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A book club I’m part of recently discussed The Ruins by Scott Smith. It’s not a book I would have finished reading based on the first 50 pages, but sticking with it afforded me insight into what a narrative voice can do. The story is about a group of young tourists who venture into an off-map area of an archeological dig in Mexico. They find themselves trapped, unable to move on because of guardsmen on horseback threatening them with arrows if they move down the path or retreat back. They are stuck there. Their problems increase when the vines around them gradually take on characteristics of mandrakes, drinking their bodily fluids and eventually speaking in human voices.

At no point was I personally afraid during the reading of this book, yet this is a good specimen of contemporary horror. Here are some qualities of the book which I laud in the horror genre:
•    A slow burn.
•    Misfortune meted out in proportion to vice and stupidity, and the age-old warning that sacred spaces should not be disturbed.
•    An antagonist who does not communicate. This is extremely difficult to pull off, and arguably The Ruins does not pull it off, but think of the great horror villains who don’t speak: Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, and the alien invaders from Independence Day.
•    A progression of the enemy’s power which increases exponentially. At first the vines seem to move toward things, then they laugh, then they speak, and then and then! This offers an incline of tension which is dastardly fun to take part in.
Though the elements of good horror are here, something is missing, something that could have been awesome: the use of Negative Space.

Negative Space
This is a term I’m working on applying to writing, not just visual art. It’s the space between objects, or in written stories, it’s the space between events which can be underlined by the setting. In horror, negative space is where tension blooms, the pacing between action beats where the reader is given a chance to feel afraid.

To illustrate, on the morning of September 11, 2001 I was on a highway in Connecticut. I was driving to New York City when the first plane struck the World Trade Center. The news report on the radio said so. Here’s a rundown of the facts and my acceptance of them:
1.    First tower struck.
2.    That’s bad. I hope no one got hurt. People in The City tend to begin the workday late, and they stay late into the night with their Yankee work ethic. But what about the custodians?
3.    Second tower struck.
4.    My mind is stalling, like a car trying to get up a snowy hill in winter.
5.    How could this happen?
6.    What does it mean?
7.    This must be an act of war. On my country and my faith.

There is more to the story: my inability to place a phone call, the abject lack of information on the radio, the sheer not-knowing of the situation that increased with every minute.

The horror didn’t hit me at first, and the experience was made worse by my lack of access to a TV. We live in a time when we need to see video footage to prove something happened. Without it, acceptance of the truth becomes all the more challenging. Note that I chose to be naïve at the first tower’s hit. I tried to convince myself that no one had been hurt, eventually coming around to the probability that only a few had been hurt, all the while attempting to mitigate a new reality I couldn’t accept. I carried that mitigation through the entire day. The real problem was with the second tower strike. Something beyond my understanding of the world was happening. I had decided to say a prayer with the first strike, but I could delay it until I was off the road and in a private space. But the immediacy of the second strike increased the urgency of my need to pray.

Point 4 is where negative space fills my recollection of the story. This is where horror grew. I had just been reading about Mother Mary as the patron of the Americas, and the fact that no international war had devastated the land under her protection (with the exception of Hawaii, a geographically separate land). Faced with new data filling my head, everything turned upside down, and I couldn’t make sense of it.

This negative space occupies our lives any time we’re presented with loss. The death of a loved one, or even a romantic break-up. There’s always that moment when you cannot accept it. Narrative conventions require that characters must be given a trigger to come to a new idea, but in reality, this suspended time requires no trigger — realization simply coalesces. Fiction is not reportage in the sense of recording how things happen; fiction distills and inserts auxiliary untruths in order to convey meaning. If I told this story as outlined above, it would not capture its meaning. Sometimes neophyte writers design poorly written plots where characters make decisions out of the blue because they wish to show how things happen in the Real World, but fiction is about crafting secondary worlds that tell stories better than any Real-World accounting ever could.

The problem with The Ruins, and this is no strike against the author since the composition itself is flawless, is how the progression of the vine’s abilities are laid out deductively, instead of inductively. There is no final surprise, because the progression of the vines’ abilities is patterned in a predictable way. This is a double-edged sword, really, because the best stories give away their endings from the start. Horror requires some surprises, and The Ruins does not deliver many.

So how can writers address or use this negative space?

There are a few ways. First, we can broaden the pacing in order to give the readers a chance to comprehend the situation. This is like the pause after a comedian’s joke to let it add up in the minds of the audience. This is not to say we should add fluff in these spaces, but it is a good point to let the characters reflect or notice other things about their surroundings (things which relate directly to the ending of the story).

Second, we can draw out the moment between epiphanies to examine physiological changes in the characters. Are they breathing? Are they doing something mindless and dangerous?

Third, we can consider what must happen next in order to shift into the correct gear to move forward. One of the things The Ruins avoids is explaining plans, almost to the point that the whole narrative feels like a dream. Instead of a discussion on what to do next, there are arguments on what can be done followed by personal discord, followed by someone taking action without offering a reason. I found myself going back to see where I missed transitions, but I didn’t miss anything. There are no transitions, which gives the story a dreamlike quality aiming to be a nightmare.

The unseen negative space
We don’t notice when a headache goes away.
One of the most interesting techniques of The Ruins is its complete lack of scientific explanation for how the vines are able to make sounds. It’s something the reader simply accepts. I didn’t notice that I hadn’t noticed it until the vines took on more sophisticated abilities to produce sound. This is brilliantly done. Things are scary when the unknown is unknowable. This is also why ageless philosophical questions are so stimulating. Contemplating fractals or infinity can thrust us into a suspended moment of negative space, entranced by our inability to understand.

Praxis
An Exercise in Negative Spacing
Recall a specific moment when evidence was presented to you that shifted the way you operate in the world.
1.    Make a list of your discursive thoughts, and be as granular as possible. How did one thought lead to the next? Where did you stall? What notions did you dismiss and why? What was your emotional response to each fragmented thought?
2.    Go over the list and number it if it’s out of chronological order.
3.    Circle the moment of stalling, and the most impactful keywords surrounding it in the rest of the list.
4.    Reflect on the conclusion you drew, and how it changed you. Write out what you glean from it.

Bonus exercise for writers: grab your current work-in-progress.  Identify the turning points and reflect on the Negative Spaces between them.  Can they be expanded?  Are they too expansive in relation to the overall pacing?  Are they there at all?

Negative Space is essential for presenting a complete piece of fiction.  It pulls the mind away from the surface and allows readers to digest the story.  Just as the eye is transported across a canvas via negative space, so too can readers move through turning points with the vehicle of literary negative space.

Bio: Sarah Yasin is a writing workshop leader and retreat facilitator in the state of Maine.  She has pieces in various literary journals, including Lydwine Journal, Glass, and the Mad Scientist Journal. Visit her author page at Amazon.



The Impostor

by

Mick Clark

I was amazed by how many people were stuffed inside my uncle Henry’s corpse.

My aunt clung to me for the first time in her life, bird-bone brittle and ashen pale, while the mourners breathed crowds of ghosts into the icy morning air.

The coffin swayed...

Read more: The Impostor

 

 

 

21 Days of Lockdown

by

Donna Abraham Tijo

Day 1:
When Coronavirus Comes Calling
A five-year-old declares, 'I wish to always have my favourite pancake in my world.'

Day 2:
An E-mail of Hope
He sent the e-mail to the school reserving seats for his daughter for the fall session. It’s in the new city they...

Read more: 21 Days of Lockdown

 

 

 

Sugar Daddy Dreams

by

Enza Vynn-Cara

Burnt toast, avocado, honey, two poached eggs laced with turmeric and garlic, and a new vitamin concoction that makes my stomach churn, and still, I guzzle half of it down with gusto, as if it’s our first Godfather Cocktail at Carlo’s Bar.

Why, you ask?

Because...

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The Visitor

by

Brigitte Whiting

Madeleine saw the visitor in her Sunday school class, a man her age, maybe fortyish —she considered herself a youthful fifty —with a deep dimple in the middle of his chin. He wore no wedding ring. He introduced himself as having just moved to Cannington, and was the...

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Chickens

by

Brigitte Whiting

First, there was dust everywhere, but now, far worse, there were chickens everywhere. They were pecking through the yard, leaving puffs of dust. They were roosting in the pine trees. And they clucked from morning to night. The five roosters vied for which was loudest and shrillest. Amanda...

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Desiree

by

Joe Cappello

I buried him in the backyard one night after a rainstorm. The soil I removed from the hole was thick and sticky and clung stubbornly to the surface of my shovel.

I connected the hose to the backyard spigot and used it to clean off the shovel. Then...

Read more: Desiree

 

 

 

The Anointing of Mary Ballard

by

Joe Cappello

The young lady entered the laboratory with her eyes cast down reverently, as though entering a church. When she reached the gurney, she pulled a chair close to it and placed the things she was carrying on a nearby table. She removed the sheet covering the body and...

Read more: The Anointing of Mary Ballard

 

 

 

Beginning at the End

by

Joe Cappello

I am in a meeting at our England location in a typical rectangular conference room walled off from the real world of work taking place outside. Suddenly, I am a spirit floating above my colleagues, as though I had died only seconds earlier and am waiting to be...

Read more: Beginning at the End

 

 

 

Hope Held My Heart

by

Chel Talleyrand

We were isolated that summer from the rest of the world. The excessive rains had pounded the fields into mosquito-infested pools, destroying our harvests of corn and beans. We heard it was worse in the cities. As food supplies depleted, guns decided distribution. Friends and families banded together...

Read more: Hope Held My Heart

 

 

 

My Carousal of Life

by

Chel Talleyrand

As a little girl, I had this recurring dream that would cause me to wake up in a cold sweat. A grand celebration was going on in a great hall, where my mother and father sat on gold thrones at the end of the room overseeing their subjects...

Read more: My Carousal of Life

 

 

 

The Tattoo

by

Donna Abraham Tijo

Red Bull is engraving the Eye of God on your chest. “It’s a private tattoo over my soul and conscience,” you murmur. “I’m an atheist, bro,” you continue, thinking of the Chotta Bheem rakhi on your wrist eons back in time. I will be brave like Bheem someday, ...

Read more: The Tattoo

 

 

 

Booklovers’ Paradise

by

Donna Abraham Tijo


‘I am a writer, but I wish I could write like that,’ said Durga, seated at the head of the rustic green, rectangular table. There were nineteen women on the sides, who turned to look. Then, some picked up their beverages and sipped them. In the background, a...

Read more: Booklovers’ Paradise

 

 

 

My Car, My Friend

by

Leona Pence

Tony Spencer applied the first coat of wax to his prized possession, a 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix. Oh, sure, it had flaws, like a smashed door and a dragging muffler, but the interior was a beaut. It had bright-red bucket seats with a gleaming silver gear mount between...

Read more: My Car, My Friend

 

 

 

Brother Bastion

by

Linda Murray

The rain that had pelted the high mountain jungle all morning stopped abruptly, and the sun gradually dissolved the lingering clouds. Insects hummed again, birds burst forth in joyous song and flowers lifted their dripping heads, spreading their petals wide to receive the sun’s bright blessing. The People, ...

Read more: Brother Bastion

 

 

 

Standard Police Report

by

Frank Richards

Standard Police Report - Inventory of Possessions - Portbou, Catalonia, Republic of Spain

27 Sep. 1940

Location: Hotel De Francia


Noted contents of subject’s hotel room as follows:


- a large steamer trunk containing books in various foreign languages, for example, Les Fleurs du mal, ...

Read more: Standard Police Report

 

 

 

Starburst

by

Brigitte Whiting

We sat, you and I, alongside the lake, watching the sky spread above us in an immense starburst, the Milky Way threaded through its center, seeming to beckon us to follow it.

"A reverse inkblot," you said.

I thought, no, no, nothing as mundane as that, but all...

Read more: Starburst

 

 

 

There Are No More Pets in My House

by

Enza Vynn-Cara

 

There is death in my house.

“It's gone to a better place,” she says. "Now flush it down the toilet and wash your hands. Breakfast is ready."

Like that, she cans Juju, our goldfish. She did the same with Didi, Ma’s parrot, ...

Read more: There Are No More Pets in My House

 

 

 

Revenge of the Fishy

by

Leona Pence & Tom Whitehead

 

 

 

Tom Whitehead: (In the deep husky Marlboro movie guys voice) HEEEEEEEEEEEER FISHY, FISHY, FISHY!

It was an early Saturday morning. He thought it was just another day of fishing, then all of a sudden out of nowhere he...

Read more: Revenge of the Fishy

 

 

 

Temp-Tation

by

Leona Pence

 

 

David Porter watched his wife and two sons as they played on the monkey bars at the park. He smiled in contentment as peals of laughter rang out. Two short weeks ago, he’d been in danger of losing his family.

...

Read more: Temp-Tation

 

 

 

Free Range Souls

by

Enza Vynn-Cara

Samael and Malachi, two brothers working for different bosses, sit on the fence dangling their booted feet each on their side of the divide. One pair of boots is caked in white droppings; the other scrubbed clean. It’s like a dare. Trespassing? Not quite. ...

Read more: Free Range Souls

 

 

 

Einaudi

by

Luann Lewis



An elderly woman shuffled up the sidewalk and took a seat on the bench across the way from me. I watched her slow steps and noticed her feet stuck in matted slippers and her swollen discolored ankles. Breathing a sigh of relief, I felt grateful...

Read more: Einaudi

 

 

 

Campfire

by

Brigitte Whiting


We sat around a campfire in the backyard that evening, our parents and us four kids, aged four to fifteen. Dan, the oldest at nineteen, was in the Army serving somewhere that Mother didn't want to tell us. "You don't need to worry," she said. "I'll...

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Jack and the Beanstalk

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

The global wealth distribution has been heavily off balance, the scales of capitalism have plunged so far into disproportion they will fall before they will be fair again.  Jack and his widowed mother have economically crammed a century of mourning into an egregious year but failed...

Read more: Jack and the Beanstalk

 

 

 

Lost and Found

by

Brigitte Whiting

Smelled: a gamey odor downstairs in the basement. Searched for its source but couldn’t find it.

Found: one dead mouse with reddish-brown legs and a white underbelly in the basement bathroom. A deer mouse. Picked it up with tongs, took it outdoors, and tossed...

Read more: Lost and Found

 

 

 

One Hundred Yards

by

McCord Chapman

 

 

A deep sigh came just as Jason was pulling off the highway onto Route 11. He was close and could feel his back tingling as if his whole spine had suddenly fallen asleep. This happened every time he headed into a small town, no...

Read more: One Hundred Yards

 

 

 

Cocoa and Biscuits

by

Penny Camp

Saturday mornings were special occasions at our house when we were growing up. My friends begged to spend the night so they could be part of the Saturday morning ritual.

Mom would take out her green plastic bowl and splash in a little water, a little cocoa powder, ...

Read more: Cocoa and Biscuits

 

 

 

Livin’ the Dream

by

Holly Miller

When I was a child, my mom and Aunt Leona would pack us six kids into our blue Chevy Belair and drive to a local mobile home dealer (they were known as trailers back then). We would walk through the new homes, just for something to do. How...

Read more: Livin’ the Dream

 

 

 

Fall in Maine

by

Brigitte Whiting

Autumn is falling in Maine, harder this year than I remember over the last few falls. We've had two nights of close to freezing temperatures, not enough to ice over the birdfeeders or kill any of my plants yet, but cold enough to turn the furnace on. My...

Read more: Fall in Maine

 

 

 

Best Laid Plans

by

Penny Devlin

Every year shortly before spring, the Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co. catalog shows up on my doorstep. The cover is plastered with a WARNING label in big black letters informing me that if I don’t order now, this will be my last catalog. It also has coupons: $100...

Read more: Best Laid Plans

 

 

 

One January Morning

by

Brigitte Whiting

Mornings, I like to have a Kindle eBook open on the dining room table so I can read and look out into the backyard to see what might be happening. 

I live in a raised ranch with an attached two-car garage. My deck, which is off the kitchen...

Read more: One January Morning

 

 

 

The Ruins and the Writing Technique of Negative Space

by

Sarah Yasin

A book club I’m part of recently discussed The Ruinsby Scott Smith. It’s not a book I would have finished reading based on the first 50 pages, but sticking with it afforded me insight into what a narrative voice can do. The story is about a group...

Read more: The Ruins and the Writing Technique of Negative Space

 

 

 

A River of Words

by

Penny Devlin

Go to work every day. Do your job. Do it well. Always learning, getting better every day. Soaking in the letters that become words, that lead to success.

Meetings, instructions, to-do lists, directions — the words start to drown like a river of brown muddy water rushing through...

Read more: A River of Words

 

 

 

Canada, Marty, and The Exorcist

by

Jen Lowry

On our homeschool adventure today, we dreamed aloud of the places we would travel to if we could. My kids and I agree: Ireland and Scotland are our top two places to visit. We played music from Spotify and sang aloud to the merry tunes of the Irish.

...

Read more: Canada, Marty, and The Exorcist

 

 

 

Monarch Butterflies

by

Brigitte Whiting

I had no idea what milkweed looked like because I'd never seen it, but I'd always wanted it to grow in my yard so I could see the monarch butterflies.


For the longest time, I've hoped the patch of wonderfully fragrant plants with pale purple flowers growing...

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A Monarch Chrysalis

by

Brigitte Whiting

The monarch caterpillar couldn't decide where to turn itself into a chrysalis. He wandered across my front stoop so many times I was afraid I'd step on it so I stopped using the front door. One time, he'd be crawling up a post of the front railing. Another...

Read more: A Monarch Chrysalis

 

 

 

Truth

by

Angela Hess

I am twisted, bent, and deformed on every side. Everyone trying to use me to serve their own purposes, to justify their own beliefs and actions. Their eyes constantly sliding away from my pure, unaltered form, too brilliant and painful to behold without their chosen filters to dim...

Read more: Truth

 

 

 

The Goldfinch

by

Brigitte Whiting

On a Monday afternoon, I carried a bucket of water outdoors to refill the birdbath. A male goldfinch jumped down from the bath’s rim, and hopped away as quickly as he could to creep beneath a nearby spruce branch. I thought how odd he was...

Read more: The Goldfinch

 

 

 

Of Heroes and Holiness

by

Angela Hess

What does a hero look like?

 

George Bailey is a hero.

 

George Bailey dreamed of traveling the world.

 

George Bailey gave up his dreams to care for his family and community.

 

Rudy left his family...

Read more: Of Heroes and Holiness

 

 

 

My Desk

by

Luann Lewis

Another rejection letter and I feel like a loser. Yeah, I know, I’m not trying to make a living doing this. I even claim to be “writing for myself.” Butwe all want validation and, let’s face it, us writers want readers. So here I sit, ...

Read more: My Desk

 

 

 

My Mobile Space

by

Janet Harvey

 

In June, I will expect to find my special place in Townsville, Queensland. Last year it was in Darwin, Northern Territory, and today my place is in Hobart, Tasmania.

 

 

We live in a truck, a 2004 Isuzu 350NPR turbo automatic...

Read more: My Mobile Space

 

 

 

A Red Squirrel's Narrative

by

Brigitte Whiting

This past summer and fall upturned me. The birdfeeder, usually so generous, abdicated her job, and I had to scrounge for food during the long wet season. My mother told me it was unusual to have such a rainy August and October. She would know. I was born...

Read more: A Red Squirrel's Narrative

 

 

 

Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF

by

Joy Manné

This essay is part of a Talk-Back series – I owe that title to Karen. A Talk-Back is my response to a chapter in a WVU textbook, my communication with its author.

This Talk-Back is a response to the exercise in Lia Purpura’s chapter, ‘On Miniatures,’ (Flas...

Read more: Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF

 

 

 

Reunion

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

“Why the F--- Do I want to see a F—ing alligator jump up to eat a F—ing chicken hanging on a clothesline?”

 

The last time I hung out with my Uncle Dan is when I dragged him to Gatorland to do something touristic. ...

Read more: Reunion

 

 

 

A Fear of Broken Things

by

Angela Hess

“Does he look at you?”

 

My cousin’s innocent question triggers a flashing red warning light in my brain. My baby doesn’t look at me. I assumed he was too young still, but my cousin’s baby is only four days older than mine, and they are...

Read more: A Fear of Broken Things

 

 

 

Wild Roses Growing in the Ditch

by

Louise E. Sawyer


It is a joy to hold a lovely scene, a delightful moment, in memory.
~Marjolein Bastin

Frank was four and I was five and getting ready to start school when Dad and Mom moved us into a new house on Glasgow Avenue—a three-bedroom home that wasn't quite finished—in...

Read more: Wild Roses Growing in the Ditch

 

 

 

Hazardous Happenings

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

At some point, everything comes to an apex.  Status quo can only persist for so long before the natural balance of the universe calls for consumption, and then it all comes down to a choice.  That’s it, a lone decision that ultimately leads down a pathway to a higher level...

Read more: Hazardous Happenings

 

 

 

Dealing with Rejection

by

Carolann Malley


Sending your writing out into the world can be scary whether you write poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. But, at some point, if you are a serious writer, you will do it. Getting a rejection letter back can be more devastating than asking a girl out as a teenager and...

Read more: Dealing with Rejection

 

 

 

Backyard Neighbors

by

Brigitte Whiting


I took an hour to walk outdoors in my yard, first to clip dead honeysuckle branches, pluck dandelions, and then to fill the birdbaths and feeders. And to ponder what to write about one of my backyard neighbors, the gray squirrel, Sciurus Carolineses. Its name is derived from the...

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Betrayal

by

Angela Hess


My four-year-old son has a friend over. I overhear my son’s friend tell my two-year-old daughter, “Gracie, you can’t come in here.” Then my son’s voice: “It’s okay, she can play with us. Here, Gracie,” he says, presumably handing her one of the toys they are playing with. My mama...

Read more: Betrayal

 

 

 

The Weight of Emotions

by

Angela Hess

  I can hear my parents’ raised voices upstairs. They are fighting again. I turn on the sink faucet, letting the sound of the running water drown out their voices. I thrust my hands in the nearly scalding hot water and methodically scrub each dish in the sink...

Read more: The Weight of Emotions

 

 

 

With Emily on the Death Carriage

by

Nitin Mishra

After a hard day of labor
As I was hurrying my way back home.
A black Carriage stopped...

Read more: With Emily on the Death Carriage

 

 

 

2020 Time of Haiku

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

DNA's protein coat-
Stripped me of maskless days, now
I eat popcorn alone


Are you kidding me!
No...

Read more: 2020 Time of Haiku

 

 

 

The Nature of Time

by

Sitharaam Jayakumar

Time flows from infinity to infinity,
with no beginning or end in sight,
unlike men and women who...

Read more: The Nature of Time

 

 

 

Some Heart-felt Emotions about My Motherland

by

Sitharaam Jayakumar

Oh! My motherland, my heart and soul,
as I watch dark clouds hover in your skies,
my eyes...

Read more: Some Heart-felt Emotions about My Motherland

 

 

 

A Dream, A Fantasy, Flying into The Unknown

by

Sitharaam Jayakumar

I am once again a youth in my teens,
dreaming of flying high up into the clouds.
I...

Read more: A Dream, A Fantasy, Flying into The Unknown

 

 

 

Missing Miss Pickle

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I miss the way
you sat on your stool
by the kitchen window,
meowing goodbye when I left,
...

Read more: Missing Miss Pickle

 

 

 

Surprised by Joy

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I stare outside my window
as snowflakes swirl,
cover my garden
with another white blanket

my Vancouver Island...

Read more: Surprised by Joy

 

 

 

Definition of a Poem

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

A poem is a spark sprung to life.
A poem is a magic inspiration.
A poem is a...

Read more: Definition of a Poem

 

 

 

Lessons from History

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

reading about the 1918 Spanish flu
shows mistakes made by history:
parades, train trips, troopships,
overcrowded hospitals
pandemics...

Read more: Lessons from History

 

 

 

I Go Picking Seashells

by

Sitharaam Jayakumar

I look at the deep blue sea,
stretching endlessly before me,
as I sit on the sands, alone, ...

Read more: I Go Picking Seashells

 

 

 

Moments of Silence

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

sometimes social isolation  
is a requirement
to write a poem
 
in times of self-quarantine,
loneliness hovers...

Read more: Moments of Silence

 

 

 

The Lockdown Cyber Trip

by

Louise E. Sawyer

I.  New York City

Around the world, we few gals hunkered down
around our computers, tablets, and phones,
...

Read more: The Lockdown Cyber Trip

 

 

 

On the Farm

by

Maryann (Max) Maxson

Greene’s’ farmhouse
took on smells of hay and silage
cow and sheep scents brought in
on men’s overalls and
...

Read more: On the Farm

 

 

 

The Estate

by

KG Newman

One day after I die I’ll have a shiny dedication plate nailed to a bench
along a trail...

Read more: The Estate

 

 

 

Thankful

by

Samantha Vincent

I can taste you in my coffee,
So I no longer drink it black.
I can feel your...

Read more: Thankful

 

 

 

Our Neighbourhood Playground

by

Louise E. Sawyer

We neighbourhood children gravitate
in the late afternoon to the large empty lot
at the corner of Scotia...

Read more: Our Neighbourhood Playground

 

 

 

Immediate Action Required

by

KG Newman

It’s 100 seconds to midnight
with nuclear arms re-normalized and
climate change addressed by fine speeches,
while on...

Read more: Immediate Action Required

 

 

 

About It

by

KG Newman

For years I tried to remember the moment
as less heartbreaking, somehow —
the day a dad realizes...

Read more: About It

 

 

 

American Refugees

by

KG Newman

At the foreign arboretum
we zigzag among species
which may or may not
be poisonous to our love
...

Read more: American Refugees

 

 

 

Monday/Wednesday/Friday And Every Other Weekend

by

KG Newman

Half the week you live a very full life. The other half you pretend not to care, swallow...

Read more: Monday/Wednesday/Friday And Every Other Weekend

 

 

 

Sadness

by

Michael Scanlon

Oh, what I'd give for a peaceful soul;
my mind at rest I'd want no more,
content amid...

Read more: Sadness

 

 

 

First Impressions – Walter

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

today I meet Walter
for the first time

I know my brother-in-law
only through pictures,
from his mother’s...

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Abandoned House

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

lichen covered, grey
boards, paint free,
the old house sits
surrounded by poplar trees,
and overgrown grass

doors, ...

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Good Intentions

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I sat down to do my work today,
but a visitor came calling
and distracted me

I meant...

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How to Define a Cat

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

(with input from Farley, Yanni, Glory and Blake)

A cat is a stylist who licks your locks.
A cat is...

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I Am Old Now

by

Chel Talleyrand

I am old now.
I drag myself to greet my day now filled with the fog of medicines...

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The Wind Excites Me

by

Chel Talleyrand

The wind excites me.
It speaks of adventures
I dare not journey.

It visits me
to speak to...

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listen to the wind words

by

Maryann (Max) Maxson

we learned to lie
in the garden
behind the mask
discarded innocence
aware now of space between

bride...

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Commandment VIII Hiawatha/Geronimo/Sitting Bull

by

Maryann (Max) Maxson

I will be the people’s tears

I cry for justice
freedom
respect denied

I cry for lies
told...

Read more: Commandment VIII Hiawatha/Geronimo/Sitting Bull

 

 

 

Submontane Home

by

Maryann (Max) Maxson

I followed the familiar trail
through maple and pine
along old logging ruts
crossing Plank Road at the...

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Awake

by

Maryann (Max) Maxson

the day I under

stood

the birds echoing chirps to the squirrels
chittering to the trees and to...

Read more: Awake

 

 

 

Think

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh

You cannot take someone else's land,
because you stripped and overpopulated your own.

You cannot spew poison in...

Read more: Think

 

 

 

Reflections

by

Paula Parker

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Jack

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

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Hollister

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Evelyn

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

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Curiosity

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Rebecca

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

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Hazel

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Working Hands

by

Paula Parker

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Maya

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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The Birds in the Flower

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Pst... Hey

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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The World in Her Hands

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Oak

by

Craig Gettman

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Flower

by

Craig Gettman

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Berries

by

Craig Gettman

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Winding Road

by

Craig Gettman

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Sunset - April 2020

by

Craig Gettman

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Portrait of Her

by

Vincenzina Caratozzolo

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Beach at Dusk

by

Vincenzina Caratozzolo

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Lonesome Horses

by

Vincenzina Caratozzolo

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Get Out the Penitentiary

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Tulips or Three?

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Rock and Roll

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Garden of Hearts

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Evil Eye-pad

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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