Untitled by Michael Prihoda

Issue 5

when he woke in the woods,
nights dark beyond darkness.
the onset of dimming,
looked for any light,
there was none,
lost among the inward parts
of some granitic beast.
the earth of years
without room.

alabaster bones
cast up in the beating heart.
the brain pulsed a bell

he wasn’t sure,
a calendar moving south.
there’d be no here

then everything
in loose segments
looking for any movement,

holding the land of God.
folded it, carried it,
spread the small tarp.
this was not a safe place,
essential things
to abandon

the wasted country
empty, precise,
a burden of okay.

they crossed the weeds
the broken asphalt apron,
the odor of windows intact


Source Text: The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Michael Prihoda is a poet and artist living in the Midwest. He is founding editor of After the Pause and his work can be found in various journals in print and around the web. He loves llamas and the moments life makes him smile.

The City of Shadows by Anushree Nande

Issue 5

She seems trapped in that state of perpetual youth reserved for mannequins.
Her voice so fragile that I fear the words would break if I interrupted them.
Russian dolls
With innumerable diminishing replicas of themselves inside.
Like entry into a gallery of mirrors, fragmented
Into endless reflections.
What does she hear when she truly listens?
The world loses its memory, day by day, unknowingly,
Feeling all the wiser the more it forgets
But then a purple blade of light cuts through the clouds and generously sprays its hue over all and everything in its path
The spirit of the city seems to stroll most proudly through the streets.
The magic in all the wood, the freshly-ground coffee, the lightly spiced tea and the incredibly comforting hot chocolate.
She smiles at me from the past, unable to see the flames that close in on her.
Days of ashes.
To truly hate is an art one learns with time.

Source text: Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of the Wind

Anushree Nande is a Mumbai-based writer, editor and proofreader with MA & BA Creative Writing degrees from Edge Hill University. She has short stories, essays and poems published on platforms like CommuterLit, When Women Waken, and Flash Fiction Online, among others. Anushree also writes about football, books, movies, TV for websites, blogs and literary magazines. Her micro-fiction collection, 55 Words, is now available on Amazon as a part of Underground Voices’ E-Series. See: tinyurl.com/z6jxfy2

By the Seat of the Soul’s Pants by Robert Ronnow

Issue 5

To presume to write to someone about courage
and not complaining, don’t importune or make dying people cry.
I’ve always said Leave me alone with autumn.
Don’t stand around my bed, I won’t be in it.

Over 7 years after he died, I finally looked
through my father’s papers. Couple of unclaimed insurance policies,
savings bonds, our genealogy and on graph paper in an engineer’s
block lettering quotations from The Seat of the Soul.

Reincarnation and karma are the chicken soup of the soul,
the after life is the reward for our colossal imperfections.
Along with banking instructions, he’d underlined
this: Your soul is immortal. It exists

outside of time. It has no beginning and no end.
Every time you ask for guidance you receive it.
If we are not at home in the world, contributing purpose,
we lose our desire to stay hereā€”and we die.

The physical world is an unaccountable given in which we unaccountably
find ourselves and which we strive to dominate to survive
or it is a learning environment created jointly by the souls that share it
and everything that occurs within it serves our learning.

Sin is activity directed toward self rather than toward service
to others. Sickness is sin. Almost any condition can be corrected.
You are part of God, therefore, think in a godly manner.
If you cannot accept this, forget it all. Do not even begin.

The first act of free will: How do I wish to learn?
If we participate in the cause, it is impossible not to participate in the effect.
We shall come to honor all of life sooner or later.
Until you become aware of the effects of your anger, you will continue to be an angry person.

Walking is the most commonly suggested exercise. Also, breathing.
“Thy will be done.” Concentrate on that!
These expressions of certainty, conjectures and guesses
were inscribed by him in block letters on graph paper.

Source texts: Gary Zukav, The Seat of the Soul (Free Press, 1990); William A. McGarey, The Edgar Cayce Remedies (Bantam Books, 2006)

Robert Ronnow‘s most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at www.ronnowpoetry.com.