my hopes falter as the lilac smokes twist the bones of my lungs but euphoria visits and i think we will be fine.

of Vlad Bagacian

I thought I could only imagine the odd frequency between two bodies and how the uncertainty flowed under the covers of thin skins as electric currents. But I failed myself when I experimented on its factual assessment through a planned meeting sans any sheds of expectations. I stood on the hard, cold ground as I searched for your foreign face in the sea of more unfamiliar gazes. Since you had a pair of focused lens in your eyes, you walked to my lost figure and named yourself. I flashed a huge grin, a genuine bliss in a powerhouse memory, but a splash of doubt crashed on your face. I did not know how to pursue further.

I clasped the neck of a light conversation to water down the tension we built, but it met its fate of no success. Thus, I continued to appear interested when I wanted to hide under the white sheets of the winter’s embrace. No, dear, I would not blame you for the tight string we laced between us, but perhaps it would be better if you could own a slice of it as yours. Drenched in the frost of the afternoon’s tears, we drank juices and coffees while we talked about the mundane dilemmas of ourselves: your distrust towards a Queen country in Europe and my romantic and lustful affair with your city. In a graceful manner, we found solidarity. In a quiet descent, we collapsed on a common ground.

The static haze of yellow lights blessed us with morality and renewed vigor. The supposed lack of appeal of a modest series of talks formed into a burning star, blinking hard in the universe. I began to see a union of hope in my heart and a reshaped perspective on features of you. I noticed, out of the blue, how the strained smile of yours was just a natural image I wanted to keep.

There was a flick of unforeseen surprise from my eyes when your mouth moved and sculpted the words, “we should meet again.” The wonders of the world brought their innocence to me that I thawed from a solid marble to a puddle of melted clay, all due to the waves of your confident words. Should I stutter? Should I speak clearly? My ideas were burned until my mind turned blank. But in the end my head nodded.

You asked me if I would mind a short walk to shake the sleeping veins of our bodies and I responded with a determined “no”, forgetting about the zero degree Celsius outside the establishment. But as a slave of the lascivious period, I donned my long coat and blue scarf, and walked with you to greet the November night outside.

As our two pairs of feet found their sync, our heads were bowed in a solemn mood. How funny it must have looked! Once we reached a parking spot, you turned to me and tried to break a small farewell. I grinned at your timid attempt; perhaps I would have done it in such manner too. I spearheaded the goodbye with a message you threw at me earlier: “we should meet again.”

The qualms closed their eyes as they swam to their beds. My heart soared to my throat until my lungs pumped blocks of delirious oxygen. My hopeful eyes stared at your earnest ones. “We should,” you said. And the cosmos cried out of happiness.


WORD COUNT: 572

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those we meet today might be ghosts. they might not come back, not even once.

of Creative Vix

Have you ever felt the crawl of deception into your skin? There. Right there under the crest of your breast. Place your two fingers on that area and feel the burn of your heart. No, not your skin. It has been stripped since you let the chaos reigned in your soul. You need not to prepare for a small goodbye. The fountain of tears you let to flow will no longer return. I want you to savor the pain as much as you can. You will neither feel it again, nor the electric bliss.

I opened the windows of my warm heart to the famished crowd, tearing it into pieces to lend to each dying spirit. Nobody returned to me what I had nurtured for the being. I sat on the chair made out of my fragile sensitivity to watch the calm sea rocked its fluid daughter. The peace, the solitude and the beauty enthralled the remnants of my bones. I cried all night long.

Before I went to sleep, I lit a red candle and watched its wax turn from solid to thick liquid then back to its former appearance. It did not multiply or divide, but a fixture of an equal amount. It magnified on the bedside table, but if formed into a hollow stick, regardless of perfectionism and style, the same picture would rise. The yearning aggravated and gravitated towards the hope that a mirror would reflect the sight into my body. Yet who was this outspoken and vulgar presence to have the audacity to wish?

Of course, I slept with anguish. Which right must I have to order justice for my forgotten presence? Or rather which person must I bend to for my woes? This holy presence stood in solidarity with nobody’s fingers and love. How must it learn to lock the gates of its lungs to the laughters and free minds of the other souls? By experience recalled its magic.

Night after night, the broken landfill of the mind rose into a forest of thick and tall trees with their leaves, so green and abundant, that brought nothing but its faith in wisdom. The disappointment drank the fuel and burned itself until it turned to dust and the wind carried it back to the desert. The longing spoke no longer.

The wounds of the katana will remain on your worn-out skin, but wear them well and with pride for you survived the revolution. The remoteness restructures itself as a belief of independence where the cities gleam with true string lights and without blue. The winter will come again, but the fire of your sanctuary, now revived once more, will only provide heat to self. The pride blooms with contentment. You are home now.

A million gratitude flies to the homeless souls you met before. Now we soar to the limitless sky and never wait for the growth they lose.


WORD COUNT: 484

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i am neither a scientist nor a mathematician, but probably a little logic runs in my mind.

of Greyson Joralemon

The train is here. I have zipped all my bags; their vibrations reverberated on my skin. I did not bring any of my clothes. I left them in the apartment. I will find another job, far from this city, and the first money I will earn will be for my clothes. I will search for a cheap apartment in the next place. Probably in the first year, I will have to share the fees with someone. All I hope is to meet someone kind and nice enough to share an apartment with me. These plans make me stable and stay in control.

I thought I would cry when it happened. The first words were sure to induce pain. I bore with them all and held my stance. There was confusion, but not anything more than that. You sat on the couch with your arms on your knees. You sighed again. Would you have wanted me to hold your hand as you weighed over your decision? Or would you have preferred that I stayed in my disposition?

I crossed my arms and looked at your distressed figure. You must have had thought about this during your spare time before you acted. Your bent figure showed the relief. I couldn’t help, but smile a little. I dropped the grin when your eyes shot towards my direction. You asked me if I thought you were a humorous fellow to laugh at. I answered that I had never thought of you this way, but I knew you always danced in the sun.

You hated the coldness in me. You despised that I did not have the ordinary reaction of someone who was in a relationship. You longed for someone who could feel the same way you did; someone who was in the same velocity as you did. You told me how you wanted me to match the rhythm you had so we could flow in the same river. You hoped I could take some sacrifices to align my stars next to yours.

But I was restless and stubborn. I did not believe in the obligations of relationships. I did not raise myself to listen to the orders of others and restrict myself from the freedom I craved. I did not become the person anyone could mold to their liking. I did not choose to have you, after all your attempts, for you to let me know how you refused the accept whoever I was at the end. I did this out of my desire and choice. I was nobody’s person.

You told me how analytical my actions were as if I was a calculating villain in your hypocrite world. I told you I did not need you, but you had insisted to invade my personal affairs with life, God and nature. And I had allowed you to do so. You needed me when you did not have to. You had yourself to rely on.

I asked you if you were done with your lamentations. You curled your fingers and asked me if did I ever love you. I told you I would pack my bags and leave.

The doors of the train open. The sky is gray and the rain will soon fall. The passengers descend from the train–some men and women in uniform cry as they see their families. Nobody takes a step to go inside the train in this hour. I walk to the open doors and set my feet in the cabin. It is time to go.


WORD COUNT: 586

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i feel comfortable. i feel uncomfortable. i do not feel the same.

of Ruvim Noga

It crawls under my skin like a familiar blood in veins. It drinks the vigor that lives in my body and tells my mind about how lying works. I snatch the bundle of papers I set aside earlier this week and notice the same underlined words. The progress stops at the last sentence of the first paragraph on the second page of the 25-page reviewer. The final exam looms until it shows itself this week. It is Sunday today and I do not have anything on my mind, but excuses. Perhaps I will fail this exam.

The words clutter themselves as I try to digest their comprehensive connotations. The basic idea I have learned so far is how the quantity demanded falls as the price of a good rises. Or how it rises if the price falls. I am quite sure I have read the right material for this topic. I am confident I have written the correct idea. But after the first page, I flip and see a new set of topics to learn aside from what I have studied. I suddenly think of the fiction books I was bound to finish. I put aside the Economics papers and pick up the fiction book.

The story talks about the serenity of an affair, far from the world, financial and economic crisis and their foundation. I flick the pages with ease and excitement, trying to find my way at the end of the story. After a few hours, I finish it. It was not as satisfying as I thought it would be, but it quenched the thirst I had for reading. I stretch my body and the bundle of papers beside the book catches my attention. They look at me again to remind me of my exam.

Sometimes, I ask myself if I am in my right disposition. Since it does not make me feel gratified at all, I am sure I am on the wrong planet. But why do I still continue? Perhaps to prove myself I can mold myself into anyone for anything, or to tell myself it is what the world wants unlike the realm I create in my head.

It feels restricting and suffocating, but somehow there is a sense of warmth that seems indescribable. I read all the numbers in written form and their accompanying explanations, and I can sense a wide smile on my lips as I grasp the thought. Though the strong pull of the manifested realms I have tried to shelve breaks the barrier and whispers into my ear, “why do you paint yourself in a presidential coat and tie when your body rests in plain white shirt splashed in technicolor?”

I run where the water flows. I become the obligation my passion despises. The choices I have made embrace my stiff body as the fireworks in my heart mock my actions. No longer the old picture, I feel comfortable. I feel uncomfortable. I do not feel the same.

I pick up the Economics papers and read the second page. I grab my red colored pencil from its case. I highlight the essential ideas I should understand. I do not understand them, but I know I should. At least, I had better try.


WORD COUNT: 541

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the forgotten story about the old roses in the tub of water and blood.

of Janko Ferlič

He would meet with her again. She had called him earlier about her recent relapse. She had told him over the phone about the dark stars in her eyes. He had not rushed as he had taken a taxi to her place. He had spent the minutes in peace.

She was not crying, but she was telling stories. After the dark stars, she started to tell him about the roses he had given and she had kept. Her lips were moving with grace as she reminded him of the night he had given those roses to her. “Your hopelessness can’t keep up with mine so you fell apart first before I did,” she chuckled. He did too, but with a hint of pain.

The midnight came close as the driver travelled the lonesome road. The neon lights of the shops flashed as he passed each. The bright, painful colors intoxicated him with pleasure. “I think I’m close to your place,” he said.

“You’ve forgotten about it,” she whispered.

“Of course, I did. It has already been a year.”

“Did you miss this voice?” she said.

He told the taxi driver to stop. He paid him before he got off. He looked at the old building in front of him. The window on the fifth floor had a lit light. “You’re still on the fifth?”

“You’ve forgotten about it,” she whispered.

“Of course.” He fished out the backup key he kept and opened the gate. He opened her apartment door and found a pristine room. As if she did not live here at all. He called her name and she answered from the bathroom. He found her naked in the tub, swimming in water and blood. He face had gone pale from the blood loss. “You came,” she said.

“Of course.”

He stripped naked and sat on the floor, beside the tub. He looked at her and noticed the exhaustion in her eyes. She leaned on the rim of the tub, her gaze unwavering. He touched her hand, but she pulled away. She thrummed her fingers on his wrist. It was a gratifying sensation to feel his pulse on her cold skin.

His eyes went to the wrists she cut. He did not touch the open wounds, but let the blood flow out of the slit. “What were you telling me earlier?” He asked.

“Oh, that…” she paused. “Did you bring any roses?”

He shook his head. Her sad smile pained his heart. “I wish you did.” She laid her head on the rim of the tub and closed her eyes. He took her hand and this time, she did not pull away. He kissed its palm and placed it on his cheek. He positioned himself close to her lips, almost touching, and closed his eyes.


WORD COUNT: 465

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to “this friend” i lost, i hope to see you again.

of Lee Scott

It is a somber Sunday. The air feels heavy and dark, and the skies cry. As I sit on the bed, I recount all the words I have told someone before. I had this friend I treated as sibling. I will call this person as “this friend” in this post to refrain the mention of the gender. I think it must be kept as a secret.

This friend and I had a keen relationship. We talked about both light and burdensome issues. I looked at this friend as a figure to follow. I loved this friend’s opinionated nature and strong sense of will. These two characteristics almost always stood out and they became the reason why I felt an intense connection in a pure platonic manner. I knew I would always cherish this friend.

Perhaps I did this friend wrong for we lost connection. I was left in a clueless forest without clues to cue me in. I was searching for reasons why the gap between us widened or why did we stop talking at all. It was a forgotten relationship, buried in the past. And to tell you I hurt is an understatement. It is not a sense of betrayal, but perhaps more than that. It is a painting with mixtures of unidentified colors and a big hole at the middle of the canvas.

As I look at the sky outside my bedroom, I could not help, but miss this friend. I miss almost everything about this friend. I wish we could talk again, tell each other about the new concepts we have in our minds or the new paths we have taken. I wish I could ask this friend for a strong advice again; to somewhat assure me about my actions. But I could not do it any longer. Our lines are disconnected and I could only think of this friend in my memory.

I thought what I had with this friend is a sibling relationship. Perhaps I thought wrong; perhaps I thought wildly, leaving behind my rational mind. I suppose I failed this friend in some sense. Perhaps it did not work the way we wanted it.

I do not wish this friend any harm, but good graces instead. I can imagine how content this friend is through the secondhand information I receive from my close colleagues. I am grateful for this friend’s new journey in life without my presence. This friend of mine, I know, deserves only the best possible happiness and life.

To “this friend”: perhaps you will not know this is about you, my friend. But just in case you feel it, I am grateful to have met you and have created those long-lasting memories with you. I would not sacrifice anything for those times. At last, my friend, we could be free again. If I ever see you in the future, I hope we can talk about the present while we drink beers or cups of teas.

But let us not start from the bottom or pick up where we left off. It will just make me want to have our past relationship again.


WORD COUNT: 521

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by dusk later.

of Gift Habeshaw

If the trees move their fingers with the hymn of the winds, could you stay to watch it? Could you lock your eyes in the heart of the dying tree and tell this mighty entity that “you have been loved without regrets”? The water in the lake creeps up to my lungs and it fills my mouth with sorrow. I can only hope for your actions without any promises; I can only wait. But the dusk will come soon and I will, by then, no longer have the time to speak to you. I am familiar with the anger you host in your heart and I know how my apology will only fall apart before it reaches your ear. I am no foreign in the dark country you live in your head, but I want to share a lamp inside your veins even if you do not let me. If you could only allow me to light a candle in your soul before I leave, then I could sleep in peace. If you would only let me run my dry fingers on your skin, then I would not lose my way to the gates of the blue skies. I wish you would forget about the fire I set and rest beside me. Just before the sunset tonight. And then tomorrow, do not worry, I will leave you be.


WORD COUNT: 228

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martini glasses.

of Jon Tyson

The martini glasses fall apart when the wet skins of our bodies touch. My lungs hyperventilate and it shakes the core of my insides. I gasp and your cold, gray eyes look at me. The heated, stubborn gaze replaces the unfaltering kindness earlier. The midnight clock hums forgiveness for not keeping an eye on my curfew. Outside the dark bar, from the windows across your seat, I see the stars bleed pleasure. They whisper into my ears to relish the lust of the night, for tomorrow I can always forget how to breathe. But the stars lack the bond I seek. And in the corner of the universe, I hear the moon cries. Its soft, pleading voice sifts through my mind to tell me to rethink the eagerness. A shock reverberates my veins ad your curls your fingers around my wrist. I gulp the intuition of the false ambiance, but it sticks at the room of my throat. You rub your thumb against my wrist and grin. I can always pretend this is just another irrational drive. But do I ever listen?


WORD COUNT: 186

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ten seconds.

of David Zawila

one, two, three.
do you hear it?
that sound.
the clock keeps counting
when the heart stops breathing.
and it could only find a way
to you.

four, five, six.
do you even hear it?
that horrible thunder.
the voice of my rough throat
keeps singing your name
when your lips stop speaking.
and it could only build a home
with you.

seven, eight, nine
do you listen to it?
that far, unknown tone.
the foreign hands
keeps searching for your body
when someone else already
lies beside it.
and they could only cry
for you.

ten.
what now?
can you try to at least listen to it?
before it dies
now that it flickers;
before it leaves
now that it starts to sleep.

what now?
should we forget?
if only there is a way.
can you try to at least listen?
to me.
hear me out.
just for ten seconds.

hear me out.


WORD COUNT: 154

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hot summer nights.

of Diego PH

The hot summer nights wake up. They leave you thirsty for the lust you have not yet tasted before. They produce summer bodies for your tongues and lies, and they do not know any remorse or faith. The hot summer nights thaw the frost of your lungs as the fingers of the strangers crawl on your wet skin. The turns and falls of your abdominal senses reach its peak and all you can do is moan, to the rare pleasure that only exists if you will not remember them at all. These hungry hands and skins devour you to your sugary death. You know nothing about religion, but your will speaks to you about the sacrifice you must make to earn the luscious wreck of the heat. For every graze you feel is an amount of indulgence no words can paint. The hot summer nights ask you to cave in, but there is a hesitation in your wild eyes. Not any longer, do not worry, once you taste the cherry syrup of the genderless body. Tomorrow, you can always leave, but without amnesia of your sins.


WORD COUNT: 186

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alone in the woods.

of Annie Spratt

I try to find the lost poet in the woods, to talk to him about the words I hide. The elves tell me whenever I step my feet on the mud path that I can only find the poet if my heart is filled with glory of loss. Yesterday, I dosed the fire we had with the lake water. Today, I think it is enough to find the poet. But after waiting for thousands of dusk, I begin to think the poet is a myth. I am the reader who trusts the craft designed to fool its audience. As I walk back to the open road, tonight the adventure ends, I hear a whisper somewhere in the thick green trees, like a forgotten dove finally coming home. I follow the soft voice until I find the water that runs. It flows endlessly without any remorse. As I look below, I see the poet–clear in its broken image. His sharp features of melancholy engulf me with tremendous light. I am somewhat settled. I dip my head in the water to talk to him, to tell him about all the words I hide. I am free from all the worries. I find sanctuary in his own words and thoughts after a sorrowful shade of conversation. I raise my head and look again at the marvelous beauty of the poet in the water. With grace and prowess, I sink my lips into his and fall.


WORD COUNT: 242

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winter spirit.

of Andrei Lazarev

The winter sings after the summer falls. I am left without a clue in a stricken path, away from any sense of light. My lungs are wired with electricity, but it only flickers until it dies. The air, oh the holy oxygen, how will it breathe by your grace? I kneel on the pavement, the cold cement kisses my bruised knees without courtesy, hoping that my mouth bleeds the anger I have consumed as I picture your demons in my head. “Hold and touch me before you sacrifice me,” I pray. To the underworld. To the holy gods of the land of death. To the hiding pastors in the woods, quiet in their soothing laughters and broken philosophies. I cry and scream as I wait for the rain. Why not the rain? It is almost nonsense to snow if all the white flakes will only turn to liquid. I shout at the dark clouds to not be abashed and show themselves to my pleas. The first raindrop falls followed by a thousand army. To you, my loveliest dear, who left me where we met before, I will create a spell for you. May your ship always sail to me for harmony and peace shall never be redeemed without my salvation. And this lifeline, my dying grace, is the enchantment I will never forego for you.


WORD COUNT: 225

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two different bodies.

of Andrei Lazarev

I rest my head on the hills of your chest. Our exposed bodies kiss, but there is no sensual blood to flow. It is a platonic touch. While you smoke your cigarette, I listen to the warmth of your heart. Your oxygen fills the air with haze of toxin, but I lovingly welcome each strands of white smoke into my lungs. We are both fragile, two collided worlds lost in the stream of life. But even if we piece the sadness we find in ourselves, we cannot fit the way we want to. Different cravings cloud our heads and hearts. While you want a body with the same features as you have, I want mine as sculpted as possible. Where can we ever find them if they only take one look at us before they give up? We hole into our little space we call home. In here, we devour our frustrations and feed our anxieties with experiments–that maybe it is us all along. But it all feels misplaced, somehow. We always end up with thousands of questions. We give up in the end, but we do not sacrifice this sanctuary for anything else. Your heart skips for a moment and I raise my head to look at you. I hate the hint of smile in your eyes. I know now you have found her. And, somehow, I embrace the irrational hate I feel towards you.


WORD COUNT: 236

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the sound of bullets.

of Matt Howard

I ask myself if I am worthless or, at least worthy of anything? The demons in my circle demand a sacrifice and I cannot choose between dignity and bravery. But when the headmaster’s tongue lick my lips, I start to cry. Nobody shall cry in the circle. The whips of rumors and lies graze my skin until it bleeds and I feel numb. They ask me again–the demons. I look at them with my white eyes, lost in the forest of burning trees and crepitating branches, and surrender both my dignity and bravery for slavery. And now what I only hold is the sound of bullets through the laughter of mouths. The shrill of scream and gun replace the tick of the clock and it has become my sweet-sounding wind; my forbidden nature where I rest my bones. Sometimes too I ask myself which one can make me feel slightly worthy: the ring of a shot in my throat or the others? And I have found the answer when I pull the trigger in everyone’s head.


WORD COUNT: 176

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black flower.

of April Morales

Sometimes I reflect on the shore of the violet sea about being late, just like this time. I ask myself, “am I late to experience the flutters the others feel when someone holds them or grasps their fingers?” I draw a circle on the sand to mirror the cycle I am in. I have closed myself from availability; too afraid that what comes from the outside of my box will only destroy than nurture me. Or is it that I have the bars too high to reach for anyone? I hope not. I will consider this as fear the–of being spoken by another’s mouth or being called by another’s attention. For years that I have locked myself in my own asylum, I have forgotten to see the sun or even how hot it feels. I can only imagine its beauty, but never its feeling. As the waves crash on the shore in this afternoon, I look at the couple, too far from my reach on my right, with longing. They are drenched in sweet syrup and, like the curse embedded in heart, I can only feel anything, but happiness for them. I have watered myself into a flower filled with sorrow and selfishness. And now that I am here, I do not know how to kill it.


WORD COUNT: 217

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