by Floriana Hall

Whispering winds and murmuring branches,
Pirouetting leaves and misty enhances,
Chirping birds and scampering squirrels
The beginning of autumn soon unfurls.
Autumn with its colorful mask,
Remnants of summer, sun to bask,
So delightful, vivid and serene,
Slowly changes to a winter scene.
Crunch of leaves beneath tramping feet
As trails of forest and open fields meet
Brings peace of mind, a new diversion
On each and every fall discursion.
Howling winds and brisk cold air
Swirling leaves glide with a flair,
Now we know how autumn teases,
Now we know why autumn pleases.
A time of year thats so enchanting
A time of life that God is granting.
Before the storm.

by Floriana Hall

A little blonde wisp of a girl
With a little blond wisp of a curl
Sitting all alone in the sandbox.
A brilliant 'sun in the sky' day
But there's no one else in the park to play
With the little blonde girl in the sandbox.
A warm summer morn in September
A school day for some to remember
But the little blonde girl sits alone in the sandbox.
A bucket and shovel in hand
A lop-sided castle, a mound of sand
The little girl throws sand in the air and her hair.
Her mother watches her play
On this peaceful unforgettable day -
Cherished child, not really alone, in the sandbox.
The morning passes too soon
The sun climbs high in the noon
The little girl tires of the sandbox.
Mother and daughter walk home hand in hand
After brushing all of the sand
Off the little blonde girl in the sandbox.
A glass of milk, macaroni and cheese,
A cookie, a hug and a kiss to please
The little girl sprinkled by dust of the sandman.
A simple, compatible day to share
The lovely time of her life when she took care
Of her little girl who sat and played in the sandbox.
The little blonde girl may never recall
That September day when she had it all,
Her mother, the sun and harmony of the sandbox.
Floriana Hall

by Joy Helsing 

there are poems
that make you feel good
even when sad
a shadow lifts
a door opens
into a new room
life makes more sense
even if it 

While an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire, Joy Harold Helsing won two top awards for poetry in the Atlantic Monthly student writing contests.  Her work has appeared in  the Aurorean, Bellowing Ark, Lynx Eye, The Lyric, The Mid-America Poetry Review, Mobius, Nanny Fanny, The National Poetry Review, Rattlesnake Review, Tiger's Eye, Tundra, the Unrorean, and other publications.  In 2005 she published her first book, Confessions of the Hare (PWJ Publishing), and she has also published three chapbooks:  The Great Snail Race (PWJ Publishing), Waiting for Winter (Poet's Corner Press), and faceted eye (author published).  After many years in San Francisco she now lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California Cntacct Joy.

by Kenneth Brown

I heard the faint click, 
I dare not look down.
Am I to meet my end? 
To go out with a loud,

It seems so unfair, 
I was almost there, 
only 30 days left. 
At least I don't have to be scared,

Surely death will come quick, 
painless, I think. 
It'd be much worse to hang, 
life will end in a blink,
of an eye. 

There's no time to cry, 
I have to move fast. 
It may not be too late, 
to avoid the charged 

And if I survive, 
will I still have my feet? 
Will me legs be intact, 
shall I risk the retreat.
Or stand here in place, 
I just couldn't endure,
life in a wheelchair, 
taking footsteps...
no more.

These Things I Promise You
by Gary Carter
Read by Kimberly James at Desiree Carter &
      Dominic Kasper's wedding reception 
                   June 9 2007
Across the years, my beloved,
    These things I promise you
That I will love you always, in all ways,
    And remain forever true
I will keep you warm when you are cold
    I will help you sing your song
And, if you should grow weak along the way,
    I will keep you strong
I  will dance with you under midnight stars,
    And as we sail life's stormy seas,
I promise that there will always be a rainbow in our sky,
    Flowered fields, and sunlight through the trees
If storm clouds gather and skies grow dark
    I will be your light,
If the weight of circumstance blinds you with fear
    I will be your sight
I will be your umbrella when it rains,
    Your confidant in all things,
And should you lose the ability to fly
    I will be your wings
When sorrow comes and teardrops flow
    I will dry your tears
And when you pray I will kneel beside you
    Through the best, and worst, of our years
I am so happy that I have found
    A friend who is tried and true
And so my dearest, with all my heart,
    These things I promise you
Contact Gary Carter. 

by Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz

It does not matter
if tomorrow the sun refuses to rise.
It is only the absence of you
I cannot face.
Mornings without your laughter.
I follow, fervently gathering
the stones you step across.
I string them, display them
at my breasts.  Precious gems,
these stones.

My heart and pillow
now bear the indentations
of your head
which has lain upon them. 

Do not take my hand
As we walk through the crowd.
Like the others,
ignore me.
No one will know
we are in love.

Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz is a fiction writer and poet.  Visit her blog at
Contact Gwendolyn.
by Ronald C. Epstein

Canada or U.S.A.,
a matter of degree.

Joseph Phillipe Trudeau,
gave his given names
as "Pierre Elliot",
became Prime Minister.

Pierre S. du Pont IV
wanted to be president,
called himself "Pete",
was an also-ran.

Vincent Furnier,
classic '70s rock god.
We all know him as-
"Alice Cooper".

Men's Winter Suits
by Ronald C. Epstein

Men's winter suits
are phonies,
sartorial equivalents
of faded celebrities
plugging their diet books

Such sitcom stars boast
of great literary efforts, 
as sharp-eyed viewers discern
the phantom authors names.

The well-dressed men,
out stylin' on the job, 
aa their unsung underwear
provides their only warmth.

Ronald:  I was born in Bogota, Colombia in 1956 and have lived in Toronto, Canadasince 1959.  My poetry has been published since 1982.  Contact Ronald.


Sun's autumn image

Reflected on still water

Leaves are drifting clouds.

Nancy Famolari is retired and as a second career is becoming a writer. Her short stories have been published in Long Short Story, Lyrica, and Matters of the Heart, a publication of the Museitup Press. She lives with her husband, seven horses, three dogs and numerous white cats on a farm in Northeast Pennsylvania. She finally has time to pursue her dream of being a writer. The LSS forums have been a tremendous help. This Haiku was composed in the LSS poetry forum. Contact Nancy.  This Haiku was written in the LSS poetry forum.


Humid air strangles, 

Evoking dreams of winter. 

God, please let it rain. 

My name is Michele Luis. After finding the courage to let go of an abusive marriage, I moved to Virginia to be closer to family. I now wake each morning to a new, more beautiful world. I have a great job, wonderful friends, and an awesome family. I just finished my Master's degree and now want to write about the things I find in my heart. Maybe something, about which I write, will strike a note of familiarity for someone else. 
Contact Michele.  This Haiku was written in the LSS poetry forum.
Poem Fishing
by Joy Helsing 

I drop a line
into the stream
of my unconscious
hope to catch
worth keeping

inside of me there is
By Michele LAROCHE

inside of me there is,
like in those poems
written in elementary school,
a flower or a tiger
a monster or a lion
a tear or a perfume
sweetness and angriness,
chagrins d'amour or broken lives -

inside of me there is
what you bring to me and more
inside of me there is,
a sparkling of humanity
laughter from above
and thunder from below -

inside of me there is
a heart beating
and a pulse throbbing,
what you imagine
and what you can't -

inside of me there is
what you want
and what you don't,

inside of me.

the writer's block
 (to Lois)
By Michele LAROCHE

this is not a case of
writer's block

only -
the writer's laziness
the writer's emptiness
after piles of chores
days of burden

the writer's wanderings
into moods
states of minds
under covers
with no tenderness

the writer's meanderings
into layers of minds
deep under
too far to bring back the words
at the tip of my pen

the writer's fatigue
my nights of thunder
my pages of dark
my hand too slow
to record my every breath

when I am a poet
without a word -
I'll tell you my very heart
this is not a case of
writer's block.

Michele LAROCHE is a creative French-American freelance writer living in New Jersey. She writes poetry, haiku, song lyrics and non-fiction prose, in French and English and is a translator both ways. She is an active member of the South Mountain Poets organization and editor in its reading committee. Her poetry has appeared on line in empowerment 4 Women and in print in Gathered on the Mountain, the 2006 South Mountain Poets Anthology. Contact  Michele.

By Michael Keshigian

The tenants left him a bar of soap,
two rolls of toilet paper,
shredded paper towels,
and a ripped sponge mop with bucket.
He tried to rub the white wall clean,
discovered it impossible, 
realized they tried as well.
He decided to paint it over.

Hair choked the bathroom sink,
long hairs, male and female,
they both wore ponytails,
short of acid, nothing else would work.
The hardwood floor 
wore rubber scuffs and high heel turns,
no doubt they danced and laughed,
but only broom swept it clean.

He began to know who they were,
seldom did he speak to them,
the check always arrived in the mail.
They breezed through, a great wind,
leaving behind a trail of dirt,
a thank you of sorts,
the residual continuity of broken leases
and painstaking interviews.

He seized their soap, 
a green veined, marbled bar, 
curved like a woman,
took a bath
after he cleaned the tub,
and dried with no towel,
in the air
with the walls and floors.

By Michael Keshigian

The morning sky imagined
a glow of pink and purple
before the sun arrived,
before the horizon 
imagined itself a blond,
like the smiling nurse
who helped me out to the car,
wearing colorful clips in her hair,
clips which stole the sunlight's gleam.
On the sidewalk, 
I stared at the asphalt, 
it held a puddle of rainwater,
I imagined it a cocktail.
Over the sun,
a dense cloud dissipated,
creating a halo
around the red brick of the building 
I earlier imagined 
would be my last to enter.
I had never noticed sunlight ripple
in a street puddle before.
The ride home was uncomfortable 
yet joyous.
The road imagined a parade,
cars lined up dutifully,
and the morning, so conscious of itself,
imagined a celebration of light
forever beaming, forever replete.
When you touched my hand, 
it was as if
you imagined I needed your touch,
as if   I imagined your touch 
exactly at that time
to realize the morning.    

I am a musician and educator, performing and teaching on the collegiate level in Boston . Most recently my work has been published in the following periodicals: Fairfield Review; Meridian Anthology; Pegasus ; Tryst; Westward Quarterly;  Red River Review among many other online and written journals.  I have 3 published chapbooks and 2 Pushcart nominations.

By Kristine Lowder

Soundless and invisible,
You pounced
Seized me in jagged vulture jaws
Sank deep your razor teeth

Tore from my heart all I held dear
Shook me till my soul rattled
And there was nothing left to take
Then you tossed me, Toto-like, into Oz.

I crumpled
Sans yellow brick or ruby slippers,
As you snickered and skipped away,
Left me to die.
I did.
And then my Life began.

By John Grey
One after another,
they sneak into the movie theater.
They don't even care what the show is
or if it's half over.
It's the thrill they're after.
Once inside, I'm sure a film
of their own cleverness
is what they'd much rather see.
Forget the car chase, the gunfight,
the romance, when there's a door
wedged open at the back of the cinema,
and a bunch of unabashed new stars
make their entrance from the bathroom door.
Snug in their seats, their heads
are full of trailers for coming events.
So many ways of trespass to come,
of getting something without paying for it.
And always their names above the title.
On a rap sheet, if nowhere else.

My   latest book is “What Else Is There” from Main Street Rag. I have been   published recently in Agni, Hubbub, South Carolina Review and The Journal Of The   American Medical Association. 


By John Grey

He's given up cigarettes, fatty foods, takes a half hour walk every day.
He just got sick of nagging doctors, wife, even his children,
and those incessant medical segments on t.v.
And now his wife makes meals out of this book of low-cal recipes.
He can taste what he eats but also what's missing.
Those are years his tongue can't quite get its licks around.
His buds go looking for times when he could eat and smoke
and drink to his heart's content and his heart didn't curse him for it.
His son's a strapping young man whose lips never touch cancer.
His daughters are model slim with baby skin and, thanks to diet,
probably baby blood as well.
But then he thinks of his friend Roy, super-fit for his age,
no alcohol, no cigarettes, no red meat, no life almost.
And he dropped dead at forty two.
But he can't even use Roy as an argument.
He tried to live and that’s what counts.
And what a funeral.
Celery and carrot sticks. Fruit juice by the bucket load.
Mourners wept for everyone but themselves. 

By Hugh A. Jones
    my check-in
 seems like
         deja vu, the shaky rail
             with creaky steps
  the door is closing those
       who here spent time 
  as lovers for a night

  have left clear clues
  hearty shouts
       metallic cries of lust
   and sighs of sensuality

  some leave 
       marks, errant
          stains denoting

acts of grandeur

      to affect
          a mind like mine

By Hugh A. Jones
                        The folks of Greenville
                             hear terse
                                   gloomy sounds,
                             hollow drum-beats lure
                             us to this tiny college's
                             sparse garden, via
                                   crumbling sidewalks
                       Bony coeds dance their
                              fannies to some fuzzy music
                            wafting from an upstairs
                              radio, their soft-toned
                            swirls dissolve before each
                              song has ended.
                     A pink ballet group in the
                             gym moves tenuously
                      conflicts choke their steps
                           hard-learned, their
                       plumaged poses vanish in an
                           absence of good music.

By Grace Painter

                                A  fragile flame flickering
                                at  the tip of the smothering
                                candlewick  now almost
                                extinguished  by brutal force.
                                Soft  musical tones
                                by  gentle hands,
                                now  still in the
                                dimming  candlelight.
                                Thoughts  of what 
                                could  have been,
                                now  can never be,
                                despair  fills the air.
                                Mother's  sweet memories,
                                father's  now empty arms,
                                the  fragile flame
                                has  quietly gone out.

Grace:  belong to the Lake  Havasu Writer's Group and I have had many short stories  published, won an Editor's Award for poetry  and have had an Indiana newspaper publish several  traveling pieces.

Last Days of Laissez Faire
by Robert Wooten

They came up out of the creek
beside the road,
which turned into an abandoned car dealership
with an active snack machine,
one of the older models
still without a guard
to keep thieves from reaching up into it,
to get a snack. Raymond watched for John,
then they cut across a construction site,
taking turns holding the bucket of turtles
and eating Bugles,
through a field of flying grasshoppers,
till they came to a wall of forest.
Here, they usually either stopped, went straight through
or turned aside,
depending on the way John chose
to make a subject of the secret marijuana,
growing in a clearing.
Last Days of Laissez Faire
by Robert Wooten

On the way back from the park’s playground,
on the way back to the toys,
Raymond put his foot into the hole
where there had been a pole.
It happened while they were in line.
Water was there, it was Fall,
and this was cold. The slip
put an end to the witness of one white shoe,
exciting Raymond to the point of a cry,
while the line continued, led by its teacher,
a progress of the action of feet—
till Raymond went running after it;
but she would not let it stop for him,
for any boy who put his foot
in a hole. She continued on with it,
her nose in the air, till he came running,
at the last, to her, at the front
of the line. She said, “Well,
what do you want me to do?
Why did you go when no one else did?”—
at this point she was still walking
just as fast, and the line was not slowing,
and Raymond could not catch up
without squishing; the kindergarten
still was a long way off—
and she said, “Catch up. Put on your shoe.”

I earned an MFA in poetry at the University of Alabama (1998) and n MA with a creative writing focus at North Carolina State University (1994).  Numerous periodicals have published my poems, The Well Tempered Sonnet and Haz Mat Review most recently, and many others.  A limited edition chapbook of my poems, Raymond Poems, was published in 1999.

The Day the Lawyers Cried 
by Feather Schwartz Foster

Chipmunks gather food
Ice and snowflakes just ahead
Family of nuts.

Read more about Linda Barnett-Johnson.