Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Poetry by Abigail George

Gone to Jean Rhys’s purple sea

Sunlight came to my house.
It came knocking. It came
And went like winter guests usually do. Like angels
Or when you put away things.
The sphere of childish things.
Flowers came to my window. A
Woman’s reflection (or rather self-portrait).
She was standing alone in the
Rain. Fading blooms on their
Own out of focus journey. You’re
Thunder dear, I wanted to whisper
In her ear. Coming home in the
Afternoon. There’s a dream in
Her my eyes sees. I know what
She is thinking. That this is not
The morning that she expected.
Departure. The secret of joy. Poetry in the art
Of fishing. Safe footprints washed
Away like yesterday. Swamp!
The depth of futility can be found there.
The almost tranquil dance of
Sins and moonlight. Joyous and brave!
The sun anonymous. It flickers.
Black rain a memoir. A soul on fire and
So the change within me came.

- Abigail George 2017

Abigail George is a South African poet, short story writer, aspirant playwright and young adult novelist. She was educated in Port Elizabeth, Swaziland and Johannesburg. She briefly studied film and her short story "Wash Away My Sins" was nominated for the Pushcart prize. She is the recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council in Johannesburg, the Center for the Book in Cape Town and ECPACC (Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council) in East London. Her poems have appeared in anthologies, widely in print in South Africa and some zines in Australia, Finland, India, the UK, the US, Nigeria, Turkey, and more.

Monday, January 09, 2017

New Poetry by Donal Mahoney

Ringing in the Ears

Ringing in the ears
has no cure. 
It’s called tinnitus
and you can pronounce it 
the way it looks or the way 
your doctor says it.

Today I discovered how 
to turn the ringing off 
and that’s to take 
a phone call from your son 
who says your daughter 
died last night.

She won the first 
and second match but  
lost the last to cancer.
An hour later you realize
the ringing in your ears
has stopped but there’s 
no silence in its wake.

A train of memories 
chugs by and stops
and then chugs on again.  
You want the ringing 
in your ears back again.
You can live with that.

- Donal Mahoney 2017

Donal Mahoney, a product of Chicago, lives in exile now in St. Louis, Missouri. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Chicago Tribune and Commonweal.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

New Poetry by James Diaz

Before I Forget

This thing 
like lightening
between my teeth
bad ideas
left at the bar
time ravaged 
muddy boots
and not wanting 
hard enough

it is better to long
for what you cannot have
then to have what you cannot long for

people don't know 
how lucky they are

the freedom to open a window
and jump out
or simply water the plants
on the fire escaspe
breathing in that first draft of air
morning makes 
in its silent creeping
into the apartment

how our lungs make love
better than our hands 

all the things 
you didn't know how to say
words kept from you
by some silent companion
until at last
why not
let it all out

see the ash scatter
and the daylight intervene

no one is where they belong
or who they thought they'd be.

- James Diaz 2017

James Diaz lives in New York. His work has appeared in HIV Here & Now, These Fragile Lilacs, Epigraph, Foliate Oak, and A Long Story Short. He is founding editor of the literary arts & music journal Anti-Heroin Chic. His first collection of poems, This Someone I Call Stranger, is forthcoming from Indolent Books (2017).

Friday, December 09, 2016

Seasons Greetings from Bluepepper

While my inbox remains empty, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Bluepepper readers and contributors a safe and happy Yuletide.

New Poetry by A.J. Huffman

Tonight the Moon

is shining, solemn in shades of blue,
and my head is a balloon, longing
to be a wheel of cheese.  I cannot think.
The fog is sinking through the holes
in my mind.  I howl my despair
at a night that refuses to holler back.
Silence is my echo, my reflection.
I am stagnant and barren
as the pallid globe that has swallowed
my shadow and my mood.
We are a matched set
of misfits, twin migrant insomniacs, doomed
to haunt the shallows of the other side
of midnight. 

- A.J. Huffman 2016

A.J. Huffman has published thirteen full-length poetry collections, thirteen solo poetry chapbooks and one joint poetry chapbook through various small presses.  Her most recent releases, The Pyre On Which Tomorrow Burns (Scars Publications), Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink), A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press), and Familiar Illusions (Flutter Press) are now available from their respective publishers.  She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2600 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, The Bookends Review, Bone Orchard, Corvus Review, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She was also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

New Poetry by Abigail George

For everything my parents taught me

Weekdays are detonated
On a Monday. Little anticipation for them at
Heart. A sisterhood
Of a garden of weekdays.
We weather soap operas.
The spine of the unchanging
Wedding ring of the
Sun. A young galaxy of
Confetti with unusual
Fused and acute angles.
The borrower is attractive and faithful.
The sun so political. So
Trustworthy. Dripping
With personal velocity.
Mum is that faithful borrower.
She has the trustworthy
Soul of a nurturer. The
Invisible-like cats cling
To me. Love me until
Death. The experience
Of a lifetime. Starlight exhibited at peak
Intervals on the shadow
Of the earth. Mum’s fingers
Have their own calling,

Seed-thief, hollow ways
Of indifference like a
Thief that comes in the
Night or during the day
(Not on my watch). There is a volcanic
Adjustment to be made
Underground. The pull
Of gravity. Of love. Of
Life. Father gave mother
Love. In return she gave me life.
The smell of gloom, of
The history of past mistakes invades
This landscape of the mother
And daughter relationship.
I know the courage of
A father. His quiet. His melancholia.
His yearning is mine and
So is his restlessness. He is
A leaf floating in history.
He is stunned with honour
And blooming power while
My mother is the cold.
She’s the Pacific Ocean.

- Abigail George 2016

Abigail George is a South African poet.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

New Poetry by Emma Lee

Calgary still talks about the 1988 Winter Olympics
The pen was too good to acquire.
A cheap ballpoint might have fallen
into my bag or got left in a notebook.
But this one wrote smoothly, didn't blotch
and was comfortable to hold in a hotel
stuck between sky-scrapers,
a meshed screen over the windows,
bland meadow prints, neutral bedding,
muffled noises from lines of identical
corridors, half peach wallpaper,
half wood-effect protective veneer,
that lead to more rooms exactly like this
with blank notepaper to doodle dreams on
and a pen I almost didn't leave.

- Emma Lee 2016

Emma Lee's most recent collection is "Ghosts in the Desert" (IDP, UK, 2015). She co-edited "Over Land Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge" (Five Leaves, UK, 2015) and "Welcome to Leicester" (Dahlia Publishing,UK, 2016). She reviews for The High Window Journal, The Journal, London Grip and Sabotage Reviews and blogs at

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Poetry by Karen Pape

The Escape

I envy your talent for slipping
into the sleeve of sleep; one moment
your oceanic eyes are wide, the next,
silky with dreams.  I lie next to you
on our liquid berth, an old salt shipwrecked,
clinging to the last spars of wakefulness,
mistrusting the stormy waves that threaten me‑‑
that may not be buoyant enough to lift me,
carry me, take me safely to the beachhead
of morning. So I grasp awareness
as you snore, cradled in ripples beside me,
as even the dog dreams on the floor,
wild golden eyes subdued in passionate rest.

In a vision I see myself walking beside you
on that far shore, a sea‑oat setting. 
Gathering shells, I am telling a story
to you and all who will hear me:   how I
survived the wreck, how I lived.  With that
promise before me, I succumb at last,
still graceless, still stubborn‑‑a drowning
Ishmael as the Pequod sinks into black,
perilous waters. I cling to the casket
of your faith, knowing I must escape
to tell the tale.     

- Karen Pape 2016

Karen Bingham Pape is a teacher and writer.  Her poems have appeared in small press publications such as Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and Maverick Press and in on-line journals such as Big River Review, Red River Review, Words-Myth and Perigee as well as under the bluepepper. She has read her work at conferences such as Southwestern ACA/PCA Pop Culture, ASU Annual Writers Conferences in Honor of Elmer Kelton, and Fort Concho Literary Festival.

Monday, November 28, 2016

New Poetry by Neal Heron

The first thing I ever heard

last night the wind had something to say
I stayed awake listening
he whispered through my keyhole
I eavesdropped from my bed
his words were foreign to me
their meaning beyond my reach
though I pretended he spoke of love
roared of boundless love
I told myself he reflected on a glorious life
or an adventurous affair
either way
I believe it brought him to his knees
a man who saw the light
I could think of nothing better
than to listen to the old man’s wail

- Neal Heron 2016

Neal Heron is a young, unpublished Austrian writer of music and poetry. For two years he lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the appreciation for art and the exposure to striking individuals, such as Henry David Thoreau and Charles Bukowski, intensified his interest in American literature. After his return to Austria, he resumed the small town life. He currently works in a furniture store to save up for studying music abroad.

Friday, November 25, 2016

New Poetry by Michele Seminara and Robbie Coburn

Circle One

those desolate pastures 
the wind secures the dancing wattles 
unshaped and rusting, 
bark fraying from their trunks,

a lack of coloration is no irregularity, 
stuck in the line of fire 
as it electrifies the buried voices 
of ancestors who create captives, 
binding the collar from the body to the neck, 
beneath the continual storm, all being fixed to chains

out at Woodstock the smoke descends, 
the doused air dives into itself

becomes a spire of ash rising— 
the light peers through cloud 
where human flesh seeds the inferno.

- Robbie Coburn 2016

The Harrowing

the body an inferno; 
buried ancestors' voices rising 
through the spire of the neck— 
flesh into fire.

captive in those human pastures
being dives into itself— 
descends through binding seed 
becomes the light.

- Michele Seminara 2016

These two poems are from a collaborative chapbook, Scar to Scar, just released through PressPress. Scar to Scar 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

New Poetry by David Ades

We, Of the Bleeding Hearts

We, of the bleeding hearts,
tend our little fires in the encroaching dark

as we have always done,
as we will always do,

even as we recognize less and less in the world,
even as the wolves circle closer

baring their teeth, snarling.

We cannot help ourselves,

we sing the songs within us,
the prayers, the incantations,

we whisper our hopes,
the dreams we will not relinquish,

our hands reaching out to touch
their beautiful pelts.

- David Ades 2016

David Ades is a Sydney poet returned to the fold after a long stint in that troubled federation north of the line. He has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Pushcart Poetry Prize and the inaugural 2014 University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor's International Poetry Prize.