Guests

Mist

Mist Cuts the sky in two Separating heaven From earth. It’s soft gauze spreads, Covering over my wound. I need to hear the forest whisper now, So I can moan and cry. After a frigid morning, The sun manages to come out Surprising me. My mood brightens. Pets jump up to find me on my …

Can a Poem Save Your Life? A Poem by Aaminah Shakur

Can a poem save your life change the world make a difference bring world peace stop a war feed the hungry house the homeless Can a poem start a fire ignite a revolution open a door build a school or hospital make someone believe do more than wish take an action Can a poem save …

“Mom, voices keep telling me to kill myself.” Schizophrenia the truth about Mental Health and the innocents left behind

By Shiloe ShoeMaker & familyEdited By Shawna Ayoub Ainslie #SurviveYourStory “Unbreakable Bond” “Mom, voices keep telling me to kill myself…” the first words that hit me in the gut and screamed that something was seriously wrong. I always knew as she was growing up things weren’t always ‘right’. Unusual fits, endless crying, maintaining below average …

Sometimes There Are No Answers

"Sometimes There Are No Words" by C. Streetlights @CStreetlights via @OTVMagazine #Answers

Answers. I deserved answers to all the many questions I had tormenting my life during that time. I wanted to know why years of loyalty meant nothing to a school district that I had invested my career in. I wanted to know how a community I had loved and built a life in could suddenly …

Tell Me When You’re Ready: The Narrative of Threat after Philadelphia Starbucks arrests

Before I continue with my story, note that this conversation between mother and son in Minnesota happened on April 12, 2018, just hours after two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks. But I didn’t know that then. What I knew as I waited to turn left into my mostly white neighborhood (84% as of the last census), was my son had imbibed a narrative about people with dark skin, a threat narrative. I also knew I had no idea what to say to counteract this heady drug of fear. Seeds of worry grew within me. Where had he learned this? Was it TV? Was it something I’d said or done? Or something he’d learned at school?

Raymond Baxter The Relationship Blogger On OTVMagazine

Raymond Baxter. You are probably wondering why you know that name. This is why: He’s everywhere. Seriously, this man is a wizard, which is why we asked him please pretty please to make himself our wizard. “OTV Wizard?” he said. “Jolly good.” And you know what, he’s not even British. He only said it like …

Daria Mansfield OTVMagazine’s Poet In Residence

Born on the plains of Manitoba to Ukrainian immigrants, Daria is a dreamer.  She longed to stretch her wings to far away places.  Her English Lit degree tucked away, she reached for England, Canada’s mother country.  Her former inclinations towards acting soon evaporated as she tapped into her inner world, finding it deep and rich …

Girls Who Write Code

By Dori Owen “Many times, when children enter school they shun mathematics and science during the years when they should be learning the basics.” ―Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race The first time I noticed that there was …

The Trumpan Women (A Tragedy with Haiku)

By James W. Gaynor The Trumpan™ Women [A Tragedy with Haiku] Chorus: Like smoke blown to heaven on the wings of the wind, our country, our conquered country, perishes. Its palaces are overrun by the fierce flames and the murderous spear. Euripides  The Trojan Women Orange has almost no perfect rhymes. The only word in the …

“I Feel Bad for the Charging Bull!” Wall Street’s “Fearless Girl”-By Jillian Green DiGiacomo

“These days it’s all about the Fearless Girl, that adorable little figure secretly installed in lower Manhattan by an investment firm to celebrate (and advertise) its “Gender Diversity Index” fund. The 250-pound bronze statue by artist Kristen Visbal, stands head held high, shoulders squared, hands on hips, in the direct path, and in brazen defiance of the most famous beast on Wall Street, the Charging Bull. The four-foot-tall effigy has certainly made her presence known.”

Photo Album

by Aaminah Shakur Somewhere there is a photo Of my mother and father I’m told I look just exactly like her Only she was darker My mother who was Indigenous and Black On her father’s side Indigenous and Scots-Irish On her mother’s side My brother said our aunt showed it to him It is her …

Why I created greeting cards to celebrate gender transitions

By Jade Sylvan Coming-of-age, graduation, marriage, new babies, new jobs, new homes – you can go into a drug store right now and find a panoply of greeting cards to congratulate someone you care about on any of these major life transitions. I went through a phase of dismissing greeting cards as mass-produced schmaltz or …

Identity After Infidelity

INFIDELITY (n) – “The action or state of being unfaithful to a spouse or other sexual partner.” synonyms: unfaithfulness, adultery, disloyalty, deceit, falseness, affair, cheating. Infidelity….it’s real and is sadly the reality of a lot of men and women. I never thought that I would experience it, but I thought then that IF I did, I …

The Spike: Cause & Effect

By L R Fletcher Toni holds his breath to avoid inhaling the bus’s fetid fumes as he bounces aboard, the promise of the special weekend ahead putting an extra spring in his step, and pauses for the eagle-eyed driver to inspect his pass. The hook-nosed pilot is the only one on this route to have …

Sin Twister and Amnesia

Sin Twister I hear it spewed from loud mouths spit-slicked with the hate I was born with, “I’d see him dead before I saw him a faggot.” I see clenched fists raised high, scarred from years of cuffs And I will eat your young! (but now, “Jesus!”) After fists come down to pummel his wife …

How a Cello Healed My Heart

By Shawna Ayoub Ainslie   I met my childhood best friend on an Autumn day under falling leaves. Her mother was on their patch of lawn calling her name into the apartment complex parking lot. Her name was my name. This was cause for concern. My older sister sprang into action, confronting the girl’s mother. …

The Power of Thinking Positive 

By Thomas Ives There has been an increase in the sadness and gloom in the world recently. Some has to do with the election; some has to do with tragedy or even our personal daily struggles. This blog post is all about the positive that I have seen, read or taken part in recently. I …

Reimagining Self-Care as Activism in the New World Order

By Stacia M. Fleegal I’m going to attempt to coin a phrase here: active self-care. If you’re like me, you are deeply unsettled, if not outright horrified and afraid, about America’s political climate. If you’re like me, you want to help; but in the face of such relentless and pervasive ignorance, have wondered, how can …

Lend An Ear

By Jacqueline Cioffa Those who live on in our minds, those ones we can hear eyes closed, are the familiar bonds that can never be broken or diffused. I’m a mutt, Black Irish, German with a pinch of Italian thrown in. I know this because I have always been curious about where I came from, …

only a woman

by Sumayyah Talibah we are hidden figures regulated to the shadows pulling the strings from behind the scenes until they need us to be seen draped across arm and chaise lounge and silver screen our collective beauty seems to be the sum of our worth only a woman indeed we’ve cured disease and sent ships …

In Kellyanne’s Kitchen

By James W. Gaynor Hello, Human Inhabitants of Planet Earth! I’m Kellyanne’s microwave, contacting you via your laptop (the device with acamera function you actually know about).Ms. Conway’s other kitchen applianceshave appointed me their spokesmachine — although the toaster oven, after consultation with Justice Kagan’s MixMaster,would like to make it clear that neither its broil …

A Call to Arms. A Call to Love.

By Sarah E. Boucher Feminism gets a bad rap. The term has been twisted to convey something far different than its original definition: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests Basic. Elegant. Yet somehow feminism has become associated with radical behavior, …

We Rise

By Lisa A. Listwa Life has a way of hitting us when we’re down. Or at least that’s often our perception. How many times have you thought to yourself that a situation couldn’t possibly get any worse? And then it does. Several years ago, I had reached a crossroads. I was a wife, the mother …

Surfacing

By Kathryn Holzman They were married in the summer. The Justice of the Peace sat at the helm of the rowboat. From the shore, stereo speakers played the Wedding March. Renee wore a bathing suit and a veil and promised, for the second time in her life, to love another until death parted them. Her …

We Contain Multitudes. traditions, ancestry & culture

By Lisa A. Listwa When we start a conversation about heritage, it is easy and natural to jump to topics like researching ancestry registries, or passing along holiday traditions, family heirlooms, and recipes. It is logical to talk about cultural history and ethnic background. But what is heritage, really? And how are we connected to …

#ThisIsHowSexismEnds: Not Another Column About the Word "Slut" – 19 Terms for Relationships that Dehumanize Women 

Trump won by earning the vote of those who dismissed his nauseating, predatory, misogynistic statements as “locker room talk”. These same voters ignored his actual lies, and his corrupt and unlawful so-called business practices.

Never Too Many Cooks: Literary Recipes in a Flash

By Charli Mills A chef in the kitchen is not unlike a writer at a desk. Both feel the heat of what it takes to transform a raw start into an end worth savoring. A chef chops vegetables to maximize flavor and texture the way a writer slices sentence structure to evoke reader response. One …

Book Review: Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice in 61 Haiku (1,037 syllables)

By Colleen Chesebro Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice in 61 Haiku by James W. Gaynor (1,037 syllables) MY RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Jane Austen’s famous book Pride and Prejudice will fall in love with the creative poetic genius of author and poet, James W. Gaynor. If you’ve ever read the classic novel, you might have found the …

A Woman’s Worth is More Than Her Body

By Kara Post-Kennedy I was 12 years old when a grown man told me with a wink that he noticed my chest was “starting to fill in”. Like most 12 year old girls, my changing body was a confusing and frankly upsetting thing, and this comment threw me into a tailspin of panic and shame.  …

extraordinary. unchanged. a moment.

By Desiree-Anne Martin I am an author, poet and general word junkie. Therapist, student, wife, full-time mother, part-time warrior woman. Recovering addict who dabbles in an unpredictable mood disorder. I call Cape Town, South Africa, home but I suffer from severe wanderlust. I think caffeine, chocolate, bacon and cigarettes are the four major food groups.   …

In Bohemia with Djuna Barnes

By LindaAnn Lo Schiavo  “Bohemia is a place where everyone is as good as everyone else!” In January 1971, when I was working a full-time job while attending college and trying to launch myself as a freelance writer, I had recently moved to 4 Milligan Place in Greenwich Village. Our difficult Hungarian landlord Manny Duell [1911-1977] …

Self-Portrait at 18 and Deep Light

By Charlotte Chadwick Self-Portrait at 18:  I was secret and becoming wolfish 1. I walk on the beach and the breeze slaps my face and as usual I talk to you and I almost hear you respond I have so many questions unspeakable frozen hot all the small details you have so far thrown me …

Earth Sputters a Love Letter

I want to hold you. Figuratively, of course. Now is not the time for misappropriation of language and/or double entendres (CK, Weinstein, Moore, Franken, Spacey, etc.). The surface is rightfully crumbling regarding assault and abuse of trust, misuse of power. But we are talking about a different type of personal defect here right now

The Happy Housewife’s Guide to a Tidy Home

By Jillian Green DiGiacomo I remember books.   Not reading them, of course, but owning them. I used to have stacks of jagged-edged first editions and dog-eared paperbacks covering my coffee table and overloading every bookshelf in the house. It was a rather impressive collection that undoubtedly made me appear to be quite the intellectual. …

Who the Hell is Responsible?

By Cheryl Oreglia “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.” Matthew 28:2 Our thoughts are enormously powerful, sacramental on occasion, but always efficacious. What we believe about ourselves affects our motivation, our response to …

Milestone Greeting Cards with #HaikuJim

By James W. Gaynor Happy Birthday The day you were born a lot more than you happened. Get over yourself. Graduation Accumulating a mountain of debt merits some celebration. New Job Think of your new boss like a kind of step-parent. Possibly evil. Wedding (Groom) You have what it takes to fool her most of …

Dear Self

Their darkness is not yours. You were formed in light. And any darkness you see is only evil trying to dim your light. Don’t let it.
Remember, or if you’ve never known, believe me now. You are brave. You are strong. You are kind and compassionate. You are beautiful.

In Union There is Strength

By Gale Acuff In Sunday School today Miss Hooker said and she’s my teacher and I love her and want to make her my wife one day when I’m older, I’m only 10, she’s 25, but I can wait until I’m 16 if she can and she’d better because I’ve been praying every night for …

A Love Note to OTV

By Jillian Green DiGiacomo Dear OTV Magazine, Thank you.  Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for your vision. Thank you for the unique space you have carved out in the online universe that lets writers shine. Thank you for providing a rich destination for readers who are guaranteed to be moved, challenged, delighted, surprised …

Past and Present

By CL Bluestein Love Letters – Past and Present I know right where they are. Letters from our engagement year, tied with white satin ribbon, in the corner of my TV cabinet. Never re-read. Touched only to be transferred from my mother’s house to the home we shared, then to where they sit now. I’d …

A Love Letter to My Regrets

By Abbie Williams   The easier I assume a thing will be, the more difficult it usually proves; isn’t that just like life? The obvious recipients of a love letter – my daughters, my husband, my dear, inimitable grandma, Ruthann – were the central focus of my first attempts. I soon realized the intensity of …

Love Message from the Other Side

By Elaine Mansfield   “Go to bed,” I told myself. “You need to sleep. Tomorrow’s a big day.” My mind was blurry and jumpy, on the edge of dizzy. I needed stamina and a clear head for my TEDx talk dress rehearsal the next morning. I’d been practicing alone and with friends for months, but still …

Fear and Ice

By Glenn A. Bruce Snow fell—lightly at first, then heavier. By nightfall, billions of tiny flakes were coming down like a single, connected mass—a three-dimensional bedsheet of white terror that stretched out as far as Georgia Fontaine could see, blending into a horizon she could only imagine existed at the edge of her small world. …

The Geese and The Light

By Roger Sippl   The Geese   The Canadian geese are getting booed by locals and tourists from Montauk to Queens because of the meaning that flies overhead— summer is now over. It’s the week when the children’s camps all along the East Coast have come to an end, but school hasn’t started yet, and …

A Lifetime

By C.L. Bluestein She lived in the ivy-covered house at the end of the lane that was built by her grandfather. It had been her home for her whole life. Every nook and cranny reminded her of someone, something, or some time. It made her feel timeless. One foot in the now and the other in …

Song of the Self and Asides

By Matthew Harrison   Song of the Self   I come into being in a flurry of attention afterwards gradually learning to look after myself and find my own way in life coasting the middle years even enjoying quite a bit of it and accumulating some wealth and experience and offspring along the way without …

Star Poems by Joseph Murphy

By Joseph Murphy   The Star I’d never met another on that steep hill’s summit. Wild flowers grew as they would Along a country lane: sunset Highlighting petals. I stood on jagged rock, vastness Of skyline and bay below. A star appeared through sheer clouds: that instant The past seemed no more Than an empty …

Christmas Breakfast

By Mike Raven   An annual tradition for me at this time of year is the Christmas breakfast. Every year, I have breakfast at my parents on Christmas Day. Rather than having a big turkey dinner as most people have as their traditional meal, my parents always went for a large and impressive breakfast in …

Love, Safety and Unity: an American Dream Forgotten

By Raymond Mitchell   My sister called Monday evening.  We had already had a Happy Thanksgiving call, but she just wanted to talk.  As we were chatting, we began recalling Christmas in the early 40’s when we lived with my grandparents. My parents were a little crazy about Christmas.  The tree was standing in the …

Homemade Holidays, a Family Tradition

“Happy families are all alike. But every poor family is creative in its own way,” is not something Leo Tolstoy wrote because the Russian author’s mother was a princess, his father a count, and he was born on their aristocratic estate in Tula Province of Russia and waited on by servants. Unfortunately, Tolstoy never visited …

Christmas Cards, the Lost Tradition

By Louis K. Launer It all started going back to high school. At the time, there were many people who I knew outside of my hometown of St. Charles, Missouri. There were contacts I had made when I was working one summer with a local historian on a project that carried over into my senior …

Our First Meal

By Alexis Kent The mountain air had not yet submitted to spring, so we left our cottage on foot layered in sleeves, fleece vests, and scarves. We shared the narrow black concrete road with vehicles, although none came as we walked. We trudged along, my father, mother, sister, and I, descending a small hill then …

Recalling the Feast

By Gretchen M. Michelfeld I firmly remember the Wednesday evening eggnog. Did we actually transport all of the ingredients in our little Volkswagen Rabbit which faithfully put-putted us deep into the woods of rural Pennsylvania for the annual Thanksgiving feast? Were the ingredients already there, (Cream. Nutmeg. Egg white. Crazy amounts of bourbon and rum.) waiting …

Feast or Famine

By Tulio Resende   All of us, whether we care to admit it or not, have a relationship with food. It nourishes us, it keeps us alive. These relationships go so much deeper than sustenance, food evolves in tandem with our own development. It becomes four course meals, desserts, finger foods. It’s all around us. …

The Grace of Taco

I was lost in pork. The crispy edges delighted me to no end while the tenderness of the inner meat provided a savory, greasy anchor. The accompanying chile had a small bite I respected. I drizzled it on my tacos from the small plastic cup. I squeezed lime slices and understood why I had so many napkins.

Dim Sum Lunch

By Matthew Harrison A Dim Sum lunch, a special feast, A dozen dishes at the least! I grab the pen and order sheet: Let’s make a start with Cold Smoked Meat! And then I order Phoenix Claws (That’s chickens’ feet) to great applause, With Juk, Har-gau, Siu-mai, and more Delicious Man-tau buns for four – …

The Dying Art of Conversation

By Tim Clark I am not much of a conversationalist. It might be genetic, maybe environmental; but somewhere I was left off the list, or missed the boat, or didn’t get the memo.   You choose the excuse. I am okay with a monologue, as long as it is brief. There is little risk involved …

My Roommate Was a Totem

By Ira Rabois We all have things we fear. For several people I know, spiders are high on their list. For me, it was only big, hairy ones. There is something so primal about them. In 1969, I served in the Peace Corps in a small village in the jungle of Sierra Leone, which is …

Here Be Dragons!

Embracing the noise in your mind is the first step in making peace with it; in other words, intentionally entering and acknowledging that unknown territory in your head. Just as ancient seafaring mapmakers marked uncharted wilderness with illustrations of dragons – here be dragons – those anxiety-fueled dragons lurking in your mind can be overcome. Giving them occasional creative control is actually a great idea, albeit a brave one.

A Writer By Any Other Name

If I were a writer, would I be more scared of success then failure?
Would I be more afraid of fame then anonymity?
Would I be too paralyzed to start for fear of an inability to finish?
If I were a writer, would the pressure to write weigh so heavily that I couldn’t write at all?

A Single Step Led Me to a Family Secret Buried in 1720

by LindaAnn LoSchiavo “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — — Lao Tzu (circa 604 B.C.)  In the 1990s, when the personal computer was still a novelty for many households, I was writing for a weekly newspaper, The Italian Tribune, and for a bi-lingual quarterly based in Italy and Brooklyn, …

Southern Daughters and Other Poems by Anwer Ghani

Southern Daughters I am from the south where the trees are dry and the rivers are waterless. Our sky is dark and its sun is foggy. I am from that south where everything is colorless. Our southern fields have daughters but our streets are always blind. These southern daughters are smiling but their eyes are …

On the Move: Life as an Army Kid

By Debbie Jinks On Friday 31st March 2017, we celebrated my mum and dad’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. They are now in their 70’s and it made me think back to my life as an Army child. We were on the move a lot, a couple of years in one country then a couple of years …

Journey From Death to Life

By Elaine Mansfield I walked the trails on my land, stunned by the contrast between fields of blooming purple lupines and my numb despair. My husband Vic had died the week before. We knew death was coming, but how can anyone imagine it? Here, breathing, struggling, loving one minute. Then gone, silenced, limp and gray. …

A Destination & Other Poems by Ian Randall Wilson

By Ian Randall Wilson   EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE Flags are waving with the violence of veterans who hold them out. Around the square people trying to remember. The grass has been replanted. 12 times in the last 2 years. Still it won’t grow. The body sickens and recovers fattens and reaches for its portions of space. …

Meeting Places

By Tim Clark My family moved often when I was young. Jobs, transfers, I am not really sure of the reason. My memories are boxes lined up and down hallways, or maybe in moving vans. The smell of my Mother’s cinnamon rolls competing with exhaust fumes.  There are deep recollections about a certain exciting apprehension of …

Where Are You From? An Invitation

By Karen C.L. Anderson I am from books, Barbie dolls, and obscurity. I am from rocks and driftwood, and exploring suburban woods as if I were there first; from raised ranches and colonials. I am from cinnamon-toast-and-hot-cocoa-for-Sunday-supper-while-watching-The-Wonderful-World-Of-Disney and I am from resistance. I am also from square dances and playing 20 Questions on long car …

On Taking Off At Heathrow and Kite Day

By Matthew Harrison ON TAKING OFF AT HEATHROW If I see England from a cabin port – Lanes deep in shadow, hedgerows frosted gold By winter sun – then come images fraught With sadness: brothers dispersed, mother old, Friends long gone. Yet this boy beside me cries And laughs and prods his neighbour gleefully, For …

The Long, Hot Summer: Blockbuster Movies by #HaikuJim

1. Titanic There’s a moment when You start to understand the Iceberg’s point of view. 2. The Long, Hot Summer It was long and hot, That summer. And the comma Made it much longer. 3. The Wizard of Oz White girl in strange land Kills two women of color (Green) and then goes home. 4. …

Summer of ’85: When You Look Up…

…you should see something brighter than stars By Sean J Mahoney 1. “One headline why believe it?” So Somalia was in the news recently and nothing reported had to do with pirates. It did instead have to do with drought and famine. And around the same time as the Somalia story, news broke of a …

Halcyon Summer Days & Lessons Learned

This grew from who we were allowed to play with to where she ultimately spent her career as a teacher. She refused to teach in our all white neighborhood and instead taught in a south urban Phoenix area, where she believed she could truly make a difference in young people’s lives. And she did indeed.

A Dangerous Nostalgia: by Aaminah Shakur

“The coming summer sun reminds me of fun times, sexy games, and community pow-wows, picnics, and hopscotch with the neighborhood children. It transports me to a fiction where I only remember the comforting things and can ignore all the reasons things had to change. I conveniently forget that I almost died there, more than once.”

An Aging View of Diversity

By Raymond Baxter Isn’t it funny that most people remember their childhood days with rose tinted glasses? Those who haven’t had a terrible one, that is. I often remember 1980’s Scotland as a bustling metropolis of harmonious multiculturism and friendship. Where people would go out of their way to help their fellow neighbours, and it …