Page 1

CREDO ESPOIR Issue 5 March 2020

I

ESPOIR

Issue 5 March 2019


CREDO ESPOIR Letter from the Editor We closed submissions for Issue 5 on January 15– more than two months ago. In those two months, even in the last two weeks, so much has changed. COVID-19’s swift arrival onto the global sphere was so unexpected. There are moments where it feels as if I’m moving through a dream, one that feels so real and I’m not yet aware that I need to wake up to somehow return to normalcy. Amidst the changes, I found great comfort in reading through the works of the contributors published in these pages. I believe they wrote these pieces before the spread of COVID-19, and so I considered their works a reflection of what life was like before the rapid change. However, as I read through these amazing works, I realized that many of them reflected current feelings– hopelessness, despair, but also a bold confrontation with this darkness and a sense of hope. These works conveyed to me a certain depth of the human spirit, a depth which exists at every moment in life, whether that moment be easy or cataclysmic. I greatly appreciate everyone who took the time to write, to express themselves, and to contribute to these pages. Thank you the readers, and thank you to my staff, who have helped me put together this issue despite the anxiety produced during this time. Finally, my heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by COVID-19, especially those who have lost loved ones to the virus. I hope everyone is making smart choices, staying safe, and staying healthy. Sincerely, Demira

I


Peacock Kaleidoscope Christopher Jay

II


Table of Contents Flight .......................................................................................................................1 Morning Has Broken............................................................................................3 Upon His Own Decay ..........................................................................................4 Mother Earth .........................................................................................................5 My Crows ..............................................................................................................6 From My Teenage Years......................................................................................7 Good Days .............................................................................................................8 A Comparison to the Particulate........................................................................9 Colour Theory .....................................................................................................10 Dusk Rose Flower...............................................................................................11 The Man Inside the Bunny ................................................................................13 Disaster .................................................................................................................15 Before the Sand Stops ........................................................................................16 Autumn is a Girl .................................................................................................17 Southern Rains ....................................................................................................18 Vivid Evening .....................................................................................................19 Copsing ................................................................................................................21 Hope (An Arthropod’s Perspective) ...............................................................22 Landscape ............................................................................................................23

III


Table of Contents Blue Magenta ...................................................................................................... 24 Picadilly Dreaming Away from the Shore ..................................................... 25 Blunts ................................................................................................................... 27 Afghani Winter................................................................................................... 28 Supermarket Dreamer ....................................................................................... 29 Hired Hands ....................................................................................................... 30 The Unfortunate Thing ..................................................................................... 34 Focal Point ........................................................................................................... 35 Into the Morning Light ..................................................................................... 37 Understanding Your Ecstasy ........................................................................... 39 The Photograph Not Taken .............................................................................. 40 Open Spaces ........................................................................................................ 41 Deliberations of the Dutiful ............................................................................. 42 Hearts Fantasy Oil ............................................................................................. 43 The Wine Shop ................................................................................................... 45 Hope (A Homily) ............................................................................................... 46 Kidnaped ............................................................................................................. 47 Two Candle Flames ........................................................................................... 49 Taste of the Old House ..................................................................................... 50

IV


Table of Contents Whispers ..............................................................................................................52 Bicycle– Life Cycle’s Rise and Fall ...................................................................53 Contributors ........................................................................................................55 Staff .......................................................................................................................61

V


VI


Flight Linda Imbler I think of myself as a bird with twigs to save,

for a nest of memories, for remembrance of labors well done, and much sweet music played. I have, at times, been queen of all music, enjoyed the zoom, the sweep , and the rush of a soft landing after a rough flight. I never found time for mocking the fates

at the fading view of day, but made time instead for singing life in deep-throated tones. With dearest friends, there was never an end to what we could talk about and learn, no terminus to listing ways in which we could leave the world a better place.

So we stayed patient and waited. We marveled at how quickly time had elapsed since the last sunset rolled along. We hypothesized what might erase all our worlds, and prognosticated when peace would come again.

1


I’ll recall, when my final dawn sneaks forward, the many grades and pitfalls I stumbled through while remaining upright. I’ll keep walking in shades of beauty, seeing the twinkling stars play, fold my frail wings in supplication,

and never cease to pray. I’ll survive the stormy blasts to walk beneath the archway of a rainbow, delighting that I did not fail. And get there just in time to the wind-kissed sea, then fly lightly on my way, as the dim of my eyes arrives.

2


Morning Has Broken John C. Mannone Through the gauzy valley light Sifting through the windowpane I see a solitary lily illumined On the edge of a dark green field Its petals cup the balm of daybreak Clusters of vitreous and translucent Pearls of dew in the pale red light

Of last night’s dream

3


Upon His Own Decay Fabrice Poussin Eating at my insides time ticks away Rolling upon a fleshy drum

With an imperceptible echo. I try to catch the rascal within Elusive in its fateful invisibility Madman I punch at the walls of silence. Minimal from its fateful inception It is easy to ignore its rambunctious energy Playful often as a giggly child. But it gnaws at the paper on the wall And the years drop to the floor in agony Rotten to their core upon malodorous heap. It is like the rust within the cogs of a giant Making stone of an elegant creature Soon void of what once made it unique. Insatiable in its appetite if continues a feast Growling with anxiety to conceal its prize As I sense the secret side of infinity.

4


Mother Earth Mark Andrew Heathcote Feathery bursts of ashes rumble without verbal sound Swallows switch stitch each sunset

Disappearing into each electrical grey nimbus cloud But one-day soon the mountain it will expound and be moving It shall belch and groan such as a mother giving birth to Her child, a steaming-ball of moonlight, in its afterbirth Howls for now, but has nothing more to offer us Other than a chard self-offering And we, we are like parents in its wake, we are a spent-force Its lava-path is just as twisting as a descending red-hot railway-track

It’s unstoppable energy; its course can’t-be-changed And one-day all manner of things will come to rest upon it And sing its praises like a life-giving sage.

5


My Crows Yuan Changming 1/ Disguised as a pigeon, you’ve just had Enough food From my palm (& heart); then, you jump high With your cloud-coated wings Circling right above me Ready to flee away, but only after Shitting on my head (& heart, again) 2/

Like billions of dark butterflies Beating their wings Against nightmares; rather Like myriads of Spirited coal-flakes Spread from the sky Of another world A heavy black snow Falls, falling, fallen Down towards the horizon Of my mind, where a little crow White as a lost patch Of autumn fog Is trying to fly, flapping From bough to bough

6


FROM MY TEENAGE YEARS John Grey until a great mess of jelly-shaped information and meaning arrives at my doorstep I'm going to flutter about the house like a seven day butterfly flapping my wings

loving my colors in the mirror until someone plunks that sloppy heap of sense into the hollows of my head I'll flit from room to room high on my floating until I can't help thinking about this I won't give it another thought I'm staying insane until a brain gets here

7


Good Days Ariel Jones Why is emotion

I look at the world,

What haunts me

Then I see the hurt,

In the middle of the night

That surrounds this life.

When I should be asleep?

Why can’t I move on?

Why do I feel everything

I’m stuck in the desolate present

So much more

Where moving on is impossible.

Than the others?

I’m stuck in aged grief

I should be stoic.

Where the air is stale,

Blind to the world,

Forever looking back on good days.

Blind to the souls, That surround this life. Why can’t I move on from here? Why is emotion What keeps me here? Even in the height of the day, When I should be moving along. Why do I remember everything So much more when it hurts? I should remember happy memories, Rather than forgetting they existed.

8


A COMPARISON TO THE PARTICULATE Colin James When there is no one about we dancers take our lunch outside on the north side of the studio sit at a circular oak tree bench. From here we can observe every possible approach, even the top of the rail trail leading down to the painted sea caves. I often dine on local greens drink hard water from a metal cup. I could wander off if a garden maze were near, lose myself despite familiarity.

9


Colour theory DS Maolalai what's worst

if it had one. I want a picture

is talking to photographers

of what words

and painters.

look like

musicians too. anyone

when they stop being

who works in feeling

signifiers. or when

not built from bricks

they haven't yet

of words. you try

started. sometimes

to give them a sense

just something

of what you want,

to look at. when I talk

or describe things,

about doing a picture

but always

there is never

it comes back

a picture

confusion. I want it bluer there,

in my head. I just know

in that patch,

I want to look at something.

but a blue

lost. red

of stone - not a literal

is a busy

blue -

city colour. a phrase

the blue you get

which doesn't work

when someone says

with someone who

stone. or orange

really

in a cafe,

understands red.

eating alone at night. reflection - the colour reflection would have

10


11


Dusk Rose Flower Christopher Jay

12


The Man Inside the Bunny Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri Arms outstretched in white Easter Bunny costume, I feign cheer, hopping through the neighborhoods, namely the upper-crust ones rife with parents driving BMWs. I release candy with methodical, but energetic release. Children smile, children with so much happiness, too young still to know loss. To have people take things, lovers and wives, and livelihood. They hug me, try to hold onto me, but on I bounce, down the old fucking bunny trail. I haven’t felt an intimate touch in years. Not since she left. I can’t think of such things. I can’t let the kids catch me. They’ll just let go, like everyone else anyway. I spread candy throughout the neighborhood, bouncing about. Every Easter, year after year. Parents smile, thank me, call me altruistic, even though it’s bullshit. Even though I’m paid by them to spread this cheer. In a bunny costume, it’s all too easy to nod, to conceal the disgust, the impulse to give the parents the truth of things, bellowing with bunny-like righteousness. Paid cheer, truly sick. Sad. I’d tell them to shove the money, but I must accept some realities. The world needs its monkey fed. Credit card companies, landlords who look like Santa’s cynical brother. So forth. Sometimes, I imagine telling the truth of things, spreading the truth to the children. Explaining a world where people must pretend to be things, where one’s loved ones expect such things, and leave when you don’t live up to expectations. They leave when you’re a writer, holding onto metaphors like a mother holds a child, in spite of the chorus, that rises like a tidal swell. Be realistic, Nick. Find a different position, Nick. You’re crippling our lives together, Nick. I’d explain that people change, transform into the darkest of things. Loved ones give into the pretense, the bullshit. They leave their radical creeds, their absolute sense of not giving a fuck behind, and give into the man. They withdraw from you. I’d explain all this, but I cannot see the children’s smiles, so young, annoying, and wonderful dissolve.

13


They keep on coming. They hug, say they love me. Say things that put me in a fucking bad mood and make me want to thank them, all in one. “Happy Easter,” I proclaim, looking like I’m smiling. They don’t know otherwise. I can give them this.

14


Disaster DS Maolalai finally the worst has happened; my boss at work

has found out about my poems. looked me up last week, while I was on sick leave, just to check something, he says,

and learned about the book launches, the nominations and magazines. disaster; I mine my life for ideas, and some of that

sometimes comes from work. now it will all have to go. and worse; he's sent me his own stuff to read photos in longhand, romantic and looking for criticism. I told him I liked them. what can you say?

I like him - that makes things difficult.

15


Before the Sand Stops Linda Imbler Before the sand stops, and the indrawn of life’s breath is no longer heard. Before the cessation of thought, and the stiffening in the cold. Before the eyes’ slow roll back, and the final, keen fail of the organs, in the bitter winter of his life, within this expected altering of circumstances, the wasted, wizened man, with the bony and angular face, prays for a loophole from death. But there is none, not even a painless one. The swim to the farthest pool cannot be changed, good health is now estranged. No want of peace can be arranged. This man, thin as a rail, with skin that appears as wrinkled garments, bears the ravages, endures the vented lingering within the oxygen tent. And inside the hourglass, each grain is pulled toward the hungry base, and like the last tick of a clock, the sand will stop.

16


Autumn is a Girl Ann Privateer Today, the first of October My mind returns to another

October waiting for my second Child to be born, two weeks Later than due, a sleepy time With lots of rain and thunder A time of soup and family A getting ready time of plans When life slows down for reflection And all things quiet and sweet

A time for planting when light And dark are equal, and then ...out pops a little girl to balance the equation.

17


Southern Rains Fabrice Poussin Balmy drops from heaven vanish upon a crash infinite in their power to continue to no end

they make a wall to a transparent fortress. The child escapes in her summer suit to drink the essence of a world she cannot fathom soon lost in a waltz with the realm which made her. She slips on the slide of a wet grassy slope but she will not fall until her dance is done her pearly flesh shielded by the puerile waters. Her lips laugh in the enjoyment of this great meal as she swallows pieces of the universe so much like her, full of the original burst. Now the time has come to embrace her dream dizzy with the swirls of her giddiness she abandons herself under the delighted eye of so many caring souls.

18


Vivid Evening Christopher Jay

19


20


Copsing Yuan Changming Tall against the frozen sky You stand as still as straight, your skeletons Are the exquisite calligraphy Of an entire season Your name is curly writ

Not in water But with wind

21


Hope (an arthropod’s perspective) John C. Mannone A spider doesn’t hope

or wing-breaking rain.

it simply does what it must.

The housefly can see many things with its compound eyes

There’s no hope of catching prey

but doesn’t have a sense of future,

in its web, it is a certainty as far as it is concerned.

or the evil it encounters. Its reactions are mere instinct. It didn’t learn

An ant doesn’t forage for food

to ask. It knows no lord of flies,

and hopes to survive. It just does.

no dio de las moscas.

The anteater be damned. And we, who have evolved A caterpillar doesn’t pray

into a world of uncertainty,

it finds the right tree, the right

the awareness of it, calculate

branch or cluster of leaves our existence, determine to build its cocoon.

the probability, and hope

It doesn’t hope to change

we survive.

to a butterfly. It just does. A collateral detriment And that Lepidoptera

to having hope is worry.

doesn’t migrate on hope

Bugs don’t worry,

despite the whim of wind

they have no hope.

22


landscape Dan Jacoby these creeks at times flow like the wind dark water follows every curve of the banks like a jealous lover rolls through these ancient hills like the passage of time the bear, solomon, otter and hodges creeks merge into the macoupin completing a rush to the illinois in early morning fog that sometimes lurks to midday remnants of late frost linger along with whispers of coming spring that few men note that creek bottom is haunted as sure as these old buttes were worn by glaciers ancient tongues echo still wild ears pause to heed spirits that cast this earth all are haunted some more than others by whispers and songs that caress the soul persist in dreams

23


Blue Magenta Christian Garduno I loved walking down the street with my bonnieI felt I could really know you

I didn’t have to choose which self to be… you looked at my scars as though they were stars, we would share songs without singing, baby, you was so wasted… you said, “It’s raining like the way it did down in Florida when I was a kid”

We were bleeding blue magenta

I never stood a chance since the very moment I met you you took all my breath, and I damn sure ain’t inhaled yet

24


Picadilly Dreaming Away From Shore Linda Imbler Ice cream, Slow time, Colors are vivid. Music makes the feet move, Times are good, And people are in love with life. They all watch mundane things with great gustoclouds: high and wispy, slender vapor, a sky full of ships and waves flowers: full of kaleidoscopic, vibrant color, swirling soft petals, boat propellors above the sea

25


Brown rice: nutty flavored part of a seafarer’s diet, chewy on the tongue with that periodic crunch, a dollop of honey atop hats: perched on heads as pirate scarves, hat bands and feather accessorizing, brims overhanging the beautiful faces of the romantics tea: strongly brewed, poured into patterned teacups, quixotic ideas drunk in not unlike a sailor’s rum

Idealists with big thoughts, breaking chains, Picadilly dreamers floating upon the new ark.

26


blunts Dan Jacoby on any ancient day I ‘ve sat down and tried

to remember the future as I thought it was going to bewakeful madras nights listening to a tinny transistor radio tying life in rock and roll, paisley knots misconceptions baby bottle fed soft core, soda fountain promises love thought forever, but never

like in those beat teen movie magazines or in that low slow detroit soul sound bodies of great purpose, purloined, quarried by blue jeaned buddhists ornaments of life’s corporality putting apostles in plastic handcuffs getting high on sky plaster

27


Afghani Winter Ernie Brill Can You (Seeing orphaned refugees in the news)

Feel the frost on four Afghani eight year olds Who, crouched in looming winter, cradle bowls Cold and empty, whiter than bleaching bones By whirring cameras, waiting for something to eat, Staring with cautious darting views That coats a mountainous hunger we’ve not met Deepening bowls like valleys bombed by drones White craters of stripped negative night news.

Perhaps the four white bowls resemble Communication components from the full moon Illuminating satellite dishes assembled To rebound light awaking numbed consciences soon.

When our chilled snows start to descend, my friend, Ask where those bowls begin and where they end.

28


Supermarket Dreamer Fabrice Poussin To the cornucopia of endless feasts he rushes, giant in the labyrinth

legitimate hunter of a thriving tribe. His soul shines with the smiles of destinies when he will return to the hearth his fists filled with nectars of distant lands. I saw him once before in the mist carrier of gentle thoughts for all on a mission to share his modest glee. Race car driver between the solitary aisles the lengthy limbs carefully slalom between the pillars of this odd temple. Caretaker of those he nurses with his lifeblood he might as well dance on his way to the gates leaving behind the daily din of this glass palace.

29


hired hands Dan Jacoby early life spent on family farm

working with hired hands, Ribble boys, Kenny and Keith, both raised dirt floor poor, sometime men of the road, father’s only sons, identical twins, born south of Fidelity, Illinois, Jersey County worked the land for dad and his partner

sustained themselves from planting to harvest for five dollars an hour, twelve hour days, trapped, hunted, fished the winter lived in hundred-year-old run-down farmhouse in a central room, sealed off to winter winds coal burning stove for heat, hand pump well for water rough, solid, hard drinking at times never in church on Sunday

but had strong notion of right and wrong Kenny could roll a cigarette with just one hand, left or right; during spring plowing lunged off a tractor,

30


barreled head long into tall pollen covered horse weeds, staggered out few minutes later with forty-pound snapping turtle. used baling wire to tie that hissing jawed fellow to a tree until evening walked two miles home with that turtle

held by the tail, his dinner snarling at him

Keith taught me to throw hay bales some almost half my weight, “push it with your knee, boy, and swing those skinny arms,� with practice, had lots of that, those bales went five, six high on the wagon rainy, non-working days would find them in the creek fishing with their hands seine wrapped around logjam me right with them

on a hot July evening in 1959 both passed our house walking slowly staring off with the hot smell of tar road in the humid stagnant summer air dad sensed trouble, his voice broke the trance’s grip, they explained a body of an infant

31


just behind a rented trailer, a ways up the hill, buried in shallow grave had been found by county sheriff that early misty morning in bear creek bottom. they were going to confront a man, a violent man who had lived there, that’s the first time I saw that look

I would see again in jungles of Southeast Asia Kenny kept repeating over and over, “it was wrong what they done to that child,� dad talked them down that evening could hear them snoring on the porch just below my bedroom window that night dad just kept the beer coming

they were my friends while working they told stories of magical hunts, giant fish, and large women that could be found in taverns along the mud grey Illinois river dad paid them five bucks an hour more than he paid me I worked for room and board he said with a straight face

32


while i went to college in St. Louis Keith moved into town, married Gladis, worked in the Monterey coal mines in Macoupin, retired, died in Roodhouse. Kenny did some roughnecking, settled in Florence on the west bank of the Illinois. worked almost to the day he died

alcohol and those large women took him died alone in a one room shack

the boys were part of my early years something noble in them, dad said, they had his respect and mine taught me that gold could be found in an Illinois wheat field or a harvest moon, that peace and solace could be found in the ancient timber or on a lazy bottom creek bank, and more than a half century later their gift to me was to take notice of all living things about me to squint into a clear crisp blue winter sky remembering a turn of wide eyes and innocence

33


The unfortunate thing DS Maolalai cowardice is just easy; that's

the unfortunate thing. taking a cigarette break with the lads from the office to break up the day and ignore some more emails, like a dog in the garden scratching a gate. standing outside

and kicking round the carpark, making jokes sometimes but mostly just nodding along, biting your cheekbones while they say something racist and assume you'll just agree.

34


35


Focal Point Christopher Jay

36


Into the Morning Light Lisa Fox The clinking of ice against glass woke Nancy from a deep sleep. “Good morning, Sunshine.”

She rubbed her eyes and looked at the man across from her. Blond, curly hair. Soft blue eyes. A baby face. And surrounded by more baggage than she’d ever seen. “Where are we?” she asked. The train’s lulling motion was better than any sedative. But it felt as if she’d been traveling forever. He laughed, deep and hearty. “Where aren’t we?” She looked around the car at her fellow passengers. Like Nancy, many wore smart business suits – hers, most recently, for her grandson’s graduation. Others looked like they were dressed for the opera, donned in tuxedos, and sequined gowns that shined like diamonds. One little boy was dressed like Superman. The man across from her wore a New York Yankees jersey. He swirled the ice in his glass, as if mesmerized by it. “Do I know you?” Nancy asked. He looked awfully familiar. And yet she just couldn’t place him. Had to be the train. It was making her foggy. “You always were my secret weapon, Nancy.” He took a sip and placed the glass in the cup holder. “Who’d a thought a scrawny little girl like you could hit a baseball like that?” Her eyes widened. “Nicky?” Her voice was nearly inaudible. “But you…” “It’s been a long time. You haven’t changed a bit.” Nancy smoothed her skirt; the skin on her hands less wrinkled, liver spots faded away. Odd. She glanced out the window. The woods in the twilight passed in a blur. Like the years, they blended in a swath of motion as the train rumbled

37


forward. She hadn’t seen Nicky since they were eleven years old. “I’m sorry, it’s just. You’re…” “Still nuts, I know. I’ll never forget the last time I saw you. I think we’d cleaned your parents out of every ice pop in your house.” He leaned in. “Remember the thunderstorm?” Nancy nodded. They’d huddled under a towel beneath her parents’ old wooden picnic table, counting the seconds between boom and flash. She’d never forgotten how the hairs on her arms stood upright in the charged air. Or how Nicky’s warm breaths quelled the gooseflesh that washed over her in the summer storm. Nancy reached up and touched her lips. They were cold; she could taste the sticky sweetness of summer cherry. Just like his kiss. “I never told anyone about that day,” Nancy whispered. “Me either.” Nicky grinned. “Thank you for helping me re-live that moment. It was the last piece…” A whistle blew. Brakes screeched in protest. Nicky stood. “Time for me to go.” He selected a small backpack and stepped over the pile of bags. “I won’t be needing those anymore.” “Nicky, wait!” He turned and winked before descending the stairs into the woods. “See you on the other side.” The door closed behind him. Nancy pressed her palm to the glass as she watched Nicky disappear through the trees into the morning light.

38


Understanding Your Ecstasy Fabrice Poussin You fancy crystal and a vermillion dream. I want to place a warm touch upon the wall of your pulsating passions. You live in the fibers of your heart sensing infinite pleasures from within. All delicacies of this earth belong to you in divine alliance with your soul. Closing my eyes I penetrate the secrets of an intimate ecstasy beyond time. Sweet seeds on their path to a new haven meander to their predestined end. Weightless upon the space between worlds

your body is aglow free from all constraints. I suspect a gentle sigh in an eternal chamber of echoes at rest I too delight in your subtle pleasures.

39


The Photograph Not Taken Ann Privateer Taking photos of wildlife Found in my garden

Has become a habit Insects, bees, a chrysalis A dragonfly, praying mantas’ Butterflies, moths, caterpillars But today I stopped in my tracks When a dead rat appeared on the path. It’s decapitated head had black eyes Wide open in a stare, it’s body

With long tail pointing south crumpled A few inches away. Instead of my camera I boosted my resolve, retrieved a shovel And a plastic bag, off to the side Were some foreign internal organs, A stomach, a kidney, perhaps even A female pouch with babies! Vomiting would have been easier Than shoveling it all up, no photos please.

40


Open Spaces Linda Imbler It feels great to be out from under

rolling carpets of steel and stone. I’m standing with outlying anonymity, breathing in the glory of solitude. Enjoying the simple subtraction of so much weight from shoulders. It’s so easy to forestall deep sorrow here while feeling the deepening rumble

of a wet, thunderous afternoon within my chest. The wind battering from all sides, turning my hair like the Medusa, as I wait for the open spaces, and the nighttime canvas of midnight blue to be painted across the sky.

41


DELIBERATIONS OF THE DUTIFUL Colin James If you follow the road straight on past several diversions parades of overwrought engineers, you will come to a small bridge spanning a picturesque brook. The twat-twat sound of fly fishermen sending and receiving as rushing water sympathetically atones. After insoluble "good mornings" side glances, move them out of your way. They can be self righteous in their unpronounceable waders, marked dark like wrinkled sand. Without music to kill the willingness, they have every right to blind you

protect you from this Eden you've found.

42


Hearts Fantasy Oil Christopher Jay

43


44


The wine shop DS Maolalai we worked standing still

for 6 hours at a time and made a new cup of tea each 15 minutes or so. it was monotonous, tiresome work, though very easy we stacked up shelves and took money for winebottles, waiting each night for the 9pm rush,

continuing our conversations as we counted the check-out while various people paid us and left.

the backlight of the shelves hung livid in contrast against the sunset, white against red and brilliant soft yellow, curling as it came out and landed, moving through brown whiskey bottles, through blue and green gin bottles, and bottles of off-white white wine.

45


Hope (a homily) John C. Mannone Hope is not a loose thread dangling in the wind. Rather a strand strengthened with the bands of faith and the strings of the heart. Someone once said, Hope Floats. But so does the shattered aftermath of storms. No, Hope is an anchor with these tides of change. Hope is a cry that is heard, a tear that is seen, a pain that is felt. There is always Hope because He is always there. The one who has cried for you, shed tears of blood, felt the pain of your cross.

46


KIDNAPED John Grey Some mornings, I awaken but the dream still has me in its grip,

like I’ve been abducted and the ransom has yet to be paid.

What was that woman doing in my unconscious mind? What is it with bare feet, persimmons and holes in my underwear?

Without the meaning, I can’t go free, not even as I stumble downstairs and head for the coffee maker.

Impossible things happened. Odd juxtapositions. People I haven’t seen in years hanging with those I was with just yesterday.

Yes, I know it was only a dream and I should let it go at that. So why do I look around in my head for the note.

47


Or wait for the call from that infuriating kidnaper? It’s up to reality to pay up. But what if it doesn’t want me back?

48


Two Candle Flames Mark Andrew Heathcote Two candles flames dance Oh, how they’re longing to be re-entwined

Wanting only the annihilation each other Oh, how they’re subdividing, till it is finally, time To be naturally extinguished. Oh, how they’re lolling in each other’s arms Two candles flames waxing and waning Saving nothing till later Their love is the leftover spelter of Colliding stars.

Oh, how love is an equal symbiotic genocide A long-lost force with universal survivors Licking at the wounds of eternal darkness In essence, we’re the solace of eternity And the binding glue light in each other?

49


Taste of the Old House Fabrice Poussin Don’t fall don’t cry and please don’t worry the night cooking flavors the whole house rain hammers at the glass sparks in the stove little boy can taste the meal of evening. School is done for today homework will come then sleep in the bed’s embrace close to the door almost to ensure escape from the second floor warm fragrant of forgotten aromas of old. The chair is high near the dinner table

little and frail ancient as he can see she is as a ballerina juggling with balance is it worthwhile for an old tin can? The meal is not from home like a vacation a stone’s throw from there of love and care she knows what he likes she never fails perhaps she too dreamed of this these long hours. Early she went to the garden peeled and cooked she sowed and she cleaned and swept and forgot to rest her old little bones one by one screaming as help did not come woman although not sure.

50


She gave him his blood and much more in her love rarely her lips smiled but she had to be sure she had to be certain what happiness she made when she saw those big eyes devour the meal.

51


Whispers John C. Mannone Enemy still pressing, he runs

The morning shines through

with sweat-salted fear falling

an opening of cave. The sun

on downslope of his forehead.

silhouettes a raven that’s standing by a table-stone—a round

He climbs the craggy rocks, shagged pieces of shale clap

of bread and a cup of water

under his sandals slipping

prepared for him in irony

to refuge—an overhanging cleft.

before his enemy.

Muscles ache, burn; lungs gasp

From the stillness, a wind stirs

Death whispers resignation

the juniper, its scent like incense,

to the prophet. Elijah lies down

but its meaning only whispered.

on a slab of gravestone. The gray rock-pillow hardens his dreams haunted by whispers of vengeance. He had slain four hundred of the jezebel’s priests. Legacy of his courage fades with forgotten bravery, adrenalin replacing it with one born of fear.

52


Bicycle– Life Cycle’s Rise and Fall Linda Imbler The world no longer shines gently as the yellow season. There are no cooling features to this day. I can hardly bear the oppressive heat in clothes. Ceramic birds fly, and from my once elegant arms, my wings beat, growing from seeds of bruise and laceration.

Sitting upon this vehicle, drawing upon my will, I find I have gears I’ve never used. I feel the burning strain in my lungs, hear the clamor of oxygen for space. My wheels find purchase as I climb and finally respite. I have arrived at the signaled end and beginning, a place of silence and no regret, my stele now planted at the apex. And over the hill, I see no poverty of rainbows. The swirl of the stars grows,

53


even as the moon slips from behind thin clouds, even in the sun’s silver flame. The bicycle gains speed in my ceremonial descent, dropping all falsehoods in its wake. I am no longer its captain and all at once I am homesick for a place I’ve never been.

Someone once asked me how much does light weigh. I think I know.

54


Contributors

Christopher Jay Christopher Jay was born in Hawaii, and lives in West Hartford, CT. He likes to write poetry and create digital art. He believes art goes deeper than just pleasure – it has opened emotional and mental doors for him.

Linda Imbler Linda Imbler’s poetry collections include three published works by Amazon, “Big Questions, Little Sleep,” “Lost and Found,” and “Red Is The Sunrise.” Soma Publishing has published her three e-book collections, “The Sea’s Secret Song,” “Pairings,” a hybrid of short fiction and poetry, and “That Fifth Element.” She is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. Examples of Linda’s poetry and a listing of publications can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com. In addition to writing, she helps her husband, a Luthier, build acoustic guitars. Linda Imbler believes that poetry has the potential to add to the beauty of the world.

John C. Mannone John C. Mannone has poems appearing/accepted in the 2020 Antarctic Poetry Exhibition, North Dakota Quarterly, Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, and others. He won the Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature, the Impressions of Appalachia Creative Arts Contest in poetry (2020) and served as celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His latest collection, Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love and Poetry, is forthcoming from Linnet’s Wings Press (2020). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. A retired professor of physics, he lives near Knoxville, Tennessee. http:// jcmannone.wordpress.com. His credo: I am a physicist and poet (my right-brain came out of comatose in 2004) and I am passionate about many things--after all, equations and food are simply other forms of poetry.

55


Contributors

Fabrice Poussin Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and many other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications. He believes that we are all equal, regardless of race, class, gender or age, and that no one should have to live in poverty.

Mark Andrew Heathcote Mark Andrew Heathcote is from Manchester in the UK, author of “In Perpetuity” and “Back on Earth” two books of poems published by a CTU publishing group. Mark has been published in many anthologies and magazines. Mark’s belief statement: as all matter is only transformed and cannot be, destroyed - so equally, it makes no sense to believe that there isn't any existence after death.

Yuan Changming Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, eight chapbooks (most recently East Idioms [cyberwit.net, 2020]) & publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1659 others worldwide. Yuan believes in balancing.

John Grey John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in HaightAshbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter. His credo: Right now, I really believe in the need for newspapers.

56


Contributors

Ariel Jones Ariel Jones, 22, has earned a Bachelor's degree in English from William Carey University while successfully completing her student athlete career. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Human Resource Management at the University of Houston. Her direction in writing strives to reveal and explore the gravity of emotion, while always working forward to expand her knowledge and thoughts. Her writing aids the expression of herself, her troubles, and her victories of everyday life. Her credo: Currently writing in hopes of gaining a greater understanding of this life I’ve been given. I believe in the realization of our independence and uniqueness. If we allow ourselves to see through the ordinary tasks of everyday life, then we open our hearts to the truths of the world. I am always working towards expanding my selfawareness which holds hands with my desire to unfold the heartbreaking warmth that accompanies this life, one day at a time.

Colin James Colin James was born in the north of England near Chester. He spent most of his youth in Massachusetts before moving back to England and working as a Postman for The Royal Mail, then as a Trackman for British Rail. He met his American wife, Jane, in Chester and they currently reside in Western Massachusetts. He has a book of poems, Resisting Probability, from Sagging Meniscus Press. His belief statement: some times you have to clear your head and tis not easy to do.

DS Maolalai DS Maolalai has been nominated four times for Best of the Net and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, "Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden" (Encircle Press, 2016) and "Sad Havoc Among the Birds" (Turas Press, 2019)

57


Contributors

Mir-Yasher Seyedbagheri Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University's MFA program in fiction. Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in Café Lit, Mad Swirl, and Ariel Chart, among others. Yash believes in the dignity and worth of all humanity and in the power of classical music.

Ann Privateer Ann Privateer is a poet, artist, and photographer. Her work has appeared in Third Wednesday, Manzanita, and Entering to name a few. Her belief statement: I deeply believe in my family, son, daughter, and grand daughter who live in various parts of the world and come together, usually at my house, once a year to spend a truly magical time.

Dan Jacoby Dan Jacoby is a graduate of Fenwick High School, St. Louis University, Chicago State University, and Governors State University. He has published poetry in the Arkansas Review, Bombay Gin, Burningword Literary Review, Canary, The Fourth River, Steel Toe Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and Red Fez to name a few. He is a former educator, steel worker, and counterintelligence agent.. He is a member of the Carlinville Writers Guild and American Academy of Poets . Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015. Nominated for Best on the Net for Poetry in 2019 by Red Fez. His book, Blue Jeaned Buddhists, Duck Lake Books, is available where fine books are sold. In his poetry, place is a central theme. His credo: Along with place, the people who came before us are woven deeply into the fabric of how both the past and the present mesh. I was raised on stories and legends of real characters, prophets and scoundrels, and I just can’t escape them.

58


Contributors

Christian Garduno Christian Garduno edited the writing compilation Evolver (2001) and his solo poetry collection Face (2002) while a History undergraduate at The University of California at Berkeley. His work can be read in over 25 literary magazines, including Riza Press, where his poem, "The Return", was selected as a Finalist in their 2019 Multimedia Poetry and Art Contest. He currently lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie, young son Dylan, and pet bear-cub Theodore Bexar. Christian Garduno believes that Faith is one of the best partners you can have in life. Christian Garduno usually sometimes writes at https://medium.com/ @letsfly2000

Ernie Brill Born in Brooklyn, I write fiction and poetry about social justice issues, especially racism and war. My short story "Crazy Hattie Enters The Ice Age" from my collection about public big city hospital workers " I Looked Over Jordan And Other Stories"(South End Press Boston 1980) was purchased and performed for PBS by Ruby Dee as part of a series she did with her husband Ossie Davis, "With Ruby and Ossie". I have published widely in small press magazines and anthologies in the US and Canada, including River Styx, Other Voices, Oxford University's American Working Class Literature (Coles and Tandy), Waterwood Press' No Achilles War Poetry and The Sixties Without Apology (U.of Minnesota Press). Throughout my life as a teacher and fiction writer, many have asked me, "But if it''s fiction, how can it be true" to which I've replied, "The great fiction reveals the deeper emotional truths of human beings that historians with their names, dates, and, at best, analysis of "forces" can never approach since the might and vision of literature includes aspirations, resilience, and blatant courage that defies all labels.� My deepest credo is that literature can heal humanity and reveal our emotional histories in ways to make life better and more wondrous.

59


Contributors

Lisa Fox Lisa Fox is a pharmaceutical market research consultant by day and fiction writer by night. Her short fiction has appeared in various publications including Metaphorosis, Telltale Press, New Myths, Luna Station Quarterly, Cleaning Up Glitter, The Satirist, Theme of Absence, Credo Espoir, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Ellipsis Zine, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, as well as various anthologies. Lisa resides in northern New Jersey with her husband, two sons, and their oversized dog, and relishes the chaos of everyday suburban life. She believes in the power of kindness.

60


Staff

Aliquis | Website Manager & Prose Editor A pencil breaker, book hoarder, and midnight thinker, she mindlessly plays with equations in corners and recreates her life on paper. Her unbreakable habits include nibbling dark chocolate, testing the limits of her telescope, and torturing her punching bag. She has won district and state awards for her writing and cannot imagine life without words or numbers. She believes in equality and education for all.

Demira | Poetry Editor Currently a writer, artist, dreamer, and introvert. She constantly scribbles words onto tattered pages woven from big dreams. She spends her time on her laptop, loves snow, and enjoys learning about philosophy and news ways of looking at the world. She has won various national level writing awards. Demira believes in a life lived in serving others.

61


Staff

Pualini | Blog Writer As an avid reader and Netflix binger, her mind is constantly swimming between reality and the worlds that her imagination summons. In love with learning, she hopes to marry science with the humanities and one day become a writer/veterinarian at a wildlife sanctuary in Africa. Most of all, she loves embracing her Native Hawaiian culture through hula and the education of others. From the center of the sea, her inquisitive mind has led her far from the islands she was raised on in the hopes that she may one day leave a mark on the world.

Shehzad | Blog Manager A revolutionary stuck in the body of an engineer. When he’s not writing code or learning about the newest discoveries in astronomy, he’s busy pondering current events, trying to find solutions to the hardest political problems and wondering why there’s so much hatred in the world. He is a devout Muslim who strongly opposes any type of inequality or prejudice.

62


Want to have your work published in the next issue? Submit to Credo Espoir at www.credoespoir.wordpress.com 63


Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.