Tuesday, July 07, 2020

New Poetry by Robert Nisbet

Dai’s Day

Dai prowls the town in deepest Western Wales,
finds garrulous acquaintance, becks and nods.
He buys a naughty postcard for his niece
in Ballymena, eats a bacon roll.

Spring soon, no burst of apple blossom yet,
but spring so soon, so very, very soon.
Two magazine rejections cloud no more
than twenty fleeting minutes of Dai’s day,
and on then to the Jug and Bottle bar,
two lagers with a sometime college friend.

Late afternoon, spring sun, and Dai, Dai’s girl,
meet in a quiet tea room

- © Robert Nisbet 2020

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who very much enjoys the current US poetry scene. He has been published regularly in magazines like San Pedro River Review, Panoply and Third Wednesday. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

New Short Fiction by S.F. Wright

The Cipher
Arlene Cardino lived with her mother. Before she was made a full-time cashier, she’d run the gift department, a job which allowed her to sit on a chair in the receiving area for long stretches of time while she opened and sorted merchandise. Once a year, Arlene attended the Renaissance Faire with her coworker, Katie, the latter of whom got into costume and jousted. Apart from this annual excursion, Arlene spent her free time reading romance novels.


Drew was responsible for changing out tills, counting deposits, authorizing returns, doing cash pickups, dealing with disgruntled customers, and supervising as few as one and as many as twelve cashiers at once. His day would run smoothly—even agreeably—if he had one of the efficient college girls or one of the more competent veteran employees for a cashier. On the other hand, his day could be aggravating if he were stuck with one of the garrulous housewives; the old man, Casey Fair; or Arlene Cardino.


Since corporate had rendered the position of gift department lead obsolete, Arlene had floated from one section to another: children’s, customer service, newsstand. But more and more management had put Arlene at cashwrap. Arlene was a slow ringer. However, she was always accurate, to the dime, with her till.
 She also went to the restroom often and for long periods of time, and always exceeded her allotted break time. Drew told Ryan Harris, the store manager, who told Drew that, as cashwrap supervisor, he should be the one reprimanding Arlene. Drew did. Arlene said it took two minutes just to walk to the timeclock, five if she stopped to use the restroom—and why should she use her break time to use the restroom when employees on the salesfloor didn’t? As for her fifteen-minute break—for which employees didn’t punch out—she didn’t consider the break to have started until she was in the break room. She walked as fast as she could, she shouldn’t be punished for not being able to move as quickly as others.
  Drew asked if she could be a bit more conscious of the time
Arlene huffed and returned to her register.

 One Saturday, Drew came in for the 10-6:30 shift. He’d closed the night before, and then drank Evan Williams and Coca-Cola in his room until two thirty. During the first hour, his mind was a blur; as it was two weeks before Christmas, the store was packed. He constantly approved returns, did cash pickups, counted down tills. Arlene had come in at eight thirty; the opening head cashier, Ken, had assigned Drew the register next to hers. So, throughout the day, he had to enter his numbers for her returns, restock her register tape, and do her pickups.
 At four, Ken took his till down, while the closing head cashier, Christina, set up her till in the cashroom. Drew had to authorize every return, exchange, and cancellation, and consequentially was constantly rushing around. So, he could barely suppress rolling his eyes when a man came to his register with a stack of dogeared books he didn’t have a receipt for and which he wanted to return to his credit card.
 Drew explained the return policy. The man was obdurate. Drew told him he couldn’t take the books back. The man got testy. 
 Drew called a manager. 
 Leonard showed up.
 A few minutes later, Leonard not only took the books back, but put the credit onto the man’s Visa. Drew was livid. When he asked Leonard why, Leonard shrugged. It was a judgment call; the books didn’t look that bad; he told the man he was making an exception. 
 Stewing, Drew said nothing more.
 Shortly thereafter, Arlene called Drew over. She held up a receipt, a woman at her register looked piqued. 
  She wants to return this book and put it back on her Amex. But this was from seventeen days ago.
  It’s only been three days. I was out of town and didn’t get back until last night.
  Drew, still exasperated, said, You can put it back on her card. He entered his numbers and walked over to help Violet, a twenty-two-year-old nursing student. And breathing in Violet’s perfume as he helped her with an exchange, he wished he had another life completely.


He thought nothing more about the return—he still smarted over Leonard’s approving the other one. When he took down Arlene’s till and she acted chilly, he attributed it to nothing more than her typical moodiness.  So, he was somewhat surprised, a short while later, when Ryan Harris asked to speak to him.
 In the tight, nearly claustrophobic cashroom, Drew’s mouth dropped open when Harris told him Arlene complained about the way he’d handled the return that was three days past the fourteen-day window.
  We know we tell our head cashiers to use their judgment, but you have to make an effort to enforce the policy—especially after Arlene was trying to enforce it herself. She felt you didn’t back her up.
  Drew looked at Harris. Any other day he might’ve let it go, but the frustration that had been building was too much: he told Harris he’d been very busy, that he’d just been overridden on a much more questionable return by Leonard, and that he did tell the woman the policy was fourteen days before authorizing it (a minor lie).
   Harris sighed. He said to be a bit sterner. Drew muttered, Fine, and returned to his register.


 He’d have Arlene as a cashier numerous times after that; always, there was unspoken tension between them. Drew knew he could’ve extinguished or at least assuaged the uneasiness if he apologized for—or even acknowledged—his cursory approval of the late return. But he didn’t think he had anything to apologize for.
  Less than a year later, Drew quit. He later heard Arlene left as well to take a job at the company’s customer service headquarters. He assumed the position would allow her to sit all day while answering the phone, which Drew was certain would suit her.

- © S.F. Wright 2020

S.F. Wright lives and teaches in New Jersey. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Quarter After Eight, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, and Elm Leaves Journal, among other places. His website is sfwrightwriter.com

New Poetry by Paul Koniecki

i tried on my father’s pants

i tried toughskin and corduroy
polyester chino cotton rayon

i tried on my father’s pants
and they were too long

i traced pictures of scorpions
on graph paper and hid them

in the miniature coin pockets
of his jeans folded laser tight

i tried on overalls
and the onesies mechanics wear

i tried on costumes and starch
spells spelling poison five fingered

death-touch curses nunchuck
training don’t ask me what i do

to make a living
ask me what i do to make a life

i am the still blue figure

the dead lake
the terrible mirror

typing like a moon
i am the little boy waiting

to grow eight legs
and a barbed tail

sting the sun
and the hand that placed

it there
make a desert of the sky

© Paul Koniecki 2020

Paul Koniecki lives and writes in Dallas, Texas. He was once chosen for the John Ashbery Home School Residency. He is the Associate Editor of Thimble Literary Journal. His books of poetry are available from Kleft Jaw Press, NightBallet Press, Dark Particle Press, and Spartan Press.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

New Poetry by Mike James

Leaving the Parking Lot of the Comfort Food Diner, West of Vegas 

Even when you don’t count highway license plates
Time passes at a constant rate. 
That’s ok. 
Most of what we see is meant to be erased. 

The desert is good at that. 
Wait long enough, sand erases every page. 
Drive far enough, nobody knows your name. 

- © Mike James 2020

Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee and has published widely. His many poetry collections include: Journeyman’s Suitcase (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) 

Monday, June 29, 2020

New Poetry by Ayodeji Otuyelu

Ungodly Feeling

We sat together under the hot Nigerian sun
Drinking palm wine and smoking weed
We laughed out so loud and free
Looking me, looking you,
eye to eye
You sipped from the calabash and so did I
Our legs gently touched and we both smiled
We both understood that forbidden fruit we craved
But I don’t want to be Eve, neither do you
Gently we let the emotions burn-out like the wrap in our fingers
As the girls joined and the conversation changed
Time never stood still, but that feeling
That ungodly feeling
remains the same

- © Ayodeji Otuyelu 2020

Ayodeji Otuyelu was born in Ogun State, Nigeria, but currently lives in New York City. He started writing poems, which he kept secret, in his diary at a young age. However, he began to perform them in public during Open Mics he hosted at Tsion Café - an Ethiopian restaurant in Harlem. It was only at this moment where Ayodeji gained confidence in sharing his writings and thoughts that captured his emotions and experiences in both Nigeria and the United States.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

New Flash Fiction by Yash Seyedbagheri


We friends have a burn party. Torch divorce papers, card statements, parking tickets, things with dark associations from last year.

We release items into the bonfire with weary rage.

Tomorrow, demands continue. Alimony? Salary cuts? Booze?

But now papers crumple. Flames rise, moon eating shadows.

We inhale smoke and relief.

- © Yash Seyedbagheri 2020

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University's MFA program in fiction. Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

New Poetry by Peggy Turnbull

When Mountains Shimmer

Each summer I visit the ridge to see
our abandoned mountain home, its matted grass,
the white pines wrapped in poison ivy. 

The field below glows with hay bales. 
No trace remains of the fire that blistered our idyll.
Our daughter married a local boy.

Her father still won’t speak to her. “Because
no one else wore a suit to her wedding.”
On an August day so hot the cake melted,

I watched him sweat in a three-piece suit. 
Shiny dress shoes made him slip on the steep lawn,
his composure ruffled by our daughter’s friends:

hippy homesteaders. The women wore 
broomstick skirts, publicly nursed their newborns. 
He never returned to our split rail fence. 

I think mountain’s green witness pierces him. 
On the Blue Ridge, memories hang on tree branches, 
flap like ghosts. Don’t harden yourself,

I try to tell him, but I am just a glimmer 
in the evening mist.

- © Peggy Turnbull 2020

Peggy Turnbull is a poet and neophyte wildflower enthusiast who now lives in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA, which is on the Lake Michigan shore. Peggy worked and lived in southern West Virginia for 26 years until she moved back to her birthplace. Her poems have recently been published in Poetry Super Highway, Rats Ass Review, and Bramble.  Her micro chapbook, Rocking Chair Abstract, is available from the Origami Poem Project. You can find out more about her at https://peggyturnbull.blogspot.com/. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

New Poetry by Linda King


you put on your good sweater
your favourite pair of jeans
real shoes instead of slippers
lip gloss

you curl your hair
wear your best earrings

you make fresh coffee
from beans
bake cookies from scratch

you add lavender to launder the sheets
sweep the patio for the third time

you weep for the ward clerks
the grocery shelvers
the empty playgrounds

and you turn the hourglass over
and again

- © Linda King 2020

Linda King is the author of five poetry collections - the most recent antibodies in the alphabet ( BlazeVOX Books, 2018).  Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals ( including a very early issue of Bluepepper) in Canada and internationally. King lives and writes on The Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

New Poetry by Jean Bohuslav

who goes

behind her yellow robes 
a camouflage not recognized 
its pleasantries float in search of love
like fluttering cabbage butterfly 

white wings 
dark centre
wielding strings in purity's name
lacking knowledge 
fooled in dream

against blue skies sunny rays
and shades of flowers motley pinks
equipped to soar then fall
returning cycles passing by 

seemingly congenial eye
till knowledge warns 
of hindrances
in woven golden thread

- © Jean Bohuslav 2020

Jean Bohuslav belongs to a poetry group in Torquay Victoria that is currently sharing thoughts via zoom, podcasts and emails.

New Poetry by Paul Tanner

*with no irony

there’s a big bloke bleeding on the ground 
and a couple of smaller dudes standing over him
looking bored. 
then at me – 
I shrug as if to say, none of my business
then go in.  
it’s not my usual advisor, it’s this woman with 
long nails and she says you know,
you should really widen your job search.
I’ve applied for everything from 
toilet cleaner to shelf stacker, what else is there?
she says well you know, 
everything’s online these days, there’s always call
for more drivers to deliver to customer’s houses.
I say I don’t have a licence.
and she says well maybe you should get one
and I ask: how am I paying for that?
and she says woah, woah, I’m just trying to help, 
there’s no need to get aggressive,
we won’t tolerate abuse, here at the jobcentre* so I give up. 
outside, the big bloke has gone 
but the two little ones are still there,
standing over the blood puddle where he was.
weird. there’s 
a bus stop across the way 
bent like your grandma. there’s
a flower somewhere. 
one of the little dudes, he smiles. the other doesn’t.
I wasn’t even signing on today, I took that bitch’s shit
for nothing. kind of like signing on. 
somewhere there’s a flower 
and the bus stop is still in use

- © Paul Tanner 2020

Paul Tanner's novel, “Jobseeker”, is available now at Amazon. He was shortlisted for the Erbacce 2020 Poetry Prize. His latest collection, “Shop Talk: Poems for Shop Workers”, is published by Penniless Press.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

New Poetry by Japhy Mitchell

Reflection of Time

Come over
for dinner
with guests who eat the napkins
barking at the dog
Watching for the real.

Things that reflect last as long
As those that shine.
The dogs not barking and
The napkins are especially
Tasty tonight.

Is a memory real
Does it count as
A reflection?

If I remember you,
Then am I the moon?

Does it matter to
The long gone sun
If a few of its rays
Keeping bouncing on?

What about a dream
A collage of abstract

Does it count?

What does a sun care
If it explodes and grows
If on some faraway place
It is part of some nighttime
Patchwork to a
Gathering of cells
Who are just a blink in time.

- © Japhy Mitchell 2020

Japhy Mitchell's poems  have been or scheduled to be published in several print and online publications, including Spiralbridge, Scissors & Spackle, BlogNostics, streetcake, Door is Ajar, The Daily Drunk, Trouvaille Review, Down in the Dirt, First Literary Review East and The Legendary.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

New Poetry by Barbara De Franceschi

I Ask Florence Nightingale 

about the pandemic,
whether her stats would add up
in this modern day surge.
She is more concerned with comfort,
numbers and models 
fascinate her brain in the midnight hours
without surpassing the need to heal.

She explains her rebellion,
the call to a vocation
unfashionable at the time,
how marriage was considered and forsaken,
a wisp of regret flavours her tone.
I want to create a backstory:
bumpy kisses in a horse drawn cart,
bodies pressed together in a doorway
as a thunderstorm steams their blood.
Was there a tearful refusal?
Did her passion for remedies 
replace her carnal needs? 
I decide not to tamper with history
lest the agony of decision is revived.

She considers the flush of a toilet 
an exciting distraction, 
hand sanitisers a gift from God,
recalls the grief of septic wounds in wartime,
how applied hygiene could have saved 
many young lives.

She adjusts her mask, 
checks the protective gear, 
still hungry for the destiny that disables fear.

- © Barbara De Franceschi 2020

Barbara De Franceschi resides in the outback town of Broken Hill. Besides three collections of poetry her work has appeared in over 180 anthologies, newspapers and journals Australia wide, on-line and in other countries. As part of the Art in Health programme Barbara has served as artist-in-residence for the University Department of Rural Health.

New Poetry by Michael Lee Johnson

Flower Girl 

(Tears in Your Eyes)

Poems are hard to create
they live, then die, walk alone in tears,
resurrect in family mausoleums.
They walk with you alone in ghostly patterns,
memories they deliver feeling unexpectedly
through the open windows of strangers.
Silk roses lie in a potted bowl
memories seven days before Mother’s Day.
Soak those tears, patience is the poetry of love.
Plant your memories, your seeds, your passion,
once a year, maybe twice.
Jesus knows we all need more
then a vase filled with silk flowers,
poems on paper from a poet sacred,
the mystery, the love of a caretaker-
multicolored silk flowers in a basket
handed out by the flower girl

- © Michael Lee Johnson 2020

Michael Lee Johnson lived 10 years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, DuPage County, Illinois.  

Thursday, June 04, 2020

New Poetry by Shannon Cuthbert

In Colorado 

Mountains looked like movie sets
And you floated in a salt pool
That felt like forever
Till your tiny cuts stung.
Driving was senseless
When everything around 
Was cut out of paper.
Dramatic red cliffs 
With edges so jagged
They peeled back your eyes.
Pit stop in a tiny town,
All wild-haired tourists 
And an antique train.
It took you through mines
Where you saw your black heart
Through stones.
Left a piece of yourself there,
A lump of coal
To haunt the earth
On your behalf.
Pausing on your way back home.
Taking tea in 
An empty store,
With cakes cut lacy,
Layered rose,
Garden amidst a cropless land.

- © Shannon Cuthbert 2020

Shannon Cuthbert is a writer and artist living in Brooklyn. Her poems have appeared in Gingerbread House, Chronogram, and Enchanted Conversation, among others. Her work is forthcoming in The Writers' Cafe Magazine, Call Me [Brackets], Liquid Imagination, and The Orchards Poetry Journal.    

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

New Poetry by Jonathan Beale

Avenue of the Baobabs

My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature - Claude Monet

In this, Aureolin realm,
Seen something Biblical 
Those amazing yet totally unbelievable
Beings – their fingers tickling
The feet of some god or other 
so vast they have become unassuming

the glib predicable sunrises I knew
Seemed strangely inferior, yet no less beautiful
Some blind believe they should be destroyed
Killing the tree of life 
While waiting for the sun’s final vortex
swansong of jonquil, Mikado yellow,
gamboge, saffron, Naples yellow,
harvest gold & Aureolin – it is their very DNA.
Someone told me, in a bar.

After it rains its reflection seems to touch
every soul. Once seen they never forget.
These monuments to individuality 
And take their place in dusty shoes,
Just a memory of what will never be again.

- © Jonathan Beale 2020

Jonathan Beale has had numerous poems published in over sixty journals including Danse Macabre, Bluepepper, Mad Swirl, Ygdrasil, Red Wolf Editions, Sheepshead Review, Poetry 24, Penwood Review, et al.  He is also published in two anthologies ‘Drowning’ and ‘The Poet as Sociopath’ (Scar publications).  And one to be published ‘Do not be afraid’ a small anthology dedicated to Seamus Heaney. His first book of poetry The Destinations of Raxiera (Hammer and Anvil) in November 2015. He lives in Surrey U.K.  

Thursday, May 21, 2020

New Poetry by Michael Ceraolo

Cap Anson

Growing up in the town my dad founded,
we kids tormented the so-called friendly Indians
Later, I didn't want to play against
the Walker brothers, Fowler, Stovey
or any others of that race,
though I was forced to once or twice
I didn't even want Irish players on my teams
if there was any alternative
And I was far from alone in this;
I didn't have the power to ban them,
though I did have some influence
because I was the greatest player of the age
as well as a highly successful manager
Would I have felt and done the same
had I grown up in a different time and place?
Even after all this time,
I can honestly say I don't know,
though I wouldn't bet against it

Charley Radbourn

I loved base ball even if it wasn't respectable,
and after the season I had in '84
I earned both money and respect
I loved Carrie even though society said
she was a woman who didn't deserve love:
her first husband, she, and I
all died of the same social disease;
who contracted it first and passed it on
is unknowable now, and doesn't matter
You love who and what you love,
and I loved and still love
base ball and Carrie, without apology

Byrd Lynn

Comiskey slandered me as unpatriotic
because I went to a shipyard
to work and play ball during the war,
just as he slandered Jackson and Williams,
but that doesn't justify what they did
Joe and Lefty were my friends,
but don't let any of the Black Sox bs you:
that wasn't a one-time lapse in judgment;
they were up to their necks in it
All during the '20 season they watched the scoreboard
to see what Cleveland was doing,
and if Cleveland was losing or had lost,
they did something to make sure we lost too
My career ended after the '20 season;
I sometimes wonder if that was because
of guilt by association

- © Michael Ceraolo 2020

Michael Ceraolo is a 62-year-old retired firefighter/paramedic and active poet who has had two full-length books (Euclid Creek, from Deep Cleveland Press; 500 Cleveland Haiku, from Writing Knights Press) and has two more full-length books (Euclid Creek Book Two, from unbound content press; Lawyers, Guns, and Money, from Writing Knights Press) in the publication pipeline.

(Editor's note: the above three poems are from the "Dugout Anthology", a Spoon River Anthology for baseball.)

Monday, May 18, 2020

New Poetry by Jason Ryberg

Storm a’ Comin’

There’s a blanket of black wool
that’s been pulled over the city

(over this little nameless hole in the prairie).

There’s squadrons of orn’ry flies
buzzin’ about and stingin’ and the faded, 
ringin’ reports of car horns, here and there.

There’s pages of splayed-open books
on auto repair and Common Missouri
Wildflowers whipping and flipping
in a nervous Missouri wind.

There’s cats and dogs
conspicuously ducking for cover
and birds takin’ the last bus out of town.

There’s a heavy incandescent density to things
like the boiler-rooms of all the world
are just about      to blow 
and everybody, everywhere
secretly seems to know it
and even though it’s only 4PM,
the only light to speak of
is the ghosted-out fluorescent resin
of oxide lamps just now ghostin’ in.

And over across town,
on the far side of the train yards, 
right next door to Big Maybelle’s Beauty Emporium,
there’s two old boys sittin’ on the front porch
of a boarding house, 
hootin’ at all the sweet, young things 
as they come and go,

sippin’ on their whiskey drinks 
real, real slow 

in sweetly calibrated synchronization
with the melting of the ice cubes.

Their bones are ancient humming architectures
of radio towers and tuning forks.

Their pop-bottle bi-focals peer deep into the future.

One of them leans over a little
and says to the other,

Storm a comin.’ 


- © Jason Ryberg 2020

Jason Ryberg is the author of thirteen books of poetry, six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders, notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be (loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry letters to various magazine and newspaper editors. He is currently an artist-in-residence at both The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection of poems is Standing at the Intersection of Critical Mass and Event Horizon (Luchador Press, 2019). He lives part-time in Salina, KS with a rooster named Little Red and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River. 

New Poetry by Joanna M. Weston

Arriving Home

the man comes
up the hill
dragging miles
and his shadow
behind him

he has Ireland
in his suitcase
ruined castles
massive cathedrals
hospital visits
family members
and a camera
to hold them all

- © Joanna M. Weston 2020

Joanna is married, has multiple spiders, raccoons, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen-houses. Her middle-reader, ‘Frame and The McGuire', was published by Tradewind Books 2015; and a poetry collection,  ‘A Bedroom of Searchlights’, was published by Inanna Publications, 2016. Other books listed at her blog: http://www.1960willowtree.wordpress.com/

Friday, May 15, 2020

New Poetry by James Walton

The I Know a Dead Mountaineer Society, Concedes

The cherry wood honour roll burns air gasping for lettering
a toast for scalers who bathed at the source of the Ganges
just so they could divine is Atman Brahman an answer 

reaching for those beads of months without footing
while Bach parades Air on a G String amid foothills
of ever decreasing amplitude the gold lettering returning

to a powder best left for oxygen yet spent here by prayers
and the ridge line so cold in pre-Winter life of dormant forest 
where a cross of ash is all still present of the weather boards

the wind battered in a calling for membership the entrance 
a question for admittance as the linseed dried of once such lustre
out of a foolish need to tame the replies of seeking pilgrims

who scattered to corners an eternal child’s marble bag leaching
found a way to climb unaided to the nearest heady outcrop
where no direction gains a bearing except for the next one

- © James Walton 2020

James Walton is published in many newspapers, anthologies, and journals. He is the author of four collections of poetry. He can also be found at: https://jameswalton.poetry.blog

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

New Poetry by William G. Davies Jr.

First Love

The new shadows arrive
like a schoolyard
full of children 
jostling, exuberant 
to blanket the new grass
so that the way
your hair is combed
and her lips unresolved
to mere words
float solely
on some rift
of springtime
and the gala
of being,
to which
you've been invited.

When The Bard Came Home

A red tulip,
perhaps the closest rendition
of Shakespeare’s cheeks
was unabashedly struck
from the ground.
I placed it on the Bier
of my hand
and proceeded solemnly
into the house
where I arranged it
in a jar of water
and set it on the windowsill
from whence it became
this beautiful sonnet
above a sink
full of dirty dishes.

From a Screen Porch

A slender limb
opens it’s pink billfold
to a warm cashier
whose necklace
of dandelions
and emerald eyes
speaks of the rain to come,
that revered teacher
who lives far off
in the woods.

- © William G. Davies Jr. 2020

William had a slim volume published by Prolific Press in 2015, titled: "Before There Were Bones".

Monday, May 11, 2020

New Poetry by Robert Nisbet

Some Small Night Music 

Walking the evening and the street,
you will glimpse odd, sudden edges
of life’s back-parlour narratives.
Two girls, just caught, just 
in their may-time’s bloom, between 
the bawdy confusion yet to come
and the slow, grinning wish to bike
the length of the street. These two
holler their happiness from yard
to pavement. A boy, just six maybe,
strops his sister, stamps on a tin.
A cat slinks through a hedge.
Suppers sit. In some houses there will
be sex tonight, some of it good,
as there will be hurt and anger. 
Night composes its music from
the irrevocably intimate.
This is love, a street’s love, unrefined.

- © Robert Nisbet 2020

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who very much enjoys the current US poetry scene. He has been published in magazines like San Pedro River Review, Panoply and Main Street Rag. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

New Poetry by Sean West

Out at Me

You take me out at high
noon to the flat pools of Moffat
beach where rocks yawn

like warm honeycombs
or wasp’s nests smacked
from rafters with a broom

I pluck black and white
sea critters from pools, blow
coolly on puckered lips 

of their shells to see pink
sherbet claws flitter out
delicate as eyelashes 

Such curious eyes staring
out at me

You tell me not to hold
him above water for long
or he’ll dry up and die 

I put him back, find instead
a snapped fishing line nearby
with an iridescent lure tied

to the end. It looks like
a wide-eyed sardine poking 
out a grappling hook tongue

Such a furious eye tearing
into me.

- © Sean West 2020

In 2019, Sean was shortlisted for the Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in StylusLit, Stilts Journal, and Baby Teeth Journal, among others. He lives in Brisbane and you can find him at www.callmemariah.com. 

Thursday, May 07, 2020

New Prose Poetry by Howie Good

Repairing the World

Like in a riot, police were shooting rubber bullets. I was rushed by strangers to the hospital. It was dark, stifling, and dingy. The doctor cut my feet open and put pennies in the incisions before sewing them back up and wrapping them in bandages. We were both crying. The moment had the reverence of a flag-burning ceremony, which is performed when a flag is too ragged to fly. Later at home I looked down and saw the bandages were bloody. My mother said, "I just need to grab a lab coat and one egg and I can fix this.”

The Walking Dead

Thinking about escaping across closed borders, I dug a hole outside. It was hard work. I pulled out bricks, barbed wire, glass bottles and jars, and old cans as I dug deeper. When my mind drifted too far into sadness, I stopped. Everything moves slowly now. I’m learning to be stingy with supplies. On the table is a bunch of flowers I found in the trash. This may be a good time to catch up on The Walking Dead, but I stand at the window that looks out on the yard. Somehow, just standing there feels like a hopeful gesture.

Sunday Blues

A lot of people feel depressed on Sundays, starting about 4 in the afternoon. I’m different. I feel depressed on most days, and it doesn’t matter what time it is. A grief without any obvious source has pursued me my whole life, a claw-like hand that will abruptly fall on my shoulder. Sometimes the hand can get too heavy to shake off. Overnight a woman who jumped from the old railroad bridge was pulled from the river still alive. The water seems particularly agitated now, sounding like it’s muttering, “Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck,” over and over.

- © Howie Good 2020

Howie Good is the author of What It Is and How to Use It (2019) from Grey Book Press, among other poetry collections. 

Sunday, May 03, 2020

New Poetry by Mark Danowsky

In spite of horror movies

I pick up the man from Novie’s
bar on the other side of town

So drunk he put in the wrong address―
says when we get there he’ll show me

At the house, the shadow of a small dog
jumps against the front door’s frosted glass pane

I put on the car’s flashers―
a metronome breaking the dark 

The shimmering lake water
is not visible from the car 

I follow the man behind the house
leaving the driver’s side door ajar 

- © Mark Danowsky 2020

Mark Danowsky is author of the poetry collection As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press, 2018). He is also the author of Nightfall and Becoming aware of the tide, microchaps published by Origami Poems Project. His poems have appeared in Eunoia Review, Gargoyle, The Healing Muse, The New Verse News, North Dakota Quarterly, Peacock Journal, Right Hand Pointing, Shot Glass Journal, and elsewhere. He’s Managing Editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.    

Friday, May 01, 2020

New Poetry by Paul Tanner

closed an hour ago

and there’s still 6 pallets of stock left to do
before we’re allowed to go home. 

I step outside for a smoke.
and this guy comes up to me and he says: you not open?
I tell him: no
and he says: oh come on, just let me in to get a few things?

now I could explain that our legal trading hours are over
and that there’s no money in the tills,
that we are not insured to have people besides staff in now,
that I’d be fined and fired for letting him in, and so on 
but look, we closed an hour ago
and there’s 6 pallets left
and I suspect he knows all this anyway
and is just bored and lonely
so I just tell him: no

oh, do you know what? he says. I’ll be making a complaint about you! 
he marches off
and when he gets to the road, he turns 
and walks backwards across it, yelling:
a car swerves around him, horn blaring –
he stands there in the road waving his fist at the car 

then turns to face me again: 

and my peaceful well-earned break?
it’s nearly over.

- © Paul Tanner 2020

Paul Tanner's novel, “Jobseeker”, is available now at Amazon. His latest collection, “Shop Talk: Poems for Shop Workers”, was published by Penniless Press in 2019. 

Monday, April 27, 2020

New Poetry by Felix Purat

Passing Through Semmering

I finally see difference,
The landscape art of olde
From Habsburg fief to Habsburg land
Huge white houses dotting
The peaks of conquered bergs

The more weight is placed
The more forests lean over
Ready to fall into the chasm
Of uninteresting Eigentlich
Secluded via labyrinths of tunnels

A single shack to the south
Links axon to axon: 
Rundown and abandoned, 
Shining like a copper penny
Upon the sun's ascension. 

- © Felix Purat 2020

Felix Purat hails from Berkeley, CA but lives in the Czech Republic. He is the author of five micro-chapbooks (courtesy of Origami Poems Project) and has had many poems published. Links to these poems can be found here: beyondnorcal.wordpress.com/publications

Thursday, April 23, 2020

New Poetry by Sandra Williams

People Tell Me Things

People tell me things
I listen, I see and remember
Not lost to me—
A casual thought, a memory, a mood
a moment shared—
spoken or in gaze or gesture

I fill in the blanks with imperfect truths
from shards of stories
that “never finish what they have to say”

I create composite effigies-- 
patterns, themes, tales
of grief and gallantry,
magical thinking and illusions,
doubt and faith, sorrow and despair
kindness and grace
love and loss

Do I betray a trust 
   elevate to myth
     redeem a transgression?

People tell me things and I write
- © Sandra Williams 2020

Sandra Williams taught World Literature, and Writing for over twenty-five years at both the university and high school levels. She has written poetry and essays, and has published articles in New View magazine UK. She is author of Moss on Stone: a historical novella, based on the diary of the young Susannah Norwood Torrey, a mid-nineteenth century Rockport, Massachusetts woman and Time and Tide: a collection of tales. She lives in Rockport, MA with her artist husband Robert; both are inspired by its beauty and its community of creativity. She facilitates poetry workshops, was co-chair for the Dogtown Writers Festival: Finding Words in Place (September 2019) and a member of the Board of Directors, all at the Gloucester Writers Center (www.gloucesterwriters.org) in Gloucester, MA.