Bethany Thornton
Pennsylvania, USA

The shadow behind my guardians,
The paleness within the sun,
The black within all that is evil;
She is the infinitesimal speck upon the horizon,
Too far to be tangibly conceived,
Yet there for me to see, to taunt me,
Demanding that I sacrifice myself
To emulate and mimic her every recommendation;
Confidence and chivalry is dead,
Everything that seems solid is but an illusion,
It is the mask that is worn by insecurity,
Which muffles the inner voices of reason
That tell us to seek only what is true,
Only what is natural,
And to avoid what can never be achieved.
Built in a most fragile way
Upon those who first sacrifice their ethics,
And envied constantly
By those who wish to wear such a face,
All the imperfect masses scorn the beauty,
The talent, the supposed godliness of these,
Yet in the recesses of our heart
We know that perfection is the state in which
We long to be,
That we will forever strive to be,
So that it shall be us who are envied.
The body may die decades later,
Yet the soul has died of its own hand then,
As we lose ourselves in a myth
Created by those who were once innocent, like us,
Trying to be but an illusion,

the loneliest fear
sitting alone with my solitude, as i wait for you, fighting back the words that plague
me, giving sorrow new meaning and life
what you don't see comes as no surprise, but i could tell where your thoughts were
headed from behind those pale blue eyes
steal my soul for she is lifeless, this is end all be all for me, i can't run away this time
just for lack of certainty
guide me somehow thru this maze and maybe i can finally see the light, because neck
deep in my disenchantment lies the desire to put wrong before right

© Copyright Bethany Thornton
Pennsylvania, USA

Cynthia Hammond
South Carolina, USA

           Those days still call out to me.
      Days of sliding down spirals of crystal frost,
        Punching holes in tissue-paper, blue skies
       With pointed stars of gold and silver foil.
            Days of ragged, crooked butterflies
      Sporting dots of construction paper confetti,
   Torn and tossed in profusion never seen by nature.

   Days filled with mittens and kittens and chalk dust
  Squeakey shoes and warm, soft mufflers, whisper in
      Castles growing from secluded mountain tops
    Roll fog then wisp curls around tall, thin turrets.
      Girls with long, golden hair are rescued from
Then whisked away to palaces full of happy thoughts
                             and endings.
           Those days still wait to be unraveled,
         They gently call me back to the beginning

        It was a perfect April night.
       We sat so far out on the edge,
              Under stars so ancient,
         They spoke olde english with
            a flat Appalachian twang,
    And whispered secrets of life eons old.

            There was magic in the night,
                  A fleeting thing of awe.
                 We watched as children,
Noses pressed against the candy store window,
Not daring to believe the total beauty of it all.

    We became a corner pattern in the tapestry
                Of magic woven in the stars.

  © Copyright Cynthia Hammond
South Carolina, USA

 Just David
Texas, USA


      Delicate sound, an angel's song,
 Your peaceful breathing all night long.
   Provoking scent, your sweet perfume
          Intoxicates me in our room.
        A distant bolt deep in the night
        Reveals you, moment of delight!
        Tender my touch, not to awake,
      Snuggle close for touching's sake.
       A smile in the dark steals a taste,
   Smiles the more at your sleeping grace.
       A sensual treat, though you doze,
          Secret only your lover knows.
       Angel of my night, will you stay?
        Be my companion for the day.

Where Did All The Great Ones Go?
      A people so great, somehow brought down
          A culture so pure, can't now be found
         Songs of paradise make no more sound

               Where did the great ones go?

             Respectful of their ancestors' home
           No bound'ry limiting where they roam,
         By what mighty name were they reknown?

               Where did the great ones go?

         When the white tide landed and arose,
     A floodgate unchecked, they could not close,
          Death by war or by silence they chose!

               Where did the great ones go?

            As with salt in water, they remain
             Unseen but savored all the same,
            Fury and remorse at unseen pain.

               Where did the great ones go?

          To the Great Spirit some have gone,
               While others here continue on,
         One day to write the triumphant song.

               Where did the great ones go?

         The great ones never left, you must see
           That they live now in you and in me,
        We are the heirs, outcome of their seed.

               The great ones are here now.

© Copyright Just David
All Right Reserved
Texas, USA

 J.Estelle Newlin
Illinois, USA

                   I cannot scrub you from my skin, 
                         or pull you from my mind.
                 I am finding that it is very hard, 
                        To leave it all behind.

                       My heart is finally free, 
                       My tears are finally dry. 
                   Yet I still have many answers, 
                     That from you I wish to pry.

                      Will I ever get my answers?
               Will you ever acknowledge my inquiry?
            Will you go one living your damaged play,
                 and horde the treasure so selfishly?

                    I can tell you all my truth's, 
                    I could spill to you my heart. 
                         Even if I gave my life, 
           With these answers you would never part...

               But still I ask the questions, 
               They plague me like a disease. 
             Oh please won't you hear me out, 
                    And but my mind at ease?

            What is it that you want from me?
                    Why is it that you lie?
                 Why do you step on my heart?
                      Why do you make me cry?

            They lied to me when they said, 
                  It's over when it's over. 
                  I do not think they knew, 
           That it was my soul you scarred.

          I know I'll never see you again, 
          I know that we will never speak. 
         You are quite happy now that you, 
       Have turned me into one of the meek.

              I'll just have to be strong, 
               I'll just have to be brave. 
       I must learn not to grimace anymore, 
          At the aftertaste you have made.

 Hunting for Me
                     I am off hunting for something, 
                    It's not found in forests or sea's.
                  I am away hunting for something, 
          That cannot be found hiding  in shrubs or trees.

                           I am off tracking it down, 
                     I search in the most unlikely places. 
                       I am away pinpointing it's sound, 
                      I search for it in a sea full of faces.

                               I am close on it's heels, 
               This thing that I seek so harshly it tires my soul.
                              I am gaining some ground, 
        On it's hiding place as this hunting wears me to the core.

                            I catch up and it escapes me, 
          Again and Again as it has done in the past times before. 
                  It runs from my grasp and my sight yet again,
                     This old game is turning into ancient lore.

                                     But what is it I seek?
           You ask me now as my breath huffs out of my lungs. 
                                       Why, it is me!
   I reply with a frown, because I thought you had guessed it by now.

                                I seek what I lost, 
     What was stolen from me so cruelly I cannot bear it. 
                                I seek what is mine,
  The most important of things. My self in all of it's Sorrow. 
                                I will find me again,

                  Just you watch and see!
I will parade it around then like a Trophy. 
                                   But until then, 
  You will have to do without me for I cannot exist without me. 

© Copyright J.Estelle Newlin
Illinois, USA

 John Ward
Indiana, USA

bridge from Golden Gate Park
© Copyright John Ward
Indiana, USA

bridge sunrise
© Copyright John Ward
Indiana, USA

SF Haze With Tower
© Copyright John Ward
Indiana, USA

Joyce Middlestead
Alberta, Canada

first walk back home

nothing has changed but everything alone
trudging down sidewalks past houses ten years shabbier
no small black dog trotting beside me dodging
pools of melted snow missing her missing him
missing us
and down the bike path deserted in the soft near spring
standing at the cliff alone above the river
looking over the vista of city on the other side unfamiliar
from this perspective
more trees filling in the blanks than what you would think from below
tiny houses cluster more neatly empty
more peacefully than what you would think
from below

trudging home
alone to my new address and new status fingers tingling
in the near spring
no small black dog to bark at the
flocks of waxwings rippling in the air like wind in curtains

it's a short straight walk between birth and bones
so strip me clean of ghosts
and let me be

paper doll

his farmer hands
scrape her skin like sandpaper
they are meant to
work the land and till the fields
he holds a teacup
as awkwardly as he holds a lady
she is strong
but always fragile in those hands
a paper doll with a paper heart
hissing in her paper head
but eyes down
in the bitter summer soil
she can still hear
the stars

© Copyright Joyce Middlestead
Alberta, Canada

  P.A.T. Larson
Wisconsin, USA

  A Place I've Never Been

             As clear as glass I see the water rippling to the shore
      I clearly hear the rushing tides, meeting those that came before
        I smell the scent of things unknown amidst their wet domain
       and feel the cool, refreshing mist, like springtime's gentle rain
           A salty presence on my tongue, my senses sharply keen
                  Imagining the ocean, a place I've never been.

Mysterious Lady

             Grassy marsh and subtle swamp
                   A serene and quiet ruse
                You seek to hide behind it;
                   unventured and recluse.

            But countless know your secrets;
         have traveled far to learn your ways.
        Your gallant shield protects you not,
             defenseless to intrepid gaze.

            I wonder what awaits beyond
            this lull you cleverly display?
           Perhaps design and providence
               enlighten me someday.

             Mysterious Lady Ocean!
           Magnificent in humble dress!
        You peak disturbance in my soul
       and evoke a plaguing restlessness.

© Copyright P.A.T. Larson
Wisconsin, USA

Patricia Rodriguez 
California, USA

Cotton daydreams


Last night I tried to sleep
upon the soft sheets we had shared
Recently washed, 
no longer bearing the scent of your cologne
So I lied to myself
Held my misshaped pillow as I held you once 
- tightly cocooned 
beneath the curve 
of my neck
Closed my sad eyes fiercely enough,
daydreamed with all my might, 
to feel of your warm breath
tickle my goosebumped flesh
But for now a lone tear escapes 
to become absorbed by my cotton excuse of you

Let Death find me

Sometimes when I've got nothing better to do,
I send a wish that Death will catch me when I can't see it coming.
Let it float between the gentle curtains of my bedroom as I lay
with my lover, my mind adrift within Picasso dreams that never fit
into the quietness and stability of my real life.
As these eyes are clasped shut to not watch as the cold hand reaches 
between us, that gentle caress to steal my next breath away.
To a place and time where my memories and my past will mean nothing.
Where my hopes and dreams can never grow into possibilites. 
All I hope is to never look up and see that shrouded one smiling down,
with its ruthless, unfeeling eyes and frozen hand held out.
For then I will,for a second, come to regret all the things
I never did and then won't be able to.

© Copyright Patricia Rodriguez
California, USA

 Simon Grady
New Zealand

     fifteen lines
                              I have lost my beginning
                                     I've lost my end

                                 I've lost my vertigo
                               on it's stage of stones

                                There's no-one left
                                 just the witnesses
                                     the victim
                                       & me

                          My sword can't cut itself
                               the samurai is lost
                            we have evaporated

   [If we are all one, ego is the gravity that keeps us apart]

                        We are heading to the origin
                               hang up your coat
                            retire your sense of self

   there's an insignificant knot in the fabric of the universe
                        [that's the bit you call me]
              bumping into another swirling speck
                       [that's the bit I call you]

                    And we've been here forever
            it's time that never came our way before

                          Is the word 'satori'?
                      but there's no words at all
                   my poem has no substance
          the next fifteen lines are invisible & silent

                   they're the best ones of them all.

the cypress house
The cypress house is full of freshly-cut people
they smell clean
but I am looking for something gamier

Out there ????
among the flaxes
where herons wade on stilts
with samurai beaks
creating haiku postcards

Out there ????
where the estuary
presses stony silence
into the nautilus ears of fishermen

Out there is a conversation
spoken by the shingle landslides

of river-bank footsteps
I reply with the memory of a woman
whose eyes are the infinite green depth
of geo-thermal pools
the beauty of her soul teeming with life
like the prehistoric sea once teemed with fishes

and the river sighs.

© Copyright Simon Grady
New Zealand

Tara Colarelli
Texas, USA

Our Compass

His grin crinkled all the way up to steady blue eyes
And belly laughs tickled the air between us
As we rassled in a pile, never tiring,
Until we squealed
And cried "Uncle!" Four against one, all winners.

We mobbed him at the kitchen door at workday's end
Vying for the spotlight of his affection
And the cheery coins jingling in his pockets--
We were children
Rich in nickel and dime indulgence.

Philosophical patronizing pales beside
His gifts of saintly consistency and quality time
Among princely pines, red mud, and gurgling gullies.
He was a carpenter
Of memory-buildings and summer-spinnings.

Within a heroic heart we found encased a mortal man
Composed of faults and fears and flesh, and hopes and dreams.
Our Father called our father home to Him,
And left us struggling
True north by the blood-bond compass that guides our stumbling.

© Copyright Tara Colarelli
Texas, USA

Ohio, USA

I Hear Her Calling
Somewhere out there I hear her calling 
Her voice comes to me so loud and clear 
So gentle are her words as they come to me 
She tells me of her love that is so dear

I answer yes my dear you know I love you 
Every day with you is just like a holiday 
Come to my heart and you will be contented 
My sweetheart I will love you in every way

Again I hear her soft sweet voice calling 
She tells me of a place that is far away 
Tomorrow she will tell me how to get there 
Love and happiness will be ours every day

The thoughts of two lovers being together 
Lights up and inflames this heart within me 
Tomorrow I will make that long long journey 
There this beautiful loving lady I will see

As I walk these sandy shores 
There is smell of salt in the air 
I love to stroll along the beach 
Feel the soft breeze in my hair

Hear the roar of the breakers 
Watch the seagulls as they fly 
See a sailboat out on the water 
Look up to find a cloudless sky

So free I do feel this lovely day 
As I tread this beautiful beach 
I have a feeling of exuberance 
As if Heaven is within my reach

To share this tropical paradise 
With the sky and water so blue 
Just shut your eyes and relax 
A vision soon will come to you

© Copyright Acie
Ohio, USA

 Bill Stockland
Florida, USA

 the risk of stupid gestures  

                  and the clown's clouded mind dwells on rain  
                    but he writes of smiles and silver dollar skies,  
                  things that have no relation to truth  
                  or the section of the road he's plying...

                        of course it's a joke,  
                  that's why it costs so much,  
                  that's why the fools salute it,  
                  and the wise men die laughing... 

                        nobody cares,  
                    'cept me and you and 
                          the other fools,  
                  the lost ones listening to night sounds  
                        while waitin' for frosty mornings...
                  nobody cares  
                      or knows,  
                  'cept the people without the sense  
                  to come in out of the pain,  
                  people with knowledge of times and seasons  
                  and meteoric brevity... 

                  and the clown's clouded mind dwells on blue skies,  
                  he paints his face and performs his falls  
                  and hides his secret smiles...

© Copyright Bill Stockland
Florida, USA

Thank you for visiting The Banks Of The Little Miami journal.  We are anxious to continue serving as a place for intellectual exchange.  Writers and photographers are encouraged to submit their work for inclusion in future issues.  We will always have an interest in poetry and photography but are also considering including short stories and other artistic forms of expression in the future.  We are also interested in black and white photography.