Too Close to Hell
A young man, called to do his duty. His mother says he's still a baby, but the government says he's old enough to fight. Lonely, under harsh discipline, but not alone. Now he has friends, mates he calls them. His physical power is pushed to its limits, and he loves that.
moon shines on
mother's tears that blur letters
'I blow stuff up, Mum'
No plans for getting wounded. Holding a gun gives a feeling of power. The noise is deafening as he falls. He prays for his parents. He thinks of the letter the army will take to his house, "Your son is missing in action."
and dying under green vines
found alive days later
His face twitches as he sleeps. When he wakes I'll take his pulse, his blood pressure, and aspirate his tracheostomy. He can't move much, not with an arm and a leg in plaster, underwater drainage to keep his lungs breathing, and a crown of thorns screwed into his skull. The intravenous fluids will need to be changed soon too.
at the end of his hospital bed
A retired child health nurse from Brisbane, Australia., Gayle Sweeper has studied Japanese poetry and aesthetics and continues to enjoy exploring these avenues.
Eveline Winfield is a writer from New York who loves to illustrate human emotions with a writing style that can flow or rage with the same capriciousness as a river.
O Virgin daughter, still, illegitimate,
Wed only to the slowly evolving ages,
Pure – you write your history, sweet poesie,
With flowers ‘round the edges.
What floral history, hidden in thy form
(dost tell of gods or men?)
Chased maidens in woodland hills
Forever locked in time!
We see these god-men in zany chase
These maids locked with no release.
We see them still, these men and maids
Passionate unending chase – there still,
And music, ringing wild around
Tings in ecstatic trill.
Imagine these tunes, sweet pipings,
O sweeter still, in my intend,
Than that the actual ear did lend,
Carols sweet that bathe my soul.
Here trees bloom forever on.
These two can ne’er embrace
They go round for ‘aye within the chase.
Lo! There’s nought for sadness here,
Though each the other will not gain
Young lovers they will e’er remain.
Spring remains till time does end.
These joyful branches ne’er their blooms to spend,
And untried, our merry players pipe on,
Their tunes in full store,
Sweet songs we’ve never heard before.
More joy, more sweet, sweet happy love!
Here, our lovers, running still
Breathless, passionate, ripe for the chase
Yet never reaching. Fevered, scorched,
In wild ecstasy, yet ever chaste.
Who is offered up? Who given to the gods?
The bovine beast brays upward in protest.
The maid, her limbs all wrapped round in filmy floral wreath,
Within a pastoral scene: a tower on a hill,
Peaceful waters’ rippling rill,
Yet an eternal hush upon this town,
The maiden in her gown –
Will she be offered up?
The silent town speaks no result;
The truth will ne’er be known (or will’t?)
What stance! What demeanor –
Embroidered forms in stone, funereal lads and lasses,
Forever crashing the forest green,
Forever treading on the grasses!
Silent (they never do tell
And we are left with fevered guesses.)
Enduring Scene, you speak to us thus:
‘The truth is known, it lies before us in the beauty of the scene,
And here the beauty gives us truth, and that is all we need to glean’
www.eecs.harvard.edu/~keith/poems/urn.html (link to Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn)
Carole Mertz lives and writes in Parma, Ohio from whence she wishes all of you a happy spring.
& When I set up, sit down,
To write the next great American short story.
I have a drink,
Strictly to get the juices flowing.
& when the river halts, I flood it.
& when the dam bursts & putting paper to pen went in vain,
I celebrate my humanness.
It’s a give and take.
For the river always flows poem to paper;
Rarely story to paper.
But when it flows,
It is beautiful.
- Daniel N. Flanagan
Daniel N. Flanagan is an American short-story writer and poet. He is the author of over two dozen individual pieces, with his debut poetry chapbook scheduled for release in the summer of '14. His work can be found at www.DanFlanagan.webs.com. Follow him @DanielNFlanagan
the meaning of enough
his truth involved the finitude of souls
four billion forty-four to be exact
in ancient freer times one might have five
to polish before passing them along
but that all changed when robby j was shot
by the first human born without a soul
from there the balance shifted like a tide
he found himself surrounded by the husks
with their eight-point restraints and rubber gloves
after he was released it was too late
they took the form of cats and hissed at him
or taunted him with television waves
or snuck into his room and spoiled his food
sometimes they simply stared and flexed their jaws
probing his own besieged and fragile soul
they were replacing other men with voids
by using sex or soap or gamma rays
he closed his sex portal with rubber bands
and wore an x-ray apron everywhere
deep down he know it wouldn’t be enough
he’d slip up soon and sure enough he did
whether by laundry or a woman’s leg
he wasn’t sure but he could feel it ebb
away from him each truth that he had known
they were consuming him like all the rest
he leapt at freedom where it could be found
the evening river frigid dark and still
accepted and protected him he sighed
released his breath and saved the final soul
- Richard Thompson
Richard Thompson is a clinical psychologist who lives in Houston, Texas.