The Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry: Open for Submissions!

Calling all poets!

As most of you know by now I work for Philadelphia Stories, a literary publication that “has been serving the writing, reading, and art community of the Greater Delaware Valley since 2004.”

Our annual poetry contest, The Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry, is now open for submissions! The deadline is November 15th; first place includes a $1,000 cash award, an invitation to an awards event in Philadelphia, and publication in our Spring 2016 issue!

So pull out all your best work and click here to submit!

Please like, share, submit, and otherwise social-media the crap out of this post. I’d truly appreciate it!



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Even when abuse doesn’t leave a bruise, it still leaves a mark

Nicole Marie:

“…we must be the example of what it means to value, respect and appreciate those who we say we love.” An important read.

Originally posted on Ned's Blog:

image As many of you know, I’m a firm believer in the power and importance of humor in our lives. I think of what I do as a columnist as more than just trying to get a laugh or two; it’s contributing what I can to others in the best way I know how. Let’s face it: If my contribution was something like medicine instead of humor, a lot of people would die. But from time to time I get the privilege of sharing a more serious side of myself. Today, I’m joining other men in my community who have been asked by to write about Domestic Violence Awareness as part of a special publication by our local shelter for victims of abuse. I join our police chief, chamber of commerce director and others in supporting victims — in my case, particularly those who are too young to understand that love…

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The Philosopher

He wakes and his Cupid’s mouth

Is thrumming at my breast.


I lift him high with tired arms

And he thinks I shaped the sky


With these two hands. In simple

Motions I am a life source, in


Quiet rooms by lamplight I teach

Him what words are. I used to think


I had not done enough, was not full

Enough of something until my own son


Searched my face like starlight. In twelve

Hours I became a philosopher in a hospital gown.


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Originally posted on A Small Press Life:

John Cheever QuoteJohn Cheever Quote

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Nicole Marie:

A lovely piece.

Originally posted on hastywords:


There will be many
Who will love your smile
They will tell you jokes
Just so they can claim it
There will be many
Who will love your eyes
Will want to dive deep
Into the magic they hold
There will be many
Who will love your heart
They will try to mark it
Etch their name deep
Try to brand it, own it
Don’t give them away
To the first bidder
Or the highest
Or the bravest
Or the sweetest
In fact
Let those things shine
On everyone you meet
And wait for the one
Who doesn’t want to take
What is yours to keep

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“Love set you going like a fat gold watch.”
Morning Song, Sylvia Plath

But it would be weeks until I saw the
Black and white flicker of your real, live
Heart, its muffled whoosh, whoosh, whoosh

While your father stood dumbstruck by
My navel. We held the first, glossy evidence
Of you in our hands. We turned it over like an

Old photograph then plastered it on the fridge.
I giggled each time I reached for the milk, his
Working hands holding me, holding you.

I framed your progress all over the living room,
I showed you off to friends. My grandfather smiled his
Big, proud smile and tried his best to meet you.

I think he held you before I did. I’d barely imagined you
Before you became a beautiful, squawking thing,
A helpless masterpiece. You speak in foreign tongues

I struggle to understand. I dream you’re speaking to him.
At night your moon face makes me believe in something
I never did. I press one hand to your cheek, the other to your father’s.


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Irrational Being

she wakes to lavender
pooling in all her fleshy,
sorry nooks.

she had the dream
of all dreams last night:

staring through a dirty wine glass
like a drunken fortune teller
she saw life as it could be
by the softening glow of
holiday lights in city summer.

somewhere far from here
for the first time
she was good enough.

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My neck’s grown tired of always
holding up all the darkness in my head
but I am accustomed to backstroking
against this current; the absentminded
muscles I’ve developed tell me so.

Once I was a baby,
once I didn’t know the ache of unhappiness
but only the forgettable way my small mouth
formed words no one understood.

When I turned into a woman
my heart went all soot and damp earth.
People made it so. The ones I chose to love in fact.
Each unhinged my ribcage and stuffed it with warm deceit.

I’m a modern day Medusa
stuck staring at unwell-adjusted me,
busy chiseling the corners of my mouth
into the slightest of smiles.


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Nicole Marie:

I’m over at Hasty’s place today as part of the amazing #BeReal series.

Originally posted on hastywords:

My #BeReal guest today is Nicole Marie.

Nicole is my favorite poet.  She writes things that whisk me into other worlds.  BUT it was her picture that first drew me to her.  Her tattoos and the stories they told me about her.  She is a storyteller both with her words, her dress, her hair, the pictures she takes.

Now before you think I am too totally in love I will ask you to fall in love with her too.

Be poetic.  Be real.



What am I passionate about?

I’m almost ashamed to admit I just hurried into our kitchen to ask my husband this very question. “Writing, running, image,” he spouted off before my brain could even begin to conjure up any possibilities (perhaps more proof that he knows me better than I know myself, and in turn is oh so perfect for me).

I’d never thought of these…

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And Don’t Forget to Love Unconditionally

my grandfather came to me yesterday
he was hiding in between the beats
of my son’s sweet cries

hello, hello, hello

quit counting breaths
quit weighing the strength of
his grip on your fingers

I am taking care of things.

I was a child once,
he says.

I am a child now, I think.

my son looks up and smiles at nothingness,
his hollow mouth is valley wide

I imagine my grandfather
whispering firm instructions:

be happy
be healthy
go easy on your mother

I kiss the sky and whisper back
hello, hello, hello

I miss you so.


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