“One Day, Some Day” by Tiffany Chaney

One Day, Some Day

 

 

2020-05-21Artist Bio:

Somewhere between Virginia and North Carolina: Find slips of her wit igniting weeds between the concrete slabs of the city sidewalk or in the worm-hooked smirk of a crow in the Blue Ridge sky.

Tiffany Chaney’s poetry chapbook Between Blue and Grey (Amazon, 2012) won the Barnhills Books & More: Mothervine Festival Award for Best in Poetry in 2013. Her writing has been featured in such publications as Thrush Press, Moon Books, Moonchild Magazine, Pedestal Magazine and VQR’s Instaseries. Follow her @tifchaney on Instagram and visit www.sassafrassoothsayer.com for more.

“Promise Me” by Don Herald

PROMISE ME

I don’t remember when I realized I loved you.

Maybe it was at your surprise 40th birthday party two years ago when your eyes sparkled and danced, warning me mischief was soon to happen.

Maybe it was at our picnic beside the lake. How you giggled when that earnest young man stood in the canoe, courted his girl with a half-decent version of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’ and then fell awkwardly into the water.

Maybe it was when we left the others and walked to the playground. ‘I want to sit on the swing,’ you said. ‘Push me,’ you said. ‘Higher and higher like I’m flying free.’ Your hair, tossing wild in the wind, caught in your eyes and mouth. I wanted to brush it away with my breath and many light kisses. But didn’t.

We laughed at silly things, much like new lovers do, but weren’t. At least, not then.

Maybe it was when we watched the swans along the river. We shared a soft cone, daring long gazes at each other, then glancing away. But not embarrassed. I remember how your tongue made shallow smooth grooves in the fresh white cream. I wondered what you’d feel like on my skin.

Maybe it was when you came into my dreams. Just us, no commitments to others. Always together in the quick flashes of my thoughts. Nothing to pretend or fake. Just us.

Maybe it was when your dog got killed. You were weeping, its broken body in your lap. I pulled you into me, feeling your beating heart, your warm breath heavy with pain upon my neck.

Was it then I knew I loved you?

Maybe it was our first kiss. Not that ‘hey, how are you, good to see you’ kind of kiss. But deeper, our tongues eagerly exploring. Was it then I touched you? Butterfly touching bare skin beneath the light summer blouse you loved to wear.

Maybe it was your love poem. I opened it, daring not to breathe. I read your thoughts over and over, feeling your passion’s heat. Did I ever tell you I hid your poem so others wouldn’t find it? But I don’t remember where. Not even today.

Maybe it was when we first made love. I don’t remember exactly when. I couldn’t mark it on a calendar. But I do remember the rest of it. At least I think I do.

I do remember when it ended.

You phoned while I was driving to our swings in the park.

‘We mustn’t see each other again. Not ever. It’s complicated,’ you said.

‘Promise me,’ you said.

‘Please keep your word.’

You were crying. I wanted to reach out and pull you close. Tell you it’d be ok.

‘Just give us time,’ I wanted to say. But didn’t.

I don’t remember if I cried. Or if you might have felt my tears.

I don’t remember most of what I said to you back then.

Except for two words.

‘I promise.’

 

Artist Bio – Don Herald is a writer with thirty-two publishing credits for his short stories that frequently feature flawed characters who often decide to do the wrong thing for themselves and others. His work has been published online in the US, UK and Canada. A retired social worker and workplace behaviour consultant, Don lives in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

Self Love Study: Portrait from “Owning Your Worth” by Bex Saunders

 

“You shouldn’t have to be “perfect” in order to be deserving of self love.” – Bex Saunders

bex 2

 

“Self love is a difficult journey but its ultimately the most important journey one can do. It’s not an overnight journey; it may take years or even a life time. Once you love yourself, you are unstoppable. No one can bring you down. You are capable of truly anything. You become the best version of yourself.” – Bex Saunders

 

Artist Bio: Bex Saunders is a 23 year old multi award winning photographer from the south of England. She specializes in conceptual work, with an emphasis on self portraits. You can follow her Instagram @bexsaundersphotography 

“A Journey” Milicent Fambrough

A Journey photo
“A Journey”
Traditions
Blaring like the sirens
What is wrong with me?
Atomic dreams
Normality
What is wrong with me?
A spark
Warmest wishes and tenderness
Truth
soft and sweet
Admittance
Understanding
This is right with me
Polyamory
Artist Bio:  My current work centers on self examination and expression. My influences are many spanning from turn of the century into contemporary. From classic to modern I love artwork in all forms. My three most favorite are Art Deco, abstract, and pop art.
I draw mostly from pop culture and the city I call home San Antonio Texas.
My day consists of tending my home, networking with preforming acts and checking in with good friends. Painting daily and sketching with the odd doodle mixed into a routine of sorts. Early mornings, late evenings, lots of interesting outings make up my life. Photography is another passion for me being a person who observes more than the usual.
Born on the west coast. I grew to adulthood on the third coast. I still have yet to see the east coast. The eldest of a single parent household. College educated and formally trained for graphic design. Growing up I was mentored by my grandmother an oil painter and hobby artist.
My pace is a constant flow of new mediums or art traditions. Switching them back and forth to keep the artwork fresh.
This is my digital portfolio.
https://milicent210.tumblr.com/
My social media links
https://www.instagram.com/milicent210/?hl=en
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Svo99lX9_E
Hashtags #milicent210 #milicent_fambrough #art #creative #visualartist #satx #sanantonioart #sanantonioartscene

“Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” by Don Herald

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL

 

A middle-aged man stands alone on a darkened stage. A bright spot holds him in its cone. He is immaculately dressed in a well-tailored, light grey suit. A silk tie, deep red, nicely compliments an expensive shirt. There is a small flower on his lapel, a lighter shade of the tie. All of it is understated, elegant.

Silent, the man gazes out toward us, occasionally pulling at his French cuffs, more out of habit than nervousness. Several times, he touches his right cheek as if sweeping away an unseen fly.

He smiles. It’s as if he is remembering something important he wants to share with us but is unsure if he should.

He pulls down upon his suit coat and then casually re-folds his hands in front.

He begins to speak to us.

The voice is cultured; his words soothing and confident. It’s a voice each of us has heard before but can’t remember when, where or who.

_________________ 0 _________________

When I look into the mirror every morning, I’m reminded of other times. And, if truth be told, it was both the best and worst of times.

Back then, whenever I entered a room, heads would turn. It seemed that women of all ages wanted to talk to me. Immediately. Urgently. Not wishing to sound too full of myself, I must tell you that more than a few just couldn’t help themselves. They’d find any excuse to lightly touch my arm, perhaps a shoulder. I remember once – a sophomore as I recall – even stroked my hair much like she would have done with a favoured cat.

Olivia, my mother – God rest her soul – often called me pretty.

‘You’re a pretty lad,’ she’d say, ‘Sure to break many hearts in the years ahead.’

She’d always tell me about the latest fashions, showing me photos in gentlemen’s magazines. High style was her thing, that’s for sure. Now you might think it odd for a mother to do that with a son. But I just accepted that’s the way any mother would talk, especially if her son was pretty like me. These days, I guess the more acceptable word would be handsome.

‘Remember this, Vincento,’ Olivia was too fond of saying. ‘Clothes make the man. People, my darling, may not remember what you say, but they will surely remember if your shoes were shined, your pants pressed.’

One day, I think I must have been about nine or ten, I was watching her putting on makeup. I must confess that back then, I was genuinely fascinated by the entire process. It was just magical. My mother – well, she was what you’d call a natural beauty. Anyone who ever met her would undoubtedly say so. But when she had on her makeup, to put it simply, my mother was a knock-out. Strange as it may seem, I remember being very jealous of all that love and attention she attracted.

Anyway, she saw me watching and invited me to sit beside her – both of us side by side in front of the round cosmetic mirror over her makeup table in a tiny space she liked to call her boudoir.

‘What would you like to try, Vincento? Lipstick? Perhaps some eye shadow? Or maybe just a whisper of rouge on those pale cheeks?’ Her fingertips delicately brushed my cheek. I can still feel her touch to this very day.

With each offering, Olivia would hold out the item in the palm of her delicate hand.

I decided on the rouge powder. My heart felt like it was going to burst right out of my chest.

‘Excellent choice, my precious. Here, on one cheek, let me show you just how to do it, so there’s only just a hint of …’ She hesitated, not able to find quite the right word.

‘So there’s only just a hint of…’ she paused again, ‘…invitation.’

Admittedly, it was a most unusual word to use in that situation. But then again, in her life, my dear mother was all about the invitation.

With practiced strokes, she rouged my left cheek then leaned back to admire her handiwork.

‘Now, Vincento dearest, you do the other.’

And I did. As I recall, I didn’t do too bad a job of it either.

‘Beautiful, Vincento. You’re so pretty. Yes, so very pretty indeed.’

She kissed me lightly on the forehead.

‘My blessed heart, you look so handsome. No girl in her right mind will ever be able to resist you.’

Looking back now, I think that was the start of it.

From that very moment, I truly believed I was pretty. ‘Stunningly handsome,’ I recall my mother saying as I innocently posed this way and that – just as I’d seen her do so many times – in front of the full-length dressing mirror.

I chose to believe in my beauty, so it came easily for me to act the part. Confident. In charge. Worth getting to know. And when I was older, definitely worth loving if you were found to be in my favour.

I wore fine clothes; bespoke suits of only the most beautiful cloth. Soft leather shoes, hand-stitched, always polished of course. A gold Rolex. French cuffs, always accented with ebony links, the initials ‘VM’ embossed lightly on the dark bone.

But, as you well know, there’s far more to living the high life than just being a sharp dresser who’s always easy with his words. Sadly, I must report my flattering mother never revealed the secret to me. I had to learn that life lesson the hard way.

Standing here, I do confess to you that over the years, I’ve had many women – passionate, loving, attentive – in my life. For each, I was the irresistible light, and she was my delicate, summer moth. Now you may think that sounds outrageously conceited. But it is the truth of it.

Which, of necessity, brings us to Helen.

She was my soul mate. We spent eighteen marvellous months together. First, in San Diego where she had a thriving practice as a much sought after fashion photographer. Then the final six months when we were living on Canada’s Pacific coast.

Back then, Helen was big into yoga. When a teaching position at the famous yoga centre in one of the Gulf Islands came her way, she joyfully walked away from her glamorous life in California. Of course, I went along with her.

Looking back now, I sometimes wonder if she’d gradually become my light, and I was just her beautiful summer moth.

Of course, someone as attractive and socially adept as me found it easy to mix in with the yoga crowd. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I was very popular, particularly with some of the younger female students.

That said, I’m sure you’ve already figured out how all this is going to end.

In my defence, let me just say that I was well and truly loved. I trust that now you can see that such behaviour was just in my nature. For the most part, Helen was forgiving. Oh, I’ll admit there were tensions between us at times about – what shall I call them – my overly familiar relationships with her students. But in spite of it all, Helen remained my soul mate.

Eventually, Helen had enough. One rainy night in late summer, we had a spectacularly noisy row. Hurtful words stripped bare our very hearts. Hidden feelings were drawn out between us; our relationship shredded beyond repair.

The next day I left on the first ferry out of Long Harbour. I headed for Victoria and a new life without Helen.

One week later, while riding a friend’s Harley on a section of twisting highway up the Pacific coast toward Tofino, I was side-swiped by a skidding Benz. Thankfully, I was swiftly airlifted to the Royal Jubilee in Victoria. The surgeons there did a great job of patching me up.

But my face… well, let’s just say that I’ll never be quite the same again.

_________________ 0 _________________

The man unconsciously touches his right cheek. The fingers linger for several heartbeats then return to his side. To some, it seems that this simple act is innocent, not full of subtle meaning. To others, it seems as if it may be an invitation, perhaps to forgive the man his many trespasses.  

The man turns slightly away from us as if to leave, then pauses. It appears as if he still may have more to say. In the white cone of light, a long, jagged scar is faintly visible beneath cleverly applied makeup.

He nods slightly, then steps abruptly into total blackness beyond.

The cone of light slowly fades.

The stage is dark.

 

Artist Bio: Don’s work has been published online in the US, UK and Canada. His stories often feature flawed characters who decide to do the wrong thing for themselves and others. A retired social worker and workplace behaviour consultant, Don lives in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. He is a co-founder and active member of the Writers’ Group of Peterborough. Don’s published stories are available at www.donherald.blogspot.com.

He is Beautiful Like a Rainbow by Mercury Marvin Sunderland

He is Beautiful Like a Rainbow

he is beautiful like a rainbow

this was never a story of pride parade floats

this was a rebellion created by black trans women throwing bricks at cops

stonewall was a riot

my love is not celebrated by supreme court legalization of monogamous marriage,

or flags held up in business windows to attract money

it is not found

in your rainbow capitalism

when historically those same places have always held us down

beaten us and thrown us out in the streets

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

and right now i am sitting on the street where i went

to a nightclub

with my friend from band

and i remember how that night i was reminded for a second

of orlando

because i am a gay trans white man and she is a straight cis peruvian woman

and together as one gay trans and one latina we made up the three groups that had been targeted

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

and when he smiles, my world flourishes

and his laugh can echo its way into my heart

with a love of books and disney and cats

i couldn’t be more grateful to find him

but the truth is

something you care for becomes more meaningful when you have to fight for it

and us gays

have always been fighting harder than you have

yet you complain

because you want your straight pride parade

because you think our world is nothing but a party in a pink triangle

but you never think

of the way that the pink triangle originated in our own genocide

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

and my love as a man to other men was never made for your consumption

i was never meant to simply be your favorite porn category

your token friend for whenever you need your full queer resource center

i have my privacy

that you do not respect

but i don’t tendril into your’s

you say you’re not homophobic

but the way that you go out of your way to not acknowledge my partner’s gender

even though i have explicitly stated it numerous times the same way you’d mention your’s

shows me otherwise

the way that you flinch when i mention my relations

shows me otherwise

you visibly jump

at the sound of it

because i didn’t know you were a faggot

god forbid

that i shatter your hetero world

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

and the way that men love other men should not be foreign to you

you think of yourself as strong and intelligent

yet you get so confused and don’t understand

when i say that i’m gay

i really don’t think

that’s a hard concept

to understand

that i can be a man

who loves other men

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

i walk with him across rainbow crosswalks

reach him miles away

my love fights harder than yours

every activist campaign

is brought in

because we love ourselves and our friends and chosen family

who know the angry police raids

and the gunfire shots

staining our blood in pride month

it used to be believed that blood was blue in your body

and red outside

funny how that mixes and creates purple

when it stains the dance floor

but that isn’t true

blood remains red no matter where it is

every rainbow begins with red

because our rebellion originated with our sorrows

and how we loved something different

funny how

every fight for justice is always started by injustices

it’s almost as if

we just wanna have human rights

every fight

in its time

is seen as unreasonable

but yet generations later they pretend they were with you all along

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

and my love is not easy to find

it isn’t easy to find the right one

but here i have found him

in a mess of everything else

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

a man who wasn’t your pride parade gimmick

instead he is another man i never knew i’d know

stronger than the stuff of fairytales

because fact is stranger than fiction

and reality is stranger than fantasy

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

the man who i can’t express enough about having found,

a cutesy antique found on the shelf

my love cannot be found in the same space as your’s

it is usually found hidden away in the dressing drawer or cupboard so no one will see

but i would like to use the space you’ve always taken away from me

you give me an inch and claim that’s enough

but you’ve always had the bigger and upper hand

always preferred more

if i have to see another forced unnecessary no chemistry hetero story again

i think i will puke

because you think we see ourselves everywhere

but just for once can at least we be everywhere

because you’ve had a lifetime of everywhere

but we’ve had a lifetime of hidden

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

my love is more than just your stereotyped view of grindr profiles and a different home,

my love is men who are gentle and soft

and don’t find straight people romanticization of abuse funny

my love is the man who majors in literature and wants to travel the world in disney parks

and always has a kind ear

and holds me into a safety found nowhere else

my love is beautiful like a rainbow

he isn’t made for your consumption

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

a quiet walk in a forest that doesn’t end

winter leaves rot and a world grows from it

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

the man i never thought i’d know

who measures his money in how many bags of dollar-store candy can one buy

who tells me not to buy a thirty-dollar crate of gushers off of amazon

because then i’d be called the gushers guy

for the rest of my life

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

and now i finally do understand

the songs and stories

i wish i could find myself in the songs and stories

i finally do understand

a thing as simple as the small sketchbook covered in drawings of rainbows and cats

given for christmas

i finally do understand

why all the hardship is so much more worth it

i wish i didn’t have to go through it though but

i finally do understand

 

he is beautiful like a rainbow

and now i finally do understand.

 

Artist Bio:

Mercury Marvin Sunderland is a Greek/Roman Wiccan transgender autistic gay man who uses he/him pronouns. He’s from Seattle. He currently attends The Evergreen State College, and his dream is to become the most banned author in human history. He can be found as @Romangodmercury on Instagram and Facebook.

Mercury is a 2013, 2014, 2015 winner of ACT Theater’s Young Playwright’s Program, a 2015, 2016 selected playwright for ACT Theater’s 14:48 HS, a 2016 winner of the Jack Straw Young Writer’s Program, a 2016 selected participant for the Seattle Talent Show hosted by Rainier Beach High School, and was hired as a paid representative of Youth Speaks Seattle in 2016. In 2017 alone, he was selected for and won the 2017 Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam, and went off as one of the top five youth slam poets representing Seattle at Brave New Voices 2017, an international slam poetry tournament treated as America’s national tournament, and was selected to perform slam poetry alongside former Seattle mayor candidate Nikkita Oliver at the University of Washington. In 2018 his illustrations were selected for While Supplies Last, an art show hosted by Anthony White, a Cornish College of the Arts graduate. In 2019 he received his first literary journal acceptance from Northwest Missouri State University’s Fearsome Critters Literary Magazine Volume Two, his second from the February 2019 issue of Arcadia University’s Marathon Literary Review, his third and fourth from Across & Through Literary Magazine, his fifth from The Dollhouse Literary Magazine, his sixth from University of California Riverside’s Santa Ana River Review, his seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth from The Paragon Press and his eleventh from Not Your Mother’s Breast Milk Magazine. That same year, his art was featured by the UglyDolls company and one of his comics was accepted for Memoir Literary Magazine. He was also selected as a 2019 Editor’s Pick for the Brain Mill Press Poetry Month Contest.

This was PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED by The Dollhouse, The Paragon Press, and Not Your Mother’s Breast Milk, all given with full ownership to him as the author to republish as he pleases.

Social Media Links:

The Poet and the Preacher by Rebecca Holland

The Poet & The Preacher:

A Love Story in Four Micro-poems

 

Love Poem – from a Poet

I love you more than poetry

How can it be

that my heart didn’t create you?

When you are the deepest

most

beautiful

part

of

me.

 

 

Prayer –from a preacher

Our love is a sacred

Sacrifice

And I would gladly lie

down upon your altar

My heart bare for all to see

Please-

Say that you love me.

Lord- hear my prayer

 

My Prayer of Confession

Dear God-

I’m sorry.

But let me explain…

 

 

The Best Sermon I’ve Ever Written:

(And I’ve penned thousands)

Is love.

 

Artist Bio:

Rebecca L. (Torres) Holland is a visually impaired Filipina writer, disability advocate, and ordained minister who lives in Pennsylvania. She holds a Master of Divinity and is particularly fascinated by the intersection of faith, disability, race, and gender. She has published a chapbook entitled, Through My Good Eye: A Memoir in Verse and her work has most recently appeared in Bold Blind Beauty, The Drabble, and Women Writers & Women’s Books.  Rebecca blogs about literature and disability awareness at BeckieWrites.com.  Find her on Twitter and Instagram @BeckieWrites.