Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New Poetry by Abigail George


My depression has its own voice.
He wears a crown of winter leaves.
He is my companion, my lover,
My after-thought. It is always winter
When he is near. In bed his arms
Always reach for me. He runs me a
Bath after a long day. Sometimes I
Put on make-up for him to cover up
The blue feeling that holds me down
From the top of my head to the
Soles of my feet. He tells me in no uncertain
Terms that I should wear perfume
More often. I should play tennis like I
Used to. I should go swimming. I should
Take long walks. I should fall in love.
I should have a relationship to take my
Mind away from him but I laugh at this.
He knows by now I don’t take him

Seriously at all. Doctors say he is a
Hazard to my health. I should pay
Attention to what they tell me. It’s
For my own good. But I’ve lived with
Him for years now. I’m used to his
Ways and he is used to mine. He knows
The time I get up (usually late morning).
He knows my writing routine. He
Knows how I like my coffee first thing
In the morning. My tea as the hours
Pass into evening. We draw up plans
And lists together. It’s a joy to map out
A fixed day. We laugh together.
We cry together. We share everything.
He is a glacier. Tension underneath the surface.
He is sunburn, feather, and gull in the air.
His eyes are flint. Heart made out of
The air of a clock. I know him so well.

- Abigail George 2016

Abigail George is a poet, short story writer and aspirant young adult novelist from the Eastern Cape of South Africa. She has been long-listed for the Sol Plaatje European Union Award IV (Jacana Media). Her poem "The Accident" was Identity Theory's Editor's Choice (27 March 2006). Her work has appeared in the following anthologies; "To Kingdom Come" edited by Rethabile Masilo. Her work has also been anthologised in "Being Bipolar: Stories from Those Living with the Disorder and Those Who Love Them" edited by Rachel Ellen Koski (Editor), Poems for Haiti (Poets Printery), a South African Writer's Circle anthology, the Sentinel Annual Literature Anthology, and Mini Stories, an anthology of children's stories (Kwarts Publishing).

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

New Poetry by Benjamin Dodds

Ode to the Saturn V

Gravity fumbles and lets one through:
a climbing tower blows back 

flaming raspberry three times its length.
Transcendence of the everyday

through roaring machine—
the impossible on demand

from a swiss watch that stands
one hundred and eleven metres high. 

Ten separate trios of men balanced 
on the head of an unfailing pin

pitched and yawed
upward and outward

defied Ithacan pull
on yoked and steered explosion

an inferno that raged only 
twenty minutes per mission

but opened an infinite sky.
Twelve brought back on their boots

the dust of somewhere else
but each and all were lowered 

home again as promised
to the Pacific's open embrace

on candy-striped scoops
of oh-so-welcome air.

A miracle on repeat
burns money and interest.

People stop watching 
and awe becomes a yawn.

The Saturn V
elite succeeder

the tallest of poppies proves
no one likes an overachiever.

- Benjamin Dodds 2016

Benjamin Dodds is the author of Regulator (Puncher & Wattmann Poetry, 2014). His work has appeared in Best Australian Poems 2014, Meanjin, Cordite and on Radio National’s Poetica program. He blogs at and tweets @coalesce79.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Call out to Oz

There have been a few of those hoary old rumours running north of the line that poetry is dead. These things run up there like the influenza and world wars. Avoid them at all costs. 

Anyway, on the subject of which, a certain, well, let's just say, for want of a better word, critical review, by a certain compatriot of ours of a recent issue of a certain Chicago journal featuring some of our fairest (and some say finest) has ruffled a few feathers in the nest, and may have twinged Bluepepper's baying calf. I like to mix my metaphors like my drinks, sorry.

So, submit please, southern sons and daughters! Bluepepper is all red and blue with the Yankee pep. They are a warm, expansive, complicated people. But more Aussie genius please....Bluepepper can't enough of it! We can hear it bubbling.....

Sunday, August 28, 2016

New Poetry by Donal Mahoney

Exhibitionist Arrested Again

The call comes in 
to the police station.
It’s a small town and
the voice at the library
says “He’s at it again.”  
The cops go over
and climb the stairs
to the top floor 
and find him as always
reading in the stacks.
An old professor 
in a suit and tie
with many degrees
who loves books.
Kooky to a fault.
At the station
they ask him again
why do you do this 
especially in a library. 
The old professor says 
the library is where 
he likes to hang out.

- Donal Mahoney 2016

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He has had work published in various countries. Among them are Bluepepper (Australia), Ink Sweat and Tears (England), The Galway Review (Ireland), The Osprey Journal (Wales), Public Republic (Bulgaria), and The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey).

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New Poetry by Linda Imbler

One Man's Karma

The dead man sits in the small room
Without sustenance or light,
There are no books or windows.
He cannot speak, yet even if he could,
There is no one with whom to do so.

The only things he has been given
Are his memories,
Strong, vivid.
The only time he leaves this place
Is when his soul enters another's body
At the height of their fear and agony.
He leaves again at the moment of their peaceful death,
Returns back here to relive what suffering has just occurred.
So many instances through time;
A black man lynched in Alabama,
An old Vietnamese woman torched alive in a hut,
A blind, one legged, starving Kabul child stepping on a land mine,
A Detroit three-year-old gunned down by cross-fire 
While playing in the front yard,
A small, terrified terrier 
Being used for bait
 In a dog fight,
A 911 plane passenger,

The karmic wheel spins for him,
Never slows, ticks off each offense,
Holds no grudge, just reflects what is due to him.
It's scary how relentless and unforgiving
This wheel is to this man.
Wherever there is evil,
He has no power over it.
It controls him
As he relives the horrors of others
Even beyond madness.
It's happening again,
He knows it's time,
The voice calls to him,
“Adolph, come.”

- Linda Imbler 2016

Linda Imbler maintains that poetry, at its best, explains the head and heart of all life as science cannot. She is most recently the author of three poems included in Bunbury Magazine.  Her poem “Atop the Hill” iforthcoming for the Fine Flu Journal.  Other poems were published by,,, and Broad River Review Literary Magazine. Her short stories have been published or are forthcoming in Fear of Monkeys and Danse Macabre. This writer, yoga practitioner, and acoustic guitar player resides in Wichita, Kansas.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New Words and Images by Wayne H. W Wolfson

Secret Alphabet

The pen put to paper. Jet black ink, strips of the night sky, the space between the floors. When it was good, then each letter of every word vibrated. All of them together in unison created an ambient hum that filled my studio.
Each letter and vowel shook harder and harder. Not tortuously but with the innate sensuality as occurs in true, perfect sentences. With a steady increase the sides of every letter began to crack. Pieces fell off, leaving jagged edged holes from which sprout little wings. They flutter around the page breaking off into groups of various sizes, each with its own meaning.

Their migratory patterns fill page after page. At night these word-birds sleep, their plumage speckled with punctuation marks.  
An affirmation of us. There is once again the secret language. I do not reveal too much by saying so to myself. Besides, I like the rhythm of the sentence. The cadence had variations as its being said several times in my head.
The bed is the paper, contorted, entwined limbs, the words. It is mostly vowels; the breathing and panting too contribute to the linguistics of our predawn struggles. I speak not for myself but to you, so that we may remember.

Wayne H.W Wolfson 2016 

A reissue of Wayne's first collection of essays is now available: 

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Poetry by Fleur Beaupert

Beneath the folded tortilla moon

trees are dreaming bent sunlight in long last
summers. of mutation. tree speak themselves

hungry raining down dirt milk and juice. whisper
of cosmic matter consuming itself like a story

half-told. trees. pretend to sleep while surfing
distorted waves of night. assume a twisted

appearance when lightning strike. trees droop
into vital angles casting leaf. shadows to tickle

our body shadows like ghost feather dusters or
deaths too soon. drizzling. tears through bark

- Fleur Beaupert 2016

Fleur Beaupert is a Melbourne-based poet and writer whose poetry has appeared in spaces such as Tangent, Cordite, Regime and Bimblebox 153 Birds. Her short plays have been performed at a number of Sydney play festivals, and her play Dead Time, devised in collaboration with the cast, was staged at 107 Projects in 2015. Fleur studied arts and law at Sydney University

Sunday, August 21, 2016

New Poetry by Michael Lee Johnson

The Seasons and the Slants (V2)

I live my life inside my patio window.
It’s here, at my business desk I slip
into my own warm pajamas and slippers-
seek Jesus, come to terms
with my own cross and brittle conditions.
Outside, winter night turns to winter storm,
the blue jay, cardinal, sparrows and doves
go into hiding, away from the razor whipping winds,
behind willow tree bare limb branches-
they lose their faces in somber hue.
Their voices at night abbreviate
and are still, short like Hemingway sentences.
With this poetic mind, no one cares
about the seasons and the slants
the wind or its echoes.

- 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, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been published in more than 915 small press magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New Poetry by Rob Walker

confected outrage

for Rupert


215g (1 cup) caster spersions
60ml (1/4 cup) cold water
tolerance (optional)
2 tsp essence of ignorance
1 cup self-raising bigotry
truth (1/2)
dog-whistle (any size)


Pour cold water over Tolerance being certain to remove all traces. Stir water and dry ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until the (1/2) Truth, Ignorance, Caster-spersions and Bigotry dissolve. 

Increase heat to high over several days. To dissolve any tolerance left on the side of the pan, slap down with a wet pastry brush. Bring to boil.

Cook until the mixture is a rich red, white and blue - don't let it burn. Remove from heat. Blow dog-whistle. 
Serve daily.

- Rob Walker 2016

Rob Walker is a cantankerous curmudgeon with a titanium knee. His most recent collection is Original Clichés (Ginninderra Press, 2016.) He lives in the Adelaide Hills where he complains about the cold in winter and bushfires in summer.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

New Poetry by Jonathan Beale

When the clock catches up

For J.S. i.m. perhaps

Time rips through the flesh
Remorselessly – blind in blood 
Bricks - mortar - stone
Remain….  Still remain
Girls in their youths colour
Breath life 
The boys in their idealism
Divine the path
Endings are an impossibility
Yet find a way    
Another way
An undiscovered way
‘Be calm. God awaits you at the door.’ *

- Jonathan Beale 2016

* Gabriel Garcia Marquez, "Love in the Time of Cholera"

Jonathan Beale has poems published in such journals as: Danse Macabre, Poetic Diversity, Ink Sweat & Tears, Down in the Dirt, Mad Swirl, The Beatnik Cowboy, The Jawline Review, Bluepepper, Jellyfish Whispers, The Outsider, Yellow Mama, and In Between Hangovers.
He was commended in Decanto’s and Café wriers Poetry Competitions 2012. His work has appeared in such books as ‘Drowning’ (Scar publications) 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. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bareknuckle 2

OK, I know it's only in its second year, but if last year's anthology is anything to go by (and, yes, I was a contributor last year, albeit one of the weaker ones), then Bareknuckle promises to be one of the high water marks of the Australian poetry calendar. Follow the link at the bottom of this post for more details of the launch.

New Poetry by Abigail George

The infant

The river is filled to the bare maximum with life.
Women are more heroic than men. They have to
Be. Clocks tell time. The time we must go to bed.
The time we must face another day. Smoke gets
In my brother’s eyes. He opens the pathways to
The veins in my heart. I’m an animal when it comes
To books. The night is there to fill the hours with
Making love. My brother is always buying cigarettes.
Bees work at night (like I do). I write poems for
A living. Work until the early hours of the morning.
My mother washes the linen. I can see the veins
On her still life beautiful hands. When my mother
Irons my brother’s shirt I watch the expression
On her face. Is she happy or is she sad that he is
Moving away from her in this world to the next. I
Know a bird when I see them. I ask the infant,
‘What is eating you?’ he gurgles with delight as if
I have found his hiding place. I tell him I am going
To eat him up. His antelope legs first, his eyes, the
Pink flame of his tiny hands. One day I will have
To release him. Find my exit out, hatch an escape.
One day he will be a man in a man’s world and
I will be an old woman. He’ll grow into fire and muscle.
I’ll think to myself of the good old days when I
Was young, and free to do as I please. I’ll keep my
Last breath a secret from the world until the end.
Until night comes and takes my aged fragility with it.

- Abigail George 2016

Abigail George is a feminist thinker and a South African poet and writer. She contributed to a symposium in Finland for a year (Ovi Magazine: Finland’s English Online Magazine). She is the recipient of two writing grants from the National Arts Council, Johannesburg, one from the Centre for the Book, Cape Town and ECPACC (Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council), East London, South Africa. Winter in Johannesburg, a collection of short stories, is her latest book and is available as an electronic version on Amazon. Her poem ‘What happened at Lonmin’ is included in an anthology of poetry against political violence that was edited by Rethabile Masilo and she was invited to participate in the Imbizo Arts Book Fair (2016) held in Port Elizabeth. She studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

New Poetry by Nathanael O'Reilly


For Celeste

Bookstore browsing
we begin with Harry Potter
discuss the merits
of various cover art
before moving on to Star Wars
crafts and Percy Jackson

finally it's Dad's turn
so we descend the stairs
to Poetry and Fiction
break for bagels and coffee
with Quidditch Through The Ages
and Charles Wright's Caribou
before finishing with journals
magazines, fridge magnets
wands and horcruxes

- Nathanael O'Reilly 2016

Nathanael O’Reilly was born and raised in Australia and now lives in Texas. He is the author of the full-length collection Distance and the chapbooks Cult, Suburban Exile and Symptoms of Homesickness. He is the recipient of an Emerging Writers Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts. His poems have been published in journals and anthologies in eight countries, including Antipodes, Australian Love Poems, Bluepepper, Cordite, FourW, LiNQ, Mascara, Postcolonial Text, Prosopisia, Red River Review, Snorkel, Social Alternatives, Tincture, Transnational Literature, Verity La and Writ Poetry Review.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

New Poetry by Miguel Jacq

dream sequence

should be a standalone word for slow motion,
this act of water stowing rotation
onto air; how I close my eyes

involuntarily when I think to
drink and breathe you
but can never seem to commence.

I have surely stood here before,
inside the same wolf; need not see
again where mutation rages,

where young leaves shake themselves loose
like too soon teeth from ghost gums,
fall gripless toward the munged up mouth

of the valley held open by our prying eyes,
our untamed drinking; a slow breath grazing
around the dry callouses of sleep

- Miguel Jacq 2016

Miguel Jacq is a French-Australian writer. His poetry has been published by a range of Australian and international journals and anthologies, both in print and online. In 2013 his poem 'Nine Year Microwave Sky' was shortlisted for the Australian Poetry Science Poetry Prize. In 2016 his poem 'flower of distant season' won the Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Award.