Monday, November 29, 2021

New Poetry by Les Wicks


There’s a shadow on the lung
of the village where I live.

Cass tries hard
for a while
then out comes the knife again.

David has done wrong things
he mistakes stagnant for stasis.
He can be viral, we are vigilant.

Ginelle, new mother
has a degree & a need…
needs to feel she still exists.
The biker next door has an appetite.
Her hubby comes home each night exhausted.

Constable Perkins tries hard
but there’s only so much…
Valerie runs a gallery
& cooks for ailing neighbours.
The kids can play soccer every Saturday,
odd Farley has written a book.
We have nurses, holy folk
& a plumber with some great jokes.
You can’t say there isn’t help.

Dodder Pete could tell you some stories.
His war is tamped down
to jokes & a twitch when he tries to sleep.

The owner of the village doesn’t live here.
We heard some stories about him on the news
but have forgotten.
What is the point of knowledge without power?

That febrile teenager Tina
has no ambition other than leaving.
She will not succeed
because though we only see a few streets
(to be honest barely that)
this village is endless.
It burns & excretes plus
there’s that nasty cough.

- © Les Wicks 2021

Les Wicks is a Sydney poet. His latest collection, "Belief", was recently released by Flying Islands Press.



New Poetry by James Walton

A Levee to Absence

the cards are brief this year
in shallow condolence
a levee to absence, broken

the scattered sorrow
left for salvage
how they talk of passing

yet visit as though gentle as
the first faint call
the quiet summons to duty,

steadfast the whether of breaks
the happiest dispersed

days drag through cement
mercury for the veins of us
caught in winter, November

veers without season
too cold for painting
this colour we were

a dash to break a sentence
run for cover, highlight
crimson for specifics

an outline to bridge
this stalling year’s account

supernumerary to how and why
between twig and wake
this inconvenient bird

a rustle of dark, nests
then stirs unbeckoned
daubed as it must be

wily and propped against
a door of feathers for words
open notebook of hours

I sit the post waiting
sandbagging against breach

- © James Walton 2021

James Walton is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers. He has been shortlisted for the ACU National Poetry Prize, the MPU International Poetry Prize, The James Tate Prize, and the Ada Cambridge Prize. Four collections of his poetry have been published. He was nominated for ‘The Best of the Net’ 2019, and is a Pushcart Prize 2021 nominee. He is a winner of the Raw Art Review Chapbook Prize. He was a librarian, a cattle breeder, and mostly a public sector union official. He can be found at:




Sunday, November 28, 2021

New Poetry by Jalal Mahamede

Set Me Free

Everyone's voices are taken.
Everyone's breath smells.
It seems that sounds are heard from the depths of a deep well.

All eyes are on the black galaxy.

It seems that heads are separated from their bodies
and have been thrown away –
they have rolled in the dust and mud.
‏The hands have been severed and tied in a chain of injustice,
and each foot has chosen a different path to walk.
‏The body is numb and doesn't solve anything.
All screams hit the wall; they hit our mouths like a fist.

This is not fantasy, this is reality.
But the day you came, you made a salve with your hands for this tired heart.
You polished my voice with your voice,
you caressed my hands.
‏You gave breath to this nearly dead body
and invited me to gaze from the darkness of the galaxy
to the bright and warm lantern of your heart.

I know that all of me is imprisoned
and the way to reach you is through the wall of hatred
those who live in your neighbourhood have erected.

I know that you will save me, as well.

- © Jalal Mahamede 2021

Jalal Mahamede is poet and artist and nine years detained Arab Ahwazi refugee working from his prison cell in Australia. He has  never been tried or charged, but remains detained for arriving in Australia by boat and seeking protection. He draws from his personal experience to express his moods, feelings and visions through art and language, influenced by his late father Kazem Mahamede, a renowned traveling poet and photographer. He hasn't lost hope that one day he will be released.
More info see:

Thursday, November 25, 2021

New Poetry by Heather Ellyard

Brutal is the Garden

Brutal is
the garden.

Roses die
Mirrors break
where they stand.
Their shards
like knives.

Grief is
a sharpened
war cry
let loose
in the valley
of echoes.

A violent crop.

The map
of hope is
overlaid with
a thousand

Brutal is
the payback.

Brutal are
the hybrid songs.

Over and over
the fruits rot.

And their seeds
in Paradise lost.

- © Heather Ellyard 2021

Heather Ellyard (HSE) is an artist/poet, born and educated in Boston USA who migrated to Australia, and became a citizen in 1985. She has held 30 solo exhibitions, nationally, and is collected publically in the NGA, the AGSA, the Federal Parliament House, the Jewish Museum of Australia etc. She has published essays in national Art Magazines and Art Books, and in Constellations Journal of  Poetry USA. She was a Finalist in the Blake Prize for Art 3 times, and in the Blake Poetry Prize in 2020. She currently lives among the granites in Central Victoria.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

New Poetry by David Adès

Rising, Finally, From the Reverie 

Rising, finally, from the reverie 
of his life, the man looked around, 

seeing clearly for the first time 
the long trail of damaged hearts, 

the litany of disappointments, 
taking in the bruised landscape, 

the fallen trees, the ravaged sky, 
and there rose within him, 

from an untouched depth, 
a bellow, an anguished cry 

he let loose into the world 
as if it could unmake 

what had been made, 
as if it could sanctify, 

redeem, cleanse, though it 
did nothing but meet 

a woman’s howl, another man’s 
shout, and another and another, 

until the whole world clamoured 
and kept clamouring, 

so many bellows and howls 
for the universe to hear, 

all the suffering we suffer 
and don’t know how to bear.

- © 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. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

New Poetry by James B. Nicola

The Shortest Distance

The shortest distance between two people
is prayer. You might have thought it should be love?

Think: horse-drawn carriages making a trip
have broken down, nags crumbled, fallen, died,
for trysts. But send prayer overseas
without even a postage stamp affixed:
you know that it arrives there instantly.

The technique works best when the expectation’s
humble, but the sentiment sincere.

- © James B. Nicola 2021

James B. Nicola’s poetry has garnered two Willow Review awards, a Dana Literary award, eight Pushcart nominations, and one Best of the Net nom. His full-length collections include Manhattan Plaza, Stage to Page: Poems from the Theater, Wind in the Cave (2017), Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists (2018), Quickening: Poems from Before and Beyond (2019), and Fires of Heaven: Poems of Faith and Sense (2021). A Yale grad, he also has enjoyed a career as a stage director, culminating in the nonfiction book Playing the Audience: The Practical Guide to Live Performance, which won a Choice award.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

New Poetry by Linda King

you want to borrow hope from the saints

these days the world rests on fault lines
every city brought to its knees

every road    a suspension bridge
over raging rivers

the wreckage keeps piling up
rubble and dust and no breath to take

you want to borrow hope from the saints
from their careful collection of blessings

want to quiet
the crackle and static of your heart

to stop riding the darkness
at three in the morning

you want tomorrow's rain
to stop falling

- © Linda King 2021

Linda King is the author of five poetry collections including Reality Wayfarers ( Shoe Music Press, 2016) and antibodies in the alphabet ( BlazeVOX Books, 2019)  Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals ( including Bluepepper) in Canada and internationally.  King lives and writes on The Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

New Poetry by Tony Hughes

Till the Wind calls the Sea
(The Twelve Stations of the Grief) 

The first four months 

To know love
is to not have love.
I can’t feel anything:
hunger for food
thirst for drink
tired for sleeping
one foot step to the next
one after the other 
how do you live 
without your lover’s 
breath on your skin?

You live waiting for the veil to lift 
for the wave to stop crashing 
for the window to stop opening 
for this mad mantra 
these tumbling 
thoughts one 
after each other 
to last 

The second four months 

I don’t hear 
your name anymore 

I call it out
three times I call 
I can hear it again  
it sounds so good 
I run to it 
I try to hold it 
to  touch it 
to smell it
to taste it
to eat it 
to sleep
with it 

What else 
am I meant to do 
with this 

I call your name
again and again
Into the
elegiac air                                                 

time wins 
time always
it cant find 
land anywhere 
the air is too solid 

has been

more months pass 

Ghosts are thoughts 
thoughts are ghosts 
dreams are real 
you visit four times
I say its ok 
my succubus 
you can stay 
you say no 
you whisper 
I have to go 
the wind calls 
the sea 

You point to the light 
from across the river 
the light that lasts longer 
than the oldest tree  

that’s where
I’ll be waiting
for you 

where the wind 
calls the sea 

This twelfth month

Everyone loves Yoko now
just another cycling thought
I peddle into Sydney park 
carving layers from the 
peppery skin of my grief

Under a big blue blanket sky
in the pretty city
I scratch this self awake 
it is time to live again 

Peddling my thoughts 
into Sydney park
that’s a big hill 
up to the skate bowl
I wish my wish
could be here
where the dogs
run free
chasing poems
with me 

Till the wind 
calls the sea

- © Tony Hughes 2021

Tony Hughes is an Australian actor and singer. As an actor, he starred in The Lost Islands (1976), Chopper Squad (1977–1979) and the film adaptation of Puberty Blues (1981). As a singer he has fronted Bellydance and King Tide. (Courtesy of Wikipedia). Cassanadra Woodburne, the CASSANDRA of this poem, was Toný's life partner and best friend and mother to their two wonderful children, Georgia and Eddy. She passed away on 22nd November 2020 after a long and courageous struggle with cancer. The photo was taken at Era Beach where Cassandra's parents own a shack.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

New Poetry by Erina Booker


I’m going to draw this poem for you
so you can see what I can see:
in this small stratosphere so much
is silhouetted starkly against a plain backdrop

I’m taking a large square sheet of white drawing paper
and at the top I’m drawing a butterfly with flapping wings,
strange to see one so high, tissue wings
fighting to stay in shape against the wind

from the right is a knife-edged swoop of swallow
with forked tail in iconic shape
I’ll colour its wings Prussian Blue
and add a glaze of glimmer
a ladle of Terracotta on its upper breast

in the background, upper left,
I’ll draw a suggestion of the cluster
of gulls and ibises
hanging handkerchief-hemmed
errant stragglers, drifting, chilling

and then the showpiece, new to me,
the friendly currawong on a glass pane
of the balcony
Ivory Black with flashes of Chinese White
on tail and edges of wings
eye of Deep Cadmium
soft Silver Grey beak with predatory hook

I could use a 2B pencil for this, dark and fine
better than the soft and smudgy 4B’s
de rigueur for writing music

So! I’m ready to go
when he drops kamikaze
against the background void
simply falls, free-falls
into the blank air
legs straight
wings clasped to sides
as he was before,
dropping so fast I don’t see
his wings open
I only see this performer’s
fierce prowess of DNA – falling with flair
into greedy gravity,
confident that he will fling open
his safety-net wings
like black matador’s capes
diverting a trajectory of fated death

How could my cartoon of a stick-figure-black-bird
straight legs hanging like a child’s drawing
convey the glorious potency of skill
the savage clasp on life
against this pallid background
of unremarkable Sky Blue?


- © Erina Booker 2021

Erina Booker is a Sydney-based poet. She has published eight collections of her work, and contributes to journals, internationally, in Australia, and online. She enjoys giving recitals, seminars, and judging competitions. Erina has a Major in Literature within her Bachelor of Arts degree, and a Postgraduate degree in Counselling. Her interests are extensive and never-ending.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

New Poetry by Kitty Jospe

You Just Never Know

You and I don’t know the man framed in the doorway—
and he doesn’t know he’s in this picture, and the room
doesn’t know my friend and I see it as a ballroom
we name a leap into the museum of emptiness.
We see possibilities, not a waiting room with two lonely
benches, who will not know any viewers. 

Does this room invite you to seek something you don’t yet
know? What do you know about a doorway, a room? a stranger?
I start to wonder what dance of art was here before?

Perhaps it was the exhibit of Aaron Fowler’s larger
than life works? Perhaps it was in this empty gallery,
Aaron played on a piano for hours searching for inspiration —

little knowing he would create a piece out of wooden siding
his friend was removing from his house —
a large-scale sculpture where those boards become
88 keys..

Perhaps the room still echoes with his dreams and ideas
he coaxes— following his Grandma’s mantra, inviting
us to follow it too: you need to speak it into existence.

- © Kitty Jospé 2021

Since 2004, Kitty Jospé turned her work as docent into explorations of ekphrastic poetry, 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,

You can view more of Aaron Fowler's work here: Aaron Fowler


Sunday, November 14, 2021

New Poetry by John Tustin

She now sings the same song to her new lover

“she now sings the same song to her new lover” - Charles Bukowski

She now sings the same song to her new lover
That she sang to me
Even though he was also her lover before me
And back then she sang a different song

In a different key
Without that expression on her face
She has now
As the rain outside their window falls

All around my whispered name.

- © John Tustin 2021

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

Thursday, November 11, 2021

New Poetry by B. Lynne Zika

The Problems Incurred in Having a Dead Body on the Couch

It’s a bad sign
when they come
to appraise
the house
you’ve only got
ten minutes
to figure
out what
to do

- © B. Lynne Zika 2021

B. Lynne Zika’s work has appeared in numerous on-line and print publications, including The Somerville Times, Sheila-na-Gig, Poetry East, and globalpoemic. She was editor of Blood Pudding, co-editor of Spillway, and worked as a closed-captioning editor for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. She received a Pacificus Foundation Literary Award in short fiction, and her photography has received several awards, including the 2020 Top Creator Award from Viewbug. Images may be viewed at

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

New Poetry by Nina Rubinstein Alonso

In Madrid          

Long train ride passing thirsty farmland
slow bullocks in the fields rocky country with
boulders rolled by glaciers curious configurations
near rivers shrinking dry finally reach Madrid
Hotel Mora on Calle del Prado with a balcony

facing the street no way to avoid hearing arguments
getting physical in outside cafes but we prefer
this energy to weary dreary La Coruña 
take a walk through El Retiro park watch water
gushing neatly in irrigation ditches toward trees

otherwise the whole place would blow away
as it’s a desert hot dry sidewalks cracked and parched
hard as cement a small green pond perched center
guarded by 18th century lion statues with boys
climbing their backs some couples rowing a few 

in pedal boats others nearby in a cafe then I realize
black people have been sitting there being ignored by waiters
because they’re black until they give up quietly walk away
unmistakable insult of a woman and two girls treated worse 
than invisible by staff pretending not to see humans  

Plaza Mayor attracts flocks of swallows wheeling flying
criss cross circling and last night two men stood clapping
for their dogs without leashes hell no not here but we
can’t afford fancy restaurants glittery expensive places
with waiters in cummerbunds linen tables set with four forks

find a cheap bar serving sardines fried squid and salad where
people bring babies all hours of the night but I’m mired in
immediacies of stifled effort mixed with exhaustion as I can’t 
fix what’s nasty and ugly yet can’t let it go though it’s time for
my dance workout while Fernando’s smoking on the balcony.

- © Nina Rubinstein Alonso 2021

Nina's work has appeared in Ploughshares, The New Yorker, Ibbetson Street, etc. Her book, "This Body", was published by David Godine Press, and her chapbook Riot Wake is upcoming from Cervena Barva Press. A story collection and novel are in the works as well as a collection of poems from travels in Spain, from which this poem is taken.  Nina is also a ballet teacher, and one of her dearest friends, the artist Heather Ellyard, lives in Victoria.

Monday, November 08, 2021

New Poetry by Margaret Ruckert

final resume

the aim of this poem
is to use up the irresistible
bait of small talk  
to usurp your expectations
taste the lemon of fish
the vinegar of air
in the tides of relationships

I was standing in a bar
near a group, reminiscing
about older workers, ‘codgers’
long retired from the company
people seen from a distance
on nodding terms, names afloat
on the oceans of time …

at some lull in the fishing
for answers on the bare horizon
one would throw a line
cautiously, in the direction of
I wonder where H or B is now?

- © Margaret Ruckert 2021

Margaret Owen Ruckert is a widely published poet. After a career in TAFE Science, she retrained to tutor English. She is short-listed for the 2021 Society of Women Writers National Poetry Competition, having won first prize in 2007. Two books, You Deserve Dessert and musefood, which won an IP Poetry Book, explore café society. Sky on Sea, a book of tanka, was published recently*. As Facilitator of Hurstville’s Discovery Writers, she presents regular writing workshops.

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

New Poetry by Doug Holder


(for my late wife Dianne Robitaille)

A fallen autumnal leaf
perfectly lands
in the template of my hand-
I almost crushed it
with my wet sorrow..

A sudden red bloom
on a dying geranium 
a crown
for us brittle leaves 

When I close
my eyes
cameos of her smile
on my 
very black screen,
like an old silent

The sudden
of the cat 
tail erect--
pointing to the ceiling
to some shadow
some trace of a spectral 

The bird
that I could only see
when I laid my head on
her pale, deflated stomach
flickering with
frantic flight...

I felt the warm wind of the lake
gently sweep her away
I saw her
once more
in the mournful
of the trees.

- © Doug Holder 2021

Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. He teaches creative at Endicott College right outside of Boston. His latest poetry collection is "The Essential Doug Holder." He lost his wife , the poet Dianne Robitaille in August of 2021.

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

New Poetry by Lynn White

Life After Death

Something has startled me 
where I thought I was safest,
where I thought I belonged,
so I will follow Whitman
in avoiding the still woods I loved
and the fields where I used to walk.
I won’t emerge from my home 
to meet my friends in the open spaces,
or hug them and share a coffee, 
there are no cafes anymore, in any case.

Even the ground has sickened.
The men in white suits spray disinfectant 
over streets and beaches to stem its diseased flow.

But still I’m alive to the sounds of spring
rising from the decay and death of winter.
Still I’m alive to the prospect of summer
when the fertilised ground shows the life
that death has bestowed on it and blooms.

- © Lynn White 2021

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net  and a Rhysling Award.