Friday, June 02, 2023

New Poetry by Dominik Slusarczyk

The War 

Maybe we 
Can win the war: 
We have piles 
Of glorious guns and 
Hundreds of 
Soldiers to 
Shoot them. 
They will happily 
Fight for us, 
Because of us, 
In spite of us. 
People join the  
Army every day; 
I think it is 
Because life is 
A jar of sadness.

- © Dominik Slusarczyk 2023

Dominik Slusarczyk is an artist who makes everything from music to painting. He was educated at The University of Nottingham where he got a degree in biochemistry. His poetry has been published in various literary magazines including ‘Fresh Words’, ‘Berlin Lit’, and ‘Home Planet News’.  


Thursday, June 01, 2023

New Poetry by Kira Velella

Both Praying

He brings carnations
to the feet of the Mother,
red and two days old
from the corner store.
Lays them delicately
before her stony eyes,
over the fangs of the struggling snake.

I am gathering petals here,
falling pink snow
in my hair as I navigate the boughs.
In the crook of each branch,
armfuls of blossoms.
Does anyone know they’ve collected these?
The trees’ own sacred offerings,
the laying down of flowers
in the arms of the Mother.

We’re both of us praying.
There’s one of us kneeling.

- © Kira Velella 2023

Kira Velella is a singer-songwriter who has written and released numerous musical works since she was 17. She has had several poems published in 2023, including Dog Circling featured in the Eunoia Review and The Desert Rings featured in the Nassau County Voices in Verse. Kira has been writing poetry nearly as long as she’s been writing songs, and passionately pursues both. 

New Poetry by Stephen Mead

Fair Game

Last spring they dug up the bittersweet,
wild ivy and grape vines.
Of course I didn't actually own them.
It was just an adventure to duck under
such a menagerie overgrown.
How those plants made the picket fence sag,
their weight seeking a trellis from splintery slats.
How they blocked out, kudzu-tenacious,
the new shopping mall and housing complex next door.

Those orange & ochre balls, those tendrils
resiliently tough, exactly matched my spirit,
resistant & fierce, a quiet heady savage.

Come, travel wanderlust, this cove
of looping stems, this crazy valley maze.

Some thought it an eyesore.
I found it more methodical.
To meander is an ancient tendency.
An odd goose among school kids, there I was happiest.
The cats, those observers, taught independence, & squirrels
ran the network of tangled abandoned telephone spools.

When the bittersweet was yanked clear, the grape vines clipped,
for a minute I felt the earth had been skinned
as the malls spread their asphalt.

That evening you brought me a handful of dandelions,
buttery stuff in a little jelly jar.
How our flesh reflected their Oleo & how life
was rearranged.

Tonight on the fire escape transplanted vines wind,
mixed with morning glories in windowsill planters.
This is risk reconciled, this a fool's daring smashing bricks.
We warm our hands 'round chipped coffee mugs,
take some bittersweet, weave a jungle in each other's hair.

The din of shoppers is muffled, the light, mild, the air, tropic.
There doesn't have to be another world, simply our gestures
& what stubborn roots trust fortifies.

- © Stephen Mead 2023

Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer.  Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online.  Recently his work has appeared in CROW NAME, WORDPEACE and DuckuckMongoose. Currently he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall, The Chroma Museum - The Chroma Museum (

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

New Poetry by Taya Boyles

The Souls We Stand On

If I had enough chalk. I’d give my mom
wings but I was unsure if I could hold her hand
and draw without breaking the line.

There was nowhere to go but whoever would hold me.
I may have found flesh covering wires,
as long as I was imprinted.

I’ve always been a sucker for shrines.

You’d have to build 60 million rituals
and dig trillions of holes to bury the souls we stand on.

Still, I would not last under the weight of one.

I held a buttercup to my chin
and it was translucent, but not promising.
I left to find some daffodil seeds to replant
because weeds could grow anywhere.

- © Taya Boyles 2023

Taya Boyles is a writer in Richmond, Virginia. She is currently a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Taya's writing journey started at just eight years old and has come far from misspelling glue. Her poetry and flash fiction have appeared in literary magazines such as Split Lip Magazine, Vermillion, Pwatem, The Rye Whiskey Review, Hot Pot Magazine, Radical Zine, and more.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

New Poetry by CLS Sandoval

Burning Down*

Close up on withering sunflower 
Pull out to reveal a head stone 
Her black eyeliner as clean and dark as twenty years ago 
And her blond hair as perfectly pressed 
Her voice as pretty and pure as when she was a teen  
Skateboarding in a tank top, suspenders, and a tie 
She sings back-to-back with him 
He’s covered in tattoos with green hair 
Banging on his drums 
I still burn for you 
Her body stronger now after years  
Of battling Lyme 
Her music and faith saved her 
Then she found this man 
He was to be her third husband 
But like their shared anthem 
They couldn’t last 
They went  
Up in flames, up in flames

- © CLS Sandoval 2023

CLS Sandoval, PhD (she/her) is a pushcart nominated writer and communication professor with accolades in film, academia, and creative writing who speaks, signs, acts, publishes, sings, performs, writes, paints, teaches and rarely relaxes.  She has presented over 50 times at communication conferences, published 15 academic articles, two academic books, three full-length literary collections, three chapbooks, and several flash and poetry pieces in several literary journals.  She is raising her daughter and dog with her husband in Alhambra, CA.  


* Inspired by Flames by Mod Sun featuring Avril Lavigne 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

New Poetry by Jim Conwell


How many went missing? Most. 
One way or another. We have talked 
of that time but who wants to try and 
imagine the reality? It lives as 
an absence; not spoken of, not even 
known of. An unfillable hole.

There were many holes then
and they were filled, 
with the multiplying dead. 

Mass graves, everyone slung in together. 
Let God sort it out. He chose 
to do nothing about what was killing them, 
so it’s His problem. 

The thought no one dared to entertain, 
so I will entertain it for them.
Outside, it is raining. A bit.

- © Jim Conwell 2023

Jim Conwell’s background is London Irish and the themes of exile and dislocation are strong in his work. He is published widely in magazines and in three anthologies. He has had two poems shortlisted in the Bridport Poetry Prize and was recently longlisted for the Brian Dempsey Memorial Pamphlet Competition. 


Tuesday, May 09, 2023

New Poetry by Leah Mueller

Scam Avenue
Imagine going for a walk and
encountering all the scammers
who send you bogus email
every day. Instead of reading about
your miraculous ten million dollar
inheritance, or a formula
that will stop hair loss dead
in its tracks, you see a person
approaching from the opposite
end of the sidewalk. He catches up
with you, flashes an oily
salesman’s smile, and says,
“Antivirus software has expired!
Your computer is already at risk.”
You dodge him easily, like he was
a rubber ball that someone threw at you,
but over the horizon, you spot
another man, heading straight
in your direction. He raises a hand
to get your attention and yells,
“Were you injured by contamination
at Camp LeJeune? I offer free
consultations. Call me now!”
You dash across the street and hide
behind a building, but there is no escape.
A cluster of people lies in wait, smirking.
They always knew you’d show up.
One of them wants to enlarge your penis,
even though you don’t have one.
Another is convinced that you need
a timeshare vacation in the Yucatan.
They charge towards you, relentless,
until you pry their hands off your body
and run away, without looking back.
You wish the scammers weren’t real;
then you could just shut off your computer
and go outdoors to escape. Perhaps
it’s a good thing you stay home after all.

- © Leah Mueller 2023

Leah Mueller is the author of ten prose and poetry books. Her work appears in Rattle, NonBinary Review, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, New Flash Fiction Review, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, etc. She is a 2023 nominee for both Pushcart and Best of the Net. Leah's flash piece, "Land of Eternal Thirst" appears in the 2022 edition of Best Small Fictions. Her contest-winning poetry chapbook, "The Failure of Photography" will be published by Garden Party Press in Summer, 2023. Website:

New Poetry by Robert Estes

Death Call

I missed it
but my officemate
said that was what
the caller had said
to give the call a name
Not many people whose
death would prompt
a call to me at work
Braced myself
No name attached 
to caller or deceased
Did I call a number
or did my uncle call back?
It was my father’s brother
It was my father’s death
Given the alternatives
that had to be a relief
In a fire it happened
He said it was smoke
He’d seen the body
Not burned
But it was a closed casket
so maybe he meant
not terribly charred
less implied suffering 
Town’s newspaper 
pointed to a cigarette
as the cause

He lived alone;
and I was glad
I’d seen him only 
a month or two before
for the first time in three years
at his father’s funeral
where a cousin of mine
whom I hadn’t seen 
in a much longer time
remarked my dad was
getting through it well.
I knew she meant that he was
sober beyond her expectation,
perhaps some fears,
intended really it to be a 
compliment, and I appreciated that,
though not without a little shame
for both myself and him.                                      
I learned from her
that one of our first cousins
was in prison:
drug-dealing, what else?                                                           
I’d lost touch with that side

Her sister, no longer a nun—
or was she still?                                        
clothes are inconclusive—
sang at that funeral
sang with another                                      
woman who played guitar 
(I wondered)
Now I’m thinking
“Sister” was applied to both

After my father’s funeral
my uncle Kenny
the one who’d given me the news         
talked business on the phone                
(“buried my brother” mixed in),
later drove off 
so drunk I wondered 
if we shouldn’t call the cops

- © Robert Estes 2023

Robert Estes, who lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, got his PhD in Physics at the University of California at Berkeley and had some interesting times using physics, notably for a couple of Space Shuttle missions. His poems have been published by Cola Literary Review, The Moth, Gargoyle, Slant, Tipton Poetry Journal, Blue Unicorn, Masque & Spectacle, Constellations, Loch Raven Review, and Alba, plus that many others.

Monday, May 08, 2023

New Poetry by Carla Schwartz

Praise the Insects

Let me praise the dark red bird, nameless, obsessed
praise the twilight and the off-hand evening
light borrowed and tired
praise the thick young layer of cloud
subway cars full of spring leaves
praise the green flashes painted
on horizons, the cagey rat
slinking past the fence
out the corner of my eye
praise the drunken sleep
that overtakes me
praise the errant thoughts
that ride up the dumbwaiter
lit by a rampant sizzling fuse
as my anvil lids, heavy with sleep
loaded with stones
slur my pen
as    I     nod
slip into a sly oblivion
and back
to praise this evening’s naked
insects—feet of the gods
insects whose puffy nibbles
pique and itch—
insects—food of the birds.

- © Carla Schwartz 2023

Filmmaker and photographer Carla Schwartz’s poems have been widely published, including in The Practicing Poet (Diane Lockward, Ed) and in her collections “Signs of Marriage'' and “Intimacy with the Wind.” Recent publications and acceptances include The Ear, Channel, California Quarterly, Cutthroat, The Poet’s Touchstone, Ibbetson Street, Inquisitive Eater, Paterson Literary Review, Triggerfish Critical Review, The MacGuffin, and Leon. Carla Schwartz is a 2023 recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant.

New Poetry by Laurie Kuntz


Wishes for English 101 Students

- After Lucille Clifton's poem, "Wishes For Sons"                                                                       

I wish them blank stares, thirty-five at a time,
I wish them the shuffle of bored feet,
fragments, run-ons, and the inconsistencies
of verbs looking for agreement.

I wish them doodles and dropped eyelids,
then the dream of standing naked
in a filled to capacity auditorium,
their lecture notes containing the wisdom of a fig leaf.

I wish them red-ink stains on fingertips,
folders of ungraded papers on Friday night,
later, lost folders of graded papers on Monday morning.

And when they deem themselves ready to graduate,
I wish them the course that they forgot to take.

- © Laurie Kuntz 2023

Laurie Kuntz  has published two poetry collections (The Moon Over My Mother’s House, Finishing Line Press and Somewhere in the Telling, Mellen Press), and three chapbooks (Talking Me Off The Roof, Kelsay Books, Simple Gestures, Texas Review Press and Women at the Onsen, Blue Light Press).   She has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and one Best of the Net. Her chapbooks, Simple Gestures, won the Texas Review Poetry Chapbook Contest, and Women at the Onsen won the Blue Light Press Chapbook Contest. Currently residing in Florida, everyday offers an opportunity for a much needed political poem. Otherwise,  happily retired, she lives in an endless summer state of mind. Visit her at:

Thursday, May 04, 2023

New Poetry by Jason Melvin


for my fortieth birthday
Mom made me a photo book
me and Dad mostly
or was the intent
so few shots to choose from
certainly not enough to fill a book

toddler-me asleep on his lap
him with his 70’s haircut
white t-shirt, jeans, short beard
the healthy image of him
strong, the way I remember him

a few from that last Florida vacation
10-year-old me
towhead bowl cut, Mickey Mouse T-shirt

the one where he’s 37
looks 57
him and his two boys
capture it while you can
at the start of his treatments

None of him at my wedding
dancing with my wife 
none of him with my children
them on his knee
pulling at his beard

all we have is glossy paper
and so little of that
I’d love to hear his voice
but no one ever captured it

- © Jason Melvin 2023

Jason Melvin is a father, husband, grandfather, and metals processing center supervisor, who lives just north of Pittsburgh. He is a later-in-life storyteller, having first published in 2020. His work has recently appeared in Roi Faineant, Zero Readers, Jake, Olney, Punk Noir and others. His poems were nominated for Pushcarts by Bullshit Lit and Outcast. His first chapbook, Wrong Things, is available courtesy of Bullshit Lit. He can be found on Twitter @Jason5Melvin, Instagram @JasonMelvin5 and on his website at





Tuesday, May 02, 2023

New Poetry by John Bartlett

some boys
- after reading The Boys are turning into Men by Omar Musa

the boys are Sundaying and
RDO-ing with tinnies and stubbies
testing the air with their braggery
not to mention some wankery
voices akimbo with oathery
Davo and Johnno and Stevo
just don’t give a buggery
admiring each other’s tattoo-ery
later they’ll be footying and some  high fivery
even a bit of shitfuckery
along with  noworries-tooeasy

other boys are listening to the wind’s words
they’re leaning into starlight and discovering tears
some boys are learning pity          some
boys are turning into men

- © John Bartlett 2023

John Bartlett was the winner of the 2020 Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize and Highly Commended in the 2021 Mundaring Poetry Competition.  In 2023 Ginninderra Press will release his second full collection Excitations of Entanglement.

New Poetry by Erina Booker

Speaking the Unspeakable

two little boys
took a ride
on the sensor-triggered
car park security gate

it went up & up & up
as programmed
holding & squashing
the boys like fruit

the one still alive
managed to beg
“help me God
help me God”

the trust, the belief
he uttered was dismal
beyond measure,
& then repeated by his father

“the Lord gives
and the Lord takes away”
profound & simple
at the same time

shocked by this level
of belief
but also hearing the maxim
that raised
this earthly tragedy to
the heavens…
& gave them the power
to endure

- © Erina Booker 2023

Erina Booker is a Sydney/Tweed Heads based poet, whose life revolves around Poetry. She has published 11 collections, recites at public functions, belongs to poetry & writing groups, presents seminars, judges competitions, & also publishes in anthologies, & online. She has a major is Literature & Composition within her BA, & post-graduate studies in Counselling taught her more about the value of the pause. Her work may be found in Amazon, Lulu Press, & InHouse Publishing. 

Monday, May 01, 2023

New Poetry by Lynn White

Only Joking

"It was just a joke”
you said
the night you came back,
a typical wind-up
that we should have known better
to believe.
Of course you weren’t dead!
It would take more than a few cigarettes
to extinguish your flame!
“Look”, you said,
“I’ll give you a hug”.
And you did,
a good solid one,
not spiritual
not virtual
but real.
So we all had a laugh
and a pint
and then you left

- © Lynn White 2023

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Find Lynn at: and

New Poetry by Paul Hostovsky


After that he lost his sense of humor.
It wasn't that nothing was funny.
It was just that that wasn't funny.
It was just that. That and a world that
could allow that to happen. Nothing
funny in the world after that. Before that
everything funny in the world was only funny
because that hadn't happened yet. And yet
it had happened. And it had been happening
in the world ever since the world 
had begun. How to reconcile that
was the question. How in the world to 
laugh with that in the world? That was
the riddle, the conundrum whose answer
was once a clever pun but now was just
this bruised silence, this dumb twitching,
this tongue cut right out.

- © Paul Hostovsky 2023

Paul Hostovsky's poems have won a Pushcart Prize and two Best of the Net Awards. He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter. Website: