Wednesday, March 25, 2020

New Poetry by Sam Rose


I try to switch off cancer for the day, turn
the dial from recurrence to remission admit

one to a movie theatre in my head that shuts
out all possibility of an operating theatre shuts

out the future but it is only for short moments
that I can forget and only with others to distract

me it all slips out of me when I’m alone like I wish
the whole thing would - the essence of me sliding

out of this body and into the air I lose my grip when
no-one is looking I remember my lungs are there

- © Sam Rose 2020

Sam Rose is a writer from Northamptonshire, England and is the editor of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine. Her work has appeared in Barely South Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, Rat’s Ass Review, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Haiku Journal, and others. She is a three times cancer survivor and is studying for her PhD, researching the role of poetry in psycho-oncology. Find her at her website and on Twitter @writersamr.

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Bluepepper Cure

Bluepepper would like to assure all our readers and contributors that despite the current pandemic we remain fighting fit and open for business. Our thoughts go out to all those struggling at this difficult time, and although it's not much compared with food on the table, Bluepepper intends to offer as much poetic solace as possible to all those who seek it.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

New Poetry by Mark J. Mitchell

Absent Night

His missing voice never touches her ear.
Her name escapes him like an alarm bell
eludes pursuit. He must sing soft to tell
her missing voice how to find his lost ear.
Still he senses her notes. He feels she’s near—
beside the old lamp or hiding by their door.
No sign. No trails worn across the cracked floor.
Still he stays string-taut for her plucking.
He smells her return, his cool luck. He sings
behind the dark lamp, under their locked door.

- Mark J. Mitchell 2020

Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Starting from Tu Fu  was just published by Encircle Publications. A new collection is due out in December from Cherry Grove. He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he makes his meager living pointing out pretty things. He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far. Titles on request
A meager online presence can be found at

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

New Poetry by Penny Gleeson

Station Pier 1955

(Drawn from the memories of the writer’s mother)

It had brittle fur
with cross-stitched eyes
and as it was cleaved open
unfurled sawdust
which floated to the floor.

Not like the camels
she saw, as the ship
sliced through the Suez,
their manes cast in the arid wind,
lips curled back
testing the direction of the desert,
their telescopic limbs
tracking the trade-winds.

Her legs still wobbled
like the waves,
as a pink-faced man
with silver-skinned buttons,
unwrapped her fingers
from a felt leg
and disembowelled it.

What are they like?
Her baba asked the one
sweeping the sawdust.
Two hundred years
behind the donkey.
His hands drove the broom
like an oar, and she wondered
whether he had seen
the camels too.

- Penny Gleeson 2020

Penny Gleeson is a writer, researcher and lecturer. She is a graduate of Cambridge University and The University of Melbourne. Her poetry has been published in Not Very Quiet. She lives in Melbourne with her partner, cat and generations of books and plants.

Monday, March 16, 2020

New Poetry by Tom Barlow

My Last Pair of New Shoes

There was a day when men and women could make a 
living matching feet to shoes. They were magicians 
with a shoe horn and a compliment and by the time 
you left their store you felt sharp and set for a decade 
and now they are a bookmark to Amazon on my tablet 
with the opinions of people who would wear 
shoe boxes if they saw them on a sports star.

I don't expect the idiot internet will even note an 
old man buying his last pair of shoes. I used to 
know my clerk, I used to hand him cash money. Now 
I give promises online for anything I need and boxes 
appear on the stoop and I don't know anybody's name.

So why even bother to dress in the morning? I do so 
to honor the firefighters who will one day carry me out 
feet first; old men are thoughtful that way. When 
the undertaker lays me out, I imagine these soles will 
still shine like a raja's, who never had to take a step out 
of his palanquin lest the ground wound his blessed foot.

And yet, the poor bastard never had Uber Eats, did he? 
Let the driver's leather absorb the punishment of dirt
and rain today, while I kick off my new shoes and enjoy 
my Kung Pao Chicken. Perhaps I'll go out tomorrow, 
or maybe the day after. 

But probably not.

- Tom Barlow 2020

Tom Barlow is an Ohio poet whose work has appeared in journals including The Stoneboat Literary Journal, Headline Poetry and Press, Voicemail Poetry, Live Nude Poems, Sonic Boom, Harbinger Asylum, Heron Clan, The Remington Review, and Your Daily Poem.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

New Poetry by Casey Killingsworth

The first

The first day on the railroad
I learned unlucky is just
another word for laborer.

The first time I had sex was
nine months before my son was

The first time I got divorced I
figured out the things you
can’t believe could happen to you

happen to you. The first time I lost
a child I already had the grief stored

The first sound I remember hearing
was my mother’s voice breathing
a prayer for my wonderful life.

- Casey Killingsworth 2020

Casey Killingsworth has work in The American Journal of Poetry, Kimera, Spindrift, Rain, Slightly West, Timberline Review, COG, Common Ground Review, Typehouse,  Bangalore Review, Two Thirds North, and other journals. His book of poems, A Handbook for Water, was published by Cranberry Press in 1995. As well he has a book on the poetry of Langston Hughes, The Black and Blue Collar Blues (VDM, 2008). Casey has a Master’s degree from Reed College

Monday, March 09, 2020

New Poetry by Miguel Jacq

The Belt

I am punching holes in my belt
pretending it’s progress

legs akimbo, sitting on a sand bed
warming at the waist 

and watching a century’s worth 
of rain flapping like a wet sheet,

a crisis of angst dumping down
busy drama on the ocean.

useless, useless — from the shore
a storm seems to lack all motion. 

Between the crosshairs of time
all seconds stand still. 

I sniff the air. 

Tonight it will reach forward and peel 
the skin off the sea like old sunburn,

lift it like a precious heirloom and wrap 
a sheet around my shoulders. 


What I carry in the q of my surname
is stiff as crab shell.

In it you can hear ancestors beating 
a stubborn rhythm into every wave,

rolling and hurling outrage at the way
of things, familiar fingers clawing at the foam.

Storms at sea sound like chalk 
scraping across a blackboard night.

Watching the clock. Relentless.
I clutch at my belt where an X marks the spot.

There are no more notches in the hour
for these treasured seconds.

I throw it in, an effigy to the undertow.
It’s a baleful sea, eyes me like a librarian 

guarding the squid ink: it knows of words
borrowed that must be given back.


All ceintures meet at the center.

Here is where my fathers spit salt 
in my face, whisper the untranslatable. 

What’s a word for homesickness 
if it’s a place one’s never been?

c’est dans tes veines, they say, 
by which they mean it’s been in me.

I want us to grow cold together,
replies the ocean to the storm.

So the rain belt tightens, punches 
a hole straight through time

and wraps the burn of an ice sheet
around my shoulders,

waist-deep waste in the crosshairs
useless, useless —

legs akimbo and ready 
to lack all motion.

- Miguel Jacq 2020

Miguel Jacq is a French-Australian poet from Melbourne. In 2016 and 2018 he won the Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Prize.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

New Poetry by K.F. Pearson


The glimpse, the blink, an echo
so slow, so quick, so long
to last, to cease then go
from one who could belong.

To one who could belong
with ease, with care, at peace
with glimpse, a blink, then echo
just caught, a spark held close.

Just caught, a spark held close
to heart for days at least, 
a clasp, a wink, a boast
of ease, of care or peace.

An ease, good care or peace
can stay, not slip or tear
from one who could belong
a month, one day, a year.

A month, one day, one year
to flourish, fade or ignite
a flare, denial, or thought
to last, to cease, then go.

To last, to cease, then go
this way, that way, the next
is a glimpse, a blink or echo
to one who could belong.

- K.F. Pearson 2020

(From The Complete Apparition)

K.F Pearson has published six collections of poetry including two featuring his existentially challenged hero The Apparition. They give first person accounts of his difficulties as he’s only being there when perceived by others. A new collection third person account The Complete Apparition is nearing completion. In 1995 he established Black Pepper publishing with Gail Hannah. Since then Black Pepper has published over 100 titles, half of them poetry.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

New Flash Fiction by Yash Seyedbagheri

I’ve Got You Under My Skin

Mother sings Cole Porter to the luminous moon, Rodgers and Hammerstein to the sunlight. Head held back, she sings, voice tinged with cigarettes.
 She claims singing was the past. She gave it up to have sister Nancy and me.
 Sometimes she wears a distant look, as if hoarding what-ifs in her mind. What if she didn’t have us?  What if she’d left?

 Shame rises, a river.
 One night, when she sings, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” Nancy and I clap. Clap with every note, with fervency.
 Mother smiles, smile so vast, crooked. We clap on, not wanting to let go.

- Yash Seyedbagheri 2020

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University's MFA program in fiction. His story, "Soon," was nominated for a Pushcart.  Yash’s stories are forthcoming or have been published in Café Lit, Mad Swirl, 50 Word Stories, and Ariel Chart, among others.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

New Poetry by Kim Malinowski

Painted Canyon

Jagged stone,
fashioned by forgotten gods.
Time and water—eroding sunset,
stratigraphy bared by millennia. 

How does water form such wonder?

I hear the wind blowing 
five miles away,
feel it six minutes later.
Hair tangling,
there is no taming anything here.

Sitting on the rim,
listening to five o’clock crickets,
I could topple and be happy.
Sediments call to me.
I taste wildness,
ancient breeze.
Time changes the canyon each moment,
each moment the canyon changes me.

Water wears me away,
peels back layers.
My bluffs, my peaks.
The sun sets, 
shadows lengthen,
my hair molten.

My footsteps scarcely memory,
shard of the canyon’s history.

- Kim Malinowski 2020

Kim Malinowski earned her B.A. from West Virginia University and her M.F.A. from American University. She studies with The Writers Studio. Her chapbook Death: A Love Story was published by Flutter Press. Her work was featured in Faerie Magazine and appeared in War, Literature, and the Arts, Mookychick, Amethyst Review, and others.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

New Poetry by Marilyn Humbert

An Ordinary Day

in fevered summer dry
kids shriek and laugh in the pool
cicadas’ shrill scratches the hours
traffic rumbles on the camber
grinding through corners 
down to the tide

wired overhead
two sentinel kookaburras
feathers tickled by erratic wind
stay at home mums watch midday TV
a mud wasp hums at the back-door jamb
I doze, the fan whirrs

no-one spots 
scrimshaw swirls
on the horizon

- Marilyn Humbert 2020

Marilyn Humbert lives in Sydney Australia.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

New Story by Dan Sklar

Movie War Story

You get the call from your brother in New York at 9AM. It is sunny and cool and April 4th. Things happen fast when your father is ninety-six and in the ICU. You live in Massachusetts, the closest to Portland, Maine, so it falls to you to go up there. You cancel classes and get to Portland at 12 noon. After one wrong turn, you see the hospital, park the car, find the ward, sign in, get the name tag, and go to the room past all the other patients with wires and tubes and monitors and thick white mittens to keep from tearing things out. He's got all of that too. He is propped up in the bed, sleeping, breathing, snoring, cloth on his forehead, no teeth, head of white hair sticking up, feet uncovered by the sheets. You see the scars on his legs. You cover them. The nurses couldn't handle him in Augusta, so they sent him to Portland where he was sedated. He kept ripping out the tubes and saying, "Why won't you let me die? Why won't you let me die?" even though he refused to sign the do not resuscitate document. "I'm not signing that damn thing." He stopped signing things at ninety-two. He was angry about old age and let everyone know it. 

This was a guy from Brooklyn who flew in the U.S. Air Corp over Germany in World War II and was shot down and parachuted into the middle of a lake and swam to shore holding onto his new boots. He was not going to give up those boots. He was twenty-two years old, lean, square-faced, black hair, wet, alone, cold, bleeding, and hiding in a barn in Germany. Of course, he was found by a German girl, red hair, freckles, maybe seventeen. Either she would love him or turn him in. She brought him apples and cheese and bread and wine. She cleaned out his wounds. She gave him her father's old blue suit and a hat and shoes. He put the boots in a satchel and strapped it over his shoulder. She gave him a bicycle. It was the only means of transportation out. He kissed her many times before he left, and she kissed him the same. It was like in a movie, only it was real. She drew a map of a way out. He had to memorize it. They figured no one would suspect a bicycle rider in a suit with a fishing rod.

Now he was on morphine and off medicine and intravenous. Your brother gave the O.K. The nurse says it could happen anytime. Your father was ready. He was unconscious. He wasn't coming to. You tell him you are here. You tell him you love him. You thank him. You tell him it's going to be all right and wonder why you said that.

He didn't get far up the hills and winding road when he turned around. He couldn't stop thinking about the German girl. He knew the chances are he would get caught. The risk was worth it--her face, her neck, her love. He was reported missing in action.  Shot down over a lake in Germany. He didn't think of the telegram his mother and father would get in Brooklyn, how they would break down, how his sisters would cry. But you cannot hide a human for long. The German girl's parents did not want to get shot. Soldiers came and took him to a prison camp. The girl cried in her room with lace curtains. 

The war was over. In Brooklyn, he didn't leave the house for six months. His crew didn't make it home. They were all killed when the plane was shot down. He put the boots in the closet and thought about the German girl. Then he threw the boots away. 

It's like a scene in a movie, father dying, son sitting bedside, nurse comes in. You see the scars on his arm. "Go get some lunch," she says. "I'll call you if anything changes.” You figure she has control of the morphine somehow. You get an egg salad sandwich at the cafeteria. You eat half of it and go back. You ask the nurse if he can get a better room when he wakes up. She says sure but she doesn't think he will. His breathing is quiet now. You check his pulse--it's barely there.

In Brooklyn, his father bought him a new suit. He left the house and joined the world as it was. Job, marriage, children, apartment, better job, house, bigger house, business trips, new job, divorce, new wife, all of it.

A tall, thin man comes in with a blue standard poodle on a leash. He gives you a card with a picture of the dog. You put it in your pocket. The dog and the man look alike. You pet the dog; his tail is wagging. "Travels with Charlie," you say, and the man smiles. 

At 3:13 PM, April 4th, sunny and cool, your father stops breathing. You kiss his forehead and say goodbye. A doctor pronounces him dead. You try to open a window, but they are sealed shut. The nurse hugs you. Her eyes are a dark color you have never seen before. You call your brother to tell him and for a moment cannot talk. You tell him your father just died. You walk back to your car and drive through Portland and home. You guess that maybe he was thinking about the German girl when he died.

- Dan Sklar 2020

Dan Sklar teaches creative writing at Endicott College in Massachusetts. he rides a bicycle to work.

Monday, February 17, 2020

New Poetry by Diarmuid ó Maolalaí

A place with rooms and windows

I'm not sure 
that I will ever 
stand this opulence. 
in the basement
there's a place to park 
my car. I pull up, park it
and bring things
to the elevator. this
is the basement
to my building
full of cars. this is where
my car will go
when I get here now
at night. upstairs

my wife stirs curry. our dog
looks out the window
at a view like lighted 
wax. we live now
in a place with rooms
and windows. we can finally
afford it, easily
and for the first time
without help.

things have changed
so recently - 
so rapidly I can't 
understand. for years 
I lived in small rooms
with waterstains,
a bed in the corner
and fridges 
that didn't reach 
my waist.

I feel like a flower
which has grown 
to be replanted. my roots 
hang heavy, 
holding the shape 
of their pot.

Diarmuid ó Maolalaí 2020

DS Maolalai has been nominated four times for Best of the Net and three times 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)

Sunday, February 16, 2020

New Poetry by Doug Holder

An old cat chases an imaginary mouse

He still
plays the game
of cat and mouse.

to and fro
across the house
to capture
the stealthy
behind the brittle
bars of his
decaying teeth
the damp, dark
prison of
his mouth.

This spectral rodent
taunts the cat--
he chases his ghostly prey
paws and claws
in demented disarray.

And for all of
his feverish wanderlust
he comes up
with a jaw
of dust.

- Doug Holder 2020

Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. His work has appeared in the Northeast Corridor, Word Riot, Blue Pepper, First Literary East, and many other places. The " Doug Holder Papers Collection" is currently being processed at the University at Buffalo Rare Book and Poetry Collection. Holder recently published a play with Lawrence Kessenich titled, "The Patient," that is set at a psychiatric hospital outside of Boston. Holder teaches writing at Endicott College in Beverly, Ma. and Bunker Hill Community College in Boston.

Friday, February 14, 2020

New Poetry by Tug Dumbly

Two Poems Selflessly Offering no Solution

1: With Big Respect to Dylan T

O save me, save me
from embittered old age
from being some poor
old mildewed sage
always storming the beach
maintaining the rage
a toothless old dog
barking at waves
an all knowing, all naying 
em-bickered old prick             
picking through a dump
with a pair of chopsticks
in search of some last
precious ember of rage …
O save me, save me
from embittered old age.

2: An Anchorite Gives Thanks, Silently               

You get so sick
of putting things into words,
having to conceptualise, make concrete,
or concrete as words can be
as they pour forth into the formwork
of sentences

that mad stampede of tongues

So much nicer, don’t you think,
to let thoughts roam freerange,
so much more natural and humane
to let ideas peck and scratch
about the yard of the mind,
kick over a corn cob, take a dust bath,
munch dandelions unconstrained           
by the electric fence of paragraph
and sentence, the barbed wire of print,
the novelty cereal box
of all that bloody utterance.

- Tug Dumbly 2020

Tug Dumbly is a Sydney-based poet, musician and broadcaster.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

New Poetry by Jonathan Beale

Cars in New York 1976 

(after the photography of Langdon Clay) 

The ice, implicit, only thought of… 
in those darkened corners
from street to meatpacking floor

someone’s Buick lays outside 
faithfully as an old mongrel
lacking class, strong as an ox 

those shadowy figures in ‘Whites’
that Hopper would have sketched;
only for some momentarily blinking eye

the beguiling scent of frying flesh…
from those cold carcasses 
they were not long before, across the street. 

Life was just cars and bars and meatpacking
As discardable as steel and rubber
That we secretly admired and took for granted 

Later we walked past ‘Pats’ Hot & Cold Hero’s
And Buick lay there (for its keeper to return)
In silent, shut up, Soho, just catching forty winks. 

- 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. Jonathan lives in Surrey U.K.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

New Poetry by Michael Keshigian

Nights in Cummings Cove

Those nights illuminated by the moon
whose white dagger severed the wet surface,
highlighted the stalks upon Gypsy Glen
which stretched off the shoal
into the crooked air
and the lake wore a tarnished chink
upon its silver armor.
The white pines, stilled by the sheen,
waited until their presence
faded back to gnarled shapes.
The cold air was always crisp
and smelled of wild roses
that circled the shoreline,
soon exposed as the moon’s silver eye
adjusted its stare toward the brush
and patches of mulch
gingerly caressing the lapping lake.
On nights such as these,
he would gaze at the cottages,
nesting beachside, their lights flickering
in night’s magnificent isolation,
little did he suspect this absence of adoration,
the opportunity to commune,
would become a longing
that would follow him.

- Michael Keshigian 2020

Michael Keshigian’s fourteenth poetry collection, What To Do With Intangibles, was released January, 2020 by He has been widely published in numerous national and international journals, recently including Sierra Nevada Review, Oyez Review, Muddy River Review, Edison Review, Pudding Magazine, and has appeared as feature writer in over twenty publications with 7 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (

Friday, January 24, 2020

New Poetry by David Ades

The Ship That Sailed

The ship I boarded, finally,
after so many failed attempts

and with such light steps,

has sailed on without me,
did so years ago

though I was slow to notice,

leaving me adrift on a shore
with fierce winds and scudding clouds

and a constant moaning sound

that seems as if it might be
coming through my lips.

- David Ades 2020

David Adès is the author of Mapping the World, the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eternal and most recently Afloat in Light ( In association with Mascara Literary Review, David is a recipient of the 2020 Don Bank Writing Residence together with Michelle Cahill, Debbie Lim and Michelle Hamadache

Thursday, January 23, 2020

New Poetry by Jean Bohuslav


Dry geraniums nail their way towards 
closed windows
Burnt tips
No sanctuary from summer rays

Trodden red petals
meld gritty path
Bleeding aromas hang soft air

Furry chestnut spiders rent space
in dead leaves 
dried clods of earth
rusty pipes
Webbing frail wings
intoxicated by heat

Straggling stems snap
Memories of
evening watering’s
drenched with love
Soil turned
Thistles plucked
Juicy stalks thrusting upward 
Fresh damp air
Buzzing mosquitoes 

Always change

- Jean Bohuslav 2020

Jean Bohuslav enjoys the company of a group of creative writers on the Surf Coast, Victoria, while starting to have poems published in online magazines.  She paints and teaches philosophy and mindfulness.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

New Poetry by Samuel T. Franklin


Promises slip like a tongue between teeth 
like a coin from a pocket to a gutter 
men with nickel-eyes drop stars into their mouths 
there is a wolf with stripes on its belly 

Men with bellies of nickel and iron howl 
like wolves at wolfmoons 
they speak strange and guttural secrets 
and swear the wolves are all dead

Ghosts slip on moonbeams and slide 
into dark mouths full of teeth  
promises beat their fists against the stars 
and the darkness opens like a mouth

Men with nickels in their eyes slip 
like broken promises toward the darkness
where ghosts pass like secrets
between the teeth and tongues of wolves 

- Samuel T. Franklin 2020

Samuel T. Franklin is the author of two books of poetry: Bright Soil, Dark Sun (2019) and The God of Happiness (2016). A Best of the Net nominee, he resides in Bloomington, Indiana, where he enjoys making useful things out of wood scraps and losing staring contests to his cats. He can be found at 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

New Poetry by John Grey

Back Again

come into the city
the bright lights,
suddenly remember
all that has been forgotten,

could be anywhere?

no -

could be no place else

- John Grey 2020

Off the Old Interstate

Behind an abandoned store-front,
past a dining room
bereft of repossessed tables and chairs,
in a kitchen
with rusty stove and grill,
scurrying rats
and grease stains on the walls,
in a cupboard under the sink,
a famous chicken recipe
curls up like the dead.

- John Grey 2020

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dalhousie Review and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Qwerty, Chronogram and failbetter.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

New Poetry by Rob Schackne

Parasite Sound

unwanted as in wilderness
undesirable as in shouting
uninvited as a bushfire

sound without the option
sound as in fury 
passionate conviction

parasite sound for party
natters of the wind
the cool changes come

bring rain, fill rivers
hearing voices 
listen to the waves

the muffled thrum
my own breathing too
autonomic, final

- Rob Schackne 2020

Born in New York, Rob lived in many countries until Australia finally took him in. He was a Foreign Expert EFL teacher in China for many years. He now lives in a small Victorian country town, and enjoys the fresh air, the birds and the sunshine. There were some extreme sports once; now he plays (mostly) respectable chess and pool. He listens to the Grateful Dead. When he's not writing, he likes taking photographs.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

New Poetry by Marie C Lecrivain

Cassandra Works the Night Shift at the Call Center

She works from 10 pm to 5 am, 
because the money is better, 
and prophecies carry more 
weight in the dark.

She sits upright in her crummy swivel chair,
sips tea from her favorite terracotta mug,
and answers questions posed 
by those loved and lost.

Her eyes follow a steady rhythm 
as scripts flash across her screen. 
She’ll answer honestly, but never
take on questions about travel plans, 
or the apocalypse. No one 
believed her the first time.

For those who don’t listen,
she lowers her voice to the sound
of whiskey poured over ice,
and for those satisfied seekers
she receives a 10% commission,
and a 5-star prophetess rating.
Sometimes, the crack of heartbreak 
can be heard, since all calls 
are recorded for training 
and quality assurance.

- Marie C Lecrivain 2020

Marie C Lecrivain is a poet, publisher of poeticdiversity: the litzine of Los Angeles, and ordained priestess in the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, the ecclesiastical arm of Ordo Templi Orientis. Her work has been published in Nonbinary Review, Orbis, Pirene's Fountain, and many other journals. She's the author of several books of poetry and fiction, and recent editor of Gondal Heights: A Bronte Tribute Anthology (copyright 2019 Sybaritic Press,

Saturday, January 04, 2020

New Poetry by Abigail George


This far out between heaven and hell she is still
beautiful. She was beautiful, and relevant in a way

that I was not. Manuscripts erode all around me
but she is innocent, still beautiful. Lovely. She’s

earth now. I’m average. I can’t help it. I’m so basic
at everything. I’m a still life next to her grave tears

pouring out of me like there’s no tomorrow. No
future or anything. I name her ‘water’. I name her

‘anything that is worthy of possession’. This far out
she’s salt, light, cream, if I can help it the last city,

the last blue country. A fragment of paradise ripped
from the seats of the Opera House, infestation, life.

    She’s a Sunday morning after church. I thirst for
her mouth. Her beautiful hands. Hair like silk down her back.

She’s Peter Pan chasing stars, and what this poem is,
is not a poem about a river on becoming the sea.

The reflection in the mirror is as unstable as electricity.
I wonder to myself just who does she think she is.

I am wary of her. Of what she is capable of doing.
You’re living. I’m dead. You’re warm. I’m cold through.

I don’t know how to keep the regime under control.
You’re unfinished. Tiger, you speak to me in tongues.

These are dangerous times that we’re living in, you
say. You’re joy, Yes, you are. You come in that stellar

version. While I’m a field covered with the fabric of
stars, and starlight. I don’t know how to love you back. I see

you in this photograph. You’ve lost all your hair to
the chemotherapy, you’re wearing a wig, but you still

look hot, and breathless, as exotic as a Frenchwoman’s
beauty. Of course, you lose the battle. (Breast cancer),

the love of your life has lost his own struggle. It snows
in winter-time in Johannesburg, and every time it snows

I think of you, every recovery, every relapse, summer, I
think of all the people I’ve lost. That are never coming back

to me, that are priceless, and free. Pain is such a waste.
And, so, I wake up, look, dress, and live my life, also free.

- Abigail George 2020

Abigail George is a South African writer and poet. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net-nominee, as well as the recipient of four writing grants from the National Arts Council, Centre for the Book and the ECPACC. She has two blogs (African Renaissance) and one in Goodreads. She has been published in various anthologies, numerous times in print in South Africa, and online in zines across Africa, Australia, India, Ireland, the UK, the States, Canada, and Europe. She is also an essayist, contributed to a symposium in Finland, an editor, poet, short story writer and novelist.