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Follow the Mirage



Venus and Mars


O lover, follow me through myrtle trees

inside the wooded grove, while swallowtails

and satyrs play among the maidenhair

where you'll succumb if romance still prevails.


I'll comb your auburn locks with tender hands

if you'll remove your helmet meant for war

ignore the titan's shell when air blows deep

inside your ear and fall asleep. Amour


can be unparalleled, your cloak splayed down

upon the sweet terrain to pillow you

innumerable kisses on your mouth

as dancing fauns perform their pas-de-deux


the hunters horn a useless hearkening  

lie here with me, I'll cover you in spring 

Carol Lynn Grellas



Carol Lynn Grellas is a Northern California-based writer. She attended Santa Clara University where she was an English and Art major. Her Chapbook: Litany of Finger Prayers  will be released in 2008 from Pudding House Press.. She has had dozens of poems appear in magazines and online journals, including most recently, The Oasis Ezine, The Oasis Online, Las Cruces for Poets & Writers, Munyori Poetry Journal, Words on Paper, The Pregnant Moon Review, Moondance, Dogzplot Twilight Musings Anthology, The Verse Marauder and A Tender Touch. She has poems forthcoming in, MSU Great Falls Literary Guild: Writings from the River, The Storyteller Magazine, Ken*again, Chanterelle's Notebook and Rattlesnake Review. Carol Lynn's first book, I'm Packing Things for Heaven, was published in 2007 by Authorhouse. She lives with her husband, five children and a blind dog named Ginger, who inspire much of her poetry.



         *  *  *      *  *  *      *  *  *  *



He has gone, so
I could hold myself up higher;
But then again--I was free from
the decision--so free.

Songs play late night radio blankly;
while he's waiting for an empty motion;
in letters and signs devoid
of the slightest old emotion.
I think it's better to stay free.

Gone, deserted, by his heart?
I'm free!  I'm free!
He has gone.  Wasn't there doubt from the start
of something for nothing?  In this world,
is anything free?

Voices on the air in wavelengths sing
to span the distance of radio,
away from desert canyons and mountains
that I once know.

Gone, deserted, by his heart?
I'm free!  I'm free!
He has gone.  Wasn't there doubt from the start
of something for nothing?  In this world,
is anything free?
The lowest point of earth--
I have yet to see him there--
Not that he really knows or cares.

He has gone.
No longer a pointed finger, is he,
on a pedestal?
He's a sharp figure ready to pull off stunts.
I'm glad he has gone but I'm done here.

Stephanie Kjaerbaek


Stephanie Kjaerbaek

Born in 1975 in Powell River, BC, Canada.  Raised in European immigrant
family with one sister and half-brother.  Single, employed in service
industry.  Educated in Human Services and Accounting.  Enjoys
photography, poetry, cooking and other hobbies.  Influences include
Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, Sir Percy Bysshe Shelley,
Sophocles, Rod McKuen, Charles Bukowski, Leonard Cohen and others. 


                           * * *  * * *  * * * 


A Natural Law

I wonder why we never got it right before.

Were we really that confused? Or that sure

of what we thought we wanted? We had to

have been confused. We knew that we loved

one another. Granted, neither of us said it,

but we knew. Our love is a natural

law. The sun rises every morning. Trees

shed their leaves in the autumn. Kyle

and Susan are in love.


(c)2007 Susan Sonnen




Susan Sonnen confines her poetry to short verse.  She believes that there is power in a brevity of words, both written and spoken.  Ms. Sonnen lives and loves in the Midwest United States.


                                     * * *     * * *   * * *


Cougar Hot Springs


Framed in steamy mist

we recline

encircled by the forest sanctuary

ferns soft against our skin.


We look skyward

towards the brilliant

opening above the trees.

Mascara smudges

around your eyes

moisture beads on parted lips.


Cold river your destination

you rise, imprinted on hips

pebbles, rocks, grains of sand

I lift my hand to trace each impression

womanly airs have left

pretensions gone

immersing in the icy mountain flow

your breath escapes

in one low rush.


Janice D. Rubin 


                     * * *   * * *   * * *



Follow the Mirage

Shadows and Dreams .....



Cold Steel


Covered in metal plate, the knight stood,

Silent, on the bridge of stone.

His hand, in heavy iron mail, reached,

Reached to our Queen, alone.


Our Queen, with her cold, cruel sword,

Held high the blade, so clear.

Cold steel,  and cold steel,

Met in ice, ice and cold fear.


Come back, brave knight, with the sword,

Your sword so bold.

Return to me, come to me, Champion Mine,

With captives, with gold.


Return to me, come to me, Favorite Mine,

With heart so pure,

Come back, return, my sweet, fair one,

With eyes so soft, so sure.


Jerome Brooke


Behold the Treasure...


Gold and silver ...



                    *  *  *    * * *    * * *




It came at night

single motion to divide

severing us apart

with a dry click of scissors

I awoke with knowledge

we had become strangers

what there was between us

had died effortlessly, without complaint

we continued forth

complicit in the act

as if nothing changed

weighted down with denial

our lives slowly came to a stop

until we are forced to act

interrupt the resounding silence

we have grown accustomed to

I don't have the words

and when you leave

it is with relief

of remarks left unsaid

time unspent, birthdays 

holidays saved like currency

we erase our memories

edit pictures, delete dates and numbers

any confidence that we succeeded

comfortable in the margins

eager to fill the void

we go out in the night

and find new strangers


Elle Jaden Bourie







                         * * *   * * *    * * *




Crusade of the Last Days


Your knights of the Cross sail today, they march,

March to the desert of the South.

Grant us peace, grant us mercy, Lord of Hosts,

On the Crusade of the Last Days.


In the desert waits the Evil One, terrible in iron,

May our fleet arrows be sharp.

In the cold night waits our certain death,

May our iron swords be sure.


Jerome Brooke


*  *  *      *  *  *





by  Eugenias  Hairston


    Juliana threw open the curtains and let the bright sunlight in.  Starbuck's coffee was brewing in the kitchen.  There was no better way for her to start her morning.  It was Saturday and she would have the day all to herself.  The first thing on her agenda was to begin a new painting project.  After Juliana finished her coffee, she went into the study.  She pulled out the canvas and sat it on the easel.  Then she reached into the cabinet and pulled out her oil-based paint.  She spent the first part of the morning creating.  When she was done, the canvas held a robust moutainside with a body of clouds perched above the peak.

    Juliana had been painting since she was twelve years old.  It was a God-given talent.  No one else in her family possessed the gift.  Painting was therapy for her.  She had needed lots of therapy since she and Justin had divorced.  It had been twelve months, but her heart was still broken.  She and Justin had been married for seven years.  Justin took the night shift and began coming home later and later. When he arrived, he refused to enter their bedroom.  Instead he slept in one of the spare rooms.   Juliana remembered lying there as Justin finally came in at four thirty in the morning.

    "Dear God," she prayed, "Why is all of this happening? I'm losing my marriage and I don't know who to turn to.  Please God, send Justin home safely.  I need you to intervene. I've invested seven years in this marriage and I don't know what to do without Justin. I love him more than anyone except you.  If it be your will, bring us back together. Amen."

    Justin came home drunk and a fight ensued. The next day he handed her a document with the words

"dissolution of marriage" written on it.  She had sobbed. "You can't do this to me," she screamed.  "How can you just walk away from seven years? We've had so many good times. She flashed back to the wedding in Inglewood.  She had worn a very ornate Victorian dress.  He wore a black tuxedo with a purple cumberbun.  The six groomsmen were attired just like him.  The six female attendants wore purple off the shoulder dresses with pearl and crystal jewelry.

    "Do you take this woman to have and to hold from this day forward in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or  worse as long as you both shall live?" the minister had asked.  "I do," answered Justin solemnly.The memory of that day was one of the most beautiful days of her life.  She and Justin had met through mutual friends.  She wasn't his first love, but he had promised she would be his last.

    Juliana shook the memory from her mind. She reached onto the hook and got the keys to her red mustang.  She drove down Hawthorne boulevard and was surprised to see that the sheriff's department had not made its presence known.  Their office was on Prairie, so she made it a point not to speed with them in such close proximity.  She was headed to Redondo Beach. Santa Monica was an hour away, and Redondo Beach was only ten minutes away from her apartment on 147th street.  She found a parking space right away.  She quickly walked to the boardwalk.  She could see people jogging, people walking all kinds of dogs, and lovers walking hand in hand.  She savored every moment as she walked by the ocean.  There were even people playing volleyball on the beach.

    Juliana was a beautiful woman by anyone's standards.  She was tall and thin with cafe au lait skin, big brown eyes and shoulder length brown hair. Everyone thought it was dyed, but it was naturally hers.  Her stomach began to growl and she walked into a nearby Subway restaurant to get a sandwich.  Being careful about her health, she always ordered wheat bread.  "Can I help you?" asked the sandwich artist.  "Yes. I'd like a six inch turkey sub on wheat bread with everything except hot peppers," Juliana said. The blonde girl taking her order asked, "Would you like the meal?" "Yes,"said Juliana. "I'll have garden salsa sun chips and a coca cola." Juliana took her tray and headed outdoors after paying for her food.

    Tomorrow she wanted to go to the New Hope Baptist Church in Hawthorne. It was good for her to have two days off from her job. Juliana had often been good at math classes in school and she had become an accountant.  She had been doing that for ten years, and at thirty-five years old she was looking to make a change, although she didn't know what else to do.

    Just as she was finishing up her sandwich, her Blackberry rung. She checked caller ID and discovered it was her best friend Lauren.  They had been friends since high school. Lauren had five siblings and an uproarious black family.  Juliana had been an only child who lived with her mother.  Her father had died from lung cancer at fifty-five years old. Her mother had a stroke several years later and died. She had never remarried, but considered her husband the only man for her.

    Lauren was not only her best friend.  Lauren was family. Lauren still had her husband Chuck and Juliana was not in the least bit jealous. Lauren was a realtor and lived in a three story house herself.  Juliana made decent money, but she was only able to afford a modest apartment.  "Hello, Lauren," Juliana said enthusiastically. "Hi, girlfriend. How's it going? By the way, where are you? I called your home number and didn't get an answer," Lauren said.  "I'm out a Redondo Beach chilling for the day.  I just got finished with a turkey sub, and boy was it good," Juliana replied. "Are you coming to church tomorrow?" asked Lauren.

"I wouldn't miss it for anything in the world. I don't know what I would do without God in my life," answered Juliana.

    "Have you found a man yet?  God is good, but you need some real lovemaking.  I mean its been a year since you and Justin split up.  Aren't you going to start dating again?" asked Lauren. "I know its been a year, but I simply haven't met anyone.  You know a lot of guys are out there only looking for sex," replied Juliana. Juliana didn't go for casual sex, and she had not lain with a man since Justin.  "Besides, I don't know if I can trust again.  The divorce did a number on my self-esteem," Juliana started up again. "Juliana, you're young, you're beautiful and you deserve the best.  Just be open. I don't want you crying your eyes out because of Justin," responded Lauren. "I'm glad you're concerned. I'll keep what you said in mind," said Juliana.

    "Lauren, I'm so glad you've been there all these years.  You were there when I took my date to prom.  And you were there as my matron of honor in my wedding. I was in your wedding and I was the first one to hold your baby Kristin. You and I will always be together.  I had felt that way about Justin, but obviously, we couldn't stand the test of time.  I keep going over and over in my mind wondering what I did wrong.  I prayed so hard that God would keep us together, but He didn't.  I don't feel angry at God, but I keep wondering why it all went so wrong," Juliana shared.

    "You're a strong woman and a survivor.  God know what's best.  Justin didn't know all he had or he would have never thrown it away so quickly. I pray for you girl. I really do. I pray that you will find a man as wonderful to you as Chuck is to me," shared Lauren. "Well, thank you.  I know you've always had my best interests at heart," said Juliana. "Listen, girl. I gotta go. I need to go fix dinner. But I'll see you tomorrow, okay? Love you," said Lauren.  "I love you, too," replied Juliana.

    Juliana got up and began to walk around the boardwalk.  This place was one of her favorite places in the world to be.  There was nothing like the ocean to conjure up the magnificent grandeur of God.  Juliana had meant what she said when she said she wasn't angry at God.  God had given each of us free will and Justin had used his free will to leave her.  She had so much wanted to have a child like Lauren, but in seven years God had not given her a child. At least, she thought if God had given her a baby, she would at least had an excuse to see Justin.  She had not seen him since they divorced.  She had sent him a Christmas card and he had responded in kind. That was six months ago.

    The day passed all too quickly for Julianna. She looked in her closet at about nine p.m. to find something to wear to church on the next day. She decided on a purple suit with chic purple shoes and gold jewelry. She took a shower, shampooed her hair and went through her skin care routine.  She gave herself a facial once a month. She pulled back the covers, grabbed her Essence magazine and began to flip through the pages of summer fashions.  It was about midnight and she turned off the lights and went to bed.

    Juliana woke up early the next morning.  The first thing she did was to raise her hands to God to say "Thank you, Jesus , for another Lord's day."  Then she went downstairs to brew her coffee. It was a bold blend.  She poured herself a cup of coffee and smiled. "MMM," she murmured.  She rarely ate breakfast, but she almost never went without Starbuck's.  After she finished her coffee, she dressed in her purple suit with barely there stockings and purple pumps.  She once again grabbed the key off the hook and got into her red mustang. It took only five minutes to get to the church.

    The brick church comfortably seated one thousand people.  Reverend Eric Jacobson had two services every Sunday morning.  He rarely kept them past two hours.  Juliana walked into the front entrance, took her program from the usher, and found a seat about the middle of the church.  Reverend Sims did the invocation.  The congregation sang "Amazing Grace", then did the responsive reading on the second coming of Christ.  After that the congregation sat down and the adult choir took its place. "Oh, Happy Day," the choir crooned. The adult choir was one of the best in the city.  They even had their own CD called "The Songs of Joy".  Juliana clapped her hands with the rest of the congregation. Ms. Barkley came up to read the announcements and to welcome the visitors.  Then came time for the offering.  Reverend Sims came up again and beseeched the Lord to use what the congregation would give bountifully. The senior mass choir got up and sang "This Little Light of Mine" while the offering plate was being passed. Now the church was prepared to hear the Word.  The choir sat down and  Reverend Jacobson stepped up to the podium.


                                    *  *  *


   "Some of you here have been a Christian for a long time.  Others of you may have just started out on this journey of faith.  But no matter how old you are, one question will appear in your mind. Is God in control? We serve a sovereign God who is indeed in absolute control of every situation and circumstance of your life.  How do I know that?  Because the Bible tells me so.  When tragedy strikes, my friends, that is not the time to turn away from God or to curse Him.  That is the time,my friends, to run to Him and to cry out for His divine mercy.  You may remember the Biblical character Job who said he knew that his redeemer lived.  He would not follow the advice of his wife to curse God and die. Keep in mind that Job had lost his property, his servants, his children, and even his health.  Nevertheless, he posed the question," shall we not receive the bad as well as the good from the hands of the Lord?"  How many of you, facing such a tragedy, would maintain your integrity as Job did?

    Closer to home we have the example of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005 when the levees broke and 80% of the city was flooded.  Or how about the horrible September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC?  These are events you are all familiar with because the stories received extensive television coverage.  And yet still what about your own world?  Have you faced a job loss, the death of a child, the loss of a home or even bankruptcy?  These things could be part of the life of someone sitting on your row right now.

    Let's look at a few scriptures.  First, we must trust that God works for His glory and our good.  Then we must trust that God sustains us.  "The Son is sustaining all things by His powerful Word." (Hebrews 1:3)

God's Word tells us that not a sparrow can fall to the ground without God taking note of it. (Matthew 10:29)

We must remember that God has an eternal plan and that His ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:9)

Finally, His judgments are unsearchable, and His paths  beyond tracing out .(Romans 11:33)

Remember the Bible says in everything give thanks. Church God is on the throne. Your tragedy can make or break you.  Trust Him to work it out for His glory and your good."

    Juliana left church feeling refreshed. How could she believe God had allowed her divorce for her good? It is true that she had not allowed herself to become angry or bitter.  Nor did she hate Justin. It was true that God had sustained her.

    Several weeks passed and Juliana went to her physician for a routine check-up.  Dr. Early asked"How about an AIDS test?" "I haven't been with anyone in awhile. Yet as you wish," replied Juliana. She had only been with three men in her life. Juliana expected to receive a clean bill of health. Instead, she received bad news. "Juliana, I'm afraid you are HIV-positive. I'm sorry,"said Dr. Early.  Juliana stumbled out of the office. She didn't even bother to call Lauren. Instead, she called Justin.

    "Hello," he said. "Justin, it's me, Juliana. I've just been to the doctor and I am HIV- positive.  How can that be? You need to get tested," she said."There's no need to. I am HIV-positive, so you probably got it from me," he responded. "And how, pray tell, did you get it?" she probed. "Juliana, I'm bisexual. I'm sorry," Justin said. "So our whole marriage was a lie?" she yelled. "No. It wasn't a lie. I cared for you. But I moved on. Now I have a man as my lover,"he said. "Justin, you are disgusting and I am  going to hang up this phone," yelled Juliana. She did and the tears began to flow freely. She doubted that Justin had ever loved her.  She cried and cried.

    Juliana looked back over the sermon about God's sovereignty. Was God good? She wondered. The doctor had said that there were medicines on the market- medicines that could prolong her life. It took her a week to tell Lauren. She dialed the number and Lauren picked up on the third ring right before it went into voicemail. "Lauren," Juliana began, "I'm afraid I have something to tell you. Remember when the Pastor spoke of personal tragedy? Well, I have some devastating news. I have AIDS."  "What?" replied Lauren, "When did you find this out?" "About a week ago. I talked to Justin. Apparently, he's bisexual and he gave it to me," said Juliana. "I am going to kill him with my own hands. What do you mean he's bisexual?" said Lauren. "He says his new lover is a man," shared Juliana calmly. "Honey, I'm walking to my car. I'll be right over,"said Lauren. The two of them sat in silence and both of them wept. They had seen each other through some rough times, but never had they been through anything like this.

    Two years past and Juliana became ill. Her doctor admitted her to the hospital because of pneumonia.  Then the unthinkable happened.  Juliana's immune system was just to week to fight the infection.  She died. Not everyone believes in life after death. But Lauren and Juliana were both believers in Christ.  Lauren took Juliana's death very hard. But she swore that somewhere Juliana's spirit was alive. Indeed, when she went to places they used to go, Lauren swore she could still feel her friend's spirit. Sometimes she could even feel her dead friend's spirit in her home.




The End.








Words and Dreams


Words of the Mirage