Racing Rickshaws

Poetry by Nikki Anne Schmutz

I’m racing with a rickshaw,

pedal to the metal of my strength.

Agonizing, coma-inducing, sweaty toil –

all for this anchor behind me;

free rides for those who told me

I was destined to carry them…

(in ways spoken and unspoken).


I’m killing myself

for causes that aren’t mine,

for others inability to follow through,

for things I never needed in the first place,

for the way I’m used to satisfy needs

while throwing mine to the pavement…

(litter in a concrete road of wants).


No more pedaling!

Stand up on your own damn feet –

I won’t be your rickshaw slave.

Nikki Anne Schmutz is the author of Open Soul Window, In Speaking of… A Poetic Journey from Dark to Light, and Found, a novel. She is a poet and novelist, produced screenwriter, freelance poetry editor, admins Facebook poetry groups, TBI survivor, and advocate against sexual violence. She has served as magazine editor-in-chief, literary web site poetry editor, and recited poetry for the Eat Sleep Write podcast. She currently reads poetry for her YouTube Channel, Perfectly Written Pictures. She lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains near Salt Lake City, Utah, USA where she serves as the Utah Representative for the World Union of Poets based in Italy.

You can follow Nikki’s poetry on her website –

It grins behind your back

 ♠ Art by Paulo Renato Colombiano   ♠  Poetry by J.C. Mari Irrupção by Paulo Renato Colombiano –

It grins behind your back

It’s hard not
To be afraid
When you realize
How suddenly

Can leap
And eat your face

How completely
It can
Drag you


Ropes around your

It’s hard not
To be afraid
When you realize
How close it
Really is

Even if the
Horizon looks empty
Even if the
Horizon looks clean.

How close it’s
Always been

And the only thing

That will kill it

Is your death.


All Love Razed

Such as used to
Make you write
Shit for some one
Or another


Took a walk and
Never came back, it
Probably got
Knifed in some
Back alley drunk


Thrown behind a
Garbage bin and
Eaten by cats, ants,
Roaches, pigeons, dogs
Crackheads, junkies,


And I’m glad I’m not
Petting pigs or
Reading bad
Poetry to the deaf and dull



Even if i don’t miss the
Anxiety nights, someone
Else sticking it
In you while insomnia
Sticks it in me


Even if the whole thing
Everything less, i know
That in some way it
Also made
Everything a little more.


Now there’s just a dry
Waiting for nothing and
The sand sticks
in my throat.


Old man doing laundry


Clothes spinning in the drier

like thoughts that drag and

bark and go round and

round and

nowhere else


and the old man

looks like something

by Satie

playing on a scratched vinyl

on a Thursday afternoon


while the light,

the light touches you

like a dog would lick your hand.Codêa

Paulo Renato Colombiano – Visual Artist – Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

See more art from Paulo at : and Instagram: @paulorenatocolombiano

image012 (1)


The shoes didn’t fit

Poetry by George Owen ø Art by Eve Selonke


The shoes didn’t fit

I knew I was born to be no slave

Then the crown didn’t fit

I was baffled by this since I was next in line

I never understood why the shoes were too small

And the crown too heavy

Why to serve wasn’t noteworthy

And to lead was too great

I had to discard this notions

To find solution

A quiver and a bow and I became robin to the hood

Finally understood my dreams

I was a boy yet a man on a mission

Born to be free If I played my position

In the eyes of the king I was nothing but an outlaw

In the eyes of my people I was something of a rebel

But to the common people was a hero of some sort

Like robin had to find my own bandits to become prince of the thieves

To steal from the rich and gift to the poor

To bring about justice and equity to the law

But before I could commit this treason I was arrested by the guard

But how could they know my intentions? Was I thinking out loud?

So I was taken to the king found guilty of treason and sentenced to die

Not by hanging or beheading but my very own bows

So I was sent to the executioner with tears in my eyes

Three arrows to my heart

Was like 3 raps on my back

And I awoke on the floor

It was 3 minutes past 8

It was the 3rd time I was late for my class in a week –



Poetry by Jenny Santellano ♣ Art by Jaimie Filer

Scan 5



Brutality beckons

harsh words

filtered through

slants of eyes

captivated by

carnal cravings

sumptuous taste

of salty tears

luscious lies


Your hands

my thighs

hair pulled

forceful thrust

caged in lust




Scan 8


Sacred Woman


They’ve christened

me a lady, cross-legged,

envied, refined recluse,


while the witches

are still burning,

screaming as I dance


I can feel their fingernails

scratching at my core


I don’t belong in this breed,

but somehow my jagged

pieces fit perfectly into

their pragmatic puzzle,


and puzzled I am,

barely able to stand,

yet perfectly poised


Complaisant and weary

I’m a withered soul in guise,

fake smile, tied bows,

maimed but pretty

in their eyes


Magna Carta, fuck you


Misinterpreted bits of

information accepted

under false pretense,

driven by greedy

hierarchy feeding off

of the naivety of its

servants whose loyalty

is akin to the after-

effect of being shot

by Cupid’s arrow


Capitalism is not

a true democracy,

but it is risky to rebel

against a totalitarian

government, and the

nature of human beings

is to accept authority


Freedom does not exist

until you resist


It’s a lesson the living

will never learn-

Only the dead know




See more art by Jaimie Filer at


Poetry by Shelly Buttenhoff Miller  Art by Mark Venaglia

Venaglia49printEmailFragility of a persons heart

like the wings of a moth above the flame

A bit of humanity

is not human at all

We cannibalize other’s lives

as if they mean nothing


Love cannot conquer all


Agony from another’s choice

profoundly effects so many


In the spiders web

we are all trapped together

the spider waiting patiently

for our mistake and it’s chance

to change everything forever


Yet our compassion can

bring relief from the grief
of the inhumane actions of some

SAM_0142-002My name is Shelly Buttenhoff Miller. I just moved to Springfield, Oregon from a much smaller town. I enjoy hiking, photography, reading and even coloring. I started writing poetry to help me express my feelings and emotions in a way I’d never been able to before. I have a mental illness but refuse to let it define me.

…See more artwork from Mark Venaglia at


Poetry & Art (Italian and English) by Emiliano Zingaleshaman fire


Forte come quercia,
io crescerò
Profondo come il cielo,
dentro me, io scaverò

Alto come il Sole
E come l’Araba Fenice
Io, Risorgerò.

shaman p

Sturdy like an Oak
I will grow
Deep down like the sky,
into me, I will dive

High up like the Sun
One day, I will return
And like a Phoenix from its pain,
I, Will Rise Again!

Pictures from the Alley

Real-life Story by Craig Stormont ψ Street Art Photography by Ill 69er


My favorite hangout when I was a kid was an alley behind a block of stores on Hillside Avenue, about a half a mile east of Creedmoor, the State Mental Hospital in Queens, NY. Along with my gang of confused young friends, I’d head there every day after school.

There was a lot to do in the alley; you never knew what you’d find there. One day I discovered a set of some junkie’s works in an eyeglass case hidden in the bottom of a drainpipe. I poked one of my friends in the ass with the needle and brought all of it – the case, needle, spoon, and dope – home, with the intention of taking it to school the next day for show and tell. When I walked in the door, my father asked, “What the hell is that in your pocket?” I had placed the case in my shirt pocket as adults did, trying to look sophisticated.

“It’s for show and tell,” I said.

“Gimme that.”

My father freaked out when he saw what was inside. Angrily, he asked, “Where the hell did you get this?”

“In the alley,” I replied.

“Stay the hell outta that alley!” he screamed. Then he walked outside and put the eyeglass case and its contents into the bottom of the garbage can outside the kitchen door. I was mad, figuring it would have been a big hit with the other kids for show and tell, but mostly because I knew the nuns would be pissed off if I brought it to school. I hated them. I spent many a Sunday morning hanging out in the alley while my parents thought I was at church.

image1 (1)

I had my first beer in the alley. Some idiot thought he was smart, hiding a six pack of Colt 45 under one of the metal covers for the building’s cellar windows. There were two of them back there. All you had to do was lift a heavy sheet of steel and then you’d find a large empty space between it and the grate that protected the window. Older guys were always hiding beer, wine, and other stuff in there, so I’d check them out every day.

One Sunday afternoon we went to the alley and found about four issues of Hustler and Penthouse magazines.

“Check out the size of this one’s tits!”

“Wow! Look at that snatch!”

Along with the two kids I was with, I had fallen in love, or at least that’s what I thought. We spent the entire afternoon perusing the magazines and discussing the physical attributes of the women therein. I didn’t want to part with them. Knowing full well that it would be impossible to sneak a complete periodical up to the room I shared with my brother, I decided to simply tear out all of the really special pictures. I neatly folded them and stuffed them into my pockets and my underwear. I had a lot of them.

We were so distracted by the ladies in the magazines that we had lost all sense of time. “Holy Shit,” said one of my buddies, “It’s 6:15 already. I gotta go home.”

“Yeah, me too,” I said.

As I walked in the door, I heard my mother yell, “Where have you been? You’re late for supper.” I entered the dining room and the whole family was there, along with my grandmother, eating roast beef. My father turned around in his chair and stared at my pockets; they were bulging. “What the hell is that in your pockets?”

“I gotta go to the bathroom” was all I could think to say, but before I made it out of the dining room my mother grabbed me by my belt and started pulling all the pictures out of my pockets. “This is disgusting! What pervert gave you these? My God!”

I was sent to bed without supper that night, but I remember seeing my father laughing as I went upstairs. A big argument between my mother and him ensued. Later that evening, before I fell asleep, he came upstairs and told me, “Stay the hell outta that alley.”

After school the next day, I met up with my gang and we went straight to the alley. For some reason, we thought we’d find more dirty magazines. When we didn’t, we pushed a big green dumpster down a stairwell, set it on fire, and ran like hell.


Normal is an electric chair with a short circuit

poetry by Edwin B. Wollet ♠ Art by Etienne Grinter 

Etienne Grinter 2

Normal is an electric chair with a short circuit

…went searching for Normal

I dis-re-un-covered it.

Normal is:


A dry drop of water

on a lonely, 100-mile stretch of desert road

The empty space

between two repelling supermagnets

An invisible bullseye

on the broad side of a barn

The dark side

of a white-hot lightning bolt

The consummated union

of soul and anti-soul


I found these riddles

amidst the pinballs racing

through my scrambled-egg brain

I saw them, heard them, tasted them

before they disappeared

into my vegan omelet,

lost in the frying pan bubbles

on the flaming burners

of an aneuronal, pre-Cambrian oven

the death-venue of


too dangerous


for psychotic minds


to contemplate even with the aid of


support groups



  • A walk in the park with their dog

  • The deadline for a project at work

  • Wondering what to make for dinner

  • Fantasizing about the hottie on the subway

then going home and

masturbating to soft porn

because they can’t stomach

the hard shit, and because that’s

the best they can hope for


These are normal musings not mine

(except for walking a hellish dog named Love)

The rest are schemas submitted to an editor

that are dumped into the slush pile

of an insane man’s subconscious mind

or what’s left of it


I found Normal today

And afterwards

I covered it back up

So I wouldn’t have to…



See more art from Etienne E. Grinter at his website: Http://

Your Post Office Experience

Fiction By Penny Skillman ⇒Photography by Salvatore CirmiIMG_4382
Realizing that the post office machine mailing requires a debit card, which I did not have, I got on the healthy line in order to mail my package over the counter.

Only two clerks. One was handing out a survey form, talking with each customer on the line. On the survey, as well as on the wall, it asked: How Was Your Post Office Experience? Past tense. Another unanswerable question, for a future time.

The woman in front of me said, “If she’d just get behind the counter, we’d have a lot better chance of getting waited on, wouldn’t we?”

The line lengthened, until it was at the door, and curved around the corner inside the building. Tapping. Thinking. About the wheatgrass juice vendor at the Ferry Building who told me one of his relatives developed a new way to sprout fenugreek and daikon radish. He grows his wheatgrass outside, only two days inside a green house. Hmmm. What’s that guy’s name who publishes that journal of fiction for the adventurous? Codrescu? Excellent Corpse? Something like that. Exquisite Corpse. Looking at my box mail, bills, journals, a long letter.

” ‘What have I done?’

‘You’ve taken a life, that’s what,’ said the voice inside his head, ‘ a child’s life.’ It wasn’t the first time either. He was startled at that thought. He’d killed before, in Vietnam, and more than once. And children too. Had it made it easier when he killed one or two, or five, in a group rather than one lone child? Somehow it had been, even though those Vietnamese hadn’t been soldiers, either, even when it was just villagers caught up in a situation they had absolutely no control over. But still it wasn’t like this.

When the kid’s mother came out of the house, at first she was bewildered at seeing an over-turned Land Rover. Then looking around for the boy, she saw him, she caught a glimpse of the bicycle under the truck. Part of his chest on one side, crushed and foolish looking, was visible when she bent down. She screamed, screamed again, yet he knew that she didn’t understand what she saw. He couldn’t believe it himself. When the ambulance came with the medics she’d already been put in a police cruiser. That was when she started screaming and screaming and screaming, as though if she could protest loudly and long enough, she could turn back time and the event wouldn’t have happened. The boy didn’t lose that much blood, he remembered, just where the roof of The Rover had ripped through his red plaid shirt, or maybe it just blended with the shirt, but he’d have thought the crushing when his truck turned over would have made more of a mess, like those bodies in Nam torn and sometimes shredded, bloody, the parts scattered but sometimes still pulsating with life force. Especially the hearts, he’d noticed, they seemed to miss the boat somehow when the rest of the body had been torn apart, they just kept on with that subdued pulsing and twitching. He’d thrown up when he’d seen that, and he hadn’t been the only one. But here, this bicycle kid, my god, with his mother screaming as though her own heart was trying to explode, to do away with itself. And he didn’t have an excuse for this one, he’d just had four beers and hurried like he always did on his way home when the Rover went too far into the center lane, and then he’d corrected too much. Simple inattention, nothing on purpose.


The kid had been sitting on the curb — waiting for his sister to come home from school he’d found out later.

The medic told the mother later at the hospital that her boy had died instantaneously.

And after a week went by, he’d talked to the mother herself , and they’d — “

“Can I help you?”

I close the journal.

“I’d like to send this package to Florida. Fairview, as it says. Fastest way.”

The clerk takes the package, puts it on the scale, then labels it Priority.

“$10.40,” she says. I pull out my bills, dig in my coat pocket for the change until I’ve matched the spoken amount.

“Thank you. And how many days to get it there?”

“Two to five days.”

“Thanks.” I walk out. I’m completely confident the package will get there in two to four days. Satisfied the two Hawaiian shirts, a black and gray flower pattern on white for my brother, a green and butter-yellow flower pattern for my sister-in-law, will get there in time for their attendance at the Tallahassee symphony — Mahler, and the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferdinand de Graf. They’ve informed me: two times.


(The quoted text is from a small lit journal I got in the mail; unfortunately, I didn’t note the author’s name, and for that I apologize to him. I hope he reads this and writes.) See more stunning photography from Salvatore Cirmi on Instagram




Romance of souls

Poetry & Art by Subhajit Sanyal 


“KoAE” String


The endless night called the stars to ‘sky’—-

The celestial choir then, sung in the sky.

They swayed till the dawn swallowed the sky.


Death brewed in the morning coffee,

Hot and Handsome, He—-full of love; the coffee

Immortality kissed the coffeelicious coffee.


The first ray of sunshine toed the clouds,

Removing the pal from crucified clouds—–

Born was hope, hemming the clouds.

Dawn met Dusk at the shore of night,

Could never unite into the sea, nightly—–

But embraced and pecked, throughout the night.

©® Subhajit Sanyal

12142421_951293258264371_824452004_n(“Kookaburra: Affe Epistrophe” in short “KoAE”, is a new poetry format in the world of micropoetry, created by my friend, Paayol Lalwaani. I took this opportunity to name it as such owing to its rules. Rules

This poetry is based on the theme: philosophy. Here, each poem is a 3 line one where each line should end with either a common word or different forms of the same word. The poetic device or figure speech being used is Personification.

Why such a name? Kookaburra is an Australian avis, who mimics the human laughter (repeating the word and mimicking is similar, so this name). Epistrophe(roman) is a figure of speech where the same word is used at the end of two lines, sentences or clauses. Since the epistrophe is not necessary so the word Affe(latin) is used (Affe means ape, here as to ape or copy different forms of same word). Hope you all enjoy it.)

Born in October, Subhajit is an open minded soul of 19. A son of Bengal, Subhajit belongs to a small town, Purulia. He has completed his schooling in 2015, May, when he begun scribbling as a hobby, affected by all that is happening in his surroundings. He is fond of reading, writing, music and photography, solely dedicated to writing and learning. He began writing by chance but now, is a wanderer by choice.

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