Monday, May 21, 2018

New Poetry by Rob Walker










not hearing myself on the radio

Ockham’s Razor, ABC, May 10, 2015

after a restless night i halfwake 
hear a man’s voice 

another second or two 
recognize words i once wrote 

realize with the concluding sentence 
the voice is mine

delivering the talk i’d recorded 
a year ago 

and now 
just missed…


- Rob Walker 2018


Rob Walker is a South Australian writer of poetry, memoir and short fiction. He is currently putting the final touches to a mixed-genre collection dedicated to misfits entitled Square Pegs.





Friday, May 18, 2018

New Poetry by Linda Stevenson










Biographical Hands

I visited the great tombs of Switzerland.
No, it was Egypt.
No, it was Rome.
They swirl the same, embarrassing
my intelligence,
memory.
They were catacombs, pale pyramids
of controversial stone;
the Alps.

The snow was pernicious, or was it sand?
obstructionist;
it took no sides, melted to grime,
or ground away to glass.

I am fastidious, I wash my hands
on Easter, and every other death day,
rinsing perpetually. They say Auden
seldom washed, so I’ll not
favour that path...maybe the worst
of Englishness;
I’m happy to dabble with clean, clear
poets I know, in spite of old talent,
despite
lean, old-world archaeologies.

This is the wrong key, it sticks
and doesn’t turn. Damn, I can’t keep
repeating this dream/non-action,
dying disproportionately; my given hours
run out, basalt
blocks my way. Where are the literal keys,
lifting heavy in my hands, yet
smooth and crafted well
for opening?

They have made CERN, the abyss,
constructed it from what they know,
and the rest. That
is my Switzerland...

and my outrageously cool, paralysed boy
looks at me and says
It’s only a body anyway, isn’t it, Mum?
pointedly challenging
all
my powdering snow,
and icicles;
free-heeling it down,
roughcast, offering
a demo of slalom for sarcophaga,

unshod, sounder of mind
than any genius,
conflating history
with pure will, waving,
with no hands,
to travellers.


- Linda Stevenson 2018


A founding member of Melbourne Poets Union, facilitator of poetry groups in gaols and community centres, contributor to anthologies, recently published in various literary magazines. Chapbook "The Tipping Point" published in 2015, active as a poet within the online poetry sector.





Sunday, May 13, 2018

New Poetry by Lesley Synge










Captain Garibaldi of the Trader Carmen in 1852

‘Yes men. Here on the Pacific we are becalmed. But our luck
will change, our sails will fill. Sailors – pluck!
we are no hermaphrodites, we’re men
and we’ll see a port and women again.
We’ll soon be drinking in a Chilean bar
while the hold is emptied of silk and items chinois
and then we’ll sail on with copper for Lima. 
A man must have faith, be a dreamer!’

On the infinite ocean there’s scope to curse – 
or wank, or pray. Me? I’d rather write verse.
I’ve a new subject – the stone cottage we saw
that day in Bass Strait when we put ashore.
I remember the notice on the door: Leaving
this island. Such loneliness – nevermore.
For me though, solitude is what a zealot needs between fights.
But somewhere warm. Mar Tirreno by Christ?
Off Sardinia perhaps? Goats instead of police spies?
Unpopulated; not even a church and a priest with his lies.
I swear by the Laterna of Genoa, my beacon
that my religion is humanity! And freedom!
Popes, dukes, kings, republicans – hear me bellow –
call your exile home, I spit on embroglio.

‘Alora lads, don’t despair. Our water’s gone but don’t get shirty.
Rain will fall. We won’t perish. I’m too young – barely thirty.
Rally lads. Viva Italia Una!
Instead of ship rats, we’ll soon eat tuna.’

(Note: Garibaldi called into Three Hummock Island off northwest Tasmania in 1852.)

- Lesley Synge 2018


Lesley Synge is an Australian writer. Her poetry collections are Organic Sister and Mountains Belong to the People Who Love Them. The film, Slow Days on Old Pathways is on YouTube and novel, Cry Ma Ma to the Moon (about poets in a love triangle), is on Amazon Kindle. 





Thursday, May 10, 2018

New Poetry by Abigail George










Your grandfather and winter trees in London

(For the Dutch poet Joop Bersee)

    My dearest boy. My sweet child. There’s a
    Long road to spirituality. A quartet, a feast.

A moveable feast, an ex-President Thabo Mbeki, John Nash,
Jerome David Salinger. You’re fed stories
About ghosts and zombie princesses by me.
Nothing but rusk and rooibos tea with milk.
Angel face I don’t want you to end up a broken
Man. I want you to hold a map in your hands
For all your life. Black is the water. Black is
Winter. The suffering. Poverty. I think of the
Depths of the ocean with fifty different kinds
Of vision. You’re the sea. You’re the sea. To me
Though you’re dry grass. You’re dry grass.
It’s lovely to dream. To know that you’re mine.
Part of me. Even my anguish and loneliness.
Even my powers of what I find relevant, and yes,
Even my pain. I am all-powerful. As powerful
As any single and intelligent woman nearing
Her forties can be. It’s a gift. It’s a gift. Born
Knowing. Acknowledging freedom. The heat
Of regret can damage. You looked at me through
Another man’s eyes and said what a waste of
A human life if you do not live, laugh, love,
Socialize, but I could not, will not yield to that.
It will destroy me if I did any of that but you
Don’t understand. I do know joy but only in writing
About life and the last person I have ever truly

Loved. I think of Grahamstown, Swaziland,
Montagu and Sedgefield and what the future holds
For me. Weeping passes through me. Sobs. It’s
Not as if I show regret on my face the morning
After anymore. I still know your name. That you’re
Great at what you do. All I want to do is catch
Up to the winter sun. All I want is to know you again.
But you’re not my man. You’re not my boy. You’re
Not mine but now I must speak in a language
Every mother understands. You’re Truman Capote’s
Music. You’re climate and mockingbird. You’re
Humming my kind of blues. Yes, I’ll remember
You in the same way I’ve loved every man who has
Entered my life. Take a bow. I think of the light
That swimmers’ must have in their eyes at the local
Swimming pool and I begin to write poetry.
Words come. They come and I write. Words come and
I write. I think of when I started to write this
Book. It would be so wrong to write only about
Love, or only about despair, and then I think
Back to what inspired me in the first place.
The tiny well that we dug up in the grass at the
Back of the house where I buried the limp body
Of your kitten and how it was mostly your grandfather
Who wanted to keep it a secret from you.


- Abigail George 2018



Abigail George is a South African blogger, essayist, poet, short story writer and has just completed her first novel. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. Her writing has appeared in many anthologies, and she was educated in Port Elizabeth, Swaziland, and Johannesburg.



Friday, May 04, 2018

New Poetry by Peter Venables










Cruzen Rum Shack 

Sunday. Well before Happy Hour.
Palm trees sway like masts where
a blackbird rides against cloudy crests.
A windswept man strums his acoustic,
rasps It’s better than drinking alone

Pop tops percuss across the pool,
wafting memories of the Wit’s End
eons ago, when smoke blunted floodlights. 

They bask, oil simmering on bronze skin. 
1 = 10 . . . behind shades my eyes 
sculpt her supple shape. 

A few distant embers glow, fade.
Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight

Last chorus.


- Peter Venables 2018


Peter Venable has written poems for over 50 years and attends Winston Salem Writers’ poetry critique group.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

New Poetry by Robert Verdon










hummingbird

glib 
sun
hummingbird,
if you vanish into a vortex 
wherein the dibbler dines 
on petals of dissolved earth,
grounded beneath childhood pines
and a navy blue neckerchief of sky …

o nimble membrane,
will not the waiter leave you jostling
with grains of sugar on an 
inland sea of chilly plastic,
sticky on the damp octagonal table,
till he has his own restaurant?


- Robert Verdon 2018


Robert Verdon came 2nd in the 2012 W.B. Yeats Poetry Prize for Australia. His books include The Well-Scrubbed Desert (1994), Her Brilliant Career (1998), & Before we Knew this Century (2010).

He is currently finishing off a PhD at the University of Canberra.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New Poetry by JD DeHart










Encroachment

On the window to the left,
the neighbor closing in.  Large
vans, gas grills, overtaking
with suburban life.

To the right, it was a vacant
lot, now overrun with chickens,
rabbits, a teeming zoo of human
and animal life.

Then there are the fast-moving cars,
children dressed as superheroes,
frequent deliveries, all of which
brings to mind:

What used to be life in the country.
The slow rumble of gravel once
or twice a day signaled a passerby.
Enough silence to dwell on.


- JD DeHart 2018


JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. He blogs about books and authors at readingandlitresources.blogspot.com.

Monday, April 23, 2018

New Poetry by James Walton










At the meter board

The power is off moon less night
stars broadcast, a lingua franca 
in orbit of this fatal space.
Yet when dawn puts a finger
to my nose and the river speaks again,
everything is new innocent as genesis
without a shadow not as before.
Birds flutter through a reveille
small talk of waking things,
my life out on the perimeter.
The old world’s a safety vest
too pithy, how the same instruments
cleaned and dressed made ornament.
A jangle of keys to witness origin
replacing fuses, where light has no mercy
only a well honed opinion.


- James Walton 2018


James Walton was a librarian, a farm labourer, a cattle breeder, and mostly a public sector union official. He has been published in many anthologies. journals. and newspapers.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

CALLING ALL POETS

Now that yours truly has pretty much signed off on the latest collection, I have entered that strange twilight period familiar to all writers and artists between the decision to call time on a project and that project finally seeing the light of day. As Leonardo Da Vinci once said: "Art is never finished, only abandoned." 

Anyway, while I look around for ways to fill this void, I am once again



CALLING ALL POETS!

Regular followers of Bluepepper should know the spiel by now, but if you are new to the pepper, just follow the submission guidelines near the top of the task bar to your right.


Friday, April 13, 2018

New Poetry by Mohammad Ali Maleki










We Sing the Song of Terror

Hey, Freedom Law.
Don't talk about the springtime. 
We are in prison right now! 
Come and break our locks. 
Set us free from this prison —
We face no justice from you. 

Hey, Freedom Law.
How can you claim justice exists? 
No one here shows us mercy.
Come visit us in these conditions —
Like poisonous serpents
we sting ourselves all the time. 

Hey, Freedom Law.
In this murderous world
only cruel people govern. 
They trundle us through our own blood —
We are victims of their thoughts
and that makes racists happy.

Hey, Freedom Law.
Don’t break our locks after all! 
There is no one to put us right —
We sing the song of terror;
we no longer want to be freed. 
We are not afraid of these prison bars anymore. 

Hey, Freedom Law.
I no longer sorrow for freedom. 
I’m used to this dry and infertile land.
My days and nights, friend, 
have become a frightening nightmare. 
Look how these bad dreams are now a habit for me. 

Hey, Freedom Law. 
These prison bars
are a cancerous tumour; 
they stick to my body like meat on a bone. 
I know I will die here soon. 

Hey, Freedom Law.
If we meet someday
I’ll tie you onto the back of a wolf
and send you to the wolves’ city. 
Then there’ll be no sign of you on the ground
and the flowers won’t wither in your shade. 

Hey, Freedom Law.
I’m not afraid of death. 
But I'm afraid of freedom:
I'm scared of this two footed beast. 
Because I can't live 
outside these bars
anymore. 


- Mohammad Ali Maleki 2018

(Translated by Mansour Shoshtari. Edited by Rose Turtle Ertler & Michele Seminara)



Mohammad Ali Maleki is currently detained on Manus Island. He spends a lot of his time thinking about and writing poetry — a new craft he has been working on for the last two years. All his poetry is written in Farsi and translated into English by his dear friend Mansour Shoshtari, also detained on Manus Island. Mohammad has been writing to Australian musician/artist Rose Turtle Ertler for the last two years. Rose and Mohammad collaborated on a tiny zine called The Pond last year and Mohammad has just released The Strong Sunflower, an illustrated poem which Rose and Janet Galbraith produced and published through Writing Through Fences. Mohammad also has a chapbook of poetry, Truth in the Cage, forthcoming from Rochford Street Press.