Thursday, November 27, 2014

It is my sad duty to inform you that a matter of hours ago Southern Redbacks batsman, Phillip Hughes passed away as a result of the injury he sustained at the Sydney Cricket Ground earlier this week.
The word tragedy gets used far too often in sport but this freak accident is now a real-life tragedy. Just shy of his 26th birthday, Phillip has been taken from us far too young.
As a cricketer, Phillip was an incredibly talented and dearly loved member of the Australian, South Australian and Adelaide Strikers squads and a former NSW representative. He also played county cricket in England and IPL in India. Without doubt he was a rising star whose best cricket was still ahead of him.
As a cricket community we mourn his loss and extend our deepest sympathies to Phillip’s family, friends and team mates at this incredibly sad time, and of course to the Australian cricket family and the State Associations. We are thinking of you right now.
I’d like to thank you and the broader cricket community around the country for the wonderful show of support given to Phillip and his family. From social media to phone calls to our front desk, the support has been tremendous and I want to thank you on behalf of Australian cricket.
If you would like to pay your tribute to Phillip and his contribution to the game of cricket, you can do so here.
Phillip Joel Hughes played 26 Test matches for his country. He will be sadly missed and forever remembered.

Yours sincerely,

Chief Executive Officer 
Cricket Australia

Bluepepper has nothing else to add,

The Day Cricket Stopped

If poetry really does possess any curative powers, then all our thoughts are with you, Phillip Hughes.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

New Poetry by Peter Venable

Heart fibrillation begins.

The doctor peers over a surgical mask
and furnishes a pep talk. Joe’s hands clamp
on the table; knuckles jut into the walls.
His eyes weld to an instrument tray:
scissors, tweezers, hemostats and some unnamed gadget.
A curved suture needle twinkles at him.
Doc grips a syringe--pricks, plunges,
then the scalpel . . . .

Joe stares into a ceiling bulb
and whisks into a phosphorescent tunnel
where rainbows arch, dissolve into bubbles,
and pop into pinwheels.

Something distant yanks

and Joe lifts his head. The doctor threads and tugs
a knot, removes a blood-speckled mask,
and hums while leaving the room.
The nurse takes Joe’s hand, guides him up,
and escorts him into the lobby.

At the door she leans toward his ear,
and invites him for drinks
at her apartment after work

- Peter Venable 2014

Peter works as an almost-retired addiction and mental health counselor, volunteers at a prison camp and food pantry, and is graced with a happy marriage, daughter and son-in-law, and Yeshua. Poetry, The New Yorker, and Atlantic Monthly are not worthy, unlike Bluepepper, of his sagacious poems.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New Poetry by William G. Davies Jr.

The Path to Citizenship

You can almost hear the fife and drum.
What are the Federalist Papers?
How many amendments are there
to the Constitution?
A couple speak to each other
in Guatemalan.
On this day, a celebrity judge
will do the oath.
He’s affable, tall with shiny hair.
He tells a joke, people look for a snare.
A woman clerk sets aside an Edwardian novel
and passes around miniature American flags.
After The Pledge of Allegiance
there are pictures, light snacks.
An old man wearing a necklace of bones
contemplates a portrait of Ronald Reagan,
in particular, a white handerkerchief 
in his left breast pocket, monogrammed 
the way the man’s bones are known to him.

- William G. Davies Jr. 2014

William and his wife have just bottled a case of red wine from their very own grapes. He has had some more work accepted by The Cortland Review and is working with his publisher, Prolific Press, on a forthcoming book of poetry: Before There Were Bones.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Poetry by Stuart Barnes

The Night, The Dream
after Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Hanging Man’
Dreaming’s an art. Dreams can be re-created
Brushing the questions aside with a gesture of dreaming
draws on the night at last; the dream draws on.
Will speak to me in dream
Dreams drip to stone. Barracks and salt marsh blaze
a dream the world breathed sleeping and forgot.
- Stuart Barnes 2014
†a cento sourced from Gwen Harwood’s ‘Dreaming’s an Art’, Rosemary Dobson’s ‘Wonder’, Judith Wright’s ‘Sonnet’, Rosemary Dobson’s ‘Poems from Pausanias’, Gwen Harwood’s ‘Oyster Cove’, Judith Wright’s ‘Bora Ring’; title from The Cure’s ‘The Dream’ 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

New Poetry by Michele Seminara


They are a stand of bitter wisdom trees
eyes revolving inwards like moons
beguiling faces smiling down upon us.

They don’t mention (or only in passing)
the ways the world is slipping from them:
the deft departure of the boyhood friend,
the driver's license routinely revoked,
the inability to leave the bath without resting
—shamefully—on its side.

Soon they’re talking of other things,
our things, pressing things like 
which school to put the children in or 
where to go this year on holiday…
it must take all their strength and love

to play along with folly; sustain fantasy 
of growth without decline. Hold back 
the hidden long enough to lend us time to flower;
immure us from what cankers in their limbs
our inheritance, rank knowledge 
of everything.

- Michele Seminara 2014