By Floriana Hall


Babies love to be hugged
Held tight to feel snug,
Like a bug in a rug.

Children always need to be cuddled
Reaffirming life sometimes muddled
Reducing stress sometimes subtle.

Teens may need a miracle drug
Here's what to do, give them a hug
Dark depression cover unplug.

A hug can keep adults calm
Like soothing elixer balm
Or a Bible's quoted psalm.

A hug is a natural high
Sweet and wholesome to fortify
Fully returnable to pacify.

A hug has no harmful side effects
Just rejuvenates and connects
Good mental health it perfects.

A hug is always contagious
Like a smile, warm and gracious
Heavenly and tenacious.

Hugs are here to stay
Rain or shine, come what may
To uplift spirits every day.

If you're alone, and need an embrace
Imagine God's arms filling that space.

oet and Author Floriana Berdyck Hall, born October 2, 1927 in Pittsburgh, Pa.  Wrote for CFHS newspaper, and solicited advertising while working after school. Attended Akron University Business School.

Inspired in church to write LOVE NEVER DIES, first published poem which won Editor's Choice Award in The National Library of Poetry's Anthology 'Sea of Treasures.' Has had about 400 poems published in NLP's anthologies, and in various books and magazines in the United States, Great Britain and India, winning many 1st, 2nd, 3rd prizes, many Editor's Choice Awards and Honorable Mentions. Writes poems on request. She has published books which you can learn about by going to the homepage. Floriana is a Distinguished Member of ISP-NLP, Honored Writer of Cleveland Poets and Writers League, The Famous Poet's Society, WHO'S WHO IN INTERNATIONAL POETRY, WHO'S WHO IN US WRITERS, EDITORS AND POETS, AND MARQUIS WHO'S WHO IN AMERICA. Her poetry and short stories have been compared to Poe and Hawthorne by Taj Mahal Review, India, June 2003.

Contact Floriana.

by Marie Delgado Travis

You are the only one
for whom I'd unwind  time.
We were both so young.
Before I realized the
Intricacies of
Love’s design,
Too late.
You were gone!

Wish that I could
Sprinkle the sand
in the hourglass
Dance with the minute
and second hand
Unravel the spring,
Toggle the cogs
Keep time, beat time
Seize and squeeze
and kill time,
Melt and reshape it
Until at last
You’d be mine

You are the only one
for whom
I'd unwind time.

MARIE DELGADO TRAVIS is proud of her Nuyorican roots.  She writes poetry and prose in English and Spanish.  Her poem "Bijoux" was named "Poem of the Month" by the editors of Long Story Short (April 2005).  She won Honorable Mention in a translation contest sponsored by www.languageandculture.net and is currently a Finalist in the Tom Howard Short Story Contest, www.tomhoward.info/.

Two of her pieces are scheduled to appear in a mass market anthology, CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE LATINO SOUL (August 2005).  She also writes a monthly travel column, PENNY POSTCARDS, for http://www.penwomanship.com/.

Marie and her husband, Edmunds, a retired attorney, have homes in Houston, TX and Isla Verde, PR. 

Her personal web site is: Marie DelgadoTravis
Contact Marie.

(to Debra P.)
by Russell Bittner

As we tonight stood gawking
out at chicks-in-leather hawking
(now with skin too strapped for stalking)
tricks on phones,
I rebounded when you touched me,
like a bell rung hard in belfry
up in towers set to dip down deep
in stones.

Then, like sailors set on sailing,
yet indifferent to the wailing
of four fishermen foully scaling
skin from bones,
we spoke of politics’ eclipse,
and how some men would use your hips
in hopes of finding happiness
in deadbeat zones.

Still amused, I went on thinking
about shattered towers shrinking
down like beasts of burden sinking
under groans,
till my eyes caught yours, hard shuttered,
and my lips sought yours, but stuttered,
and I felt my muse emit
in measured moans.

When you refrained from weeping
for the names now roundly sleeping,
names once happy merely keeping
heat in homes,
I looked up as you stood screening
out the sordid sounds of keening
down where Jonestown junkies moved
like metronomes.

Now, here I sit reflecting
like some ruined rogue neglecting
one heart’s need to go collecting
unpaid loans,
as I contemplate my stuttering
from within a belfry shuttering
out the knell of hell that first-blush love


(from an anagram on Patricia, in a new form called Aragman developed by S.A.M. Buttaci) See his article in this issue.
By Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Rica Pita
shakes her hips and dances
Tiara pic
clasps her crow-black hair
A Rica pit
my heart tumbles into

A car I tip
to snag her dark eyes
A CPA I tri
to increase my dollars
A cat I rip
off for her to cuddle

Riata Pic
plays her favorite film
Tapa Rici
food slips past lush lips
Capt. Ira I
appears at my shoulder

A CIA trip

Former psychology researcher, writer, editor, lecturer Patricia  Wellingham-Jones has most recently been published in Rattlesnake Review, Möbius, The Pedestal Magazine, Liberty Hill Poetry Review, Edgz, Ibbetson Street Press, HazMat Review. Her poems and articles are frequently seen in Long Story Short. She won the 2003 Reuben Rose International Poetry Prize (Israel) and is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Contact her at pwj@wellinghamjones.com

Susie N. McCray

Be patient,
Don't rush;
Fall too hard,
Love too fast.

Know him better
Before the plunge.

It will hurt
If you push,
And he rejects.

Be still,
Wait for him
To come.

I was born and raised in Memphis, TN, where I am currently a tax examiner for Uncle Sam.  I have wanted to be a writer since I was a child, and have finally gotten the courage to pursue it.  My short story, An Understanding, was published in Long Story Short's July 2005 edition (http://www.alongstoryshort.net/ANUNDERSTANDING.html) and I have had several poems published at www.poetry.com.

By Belinda Y. Hughes

Sleek grace-

ful yin yang, your

rose blooms in flight.  Thoth, the

pharaohs' scribe-god, plucks escargot

from earth.

By Belinda Y. Hughes


clear above,

"Fossil Water Lake" feeds

three hundred fifty fish below

warm silk.

Belinda Y. Hughes lives in Southwest Louisiana with her fur children, Teresa, Sweetie and Stevie.  Her work has been published in the (Lake Charles, LA) American Press and the (McNeese State University) Contraband, and many others.  Belinda recently discovered the cinquain form through a friend and, inspired by her father's recent trip to Tanzania, combined the two for a well-researched, educational and entertaining collection of Tanzanian-topic cinquains.

Contact Belinda.

By Floriana Hall

The moon is as full as a pumpkin's face, 
Air is crisper than a doily's starched lace.

The sky is as dark as a somber poem by Poe
Shadows of barren trees eerily sway below.

Wee ones in costumes creep through damp leaves
Adults follow supervising their spree.

Neighbors pass out candy to clowns and angels,
While candle flames flicker their magical spells.

Halloween brings out the whole motley gang
Of ghouls, monsters and vampires with sharp fangs.

Frightening masks of goblins and witches
Enchanted wands of fairies bewitches.

Skeletons turn over in their graves
To shiver their bones at comic charades.

And scarecrows fall apart at the seams
While brides and dancers drift into dreams.

At  daybreak, the faces of Halloween fade
But it was all in fun as a masquerade.

Floriana Hall - October 2004

Floriana Hall, born 10/2/27 in Pittsburgh, Pa., June 1945 graduate and Distinguished Alumna of Cuyahoga Falls High School, attended Akron University Business school; wrote poetry as a child, and columns for high school newspaper.   Married Robert E. Hall in 1948, five children and nine grandchildren.  Author of four inspirational books, SMALL CHANGE, DADDY WAS A BAD BOY, THE SANDS OF RHYME, and OUT OF THE ORDINARY Short Stories; at least 500 poems published in U.S., England, and India, winner of many poetry prizes.  Floriana founded the Poet's Nook at Cuyahoga Falls Library (Ohio) seven years ago and coordinates it monthly.  She edited and published The Poet's Nook's two previous books, THROUGH OUR EYES, Poems of Beautiful Northeast Ohio, and POET'S NOOK POTPOURRI, and is in the process of publishing another poetry book, titled TOUCHING THE HEARTS OF GENERATIONS, and another nonfiction book, HEARTS ON THE MEND. She feels blessed that God has inspired her to keep on writing.  WHO'S WHO IN INTERNATIONAL POETRY, WHO'S WHO IN US AUTHORS, EDITORS, AND POETS,  MARQUIS WHO'S WHO IN

By Patricia Wellingham-Jones

In the café window
on the Day of the Dead,
the raffle prize:
a junior-size motorcycle
with all the fancy gadgets,
stars and stripes painted
on the tank, shiny fenders and,
in a Halloween touch
so appropriate it brings a shudder,
two skeletons riding nowhere,
grinning and waving to the crowd.

by Russell Bittner

The garden lusts for thrill tonight
yet let us judge it fair –
the trellis, birch and pottery,
each hungry element, bare.

Hard winter’s eye upon it now
in cold, paternal glare,
stiff winter’s hand upon it now
stays rigid in repair.

Each seed lies dormant, dreaming spring,
each shooting dream, a flare –
into this longest, darkest night
to which each spring is heir.

Now here I sit and ruminate,
indulging in despair,
while seeds grow restless, birches strain
against my prurient stare.

Russell lives in Brooklyn, New York.  His poems have been published on paper by:  The American Dissident; The Blind Man’s Rainbow; The Lyric; The Barbaric Yawp; the International Journal of Erotica; and Wicked Hollow. Another poem will appear in the fall (2005) at N.O.L.A. Spleen.

On-line, his poetry can be found at: Quintessence-encouraginggreatwriting; ken*again; SpillwayReview; Erotica Readers and Writers; EdificeWrecked; GirlsWithInsurance; ThievesJargon; SalomeMagazine; LauraHird; MadHattersReview; and DropDeadDublin.  Additional poems will appear in Sept. at SouthernHum, JustusRoux  and OpiumMagazine; and sometime in the fall at PlumBiscuit (a journal of the New York Writers Guild); at 3 a.m.; and at Zygote in my Coffee.

Russell completed his first novel, Trompe-l’oeil, in September of 2004 and his second, Girl from Baku, in June of 2005.  Both are going through agents faster than a greyhound goes through giblets.

He can be found at <RRB@POBox.com>.

The spotted pointer
By Patricia Wellingham-Jones

races across the road
oblivious to the striding human
Dips muzzle in ditch
sweeps front paw
through sliding water
Excited yips at tiny fish
flashing in the narrow channel
Again he doesn’t catch breakfast

Former psychology researcher, writer, editor, lecturer Patricia Wellingham-Jones has most recently been published in Rattlesnake Review, Möbius, The Pedestal Magazine, Liberty Hill Poetry Review, Edgz, Ibbetson Street Press, HazMat Review. Her poems and articles are frequently seen in Long Story Short. She won the 2003 Reuben Rose International Poetry Prize (Israel) and is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Contact her at pwj@wellinghamjones.com

by Marie Delgado Travis

Almost gone --
The remnants of
Our time together.

Wilted heather.
Cold, pelting rain.

Blurred etchings on
My window pane.

Hollow footsteps,
Vacant park.

Votive candle
Choking in the dark.

Faded now...

Almost completely washed away.

The searing pain,
Those caustic stains
You left embedded in my brain.