Sunday, February 28, 2021

New Poetry by Kris Spencer

Some form of blocking 

Iggy Pop is in his clapboard bungalow  
in Little Haiti, Miami; 
he is talking about his paintings. 
to Sky Arts. 

On his sofa  
a pregnant woman 
carved in foam. 

He works on a canvas 
which might show a face; 
adding a stroke of acrylic, 
he steps away  
and smiles to the camera - 
nothing is slyly transposed. 

Then, filmed at a gallery show, 
he seems hurt 
when his paintings are 
bought as souvenirs. 

Another time, 
talking with Stefan Brüggemann, 
he says: 
You block the areas,  
and then you allow the rest to happen. 

- © Kris Spencer 2021

Kris Spencer has written seven books, most published by OUP. He is a regular contributor to magazines in a journalistic career that spans over 20 years. His poems have been published in a number of journals; most recently, Acumen and the Balloon Literary Journal. Kris is a Headteacher living and working in west London. He was born and grew up in a village outside Bolton. Previously, he has studied, worked and lived in Hull, Cincinnati, Oxford, and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

New Fiction by Nick Mann

Russia, 40’000 BP
Homo Deus

Cold hands burn in the winter chill…
— Lily Rose, Winter
 Snow crunches underfoot. Cold, painful. He must move quickly if he’s to see another sunrise. He breaks out into a sprint. Thick, muscular thighs, well developed from years of experience, pump hard. He sprints past a line of trees—too small—then sees a big one to his left. He scrambles up the fat trunk with ease, begins to climb the branches to put more distance between himself and it. He stands on a branch, leans back against the trunk, panting to get his breath back. It, a flash of grey fur and claw, races past the tree before realising he has disappeared. Confused, it wanders around, sniffing the air. A breeze of frost-wind blows through the branches and the man tightens his grip. His hands, rough, hairy, are bone-white. He can’t stay here for much longer, but he can’t get down just yet. The animal below stops meandering, cocks its head ever so slightly. A twitch of the ears and it’s off, back the way it came. The man sighs, waits until it is out of sight before climbing down.

 The man finds the river nearby. No more than a trickle, he treks up the valley, through the wet grass and snow-laden trees, until the trickle becomes a stream, until the stream becomes a river, until the river becomes a waterfall. Behind the waterfall, he finds his people again, safe and sheltered from the wet and cold. The smell of rotting flesh reeks from the far end of the cave where’s a scattering of dead creatures, some scaly, some furry, some small, some big, and a smattering of wood—branches, twigs, leaves—where a fire is yet to be lit. When his people see him again, a babble of noise bursts the silence. He embraces all of his men with big bear hugs, and then she comes to him. His woman: crystal blue eyes, thick black hair, small-breasted, tall. They touch foreheads for a moment, and he allows himself a moment to relax in her arms. Then they separate and he has to be strong again. Strong for his men, strong for himself. He goes to the back of the cave to get something to eat. Something small and slimy, with eyeballs bulging out of their sockets. He gulps down big chunks of meat, then picks the bones out of his teeth and throws them to the side.

 Night closes in. He gets up slowly, careful to not wake anyone, and tiptoes to the mouth of the cave. All around him, the snow on the trees and forest floor and the torrential waterfall glow in the moonlight. He looks up at that silver disk in the sky and shudders. He looks away from the moon to a clear patch of blackness, briefly grazed by two shooting stars. He sighs. He stays out here for a bit longer, contemplating the inexpressible beauty of nature before going back inside and huddling with his people.

 The next day, the men are up early. There’s a certain energy among them, animating their movements and lifting their tongues. They grab their spears from the back of the cave and then they’re out. Past the waterfall, they follow the water down, until the waterfall is a river, until the river is a stream is a trickle, past the trickle until it widens up into a river again and the river runs into a lake. The lake is big, too big to try walking across, but small enough to see the other side.

 Silence. The air is heavy with silence. Not a single animal can be seen, hidden among the snow-laden vegetation. One of the men motions for the others to stop. He points at the floor, ten feet ahead, and leads the group to it. A footprint. As big as his hand, with four toe marks. Looking up, they can see the rest of the track going backwards. They all share a look and he, the tribe leader, nods affirmative. They follow the tracks back through the bushes, around the lake and into the valley. The wind is biting and the sun hides behind a cloud. They are on the verge of giving up when they hear it: a low howl, somewhere distant. They follow the tracks further, losing and finding them in quick succession. They’re coming out of the forest when they see it: a grey furred creature, alone.

 The men break into a sprint; the creature sees them coming out of the corner of its eye. The tracker and the tribe leader lead the pack to surround the animal. It whips around, snarling and snapping at the men, feeling each sharp point dig into its fur, enraging it all the more. It jumps up onto its hind legs and lunges for the tracker, connects and takes his arm off. The thing shakes the man’s severed arm from side to side, spraying blood everywhere, and the man screams. He drops his spear and tries to cover his bloody stump with his other hand but it’s futile. He’s a dead man. The animal bears down on him, tears out his throat—and finds a spear in its own throat. The tribe leader grunts, pulls out his spear, blood running down the tip.

 Two other men put the animal over their shoulders, and then, with one last look at the tracker, already starting to freeze, they head back. Up the valley, around the lake, up the river, the stream, the trickle, the bottleneck, up and up until they come to the cave behind the waterfall. It’s a long journey, and they take turns carrying the animal every so often.
 When they enter the cave, the tracker’s woman looks for her man. Upon seeing him not there, she lets out a wail of grief. The tribe leader places an arm around her to comfort her but she pushes him away. She needs space, time. He too needs space. He is numb; his men are numb. They heave the animal onto the fire pit and crouch down, thinking about how to light the fire. The man, the tribe leader, still holding his spear, suddenly shouts and throws it down. His woman comes rushing to him, and he pushes her away. He staggers to the mouth of the cave, tears filling his eyes, and he opens his mouth let out the deepest, longest shout his people have ever heard. With all eyes on him, they don’t see the flame hidden in the kindling.

- © Nick Mann 2021

Nick Mann is currently studying Creative and Professional Writing and Film and Screen Media at St Mary’s University in Twickenham but is originally from Royal Wootton Bassett. As a writer, Nick is a jack-of-all-trades because as well as prose, he's written poetry, screenplays and adapted a short story into stage script. Nick also plans to write an original play at some point.

Friday, February 26, 2021

New Poetry by Melissa Chappell

Twenty Summers

Twenty summers have passed,
and the river’s memory stretches
warm on a boulder,
waiting for her lover
as I wait,
in the deep hold of winter,
a stone in my shoe,
bothersome boulder
where many 
burnished suns ago,
I excelled
in every way
in his eyes,
oceanic gray
watching me
above the waters
as every 
pool of remembrance is
in flames,
and I am warm,
restless beneath
the ice floes,
bereft of your body,
twenty summers gone,
twenty silvered stones,
twenty rivers reimagining
twenty times
again and again,
that I have lost you.

- © Melissa Chappell 2021

I am an author living in S:outh Carolina, USA. I have been published in Amethyst Review, Dreich Magazine, A New Ulster, BlazeVox, and Adelaide Literary Review. My latest publication was Doors Carelessly Left Ajar (Alien Buddha Press, 2020).  I was a Pushcart Prize nominee in 2019 and a Short LIst Nominee for the Adelaide 2021 LIterary Award. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my poetry. 

New Poetry by Milton P. Ehrlich

Beyond the Next Horizon

I’m entering the final decade of my life
and will wait for my next transformation.
I don’t plan to spend any more of my savings—
knowing my money could be enjoyed
by the extended family I leave behind.
And when my turn comes to leave,
I hope it surely happens as seamlessly
as getting on my warm winter jacket
and fitting my arms into the sleeves.

- © Milton P. Ehrlich 2021

Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 89-year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published poems in Poetry Review, The Antigonish Review, London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, and the New York Times

Thursday, February 25, 2021

New Poetry by Amy Bobeda

It’s called apheresis
it’s the thing–– 

I have a friend you should see in Santa Rosa
the doctor in the purple shirt says 
a blood cleanings without
on the windowsill
a $4000 dollar treatment
an appointment in a week
and if it works––

the language of medicine
once Greek
transposed Latin and English
to become a militarized
inventing scenarios
graphically understood
the 17th century
battle, enemy
and attack
declaring war against
of the body
of the land
man’s attempt to 
fathers of Olympus
wared their own

- © Amy Bobeda 2021

Amy holds and MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics where she founded Wisdom Body Collective, an artist collective rooted in the sacred feminine. Her work can be read in Humble Pie, Vol 1 Brooklyn, and elsewhere. @AmyBobeda on twitter. 

New Poetry by Karlo Sevilla


Year One

The penance of one who looks for the disappeared
The penance of one who looks for the disappeared

Year Two

The penance of one who looks for the disappeared
The penance of one who looks for the disappeared

Year Three

- © Karlo Sevilla 2021

Karlo Sevilla of Quezon City, Philippines is the author of three poetry collections: “Metro Manila Mammal'' (Soma Publishing, 2018), “You” (Origami Poems Project, 2017), and “Outsourced!...” (Revolt Magazine, 2021). Recognized among The Best of Kitaab 2018 and twice nominated for the Best of the Net, his poems appear or are forthcoming in Philippines Graphic, Small Orange, DIAGRAM, Matter, Eunoia Review, Black Bough Poetry, Ariel Chart, Sanctuary, and elsewhere. 

New Poetry by M.J. Iuppa

Left Behind
                     ~ after Meindert Hobbema’s painting,
                                The Avenue at Middelharnis

Infinite— as you might imagine, the air
suddenly welcoming in a time where you
are unsure of each step on a wide dirt road,
gauging deep ruts made over time— mud’s
thick softening that hardens to shape stead-
fast into an emotion echoing the sound of
parting, that’s the wavering of slender trees
lining the avenue that holds up the clouds—
                                                  the clouds . . .
 never seem to disappear . . . do they?

- © M.J. Iuppa 2021

M.J. Iuppa’s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past 32 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

New Poetry by John Maurer

Individualized Reality

Shawn Carter taught me that nothing unreal exists
but that doesn't mean untruths aren't as ubiquitous
as drug dealers with sun-faded tribal tattoos

It's not a lie if you believe it
it's two lies if you convinced yourself to believe it
A lie for them and a lie for you
isn't this the contemporary template for a career?

Failure taught me to fear success
but not to stop chasing it
Hate taught me to fear love
but still, every day she wakes up and I tell her I adore her

If you like solving math problems, you aren't good at math
One must reserve themselves for the unsolvable
The zero too heavy to be carried over
I know I'm wrong as soon as I enjoy being right

- © John Maurer 2021

John Maurer is a 26-year-old writer from Pittsburgh who writes fiction, poetry, and everything in-between, but his work always strives to portray that what is true is beautiful. He has been previously published in Claudius Speaks, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Thought Catalog, and more than forty others. @JohnPMaurer (  

New Poetry by Kitty Jospé

After the Carnaval in Trinidad— Tabanka

T o feel longing for what is no longer: In Trinidad they say tabanka:
A  yearning to be a wound’s nectar, but there's no flower.  Ask
B eauty to wind its silk, how it wants to be. What is known
A s quality ?  Watch how spirit dances, performs its aria.
N ourishing music that soothes.  What kind of dancing limb,
K arma, carried by wind, crafted by breath?  Pause in its comma,
A s this ache rises, like geese in winter, gone at sunset.


Some say longing can only fill with more
of itself—a yearning to be a wound’s nectar,
a sweet healing offered to bees so they may store
honey on the hive’s shelf.  We watch their

dance reeling, does it reveal some purpose,
like our desire—our soul’s unfolding—
this spirit dance we craft with wind, fire
of our breath?  It is winter, the ache in us

rising to join again a world, leave the frozen
edges like the geese rising from the break
in the ice to fly to warmer climes. Those chosen

make so smooth a splice indeed, you cannot
see the join. Nothing needed to get, what’s got:
but love of life, in self and others like hand in glove.

Note: “Tabanka” is particular to the culture of Carnival in Trinidad, and the feeling when it is over. 
Thus the acrostic in capital letters of Part 1.

- © Kitty Jospé 2021

Kitty Jospé loves the possibilities of language! After living and working in Europe, she delighted in teaching French (MA, NYU 1984).  Since 2008, midway in completing an MFA at Pacific University, OR, she delights in  moderating poetry appreciation discussions at two of the Rochester, NY Libraries.  Popular reader and speaker, she also has 6 books and appears in many anthologies and reviews such as The Ekphrastic Review, Atlanta Review, The Orchard Journal.

Monday, February 22, 2021

New Poetry by James Diaz

Poem in which my mother cuts off all her hair, 
asks for 150 dollars 

See this picture here
it's a wounded deer, it's a scoliosis ghost
sat in wheelchair 
under ER fluorescent light 
I swear I never came from there
but I did 
I did

it's her lamentation - I know - for her mother 
her sackcloth and ashes 

I imagine how she held the scissors 
until my father relented and took them in his hands
and cut it all away;

the pain

it's still there 

only the hair is gone

and her mother 

there's nothing sadder than knowing 
that you can't really fix any of this

how grief, like Samson’s strength, 
was never in the hair

it was just there
just there.

- © James Diaz 2021

James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) and Poetic Disasters (forthcoming, Alien Buddha Press, 2021,) as well as the founding Editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. Their work has appeared most recently in Cobra Milk Mag, Bear Creek Gazette and Resurrection Mag. They live in a far too cold and snowy upstate New York, where they are waiting patiently for the Spring. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

New Poetry by Peter Magliocco

The Lady Diarist from Wales, Who Read the Poets as Washington Burned (1968)

Sometimes the spirit is left to crawl
with a lost dog in the streets,
bound to whatever unites the living
in life.

Even if it's the lowest common denominator,
even if it's the wind riffling
through caged beings
evolution has yet to define
in better shape, towards a better end:
whatever propels our particles
into the sea of human destiny.

She wrote these words in the library
of surrounding streets
before they were singed by fire & smoke.
Her personage modeled a helmet of hair,
with each ebony strand in alignment
compacting the infinite curls taking root.

As the black citizens roiled about
she sat writing on a tattered porch,
strewn with burnt-out cinders,
hardly noticing my M.P. jeep passing;
or seeing the olive drab troops either
who came to protect her building
from vandals near the White House.
Wood smolders best, she scribbled,
but please protect the cherry trees

& the flame of immortality
in Shelley's heart
today so far away.

- © Peter Magliocco 2021

Peter Magliocco writes from Las Vegas, Nevada, and has had poems published through the years in print and online publications. His latest poetry book is The Underground Movie Poems from Horror Sleaze Trash.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

New Poetry by Michele Seminara


This body is not a temple but a vehicle 
for pleasure and pain.
This body is not a vehicle but 
a manifestation of pleasure and pain. 
Pleasure and pain are both sacred 
and profane revelations of body.

My body swimming in water is a mere drop in a body of water.
The body of water sometimes appears as a wave.
Wave and drop are only briefly appeared
by mind’s slippery karmic confluence. 

When I swim with you in this precious body of seawater,
we co-create. Later, when sense perceptions urge 
and attachments merge, we procreate.
Roused energies rise in steamy flesh 
and ahh into the other’s supple body.

Sometimes the ahh dives down like a fish and quickens into being. 

Three babies have anchored in my maternal cove:
nascent body/minds blooming in mine 
as I float like a yoke on the surface of 
this shimmering ocean’s grand dream. 

- © Michele Seminara 2021

Michele is a Sydney poet and mother of three and chief editor of literary mag Verity La.

Monday, February 15, 2021

New Poetry by John Johnson

Black and Blue


No worse alarm than an impatient delivery man.
My eyes wide open let the sunlight in.
Like an old school darkroom, the film reel exposed.

The image now ruined.
My dreams interrupted.
Black and blue tones fade.


Stop banging!
Groggy, startled, half-dressed, and cold.
Jumping out of bed as quickly as I can.

The cold air of the bedroom slaps me.
Rocketing to the top of the stairs when it happens.
Wood staircase meet white tube socks.


Damn cold feet in the middle of the night.
Slippery as a sheet of ice, my feet fall out from under me,
Gravity cannot be defied.


In a flash, I am flat on my back at the bottom of the stairs.
Surveying the damage--wondering what is broken.
The delivery man will have to wait.

All I see is black and blue.
The same colors
of my dreams.

- © John Johnson 2021

John Johnson is an author and entrepreneur from McLean, Virginia.  His recent poetry has been published in The Boston Literary Magazine, The Poet, and Sundial Magazine.



Tuesday, February 09, 2021

New Poetry by Louise McKenna


let me pause like a comma
            to read the history of this leaf
                        a flyer swing-boating on a current of air

                        if I could catch it
                            hold it like this
                        up to the light

this yellowed papery message
is pin holed with stigmata
after a brief assignation
with a year of sorrows

and a red gum older than Australia

such unweighable loss has always been with us

            trees spending their currency

as the sun x rays each capillary
look up through
the silhouetted lungs of the tree

to the cracked blue pane
of sky

the only remedies

are our faithful roots,
the impossible apex of a

- © Louise McKenna 2021

Louise McKenna is an Adelaide poet. Her chapbook ‘The Martyrdom of Bees’ was published by Garron Press in 2016. She has been published in many journals, including ‘Cordite’ and ‘Meanjin.’ She is currently working on a second chapbook and is elated to have a working title at last.

Monday, February 08, 2021

New Poetry by David Adès

The Continuous Ephemeral 
Even though a multitude of poetry books — 
dog-eared, thumbed, hauled from place to place — 
stayed with me a good, long while 
and there were loves and friendships along the way, 
I possessed nothing that I sought or thought to possess, 
save for the thought of possession that, too, departed,  
another echo sounding in the vault of the dead, 
the lost, coins falling through the holes in my pockets. 

- © David Adès 2021

David Adès is the author of Mapping the World, the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eternal and most recently Afloat in Light ( In association with Mascara Literary Review, David is a recipient of the 2020 Don Bank Writing Residence (extended into 2021 due to Covid) together with Michelle Cahill, Debbie Lim and Michelle Hamadache.