Monday, December 31, 2018

New Poetry by Abigail George

The education of stars in outer space

(for the Dutch poet Joop Bersee)

Encountering the words of an artist.
Words the dreams of an artist. The
marvelous substance of the shine of a
meteor is stuck there unparalleled. It
is like the education of stars colliding
in the inheritance of outer space. The Nobel
prize does not mean he is far superior.
It means he is a teacher. We are two
writers. Two winters. He is older. I am

younger than he is. The lessons that
I am learning from him is not lost on
me. This meeting point of two strangers.
In dreams trees can grow out of sidewalks
without any water. Johannesburg is not
as ancient as the fields are in London.
We are two writers. It does not matter
where we find ourselves. Or our winters.

- Abigail George 2018

Pushcart Prize nominated for her fiction “Wash Away My Sins” Abigail George is a South African-based blogger at Goodreads (link on Piker Press), essayist, poet, playwright, grant, novella and short story writer. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. She is the recipient of writing grants from the National Arts Council in Johannesburg, the Centre for the Book in Cape Town and ECPACC (Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council) in East London. Her writing has appeared numerous times in print in South Africa, in various anthologies, and online in e-zines based across Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Ireland, and the United States. She is the writer of eight books including essays, life writing, memoir pieces, novellas, poetry and a self-published story collection. She lives, works, and is inspired by the people and mountains of the Eastern Cape of Southern Africa.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Bluepepper would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers and contributors a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous 2019.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

New Poetry by Guy Farmer

At Home

Anytime she meets
Someone in public,
She’s quick to smile
And assure them
That everything is
All right.

Her eyes dart around,
Worried that someone
Will see the secret
She thinks she’s hiding
But is abundantly apparent
To everyone else.

He awaits at home,
Permeated with
Unresolved anger,
Pacing back and forth,
A sordid creature
Guarding its lair.

- Guy Farmer 2018

Guy Farmer writes evocative, minimalist, modern poetry about the human condition. Visit him online at 

Friday, December 07, 2018

New Poetry by Michael Keshigian

The Projector

Upon the old film projector
a few revolutions remain,
moaning as it casts
paltry images of black and white
upon the portable screen,
enabling us to visit a bygone era.
Rapt, we stare at the curdled frames
of lost memories, departed parents
and us, their offspring,
squinting at our younger selves,
we frolic under the glow 
of ancient lights,
carefree lunges beneath 
the cold water sprinkler
that emanated from rusty faucets
attached to a three-decker abode,
the summers unfaltering,
we gathered, smaller, more flexible,
clowning, our parents, so young, 
no wrinkles, more hair,
all of us summoned
for a group pose 
by the off-screen director.
How silently time runs its course,
with strange, peculiar hints
if the changes are noted.
We yearn to climb back,
recapture innocence and joyfulness
the calm, silver light exudes.
Then it ends, the old reel flapping,
the brief nostalgic rekindling
has also run its course.

- Michael Keshigian 2018

Michael Keshigian, from New Hampshire, has been published in numerous national and international journals, recently including Aji, San Pedro River Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Muddy River Review, Passager and has appeared as feature writer in over a twenty publications with 6 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations (

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

New Poetry by John Rock

In Reply To Autumn

  I know what you’re telling me:
  that there’s only listening
  that if I close my eyes these colors
     are so close to what I see
           like a coral reef
                                   of lichen so blue
                                   and changeable just enough
      to know that something has happened
                           summer’s possession
   like leaves’ fingers falling on dawn’s keys
             cars full of hung-over people returning to the cities piled on the horizon
                   beaches laced with char
                           washed up from a fire on an even more northern shore
                            raven stepping among the necklace
                                  looking for things to eat
                                                        among the jewels of fallen fire
                    all living from fires even more northern than America

- John Rock 2018

John Rock grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan in the United States and spent many years on the shores of Lake Superior working on poetry.  He presently lives in northern New Mexico where he's in love with attempting to transcribe the wind and moonlight in the pines.  And the ravens soaring above them.  More poetry and novels at

Sunday, December 02, 2018

New Poetry by Jonathan Beale


Beneath It’s mauve tangerine evening 
pained immortal against the blue 
Cast from mother earth’s essential 
Being – to seeing where the… edge 
Meets – here is where the avenues 
and not the streets weave
among the myriad of green
against the fir trees vengeance 
and the hopeful cherry tree spring 
too far way, as this time consumes us.

- Jonathan Beale 2018

Jonathan Beale is published in 50 plus journals including Mad Swirl, Danse Macabre, Aaduna, Your One Phone Call and The Screech Owl et al. He has a volume published by Hammer and Anvil The Destinations of Raxiera, and is published in The Poet as a Sociopath and Drowning published by Down in the Dirt. He lives in Surrey.  

Saturday, December 01, 2018

New Poetry by Glenn Ingersoll

two too neutral

I like to imagine myself healthy and beautiful.
Also, with a chihuahua.
He raises his head from the carpet to look at me.
Our bodies organize themselves.

It’s cold. Three prongs of antelope horn.
Water’s antecedents.
A man I once knew is taller than I knew.
It breaks out of the carapace all squishy-squashy.

Physical violence in response to moral indignation.
I would purr, too, if I were you and in this situation.
The pearly button once closed which shirt?
Billions of solitary friends.

- Glenn Ingersoll 2018

Glenn Ingersoll works for the Berkeley Public Library (Berkeley, California) where he hosts Clearly Meant, a reading & interview series. He has two chapbooks, City Walks (broken boulder) and Fact (Avantacular). He keeps two blogs, LoveSettlement and Dare I Read. Recent work has appeared in Crack the Spine, Bridge 8, and Askew. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

New Poetry by Linda Stevenson

Subtle Gardening

Whipper snipper and spread soil;
there’s a clumsy green thing
needs putting away, falls
down at the slightest.
We need to be delicate
and gradual
in our enterprise. Only a girl
can work with me on this block,
caring more for feelings
than results.

You could dig out a few more
dandelions, plant
native violets. It’s not really
a rockery, not
fully indigenous,
not planning for a lawn.
I like the dead leaves,
mulch and covering.

It will be hot and tomorrow
also. I’ll be watering early.
It’s the understandings,
the understatement,
the tiny, hardly visible,
we’ll achieve;
not even sure if they will
for any time at all.

- Linda Stevenson 2018

Linda is a founding member of Melbourne Poets Union, facilitator of poetry groups in gaols and community centres, contributor to anthologies, recently published in various literary magazines. Her chapbook, "The Tipping Point", was published in 2015.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

New Poetry by James Walton

an absence of Giotto

in the damper sand
a streamer of sea weed
like an arrow at the bullseye


curled as it is
by a one-way wind
its mystery of being


the odds beyond reckoning
a circle for employment
its circumference deep enough


until the tide reclaims
places beyond the living
of each day and night again

- James Walton 2018

James Walton lives in South Gippsland. He was a librarian, a farm labourer, a cattle breeder, and mostly a public sector union official. He is published in many newspapers, journals, and anthologies, and has been shortlisted for the ACU Prize, the MPU International Prize, the James Tate Prize, and Jupiter Artland. His books include The Leviathan's Apprentice  2015, Walking Through Fences 2018, and Unstill Mosaics (forthcoming). 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New Poetry by Ben Hession


First, there’s the liminal, bluish hued depth
unwittingly inviting disputations concerning
your very existence, such is your colour:
scientists can never quite fix the frequencies.

Is there, rather, another knowing,
an intuitive wheel spinning within
an inner spectrum? Or, with light shining
on a blank CD, the yield of a delicate song,

its muted voice singing in one’s hand, resisting  
erasure, a meditation that’s played again and again?
See now, how this dye does not bleed, but it is
the bleeding, the flow of distinctiveness, always

re-asserting itself, always reborn, the riband river out;
the present fastens its own measurement, ‘pauses’ here.

- Ben Hession  2018

Ben Hession is a Wollongong based writer. His poetry has been published in Eureka Street, International Chinese Language Forum, Cordite Poetry Review, Verity La, Mascara Literary Review, Bluepepper, Marrickville Pause and the Live Poets anthology Can I Tell You A Secret? His poem ‘A Song of Numbers’ was shortlisted for the 2013 Australian Poetry Science Poetry Prize. He has reviewed poetry for Verity La and the Mascara Literary Review. He also writes music articles and is involved with community broadcasting.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, MC (18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918)

While the rest of the world begins a week of solemn ceremonies and interminable platitudes to mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the German Armistice in the West, Bluepepper feels it appropriate to mark the 100th anniversary today of the death of one of history's great soldier poets and one of the great prophetic voices of the Twentieth Century. Lieutenant Wilfred Owen MC was killed while attempting to cross the Sambre-Oise Canal in North-Eastern France and was promoted to Lieutenant posthumously. In one of those cruel ironies with which the war was replete, Owen's mother received the telegram informing her of her son's death while the bells tolled the signing of the Armistice across London. He was one of 20 million soldiers and civilians killed during the war across vast swathes of Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Persia. Those four years between 1914 and 1918 are perhaps the most tragic and costly example in human history of the cost that can be borne by people when their leaders fail to meet the demands of their office, scrambling for justifications for the damage when the damage has already been done. It should also be borne in mind while we are laying our wreathes next week that a further 70 million people perished in the ensuing two years from disease, famine, civil war and unrest, all as a direct result of the war and the poor decisions made in the northern summer of 1914. Lest we Forget.

 The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

 So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
and builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.

But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

(Wilfred Owen, 1893 - 1918)

Thursday, November 01, 2018

New Poetry by Robert Verdon

Home-grown Utopia

Morning glory
as our windows
slant to take the sun.

So I reflect,
coming home
from Kate’s at five,

a cat sees a mouse
as many people
see a ham sandwich.

We cannot ‘address’
Horror and Holocaust, the best art
is to prevent its occurrence.

The kangaroos of dry Mt Ainslie
have left their homeless neighbours
and are once more on the lawn,

so I, again, awaking, say hello
and turn to home-grown utopia
— the real destination,

adding more life
than Coke (even Peruvian)
ever could.

- Robert Verdon 2018

Robert Verdon lives in Canberra and divides his attention between writing, academic work, and gardening. He is about to submit his PhD in poetry composition to the University of Canberra. Once he was a member of the scurrilous and numinous Aberrant Genotype Press. As well as many publications and the odd prize over the years, he has a large horde of unpublished poetry.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

New Poetry by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

A Better Catch

The seventy-year-old house
has its charm, well, it doesn’t.
It is the only house I know
where I can find my space.

I have no idea how long I will
remain here. I surmise forever.
It’s hard to meet someone.  It
is far from confounding.  I know

I am not some great prize.
A thief or a fish is a better catch.

I lay in solitudes and I listen
to the train’s whistle late at night.
I never lose sleep in the old house.

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal 2018

Luis, born in Mexico, lives in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles. His first book of poems, Raw Materials, was published by Pygmy Forest Press. His latest chapbook, Make the Light Mine, was published by Kendra Steiner Editions. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming from Ink Sweat & Tears, Poppy Road Review, and The Stray Branch.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

New Poetry by Laurinda Lind

En Plein Air

I've taken my class outside
so they can write paragraphs
about any damn thing instead
of staying squeezed between walls
which they will do soon enough
once snow starts. Up north here
when the freeze falls we don't 
get up from under it for weeks 
and months of our lives in our 
winter suits that look like us but 

are our cold-weather aunties 
and uncles. Now, while they 
are still their own nieces and 
nephews, they hand me their essays
instead of waiting till Tuesday

since they were so happy out 
in the air. Fifteen minutes we 
were alive in the breeze and sun. 
Five days from now we'll all be 
dead, but the dead are different 
relatives, just our DNA gone 
underground a while or for 
the weekend, which is exactly 
the way we will play it
tied inside on Tuesday.

- Laurinda Lind 2018

Laurinda Lind lives in New York's North Country, near Canada. Some poetry acceptances/ publications have been in Another Chicago Magazine, Antiphon, Antithesis, Comstock Review, Paterson Literary Review, Sonic Boom, and Stand; also anthologies Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press) and AFTERMATH: Expressions of Loss and Grief (Radix Media). In 2018, she won first-place awards for the Keats-Shelley Prize for adult poetry and the New York State poetry competition. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

New Poetry by Peter Donnelly

Slip Rates


Big economy of mind and spirit.

The world economy's figurations bottom
Out of themselves;

The ripple-effects in the markets
Through display units;

Exchange rates 
Slip like tectonic plates. 



In the oracular opening in Greenspan's vision,
Access to the touchstone,
His touch sibylline or golden.

Tenuous stagflation welters in the ether; 
Bespoke oblations to figures.


Big economy of mind and spirit,
A god that feeds off belief, and aggresses that feeding:
The money is digesting itself.

Communications trade,
Commodity of metaphor. 

- Peter Donnelly 2018

Born in Dublin in 1988, Peter Donnelly’s first collection, Photons, was published by Appello Press in 2014. Following its publication, playwright Frank McGuinness commented that "Peter Donnelly already shows he has a strong imagination; indeed, a savage one presents itself on occasion when the beautiful and brutal confront and confound each other." 

His second collection will be published by Smokestack Books.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

New Poetry by Linda Stevenson

More About the War Years

1. Black Swans

irritation/nothing disastrous
only lies and offal/sandpapers
worry to death/scratching/
pat all smooth to a swansdown/song
( I’ve studied worse contraptions )
my bed crashed lopsided more than once/
accidents on purpose/meant
I’m hiding/pretending not to have soldiered on
in toddler’s uniform/snorting derision/
after tea the oranges/sour green grapes
settling in glass/mute resonance/
sepia of absent Daddy/we throw crust
into our lake/gobbled up/
we didn’t know it wasn’t good for the ducks.

2. Pineapple

the words under the words
key words waiting/wardrobes/
is it ok to put my poem into yours?
I’ve bent over backwards to enunciate
phrases with due emphasis/
help me here Mum or anyone/it seems
like only yesterday/and I’m still coughing
something up/swollen because
allergy to pineapples/trucked
down from Queensland/never seen
before/and after Hiroshima/
they’ve done it they’ve dropped
the bomb/in our kitchen/
stained golden fruit/and blooded.

3. He and She

she told me she brandished a gun/
challenged on my behalf/ and you know
what...i believe her/we may well be
of a bloodline on trial/and what now...
if I follow down to my own death
can I bleed out phials of liquid love
for a larger purpose? nothing new/
nothing to see here/it only hurts
when I breathe/at least back then
the headline spat in your eye/
column by column of dark cuneiform/
high significance/so he taught me
how to decipher at a young age/
front page said the war was won.

- Linda Stevenson 2018

A founding member of Melbourne Poets Union, facilitator of poetry groups in gaols and community centres, contributor to anthologies, recently published in various literary magazines. Chapbook "The Tipping Point" published in 2015, active as a poet within the online poetry sector.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

New Poetry by Angelene Karas

Hyperion’s arms

Old myths have dominion over life choices.

darkness can be overcome
with the stealth of light 
but healing forces abandon me.

cascading from the darkness of the past.
I fall into Hyperion’s arms
reciting an incantation for another God.

Charon greets me in the next life.
I flick the coin rested upon
lifeless eyes in his direction.

- Angelene Karas 2018

Angelene Karas is a Greek-Australian poet who also teaches. Words can lie dormant in her mind, but when they are ready to come forth, they are explosive. Her work has been previously published in the WSUP, The Wild Goose e-Literary Magazine, Verity La and The Disappearing. She was a runner up prize recipient for the Roaming Rainbow Writing Competition in 2017.

Monday, September 17, 2018

New Images by Wayne H. W Wolfson

- Wayne H. W Wolfson 2018

- Wayne H. W Wolfson 2018

Just click here to visit Wayne's site

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Vale Ramon Loyola

Ramon Loyola, 1967-2018

It is with a heavy heart that Bluepepper must report the passing of Ramon Loyola, poet and editor, of a brain aneurysm earlier in the week. Ramon was not only a talented poet and a conscientious editor, but a kind and generous man whose presence will be sorely missed on the Sydney poetry circuit. Rest easy brother.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

New Poetry by James Walton

Do whales think in blue

Then I touched the wetted skin
fletching thoughts
the pod’s skittish deference
a line of sight

If I’d said I loved you
there where ancient sands
kissed at my toes
like keys through ribbon to paper

Or the taste of shortbread
a slow melt of lemon myrtle
old mills in renovation
a scalloped turn of edges

We pushed the clumsy calf 
shoving with our backs 
until the sea opened its palms
in sudden rolling eptitude

There was nothing left to be
our feet squeaked on the beach
laughing with our sonar code
we shook hands with the sun.

- James Walton 2018

James Walton was a librarian, a cattle breeder, a farm labourer, and mostly a public sector union official. He is published in many journals, newspapers, and anthologies. He lives in the old coal mining town of Wonthaggi in South Gippsland.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

New Fiction by Abigail George

Girl from Mars, or Postcards from far away

I stare at him from my desk. He wears thin shirts. He’s unmarried. He’s published a book for schoolchildren. All of these notes of information I store them up as I come to learn of them through rumours and schoolgirl gossip as I do my secret love for my English-English teacher. He takes the bus and every day he can be found in a thin stream of schoolchildren walking from school to the centre of town, construction all-around of a parking lot. His fingers are the fingers on a guitar. So, his words become my words. Everything about him is electric. Remembering how futile everything seemed to be in the beginning when I had first found myself in this country. Swaziland.  How miserable and homesick I had been, it had all been worth it.

In my mind’s eye in the time he takes with the short story he reads aloud with expression and the questions he poses to different students, while he walks around the class I devour the characters and the lines of poetry he recites is like a flame. He constructs fire, cats, young love, symmetry, sleet beautifully. It is almost as if I can feel the young heroine’s passion. I am that young heroine cast aside in youth, that most high feeling not reciprocated, not given a chance to develop, transition into maturity. Secret love crushed, just a seductive experiment, a material concept for my wish-fulfilment ideals.

There are molecules in everything. Even in K.R.’s feats of pretty things he left behind when halfway through the school year he disappeared on me leaving all of us half-smitten schoolgirls with our skirts hiked up high, brushing against thigh, knees quite bare and long-sleeved white blouse, dark heads bowed over their readers, textbooks and binders behind. There was no warning that he would leave to teach at another school. So, it was something that took me by surprise when the new English teacher introduced himself. And I had to learn how to cope all over again.

Stars far off were whirling away at a swift glance with a pure, pale rush on this sleeping planet. Loss I learned bound you, the beautiful, the fragile and the rare and in the swan-like wonderland of this ancient countryside I remembered playing with dolls, the wounds children would leave behind that mushroomed, exploded like torture and that was slow to vanish. I melt into the river of darkness all around me in my dreams in this foreign country. (Swaziland is a swimming goddess on the end of my mother tongue, all I want to do is translate it), darkness like a decorative shroud covers me up from view until it seems I can hardly breathe but it is for my own good. It is to protect me from witches, vampires and werewolves, zombies and the apocalypse. No more Mr Smith to protect me.

The other learners are more unforgiveable yet less conniving and wild than other girls and boys I’ve come across. There was part of me that was scared of growing older, celebrating another birthday, going through with the ceremony of all of that. All my life I’ve been, well, frightened what other people would think of me. So, this is where my conversations with Buddha and God come in. I found in silence a song of love and the older I seemed to get the more that song seemed to give way to a theory of flight and I simply came alive to see what escape there was in it.

Like shooting stars falling from the night air’s skies orbit to the earth, they do not journey gently in dreams. Mr English, K.R. is still three suns exploding in my face and in his leave of absence I found that there could be a continual sense of healing found.  Healing multiplied in name, identity, space and peace of mind. When he was no longer there, I would pretend I was writing to him in class, that he would get my letter and that I could touch the fine-fine threads of his silver hair, trembling, that I could run my hands through it, through my fingers, pinch his unkempt hair. I would write to him in equations, promising solutions, graphs that could be negotiated, essays, assignments. I knew, I knew that no relationship would ever come of it.

I was still a relatively young girl on that stretch of open road reaching emotional maturity, a spiritual existence, a sense of my physical being and the sense of the more experienced, less giving world around her. And that I was as present as present was present. I did not yet know that as a woman I would-be capable of many wonderful things in my future. I did not know then that I would become a writer. That the wisdom I collected in youth would only be put to use later on in life. I had no idea that that high school stage would pass, like the age of 16. It was a world that I didn’t quite feel up to the challenge of taking head on, made up of chiefs and tribes of men that I didn’t feel I completely belonged to naturally.

K.R. made me wish to be united against this world with someone who could speak for me, protect me against the harsher, darker elements, harmful dimensions. Already I was depressed but I didn’t call it depression then. Then I called it ‘being quiet, being slow, soaking up the sun, sucking hollows into warm chocolate Easter eggs melting in my hands, dreaming of the syllables unfolding in my imagination of haiku. In Swaziland, everyone knew that I was weird-different and in accepting that I was different took the shape of the Nile.

- Abigail George 2018

Abigail is a poet and writer hailing from South Africa's Eastern Cape.

Monday, September 03, 2018

New Poetry by David Ades

The Reaper

The Reaper resents always being described as grim
though he keeps his resentment to himself. 

Who would he tell? 

He knows it is just one misrepresentation among many
and of lesser consequence than most.

He considers himself more the embodiment of whim,

sharpening his scythe with humour and irony,
approaching his task with the gaiety of fulfilment.

He is a master of levity after all

as the dearly departed rise around him
like a throng of balloons.

It is a wonder they don’t hear his chuckle

as he comes to them, his deep basso profundo
belly laugh endlessly mistaken for the roll of thunder

after the last lightning strike.

- David Ades 2018

David Ades is a Sydney poet, late of Pittsburgh via Adelaide, who has just returned from the Queensland Poetry Festival where he talked a year's worth of poetry.

Monday, August 20, 2018

New Poetry by Renwick Berchild

Love Doodle

In the evening she sketches me.
Throws down the lines of my body, shadows my contours,
builds my eyelids and knees. 

With looping rounds she mounds my breasts,
scoops my stomach, scratches
my scars in groups of three.

Twisting strokes, she mashes my hair,
presses my lips beneath my long nose, chases
down my back, molds my shoulders.

My feet she massages into being,
my head she mounts, my tongue she inserts,
she places each weathered finger on my stumps delicately. 

She flips the pages, and now
we are rolling, swimming nude and colliding,
rising out of a bed, beaching ourselves onto the moors.

The moors, she drew them.
And the moonlight she painted, and my gasps
she wrote in ink. 

Our love, printed on pages,
a charcoal colored heart rendered in the shape 
of birch leaves. 

- Renwick Berchild 2018

Renwick Berchild is an emerging poet. Her poems have appeared in Vita Brevis, The Stray Branch, The Machinery India, Lunaris Review, The Blue Nib, Slink Chunk Press, Streetcake Mag and other e-zines, anthologies, and journals. She was born and raised on the angry northern shores of Lake Superior, and now lives in a micro-apartment in Seattle, WA. You can find her work and additional links at 

Monday, August 13, 2018

New Poetry by Nadia Wolnisty

I Can't Wait for  a Lifetime of Vanilla Sex with You

Orchids are as delicate
as the testicles they are named after,
and I have murdered dozens.
Orchids, I mean.

The one I bought at a grocery store
and gave to you to say I'm sorry
blooms more every year. You said
you thought you killed it
by caring too much, but
it came back more verdant
last spring.

You spend your days
in a cubical, getting pastier,
but I think in another life,
you harvested vanilla.

Listen, vanilla grows
on orchids and blossoms
for a few days only each year.
Hundreds of years ago, a slave
engineered manual pollination
without the use of bees.

Farmers must watch closely
because there's a twelve hour window
to get it right. One hand is to open
the rostellum, another for the stigma.

I am a private person, in my own way,
and you more so. I'll just say this:
the things you can accomplish in your own
body with a patient help.

The farmers call this cultivation.
I call it making love.

- Nadia Wolnisty 2018

Nadia Wolnisty is the submissions editor of Her work has appeared in Spry, Apogee, Anti-Heroin Chic, *Isaucoustic, McNeese Review, Paper & Ink, and others. She has chapbooks from Cringe-Worthy Poetry Collective and from Finishing Line Press and a full-length from Spartan. Her third chapbook is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

New Poetry by James Diaz

From Shadows to Star Lines

then there's the ark i never had the wherewithal to build for you
and the rain that almost took us under
and the dark we lived in for so many years
it was underneath our fingernails 
and knotted in our hair
we were dripping with it

then there's the fact of you
the feel of you, all your broken weight
your coming through the longest tunnel 
in such a daze, oh, not one single board 
could have kept us afloat then

but now, why not now
are we done fighting the old us
the terrible us
can we be beautiful and in pain
isn't there a life in that, 
all that didn't kill us but tried so very hard
and in the end fucking failed, like we did
and will again and again,

then there's the fact that we don't know what to do with each other
with ourselves, the fact that we bleed longer than most
hit harder, ride farther, fight fuck and fall deeper 
than is survivable 

then there's the fact that I love you
love you love you love you
but cannot heal you

there's the fact that you already are and just don't know it yet

Oh what terribly true things we have to learn from the dark
how to dance as if our feet were our heart, our heat
our listening little wisdom tooth fierce and wanting 
and living it the only way we know how. Broken down. Hard. Intact. 

- James Diaz 2018

James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger ( Indolent Books, 2018) and founding Editor of the Literary Arts & Music mag Anti-Heroin Chic. His work can be found in Occulum, Bone & Ink Press, Moonchild Magazine and Philosophical Idiot. He lives in upstate New York.   

Friday, August 03, 2018

New Poetry by Abigail George

The red-sparrow instinct of the phoenix

(For the Dutch poet Joop Bersee)

    The wild can be savage. Forgive me.
    Forgive me. It is my lack of memory.
    The night. The night. Ghosts falling
    From the attic of my soul. Your mouth.
    Your eyes. You’re near and that is all
    That matters. Linger. Linger. Frame
    The depths of your heart. Sacrifice your
    Heart in your twenties. Give up those
    Ghosts but only if you want to. Only
    If you dare. Look at this verse. Read
    This and weep or laugh because this
    Is cupid-country. I only knew of liberty
    When you left you see. There was no
Other way to print the face of God on the grass that
    Just grows and birds that just fly away. A woman
    Loved is changed. I’m in the deep end
    Of the swimming pool again. A mermaid
    Numb to the bone with desire and winter-
    Mischief. I’m a hungry and thirsty traveler
    With my head in the kingdom of clouds.
    A tangled mermaid. Half-fish. Half-bone.

    Half-flesh not tasting of smoke or plume.
    I have few excellent friends that I write to.
It is the writing that is the great unknown. The song.
    The pizza is cold but I eat it anyway.
    Even depressed I would pray. Meditate.
    Sit in silence for hours on end in my
    Bedroom, and the wound would become
    A spell. The hospital bed would become
The source of that spell. I was sad then happy
    Then sad again but all this time I could
    Still write. I wrote for my Father who art
    In heaven and my biological father. I
    Wrote for my brother, and his son. My
    Mother and my sister. Your poetry is
    Made of concrete though. You’re priest,
    And curator. Prophet and husband. Father
    And poet. You’re brilliant with words, Joop
Bersee. I’m writing this for you. To you. Eating this
    Cold pizza was as depressing as the day.
    Near the city of Johannesburg there’s a
    Darkness there that’s the friend of sinners.

- Abigail George 2018

Abigail's book, "All About My Mother", is available for free download from Ovi Magazine's online bookstore.

Monday, July 23, 2018

New Poetry by Linda Stevenson

“About one microsecond before sleep falls”

A poet answers me thus,
speaking of grasping tulips/phrases
in those gravis, divided moments...
and I would add
a full blowzing moon
if you yank your window blinds
up, venting into darkness,
slipping in and out of the spotlight,
offering flowers in sacrifice.

He didn’t actually include tulips,
my poet friend. I wrote them in,
thinking of the red and orange ones
they brought me, my guests;
imagining Sylvia, in hospital,
writing of tulips, her clipped accent
muted by white paper, white nurses.

See how things connect, see how
our minds are not so separate,
see how half-acknowledged truths
prickle us, even at bus stops,
when the waiting becomes an ode,
a cry transposed to scribble,
a volume of old sighs,
a valediction.

- Linda Stevenson 2018

Linda is founding member of Melbourne Poets Union, facilitator of poetry groups in gaols and community centres, contributor to anthologies, recently published in various literary magazines. Chapbook "The Tipping Point" published in 2015. She is also active as a poet within the online poetry sector.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

New Poetry by James Walton

Converted Maternity Wing, Wonthaggi

I live in the old lay over ward

the infants’ windy smiles
fall out of the lining of night
a row of piano keys resting

whilst at the end of Campbell Street

the fishers 

pudgy fingers hands of bananas
are dragging lines for ocean trout

saltier from the desal plant

in water needed to flush rivers 
back to the sea

ankle deep a wading foreshore
my forehead is breezing 
             then a coal train
                  stalled in a tunnel

gaunt by steam whistle moves

birds beneath the netting
the quince unripe

dawn hooking silhouettes
chess with macadamias
leavened decades in covenant

away from the ticketed price
squirming and fearless
             layettes to dress
                  a value of things 
louder than the dormant blinding

- James Walton 2018

James Walton is a Gippsland poet.