Wednesday, June 29, 2016

New Poetry by Abigail George


It is a weekend of ascension and seawater.
Your face still haunts me.
She shows her face and all I see is love.
The beacon of my heart
is governed by mysterious
drowning things. Even
her laughing, serious,
fighting, sonnet movements.
Once there was an Eastern
frontier at the Eastern Cape.
A Kat River Settlement. Khoi.
Four wars were fought there
between the Xhosa and the
settlers but that’s history.
Men were like twisting flame.
The sermon of the major
earth is serene now. It’s a
winter sky and a winter rain
that gathers overhead from
eternity to the hereafter. The

faded call of unsung sorrow.
You mum belong to a barefoot
people. The terror of the
Pacific when it comes to your
tribe of children. You taught
me to lead and not to follow.
You were the skilled expert
when it came to my rage. I
only have to say that I am hungry
and my mother feeds her cub.
The continuous noise inside
my head goes away but not the
memory of my mother’s forehead.
Her astonishingly beautiful
African violets. The scene of
luscious green grass from childhood
forgotten. Her face is still
hauntingly beautiful. You, who
taught me how to write about everything I know.
To see the world around me.

- Abigail George 2016

Abigail George briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. Some of her poems have appeared in and are  forthcoming from Birds Piled Loosely, Hamilton Stone Review, Literary Orphans, The Writing Disorder, Toad Suck Review, Vigil Pub Mag. Some of her stories have appeared in and are forthcoming in Spontaneity, Hackwriters Magazine, Ovi Magazine: Finland’s English Online Magazine, and She is the recipient of grants from the National Arts Council in Johannesburg, Centre for the Book in Cape Town, and ECPACC (Eastern Cape Provincial Arts .

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New Poetry by Jane Frank


All this time later, I still hear the screams
of a lizard flailing in the clutches

of a brahminy kite, cliff height
above the clear stretch of ocean,

a metaphor for that day, I’ve since thought:
too hard to converse, too many tests

set for me to fail between bites of Roquefort
cheese and bread you fed me, a gentleness

that cajoled me into thinking in third
person of a picnic in a painting with a soft

winter sky. It still bothers me that the kite
kept flying so remorselessly over the sea.

Where the Wild Things Are

From Brown Dog Café
I can see cranes
sculpting the skyline
into something I won’t know

and I move beyond sadness,
try instead to shelter
in the neon jolt of laces
on the retro, sideburned man

eating salmon and dill crème
fraiche on toast at the table
next door, the pair of peewits
circling the telegraph pole

beside the nondescript street,
the pleasant numbing of my teeth
on a triangular shard of ice
and abstract patterns of titian

light vibrating on fig leaves,
the sensation of my back
touching the wall – acceptance,
without turning my head,

that it is stark and white,
emblazoned with a drawing
in clear black ink of the Wild
Things boy chasing a brown dog. 

- Jane Frank 2016

Jane Frank lives and writes in Brisbane. Her chapbook Milky Way of Words has just been published by Ginninderra Press. She has poems forthcoming in Antipodes, Cordite Poetry Review and takahē.  

Monday, June 27, 2016

New Poetry by Michele Seminara

Bow and Scrape 

How freeing, to bow out; there's wisdom in it. 
Mind's tumescence halted. 
What's twisted in you 
no longer twisting 
in me. 

Silence is best. 
Stillness. Trying not
to put a word wrong. 
(I speak so circumspectly 
these days even the dog won't come!)

Enough. Just keep going.
(But let's admit it's not much fun.)


I close the blinds to block out probing eyes.
The roses on the window sill
                                         still flame against the sky.
Darkness crawls out early    from the rain.
A stranger calls    to check    that I'm alive.

The Fall

One day I shall fall
down those stairs
and it will be 
a release.

I fall 
I must surely recall 
my children and feel ashamed. 

The fall will create an elongation
in time, a lacuna for recapitulation.
And nothing will flash before my eyes—
Nothing. Only darkness; easeful darkness. 

- Michele Seminara 2016

Michele Seminara is a Sydney poet and chief editor of Verity La.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

New Words and Images by Donal Mahoney

Meeting Dad Again

My father emigrated from Ireland to the United States in the early 1920s. He had been released from Spike Island by the English who "occupied" Ireland at that time. Spike Island was the "Guantanamo" of that era, located just off the coast of Ireland. It was there the English warehoused prisoners of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). 

My father had been imprisoned by the English at age 16 for running guns through the marshes of County Kerry to aid the rebels fighting to free Ireland from the rule of the English. Young Irish lads were recruited for duties like this because they would be less apt to be captured by the English--or so the IRA thought. My father was not coerced into doing this. He volunteered for the duty and would have done it again if the English had not insisted that he and other prisoners leave Ireland as a condition of their  release. 

On arrival in America, he found work as a grave digger in Brooklyn, NY. Later he boxed professionally and sang in night clubs that catered to Irish immigrants. After he got married, he moved with my mother to Chicago where he was hired by the Commonwealth Edison Company. There he spent almost four decades as a lineman, often working as a "troubleshooter" who was called out in the middle of the night whenever a storm knocked out the power. He liked this work and was very good at it or so I was told by his peers when I visited him in the hospital. They had gathered in the hall outside his room after he had survived an electrical accident that occurred high on a pole in an alley. He survived 12,000 volts, an incident that got his name in the Chicago Tribune.  

In January 2012, decades after my father had died, my wife discovered a photo of him on the Internet. It showed him as a prisoner on Spike Island, circa 1920. He was a farm boy, poor as the chickens he fed as a child, but the English dressed him up nicely for the photo that accompanies this story. Perhaps they didn't want his age to show and to a degree they succeeded in that. You would think they had treated him well but they broke both his legs with rifle butts and let him sit on an earthen cell floor for a long period of time. 

In the photo, my father is in the first row, third from the left. He is identified as “J. O’Mahony,” which was the family name until he became a citizen of the United States. On that occasion, the judge suggested he change his name to "Mahoney," which was "more common" in the United States. My father agreed to the change but it was a decision he would rue for the remainder of his life. More than once he told me, "I should never have done it but I was a greenhorn, what did I know?" 

My poem, “Meeting Dad Again,” below, was written many years later after my father and I reunited in Chicago briefly after he had been out of my life for awhile. His two years on Spike Island as an adolescent had taken a toll. He suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) before that ailment had been identified and named. Despite this problem, however, he was a sober Irishman who labored hard in Chicago for decades to save money to put me through college. His goal was to make certain I would never have to "work with my hands." He didn't have to worry. I can operate a hammer but have no manual skills beyond that. 

My poem records our reunion when my father, back in town unexpectedly, phoned me at work and, to my surprise, asked that I meet him for lunch. He suggested a cafeteria that was then a Chicago landmark. No fancy restaurants for him, even though in retirement he could afford a touch of the posh. I can't remember for certain but I doubt that he let me pay the check. He knew that I had bills as the father of five stair-step children. 

The lunch went well. Conversation was light. I did not ask him where he had been or what he had been doing and he asked only pleasant questions about me and my children. He showed no mood swings to indicate that he had once been a guest of the English, a confinement that affected him far more, I believe, than absorbing 12,000 volts. The voltage crippled his hand and gnarled his arm but the English crippled and gnarled his nervous system. On this day, however, he was in fine fettle, as he liked to say. This time he was more interested in seeing me than my report card. 

Meeting Dad Again

Thirty years later, Dad came back
and we met for Ham and Yams at Toffenetti’s.
Pouring his tea, he told me he had
to restore power once
at a newspaper warehouse
and the storm broke again
and the lightning cracked his ladder.
He spent the whole day, he said,
sitting in that dark warehouse,
waiting for the lightning to stop
and for the truck to bring a new ladder.
He had a great time, he said,
sitting next to a flickering lantern
and reading for hours the Sunday comics
printed and stacked
six weeks in advance.

- Donal Mahoney 2016


Donal Mahoney, an expatriate from Chicago, lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Some of his earliest work can be found at and some of his newer work at The Waterford County Museum in Ireland has given permission to reproduce this photograph.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

New Poetry by Julie Thorndyke

Weather-worn Woman

My heart is an ocean of hopes
on which you sail.
My heart is a storm-battered
barque in an unfinished typhoon.
My heart holds you aloft
on waves taller than mountains.
My heart will not allow you to run aground.
On currents of kindness
as predictable as the sunset,
my heart will bear you 
through the breakers of today’s troubled tide
and lift you 
on an unfailing swell of love
into a fair-weather future.

- Julie Thorndyke 2016

Julie Thorndyke is a graduate of the University of Sydney Master of Creative Writing program.
Two collections of her tanka poetry are available from Ginninderra Press. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

New Poetry by James Walton

Dark Falls by Railway Lines/
The Murderer’s Motif

How the souls cry out their battered endings
from this shallow dumping ground,
here where the train gasps going by,
the abandoned rooms licking their cracked sour paint.

The sandy track glimpsed looking up
from the page or lap top,
the endearing favourite song fluttering in scrubby messmate,
my decorative sentinels shedding skins.

So carefully placed and tended now,
a travelling case, glove, sweater, leaky shoe,
the pair left at home in mistake,
the two dollar umbrella bought especially.

Cured now of all sentient need,
this is how I haunt those lost in waiting,
with the feinted shadow that old mail left unopened
offers the respite of a returnee’s call.

I shimmy down the greasy pole of hope
into the baking sweaty wakeful nights,
the fire blanket of visitation suffocates any promise
that no news tantalises the kindling of a chance. 

And into this terrarium of ordinary come exotic
is strained the pattern of vicarious makings,
for a scaffold of all the generous donations,
to craft the collection of what cannot be named.

My heart out of tune from this riff raff life,
sometimes sirens pass by other streets,
the arias of justice play to the audience of the comfortable.
Loaded up, all the mementos burned out of the vanity of possession,

leave only traces of material anonymity.
Gathered from their singularities my vacancies are filled,
one big breath on the overpass,
the express rushes to me.

 - 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.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

New Poetry by Tess Matthews

Taxi, oh

Winding through
The early dark, the
usual identity parade
Unfolds, beyond
The window’s glass.
But in this smoothing hour
I find them all
As air and sky.

A pile of leaves
Entwined in a wind-cheater,
leans against
A concrete fence
Or else, the wind-cheater
Is bound
about the sodden pile
By art, or by coincidence.

Further down,
There’s a man walking
behind a woman
And his limbs
move limp and fluid
And flamboyant
Like a jellyfish
And the woman’s pace
Connotes annoyance.

There are at least
Five minutes further
drive for the patient driver
Who, all this while,
Has his rivets beaten out
Mints exhausted
And cargo cooked.

A further five minutes
Before sprinting out
Along street lights
Reflected and doubled
In full-guttered puddles
To fumble cheap metals
And trip at the door.

- Tess Matthews 2016

Tess Matthews is from Melbourne Australia. She has been writing poems for a short time only, but has been reading poems for quite a lot longer.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

New Words and Images by Wayne H. W Wolfson

Reports from Paris

1. "So"

Since drinking hurt her stitches, it was more out of habit than anything else she still went to the cafe every day at 2.  It was the same with alcohol as coffee or tea but at least with that by the third round came the numbness of an internal winter. 
The stitches did not effect her beauty as much as she thought but her self consciousness projected her unease outwards and so influenced how people saw her before they quickly looked away. 
Anytime the tink-plink Basie notes of the bells hanging over the door announced someone coming in, she went to war with herself, not wanting anyone to join her but also hating that moment of rejection. 
I sometimes liked a woman who looked sad or tired and to me, her injuries only enhanced her appeal. 
2 o'clock. Children let out of school early for some reason and businessmen in town for a trade show monopolize most of the tables so that people must double down with strangers. I nod with my chin at the empty chair across from her, she shrugs her shoulders and paints the tips of her ears a bright red. 
We talk, she likes hearing about how being an artist is nothing like how it is portrayed in the movies.  It takes her mind off of her own problems and allows her to laugh softly to herself as she is sure it could not be that bad. The next day even though there are now open tables we sit together again. We dance around me doing her portrait, I am not shy to ask but to have motive misconstrued. We start meeting at my bar instead of the cafe. We set a day for me to do her portrait. 
"Do you mind if I bring my boyfriend?" 
I did not. 
For some reason I always left first wherever we met , it was how she wanted it. 
She turned on her stool towards me and squinted for a minute, then crinkled her nose and almost smiled. Her arms were over my shoulders as she went to kiss me goodbye. At the last moment she intentionally shifted so my lips brushed a stitch. I noticed it smelled faintly of ozone and the water in one of the meatier types of oysters as eaten on a warm day accompanied by a cool dry white. 

2. "Master"

It was not what the notes that she left me under the statue said that meant anything to me but the long cut she received on her shin while jumping the fence to do so that held currency. she would get that look in her eye and regardless of where we were, roll up the leg of her pants or dress, point to the scab-scar and say:
"Your signature. "

3. Tete de poisson: The Corsage

Walking the fish market w/Louise as they set up. A man originally from Sicily takes a clever to a large tuna. With the first Cleve, blood spurts onto the apron in the shape of one perfect red flower, it is as it has always been. It shows that like his ancestors he knows what he is doing and also a portent of good luck, well, for somebody. 
"Will you buy me a flower?"
"I need some coffee."
"Not there, my cousin owns that place."
In one day and a three hour train ride it would be as if I were in a different country.


- Wayne H.W Wolfson 2016

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

New Poetry by Jonathan Beale

To the Wallace Stevens of art

Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? T.S.Eliot.
There he cuts the perception of all syntax.
When does the line end?  He peers around
the beginning of the ascension to seek what is
behind – for curiosity and criminality.

Here the laws grow contorted, wild, and unkempt -
And lay aside as an exhausted dog against
the heatless fire – while one dimension is just
As Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s flicking the

coin into improbability – down and round as
the profile spins into the next dimension and
next up the ladder to the infinitive dimension.
To the other-side of which Stevens knew

and knew you had to see, as the finger that
touches the moon and draws round the face
to see what’s there on the dark side. Before this
Mr Stevens of the Artistic must alter this world.

- Jonathan Beale 2016

Jonathan Beale has 500 poems published in journals such as The Screech Owl, Danse Macabre, Poetic Diversity, Ink Sweat & Tears, Down in the Dirt, Mad Swirl, Deadsnakes,   Pyrokinection, Ygdrasil, The Seventh Quarry, Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, The Curly Mind, The Beatnik Cowboy, Dali’s LoveChild, The Jawline Review, Bluepepper, and Jellyfish Whispers.
He was commended in Decanto’s and Café writers Poetry Competitions 2012. His work has appeared in such books as ‘Drowning’ and ‘The Poet as Sociopath’ (Scar publications). He is currently working on his second volume.
His first collection of poetry ‘The Destinations of Raxiera’ is published by Hammer & Anvil. He studied philosophy at Birkbeck College London and lives in Surrey England.