Monday, October 16, 2017

Sabbatical







Bluepepper is taking a much-needed and long-overdue sabbatical. We will return on 23/10/17 laden with snaps and a lungful of sea air. Until then, keep your writing breeches on.






Sunday, October 15, 2017

New Poetry by John Robbins










Rejection Slips

The young always assume the burden of ignorance .
Believing there words are the first to know rejection .

They feel the emotion, yet do not grasp the truths only time teaches .

Madness takes time my sweet .
It has been a long road to become so perfectly demented .

And I can cover my walls in rejection .

Always take something from the emptiness it leaves behind .

If a no is all it takes to break you.

Then this is the wrong line of work for you.

Anyone can blow smoke up your ass.

It's the bitter truths that sharpen the steel .

One day nothing will make you bleed but your own hands.


- John Robbins 2017



John Patrick Robbins is a barroom poet who's work has appeared in Inbetween Hangovers, Your One Phone Call , Red Fez , Ramingos Porch , Spill The Words and the Outlaw Poetry Network . His work is always a hundred percent unfiltered .

Monday, October 09, 2017

New Poetry by Jon Bennett










Here and Away

I was here all day
I stood, I sat
I took a shit
I ate
but not too much
not too little

I felt bad though
being here all day
How do you do it?
Was I ever a child
amused by
a cricket crawling
from under
a fallen leaf?


- Jon Bennett 2017



Jon Bennett writes and plays music in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood.  Most recently his work has appeared in Zombie Logic Review and In Between Hangovers, and is forthcoming in The Indiana Voice, The Bees are Dead, and Degenerate Literature. You can find more of his work on Pandora, iTunes and other music websites.




Wednesday, October 04, 2017

New Poetry by Jake Sheff










A Girl on the Tire Swing

As if the pendulum and wheel are time
I push and eagerly await my child’s 
return. As if her face is capable
of starting wars, this mother of my timid
and secret prayers and doubts, I push this vine
that never snaps. (Of dogbane, with their saps
of milky irritants and poisons.) Dips
and doubles back; as if our changing minds
and past events are like the winds, I wed
my daughter to such specious whims. The killdeer
was putting on a show at Jerry’s pond
the other day, as if an injured wing
prevented her from flying off. It thrilled her,
like I once was; alas, there’s no such thing. 


- Jake Sheff 2017


Jake Sheff is a major and pediatrician in the US Air Force, married with a daughter and three pets. Currently home is the Mojave Desert. Poems of Jake’s are in Marathon Literary Review, Jet Fuel Review, The Cossack Review and elsewhere. His chapbook is “Looting Versailles” (Alabaster Leaves Publishing). He considers life an impossible sit-up, but plausible. 



Friday, September 29, 2017

New Poetry by James Diaz










My Love For All Things Broken

say      this road        here
but you mean    really   something else
already autumn    is beyond     what you can give
pulses cross       beats      stilled
day     breaks     bones
to be here       means        missing
someplace else      fir       trees
star   dust    how the hand folds
in on itself      say wind but you      really mean
sails stripped bare         subtle disappearances 
don't know        what went missing     or when
the next turn       off the highway     will creep up
and you will bend       that way
forever.


- James Diaz 2017



James Diaz is founding editor of the literary arts & music journal Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has appeared most recently in Psaltery & Lyre, The Ekphrastic Review, Quail Bell Magazine and Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, (for which his poem, The Balance Between Us, was nominated for the Best of the Net.) He is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018.)  He currently resides in upstate New York.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New Poetry by Abigail George










The packed suitcase

(for Ambronese)

Rapture is the son of Johannesburg.

    The same way that Prague is
    now the adopted hometown
    of my sister. He did not love
    me. In return, I did not love him.
    He took my mother and father’s
    love wherever he went in the
world and everywhere I went I lived

    in a self-imposed exile. People
    could be kind but I only learned
    that later on. In my mid-thirties.
    In other words, when I was grown.
    He dropped me off at the mental
    institution (Tara) on a Monday morning.
    Never even looked at me as if
    I was a real, live person. I was
    a walking experiment-in-the-making.
    ‘Not to be touched or spoken to
if anyone could help it’. I was fresh
    from a weekend spent cooking
    over steaming pots, gossip with a diabetic aunt. Her youngest daughter

    tucked away safely behind a

    mountain and green-lit valleys
    of Swaziland. The other in America.
   They could make the life choice
    of being wives and mothers, (if
    they wanted to). Like a river’s
sublime
    movements, my cousin watches
me
    out of the corner of his eye. For
any

sudden movements, I guess. I learned the hard way.
Heat rising up his neck. I learned the harsh way that

    family could not be kind.
    You can’t sing, so you
    can’t fit and a family that
    can’t sing together can’t
    live together. This tiger
    is not welcome, the other
tigers seem to sing in unison. I’m standing at the door of the church
hall. Waiting.
    Pretending that I’ve been invited to the party.
That I fit in. That I can sing.


- Abigail George 2017


Abigail George is a South African blogger, poet, short story writer, aspirant young adult novelist and playwright. She is the recipient of grants from the National Arts Council, the Centre for the Book and ECPACC. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. Her poems have been published in various anthologies, numerous times in print in South Africa and online in zines based in Ireland, Turkey, Finland, Australia, India and elsewhere.



Friday, September 22, 2017

New words by Robert Verdon










circle

… in some cases the birds fly upside-down and you can see their eyes shimmering like oil lenses on water. At other times, the goldfish cluster beneath the lily-pads and laugh at you. I have got used to it, unlike the others. I am drawn to magnets but only during sunshowers. It is like being a dowser. We have a Major-General here and an Archbishop. Breath hangs over us, grey, lazy breath. Poinsettias hunt for game. There is a baby under the strawberry bush, telling riddles.

She is sitting on a canvas swing that hangs from a grapegreen bough. The magpies are coloured here too, quince and persimmon. The baby tinkles like birdbath ice. A cat falls on its four feet. There are faces in the windows. A pendulum from a grandfather clock. A hair-spring. A cloud like an old straw hat. And restraints.

From the sun a chandelier dangles. We live in a surfeit of metaphors. Gravy. There is gravy today. We haven’t had gravy since …

She is on a swing, whistling. Vera. Vera. I know that tune … She is holding up the moon, a wet globe of moon that comes apart. Drawers full of washers and twisted pipe-cleaners are spread about her. It is like a picnic. Licorice bootlaces writhe like serpents all round the tree. I am waking up to my dreams. Salt sprinkled into a flame glows green. Soft, fat visitors. Wheelchairs in a distorted circle.

Do we die, here?

The stars in the evening are mauve and helical. A helix is not a spiral. A patch is not a square. A bit is not a jot. A couple is more countable than a few.

The doctors are not nurses.

Time to go, always time to go. Always back to the ward, the weird, wide ward, where they put you to sleep. I know that tune. Last time we had gravy when when when

The birds are stolen. I’m not going in yet. The birds are stolen! They must be returned to their cages! Hands grip my shoulders. I relax. The sun has gone too. They assure me it will return. Tomorrow is another day.

I sleep smiling. I have done it again.

It is the only way you can get them to touch you.


- Robert Verdon 2017


Robert Verdon is a Canberra writer who has published poetry and prose for many years. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

New Poetry by Martin Christmas










Primal Darkness

Skyping Melbourne,
ninety minutes.
Scotty,
‘5,4,3,2, . . .’
he cuts the link.
Then –
blackout.
Then –
lights.
Then –
blackout.

Silence.

The whole suburb –
blackout

Stars blazing.

Silence.

Dark menace.

Someone coughs.

Stars blazing. 

We wait –
for the lights to return.
Each
in their own small
suburban
cave.

Is this what it was like when . . .?


- Martin Christmas 2017


Martin Christmas lives in South Australia; has a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies; and is a poet, photographer, and theatre director. He has been published in several Australian anthologies as well as Red River Review (USA) and VerseWrights (USA). He teaches presentation elements to young poets. His chapbook poetry collection Immediate Reflections was published at the end of 2016.


Friday, September 08, 2017

New Poetry by John Rock










Morning Wind


Vibrating with these brushstrokes of dawn

       in these winged Chicadee voices I’ve courted

            by tying deerfat to the corner of my tent

                  in this savanna of snow

                       the gods walk and fly in great caravans

                                    mask merchants

                         above and below the ground

                                       antler sages

                                       Bluejay measuring space with cacophony

       and fox mothers wrapping their tales and musk

                around children taught to play with the moment

                                         year after year



In their prosperous down

        the Chicadees dive

             and take turns eating as I talk to them

                  wearing sheep hair knitted around my head and body

                           like a house of smoke



Morning wind

        can you blow these selves to earth?

              like leaf after leaf

                   the sky has grown from a silver branch

                           in this snow-rising chant


- John Rock 2017



In love with waterfalls, crows, and ecstatic dance, John Rock lives in New Mexico.  More writings at johnrockpoetry.com

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

New Poetry by Felix Purat










Worn Herzlicher Coaster

One more beer mark
Upon its cardboard
Body, and

It will begin
Dissipation, the
Room spiraling

Into the maelstrom
From where all thought
First transpired.


- Felix Purat 2017


Felix Purat is a hinternationalist hailing from Berkeley, CA but living in Prague. He has been previously published in Two Thirds North, the Paris/Atlantic, Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink Sweat & Tears, Pulsar, Vox Poetica, Allegro Poetry Magazine and Orbis Int’l, among other places. His first collection of poetry, A Drinking Horn of Accumulated Expiries, will soon be released as part of the Poetry Will Be Made For All project, and he has recently completed a second collection, Mews For the Tarpans of the World.

Monday, September 04, 2017





Bluepepper marks the passing of John Ashbery (1927-2017)

Sunday, September 03, 2017

New Poetry by James Walton










I’ll lay down with dictionaries
(and you)

When we are too old
for the Crossword
and the swallow comes early
singing for a lost partner

when out of season
the whip bird’s tuning fork
calls the humble circle
out of a lasso’s embrace

sky writing your name
in that opened portal
vowels and consonants
placed inside the circumference

dangling missing letters
we have chanced for canvass
a wily clue you gave me
of secrets no one knows

lexicons hesitantly shelved
the answers between us
teased into definition
out of more solitary lives

then leave all pages open
make a cuneiform mattress
out of every alphabet
graft us to our own calligraphy

the words that seek homes
can pummel for new comfort
rub against us until found
here where our language formed


- James Walton 2017


James Walton is a Gippsland poet published in newspapers, journals and anthologies. Short listed twice for the ACU National Literature Prize, a double prize winner in the MPU International Poetry Prize, and Specially Commended in The Welsh Poetry Competition - his collection ‘The Leviathan’s Apprentice’ was published in 2015.  



Friday, September 01, 2017

Calling all Poets!


In case you hadn't noticed, dear reader, we live in interesting times. Alert but not alarmed is our running credo at Bluepepper, and in line with that policy we are currrently

CALLING ALL POETS


Bluepepper believes that perhaps now more than ever this troubled rock needs the wisdom only poetry can distil, so get out your quills and parchment and submit per the guidelines at the top of the sidebar.

Friday, August 25, 2017

New Poetry by JD DeHart










I Dreamed

of a world that I thought
we had created.  This was
many nights ago.  Peace
and serenity.

Last night, I dreamed about
the world we might be creating.
Furtive glances, interrogation
rooms, hiding and tucking away.

I woke with a sense of being
undefeated even after finding
that civility has not completely
conquered our flaws.


- JD DeHart 2017


JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  His work has recent appeared at Strange Poetry and Cacti Fur. He has recently launched a literary review and resources site dehartreadingandlitresources.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 06, 2017

New Poetry by Christine Burrows










Autumn pivot

March is endings
small sacrifices
no lollies for lent

May shucks you down
slim as a rock limpet
resisting coldening wind

April finds its fools, caught short
at daylight savings end, raking up
summer dreams amongst sodden leaves


- Christine Burrows 2017



Christine is a Melbourne poet, originally from New Zealand. Recent work has appeared in anthologies and journals, including Audacious, Cordite, Landfall, Westerly and Australian Poetry Anthology (2016). Her work explores diverse aspects and levels of human experience - trauma, loss and dislocation being regular themes. Poetry keeps her going.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

New Words and Images by Wayne H. W Wolfson

The Wig

Not just with me but in general, she had never observed all the rules of social etiquette which I found myself unable to disobey. Sending a RSVP to anything to which I was invited, being on time for an appointment, acknowledging holidays and birthdays via cards.

As a sort of experiment, I gave in, or more accurately, I gave up on all sense of formality with her.  It did not seem to faze her although my methods were faulty and the accuracy of my experiment were in question as we had never actually been that close.

Where I grabbing a drink after finishing a piece, I would linger far longer than had I just popped out for a break. If we ran into each other on one of these occasions, then we would spend some time together. There was something mercenary in her look when aroused which both appealed and repulsed me. I think the last time I saw her it had been the latter and so with only a faint echo of a warning klaxon in the back of my mind, I lost track of how long it had been.

I had achieved all kinds of things but when home I went to the same places as they offered me what I needed. The inspiration which they still gave me after these years of walking my streets, I am a sort of Antaeus of Midtown.

I had just come back from once again having been on the road. Now here I was in my favorite seat at my usual bar when she came in. Two years had gone by since our last encounter.

She had moved to Seattle. Instinctually my mind went towards reprimands for not having told me beforehand nor having been dropped a note once she had settled in. I saw the futility of uttering anything along those lines as it would not stick and it would waste my brief downtime on something neither of us would care to be part of. Instead my mouth twisted into a sort of grin which was not one hundred percent about mirth nor pleasure.

“So, what are you doing back?”

Her aunt had died and she was supposed to go through her house and see if there was anything she wanted before the rest was thrown out. I vaguely recalled an older witchy looking woman who drove a rusted-out Volkswagen that I had briefly met once in passing at a farmer’s market.

 “You should come, there is an overgrown garden which I bet you could do some amazing sketches of.”

It sounded jerkier than I had intended when I said yes but that I did not have all day.


I was surprised I had not seen her aunt out and about more often as her place was a quick walk from all my usual haunts. I stopped to tie my shoe but she had kept walking although at a slower pace. Looking at her from behind as I sought to catch up. The same jacket as ever. She had put on a few pounds but wore it well. What would she look like in a decade?

We let ourselves in but I could tell by how tentatively she walked over the threshold it was strange for her too. The place was not dirty but very cluttered. Piles of paperbacks, mismatched furniture, most of which had afghans thrown over their backs and arranged so that to walk to certain parts of the room one had to squeeze between two pieces set at odd angles.

“Do not worry, we are not going to be here all day. I am just going to check her bedroom as that is where her photo albums and anything which may interest me might be. Why don’t you go out back and sketch? You must leave something to hold the door open or it will lock behind you. Just use one of the paperbacks, don’t worry about it.”

The backyard garden was gloriously savage. At one point, great care must have been put into it as even with it having grown wild there was still loose bordered order to the groupings of herbs and vegetables.

Of course, I recognized the oregano and rosemary. Some of the others I used to know but had grown rusty in my identification. Looking at one cluster I found interesting I eventually snapped my fingers and said “Hyssop!” after which I looked around to see if anyone had seen me do so.

I became absorbed in my drawing until having grown thirsty. An hour had passed. I decided to go in and check on her. Squeezing by the piles of books that lined the hallway wall, I head towards the bedroom. The sound of her breath coming in sharp rhythmic patterns. I had avoided the potential drama of a fight by not having scolded her but would now have the even worse scene of having to provide comfort to her in her grief, something which I was terrible at in general.

Standing in the doorway, I was surprised to not immediately see her as in my mind’s eye I had pictured her, sitting on the end of the bed, perhaps with some trinket in her hand sobbing. My eyes scanned the room.

Wearing only underwear and a bra, she was on the floor with her back against the closed bathroom door. The way her bottom jaw jutted forward then back and her nostrils slightly flared. She was not crying. Her body shook for a moment and in that moment, I forgot what jerks we both could be. She opened her eyes and looked at me. The sun caught the beads of perspiration on her forehead in jewel like shimmering.

“Where did you get the wig?”

“It was my aunt’s.”

Fini


Wayne H.W Wolfson 2017


www.waynewolfson.com




Thursday, July 27, 2017

New Poetry by Linda Stevenson










Dwelling

I live in one of the oldest, continuously
inhabited houses here, so walk carefully
in my gardens, delicate on flagstones
which might be brittling; sashay
kindly around my lawns, their intermittent
flowerings, probably better not to lean
on weak fence palings. I keep to that
old-fashioned way of open doors,
you can slip in without trespass,
if you’re lawful. In fact, if the windows
were cleaned well,
you’d see inside easily, all the rooms.
I occupy them all, simultaneously,
being shadowy and unlimited
in progression, doing kitchen things
in the lounge, carrying laundry
into the guest room, brewing a coffee
for you in the backyard shed,
grieving in hallway spaces,
decanting a red wherever.
I am as sharp as a spray of needle
grass, acute as that roofed angle of corrugation,
transparent as bricked-in walls hit by nuclear blast.
Be aware of history, my long trajectory
of residence and upkeep, my earnest
ownership, ancestral rights of home,
my sovereign right of welcoming.


- Linda Stevenson 2017



A founding member of Melbourne Poets Union, facilitator of poetry groups in gaols and community centres, contributor to anthologies. Chapbook “The Tipping Point” published in 2015, feature guest poet on Radio 3CR “Spoken Word”. Active as a poet within the online poetry sector, hosts regular Salons at her home in Frankston, Victoria.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Poetry by Mohammad Ali Maleki










Silence Land

I have doubts about my sanity:
not everyone can bear this much.
They stole all my feelings;
there’s no wisdom left in my mind.
I am just a walking dead man.
I am just a walking dead man.

I yelled for help so many times—
No one on this earth took my hand.
Now I see many mad things and imagine
how the world would look if it collapsed.

Perhaps it would be good for everything to return to the past;
for nothing to be seen on the earth or in the sky.
It would feel so good to be a child
again and go back to my mother’s womb.
For there to be no sign of me,
for me never to have gone crazy in this place.

What if the woolen jacket I am wearing unravels
and begins to fall apart?
Or the butterfly flies back to its cocoon,
or the autumn leaf grows green and returns
to its branch on that old tree?
What if the tree becomes a seed in the soil—
I sound crazy speaking this way!

It’s the outcome of being detained for four years
after seeking asylum on the sea.

What if that sea returned to its source
and flowed back to the river mouth?
If that river receded back up into its spring?
What if only the sun and the moon remained in the sky?
If I saw even the sun’s birth reversed,
watched it dissipate into space?
Witnessed the moon implode upon itself?

All things returning to their starting place…

How beautiful, to live in a colorless world,
everywhere silent and still.
The earth would be calm for a moment,
free of even one miscreant.

But what do you make of my vision—
am I sane or mad?


- Mohammad Ali Maleki 2017



Mohammad Ali Maleki is an Iranian poet and avid gardener who has been living in detention on Manus Island for four years. His poem ‘The Strong Sunflower’ was the first work published on Verity La’s Discoursing Diaspora project. Since then, Mohammad’s writing has been published by Bluepepper and by the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. He has been a featured poet on Rochford Street Review, and his poems and letters have been included in the Dear Prime Minister project and at the Denmark Festival of Voice.  His poem ‘Tears of Stone’ was shortlisted for the Red Room Company’s New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016 and received Special Commendation for extraordinary work in extreme circumstances.


Friday, July 21, 2017

New Poetry by Ben Hession










Summer: an ellipsis

The Armageddon weather,
                  pervasive, the hot winds,
thunderstorm clouds
                  perdurant in each octant,
the nights tease away sleep: dreamy

reconciliation fills a plastic,
                  disposable shopping bag
lifting over backyard fences;
                   grit lands in the eyes
of all sinner pedestrians.

                    I cannot see straight
and that angers me,
                    I only have eyes for my ego;
hope watches a car-crash,
                    it's a voyeur crossing police tape
wanting action, baby -
                   looks for a body, looks for blood
moans that it's hungry, thirsty;
                   comes too early, grunting, falls
away, the psychopath.



- Ben Hession 2017


Ben Hession is a Wollongong based writer. His poetry has been published by Eureka Street, the International Chinese Language Forum, the Cordite Poetry Review, Verity La and the Mascara Literary Review, as well as the Live Poets anthology Can I Tell You A Secret? Ben's poem, A Song of Numbers,  was shortlisted for the 2013 Australian Poetry Science Poetry award. Ben is also a music journalist and is involved with community broadcasting.

Friday, July 14, 2017

New Poetry by Abigail George










The bone slums

    I think of the deepest tragedies
    that I have experienced. That

have made me become the woman
that I am today. I think of Antigone,

    Joan of Arc, the war of art, years
    gone by. I think of death and life.
    Instinct and emptiness. In the bone

slums. You will find the winter-themed of
the soul there. Stray cats. Kitchen tables that
have a rustic feel to them. Jam and bread.

    Forget this place of weeping.

The preparation for a daughter to become a mother.

    The yield and harvest of fathers.
    The yellow star on coats.

The strange pale fire in Anne Frank’s eyes.

    Jewish children in the fire of war.

In the fire of the concentration camps.
I weep for nightfall. All I can do now

Is look at it from a distance. Women
Covering themselves with the veil of

    justice. While men want freedom and I remember this.

That there is bitter relief to be
Found in the anguished wild.

When the final hour came, it
was a day of thunder, submission and falling.

That was the day the sun died.
That was the day the sun died.
That was the day the sun died.

And the bitter seed sung that all should
be free. That we should all be free and
hopeful. And forget the harvest of futility.


- Abigail George 2017



Abigail George is a South African writer and poet.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

New Poetry by Margaret Holley










Bob Boldman Does My Haiku

"Walking with the river, water does my thinking,"
birds my singing, wind my breath,
trees my patience.

While I gaze out the window, or when I fall 
asleep with a book in the afternoon,
sunlight does my dreaming.

Walking with the river, ripple does my dance,
my shining, stones my quiet,
trees my rooting,

roots my holding on.  When I grow afraid 
of my life, grasses do my greening, 
rain my grief.

Standing by the river, mute and empty,
all the waters singing to my thirst,
trees my leaf and fruiting.

When it is time to move out of my house 
of bones, river, do my flowing.  Wind, 
my rising.  Leaves, my letting go.


- Margaret Holley 2017


Margaret Holley’s fifth book of poems is Walking Through the Horizon, published by University of Arkansas Press.  Recent poems have appeared in Eclectica, Gnarled Oak, The Tower Journal, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.  Former Director of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College, she currently lives with her husband in Wilmington, Delaware, where she volunteers as a gallery guide at Winterthur Museum.

Friday, June 23, 2017

New Poems by Allison Grayhurst










Another Station

I raced to the perimeter,
stopping at the dot and
found the sun half-gone
like a kiss that never was.
I touched the tree and the tree
did not know I was there.
I peeled the skin from my fingers
to feel a deeper sensation.
The line and the ledge and the no-space in-between.
The devil is bitter and hard. I spoke to the devil
and held time with his eyes. But breaking free,
leaping from the circle - these aspirations
are growing up, taking long and slow breaths,
all the while, becoming
more formidable.


- Allison Grayhurst 2017


Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three times nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, she has over 1050 poems published in over 425 international journals. She has sixteen published books of poetry, seven collections and nine chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com   

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Poetry by Richard Manly Heiman










Andromache at Pergamon

When you wake from a mid-day nap to bees droning through orchids and gerberas by the sluggish fountain, or you're cane-walking slow through ancient Bo─čazkere vines and cherry groves, raw as a

slashed throat clogged with gurgling clots it all comes raging back. The sudden fall, the tumbling high-pitched shriek cut off mid-flight by limestone ramparts. Florid smears in horse-shit dust, the phantom pain in your uterus. But such a tiny

sacrifice. No more night terrors to console, a baby's dreams of bronze-skulled monsters. Still you replay gallops round  and round, the bloody bare crown thumping along, splitting over and over again, sanity fracturing, oozing hope like yolk, gelatin eyes squeezed tight to block

absurdly calm extinction. Now each morning he stares back with mead-rimmed eyes. One who looks just like the one who murdered and then loved you. He stares, and death is trite, and no strong-built heart walls can keep the wailing in.


- Richard Manly Heiman 2017


Richard Manly Heiman lives in the pines on the slope of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California. He works as a substitute teacher and writes when the kids are at recess or playing on their cell phones. Richard's work has appeared or will in Rattle, Into the Void, Bop Dead City and elsewhere. He is a two time 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee. His URL is poetrick.com.

Monday, June 19, 2017



Call for Submissions 

The June Open Reading Period 

Black Lawrence Press seeks innovative, electrifying, and thoroughly intoxicating manuscripts that ensnare themselves in our hearts and minds and won’t let go. During our June and November Open Reading Periods, we accept submissions in the following categories: novel, novella, short story collection (full-length and chapbook), poetry (full-length and chapbook), biography & cultural studies, translation (from the German), and creative nonfiction. 

 Black Lawrence Press accepts submissions exclusively through our online submission manager, Submittable. We are not able to accept submissions via email or postal mail.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

New Poetry by Jim Conwell










Envy

They were a haphazard collection,
several soldiers
and some Indians
and a knight or two.
And some of the cereal packet Indians
were only the colour of the plastic they were made from.
But I know what they felt like in my hand.
The distinct characters of each of them.
And I remember their vivid colours.
The red and blue of the warrior’s tiny shield.
And the living grey of the desert soldiers’ uniforms.

We shared adventures, deadly ambushes, bombardments
with stones and missiles.
And even though I already knew the advice,
I built castles in the sand and other fortifications for them
and they defended them
even against overwhelming force.
They had died many times
as I dug them out of collapsed tunnels
And ruined walls.
Always finding them ready to fight again.

But when I looked across the garden fence
and saw Eddy’s military convoys –
the khaki might of his
tank carriers, mobile missile launchers, armoured cars,
the helmeted and goggled outriders of his professional army,

my small force of international mercenaries
faded sullenly into the long grass.


- Jim Conwell 2017


With an original background in Fine Art, Jim Conwell has worked in mental health for over thirty years. He has had poems published in magazines in the UK, Ireland, Australia and North America and had two poems shortlisted in the Bridport Poetry Prize 2015. He lives in London, England.


Monday, June 12, 2017

New Poetry by Kathryn Guelcher










Not Sleeping

Actually, I have many hearts
in circulation.
You have the only whole one.
New ones grow...
for song, guitar,
the beginning of each summer,
trips planned, taken.
These hearts sprout small
from very little:
platelets, plasma, 
longing, time, rain.
Tenderly, they grow and expect little,
and later fracture under loyalties.
But the large old heart you’ve got
has roots like the Yucca,
stretching for ground water
in the heat of the desert,
though here, definite seasons 
have blurry edges.
And like the Yucca, this heart of mine,
that is yours,
blooms certainly and silently,
if unpredictably,
and won’t be dug up.
The stems are phallic,
like so much else--
lightening bolts, this pen,
the imagined line between
your fingers
and the space bar you strike
between words
pulsing worlds, 
ideas...
of youth fading
of love lasting
of children, impossibly ours,
showing us, again and again, 
joy’s endless capacity for laughter.


- Kathryn Guelcher 2017



Kathryn Guelcher teaches English in the suburbs of Chicago at Carl Sandburg High School where she received a grant in 2013 and co-founded a Visiting Writer Series for students. Since first appearing in Bluepepper in 2012, her poetry has appeared in Lost Coast Review, Memoir Journal, Brev Spread, George Bilgere's Word Play, Orange Room Review, Fat City Review, yourdailypoem.com and more. Her husband and three children keep her laughing and are her favorite travel companions, Their cat, Big, is treated like a celebrity in the house-- and still manages to complain about it. Follow her on Twitter @KathrynGuelcher