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 stuartrawlinson.com.

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 https://amazon.com/author/dawidjuraszek 

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.