Guest Feature: Recovery Looks a Lot Like Picking Up a Paintbrush~Samantha Rose

My skin isn’t paper
But that doesn’t stop me from carving the weight of the world
Into my wrists,
Crimson blood tiger stripes

Or from ripping apart the pages of a story
I never asked to be in
Don’t judge a book by its coverup
That is, pant legs and long sleeves

And betting on depression
Is like gambling with slits instead of slots,
The butterflies in my stomach
Are wingless wasps

But sometimes, scars do fade
And one day when I picked up a paintbrush
My story came back to me,
One letter at a time

And I saw my skin was flecked with gold instead of blood
The punctured veins on my hands became sapphire cracks
Ochre and acrylics filled my broken lungs
Instead of black tar and mothballs

And now, when I say my skin is a canvas
I mean to say
Not that I bleed in vivid color
But that I have paint running through my veins,

And you may often find me sketching ink roses on my wrists
And walking tightropes of guitar strings and poetry ~


*You can read more of Samantha Rose’s work on
Existential Poetry



Bummer you lost touch
Bummer you know too much
Bummer I came here
Bummer I went back there
Bummer your wife’s in love
with a barman
overworked and underpaid
Bummer for you, man!

Bummer, another body without a name
Bummer, no one’s to blame
Bummer, sexual abuse in the hall of fame
Bummer, you have a black curl
Bummer, it’s a girl
Bummer, swearing goes on air, breakfast’s ready
Bummer, pharmacy and deadly viruses going steady
Bummer, I can’t say a Negro and a fag
without someone seeing red
Bummer, I call both Mom
Bummer, they came to my prom
Bummer, you’re jobless
and healthless
(Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?)

Bummer! Pope Francis blesses a pedophile priest
Bummer! Tabloid journalism is a starving beast
Bummer! Sensationalism in presidential elections
Bummer! Politics is no place for political correctness
Highbrowed literary critics
buried one more poem today
out-of-touch elitists, pseudo-intellectuals
and pretentious jerks cheered YAY!!!
leaning over the coffin
Wow, what a bummer!

Bummer, fake news on a nuclear war while
I fucked myself on all fours
I need to get laid
Bummer, you’re a whore!


*You can read more of Bojana’s work at Blogging with Bojana

Trapped – Chris Nelson

Did you miss me

When my smile died

And my mouth would not move?

When the light that burned for you

Flickered low and, starved of fuel,

Fell silent still behind

Dead eyes?

Did you miss me

When you held my hand

And felt the skin replaced by ice?

When you looked beyond the veil

To gather moments to bring me back

To capture all that you

Had lost?

Did you miss me

As trapped behind the glass

My cries fell like snowflakes?

Did you miss me then

As much as I missed



© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2018


If you enjoyed this, thank you! To read more please visit chrisnelson61

AUTODIDACT – A.G. Diedericks


I’m uneducated

punktuated by subversion

My verses run grades in reverse

I see only art in my continuum

I am averse to your curriculum

There’s no path for me in math

No rhythm in my algorithm

No symmetry in my poetry

I bastardize

established linguistics

I do it

Just to smite the elitist erudite

My philosophy is detached from your morphology

My beleaguered elocution

poisons Ivy league institutions

I am an alumnus

from the college of sacrilege

This is the narrative of a native

in class with the iconoclasts

We block the conjecture

I put a sock in the lecturer; Leave
’em annoyed

As i rock to the literature of pink floyd

I’m tryin’ to hold this mic, but my fingers keep slippin’

like Sigmund Freud

Diving ~ Brandewulf and Susan Richardson


Harboring dark thoughts
Blasted by my beseeching
You walked into light

Facing the darkness
You dove into dying eyes
Voice resurrected

Your words from selfless places
United strangers

Steeped in liquid verse
I sift through your fragile bones
Music weaves through time

World I think I feel
Through eyes that hear in color
You teach me to see

Souls bare on the page
Language threads us together
You give me new eyes

© Copyright Brandewulf and Susan Richardson 2018

Into the Light ~ Maggie Lawson


Watch the moths crawl
from cocoons and flock
to fleeting light
like it’s the moon.

life, love and hope are clichéd,
glistening like sunlight
on stormy leftovers
only to evaporate
in the heat of day.

hugs are Morse-coded on shoulders
of headless mannequins
and the light of love mantra
is megaphoned
to drown out the wailing sands
of far off beaches.

love is a singular phenomenon.

Crowded beneath a single lamp post
the thrum of dim wings
dusts the air with infertility
as the blind crave photons,
a single moment of illumination
in the ever present darkness.

Heads tilt to fill ears
with thick spread jam
carried on dull knives.

How dare we stare at the sun
until we see nothing at all.

May shame peel the skin
from our soft hands
and amputate eyelids,
send comfort scurrying
like cockroaches
in the piercing light
of dark truth.

So relieved to be home
from the war
that we refuse to count
those we left behind,
the absent in our worlds
of one.

Instead we fall,
each Sunday morning,
to calloused knees
whilst the baby is home

©Copyright Maggie Lawson 2018

Maggie chews crayons here: The Art of Chewing Crayons


A dull sky. Rain falling down in perfect vertical lines
uninterrupted by celebratory gunfire shooting vertically into the air
Cold-blooded rain of bullets falling to earth short of kinetic energy
during the liturgy read from the prayer-book by a clergyman.
People killed in the Philippines by falling bullets in the rain.
The body and blood of Christ in the mouths
commemorating the Last Supper.

Dad pounds back a few beers after work. Home, he
pounds on the kitchen table cos dinner’s not served
before beckoning to his wife. Hey, you!
You’re begging to be pounded, aren’t you?
As she screams into a pillow.
The little girl’s heart pounds while she stares at warm summer rain
pounding on the window pane.

Envious rain watching us arch and writhe, eavesdropping
pelting rain glistening like lips when I spread for you.
Rain under the sheets grabbed with both hands, dripping.
Thoughts of a sudden burst of vivid sunshine.

Patchy drizzle pregnant with hope. 3,000 per day, they bray,
flee to conquer the sea
Callous rain falling mercilessly on conflicts, persecutions and poverty.
Fat raindrops stinging like mosquitoes. That’s sure bad news,
utters a spokesperson somberly
with the iPhone X in his hand.
Threatening rain whipping asylum seekers in wooden vessels
with pebbles in their pockets. 14 deaths per day
they (almost sadly) say.
Boats wrecked off the coast of Lampedusa, a slaughter of innocents
Europe’s welcoming scorn poured on Les Misérables, a slaughter of survivors.
Indifferent rain hammering relentlessly everywhere they go.

Dark-hued rain stalking
a child suicide bomber, waist encircled by an explosive belt,
and his big brother who never smelled
a pussy. Virgins in his head,

A single sunbeam breaking through a thick cloud.
A messenger. So-called.
Text me.
Oh shoot, I forgot my cell again. Age-old

Fidgety rain sitting impatiently on a cloud watching a funeral procession for
murder victims
of another school shooting.
Don’t sweat it, shouts Big Daddy. We won’t forget it.
I’m no vulture. But why don’t we celebrate our gun culture a wee bit more
for it’s like horticulture and agriculture.
Substituting, instituting, executing.

A man given a restraining order for punching his wife,
mother of his newborn, in rain-drenched Munich
Savage rain sadistically falling on a prostitute on Bourbon Street
beaten by a pimp with the resurrection cocktail in his hand.

A nonchalant rain of fluffy dandelion seeds along the Danube
blown away high. Make a wish.
I saw dead fish
floating with plastic bottles in a fountain by the Louvre.

Drops of wind-driven water falling from the sky
after a rear-end collision on Highway 17 near Lexington Parkway.
The driver of the fifth ejected from his car. Motionless.
Multiple insurance carriers determining fault.
A boy hit by the thunderbolt
in central Laos when he
saw her dancing barefoot in the torrential rain.
Thunderstorms strike southern England overnight
selfies under the sky dropping icy stones
the size of grapes interrupted by a bolt of lightning. A lucky escape.
Occasional gusts of wind expected in days to come.

Driving through the car wash
splashing and squelching our way through
a sudden downpour of kisses.

An autistic child kicked off a commercial flight
in Belgrade and Portland. A threat in sight followed by a frantic rain of insults.
Mary Poppins forgot her umbrella.

A war veteran soaked to the skin
in a country that doesn’t even begin
to deal with anything, let alone him, soaked to the skin.

The intoxicating earthly scent when rain falls on dry soil.
Stone and fluid flowing in the veins of Greek gods
rain-smelling air, much needed rain in
African and Australian droughts.

Praise rained down on recent grads in
a transition economy changing from central planning
to a free market. Promising rain.
The daunting future, fear moms and dads
waving proudly at their grads.
Rain’s thudding. Hopelessly.

Rain falling on her head like falling in love.
A tap left running.
Rain in my heart. Rain running down my cheeks
on a wet winter’s day when
I thought I lost us.

Peach Pit Heart~Susan Richardson

His fingers twist into my mind,
crushing my courage into splinters of tin.
He calls me feeble as I weep and choke.
I tumble into the pitch.

Falling through tendrils of despair,
he grabs my feet and
pulls me under jagged waves,
a rage of teeth slicing
through my papery shell.

Voices erupt in a frenzy that crashes
into walls slathered in misery.
He turns my fingertips to ash
and batters my bones,
until the ache is unbearable.

I unravel in his palm, a plaything
for him to mock and cajole.
He locks the doors with dead bolts
and tears out my peach pit heart.

His grasp is ruthless and breaks
me into fragments of hopelessness
that sink through cracks in the floor.
I scramble to gather the pieces
and build a fortress to strangle
the embers of self-loathing.
Thoughts of escape are threads
that snag and pull on my skin.

A sprig of light trickles onto
my tongue and I close my mouth
around the possibility of hope.
I writhe and kick through
shattering anguish, climb out of the
dark throat of depression
and bare my shoulders to the sun.

*This was originally published in Literary Juice

You can read more of Susan’s work on her blog, “Stories from the Edge of Blindness”.

Sal Volatile

The Art of Chewing Crayons

I caught the scent of you
carried on the tongue
of a southerly breeze,
just the slightest taste
of familiarity.

Not enough to say
you were here,
but that you were


I pulled my collar upright, tight
as though to keep you out
but still you came
from skies bruised
by your outburst.

I caught the scent of you,
wished you were gone,
dissolved, more than
a half-eaten memory
on my plate.

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Eve’s Curse


She moved like the simmering storm,

Swept in from an ocean

Which festered in its anger

Like a child whose petulance grew

Bitter berries beneath a compromised sky,

Aching shoulders, back bent twisted

Head hung like a knife blunted

Her eyes still razor sharp

Raised above the bruised horizon

Cut the rain like sorrows parting,

Loose skin caught by the whispering wind

Its map folds trapped

And blurred at the edges

Roads that once led south and west

Smudges smeared like fallen fruit beneath the boot,

Carried like carrion the black shadow wings

Swept on like Arctic winter

With nowhere to go

A desperate curse upon the land

Her eyes burned blackened by hope.

© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2018

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