Sunday, November 29, 2020

Submissions closed until further notice

From December 1st 2020, Bluepepper will no longer be accepting submissions until further notice. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and hopefully see you back in the New Year.

New Poetry by Carson Pytell


Crepuscular, prodding the boulevard; beeps and bumping,
the billowings of craft burps and vapor, a cigarette handy
and a thin old flask but a day long. I think it's not so bad.

They still do talk, from under and above twilit canopies
I hear cackling, coughs, expatiation of poor paraphrases
as if it's something new to do and find it uneasy to frown.

I can almost smell the sugary throats of them now, 
touting everything under the sun then everything beyond it;
all the stars, maybe water, themselves when they say it aloud.

I feel them there as wind knows other winds
which hit and halt then stir about storms, then pause
and settle into the quiet steam off coffee cups.

And it's that time, out for constitutional cacophony.
Most everyone needs coffee now, even if what's more
appealing is more homebrewed talk, less inhaling thought.

Which is bothersome. I find in these polyphonies seeming
to be the only one listening enough to be just in saying
no one seems to be listening enough to say anything justly.

People need that coffee, need to wake up a little,
if only long enough to get on home and into bed 
long enough to wake up thinking not but what they said.

So somewhere I sit, perhaps a bench, furtively gulp 
and light my cigarette because it's gone out of style
and - knowing no other style - wait, wait for the steam talk.

Being blind, you forget other people still can see you
and your tears. Myself, people, ideas, we come and go.
I think it's not so bad, but that's all I can do.

- © Carson Pytell 2020

Carson Pytell is a writer living outside Albany, NY whose work has appeared in numerous venues online and in print, including Artifact Nouveau, The Virginia Normal, NoD Magazine, Rabid Oak and Bluepepper, among others. He serves on the editorial board of the journal Coastal Shelf, and his short collection, First-Year (Alien Buddha Press, 2020) and chapbook, Trail (Guerrilla Genesis Press, 2020) are now available. In December 2020 he is slated to participate in the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project.

Monday, November 23, 2020

New Poetry by Yash Seyedbagheri

Last Drink

The pink and purple jukebox pumps
Kenny Rogers checking in on my condition
behind a booth
last call wafts 
over wooden-paneled counters
into my ripped, soothing seat
into a half-empty glass of Merlot
my fourth or is it my fifth?
a face with steel star eyes 
to lead me to rectangular rooms
with many shadows

- © Yash Seyedbagheri 2020

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University's MFA program. His stories, "Soon,"  “How To Be A Good Episcopalian,” and "Tales From A Communion Line," were nominated for Pushcarts. Yash’s work  has been published in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Write City Magazine, and Ariel Chart, among others.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

New Poetry by Suzanne Verrall

Local Time
having negotiated 
the international departures lounge 
in my sleep 
I woke on the other side of the globe 
the currency was familiar 
the exchange rate was horrendous 
I patted the pockets of my pyjamas 
in search of a toothbrush 
while an orange cat rubbed 
figure eights between my legs 
and touching down 
another jetload of somnambulists

- © Suzanne Verrall 2020

Suzanne Verrall lives in Adelaide, Australia. Her poetry, flash fiction and essays appear in various publications including The Interpreter’s House, Australian Poetry Journal and the Southampton Review. For links to her work go to 


Thursday, November 19, 2020

New Poetry by Darrell Petska

The Somnambulists

I go walking in other people’s dreams.
Discretely I roam, a ghost among ghosts,
nameless the password, nameless the realm.
Skies churn clouded, fogs trouble thought,
tremors tell of transience and sorrow.
We meet in stairwells, bedrooms, bars.
Eyes speak our stories—they cannot lie.
Our hands touch in gentle affirmation,
their strivings mere shadows on a wall.
Words we whisper congregate in corners:
only there can we know their meanings.
Silence dogs our footsteps. We try,
but cannot outrun, the buffet of its waves.
Have you found a way? we ask each other.
Dare we hope?
The rooms of our eyes hold no answers,
yet we keep to our circuits, unabashed,
some strange chemistry emboldening us
like blooms by a dark moon swayed.
No dimensions constraining, nor weathers,
we pass, pale tinctures of ourselves,
dreams ruffling like pages in books.
Shall we emerge into light?
Through lean existence we drowse,
legends of morning teasing our ears.

- © Darrell Petska 2020

Darrell Petska is a writer from Madison, Wisconsin. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Buddhist Poetry Review, Nixes Mate Review, Right Hand Pointing, Boston Literary Magazine, Verse-Virtual and Loch Raven Review. His published work and upcoming publications can be viewed at

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

New Poetry by Eric Persaud

Blackhole Rage

In an explosion
of dust

I expand
and engulf
the planets
that surround

Pull them in
swallow whole
leaving behind
of dust.

- © Eric Persaud 2020

Eric Persaud is an Indo-Guyanese American living in New York City. He is currently working on his doctoral dissertation in Public Health and writing stuff in his free time.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

New Poetry by Jean Bohuslav

rabbit shed
his weighted heart smacked reality
emotion slashed to standstill
heinous ethereal shrouds hung air
softly pitched 
the requiem 
ran bloodied fur and flesh
dragged, stretched, twisted
lifeless bodies
carpeting floor
mauled kittens 
legs once nested in fur
dangled chewed breeding boxes
surreality melded aluminium
wood, ether and concrete
high wire windows screamed sharp 
cold light 
down across shavings
displaced corded drinkers 
stretched sideways
hung rafters 
like eerie webbed stage props
numbed disappointment 
this inner gallery cold
siphoned to a lull in space and time
frenzied elements 
fully drained
biting winds outside
to whip up structure 
some type of normality
ran the rabbits’ gauntlets
blues, gingers, chocolates, whites 
but gone

- © Jean Bohuslav 2020

Jean Bohuslav lives on the Surf Coast of Victoria where she belongs to a poetry group.  Her work can be found on Kissing Dynamite, Mad Swirl, Poetry on the Move, Tango Australis as well as Bluepepper


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

New Poetry by Kathleen E. Krause


a scene for under-love
that begins in riot
ends in the petal 
of the iris 
collide with mine
fast in width
that lasts in the blue
of orange crisp mornings
where matter grows
to a sizzle 
where we eat the other 
like newborns

- © Kathleen E. Krause 2020

Kathleen E. Krause was winner of Phoebe’s Greg Grummer Poetry Contest, chosen by Brenda Hillman. Her work has appeared in Agni, canwehaveourballback?, Danse Macabre, Denver Quarterly, The Four Way Reader #2, LIT, Lungfull!, Pennsylvania English, Provincetown Arts Magazine, Really System, Salonika, S/tick, and Terra Incognita. Her chapbook, Broth, was published by Linear Arts. She graduated from the New School with an MFA in 1999, and currently lives in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

New Poetry by Heather Sager

Sounds of June 

I walk into a bright morning.
The trees make the hectic sound of wind blowing.
The green grass sings
and the sky teems with white and gray 
clouds, tall as schooners. 
The sky’s blue depth welcomes me.

I touch the leaves of a locust tree. 
The spindly leaf radiates, verdant and green.
I marvel: in winter the tree limb stood gray,
now I shake this leaf that resembles a hand.

A blue-black dragonfly whirs past.
I sneak past the siding of some houses
to find 
a green dragonfly 
clinging to a garden hose,

My house stands in the distance— 
I cling like the darner to a shadow
to admire the shape of hearth and home
from a safe distance.

- © Heather Sager 2020

Heather Sager lives in Illinois. Her recent poetry appears in Amethyst Review, Visitant, Door Is A Jar, dreams walking, Harbinger Asylum, The Wild Word, Backchannels, Sandpiper, Writing in a Woman's Voice, Ariel Chart, and elsewhere. Heather also writes fiction, most recently for The Fabulist Words & Art and Slippage Lit.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

New Poetry by Paul Tanner

the last bus

the lamppost hums.

holy shit,
there’s a ten-pound note sitting in the kerb –
I bend down, snatch it up, shake the rain off it:

it’s a bad job.
cheap paper. 
the queen wonky.
the colours faded.
I turn it over
and the other side’s blank.

can’t believe I was suckered:
it’s the bad street lighting.
this treacle lamppost glow,
it makes the forgery look glossy, 
a bloodier orange 
compared to the dark of the street
and I look around the dark of the street,
scared I’m being laughed at 
by boys in the bushes. 

what can I do? 
I drop it back in the kerb
cross the road 
and hide in the bushes with the boys, 
waiting for the next sucker. 

fucking bus never showed anyway. 

- © Paul Tanner 2020

Paul Tanner is a UK poet who no longer works essential retail and is still finding it difficult to believe a Tory government is paying him to stay home and write.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

New Poetry by Earl Livings


And there you have it,
each metaphor for life—
game, battle, meditation,
path of heart, soul making—
unravelling at the first sign
of your death bed.

Each one had merit,
as a bright jewel looked at
from each angle
hints at that deeper beauty
only a simultaneous view
might reveal. Yet each word
you use to describe those views,
and the darkness beneath them,
are never enough, and you shiver.

And so there you have it,
this enigma of being full
of life and not knowing it,
not knowing if you ever
fully displayed your jewel.

And maybe that is the true gift—
accepting the doubt
and hoping that before life
calls you to account,
a laugh, a scent, a touch
will summon you
to remember, to smile,
to give thanks for mystery,
this darkness blinking at you.

- © Earl Livings 2020

Earl Livings has published poetry and fiction in Australia and also Britain, Canada, the USA, and Germany. His work mainly focuses on nature, mythology and the sacred. His second poetry collection, Libation (Ginninderra Press) was published in 2018 and he is currently working on a dark ages novel and his next collection of poetry.