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.

Monday, July 16, 2018

New Poetry by Jim Conwell

In the Field

The oats are tall here. 
They stand up straight and dry, 
seeds hanging like fruit along their edges. 
The vast rustling forest of this field 
is full of bugs and hunting frogs, 
unaware of the reapers to come.

The land falls to the road and then lies flat to the vast horizon. 
And here, at the boundary of this small farm, 
the earth has been flattened
into a smooth hollow.
He has lain here on some moonless night.
His body, on this spot. I know it.

He is small, perhaps the size of five years, maybe seven. 
He is not dressed for this place or this climate. 
No-one has pulled a coat on him and roughly tugged the edges closed.
But he does not feel the cold, though the ground is cold and the air colder. 

And no one comes in the night 
though sometimes, he thinks he sees something travelling 
along the field’s edge 
and he makes himself smaller without moving.

- Jim Conwell 2018

Jim Conwell’s parents were economic migrants from the rural west of Ireland and he was born, and has lived most of this life, in various parts of London. He has worked as a psychotherapist for nearly 35 years and, in recent years, has dedicated real time to writing. He currently has had poems published in various magazines including Pushing Out the Boat, Shot Glass Journal, The Coffee House Anthology, The English Chicago Review, The Fenland Reed, The Frogmore Papers, He has had two poems shortlisted in the Bridport Poetry Prize. He is married to Annemarie van der Meer and they have eight grandchildren. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

New Poetry by Tug Dumbly

One Version of Les

What’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution 

– Constantine Cavafy

Your bullied childhood your moneymaker,
embunkered otherness a blanket 
burred about you by your beloved nanny 
Nurse Grievance, flopping out her trusty old dugs
to be suckled yet again, way beyond 
the age of consent, two frothing jugs, 
bile and honey, poison next to cure, 
one expressing a dairy of dissent, 
the other drugging away the pain. 

She soothes you to sleep with fairy tales,
fables grim to whet the spade, 
to dig the trench, to send periscopes
up all those sweaty academics  
and desperado intellectuals   
scoping you from their towers, 
all those elites howling for your scalp, 
stalking your corpus down Escher halls 
of privilege and power. 

But Christ, what if the unthinkable happened Les
and the barbarians cancelled the gig,
threw in the towel on pillaging Bunya,
slapped ya back, said good on ya,
even worse, dared to love ya?

Jeeze, maybe someone blundered.

What if the enemy didn’t exist,
or had done a Gallipoli flit,
pulled out on the sly, leaving you squeezing 
a figment of thistle in each clenched fist,
howling at a bucolic sky?

No lie, Les, but could be 
apart from the odd angry scribbler –  
the Last Tasmanian Poet gone feral,
carrying on a futile Thylacine resistance –
the Huns and Vandals have abandoned 
their advance on your books. 

Their Hercules couldn’t brook your tortoise 
over the distance, you set to mean a slog.
(Though the animal could be wrong –
Jeremiah was a bullfrog). 

To make more shrapnel of metaphor,
maybe your Turk has crept down to their trench
to find nothing but gifts – chocolate bars 
of critical acclaim: ‘Attaboy Ataturk, 
your salvos won the day!’

You stormed Normandy without casualty,
took Troy without a horse,
the fortress doors of Academia 
are unguarded and swinging wide:
‘but come inside, you’re on the course!’

The chatterers and cultural pashas
offer garlanded entrĂ©es, to  
Chairs bestrewn with posies, in 
lecture halls bedecked with bouquets.

On a laurel sash pinned a note:
‘sorry we missed you. Just popped down to the shop
for your latest anthology. 
Make yourself at home –
we’ve drugged the dogs, drained the moat. 
Everyone’s dying to meet you, 
if you haven’t another appointment …’ 

Fuck, what a fly in the ointment!
Universally lauded. 
How dare they queer your disappointment!

But how ‘bout this Les – if you finally 
win the dynamite prize, don’t chase us like 
the loaded dog. Just accept our surrender. 
You won the war, unconditionally even.

Though she still won’t like the terms 
your old Nanny, Nurse Grievance.

- Tug Dumbly 2018

Tug Dumbly is a poet and satirist who has performed his poems, songs and monologues on radio and in schools, venues and festivals, both in Australia and abroad. He has released two spoken word CDs, once won the Spirit of Woodford storytelling award, at Woodford Folk Festival, twice won the Banjo Paterson Prize for comic verse, and three times won the Nimbin World Performance Poetry Cup, most recently in 2017. He was runner up in the 2015 Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize, and recently completed a project writing 12 Christmas-themed poems, based on historical documents, for Housing NSW, which were displayed in installations around Sydney’s Rocks area in the 2017 Christmas season. 

Sunday, July 08, 2018

New Poetry by Barbara De Franceschi

Hands in the Dark

I haven’t got my mother’s hands.
Her fingers were like ivory candles 
that lit piano keys with a kindled flame.

Memory links to an ache in my chest.
I don’t remember those hands 
in tenderness. 

They must have lifted me from sleep,
wiped away tears,
bandaged a scraped knee.

Recall allows me passage into many things,
but I cannot remember 
her caress.

I had a fascination 
with her slender wrists,
tiny blue veins crisscrossed underneath,

a black leather watch band 
stretched in a perfect circle around fine bones,
the perfume of bergamot

splashed skin the colour of latte.
At night when I toss in restless dregs
I sometimes feel her touch.

- Barbara De Franceschi 2018

Barbara De Franceschi is an arid zone poet from Broken Hill. Besides three collections of poetry her work has been published widely in Australia, in other countries and on-line. Barbara has served as ‘artist-in-residence’ for the NSW University Department of Rural Health to promote Art in Health for undergraduate health-science students.

Friday, July 06, 2018

New Poetry by John Rock

On The Beach
One boat easing from the harbor

All this grown-up sky and mist-cloud left
  with room to breath
All this washed up night and scrolls of night architects
  rolling from dream to dream
As if the shore is a dream the sea met
  with grand intentions and introductions
    deduced in cast gold and shoals of silver returns
                          by the moon so light and viable
                                           as all of us so ever-poured

So close to the morning
         or is it moonlight?
All I remember is you spooning me off the bed
That was the beginning of the universe
And when I climbed back in and smelled your hair
That’s when the earth began

- John Rock 2018

John Rock is a poet who lives in New Mexico in the United States and is undergoing a lifelong training to see how well the wind can be listened.  More poems and novels for free at

Thursday, July 05, 2018

New Poetry by Kenneth Trimble


I noticed the junkie scratching his arm on the train,                     
I noticed the drunk  singing sweet Jesus,
I noticed the hookers on Grey Street,
I noticed the studs in her nipples,
and I noticed the books on her shelf,
Emma Goldman, Patti Smith,
I noticed people drowning off Christmas 
I noticed the rise of bigotry and hate,
and I heard the sounds of storm troopers
marching through our streets, 
I noticed the last gasp of a dying woman,
and a child crying in her crib,
I noticed  the war being played out,
entertainment for the bored,
I noticed the flood,
I noticed the fire,
I noticed the cyclone,
and I noticed the tangerine sky as 
the forest went up in smoke,
and I noticed the darkness enveloping our 
I noticed the light.

- Kenneth Trimble 2018

Kenneth lives in Euroa in country Victoria. He has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize in America. He has a number books out through, the last one Collected Works, performed at Collected Works Bookshop in Melbourne and elsewhere. His poetry has been published across the world and his work appears in a number of anthologies. Kenneth is heading to India later this year on a Buddhist pilgrimage .

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

New Poetry by Terry Wheeler

moon boot

short blonde in
a moon boot

youthful strides
so confident

no overcoat
beanie or gloves

for her
they’re superfluous

winter westerlies and
bold jacky frost

silvery choir of
a shivering host

a grin says
bring it on

her eyes dance
to spring’s song

- Terry Wheeler 2018

Terry has been writing poetry for many years and recently had a couple of short poems published in the on-line magazine Bonsai Journal.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Calling all Poets


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.