Tuesday, October 04, 2022

New Poetry by Malak Nicholas H.










son, are you okay?

You had blood in your hair,
when I met you, you had
broken teeth and your skin
was scorn, full of scars and
small lesions, you spat out
blood and you greeted me,
as if nothing was going on,
as if it didn’t look like you
were close to giving up the
ghost, close to dropping dead.


- © Malak Nicholas H. 2022


Malak Nicholas H. is a writer currently in Europe. He’s a teenager, a middle eastern queer person, but also so much more. And first of all, he is a human who writes about being out of the gender binary & the mental issues he’s been through.

Monday, October 03, 2022

New Poetry by Fotoula Reynolds










September-gold

Sometimes life feels like
The tiny artful twists of a bonsai
Choreographing me to the places
I am meant to be

With full authority
Rising, climbing the air
Like the sunflower that I am
Mysterious and becoming
Dancing into destiny

Feeling safe and hidden
Behind a weeping willow’s
Curtain-like branches, I’m moved
To beyond all that I know

Treading lightly on seeds
That are September-gold
I navigate a spider web thread
And see the pattern within
Emotion-weave into my soul

On a path of unendingness
My heart travels a landscape
Through butterfly-eyes
I breathe a clean language

On the rotating weather wheel
I am further than middle age
I no longer follow a map and
I trust the season of change


- © Fotoula Reynolds 2022


Fotoula Reynolds is a writer of poetry, born in Australia of Greek heritage. She convenes a poetry group in her local community and regularly attends and participates in spoken word events in and around the city of Melbourne. She is the author of three poetry collections with her fourth due for release late October 2022 titled: Kairos. Fotoula is published widely in journals, reviews, anthologies and magazines and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Also by Fotoula Reynolds: The sanctuary of my garden (2018), Silhouettes (2019), Along the Macadam Road (2020)





Monday, September 26, 2022

New Poetry by Helga Kidder










Recipe for Confession

Kneeling behind a latticed screen, Saturdays you used to confess a teenage fire beginning to flame your belly, tonguing the tips of your fingers and toes. You didn’t know yourself anymore as the fire took over your neighborhood, street by street, you couldn’t extinguish. Each house was threatened as you kindled the fire with twigs and branches you found behind sheds and in dark corners, ate an apple a day to keep temptation away.  You looked in your mother’s cookbook for help.  All the recipes required ingredients you didn’t have or want. The priest had no other solution for your affliction but to tell you, Say ten Hail Mary’s and hope for the best.  Of course, as each house burned, the town shrank.  You left it one morning when you saw on the horizon the sun’s bliss, glittering your needs, the last notes of your song yet unsung.


- © Helga Kidder 2022



Helga Kidder lives in the Tennessee hills where poems find her early mornings where the red bird waits for special seeds, where flowers beg to be watered, where she listens and watches critters slip in and out of liriope.  She has five collections of poetry, Wild Plums, Luckier than the Stars, Blackberry Winter, Loving the Dead which won the Blue Light Press Book Award 2020, and Learning Curve – poems about immigration and assimilation.
 

 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

New Poetry by Caroline Reid










After Normanville

in baking January
our skin sweats
maraschino cherries

traces of last year drip
from creases
of tired vocal folds

a squawking flock
of sulphur-crested
cockatoos sail in

batter the air, land
on salmon gums
mollusc tongues carving

syllables out of blue
blue sky
time draws light long

and peachy-blush as if
time is having an affair
with the soft slumbering hills

of the headland and
the world is not turning
a darker axis

little blue wren
in the crackling garden
red-breasted robin

in the knocking pines, why
is coming back from a place
so like never having gone


- © Caroline Reid 2022


Caroline Reid is a plural poet who has twice represented South Australia in the Australian Poetry Slam. She recorded her debut collection SIARAD (ES-press 2020) as an audiobook, adapted it for stage and performs it as a spoken word show, most recently at the Red Dirt Poetry Festival in Alice Springs. Caroline collaborates with film-makers to make video poems which have screened in international festivals. She won the 2021 Mslexia International Poetry Prize for Women.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

New Poetry by Vern Fein










Lincoln Laughed First

Particularly memorable were his words to a young woman whose deep interest in a hospitalised soldier led her to press the question: 
“Where were you wounded?” 
The infantryman, who had been shot through the testicles, repeatedly deflected her inquiry with the answer: “At Antietam.”
 After she asked the president to assist her, Lincoln talked privately with the soldier and then took the young woman’s hands in his own, explaining:
 “My dear girl, the ball that hit him, would have missed you.”

An august occasion—
the Cabinet tense 
like Civil War soldiers 
hidden behind trees
waiting for a life or death volley.

But Lincoln did not 
spread out the scroll
of the Emancipation Proclamation
as the room expected.

Instead, that oak-tree, strong man
took a news article from his pocket
and began to read Artemus Ward,
a humor writer from Cleveland 
who made Lincoln laugh
though slavery was not funny at all.

He knew it and steely-eyed 
stared down the grimaces and grunts
in that room and this bumpkin president
read an article he found funny
about a hayseed performer bashing
in the head of a Judas figurine
at a carnival show. 

Lincoln, notorious for telling jokes,
laughed first and told
the disapproving eyes 
if he did not laugh 
before he pronounced,
he would die
and that they needed
the same medicine 
as much as he did.

Then he ended slavery
in the rebel states,
which was no laughing matter. 


- © Vern Fein 2022


A retired special education teacher, Vern Fein has published over two hundred poems on over ninety different sites, a few being: *82 Review, Bindweed Magazine, Gyroscope Review, Courtship of Winds, Young Raven's Review, Blue Pepper,  Monterey Poetry Review, and Green Silk Review. His first poetry book—I WAS YOUNG AND THOUGHT IT WOULD CHANGE—was published by Cyberwit Press. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

New Poetry by David Dumouriez










I saw this bloke at the bus stop who 

I saw this bloke at the bus stop
who looked like Warren Oates.
Collar-heavy shirt in powder blue,
hair slight and crossing east-to-west,
and not the closest kinship with his razor.
But it was the shades -
retro, brown, too big -
that magicked up the era.
Didn’t hear him laugh - that would
have been the clincher - but he’d not
have been disgraced beside a Fonda,
Jack, or Hopper. Quite what the value is 
to be a Warren Number Two, don’t know.
For it’s not the look that makes the man,
but the man that makes the look.
Warren.
     In the graveyard.
                With a head.
A battered Prince of Seediness, undead.


- © David Dumouriez 2022


David Dumouriez once won a poetry competition by accident and the memory of it still haunts him. His hobbies include cricket, horology, and finding new ways to avoid talking about himself.



Monday, September 12, 2022

New Poetry by KB Ballentine










Winter Triptych

I.

Wind rushes the house,
   growls around corners,
doesn’t rest though night
   has tumbled in. Lights
blinking, we wait
   for the blizzard, hoping
the logs, the candles will last.

II.

   Snow and light sculpt
the yard. A background,
   a page fresh and new.
No fussing gusts, only the chimes
   furred and frozen, oak and cedar
accepting the ephemeral. Ice
   crystals rising inside our breaths.

III.

Slipping on re-frozen tire tracks,
   slush shifting gritty and gray,
I watch blue skies, meager sun
   re-form the layers: top crust cracking
into dirt or gravel, asphalt slick –
   stiff fingers, runny noses tricking
our memories. Forgetting wonder.


- © KB Ballentine 2022


KB Ballentine’s seventh collection, Edge of the Echo, launched in 2021 with Iris Press. Her earlier books can be found with Blue Light Press, Middle Creek Publishing, and Celtic Cat Publishing. Published in North Dakota Quarterly, Atlanta Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, and others, her work also appears in anthologies including I Heard a Cardinal Sing (2022), The Strategic Poet (2021), Pandemic Evolution (2021), and Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (2017). Learn more at www.kbballentine.com.

Thursday, September 08, 2022

New Poetry by Benjamin Fox










So Cliché 

Our earth circled sun appeared 
in the west this morning.

Everything under it was old.


- © Benjamin Fox 2022


Benjamin Fox is fifty. He’s had by a compromising wife and three tall children. Ben struggles while smiling in Salt Lake City, Utah. He does not buy into the predominant church or their politics, but strives daily to be a gentle and good force in the world. Ben is full of wonder and seeks after kindness.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

New Poetry by DS Maolalai










How to be funny 

- for Michelle 

I can't help it – I say things 
that are needlessly, 
thoughtlessly cruel. I'm sometimes 
a snob, and I sometimes think how  
to be funny is by telling people  
they aren't clever  
in ways they won't notice, 
or not right away. in work  
there's this girl – we get on 
but I talk her down often, 
as if we weren't exactly  
the same sort of fool – both  
answering emails and phones 
to be snarled at by strangers eight 
hours each day. but she gets in a bother  
(she cares about people) 
and I can't help then  
but laugh, because I do  
less often than she. a poem like this 
will end generally  
with a pat little metaphor.  
I need more of an instinct 
for how to be kind.


- © DS Maolalai 2022


DS Maolalai has received eleven nominations for Best of the Net and seven for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in three collections, "Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden" (Encircle Press, 2016), "Sad Havoc Among the Birds" (Turas Press, 2019) and “Noble Rot” (Turas Press, 2022) 

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

New Poetry by A.J. Huffman










The Propriety of Balance 

I am noble bird with self- 
made wings, stitched to a consciousness 
I cannot describe.  Together we are 
godly, ghost and galvanized grace 
erupting in moments of majestically 
released breath. 


- © A.J. Huffman


A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida.  She has published 27 collections and chapbooks of poetry.  In addition, she has published her work in numerous national and international literary journals.  She is currently the editor for Kind of a Hurricane Press literary journals ( www.kindofahurricanepress.com ).  

Monday, September 05, 2022

New Poetry by Michael Lee Johnson










Witchy Halloween (2)

Inside this late October 31st night,
this poem turns into a pumpkin.
Animation, something has gone
devilishly wrong with my imagery.
I take the lid off the pumpkin’s headlight
and the pink candles inside.
Demons cry, crawl, split, fly outsides —
escape through the pumpkin’s eyes.
I’m mixed in fear with this scary, strange creation.
Outside, quietly tapping Hazel the witch,
her broomstick against my windowpane rattles.
She says, “nothing seems to rhyme anymore,
nothing seems to make any sense,
but the night is young.
Give me back my magical bag of tricks.
As Robert Frost said:
  “But I have promises to keep,  
  And miles to go before I sleep.”


-  © Michael Lee Johnson 2022


Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada, during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL.  He has 264 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 44 countries, several published poetry books, nominated for 4 Pushcart Prize awards, and 6 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 443 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Member Illinois State Poetry Society: http://www.illinoispoets.org/. Do not forget to consider me for Best of the Net or Pushcart nomination!

Thursday, September 01, 2022

New Poetry by Doug Holder










Sciatica

Suddenly at 67
an alternating current
swept my leg with pain
perhaps a prelude
to a walking stick
a twisted cane.

Am I in a new
'walk' of life?

Maybe
a limping
gimp
in a dirty black overcoat
that dogs bark at
or children break from play
and run away...

A grim totem of shooting pain
on the winding road
that leads, perhaps
to a performance
of taps.


- © Doug Holder 2022


Doug Holder is the co-president of the New England Poetry Club. He resides in Somerville, MA.

Monday, August 29, 2022

New Poetry by Peter Mladinic










Green Turtles

Resentment is a tuna fish sandwich.
A peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat.
The garden-fraught-with-discontent-by-
the-river’s flowers let go its fistful of dirt
over the coffin lid. Goodbye, Matilda.
My grandmother, an entity 
in my heart in my head. My uncle Will said
She’s in heaven. I said, smugly,
if that’s what you want to believe. I believe
in river flowers, peanut butter, tuna fish.

Robert Q, Frank said, you need to learn
how to talk people, to Bill Frappier, Dwight
David Bair and Christine Walsh. And to
Alan Parker, Amy Swerdlick and Robin
Grabrowski.  Tell them about the snapper’s
jagged edged shell, different from orange
shelled turtles and smaller, green shelled
turtles swimming in clear water in a round
plastic dish. They don’t want to hear about
a fist full of dirt sprinkled on a coffin lid.

Okay, dark Frank.  I’ll keep my Matilda
in the garden by the river in my heart. 
I taste the peanut butter and jelly and can
almost feel her fingers caress the snapper’s
jagged edged shell. Be careful it doesn’t
bite you, I say. I love when
the doctor’s got that big needle, Amy
Swerdlick, in his hand and says, This is
going to hurt, and it does. That’s my 
miracle, Frank. I’m talking to my people.

Robert Q, all Bill Frappier and Christine
Walsh want is your money, and a weekend
in Vegas, to watch a little ball spin round
a roulette wheel. They’ve got their own
grandmothers they said goodbye to, 
their own rivers, their own green turtles 
they got from pet shops that die when you
get them home. You look at them and 
they die, those kinds of turtles. They
go the way of all living creatures, Uncle 

Will, Alan Parker, you and I. Bill Frappier,
up Newton, Mass., has his own Matilda, 
his own fistful of dirt flung on the coffin
in the hole in the ground. Like you he smells
the river flowers’ fragrance, like you 
someday, too weak to make a fist.
You should go to Disneyworld, or maybe
in Wichita Falls one night go to a rave.
Donna can’t. Dead of a brain tumor at 52
In 2007.  She never hit you up for money.

Donna Curd kindled my life a short while,
dark Frank. Petite, natural blonde, 
always she had a head cold.
Pretty face, a voice quick to laugh, her hair
wore the river flowers, her fingers caressed
the jagged shell, the snapper’s eyes, she
looked into.  Donna, RIP. Goodbye, good
poems she wrote in Fayetteville, dark
Frank, I’m talking to my people.  Goodbye, 
Matilda, goodbye. Donna Curd, RIP.


- © Peter Mladinic 2022


Peter Mladinic’s fourth book of poems, Knives on a Table is available from Better Than Starbucks Publications. An animal rights advocate, he lives in Hobbs, New Mexico, USA.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

New Poetry by Ben Schroeder










Speech

Wind only sounds when there is something 
to sound against. What I meant

when I said in the thistle patch catching fireflies:
there’s no light without the dark. What did you mean 

when you said there’s still flight, the wind
sings through the canyon, through the valley, 
the lightbug flies by day?

I say look at the edges, 
the cut: the mountain against the sky,
the frame of the gulch, the wind sings
rattling the frame, the noonday 
firefly is just a fly. Look at my mouth.


- © Ben Schroeder 2022


Ben Schroeder is a poet from Wisconsin currently living in Madrid, Spain, where he works as a language assistant. His poetry has appeared in The Tower (formerly Ivory Tower), and his reviews have appeared in The Wake and Great River Review. He can be found on Twitter at @bschroederpoet.

Monday, August 22, 2022

New Poetry by Colin Dardis










Sacrament and Ablution

To say retreat would be too trite. I lay myself
down in the tiled hollow of this kitchen,
birthplace to so many thoughts and hot goods.

I rest my worries on the windowsill,
only pick them back up when they are cool
enough to eat. There’s a confirmation in baking, 

where flesh is fresh and put to use; where time
is stopped in the mixing bowl and death
is reduced on the pan. There’s a baptism every time

I turn on the kitchen tap: all the spots wash off
while I breathe a little more, confident
in the day’s absolute promise.


- © Colin Dardis 2022


Colin Dardis is a neurodivergent poet, editor and sound artist from Northern Ireland. His latest book is All This Light In Which To See The Dead: Pandemic Journals 2020-21 (Rancid Idols Productions, 2022). A new collection, Apocrypha: Collected Early Poems, will be published in 2022 by Cyberwit.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

New Poetry by Malcolm Glass










Dream from the Edge I

Not so long ago, border 
collies of Maneotis herded 
sheep along this road. 

Now the pine fences
have fallen, broken 
down to slivers.  

The wind blows west, 
but the trees lining 
the field lean eastward.


- © Malcolm Glass 2022


Malcolm Glass has published fourteen books. His poems, fiction, and articles have appeared in many journals, including “Poetry” and “The Sewanee Review.” In 2018 Finishing Line Press published his latest poetry collection “Mirrors, Myths, and Dreams." Also a playwright, his play "Replay," was recently published in "Contemporary One Act Plays."

 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

New Poetry by Rob Schackne










Bird Dreams

I’m not alone, no 
I seek my birdness 
as the crows observe 
where I was looking 
but I’m learning 
what it is to want 
to cry for all my needs 

It turns me inside out 
it sits me upon the sign 
at the crossroads 
the telephone wires 
at the scarecrows 
the twisted miles 
where I have to go 

I look for a tree 
and avoid the tree 
the tribe looks at me 
they praise my wings 
they shout loudly 
at my rough flight 
it's cross to cross 

I go the path they go 
nightly they tap my head 
I go underneath a wing 
I will sleep my turn 
I will see a little 
look out for dreams 
they watch for raptors


- © Rob Schackne 2022


Rob Schackne was born in New York and he lived in many countries before settling in Australia in the 1970s. He’s a retired teacher – he taught in China for 15 years – and he now lives in central Victoria. His poems have been published in many magazines both paper and electronic. His book “A Chance of Seasons”, a Pocket Poet book in the Flying Island Books series, was published in late 2017. It fits very well in the back-pocket. When he’s not writing, he likes taking photographs. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

New Short Fiction by Mackenzie Denofio

 Summer Sleepover Fun! 

We arrive with our pillows packed and our mother’s kisses still clinging to our forehead. It's our first night away and our mothers are worried the other mothers won’t let us use the phone in the middle of the night if we need to. We brush her off.
 Our lips are covered in cherry-flavored lip balm, our bathing suits are tied tight, and we brought a Ouija board for when the adults fall asleep. 
 We’re going to say Bloody Mary three times in the mirror and talk to a ghost named Evelyn from Georgia who died when she was seven and then we’re going to see the shadows of unknown people outside the bedroom windows and hug each other so tight in between giggles because we did it. We brought Evelyn back. 
 And we’ll watch a scary movie that we’ll watch again in ten years and find to be silly and stupid but for now we’re adults and we chose the movie, and our parents don’t even know we’re watching it and we’ll have nightmares for weeks, but we won’t tell anyone. We won’t tell anyone how wonderful it feels to shriek under blankets and have someone else’s legs around us. Because for once the man who sits on our laundry chair every night as we try to go to sleep is real and he’s killing girls like us and we knew it all along. 
 We go swimming until the skin around our fingers is curled around themselves. And I turn to you, and I tell you that I want you to drown me.
 You step on my back as I lie on the bottom of the shallow end. We’ve done this before. We do this all the time.
 You ask me to slap your face and I do, and you slap mine. We see what a punch in the arm would feel like and wrangle our limbs around each other until they’re crushing. We know now, children are always looking for death, they want to come face to face with it, seconds away from it, and have made the choice. 
 I want you to hurt me, I say because we’re play pretending, because our whole lives have been play pretend. But we know one day we could be slapped, drowned, choked and we want to know the feeling beforehand so when we feel someone’s fingernails drag around the thin skin of our throats, we can say oh yes this again, I know this. 
 I want you to drown me. I say because I don’t trust anyone else. Only you. An adult wouldn’t understand it, they were never like us. Your hands are kind and soft and you’re wearing Barbie pink nail polish with silver flakes of glitter on the manicured edge, like we had discussed last week. Your hands are the only ones that can dip me under the water and take away my air and then return it again like new. I open my eyes even though it stings, and I see the sun under or over a flimy layer and then your face, looking down at me. 
 Your face is there, and you smile, and you’re impressed because I lasted so long, and you don’t know if you can prove yourself. I think you can. 
 That night I won’t be able to sleep even as we’re pressed together nearly cheek to cheek. The curtain will move in the circular breeze the fan makes and I’ll see a figure out on the lawn, and I’ll know. We’re right. We’re always right. 


- © Mackenzie Denofio 2022


Mackenzie Denofio (she/her/hers) is an emerging writer in Boston, currently getting her MA at Emerson College. Her work can be found in Blind Corner Literary Magazine, Generic Magazine, and Crack the Spine Literary Magazine. When not writing or reading she can be found fantasizing about walking the halls of a haunted manor as a gothic heroine.
 

 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

New Poetry by Paul Jeffcutt










Visit Nagasaki *

The Portuguese were first.
We traded silks
for copper and silver.

Their preachers roused peasants.
We crushed the rebellion
and banished all.

The Dutch came.
We consigned them to a trading post,
storehouses rich in books and sugar.

We built a causeway to the West:
docks, ships, aircraft,
the machinery of empire.

Munitions factories at the limit,
conscript housewives
and schoolboys.

A gap in the clouds,
one aeroplane.
Hibakusha rise.

* Whilst Japan was a closed society, this port city was open to the world. Hibakusha are survivors of the atom bombs. Their testimonies have been recorded and can be heard by visitors to Nagasaki and Hiroshima.


- © Paul Jeffcutt 2022


Paul Jeffcutt has won thirty three awards for poetry in competitions in Ireland, the UK and the USA.  He has two collections: ‘The Skylark’s Call’, Dempsey & Windle (2020) and ‘Latch’, Lagan Press (2010). Paul is widely published in literary journals and anthologies. He has recently completed his first novel. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

New Poetry by Allan Lake










Shalamov

His feast of stories about gulag prisoners
(who rarely got enough bread to eat)
now savoured by picky readers
who can overload their guts
several times per day
as a reborn Stalin
adds poison.


- © Allan Lake 2022


Allan Lake, originally from Canada, is an Australian poet.  His latest chapbook of poems, My Photos of Sicily, was published by Ginninderra Press.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

New Poetry by Skaja Evens










Choice Over Life

I saw a picture of myself as a child
Six years old, innocent
Only a year or so before that first time
I found myself in a compromising position
With a boy who told me it was no big deal

My heart breaks for her
Because she felt her body wasn’t her own

The last time was maybe a few months ago
Nearly forty years later
When I, again, felt my body wasn’t mine

What made it okay for others to decide
To snatch away my autonomy
As though I didn’t have a high enough clearance
To view my body as sovereign, sacred
Capable of more than being a breeding ground
For lives that ultimately don’t matter
To those preaching that life begins at conception

I am thankful I never became pregnant
Not forced into the position to be an incubator
For a life used as a bargaining chip
And method of control from out of touch men
And the women clutching to their coattails
Setting the double standard
Guaranteed that those in power will always
Have access to what they deny everyone else


- Skaja Evens 2022


Skaja Evens is a writer and artist living in Southeast Virginia. She edits It Takes All Kinds, a litzine published by Mōtus Audāx Press. She’s been published in Spillwords Press, The Dope Fiend Daily, The Rye Whiskey Review, and The Crossroads Lit Magazine. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

New Poetry by Linda King










the language of this place

this wide night    the weather moves around you
like music    moments like this
never announce themselves

you have learned the language of this place
where the light tempts the darkness    every day
still arrives at your window

here where the smell of the sea is in your hair
the sun is soft in the mornings
like a poem left out in the rain


- © Linda King 2022


Linda King is the author of five poetry collections including Reality Wayfarers (Shoe Music Press, 2014) and antibodies in the alphabet (BlazeVOX Books, 2019). Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals in Canada and internationally - including Bluepepper. King lives and writes by the sea on The Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada.




Tuesday, August 09, 2022

New Poetry by Mike W. Blottenberger










Three Roses and a Half-Empty Bottle of Cognac

  - for Edgar Allan Poe

Sir Edgar,
Mister Poe,
tell me:
who places
the three roses and
a half-empty bottle of cognac
by your grave
every Halloween night?

Last October,
on the Raven’s favorite holiday,
I hid behind the brick wall of the cemetery,
but the fog veiled your mysterious admirer
and your anonymous toaster
from my view.

And though I missed that elusive face,
I saw the four offerings left there.

It was cold,
and they were lying beside your marble slab,
because the world’s still haunted
by your genius.


- © Mike W. Blottenberger 2022


Mike W. Blottenberger lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania. His poetry has appeared in The Baltimore Review, Gulf Coast Review, James White Review, The Pennsylvania Review, Unbroken Journal, and The William & Mary Review.

Monday, August 08, 2022

New Poetry by Erina Booker










Dead of Night

night is womb time
shaded moon time

in my dreams
dead family visit

sister reminds me
that double basses

are tuned in fourths
not fifths and I,

grateful for the return
of that knowledge now

keep it consciously lodged
in my cerebrum, last night

I visited my father
in his bi-partite mansion

crossing sides on the
white marble steps, mother

visits in shadows, only her face
clear and recognisable, lipstick-ed

and young, I stopped seeing her
at forty to save myself, this

is the only way she can
visit me now, and I

am strangely pleased,
the word ‘mother’ loaded

with substance, I realise
why the hurt of son

never saying ‘Mum’
though daughter does

I clasp each one
like a prized talisman,

They visit when I am awake
too and I am perplexed

by an identity: who was it
who strode so resolutely

through the door
that night before I

was asleep? my late-husband
or my desperate lover
who suicided, both
now intertwined

in death, the only way
I can have them both
night is womb time
doom time
moon time


- © Erina Booker 2022


Erina Booker is a Sydney/Tweed Heads based poet, whose life revolves around Poetry. She has published 11 collections, recites at public functions, belongs to poetry & writing groups, presents seminars, judges competitions, & also publishes in anthologies, & online. She has a major is Literature & Composition within her BA, & post-graduate studies in Counselling taught her more about the value of the pause. Her work may be found in Amazon, Lulu Press, & InHouse Publishing.

 

Sunday, August 07, 2022

New Poetry by Nolen Price










You proposed and I said no

the sound of silence
and silverware
talking to each other from across the table
by scraping against plates
“they’ve been arguing a while”
said the steak knife as it goes
back and forth between the fork
to the empty wine glass
“our big happy family”
the spoon scutts against teeth
“so much for the anniversary”
the napkin says as it gets wiped over a frown


- © Nolen Price 2022


Nolen Price is a poet and rising sophomore student at Susquehanna University pursuing a degree in creative writing. His work has been previously published in Rivercraft Magazine. He was born in Texas but now lives in Pennsylvania and hopes to make a career out of writing.
 

Friday, August 05, 2022

New Poetry by Catherine Friesen










Yukon

Let’s go north where time splinters
into a million incandescent pieces and 
ravens sing to the tune of the full moon. 
We’ll take up the flute, sing each other mad 
love songs by the light of a dying fire 
while stars ricochet off the mountains 
and the river chants a centuries-old hymn 
only the bears still know the words to. 

When we’ve read all the books 
and drank all the coffee we’ll walk 
five miles to town; I’ll pick fireweed 
for you to string through your lute 
and you’ll tell me stories of the moose 
we see through the trees. 

When winter comes, I’ll keep you warm 
or you’ll keep me warm but either way 
we’ll wrap ourselves in furs and each other, 
drink cinnamon cider and eat peas 
we grew under the peculiar midnight sun. 
Even though the snow falls in frenzied waves 
we’ll dance violently under the big dumb moon, 
arms raised above our heads, and say 
nothing can possibly go wrong.


- © Catherine Friesen 2022


Catherine is a writer, editor, sometimes illustrator, and all-around nature lover living on the side of a mountain. They majored in psychology and creative writing in their undergrad and are currently working through art therapy grad school. When they’re not reading or writing, they can be found baking cakes, singing to their plants, or getting lost in the woods.






Thursday, August 04, 2022

New Poetry by Anita Howard










Reading With my Grandmother 

Whispering silence among headstones,
your saint enshrined in misty, fractured plastic.
“When I am called,” you told me,
“I want N.T. after my name.”
National Teacher.  Lines with gilt eroded
from buffeting estuary winds.

I see myself, a small child clothed in grey
with fearful eyes, who perches at your side
to read the letters you alone could teach me.
Your voice, your presence, told me all my worth,
and yet I knew that menace would replace them.

For all my life another loomed before me,
grey shadow that I strained to push away,
until I learned that you had never gone.
You’re here, beside me, pointing out the words.


- © Anita Howard 2022


Anita Howard is a writer, storyteller and actor who lives in Passage West, Co. Cork, Ireland.  Her work has been featured as Poem of the Week by the HeadStuff online journal, and has also been published in Poetica Review in April 2022, in the Storytellers of Ireland Newsletter in 2021, in  Good Day News in 2020, in and in Southword in 2001.  It will also feature in the forthcoming Don't Get Caught! anthology for Write In For Charity, Leicester, UK.  Anita is a member of the Cork Yarnspinners storytelling group, and the Hunter’s Moon Theatre Company and Inkwell Theatre Drama Group in Cork.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

New Poetry by Julia Vaughan










Marriage to Divorce

Walk seven times
Around the fire
Under the Mandap
A sacrament in Hindi

I pledge,
In honesty and sincerity
To be for you, faithful and helpful.
A contract with Allah in Islam

Devotion to each other
Compassion and harmony
Sipping three glasses of wine
Exclusive choices for Buddhists

Marriage made in heaven
A love story; eternal and everlasting
Until     death      do us part.
Chrisitians make pledges in cathedrals

Seven blessings
Shattering a glass
Under the Chuppah
Jews promise to only have each other

True love reigns supreme
A promise is a promise
Non- religious couples
Bonded together, fidelity forever.

4 vows sung
To the bride and groom
Fill their minds with songs of joy
2 Sikh souls become one

            Joyous unions.

                                Broken vows.

Too easy               to stray.
Deceit and jealousy.
Ego and anger.
Too easy to           walk away.

Compromise is      hard work.
Resilience is          missing.
Divorce is               too easy.
Sadness         and          regret           linger.

A vow is a vow.


- © Julia Vaughan 2022


Julia Vaughan moved to Australia with her husband in 1989, and began writing poetry after attending inspiring Victorian U3A Surf Coast “I just don’t get poetry” classes.  Having poems dotted sparsely across the internet, she dreams of becoming an accomplished poet.  When not dreaming, she can be found walking on the beach with her husband and two Vizsla dogs.

Monday, August 01, 2022

New Poetry by Kitty Jospé










Poem to my Son, after reading Rilke "Do you still remember: Falling Stars"

"every gaze upward became
wedded to the swift hazard of their play" - Rainer Maria Rilke

I hope you will remember the fireflies
how like Rilke's shooting stars
they flashed in the night,
like gifts of starlight tumbling
in the pine trees

and I hope they will remind you how
deep the bond between a parent and child
no matter the hurdles
of wishes held
                             flashing desire
in our hearts so strong, so immeasurably potent
and indestructible,  

that no matter inevitable
disintegration, there is this love,
this fury of desire
to understand
each other,
so we can confirm
our bond is not just hazard

we know we just can't do it
alone in this life.


- © Kitty Jospé 2022


Kitty Jospé is a retired French teacher, active docent, received her MFA in poetry (2009 Pacific University, OR).  Since 2008, she has been leading workshops on art and word, and moderates weekly sessions to help people to be more attentive and appreciative readers of good poems. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

New Poetry by Clara Burghelea










Elegy for that time we used to be innocent

and buried our hamster in a large matchbox
after feeding him crumbs of sponge cake
mom had made for Easter day, and we sneaked
in and cut the heel off and hid under the stairs
and you took the hamster out of your pocket
and his little pink snout started feeling things
and we watched him frantically move up and
down our sleeves and run into a piece of cacao
cake and chew on it, smart fellow, you said,
and picked all the little crumbs in your palm,
he stored them all in his cheeks and stayed
still as if savoring the moment, or catching
its breath, then one pouch deflated and his
body stirred with pleasure, later we knew
it was a spasm, a little organ inside must
have snapped, a few seconds later he resumed
his stretching and yawning, little pearly teeth
glistening, you found one final crumb, he sat
up, ears forward, the smell must have lured
him, he grabbed it and the cheek was full again,
and mom called us, so we hurried back to
the kitchen and you slipped him into your
pants pocket and when you sat at the table,
we heard a little snap, mom looked over her
glasses, hands over the green beans and we
swallowed hard and all of a sudden, we were
no longer eight, and the world shuddered with joy.


- © Clara Burghelea 2022


Clara Burghelea is a Romanian-born poet with an MFA in Poetry from Adelphi University. Recipient of the Robert Muroff Poetry Award, her poems and translations appeared in Ambit, Waxwing, The Cortland Review and elsewhere. Her second poetry collection Praise the Unburied was published with Chaffinch Press in 2021. She is Review Editor of Ezra, An Online Journal of Translation.
 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

New Poetry by Jason Beale










Suburbanites

The slow accelerating grind  
of a distant hoon, the singular drip  
of a bathroom tap in the dark;  

the atmosphere of a Sunday night,  
after the children are asleep, 
is not much to write home about. 

The domestic gods of our domicile 
have decreed that nothing may happen 
louder than a sniffle or a shy cough— 

no flamenco dancing, no midnight lust, 
and no heart-to-heart sharing of souls 
with my partner, out like a log in bed. 

Suburbanites like us wonder at the sound  
of a dog not barking, or at the drone  
of an airplane overhead, ready to stall.  


- © Jason Beale 2022


Jason Beale is a writer from Melbourne. His poetry has appeared in Echidna Tracks and Meniscus Literary Journal.

Monday, July 25, 2022

New Poetry by Kenneth Pobo










Her Email Says "How Are You?”

In my thirties I kept getting
things done, fixing the undone,
more than a little done in.  I had
a drive to succeed, to please
others who shared that drive. 
By forty I drove myself over
a mental cliff. 

Now, in my late sixties, I don’t
recognize who I was then.  I sit
ön the porch with my husband.
If we see a bluebird,
that’s quite a successful day. 
I’m disturbed not by papers
that ache for attention but
by a truck’s thud breaking the calm. 
That passes and a pink hollyhock
starts to puff open.  The sky
is usually blue until clouds rush
above leafy trees.  


- © Kenneth Pobo 2022


Kenneth Pobo (he/him) is the author of twenty-one chapbooks and nine full-length collections.  Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), and Lilac And Sawdust (Meadowlark Press). His work has appeared in  Asheville Literary Review, Cordite, Brittle Star, Washington Square Review, Mudfish, Hawaii Review, and elsewhere.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

New Poetry by Edward Lee










Your Future Argued As Your Present Ends 

Seeing you everyday
I never noticed
the deep, dark caves
forming beneath your eyes.

It was only
as the nurse
gave us privacy
in the room, her head
nodding as her eyes met our own
before lowering to the ground,
that I saw the end
that was coming for you,
saw those caves
like collapsed structures
beneath your eyes,

the end that finally arrived
in your sleep an impossible
amount of days later,
your long-broken family,
hastily reassembled by your impending end,
outside, once again arguing
over your future,
each voice whispering
but still demanding to be heard.


- © Edward Lee 2022


Edward Lee's poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen, The Blue Nib and Poetry Wales.  His play ‘Wall’ received a rehearsed reading as part of Druid Theatre’s Druid Debuts 2020. He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Orson Carroll, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy. His blog/website can be found at https://edwardmlee.wordpress.com

 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

New Poetry by Mike James










The Dead

“The dead endure.” - Nancy Morejon

They are always going away
They cross the street, go out of sight
Step in a doorway’s shadow
In an oak tree’s shadow
They step towards the sunlight blazing on a rose bush
And carry some sunlight down to a hidden river
The river is darker than the deep grass beside it
And the dead sing to themselves there,
With remembered voices,
As they strum the long river grass


© Mike James 2022


Mike James makes his home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He has published in hundreds of magazines, large and small, and has performed his poetry at universities and other venues throughout the country. He has been nominated for multiple Pushcarts, as well as for the Paterson Poetry Prize. In April, Redhawk published his 20th collection Portable Light: Poems 1991-2021.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

New Poetry by Robert L. Penick










The Last Ones

They seemed easier to spot thirty years ago,
or perhaps my eye was keener.
The freaks, the misfits, true artists
who wagered their entire lives on
finding the perfect ending to a poem,
or a melody that would break hearts
for a hundred years.

These people stood out like chancres
on the flesh of blind, blinking society.
Their dress and manners signal fires:
We are different: We breath different air,
exchange foreign coin. We are sedition.
They strayed from the herd and
set their course from novel stars.

Now the world is redivided between
the angry and the scared, no room
at the margins for painters adding gilt
to a picture so tightly framed.
Still, at bus stops and in supermarkets,
perhaps at the DMV, you’ll see a secret
sculptor or finagler of verse.


- © Robert L.Penick 2022


The poetry and prose of Robert L. Penick have appeared in over 100 different literary journals, including The Hudson Review, North American  Review, Plainsongs, and Oxford Magazine. His latest chapbook is Exit, Stage Left, by Slipstream Press, and more of his work can be found at theartofmercy.net


Monday, July 18, 2022

New Poetry by Richard LeDue


 







Natural

The trees have leaves again,
and they dance in the summer breeze
better than I can,
even though I have feet.

Those trees probably never thought about
taking dance lessons to impress their wife,
or how my lack of coordination
makes me feel like a crumpled piece of paper
that was promised it could be a paper airplane,
but at least my crash landings
come easier than most.


- © Richard LeDue 2022


Richard LeDue (he/him) currently lives in Norway House, Manitoba. He has been published in various places online and in print. He is the author of six books of poetry. His sixth book, “A Hard Homecoming,” is forthcoming in July 2022 from Alien Buddha Press.