Raritan, written by Edwina Joe-Kamara


I shouldn’t have stopped there. I had too much to do rather than sit at the lake for an hour or so, pondering at the possible twists and turns life would throw at me that week. But the sashaying waves and its positivity reached its arms out to embrace my negative thoughts, begging to comfort them.

I pulled my bright red 2004 Nissan Sentra onto the blue gravel that served as a makeshift parking lot. Then shifted the gear to the soft orange glowing P, wriggled my gray beanie over my head, and forced the zipper of my black long-bodied coat all the way up to my chin to protect from the cold. I wrenched my keys from the ignition and jostled them around in my dry palms to hear their song before stepping out of the car’s bubble of warmth.

My worn sneakers hit the gravel, crunching the small rocks underfoot. I thought I was completely sealed in my jacket’s warmth, save for my hands and ankles, but the wind managed to infiltrate the boundaries that were set. Its cool whistle set my body to vibrate, and my teeth became well acquainted in their incessant dancing.

The sun started its descent and sent its streaks of pink, yellow, and blood orange stretching across the sky’s blue canvas. These same drops of color spilled onto the lake’s body. I stiffly began my short march to the water’s edge where a lone metal bleacher stood unevenly on the terrain, unoccupied.

I lowered myself onto the bottom row of the stand, wincing at the sharp chill that shot through my exposed fingers gripping its edge to gain my balance. Once settled, I tucked my hands under my armpits as an attempt to reduce the numbing that began to crawl up my poor extremities.

I looked out at the landscape. There were patches of green grass attempting to thrive amongst the wilted browns that took over most of the ground.

The infrequent days of warmth really confused them into thinking spring was coming sooner. March’s indecision to be either warm or frigid was at fault. In the same confusion, the trees were half dead, lurching over the opaque water as if its gray limbs scattered with leaves of green suffered from kyphosis.

On the farther side of the lake, the murmuring of couples, so captivated by themselves rather than the view, drifted into my area. I’ve sat in that exact spot of the bleacher many times before, hoping one day to be lost in eyes of honey or emerald. But then, on days like this, I see the golden streams of light waving their last goodbyes.

The water rolls and waves back softly in return until the moon’s slow arrival excites it into a flash mob of reflecting white light. And I realize I don’t want to trade this show for another’s performance. At least not for a while.

Indigo splashed over the horizon and soon it was hard to see anything but the dark shadows of the dead trying to emulate the living.

The cold had nearly left me embalmed, so I rose with difficulty. My blood ran its race through my limbs as I took each step stiffly back to my small car.

The handle of the driver’s door and my hand were the same temperatures, so I pulled it upward with ease and slid into the seat, quickly pulling my coat tail in after so the wind could do the work of shutting my door with such chivalry.

I couldn’t tell you what else I thought of while witnessing the day’s finale. But when I sat in the car, twisted the key in the ignition, and listened to my car wheeze a few times before rumbling to life, I had come to accept nature as being a comfort from my solitary.

Maybe that’s what the wind was trying to convince me of the entire time it whispered its piercing trill in my ear.

<strong>Edwina Joe-Kamara</strong>
Edwina Joe-Kamara

Edwina Joe-Kamara is a first-generation Sierra-Leonean American. She is currently earning her B.A. for English at The College of New Jersey.

Her poetry and artwork were recently published in her university’s literary magazine, Lion’s Eye. She finds inspiration for her poetry and short stories from her faith, nature, music, and battles with mental health.

She aspires to be a full-time writer/illustrator and hopes to travel the world. She is currently working on a manuscript for an unnamed chapbook. She resides in South Brunswick, NJ with her mother, Justina.

Follow her poetry account on Instagram for regular content: @e.j.kamara

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

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Wisteria by Paul Collins

The autumn winds grope her mercilessly,
as idle hands lunge for delicate petticoats.
Their ugly, pockmarked howls pinch her deeply
with each new limb they expose,
until her tears drop like leaves, unheard
and become soiled.

By the winter, she’s left leaning awkwardly
like a slapper against a lamppost.
Her body but scattered, bent baguettes,
freeze-set with the frigid, nightly chills,
which preserve her stark immodesty
and her malign revenge.

Yet spring adorns her with tentative protruding buds,
glazed like freshly shellacked fingernails,
as her body itches with the swellings of youth
and foliage fastens frills around her chest,
summoning the dewy-peach lustre of virginity.
Now she basks in our wanton, forgiving glares.

As the summer teases, she writhes Lolita-like
in a raincoat that clings to her, just so.
Her barely concealed fruits spilling out,
as the sun caresses her skin hotly, until she cums
with that cacophony of lilac bells gawping, grape-like,
ringing out the sweet moans of her petite-mort.

Foreign Bodies, written by Paul Collins

I insert my fingers into her mouth,
to check if her airways are clear –
so that all this breathing can begin.
Her lips seal around them tightly,
absorbing them like some foreign tongue
for the curious language of sighs, that ensures.

I drift to the canals of her ears,
where I fill them with coarse, English words
that barge through their depths like a syringe –
to clear all belief in a way back,
as they summon their inner drums to beat.
Marchons, marchons, she seems to sing.

I lodge myself within the safe-haven of her hair,
surrendering each eye like a passport,
to a perfume that declares jurisdiction
over the lining of my lungs,
drawing in my diaphragm with colours
that dazzle me with choking desire.

I lift myself up to look into her eyes,
searching desperately for irritations.
Her eyelids open wide like an EU border
and she blinks at me once for yes.
I check the status of her breasts
and she bathes my eyes in their unclasping.

She languishes on the bed, odalisque-like,
as her eyes migrate south with the swallows,
guiding me to the place of worship.
I remove the remaining obstructions and descend,
gently swabbing her soreness with my lips.
as her thighs pinch my head like tweezers.

I stick out my tongue and say ‘ah’
and she welcomes it like a lollipop stick,
pressing herself against it stubbornly,
whilst her hips wriggle lithely in my palms.
My cocooned ears just making out her own ‘ahs’
as she whispers back the message, like téléphone Arab.

Then she extracts me with a tug of my hair
and pierces me with eyes like brochettes.
“Penetrate me” she insists,
in an accent, thick with longing.
And so we assume the position,
that turns missionaries into converts.

It’s here where the nub is finally found,
amongst all the tapping of veins and piercing of folds,
until our fluids finally merge like seas that meet
and our two foreign bodies collapse
into the space between walls,
where only wildflowers grow.

Allahu akbar, I cry.

Paul Collins

I’m a middle-aged-Londoner-Brexit-refugee residing in Lyon, France.

Poetry is currently just a hobby I fit around other things, but it has become an important creative outlet for me. My aim is to one day be published.

I simply want to write poetry that I’ve not seen before. To that end, I want my poems to be disruptive and provocative. I like to write about two things at once, because it forces me to use words in unusual/unexpected ways.

All my poetry is published Instagram: @thebloodofthesethings

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

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Paper Love

Paper Love by John Phrey Claro

Midnight Anthem

The hymn of the wind and the song of the rain

The sound of the thunder and my heartbeat playing a melancholic music while tears cascading

Cracked ceiling and a container accumulating raindrops

The nature is an orchestra during rainy days

Playing my midnight anthem

Waiting for the rain to stop to smell your scent

The aroma of cinnamon on your shirt

Longing for your love and it hurts


When the lightning flashes

I can see a glimpse of the memories we made

Looking into your eyes is like laying on the meadow

I let the rain fall on my face so you won’t see a single trace of tears

I sat on the ground and buried my face on my knees

Our picture sank in the puddle as if the memories drifted away

Paper Love

Carved names into the trees

The autumn leaves fell like April rain

Lost like unused words petals of weeping myrtle

Your love is evergreen but you gave me paper love

You left me and now I am the only character in the sequel

This is a never ending quell

The euphoria when we kissed

Your lips tasted like cinnamon

I wished on dandelions a million times

Hoping that the seeds would find you along the way

But they traveled astray

I wish you had stayed

<strong>John Phrey Claro</strong>
John Phrey Claro

I’m John Phrey Claro, 18 years old, born on April 26, 2001. I am a first-year student taking up a bachelor’s degree in Financial Management.

My home country is the Philippines. I am obsessed with novels and poetry. I began penning my own Filipino fiction and poetry at the age of seventeen.

I am a well-rounded individual who lives with passion, dedication, and grace. 

Instagram: @phreyjohn

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

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Fallen Warrior of Light

Fallen Warrior of Light by Deevesh Ramphul

Your hands in mine, you taught me how to get back from a fall, and walked me all the way through life’s hall. From riding my bike to feeding me whenever my fever was running high, sleeping next to me during the lonely nights and pulling me in for a hug when things went bad.

There they are sealed now, my childhood memories, within those arms of yours resting by your side. Could I ever get over this sight? Pillars, the pillars to my glowing soul, that’s who you have been, my luminescence, my firefly.

A wallflower hidden beneath the cracks, observing everything and bringing back the tact, you who knew everything and orchestrated my ascent. How will life be without you by my side?

I already feel the hot tears in my bloodshot eyes as I recall the night before when you told me it’ll all be fine. So hey, my shooting star, I will look up to you each night, smile back at me and shower me with some of your might.

Hey my lifeguard, drive away the darkness I’ve been so used to and bring me back to light, make me get the taste of what it feels like to be shining bright. I will miss your grudges just as much as your smiles. I will miss you not being there to tell me what’s right.

Hey hot tears, capture her face one last time as I bid her goodbye. This is not farewell though, you won’t be getting rid of me so quick. I will talk to you every night, as the wind blows by, as stars and moon shine, by each passing moment, I promise to cherish your existence and live up to it, to the name you gave me, to the love you bestowed upon me, to the faith you planted in me, to who you made me.

Trust me, I will never let you fade, in these memories of mine you shall always reside, tales of a warrior who fought hell to make me smile.

Hey angel, I wish heaven is your resting place and you’re free from all agonies and torments, I wish you peace and calmness. I wish you rainbows and fields of roses, I wish you sun rays and blue skies, I wish you low soothing tides, waves that will take you home, I wish you eternity and hope that you’ll stick by me.

Mother, you are me.

<strong>Deevesh Ramphul</strong>
Deevesh Ramphul

I am Deevesh Ramphul, a student from Mauritius.

Writing is not just the scribbling down of random words, it’s the process of giving shape to feelings.

Instagram: @realms_of_melancholia

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Monthly Flowers


Loss by Nupur Nair

I lost someone irreplaceable,
Saying this does not make me believe it,
But denying it does not bring you back.
Although, I know I’ll keep trying,

I would always speak of your friend dreadfully, when they asked me about my fears,
I knew that I would meet grief in this lifetime,
Although, I didn’t expect you to be the mutual friend that introduces us,

I guess heaven is better than earth,
Its walls may be strong enough to cradle your magnitude,
The walls down here have cracked from your unapologetic boldness,
Earth was never ready for you, for your sincere honesty and raw complexities,

There is an indescribable aura about your presence. Yes, there still is.
Your presence did not leave us with your body,
How can something as cowardly as death wash away your existence?

This aura speaks to me like you did once,
I am still in the process of understanding its tongue,
Although not as sharp as yours, it is magnifying,
It is built with your rigid sternness and tough love,

These feelings insist I feel every molecule of your absence,
These walls insist their shadows hold every molecule of your presence,
And while I deny them both,
These tears insist I don’t.

Condolences by Nupur Nair

I found some sugar-coated words,
To fill our paper thin silences,
They were used by acquaintances,
To fill their sweet condolences,
They masked their sympathies,
To reveal their forced sorrows,
These are the words I stole,
To invite our hopeful tomorrows.

<strong>Nupur Nair</strong>
Nupur Nair

I am Nupur Nair, 24 years of age my pen name is The Dancing Ink. I was born in India and have lived in Dubai, U.A.E my whole life. I have graduated from Loughborough University (United Kingdom) where I studied Graphic Communication and Illustration.

I have been in love with the written word for as long as I can remember and would describe myself as a curious writer, trying to learn and evolve every day. I find joy in words and rhymes and enjoy navigating my way through the complexities of numerous conversations whilst building my own metaphors. 

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

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Inspiration Fairy

Inspiration Fairy by Jennifer Carl

Inspiration Fairy by Jennifer Carl

Inspiration Fairy

inactivity in secret
unproductive in rough terrain
How united we become with the
turn of a contemptible person

The trench bursts open
and realizes, friend to the
sustained comfort of narrow margins

ignorant night lures–
evil, pleasing mouthfuls:
source of unhappiness

Unspecified otherwise
pulls me into public view
like birth–

shown and revealed,
lacking scarcity

I rise like yeast
brilliantly bewildered
the appeal dissolves

against the defense.
The debt disguised
and I am directed

into the dangerous calm center
of beginning.

<strong>Jennifer Carl</strong>
Jennifer Carl

Jen is a Language Arts teacher in Minnesota. She has been writing poetry since high school.  She has been published in the Train River Poetry Anthology, Fall 2019. She enjoys reading poetry as much as writing it and can be found writing poems during summers and weekends at local eateries. She is currently working on a chap book.  

Instagram: @poetwhispers28 

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

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Sometimes by Karen Bradley

Sometimes, I would like to
immerse myself
in a starless sea.
Slowly sink to the
as my veins echo with a
jackhammer pulse
and lungs scream for

Sometimes, I am too
tired of being me.
Smile at the ready,
kind words on my lips,
always ready to
Sometimes, I would like
the silence to envelop me.
Wrap me in its calm.
Ease my mind of anxiety
and let me be me.

Karen Bradley

Karen Bradley is a published poet. She can be found on Facebook http://facebook.com/KEBOriginals and Instagram http://instagram.com/KEBOriginals.

She has been published in Train River Poetry Winter 2019 and Spring 2020 anthology; SpilledwordsPress.com; Poet Speak Magazine Issues #27 & #28; Instagram Poets You’ll Want to Follow Spring 2020; Mind – A Mental Health Poetry Anthology Spring 2020. 

She lives in Texas with her husband, three dogs, five donkeys, four horses and two cats.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

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Mysterious Planet

Mysterious Planet by Ambrose Gibbs

The time of mind to find blind for thought to fall out of the mind
in all for love to stand tall for the moment of a bright night to love
with light to see what’s right in the mist of the night.

The evidence of the nature of love the residence is home
for love to fall above the rising of the sun to become one with the skies
of fun for a ton of prosperity to believe in the moment
to be lost inside to hide to be found solid as the ground as tough as it sounds
to fight to live to be bound to shut down lethal evil that comes in many shapes or
forms to escape the warmth of time in the mind for peace is the least to find
in hard times for the cries of goodbyes the lies in time despise the skies
for life to live to stay positive for god to forgive, the magic of life for the tragic night,
for the havoc in life for the mission for a proposition to stand tall in all
beyond the falls of the river of dreams for what life mean to be deemed for many memories of screams, life is organic never to panic not to take life for granted
on this mysterious planet.

<strong>Ambrose Gibbs</strong>
Ambrose Gibbs

My name is Ambrose Gibbs. I was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 12, 1975. I graduated from high school in 1995 and started acting a year later. I then went to Specs Howard School of broadcast arts, where I wrote my first movie script. Later, I attended Madonna University where I continued my education for television communications and journalism and theater arts.

In April 2005 I moved to Los Angeles, CA, where I have had some small roles in television shows but my main concentration was writing for movie scripts for movies. I also worked as a stand-up comedian and wrote jokes for shows.

I started doing poetry because I was writing monologues and found this feeling to want to write how I’m feeling in another form of words. I like how poetry helps us describes feelings and take emotions to another world as literature.

I’m sick with Crohn’s disease, and writing poetry was therapeutic for me. Writing poems gives me peace. I just finished my book entitled The Benevolent Skies.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

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Silent Nightingale

Silent Nightingale

Silent Nightingale, by Afreeca Graham

Songs of acceptance had returned to the other
Night songstresses.
Leaving this one.
They flipped tiny wings and left
Feathers of past presences.
In the stillness of dawn,
Right before the light had caught the Dew and gone,
Like a spider awaiting its web’s vibration to
I called out and listened for the wind to send my song back.
At the cage’s door
Chirping nervousness.
Thousands of songs
But never mine.
In the clutches of some feline.
Tale, of a song less

Where Two Lines Meet by Afreeca Graham

It’s a burst of chaotic laughter
Like the collision of two cars hitting each other.
It’s the beginning of something risky.
Like a handshake at a meet and greet.
Where two lines meet,
A road end.
And you can rest for a while until
You’re ready to trod on again.
Where two lines meet,
Blood flows.
Two lines meet in a middle
Or the beginning of an end.
Joining a clothing line.
Interwoven vine.
Where two lines meet,
The path is hazy-

Where two lines never meet.
Wonders never cease.
Like the streak of light that pulls you to the horizon.
Lines that never meet
Evoke fear,
And bliss.
It’s a trail filled with many signs “beware”
Like the road to nowhere.
Lines that never meet,
Destinations are never clear,
Journey is neat.
And the things you see
Comes from lines that goes on
Into eternity.
The things you never understood.
But now understand.
The things that crash.
The things fearful and full of bliss.
Things left in the middle.
At beginnings and ends.
The things we absentmindedly greet,
Comes where two lines,
Simply meet…

<strong>Afreeca Graham</strong>
Afreeca Graham

My existence started some long time ago. My purpose and love for art and literature highlighted and bolded in the rainbow. What I remembered, however, was not how I was born into this physical world but, how I came to experience thousands of people, things, animals and dimensions simply by just writing.

Where I’m from, St Vincent and the Grenadines, succumb to a dot on the world map but I wouldn’t want to be born anywhere else because, here can be anywhere with just a thought and a few words. I realized that at a young age, so my small country life of rain and sunshine with occasionally splashes of Japanese dramas, creative drawing and animes was rich in books much to my delight, much thanks to my mother and Aunt.

In a society where doctors and business men are painted in money and importance, I believed that the only way to escape my poor but rich life was for me to study medicine. I was extremely poor at it but tried extremely hard and in doing so I lost my reason for writing but most importantly, I forgot myself.

After graduating from college, I decided to join a local poetry club. It was there I found her, a girl with an old pen full of ink and a bottle of ideas, myself.
Writing was dynamic, and inspiration was like a fragrance in a low breeze. Inhale too deeply and you’ll figure out what scent but inhale too often with not enough zest and it’ll be long gone with another right behind. 
Now, I continue to follow the wind, instead of waiting for inspiration, I let inspiration find me. Tomorrow, I hope to perfect my signature so I’ll smile when that stranger at one of my book signings compliment my penmanship as I write his or her name in one of my books.

Instagram – freekah_mali 

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I Grieved

I Grieved, poetry by Christina Reed

I Grieved, poetry by Christina Reed

I grieved silently
Not between bed sheets
But at parties
In loud places

Poetry by Christina Reed

Of all the things
I’ve had to love and let go
You are
By far
The greatest

Poetry by Christina Reed

I don’t think
I fully understood death
Till it happened
Inside of me

Christina Reed

Speech-language therapist by day and poet by night, Christina Reed spends most days working with children to help increase their speech and language skills. Inspired by her fertility struggles and early pregnancy losses, Christina reaches an audience of women who are also grieving via her Instagram @notpregnantpoetry. Christina’s poetry is raw, in your face, and crisp.

Following the unexpected adoption of her son, Christina is working towards writing a book of poetry entitled “Not Pregnant Poetry.” The collection is illustrated by her wife, and together they have mourned their losses by collaborating on this upcoming project.

Christina is encouraged to continue writing in order to reach as many women as possible who are struggling to conceive, childless, or suffering loss.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here.