Sunday, March 29, 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.

New Poetry by Michael T. Smith

To My Wife With A Copy of My Poems
(A cover of Oscar Wilde)

I can write no stately proem
As a prelude to my lay;
From a poet to a poem
I would dare to say.

For if of these fallen petals
One to you seem fair,
Love will waft it till it settles
On your hair.

And when wind and winter harden
All the loveless land,
It will whisper of the garden,
You will understand.

- © Michael T. Smith 2020

Michael T. Smith is an Assistant Professor of English who teaches both writing and film courses.  He has published over 150 pieces (poetry and prose) in over 80 different journals.  He loves to travel.

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.