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.