Sunday, May 29, 2016

New Poetry by Akpa Arinzechukwu

I Wish I Never Saw This

I see you against the night landscape
Browsing through the shelf of darkness
Trying to find a book, no, a paper.
Perhaps, a sheet that has a teeny reflection of light
On it

The sky above you displays pictures
Of stars still considering whether to appear
Or not

I see you sitting in the empty street
Wondering if you’ll ever twinkle like a star
Or perhaps
Hide between two worlds
So far away without being spotted

Your likes that ever twinkled
Got killed –
Those gay men and women in the
Street at night vomiting their lives out
All day and the police find it a pleasure to say nothing

It is better to hide between two worlds
How can you ever live being who you aren’t?
You tremble in fear
Today not tomorrow, you’ll walk majestically to the cemetery.
Of course your type will always walk to the cemetery
At least that’s what your society believes

I see you against the night landscape
Browsing through the shelf of darkness
Trying to find a book, no, a paper.
Perhaps, a sheet that has a teeny reflection of light
On it 

- Akpa Arinzechukwu 2016

Akpa Arinzechukwu is a Nigerian photographer and poet. His works have appeared or will feature on Kalahari Review, Poetry Pacific, Fundza and elsewhere. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

New Poetry by Lynn White

The Funeral of Bosco Jones

Twenty years ago Bosco Jones died after a long and purposeful life.
His children, (long departed from their roots), returned.
“Don’t worry, Mum”, they said, “we’ll see to everything.
We’ll make all the necessary arrangements.”

They arranged a splendid funeral with a vicar and hymns and flowers.
A lot of people went, for Bosco had made an impact during his life.
They left the doors open so that all those outside could hear
And join in the proceedings.

There was nice churchy music and an atmosphere of peace and serenity.
The vicar began the service with a lot of talk of God and Mrs Jones stopped crying.
She started to look around her and take in the proceedings.
She seemed somewhat agitated and alarmed.

Then she stood up and shouted at the vicar, shaking her fist,
“I’m having none of this!” she cried,
“My Bosco didn’t believe in all this claptrap and nonsense!”
Some people cheered in agreement and she sat down again.

The vicar, a dedicated professional, began to continue the service.
Mrs Jones stood up and began to sing ‘The Internationale’.
Most people joined in and no one could hear the vicar
Who became very angry.

“It was a riot”, Nina said, with a wry smile.

When they had finished singing, they started to shout at the vicar.
He shouted back telling them that he was throwing them out
And they were never to come into his church (or outside it) again.

Everyone cheered, but no one left and Bosco made his last journey
To the sounds of ‘Bandero Rosso’ and ‘Joe Hill’ sung very lustily,
Which he would have liked a lot.

“It was a riot”, Nina said, casting her eyes upwards.

Afterwards, they all enjoyed eating the food that the children had organised.
And drinking the drink and arguing and shouting at those
With whom they had political differences and at those
With whom they were in complete agreement.

The vicar stopped by and apologised to Mrs Jones, who was very rude at first,
But then happy to sit down and explain her position
While he listened.

People still talk about the riot at the funeral of Bosco Jones

- Lynn White 2016

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. Her poem 'A Rose For Gaza' was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition 2014. This and many other poems, have been published in recent anthologies including - Stacey Savage’s ‘We Are Poetry, an Anthology of Love poems’; Community Arts Ink’s ‘Reclaiming Our Voices’; Vagabond Press’s, ‘The Border Crossed Us’; ‘Degenerates - Voices For Peace’, ‘Civilised Beasts’ and ‘Vagabonds: Anthology of the Mad Ones’ from Weasel Press; ‘Alice In Wonderland’ by Silver Birch Press, and many rather excellent  on line and print journals.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Still Waving

The arts in Australia are under attack once again. Or should I say, the intensity of the attacks has intensified and a second front opened against writers. Not for the first time the beige advocates of supply-side economics are attempting to re-fashion the arts in their own image, reducing the creative impulse (and the appreciation thereof) to a simple matter of supply and demand.

The attack, as I say, is coming on two fronts. First, the inexorable shrinking year by pallid year of government funding for the arts (punctuated by the hollow fanfare of Premiers' and Prime Ministers' awards, arts prizes being the shriveled carrot at the end of a very long stick), and the resultant pyramidal nature of that funding, which leaves small to medium arts organisations floundering while the large headline-grabbing concerns such as Opera Australia have seen their generous funding locked in. From the bean-counters' point of view, of course, this makes perfect sense. The former organisations can't seem to turn a profit, while the latter, even if their profits are relatively miniscule in corporate terms, at least can afford those really comfy seats.

The second front of attack, aimed specifically at writers and their loyal local publishers, is motivated by the same ledger book mentality in which a reader (or a theatre-goer or art-buyer) is viewed as simply just another consumer and the writer, by logical extension, simply another supplier of a commodity. Thus, if said writer wants to enjoy all the fruits of this shiny free-trade neo-liberal utopia, then said writer is going to have to compete on a level playing field like all other purveyors of goods and services. What they face is a flood of cheap imports from London and New York crowding the shelves of bookstores across the country, elbowing local writers (and poets) out of what passes for limelight in a very tough "business". Oh, and while we're at it, the bean-counters drone on, we're cutting your copyright life down to less than a quarter. It's only fair.

Now, there is no reason to believe (as some of my colleagues have asserted) that the men and women who advocate these changes are evil, or even willfully philistine. They are simply convinced whole-heartedly of the new orthodoxy that can name the price of everything and the value of nothing. They are in the ascendancy and have been for many years. They are not going away, and much to the disgust of some rather abrasive and self-righteous colleagues recently, I suggested in a previous editorial that as artists and writers (and poets) we are simply going to have to face this repellent fact and do what we can to alleviate its worst excesses while at the same time exploring other ways and means of remaining viable both economically and artistically. Said colleagues' only response was that as a poet I am already to all intents and purposes an economic fringe dweller, thus unwittingly shoring up the bean-counters' case. I trust cooler heads will prevail in the long battle ahead.

There will be all sorts of petitions going around. Sign them. But do not, dear reader, be blind-sided by the old orthodoxies anymore than by the new. Artists need to remain flexible and not prey to the whims of politicians and their bean-counters. The stories still have to be told.

New Poetry by Edward Willes


I climbed the roof of Huxum TCE and established a rural OUTPOST. A FERAL language grounding within the states capital, I traded carcinogenic chemicals for petrol fumes and gorged on exotic foods from under the city lights –  their people polluted the nights sky while my people burnt holes in it.

During the day I foraged – AUCHENFLOWERS, tar and oil, I explored the city streets searching for myself, unearthing roots from under the Intelligencia while looking at my reflection in the river and washing my hands of coal dust. We didn’t have all of this where I am from –  no defined culture here, no Queensland Blue Grass either.

ASSIMILATE the Brazilian IMPORTS that line our narrow minded one way streets – they offer LILAC and stain the pavements – VIOLET – they trickle the road’s vintaged presence with juvenescence and brighten my one hour commute into liberal enterprise. The townsfolk work for their groceries and business class suits – no UNIONS

No POOR ME culture distinguished by one TRUE voice – it mustn’t be Australian.  I started talking in country tongues to establish the idea of myself that I thought was TRUE. I am from where I lived once – a feral blue – but – I am also from where I lived later – a feral white – I cannot make claims to either or – I am FRACTURED… and that’s my right..

A cultural vagabond with friends across many lands of truths –  I have no religion and enjoy the best of them while hating the worst. Perched confidently above the flood proof stumps of an ASHGROVIAN roof – I look towards the rivers edge, waiting for it to catch fire.

- Edward Willes 2016

Edward Willes is an Australian poet who’s poetic essence has been distilled within the state of Queensland (both rural and urban). Endeavouring to establish a voice of connection within the small but profound moments of cultural reflection and nostalgic rhythms, he rejects the pop cultural iconic identities that take hostage the personal experiences of a contemporary Australian. He is determined not to make claim that his poetry represents “the true Australian voice” as many Australian poets have attempted before him but simply to represent a voice among many other voices. Within this medium he can establish his own point of view with a willingness and eagerness to grow, a common characteristic of a wave of youth restrained by old ideas. Having received the honour of winning the Bareknuckle Amateur Poetry Competition, his poem “Ann St. Bound Queen” will be published in the Bareknuckle Poet Anthology 2016 alongside some of the most critically acclaimed poets and writers in the world.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Poetry by Michele Seminara


Degrade degrade degrade yourself 
take care to curl up small. 
Have I grown 
compact enough? 
Unfurl me at your peril. 

In the lengthening autumn 
of my shadow skirl reams of discontent—
Am I sitting meekly?
No? Forbid me speak!

Deface deface deface yourself
until you disappear. 
Leave no glyphs to sign this space 
(she wasn't even here).

- Michele Seminara 2016

Michele Seminara is a Sydney poet and the editor of online arts magazine Verity La. She is performing alongside poet Anne Walsh for Rhizomic poetry at Mr Falcon's in Glebe on the 25th of May.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New Poetry by Louise McKenna

CT Scan

There is nothing that can be hidden from this eye.
It means to know me like the sun knows a leaf.
It appraises me from north to south,
its iris rotating with its sane hum,
its hypnotic leer bypassing skin and bone
as it takes an inventory of my organs.
Afterwards I am handed my future in an envelope
with the image that only God has been seeing:
the shadow denser than my spleen
when I hold it before the light.

- Louise McKenna 2016

Louise McKenna was born in the UK and graduated from the University of Leeds with a joint honours degree in English Literature and French.  She currently resides in Adelaide, where she works as a nurse and teacher of French.  Her first small poetry collection was published by Wakefield Press in 2010.  Her poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous Australian and overseas journals, with recent work in Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine. and Verity La.  In 2013 she was shortlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize.

Monday, May 16, 2016

New Poetry by John Swain

The Brook Trout

Cold shadowed creek flow
where the trout come from the depth
like a hanging man,
the sun spring,
a poem of water breaking.

Blurred sky, the afternoon light
scatters through the infinity of trees,
damask and mandala,
a ring of trees, your forehead,
a necklace in the fire.

I speak to you, of this, my distance,
disavowal of the man I was
and continue
the reign of the raven,
the fish break through my skin.

- John Swain 2016

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

New Poetry by James Walton

Crazy, Crazy Love on the Seniors Card/
Sideways Steam Train

Delay the departing train
down at the rail head,
the heart has four chambers
but only one fully ticketed love.
So spin the cylinder with gentleness
place the antique snub of it with care,
you want this geyser single life to blow
a detonation and aftershock of lyrical candela.
Run run over the drenched platform
slide slip and screech to a rattling tin sky,
turn around the face at the blotting window
chant it breathe it grasp it at the handle.
Make the rusty trigger from the taste of cinnamon
get there scramble by the step up,
in you go trip over the stranger’s stare
open the scrapbook at things that should have stuck.
Tell her things falling apart are beginning again
of how quicksand is not a way to be cleansed,
the lone shot was all that was ever needed between you
and you still feel its mad career taking you beyond destination.

- James Walton 2016

James Walton lives in the Strzelecki Mountains in South Gippsland, Australia. He has been published in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers, and many journals and anthologies. He has been short listed twice for the ACU national Literature Prize, is a double prize winner in the MPU International Poetry Prize, and Specially Commended in The Welsh Poetry Competition.  His collection ‘The Leviathan’s Apprentice’ is available. He’s been a Librarian, bred Salers cattle, and was a public sector union official for many years.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

New Poetry by Jonathan Beale

The old woman

The old woman that lives at the end of the lane
As she has forever
Eternally stamped and as dishevelled
As the sea washed seafront
Youth subtly avoiding her 

As she, hangs her washing on the line.
Ignoring the winds kiss.
The ceramic walls
Of the home she decorates in her evening wishes
Cheroot’s plastered over the floor

Along with the oils and colours
Of paintings she creates
Her time split between
Incessant loquaciousness and monastic silence
In this cul-de-sac

Of forgotten dreams she labours
Against times idling thumb twittering.
And as the wolf whistles
To the girls into the night
She stares blankly through the gin and cigarillos

Within the antique décor
She lives by breathing the briny air
The turquoise and white as her eyes
Her life is slipping by like the quayside ropes
Of the leaving ships

Her grammar of life, now no longer understood
Her anger, raw as the marrow, red as paprika
Glowing life pressured of the lost leaves of her life
The rickety old rocking chair goes on – just.
The world unseen through smoke stained glass

- Jonathan Beale 2016

Jonathan Beale has 450 plus poems published in such journals as: Decanto,  Penwood Review,  The Screech Owl, Danse Macabre, Danse Macabre du Jour, Poetic Diversity, Voices of Israel in English, Miracle-E-zine,  Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, The Journal, Ink Sweat & Tears, Down in the Dirt, The English Chicago Review, Mad Swirl, Poetry Cornwall, Leaves of Ink, Ariadne’s Thread, Bijou Poetry Review, Calvary Cross, Deadsnakes Review, The Bitchin Kitsch, Poetry by Birkbeck alumnus, The Dawntreader, I am not a Silent Poet, Pyrokinection, Festival of Language, Festivalwriter, ‘Don’t Be Afraid: An Anthology to Seamus Heaney’, Ygdrasil, The Four Seasons Anthology, The Seventh Quarry, Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, The Curly Mind, The Beatnik Cowboy, Dali’s LoveChild, Storm Cycle Anthology (Best of Hurricane Press 2015) and The Jawline Review.

Monday, May 09, 2016

New Poetry by Brenton Booth


My tap danced heart
spurts blood again
in requiem of
stomach pinched,
sitting on my
window ledge—
watching a group
of teenage boys
play soccer
in the park
they are laughing
and alive:
I’d like to join
but I don’t know
the game well enough.

- Brenton Booth 2016

Brenton Booth lives in Sydney, Australia. Poetry and fiction of his has appeared in over 100 journals around the world. His book “ Punching The Teeth From The Sky” is available from Epic Rites Press.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

New Poetry by Karen Pape


She has written her way out of the dark.
Dazzled by the sun, she wants to run
Hiding is not an option any more

Building words into art is digging dirt
Tearing nails and hands, understanding
She has written her way out of the dark

To some purpose.  Apprentices find work
At a master or mistress’ hand.  When
Hiding is not an option any more

she finds her tools already forged
by her journey underground
She has written her way out of the dark.

Like Persephone she will return
To winter, seek quiet in dead ground.
Hiding is not an option any more.

Even cold, she will remember lessons learned.
Her talismans the book, candle, pen.
She has written her way out of the dark.
Hiding is not an option any more.

- Karen Pape 2016

Karen Bingham Pape is a teacher and writer.  Her poems have appeared in small press publications such as Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and Maverick Press and in on-line journals such as Big River Review, Red River Review, Words-Myth and Perigee. She has read her work at conferences such as Southwestern ACA/PCA Pop Culture, ASU Annual Writers Conferences in Honor of Elmer Kelton, and Fort Concho Literary Festival.

Friday, May 06, 2016

New Poetry by Irsa Ruci

The other’s self

I am scared by the winds blowing in this unclear time 
Living in the mist 
Without asking “Why?”

Seeking the cause at the other 
Strange happiness 
Strange suffering 
Strange betrayal 
Myself mentioned in formless form 
Borrowed from suffering!

I am scared of what my eyes witness everyday 
People drowned in rancour 
Pulled from the vanity of greed 
Formless, vicious.

Oh… with words I will break down barricades: 
Enough already! 
Give your life the chance 
To find happiness in the air 
To fight for freedom with feelings’ strength 
To glory of being 

Fate is destined by Zeuses 
Low, very low beings are dozen 
Daubed with the poverty’s mud 
Without a sound, 
Without a single sound?!

Meanwhile beyond the fence rest the poets 
Who into dreams rebel to other’s self!

- Irsa Ruçi 2016     (Translated by Silva Daci)

Irsa Ruçi is an Albanian Writer, Speechwriter and Lecturer. She was born in Tirana (Albania), in 1990. Her books of poetry include “Trokas mbi ajër (poems and essays), 2008 and Pështjellim (poetry), 2010. She has been published in anthologies: Antologji, 2007; I kërkoj agimit vesën, 2008; Antologji poetike “Kushtuar dashurisë”, 2014; Antologji poetike “Udha”, 2014; Antologji poetike, 2014; “Malli dhe brenga nga distancat”, 2014; Antologji poetike “Qyteti”, 2014; Poeteca, 2015; and her works has appeared in a number of print and online national and international magazines, including Sling Magazine, Issue 5; Ann Arbor Review, Issue 15; Poeteca Magazine, Issue 35; Aquillrelle Anthology, 2015, Aquillrelle Anthology, 2016, Metaphor Magazine Issue 5, The Commonline Journal, Issue 4/22 A New Ulster poetry anthology, april 2016 etc. And Among many awards, she has received the first prize in poetry, in competition "Anthology 2007", as the best poet in Albania.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

New Poetry by Michael Lee Johnson

I Regret Grinder, but, No Remorse

I have no regret, no grinder of remorse, nor memory of the dental chair.
I have no feeler of sins lost in sand dust with golden teeth, diamond over lay of lies.
Do not dance, play checkers, between the lines of memory-black/white.
I am a sinner wild with elbow muscle, flex right to left.
Dental floss is my Jesus, purple robe, violent-victim.
The cheeks of God whisper fools of toy tot decay, hanger on a cross-victim.
I was an outcast of hell with flames hanging from my behind.
What age of flowers is a whisper into the colors, fool enamel solid white.
I wild elbows flex from right to left, dental floss violent-victim.
I am owner of the cheeks of sunken bones.
What left is decay open space, mouth, tongue, cavities.
Christ never liked the sound of a drill, only aging of flowers, whispers from toy toots.
Lost in the blur of the blue heron I toss my gambling cards, fold.
Back to the farm fields forever and the sounds of wheat in the wind.
Jesus is the stop point, remorse, joy, where the sounds end.
I am an abstract artist, setting black outline in a dental chair,
false teeth pending white, waiting for second coming

- Michael Lee Johnson 2016

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been published in more than 880 small press magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites.   Author's website  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 page book) ISBN:  978-0-595-46091-5, several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 91 poetry videos on YouTube as of 2015:  Michael Lee Johnson, Itasca, IL. nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015.  Visit my Facebook Poetry Group and join

Sunday, May 01, 2016

New Poetry by Richard King Perkins II

Flesh Reverie

I don’t remember what you said that first night—
tenuously in light extinguished,
the curving pleasure of incalculable intimacy.

I’m learning to enjoy the soft rain
and the tenuous tresses on my skin
as you fill my lungs with color and gratification.

The dissonance of our carillon
splinters the metaphor we thought we were—
strains of human moonlight swooped upon earth.

But this is only the other side of something blue.
We’ve become a distortion of understanding,
advocates of a ruthless love begging mercy.

You tell me that you think we deserve a testament
filled with burgeoning powerful clarity like we found
last night in the flesh reverie that could only be now.

- Richard King Perkins II 2016

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.