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.