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By the time we tie your hands behind your back and pull the black bag over your head, you're already dead. Oh, you're still breathing. Your heart still beats. But it doesn't matter.

We've scanned your ID chip, and your records are already canceled. We already have your blood type, DNA, and tissue profiles. Every organ in your body is up for auction. To pay for your crimes. You feel the needle in the back of your neck.

Lie still. Don't move. Don't damage state property. We can make it worse. Much worse. Do you want to feel the knives?




Under the sea cliff there is a white crochet of birds, bobbing silent on the lacy water. The sea rolls its muscles into shore, below a pale grey sky with the promise of mist. It is a cool pause of a morning, as if waiting for a storm. On the concrete walkway behind the beach is a small cafÊ. Its open hatch parades home made cakes and a promise of sausage sandwiches to a small selection of empty chairs and tables. Empty that is, except for one young man, staring out towards a pair of Cormorants while he embraces his mug of warm tea. His gaze is directed at the distant black shapes, but the intensity of his expression is hard to fathom, somber as the plumage of the birds hunched tenaciously on the broken sea wall. Unawares, his fingers trace soft spirals on the cooling china, light and sensuous as a lover’s touch.

Then, as the rising sea begins to break over the ruins of the wall, the Cormorants take flight. The young man’s face melts into a reverie of sadness. It begins to faintly rain. The sea continues its slow victory over the rock pools, swirling into hollows and waking up the lurking crabs below. In graceful aerobatics Terns dive and harry the returning fish. Their faint screaming cries momentarily catch his attention. Apathetically the soft rain gives up, and a watery brightness washes over the wet concrete. An elderly couple buys cake and sit at a table nearby. They eat, hunched and talking softly under the soggy beach umbrella above them. The young man lifts his face, seeking the faint warmth of the sun, but it fails to touch him. His tea cooling slowly, the man's fingers continue to caress the mug, his face chased with thoughts. Suddenly a light hand slides across his 6

VIGNETTE BY ELESEREN BRIANNA and a waft of flowery sweet perfume as she sits down opposite him. He looks up, hearing the warmth in her voice as she greets him, and a muttered word as her coffee splatters on the unsteady table. She reaches over and grasps his hand in hers, the heat seeping through and making him realize how chilled he has become. She talks brightly, inconsequentially, a trip to the hairdressers. Her hand pets her glossy curls, as she relates this and that. He hangs on her words, not really hearing them but feeling her through them, a shaft of sunshine in his gloomy day. She catches his expression, and stops, her face melting into tenderness. Reaching up she gently caresses his face, letting him lean into her palm. 'Oh baby' she says, and takes his hand in hers again, lifting it and kissing his fingers before guiding them to her curls. He feels the soft silkiness he cannot see. 'I love you' she says.






If I could catch the "breath... It would be 'Yours’. to swallow to inhale... "Pure" I Bathe in my illusions remembrance "Bodies" "ours" "Engraved" If I could lift my eyes brave... they would Lock into 'yours’... ...to dream "Innocent" but...now... ...I shower in your 'Tears'.... past' 'Pieces of .... You. [Breath of "Non Color] [Tears of “Blood Stains] prisoner,,,,of,,,,,,final Edges is nothing here To do ... put my faith in you today... I passed through The Story '.... ...prayed a cold stone I put my fashion in a jar way to far ~from home prisoner of the final Edges my sweet name goes if if 10

DINES...WITH THE GHOSTS BY GLITTERPRINCESS DESTINY ...again...To ...entangle our 'Veins'... "Swimming through our 'Souls' if... I could touch your 'Mind' 'just one more time' "magical' " fortresses would open" "Fires would prick all Gloom" ~~I am the Hungry one~~~ Dines...with the ghosts... MY PLATTER IS EMPTY ..without. ..near* ( A mere puppet...I crave )



After getting banged up by the dentist.. ...I walked in my mind along the beach Tossing the rotten gauze outta my mouth... ...I. smelled... .... Sea Air... and-Tangled +++ myself...in Thought. ...and almost thought that I Saw myself . again somewhere... ___down the Street .......Laughing but. Able to ... Think the memory of... Then. ... Scribbling...poetry...on Walls. (She knew a lot of my secrets) Shhhhhhh ...tossing...pages...at night. I’d Try to figure out here!!! ...Stiffen a Banging through the lines okay Now... THE Car the eyes of a kid---stared at me he was lost in time... like me we...inhaled the wax. of his Shiny car. . Blinks. THE Kid had a message for me. . from "her" "Blinks". yeah...My abscess was gone at least in my mouth now I had a BIGGER abscess... ...untreatable...a Way TO Real... 12

THE MEMORY.....OF BY GLITTERPRINCESS DES TINY ...an... The Stench...soaked in me ... ...like a dime store ...douche* ...A car window .... a boy.... an...me he Grinned 'kid’. As if he'd Been... . T0 the...Gutter...to! our chatter-soothed me it was silent... ...but. Our lips moved... I leaned closer in the window...__ and Whispered in His ear ........I said... "somehow...This. Is now my Favorite Treat”? "I shall .... Cherish ... This forever " the Treat... .... of.... "me" ...of. you. -. of..........Her. keep her safe. OK? .... tell.... Her...you saw me...OK? .... tell her ... (. I was me for an instance.) (. I tossed my cigarette out for a hair bow.) (. Did she whisper to me tonight? (. ask her ok?


“According to researchers at Black Women’s Blueprint, an activist group for this sector of the population, they found that approximately 60 percent of Black women reported in an ongoing study that they had been sexually molested or assaulted by a Black man before the age of 18” Sister’s testimonies are filling up professional documents Overflowing with individual attacks Overflowing with offensive hardcore facts and They could stock up many rooms of indecent anthologies And all of them put in inglorious molestation or sexual abuse libraries Telling tales of schoolgirl memories of forced upon misadventures Quick and urgent were his hands Finding her exoticness Despite her nebulous pleas It could be any her, in any city, and down any street She can be described as having A beautiful brown face with deepest set of brown puddles for eyes And having any styled tresses she desires to express Done up in cornrows braids or in black mossy Afros Disrobing her innocence until it’s unclothed Spreading their thighs impetuously Spreading her impetuously Spreading my thighs impetuously and hungrily Kneading my hard budding areolas Feverishly sucking my child lumps While looking over his shoulder I could see The boys in the open window pointing As he entered my black sea And I was sent away with a brown paper bag of sex penny candy Keep quiet child, how dare he demand me Black girl, disrupted Or Black girl childhood, abducted My friend Annette says 14

BLACK GIRL DISRUPTED BY KAMILLE KAMALA She was only 15 Walking the streets of her neighborhood Searching for her playmate cousin When she was lured into the house By men who lied and told her That her playmate was there with them These bunch of skeleton hearted men Took turns on her Robbing her of all her gift of virtuousness Robbing her of her young rosebud of purity Leaving her a crypt of a womb And she was rendered barren And she would never hold in her hands Any fruit from her love cavity Black girl, disrupted Or Black girl childhood, abducted Black girl, interrupted Now take the test and Put at least ten black women in a room Ask those who have suffered some sexual trauma To raise their hands and over 90 percent Of the room will tell you that their childhood was disrupted In our community there is a code of silence We cover for the men in our families Our communities and as a whole in our society But when girl X can’t live with mommy Because she is so strung out on crack Girl X goes to live with grandma She has a live in boyfriend And he creeps in this child’s room at night Showing her things She ought not to know Giving her hush gifts 15

Telling her if you tell, I will say it isn’t so All the while grandma turns a stone ear To the child begging for some interference But it will be years before the damage Reveals itself when as a woman She can fill a building That has a line wrapped around it With all the men that she has encountered When she does not value self She will be talked about But what this woman needs are some help To go back and heal the wound To become whole again and get her spirit in tuned Break the code of silence Don’t turn a blind eye when you see inappropriate relationships With young girls and older men Speak up Speak out Speak loud Stop shielding the man But shield the child Disrupt interrupt abduct This hidden community sin Peel back the skin So we can see the sexual gangrene within And no longer put up and shut up Help the black girl Whose childhood was disrupt"




Art is... Life Love Liberty In the pursuit of Happiness Hope and Creativity Art is… Skill Craft And expression Not to mention Imagination Creation And Liberation Also there is beauty in the passionate power it exudes No matter what culture medium the artist chooses to use Art is… Life Love And liberty In the pursuit of Happiness Hope and Creativity Art is…. The mural of my poem Painted onto the movie monitor of your mind And it has vivid blue flowers of poesy Outlined by the red letters in graffiti of my oral capabilities Bringing sound awareness of the realities that are uneasy Art is… 18

ART IS BY KAMILLE KAMALA Life Love And liberty It is the manifestation or submission of ingenious talent and imagination Innovation Creation Sensation Salvation And Relation As well as a lyrical translation to the world and to the nation Art is‌... A political sound board A political soapbox A source of calm in a surreal world It is self-expression and design It is joy It is forwardness It is grief in the heart and mind It is the spiritual manifested in the physical It is a reoccurring artistic motif Art is‌ Life Love Liberty In the pursuit of Happiness Hope and Creativity It is beauty It is an autobiography It is immortality Often displayed in museums or galleries 19

It is our life experiences done up visually It is said to that it can move you Evoke feelings of rage or calm to soothe you It is a habit forming drug Does life imitate art or Does art imitate life? Art is a revolution It is a depiction It is an authored inscription Art is‌. God Art is light Art is pleasure Art is the mind in the deepest height To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution. Says Steven Pressfield Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has ever known says Oscar Wilde Art is Peace It is un-ordinary It is a note It is a word It is a color It is the unheard and the deferred It is the history of life It is the tiny the robust and the might Art is‌ Life Love Liberty In the pursuit of Happiness 20



Inhale slowly closing eyes heavenly scent of angels touch of newborn cheeks Grabby fingers Aunt Sally's hands squirming in dread realizing pulling away is futile Cuddled holds against his chest as your Dad plants little memories on your hair

Frosty fingers tickling airways sub zero blasts zing through your sniffer Lifting the hand gnarled from age the lady loved best whispering ""Nonnie"" That first one unique remembrance a time awaited contemplating ""must be more"" Practicing again and again, and again until a special zing 22

ALL ME BY DAWNBEAM DREAMSCAPE announced floods of corporeal twingles Passions released dignity thrown escapes through the cosmos reluctantly returning to consciousness

Inhale slowly closing eyes heavenly scent of angels the touch of your newborn's cheek Tears falling hot no tissue contains loss of your love scraps of forlornness hover...adhere All for love pure All for touch endless All for death realms All for the life of a kiss"


the mirror shows no reflection of this room that is full of death and yet you see the church which as failed her yet again we are with the departed soul she as eaten of her fill and gorged on deaths bright apples which one held the poison? no one can really tell she doesn't need another bite because one was enough to kill who gave you this tasty morsel

when all you needed was a pill and now your dead and gone and we are wondering at the thrill was it a star crossed lover? or old Joe from up the hill maybe you took your own life in an accidental kill as you played Russian Roulette with those bright red delicious apples that are now sat upon the floor will another bite the dust? or is this story evermore? Sabreman Carter Š 09/09/2011 ISBN 798-184418-635-8 Published 2013 Book title "In Other Words" Page 130 Sabreman Carter/ David C




Snatched, lonely, abused and sad, broken by someone else's dad With angry bitter words of pain. Why is my captor doing this again? He punishes me because I'm young. He hurts me inside ... for him it's fun. I can't stand the pain; I want to go home. I want my mum, my toys, my home. I need my family. I want to be free. But if I move, he hurts me. I'm trapped. I'm lost without a friend. Will this torture never end?

The door is locked and barred. I can't get out I know - I've tried! I scream and shout! I make a din, but no one hears ... only him. And I can't see, I'm in the dark. Is he with me, I can't tell! But this is like a living hell. My mum is waiting. My dad's at home. If I get out, I'll never roam. I long to be free, but why is he still torturing me?

Sabreman Carter 13 th May 2010 Published 2014 Book Off the Page Page 85 ISBN978-1-84418-676-1




There is something you should know about me he said: With a wry smile I am gay! He had half expected me to move away, To pull away from him, Instead I just looked him straight in the eye and said, 'I've always know that you were gay.' Then he said, "How did you know?" I replied, your smile, The way you touch my hand when you think No one else would notice, But then again I am not gay, I just love you because we are friends And we have always been friends I hope we always will be, But you won’t be getting me into bed any time soon, I am not like that! Then He smiled and held my hand tenderly Grinned sheepishly and said with a huge sigh, "I know" I thought he was going to kiss me, Instead he ruffled my shoulder length hair, He put his arms around me and held me tenderly, I didn't pull away, I didn't pull away, To be honest I enjoyed his company, And I liked to be kissed cuddled, Held and caressed, And no I didn't have anyone else that I wanted to be with, And certainly no one else who wanted me, At least no one I was aware of. I had no girlfriend, no lover and no wife, So I guessed that maybe, I too was gay, 28

MY FRIEND BY SABREMAN CARTER I spent the night with him, We didn't do anything much, Apart from played music, Drank and smoked And yes that night, I shared his bed, In the morning I would forget the night before And get on with living my life with a friend Who I had known as if forever Now the world and its mother, would all think that I was gay, Because I loved my friend, and I spent the night with him, I was young, single and lonely, we both were, And yes that was a life time away In a past that I wanted and longed to forget, But the past is always there with you, My friend died of Aids, Lonely and sad, And I looked back at the past with sadness and hurt. And No I am not gay. But those thoughts still haunt my memory, My past, is like a two edged sword, One that I can’t escape from, What happened to my Friend? Could so easily have happened to me. By Sabreman Carter Jan 17th 2011 Forward Poetry National Poetry 2013 Competition Awakened Minds A Poetry Collection SB ISBN 978-1-84418-665-5


The giant sleeps, under his crust of moss and juniper, Felled by the boulder that lies beside him. Both old as aeons and vast among the mountains. The giant sleeps, deep, sun-frozen, cracked and crumbling. His weathered bones are splintered, glittered, quartz. White as the waterfalls that cut slate-grey flesh and iron veins. The giant sleeps, these ages long, on his bed of foamy meadowsweet, While in the valleys of his limbs the forest creeps, birch and pine. A home to Trolls and Wolverines The giant sleeps, hearing not the howls of Wolves, the shrieks of Eagles. His deep, deaf, ears are caves for Bears, And Lynx and Elk tread grooves along his spine. The giant sleeps, and the Vaettir watch and wait. Old Wights who guard, quiet-strong and patient. Land keepers who would war with Gods if needed. The giant sleeps, as dead, in the long pale days of Summer. But he is not dead, and this the Vaettir know. For in the deep of winter he rumbles. Then, the giant stirs, wrapped in night, hidden from the sun. The blizzards warm him, the ice brings memories, And the Vaettir keep their vigil Lest he wake‌"





High above the green gilt hills, In a wheel of wings on the wind, Arcing in sunlight, curling on thermals, A Seagull flows to the ocean

In blonding, brassy corn, beneath, Woodpigeons are lavender and the poppies glow, Ragged Crows strike counterpoint to Cow Parsley, And Kestrels hover-poise for hidden Voles But paramount, the gull soars, cresting, exultant. Wind-wooing, it gavottes above the tumuli. On heavy earth, in weighted limbs, I gaze, It’s bow-sprung beauty, and my soul, on wing."




I am a traveller — a wanderer — an explorer A gypsy who moves from place to place. The sky above my head and the grass below my feet. My vardo, like a sturdy sea-worthy barque, Skims over soft grasses that bend to the wind’s caress, Disappearing down hidden pathways only seasoned travellers know. My pony, like an ancient warhorse, Steadily draws the wagon - no complaint to be heard. Toward the warmth of a campfire at the end of the road. I choose freedom beyond all else. The caress of the breeze The birdsong The seasons that slip from spring to summer From fall to winter in endless generation and rebirth. I would not trade this life I lead— For all the riches in the kingdom, All the jewels in the crown, All the wonders of Aladdin’s treasure trove.

The companionship, The music, The dance, The open roadAll priceless beyond measure, Bringing comfort to my soul. I am a traveller. In the heat of the day, the sun warms my back— A talisman beckoning me toward the distant horizon. 34

THE TRAVELLER BY BAYJOY, GYPSY OF AVILION A cheerful companion Who sees me now as I traverse fragrant laneways into the welcoming future.


FILLIN Hands reach out Seeking a surface kiss. Sunlit fingertips Touching, kneading hope. They are surprising What only others possess Observable deficiencies Breaking your pattern. No one warns you They are parcels of life The price of victory, Joy, passion, pride.

Now knowing it Learning to honor them Cracks of living Filling them with gold.

NOTE: Kintsugi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise - an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Japanese aesthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object. Š 2014




I will steal your pain. I will market it. I will brand it. I will stand on platforms and shout about it. I will point at it and photograph it and shed tears over the injustice and dare others not to share my acerbic remarks on it. I will steal your pain. I will extract it from you. I will get angry on your behalf, whether you want me to or not. It’s mine now: mine to distribute; mine to profit from; mine to roll up like a newspaper to swat those grinning do-gooders. I will steal your pain, but only pieces of it; only the nuggets. That which I cannot use, that which endures, that which says, “just… sit with me,” I will toss to one side. What? You think you have problems? Listen to my sobs. Listen to my agony. Listen to my unending loneliness. I will steal your pain because I need it to be noticed. 38



It’s hard, but it isn’t. All you have to do is stop remembering, close the logs, pack away the pictures; just let the details fade. Sooner than you’d have thought possible, the biggest thing you ever felt becomes a blind spot in the corner of your eye."




sometimes in the midst of spring when flowers bloom and birds sing amongst the shadows under the trees whispers a cold and lonely breeze so quiet it can barely be heard longing, yearning words of love drowned from around and above by the bustling noise of the wild too soft and gentle, simply too mild searching for what was born yesteryear something so precious and irreplaceable dear the meaning of life, the reason to live for your cherished heart, my life I give




waves rolling in to shore wetting your coastline reaching your hidden places every nook and cranny softening your sands smoothing your rocks over and over and over splashing onto you washing over you at times ever so gently tenderly caressing your contours while at others times furiously heaving onto you pounding your shores with all it’s might cleansing your willing body leaving it all soaking wet for the sun to dry the waves find peace for a while after kissing the setting sun in a golden inferno




like an outcast on familiar shores I walk along the beach of memories looking for your footprints in the sand only vague fragments remaining all leading away from me the skies darken as my tears fall with the setting sun my hope sinks into the sea with the last flickering rays of daylight the image of your smile disappears lost in the cold darkness of the night once my heart was soaring like an eagle on blissful wings carried by your love however proud it came crashing down unable to fly in the vacuum you left behind it helplessly fell to the unforgiving ground below turned to stone it weighs heavy in my chest over and over I return to these familiar shores looking for a trace, a hint of you hoping to once more be able to soar




ISSUES O Broad about you The cavern yawns And water runs Like liquid crystal Down its rocky throat, Coursing through the dark Mother belly. The rushing Swirling sound of it Rises up And surrounds you. You are a double helix Circling back upon yourself, Creating issues as you go, Pulling darkness From the well of life And flaying it with daylight. Now it lays about you In heaps, Shreds and ribbons That you tie Around your arm Like bands of mourning. You push Upon the apex of time Eager to get on with it, Keen To connect the dots 48

OF DOUBLE HELIX BY JOURNEY MCLAGLEN AKA CINDY LANDERS In this triangle of Creation, birth and death.



Lake Ponchartrain spreads out in dirty blue jeans And where the western slung sun lies low on her hips, Sparkling rhinestones spill down her thighs like fire. There, riding the breach, a speeding boat unzips the surface Revealing moist, dark chocolate depths. She is lovely, but so shallow.




I hear a single chime, A lonely sound on a light breeze Born to echo in emptiness. But it does not die. Resonance gives it wings to fly Unhindered among the wafting clouds. Until it comes to roost On some composer’s page Where flocks of notes are forming. Soon the honeyed migration begins. Notes chord the air. Music rises, taking wing, Fanning out, diffused and dispersed. A lone note on the light breeze Flies home and joins again The choir that chimes beneath the oak.




I bend light upon itself, Morphing through dimensions of color. Transparent streams of tint and hue Stain me with emotion, Capture me like flotsam, Channel me through the spectrum. I commute prismed passages, Ranging high From cloud-slung shaded cliffs, Tumbling Through glacial, faceted shafts, Dissecting Banded conduits of color Until I am emptied at last Onto the rainbow plain. Here is a luminous river; Fed by coursing channels That go roaring and Swirling into the vortex To coalesce at last As a single shaft of Clear white light That purifies and fills me, Flooding all with sanctity. Good things come from bending. The old one bends On worn knees, His prayers reaching, Transcending 54

BEND BY JOURNEY MCLAGLEN AKA CINDY LANDERS The sacred space That God has laid before him. Good things come from bending.


Would I format my mind? if I could come back new, with no hurt nor loss, but no memories of you? Do I have enough love? to rust away, could I delete it all? for a new first day? I wish I could change some of the things I've done, take some steps where I have taken none. But you are gone now and I sit here alone, where an acorn fell that is now fully grown.

And I write you poems, in Garamond font because I am content to fade as I have no wants. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeA9N1Q529k




Original song v=RAIFOR0Tmyw




[THE LINDEN] Second Life, virtual setting Where the ressies don’t know what the Lindens are planning. The creme de la creme of the mesh world in a Show with everything - but Phil Rosedale. Time flies -- doesn't seem a minute Since Linden World had the Primitars in it. All change -- don't you know that when you Rez at this level it’s no ordinary textures.

It’s 512 -- or 1024 -- or maxed-out -- or -or greyed-out! [USERS] One night in SL and the world's your pixels There’s bars and temples but the land ain't cheap. You'll find a noob in every welcome area. And if you're Premium, 512 tier is free. I can see a furry TPing next to me. [THE LINDEN] One sim’s very like another When your hair is sticking out your butt there, brother. [USERS] It's a drag, it's a bore, it's really such a pity To be looking at the code, not looking at the city 58

ONE NIGHT IN SL BY INARA PEY [THE LINDEN] Whaddya mean? When ya crawled through one crowded, laggy sim … [USERS] Prims, sculpts, copy and mod Build your own and then sell it to pay rent.

[THE LINDEN] Get Banned! We’re talking to a builder Whose every upload is so superior. He gets his kicks with LOD and physics, sunshine. [USERS] One night in SL makes an EA man Humble Not much between prim counts and land impact. One night in Ahern makes a hard man stumble. Can't be too careful with your company I can feel a griefer walking next to me. [THE LINDEN] SL’s gonna be the witness To the ultimate test of creative fitness This thrills me more than would fixing a Laggy sim crossing or busted group chat. And thank God I'm only defining the grid -- controlling it -I don't see you guys rating The kind of mesh I'm contemplating I’d let you watch, I would invite you, but the builds we use would not excite you. So, you better go back to your tarns, your coffins, your primmy castles… 59

[USERS] One night in SL and the world's your pixels There’s bars and temples but the land ain't cheap. You'll find a noob in every welcome area. A little lag and some bake fail to Try a little relog and we’ll rez for you. One night in SL makes an EA man Humble Not much between prim counts and land impact. One night in Ahern makes a hard man stumble. Can't be too careful with your company I can feel a griefer walking next to me. THIS POEM WAS WRITTEN WITH ASSISTANCE FROM MISTLETOE ETHANIEL ,SKATE FOSS, ABEL UNDERCITY, AND MISOSANOWA.








After the party when everyone has gone home, when the servants have cleaned up and gone off to quarters, the dutiful man, so responsible and diligent in all that he does, that man that has so little time for himself that he dare not indulge in the fantasy of a love has one, has found one. One that touches a part of him he keeps away from others, most of the time even himself. For so long he waits, long enough that he wonders if his lover will come at all. The wine all but gone, the man finishes the last of his glass yet saves the other for his lover that he fears will never arrive. The doubt seeps in further as the moon wanes in and out of the clouds, blocking the light that would give way to his lover’s path. With a heavy sigh, he closes the lid on the piano keys and begins to walk away when a shadow appears on the polished floor, growing in length as the presence nears. His lover has arrived. This is not his world. The lover. His hands are callused, his face unshaven and smudged with a day’s work in the fields and gardens. It is far too late for him as morning would come too soon but sleep had become a thief to slip away from him at every turn. He had debated coming and knew the risks were beyond the limits of sanity yet he could not stay away.

Tonight, like the sprinkled few before, saw them as equals. Upon the first kiss of greeting, of longing, he was no longer The Man as the lover was no longer the worker. Passion entwined them into each other’s arms, hungry with desire that neither could deny. Breaking the kiss if only to breathe, the lover’s eyes took on the look of something dark and primal as he took the man’s hand to lead him outside. Moon or no, the lover knew the lay of the land and took the man to the grotto that had been hidden, purposefully so, by the natural vegetation around it. The lover guided the man in to display layers of blankets that covered the hard ground surrounded by candles for those moments when the moon 64

A WINDOW BETWEEN WORLDS BY AHN AVION blushed behind the clouds. Time stood still then as they made love in a shower of kisses long before their bodies joined as one. Though they were hidden to all else, they were bare to each other, vulnerable the way only true lovers can be when souls unite and find harmony within the heart of the other. Not a word was spoken in the hours that passed, nor had they ever shared words before as they had never been needed. And so it was, as the moon snuck out of the night to give way to the sun’s brilliance did the lovers part in sated silence, each one knowing that they could never be together yet could never be apart.


THE ULTIMA She was a gifted poet, and now she is gone. She has left the world of sinew and sorrow. I didn’t know her except through her poetry. Classic forms were infused with the aching wisdom of maturity. Rants were emotionally authentic, despite the lack of gritty urbanity. A woman’s voice, reaching through cable, port and pixel to touch something in me. I never knew her real name or shared the same physical, real-world space. The place where her words and spirit touched me mourns. They are there on lists: on social media, in virtual worlds. Names and artificial representations of people who are gone. I’ve never met some of them, but their loss is genuine. When I see their names, I know that there is no one on the other end of that tenuous thread of virtual connection. No one will answer if I call. There is no monument where flowers can be lowered with care and reverence. There is no headstone I can address with unanswerable questions from deep inside me, as if they heard me from beyond. Just a name. Just a snapshot of what someone wanted to be seen of themselves. No matter how long it has been, or how casual the relationship, I can’t bring myself to delete these names. Loss comes in many forms. The painful remembrances of a man who shows me all the virtual spaces that he and his beloved created together, as he marks the anniversary of her passing. The anguished typing of a woman who met someone who gave her joy at events that I produced, telling me “he’s gone! He’s passed! I feel so lost, and I don’t know what to do.” The gifted actor who moved to be near grandchildren, whose Eeyore wit I can never forget. The last time I saw him, he said something kind to everyone in taking his farewells. Turning to me paused and just looked. “How can I say everything I want to say to you?” and a big hug that will have to last forever, it turns out. All of these expressions of loss are real. As each name jumps out at me, it declares “I was!” and a thought will attach itself: the teddy bear photographer, the Eeyore actor, the woman 66

ATE VIRTUALITY BY JUDITH CULLEN AKA CALEDONIA SKYTOWER to whom I read her favorite story on her birthday, the man who brought writers together, the poet. They were all real people, somewhere in this corporeal veil. I ask myself why I cannot let them pass. Why do I cling to the evidence of their being? I have, with much less consideration, left groups that were no longer relevant or disconnected from people who hurt or injured me. Holding on to this thin and decaying thread – a name on a list – I acknowledge that we are all set on a course whose destination we cannot alter. We cannot afford to discount a single moment that will fulfilled us along the journey. These names – Steve, Clark, Daisy Blue, Circe, Nebhisk, Duane, Stosh – remind me that in death lies the ultimate virtuality






Marbles had been on sale at the toy store for as long as he could remember. “Take six, pay for five” was still neatly printed on the side of the bowl, with black marker on a sturdy piece of cardboard. When he was little, he used to love marbles. They seemed somehow magical. All the colors and how the light would hit them on a bright day, as if they were the tears of a rainbow. When he was a teenager, he and his friends had been horrible to the owner of the store. They came in, grabbed a bunch of marbles, put them in their pockets. Loudly laughing a hollow laugh that says you are so insecure and nervous about being in the world, that you have to make yourselves a nuisance to feel seen, they would comment on everything in the store and wait to be thrown out. Now with his own son approaching the bowl eyes shining with wonder, he felt guilty for those torments. He decided he would pay the owner back for all the marbles they had stolen. Lifting the boy so that he could reach better, he watched as the little hands picked through countless color combinations the ones that would make the cut. The old owner was no longer at the store. He had retired and given the run of things to his son-in-law, who seemed to be a bit less enthusiastic about the job. But everything looked eerily similar to what it had been all those years ago. They even still wrote all the sales in notebooks by hand. Just in case the cash register was not working properly. But of course it was. The son-in-law had updated the system and they were now using computers. He was using the notebooks to keep the peace, and to keep the old man out of his hair. “He has lost his marbles!” he could be heard saying to his wife, having answered the phone for the fifth time today to give assurances that yes they had remembered every little chore they were meant to do. It was hard to let go of ones legacy. 70



TH My momma said I was bad luck, because I was born before midnight and on the longest day of the year. It was summer and 1979. I was the average kid, growing up in the 80’s. I went to school. Yet something always yearned inside of me. I could never place my finger on it...Momma always said that it was my imagination and I was just like my daddy. I could never say if she was telling the truth or not, because I ain’t never met my daddy. One day on the way home from school, as I was walking on that long lonely familiar path, a large creature was standing a few yards from me. I stopped and looked at this creature. It was bent over; the face was hiding. The creature’s eyes shone and glared at me. I wanted to turn and run but was too afraid. I closed my eyes in vain, hoping the creature would be gone. Next thing I knew, I felt scars on my cheeks. I was knocked down and kicked. Soon it began to rain and I started to cry. My eyes still closed, I opened them and the strange creature was gone. No footprints as to where it has gone. Not a trace...I stood up and ran into the house, screaming for momma.

Momma was in the middle of making dinner, she came out to see what the commotion was about. She stopped to look at me as I cried and pointed to my face and my legs, which hurt. Momma shook me and asked me to stop crying and tell me what happened. I could only manage a babble…. finally, she said, “listen boy, I don’t know whatcha are talking about, but you have no scars and you look fine. Wipe up your face and come and have dinner.” I could not believe what she said. I ran upstairs, to the full length mirror in her room and stared in 72

E SILOUTTES BY JOHN HERRING AKA JOHANNES1977 RESIDENT disbelief at my image reflecting back to me. My eyes were red from crying and I had dirt all over me, but no scars. I looked at my knees and they appeared fine. I felt like crying as I know something had attacked me and I knew what I had seen...Momma didn’t ask me any more questions about that day. During dinner she talked about the upcoming weekend and how we would go to my grandpa and grandma’s house. After dinner I lay in bed, wondering about what happened that day….as it grew darker, I felt something in my room. As the clouds cleared and the moon shone through my window, I saw the outline of the familiar creature. I wanted to scream but was too afraid. I clutched my blanket and slid under it, hoping the creature would go away. I felt the blanket being pulled off me. I closed my eyes again and shuddered on the bed. I should say something, call for momma…. I was mouthing help but not a sound came out… I felt my heart stop as the creature touched my leg. Something was being pulled from me…. like a hidden force…. I felt as if my head was spinning...the creature was making a funny sound and I felt a gust of wind…. I was praying in my head, hoping that momma would hear the gusts and something would happen….The next morning, Ms. Handler went upstairs to wake Tommy for school, as he was always late. As she opened the door to his room...she noticed that the bed was neatly made and everything was in place, except for Tommy. She was about to call for him, when she noticed on the ceiling above the bed, was a dark outlined figure. It looked strangely like Tommy except it was dark and did not move and was flat…. a shadow it was. Ms. Handler backed out of the room slowly and shut the door. She walked down the hall, down the stairs and into the kitchen. She began to fix herself breakfast. Once the breakfast was ready, she sat down and begin to eat… 73

THE SILOUTTES Soon the walls of the kitchen began to shake and the entire house...Ms. Handler remained calm, still eating her breakfast. The house shook and soon a dark shadow was overtaking the house…. Ms. Handler closed her eyes… The local police showed up a few days later and people gathered, not sure what had happened to Ms. Handler or Tommy. The house looked normal and nothing was taken. But a trace of the Handlers could not be found. A few weeks later, as the police were wrapping up the investigation, one of the detectives decided to venture outside the Handler’s place one last time. As the detective was on his way to the garage, he passed Ms. Handler’s flower garden. In the garden were two small dark yard silhouette yard stakes. One was of a woman and the other was of a boy…. the detective looked in the garage one last time, sighed at the thought of having yet another unsolved disappearance in the town and turned to walk toward his car.






Profile for Kultivate Magazine

Windlight Quill and Pen - Volume 1, Issue 1  

Volume one of the first literary journal! This issue features short stories, poems, fiction, and nonfiction stories from the following autho...

Windlight Quill and Pen - Volume 1, Issue 1  

Volume one of the first literary journal! This issue features short stories, poems, fiction, and nonfiction stories from the following autho...