3rd Place ‘Derogative of Wanderlust’ by Alice White
Enchanted charms on masks, yet not enchained with Chai Lattes, following nocturnal stains a bliss to hold onto the attaché! sealed adulation. on this sinistral wandering, the ‘I’ is his protege. the long for twitter is a sparrows disgrace the stroller’s irony – no road to ease a lease to meet – when it’s not paved for? a meal to eat – when it’s not paid for?
another casual Friday on King’s Road.
BIO: Alice White, a 23 year old currently studying for her BA in London.
2nd Place ‘The Cigarette That Burnt’ by Niharika Pandey
The burning white stick sticks to the folds of the fingers of your left hand While the other one has my arm around it as we stand On the edge of the bridge, That bridges the distance between the separate lands. I glance sideways, my eyes on the white stick Burning in between your lips. My heart cries, “Smoking Kills”! You are nonchalant. The relief that your lungs feel when the smoke exhales; The heart trapped between the drugged lungs do not notice As my fingers loosen the hold on your arm, Loosen the bond that was once so firm. Alas! I slowly walk away And to my dismay You don’t look to your right.
You don’t get the drift of the emptiness on your right arm Because the blazing stick on your left sits so firm.
Now I am on the other land
While you are stuck in the middle
Unaware of the choice you made.
To fidget soon, to succumb later
You left my warmth and chose ‘its’ shade
1st Place ‘Lobster’ by B. Diehl
I got a call back from the temp agency this morning. They said they could offer me about 2 weeks of work in total –– 8 dollars an hour for cleaning picture frames at some dirty factory.
So I’m supposed to come in to fill out some paperwork today. I’m supposed to take a drug test. I’m supposed to wear khakis.
I get in my car and start making the 50-minute drive over to Branchburg, wondering if I’ll run out of gas –– wondering if I have enough nickels in my cup holder to stop for a gas station burrito.
I try to remember what it feels like: that worry-free feeling of seeing a comma in my bank balance.
I try to remember 5-star hotels, compulsive shopping, the taste of lobster.
If I work hard enough at this job, breathe in enough dust, throw out my back at least once a week, maybe they will keep me around longer than 2 weeks. Maybe they’ll keep me forever.
Maybe they’ll dangle a lobster in my face whenever I think about leaving.
But is that really what I want? To forget what it’s like to struggle? To forget the real value of green-dyed paper? Do I want to be greedy, ungrateful, and think with my wallet as my heart is replaced with a lump of frozen coal?
I’m making a U-turn. I’m pulling into a gas station and asking for 95 cents of the regular. I’m breaking my rearview mirror. I’m eating the glass.
BIO: B. Diehl is a poet, quasi-recluse, and cat enthusiast from Phillipsburg, NJ. He is the co-author of the poetry chapbook Temporary Obscurity (Indigent Press, 2015) and author of the full-length poetry collection Zeller’s Alley (White Gorilla Press, 2016). His poetry has been featured in Hobart, FLAPPERHOUSE, Straight Forward Poetry, Poydras Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Torrid Literature Journal, Lehigh Valley Vanguard, Five 2 One Magazine, and more. When he is not writing, you can usually find him at home, hanging out with his cats and/or feeding his social media addiction. He still lives with his parents.