Wednesday, July 08, 2015

New Poetry by A.J. Huffman

I Was Invented

as a destination
to discover, conquer, claim
as your own.  You were
looking for picket fences,
shades of presumption,
perfected picturesque
nostalgia.  Together
we found something angular,
garishly modern,
an arrow full of exotic
poison.  You swallowed
hatred.  I assimilated
being lost.  Our paradise
took a wrong turn and caused
our minds to burn.

- A.J. Huffman 2015

A.J. Huffman has published eleven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. Her new poetry collections, Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press) and A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing) are now available from their respective publishers.   She has two additional poetry collections forthcoming: Degeneration from Pink Girl Ink, and A Bizarre Burning of Bees from Transcendent Zero Press.  She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and has published over 2200 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. 

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

New Poetry by James Walton

don’t ask me

because what mattered
was the way the grass sang
moving the shade to watercolour
or the quiver towards a kiss
the place in your back that defines physics
a hover of breath
in the white hawk of a flat palm
waiting for lips to rise

- James Walton 2015

James Walton lives in South Gippsland. His collection, "The Leviathan's Apprentice" has just been released through Strzelecki's Lover Press.

Monday, July 06, 2015

New Poetry by JD DeHart

Good Way

We do not know the good
way, or if there is one way
We do not know how 
to live plaster and lace lives,
or be porcelain people,
or to speak in alabaster tones
All we know is the making of
our way, ignoring the voices
around us that speak
in cacophony, taking words
we need from an occasional
sage, uncertain of which road
is the high road, or if there is
a higher road, just glad there
is a road at all.

- JD DeHart 2015 

JD DeHart is a writer, blogger, and teacher.  His chapbook, The Truth About Snails, has recently been published by RedDashboard.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

New Poetry by Hanna Harris


He's hard to come by like
Charles Manson on sandpaper,
palms squeaking against leather.
I don't think he has much of
a mind these days, only
laughing at blank white walls, only
tracing door frames.
He makes me look at doors like
a threat.

Take your stomach, tie it
in a knot, maybe squeeze it to feel
it in between his fingers;
and he says he ain't talented.

When he leaves a room, everyone
is silent for a moment,
unsettled as house pets
before a storm
and you can't help but love him
like sticking your fingers in
an outlet.
It's a curiosity that melts your fingers,
leaving behind an emptiness you
can feel on your skin.

He's hungry, carnivorous, that
type of gnashing starvation
that makes people think about
and consequences.

I swear there's a deadness in
his limbs and it's contagious.
It says, "Keep shaving, drag the
razor until there's nothing left of you.”
It's contagious, disguised as
liberation pulsing in your chest
and trust me, you'll catch it too.

- Hanna Harris 2015

Hanna Harris is a 17-year-old, Los Angeles based slam poet and student. She works for Persephone's Daughters Magazine and lives with her cat, Leo.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Short Fiction by Donal Mahoney

Paddy Murphy's Wake
  The priest had been there earlier and the rosary was said and relatives and friends in single file were offering condolences. "Sorry for your troubles," one by one they said, bending over Maggie Murphy, the widow silent in her rocker, a foot or so from Paddy, resplendent in his casket, the two of them much closer now than they had ever been. 
A silent guest of honor, Paddy now had nothing more to say, waked in aspic, if you will, in front of his gothic fireplace.
The moon was full this starless night and the hour was getting late and still the widow hadn't wept. Her eyes were swept Saharas and the mourners wanted tears. They had fields to plow come morning and they needed sleep, but the custom in County Kerry was that no one leaves a wake until the widow weeps.
Fair Maggie could have married any man in Kerry, according to her mother, who almost every day reminded her of that. 
"Maggie," she would say, "you should have married Mickey. His limp was not that bad," but Maggie wouldn't listen. Instead, she married Paddy, "that pestilence out walking," as her mother often called him even on a Sunday but only after Mass. 
Maggie married Paddy the day he scored the only goal the year that Kerry took the trophy back from Galway. That goal was no small thing for Ireland, Paddy would remind us all in pubs, night after night, year after year, until one of us would gag and buy him another drink. 
That goal, he'd shout, was something historians in Ireland would one day note, even if they hadn't yet, and every time he'd mention it, which was almost daily, Maggie's mother would remind her daughter once again that she should have married Mickey and had a better life. 
The final time her mother praised poor Mickey, a screaming match ensued, so loud it woke the rooster the very day her mother, feverish in bed, gurgled like a frog and died. 
This evening, though, as the wake wore on, the mourners grew more weary waiting for the tears the widow hadn't shed. Restless in his folding chair, Mickey put his bottle down and rose to give the eulogy he had needed days to memorize. 

"Folks," he said, "if all of us would holler down to Paddy now, I'm sure he'd holler back. Despite the flames and all that smoke, he'd tell us all once more that Kerry winning over Galway is all that ever mattered. We'll always have cold Paddy over there to thank for that. Ireland never had a better man. St. Patrick himself, I know, would vouch for that." 
The Widow Murphy hadn't moved all evening, but after hearing Mickey speak, she began to rock with fury as she raised a purple fist, shook it to the heavens and then began to hum her favorite dirge. The mourners all joined in and hummed along until midnight struck on the mantel clock and then, as if released by God Himself, the mourners rose, one by one, from folding chairs and paraded out beneath the moon, freed by a hurricane of the Widow Murphy's tears.

- Donal Mahoney 2015

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He writes poetry and fiction. Some of his earliest work can be found at

New Poetry by Andrew Condouris

I was back on the streets

I pulled my cap
down over my ears
crossed the avenue
into the bed of traffic
zigzagged and forgot myself
the snow sneaked
under my scarf
no time, no rest
nothing but the news
and the news was bad
in each of my footsteps
a grip, a breath
glass, concrete
I counted my steps
palms blanched
a purple fire swirling
in my guts
and the fire
spoke across the dark table
of night and sea
of what collected in shadows
and pools and puddles—
the fire sang
the greatest advertisement of all:

the world is wide open
and they’ve discovered another day
in the week and this day is for you
and you alone
reach out
I'm reaching out, too
I tell no lies
reach out
I'm reaching out, too
and it's true no fingerprints
and it's true odd creatures
tread the foam
and it’s true this city
sputters and sparks
and it's true the world
is burning
and it’s true we'll dance and sing
with wanting hands
across the silence
oh can’t you see that I am
a child wiping away the tears
standing up
I speak to you
I have no one else
I speak to you

- Andrew Condouris 2015

Andrew Condouris is, by his own confession, a zen monk who drives a car for uber. He lives in New Jersey.

Monday, June 22, 2015

New Poetry by Michael Keshigian

Present Comfort
He stands in the open doorway,
a brisk breeze caresses his face.
There is a shadow cast
from a dried maple branch
of straight lines
dyed black upon the lawn
that resembles a stick man,
an apparition that points up
as if to designate its source.
He imagines himself the outline
penciled atop the green,
where the grass is cool and moist
as it brushes his skin,
where vagrant ants
and earthworms tickle his underside
when they course beneath.
The landscape is quiet otherwise.
He is content.
Vagrant clouds, like the years,
move rapidly over him,
close enough to the sun
to threaten and momentarily
dissipate his imprint.
There is nothing he might do
to stem the inevitable,
but to distract himself
with the magic about,
for the future is black,
the present, light,
though it will yield no notice
when it dissolves him.

- Michael Keshigian 2015

Michael Keshigian’s tenth poetry collection, Beyond was released May, 2015 by Black Poppy.  He has been widely published in numerous national and international journals most recently including Poesy,The Chiron Review, California Quarterly, and has appeared as feature writer in over a dozen publications with 5 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (

Friday, June 19, 2015

New Poetry by Irina Grosu


burning bridges (i used to have a body once)

the neighbors are celebrating.
some wedding. or some death,
it seems they are the only
people want to remember.
I pull the curtains and I face
it is all here.
I would wrap them around me if
they were not green
but I can’t be a hypocrite – how
would their sendaline gaze
become me ?
I touch myself – everything is in
its place.
the teeth at my neck
the claws in my heart
scratches all over my legs.
fumbled hair locks
devirginized eyes
and the sounds, oh, the sounds!
everyone fears the smell, but it
is them sounds
the cruelty, the steadiness, the
of jigsaw going through the
skull – the shriek
gives me a concussion.
I am faltering.
my hands!
I still have my hands – they only touched beautiful.
do you want them too ?


a ride  back home

what is this movement with slow strokes
brushing past me, going forth?
it breathes loudly I can’t hear
it is softened and I shiver.
should I take it?
should I stop
doing nothing, feeling not ?
there must be a catch here, some sort of spell
that if I put my hand out, it fell
that if I search it with my eyes
it changes shape and stays behind.
could it be theirs, should I lie back
and wait it passes, hail at that ?
you say it’s mine! That I have yet
to stand up brazen, to forget
the times before when I stood up
to face their fears so mine stopped.
so be it then, I will invite
you take a walk on the inside.
do not look back, nor to the side,
or leave me waiting on the ride.
while doing so, if you don’t mind,
reach outside and shut behind.


the stretch


I spread my arms apart and my arms are short,
shorter than the right measure.
Though they come in different sizes,
spaces are never enough for me.
Like every elastic, I too have limits, you see
but if you can’t, I will tell you
In words
confined to my chest,
Instead of dangling on the tip,
a bottleneck
I contemplate
like a silent earthquake.
Like every elastic, I grew tired.
this time –  of smuggling in
embellished by acceptable wrapping.
I wonder what my color would be, if I threw myself up all at once
–noli me tangere–
I seek to see a predominance
Like a smoothie having a shake up
When you add something yellow
To raspberry pink.


So I decided to take off
all for the good of a high-resolution quality
with missing pixels the eye won’t see
Doing away
with the shallow distinction of space that is lost and space that is gained.
I am the rain.

- Irina Grosu 2015

Irina Grosu is an artist-philosopher and a ghost writer. Her career has included managing an International Magazine, Editor of two journals and over 10 years experience in various Social Science and Communication constituencies. She is currently running a poetry blog and pursuing her artistic and philosophy endeavors. 

New Poetry by Michele Seminara


Gurgling sounds woke me — (perhaps I needed to pee?) — 
the sink had filled with water abundant enough to spill 
out onto the floor and flow 
in a sacred stream under the bathroom door. 
In this lucid dream 
within a dream I rose 
from your father's bed and followed the trail 
to you, my son, a lotus blooming 
improbably from a golden yoke on the belly of my ocean —
and I knew, like queen Maya upon receiving
a visitation by the sublime white elephant 
that soon you would appear.

And now here you are — yes, here you all are! —
little lotuses mired in my mud. 
Tying your nooses around your necks each morning
strangling yourselves a little more each day:
obediently becoming (for me) 
what I never wanted 
you to be.

- Michele Seminara 2015

Michele Seminara is a Sydney poet and Managing Editor of Verity La.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Alison and Leopold

To some it is a literary masterpiece, cluttered and idiosyncratic as the city it chronicles. To others it is the world’s longest obituary, but whatever your view, one thing is clear, and that is that 107 years after poor Paddy Dignam was finally laid to rest, James Joyce’s Ulysses remains the only book in the Anglo sphere (apart from the Bible) to have its own day.

He is gone from mortal haunts: O’Dignam, sun of our morning. Fleet was his foot on the bracken: Patrick of the beamy brow. Wail, Banba, with your wind: and wail, o ocean, with your whirlwind.

So settles the cloud of tobacco, stout and grief between Bob Doran and Alf as they spy Leopold Bloom hovering outside the chemist shop on an errand for his wife, Marion of the bountiful bosoms. Bloom, the eternal outsider, child of Abraham in an Apostolic nation, and bookish to boot.

I declare to my antimacassar if you took up a straw from the bloody floor and if you said to Bloom: Look at, Bloom. Do you see that straw? That’s a straw. Declare to my aunt he’d talk about it for an hour so he would and talk steady.

As any of my legion of drinking buddies both past and present would blearily attest, I identify strongly with Leopold Bloom.

But there is another reason Bloomsday sounds a particular note for me each June. For it was on the evening of June 16, 1996 that my good friend and drinking buddy, Alison Gooch, was run down and killed by a drunk driver on the sweeping bend of King street just south of Newtown bridge. Nineteen years and I can still hear her laugh.

Vale “Bootsie".

(Originally posted in 2011 on Bluepepper and re-posted at Sydney Poetry)

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Poetry by Robert Halleck


My sister called to tell me that Martha
had jumped from a hotel balcony in
Kansas City. She left no note and called
no one, leaving the earth to wonder why.
At least three times a week for 30 years
they had talked while my sister raised children,
nursed the sick, and flunked Marriage 101.
Martha in her trousers, soft hair, and blue eyes
had private schooled, earned summa cum laude,
and took Wall Street by storm and partners
like the pioneer she was. Wall Street took her
ideas and gave no credit. The partners just left.
I remembered little of the young Martha 
across the street and she remembered much,
reminding me of the time she dropped her
ice cream cone on the seat of my car
and how I didn't get mad but just drove
back to Baskin Robbins to get another.
That was the beginning that ended in 
Kansas City leaving my sister to wonder why
and me to hold a phone listening to sobs
that went on and on until a click to silence.

- Robert Halleck 2015

Robert Halleck is a hospice volunteer and retired banker who lives in Del Mar, CA. Over 55 years he has written three books of poetry and collected a large file of rejection notices and acceptances from many poetry publications.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New Words and Images by Wayne H. W Wolfson

Red Pants
She said that she kept the extra words in her mouth in case of an emergency. Silence only loves the gate which creates it. Her hair smelled like wine and peaches. I just stood there trying to remember what it reminded me of. Too long of a lull in our conversation and she forgot that I was there. An itch on her forehead and she began sawing away with the nail of her pinky.
As we stood by Zola’s grave I noticed that she was now crying. It was not real though, his importance to her lay only in that the grave was an ideal prop to serve as a catalyst to the dramatic scene that she wanted so badly to act out. I wondered if it would look as suspect to someone who did not know her.
Her hand went into her pocketbook for a tissue. She momentarily froze. Calculations were being worked out in her head, which would offer her a better emotional payoff: to complete the scene as she usually did such things, with a musician’s sense of timing; or to purposely make it drag out too long so that I would lose my cool and we could have a fight?
Before she could finish working out the equation, a group of elderly couples, cameras in hand taking a tour happened by. Momentarily she was rendered inert as long ago Marthe had made a vow to herself not to play games in front of the elderly.  This was to prevent consciously having to dredge up the memory of the time that she had defeated herself in Marseilles.
Marthe had wanted to go shopping even though she knew that I had kidney gravel, my discomfort made worse by the heat. We kept walking by bars, I did not ask for permission to stop but in the spirit of compromise asked;
“This one all right?”

She would pull a face or pretend to be in deep thought as to not have heard me. Finally my discomfort reached a point that I could not wait any longer and so chose for us. By happenstance it had a nice view of the bay.
My first drink I put down fast. She assumed that I would slap some money down on the zinc and that we would leave. As the drink relaxed everything, I realized that I should have some water and one more, this time for pleasure’s sake. The motivations for my actions had nothing to do with her or our games. By way of protest she got no drink but sat on her stool sideways ignoring the view as to be able to bore her eyes into me.
Finally I told her that if she wanted to, then she could go on without me. Somehow this caught her by surprise. She took to the street, the look on her face being mistaken by an older man eating bouillabaisse al fresco across the street as some kind of hurt. He called her over and insisted that she have a vermouth, telling him what was the matter. How could anything be so terrible for a pretty girl in a place with beautiful weather and good food?
By the time she was being handed a menu I had left, heading back to the hotel. To the old man, as they sat there talking, he had worked his magic. See, he thought to himself, she was smiling again, such a lovely smile.
Marthe chuckled to herself as she had finished figuring out how long to spend at the table to make me jealous or if I had not seen her, a little worried. It was right around this time that under the table the old man was putting well practiced fingers on her bare thigh.
Back at the hotel, I was giving the concierge an envelope with her name on it in which there was enough money for a cattle class seat on the train back to Paris and her passport, everything bound together by a faded red elastic I had found on the nightstand.
I made my way back to the city alone, letting scenes outside my window lull me to sleep. Of course we made up but she now spent most of her time stateside. Obviously practicing on who knew, as her techniques were now more varied. Even with the confidence of an increased skill set still, old men were now an omen of bad luck for her.
“Shall we go get a drink?” she asked me. Taking her hand, as we walked away;
“He is not actually buried there any longer you know.”

- Wayne H. W Wolfson 2015