Living Stereo

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Living Stereo


Purse woman


Current as cement

Crushes my ears

On one side

Spells madness

But heart strings

The whole sequence

Clangs melody

In the invisible

Spray of molecules

Broken into

By past challenges

The dust triumphs

The other ear blends

To hear

Bland trumpets

Mute desire

Choirs of nothing

Requires of everything

Simple pastures


The pony of light


Your febrile tangents

Smashing tonight

The ears




Silent vestibules



By Julie Flanders

Photo by Gabriel Matula





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Keep Me Up

13. Keep Me Up.warren-wong-224421-unsplash

Keep Me Up


Your voice woke me

From a dream of ghosts

Who were turning out the lights

Thank you

For all the ways you bring me back to life


Sometimes I live deeply

Into places that are not real

Places that still feel


With the wounds of the past

These are dead hands

That hold me now

In a lush grave

Of people I loved

But could not save

The child I was

Is still brave

And alone

Please call me back

To my real home


In dreams I run and hide

Wishing there were a place

As safe as I feel when I’m awake

By your side

Please keep shaking me


From these dead souls

Who keen and conjure

And indenture me

Into dangerous dark holes

That lead to the center

Of nowhere


I am awake now

I am out of the house

Where I grew up

And I have put down the strange

And poisonous cup

Of terrible spirits


You know my past

But you don’t fear it


Let’s hold hands

And breathe the fresh air around us

Until we clear this

Let the universe surround us

Full of far away worlds that are still

Somehow near us

And as near as we are

To forever


By Julie Flanders

Photo by Warren Wong





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Turn Back

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Turn Back


Oh, if someone would come for her

Someone kind and ever caring

You know she never gives up

Staring into the ashes

Looking for signs of hope

Rising past the disappointments

And the compromises


These are the rituals she’s devised

To keep believing she is wiser

Than the fools

Whose tears fall like a million jewels

A million diamonds they have mined

From the gray veins of loss

Where they will always find


Waiting right there

With every memory they have

Tossed into the flames


Nobody blames them

Most of all her

Least of all her

Last of all her


Oh, if someone would just come

For her

Someone real and so forgiving

She could live without

Continuously hoping for it


These are the rituals she invokes

As the hands of the clock continue

To stroke the hours that pass

With all the words she has spoken


And the one heart she broke

Before she realized

It was her own


By Julie Flanders

Photo by Seth Macey





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Long and tapered


Bony and elegant


And dark in tone

Full of energy

And movement

Each finger articulate


Of itself

The whole hand moving


And twisting the leather strap

On a small


Infinitesimal purse

Mysteriously pregnant

With itself

With its own beauty


I love what he makes


“Is it a gift?”


“I don’t know—

I haven’t finished it yet”


His smile melts me

Past recognition

And I smile back

Waiting for my turn

In his hands


By Julie Flanders

Photo by Artem Maltsev





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Go On

10. Go On.aziz-acharki-196320-unsplash

Go On


Here I am, basket and case

Some wicker figure with a painted face

There you are lighting the match

Hoping to create or destroy it

Hoping the fire will catch


I really am made of straw

But not the kind you sip

To draw the insides out

I’m the kind you think you know

When the field is filled with dark birds

And the sky is low

I’m here to scare the crows

Or to help poor Dorothy find her way

To Oz


I don’t ask why

And you don’t answer me


Here I am, private and wild

To illustrate the book of a child

Who won’t be going home again

And there you are

Skipping to the ending

Always pretending

You know what you want


Go on, light the match

I’ll put my hands out

You’ll throw and I’ll catch

Until I burst into flame


And there you are

Playing your game

Wanting a partner for solitaire

Go on, play the deck

I’ll put my cards down


You’ll throw

And I’ll fetch

Whatever is missing

Whatever is left


By Julie Flanders

Photo by Aziz Acharki





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Such Beauty

9. Such Beauty. cosmic-timetraveler-1327432-unsplash

Such Beauty


Such beauty in this empty Eden

All safety, no freedom


I do not cry when I look back

I do not see the colors

Only the slackening future

Losing its shape

Before me

After me

A prison to escape


Sometimes we do not see the bars

They are as invisible as the dark space

Between the stars


The stuff that holds us here

Holds us apart

Makes us appear to each other

In the darkness

Oh, but I still crave the taste of the fruit

The sound of Orpheus playing his lute


Before he looks back

I fall, I fall

And the future is blackening

From the past I lack


But, ah yes, this is where I dream

This is where I forget

In this infinite stream of elixir


Row, row, row the boat

Across the river Styx

Somewhere, as we float away

The river and the ocean mix

Blood and salt


We are only human

Not by any fault, but by our stars


Clouds rise up into the sky’s scars

And stars collide

The darkness yields

To a great divide


Light and matter

Form and spirit

Silent music

Where we hear it in our hearts

As they are breaking

And the ocean parts


Let us move through

From paradise to something new

The underworld will wait for us

But we still knock on heaven’s gate


The emptiness of Eden


Where Orpheus might hesitate


We go on


Do not, do not, do not go back

The colors only lead to black

False kingdoms

Where we are now gone


We go

But we go on


Look at me, look at us

And breathe the moment

Breathe until you trust

We will survive

This is the only way to live

The only way to love ourselves alive

Is to be mortal


By Julie Flanders

Photo by Cosmic Timetraveler





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8. Parent & Child.nick-wilkes-490-unsplash



Your skin took the sun
And kept it

Warm as the air

Before a summer storm


Your hair held the deep shining



Your eyes

Full of thoughts

To carry usthrough

And into surprise


Your kiss

As salty as sunshine

The promise of candy

And warm slidesdown the banister


I feel your hands

As rough as a starfish

Stretching joy

To reflect the stars of the sky

The thrill of amusement park rides


By Julie Flanders
Photo by Nick Wilkes





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