Monday, February 29, 2016

New Poetry by Stanford Cheung


is not what defines color,
for this poem I wrote was before love,
before the darkness poured
a half bottled week,
painted so quickly
into bent back fear.

The shades, that keep
our days and nights,
before the slow witness
of our time,

where no one directs
what's right or wrong
but an outgrown canvas,
gliding paler down chests
of past and ties.

How I wish to catch another glimpse
of your black pewter dress, how I could
touch your rising arms, not to wake, but
to be woken in your dreams.

How I wish of your colors, outside all
spectrum, no different from different
springs than my distant aged eyes-

How those gaits, I choose
to follow, of a permafrost you,
a light that needs more flint
than your little song you always

- Stanford Cheung 2016

Stanford Cheung is a Canadian poet and musician from Toronto. He is the author of the chapbook "Any Seam or Needlework" from The Operating System Press (2016).  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

New Poetry by Victor Clevenger

It’s True

She was small,
dried tobacco 
tinted and

she sold me
wine and new
after I had torn
the last pages
out of mine.

I loved her, 
but never stood 
a chance; I was
a drunken poet
who nobody 
knew and she
was not 
interested in 

another smart 

- Victor Clevenger 2016

Victor Clevenger's latest collection is titled, In All These Naked Pictures Of Us.  Selected pieces of his work have appeared in print or online in, Chiron Review; The Beatnik Cowboy; Eleventh Transmission; Crab Fat Literature; NEAT; Dead Snakes; Blink Ink; Zombie Logic Review; and coming soon to Poetry Pacific; Your One Phone Call; BAD ACID LABORATORIES, INC.; and the Poems-For-All project. Victor’s work has also appeared in anthologies published by Lady Chaos Press.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New Poetry by Sean Wright

Black Snake Driving

We drive
north to the next town;
pass fields of stubble, grey
in late summer heat.
The road slows and stretches out;
a long black snake
basking in the morning sun.
Straight, the ride lulls us
to a meditative state.
Sheep so still, a quick
glance sees them stone;
small granite boulders nosing through
the lee side of the hill.

We drive
north to escape the sense
that standing still
is one foot out of six
beneath the ground.
Road side’s littered with plaques
that mark the resting place
of towns half remembered in
the double barreled names
of the district football teams -
Premiers ‘06,
‘07 and ‘13

We drive
north, the vista
never seems to change
but ruined farmsteads
claw up from the scrub;
each year sees them less
above ground than before.
Limestone monuments
forestalling the end of a dream.

We drive
north and the next
town feels just like
the one we left behind.
Familiar looks in faces
resigned to settling down.
Dusty streets, shriveled
grass, young children marched
off to a school
that bears family names
on halls, fund raised
playground sets
and clay-brick memorials

We drive on
and on, that long black snake
to feel it curve back
upon itself.

- Sean Wright 2016

SB Wright was born in Nhulunbuy, Arnhem Land, though most of his life has been spent in Alice Springs. A graduate of NTU he has spent his adult working life as a security guard, a martial arts instructor, a trainer in an international gaming company and as a secondary school teacher.

His work has been published in Tincture Journal, INDaily Adelaide, Eureka Street,  A Hundred Gourdes and the Anthologies: The Stars Like Sand, 50 Haikus and the forthcoming Poetry & Place (2015).

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Selection from "Engraft" by Michele Seminara


Pulled forth by a line
of scent, the dog’s snout snakes
through hissing grass —

I jerk his neck, master 
to slave, and drag him
from shit’s wonderment.

On brighter days he’s free to sniff:
when the wind’s not wet 
and the ground’s not mud 
and the children snooze 
and the drudge is done
and my mind’s been set free —

When my head’s
been buried long enough 
in the cool green strands 
of its siren-muse, 
burrowing to inhale
the prized and pungent self.

Pulled forth by a line
of scent, my furtive soul craves 
closet verse —

World jerks my neck, master  
to slave, and drags me
from word’s wonderment.

- Michele Seminara 2016

Michele Seminara is a poet and managing editor of online creative arts journal Verity La (, @VerityLa). Her first poetry collection Engraft (Island Press, 2016) was recently launched in Sydney by Martin Langford and will be launched in Newcastle by Anne Walsh on Feb 29, 7:30pm, at Poetry At The Pub (Wickham Park Hotel, Cnr of Maitland Road & Albert St, Wickham). She will also be reading (along with the other Island Press poets — Les Wicks, Mark Roberts, David Gilbey and Lauren Williams) in Melbourne on Saturday 19 March, 2pm, at the Dan O'Connell Hotel (225 Canning St, Carlton).

Michele blogs at TheEverydayStrange (http// and is on Twitter @SeminaraMichele.

Copies of Engraft ($20) can be purchased by cheque from or directly from Michele via Paypal or direct credit by contacting

Sunday, February 14, 2016

New Poetry by Thomas Lequin


I let her in for the
winter, Solitude.
She arrives in December
and stays till May.
She likes the basement best,
seated by the wood stove
in a rocking chair.

Wind, ice storms, nor’easters—
below twenty degrees
she seems more present,
more quiet.

Every so often
she falls asleep.
When she wakens thereafter,
startled and chilled,
more wood is needed.

- Thomas Lequin 2016

Thomas Lequin is a priest in Maine, who is also a farmer, Maine Master Guide, hunter, fisherman, and poet.  His work has recently appeared in Iodine Poetry Journal, Anglican Theological Review, Iconoclast, Echoes, The Whirlwind Review, The Daily Bulldog, Church World, A Parallel Universe, The Alembic, and an anthology of contemporary animal poetry, The Wildest Peal (Moon Pie Press), 2015.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New Poetry by John Swain

The Threaded Loop

Gown of salmon and mantelet
over the coast
she shoulders with the winter sun. 
I finger a pearl clasp through
the threaded loop
and then her back shows, descending
into the sea. 

Running with a chasing wind
behind the elk,
her death day split my tongue
into ribs and flint
to give the timber wolf 
of the forest and mountain cloud
bleeding the fawn on the ground.

The wild light shines
without our prayers or offering,
I will still keep hers
in a metal box of smooth beach stones
and torn cloth and knife teeth
singing to the killed
we will be alone. 

- John Swain 2016

John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.  Least Bittern Books published his second collection, Under the Mountain Born.  

Monday, February 08, 2016

New Poetry by Michael Keshigian


They did what they desired,
pursued a dream until it evaporated,
relinquishing then
to the arduous commerce of acquisition,
allowing sorted perspectives
and temperaments of trophy representations
to infiltrate an idyllic affection
that long ago dwindled
behind the guise of co-existence.
And now, they are here,
at a table of ruin,
years of routine impossible to amend.
Dinner is served,
the baked salmon drowns
in the clear glass lake of the plate,
the wine’s bouquet has wilted.
It has been decided,
the present has its promise,
it yields a blessing,
no expectation, no loss,
yet a place to go,
vague reasons to remain.
Creature comforts have
no hearts to break.

- Michael Keshigian 2016

Michael Keshigian’s tenth poetry collection, Beyond was released May, 2015 by Black Poppy.  He has been widely published in numerous national and international journals, appearing as feature writer in over a dozen publications with 6 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

New Poetry by David Ades

Whether or Not They Will Ever Understand

The man tries to solve himself.
He breathes himself in and out, full of being.
He speaks the stories of himself,

shares them, listens to their echoes returning,
folding and unfolding himself
over and over like a worn map.

The woman picks at locks, listens
with her inner ear, looks with her third eye
but cannot reconcile herself to her reflection,

the way a stranger peers back at her,
image not conforming to the image
in her mind. Strangers to themselves,

they can only be strangers to each other,
each one a puzzle, an enigma, unsolvable,
and oh, their children, their burdened children.

- David Ades 2016

David Ad├Ęs is a Pushcart Prize nominated Australian poet living in Pittsburgh since 2011. He is the author of Mapping the World (Friendly Street Poets / Wakefield Press, 2008) commended for the Anne Elder Award 2008, and the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eternal (Garron Publishing, 2015). David’s poems have appeared widely in Australia and the U.S. in publications including over 20 of the Friendly Street Readers, and numerous literary magazines and have also been widely anthologized, most recently in Verse Envisioned: Poems from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Works of Art They Have Inspired. In 2014 David was awarded the inaugural University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize and was also shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

New Poetry by Gregg Dotoli


Relearn the approach toward word
Like the bread-handed child coaxing a bluejay
For the feather and blue close-up
to satisfy his curious nature
to get peace-close
to observe not cull
that child is pure in objective
and sincere in goal
but becomes polluted and eco-aloof
time sheds innocence
instills neglect towards nature
like our empty approach to climate-wreck
animals and plants wordlessly weep
Nero fiddled while Rome burned
and we look away as nature dies
Relearn the approach toward word
get peace-close to word
accept waning nature , man as viral polluter
this is our circle, every point
words deny, nature never lies

- Gregg Dotoli 2016

Gregg Dotoli lives in New York City area and has studied English at Seton Hall University. He works as a white hat hacker, but his first love is the arts. His poems have been published in, Quail Bell Magazine, The Four Quarters Magazine, Calvary Cross, Dead Snakes, Halcyon Magazine, Allegro Magazine, the Mad Swirl, Voices Project, Writing Raw and Down in the Dirt.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

New Words and Images by Wayne H. W Wolfson

The stairs wound tightly and to the left but doing so at their own tempo. The fact that they were not quite narrow enough prevented anyone from describing them properly as winding.
Regardless of whether it was day or night, there was little light to be had so that were any of the tenants asked, each would give a different answer as to what color the plaster walls were.
There was one point where the stairs, shortly before the first floor truly began their curve, happening immediately before the landing.  It created an almost optical illusion, a cracked plaster wall jutting out to block any further progress.
 In general I never took the stairs too fast but years of living in the same place had taught me to maintain a steady, set motion as to not feel the effects of my ascent until at my door.
Immediately in the spot after the illusion was where Nadjet had decided to sit, one step below the first of those to creak, “night out on the town” shoes in her hand.
I had almost actually almost tripped over her. She had taken her shoes off in the foyer. The hour being late, heels on the stairs informing all of her return as she passed each floor being preferably avoided.
 A splinter had painfully lodged itself on the underside of her big toe. It was not that she was going to remove the wood here, the hour and alcohol mixed with the initial surprise so that she had taken a seat to momentarily catch her breath.
She started to say something, witty banter eluding her. She instead let out a gentle purr like sound. I reached down my hand to help her up.
 I knew that I always looked best in bar light. Night, its’ cousin did not want to play favorites, her in the stairwell, she looked good, someone’s heart’s desire.

We both once again began our climb. I took the lead. Several times her palm found the small of my back by way of preventing herself from face-planting. I knocked my shins on a few steps and was sure that tomorrow would find a trail of my palm prints on the wall where I had righted myself.
 Her door was opposite mine. Once again to save money on light bulbs the concierge had “accidentally” turned off the light on our landing so that my key could not find the door.
Nadjet laughed.

“C’mere, I have some matches.”

She lit one to open her door first.

“Come in for a drink?”

Our apartments were the same size but hers was in a perpetual state of disarray which made it seem smaller.
She let her dress fall to the floor. Now only in a cream colored slip so worn out that there were shiny spots marking where the once soft material had given up, she crossed the living room. Two steps and she grimaced as her big toe reminded her of its invader.
 I was asked to help her. We went into the bathroom. I sat on the lip of the tub, using the sink to balance herself, she extended her barefoot towards me.

“Do you see anything?”

I did. There was a thick muted brown streak. My fingertip tickled the spot but felt nothing but skin, it had burrowed. Opening her medicine cabinet she found a safety pin. Running the hot water for a moment the pin was slowly passed back and forth under the tap before violently shaking it dry with several flicks of her wrist.

 She switched positions. Now, putting the bad foot up on the sink, bending forward so that chin almost touched knee and the ghost of Degas’ ballet dancers were conjured up. I had to guide her hand to the top of the streak.
 She began rooting around with the pin. Distantly, it reminded me of a childhood surgery.

“Jesus, look at you, you’re white as a sheet. Got it, let’s get those drinks.”

She let the water blast her toe for a moment and this time it was my turn to follow her.
I was handed a glass. She peered over the top of hers at me. Her lipstick was perfect for the shape of her mouth, its color the same as that of petals about to fall off a flower.

- Wayne H. W Wolfson 2016