Archives for posts with tag: love

Because Cell Phones Did Not Exist
by Deirdre Garr Johns

We were strangers at sixteen
when you brought a single rose
to my house.

Only these details remain:

the turning of gravel;

the knocking on the back porch door,
and me, s l o w – w a l k i n g;

my shyness containing my eagerness;

the metal latch unlocking;

the cool air unable to calm
the flush of my face.

Surprises were captured in the moment,
left to be protected by the mind
and later, faded or replaced.

There were no retakes or posing.
And yet, my memory has not failed me.

Instead, it has isolated
a simple gesture:
a boy and a girl–
the beginning of something.

No amount of retakes
could make a more vivid image,
and I am satisfied with my mind’s
own remembering.

Photo by Bronwyn8. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I spend a lot of time with my poems. To quote Billy Collins, I “walk inside the poem’s room/and feel the walls for a light switch.” My poems experience multiple revisions until their meaning becomes clear to me. I may want to evoke some particular meaning or message, but the more time I spend with– and away from–a poem, the more I come to realize the meaning. So my process is fairly long from beginning to end, and I think this is what I enjoy the most about writing poetry–the process of exploration and self-realization. This poem is an early poem in a collection I have compiled about the stages of love–young, mature, lost, and self. It is my earliest memory of young love.


 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deirdre Garr Johns resides in South Carolina with her family. Nature is an inspiration, and poetry is a first love. Much of her work is inspired by memories of people and places. Her poetry has appeared in Sylvia magazine (“The turning of the air is slight”) and South Carolina Bards Poetry Anthology (“Elders of the Earth”). Her nonfiction work has been published by the Surfside Chapter of the South Carolina Writers Association (“The Many Lives to Live”) and Sasee Magazine (“The Perfect Age” [August 2021] and “The Great Disconnect” [September 2022]). Her poem “A park in Gloucester City” appeared in Eunoia Magazine.  Her website is

double heart catdancing
The day you came to me
by Linda Jummai Mustafa

On the road we stood, two people with unsung songs
dancing to the beats of nothingness,
We built our home and future with just a few looks at each other.
My heart worked again after you called,
unicorns and fiery phoenixes flying around my consciousness
as my watch clicked with joy to tell
me when to stop staring.
The rhythm of happiness soaring high in my heart,
once cold, but now warm from a touch at midday.
In my mind’s eye, I see you forever handsome
as you walk me back to where it all started,
that first time, we travelled in a time machine into our own space
your love illuminating the stillness of water.

IMAGE: Double Heart by CatDancing.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The first time I met my husband, it was a day my life turned around. I was depressed and lost. I did not know how I would live until he happened. Till this day, the love we have for each other has held us tightly together and I couldn’t be happier. He is my world and when I am with him, I forget all the madness in the world.

linda mustafa copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda Jummai Mustafa teaches Literature-in-English in Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University Lapai, Niger State, Nigeria. She is a published poet and the author of a collection of short stories titled What If…?

by Barbara Eknoian

You left without a goodbye,
leaving a sticky residue
in my mind.
I’m wondering,
if given the chance,
what you might have said.
Honey, it’s been a nice ride,
but it’s time for me to go.
Maybe, I’ll see my folks,
get some answers,
and finally learn
what it was all about.

I’m waiting for a sign,
perhaps in a dream,
not like the one
that appeared when
you first left me:
You were singing
in your high school choir,
which made no sense,
since you always said
you had refused to join
when your music teacher
pulled you into his class
by your collar.

I am still waiting for you
to tell me
all that you might have said
about your romantic feelings
in our long marriage.
I am waiting to hear your voice
in a dream say,
I’d marry you again, Honey.

Previously published in the author’s chapbook, Life Is But a Dream

PAINTING: Artist and His Wife by Marc Chagall (1969).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I became a widow, poems about my husband flowed out of me because I wanted everyone to know what a wonderful husband, father, and grandpa he was. I had enough poetry to have a chapbook published by Arroyo Seco Press.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Eknoian writes narrative poetry and novels. Her work has appeared in Pearl, Chiron Review, Red Shift, and several Silver Birch Press’s anthologies: Silver, Green, Summer, and Self-Portrait. Her poetry book, Why I Miss New Jersey, and her latest novel, Hearts on Bergenline Avenue, are available at Amazon.

elliott erwitt california Kiss, Malibu 1955
How to Kiss a Woman
by Jon Pearson

First, go out and buy yourself a box of matches,
stove lighting matches, the long wooden ones.
You got that, pal? Cuz someday you gonna
have to learn the fine art of listening. So, you got
your matches. Now get yourself a pitcher of milk,
a can of worms, and a map of South America.
Just do it. You come here for advice and I’m givin’ it
to you. First damn thing is to learn to follow directions.
What kind of kisser you think you can be without
you can follow directions. Now, get yourself two
saw horses and a tank of live lobsters and set that up
in the backyard. Of course near an outlet so you can
plug in the tank and keep the water warm. Good.
Now stick up a couple of liquor stores to get the juices
flowing. Leave the money on the way out, no need
to be an asshole. Take off your shoes, put them under
your bed, and walk barefoot to Algernon, Mississippi.
It’s a small town, lovely little smells, nice people.
Get a root beer float at Kathy’s next to the laundromat.
Then, shut up. Get very quiet and start feeling
southward from the corners of your mouth. Stop
for once being a damn man and start feeling something
from the corners of your mouth. Run your tongue over
your lips and lapse back into childhood. Make it up.
Now pour the milk over yourself…not for real…
now light yourself on fire…and start feeling all

PHOTO: California Kiss (Malibu, 1955) by Elliott Erwitt, All Rights Reserved.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote “How to Kiss a Woman” at breakneck speed. I wanted to see if I could write something without stopping or correcting or futzing. It was fun because my head felt like a wind tunnel. I felt sucked forward by a what? a power greater than myself or, at least, greater than my hope-I-get-this-right self. I often begin with whatever stray title flies into my mind and then run with it. Usually what happens then is a “voice” takes over, a character, and as the character speaks I write as fast as I can to keep up. I like to write quickly to outstrip my inner critic and tap the wild, candid river of thinking “beneath” my thinking. But this was especially fast. It felt like I was driving blindfolded without brakes. Not something I would recommend. Except, of course, on the page.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A writer, speaker, artist, and creative thinking consultant, Jon Pearson has been a cartoonist for the Oakland Tribune, an extra for the New York Metropolitan Opera, a college professor, and a mailman. His work was nominated for a 2016 and a 2014 Pushcart Prize, as well as a 2014 Million Writers Award, and has appeared in Baltimore Review, Barely South Review, Barnstorm, Carve, The Citron Review, Crack the Spine, Faultline, Forge, Hobart, Lake Effect, Pretty Owl Poetry, Reed Magazine, Sou’wester, Stickman Review, Superstition Review and elsewhere. Find him online at

PHOTO: The author with his wife, Elya Braden.

That ring you gave me…
by Sofia Kioroglou

That ring you gave me on that day
more beautiful than a blossoming rose
a symbol of your undying devotion and our eternity

That ring you gave me on that day
declared our love to a long and arduous journey
during which true love has been forged

That ring you gave me, my love
I will always wear on my right hand
a token of eternal bliss

That ring you gave me
when I grew tired of the chase
I happened to find

And since the wind blows in my face
I sail with every wind
the ultimate find of my search, this ring

PHOTO: The author and her future husband Peter join hands at their engagement party.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The day my husband popped the question totally out of the blue is a moment indelibly etched on my mind. The poem, however corny it may be deemed, describes exactly how I felt when he placed the ring on my finger. When writing this poem, I drew inspiration from The Alchemist  by Paulo Coelho, which is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts, and from Friedrich Nietzsche, a rather incongruous combination that  I hope makes sense to those who are tired of the chase but who learned to find. Based on Biblical references, it has always been the tradition of the Orthodox Church to place the wedding ring on the right hand of the couple.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sofia Kioroglou is a poet, a wife, a missionary, a pilgrim, and a perennial traveler to the Holy Land and Egypt. She likes to take her readers on an exhilarating tour of Jerusalem’s treasures through her poetry and to write articles on the delectable local fare in Jericho, near the Mount of Temptation, and  her visits to Cana, where hundreds of couples renew their wedding vows at the Wedding Church.  To learn more about her, visit her blog at

Find your soulmate love concept icon road sign
On the Road to Matrimony
by Howard Richard Debs

The escapade had its just desserts,
as I met my wife of now 50 years on
account of it. Back in 1958 when
I was just 15 dear old dad,
in the automobile biz himself
at the time, slipped
someone downtown a little
incentive in return for a driver’s
license with my name on it
a year before its time.
Compounding the “felony” he
rewarded me with a dilapidated
brown Dodge sedan, rust
spots to match, but rust or not
that car put me
ahead of the pack.

I was attracted to her
right off the bat
when first we met
at a dance on the Northwest Side
in Chicago; to get there, I drove
petrified through city traffic
from way out in the boonies
where I lived. The next day I went
to pick her up, met her folks;
they let me take her for a drive.
On the way back we stopped at
Amy Joy donuts for a baker’s dozen.
Sitting in her kitchen, I ate
12 she had one. I was in love.

IMAGE: “Find love” by clenpies, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Back in the day, it seemed everything in life depended on driving.

debs donuts

PHOTO: The author “having his fill” after a hard day on the road, c.1958.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Howard Richard Debs is a poet, writer, photographer, sometime artist, musician, singer/songwriter. At age 19 he received a University of Colorado Poetry Prize; after some 50 years in the field of communications with recognitions including a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Educational Press Association of America, he resumed his creative pursuits. A Finalist and recipient of the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards, his latest work appears in Blue Bonnet Review, Yellow Chair Review, Crack The Spine, Poetry Life and Times, Clear Poetry Magazine and its 2015 Anthology, among others, and On Being online in which appears his ekphrastic Holocaust poetry series “Terezin: Trilogy Of Names” and also in On Being online his essay “The Poetry of Bearing Witness.” His background in photography goes back many years, both creative and technical, and his photography will be found in select publications, including in Rattle online as “Ekphrastic Challenge” artist and guest editor. Born and bred in Chicago, he now lives in sunny South Florida with his wife of 50 years Sheila, where they spend considerable time spoiling their four grandchildren. Visit him at the Poets & Writers Directory and on his website.


Christmas on Hydra
by Sofia Kioroglou

Christmas on Hydra.
Fingers interlocked
squeezing tightly
I and you
looking at
the shimmering sea
kissing each other as
passersby are surreptitiously
stealing a look at our eternal bliss
swathed in mufflers
with breaths misting up
the crisp winter air.
I and you
into each other forever
during this holiday season.

PHOTO: The author on Hydra last Christmas.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Poet Sofia Kioroglou is a writer, translator, lexicographer, and painter born and bred in Athens, Greece. A lover of the countryside, she tried several times to escape from the soul-destroying dog-eat-dog atmosphere of this mundane urban life. Her first trip to Jerusalem in 2010 changed her whole perspective on life and gave a new dimension to her existence. Most of her poems are philosophical with religious overtones. At the moment, she is bound up in putting together her own poetry chapbook. Some of her poems have won commendations and honourable mentions in several reputable poetry competitions and are featured on various poetry websites. Visit her at, which features some of her English and Greek poems.

by Sarah Thursday

I love the teeth of your love
how you pit-bull deep
into the flesh of loving
How you make shrines
in the empty spaces,
abandoned apartments
Shrines to former residents
of borrowed books and toiletries
envelopes full of photographs
and letters in pen
How you never fill
the same space with new
but keep building out
expand the frames and floors
How you know when to change the locks
and when to nail it shut

I love how you calculate
estimate the risk
How you trust
the unnamed algorithm
the intuitive push, flashing “Yes,
love this one, let that one in!”
How soft your wrought-iron grip
holds every name tight
each face, its own story
each moment, a glass in your pane
How you refuse to argue
about the wrong
or right way to love

I love how so much of it matters
how you will forgive
as many times
as they will call
and ask for it
How you defend this weakness
with the expense of wasted time
Your time-to-give being
your love currency
not words, not gifts,
not your doing-for-me
But your minutes and hours
your speak to me, eat with me
your listen and watch with me
sit in this space of air
I breathe with me is love

I love how love-greedy you get
How you collect time
and stuff it in bags and boxes
shove it on shelves, in closets
covering walls, blocking doorways
in empty apartments
You guard-dog this house
an unapologetic hoarder
How you refuse to purge it
refuse to loosen your grip
Set shrines in windowsills
light blood candles
There is always room
for more

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I consider this poem a self-portrait because it describes what I love about the way that I love. This was inspired by another poet’s love letter to herself. I thought about how hard it is for me to let go of others, but that I love that about myself. I love like a pit-bull.

IMAGE: “The Passion Pit” by Dean Russo. Prints available at Visit the artist at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Thursday calls Long Beach, California, her home, where she advocates for local poets and poetry events. She runs a Long-Beach-focused poetry website called, co-hosts a monthly reading with one of her poetry heroes, G. Murray Thomas, and just started Sadie Girl Press as a summer job and way to help publish local and emerging poets. She just completed her first full length poetry collection, All the Tiny Anchors. Find and follow her on, Facebook, or Twitter.

by D.A. Pratt

If you listen to a certain song
by Simon and Garfunkel
you will hear several
of the months mentioned,
one after another, as the song
tells a story I know only too well:
it begins by saying in April come she will
and indeed she did, ever so refreshingly,
in a month when so much is promised
in so many ways . . . in May
everything blossomed beautifully
and she seemed ready to stay
in my arms far longer than I
could have ever dared to dream —
ah, that was the good part of our story
but, by listening to the song, you’ll know
what follows, that the good part
cannot possibly last and it didn’t for us,
like the song says, if I can put it this way . . .
I hope every remembered romance
has what we managed to have
in that memorable month of May —
but not the June, nor the July
and definitely not the August . . . I hope
for something better for everyone else . . .
As for me, I know I will linger over
those moments in May . . . when our love
was going so well and it seemed that it
wouldn’t ever end, even though, somehow,
we knew it had to die, as the song says it must . . .
Someday, in my never-ending September,
I’ll remember having a love once new,
having known her, having loved her,
even if only so fleetingly, in a magical month
we like to call May . . .

PAINTING: “The Kiss” (1909) by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: D.A. (David) Pratt lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. This “May” poem is inspired by a song by Simon and Garfunkel, his all-time favourite musicians. In 2013, his short prose piece “Encountering Bukowski—Some Canadian Notes” appeared in Bukowski: An Anthology of Poetry & Prose About Charles Bukowski published by Silver Birch Press and his essay entitled “The Five Henry Millers” appeared in the tenth annual issue of Nexus: The International Henry Miller Journal.

NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR: In responding to the call for poems mentioning the month of May, I immediately thought of the song “April Come She Will” by Simon and Garfunkel, knowing that it mentions May . . . I hope the resulting poem honours the song while being, at the same time, an original creation about an imagined romance with one of my imagined muses . . .

by Richard M. Berlin 

Einstein’s happiest moment
occurred when he realized
a falling man falling
beside a falling apple
could also be described
as an apple and a man at rest
while the world falls around them.

And my happiest moment
occurred when I realized
you were falling for me,
right down to the core, and the rest,
relatively speaking, has flown past
faster than the speed of light.
“Einstein’s Happiest Moment” appears in Richard M. Berlin’s collection Secret Wounds (BkMk Press, 2011), available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard M. Berlin received his undergraduate and medical education at Northwestern University. The winner of numerous poetry awards, his first collection of poems How JFK Killed My Father (Pearl Editions, 2003) won the Pearl Poetry Prize. He is also the author of two poetry chapbooks, Code Blue and The Prophecy. Berlin’s poetry has appeared widely in anthologies and such journals as NimrodJAMA, and The Lancet. His column “Poetry of the Times” has appeared for more than ten years in Psychiatric Times. He has established the Gerald Berlin Creative Writing Prize (named for his father) for medical students, nursing students, and resident physicians at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where the author is a senior affiliate of psychiatry. He has published more than sixty scientific papers and has edited Sleep Disorders in Psychiatric Practice and Poets on Prozac: Mental Illness, Treatment, and the Creative Process. He practices psychiatry in a small town in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts. Visit him at

Painting: “The Son of Man” by René Magritte (1964).