strength and faith to get through this sudden loss. Harry and I are thinking of you all. Sending much love and prayers.

Every time I saw her she had a smile on her face and greeted you with a big hug. To Mary's Family I knew Mary from the Dove Community, she was a sweet beautiful person who wanted to give back and had a sense of humor. I am truly sorry for such a great loss. The family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Kevin, Her Parents, Chris, Beth, and everyone—I am so very sorry for your loss and wish you comfort at this time of profound sadness.

May you be comforted by the memories of her precious life. Dear Kevin and Mary's family, I am so very sorry for your loss. Mary was such a wonderful person and will really be missed. Sending my love and prayers for you all. I miss you so much nana. Even now, nearly nine months after you were taken from us, it isn't any less painful than it was the moment I found out you died. My heart is broken. Bert, be at peace with the Lord and secure in His love. Mary was my roommate freshmen year of college, and was a dear friend.

She was there when I was growing up, becoming a fully formed person, and her strong opinions, beliefs, and character were huge influences on me. She was such a fun, amazing person, full of laughter and always thinking of others. I will miss her terribly, and send all my love to Kevin and her family. Mary, you were one of the highlights of my time at JANY! You will be missed dearly. My condolences to your family. I love Mary and Kevin and remember our conversations. Mary was such a beautiful, mild-tempered person and I am so happy to have known her.

Mary was one of the kindest souls I have ever met. We send our heartfelt condolences for your loss. Prayers to you at this difficult time. May she rest in eternal peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. He was a good person. I knew him for years and was always willing to come and visit the seniors at Alberta L. Lost but not forgotten Scavetta is no longer with us. What a great and long life she lived. Her family was truly blessed to have her for years.

She was such a lovely person and will be missed by many. May she Rest In Peace for eternity. She was a lovely lady and a wonderful neighbor and friend. We shared many laughs over the years while I was growing up and memorable conversations. She always greeted our family with a smile and a kind word. You are fondly in my memories with love. May Josephine rest in eternal peace, love and joy. My deepest condolences to Lena and her entire family on the loss of her beloved sister. Harriet U r very well missed. George and I love U forever. Your kindness will remain in my heart forever.

Well done Servant of God receive your reward. The community will truly miss you. I miss you so much Daddy. I know that you are with Mommy and that gives me some peace. Half of my heart is now in Heaven. I will keep your memory alive as long as I live. Your Baldy Bean, Maureen. Senator Jose Peralta worked for the benefit for all in the community. I remember and especially appreciated all the Black History Month celebrations he hosted at the Langston Hughes library. My prayers are for his family who graciously shared him with all of us.

In memory of Josephine with warmth and love to her loving sister Lena. Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,love leaves a memory no one can steal, I will always cherish the moment we spend together laughing and talking, I will always miss you Gerri. I would like to offer my condolences for your loss. I hope that you are comforted, as I am, by the prospect of a resurrection in paradise on earth. May the God of all comfort be with you. I am so sorry for your loss. How awful to lose such a precious human being. Peralta was always so generous and big-hearted. He fought for what he thought was right.

The world - and especially the world of civic engagement - shines less warm and brilliant now. He will be sorely missed for a long time to come. May god continue to comfort and bless the family during this time. God bless the Senator and his family. Senator Peralta was a kind and devoted advocate.

I served with him in the Senate from My sincere condolences to his family. I will never forget the many calls and you running around helping our patients in clinic. Your constant smile and kindness. Our secret you are the only one I let call me Marie. You are now home with Mom, Dad and your brother. Rest in Power my Brother. My condolences to the family. Rest in peace Senator Peralta. It was always a pleasure seeing you and catching up.

I wish to extend my sincere condolences for your family's loss. My the Lord hold him tightly and comfort his family during this difficult time. Rest in peace my brother, may God strengthen your family at this time of loss. My condolences to the family u are in my prayers. Edy Gomez Gonzalez, R. Your sudden departure has caused me pain. Your humbleness, modesty and respect affected each one of us in the community.

You have left many of us in awe; and disappointed. Yes, disappointed because we have lost your guidance to finish the work we started, and your leadership to carry on the torch of this community. Politically, I felt a connection with you since the first time I heard you speak; I have only felt this connection towards one other person, President Barack Obama.

You have left your people, your family, saddened, in sorrow, in tears You were a very necessary person, and it will be an unattainable goal finding someone to follow your example. Your humility transcended the politics of the party becoming the pillar of this community without never leaving aside something as relevant as human values.

Le doy mi mas sentido pesame a toda la familia y amigos. Que lamentable la perdida del Senador Jose Peralta. Que Dios les llene de fortaleza y paz. Ahora el esta descansando en Paz en el cielo. He was a dear friend to us, and to all those he served throughout his political career. He will be remembered as a role model for tireless public service, and love of his fellow man. May his family and friends feel comforted in the knowledge that his love touched so many hearts. We will all miss him. It is difficult to imagine the sudden loss of Senator Jose Peralta.

I extend my prayers of comfort to his beloved family. As a community advocate, I am eternally grateful for his fighting spirit. Senator Peralta's historic work during the last redistricting made it possible for advocates like myself to testify and secure the 13th Congressional District and a new seat in the Hispanic Congressional Caucus.

I still recall how he attended to our testimony and was not afraid to take on the powerful banking system when they refused to service small business owners. Moreover, I am deeply grateful for his tireless work on behalf of women and children. Senator Peralta participated in numerous marches against domestic violence and proved to be a voice for the voiceless. Senator Peralta's defense of the under-served had no end and he was an example of what it means to rise above social and economic inequities. His Christ-like ways is a true example of what it means to serve God with gladness of heart and to be an uplifting force to la familia and community at large.

My heart will always treasure the joy of our friendship and warm smiles. Rest in Peace Senator Jose Peralta for your light of hope transcends time and space. This world has lost a good person. Someone who wasn't self involved, someone who cared. I pray for his family to have strength.

Emerald Isle Immigration Center sends our condolences to the Peralta family, we will miss his commitment to our community. May God hold his noble soul and welcome him to the heavenly kingdom for you mrs. The Residents of Woodside Houses send our condolences to the Peralta family. The lost of your family member our much loved Senator will be missed he was great for our community as well as all the communities he so graciously served and loved.

He gave such an encouraging story as to his rise to power. Senator Peralta was always a constant. He always gave bookbags and helped his people. As a Dominican he was an inspiring person. We all loved him. I hope that he found God and pray that his family be healed from this pain. It broke our hearts to hear of his death. May the Lord protect his family.

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Many may know you as Senator Jose Peralta but you will always remain in my heart as my little cousin Joselito even though you made me real proud of all your accomplishments and determination to make a difference in the lives of people in your community. You turned out to be such an amazing man and great role model and you will surely be missed by all. I love you with all my heart and save me a little space in heaven so when I get there we can have a chat.

I was looking forward to see you in the White House but God needed you in heaven instead. God bless and RIP On behalf of the faculty, staff, students and administration of LaGuardia Community College, I offer my deepest condolences at the tragic passing of Senator Jose Peralta. We will miss his commitment to our students and our community. May you rest peacefully with the loved ones who departed before you. Your legacy will continue with the Dream Act. Mis Condolencias a la partida de nuestro querido Sen.

Que Dios te reciba en la Gloria y que le brinde fortaleza a su Sra. Rest In Peace and many blessings to his family! All the strength and positve messages to them! Senator Peralta entrusted our school community to educate and take care of his eldest son. We were honored to do the work. In addition, our entire school community were blessed by his kindness, his support and commitment to educating the young boys and girls in Queens.

God's speed to a wonderful public servant. Our deepest sympathy to Senator Peralta's Family. He was a true public leader that was committed to serve his community. On behalf of the Lexington School and Center for the Deaf, my heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family. We will sorely miss the presence of a truly lovable and kind person.

Peralta was the greatest senator in our neighborhood district. I had the privilge of seeing him continue to give to back to the community at Elmhurst Hospital's Annual Turkey Drive. Together, stood on stage as one as we each represented communities and organizations working together to fight hunger. I have a beautiful picture of this moment that I will never forget.

Good Bye brother Michael. May you rest in peace! You left us great memories. My sincere condolences to the entire family. I pray for strength for you in this time of your loss.

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May God continue to guide you and strengthen in the journey. God bless Senator Peralta and his family. He was a true public servant and fine man. His family will always be in mine and my husband's prayers. Rest in peace, Jose. I remember Paul from Bryant HS. I spent some time with him then, so long ago. Always a fun and loving person. Humorous and taking life in stride. Paul laughed the whole ride even though I was really scared. Such a fun person. We will see him again for sure. My very warmest wishes. I am sorry for your lost, he is with God. We will always remember him.

I voted for him all the time. Jose the lord took the most, beautiful flower from the garden. You were an angel on earth. May the communities you served so well, now give their thanks in your name Jose, by consoling your wife Evelyn and your sons. It was always so nice to see you and family at Sunday Mass and be able to shake your hand and wish you God's peace. Little did I know the last time would be the final time.

Well done good and faithful servant! Extending heartfelt sympathy to the family on your lost. May you rest in eternal Peace. You were a great legacy of the community. You were beloved by all who came in contact with you and who never met you. Thank you for supporting the young community. Your devotion reached as far as the Dominican Republic.

We will miss you. Jose, you were always a stand up guy. I only have great memories of you during high school. My condolences to your family especially your wife and sons. Some one up there must really need you. May you rest in peace. My condolences to the Peralta family, the they Lord help you all in these difficult times.

Dear Peralta's Family Receive our profound condolence. We will miss our friend and excellent human being who helped a lot to many people a Good Senator. However, He will be accompanying his family and people forever. Oh Geraldine, so many memories. Hard to choose just one. The 4th of July when Wayne shot the bottle rocket under our chairs and we all went running.

The love and kindness you showed me. You were always were such an important part of my life. Know that you were loved. May heaven's door open wide and embrace you in her arms. Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. No words can describe the loss we all feel. I am truly sorry for your loss. This community will surely miss Jose who did us all such a great service. Dear Jose you were a true good person you always respect everyone opinion always care Fr people I remember working with you Fr five kings senior center so much you care for I know your in heaven now to young to go say hi to Steve Fr me prayers to the family and your boys I be saying.

I know for a fact that God always wants the best in his kingdom. We are all only here for awhile. I will continue to pray for his family and staff. The pain of this loss will be with us all. Rest In Peace Senator. Your work will not be forgotten and your legacy will go on. You were a wonderful congressman and person. You cared for people of all ages and all walks of lfe. May you Rest In Peace. That the father of infinite love and mercy embraces him in his lap that gives him forgiveness and welcomes him into his celestial mansion. Thank you for your years of service and dedication.

The Perroni family extends its deepest condolences to Nancy's family. Kind, full of smiles and forever energetic, the best bossman I ever had. Se no fue un gran hombre que Dios los tenga en el mejor lugar. Gracias por todos tu aporte. It saddens us to learn of Jose's passing. It greaves us much after hearing of it. Your entire family is in our prayers. Stay strong in the Lord. So sorry for your loss, may she rest in peace. Prayers and deepest condolences, love the Vincent and Rosanna Nappo.

I love you forever. It was an honor meeting Senator Jose E. Thanking him and his family for all those years of service to our Queens community. My deepest condolences to his loved ones during these difficult times. I remember how you were always approachable. That stands out in my mind from the first time I met you, you always made me feel like what I had to say mattered.

You talked TO people and not AT them! Rest In Peace, Senator. You certainly will be missed. Thank you, for your efforts to bring Same-Sex marriage to New York, thank for being a great example to our Caribbean Community. Your work is done. Senador Peralta fue un placer averlo conocido. Nos deja mucha inspiracion y motivacion para luchar y logar lo que nos proponemos.

Que dezcance en paz y nos siga dando inspiracion y fuerza desde el mas alla. My deepest condolences to you Evelyn your son and family. I am so so sorry for your loss!! Y a toda la comunidad. My condolences goes to his family. CAP will always remember you. We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the peralta family.

Your love for the people will truly be missed. Prayers to your family. I an saddened to hear of Senator Jose Peralta's untimely death. We were all blessed to have Jose Peralta represent us. I remember years back when he was worked with a youth group that my son was involved with. He was a real person - caring, interested and willing to respond to the requests of the students. He was always that man. That was the Jose I knew and who's passing has left me heartbroken. May his memory be his blessing. May Jose live in G-d's house forever.

May G-d watch over his family and give then the strength to get passed these very hard days. It was a privilege to know and have worked with Senator Peralta. Thank you for your sharing your life with us. We will never forget your service and dedication to all your constituents. A good man is gone your memories will always live with us. A Good Man gone to soon. Peralta always had time for you and always got back to you, I wish the Peralta family all the comfort the Lord can give.

Thank You for You excellent service to this community. My deepest sympathy to you and your family on this terrible lose. May he Rest In Peace. You served with compassion and integrity.. Joe is an awesome human being here on Earth, in Paradise he is infinitely better. Enjoy Paradise my brother, and all of us who know you shall see you when the Man upstairs says its the right time. My God grant your family with strength too get through a very difficult time.

Your time was so short for the things that you still needed too do; but in HIS time God knew better. I am deeply sadden by the sudden loss of Senator Jose Peralta. There really are no words for this terrible loss. Thank you for your service to your community you will be greatly missed. A man who tried to serve the community as best he could. Thank you for your willingness to work for and with everyone in mind. Y mis sincero pesame a sus familiares. As a little girl I grew up in your campaign you use to close my block in Elmhurst Deman st you brought joy and happiness and music you will live forever in our hearts.

Our deepest condolences for your loss. My heart goes out to your family. He will be remembered as someone who cared for his community. Our sincere sympathy to the peralta family may he Rest In Peace In the glory of heaven and may his family find peace and serenity in prayer and faith. My deepest condolences to the family members of a dear friend and a true leader. One who has devoted himself and worked countless hours to serve the people within his community.

May God comfort your family in all times of need. When I was a student activist at LaGuardia, he was one at Queens College, he was a good man, who was always there when needed, I am so saddened by his passing! May you rest in peace senator Peralta. Thank you for your service. Mis condolencias para toda la familia y muy en especial a su esposa e hijos. May God Bless you and watch over your friends and family. We met before his run for the NYS Assembly in We spoke at length about a vision for a better community that was in much need for attention and resources, such as safer streets, smaller classroom sizes, better housing and health care services.

He was a good man and dedicated public servant. I called him friend. We offer our condolences, thoughts and prayers to the family of Senator Jose Peralta. From Queens College students to Jackson Heights neighbors. Rest in eternal peace Jose. You will never be forgotten. You will not be forgotten. My deepest condolence for your family.

I pray that you all get through these tough times and that you are able to fill your hearts with the great memories that he left behind, he will always be a Queens legend. A light of guidance was blown out on earth and it was replaced by a star in the sky so that all that are lost would be able to follow it and guided to in the correct path. When we look upon that star, we will be filled with hope, and know that a special person will always be guiding us to a better place.

It was a true honor to know you and work for you. Since our college years we always knew that you would be someone big who would be making a difference in the community. You rose as our star at Queens College when you became Student President and implemented needed change on campus with policies that are still in place today. You were also the best dressed student on campus, you dressed for success already knowing in your mind where you would be a few years down the road. You were always approachable, easy going never complicated, calm demeanor, an all around good man, and always so respectful and a gentlemen.

As an elected official you gave back to the community and you were always there to listen to constituents no matter what. You did the biggest back to school backpack giveaways I have ever seen for your community and they were beautiful backpacks too with school supplies in it which shows the effort you put into it. Till this day your back to school backpack giveaways have not been replicated by anyone to the extent that you did them where the lines would go on for blocks and blocks. Thank you so much for being so open in hearing community issues and concerns while bumping into you in the street randomly in the neighborhood.

Thank you for always supporting me in my project when I was directing and producing the documentary film The Face of a Woman which was against domestic violence a cause which you fought so hard to bring awareness and legislation, thank you for fighting for more gun control measures even before the tragedies in schools happened across the country because you foresaw things before it could happen years ahead, thank you for fighting hard to help home owners who were victims of predatory lenders, thank you for fighting so hard to get schools constructed in the community which is the most overcrowded in all of New York City and no matter what you would come to the meetings personally and not send a representative.

You would make the time even if you had something already on the schedule but you made it work so that your voice could be heard about the need for more schools to be constructed in the community which is something I cannot say about elected officials. You knew how important it was to your community and the children in your community to get rid of trailers and construct schools in the most overcrowded school district in NYC. I am beyond words of this sad news. You were never prideful always very humble, very considerate, very respectful and a professional in all that you did.

You will be truly missed Jose. I am just beyond words at this very sad news and still in absolute shock. I pray for your beautiful wife and children and your parents who loved you so much. Jose my friend you will be truly missed. I just want to say that this world is better because you came into it and you helped the lives of so many people in your community and beyond in ways that were big and small but you left a lasting mark in all of us.

Thank you Jose for everything, for all of your support and for all that you did. May you rest in peace in the Lord. Gone to soon you will be missed greatly. My condolences to your beautiful family may God help them through this very hard time. You can talk and chat with him anytime Salamat Thank you for sharing yourself to all. The Filipino Community of St. Joan of Arc are praying your you and your family. With heartfelt sympathy, praying for the family. You truly loved your community, thank you to the family for sharing him with all of us.

To the family of Jose Paralta, please accept my condolences on Jose's passing. I said a prayer for him and his family. Peace and Blessings to all the family. Our deepest condolences to the Peralta Family. Rest in Peace Jose Peralta you will be sorely missed. May God receive you in the kingdom of heaven.

From the Crespo-Ramirez family. I will never forget Senator Jose Peralta. He taught me my first lesson in politics. He was such an honest, good, and honorable man. This is such a loss nationally for the Dominican diaspora, and the community at large. His family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers here in Maryland.

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Batallador incansable por tu comunidad. I work on his campaign in as an Political Organizer. He won his Assembly Seat for the 39th that year. I found him to be a very humble and motivated young man at that time. My condolences to his wife and children. You took care of me like your own daughter while working for you, everyone knew how much you loved and cared for your African princess..

Remembering state senator Jose Peralta I remember him supporting Antwaun Gavins when he lost his brother. It was there at the funeral when I first met him. He had such a good spirit. I also read about the wonderful things and work that he has done in the East Elmhurst community he will certainly be missed prayers to the family. Thank you for your continued support. My condolences to the Peralta family and friends. Rest in Sweet Eternal Peace. It was an honor working for you. You were such a friendly and honest Public servant. You actually cared about the people you represented.

For that, we are forever grateful. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Peralta family, his friends and our fellow residents of the sister communities of Corna-East Elmhurst. Rest in Sweet Peace - His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: May your soul rest in peace Senator Jose Peralta.

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In the troposphere now: I should call you when I land. The man next to me is watching dog races, taking notes, breathing heavily. As a predicate and a principle, to listen is getting blander and blander the further and farther I drop. He has worked as a cartoonist and a factory hand. It takes a moment for me to separate her body from mine. I see a boy, hair short, face averted, until she tilts her chin, stretches her neck. Her clavicle forms a shallow bowl from which I wish to sip. I recognize her ladder of ribs as one my own lovers have climbed. Her back righteous, her stomach a tender plain, her calves teardrops of stone.

Her breasts a whisper calling me home to learn the hard lesson on the worth of my own skin and bone. I brought it to the marriage.

Then I left with it. McMahon received an MFA in Poetry from the Rainier Writing Workshop in Washington State and when not teaching, reading or writing, can be found out on the water rowing, or running on trails. I wonder how much he can really see out of the thing. He runs in straight lines until he collides, hard, with a wall or a chair leg. I imagine that it hurts, but he remains undaunted. She is an editor for the Noctua Review , has been published in Sisyphus Quarterly , and has won several Purdue literary awards.

She loves cats, her partner, and living in a blue state for the first time. Stars wink because they like you. He has received multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize as well as Best of the Net. They had to cut all that out, you know, before folding the skin over the new ones. Would you like to touch? Whenever I get too close, he turns away. I thought of all the jokes but tried it anyway. Murphy is the author of Stubborn Child , a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, Challenges for the Delusional , a book of writing prompts, and four poetry chapbooks. He is the founder of Murphy Writing of Stockton University.

A face to face. To the Endless Wait: He is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a four time Best of the Web nominee, and a Best of the Net nominee. Fourteen died under a shower of concrete When the ramp collapsed during construction. No plastic hardhat can save a rough-palmed soul From that sort of cascading tonnage. Fourteen men were crushed under the careless rubble of a lowest bidder. Fellow construction workers tried to rescue them, pull them out with a cherry picker. A desperate attempt, of course too late.

The concrete pads had been substandard, somebody somewhere saved a buck. Cline Avenue was an abattoir before it even opened. Years into the future, a sniper spider-webbed windshields On the same state highway, the poorly named Cline. It was probably just some kid with a BB gun, Looking down a barrel of terminal suburban boredom. But regardless of the caliber, A round could splinter a windshield. Drivers had to take that freeway to commute to work; Terror reigned; they white-knuckled it every morning.

One day it stopped. No explanation, no resolution. An open case file in a closed drawer. And they shut it down for safety reasons Like you shut us down with such finality, with an eye toward demolition. The bridge has been closed for years now. Someone still drove off it, plunging to their death, Following a stubbornly out-of-touch GPS. We all feed on hope, that phantom, That wispy ethereal specter, Nothing you could lay a work glove on. In our industrialized society, we build roads.

We built bridges, culverts, viaducts, shared lives. We celebrate groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings, Milestones one splashes across social media. We like the big headlines, the momentous announcements. The vital work of maintenance not so much. Our bridges and relationships fail, sometimes as calamitously As the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, For want of the vital work of maintenance. He was named Baconfest Chicago poet laureate, a feat Chaucer and Milton never accomplished. Council on the Arts and the Dept of Corrections.

Your eyes glance off me, like my reflection in your wine glass. Here, stars fall and never land. I lean against knobbled bark, smelling the ancestors of books I love. You swing me upside-down — trees falling. Poems previously accepted by: She mentors writers through their novels and autobiographies, and also runs poetry healing and inspiration days: Must I persuade by rhymed tirade? She has two children, works in marketing, has recently returned to university to complete her BA in Creative Writing, and is a long-time member of a weekly poetry workshop group.

The Scribe Tribers do monthly literary outreach by hosting open poetry workshops, and also occasionally perform. Katrina was different, a girl of her word In her teddy-beared bedroom she smiled and she purred. When I said I was taking the afternoon train, her copious tears fell like rain after rain. Her stay in the States was close to an end and she wept as she told me, a friend to a friend. He lives in Somerville, Mass. We both had moms by our sides. Each watching the other.

I still remember my delight as I ran to greet her. And when she reached for my hand with her pointed black tongue, taking the lettuce I held. Her mother never left her side. And neither did I when my daughter was that age. They can get cancer. Strohm is a freelance journalist working in Houston, Texas. His poems have appeared in HuKmag. But they come as a pair, silly, I said, so you gave me the second since phone-boxes were my thing. What do I do with this? Put it somewhere special, precious.

So I did… and then forgot. You wore that gift the one time only, claiming you lost the butterfly-clip, that it fell out while you were playing. Must have been in a crescendo, you said: My father bought you a little box carved from Olive wood, exotic, fragile, purely ornamental, yet the perfect store for precious things. Its swirling patterns, nondescript, were delicately touching, mesmerizing. You broke their hearts as well as mine. I never liked that Olive-Box much anyway, you said, and left it, like a throwaway.

I asked a friend: Put it away, she said: If not, chuck it in the bin! But unreliable memory does this to us: And there, inside, a lonely earring. I took it out, and then replaced the lid. Some things are best forgotten; others, hid. Sutherland is an emerging writer, based in Scotland, performing frequently on the Edinburgh spoken-word scene.

Using artifacts, visual art, and photography for inspiration, Sutherland has produced three limited-edition, hand-stitched art-books: Sutherland has had short stories published, and writes drama for theatre, radio and spoken-word performance, and regularly blogs on http: Esmalita Vangarden resides in Pennsylvania. We plotted to fireflies strobing in mason jars. Adulthood came like kudzu, snuffing out campfire tales and schoolgirl wishes. Marriages and mortgages reduced us to passers-by in a suburban dead end until time smoothed egos like water on stone.

A grey-haired reunion, spouses gone, children grown, blazed the brushwood shrouding a story undone. Meet me in the middle of the thousand-year bridge. Sing to me our sweet melody of memory. Let your words leave footprints on my spine, or simply take my hand because nothing else matters.

Separated by a thousand-mile expanse, we pseudo-celebrate in exile. You drain martinis and drift into Nina Simone while I haunt happy hour, and muffle the drone of golfers debriefing with whiskey and fine wine. Does your chest fracture for me as you hobnob in the cocktail lounge with jazz piano refrains wafting around your head?

Do the notes fall a bit flat without me by your side? Does the gin sting your lips just enough to numb their ache for mine? Stephanie Stanley Walls is a late bloomer. She recently completed an M. Her poems have also appeared on StrongVerse. Stephanie was raised in the Mountains of East Tennessee, but she now lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and splits her time between both of these beautiful places. The barker rasped the night with insults, the Stones blared eight track static fizzy on car radio, shaggy heads bounced to the music bingo and she said no and no and no.

But she must have said yes sometime, some spring break, some wild party night yes to Jack Daniels and crawfish red on carny sticks, yes to lying down under bleachers yes to her torn heart. She spends the summers on the road to the Northwest in her VW bus and her winters looking out the window at a lake. Hey, look at me. Hey look at me, look into my eyes. How the fuck can I look at you when you keep kissing my eyes closed! Lynn White lives in north Wales.

Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Back in my nest that night I felt a burning my heart, I thought, would never go astray, content at home, I wanted no new yearning, I knew not that the Green Man held such sway. Enamored before befriended, this I swear, I wanted nothing then, nor yet today only an honest chance to clear the air and sing you sonnets, my poetic lay. If that is so, on my poor heart place two; when clouds across the sky no longer scud, then I, sans blood, will never think of you.

As long as luminous the waxing moon turns luna moth a-wing to silver blue, so long will I resist the quavering tune of ghosts who bid me never think of you. For even if the leeches sucked me dry, I still would love, though this mere shell would die. Her poetry is also published in the anthology Fission of Form , a cooperative anthology among sculptors, poets and illustrators. Christine is president of the Pittsburgh Poetry Society, a fellow of the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project and a member of Madwomen in the Attic workshops in fiction and poetry. Recently, she was one of nine poets featured in a chapbook put out by Tupelo Press entitled On Broken Stones.

Thank you for not killing me in my sleep. Coupling first appeared in The Rumpus. Kelli is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press where she works as an editor and book cover designer. She recently learned how to properly cut a pineapple. Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia. Her chapbook Unloosed is available from Kelsay Books. She is a youth advocate who loves teaching and learning. Blondes in black dresses resplendent in the purity and surety and vivacity of their eternal, irrepressible womanhood, the folds of thin, velvety cloth, clinging like bat wings to their forms, subtle, darkly alluring — placid cool-headed blondes.

Blondes in black dresses their perfumed essences wafting on cool breezes, floating out over the sea, their voices, murmurous and whispery, rising and falling occasionally in outbursts of confused chatter — melodious blondes. Blondes in black dresses blondes in black dresses calling out to me like the Sirens called Ulysses. Michael Estabrook is retired. It is not my fault your shoulder is so close to your mouth.

I put my fingers into the hollow of your collarbone, tighten my teeth over its ridge, crush a bruise purple and green. I hope your new lover finds it. I catch your breath and hide it under my pillow. Give me what I want. Claire Hermann lives outside the small town of Pittsboro, NC, where she raises funds and tells stories for progressive nonprofits. She has a weakness for cats, farmers markets, foggy mornings, and justice. Skin to skin like magnets. Bodies tell the truth. My silent anger like a paper cut. A beat before the blood comes.

Precise beaded line of pain. How could we— how could— fall into slushy melt. She is Professor of English at the University of Cincinnati Clermont College, where she has taught literature, composition and liberal arts courses. It was very late but I took a chance. The lights were on but no one answered my knock. Regardless of that minor detail, I decided to go inside. The door was unlocked. You looked fragile while lying asleep in that oversized bed of yours.

I asked myself why you would still need such a large bed. The answer had to be that you wanted me to lay next to you. Did I ever tell you? There were beads of sweat dotted across your smooth forehead. Do you want to know something else? They tasted salty on my tongue. I touched your face with my hand, but you did not wake. I whispered in your ear, but you only shivered. I pressed my body against yours, but you could not feel me. I will keep coming back, and maybe when you feel my presence, I will go. Until then I will visit. Visit is all I can do, now that I am dead. Her debut novel, Dark Cloud on Naked Creek , is due to be released soon.

Expensive lures land daintily on the surface, and flutter about to trick the dodgy trout. When the wind blows through the canyon sharp silver waves slice across the fast running Missouri, covering the rocks where the fish hide or maybe lurk in the rushes by the bank waiting for the next hatch of flies. Like the men at bars who ask for phone numbers, but never call. Born into the cold, he keeps still through the dark nights and days. When he wakes, he seeks the light of my pale blue eyes. I twist in my sheets with such longing. I want to fill our hunger. Slowly, I slip out of bed and dreamwalk to the kitchen.

Whiskey and sunflower seeds for him, tea for me. I return to bed, and he slips back beneath his headstone. The longing lasts, like the geese riding the blue Missouri, the huckleberries blooming in the hills. Helen Ohlson is an award winning poet whose work has appeared in numerous print and online anthologies. Helen resides in the Utopian village of Arden, Delaware, where Utopia might be up for debate, but artists and writers enjoy unabashed community support.

I am fed on frustration. I grow like Kefir from the caucuses. I swell like a fleshy bag full of milk and yeast. Keep me thin, free of clots. The smell is hard. It floods the room, soursweet. Armor me me in splinters. You insist on bloody thumbs. This is not a soft way to love.

I went to the kitchen, balled up leaves of spinach something clean, the color of life. I tried to chew. The fur keeps my mouth empty. Keeps me hungry or nauseous. When you turn, I try to swallow. I look away from the rippling of your back, rolling — Lake Erie in March. You used to drown my living room in that water, in those notes. I still find them on accident, ringing out from between cracked leather. This week I spent hours in front of the mirror, brushing the surfaces of my mouth, scraping the smoke you left inside of it— careless.

I cannot swallow past my tongue in a room so quiet and dry. Her skin tells stories of red cliffs that never let go. She wraps me in these kingdoms, lays down the sea across my back. She arches, presses national boundaries into my hips. When she sleeps, I imagine falling into the universe that binds me in winding gold.

My sheets feel damp lately. In the night we twist. I wrap the wheel in knuckles. I labor under accidental titles: Clutch me less— hold me like Wednesday fingers on familiar mug. Stay long enough in the mornings to watch sunrise ferment between rooftops. Maxwell Sean lives with his climbing partner and his cat in Columbus, Ohio. He spends most of his time trying to get the right books into the hands of his students.

Her latest poetry collection is entitled Catch a Lover Falling. She was educated at the universities of Delaware and Michigan, taught at the college level, and traveled extensively. She now lives in Robert Penn Warren country where she draws inspiration. On her website , she blogs about Post-structuralism and Poetry. Sometimes he does his poetry live at an open mic. He lives with his wife Flavia near Chicago, where he likes walks along the canal, exploring the wonders of Milwaukee Avenue, the music of Thelonius Monk and Bud Powell.

But not here, not now, and certainly not in the tumult of your dream, where you told me you could be anything you damn well pleased even a bride, though you knew I could not abide. But why then bring me here so far from home, only to leave me cemented in my shoes as you show me the door, in blue lights for the holidays, causing such sighing in passersby so I can hardly breathe in the dark, the oxygen depleted, my nose pressed against the sidelight and then the futile scratching at your door?

So much so that I am prepared to say fuck you, to all those nutritionists and make cold pizza my everyday diet. And just because I know that stirring lentils together is more thrilling than the wildest thrill ride should I make lentils part of my daily diet too? Pizza and lentils together, like you and me. And then curling up on the bed with you, stroking your hair I will have to try my best to fight the sleep because falling asleep seems giving up this moment, when the street lights enter through the windows and just your contours are visible, and I cannot see your face only feel the warmth of your breath on my cheek and I wonder did Shakespeare know of this when he wrote his love sonnets?

When not at his day job, he chases after his two cats. Our bodies, being in perpetual motion, bear the brunt of our pent-up passion. My soul, softened by the sensual, sweetened by the fullness of savory kisses. Your heart, penetrable, pulsates to the rhythm of our nuptial bed. Surely we could live in this moment forever. The weeping of a child.

Our hearts sink under the weight of a sigh. We deny ourselves for love of him. Despite the obvious frustration, delightful adoration drenches my vacant heart as I regard our babe held close. Here lies the full extent of our love pressed up against your breasts. His work has previously appeared in the Magical anthology, the Dia de los Muertos anthology, and Inscape. He is currently seeking a home for his debut novel. He lives in Topeka, Kansas, and is a librarian by day. I was the most crazy naked, nearer-my-god-to-thee naked gal you ever saw. And I was the most happy person in the whole of the farm.

I remember it like it was today which I think it maybe is. When I was at Woodstock I ate only rainbow cake and drank only lilac wine. When I was at Woodstock I was miles high and my happy self touched the sky. I met Jimi Hendrix and , he said, in his Voodoo Chile style …………………..

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When I was at Woodstock I sent a telegram to Joni Mitchell, which, I believe, she still has with her by way of memorabilia. When I was at Woodstock I was so naked. I was as naked as naked can be. Like you are in dreams. I was more naked than the thesaurus, more naked than a Hummingbird more naked than a man sat learning acoustic guitar, more naked then a smouldering lit cigar. A story wears high heels and a play is nothing but trouble. A poem is a naked person.

When I was at Woodstock, I was a god damn poem. I want to be a poem in a bowl of yellow irises. I want to be at Woodstock with half a million strong. I remember it like it was tomorrow. And yesterday, rolled into one. When I was at Woodstock. I was a musical note with no end. My feet were guitar riffs and my hands were ukuleles. My two eyes were dancing newts and, my lips were a violin , unstrung. When I was at Woodstock all the blue colours drifted down from the sky and filled my body, through and through. I was so naked, I was blue blue blue. I want to be at Woodstock.

Spend all of my life there. Can you fix it for me..?? I want to be at Woodstock when the end heaves into view. Helen Burke is a poet turned artist; her work has exhibited in the UK and France; she currently has an exhibition in Leeds, England. Her art can be seen on krazyphils.

Heaven Ride: Sojourn of Souls (Heaven Ride Trilogy Book 1)

We will never forget you. Katie Blanchette is a staff reader for the literary journal Spark Anthology and has worked in copywriting for four years. I know you feel the same way tooth. She has written for small town and county newspapers, Magazine, Street Buzz and has had poems published in Moon City Review and new graffiti. Short chunks of stone we put together afterward into a smooth stream. This is letting my muscles memorize how it feels to hold another so that each time I wipe a tear from my face, I think of my hands tracing your outline.

Your oak desk, medical books, spartan bed all declare you missing. As I wander from room to room your photographs begin to darken. The bass voice of Alexander Kipnis declares you missing. I search for words to describe your absence. Strands of metaphors to make me whole. Her second collection, Solace , is forthcoming from Five Oaks Press in Your laptop flashes fantasies across your sleep deprived face, smile and frown lines evident. I press and knead the foot placed trustingly in my lap. I can see your tensions melting away, and when your smile flashes, so does mine, because I get a glimpse of you again, the woman I love.

Then, the dog farts. Insults are hurled, along with pillows at the retreating, offending end. The laughter ends with you in my arms, just one more time, just a few minutes more, and I feel your warmth again, the woman I love. He has a few short stories and poems published in collections in the US and the UK. I will write her virgin name. I do not want that she would feel any closeness while reading it. I do not want that she would feel my body while reading my words. I do not want to give her any excitement.

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What should I write in my letter? I do not want to write her- the words generally husbands use. I also do not want to remind her the sacred vows we took on our marriage. I will write her virgin name; I will write my name thereafter. Her name with my name- Dear Gargi, yours Amitabh- will be my love letter. His research interests include language documentation, writing descriptive grammars, and the preservation of rare and endangered languages in South Asia.

His most recent books are A Grammar of Hadoti Lincom: Munich, , A Grammar of Bhadarwahi Lincom: Munich, , and a poetry collection titled Chinaar-kaa-Sukhaa-Pattaa in Hindi. As a poet, he has published more than poems in different anthologies, journals and magazines worldwide. His poetry collection titled Something Lurks It Seems is forthcoming U carried oxygen thru my capillaries. I saw an old pathway I thought was covered in forestfoliage. There were freshfootprints my dear! He is currently working on his first novel and a chapbook of experimental poetry.

Stalk him at philipelliottfiction. From underneath my thermal socks, hairs rise. From inside my knee pits, sweat builds. From under the zipper of my blue jeans, penis throbs. From within my underwear, testicles tingle. From under the logo of my jeans, cheeks tremble.

From within my stomach, butterflies flutter. From above my stomach, navel widens. From underneath my yellow button-down shirt, nipples harden. From underneath my chest, heartbeat quickens. From within my throat, lump builds. From between my eyes, intuition heightens. From within my teeth, smile brightens. From under my head, pillow comforts.

From around my wrists and ankles, ropes bind. From above the bed, you climb. From on top of my groin, you mount. From under your behind, you straddle. From under your fingertips, you stroke. From under my black sweater vest, fingers tickle. From under the laughter, lungs expand. From under the palms of your moving hands, I melt. From under your entire body, trust forms. From between our chests, tightness ensues. From within your embrace, I surrender. From kissing your lips, eyes dilate. From lying spread eagle on the bed, senses intensify. From you loving me, I reciprocate.

From you laying on top of me, I rest. Freedman is a poet and spoken word artist from Staten Island, NY. He is the author of a book of poetry titled Serotonin Seas. His most recent creation are the chapbooks, Never Lick the Spoon and Tobias. In his spare time, Jack likes to garden, sketch, cook, and attend open mic poetry events throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

Like I was there and not at once. A thread of glitter. I tricked you into thinking I fuck the way I live. When you pulled back the seat, I think of the summer of You were just like that, wet and mine and ghost whisper cling on the neck. I could say I did not mean to go or that I did not think I would go. You are too beautiful to lie to. It would be like lying to a sunset. So yes I mean to leave. I also mean to stay summer memory hazy, the one story, maybe a faint scar you never tire of explaining. I plan to live like this always here and not here. Dying but not dead. Fucking but not fucked. Just gets up and goes.

Old fries and loose coins attach to the underwear, shifting from garbage to ornament in one motion. The moment we sized each other up on the dancefloor — Two vultures mistaking the other for dead. And what does it mean to love him? And what becomes of the skin, once the snake has shed it? And if it is, is it so hard to imagine it loving itself? And in that desert you are water. She opens her mouth and out sputters a song, few live to hum later. A tune passed on from a gut instinct gone wrong.

An old affection that has aged into cruelty. A young desire rotted into adult demands. A disgrace only the mother could love. She is for sure a friendly neighborhood hope dealer. She is a touring artist and has been published a few times. She likes to eat. Up the Staircase Quarterly nominated one of her poems for best new poet I can picture the resulting tangle of our legs, ritual, no real meaning, the same way headphone wires find each other inside of a jacket pocket.

You walk around back and catch a frame of me undressing it in the second floor window, bathed in shitty, flickering light. I pretend not to see you. You pull everything out, so innocent. Each layer of stale gauze is soaked through and rancid, reeking of egg rolls and flat beer, sweat and crusted over coffee-mug bottoms. And then, you reveal it: For a moment you just squint into the blood-caked border of the thing, consumed by some kind of sick awe. This is the worst part, the being exposed. Slice by slice you slough off the layers of yourself. I shut my eyes but still hear each piece slopping onto the floor, onto the other pieces.

I can tell the cuts are clean. You plug the cracks with the stringy excess, wasting nothing. I only hear you struggle once, when you tear the gauze wrapping from the roll before winding it around my trembling body, using the extra on yourself. I wake up in a half-empty bed, but while making my breakfast I notice the tiny paring knife has already been washed and left drying in the rack.

Claire crumples foil, watches neighbors bend and sag over so much care—well-cooked meals, clean floors, sex twice a month. The woman next door watches Claire spread her selves across the yard. A black lace bra, ripped below the nipple; a red thong blooming; a pastel floral push-up; a pair of thin, cotton panties. The microphone swells towards her mouth like the men she brings home from work. No more drinking kamikazes or smoking on the sly. She dreams of crystal catching the rose of her spotlight, the smell of gardenias, a three-piece band, and the soft ache of hand against hand.

She smells the raw salt decay. She cries on the way home, stops to buy flowers. They buy her Appletinis and cheap wine. Lori Gravley grew up in Niceville, a small town in the panhandle of Florida. These poems are from an unpublished chapbook titled Interior Designs. She is still recovering from the madness engendered by what she saw as she watched Southern women live their loves. Justin Hyde lives in Iowa. Kamryn Kurtzner is a poet residing in Palo Alto, California. Later, when at lesbian U-Haul speed, I packed my things, called my friends, collected my cats, and moved out after committing a moving in violation: Twelve years later, when I was sitting off the side of Ormond Road, Michigan blue lights flashing in my rearview mirror.

I smiled at the implication. I was traveling too fast on my way to see Kathy — maybe this ticket is worth the price knowing that speeding to see her is a much better omen than speeding away. I try to peddle slow with you into this new territory: Then you call me honey or darling and I feel like letting go of the handle bars trusting this new balance will carry me safely onward. Lylanne Musselman is an award winning poet, playwright, and artist. In addition, Musselman has twice been a Pushcart Nominee.

Musselman is the author of three chapbooks, with a fourth forthcoming, Weathering Under the Cat , from Finishing Line Press. She also co-authored Company of Women: I want to tell you that he ended up paying for my time. I want to tell you about a time outside that motel room. I want to tell you that I know I would have taken it. Sarah Nichols is a co-editor for Thank You for Swallowing , an online journal of feminist protest poetry.

She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Originally from Jonesville, Va. Lydia paints on a charming smile; she knows Real Lydia is limp. Lydia is shocked to hear the familiar voice. Real Lydia shouts now, I want to hold him, I want to know him. She screams at Lydia, Stop pretending to be Real Lydia.

Help me come out. So long, best wishes. He loves books and Anime in that order. He has had some of his muddled thoughts published in a few e-magazines. But I want you as if these thousand yesterdays were simply seconds, as if I can feel your fingers from only last night.

Virginia Archer is the pen name of a very busy lady who has a BEng. She was born in the UK, but has lived most of her life on the tropical island paradise of Saint Lucia, where she currently resides with her tween daughter. You can find more of her poetry at https: I got it the day we went swimming, the last swim of the summer. You had me hold your wet boxers like a flag on the back of your bike, flowing in the wind as we drove home. But my knee scraped across the rocks and now I have this mark, I have this scar. It was the day you told me you loved me, the only time you voiced it.

And the two weeks that it lingered with me before you took it back, before you made it seem like less than, it washed over me, through me, and I finally felt at ease. The way I thought you felt for months, possibly more than a year, had finally been confirmed. At least for those two weeks, until you were too scared to let it be. Until you had to go back on what you said. Because, that, being out in the open, is earth shattering. So now I look at this scar, and I fear that it will fade. It was just a light scratch. I want it there. I want it forever. To remember the day you told me you loved me.

You already took it back, but the scar is my reminder. I need that reminder. Or is what I feel for you a special breed? Because one second I feel my heart swell when I see you, and the next I feel crushed beneath your words. Does all love make you feel insane? Or are you just great at driving me that way? Does all love make you cry? Or am I just prone to tears? Does all love come with fear? Or are we just cowards? Katie Blanchette is a staff reader for the literary journal Spark Anthology and has worked in copywriting for four years.

We pick at tobacco threads between teeth and cradle cold gun metal, etched with fingernails. We take comfort in the familiar and the familial; the last of the scent soaked into the last letter she sent. Simon Cockle is a poet and writer from Hertfordshire, England. He was invited to read at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in England this year.

He teaches English in a local secondary school where he edits their literary magazine, The Thinkery. He is also a musician and songwriter; and clearly now, in light of recent events, is on the more direct path to a Nobel Prize for Literature. Not with trees to walk under, their fragrant sap wanting only to drip drunkenly from above. Seventeen, and foolish, your mouth is open yelling poems at whoever walks by. Only trees and the shy woman who says she will never love you but does anyway— until you fall under the spell of more sappy trees and call yourself lover once again to leaves, branches, mirrors, and poems and novels that never call you by your right name.

If a lover like you, met a lover like me, wounded and out of breath — out of words, out of steam, out of excuses — imagine the infinite possibilities of sadness. Some hearts are not meant to be homes. But you, you were the hardest to get over. You made a space for yourself in my head. By nightfall, the putrefaction was complete. These long periods of waiting and wanting are a waste of my resources.

Cooters need to be coddled. Pussy cats need to hiss and spit and purr and mew. I come to you riding tidal waves. I come promising to make the stone walls in your body, sing. I come bearing spices in the abyss between my legs. I come flying on fallen wings as they cruise the sky collecting moondust on the way. I am a flower, over-ripe and pungent. My orchid is ripe for plucking. You are the key. This waiting will ruin me. I have spare keys. I am good enough myself, to go downtown and get me going. Elvis may have left the building, but Edith is coming home tonight. This kitty, will roar.

One could hear it move in a silence that was overpowered only by the noise of our tongues as flesh met flesh. We watched each other suck the flesh off the seed, slurpingly, hungrily, and riveted. We continue to eat. An invitation is extended. Can they see the naked lust that runs in circles behind my breasts? Can they see the lonely love that sits crying in my bones? Can they see the utter shame that burns behind my eyes? But regardless, I still do. Her other passion is theatre. Not enough of us live here for it. I simply sprinkle the soiled pads and things into their bin, half-exposed.

I learned this recently and from myself alone. Since she could read, Mackenzie Dwyer has known a longing to make a mark on literature. But another landmark decision of hers was to drop out of marksmanship Junior Olympics qualifying rounds to go earn her black belt and a concussion. He does not see me with lights on just shapes. He knows what to do. He is okay with not seeing me. I was not okay. I opened and he looked. He could see me and I am sixteen, inexperienced virgin.

I ask if it hurts. I close my eyes and wait.