Monday, April 15, 2019

New Poetry by Rob Schackne

Remembering The Stairs

- for Julie Pendleton

I grew old and winded
stairs reminded me of swings
of rhythm and raucous play
and once or twice a hard fall
up or down it doesn’t matter
the sums of toil I remember
the sum of each laboured step
the tremble on each landing
I see a prehistoric fish in a net
strong hands catch my breath
for the exit & entry at the end
there's a door I’ll need to unlock
fumbling with a girl’s memory
for a key I once had but lost
my gasping heart bursting
finally for summit flowers.

- Rob Schackne 2019

Born in New York. Migrated to Australia in the early 70s. I have recently returned to Oz from China, where I was teaching for 15 years. Now living in country Victoria. The fresh air and blue skies are astounding. When I'm not writing, I like taking photographs very much.

Friday, April 12, 2019

New Poetry by Pauline Edmonds

As it was in the beginning

'Is now
and ever shall be'
as you rise from bended knee
do you see
a stained glass window
see a new beginning
and an end?
through a prism
of colour
see a glow of wonder
'world without end’
‘As salamu alaykum’

- Pauline Edmonds 2019

Pauline lives in Torquay, Victoria where she has been attending creative writing classes for three years. Pauline has nine adult children, thirteen grand children and two grand dogs. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

New Poetry by Valli Poole

Summer Weekends

On the weekends my grandfather rose early,
dressing himself in his old weekend clothes.
Then with tapered-fingered hands and a
body aching with age he set about gardening.
I'd wake up to the sounds of wood being
chopped for the wood stove,
We always had a weekend roast no matter what the season but
as a concession granddad would make me a summer fruit salad
with peeled green grapes,
like I was Mae West.
All day I'd tag along behind him as he weeded and
lovingly dead-headed the roses. I distinctly recall that as the heat
beat down, him taking off his shirt revealing a lean
sun-striped upper body.
I can see him now leaning in on the garden hoe
deep in thought as he smoked a cigarette with quiet relish.
I never wanted to leave his side on those days,
our quiet chatty times together
away from my two mothers and the chronic
erupting anger of the house.

- Valli Poole 2019

Valli Poole is an Australian poet and publisher of a small press Blank Rune Press. She has been published in Australia and internationally

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

New Poetry by Mark J. Mitchell


He lost his religion
in the rain
on a Thursday.
The sun stayed out.
It fell off him
like snakeskin slipping
off a jacket. It curled
and blew across the square.

Not long after—
a desultory Tuesday, say—
after the rain
had absconded
with what was left
of his money, he died
in a very noisy
and very public
heartbreak accident.

- Mark J. Mitchell 2019

Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing .A Full length collection of poems will released next year by Encircle Publications.  He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks— Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  He lives with his wife the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.

Monday, April 08, 2019

New Poetry by Tug Dumbly

Bad Economics of a Haunting  

I lived a year away from home at a school
and have relived every day in that place,
every bastard, and every boy whose face 
I’ve torn through tracing paper and missed
ever since, like that girl once glimpsed
on the Jersey Ferry in Citizen Kane.
And I have relived every sadist’s forehand
smash of the cane through cotton jim-jams
to leave your arse a railway switch-yard
of black tracks, joining up with the tracks
of adjacent arses in the shower block,
which now, I’m ashamed to say, conjures

nothing so much as a death camp.
And still I hear the spider purr of that
woodwork master burring the name of his
favourite boy as he bends into him behind the
humming lathe; see still the kindly Reverend's
adam’s apple wobble under his dog collar

and his face sorrowing to a Pieta
as he says this is going to hurt him more,
before whipping me like crimson Christ  
after Wind in the Willows in his English class.
But my heart hurt more; this a betrayal
by one I’d loved best.

It wasn’t Dickens. Beyond the scatter  
of beatings and fist fights that year is mostly
minuteness and mundanity, the threaded beads
of small human exchange, of banter, joke,
jibe and mock; and kindness too, I’ll concede. 
I re-see every weather, every melting bar 

of Sunday heat, every icicle under a tap 
in a frost. Odd details, like the foul margarine 
that congealed on bread like a cracked sheet 
of frozen piss. All this I see again. Every which way 
I’ve relived the year in that place for more hours 
than ever I was there. And just why mystifies.

Like an amphetamine affair that implodes
in a week, then moves in to live a lifetime;
like those bad debt drug buddies and fucks
on the run, spectre flatmates and mulched friends 
greyly lurking round the landing, eternally 
crashed in the housing tower of your head.

Such uneconomical hauntings these
old familiars, such wearisome spirits,  
most dramatic duds, not horrorful, sorrowful 
or gleanable for meaning, but like a pub bore 
with nothing to say, saying it all again and again,
or a fat lollipop lady wearily rerouting 

your brain into the same backstreet maze,
or a Tom-Tom's termagant nag telling you
to take some deadend turnoff back there 
it wanted you to take … Something inside 
must like you forking through these scraps, toying with  
this food you can’t scrape from the plate.

- Tug Dumbly 2019

Tug Dumbly is one of Australia's foremost performance poets. His collection, Son Songs, was recently released through Flying Islands Press.

Friday, April 05, 2019

New Poetry by Robert Halleck


He never raised his hand,
sat in the back, stared at
the wall--silent.

Always the same clothes for gym
retrieved from the locker's bottom
still damp from the previous class.

Between periods he limped as if
he wore two right shoes.
No books, no talk.

He showed up for a reunion
with a car as big as a whale,
still silent, still limping.

Someone asked his wife--
a beauty with dark hair, fair skin
what did he do to make money?

Her eyes smiled before her lips.
He buys land where no one lives
until they need to.

- Robert Halleck 2019

Robert Halleck lives in Del Mar, California with his muse Della Janis. He has been writing poems since 1959. He is a member of San Diego's Not Dead Yet Poets and hopes to continue that membership for many years to come.

New Poetry by John Bartlett

Still Around

When we returned home
from your funeral
I found some ashes
stuck to the bottom of the container
inscribed ‘honouring a life’

Your Peter Sellers’ impressions
kept interrupting my thoughts
so I bought a
Eucalyptus Woodwardii
watering with your
washed out ashes-
dedicated to thoroughness
as always

It flowered last summer
after four years
brushes of scarlet
tickling blue sky days

You visit some nights
still insisting on wearing
those green shoes

- John Bartlett 2019

John Bartlett is the author of three novels, Towards a Distant Sea’, ‘’Estuary’ and ‘Jack Ferryman: Reluctant Private Investigator’, Áll Mortal Flesh’, a collection of short stories and ‘A Tiny & Brilliant Light’, his published non-fiction. His poetry has been published in a number of Australian and overseas journals and in June 2019 Melbourne Poets Union’s Union will publish his Chapbook The Arms of Men as part of  the Union Poet Series Chapbook.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

New Poetry by Alex Munster

The Massacre

Who am I, now they are like the others?
– this early century, late espoused murders
while music played, aircraft fell, when streets cried,
 and now in mosques among Christ’s churches.

Am I the pink-skinned, lazy invader
who bled-out white on the African sand?
Or, rejected from the holy deserts, 
I take a piece of a green gentle land?

Did we consume our credit, forfeit belief,
guilty or strong, innocent or weak?
Accept accepted thinking, and just allowed
lumpen resentment to be first to speak?

Too many already, they’ve made up their mind,
None of us better than this wounded time.

- Alex Munster 2019

Alex Munster is a retired journalist and current bookmaker who lives on Sydney's north shore.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

New Poetry by Jonathan Beale

The enigma 

Life’s helical enigma 
Inevitably - strange but true.
Too few get to really see
Only the 05.00am night owls
And the early rising Buddhists    
How ‘devil may care you may be’
Those times slip by…
Lost in traffic jams and trains delays
As the rate of change consumes 
Until time its self-changes 
Spiraling way 
As cigarette smoke to the ceiling
The enigma is never resolved 
There’s never It’s never enough time.
Never enough. 

- Jonathan Beale 2019

Jonathan Beale has work published in numerous journals,  a collection called The Destinations of Raxiera published by Hammer and Anvil recent work published in Danse Macabre, Mad Swirl, et al.  He lives in Surrey England.   

Friday, March 22, 2019

New Poetry by George Anderson

The Sport That Keeps On Giving

At the party
a footy star is filmed
at a urinal
by a mate
who posts
it online.

Another bloke 
elsewhere pretends
to root a dog
up the ass
before he pisses
on himself &
nearby furniture-
the footage
appears shortly
afterwards on 
A Current Affair. 

A footy legend turned coach
is heavily intoxicated
wearing only shorts
& bangs on a woman’s
hotel door at 3 AM
despite the club’s 
no alcohol policy. 

The disgraced CEO
cooks the books
& systematically cheats
on salary cap
third party payments.

He does what ever
it takes for the club
to keep “moving forward”.

- George Anderson 2019

George Anderson grew up in Montreal and migrated to Australia in his early 20s. He is long-term blogger at BOLD MONKEY. Recent or forthcoming chapbooks include Teaching My Computer Irony (Punk Chapbook Series Epic Rites Press), Shark in the Shallows (Analogue Submission Press) and Fuckwits & Angels (Holy & Intoxicated Publications)

Monday, March 18, 2019

New Poetry by James Walton

The Strzelecki Mountain Killings (I,II,III)


I brought down the iron bark by the garage
to give the solar panels more say
in using the day from the north east.
The mahogany wood is hard to split,
the dense grain knowing more than sin;
axe and wedge recoil 
until I find a way to work around the edge
down to the heart.
Younger branches dribble sap in thick remonstrance on my shirt -
on the sawn rounds my thumb traverses a thick history
of circles closer than early marriage,
holding more than a national library in an inch.
I strike down and shatter the lines
that were there when Charlemagne was emperor,
growing when Istanbul was just rumour to Constantinople.  


Elizabeth Watkins Creek speaks in flowing,
most often, a rustle in the back ground
like the child up first for the Christmas presents,
or a whispery kiss on your ear.
Sometimes, a lunging push that wakes in flood
when the careless water sprite surge might just
grab dangling ankles off the stringy bark bridge
past the driver’s ford;
rolling over winded flat out on your back the last thing seen
a stencil of doily tree ferns stitched on to looming white gums.
Black wallabies sip at the giggle of her ribs,
waving off the early traffic
where the sandy gravel rides the perimeter circus curves.
She springs too early, washing down McDonalds Track;
the mountain quakes its fist for her again
pleading release from the undercurrent leash
slapping the bitumen harness away.


Through the cross roads
where the big cat is claimed to wander,
past the gorging potato factory tractors
an iron tower marks the place,
where the tallest tree in the world stood.
Two brothers cut it down to measure -
the distance now in segments of fence post spacings,
a splash of orange on one to show
where the crown would have been
ten quarter acres up the road
from the rusting monument base.
Out of the aching mist on windy nights
you can hear the ruffeting of missing limbs,
waving across the valley to the Baw Baws
where a higher regnans in sanctuary,
clothed in a garland canopy
resists the tailor’s tape, 
knows better than to signal back.

- James Walton 2019

James Walton lives in South Gippsland. He was a librarian, a farm labourer, a cattle breeder, and mostly a public sector union official. He is published in many newspapers, journals, and anthologies, and has been shortlisted for the ACU Prize, the MPU International Prize, the James Tate Prize, and Jupiter Artland. His books include The Leviathan's Apprentice  2015, Walking Through Fences 2018, and Unstill Mosaics (forthcoming).