Wednesday, October 28, 2020

New Poetry by Paula Reed Nancarrow


- for Lilabet

I cannot prove the triangles congruent
though they sit neatly inside the circle
their sides a radiant X: Isosceles twins.
A bow tie. A butterfly. 

You sit at our dining room table
plotting it out for me: 
This is given.             That is self-evident. 
Your chestnut hair tumbles over your face

hiding your acne. Tiny holes remain
in the table’s surface from my old
Spirograph. In the quiet privacy 
of your mind, you see the logic of shapes. 

My noisy brain makes twins rubbing
noses.  A bow tie.  A butterfly. 
It is all simple deduction
except for what we begin with: 

A point has no space.  
A line has no breadth.
A plane has two dimensions 
and goes on forever.

Angles are inclinations. 
Chords incline toward what is 
demonstrated. Ergo I am given
you. Over and over, 

like Anne Sullivan at the pump,
you spell postulates into my hand 
until suddenly - fresh and clear and cold –
Elegance overwhelms me.

- © Paula Reed Nancarrow 2020

Paula Reed Nancarrow is a poet and storyteller living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Paula has told stories at the Minnesota Fringe Festival and the Moth Grand Slam at the Fitzgerald Theater, and has read her poetry at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts and the Loft Literary Center. She has a doctorate in Victorian religious literature from the University of Minnesota but has always managed to find work anyway. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

New Poetry by Patricia Davis-Muffett


Last night, the dinner conversation turned
to all the ways you might have died so far:
chased by a baboon in Africa,
nearly falling off a cliff-face pursuing wild horses in Wyoming,
and the ways we cheated death together
on our honeymoon, the bear coming to us in darkness,
sniffing around our carelessness camp. 
At 23, we were so certain in our immortality.

The children were surprised
that I had almost died as well
before they were ideas
when they were just our cells--
the mountain stream that almost took me
down the Rockies, down 14,000 feet,
the wind that overtook us on that mountainside 
in Patagonia, when you kept me bound to earth.

What is not said:
the six months while the middle child grew,
trying to become a human person,
while you convulsed and shrieked,
as I waited in the ER lobby,
those long, bright nights,
when the head of neurology told us
you would either die or get better,
after long tormented testing.

Somehow, the sudden drama
of the cliff face,
the crocodile
the baboon
the wild horses
seems more fitting but also
less terrifying--
a death brought on 
by your lack of caution,
your wild love of wild life.
We all hope this is how you’ll go
suddenly, with drama
consumed in a moment
not nibbled into crumbs.

- © Patricia Davis-Muffett 2020

Patricia Davis-Muffett holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota and her work has appeared in several journals including Coal City Review, Rat’s Ass Review and One Art Poetry Journal, on public radio, in the di-verse-city anthology of the Austin International Poetry Festival, and is forthcoming in The Orchards Poetry Journal, and Amethyst Review. She lives in Rockville, Maryland, United States, with her husband, three children, one good dog, one bad puppy and a demon of a cat. She makes her living in technology marketing.

Friday, October 16, 2020

New Poetry by Holly Day

Out in the Garden

The morning glory vines are trying to 
hold me in place, I can feel them tremble
beneath my feet, tiny fingers twisting in 
endless curlicues,  bursting into purple 
flower from the exertion of trapping me. 
I pull my foot away, take another step, 
can feel the ground sigh behind me as 
the morning glories stretch futile and 
then retreat. 

The lilies are trying to stab me to 
death, I can feel their tiny points
poke up through the soil and 
stop at the bottom of my feet. If I 
just stayed here, stayed still, 
the tiny red points would push all 
the way through my flesh, my bone, 
crown bright green and brilliant 
through the tops of my feet and burst 
into bloom. I lift my foot carefully, 
step over the vengeful clumps 
of hybrids and orientals 
just in time. 

- © Holly Day 2020

Holly Day ( has been a writing instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review, and her newest poetry collections are Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press), and Book of Beasts (Weasel Press). 


Thursday, October 15, 2020

New Poetry by Carson Pytell


Exact digestive processes after dinner I do not know
nor care to so long as it went down well and satiates.

The conditions under which the tobacco plant grows best
does not cross my mind heading to the window afterwards.

Why purple is the color of the sky at dusk baffles me
only when I'm not looking at the soft evening clouds.

The distance of the sun, moon; trifling matters compared
to photosynthesis, tides, sun tans and nights moonbright.

And death? But a distant abstraction while I smoke
and consider myself smoking, and other felt things.

One can remain alive not knowing the functions of the heart
but cannot go on living ignorant of how their heart works.

- © Carson Pytell 2020

Carson Pytell is a poet living outside Albany, NY whose work has appeared in numerous venues online and in print, including Artifact Nouveau, Cruel Garters, Rabid Oak and Crack the Spine, among others. His short collection, First-Year (Alien Buddha Press, 2020) and first chapbook, Trail (Guerrilla Genesis Press, 2020) are now available.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

New Poetry by John Tustin

Sunshine in the Glass
Pure sunbeams in the bottle,
Sunshine in the glass.
Cold lovely sunshine,
I pour it into me as I read Neruda
And listen to Johnny Cash
With a storm just left
And another one coming.
The water has never come into the house
Except once and it wasn’t much.
Sundown in the bottle,
Sundown in the glass.
I put the sundown into me
As I read Charles Bukowski
And listen to Ray Wylie Hubbard.
The devils are squatting in the corners of the room,
Wings unfolding,
Waiting for me to fall asleep.
The angels are leaving,
Wings folding,
As I finish the last glass,
Close the book,
Turn off the music.
There’s no sunshine left.
The bottles in the garbage,
The glass in the sink,
The clock always moving.
I walk toward the bed.
The devils wait with slobbering mouths
And gleams in their eyes, on their claws,
Their horns and their tails.
The devils wait for my sleep.
The angels wait for the opening of the next bottle,
The pouring into the next glass.

- © John Tustin 2020

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals in the last dozen years. contains links to his published poetry online.


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

New Prose Poetry by Howie Good

Disaster Mode

The lake has an island that has a church on it with fine black cracks etched all over. It’s the place where the disaster originated. Everything else has been declared safe for visitors. The sky is a shade of orange I never experienced before. A smell like the rancid diapers of the spawn of Satan crawls through trees. A tame fox sits posing in front of a sign that says NO JEWS AND ANIMALS ALLOWED. Joggers, dog walkers, and young parents with strollers slow down as they go past. I catch the expression on their faces, mostly a combination of surprise and puzzlement. Sometimes they smile.

- © Howie Good 2020

Howie Good is the author of two new poetry collections, The Death Row Shuffle (Finishing Line Press, 2020) and The Trouble with Being Born (Ethel Micro-Press, 2020).  

Monday, October 12, 2020

New Poetry by Kate Clarke

The Dark End of The Street

(for Alyce Guynn)

Your sister, Alyce, reminded me 
what, in my grief, I had forgotten.
And later on, I came to see 
myself, in some film of you, 
New Jersey, a radio interview.

You were heading for Hoboken, 
chasing down Frank’s shadow.
It was shot a month before we met 
The month you called ‘Magnetic May’.
There you were, chattering away 

in the studio, being the performer, 
talking of Nashville, Cowboy Jack Clement: 
“his battered boots were alligator.”
And there it was. There he was. 
Bruised boy, flimsy as gauze, 

voice subdued, heart a lead weight.
What was it you used to say?
“I was singing on the sad side of the note.”
We were at the dark end of the street,
for sure, right at the start. 

It didn’t take long for you to stand taller
Didn’t Alyce say: “I found my jazz”?
The man in black, discovered colour. 
I did that. You did that too. 
Look at what two fools can do 

- © Kate Clarke 2020

Kate is a journalist by trade who also works as a copywriter and a PR account manager. As a lyricist she worked with her husband, the writer and performer Terry Clarke. Terry recorded and performed throughout the UK, Europe and the US throughout his career. He passed away in April 2020. Kate lives in West Wales with their two sighthounds, Sunny and Vera.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

New Poetry by Marianne Brems

One Fresh Start

I spill wine that darkens my carpet,
I know this scar,
like jaws around my throat 
will remind me daily of my carelessness.

I attack the stain with sparkling water
and vigorous rubbing.
To my surprise, all traces vanish, 
handing me one fresh start 
in a broken world. 

I return for a moment to a time 

before I learned my mother 
couldn’t fix the pain 
of skinned knees, 

before I knew that pieces 
fall into place only after many 
have not, 

before I found skin color
more of a constant
than the growth of tree rings,

before I saw a world 
where hate doesn’t disappear, 
it just hides under rocks 
until someone comes along 
and kicks them away.

- © Marianne Brems 2020

Marianne Brems is a writer of textbooks and poetry. Finishing Line Press will release her chapbook Sliver of Change in 2020. Her poems have appeared in literary journals including The Pangolin Review, La Scrittrice, The Sunlight Press, and The Tiny Seed Literary Journal. She lives in Northern California. Website:

Saturday, October 10, 2020

New Poetry by Zebulon Huset


Like Candy Cane Spirals
Only not at all. I'm sorry.
That was just a familiar image 
of two unlike things
combining congruously, 
and I'm sure
I stole the image
with some miracle of 
when I looked over
and saw the curl of hair 
fit so perfectly 
around your ear,
every twitch of head
tickling lobe, 
and I have no tangible reason
to connect that image 
of your hair 
around your ear
and us lying in bed,
spooned effortlessly
with my scarred, 
beaten knees slipped
into the soft cavities
that reside behind yours,
except to consider
the curve of white and red
in the hook of a candy cane.

- © Zebulon Huset 2020

Zebulon Huset is a teacher, writer and photographer living in San Diego. His writing has recently appeared in Bluepepper, Meridian, The Southern Review, Fence, Rosebud, Atlanta Review & Texas Review among others. He publishes the writing blog Notebooking Daily, edits the journal Coastal Shelf, and recommends literary journals at

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

New Poetry by James Walton


These things of hope, Spring reprise
a lizard so small on the broken vase
drinks and looks back motion less
the unflappable virtue of a nodding iris
all Van Gogh wheezy at the angle
the horse paddock bounteous with feed
an abandoned rusty bike maintaining a post
cherry blossom graffiti over the porch
how the noise of children swimming amplifies
the clamorous life of air
a neighbour’s dog being spotted
walks by to the fence next door
our postman yelling penitent
how much he loves the new letter box
a swelling memory of the great west sea
as Tasmanian Devils stole the cooking chops
waking to rain just loud enough to hear
corrugated radio stations broadcast in between
budding shoots out of the midnight kernel
of trees willing life to be
you unfurling in the morning
complaining of my bony shoulder
a stranger’s handshake above fallen wire
the unravel of borders in an embrace

- © James Walton 2020

James Walton is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers. He is the author of four collections of poetry. He lives in Gippsland. He can be found at


New Poetry by Fred Pollack

The Art of the Probable

As deserts spread, and the need
for any walk depends
on how much water you’ll need
to make it, the trope of Sun
as, what was it? truth, sensuality,
moderation, something Greek,
will cease to appeal. Already
Siberian shamans no longer mention
ice. Fire won’t symbolize
anything ever again in
Australia. And you know what the oceans
are up to. When the current
plague ends and crowds return
to theaters, the Sylvia Plath Story
with a sexier title will fill the screens 
but no one will imitate her. Rather,
a New Impersonality
will rule the workshops –
so dry and intimidating
all poets will believe in it.

- © Fred Pollack 2020

Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both Story Line Press; the former to be reissued by Red Hen Press. Two collections of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Pollack has appeared in Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Magma (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, Chiron Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, etc.  Online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire  Review, Mudlark, Rat’s Ass Review,  Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, etc

New Poetry by Bruce Morton


Stool Softener 

I wanted to cheer a friend
Who was about to have
Surgery and was dreading
Side effects of painkillers.
I bet him that I could write
A poem about stool softener.

It is so hard to bring oneself 
To be seated, to sit, still 
We do not wish to speak of it,
So simple an act. There must be 
Relief somewhere to purchase
To comfort the tired soul.

I brought him a plush cushion
To rest his tush on, to bring
 A sigh of relief, the ultimate 
Relaxative--a soft pillow.
So here it is, my poem
About stool softener.

-© Bruce Morton 2020

Bruce Morton splits his time between Montana and Arizona. His volume of poems, Simple Arithmetic and Other Artifices, was published in 2015. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in various magazines and anthologies including, most recently, Muddy River Poetry Review, Mason Street Review, Main Street Rag, Nixes Mate Review, Grey Sparrow Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders, and Blue Unicorn. He was formerly Dean of Libraries at Montana State University

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Rebecca Law reviews S.K. Kelen’s "A Happening in Hades"

 A Clattering of Attentions in S.K. Kelen’s A Happening in Hades

S.K. Kelen, A Happening in Hades, Puncher & Wattman, Waratah, NSW, 2020, 95pp., 
ISBN 9781925780611, RRP $25.

 In the here and the now of Kelen’s world, the only traces of Frazer’s magic and religion are golden glimpses of nature, love –“honey, song and sanity”. But these are infrequent and seem the very opposite of what is real. Birds don’t sing but “cry” in their failed attempts at understanding the place they survey. We call it “civilisation”, Kelen calls it the equivalent of the underworld for its darkness, reductive tendencies and coy nod toward memorialisation rather than actualisation of love, passion and joy (“those old-fashioned words” says Kelen as though lip syncing the news). 

 The “happening” in this underworld of our today world, is the motorised ticking over of technology, the ability to control things or objects remotely; robots or the privilege of sleuthing lovers online. It is so real it is unreal, a world without roots that either floats or drifts in unpredictable moods of heaviness or lightness. What happened to the golden days, the happy days of playing flutes and watching out for the seasonal pleasures of falling leaves and river eddies. Times of  “bliss and light and miracles”. Kelen does not hazard a guess but knows sagely what is missing is precisely what will overthrow us because it makes appearances in nature: is the same moonlight we dilute with our modern flashbulbs or the bright, sunny opposite of our climate ignorant “dark and sad” skies. 

 From Sydney to Hong Kong to California, the Grand Canyon, Paris, Venice, Chiang Mai, Amsterdam, world-wide, the sword of a “godawful war” lies down beside a “laundry basket”; and the past mists away. Like life entrepreneurs, invisible operators move like ghosts morning to night, leading us to believe this new world is good, great, lucky, going places. Yet Kelen is sceptical, made more so by dreams of his parents making home seem as itinerant as the gold light of salvation. If Heaven is forever and sunny and light as his father’s spirit in the dream then this, this is Hades.
 Kelen poems in A Happening in Hades looks at the nuts and bolts, the nitty gritty, the dark and deluded, the nightmare of a life intent on attacking the nervous system. In the broader scheme of contemporary poetics it seems about right, on trend, accurate in its depiction of the world we orbit in but amidst this is a sensitivity for heritage and true beauty. When home, bed-ridden with a twisted back and limited in movement, Kelen still finds his way to sustenance from the refrigerator, moving in a certain way so that “each leg finds a less painful angle/ feet find footing” and he can get in and out of bed. Things are far from ideal in Hades, our world of the here and the now but Kelen is on task, writing his lament for the lost seasons of our time. So that the fall of just one leaf in Autumn is once more enough to know the climate, not the knowledge well after the fact.

 More than this though, is the museum quality of the collection replete with ornaments that rendered in these poems seem miniature versions of their true selves, instructive to the narrative as an object with a particular aesthetic and history. Gondolas, Dragons, Buddhas, Minibuses, Nissans, Mercedes, BMW’s, Medicines, Sulfur-Crested Cockatoos, “Red gums with cheery birds”, an “ivy tombed terrace house”, trams in Amsterdam, “steep stairwells you can fall down in the morning”, Snow White and more pi├Ęces de r├ęsistance crowd in across the 95 pages and Kelen moves them about to make sense of why what is seemingly old-fashioned is his alone. In the poem “Kiss” for example, Kelen muses on the fact that thinking and writing about love and the “lush eyes” of a woman he misses and wishes to see brings him to life; and how magically, the picnic rug on which they kissed seemed in the moment to be airborne and flying. Such “odes” are “old-fashioned” thinks Kelen, which perhaps explains the abundance of contemporary ornaments in his poems but undeniably, this is human nature and with it, fate which is never bound by time zones.

 It takes time to read A Happening in Hades and like walking a maze, takes a few goes to get to know the twists and turns but the clearing at the end is worth the challenge. The golden light never really left us, suggests Kelen, but just needs to be recognised and reacquainted, given the time of day so to speak, to flood our spirits with natural nourishment. We have “grown in the opposite direction of nature” decides Kelen, the orator of fact but also, poetic mourner urging us to wake up and remember those “Fey Provincial folk” – aka Chaucernerians, with old love once more in our eyes. Where, back in the Golden Age” the Barbarians “watch and listen”, we might instead dream, gaze and reinvent. 

- © Dr Rebecca Kylie Law 2020

Dr Rebecca Law has authored five collections of poetry as well as individual poems, reviews, interviews and articles. Her most recent collection Pan's Dance, was published September, 2020 by  Wipf & Stock. She works as a freelance writer and teacher.  

Friday, October 02, 2020

New Poetry by Robert Ford


In order to think  
I have had to empty the room completely. 
The shed skins of scattered clothing got folded  
into piles or hung from pegs in the hallway, 
dangling their toes at various heights. 
The radio is sulking, a hiss of mithering static  
wedged in the embrace of the nearest tree. 
All the unread books, bills and letters, 
are loaded into the stove, a yawn of flames 
turning them to ash and smoke, while the  
remains of last night’s dinner have been  
fed to the expectant pig out in the yard.  
I have swept the floor until it wept for mercy, 
using its tears to mop myself into a corner. 
All that remains is the chair by the window, 
angled into the light, where I sit, waiting for 
the to and fro of footsteps; the nervous babble 
of laughter; the soft, apologetic knocking of  
freshly-hatched thoughts at the door behind me. 

- © Robert Ford 2020

Robert Ford's poetry has appeared in print and online publications in the UK, US and elsewhere, including Under the Radar, Brittle Star, Dime Show Review, The Interpreter's House and San Pedro River Review. More of his work can be found at