Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Poetry by Karen Pape

The Escape

I envy your talent for slipping
into the sleeve of sleep; one moment
your oceanic eyes are wide, the next,
silky with dreams.  I lie next to you
on our liquid berth, an old salt shipwrecked,
clinging to the last spars of wakefulness,
mistrusting the stormy waves that threaten me‑‑
that may not be buoyant enough to lift me,
carry me, take me safely to the beachhead
of morning. So I grasp awareness
as you snore, cradled in ripples beside me,
as even the dog dreams on the floor,
wild golden eyes subdued in passionate rest.

In a vision I see myself walking beside you
on that far shore, a sea‑oat setting. 
Gathering shells, I am telling a story
to you and all who will hear me:   how I
survived the wreck, how I lived.  With that
promise before me, I succumb at last,
still graceless, still stubborn‑‑a drowning
Ishmael as the Pequod sinks into black,
perilous waters. I cling to the casket
of your faith, knowing I must escape
to tell the tale.     

- 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 as well as under the bluepepper. 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.

Monday, November 28, 2016

New Poetry by Neal Heron

The first thing I ever heard

last night the wind had something to say
I stayed awake listening
he whispered through my keyhole
I eavesdropped from my bed
his words were foreign to me
their meaning beyond my reach
though I pretended he spoke of love
roared of boundless love
I told myself he reflected on a glorious life
or an adventurous affair
either way
I believe it brought him to his knees
a man who saw the light
I could think of nothing better
than to listen to the old man’s wail

- Neal Heron 2016

Neal Heron is a young, unpublished Austrian writer of music and poetry. For two years he lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the appreciation for art and the exposure to striking individuals, such as Henry David Thoreau and Charles Bukowski, intensified his interest in American literature. After his return to Austria, he resumed the small town life. He currently works in a furniture store to save up for studying music abroad.

Friday, November 25, 2016

New Poetry by Michele Seminara and Robbie Coburn

Circle One

those desolate pastures 
the wind secures the dancing wattles 
unshaped and rusting, 
bark fraying from their trunks,

a lack of coloration is no irregularity, 
stuck in the line of fire 
as it electrifies the buried voices 
of ancestors who create captives, 
binding the collar from the body to the neck, 
beneath the continual storm, all being fixed to chains

out at Woodstock the smoke descends, 
the doused air dives into itself

becomes a spire of ash rising— 
the light peers through cloud 
where human flesh seeds the inferno.

- Robbie Coburn 2016

The Harrowing

the body an inferno; 
buried ancestors' voices rising 
through the spire of the neck— 
flesh into fire.

captive in those human pastures
being dives into itself— 
descends through binding seed 
becomes the light.

- Michele Seminara 2016

These two poems are from a collaborative chapbook, Scar to Scar, just released through PressPress. Scar to Scar 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

New Poetry by David Ades

We, Of the Bleeding Hearts

We, of the bleeding hearts,
tend our little fires in the encroaching dark

as we have always done,
as we will always do,

even as we recognize less and less in the world,
even as the wolves circle closer

baring their teeth, snarling.

We cannot help ourselves,

we sing the songs within us,
the prayers, the incantations,

we whisper our hopes,
the dreams we will not relinquish,

our hands reaching out to touch
their beautiful pelts.

- David Ades 2016

David Ades is a Sydney poet returned to the fold after a long stint in that troubled federation north of the line. He has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Pushcart Poetry Prize and the inaugural 2014 University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor's International Poetry Prize.

Friday, November 18, 2016

New Words and Images by Wayne H. W Wolfson

Leonard C

I will not pretend to have been hardcore fan as so many will now do on their social media pages, using an instance which will be forgotten by them in a few weeks as another jump on the band    wagon-look at  me moment. 
I liked some of his work and had privilege of seeing him play tiny venues several times before his rediscovery. Like anyone else who has picked up a pen and knows how to use it, a nod in his direction must be given regardless of how differently one's ink splashed from his.
Had he only written a handful of songs, and not decades worth, his place in history would have been secured. Much like Bob Dylan, his vast catalog is a mixed bag, with different artistic phases resonating with people. 

Before his rediscovery by the public, to be a fan of his was akin to some sort of secret club. After a certain point he managed to have the dichotomy of being both an institution while also maintaining the veneer of being an artists' artist. Last decade or so, to be into him was not the admittance to the club but rather not citing Hallelujah as favorite song. (This song has been sucked dry of all its beauty and tension by all the over earnest covers and serving to facilitate the American-Idolization of singing. Perhaps if we can get a decade or so of silence we can take this piece back).  To share jubilance or a bit of poetic melancholy is to salute him in the way he would most approve.  Nov 10, 2016 

Wayne H.W Wolfson 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

New Poetry by Jon Bennett

Harry the Biting Dog

She locked it in the bedroom
so I knew there’d be no sex
as I listened to it
snarl and claw at the door
“He just needs to smell you,” she said
“No, please!” I said
Harry the Biting Dog
had a mouth like a crocodile
and in the short time she owned him
bit two bicyclists, a lawyer
and the 8 year old son
of a Russian immigrant named Morris
I couldn’t figure it out, no one sued
not even the lawyer
maybe it was her eyes
same as Harry’s
tired of being beaten
and ready to bite.

- Jon Bennett 2016

Jon Bennett is a writer and musician living in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood.  You can find more of his stuff on iTunes, Pandora, and other music sites, or by connecting with him on Facehole at

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

New Poetry by Sarah May


2:35 am
A sugar-shouldered woman on TV strides towards me
smirking at our national anthem, humming numbers, holding back

3:20 am
I hear knuckles, leather bound, knock against a diner mug-a-joe, 
now reaching for his Nokia, the ding of his red-lipped lady

4:07 am
Godammit, my upstairs neighbor moans rising on his bad ankle
He chants to himself as he dresses, already sweating

4:42 am
Olivia Benson’s buh-buh intro, hour of healing wakes, prods me
to switch the laundry, turn the kettle on, wash my morning face

5:15 am
7-11 sustenance, four gatorades in one arm
Campbell’s in the other, I return home to bathe

6:00 am
The night breaks in half, backbends into Tuesday, slathers its coral hands 
against my back like Calamine: a pep talk, mail that’s not an ad, a laugh

- Sarah May 2016

Sarah May is an unpublished, but eager poet from the not-as-hick-as-you’d-imagine city of Dallas, Texas. She currently acts as a poetry editor of Marathon Literary Magazine and is a low-residency MFA student at Arcadia University.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

New Poetry by Sanjeev Sethi


When pundits wax eloquent on political outcomes
they yakkety-yak on their yearnings.

Accepting karma is accepting debt.
The well of darkness awaits us all.

Fomentations cotton lacerations
it is the claw marks that fester.

Woes of exiguousness are washed away
in clover as memory turns them to medals.

It is never the rachis, shaft holds the attention
blush on your malar is never traced to me.

New channels frequented give away
bogie of neutrality.

When you’re nurtured by the right
it is lucrative to acquire left leanings.

Worshippers of your nowhere work
crosscut with those who reject it even
when it is rad: the breviary of bazaars.

- Sanjeev Sethi 2016

SANJEEV SETHI is the author of three well-received books of poetry. His most recent collection is This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015). His poems are in venues around the world including Poetry Pacific, Zoomoozophone Review, Indiana Voice Journal, Spirit Fire Review, Degenerate Literature, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Darkrun Review, Stanzaic Styling, Haikuniverse, Chronogram, Transnational Literature, In Between Hangovers,  and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

New Poetry by Jordan Hoxsie


bone structure
is a form of origami

i don’t want to be
your burning bush

to ignite something
i don’t worship

i want to diminish
at a steady pace

my horizons

- Jordan Hoxsie 2016

Jordan Hoxsie is a poet living in Burbank, CA. They are the founder of Varsity Goth, work as the Social Media Editor for Reality Beach, and author of the mini-chapbook cry lightning (Ghost City Press, 2016). Their work has appeared in Nauseated Drive, Vagabond City Lit, Uut Poetry, and elsewhere.

Friday, November 11, 2016

New Poetry by Abigail George

The argument

For a thousand daughters
The sun was falling. The excitement
and electric buzz of lightning.
The birds were singing. I was
Arguing with my mother. I
Was an adult. No longer a
Child. Still wanting her love.
Her attention. Her approval.
I sucked the birth of the
Machinery of the day, its sun, moon,
Stardust, planets inside myself.
I looked at my beautiful and
Headstrong mother and could
Only see a reflection of
Beautiful, headstrong me
Staring back. I remained
Committed to her even in
That moment. We had to
Meet like this. It was fate. This rattled
My comprehension. ‘Come,
Sit with me. Let’s talk this
Out.’ I wanted to say. My soul
Wanted to say but didn’t for
Fear of losing all self-respect.

For fear of losing the
Argument. I felt alive
When she said my name.
This woman had protected
Me for all of my life.
Every servant has their own flame.
The argument made me
A stranger in my own home.
I don’t know how it started.
Afterwards, I sat at the
Kitchen table eating my
Breakfast. French toast
And bacon. I relished its
Greasiness. The fat on
My fingertips and lips. I eat
Bacon as if it is part of
My religion. Burnt to a crisp is the
Way I like it. I sweep the
Saltiness, smokiness of the bacon
Into my mouth regarding
The sweetness of the day.
The windows must still be washed.
The laundry must be done.

- Abigail George 2016

Abigail George is a poet, short story writer and aspirant playwright and 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). Her story "Wash Away My Sins" was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She has received grants for her writing from the National Arts Council, the Centre for the Book, and ECPACC (the Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council).

Monday, November 07, 2016

New Poetry by John Rock

Autumn Listening

Autumn wears a descending dress
Pine wind so elegant
Blazing leaves within clear bottles of wine
Campfire a spring laughing over all history
And just out of the dancing light’s hands
Black bears who spent late summer cracking branches
Keep their noses in the air
And listen
To the human song

- John Rock 2016

Walking Poem

Old abandoned beaver pond
      all the aspens eaten
         and built with
            years ago
Yet beneath the ice
  a vibrant colony

- John Rock 2016

John Rock was born on the shores of Lake Michigan in the United States and spent many years on the shores of Lake Superior living in a wall tent with a wood stove working on poems. Moonlight on canvas is one the greatest things he's ever experienced.  More at

Sunday, November 06, 2016

New Poetry by Donal Mahoney

Bellowing by Email

It’s not good when two disturbed people
with little in common disagree by email 
on something important.

Tone and content can get raucous  
and make matters worse because each is   
used to getting the last word.

Normal people give up arguing with them
but they can exchange emails for days
and never come close to a resolution.

Their bellowing would wake a bear in winter.
I tell you this from personal experience.
I just answered that lunatic again.

- Donal Mahoney 2016

Donal Mahoney, a product of Chicago, lives in exile now in St. Louis, Missouri. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Chicago Tribune and Commonweal. 

Friday, November 04, 2016

New Poetry by Robert Verdon

shepherd’s pipe echoing

let me taste the wetness of your stones
your great walls leaping over trodden hills
and lives that have petered into nothingness
over the years before, before, before
the settling of the score
the stones wet with blood
the doll’s arm that flew off
as the sword flashed down
the policy-formation of empires
defending the might
of the lonely crown

let me sing
I am the recording angel
let me weep.

- Robert Verdon 2016

Robert Verdon belonged to Aberrant Genotype Press in Canberra from 1998-2002.
He came 2nd in the 2012 W.B. Yeats Poetry Prize for Australia, has been shortlisted in the Right Now Competition 2014, and was Highly Commended in the 2012 erbacce Prize, UK. 
His books include The Well-Scrubbed Desert (1994), Her Brilliant Career (1998), & Before we Knew this Century (2010). 

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

New Poetry by Sean Wright


My mother couldn’t abide
the smell of pine incense.
Pleaded that it reminded her 
of the cloying cleanliness 
of her own mother’s funeral.

Petulant; I hadn’t experienced
memory’s stealthy crawl
and pounce; the cruel bite
of remembrance.

Nor how memory can be
endowed through talk and thought -
so this unguarded walk
under murmuring pines
carries a sadness
trebled over time.

- Sean Wright 2016

SB Wright grew up in the NT  and currently works as a primary school teacher in SA. He’s a regular contributor to Tincture Journal,  and his poems have featured in INDaily Adelaide, Eureka Street, Bluepepper, Writ Poetry Review and the anthologies The Stars Like Sand and Poetry & Place 2015. He is currently recording the results of his year dedicated to poetry at Words Poetical.