Monday, September 06, 2021

New Poetry by Henry Stimpson

Memory Murder Mystery

I know the Cream of Wheat jingle,
the first four lines of “To Autumn,”
Mickey Mantle’s batting average,
Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns,
artiodactyls versus perissodactyls,
sushi versus sashimi,
my dead alcoholic grandmother’s
favorite brand of sherry,
and the square mileage of Delaware,
but among that vast detritus
I can never ever dredge up
those three pap-bland names
the singer had to rub out
to be reborn
as Nina Simone.

The Loneliest Monk

“And who is The Loneliest Monk?”
–MTV reporter to Bill Clinton, who said Thelonious Monk was his favorite jazz artist

The acolyte of solitude speaks sparingly,
each word a pearl cultured in his mind

with opalescent layers of meaning.
World leaders: pay attention.

His aura trembles to the music
of the spheres like candlelight.

- © Henry Stimpson 2021

Henry Stimpson’s poems, articles and essays have appeared in Poet Lore, Cream City Review, Lighten Up Online, Rolling Stone, Muddy River Poetry Review, Mad River Review, Aethlon, Bluepepper, The MacGuffin, The Aurorean, Common Ground Review, Vol1Brooklyn, Poets & Writers, The Boston Globe and other publications.  He’s been a public relations consultant and writer for decades. Once upon a time, he was a reference librarian, a prison librarian and a cabdriver. He lives in Massachusetts.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

New Poetry by R. Gerry Fabian

Learning Curve

At last, the reunion,
under an Ottawa traffic signal
during December’s last days.
The return of a stranger
with heavy foreign accent
in the middle of an ice storm mirage.
A frozen tongue speaks stencil messages.
I’ve lost more
than I can ever regain 
to this city.

Ours is a unicorn union, now.
I fumble in the present
in an attempt to initiate the past.
You are a snow sculpture.
Every minute together
hangs like an icicle.

Finally we call a halt
to this terrible two day catastrophe.
It is awkward because you
are home
and I am a Christmas present
that needs to be returned.

- © R. Gerry Fabian 2021

R. Gerry Fabian is an internationally published poet and novelist. He has published four books of his published poems, Parallels, Coming Out Of The Atlantic, Electronic Forecasts and Ball On The Mound. In addition, he has published three novels : Getting Lucky (The Story), Memphis Masquerade, and Seventh Sense. His web page is, Twitter @GerryFabian2. He lives in Doylestown, PA.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

New Poetry by Joe Balaz

Not My Circus                                                                                                             

I no tink so Slick,
dat no sound too good to me.

Not interested,
no desire,

so you can just stay deah
on your street corner

wit your little bags
of momentary euphoria.
I not looking
to be bathed in wun heavenly glow
cause wen da shine wears off

it’s like jumping out of wun airplane
witout wun parachute

and landing on da pavement
like wun ovah ripe cantaloupe.

I’m really much too spunky
to be wun sorry junkie

fooling wit da fire,
spoon, and needle.

It’s moa hip
to take wun natural trip

by rapping to da beat of my feet
dat stay walking away.

If you could read my mind
it would be telling you

not my circus,  
not my monkeys,

cause wen you play stupid games
you win stupid prizes.

- © Joe Balaz 2021

Joe Balaz writes in Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai’i Creole English) and American English.  He is the author of Pidgin Eye, a book of poetry. In July, 2020, Balaz was given the Elliot Cades Award for Literature as an Established Writer.  It is the most prestigious literary award given in Hawai’i.  Balaz presently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

New Poetry by Jean Bohuslav


Inspired by Ali Whitelock's ‘the lactic acid in the calves of your despair’

who will wring disappointment from the
sleeves of your thick woollen jumper
soak separation from each repetitive stitch
with warm soapy water
as thoughts of mother hang in the air

who will lay your hand-knit on
a slab of hindsight
in bright forgiving sun of a new day

who will sow seeds of inspiration
into each stride
and serve you a meal at their table
does pride need to be honoured when
batons are left at the blocks

uncage the bird from your heart
only you
have keys for surrender
support exists  
even when you doubt

now is time to let the hungry dog loose
cleanse bat-winged corridors from mind
light bonfires of desire
for spring buds

- © Jean Bohuslav 2021

Jean Bohuslav lives on the SurfCoast of Victoria. She enjoys submitting to Meniscus, Kissing Dynamite, Poetry on the Move, Poetry Wivenhoe, Mad Swirl, U3A SurfCoast Poetry, Tango Australis as well as Bluepepper.

Monday, August 30, 2021

New Poetry by Michael Keshigian

Panda Bear
Because he was terrified of loneliness,
he granted me life
and the ability to share with him
what little time he had remaining.
I placated his hours of isolation.
With no mobility,
he carried me everywhere,
onto the veranda with its view of the lake
on most sunny days
and nightly, in front of the television.
I could hear him limping
as he approached from the hall,
his gait, a telltale sign of concern.
Will he discuss his wife’s departure
or the considerable ineptitude
of political leaders?
Neighbors never visited,
they thought him odd, reclusive,
yet I know he would have welcomed
even the most abbreviated conversation.
No one complained about him,
he once entered a burning house
across the street
to save the wailing dog,
observation, his forte,
he knew no one was home.
The woman, living there,
who sobbed incessantly,
occasionally waved as she pulled
from out her driveway.
These midnight thoughts
are my only escape
from his ceaseless chatter.
I stare at him as he sleeps.
In the morning, he will open the blinds
and the sun will continue to melt
my button black eyes to a faded gray.
How I envy him. I yearn for eyelids 
and a single night of obscurity.

- © Michael Keshigian 2021

Michael Keshigian is the author of 14 poetry collections. His most recent poems have appeared in Muddy River Review, Studio One, Jerry Jazz Musician, San Pedro River Review, Young Ravens Literary Review, Tipton Poetry Journal. He has been published in numerous national and international journals and has appeared as feature writer in twenty publications with 7 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (

Sunday, August 29, 2021

New Poetry by Fotoula Reynolds

When the world seems a dungeon

What might a lily
With all her being
Wish for?
Her aim is true
Toward any sun
A bold rankness
An unceasing
Obsession to
Become herself
A continual longing

A tense line of ivory
Wrapping over
The boundaries of
The blossom is so
Unmistakable in
The decision of
Her direction
Skyward she rises
In a steady siren
Of Calla confidence

Her waxy petal cups a
Yellow spike like an
Eternal flame in God’s
Garden, on days blacker
Than night, when Earth
Becomes timid
Where the dragonfly
Goes beating his
Blind wings against
The long lines of the rain
The lily trumpets with spirit

- © Fotoula Reynolds 2021

Fotoula Reynolds is a writer of poetry, born in Australia of Greek heritage. She lives in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria and convenes a poetry reading group in her local community. She regularly attends and participates in spoken word events in and around the city of Melbourne. She is the author of three poetry collections and is published in five Australian anthologies. Fotoula is a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee.


Thursday, August 26, 2021

New Poetry by John Stanizzi

Jah Rain

Got to have kaya now
Got to have kaya now
Got to have kaya now
For the rain is falling

-Bob Marley and the Wailers, "Kaya"
rain in the hills
on curled October leaves
on the tarnished crop
one drop
mercurial hop
from blade of grass
to blade of grass
            glazed chain of rain
strings of grass
gilded with water light
playing faint notes
rain in the hills
a room just after dusk
the sacristy of night
thoughts of morning sun
thanks and praises
for the sound of wings in rain
blessings in blades of grass
that grow up
through shrapnel
into the air
into the clouds
the sweetest taste of life
lightest rain
in the dark
lights the dark
Jah rain
that makes children sing
when they drink it

- © John Stanizzi 2021

John L. Stanizzi is author of the collections Ecstasy Among Ghosts (Antrim House), Sleepwalking (Antrim House), Dance Against the Wall (Antrim House), After the Bell (BigTable), Hallelujah Time! (Big Table), High Tide – Ebb Tide (Kelsay Books), Four Bits (Grayson Press), Chants (Cervena Barva), Sundowning Main Street Rag, POND (imspired – UK)), and The Tree That Lights The Way Home (Antrim House). John is the Flash Fiction Editor of Abstract Magazine TV, and he has read at venues all over New England, including the Mystic Arts Café, the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, Hartford Stage, and many others.  He teaches literature at Manchester Community College in Manchester, Connecticut, and lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry, CT.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

New Poetry by Christian Garduno

The Eastern Hemisphere

The blood trade-
it stains your throat
skulking around Astrid’s blown-out town
I’ve been asleep for centuries
dreaming of yesterday

The gloaming has eight arms
to push the sands back up the hourglass
your heart beats in a sound-proof box
two things can be true at the very same time
strains of Vivaldi wafting through your hair

We are beginning our descent
yellow traffic lights blinking on blank streets
your eyelids flutter
the Sun is moving
it is we who are still in the night 

- © Christian Garduno 2021

Christian Garduno’s work can be read in over 80 literary magazines. He is the recipient of the 2019 national Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry. Garduno is a Finalist in the 2020-2021 Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Writing Contest. He lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie and young son Dylan.  




Monday, August 23, 2021

New Prose Poetry by Keith Hoerner

The Incredulity of Thomas

An index finger points the way from beneath the altar at Santa Croce Church in Gerusalemme, Roma. Postmortem examinations record the appearance to be blackened at the tip to the first knuckle; ashen grey for the remainder; absent of nail; with an irregular, saw cut along the webbing. Like a fat cigarette that’s been snuffed-out and soaked... I ponder this relic and imagine it in a clear, Petri-like dish, resting as a dial in a compass: coming to life with a shudder, spinning wildly, and settling its accusatory point on all passersby incredulous with doubt—of its existence. 

- © Keith Hoerner 2021

Keith Hoerner lives, teaches, and pushes words around in Southern Illinois. His recently published memoir, The Day the Sky Broke Open, can be found on Amazon. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

New Poetry by Brian Rihlmann

Pencil marks

I park in the cul-de-sac,
stop at the bottom 
of the driveway and 
grab the mail from the box.
The garage door’s open
so I take that route.
Before going in I pause and 
look at the pencil marks 
on the door jamb, 
just like the ones 
from my childhood bedroom.
I was always so eager
to be tall like Dad.
I waited impatiently 
for a summer growth spurt
that never quite came,
bugged her every week
to check it again.
Standing here now
I examine hers 
from ten years ago, 
five, and one from this year;
a half inch below the last,
a half inch closer to the ground.
I go in the house.
She’s in the kitchen.
Hi Mom, I say. I hug her. 
Squeeze. Too much.
Not so tight, she says.
You’ll break my bones.
I let her go, then.
I’m sure I’ve already broken her
more than enough.

- © Brian Rihlmann 2021

Brian Rihlmann lives in Reno, Nevada. His work has appeared in many magazines, including Chiron Review, The Main Street Rag, The American Journal Of Poetry, and New York Quarterly. He has authored three collections of poetry, most recently “A Screaming Place,” (2021) by Cajun Mutt Press.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

New Poetry by Bow Campbell

In the Wheelhouse

Kill it with fire
Bury it at sea
The destination 
Never meant that much to me
She sails herself now
She sails of her own accord
I’m in the wheelhouse
And there’s no one else on board

In the wheelhouse
I’m in the wheelhouse

There is a pirate
And he sails the seven seas
He carries cargo
That nobody ever sees
A true believer
And a port in every storm
You lose your anchor
You wake up on the shore. 

In the wheelhouse
In the wheelhouse

I’m in the wheelhouse
And there’s no one else on board

There’s nobody else on board

- © Bow Campbell 2021

Bow Campbell is a musician from Sydney, Australia. He maintains he has no business posting his musings on a poetry blog. But he can’t do gigs due to lockdown, so an old friend suggested he send some lyrics to Bluepepper. In the interests of full disclosure, the editor of this blog is that old friend. Bow is a founding member of the legendary Sydney band Front End Loader, and has worked over the years with many of the greats of the Sydney music scene including Bernie Hayes and Brendan Gallagher. Bow and I have collaborated before with an old band of his, The Impossibles, and plan to do so again. 

Sunday, August 08, 2021

New Poetry by Robert Ronnow

The Writer Working Hard
This morning I put the apostrophe in
and this afternoon I took it out.
Oscar Wilde’s comic wit
about the writer working hard.

Revision has lately become the sign
of seriousness, as in I revise
some poems a hundred times,
maybe more. A word of praise here,

a critical word there.
Before that there was the debate
if poems not stitched with end-sounds
were playing tennis without a net.

Late summer, August, hot, but
chickadees forming platoons.
Three months until the snow flies,
sure as the June my father died.

- © Robert Ronnow 2021

Robert Ronnow's most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at

Thursday, August 05, 2021

New Poetry by John Grey

The Three Largest Cities In Europe

I keep watch in your sleep,
unwitting expressions I name like the birds,
a tremble, a sigh, like you’ve reached
the top of a hill –
I’ve kept up – I’m beside you.

It’s the face I saw when I was a child,
in the garden rose,
the blinding light at the top of the column,
in window mist after a day of rain.

When we are together,
we are five of the four elements,
candles flutter in our veins,
nerves climb stairs
then go down again.

I have loved you
in the three largest cities in Europe,
the sun-yellowed Italian piazza,
in the winter of separation,
in memory and expectation.

I find you in heaps of fine hay,
in red clay, morning upon morning,
in the solstice, the ripening trees -
on days when I hear no voices,
I listen to yours.

And yes,
when the lake is smooth as a cheek,
your shadow makes ripples in the water.

- © John Grey 2021

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Penumbra, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and Held.



Tuesday, August 03, 2021

New Poetry by Sherry Poff

Light, Shining
Out of the coal-seamed earth
   layers of leaf-fall
   April's tender buds
   July's verdant green
   blackened, compressed
out of the darkness
   of wooded roadsides
   cooled by streaming air,
   water oozing chill
   from beneath flat rocks
clean as stars in a dusky sky,
they rise on slender stems:
daisies and Queen Anne's lace,
nodding like sages
in the wake
of our passing.

- © Sherry Poff 2021

Sherry Poff grew up in the hills of West Virginia. She now lives and writes in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she interacts with a large group of students and family members. Sherry holds an MA in Writing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is a member of the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild. Her stories and poems have appeared in numerous online and print publications.  Sherry’s short poem “Resurrection,” published in Liquid Imagination, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Monday, August 02, 2021

Three New Poems by Emma Foster

The Heroes

Things were so gray when we were young
We just didn’t know it.
Till now,
The world was sky-stabbing castles of stone,
Dragons gutted through—
Warm hearts of obsidian flesh—
Thrust into pieces by gold,
Before the day was saved
And the hero could be return home victorious
By dinner.

The Monsters

High school, the limbo years,
But we still don’t know why gray is so garbled.
One day we witness two girls in the hall
Engage in hand-to-hand combat
Between Biology and Algebra.
Blood and hair under their nails, they fling
Their makeshift kennings at each other.
We can’t understand
Why it’s so hard to be good
Before we realize we are monsters too.

The End

Now in our twenties
We confuse storybook endings with catechisms.
Back-alley sunsets
Like cut lips and bruises
Smear our faces—we sit in the gravel
By the abandoned train tracks.
These ashen bones, our unforeseen inheritance,
Feel empty at 4:30 am.   
We sit and scream, O, Wuldor-Fæder
Where did our castles go?

- © Emma Foster 2021

Emma Foster is a recent college graduate, fiction writer, and poet from Florida. She can be found in the Cedarville Review, Voices of the Valley, Ariel Chart, and she is forthcoming in Sledgehammer Lit and Nailpolish Stories. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

New Short Fiction by Dale Stromberg


I don't exist—I happen.

 A daydreamer’s story: “I told people he was my lover. I think he worked in a sexy profession. An architect or airline pilot or something. He was tall and Iranian, kept fit, barely spoke, and always had two-day stubble. His only English was, ‘I felt like seeing your face.’ I’d be out on the veranda, smoking a cigarette. Wondering if maybe today was the end of the world. He’d show up at my apartment without warning. And smile: ‘I felt like seeing your face.’ We’d take a bath together, at perfect rest.”

 An infantryman’s story: “They sent us up the wrong hill. They filled our guns with the wrong ammunition. They put us under the wrong general. Our boats were pointed in one wrong direction and our planes in another wrong direction. Our flag was the wrong color, blowing the wrong way. We attacked the wrong enemy from the wrong position. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. You never hear the one that hits you. I leaked, I bubbled, I groaned, I faded. My country… my country… my country wasted me.”

 An investigator’s story: “We couldn’t find a next-of-kin. The medical examiner ruled it a cerebral infarction. Her landlord called her a model tenant. The neighbors on her floor were less charitable: ‘dirty whore,’ ‘raunchy bitch,’ ‘needed a bath.’ Still, the case looked commonplace until we searched the house. Found them at the back of the bedroom closet. The desiccated remains, wrapped in plastic, of four stillborn babies. Her diary made no mention of any children. Studied the whole thing, never found a clue. It was just a bleak record of loneliness.”

- © Dale Stromberg 2021

Dale Stromberg grew up not far from Sacramento before moving to Tokyo, where he had a brief music career. Now he lives near Kuala Lumpur and makes ends meet as an editor and translator. His work has been published here and there.

New Poetry by Jim Conwell

Dark Matter
Why, is a question
I’ve never found the answer to.
We do not even know why the galaxies
are flying apart instead of collapsing
down gravity wells.
My grandfather, who died in the time I was conceived,
he was a farmer, a wheelwright, a tailor,
could mend shoes.
He was a god-fearing, hard-fisted man.
I am his grandson.
Show me the equation for that.
Tell me, even, how many blackboards you would need.

- © Jim Conwell 2021

Jim Conwell ’s parents were economic migrants from the rural west of Ireland and he was born, and has lived most of this life, in various parts of London. He currently has had poems published in many  magazines including The Ogham Stone, The Pangolin Review, The Seventh Quarry, The SHOp, The Stray Branch, Turbulence and Uneven Floor, He has had two poems shortlisted in the Bridport Poetry Prize and has work published in two anthologies.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

New Poetry by Lisa Creech Bledsoe

Message From the Center of the Universe

- for Burley Creech

Lightning-flash. I see a man
with rugged hands at the pasture gate
who loves me, loved me, is gone, still
goes on. So many of us
were the only one & special favorite of 
a man guiding, building fires
under stars, deer going to ground
and his wiry, strong arms around
me. I remember a man at night
when I stood in tears who gathered
me in, brought me home, sang
and made the garden dirt, crushed weeds
& tobacco smoke sweet with story
and I knew a man in my dream—
younger somehow but known, leaping stone
to clean stone, laughing, gone. I knew
a man cracking nuts by the hurricane lamp
& the poems he told, the notes he slipped
folded into my coat. I climbed
in dusty barns, leapt down, swung out
on the rope and dropped into a dark river
dreaming below sycamore and oak, corn silver
under the lightning-bug night and a
walking stick by an empty chair, a man
stoking the woodstove who loves me,
loved me, is gone, still goes on.

- © Lisa Creech Bledsoe 2021

Student of weeds and crows, Lisa Creech Bledsoe is a hiker, beekeeper, and writer living in the Western North Carolina mountains. She has two books of poetry, Appalachian Ground (2019), and Wolf Laundry (2020), and poems out in Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Softblow, Waterwheel Review, Otoliths, and Lammergeier, among others. She can be found online at

Monday, July 26, 2021

New Poetry by Ronald Geigle



I built here,
against the river,
when the channel
sent the spring melt
hard along the far shore,
watched the wild white water from here,
but storms last spring,
drought summer, then heavy snowfall
—the raging waters aim anew.


Fieldstone patio,
once smooth,
now ragged from ice and sun,
so I crowbar and heave against
the brutes,
drop sand in the holes, 
sweep with fine gravel,
how many years before they’re
uneven again?


but now, here’s my list:
chase out winter mice,
haul ashes to the pile,
pull alder armchair onto porch,
drink beer in the morning sometimes.

- © Ronald Geigle 2021

Ronald Geigle is a writer and poet living in Arlington, Virginia. His writing has been published in The New Mexico Review and The Plum Tree Tavern literary journal. He is the author of 2014 novel The Woods, set in the Pacific Northwest during the waning years of the Great Depression.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

New Poetry by Jean Bohuslav


gardenias spread across pavers with
scent of mother-in-law, while
leandra smiled into an empty glass
at her peaceful passing

disturbance ran shady nooks
as illusory ghoul buds
released flimsy white flowers
for the first time

remnants of afternoon’s yellows
slipped from windows like fisherman’s nets
leaving hollowed emptiness echoing
across furniture

shower’s moisture veiled warm toes
screaming as scissors cut close to quick
while a snug band-aid drew blood

her son stopped crying after gluing
the rocking horse’s head on
even though it was back to front

a slater crawled step edges
nudging doors for days
steely diligence stronger than
his armour

puss-cat purred everyone to sleep 
woolly feet hung over couch ends
sprawling in front of lounge chairs
like a washerwoman’s laundry

summer’s one new growth
soft pinks and yellows reached upwards
its sisters laying grounded
autumn’s storm

- © Jean Bohuslav 2021

Jean Bohuslav lives in Torquay Australia.   She exhibits paintings in Regional Victoria and teaches mindfulness philosophy, an interest which influences all areas of her life.  Jean has contributed to Meniscus Literary Journal, Poetry On The Move, Mad Swirl, Tango Australis Journal, Kissing Dynamite, Poetry Wivenhoe as well as Bluepepper.



Thursday, July 15, 2021

New Poetry by Henry Stimpson

New York
Hot Weiners

in hot-pink and blue neon beckons
on a hot Providence evening
throbbing with Latino music
as my daughter and I step into
this shining diner she discovered
after getting an eagle tattooed on her thigh.

“Six all the way,” I tell the beaming counterman:
slather the wieners with ground beef,
minced onions, mustard and celery seed,
this fine Rhode Island concoction
they call New York System wieners.

At a red vinyl booth
Rebecca and I eat wieners and fries,
drink sweet cold coffee milk and laugh
while banter buzzes from the counter.
We’re young and old, black, brown and white,
united by our love for spicy wieners.
If only they had blueberry pie
in that hinged glass case…

Back in my car,
Rebecca posts on Facebook
a montage of our tidy meals,  
me devouring a wiener,
and the sign’s green neon burning




against the timeless twilight’s silver clouds.

- © Henry Stimpson 2021

Henry Stimpson’s poems, articles and essays have appeared in Poet Lore, Cream City Review, Lighten Up Online, Rolling Stone, Muddy River Poetry Review, Mad River Review, Aethlon, The MacGuffin, The Aurorean, Common Ground Review, Vol1Brooklyn, Poets & Writers, The Boston Globe and other publications.  He’s been a public relations consultant and writer for decades. Once upon a time, he was a reference librarian, a prison librarian and a cabdriver. He lives in Massachusetts.


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

New Poetry by John Rock

Within The Blue

blues the night descending
trying to name
a single color
and giving up

the night descending cape of summer
in the mountains held to the stars
there’s only this listening
and the river beneath these legs
only this bridge
and the moon watching itself change
with the current
only the frogs and crickets
holding this hearing aloft
from within the water’s heart
willows and cottonwoods fuller and fuller
this bridge which from dragonflies and flycatchers
could’ve been woven
wishing I could share this with another poet
just the moon breaking apart and coming together

- © John Rock 2021

John Rock grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan in the United States and spent many years near Lake Superior living in a wall tent working on poems, but now lives in a yurt by the Pacific ocean and is still working on poems.  More poems and novels available at




New Poetry by Megan Wildhood

Alligator Proof

alligators are intelligent;
for one, they show great restraint

their primary prey is the wood duck;
they might float steadily just below the surface near one for an hour 

alligators transport their babies in their U-shaped mouths;
when things get scary, they snap them safe

wood ducks have squat beaks that cannot snap;
orange and brown tipped or dull, depending on sex

male wood ducks have painted jowls and green iridescent mullets;
they always look surprised or tired 

females can hide on brown water by sitting very still;
slender blue striping their wings’ ends 

alligators can rise without a ripple; only their eyes 
break the surface—a human can scare an alligator off

if a wood duck lives through its first attack
it is alligator-proof from then on

this is what researchers observe over and over
still without a theory of how fragility defeats monsters

- © Megan Wildhood 2021

Megan Wildhood is a neurodiverse lady writer in Seattle who helps her readers feel genuinely seen as they interact with her dispatches from the junction of extractive economics, mental and emotional distress, disability and reparative justice. She hopes you will find yourself in her words as they appear in her poetry chapbook Long Division (Finishing Line Press, 2017) as well as The Atlantic, Yes! Magazine, Mad in America, The Sun and  elsewhere. You can learn more at

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

New Poetry by Radhika Kapoor

Drink While It’s Hot, Honey

is what you’d made
that first night
I was kicked out.

Hot like salt
water is hot,
but sweet
where salt
water is not.

here’s the um again,
don’t laugh
please. You um at your students

it’s on tip of:
ophidian tongue
but not yet on:
teeth, I saw —
Saw-toothed like razors (I’d know.)

Even before It begins
here I am.
Odometering, tasseographing, guessing
when your metaled mouth-margins, your face-hole
will purse to a point,
pimpling to a pop.
It Happens.

- © Radhika Kapoor 2021

Radhika Kapoor lives and writes in India and America, chasing rainy weather wherever she can find it. She is a lawyer by training and holds degrees from the National Law School, Bangalore, and Harvard Law School. Among her recent achievements is learning to love dogs, especially the large kind. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Five on the Fifth Lit Mag, New World Writing, and Bending Genres.

Monday, July 12, 2021

New Poetry by Doug Holder


- for Jennifer

She was high holy
burning the sage
blessing the dark apartment
with sacred smoke
she ripped
the reluctant window open
and let a curious breeze in
the stagnant dust
of long years
dissipated in
her light.
The cat slept by
the crystals she left
the birds chirped loudly
in a mad, celebratory chorus
my cat and I
stared at each other
by her wake.

- © Doug Holder 2021

Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press based in Somerville Massachusetts. He is currently caring for his terminally ill wife at their home of many years, and this poem is dedicated to his dear friend Jennifer Matthews, who has helped him with caregiving.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

New Poetry by Allan Lake

Caught Out

She pats my head, tells me I need a haircut;
I joke about just letting my hair grow,
becoming a hippie, again. My girlfriend,
who only got born in the 1960’s,
states emphatically, You are a hippie!
Uncanny how someone can see you
as you are, not how you wish to be seen
or even how you see yourself.
And this was accomplished
without hallucinogenics.

- © Allan Lake 2021

Allan Lake is currently a Melbourne poet whose latest collection, My Photos of Sicily, was published by Ginninderra Press in 2020. He will be reading at Passionate Tongues on July 20th.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

New Poetry by Zebulon Huset

Saturday Nirvana

You mused
that blues were
in nature then
popped a purple
blueberry, bordering
on being black
into your mouth.
The frosted skin
kissed your lips
in a beam of fading
afternoon sun.
In all of possibility
existence, chance—
how wonderful, this.

- © Zebulon Huset 2021

Zebulon Huset is a teacher, writer and photographer living in San Diego. He won the Gulf Stream 2020 Summer Poetry Contest and his writing has appeared in Bluepepper, Meridian, The Southern Review, Fence & Texas Review among others. He publishes the writing blog Notebooking Daily, edits the journals Coastal Shelf and Sparked, and recommends literary journals at

Monday, July 05, 2021

New Poetry by Mark Blaeuer

Railyard Portrait
String of empties on a spur,
cinders, creosoted ties, rusted metal,
a dead Sunday,
rolling stock of memories
crumpled under a sooty Stetson.
Semaphore at stop—
to kudzu. Stylized smoking cowboy
chalked on a boxcar, genuine Colossus
of Roads.

- © Mark Blaeuer 2021

Mark Blaeuer has an M.A. in anthropology, which resulted in his employment as a park ranger and in the field of archaeology (among other jobs). His poems have appeared in dozens of journals, e.g., Asphodel Madness, Better Than Starbucks, The Shit Creek Review, and SurVision. One collection, Fragments of a Nocturne, is available from Kelsay Books. He also researches and writes non-fiction about Hot Springs, Arkansas, near which he resides.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

New Poetry by Nate Metz

But What of Her Flames, Mr. Jeffers?

“To feel greatly, and understand greatly, and express greatly, the natural beauty, is the sole business of poetry.” -Robinson Jeffers

And I understand why Jeffers believed this:
he sat there in that barefaced
Central California air, watching 
the huge sun gliding behind 
the Pacific’s ancient stillness,
and wrote his undeniable truth with what he saw. 
But Jeffers never met her. 
She is an ex-lover, who one May night
laid beside me by the cold bay, 
and with a blade of sincerity in her voice, 
explained to me that all she wanted
was to be beautiful the same way a 
Northern Oak is beautiful
after it had been pitilessly 
consumed to bone 
and ash by flames.
What would Jeffers say about that?
I don’t even know what I could say about that.
All I know is that it seems every bit like poetry’s
business, its purpose, to attempt 
to comprehend, just a little, the fleshy
essence of human captive within that; to explore 
not only the natural beauty but also her, and
her flames.

- © Nate Metz 2021

Nate Metz is an undergraduate writer attending Santa Clara University. He has previously been published in SCU’s The Owl (forthcoming) and won first prize in the Shipsey Poetry Prize. As an avid reader and writer of poetry, he sees poetry as a sincere means for self-expression and a critical way to explore our shared humanity.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

New Poetry by Marilyn Humbert


Above First Street oaks two crows
lazy-loop clouds bruising the blue.

A red cap flashes
between wrinkled tree-trunks
skinny legs pedalling
the front wheel wobbling
spoke-cards slapping
his wide smile
on the level towards me.

Dad never approved of girls
riding bicycles: skirts winging
pale thigh gleam, bobby socks
rolled to ankle-knobs.

I love free-wheeling
the back paddock’s steep banks
among watchful crows

from the crest
distant oaks.

- © Marilyn Humbert 2021

Marilyn Humbert lives in Sydney Australia.

Monday, June 28, 2021

New Poetry by Lorette C. Luzajic


Some men are Porsches. Sleek and silver, fine and riche, over the top, on top. Well-oiled machines. Some are folksy, vans, Volkswagens, all rusty authenticity, flowery, free loving. Some guys are shy, slim, expensive, Audi, all feline Russian Blue. Some are hot blooded, top down, skylight seekers soaring through the sun. I’m looking for the one who painted polka dots on his jalopy at a demolition derby, proudly wore the runner up ribbon in his dungaree bib. It’s the tried and true, the dilapidated denim driver that does it for me. The soda sweet simplicity, hands up, hands down, crumpled hunk of burning love.

- © Lorette C. Luzajic 2021

Lorette C. Luzajic is a widely published writer of prose poetry and flash fiction. She is the editor of The Ekphrastic Review, a journal devoted to writing inspired by art.

Friday, June 25, 2021

New Poetry by Paul Ilechko

Whirl of Morning

The girls are demanding donuts
their hunger overwhelming     school
about to start     go   they say

and so     she takes the car and drives
rushing back to where she aimed
to meet them     the school bus passing

empty     no girls     back home she finds them
dancing in the whirl of morning
lost inside their mystical inventions

their faces never more alive than when
they see their own reflections
in the darkened pupils of each other

their lives a set of lines     intersecting
with each other’s     and with hers     
sharp edges and diagonals     across the page.

- © Paul Ilechko 2021

Poet and songwriter Paul Ilechko is the author of three chapbooks, most recently “Pain Sections” (Alien Buddha Press). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Night Heron Barks, Rogue Agent, Ethel, San Pedro River Review, Lullwater Review, and Book of Matches. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

New Prose Poetry by Charles D. Tarlton

 While the Sun Shines

They are raking the empty beach at Kill Devil Hills with a John-Deere tractor, and the memories of yesterday’s sunny delights, a thousand beach umbrellas, semi-nude sunbathers, and sand castles have all been erased. A cluster of early-birds are stopped cold by the virginal look of the beach, so smooth and ribboned, and seem to wonder if they are allowed to disrupt the flat-ironed sand that stretches now like aisles of vacuumed carpet or the stubble once the hay’s been baled. 

Bird Scenes

A white ash in the park was filled with black starlings. Then a bright red cardinal sailed by, and a robin and a ruddy house finch, all partly red, and a wren. The Audubon Field Guide lists warblers and juncos, nuthatches, titmice, and chickadees, but there were none to be found around here. Blackbirds or bluejays, fangs out, were mobbing the slow moving crows in a dogfight while mocking black grackles foretold  Brueghel’s winter hunters limping home empty-handed from the hunt.

- © Charles D. Tarlton 2021

Charles D. Tarlton lives and writes on the shore in Old Saybrook, Connecticut with his wife, Ann Knickerbocker, an abstract painter, and Nikki, their black female, standard poodle.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

New Poetry by Patrick Williamson

The cold passages led here

I am in the dressing room, a cot of pleasure
at the foot of your bed, a bare den:
I am the man who adjusts his tie in the hallway
your dreams rush by the window,
your fears rustle branches, the screech of night.
I peeped on au-pairs clutching towels;
keyhole pleasures of steam
flashes of dark hair, flickering tremors,
I held my breath
the draped figure suddenly withdrew.
In the middle of night, each thought dwells,
becomes another moment of my life,
pumped out, the morning light uncovers
a restless sod, that scatters.
Nothing lasts. The floorboards always creaked,
linoleum wrinkled then, as now.

- © Patrick Williamson 2021

Patrick is an English poet and translator. He is editor and translator of The Parley Tree, Poets from French-speaking Africa and the Arab World (Arc Publications) and translator of Tahar Bekri, Guido Cupani and Erri de Luca. Most recent poetry collection : Traversi (English-Italian, Samuele Editore). Patrick is also a founding member of transnational literary agency Linguafranca.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

New Poetry by Claire Watson


His kind invitations were always declined;
the most he expected were gruff pleasantries.
He piled up his money to form golden shrines.

If the Romans asked six he charged people nine,
then fiddled with figures and pocketed three.
His kind invitations were always declined.

On the Jericho streets, he was pushed down the line;
when he could not see Jesus he climbed up a tree.
He piled up his money to form golden shrines.

‘No, I’m not fooling. The honour is mine.
Now get down, Zacchaeus. I’m coming to tea.’
His kind invitations were always declined.

Zacchaeus raced home and selected the wine.
The meal was eclipsed by sublime company.
He piled up his money to form golden shrines.

He drank of God’s favour, his wealth lost its shine,
and his heart was released from its grim poverty.  
His kind invitations were always declined.
He knocked down his altar and scattered the shrines. 

- © Claire Watson 2021

Claire Watson is a Salvation Army Officer who turned to poetry after the death of her daughter, Hannah, in 2014. Her memoir, Fingerprints of Grace, was published in 2017, and her poems have been published by Meniscus, Quadrant, Hunter Writers Centre, and Friendly Street Poets. She lives in Murray Bridge, South Australia. 

Monday, June 21, 2021

New Poetry by Mark Danowsky


If I was a woman 
I likely would have died 
In the same situation
I lucked through 

Broken eggshells
Carefully swept aside 

I tried protector 

Up latest 
Awake first 

Staying up with our dog 

The cat making do
With attitude 

I played every role I could 
Never well enough

My own frailties 
Shining through  

You knew them all 
& pushed each button 

Breaking them down 
Stuck in 

You went 
I stayed behind 
Then traveled back to 

Then tragic

We could not help 
Ourselves apart 

On your open porch 
In view of the elements
& sometimes strangers 
We would laugh together

What insisted—
Take it all away?

All that anger turned inward
Stole our future 

I did it wrong, you know 

I told you I would save you 
When I could not

- © Mark Danowsky 2021

Mark Danowsky is Editor-in-Chief of ONE ART: a journal of poetry and Senior Editor for Schuylkill Valley Journal. He is author of the poetry collection As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press). His work has appeared in Bird Watcher’s Digest, Cleaver Magazine, Gargoyle, The Healing Muse, and elsewhere. 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

New Poetry by Michele Seminara

North Facing 

This house has — too many — windows:
anyone can see in.
It’s one of those houses
people stroll through the back door —

they feel free.

This house was not chosen
by me but by my husband 
and father who pronounced it to be 
a fine, solid, master-built house
(built by masters who morph into monsters).

It opens benignly to the morning sun, turning
in the right direction (I’m told)
I should be grateful I am
not which makes me —

This house has two storeys, two stories,
the down stairs unrolling like a fiery tongue 
I was always afraid to be pushed down.

But now that the opening is closing (touch wood) 
I’ve begun to write over the holy hole 
we punched in the door of hell.

(They say suffering is good for you; I can’t tell.)

This is not my home. I don’t live here. 
I abide in the safe house my mind 
has constructed from word-wood.  
Only I can enter the back door:
others must knock.
If I choose not to be home, I’m not.

But here, my face faces
painfully outwards, over-
exposing its north-lit bits,
here, there is only one
room to hide in, one
secret space
in which to sit,
and this, this 
gash of a poem,
this is it. 

- © Michele Seminara 2021

Michele Seminara is a Sydney poet and chief editor of online literary journal Verity La. "North Facing" is the opening poem in Michele's latest collection, "Suburban Fantasy", currently available for pre-order through UWAP. Just click on the link:

Sunday, June 13, 2021

New Poetry by John Tustin

The Water's Edge

I see me at the edge of the water:
I am on my haunches,
Taking water into my cupped hands
And watching it flow through them.

I keep doing it, mildly interested.
I am learning nothing,
My hands keep busy,
My mind is filled with trivialities

As I fail to mark the time
And the water fills, falls away,
Fills, falls away.
I see me at the water’s edge.

- © John Tustin 2021

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. contains links to his published poetry online.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

New Poetry by Kitty Jospé

What We Don’t

control, is the web of events
that will press on these young men
back from the war as they
start a teaching career,
marry lively wives…

and what you don’t
guess, is what is behind
this joke with a roll
of toilet paper—
my Dad sitting as straight
as Osiris holding the scroll
for his pal to paint…

and what you don’t
hear is the clink of glass
bottles of beer —

and what I hope you, reading what I wrote, 
might understand, is the mystery
that a shot showing a side of my father
I never knew, cracks my heart open
to love him even harder.

- © Kitty Jospé 2021

Since 2004, Kitty switched from teaching French, turning her work as docent into explorations of ekphastics, and pursued workshops and an MFA in poetry. (received in 2009 from Pacific University, OR)  Since Feb. 2008, she started  weekly sessions to help people to be more attentive readers and increase appreciation of good poems. Her 6th book, Sum:1 appeared in March 2021,