Wednesday, April 25, 2018

New Poetry by Robert Verdon


if you vanish into a vortex 
wherein the dibbler dines 
on petals of dissolved earth,
grounded beneath childhood pines
and a navy blue neckerchief of sky …

o nimble membrane,
will not the waiter leave you jostling
with grains of sugar on an 
inland sea of chilly plastic,
sticky on the damp octagonal table,
till he has his own restaurant?

- Robert Verdon 2018

Robert Verdon came 2nd in the 2012 W.B. Yeats Poetry Prize for Australia. His books include The Well-Scrubbed Desert (1994), Her Brilliant Career (1998), & Before we Knew this Century (2010).

He is currently finishing off a PhD at the University of Canberra.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New Poetry by JD DeHart


On the window to the left,
the neighbor closing in.  Large
vans, gas grills, overtaking
with suburban life.

To the right, it was a vacant
lot, now overrun with chickens,
rabbits, a teeming zoo of human
and animal life.

Then there are the fast-moving cars,
children dressed as superheroes,
frequent deliveries, all of which
brings to mind:

What used to be life in the country.
The slow rumble of gravel once
or twice a day signaled a passerby.
Enough silence to dwell on.

- JD DeHart 2018

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. He blogs about books and authors at

Monday, April 23, 2018

New Poetry by James Walton

At the meter board

The power is off moon less night
stars broadcast, a lingua franca 
in orbit of this fatal space.
Yet when dawn puts a finger
to my nose and the river speaks again,
everything is new innocent as genesis
without a shadow not as before.
Birds flutter through a reveille
small talk of waking things,
my life out on the perimeter.
The old world’s a safety vest
too pithy, how the same instruments
cleaned and dressed made ornament.
A jangle of keys to witness origin
replacing fuses, where light has no mercy
only a well honed opinion.

- James Walton 2018

James Walton was a librarian, a farm labourer, a cattle breeder, and mostly a public sector union official. He has been published in many anthologies. journals. and newspapers.

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Now that yours truly has pretty much signed off on the latest collection, I have entered that strange twilight period familiar to all writers and artists between the decision to call time on a project and that project finally seeing the light of day. As Leonardo Da Vinci once said: "Art is never finished, only abandoned." 

Anyway, while I look around for ways to fill this void, I am once again


Regular followers of Bluepepper should know the spiel by now, but if you are new to the pepper, just follow the submission guidelines near the top of the task bar to your right.

Friday, April 13, 2018

New Poetry by Mohammad Ali Maleki

We Sing the Song of Terror

Hey, Freedom Law.
Don't talk about the springtime. 
We are in prison right now! 
Come and break our locks. 
Set us free from this prison —
We face no justice from you. 

Hey, Freedom Law.
How can you claim justice exists? 
No one here shows us mercy.
Come visit us in these conditions —
Like poisonous serpents
we sting ourselves all the time. 

Hey, Freedom Law.
In this murderous world
only cruel people govern. 
They trundle us through our own blood —
We are victims of their thoughts
and that makes racists happy.

Hey, Freedom Law.
Don’t break our locks after all! 
There is no one to put us right —
We sing the song of terror;
we no longer want to be freed. 
We are not afraid of these prison bars anymore. 

Hey, Freedom Law.
I no longer sorrow for freedom. 
I’m used to this dry and infertile land.
My days and nights, friend, 
have become a frightening nightmare. 
Look how these bad dreams are now a habit for me. 

Hey, Freedom Law. 
These prison bars
are a cancerous tumour; 
they stick to my body like meat on a bone. 
I know I will die here soon. 

Hey, Freedom Law.
If we meet someday
I’ll tie you onto the back of a wolf
and send you to the wolves’ city. 
Then there’ll be no sign of you on the ground
and the flowers won’t wither in your shade. 

Hey, Freedom Law.
I’m not afraid of death. 
But I'm afraid of freedom:
I'm scared of this two footed beast. 
Because I can't live 
outside these bars

- Mohammad Ali Maleki 2018

(Translated by Mansour Shoshtari. Edited by Rose Turtle Ertler & Michele Seminara)

Mohammad Ali Maleki is currently detained on Manus Island. He spends a lot of his time thinking about and writing poetry — a new craft he has been working on for the last two years. All his poetry is written in Farsi and translated into English by his dear friend Mansour Shoshtari, also detained on Manus Island. Mohammad has been writing to Australian musician/artist Rose Turtle Ertler for the last two years. Rose and Mohammad collaborated on a tiny zine called The Pond last year and Mohammad has just released The Strong Sunflower, an illustrated poem which Rose and Janet Galbraith produced and published through Writing Through Fences. Mohammad also has a chapbook of poetry, Truth in the Cage, forthcoming from Rochford Street Press. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

New Poetry by Indunil Madhusankha

The Nest of Love

The giant mango tree on the rear lawn
towers above the window in my room upstairs
Beneath its canopy, laid on a limb, there is the bird nest
A small family – the mother, father and the son
In the evenings, when the sky turns primrose
with the golden moon peering above the distant hills
I hear some tweeting sounds coming from the nest
Then I rush towards the window
I see the tiny bill – wide open, rising above the nest wall
saying a thousand little things to its mother
who pats the baby head with her soft slender neck
In a while, the father’s shadow emerges from the distance
with some wild berries clipped between the mandibles
fluttering his wings more hastily seeing home
As he lands on the nest, the mother welcomes him
tenderly kissing his sturdy neck
Then both start cuddling their son
They chop the berries with their beaks
and feed the baby with the bits
who gulps them down
while relishing the very warmth.
Oh, I am so happy that I have been
lucky enough to witness this nest of love!

Indunil Madhusankha 2018

(Previously published in the Leaves of Ink Magazine on 15th March 2016)

Indunil Madhusankha  is currently an Instructor in the Department of Mathematics of the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Even though he is academically involved with the subjects of Mathematics and Statistics, he also pursues a successful career in the field of English language and literature as a budding young researcher, reviewer, poet, editor, content writer and proofreader. His creative works have been featured in several international anthologies, magazines and journals. Moreover, Indunil was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2016 by the Scarlet Leaf Publishing House based in Toronto, Canada. 

Sunday, April 08, 2018

New Poetry by Chibuihe Obi

resurrection body

when the sun sinks, the world rises on my tongue 
like a conjurer, i let memory find its way to the river
watch her dip her soft toes and her smoky  dress 
watch her fill her pores with lucky bones – the dense & the dizzying 
in this space,  childhood is defined thus:
the lethargic silence  of nuts before the arrival of squirrels 
day old spiderlings on their rocking-cribs before the waves
and the kicking 

if i were a plume, i  will fruit
if a spread of greenery, i will let the children lead their dreams through 
my pasture, run me into a rollercoaster 
i will be their loose earth and sandy beach
i will be their spinning wheels, their ginger bread house
sand man in place of snow

but here the body is a hill of crumbling earth
memory pins it's badge on ash 
on this burnt out wood 

here growing old is like a tooth
sinking all the way back into the gum

into this fleshy earth – my origin

- Chibuihe Obi 2018

Chibuihe Obi,  the co-founder of Kabaka Magazine is a fellow of the Ebedi International Writers Residency. His writings have been published or forthcoming in Brittle Paper, Expound Magazine, Praxis, Kalahari Review, 14: an Anthology of Queer Art, Mounting the Moon, etc. He is the winner of Brittle Paper Award, The Babishai Niwe Haiku Prize, and has been nominated for the  Pushcart Prize. His is currently on the Gerald Kraak Award shortlist

Thursday, April 05, 2018

New Poetry by Abigail George

As I came home

(for the Dutch poet Joop Bersee)

    Even when it hurts like the sun. The spark
    of manhood or woman-speak. Even when
    it hurts gulls made of flame on an island.
    Even when it hurts glaring or silence and

    tears. Even when it hurts treacherous smoke
    or clouds. Even when it hurts arrows or a
shoreless continent. Even when it hurts love
    or swept away sea or wound. The tall,

    green-shifting universe is all proof I need
    that once I was loved by you. My hands are
    lonely. Beneath me lies gracious fury. At
    the end of the day, I find a mountain there.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote poems. Rudyard
Kipling. Thomas Hardy. At the end of suffering
    comes joy. At the beach, I watch seawalls
    fall. Man, beast, bird bodiless from where

    I stand except the English poet Rupert Brooke.
    Except Rome. Finding the source of the Nile.
    I turn my eyes to see your liquid eyes. Your
    sun-like face and I wonder who your God is.

    I’m tired with work and suffering. Rain
    waters the scorched earth. Lust can comfort
    us in primitive and savage ways. I think
of the bottom of the world. More beautiful than words can
    ever say. I think of the crying of a wild
    bird. The loneliness found in a city. The
    shining centre of the earth brighter than
    the sun. The devil is a ruthless creature that
mocks the non-humanity in all of us. It is
Christ that possesses me entirely, completely.
    I think of those inheriting control. Those

    fetching angels that have taught me that
    guilt is a lifeless unruly whirlwind. All I
see is thin people wearing enigmatic smiles
    eating air on the covers of magazines
    with self-mastery. Icy people with lofty
    ambitions but I am not one of them. He
    looks older, more handsome with the beard.
    I could start my life over with somebody
    new but my brain tells me we’ll probably
    be strangers for the rest of our lives.
    Reading has taught me that even solitude
    can be miraculous. Futility. Loneliness.

- Abigail George 2018

Pushcart Prize nominated Abigail George is a South-African based blogger, essayist, poet, and short story writer. She is the recipient of 2 writing grants from the National Arts Council in Johannesburg, one from the Centre of the Book in Cape Town, and another from ECPACC in East London. She is the writer of 6 books. She briefly studied film at NFTS (Newtown Film and Television School)  followed by a stint at a production house. Her latest essay ("Paradise") has been published online in Entropy and deals with themes of clinical depression, despair, loneliness, hardship, isolation, peer pressure, and mental illness.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

New Poetry by Michael Keshigian

What to do with Intangibles

Early morning, a little snow
teases the outstretched branches
with the help of the wind.
It is cold, but inside the stove’s warmth
cradles the recliner in the lamplight
where he reads poems.
His fingers, thick and calloused,
flip pages enthusiastically
as he notices the shape of his nails,
much like his father’s,
no moons rising.
And like his father had done,
it’s time to contemplate departure.
One day, the stove unlit, will dispense
the damp aroma of creosote,
the book will lie closed
upon the arm of the recliner.
One day, a relative will enter 
and acknowledge 
that the house is empty,
no warmth, no breath, no poetry,
an indentation upon the seat
next to the book.
The change will go unnoticed
by the snow, wind, ice, and 
those few crows meandering
for morsels upon the buried landscape.
He returns to reading,
the words delight him.
What would become of these joys,
he wonders. 
Someone should take them.

- Michael Keshigian 2018

Michael Keshigian is the author of twelve poetry collections including: Into The Light, released in April, 2017 by Flutter Press. Published in numerous national and international journals, he is a 6- time Pushcart Prize and 2-time Best Of The Net nominee. His poetry cycle, Lunar Images, set for Clarinet, Piano, Narrator, was premiered at Del Mar College in Texas. Subsequent performances occurred in Boston (Berklee College) and Moleto, Italy. Winter Moon, a poem set for Soprano and Piano, premiered in Boston. (