Page 1





Copyright © 2020 by Affinity CoLab Presents All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below. Affinity CoLab 20 E. Bridge St., Ste 103 Spring City, PA 19475

Page 2 of 70

ART WORK She’s All That / Photography /Patty Kline-Capaldo / pg. 12 Grumpy Face / Photography / Rebecca Kling / pg. 14 Stone 10 / Photography / Rebecca Kling / pg. 16 Mother and Child / Photography / Rebecca Kling / pg. 18 Stone 3 / Photography / Rebecca Kling / pg. 20 Dogs in Winter / Photography / Dan Erdman / pg. 24 Tree in Light / Photography / Serge Baeyens pg. 28 Second Sight / Photography / Pat D’Innocenzo / pg. 48

POETRY She’s All That / Patty Kline-Capaldo / pg. 13 Face of Stone / Rebecca Kling / pg. 15 Swimmer / Rebecca Kling / pg. 17 Self-portrait in a Puddle / Rebecca Kling / pg. 19 Portraits of Our Dogs In Winter / Dan Erdman / pg. 25-27 Here is a Gift You Can’t Lose / Surya Kelly Meier / pg. 33-34 Recoil / Surya Kelly Meier / pg. 35-36 Paramitas / Surya Kelly Meier / pg. 37 Old Hats / debbie carrier / pg. 38-39 The Eye / debbie carrier / pg. 40-42 She’s an Icebreaker / debbie carrier / pg. 43-44 Second Sight / Pat D’Innocenzo / pg. 49 100% Agreement! / Ira Sperling / pg. 50-51 Self-Portrait / Theresa Rodriguez / pg. 52 The Sonnet of JonBenet (1990-1996) / Theresa Rodriguez / pg. 53 Blessed Margaret Plantagenet Pole (1472-1541) / Theresa Rodriguez / pg. 54 The Fraying / Katy Comber / pg. 62-63 Sessions / Katy Comber / pg. 64-66

Short Story/Memoir Quarantine Haircut / Christina Shon / pg. 5-7 A Bright Hope / Christina Shon / pg. 8-11 Memoirs / Abby Cohen / pg. 22-23 Sunday / S.L. Morrison / pg. 29-30 Invisible Pedestal / Sharon Hajj / pg. 31-32 Always a Bridesmaid / Pat D’Innocenzo / pg. 45-47 By The Sword / Andrea Hornett / pg. 55-57 Dark & Stormy Night / Youth Series / Katie Jayne / pg. 58-61 

Page 3 of 70

Page 4 of 70

Quarantine Haircut Earlier this year, soon after the quarantine, I shaved my head. A friend of mine asked me why I did it, and frankly, I really needed a haircut! There’s a tradition in Asian countries where parents shave the heads of their newborns. The practice revolves around the belief that the newborn’s thin wispy baby hairs will be replaced by a thicker head of hair. This is usually done at about one or two years of age. My parents did the same for me when I was a baby, and the subsequent head of hair that grew out of my shorn baby scalp has always been very thick, curly, unruly, and unmanageable. I didn’t understand my hair growing up. I didn’t know how to brush it, how to keep it moisturized, how to fix it in the mornings. My mother was also at a loss. She had always had straight black shiny hair like most Asian women. At a young age, she let my hair grow untamed, like a wild dandelion flower. She used to say that the stubbornness of my hair was as strong and unyielding as my personality. When I started school, she would tie it into a variety of braids, pigtails, ponytails, French braids. At age nine, my mother took me to a hair salon and had them chemically straighten my hair. By the end of that half day ordeal, my hair wasn’t fully straight, but the curls had all been pulled out. In high school, I started giving myself a home perm. If my hair was going to be curly, I might as well give myself more acceptable, bouncy curls. At least that was the reasoning. The curls never turned out bouncy or acceptable. By the time I entered college, the salons began to develop Page 5 of 70

new methods of controlling frizzy hair with the Brazilian Blowout, Keratin straightening, and digital perms. I started a pattern of straightening and perming that never allowed my natural hair to grow out. Over time, I told myself that this was how I was going to manage my unmanageable hair. I would perm it to a curl pattern that I desired twice a year while my natural hair struggled to grow. It was easy to hide the new growth underneath a head of beachy waves. Then after several months, I would take those natural curls back to the salon to again de-nature and chemically alter to my bidding. Who was more stubborn in this moment my hair or my will? I noticed more recently that my hair was beginning to thin with age. The curls gave it an illusion of fullness, but the damage done to my hair was taking its toll causing it to break and fall out. I continued to manage my hair the only way I knew how - with an iron fist. 2020: The year that everything changed. The year that we all sheltered in place and learned more about ourselves than we ever wanted. An old friend started a discussion on social media about shaving her head, and wrote a post about how she had never thought of herself as “pretty” growing up, but she had always had beautiful hair, and this was a source of her identity as a girl and later as a woman. I thought about this awhile. My own hair had always been the opposite of what I considered “pretty” about me. On the other hand, it had been the source of a weird mix of frustration and pride in what was a strong-willed part of my identity, and though I had sometimes tried to tame it, it had also made me unique. Another friend warned me, “If you cut off all your hair, you might cry.” I thought about this as well. I do understand that in the different periods of my life, I became accustomed to the way I “look” during those times; and Page 6 of 70

as I age, there’s a psychological readjustment that has to happen with every change. I would look in the mirror or at pictures and when my “look” changes I’ve gained a few pounds, or the bags under my eyes are darker, or the lines around my mouth are deeper - my relationship to that “look” changes as well. Sometimes a haircut, whether good or bad can elicit mourning for that part of you that’s now gone; an elegiac and nostalgic sensibility to letting go of that part of your life. As I sifted through these musings, I realized in the end, I had nothing to lose, except for the hair itself. Letting go of the physical aspects of our selves is a process I’ll continue to experience as I age. One day I may have a few more gray hairs, a few more laugh lines, or a different face entirely. Maybe that’s not always sad. It can also be liberating; the kind of liberation that comes with the absence of fear and with unconditional acceptance of who I am. And so I shaved my head, and I was fine, and I looked fine, and every other aspect of my life is still the same; except now, I use so much less conditioner than I’ve ever had to, and I love it!

Page 7 of 70

A Bright Hope “Name it, and it will come to be.” – Unknown Kyung-Hee is my first name. Well, the first name ever given to me. It means a bright hope, like the first rays of the morning sun. Once, when I had asked my Grandmother about my name, she opened her armoire, unlocked a small chest and pulled out several scrolls of paper that had Chinese characters written on them. One of them was mine. My Grandmother had paid for these names, mine and the names of my cousins, to be chosen and written out by the local scholar. They were names imbued with meaning and auspicious portent. I held the scroll in my hands and admired the alluring brushstrokes that I could not comprehend. It was strange to think that my name was a commodity that my Grandmother had purchased. This illusive thing, a name, is just a word; but it contains for some an identity; and for others like my Grandmother, it contained a destiny. With the purchase of these scrolls, she had secured my birthright. A very long time ago in Korea, names were used as devices to ward off evil. When a precious child was born, she was often given a terrible name to deceive the evil spirits into thinking that the child was worthless. There are rare stories in which we hear of ancient kings being named, “dog shit” or something equally revolting. Times have changed, and most families give their children the very best names. My family immigrated to the United States when I was 18 months old. I started Kindergarten at age 4 without the ability to speak a word of English. My teacher called me Karry, I’ve been told, because she couldn’t pronounce my given name. One of my earliest memories involves sheets of paper all around me and a pencil placed awkwardly in my hands. My mother, who didn’t speak any English herself, is teaching me to write my new name. K-A-R-R-Y, over and over again. Within 6 months, I was Page 8 of 70

speaking English as fluently as the kids down the street. How quickly had I forgotten my Korean tongue. **** My Grandmother was a well-known midwife in our neighborhood in Korea. When I spent my summers in her 5-story house as a young girl, my cousins and I would tip toe around the first floor, where the clinic was located. There were nights when we would wake up to the sound of a newborn taking in its first breath and crying out its introduction to the world. All of my cousins had been born in my Grandmother’s clinic guided by her skilled hands. I was slated to be birthed there as well until complications occurred. My mother had to be rushed to the nearby hospital where they immediately prepared us for surgery. After I was born, my mother continued to lie in her hospital bed, persistently weak and unable to heal. Everyday, my Grandmother came to see her and sternly admonished her to get better - sometimes yelling, sometimes pleading. Finally, the doctors realized that my mother was suffering from an infection due to a gauze pad that had been left in her uterus after the surgery. She had nearly died. I’ve heard this story told so many times by my Grandmother. Each time she tells it, she adds another bit of information or another piece of dialogue that I hadn’t heard before; but the story remains essentially the same. “You were this small, this small!” my Grandmother often concludes, cupping her two hands together, when telling the story of how my mother had nearly died while giving me life. **** My Grandmother is one of the few people on this earth who still calls me by my given name. I was Kyung-Hee when we left Korea, and I suppose I still am today. In Korea, Kyung-Hee is the name given to the titular Page 9 of 70

character in a soap opera or mini drama on television. When I hear my Grandmother say my name, it rolls pleasantly along a stream or skips nimbly like little drops of pebbles skidding across a still lake. So much of that is lost in translation. When I hear an English speaker say my name, it sounds clunky and awkward, like a missed note on an untuned piano or a blunt object trying to cut a straight edge. Was this why my Kindergarten teacher decided to rename me? Perhaps she thought the other kids would make fun of me. Perhaps she felt she could shield me from the frustrations of having to hear my name, my birthright, repeatedly maimed and slaughtered by foreign tongues and their incorrect pronunciations. Perhaps she sought to confer upon me a new identity. On rare occasions when my whole family gets together, they will sometimes exchange stories of those nostalgic and murky days when we lived in Korea. There’s so much about that part of my life that I still don’t know. At times, I wish I could remember them too. And then my Grandmother will recount with watery eyes the day we left Korea. “Your two little chopstick legs were dangling out from under your mother’s arms!” She would then hold out her index and middle fingers indicating that my 18-month-old legs had been that small. “How would those little legs survive in such a big country” she laments, reliving the heartache of seeing us go. **** Today, my cousin has a daughter named Sophia, and she calls me Auntie Karry. Once when Sophia was still quite a baby, my Aunt solemnly took me aside and discreetly informed me that in Korean, the word sophie means to take a piss.

Page 10 of 70

“Ah, Kyung-Hee-ah! But they had already given her that name. What could I do? I just kept quiet,” she whispered to me in despair. I nodded in sympathy and smiled. “Don’t worry Auntie, Sophia is a beautiful name in English, and at least this way the evil spirits will stay away.”

Page 11 of 70

She’s All That Photo by Patty Kline-Capaldo

Page 12 of 70

She’s All That By Patty Kline-Capaldo Glamorous Funny Flirtatious and Warm She bites She soothes Tears down and Builds up She’s a high school dropout Professional singer Golf champion World traveller A Grief-stricken mother Abuse survivor Resilient Gregarious Mischievous and Cool

Page 13 of 70

Type to enter text

Grumpy Face Photograph by Rebecca Kling

Page 14 of 70

“Face of Stone” By Rebecca Kling Furrowed brows on fleshless skin, for how many centuries have you been trying to get it right? Pursed lips of stone, what secrets are frozen upon you? What winters have you swallowed in order to survive? These hundred miles I have walked to get here now make sense. About time, already! passes breathless across your face, and you wait, as wait we must, to be seen.  We sit together, at last,  your granite visage of truth and sadness a portal to my soul.  So much beauty is passed over,  it can break your heart if you let it. There is no way forward, you tell me; there is only a way in.

Page 15 of 70

Stone 10 Photograph by Rebecca Kling 

Page 16 of 70

“Swimmer” By Rebecca Kling your hunched body steeled upon the rocks as if to say “I am one of you” the stony New England soil that had sustained you for so long already flowing through your veins immortal as flint you feared not your descent it took two strong men to lift your godly body into the cold water you craved the cold water that stripped you of all your grime of all the things that tied you down I wonder what it felt like that last time when you could no longer walk when you had grown incoherent yet still your eyes lit like candles on the water I like to imagine you emerged clean of secrets as you grinned from ear to ear finally ready to love no illness not even death could take that away from you

Page 17 of 70

Mother and Child Photograph by Rebecca Kling

Page 18 of 70

“Self-portrait in a Puddle” By Rebecca Kling Etched in hole of mud glazed with water, my face  emerges in a ripple  after a storm.  Staring up into the  sun, my reflection does not know any better. I stoop  down to have a closer look. No  Narcissus, I take pity  on it—this deformed likeness,  a moving Picasso whose form  shifts with the breeze. Its strange lines bulge this way and that,  as if seeking a slant that will hold  its existence—for it longs  to exist, if even for a moment. I name it silently and go  on my way, as I really don’t have  much to say to it nor it to me,  though we part respectfully, and  as I walk all day long, the trees  echo its name—Alas. Meanwhile, the sun,  an old friend, warms  my bones, turning over  my insides like loose soil  ready for seeds—my soul,  if such a thing there be,  thoroughly intoxicated and content  to surrender my shape and lie  upon the earth, with little thought  of where it ends and I begin.  The puddles now, all almost  dry, fade into a giant web  of cracks that hold  other poems  buried in their narrow lines.

Page 19 of 70

Stone 3 Photograph by Rebecca Kling

Page 20 of 70

4th Sundays @Steel City Coffeehouse Share your story, poetry, favorite words in a supportive and safe open mic setting.

D A T E : J U L Y 2 6 , 2 0 2 0

T I M E : 2 P M T O 4 P M

203 Bridge Street Phoenixville, PA 19460

Page 21 of 70

Memoirs By Abby Cohen If I am still remembered in the future, I would love for it to be for my writing. Especially my writing about my family. A few times now, where people have specifically commented on how much they love when I write about my relatives. And someone commented especially about the pieces I’ve written about my grandmother. I love that. My grandmother has been gone almost 30 years, and I’ve managed to bring her to life for people who never met her. People will remember not just me, but Fannie Cohen who claimed broken cookies did not have any calories and could, with a gentle smile and a twinkle in her eye, melt any heart and guilt trap them into being kind to their fellow human beings. How wonderful to imagine my family’s names and personalities living on like the characters in Little Women. Just this morning, a friend related a spat between her children, and someone responded with the advice that the kids need to be exposed to the part in Little Women where Jo and Amy fight and Amy destroys Jo’s book and the chain of consequences that followed. I never liked that part. I always felt Marmee’s telling Jo she had to quash down all that anger was horrible. Anger needs to be controlled and channeled – not made to disappear. But I digress. As usual. What I mean is, I got up this morning and one of the first things on Facebook was a reference to a 150 year old book that’s just been remade into a movie for the umpteenth time. Louisa May Alcott may have loved writing those stories of strong tempestuous women in stormy gothic romances. But what she will forever be remembered for is the novel she wrote about her family. We just watched the movie and my Dad said, “Wait does she die?” Yes Dad, Beth dies. How could you not know that? Everyone knows Beth dies. Apparently Dad missed the memo. But every one else Page 22 of 70

knows Beth dies. And someday, everyone will know: live like Grandma Fannie. But, don’t diet like her. **** Morning Glory I am not a morning person. I am the kind of person who staggers out of bed saying f—k I hate mornings. No one can hear me. I can just say that as much as I need to while beginning my morning ablutions. By the time I reach brushing my teeth I am probably awake and ready enough to stop saying that. I may even sing a little to myself some song I’m practicing at the moment. Nothing like a couple choruses of Cold Pizza for Breakfast or How Much Tequila Did I Drink Last Night to get the blood moving. After that I am ready to stumble down the stairs. Find my shoes and take the garbage out and the paper in. It’s another day. Where’s the coffee? I need coffee. I can’t face morning without coffee. We’re out of coffee. Oh well. I guess I’m drinking tea this morning . One thing about this pandemic. We’re periodically getting these giant food orders. Just by bringing us closer to an empty box of teabags and opening up a few more inches of space in the closet, I feel like I’m doing my bit for humanity, my personal step toward helping out our country and the planet. All that just by switching from coffee to tea for a morning or two.

Page 23 of 70

Dogs in Winter Photograph by Dan Erdman

Page 24 of 70

Portraits of Our Dogs In Winter By Dan Erdman I. Late December Our dogs, dog dreary drizzle day, doing nothing, perfectly, all day. II. Mid-January Weather Wizard! You can smell how cold it is outside; sitting hound dog belligerently stubborn in the middle of the warm room as I stand like an icicle at the opened back door, and call you to go out. Not going, not going, not budging from this warm carpet in the middle of this warm room. The snow will stop and it will be eight degrees warmer by 10:30. I can hold it ‘til then. With my frostbitten hand on the door knob, I believe you, shiver, and come back inside. You win again.  Page 25 of 70

III. Early February Opportunistic lovable lanky mongrel, you took my warm spot in the bed, nuzzled under the blanket and have your head on my pillow. Well, I guess you earned it, after all… howling at the snow falling off the roof at 3:08 am; you didn’t stop until I got up to assure both of us that it wasn’t a possum in the garbage can or a car thief in the driveway. I can sleep on the couch. IV. Late February We’ve had good dogs before you, buried now in our back yard, rest their souls, and not one of them destroyed things like you! Shoes, books, stuffed cushions, and now the goat hide off my djembe! You chewed my drum! You tore the goat hide off my favorite drum! Get outside and out of my sight, I don’t care if it’s cold and sleeting!...... Page 26 of 70

…What are you doing now? Why are you digging a hole as wide as yourself into the frozen ground in the corner of the back yard?...... Please don’t look up at me with those sad canine eyes. Come, get over here and let me dry you off. Come inside by the fire… I have some goat jerky for you. V. Mid-March Our dogs, mild mid-March morning, restlessly doing not much. One raises an ear, hears a crocus breaking ground outside. The other looks at the first, nods knowingly. Yep, mud holes, new rabbits in the backyard, two weeks.

Page 27 of 70

Tree in Light By Serge Baeyens

Page 28 of 70

Sunday By S.L. Morrison Alice sat at the edge of the property – leaning back against ‘Charlie’ – the family name for the large oak tree in the east corner. Next to her was her journal, her sketchpad, and her favorite pens. But they had long since been forgotten, unlike the other items of the day. Those she wished she could forget. She watched as her dad made numerous trips in and out of the house, catching glimpses of the small U-Haul he’d attached to the family wagon. Alice saw the leather chair and ottoman loaded, cartons of books and paintings, and even the large portrait that he’d done of her when she was two. She saw suitcases and bags of clothes, and the pair of skis from their last vacation when he’d pretended to be ‘Bigfoot’ and chased her around in the snow. Her brother carried out the tv with movies laying on top, and even the chess set she watched her parents play together. Eventually the trips became quicker and the boxes smaller. And she knew the moment was coming. There was a burning somewhere in her eyes and her face was wet before she even felt tears fall. “Daddy” she whispered. And almost as if he’d heard her, he headed towards Charlie, his eyes down. “Well, Pumpkin, it’s that time”. “No, please,” and she jumped up and flung her arms around him. “Please don’t go. Please. Please don’t leave me.” And he held her tighter than she’d ever been. And then, finally, he let go, and Alice couldn’t breathe. She followed him, pleading, begging, promising. All the way to the car. And he held her one last time. “It’ll be ok, Kiddo, you’ll still see me.” And even though she held on with all of her strength, he got in the car and pulled away. And as she ran after, she fell to the ground, only to start running some more, even after he became invisible. Finally, she just Page 29 of 70

screamed – loud and long – lost. Not wanting to enter the home that would never be home again. So, instead, she ran to Charlie and pushed her right cheek into the bark – its edges cutting her skin, her arms wrapped tight, and she cried until the tears ran away too. And then she curled beneath and went to sleep. 

Page 30 of 70

Invisible Pedestal By Sharon Hajj The winds of justice blew through the window that morning. The breeze touched my cheeks and swirled above my head until the ceiling fan whisked it around the room spreading it over my children’s heads. I breathed deeply. I saw John reach for the Fruity Pebbles and pour more into his leftover milk. His bowl tipped slightly and I almost lurched forward to save him from a mishap, but he caught it himself. I should trust now that he’s capable of taking care of himself. I should know that he’s safe. Except. Except in this precarious world where we live, I’ve grasped the wind that passed by our house. My fingers slipped through, unable to hold anything for ourselves. It sneaks into our homes while we eat and I think for once we’re content, until I look outside and see officers covered in riot gear march down the road. They stop in front of my window and face a lone woman who is serene and calm. Her dress flows with the promise of a brighter future. It billows out to capture her own justice, but the justice for a black woman retreats. The police shields and cuffs scatter fear over the pavement, leaving this woman alone to stand up to injustice. Her lips are tight, for no words can save her. Her eyes are focused, for they can’t see an escape. Her heart is pure, for she knows the truth. I hear the click. I see them grab her arms and pull her away from her pedestal. The pedestal can’t be seen by mere mortals, but I know it’s there. I know one day her legacy will guide us and be praised because justice will prevail for all. My daughter Lilly reaches for my hand. “It’s okay, Mama.”

Page 31 of 70

Tears catch in my throat as I look in her black eyes. My sorrows drown as if they are sucked into a black hole, but this burden is too much for her to bear. I force a smile on my face. “Do you see the people watching, those lined along the street?” “Yes, Mama.” “They are but a few, but we have a large community behind us. The world will rise up together. I know it in my bones.” She looked out the window and something caught her eye. I could only see the reflection in her eyes, movement too damaging to her young soul. “They’re taking the woman,” she said. “They won’t take me.” She looked back at me with a steely determination. The ceiling fan slowed and the justice, which spun around the room, finally sank into her skin and settled. 

Page 32 of 70

Here is a Gift You Can’t Lose By Surya Kelly Meier The day you told me you and Hannah married, I rose out of bed and watched a goldfinch preen itself outside my window, something happy about its tufted feathers yellow and black. I would recall a long dream and reflect – the missed and rescheduled train from New York that would take me away from pain and pleasure forever. The weekend you married I watched Star Trek with family, an episode of a madman who believed he now ruled the universe neatly encapsulating six hundred pages worth of lessons in undoing I gleaned from a Course, what I risk forgetting, all neatly tied with pink ribbon into a bow. Another dream leaving me dark, save for a flash of lavender lilacs I would give to you and her. Did you get them? You rise with the joy I feel for you as I looked at the message you sent, you two sealed in a kiss, humble yarmulke on your head. Forgive me that I chuckle, Ever the faithful Buddhist Jew. But I mean it when I say I must know your address, must send a letter, a poem, a something like the one I gave

Page 33 of 70

my once-neighbors whose son had ended his life in the apartment below where we once had chai and almond cake on my thirtieth birthday. I think of you and Hannah fondly, wishing I were there with you when you said I do too eagerly, but was I not there when you staked out a life of stillness in motion, where not even the buzzing of carpenter bees, tumbling down from the sky in pairs, could intrude? You bless me with your words so I bless you here with mine. Here is a gift for your wedding you can keep or share, burn or frame in silver. Here is a gift you can’t lose. Each time you sing Higher Ground, ten hawks flying overhead, I’m there laughing with you too.

Page 34 of 70

Recoil By Surya Kelly Meier Into Monday woods we go Elijah, a promise I would keep safe the Monarch, a dream of in, slithering past our feet ego the funny not-here, the flub on stage, the no-ticket-holders-in-sight. The city beyond and glimmering, a monarch here, not far and jumbled up, bleeding toes in sandals brown like earth. For the better we walk side by side a cloud, a few geese [six] draw near and then the dragonflies come announcing the end of blood. We are drenched in sweat yet smell sweet cherries, cacao, almonds whole and bouncing in some bag in tow.

Page 35 of 70

How you howl the curve of the daylight moon so much I do, slumber, adrift we call on a God to make fit what hisses inside, now out, the soul’s oil feeding off its past deaths, jurassic, messiah: Come salute the sun in me and Elijah wanting nothing but boulder, but scene, but plant the seed in apples dark and shining knights, we sift away the last poison in the millpond, just a cool dissolving livid-green. I have seen him before. 

Page 36 of 70

Paramitas By Surya Kelly Meier

I. Ocean, undulating jewel, come to me all blue becoming white in May. II. Sunset east: sun rises wherever I lean, a feather in time. Doves above and below wherever doves go and drift, like fire, like smoke, a cloud silvering in dreams. 

Page 37 of 70

Old Hats By debbie carrier I'm an odd Middle-aged woman in an old hat With a wide blue band Spectacular blue eyes In the setting sun Just saying goodbye with a fashionable Wave. Swinging on a porch swing Taking one more turn At hitting one into the bleachers Well, why not? Why not. I'm fun to watch, I guess Engaging Most people talk, and run Away from odd women In old hats Spinning yarns About dogs And cats Collecting pictures Of trees and Flowers Burning candles And Sage.

Page 38 of 70

(Coffee and chocolates Freedom’s Smile The Rolling Stones Tracy Chapman Tracy Grammar) Wit and Sarcasm, Swinging on a porch swing; Taking one more turn At hitting one into the bleachers! Well, why not? Why not.

Page 39 of 70

The Eye By debbie carrier She smiles the smile of knowing of wisdom, of age, of children, of questions, of aching, of turning. She aimed the smile at me. My eyes fell to the floor. She knows me. Day one I couldn't look her in the eyes; I was undressed. I was being studied. To see if I could pass the test. I'm still not sure, because every time her smile turns to a frown I am deflated; like so much hot air escaping a balloon, basket tumbling to the ground, my heavy heart Inside. I mentally drag my Feet across the linoleum floor; my tired limbs dusting the cracks, distilling my own boiling pot of memories. She makes me talk about the past. Her past. My past. Trying to revive the reason I am standing here today; so naked and exposed. Page 40 of 70

I cry a song in my heart she can't hear. But, God Can. and I wander down this road carrying a match, for a light. I must bear witness. Witness to the walking, the answers that come harder; the trying To be honest with myself Who fucking AM I? And I don't know today. I know I am tired; As she works her magic and I pace my cage It is Divine. And I have known it since the Day i first looked into her eyes and she saw me. That I was feeble. A weak attempt at this challenging life. I was sorry for the mistakes. I was regretting the wrong choices, I was grateful for the day; too bright For my eyes Now. I the one needing sunglasses. And poke out my eye Poke out my eye They try I resist. It's not time I keep saying I am not old. But I am Older. Now.

Page 41 of 70

I suppose I rued the day of aging And facing this portion of my life Is like opening a door I was protesting. Now look; look at your own grey hair and sigh. I still say ... I am only 57. But ... I am Only. She makes me talk about the past. Her past. My past. Trying to revive the reason I am standing here today; so naked and exposed.

Page 42 of 70

She’s an Icebreaker By debbie carrier She's an icebreaker For a heart too willing to be known She made me go quiet ( soft) ( slow down) Palpable heart on pause Drawing cartoons with big bubbles Containing a million words ( I am not allowed to say) and a million heartbeats Are hidden But still beating Dancing wildly inside ( me) W/out a soul's notice Studying this icebreaker Boxes of paint Such are recipes for creative danger On card stock paper And when she smiles dandelion heads Get blown right off When she sings frozen trees shatter Their ice Eyes that penetrate like bullets While rounding the curve And Changing (heart) beats In the fast lane. I would stand next to her A lovely friend With exotic anticipation I'd offer a heart and a hand But I sigh that I don't know how to Get into that heart So big So wide So deep Page 43 of 70

Shifting gears I find I am in need of an ice breaker to calm me down slow me down Make me go quiet Perfect idea: for a million heartbeats To be contained in still life bubbles Waiting to be said Is enough For waiting to be heard is something I have wanted all my life And waiting to be seen is something I have indeed desired And I know she sees me And that's enough Validation for this sordid Life Bubbles burst And cartoon characters don't come to life But words were from the beginning And always will be Words will never pass away But will ramble on in the wilderness Of love Singing friend Just let me love you Downshifting I saw harbor lights And remembered a tune I wrote In college It was moody I was blue A blue dragon Looking for a dragon rider One day I won't draw bubbles but return to the stars And find that gentle rest I see in her eyes She's the golden angel of ice breakers Carrying a box of gifts For a heart too willing to be known. Page 44 of 70

ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID By Pat D'Innocenzo “I’d be delighted.” With those few words I’d hurled myself into the mystical obstacle course of being a bridesmaid. I wasn’t too surprised. Sophie and I were friends. We had been close as kids and if not for her sister Thea I would have been tagged for maid of honor. How can you gracefully decline this stuff anyway? I had gone this route twice before. I thought I knew what to expect. In my naïve delusion I had ticked off shower, ugly dress, sore feet from dancing with a groomsman I would never see again. I was woefully out of date. Thea set me straight. As the platoon leader of Sophie’s band of mannequins she gave me the agenda: engagement party, at least two showers, dress shopping, bachelorette party, wedding, reception and brunch the next morning. My bank account screamed. Good old Sophie never mentioned the engagement party when I agreed to be in her wedding. She just gushed about how long we had been friends and how much she wanted me in her wedding. Now here I am in a dress that cost a month’s lunches and just uncomfortable shoes trying to last without wilting into the plant I am hiding behind. Oh great, here comes her cousin Phillip. He is too good looking and knows it. With his dark, wavy hair, cobalt blue eyes and three-day scruff he could cause any woman who doesn’t know him to breathe heavily. Where’s his usual tall, lithe, blond wearing an itsy bitsy dress? Don’t tell me he couldn’t get a date. Maybe he is keeping the big reveal for the ceremony. Uncle Charlie has stopped him to chat. Uncle Charlie is good for at least thirty minutes of nonstop talk. Time to move to another corner of the room. If I stand by the gift table I will look like a member of the catering staff. How that can happen with my sparkly dress is an unanswerable dilemma. People got the registry notices, the pile is pretty high. What is in all these large boxes? What happened to giving a nice vase or that old standard the sterling silver pickle fork? Page 45 of 70

At this rate I am not sure what Sophie will be unwrapping at the showers. Right. All that lacy stuff you need to wash by hand and hang somewhere to dry so your bathroom looks like a miniature laundry. I always thought engagement parties were small gatherings at a relative of the bride and groom. I never expected this extravaganza. They took over the bird sanctuary. There is a live band. Ok, it is a quartet playing soft jazz but it is a far cry from piped-in elevator music. Good thing the humidity has gone down. Party dresses are not made for sweat. As you can tell I’m not terribly excited about all this wedding foolery. People keep adding on occasions which simply mean more money and more fancy clothes you can’t wear again with the same crowd and more gifts that they will hardly use. My dopey cousin Ann hasn’t used her wedding china or crystal and she is married fifteen years. One young bride I know had a list of such extravagance even the salesperson at the store was taken aback. Who needs individual ice buckets and two kinds of shot glasses (a dozen each please) and more than one wine cooler? They are not opening a bar for heaven’s sake. Might as well mingle with the rest of the rest of the bridal party. Maria and her husband are nice people. They have the same slightly frightened smile on their faces. Waiting for the next inane question I suppose. Dominic and his wife are outside on the patio. Interesting escape route, they are still at the party yet removed from some of the tedium. Can I make an escape without encountering Cousin Louie and his grabby hands? He gives sloppy kisses too like he hasn’t seen you in ages when you ran into each other last week at Target. Thank heavens he isn’t a groomsman. Maybe I will wander over to the food. Lots of people over there just nodding and smiling. Those crab cakes look good. So does the chicken satay but I will be wearing the peanut sauce. The buffet rivals that of a cruise ship. I haven’t heard the reception menu yet. Guess that will come after the dress shopping leaving us little choice but to subsist on lettuce and lemon water after the final fitting. Thea said she gave her sister some rules about the dresses: no beige, no hoops skirts, no bows on butts. I can’t argue with that but there is still a lot of room for nightmares. Cousin Margot picked a shade a pink Page 46 of 70

reminiscent of calamine lotion and Genevieve had enough ruffles for flamenco dancers. Here come the parents and the happy couple. The dewy eyed bride is clamped onto her gently inebriated groom. Is he having trouble walking or ready to make a run for it? Must be time for the speeches. Let me grab another glass of champagne. Being anesthetized is the only way I will make it through the rest of this night.

Page 47 of 70

Second Sight Photo by Pat D'Innocenzo

Page 48 of 70

SECOND SIGHT By Pat D'Innocenzo He loves you. You are incandescent. You bring light and laughter. You are beauty beyond measure. You transcend his dreams. He loves you. There are no “if only’s”. There is the surety of today. See what he sees. Luxuriate in the glow. Abandon your doubts. He loves you. What else do you need?

Page 49 of 70

100% Agreement! By Ira Sperling When I was a kid,
 I had this thought. There has got to be an issue, somehow, someday, on which there is 100% agreement. Something SO obvious that everyone agrees that it should, or shouldn’t be so.   That all people should be treated equally. Nahthat doesn’t happen. That an angry suburban dad should never attack his kid’s Youth Soccer Coach, ‘cause  he doesn’t play his precious little child enough. Nahthat still happens.

Page 50 of 70

That wearing masks during the pandemic is a good thing. Nahwe don’t have 100% agreement on that either. That spreading rumors, flaunting your wealth, and bullying are not ways to interact with people. Nahnot everybody has bought into that either. Why, I’ve even had students who don’t like pizza or ice cream! Well I’m a bit older now, and perhaps it’s not a bad thing that I still hold out hope, that somehow, someday, there will be 100% agreement on SOME issue, that is good, and fair, and benefits everyone!

Page 51 of 70

Three Sonnets By Theresa Rodriguez Self-Portrait An aging, slowly fading entity; A greying heart and changes of the mind; The autumn time of life has come to me, And I am quite surprised at what I find. For I am still the same as I have been— The ball of intense passion full inside; The person that I am is still within, Though sometimes I do feel that part has died. For yes, I have the fire, but its flame Is flickering and smoldering away; In many ways it will not be the same As when full fire forced its light on day. For change of life's a curiosity, For what I was, and am, and am to be.

Page 52 of 70

The Sonnet of JonBenet (1990-1996) Six-year old JonBenet Ramsey was found dead in the basement of her home on Christmas Day, 1996.

A little girl was killed one winter day, Her breath was taken from her. Someone hurt This child and made a game or perverse play In which her very body was to flirt With danger and with pain. And so she died, When for the love of pleasure or of power Someone lay her down and used her as she cried. Indeed, the strength of Hell sought to devour This child, and used the ones perhaps who bare Her— evil, twice-dead, rotten souls who fed Upon this innocence, void of love or care. Sweet Gilded Lily, painted, prodded, dead! Oh child, will there ever be a way When justice in your case will have its day?

Page 53 of 70

Blessed Margaret Plantagenet Pole (1472-1541) Executed by Henry VIII 27 May 1541, Tower of London

You ran around the room. The hooded goon Was chasing with his ax. In tears and cries You asked him “Why? What have I done?� But soon He reached your aged neck. But nothing dies Unless you kill it. Firmly, blood began To spew from wound, and wound, and wound, and more Than thirteen whacks and chops and strikes; a man Against a woman. Then the hacking gore Took off your head. The deed was done. Such strain Of royal blood was by a Tudor shed, Plantagenet and threatening and slain! Made martyress by him who made you dead. A coward and a tyrant, in the name Of bullied blood beatified the same.

Page 54 of 70

By The Sword By Andrea Hornett Someone is on the phone. I can't hear anything. It rang. I picked it up off the desk, said hello. Nothing. Louder now. Again. I hear something. What? A sob. Someone dialed my office and is sobbing so loudly that she can't speak. Who is this? (I’m demanding but not too loud.) Umph. Umph. Arrr. Umph. Now and then an actual word escapes. I realize it’s Megan. More loud, gasping sobs. “Where are you? What’s happening?” “Can I come over?” “I’ll meet you out on the bench by the front door to this building. Ten minutes.” I was there just a tiny bit before she arrived, disheveled, in dark glasses. “They just fired me. I have to be gone by four o’clock." “Why?” “Bill says that they can get rid of me whenever they want. They don't need a cause.” She started up with the convulsive sobbing again. So, I waited. Looking back on it now, I can't say that was the day the fear started. The fear had been there all along. But that was the day the fear became palpable. It grew legs and walked around and hissed its black wet breath into every meeting, every coffee break, every ride home from work in the evening. Fear stalked the car pools and the hallways and hustled in and out of the ladies lounge and the men’s room. Back on the bench, eventually, Megan stopped sobbing. Combed her hair. When she finished applying some lipstick, she brightened a bit. So, I asked, “what are you going to do?” “Go home.” “Where's home?” “Connecticut.” “From Pennsylvania?” “Yes.” Page 55 of 70

“You’re not going to fight this?” “What's the point?” Live by the sword, die by the sword. It has been Megan who told the employees that Dr, Jenny Pirrello had resigned voluntarily. Not true. Folks at the Research Lab had seen big guys, looking like football linebackers, walking her to her car. Two equally big guys followed on behind carrying file boxes – two each – with all of the personal stuff from Jenny’s office after twenty-six years of service. Either Megan lied or Megan unwittingly passed on a lie about Jenny’s leaving. Whichever, she got tagged and labeled as ‘not trustworthy’ early on and never redeemed herself. Never tried to redeem herself. Maybe she didn't know. I knew but I never told her. I never liked her. Don't know to this day why I was the one she called. Why she sobbed on my shoulder. Why did she think I was the one that would understand? I thought at the time she wanted me to help her do something. File a complaint? Find an attorney? But she was leaving. Bowing out. Surrendering. It's upsetting to see someone that destroyed. Unfair! So unfair. And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Megan went "home" to Connecticut. Her replacement was unattractive and less knowledgeable. However, she had what? An affair? A multiyear flirtation? A Svengali hold on the Vice President. And thus, she held certain powers and job security that Megan had never possessed. No, Janice didn't feel fear. She inflicted it. She was adamantly resistant to learning the business and that never seemed to matter. Janice and the V.P. inflicted several more firings and eventually, skipping over the carnage, took big bonuses and payouts when the company was sold. It was about that time when I ran into Megan in a hotel lobby in Boston. Older, but still attractive with a whiff of glamour and the confidence that designer fashions can bring. She called out to me first. She was married. Showed me two darling pictures, one of a chubby baby and one a curly toddler dressed as a bumble bee for Trick or Treat. Seemed happy. She didn't recall that last day at the company. I quipped something like, ”you're way better than the last time we talked.” She was blank. She wasn't glaring at me, just staring, blinking, not connecting. How could she Page 56 of 70

have forgotten? We lied "good to see you� echoes and scurried in separate directions. At one time, we had been two witnesses to Injustice, out in the open, locked in an embrace, couples-skating with Fear. Now, there is only one memory, rusted sharp. ###

Page 57 of 70

Dark & Stormy Night Youth Series Prompt Response By Katie Jayne, age 13 It was a dark and stormy night at a dimly lit dining table, where the most dynamic situation a small girl could imagine in a home played out before the ghosts of the family’s past.   “What did you do today?” The father asked his daughter, passively. The young girl, about ten or eleven, reluctant to answer, shrugged.   “I asked you a question!” He boomed; short temper already ignited. The young girl jumped, startled. She scolded herself, as she knew to expect such a thing.   “I... I... my teacher says that conferences are soon. But you don’t have to go! It’s voluntary and might be a waste of your time!” The young girl said, timidly and rushed, trying to speak as fast and as little as possible. She knew her father did not like it when she spoke.   “Anything that has to do with you is a waste of time,” Her father growled, swiping up a bite of mushy, leftover food into his desperately unshaved faced, eternally twisted into a frown.   The small girl berated herself constantly because of comments like this, as any small girl would, being told things as the likes of this by her only family, and the only person she looked up too. Was this at all healthy? Not in the slightest. Even she knew this but couldn’t help it.   The dinner concluded in silence, the girl silenced, as so many are today. Her father, drunken on malice as he most always was, content to sit and reap the efforts of happiness from her heart, did just so.   The girl barely externally withstander her father’s cruelty. Internally, well, she was a small child being constantly bereted by the only person she loved. Was it even love? Or just some twisted thing she could not bear lo let go, as it was the only thing she had? She was not even sure herself.     She was a very reserved child, for such a young and seemingly, externally at least, normal one. Her teachers never questioned her methods, as she got mostly average grades. 

Page 58 of 70

In her schooling, she wouldn’t usually just ignore a question directed at her, in favor of pretend to not hear it. Or, she might speak so quietly she could not be understood by a single soul, while the other children made a cacophony of noises. Her latest teacher though, was dissimilar. She cared. She had recently noted the small girl’s clearly, or at least to anyone who looked closely, overwhelming sadness. Maybe it wasn’t so overwhelming, as no one noticed. Or maybe no one cared.    One exceptional, or quite possibly torturous day, the young girl’s teacher told her to stay after class, causing a fleet of nerves to attack the poor girl’s mind. After class, the teacher came up to her and asked “Dear, why did your mother never come to conferences?” The small girl lowered her head, and the teacher vehemently and quite quickly realized she had made a mistake.   “I’m sorry. What about your father?” She rushed to say, but still all too late.   The girl was filled with sudden dejection. She knew that her father would never come to such an event of lesser matter than, an organized activity with possibilities of drinking. But, she mused, he would find ways to do that no matter what.    “He...He won’t come.” After speaking the words aloud, the words she had though so many times, over so many things, made her eyes well up with tears.    “Oh. Well.  Um... I’m sure that he was busy. It’s alright.  Really, it’s just perfectly okay. Don’t cry, dear.  Oh, dear. It’ll be okay, just take deep breathes. Shhh, now Shhh.”  The teacher spoke softly, stroking the young girls head.  She wondered why this girl was, well, so... different.    For a young person’s teacher, she wasn’t too acquainted with dealing with children's tears.   “I...I’m sorry.  I wish he would.” The girl said regretfully, lowering her head into her hands.   The teacher was astounded, and, quite honestly, didn’t know what to do. She had never seen such a magnitude of such extreme sadness in such a small child and was perplexed on how to proceed.   Regaining her bearings, the teacher spoke sternly “Now stop that crying. It won’t help a soul.”  The girl, hearing a stern tone, immediately stooped her tears in their tracks. It was drilled into her brain, mostly Page 59 of 70

subconsciously, that tears meant more punishment, which meant more tears, and then she could barely walk the next day.    The teacher was nonplused that what she had said had resonated with the girl, so she continued. “Now, what were you going on about?”   “I...I... I’m sorry. It... wo-won't...” She managed to stutter out, shyer than ever.  “Oh, it’s okay honey. I’m just wondering why that would induce tears?” The woman questioned, open, kind face to face with the girl.   Kindness. Such a simple thing, yet so foreign to this strange, strange little girl. It radiated from her entire being, and yet she had no idea how to even utilize such an emotion. The only emotions she could really and frequently employ were fear, sadness, and longing.   Fear. All feel it, but children, they never stop. It’s lurking under the bed, or in that loud clap of thunder. The big scary animal, or the monster in the closet. Some even have true fears. Adult fears. Real fears, one might say. This was the case with the little girl.   Sadness. What a complicated emotion. It wasn’t always so unpleasant, or so strong. As a toddler, the girl was one of the happiest anyone had ever encountered. But through the trials and tales that are life, sadness has overcome.   Longing. Perhaps it was the age in her eyes, or the way she gazed out at the world, or the pain you just knew she had endured, but the girl was full to the brim of longing. Longing for love, longing for belonging, longing for a home and not just a house.   Funny, isn’t it, how negative feelings so strongly overpowered the positive ones? This was decidedly the case with the little girl. The pain she had endured, though she scarcely knew it, was worse than most real people (and that, of course, means adults. For children often see themselves as something other than grownups, who are decidedly true people)   The girl opened her mouth to speak again, but no words came. She looked up at her teacher with pitiful, longing-filled, tearstained eyes. Her teacher looked down at her, confused, but empathetic all the same.   “It’s all going to be okay. Just breath. Deep breaths. Breath.” The teacher pulled the young girl to her chest, trying to comfort her the best she knew.   Page 60 of 70

The girl, of course, doesn’t know how to properly accept true affection, never really knowing it herself. So, she just stood. She stood in her teachers' arms, quietly sobbing for all the things that she doesn’t have. The things she should have.   Very slowly, the girl put her head onto her teacher's chest, coming into the hug, ready to be held. Ready to be wanted. Ready to be loved. Ready to just be a child again.   “I don’t know how yet, but I will help you. I am going to help you. You needn’t fear or be sad again, child,” murmured the teacher into the girl's ear, pulling her closer. “I am going to protect you. From what, I do not yet know, but I am here. I am here. I am here. I am here. I am always here…”

Page 61 of 70

The Fraying By Katy Comber I am at the frayed stage now. That space between intricately woven and too tattered for donation. Wool, I believe... Though, there was a time I would have said linen. delicate and ignorant of its origin from sticky fluff contained in burrs. But, no. Not anymore. I examine the pulled threads. Some are patchable. Others are not worth the effort to knit back into shape.

Page 62 of 70

I observe the cords still nestled in line and pattern; yearn to yank at them. All. Unravel into a heap of cables so stretched and kinked only love and expert could make into something new. Then I sigh and wonder at the relief of an idea: To be a ball of yarn.

Page 63 of 70

Sessions By Katy Comber “What’s up with the picture you posted?” “It’s funny.” “You’re crying.” “No, I’m grimacing, ya know? ‘Cause my bedhead--it’s funny.” “Your eyes, they’re... It’s not funny. It’s sad.” “But the hair—“ “Did Anyone laugh?” “…No.” “There you go. It just doesn’t make sense. I don’t know what you’re trying to communicate with a picture like that. It’s-(He wants to say ugly here, if he does, I will tell him that was the goddamn point) It’s uncomfortable.” “You can stop. I took it down.” “Okay.” *** When I was called String Bean with freckles, and wild, unruly curls, my cousins and I would race in Carolina heat to the pig roasting in Uncle Happy’s yard, and rip the crackling skin with our fingers straight into our mouths, giddy with greed. Page 64 of 70

When I was called Grown Up with freckles faded and mother arms, I learned that secrets scar as their whispers whip at your heart, the Southern value of skeletons, that pigs love like dogs and think like toddlers, and that there are horrors I can justify. Now, I like my bacon burnt, coffee black, lemons that bite me back, and horseradish [that rush of fire oxidized, like words, by air and saliva]; charred asparagus, the tang of red onion though its pungency lives on my tongue in spite of bristles sweeping spearmint. *** “You say that you are lonely and yet crave solitude…” The question never lands. Her pen is poised above a legal pad. Yellow paper, furls up at the end, a sketch of something of me in words, scribbled. I try to explain. Translate my sanity into her language, but the taste of my attempts are too salty; I want to wash them away. I spit them out instead:

Page 65 of 70

I talk about the picture like it’s exhibit A, and use the pig as though it’s a metaphor, and how the only food I crave is the stuff that can remind me that I am alive, and how nothing, not even solitude, is as lonely as being alone with the people who say they know you best; who claim to see you, even when you know that you are naked as they continue to praise the clothes you took off such a long time ago.

Page 66 of 70



Page 67 of 70

Contributors CHRISTINA SHON After immigrating to the US with her family, Christina Shon grew up within a number of different suburbs around Los Angeles, California. She completed her undergraduate degree in comparative literature and spent several years as a High School English Teacher. She later moved to New York City to attend graduate school and began working in Education Administration. From a very young age, Christina has secretly dreamed of being a writer in the way that young children dream about becoming movie stars or professional baseball players. It always seemed like a profession destined for those who had been groomed for it. Then one day in graduate school, her “Teaching Writing” classmates were sharing sample stories that they had written. One of her classmates said, “you should give up teaching and become a writer.” That first seed of possibility has slowly grown to a sapling passion. Christina hopes to someday record all the stories that her grandmother used to tell her about their family life in Korea. Christina currently lives in Timnath, Colorado. She enjoys book clubs, writing, hiking, climbing indoors, and zoom happy hours. PATTY KLINE-CAPALDO earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and History from Indiana University and teacher certification from Ursinus College. She has hosted the Just Write Meetup for the past six years and also hosts an Artists Way group, Creative Light Circle. Working with these groups spawned the dream of a writer’s room that has manifested in Creative Light Factory. As a writer, teacher, and creativity coach, her passion is supporting writers and visual artists in their creative endeavors and seeing their creative dreams brought to fruition. Patty has been published in four anthologies and is perpetually working on her first novel. Patty lives in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Rich, and their three cats—Sarah, Splash, and Snapple.

Page 68 of 70

REBECCA KLING lives in Northern California with her husband, two sons, and cat. She is a university lecturer and a creative soul who is always dreaming up more projects than she can undertake. More of her writing can be found on her writer site: DAN ERDMAN is currently working on publishing his first collection of poetry. He performs his poems at Steel City Coffeehouse in Phoenixville, PA and is a member of the Just Write Meet-Up.

S. L. MORRISON has been creating stories since before she’d learned to write. She’d started and edited her grade school newspaper, The Viking Express. Since then, she has finished writing her first novel and is currently working on her second. Ms. Morrison writes short stories, poetry and essays, but for nearly the last 20 years she has focused on flash fiction, and recently has had one of her stories published by Affinity CoLab. Ms. Morrison was the founder of the center for creativity, Yew Tree Studio.

SHARON HAJJ lives and writes in Douglassville, PA and is currently working on a young adult novel. Her work has been published in two anthologies, and online by Literary Heist, Affinity CoLab, and Down in the Dirt. She is a member of the Women's National Book Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter. SURYA KELLY MEIER is a writer, artist, and dietitian from Belle Mead, New Jersey who received her BA in Creative Writing and Spanish from Susquehanna University. Her poetry has appeared in the university’s literary magazines including Transformations and Rivercraft. She has previously published a chapbook La Higuera, or, The Fig Tree in 2010, and is seeking publication for her second, Prelude to Sainthood. She is an active member of the Spoken Art from the Heart community of poets and yogis in the Delaware River Valley area.  Page 69 of 70

DEBORAH CARRIER is a Southern-born poet, who now resides in Malvern, PA. Northeastern PA has been her home for the past 10 years. She goes by the pen name 'Deep Blue River', and performs her spokenword art at Steel City Coffee House in Phoenixville, PA in conjunction with Affinity CoLab open mic dates. She has previously been published in High School and College publications, and was recognized with a Third Place award, for a Short Story about her Grandmother, at The Dallas Women's Museum in Dallas, TX. PAT D’INNOCENZO is a photographer, writer, poet, and member of the Just Write Writers. IRA SPERLING retired from teaching for the New York Department of Education 6 years ago. He teaches Jewish Studies part-time in two Synagogues, and after promising himself for years that he would write and submit “Thought Pieces,” he is finally starting to do just that. THERESA RODRIGUEZ is a new member of the faculty at the Creative Light Factory, where she will be offering a workshop on the sonnet. She is the author of three books of poetry, including a second edition of 65 sonnets being published in 2020 by Shanti Arts. Her website is ANDREA HORNETT is a writer from the Chester County area. This is her second contribution to Affinity CoLab Presents. KATIE JAYNE (Kj), 13 years old. Reading and writing are two of her biggest passions. Katie is glad to have people enjoy her work! KATY COMBER is the co-founder of Creative Light Factory Writers' Room. Her work appears in Dreamers Creative Writing, Paragon Press, Lagom Journal; Meat for Tea Literary Review; Studio B's Wabi Sabi anthology; Affinity CoLab Presents...; and a self published collection of poems, 40 Portraits of a Family. Page 70 of 70

Profile for affinitycolab

Affinity CoLab Presents: People, Characters, and Portraits  

In this anthology zine, artists and writers explore the characters in their lives. Sometimes fictional. Sometimes... not.

Affinity CoLab Presents: People, Characters, and Portraits  

In this anthology zine, artists and writers explore the characters in their lives. Sometimes fictional. Sometimes... not.


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded