Dead Butterfly

By Elizabeth Barrera

Closer he comes to the flower
each time they meet.
He would caress her beautiful petals
with his dignitary love.


But the flower withered so suddenly
that she forgot to tell the butterfly
how beautiful his wings are,
how colorful her world is with him.


Each time a bud glows,
the butterfly's eyes would twinkle
but the day becomes gloomy
upon the hurtful realization.


Though he still went on with his life,
he could never really find
someone as precious as the flower,
someone who holds the dead butterfly's heart.
<strong>Elizabeth Barrera</strong>
Elizabeth Barrera

I am Elizabeth Barrera from the Philippines. I’ve been in love with writing since time immemorial, but I found my passion in poetry. I fell in love with the rhymes, imagery, metaphors, and all others. It is about speaking to your audience with fewer words but with deep meaning. Someday, I also wish to publish a book that could inspire people across the world.

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From the Paper Crane

From the Paper Crane

A Short Story by Denelyn Catbagan

Light spilled into the darkness as a little girl opened the package, a smile breaking through her face like she had just found a treasure. She picked me up and gazed at me warmly.

“Papa! I found it!” she said.

A man appeared next to her beaming with pride–I recognized him. He was my creator. He had folded me and shaped me. Made my paper wings and beak with such care and love.

“Make her happy, my friend,” he whispered, as he hid me in a box.

I don’t know why he would talk like that to me. I was useless, a paper crane incapable of doing anything. Protect a smile? How could I do that? Yet, now, as she held me in her hands. I felt like my life suddenly had a purpose. She carried me and played with me as her father watched, delighted with her happiness. My world became colorful with her by my side. 

But as the days go by, so do the happy times. Her father had gone, and she succumbed to her loneliness.

“You didn’t keep your promise!” She cried out. She hid me in a trunk, forgotten and decrepit.

They left there me. I kept wondering and wondering if there was something, anything I had done wrong. I was as useless as I had thought, and I felt guilt weigh heavy in my fragile heart.

Did I not keep my promise? 

I waited and waited, even as my body started to mold, even when I start to lose my vivid color. I kept believing that she’ll be back.

One night, I had a dream–a memory of when he had made me. I could remember him writing something in my body, but I couldn’t read it. Black ink seeped into my paper body; the ink felt cold, yet; I felt honesty and love within these symbols. I wish I could speak and ask him about it, but I can’t speak or talk for I’m just a mere origami that he made for his daughter.

The next day, the trunk opened, and I saw her face again.  She had changed.  She became a beautiful lady now.

She scavenged the trunk for a phone, long forgotten like the rest of its contents. She continued to search until she finally noticed me, a small paper crane in the trunk’s corner. She picked me up and examined me. She, at first, thought of me like nothing and was about to throw me away again.

I panicked at first and tried to calm down. With the little strength inside me, I tried to move and shake until one of my folds became undone.

That was when she noticed the strange symbols inside me. She unfolded me revealing the writing inside. Tears began to form in her eyes as she saw the strange characters.

That when it dawned on me–I made her cry. I began to blame myself as she cried, thinking I was useless and terrible. Her hands held me tightly, and she ran out of the open doorway.

A woman saw her and hugged her, but I couldn’t care. I kept thinking I was terrible. Maybe I shouldn’t exist. Maybe I was just a mistake. I wish I could have stopped him.

Epilogue

The girl cried, held in her mother’s arms. Her mother reassured her and said, “I see that you found it. Don’t worry, your father loved you too. I know he has already forgiven you.”

They held each other for a while as she held the handmade origami crane her father made. Though the little paper crane thought of itself as useless, it accomplished something of great relevance to her life.

<strong>Denelyn </strong>C<strong>atbagan </strong>
Denelyn Catbagan

I’m Denelyn and I am residing in the City of Manila, Philippines. I live with my family and pets. A cat and a dog, respectively. I like to travel and have been to places such as Europe, Asia, and Australia.
At first, I wrote poetry to express my mental illness in a safe way. Then, I began to enjoy writing and reading poetry books. I’m fascinated by how writers could tell stories so effectively that I now wish to pursue a career in writing. I still continue to write poetry and short stories and share them on my Instagram and Blog: Thoughtful Wisps.
And I am very thankful for this chance to share this with you all!

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Poetry by Tolulope Ibiyode

Life by Tolulope Ibiyode

Life is a big stage, full of happenings

Somewhere, a child is born
yet in another, a life is lost
While someone is making a fortune,
another person is losing it all
Someone somewhere is leaping for joy
while someone is wallowing in tears
Someone has way too much to eat
while someone somewhere is starving to death

Is it then fair to say that life isn't fair?

While someone is living in sound health,
another is accustomed to pain
One baby is born into riches,
yet another into misery
Someone is living in a peaceful land
Yet another's land is a war zone

It seems like life has different sides,
Different folks are seeing different views
That's why it's important to be kind,
you never know what a person is going through
Certain things are just beyond explanation
Sometimes, life feels like a mystery.

Grateful

I'm grateful for the air that I breathe
I'm thankful for the soil on which I stand
Blessed are the foods that I eat
I'm immensely grateful for my health
Thankful for the lessons I was privileged 
to learn from my past
I'm full of gratitude seeing the beauty of this present moment 
I'm thankful for my five senses (and the sixth) 
I'm grateful for the manifested and 
the yet to manifest blessings 
I'm thankful for the blessings hidden in challenges
I'm thankful for life in its fullness. 
Tolulope Ibiyode
Tolulope Ibiyode

My name is Tolulope, usually called Tolu (easier to pronounce lol). I like to call myself “Gods1son”.
I was born in Nigeria and did most of my education there before moving to Canada where I currently live. I work as a Web Developer, I enjoy my work. I was an Agriculture student for almost 6 years before crossing to the I.T field. I love it.

Ever since I found a passion in writing, it’s been one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy computer programming. I play squash to unwind.

I enjoy writing about life, in general, which includes but not limited to social issues, love, technology, myself, God. I will love to publish books someday (I hope soon). But it would be something I’ll be doing by the side.
You can follow his work on IG & twitter: @gods1son_

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Smile by Lamya

Smile by Lamya

Smile, a poem by Lamya Rassiwala

When the glowing ambers of the day melt into darkness,
And the quietness of the eve casts a spell on my heart.

When your presence is all that I need, but your absence is all that I have.

I look up to the sky and smile and you always smile back.

When I collapse under the weight of the day,
And my grief threatens to overshadow my spirit.

When loneliness embraces me the way you used to,
And nothing else matters accept a kind word from you.

I look up to the sky and smile and you always smile back.

My surprised eyes cry in the middle of the day.
Unaware that my heart has been hurting all day.

When a shadow falls on your picture on the wall,
And darkens the tattered corners of my soul.

I look up to the sky and smile and you always smile back.

When I get tired of pretending
That all is fine.
And get exhausted from fighting the pain inside.
When the fragile pieces of my heart,
Desperately search for a new start.
I look up to the sky and smile and you always smile back.

Perhaps this is how we go on.
You and I from now on,
Day after day, night after night,
I keep looking up and you keep smiling back.

Cause nor the night or the sky
Nor destiny or time,
Can stop your smile from meeting mine.
<strong>Lamya "Minaaz" Rassiwala</strong>
Lamya “Minaaz” Rassiwala

Lamya Rassiwala is from Mumbai, in India. She has been a content writer and editor for the last 15 years, but her first love has always been poetry. She writes in English, Hindi and Urdu. Her other most cherished interest is her love for travel, and she wishes to start a dedicated blog for it.

Her favourite thing to do is perform at various spoken poetry events in the city. You can follow her on Instagram:  @lamyaminaaz where she posts poetry and interesting travel pictures.

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Rush of Memories

By Dua Khan

I feel the bright sunlight wash over me at night
I feel the light of the memories push me through the day
The tingling in my chest beats into a full blown ache,
As looming over my thoughts a shadow encompasses my soul.
Each day is faded into a color;
An aroma, a scent
A movement.
A picture frozen into a favorite moment.
A touch that sent warmth deep through me,
A light angled in such a way that
It haloed my hands as my fingertips feathered it.
Each moment fades onto my soul,
Engraving it.
Each line speaks of different endings.
Each dent screaming pain
Each scrape tells a different story
Of how we had all forsaken some at times
When we walked and laughed and lain.
Life's delight is to live it all
Yet in many a moment we lived our past
Clutching at the threads long undone
And yearning for a touch gone cold
We can say in the end as we die
That we lived life as it is
In the moment without completion
Frozen midway in laughter, tears, or a conversation
Or in deep contemplation,
In the struggle to discern life.
When all this while
We were unraveling our insides
Trying to make sense of who we are.
<strong>Dua Khan</strong>
Dua Khan

I am Dua Khan, a college student, and I am from Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Writing was just a hobby until my first novel, The Deific Heart, got published. Now, I try to write as often as I can because writing has been my companion for a long time. My poetry and pieces are also published on my blog: www.thedeificheart.wordpress.com.
When I’m not writing, I am reading, Netflixing, or procrastinating!

Follow me for my writings on my Instagram account: @thedeificheart

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The Blotted Truth

A short story by Leena Auckel

She glanced at the paintings hanging on the wall. Some abstracts and some landscapes. It was a pleasant sight! When Henry wasn’t busy analysing enzymes and DNA in his lab, he used to paint in his studio. In the corner, she saw a sturdy shelf containing thick books. She trailed her fingers along the titles on the book spine. Secrets of the Chemists, DNA Demystified, and after more interesting titles. She reached his easel. On the canvas was a majestic swan gliding in a blue lake, that part was freshly painted with different shades of blue, which rendered it very vivid, she could almost catch the faintest ripple on the lake. She liked how the sky pigment sculpted the contours of the conifers around the lake.

It was amazing how he could handle electron microscopes and his paintbrush with the same finesse. She came near his table, a white mug contained water he had rinsed his paintbrushes in and the pots of cobalt blue and navy blue pots of paint he used to paint the lake lay next to it.

Cassandra had a passion for painting too but the sands of time wanted otherwise. Each time she started to draw something she was discouraged by her partner’s harsh comments.

Somehow seeing colours always brought back her childhood memories for those were the only colourful phase of her life. Unlike the last 2 years which were only a bleak black and white. She had been under constant psychological and moral abuse by her partner Jake, which had eroded her cheery personality and rendered her stoic. She was being dragged in the swirling vortex of manipulation without even realising it.

Henry had been abroad for some years. It was only two months ago that he came to Hamilton. At first, Cassandra plainly refused for the meet-up, like she had been doing for many other reunions and outings lately because Jake did not see it with a good eye.

In the beginning, she used to feel bad about not being able to meet her friends and relatives, but with time she changed. She started spinning a cocoon of low-esteem around her, and she showed no interest in sharing laughter with happy people.

Cassandra gave in only when her other two friends told her they would pick her up from work and meet over lunch. She would have been swallowed in a depressive tornado by now, if it was not for Henry, who saw how drastically she had changed from the happy-go-lucky girl he had known as a classmate to a forlorn girl with wrinkles of worry.

She went so far back in time that she inadvertently knocked over the cup of water which tipped over the pots of the navy blue and royal blue paint. A navy blue river started to form its way on the table sinuously until it reached Cassandra’s finger, which was lingering on the table. The cold water stimulated the thermoreceptors on her fingertips and flipped Cassandra back to reality. She stared at the mess in horror. She quickly picked up the cup and grabbed hold of some tissue paper and stopped the water from flowing from the edge of the table. Just in time before it reached the floor!

There was still some paint residue on the table. She reached for the tissue roll to wipe the rest of the paint only to find that it was over. She heard the garage door opening. Henry was back! Oh my god, what do I do now?! I created such a mess. It’s always me. Wherever I go things go wrong!

Her heart was pounding as she looked frantically around the room for something to clean the mess. Luckily, she found a bunch of filter papers lying on the bookshelf. She grabbed one of them and lunged towards the table. The knob of the door clicked and Henry’s shadow flooded the doorway.

“Am-am so sorry Henry, I didn’t mean to. I mean it’s my mistake, ev, everything just toppled over. I am cleaning it!” she muttered.

Henry just stood there staring at her. This made her even more uncomfortable. She wondered how will he react, will he brood? Will he scold? Or worst, will he beat me? This was how Jake used to react during disputes, with time she had been conditioned into walking on eggshells.

“Am almost done,” she said heading towards the table her cheeks turning crimson. By now the filter paper had absorbed most of the residual paint. She reached for it and started to crumple it.

“Wait!”

She froze. She closed her eyes. It’s coming. She closed her eyes harder, conditioning herself to bear the pain.

She waited. Nothing.

“Cassandra …Cassandra!” he said in a soft voice.

Henry held her shoulders and turned her around and looked into her eyes.
“It’s fine!” he said. “it’s just some paint,why are you getting so worked up?”

He picked up the filter paper and admired it,  the blue colours which had seeped in had taken different hues of blue.

“This is beautiful,” he whispered.

He bent down took his paintbrush and dipped in the the navy blue pot of paint and brushed a few strokes on the blotting paper. Cassandra peered to see what he was doing but she could only make out a blue blob of paint at the rim of the paper. He dipped the brush in black paint now and painted few more strokes and placed it back.

Now she could make it out. He had drawn a woman figure on the filter paper.

“For you this might be a wasted filter paper meant to be discarded. But the artist in me sees a sky on that paper. And that’s you with all the sky stretched in front of you showing you that possibilities are infinite.
Even if you soaked up all the mess that doesn’t make you less valuable, Cassandra. What you have endured does not put you to a disadvantage instead it has built you and armoured you with shields that will help you face harder days with ease.”

He stared at Cassandra’s awe-filled eyes and continued. “Don’t make yourself a victim of what you have undergone, you are more than just a sufferer. You are a Warrior! This sky is just waiting for You to open your wings and fly. Yes, Cassandra fly! Fly and conquer new horizons!”

<strong>Leena Auckel</strong>
Leena Auckel

I am from Mauritius, a tropical island in the Indian Ocean.  Presently, I’m working as a lecturer in a Medical University.  I started writing as a hobby back in college and gradually, written words became my lifebuoy.  With life becoming more of a whirlpool, writing keeps me afloat and helps me reach out to people.

During my journey from medical student to tutor, I have come across many students with difficulty to cope at both academic and psychological levels hence my purpose to write motivational quotes.  My other hobbies include cooking, drawing and painting. My current project is to bring together my paintbrush and pen to promote mental and physical health.

Find me on my Facebook Page: Sun-Kissed Ink

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Endless by Walter Banks

Your love is the Ocean of Stars that
surround night's sky.
My heart, oh how
you affect my heart;
the deeps of you
are endless.

Your soft lips, your sweet tender kiss
takes me far away to a land
where love stays.

You're my sunshine ruling over my days.
You're my moonlight; you give me never-ending
peaceful nights.

Your love oh my darling your love is
the Ocean of Stars that surround night's
sky; I want to be forever lost in you.
<strong>Walter Banks</strong>
Walter Banks

Walter Banks is a 26-year-old young man from Dallas, GA with a strong passion for writing. He writes poems and short stories for fun and hopes to one day make a living off of it.

When he’s not writing, Mr. Banks likes to listen to music especially metal and rap music ranging from artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Metallica and Slayer. He’s also an athlete and is into sports such as weightlifting, track and field, and basketball.

You can find him on Facebook and Instagram where he share’s most of his work. 
Facebook: Inside The Soul
Instagram: @soulinsidethe

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Motherhood by Jennifer Owiesny

I breathed you into existence
sewn with a soul of your own.
Molded from moonlight and stardust
magic forged into your bones.

Passion and fire make up your heart
adventure weaved into your form.
I kissed you with every dream that I have.
Now it is you I call home.
<strong>Jennifer Owiesny </strong>
Jennifer Owiesny

Jennifer “Jen” Gebert-Owiesny has been writing for recreation since she was in her early teens and has recently began exploring the use of free verse poetry.

As the mother of 3 adult children, with a newly empty nest, she has dedicated her free time to enjoying her two cats, two dogs, her writing, and the world of modern poetry and prose. 

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Motivation by Toni Snideman

My body lies broken on the road
A path stretches before me
The unyielding sun permeates my skin
I feel my blood boil
My limbs swell
I want to move
But my body won’t let me
In my mind’s eye
I see the finish line
Growing farther away every day
The only time my muscles move
Is to spasm
And I feel hopeless
I close my eyes and hear your voice:

Dear discouraged, take a breath
Remember this is not a race
Your only competition is yourself
This is not the end of you
Start small
Even a fragment is progress
But KEEP MOVING
Don’t give up
STAY
Time is not the grim reaper
Time is opportunity

I open my eyes
I steel my shaking nerves
I inhale all of your hope in me
And exhale all of my self doubt

It’s time to get moving
<strong>Toni Snideman</strong>
Toni Snideman

My name is Toni Marie Snideman. I am 31 years old from Anderson, Indiana. Some of My hobbies include writing, watching tv/movies, and going to concerts. I am a huge Harry Potter fan (shoutout to my fellow Gryffindors!). I used to write short stories. Lately, I’ve been focused on poetry, but my dream is to write and publish a novel.

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Poetry by Rosei Simpson

The Other Side of the Mirror Never Smiles

By Rosei Simpson

I told you to smile when I saw you cry, and you did, 
not because you liked me,
nor because you listened to me,
but because you knew I understood what it feels like to be half dead.

Life in reality without life itself is the same as being alive
but not knowing who you are.

I love the smell of the ocean but I hate the beach.

The sand on my feet reminds me
I’m alive and I can’t hide.

I told you to smile.

People say eyes tell a thousand stories but yours just hold lies.

When I see you I’m reminded of the overwhelming feeling of drowning.

Maybe that’s why I hate the beach,
or maybe it just reminds me of when I finally learned to swim
and no longer felt the sensation of my own emotions,
the drowning feeling I felt when they took their spot at the head of the table
and led the night with fake smiles and laughter,
the pain in my heart holds disaster but I’ve learned to live with it.

I’ve learned to love it.

The Sand on my feet reminds me that this is the reality
and for now I have to live with it.

So I told you to smile.

I leave you trapped in the mirror so I can try to live freely, but whenever I see you,
I see me.
<strong>Rosei Simpson</strong>
Rosei Simpson

She goes by her my middle name, Rose, but prefers to be called Rosei. Born in Guatemala City, she was adopted and brought to the island of St. Croix USVI. She was raised on St. Croix and visits Guatemala every summer. Rosei’s other hobbies include playing tennis and volleyball, and reading. At school, she played on the JV tennis and volleyball teams. Her day job is actually a night job where she works as a busser at a restaurant called The Bombay Club.
Rosei’s writing focus is poetry, although, she does write short stories and journalism-style pieces too. Rosei intends to go into creative writing as her major in college. She doesn’t currently have a book published but she has works published on Wattpad, Prose, and a zine (mini magazine filled with her poetry and various artists art). Rosei’s school has a Literary art journal which has published some of her work.
You can follow Rosei on Instagram: @spokenspeakss

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