Wednesday, May 22, 2019

New Poetry by Abigail George

The genius of the fish

(for the Dutch poet Joop Bersee)

My mother was a woman who cut a striking figure in 
blue jeans even well into her sixties. She was a 

woman half-formed by the green sea. You would find 
me after watching my favourite soap in the afternoon

weeping amongst the glaciers, catching the oyster-cloth
of my breath considering every forward lurch of my 

sin into hell. I will still remember and go on remembering.
A mother who was also a sister, a daughter who was now

an orphan. Touch me. I am flesh and bone like you,
chiseled into an aching, living, breathing thing. Into this

human body engineered for love and the psychology of 
it all, of most of all disability and I think of the genius 

of fish. How they move in water, gulping in air through
their gills. Supreme triumph after triumph. How perfect

they seem to be on the surface of things. They’ll never 
know what it is to dance in their bare feet or sadness or

electroshock therapy. I think of you with a kind of longing.
Sometimes in the same way I think of John Nash. I over-

think of this empty mirror. No reflection, no muse, no
nation there, no habitat, no cave dweller. I’m more or less

drone than bat. Seed is found there in the elements and 
dimensions of nature. People are found there in swimming 

pools in the same way they’re found numb after taking pain 
medication. Girls remind me of Updike. Faces that I have no 

longing to kiss. Boys remind me of Sartre and Beauvoir’s 
relationship. Their union erratic, unpredictable. With their 

faces that I have no longing to kiss. I long for you. How
I long for you. Your company, to sit next to, to understand

that there is only this love in the world and that nothing
divides us absolutely. You’re reflection projected, muse

interrupted, chaos and disorder exploding like bombs 
in my brain. I write to reach you. All I ask in return is that

you accept me high and low, crushing and numb, deaf  
to the burn wound of my soul, to the voiceless bone sticking-out.

You’re my girl, you’re my girl, you’re my girl. Reminding
me of Updike, Rilke, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Bambi.

- Abigail George 2019

Pushcart Prize-nominated Abigail George is a South African blogger, essayist, poet and short story writer. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. Her latest book is The Scholarship Girl published by Zimbabwean Publishing company Mwanaka Media and Publishing and edited by Tendai Rinos Mwanaka. She is the recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council in Johannesburg, one from the Centre of the Book in Cape Town and ECPACC in East London.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

New Poetry by Terry Wheeler

hyde park

bugger all degrees
of separation for
cattle ticks and
the bush bred

wondering if don walker
ever ran across
great auntie evie
up at the cross

when hyde park winos
on the picnic tables
were the best
chess players

awol for a week while
on tour they found
thelonious monk there
asleep on a park bench

evie the black sheep
would’ve connected
with thelonious or don
outside the square

- Terry Wheeler 2019

Terry worked in the public service for decades and was inspired to write after seeing Michael Dransfield poems in The Australian newspaper when a teenager. Terry has been published in Australia and abroad since retiring. He lives in Brisbane when not travelling.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

New Poetry by John Rock

Moon Full

just each other’s night to sing
just each other’s warmth and elegance as if formed from moonlight
your nipples dark upon the raft of silver breath of silver earth
as coyotes sing wilder in the moon-stenciled forest you move
as Icarus through his love of life transformed his wings and dove into the sea
  over and over as the story is told I travel into you and look down to see
    the moonlight walking into the sea

- John Rock 2019

John Rock grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan in the United States and spent many years on the shores of Lake Superior writing poems among all the shimmering mosquitoes and frogs.  He presently lives in Northern New Mexico.  More poems and novels at

Monday, May 13, 2019

New Poetry by Mark Roberts

Darkness. Orange. Circa 1966

this darkness so thick
    you can raise an arm
        and reach into it

night clouds cover moon and stars
    there is nothing outside
        no street lights no car headlights
i lie in a bed under a mountain of blankets
    the wind moving trees beyond the window
        unknown sounds
dogs bark cows bellow
        scratching sounds
            there is no difference
between opening your eyes
        or keeping them

- Mark Roberts 2019

Mark Roberts is a writer, critic and publisher who is based in the Blue Mountains, NSW. He is the founding editor of the Rochford Street Review and runs Rochford Press with Linda Adair. His collection, Concrete Flamingos, was published by Island Press in 2016.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

New Poetry by Diarmuid ó Maolalaí

My bleeding fingers

I don't know. I must
have caught them somewhere. I was 
distracted, unpacking the car
in the countryside - out here 
anything can be an edge. but I like it, 
even with my bleeding fingers - 

the way water 
breaks in the river 
like gin 
pouring over ice
and the way you can walk out at night
and see more stars 
than anywhere. together
we bring bags
and bottles
to the cabin,
stretch, and take our turns
to piss. I rinse my hand 
with a tap,
fed by wells
and freezing.
westward, the sun
is approaching the mountains
as we try to get a fire on,
and the cats
crawl down walls
to lick honey from my cuts. you told me you knew
of an antiseptic
remedy - I can't believe
you meant honey
and wild cats. 

Diarmuid ó Maolalaí 2019

DS Maolalai has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, "Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden" (Encircle Press, 2016) and "Sad Havoc Among the Birds" (Turas Press, 2019)

Monday, May 06, 2019

New Poetry by Rosanna Licari

Field of Vision

The sash window divides the view equally.

Above the meeting rail, pure sky –
pale blue, cloudless, divine.
And below, the garden rooted in earth –       
green, fecund, foliaged. 

And what are we to do but consider the limits?

Layers build the atmosphere.              
The attributes of changing weather
order the troposphere, our home. 

Among bee-smothered flora
fallen fruit rests in the garden. 
At the minutest levels 
all is a play of chemical equations.

Yellow and white flashes –
cockatoos weave through the leaves.    
Their hoarse screeches urge us further.

We press on,
breaking through the celestial dome
portrayed on ceilings of cathedrals
and beyond the exosphere 
into unknown spaces. 

- Rosanna Licari 2019

Rosanna Licari is the poetry editor of online literary journal StylusLitHer work has appeared in various journals and anthologies, and she recently completed a Varuna Residential Fellowship to work on her collection, "Earlier”.

New Poetry by Rob Schackne

Gentle Winds
(i.m. Les A. Murray)

Stretched out
reclining in a chair
pensive poet, vale
yes, might as well
make what you will
a cup of coffee
a book of poems
the struck hand
relaxed in trance
the hat's outside
the search terms
the available grants
pull the other one
please, gentle winds
grace and presence
now translated
a bit of forever
into other tongues

- Rob Schackne 2019

Born in New York. Migrated to Australia in the early 70s. I have recently returned to Oz from China, where I was teaching for 15 years. Now living in country Victoria. The fresh air and blue skies are astounding. When I'm not writing, I like taking photographs very much.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

New Poetry by James Walton

The Transmission of Leaves

This is the transmission of leaves
the eatings worth of physillids
a dusting of nigella seed
within the guilty fingerprint

by the unravelling meander after rain

all cochineal as maple floats
those burnt ceramics of summer
now cracked and soothed under shade

turned to a gentle tajine of promise

an exclamation of hover flies pretending honey
a flutter of thoughts to native bees
out of the thirst for white ironbarks

waves of Jackie Winters hustle refraction
through a band of coppiced saplings
a glisten in outrageous hemlines 
of pleated scarlet firmament

where steppe nomads prance
their cupid dance of migration

while the butcher bird is unwrapping
all the glossy paper

toting up how many shades of bark
in reams of paisley decadence
it will take to dress this naked garden
amongst the lust of leucoxylons.

- James Walton 2019

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). 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Vale Les Murrray (1938-2019)

Bluepepper wishes to mark the passing of an, at times, seemingly immovable object in Australian poetry. A colossal talent and a perplexing human being whose talents we admire and whose convictions we respect, if not always the methods used to express them.


Monday, April 29, 2019

New Poetry by Danny P. Barbare

Just to Say Says the Janitor





At Work

Everywhere, says the janitor with a 
   broom and a
   dustpan in the Doctor’s
pictures can take me,
like the Campbell Covered
   Bridge in autumn 
time and the old Bridge to Asheville
   in the greenery.

 The Janitor’s Faith

Says the janitor, if I
have my health I don’t
   have nothing
except my faith in an
   old straw broom
to sweep my troubles
   into a dustpan.

- Danny P. Barbare 2019

Danny P. Barbare resides in Greenville, SC. He attended Greenville Technical College. His poetry has recently appeared in Columbia College Literary Review and Cardinal Sins. His poetry has been nominated for Best of Net and has won The Jim Gitting's Award. He lives with his wife and family and small dog Miley in the Upstate of the Carolinas.

Friday, April 26, 2019

New Words and Images by Wayne H. W Wolfson


There was the stray white cat that we fed paella to. For point of reference, we had to give it a nickname but could not agree on anything. 
I wanted to go to the bull fights, but you were scared. 
Late at night we lay in bed listening to the boy down in the courtyard practice all the sad songs on guitar. You asked me to tell you a secret and it was then that I understood you better.   


My lips still felt the heat of her kisses and tasted the lingering salt of our combined sweat. 
I pulled the covers down, exposing my torso. The places that had already dried felt strange as the breath of the fan hit them. It was as if I were feeling life through small barriers of shed skin.
Carmen got up to use the toilet. I lay there with my hands clasped behind my head too lazy to pull the covers up despite now being cold. 
She stood, a silhouette in the doorframe, the light which managed to squeeze past her producing a flatter twin upon the floor. 
I knew that she wanted me to say it, but I was not in the mood. 
She would not move from her spot until I did. There was no way to win this battle of the wills as were I to opt to just drowse, then when she got back into bed it would wake me. 
I lifted my head up:
“Que hora es?”
She did a little clap and got back into bed. I had not changed my position, so she rested her head against my shoulder. I could feel her smile.
The last words of Billy the Kid. 

- Wayne H. W Wolfson 2019

Thursday, April 25, 2019

New Poetry by Stuart Rawlinson

The Last View of Sea

There was a prize
for whoever saw it first
a dense blue sliver
between two low hills
at sea level, the water
chopped and fizzed 
waves unable to hold
together under the 
moon's duress.
eyes squinted
in a golden glare of
sand. hair matted 
in the salty air
backs turned, towels
shook, the wide open
expanse narrowed
like clock hands
reaching for noon

- Stuart Rawlinson 2019

Stuart Rawlinson is a Brisbane-based writer, focusing on poetry and currently writing his debut novel. He released his first poetry collection in 2015: Encyclopaedia of Trees is a 19-poem collection on a theme of time and memory and each poem accompanies a piece of original music. He is also a regular contributor to Project 366, a collaboration between poets and artists, and maintains a literary blog at

Monday, April 22, 2019

New Poetry by Dawid Juraszek


and now they're out
for good
released and at large
not going back underground
not leaving either
red-hot and self-sustained

levers and engines
generic condemnations
personal sacrifices
signatures and ratifications
won't slow the winds
calm the seas

all that's left with us
is false
and blind
tucking us in
with a reassuring smile
while what we need is courage

- Dawid Juraszek 2019

Dawid Juraszek is a bilingual author and educator based in China. A published novelist in his native Poland, his fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in The Remembered Arts Journal, Amaryllis, The Font, Artis Natura, and elsewhere. Visit 

Monday, April 15, 2019

New Poetry by Rob Schackne

Remembering The Stairs

- for Julie Pendleton

I grew old and winded
stairs reminded me of swings
of rhythm and raucous play
and once or twice a hard fall
up or down it doesn’t matter
the sums of toil I remember
the sum of each laboured step
the tremble on each landing
I see a prehistoric fish in a net
strong hands catch my breath
for the exit & entry at the end
there's a door I’ll need to unlock
fumbling with a girl’s memory
for a key I once had but lost
my gasping heart bursting
finally for summit flowers.

- Rob Schackne 2019

Born in New York. Migrated to Australia in the early 70s. I have recently returned to Oz from China, where I was teaching for 15 years. Now living in country Victoria. The fresh air and blue skies are astounding. When I'm not writing, I like taking photographs very much.

Friday, April 12, 2019

New Poetry by Pauline Edmonds

As it was in the beginning

'Is now
and ever shall be'
as you rise from bended knee
do you see
a stained glass window
see a new beginning
and an end?
through a prism
of colour
see a glow of wonder
'world without end’
‘As salamu alaykum’

- Pauline Edmonds 2019

Pauline lives in Torquay, Victoria where she has been attending creative writing classes for three years. Pauline has nine adult children, thirteen grand children and two grand dogs. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

New Poetry by Valli Poole

Summer Weekends

On the weekends my grandfather rose early,
dressing himself in his old weekend clothes.
Then with tapered-fingered hands and a
body aching with age he set about gardening.
I'd wake up to the sounds of wood being
chopped for the wood stove,
We always had a weekend roast no matter what the season but
as a concession granddad would make me a summer fruit salad
with peeled green grapes,
like I was Mae West.
All day I'd tag along behind him as he weeded and
lovingly dead-headed the roses. I distinctly recall that as the heat
beat down, him taking off his shirt revealing a lean
sun-striped upper body.
I can see him now leaning in on the garden hoe
deep in thought as he smoked a cigarette with quiet relish.
I never wanted to leave his side on those days,
our quiet chatty times together
away from my two mothers and the chronic
erupting anger of the house.

- Valli Poole 2019

Valli Poole is an Australian poet and publisher of a small press Blank Rune Press. She has been published in Australia and internationally

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

New Poetry by Mark J. Mitchell


He lost his religion
in the rain
on a Thursday.
The sun stayed out.
It fell off him
like snakeskin slipping
off a jacket. It curled
and blew across the square.

Not long after—
a desultory Tuesday, say—
after the rain
had absconded
with what was left
of his money, he died
in a very noisy
and very public
heartbreak accident.

- Mark J. Mitchell 2019

Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing .A Full length collection of poems will released next year by Encircle Publications.  He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks— Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  He lives with his wife the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.

Monday, April 08, 2019

New Poetry by Tug Dumbly

Bad Economics of a Haunting  

I lived a year away from home at a school
and have relived every day in that place,
every bastard, and every boy whose face 
I’ve torn through tracing paper and missed
ever since, like that girl once glimpsed
on the Jersey Ferry in Citizen Kane.
And I have relived every sadist’s forehand
smash of the cane through cotton jim-jams
to leave your arse a railway switch-yard
of black tracks, joining up with the tracks
of adjacent arses in the shower block,
which now, I’m ashamed to say, conjures

nothing so much as a death camp.
And still I hear the spider purr of that
woodwork master burring the name of his
favourite boy as he bends into him behind the
humming lathe; see still the kindly Reverend's
adam’s apple wobble under his dog collar

and his face sorrowing to a Pieta
as he says this is going to hurt him more,
before whipping me like crimson Christ  
after Wind in the Willows in his English class.
But my heart hurt more; this a betrayal
by one I’d loved best.

It wasn’t Dickens. Beyond the scatter  
of beatings and fist fights that year is mostly
minuteness and mundanity, the threaded beads
of small human exchange, of banter, joke,
jibe and mock; and kindness too, I’ll concede. 
I re-see every weather, every melting bar 

of Sunday heat, every icicle under a tap 
in a frost. Odd details, like the foul margarine 
that congealed on bread like a cracked sheet 
of frozen piss. All this I see again. Every which way 
I’ve relived the year in that place for more hours 
than ever I was there. And just why mystifies.

Like an amphetamine affair that implodes
in a week, then moves in to live a lifetime;
like those bad debt drug buddies and fucks
on the run, spectre flatmates and mulched friends 
greyly lurking round the landing, eternally 
crashed in the housing tower of your head.

Such uneconomical hauntings these
old familiars, such wearisome spirits,  
most dramatic duds, not horrorful, sorrowful 
or gleanable for meaning, but like a pub bore 
with nothing to say, saying it all again and again,
or a fat lollipop lady wearily rerouting 

your brain into the same backstreet maze,
or a Tom-Tom's termagant nag telling you
to take some deadend turnoff back there 
it wanted you to take … Something inside 
must like you forking through these scraps, toying with  
this food you can’t scrape from the plate.

- Tug Dumbly 2019

Tug Dumbly is one of Australia's foremost performance poets. His collection, Son Songs, was recently released through Flying Islands Press.

Friday, April 05, 2019

New Poetry by Robert Halleck


He never raised his hand,
sat in the back, stared at
the wall--silent.

Always the same clothes for gym
retrieved from the locker's bottom
still damp from the previous class.

Between periods he limped as if
he wore two right shoes.
No books, no talk.

He showed up for a reunion
with a car as big as a whale,
still silent, still limping.

Someone asked his wife--
a beauty with dark hair, fair skin
what did he do to make money?

Her eyes smiled before her lips.
He buys land where no one lives
until they need to.

- Robert Halleck 2019

Robert Halleck lives in Del Mar, California with his muse Della Janis. He has been writing poems since 1959. He is a member of San Diego's Not Dead Yet Poets and hopes to continue that membership for many years to come.

New Poetry by John Bartlett

Still Around

When we returned home
from your funeral
I found some ashes
stuck to the bottom of the container
inscribed ‘honouring a life’

Your Peter Sellers’ impressions
kept interrupting my thoughts
so I bought a
Eucalyptus Woodwardii
watering with your
washed out ashes-
dedicated to thoroughness
as always

It flowered last summer
after four years
brushes of scarlet
tickling blue sky days

You visit some nights
still insisting on wearing
those green shoes

- John Bartlett 2019

John Bartlett is the author of three novels, Towards a Distant Sea’, ‘’Estuary’ and ‘Jack Ferryman: Reluctant Private Investigator’, Áll Mortal Flesh’, a collection of short stories and ‘A Tiny & Brilliant Light’, his published non-fiction. His poetry has been published in a number of Australian and overseas journals and in June 2019 Melbourne Poets Union’s Union will publish his Chapbook The Arms of Men as part of  the Union Poet Series Chapbook.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

New Poetry by Alex Munster

The Massacre

Who am I, now they are like the others?
– this early century, late espoused murders
while music played, aircraft fell, when streets cried,
 and now in mosques among Christ’s churches.

Am I the pink-skinned, lazy invader
who bled-out white on the African sand?
Or, rejected from the holy deserts, 
I take a piece of a green gentle land?

Did we consume our credit, forfeit belief,
guilty or strong, innocent or weak?
Accept accepted thinking, and just allowed
lumpen resentment to be first to speak?

Too many already, they’ve made up their mind,
None of us better than this wounded time.

- Alex Munster 2019

Alex Munster is a retired journalist and current bookmaker who lives on Sydney's north shore.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

New Poetry by Jonathan Beale

The enigma 

Life’s helical enigma 
Inevitably - strange but true.
Too few get to really see
Only the 05.00am night owls
And the early rising Buddhists    
How ‘devil may care you may be’
Those times slip by…
Lost in traffic jams and trains delays
As the rate of change consumes 
Until time its self-changes 
Spiraling way 
As cigarette smoke to the ceiling
The enigma is never resolved 
There’s never It’s never enough time.
Never enough. 

- Jonathan Beale 2019

Jonathan Beale has work published in numerous journals,  a collection called The Destinations of Raxiera published by Hammer and Anvil recent work published in Danse Macabre, Mad Swirl, et al.  He lives in Surrey England.   

Friday, March 22, 2019

New Poetry by George Anderson

The Sport That Keeps On Giving

At the party
a footy star is filmed
at a urinal
by a mate
who posts
it online.

Another bloke 
elsewhere pretends
to root a dog
up the ass
before he pisses
on himself &
nearby furniture-
the footage
appears shortly
afterwards on 
A Current Affair. 

A footy legend turned coach
is heavily intoxicated
wearing only shorts
& bangs on a woman’s
hotel door at 3 AM
despite the club’s 
no alcohol policy. 

The disgraced CEO
cooks the books
& systematically cheats
on salary cap
third party payments.

He does what ever
it takes for the club
to keep “moving forward”.

- George Anderson 2019

George Anderson grew up in Montreal and migrated to Australia in his early 20s. He is long-term blogger at BOLD MONKEY. Recent or forthcoming chapbooks include Teaching My Computer Irony (Punk Chapbook Series Epic Rites Press), Shark in the Shallows (Analogue Submission Press) and Fuckwits & Angels (Holy & Intoxicated Publications)

Monday, March 18, 2019

New Poetry by James Walton

The Strzelecki Mountain Killings (I,II,III)


I brought down the iron bark by the garage
to give the solar panels more say
in using the day from the north east.
The mahogany wood is hard to split,
the dense grain knowing more than sin;
axe and wedge recoil 
until I find a way to work around the edge
down to the heart.
Younger branches dribble sap in thick remonstrance on my shirt -
on the sawn rounds my thumb traverses a thick history
of circles closer than early marriage,
holding more than a national library in an inch.
I strike down and shatter the lines
that were there when Charlemagne was emperor,
growing when Istanbul was just rumour to Constantinople.  


Elizabeth Watkins Creek speaks in flowing,
most often, a rustle in the back ground
like the child up first for the Christmas presents,
or a whispery kiss on your ear.
Sometimes, a lunging push that wakes in flood
when the careless water sprite surge might just
grab dangling ankles off the stringy bark bridge
past the driver’s ford;
rolling over winded flat out on your back the last thing seen
a stencil of doily tree ferns stitched on to looming white gums.
Black wallabies sip at the giggle of her ribs,
waving off the early traffic
where the sandy gravel rides the perimeter circus curves.
She springs too early, washing down McDonalds Track;
the mountain quakes its fist for her again
pleading release from the undercurrent leash
slapping the bitumen harness away.


Through the cross roads
where the big cat is claimed to wander,
past the gorging potato factory tractors
an iron tower marks the place,
where the tallest tree in the world stood.
Two brothers cut it down to measure -
the distance now in segments of fence post spacings,
a splash of orange on one to show
where the crown would have been
ten quarter acres up the road
from the rusting monument base.
Out of the aching mist on windy nights
you can hear the ruffeting of missing limbs,
waving across the valley to the Baw Baws
where a higher regnans in sanctuary,
clothed in a garland canopy
resists the tailor’s tape, 
knows better than to signal back.

- James Walton 2019

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). 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A beacon on the dark waters

I think probably enough has already been spoken and written about the hideous and still unfolding tragedy that took place just across what we antipodeans affectionately refer to as "the ditch" not 48 hours ago. Needless to say it diminishes us all a little as a species, and as tempting as it is to collapse into a slough of despair, that is precisely what the perpetrators of such heinous acts would want, and pretty much the last thing the brave and innocent victims deserve. Bluepepper would like to take this opportunity, however, to convey our deepest condolences to all those victims of this or any and every other act of violence perpetrated against the innocent. Ideology is perhaps best regarded as an occasionally useful tool to open a dialogue, not deployed as a closing argument. 

On the same day as this tragedy started to unfold, two other events occurred that we believe are worth noting. Firstly, the children of the world finally grew sick and tired of their elders' solipsistic dithering and took to the streets to voice their concerns over the lack of action on climate change. Bluepepper salutes their courage, passion and conviction, duly notes their frustration, and while in no way encouraging any child to skip class, we sense that the future will be in safe hands (assuming, of course, that our generation has allowed for one!)

The other signal event (at least to the international poetry world) was the passing of one of the pre-eminent poets of the past hundred years. We refer, of course, to American poet laureate, WS Merwin. On Friday 15th March this most peaceful, insightful, wise and dignified of poets died peacefully in his sleep at the tender age of 91, proving in some small way that there is still a sliver of justice in this world. The timing of his passing is significant for no other reason perhaps than that this tireless campaigner for the environment passed away on the same day as the youth of the world expressed their own vital concerns for how our species is treating the planet. As they (and Merwin) so rightly pointed out, there is no Planet B. 

Our own Bloodaxe Books copy of WS Merwin's "Selected Poems" is one of our most prized and dog-eared possessions, a great source of solace when faced with the many vicissitudes of this chequered life. If you have a minute, please indulge us while we share some of the great man's wisdom.

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveller
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

- For the Anniversary of My Death (1967)

RIP to all the innocent, gentle, loving, and good.

New Poetry by Tares Oburumu

How I write myself Into A Book

The room or place name for the transportation 
of memories, 
expands Jan Vermeer's craft in itself.
                        The girl with the Omnipotent Dream,
sleeps under the paintings which hang with Gogh

 in jade some-playgrounds in her childhood, 
where I huddle my body between 12am and the davenport
built into the morning, being time against solipsism, 

with the world floating above the night.
                          The behaviour of the  clock, deft handed, 
can be described, psychologically, as infinitude.

It strikes out the hours with the attitude of years yet lived.
At dawn, I should step out of myself into the city
redesigning me in its people, architect, and lights.

For a while, after moments of denial, I open the door, 
and find myself in Sasha's hands reading all of herself
to art and the sum of man.

- Tares Oburumu 2019

Tares Oburumu is a graduate of philosophy from the University of Benin, Nigeria. He's a lover of God and his daughter Sasha.

Friday, March 15, 2019

New Poetry by Tim Suermondt

It's Partly Grace

I heard a bus in the distance
and noticed close up a rat scurrying
out of a bush of moonflowers,

the night I waited for you
for the first time on a street
familiar to us both. A woman

in a light yellow raincoat
appeared—it wasn’t you, yet
I knew it would be soon, solidifying

a lovely parable how against
the odds there we were, and everyone
waiting and longing sang on the avenue

past midnight, how the mountains outside
the city marveled and moved.

- Tim Suermondt 2019

Tim Suermondt is the author of four full-length collections of poems, the latest one THE WORLD DOESN’T KNOW YOU. His fifth collection JOSEPHINE BAKER SWIMMING POOL will be coming out from MadHat Press in January 2019. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Able Muse and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

New Poetry by William Doreski

Faxing a Message from Prison

Faxing a message from prison,
I have to stand in line for hours.
Guards blot excess adjectives,
words with too many vowels,
and phrases shaped like cigars.
They ridicule love notes to judges,
flattery to sleazy lawyers,
and threats to errant spouses.

My turn. The guards critique
my awkward metaphors and excess
chiasmus, but let it pass.
The machine growls at me. Teeth
gnash as it shreds the page.
A cough from the depth of earth
has digested my message. 
A sigh of boredom suggests
that message has arrived, so what?

The guards hustle me along.
I hope that whoever received
my fax will publish it somewhere,
maybe in a local newspaper
among the hundreds of coupons
and lurid accounts of honeymoons
and obituaries of realtors
everyone secretly despised.

Sentenced to life for living too long,
I’ve faxed this last complaint
in living color. But reproduced
on flimsy paper, all streaked
and blotched, it will testify
with faceless expression anyone
might don like a mask for a laugh.

- William Doreski 2019

William's work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently A Black River, A Dark Fall (2019).