Estrangement Isle by Stacy Gleiss

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I live on the Isle of Estrangement,
mourning the one who sent me here,
with the words “I’m cutting you off.”

The mainland Normalcy–
a place where people forgive and talk things through,
is sometimes visible through the haze.

If I thought I wouldn’t be turned away,
I’d attempt to cross the frigid straits,
As it is, with no beacon, the one with the boat must return.

In the meantime, I worry all those who visit,
this private space where I grieve,
will tire of my sad face.

So with a sense of desperation I teach,
of how it was I came here to exist,
hoping they will stay a while,
on my island of exile,
this place called Estrangement.

About Stacy

Stacy Gleiss has lived a life immersed in Japanese culture—a culture vastly different from that of her home state of Michigan. In her experience as the teen bride of a traditional Japanese man, Gleiss found inspiration for her memoir, The Six-Foot Bonsai.

Visit Stacy’s blog here: https://thesixfootbonsai.com/

And here’s the link to her book, The Six-Foot Bonsai, on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Six-Foot-Bonsai-Soul-Lost-Rising/dp/0692773134

Opportunity for Budding Writers: microAGGRESSION Anthology Submissions Open

Creative Talents Unleashed have recently announced a new opportunity for budding writers to submit their poetry, short stories, journal entries, thought pieces, and essays for publication in their next anthology. The anthology will be entitled “microAGGRESSION: Then & Now” and you can discover more about it, including what the company is looking for and how to submit, on the Creative Talents Unleashed blog or on the event page on Facebook.

Submissions will be open until the end of February.

Foreword . . .

Balance is key in understanding the impact of Microaggression or, depending on your viewpoint, the lack thereof. Does it affect you, personally? Does it affect somebody you love? Is it real? Is it cultural? Or is it just some fancy “new” term used to further complicate how people communicate with one another. Should it be ignored, or highlighted and explored? Is it worth your time? The purpose of this anthology on the subject of Microaggression is to explore its ceiling from the surface and below. This book, “Then & Now”, will serve as a manual on this topic and more importantly, inspire generations to take a closer look at the layers of human communication that go unspoken for time and time again.

Cracks of Time by Joyfrida Anindo

They built a Wall,
So they could keep us out,
But time brings wear and tear,
The fence developed cracks,
Through the cracks our eyes met,
They saw us,
We saw them,
Then they couldn’t un-see what they had done.


About Joyfrida

This poetry was written by Joyfrida Anindo. She is a Kenyan lady who lives and works in Nairobi, Kenya.

You can visit Joyfrida’s blog and read more of her writing on her blog: https://joywrite.wordpress.com/ – there’s a lot of powerful poetry to read there.

 

Savage Country by Anderson Ryle

“Do you want to play guns?” he asked me.

This was a complicated question, and while I stood not knowing what to say, the summer heat beat down through the cloudless Virginia sky. Twenty years has gone by now, and each summer heat wave brings back this vivid memory. It will forever be with me, as clear as it was that day when I was eight.

A dozen or so boys watched me, waiting to hear my answer, and not one of them seemed to notice the oppressive humidity hanging thickly about us. The leader of the horde stood out in front, eyes fixed on me, with a toy cap gun in each hand.

The first part of the question that my eight-year-old brain had to address was this boy’s use of the word ‘guns’. He said it like ‘guns’ was an activity. In my universe, guns are not an activity; guns are things, guns are objects, guns are weapons, and guns can be used for many activities, but they are not activities. They can be used for hunting, or warfare, or even the occasional wild west duel that takes place at high noon on a hot summer day with the hero only seconds faster than the crooked sheriff who finally, finally got what was coming to him, but guns, in my universe, were not an activity.

In my world, as an eight year old boy who grew up playing games like, Boggle, and Scrabble, and the magnificent Trivial Pursuit, ‘playing guns’ did not compute. So I stood there silent for a moment as this other eight-year-old boy watched me, his mouth held open slightly, and all the other boys crowding in behind him also brandishing toy weapons of various kinds. They looked for all the world like a tribe of savages. Some were shirtless, some had skinned knees, and one even had an unnoticed booger hanging from his nose. But every one of them burned by the sun under which they played each summer day. They all looked at me like they didn’t understand why I wasn’t responding, as if they couldn’t have asked a simpler question.

But as I mentioned before, his question was multifaceted. I tried to step out of my universe and into some crazy parallel universe where ‘guns’ was an activity. The question then hinged around the rest of his sentence, ‘do you want to…’ Now that was a loaded question, pardon the pun. Did I want to…what? What did ‘playing guns’ entail? I had no way of knowing what I was signing up for. If I said ‘yes’, would I be resigning myself to an afternoon of getting stung by humming steel pellets fired from the smoking mouth of Red Rider BB guns? Entirely possible. I didn’t know what these booger-nosed hooligans were capable of. The mere savagery of that undetected booger was simply beyond my comprehension. A boy who can look another human in the face while standing there in such a state, well, he must be capable of anything. Saying ‘yes’ was right out of the question.

But to say ‘no’, now, there was another conundrum. If I said ‘no’ to the prospect of ‘playing guns’ without knowing what in involved, well I could be passing up on the greatest event of my life. The day I kissed Sally from School was good, but ‘playing guns’… that could be monumental. An eight year old goes to play with savages; he leaves a boy, he comes back a man. I could see the headlines already! The radio broadcasts! The cinema posters! I was sure that to say ‘no’ would be closing the door on one of life’s great opportunities… forever.

“How do you play guns?” I asked back at him.

The tribe’s leader looked at me like I was an alien from outer space assuming the form of an eight-year-old human boy. His eyes scanned my tucked in polo shirt and my khaki pants, and it was as if a realization dawned on his face. He knew right then that I really was an alien from outer space, at least an alien from a different city, a different suburb, and a whole different way of life. He realized that I had a whole different culture, and he didn’t hold it against me for a minute.

He just held out a Smith and Wesson replica cap gun and said, “You take this one, and shoot at me, and I’ll take the other and shoot at you.” He paused for a moment, looking at me to see if I understood, and then finished with, “It’s every man for himself.”

I took the toy six-shooter in my little hand, and I swear I grew six inches taller. My universe turned on its head. My world flipped upside down. But never for one minute did I want anything else. In my old universe there was order, there was reason, there were games that have boards, and rulebooks, and winners and losers. But here, out here in savage country, there were no rules; there was mayhem. Glorious mayhem. No winners. No losers. Just endless hours of joy serenaded by the pap-pap-pap of the cap guns, and the happy hollers of eight year old boys. Eight-year-old boys being eight-year-old boys.


About Anderson

Anderson Ryle is an engineer living in Fort Collins Colorado. He enjoys writing noir fiction, and has recently published his first noir short story “The Back Doors of Fancy Places”. He loves a good adventure, a dim jazz bar, and a smokey glass of single malt scotch.

Check out Anderson’s blog, where he posts stories, discusses writing tips, and allows guest posts via the Contact page: https://andersonryle.wordpress.com/

The Cycle by Basilia Eyowel

[Poem for the recovering addict, the one fighting to be free from the demons of addiction]

I’m awake
Eyes open to a day that has never existed, a new day
And the cycle continues
I think I’m okay
I think I’m not
I’ve stopped counting
Consciously avoiding the number of days I’ve spent without you.
I feel like if I keep track, I’d come running back to you
My wings are broken
My legs are numb
I want you
So bad I crave you like this air rushing into my lungs
I can’t breathe, for a second I lose my head
It’s spinning, I get busy to evade the very thought of you
But it’s not working, never did
It’s like I’ve fallen into your arms cold again but in my mind
It’s like you’ll never let me go
Like you’re tattooed on my brain
Forever
The first day we met, I was curious and for sure curiosity got this cat trapped, waiting to be killed
I think I love you but only because you put a gun to my head
Only because you took control of me and of this mirage I’ve become accustomed

I’m awake
I open my eyes to the light of a new day
And the cycle continues
I’m not okay
I think I want you
I’ve so easily forgotten the baggage
The torture you bring
The mental scars still fresh and yet I want you even more
The feeling of being invincible yet so vulnerable
This pearly gate you opened to me,
I looked through and saw that all that glitters was pure gold
Gold buried in thorns, which
For you I’ve bled
Even now as I write with my life pouring out as ink on this paper, Paper drenched in tears from eyes young but old enough to feel,
I miss your solace, your sting
Some days I wish I could travel back in time, erase the first time you made sweet love to my mind
But wishes don’t exist and here I am
Again
Starved, aching, wanting you
But not today, today I will run
I will fight, I will float
Maybe tomorrow I’ll drift into your warm embrace, but not today,
Today I’ll think, I’d breathe and let it go
Tomorrow the cycle will continue
But today, I will win!!!


About Basilia Eyowel

I’m Basilia Eyowel from Abuja, Nigeria, 23 year old deep thinker, writer/poet, a microbiologist.

I read this one aloud, and it was powerful stuff. Check out Basilia’s blog for more excellent poetry: astoldbysilia.wordpress.com

Call for Submissions

I love sharing other people’s writing on Let it Come from the Heart. Short stories, flash fiction, poetry and writing tips are all big features of this blog. If you’ve written something you’d like me to share, please visit the Submit page.

In the meantime, check out the latest submissions to Let it Come from the Heart:

There Will Be Hope by Iain Kelly

Bottled Up by Krazmaz

On Milford Beach by Nathaniel Coombes

On Milford Beach by Nathaniel Coombes

Gentle waves adorn the sparkling shingle
And the sun has its way with the sea
Gentle folk pass by enjoying the warmth
Of early October in the brilliant light
No cares invade the peace of this place
No thoughts destroy the magical stillness
The last visit perhaps unless the weather blesses
And the cold of winter holds back a while
It is enough to sit and wonder at simple pleasure
The joy of tranquility blessing the solitude


About Nathaniel

I am a retired university lecturer (chemistry) and live in Hertfordshire, UK. I have painted in oils, acrylics and watercolours for 25 years. You will find some of my work on my blog. About three years ago I started writing poetry, and more recently I am writing short stories. I would dearly like more followers and also to follow the work of others.

As if he hasn’t already given us a vivid enough picture with his words, there are amazing paintings on Nathaniel’s blog. And don’t forget to support his great flash fiction and poetry. Visit his site to check it all out: nathanielcoombes.wordpress.com

Bottled Up by Krazmaz

Perhaps a good fifteen or twenty feet across, James’ platform was just one of many such little outcrops throughout the cave, albeit one of the few ones large enough to live on. The light from his fire let him see maybe two or three others but they were more like stalagmite than platforms, really.

He didn’t mind though. Life on the platform was more comfortable than you’d expect, albeit very lonely. James didn’t think he’d ever seen another person, or if he had he certainly couldn’t remember. Every day it was just him on his platform with his tiny hut and his fire and the silent, echoing sounds of absolutely nothing else. He was pretty used to it.

After gathering cave wood (which sprouted from just under the lip of the platform and was only moderately perilous to collect), getting his fire going and seeing to the essentials of life James would – without fail – settle down to write something. What he wrote varied, though he tried for narrative consistency in his story about an adventurous cave vole.

Sometimes he just didn’t feel like doing that one though, which was okay. Whatever he did he popped down onto cave-parchment, rolled up, slipped into his bottle and sent off into the cave dangling beneath the heavily repaired lantern he had for just such a purpose. He would sit and watch the little light of the lantern growing smaller and smaller as it drifted off into the cave before finally turning that far corning and winking out from sight. It’d be back.

Many years ago when James had been a younger man, he had once woken up to find the bottle on his platform. This had been a first for James, and he had been understandably surprised – so surprised he didn’t notice the sad, deflated remains of the lantern the bottle had ridden to get there until afterwards.

Inside the bottle had been a poem. He hadn’t even liked it that much if he was honest, though it had helped him get the fire going that one time. More, it was what the poem represented that hooked his interest. Someone else was out there! Someone else sitting in a cave James had always thought he was the sole occupant of. What was more, this meant there was a definite means of reaching them!

A quirk of the airflow within the cave – which was well-known to James – was a particular stream of air that ran more-or-less in a complete circuit around the known interior of the cave. Or at least that was what James thought. Given the darkness it was hard to tell, but his few experiments with it had seen a crude craft of his own design float off into the gloom and return the next day none the worse for wear. The lantern, he imagined, would fly much better. It did.

No-one ever replied. Whoever had sent the poem in the first place – and anyone else who might have happened to be in the way – apparently didn’t feel the need.

James knew they were getting them, too. The bottles always came back but they always came back empty, and there was no-way the parchment could just fall out. The first time this happened he imagined that their response would be forthcoming in another bottle. Perhaps they needed some time to write it but thought James still needed his bottle. How considerate of them, James thought.

But they had never sent anything. Some time later, he finally cracked and wrote something else. Eventually James stopped waiting and just wrote something every time the bottle came back. It kept getting opened and it kept getting emptied, and James continued to sit on his platform alone and in silence.

Maybe his messages weren’t good enough. This idea popped out of nowhere one day and stopped James in his tracks. Objectively, living without any real constructive feedback, James had no way of knowing how good or not what he was doing might have been. But now the idea was in his head. He quickly became convinced that it must have been pretty bad – why else wouldn’t they reply?

Not having a single clue what was expected of him, James tried much harder. Of course, he had no idea what this meant, so in practical terms he just ended up losing weight from worrying about his performance – which dipped. The bottles kept leaving and kept coming back empty, and James’ desperation grew as his frame shrank.

Maybe they didn’t like the vole. James could understand that. Now that he looked back over what he’d done, he could admit the vole was stupid. He could see why they’d ignored it. He’d have ignored it too. It was stupid. Boring. How had he not realised that before? He’d do much better.

Or at least he’d try. He thought he’d tried, but they still hadn’t replied. Maybe he was getting worse? He asked the cave but the cave said nothing. He was pretty sure he was getting worse. It didn’t help that his trousers kept falling down. They used to fit him quite well, now not so much. He made a belt but it stopped working after a while.

With his hands shaking so much it was hard to write. His fires weren’t as bright anymore either since he was getting so difficult to gather wood for it, and it didn’t help that he was just so tired all the time these days. Some days he couldn’t even gather enough energy to write. Not that it mattered. No-one ever replied. He doubted they even noticed, whoever they were, wherever they were.

One day, lying curled up by his dying fire in an effort to ward off the cold he always felt these days, James caught a flicker of something moving in the corner of his eye. With supreme effort he pushed himself up onto his elbow and peered up. His heart practically burst when he saw another, new bottle drifting towards his platform.

Dragging himself on his belly across the platform he frantically swiped at the bottle, catching it out of the air. Rolling onto his back he struggled with trembling fingers to open it and, after much effort, managed it. The cork rolled off the edge and fell away out of sight, but James didn’t care. Up-ending the bottle he held it with both hands and gave it a shake, watching the rolled parchment sliding its way out before plopping onto his chest. He unfurled it.

It was another poem. It made no mention of James’ vole, their opinions on James’ vole, their opinions on anything else he’d ever done or indeed any sign they were aware of him at all even though they clearly must have been. They’d been opening his bottles. He knew they had. James read it twice to be sure, then a third time, then a fourth through tears.

Maybe he just wasn’t good enough yet.

Letting the empty bottle follow the cork off the side of the platform James pulled himself over to his hut and fumbled around inside for fresh parchment and his old bottle to put it in. Sniffling, his writing barely legible, he forced himself to start something new.

He’d try harder. He had to try harder.


About Krazmaz

A rambling non-entity bereft of talent.

Ohh, I just love the messages within this story. You can’t write in isolation with confidence and clarity -constructive criticism will help to improve your writing, if you let it – and the stress that writers can go through when they worry about whether they’re “good enough”!  Check out more fantastic stories and follow Krazmaz here: https://krazmaz.wordpress.com/

There Will Be Hope by Iain Kelly

Running. Hard. Breathing heavy. Feet pounding. Sweat dripping. Muscles straining. The hard surface jarring his joints as he hurtles onwards. Round another corner. No time to look back. Need to stop. Hide. Somewhere.

Blood. Blood on the streets. Blood on his clothes. Death. He survives. He runs. Escape. In the future he will have to live with this. Not now. Now is enduring.

How many of them were there? No idea. Flashing images. Bodies lying. Screams. Pain. A face exploding in front of him. Blood. Matter. Bone. Showering him. Run. Maggie? Separated. Should he go back to look for her?

Quieter. Distant sirens. Whimpering. Screaming. Slow. Adrenaline slows, body aches. Now stop. Peer around this corner. Masked man. Armed. Hide. Deep, slow breaths. Quiet. Footsteps approach. Press against the cold wall. Please God. There is no God. Please God. Footsteps retreat. There is no God. Thank you God.

Look again. Empty. Go back? Maggie? He has to. Slowly. Walking, creeping. Bystanders emerge. People on the ground. Bystanders become participants. Become heroes. Humanity will prevail in the end. Now agony prevails. Hatred. Despair. Death.

Along the streets. Here is where he left her. Bodies. Pain. Blood. Nowhere. Maggie. Energy gone. Collapse. Knees hit the hard ground. Adrenaline gone. Shock. Tears. Pain. Does it all end here, like this?

Shouts. Hands on him. Lifting him. Gun. Friend or foe? Cold metal against his skin. Aggression. Shoved. Face hits hard ground. Maggie. Last thought. Do you hear the gunshot that kills you? Do you feel the bullet that kills you?

Not like this. Coward. Get up. Do something. Fight back. Die fighting. Fight for your humanity. Fight for your future. Fight for Maggie. Struggle. The struggle. The struggle for his future. Get up goddamn you.

The voice. He hears her. She is there. He feels her. He sees her. She lifts him. She exists, she survives. The cold metal retreats. Maggie. Embrace. Relief. Tears. Aftermath. Distant gunshots. More pain. More blood. More death. Will it ever end? Can it ever end? Make it stop.

Tell yourself. There is hope. There is love. There is hope. Hold on to her. Hold on to that. Where there is pain and death, there will be life. There will be peace.

There will be hope.


About Iain

Iain lives Glasgow in Scotland, where he spends almost all his time raising his twin son and daughter. In my spare time I work as an editor of television programmes. Any time left over after that goes to reading and writing. I hope you enjoy my efforts.

That was exciting! Check out Iain’s blog for more short stories, including lots of flash fiction pieces: http://www.iainkellywriting.wordpress.com

Our Photographs by Felicity Green

I.

“One… Two… Three… Say ‘Cheese!’”,
and we said our cheese’s.
Your left hand warm and soft
on my right hand
in our summer sunset.
It was one of our moments
I would forever wish to keep.
It was one of our special shots
that would have
a place in my
history book.
It was one of our photographs.

II.

As seasons changed,
so did you.
You started to transform into
the cold and longer darkness
of winter.
You were darker
and it made me sadder.
By the end of winter,
I knew that
you never gave me the warmth
to warm my body from the chilly season,
but the coldness
to freeze and shiver
under my knitted cardigan.
By the start of spring,
my days started blooming
cherry blossoms
as I move on
from winter.

III.

Summer is now coming.
A summer without you is coming.
I’ve torn and thrown our photographs
in the trash bin
because I am saving it
for better moments
from someone better.
I may be moving to a new summer,
but I still can’t move on from you.
The photographs we have taken
a year ago,
the same photographs that
I have sent to the trash bin,
they will still remain photographs.
Photographs that were printed
with our moments from the past.
They were our photographs;
the photographs where our memories
will forever be
in our history books.


About Felicity

Felicity Green is an amateur writer and photographer in the Philippines. She expresses herself through music, art, writing, and dance.

Big thanks to Felicity for submitting more of her wonderful poetry to Let it Come from the Heart! If you enjoy her writing as much as I do, please visit and follow her blog: felicitygreenwrites.wordpress.com