Friday, October 26, 2012

New Poetry by Robert Demaree


An old apartment,
In someone or other’s mews:
Years of cooked vegetables
Linger in darkened grout.
Screwing a curtain rod
Into soft wood:
Too many people
Have already lived here

- Robert Demaree 2012


A funeral today at Golden Pines,
The chapel full,
Amber afternoon light across
Crimson-cushioned pews.
The elderly receive familiar texts,
Celebrate a life, mourn a loss.
We knew almost everyone there,
Which was part of why I wept.

A year later, at 92, he wed again,
Perhaps as she had planned,
His bride a widower’s widow:
To affirm a way of living,
To affirm the act of living.

- Robert Demaree 2012


Morning walk at Golden Pines:
Late February sky deep blue
Through trees for now still leafless
But about to change their minds.
A moving van packs up the contents of a cottage,
Fewer since her husband died,
And takes them to Assisted Living,
As if there were some other kind.
Across the pond, the hink and honk of geese,
Heading north, programmed to care for their own.
An ambulance pulls slowly away
From the Health Care Building,
Siren, blue lights turned off.

- Robert Demaree 2012

“Carriers” first appeared in Tipton Poetry Journal Winter 2009.

Robert Demaree is the author of four collections of poems, including Fathers and Teachers (2007) and Mileposts (2009), both published by Beech River Books. The winner of the 2007 Conway, N.H., Library Poetry Award, he is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire in the eastern U.S. He has had over 600 poems published or accepted by 125 periodicals in the U.S., Australia, Canada and the U.K., including Cold Mountain Review, Red Wheelbarrow, miller’s pond, Bolts of Silk, Louisville Review and Paris/Atlantic, and in four anthologies including the 2008 and 2010 editions of Poet’s Guide to New Hampshire and Celebrating Poets over 70.. For further information see

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Poetry by William G. Davies

The Farmhouse

The wheelchair leaned
Into the finials
Of the porch,
Apparently left behind
Like the vacancy
In the windows
After everything
Was packed
And loaded into
A U-Haul truck.
So someone made
The decision it
Was no longer needed
Because like a child
Mistakenly left behind
No one intentionally
Forgets A wheelchair.

- William G. Davies 2012

Out To Pasture

The grasses around the barn
Are red, pearlescent pink
As if in homage
To the dilapidated workhouse
Like the costume jewelry
On a grandmother.

- William G. Davies 2012

William G. Davies Jnr. has had work published by The Wilderness House Review, Gloom Cupboard, Jellyfish Whispers, The Blue Lyra Review and others. He has been married to his wife, Theresa, for 38 years and lives in rural Pennsylvania where they make their own wine, "Rooted Womb." They have three grown children and four grandchildren who live in Florida. This is William's second appearance at Bluepepper.

Theory of Everything

Hello Good People

Us folks at TOE Magazine are excited to announce a little thing we're calling the Fifty-Two Sundays Project.

The idea is this: A poet is selected to write a poem a week, for every week in 2013, in return for AUD$10 per poem, and the publication of a chapbook of all 52 poems at the year's end.

Send us your entries! Spread the word!

Warmest regards,

Friday, October 19, 2012

New Poetry by Nathanael O'Reilly

Six Poets

Six poets drinking wine
in Jimmy Watson’s
discuss poetics
submission strategies
other poets’ latest books
the likelihood of acceptance
by Publisher X
the ideal amount of time
between composition
and submission
whether one can publish
too much too soon or too often
(one labels it “the Kinsella effect”)
stimuli and imagination
revision and editing techniques
the need for varied experience
John Leonard’s unerring eye
and who will be read
fifty years from now

- Nathanael O'Reilly 2012

Nathanael O’Reilly was born in Warrnambool and raised in Ballarat, Brisbane and Shepparton. He now resides in Texas. He is the author of two chapbooks, Suburban Exile: American Poems (2011) and Symptoms of Homesickness (2010), both published by Picaro Press, and a recipient of an Emerging Writers Grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. His poetry has been published in journals around the world, including Antipodes, Cordite Poetry Review, LiNQ, Blackmail Press, Harvest, Transnational Literature, Mascara Literary Review, Windmills, Postcolonial Text, Prosopisia, Page Seventeen, Red River Review, Correspondances Oceaniennes and Social Alternatives.

New Poetry by Betty Johnston


Mayhem in Hanoi’s old streets
in Vientiane
a confusion of voices
next door.

Wall hangings in the market
all look the same
as do the infinity of Buddhas
in the mountain cave.

There must be a way
to cross streets in Hanoi
the man with baskets on a pole
threads calmly past families on motor bikes.

At the markets they tell me, I see that
these hangings are fine silk, these
less so, these
cotton embroidered with silk.

Some Buddhas it seems bring rain.

Next door in Vientiane people
and through my bedroom window in the heat of the evening
I hear, I
sa bai dee, hello.

- Betty Johnston 2012

Betty Johnston is a former mathematics educator, who lives in Sydney and writes poetry and short stories. She has several stories published, one in Room to Move, an Australian anthology of women’s short stories, and poems published in a number of collections – Illumina 2007, Minute to Midnight - and online.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Poetry by Claire Roberts

Elevators rise like bubbles in a wine glass
and the blue-grey linoleum floors
shine like water.

He’s attached to a drip
that bubbles with dull music;
I kiss his shaking hand and his smile
appears and flees like a mirror-light. 

- Claire Roberts 2012


The fluorescent lights turn on
and blink like someone waking

I take my backpack and pass
through the automatic doors
into the shivering night

and intersecting stairs
that descend to the lawns
where I see raindrops

cling to shrubs and glitter
like ornaments on a chandelier.

- Claire Roberts 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Poetry by Stuart Barnes

Bear Hill

Evening, he’s alone atop Bear Hill,
no longer ‘Bear’: no barbered beard, no buzzcut.
Moonlit bats renew him with a squeal.

Three years back he flushed his crystal
meth, his skunky crack pipe down the dunny.
Evening, he’s alone atop Bear Hill,

supine, arms a crosspiece, eyes ascensional.
Tawny Frogmouths mimeo his wonder.
Moonlit bats renew him with a squeal.

I tried to make myself so ill, so ill,
horny as a cane toad for nine months.
Evening, he’s alone atop Bear Hill

where the darkened musky grasses fill
his lungs with larks that can’t be shushed.
Moonlit bats renew him with a squeal.

Far too many weeks of vinous meals,
that Godlike quack—I should be cuckoo, nuts.
Evening, he’s alone atop Bear Hill.
Moonlit bats renew him with a squeal.

- Stuart Barnes 2012

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The last refuge (e)

Last week I signed the on-line petition calling on Alan Jones' advertisers to account for their continued support of one of the most bellicose and least-informed public figures in this country. And while not completely regretting my decision to do so, I see now that the 100,000-odd of us who signed the petition have been complicit in one of the classic fall-back positions of the venal.

For those not fortunate enough to count themselves amongst this island's sun-kissed 23 million, Alan Jones is an ex-Rugby coach, failed Liberal (conservative) candidate for a safe northern Sydney seat and now dominant (or domineering?) mouthpiece for Sydney talk-back AM station, 2GB. The call sign owes its provenance to the great Renaissance martyr to freedom of thought, Giodarno Bruno, and Alan Jones wears it like a flag, although I would argue that his particular preoccupation lies more in freedom of speech than freedom of thought, an important distinction too often glossed over in the interminable debate about the effect such "shock jocks" are having on our fragile democracy.

Such public figures assume a position (always on the high ground and well-entrenched) and await the serried ranks of ill-disciplined "bleaters" to come. They, like much of their audience, see themselves as a fixed point on the moral compass, and their opponents as the sorry remnants of some lost tribe of moral equivocators. It is, largely, a battle between the surviving members of the boomer generation that has been spilling over from their campus days these past 40 years. None of it has been particularly fruitful. Quite the contrary. And yet it has continued to dominate public discourse in both Australia and the United States. 

Some weeks ago Alan Jones, at a private function, quipped that the Australian Prime Minister's recently deceased father, John Gillard, had "died of shame" over his daughter's lies in parliament. Whether he went on to itemise these "deathly lies" seems to have been lost in the ether of outrage and invective that followed. His public apology for this thoughtless, heartless comment was a loathsome piece of bus stop sophistry. And yet he is still on air and still ranting against those who would dare to call him to account, espousing the cause of free speech while undermining the cause of freedom of thought and expression by denigrating anyone who dares to part from the dominant paradigm of his target audience.

But it behoves Bluepepper to acknowledge the enduring grievance of this sizeable demographic of older, well-heeled Australians against the perceived dominance of a progressive slant in public discourse that in one way or another appears to threaten, not only their future prosperity, but the legitimacy of their collective past. The carbon tax is merely the latest and most salient example of a trend amongst Western democracies to unsettle those who thought they had bought sole rights to the apple cart. 

The American Tea Party movement has played on this, although inevitably the movement has devolved into a last gasp for the GOP as the party of the "white", rather than as the guardian of the values that made the US the astonishing melting pot it is today. It has been just as difficult, nigh on impossible, for Barack Obama to list his successes in this wind tunnel of invective as it has been for the federal Labor Party of Australia, the "wonder downunder". And yet the far right are able to play the victim card with impunity because they are able to project themselves as the mouthpiece of the "forgotten people", the "silent majority", that Thylazine otherwise known as the middle class.

And I blithely signed a petition confirming them in their victim hood, dear reader, oblivious to their tragic destiny as "fringe dwellers" of the cultural paradigm for the steadier part of a roiling century. Forget, if you can, Celine, Malaparte, Bukowski, Pound, Larkin, Lowell et al. Alan Jones and his ilk do not favour the nuanced thinker, whether right or left. Nor, dare I say, do his more vocal protractors who have once again played politics with my conscience. But I guess that's the point. 

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Call out from Kit

Call for Poems for an English / Chinese parallel text anthology of Australian and New Zealand Poetry for Children and Young Adults

ASM / Flying Islands are now calling for contributions for a new project – a bilingual parallel text volume of Australian and New Zealand Poetry for Children and Young Adults. Deadline for contributions is Sunday December 2 nd, 2012. (Please feel free to send work as soon as you have it to hand!) Previously published work is acceptable, but in this case please provide the proper accompanying acknowledgements. It is hoped that selection of poems to be published will be made by the end of the year, that translation processes will be completed in the first half of 2013, and that the book will be published (initially by ASM in Macao) by the end of 2013. No payment is offered for inclusion in the volume, but if it is possible to sell it on to a Mainland, Taiwan or Singapore publisher, then payment/royalties arrangements would be negotiated at such a time.

Please send contributions to me (KitKele at umac dot mo) in word file attachments. Please identify the project (ANZ poems for the young Chinese reader) and your name in the subject line of the email and in the title of the file you are sending. Please include contact details and a short biographical note in your word file with your poem/s. It will be helpful if you can include notes for the translator to accompany the poem (though please note that it is not our intention [at this point in time] to publish these with the volume. Your notes may however be helpful in the translation process).

Monday, October 01, 2012

New Poetry by Thomas Michael McDade


Sitting in a booth at Andy’s Diner
I can’t help but eye a fellow alone
so thin he’d fit though most gaps
between prison bars.
At a table set for six he’s staring
straight ahead as if a defendant
minutes away from a verdict,
hands clenched in prayer
real or disguised maybe hoping
for extradition to Maine
Idaho or Long Island.
The outcome is a mixing bowl
of mashed potatoes and a basket
too small for the bread it holds.
Attentively dividing the butter
among thick slices and the spuds,
he dines robotically, oblivious
or indifferent to his audience.
His methods whisk me back years
to Laura’s Luncheonette
where a man, much heftier and not
as assiduous with toast
and an identical vessel
containing a wealth
of thick oatmeal.
A woman beside him, chin
on palm, smiles in amazement.
Had her friend somehow made bail
and is making up for stingy
prison portions I wondered.
Devouring, as if any second
a judge would renege, send
him to place where porridge
is instant, servings small.
A chunk flies off his spoon,
lands on his lady’s arm
and they laughed away
any early morning counter
grogginess the caffeine missed.
I do at Andy’s as at Laura’s, sentence
the newest member the brotherhood
of the mixing bowl to an evening
ice cream helping
of equal largesse—
chocolate sprinkles
like the filings
off a thousand jailbreaks.

- Thomas Michael McDade 2012

Tom McDade lives in Monroe, Connecticut with his wife, no kids or pets. He's a former computer programmer who served two hitches in the U.S. Navy. He's been most recently published in Literarily Erotic: