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 980° 
Mina
your face seems so calm
as if
you know
whats going to happen next
"i dare you"
i say and smile
"what else"
you ask
as you put the little figure down
and suddenly
"checkmate"

i am aware of the loss
yet
i am still hoping
"i won"
"i know"
i say
"what are you waiting for then"
"i dont know"
i say
my eyes burn
i try to fight back those tears
traitors
"i won"
you say
"i won"
again

i shake my head
"i dont care"
"but i won"
"lets play one more time"
i beg

i never beg

you look confused but do not refuse
"another one"
i position my king
you position yours
"what if you lose"
you look at me
gently
"then i lost"
i position my queen
you position yours
"the queen is indeed the mightiest of all"
i say
as i do the opening move

you put on your pokerface
i dont bother putting mine on
"your turn"
"this leads to nothing"
you say
you see it
dont you

you
are
losing

the game goes on
"this leads to nothing"
you say
again
I crack a smile
my fingers set the next move
this is your end

you stare at me
i grin
your face filled with
pain

"checkmate"
you say





maybe you really suffered more
even when you won
 644° 
Qynn
I hear the electricity humming above me as I make my way back on the long dark road. Lampposts scarce, my way is illuminated by the irregular volumes of light pouring from the cars that pass me by. I catch glimpses of roadside carcasses  in the abstract light, and through my open mouth.

The path is clear but it is jagged. My canvas shoes have gotten wet from the shallow puddles I couldn’t see.

Sometimes it is dark. It is lonely. There are no cars, carcasses, or other urban romantic ideas to keep me company in my travels.

Sometimes I get so focused, furiously typing. I end up in the middle of the street. A horn blares. My heart catches in my stomach and I correct my failed trajectory.

It is 7:43 pm on a Saturday night at the end of February and I wish you were here to walk me home.
 294° 
Anmol Rathore
You don't forget certain people
Just that their memories
don't haunt you anymore
or maybe you learn to live with that stabbing pain
that was unbearable when it first started
and is comforting now
You don't forget certain people
Just that they become your poems
and unheard playlists
they don't wake you up at two am
nor keep you awake till four
but they stay
You can't forget certain people
you can only get used to the feeling
of the void that is created
by their leaving that wasn't under your control
and trying to  forget them
which,
isn't under your control as well.
 290° 
Neha'S Notebook
When nobody loves me,
I find peace with singing birds.
When I don’t have words to write,
I steal other authors’ words.
 270° 
Luis Mdáhuar
JOY
ifnthere is anything that can give me
joy
my heart laid bare and a thin
hair of your sex
but better yet it is to try
try never minding reasons
why
that is the prize
 262° 
Logan L
Deafening silence
Infinitely more powerful
Than a thousand words

A limitless source
Of potential energy
Stemming from lack
Of sound

Silence, can be many things
Alone, scared, deep and thoughtful
Together, peace unlike any other

Silence is many things
Even so, it is anything
But quiet
 177° 
Tadhg Ó Dálaigh
We look in a mirror a foot away,
at the end and break of day,
and upon seeing our ugly mug,
decide that’s the final story.

Your friends tell you what you look like on Facebook
but can never say what you look like here,
that is, where you are right now, reading these words.

Indeed, whenever we look at you, we’ll see
eyes and cheeks, a nose, a smile,
yet all the while you’re there, zero centimeters
from yourself! An uncrossable distance for the rest of us.

That mirror teaches us that « insert name »
whom the world sees, loves, detests, rejects, blames,
is always away: never here where we are.



In my case, Mum and Dad said I was born in the 90s
and that, if I’m lucky, I’ll live to my 90s.
They also said thoughts are “in my head,”
and yet sat right here as I peer into my mind
I just can’t find a centre of thoughts.
They’re everywhere!

When I was a child I loved building sandcastles
at Llandudno beach with my brothers.
Passersby at a distance would have seen children playing,
but for each sibling, at the centre of his vision,
the whole world was unfolding! Exploding!
So it is too now, for even when I fly across countries,
I truly go nowhere! I’m here at the heart of each happening.

I cannot locate my self, for with my eyes open,
how could I miss the enormous wealth
of these rich sights and sounds,
and my cold feet upon the rocky ground?

We’re all nostalgic for childhood happiness:
don’t you remember hating home before you left
and then being delighted to come back to comfort?
Sat in an expert’s arm chair, we’ll never get to the root,
even if his analysis comes within a hair of the truth.



All I can certify is that one day I realized
I was sat chewing a bowl of milky cereal
and I said hello to my infantile world!

Of the rest, even death, no-one is sure.
All these sounds filling the mouth I cannot see moving,
climbing out of my own silence,
remain a beautiful mystery to me.
 169° 
thymos
often i ask of my cigarettes that
they last forever. they always answer
in ashes, smoke the moonlight slow dancer
arching out of its own transient act

as if parting came easy to creatures
that dream of eternity, and wake up
again craving its adumbration, butts
spilling out of the tray, pale these seekers

their beauty not betrayed by their briefness
but by the dream, for some things are only
enjoyed by virtue of their vanishing.

it liberates if it makes time for stillness.
patience with what is strange will open the lonely.
breathe, and know nothing but fascination.
 165° 
mrk
some nights
your soul will be on fire
and you will feel alive
and you will fall into your bed at 3am
and wake up in the morning with a new story to tell
and some nights
your soul will be crumpled
and your heart torn into millions of pieces
and you will crawl into bed at 3am
and think about everything that could have gone differently
and on those nights
its important to remember
the nights when your soul was on fire
 140° 
mint
the crack running round my heart is far too big to even exist
a tiny stab of you and i am left in pieces

perhaps i’m just too weak for love
why am i still not over her
 131° 
mehakb
i work all the day  and in the evening when I'm sitting alone in the balcony  looking at the sunset i miss you.
i miss how hard i fall for you
i miss how i used to play with your hair
i miss  how i used to  bite your fingers
i miss those awful conversations we had
i miss your skinny back which i used to hug
i miss your long hands that i used to hold
i miss the feel of your beard on my naked skin
i miss your deep eyes in which i always drown
i miss you with every sunset </3
 126° 
Jack Bennett
Heaven only knows
The lengths I'd go to hold you
Chasing the moons face
 123° 
julie
love doesn't cost anything
but a penny, a nickel, and a quarter.

a lucky penny, breaking the odds of rigid reality.

the nickel i found near your bed, after making love to you.

and a quarter, because all it took to fall in love with you was the first fourth of a second you held my hand.
for my baby
 118° 
Todd Witherell
if only aesthetically justified
and sanctity and sin coincide
I pray gentle Beauty deified
 117° 
Nora R
No I won’t compare the rain to the tears of sad lovers
And I won’t compare it to the pain of so many others
For the rain is the most comforting sound in my mind
As it lets go of the clouds, leaving the grey sky behind
No I’ve never yelled at the rain, not once, not since birth
As it beautifully drips, drops, and drizzles while it pounds on the earth

-Nora R
 112° 
anna
I miss you so much without you here my heart is in two and i am hurting inside for you
My heart found its true love
My eyes are full of tears
I am truly different without you by my side
I look so sad people are asking what happened to me
That sadness that is in my eyes goes deeper then that all the way to my heart and through my body
I love you
And i know i will feel like this until you come back
So i will be here waiting for you
Two days was my happiness days of my life and now you go back to your town to University, i know you will come back but still it hurts
 110° 
Misty Meadows
I see no evil, but I speak it and I
Heard it.
When you're friendly with the devil,
Things can kind of get disturbing.

He told me earth is not the place I
Wanna be.
I should reside in the minds
Of those who practice perjury.

So...

I was feasting on them lies
And I was dying for them recipes.

Dining in the darkness
With them demons sitting next to me.

Feeding me my hatred.
Sipping goblets of promethazine.

Then suddenly, they're sinking their
Sharp teeth into the flesh of me.
...

Now I'm hoping and I'm praying
That someone comes to
Rescue me.
But I know that it's my fault.
I should've dabbled in some
Better things.

Now, I'm feeling so embarrassed.
And now, I'm a disaster.
After one small mistake, another
Tumbles right after.

And I'm a writer, so I know
I could've made a different chapter.
But I let the devil sway me
To this tragically ever after.
 97° 
Carina
When you were a young child,
you wore your naive head in the clouds.
The vastness of space was your limit,
there were no social norms to worry about.

Growing up they told you,
you should pretend that you don't care,
so when your hopes would get devastated,
disappointment could give you a spare.

And now you find yourself wondering:
when did I stop following my ambition?
The thing you regret most when you die,
is your passions creeping omission.

Besides, how can you ever win a game,
that out of fear you did not participate in?
Without your dreams you're a soulless ghost,
like a concaved snake's skin.

If only you're bold enough to walk your own path,
alienated and without an established map.
You will soon realize that your passion's just waiting,
for your courage to close the gap.
I came to realize that in our society less people are brave enough to dream and follow their passions. No one should be judged by his ability to dream of what he/she can be. No one should have to feel ashamed to openly express what you are passionate about. It is courageous and commendable to pursue your goals.
Never forget you can be whatever you want if only you believe in yourself!
 91° 
Ciel Noir
We are such            clever creatures to divide
Most everything             into its different sides
With chaos versus             order, dark and light
The stark duality of         wrong and right
We even split the very        world in two
With human versus human,       we and you
But still no matter how much      we divide
Each thing has infinitely many      sides
 90° 
Lily Sales
ever since i was a little kid i had always wondered if i had felt love for someone other than my family. i used to look up the signs that you're in love and read books upon books about how to fall in love when i realized that the books and magazine articles don't define when you can feel love or ways to make you fall in love. you do it all yourself. when you meet that perfect person that's when you fall in love. not in a certain time frame. it is all about who you meet and sets your soul on fire and makes you feel love. you can't force love to come by eating healthy for two weeks and listening to slow jazz music. it all comes when your heart whispers to you that you have found the one.
 89° 
Bobcat
Boy just take it easy
Boy just take it slow
Please don't give up now
You have so much further to go

Put that gun down boy
Step away from the ledge
All the demons your fighting
Don't have to stay in your head

Let me help you boy
Let me be your light
You and I together boy
We'll give 'em a hell of a fight

This is it boy
It's time for war
With me by your side
It'll be easier than before

We got this boy
We won't back down
We'll take 'em all on
We'll knock 'em to the ground

Boy let's take it easy
Boy let's take it slow
All the demons you fight
Will no longer call you home
 85° 
Alex
Him
I think of him too often
I don't think he ever leaves my mind
I find myself dreaming of him
Or listening to the music he's shown me
Maybe it's cause he makes them go away
The voices in the back of my head
Telling me to do awful things to myself
But I usually don't listen anyway
It's just better when I can't hear them at all
I turn his music up all the way so I can't think
Well, so they can't talk to me
Even thinking of him makes them go away
I guess I just need my weekly shot of him
More than just weekly...
Every night I see him.
Well. I Skype him.
But if it's all I get then I'll take it.
To me, he once was this shy kid
Hardly talked
He was really cute
I asked for a hug and his number
He smiled and gave me both
I texted him
We joked
We became close
I now get a nightly shot of him.
But even that's not enough.
I want to wake up beside him
With him holding me in my arms
I want to always be with him
He is mine
He takes care of me when I'm sad
He holds me close
I thought he’d never let me go.
Until he did…
 73° 
Burning Lilacs
I've stated it right away,
At the top of the page and my lungs,
a simple guideline:
"not about love"

Obviously,
that desperate rule got broken.
And so it seems only logical that
Once it became "about love",
all words left me
after such a blatant act of betrayal.

Can't blame them, I would've left myself if I could.
The only time I write anything about love, bye.
She stands where the river blows her hair wild

no youth and no favor for her
no hands to clean the salt licks on her skin
her palms are dreams wrinkled dry
yet craving an offer.

You come from a distant land, she says,
heavens bless you.

I got no small change, I respond,
my mind drifts to ponder,

a small change, I need that too,
always hungered for
and faltered through
like I missed the vessel narrowly
to be on the river's other side.

Maybe when I come back,
I turn toward her.

She was gone.
Harwood Point, Dec 5, 2017
An abortive river trip, a chance encounter
 67° 
Cassandra
The secrets I hide
cling to my insides
clawing their way out
to the bottomless pit

The lies the lies
they sink sink sink
spilling onto the canvass
just outside the door

Running does no good in a dream
the darkness always nipping
at your seams
Fluttering eyes R.E.M
r...e..m
You know that your sleeping
dreaming convulsing
Splattering onto the tiara
I wore as a child

The disappointment that hangs
in the air is all but mild
Swirls of orange around
bubbles of glass
Two yellow lines
DO NOT PASS

Not good enough, not good enough
Not good enough for who??
I’m good enough, I’m good enough
Just never for you.
 67° 
Melodie Fowles
If
If I gave you my smile
Would you give me yours
Run your finger along it
Touch your forehead to mine

If I gave you my hands
Would you give me yours
Hold them gently
Our fingers entwined

If I gave you my body
Would you give me yours
Wrap yourself around me
Till we can no longer be defined

If I gave you my heart
Would you give me yours
Love me with a passion
Of our own design

If I gave you my soul
Would you give me yours
Merge the light and dark of them
So we can't be confined

If I gave you my demons
Would you give me yours
Let them play together
In our strange minds

These are the Ifs that I ask of you...
I only hope you will answer me true.
With Closed Eyes
With closed eyes she wants to taste
What intoxication is in love stream?
What all can beauty being in chaste
Travels and dances like light beam

Let us be together on this eroticflight
Let be heart to heart in the romance
Let us fly together like a colorful kite
Lets dance to take chance after chance

Let my passion be golden in pursuit
Let your beauty sparkle but like silver
Allow your beauty to follow love route
Be totally mine allow me to conquer

Col Muhammad Khalid Khan
Copyright 2018 Golden Glow
 59° 
mjad
I love the way your hips move when I push up against you
But I like the way he whispers into my ear, "I love you"
I like the way you attack me with hugs
But I adore the way he talks about love
I can't choose between the refrain and the melody
Something so loud and something so sweet
And both are written beautifully just for me
 58° 
NebulousApathy
Nobody listened when I had whispered
They still didn't when I had shouted.
Even when I had opened my mouth and had belted
My voice could have been heard from mountains

But the tears I had cried were in vain.
Even when my tears became rain
And i was engulfed in some deep raw pain
Still no one listened!

I called,I cried,I beseeched!
If they had only listened ,if they had only given an ear unto my complicated situation
Then they would have known that my situation was dire.

I felt that the cops needed notification of my implacable grief!
I cooed ,I wailed,I begged,I demanded
But  still no one listened.

Then the enormous gigantic rat that had resided in my bed,
bit me and I was dead.
I awoke then and realized it was all in my head.
 55° 
ln
where is my indian
is it in the way i don't use my palms as a medium to transport rice into the back of my mouth
is it in the way my face turns gloomy at the sight of spice and curry
is it in my skin color that isn't as brown as you need it to be
is it in my eyebrows which aren't as bushy as per your requirements

is it in the way my tongue twists awkwardly as i say happy diwali
is it in the way amma is the most fluent piece of tamil i speak
is it in the way i didn't know how to recite the words at my grandpas funeral
is it in the way i cannot, for the life of me, name you another tamil movie besides chandramukhi?

or

is it in the religious classes i took up until age 12
is it in the ramayana epic that i learnt, age 8
is it in the sanskrit bhajans i was made to sing, not knowing what they meant, age 10
is it in knowing that ganesh is the remover of obstacles,
brahma, vishnu, shiva - the creator, the preserver, the destroyer

is it in the eyeliner drawing a bindi in between my eyes when i
head to the temple, to present myself as indian

where is my indian
is it on a checklist, is there a passing mark?
where is my indian
please tell me,
because i am tired of feeling like a foreigner in my own skin
 53° 
Her
the moment a poet
falls in love with you

is the moment
you live

f o r e v e r
 52° 
Kartikeya Jain
Do not wait
for someone
to offer you
their world.
Remember,
you have your own.
 47° 
T R S
Welcome to Rock Bottom!

We have nothing and space.

The space isn't free, nor is valuable.

Plus we have free parking!
Lots.

Please enjoy your stay at Rock Bottom.
 47° 
Johnny Noir
there is an object called
television which spews
endless eye-catching bs
& mostly pointless noise
 43° 
Evelyn Genao
You thought I loved you when I just wanted a good fuck.
He never wanted her and he never will, she knows that now. She knew that every time he went out and didn't come back for days, weeks, or even months. She knew what he was up to. The lipstick and perfume on him clearly pointed that out.
*"Lucy, this is Sarah. Sarah, this is my cousin." Drew gave Lucy the look as if saying 'you say anything, I'll hurt you'.
"Hi, Lucy." Sarah smiled.
"Hello." Lucy gave a fake smile. Lucy didn't smile a real smile around him. She barely smiled at all.
"Sarah and I will be upstairs. DON'T disturb us. If you know what I mean." Drew pulled Sarah upstairs. Lucy felt disgusted hearing the moaning, screaming, grunting, growling. It made her feel uncomfortable.
"Is this what the world has come to? Screwing just for a good time with someone else just downstairs?" Lucy mumbled to herself, tears forming in her cocoa brown eyes. "I hate my life. I wish I could just drop dead."
part 5 of the Sticks and Stones series. I hope you love it and be to comment what you think.
 41° 
alexa
you will never be forgotten.
ever.
your name twisted into metaphors and colors and distractions will forever
be painted across pages and pages of her favorite brand of notebook,
no matter how many she burns
there will always be one she forgot,
and she will only find it once she had almost forgotten you.
she will find the one Papyrus notebook
and all of your metaphors and colors and disractions will come flooding back,
just like how the ocean in your eyes
flooded her heart all those years ago.
 40° 
Freya
The heavens are black
I choke on its smoke
The ashes they speak
They warn me of fire
Profound and consuming
Burning miles away

For your life I will end
I cough out a hex
Perform my sullen dance
And make a toast to your demise
For never I shall mourn

I shall itch til I bleed
 40° 
Arpita Banerjee
The forests are deep, dark and menacing.
Distance from the plains are ever-increasing.
A desert of bright sand-dunes
Seeps through waterless moons
And shines a lantern on
The hunter’s myriad faces.

Her delicate self, ambushed behind the glorious paw,
Shivers and amazes,
At the ruthlessness of their trances.
Maudlin over her abandoned demeanor,
The departed herd and their mesmerizing candor,
Shoving away her characteristic mirth and laughter,
She voluntarily slips into
The hectoring trap.
A predator in waiting,
For the hunter’s slow clap.

But,
Man the hunter, must have forgotten,
That a tiger remains a tiger
Despite being overwhelmed, or woe-begotten.
And as he nears the trap he built,
To grind her might and get her killed,
He sees,
The sedentary beast transmuted
Into a monstrous manifestation that lay undefeated.
Tearing their flesh,
Destroying their jejune laughter.
With an attack far cathartic
For them to resurrect after.



Remember, the sun, the woods, the stark sea?
Her spirit embodies theirs,
It is she.
The sweltering sun, the rapturous desert,
Vanquish the chains that had imprisoned
Her abounding heart.
Expunging the landscape of infiltrating dirt,
The tiger reigns supreme,
Glorified in hurt.
Take a look at your graceful and powerful sinew
Tell me tiger, what will you do?
 38° 
Vale Luna
(read forward, then backward, line by line)

I ran.
Not knowing what else to do
There was so much blood on my hands
It was mine
The kitchen knife
Caught in my chest
Guilt
Consumed by
Fear
I was heightened by
Adrenaline
But running on
Wasn’t enough
While trying to stay calm,
Losing control
It was me that would end up
Dead. Because
He was
In front of me
The whole time
It was too late
Trapped
I found myself
Locked in chains
My fate was
Death.
Forward: from the victims perspective.
Backward: from the murderers perspective.

This TOOK ME FOREVER TO WRITE
 38° 
rosalind
the absence of you
leaves me aching
for more of your touch
i never thought i’d miss
just a little short one
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