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.