Symphony of Night

Symphony of Night by Aubree Barnum

A symphony of night.

With snow softly chiming, pine needles shaking in rhythm.

Icicles ringing high pitched, echoing.

The overwhelming calm blanketing all with a moonlight interlude.

Spirits of Winter’s past whisper over the frozen ground, breathing life into the barren scene.

Their dance is haunting, ghostly, but snowflakes swirl as they spin.

And once it’s done, peace reigns again.

<strong>Aubree Barnum</strong>
Aubree Barnum

Aubree has been writing since she was 14 years old. Her two literary loves are poetry and fantasy writing.

Aubree encompasses magic and mystery into a lot of her words. She also loves to write honestly about depression, anxiety, and being a mom. She gathers a lot of inspiration from fellow writers in the Instagram community and loves to support them.

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Nostalgia Stage Call

Nostalgia Stage Call by Jemma Chawla

Steamrolled daily by your emerging talents
Since birth, it’s been my job to coach you
One day you’ll play lead
Your very own life production
Unconsciously in rehearsal
No need to audition
Acts played out in front of me
Motherhood matinee
Casting your own cast
You’re growing up too fast
Momentarily slide into my private box
You’re in crisp, sharp focus
Spotlight is soft
The auditorium snaps me back with roars of ferocious approval
I also applaud you, always
Can I extend the intermission and be delighted by your immaturity a little longer?
I know this confirms your growth
Dependency being swapped for
independent stage direction
Could the stage momentarily
please
stand
still
I’ll be lovingly waiting for what’s to come in your encore

<strong>Jemma Chawla</strong>
Jemma Chawla

Jemma Chawla lives in Greater London, UK. She enjoys writing poetry and short fictional stories.
She writes to capture memories and process her emotions. As well as it being a great creative outlet, she also finds it a form of therapy.


She enjoys writing pieces that are relatable, in the hope they offer a safe space for readers to talk and that it contributes to normalising stigmatised topics.


Her current aspiration is to complete and publish her first anthology.

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Seen

Seen, this phot of a woman with a rose in front of her face. Seen is a poem

Seen by Emily Way-Evans

Seeing myself
Through your eyes
Is addictive
Just a glimpse
Through those glasses
Clean and rose tinted
I am hooked
To this sugar-coated view
Of my life
I want to climb inside your head
And watch the re-runs
My top ten best bits
Maybe stock up some memories
While I’m there
I want to be filled to the brim
With your admiration
Of this version of me
That you see
And then hope that it rubs off
Onto my self esteem
To rekindle some love
For the version I see

<strong>Emily Way-Evans</strong>
Emily Way-Evans

Emily is a mother and an arts administrator by day and an amateur writer by night. She discovered writing as a therapeutic creative outlet after joining a class during maternity leave, and whilst experiencing an intense period of post-natal depression.

She continues to write in as many moments of solitude as possible and shares her work on Instagram under the name @emilywaywrites

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Letters to Kafka

Letters to Kafka by Aishwarya Roy

𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘦𝘳 3 —
//Written kisses don’t reach their destination, rather they are drunk on the way by the ghosts.

In our room resides a sky full of colours,
Making love to the drunk, setting sun
Who’s about to pass out.
Time is bipolar.
Czechs are at war.
The poor — dying.
But here we are,
Ashes of dead stars —
An extraordinary collection of atoms
That come together
For a brief period of time,
And then fall apart.

I write you a Slovak kiss
With my crossbow lips on the paper.
And you smile,
While reading it.

𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘦𝘳 2 —

//I’m tired, can’t think of anything and want only to lay my face in your lap, feel your hand on my head and remain like that through all eternity.

Tonight, the moon is a few hues too deep.
And I, like the waves of azure,
Carefully try to navigate
The rugged shores of longing and heartache,
Bruised under the weight of heavy nightmares
That lovers seek refuge from
In early prayers.

You carry a tired moon inside yourself.
It is round, white, dimly lit.
And when you are full?
People become ocean waves.

𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘦𝘳 1 —

//I can’t feel a thing; All mournful petal storms are dancing inside the very private spring of my head.

Gustav Mahler plays in the background,
As you write about erratic family circumstances,
Exile colonies, and Gregor-ian laws.
Your words are a pearl necklace
Falling to the floor.
Collapsing —
Alarming, messy.
Astounding, too.
And I collect all the pearls,
Slouched on the floor
Like a five-year-old
That has stumbled upon a collection of marbles.

You feel like your muse;
Weaving iambic poems in the air
That sails on the clouds,
And perhaps rain on somebody,
In another time.

𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘦𝘳 0 —

//Yours.
(now I’m even losing my name — it was getting shorter and shorter all the time and is now: Yours)

Where we go from here will be a cliffhanger.
If we survive, we’ll have a story to tell.
If we fall, I’ll build a trampoline
With these crumpled letters on the way down.

They ploughed the soil to make trenches.
They emptied rivers,
And even prayed it to the rain.
But Franz, you and me,
We’ve started a wildfire —

The one that would either light up the world,
Or burn it all down.

[Kafka had written a series of letters to Milena Jesenská, from 1920 to 1923. This piece is an ode to that brilliant writer, who made me feel emotions I never knew existed.

If Milena could reply to those letters, maybe this is how she would?]

<strong>Aishwarya Roy</strong>
Aishwarya Roy

I’m Aishwarya, the ‘god’s perfect idiot’ from Kolkata, India.

The engineering student in me reduces the probability of sadness to near zero, by feeding itself salty newspapers of memes. The artslut in me reads classics and scribbles art on forbidden walls.

I’m still the same little girl, who would write stories of love and wars upon the palms of her hands, walking around, arms outstretched, asking people to read them. 

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I’m Not Going to Hate Myself

I’m Not Going to Hate Myself by Sarah Bellum Mental

I’m not going to cry
I’m not going to release
diamond threaded water
trailing down cheeks
looking to obliterate the skin
with the piling up
of emotions like compost
creating heat
shimmering waves
on a quiet day
thinking of the way
he touched me
how I fought
but I didn’t fight enough
but maybe that’s the thing
about trauma is that
it doesn’t care
about your strength.

I’m not going to slice off
bits of my body to acclimate me
to the feel of feeling
since I’ve numbed myself
for so long that the pins and needles
seeking my flesh takes forever
to prick my porcupine quills
into twitching in response
everything succumbs
to the inability
to deal with emotions.

I’m not going to condemn
my body like it is a foreclosed house
looking to collect
moths in expansive corners
becoming more than the walls
I always hid in corners
kept my back to walls
I could use it to keep them
from getting to me
until they finally
broke through my fortress hands
saying do not pass go
do not collect my treasures
and they grabbed everything
I owned, trashed it,
spat me out like day old gristle.

I’m not going to hate myself
because there’s enough rampant
in this world, rampaging against
the home you should know
but you keep denying
you have the keys to the lock
inside because you kept
changing them so much
each time
they vandalized your body.

<strong>Sarah Bellum Mental</strong>
Sarah Bellum Mental

Sarah Bellum Mental focuses on connection through metaphors providing experiences. 

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I’d Rather be Gatsby

I’d Rather be Gatsby by Achala Gupta

The voice of the wrong
Is loud enough
To ensure that the voice
Of the right is completely
Strangled

To the voice that is already muffled
Opposed by the one that would
Leave us baffled
Bad bosses in corporates
Protester girls on streets
And lengthy jargonic tweets

The louder say
“I’m right, regardless”
Truth needs
Ears to see and eyes to hear
Reality is just a faint smear
Faulty senses never see it clear
Suppressed by fear
Pushed aside to save
What’s more dear

Truth is a second option
Brushed under the mattress of
“Socially sound” hypocrisy
And “Diplomacy”

I’d rather be Gatsby
As he rested in his coffin
With truth’s heart sobbing
If truth was a person
Her heart would be ripped apart
To watch truth’s child broken and bruised
Because maybe he wasn’t understood
Even after dying
But with the right he strived
And although he was cheated
He wasn’t the one cheating

But the epilogue chose him
Because he was the story narrated
Truth is forever contemplated
Although for truth tellers, truth is awaited

Yet,
It’s almost as if lies have replaced
An honest dialogue
Truth tellers retort to monologues
So many lies make it easy to forget reality

What would happen if we lied to each other?
And forgot all solidarity
With lies and distrust infiltrating
Here’s to the truth that’s dying
With truth tellers attending funerals
And paying their last tribute.

<strong>Achala Gupta</strong>
Achala Gupta

An undergraduate student in her second year pursuing dentistry who utilizes spare time to write poetry about nature, mental health and philosophy.

Writing is an effective way for her to capture emotions and turn them into words that can be a collection for later reference. 

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Recoil

Recoil by Christian Mejia

As my ink floods the page
Who you are becomes unclear
I can’t trust
That what I see
Is what I know
For every memory
That flashes through my mind
Becomes a reminder
That the person before me
Is someone I used to know
Looking for any indication
That the girl I knew
Is still there
As my heart reaches for hers
Seeking to answer one question
It recoils at the answer
That her beating heart
Is no longer the one that used to beat for me

<strong>Christian Mejia</strong>
Christian Mejia

Hi everyone! My name is Chris. I’m a Clinical Psychology student studying in Melbourne, Australia! 
I have always written poetry on and off since I was I teen as I way to express things emotions that I didn’t quite understand.

I’m quite a deep thinker and my emotions tend to run even deeper than my thoughts and poetry has really helped bring all of that depth to the surface.

I like to write about deep personal experiences that I have had with other people, but I also like to write about my little observations about the complicated world we live in.

My poetry is driven by the belief that life is difficult and dark, but there is always light to be found in every situation and I try to capture that in almost all my work.
I really hope you enjoy my poetry and it can speak to you in the way it speaks to me. Thank you so much for your time!

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Legos

Legos by Emilie Chau

I could build you a mansion
marble tiles, crystal chandeliers, sliding walls, and a pool
So you can drink Martinis while dipping your feet
in lukewarm water that glistens in the pale light of a crescent moon

I could construct a big enough blanket
to keep you safe from the frigid nature of the world
to protect your exposed skin
from the severe winds of our chaotic surroundings
Though you may need to sacrifice comfort
due to the hard surfaces and jagged edges

I could recreate a story
where you play the protagonist and
I am your trusty sidekick
We would go on the craziest adventures and
you would never wonder, what if
Fiction is reality when you’re dealing with bricks or

I could hold you close to me and
make you a cup of coffee at dawn to
keep you warm in our unheated home and
we could forget the fantasies
Because together is enough

<strong>Emilie Chau</strong>
Emilie Chau

Emilie is currently a senior attending high school in Oregon. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, playing the violin, and going for an easy jog.

She currently has two novels and over ten poems published online. In the future, she plans to pursue a major in creative writing and explore the many different facets of literary expression.

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Kiss the Dark

Kiss the Dark by Matthew Donovan

Irony’s not what this is. Poetic injustice, maybe.

There’s evil in me. In everyone. Even the best of us are part shadow.
It’s not something to be removed from the basket, but the ribs of the basket itself.
Some believe their dark has gone. Or worse, that it was never there.
An unearned confidence in one’s purity.
But it WAS there. And is. And will be.

What to do?
Illuminate the evil. Deal with it. Know it.
Own it. Overcome it. It can be kept in check, but never killed.
Because the downside to human morality
is the unlit corner of the soul that renders such morality necessary.

You are the impulse to do evil,
And you are the values fighting for evil’s destruction.
All of it is you. All of it is me.
We’re each Baby Hitler in the hypothetical.

Worse than the compulsion to mass destruction
Is believing there’s no such compulsion in you.
To be unaware of its presence is to be ignorant to its effect.
Why solve problems you don’t know are there?
Why fix what you don’t believe to be failing?
But it is. It’s failing you as long as it’s ignored.

Just remember…
There are no demons, only human weakness.
There are no saints, only overcomers.

<strong>Matthew Donovan</strong>
Matthew Donovan

Matthew Donovan is a retired professional firefighter and a practicing lawyer. He was born and raised in the Bronx, and lives in Ridgefield CT with his wife Stephanie and their two daughters. A graduate of Pace University School of Law, Matthew began writing poetry at age 41.

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The Stories I Want to Tell

The stories I want to tell

The Stories I Want to Tell by Kevin James

Every night, under the starry sky
I sit beside the bonfire and think of the stories I want to tell
But my lips are stitched, shoulders saddled with favors, spirit half drenched in helplessness
As I look up in the sky and wish for the dense fog of emptiness to dispel

I yearn to convey how I truly feel
Before the suppressed words devour me whole
Oh, how badly I want to ensnare my fears, insecurities
Before they get etched on my soul

I wish the people I am surrounded by were good at reading minds
Only then they’d know, in my sanity, I never agree to what they say
I nod. I stay quiet. I never emit a word of hatred
Yet, for once, I wish I could tell stories I never do without being left to my dismay.

<strong>Kevin James</strong>
Kevin James

Kevin James is a 24-year-old writer based in Florida. He’s been writing for nine years now.

He is currently pursuing computer science. Writing is more than a hobby for him. He plans to release a short poetry book in the near future.

To read more of his work, you can follow him on IG:
@wordsofkevin__

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