Thursday, June 30, 2022

New Poetry by Charlie Brice


You can smell it in the folds of her hair
or maybe in the steamy aroma of a street pretzel
in New York City in the eighties.

It might turn up on a baseball field, echo along
with the crack of a bat, or drift through a Percy
Sledge melody or the largo theme of Dvorak’s

New World Symphony. It might live in photos of people
dressed in summer colors to witness two amores join hands
fifty years ago, or get kicked around

by a little boy’s cleats on a soccer field only to appear,
again, in his grin when he graduates college. It may
hover over a hospital bed, survive the stifling

unhealthy heat there, grasp a hand gnarled by arthritis
and pain and, ephemeral and effervescent as it is, seep out
of a grave and haunt the hearts of those who are left.

- © Charlie Brice 2022

Charlie Brice won the 2020 Field Guide Poetry Magazine Poetry Contest and placed third in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. His fifth full-length poetry collection is The Ventriloquist (WordTech Editions, 2022). His poetry has been nominated twice for the Best of Net Anthology and three times for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Atlanta Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Ibbetson Street, The Paterson Literary Review, Impspired Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, and elsewhere.

Monday, June 27, 2022

New Poetry by Karen Pierce Gonzalez


Like cratered Mercury
ringed by mile-high mountains
and wide depressions
             you travel backwards
three times each year,
            screw up schedules,
            prove your small planet
pull on my life.

I am under your influence.

Unstable, too close to the sun,
you rotate away from me,

- © Karen Pierce Gonzalez 2022

Karen Pierce Gonzalez lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Blue Pepper. Her mini-chap True North (Origami Poetry Project) will appear July 2022, and her chapbook Coyote in the basket of my ribs (Alabaster Leaves) will appear February 2023.

Friday, June 24, 2022

New Poetry by Brian Glaser

Anti Canto 


What is to be done 
for the homeless mentally ill in our nation? 

My opening thought 
is the Loaves and Fishes Saturday lunch 
served by my family parish 
when I was in high school. 

My father and I went to help on weekends for about a year. 

My work was mostly cutting vegetables, 
and I was unselfconscious talking with the men we fed— 

I brought one whom I had befriended 
a pack of cigarettes. 

There was one man in the kitchen with a nervous disorder 
whose hand flapped uncontrolled at his side. 

He looked at me with ingenuous eyes, 
a wounded smile,— 

nobody came with him or left with him; 
that was thirty years ago— 

but if I need a symbol of my conscience  
with respect to this question, 

I look back at him lovingly  
until he breaks off the gaze. 


It’s a complex problem. 
I don’t think we will solve it wholly by housing 

one suffering person at a time. 

But it might help 
to decide we know other ways  
the problem will not be solved— 

like appealing to bootstraps and hard work, 
individual will and enterprise— 

pound a stake back in the heart of  
that stalking vampire capitalism 

who denies there are problems 
he cannot solve. 


What makes a home? 

I think of the runner stealing down the third base line 
out of the frame 
in a clip of a college baseball game 
I saw yesterday on my phone— 

the pitcher is set, staring gravely and tensely at the ground, 
preparing his mind to pitch, 
and suddenly the catcher leaps up, urging him to throw home 
but by the time the runner slides in headfirst 
and wins the game 
the pitcher still has not begun to throw the ball. 

And the camera follows the celebration of the whole team 
jumping and surrounding the runner, 
some of them right in the center of the group 
and a few on the periphery, 
bouncing gamely, 
back up the third base line, 
and that’s where the story ends, 

in medias res, 
like every other story. 

- © Brian Glaser 2022

Brian Glaser is the author of four books of poems and many essays on poetry and poetics. He teaches art and history at Chapman University in Orange, California.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

New Poetry by David Adès

The Juggler 

The juggler had no innate talent or skill:  

she learned the hard way, on the job,  
by necessity, by way of endless repetition, 

first one ball, then two, then three, then four, 

her hands a blur of motion, her eyes tracking, 
her feet skittering, and always 

failure, the dropped ball, the resumption. 

It has become habit now, compulsion 
as much as requirement, 

task overwhelming purpose. 

She has no time to remember a time  
before juggling, or even to imagine 

a cessation of movement, simplicity, leisure. 

Such things are forfeit, lost, balls in  
parabolic arcs even through her dreams.

- © David Adès 2022

David Adès is the author of Mapping the World, the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eternal and most recently Afloat in Light ( He is the host of a monthly poetry podcast series, Poets’ Corner, which can be found at 



Tuesday, June 21, 2022

New Poetry by Caleb Delos-Santos

A Poem’s Plea

Will you please publish me?
My author needs a win
Since failure tore his chin
And ripped his reaching knee
Will you please publish me?

My lines are sharp and thin.
Each rhyme sticks like a pin.
Please, shoot his losing-spree.
Will you please publish me?

Oh, please give me a spin!
My author needs to grin.
Please, listen to my plea!
Will you please publish me?

- © Caleb Delos-Santos 2022

Caleb Delos-Santos is a Junior double majoring in Acting for the Stage and Screen and English at Azusa Pacific University. He has four published poems and one non-fiction with West Wind Magazine, Outrageous Fortune, and GoldScriptCo. He was also awarded the APU Esselstrom Prize for creative writing. Writing helps him to improve his mental health. He dreams of successful careers in writing and acting.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

New Poetry by Peter Mladinic

Ink Factory

Hanson at the ink factory all day on a line
looking at bottles of blue ink, black
and red ink, thought of a toilet bowl factory,

a doorknob factory, a sign factory,
signs such as “Get this over quick”
and “It never gets any better than this.”

He thought of a factory of wire elephants
and giraffes, and factories with everything
taken out: shelves, pallets, hydraulic lifts.

Emptiness factories: here’s emptiness:
empty boxes, empty shelves.
The wire elephants and giraffes have risen,

have been packed and sent to Siberia.
He thought of his sister-in-law Ethel
getting acquainted with Nancy at a bar,

“I make paste and put the paste in jars.
Kids in schools cut out trees, clouds,
picket fences they paste on paper.

The good cut outs get tacked
to walls.” He thought of a tack factory
and a factory for industrial slings.

James and Miss Q
I was seven, a second grade failure.
James Wilson and Miss Q
were rolling around on the floor. 
Fast, quiet, a turbulent, human brew.

James, in the back, gets up from his desk,
his head a glazed melon, hair like weeds,
puffed cheeks, puffy eyes like slits.
He pulls from his dungarees

back pocket a grimy, folded paper
he doesn’t open, crude
penciled numbers or alphabet letters.
All I know, it’s his homework.  Miss Q,

up front, says, Give me that mess.
In her blond perm, hourglass shape born
for a business suit she means business.
It happens quickly, their storm.

Light through windows falls on zigzag desk
rows. They roll on the floor in the room,
scuffle, over smudged asterisks
or Bs and Cs he’d struggled to form.

- © 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.




Thursday, June 16, 2022

New Poetry by James B. Nicola

Rough Mirror Image
Every day
swords drawn
for too long
rust. Trouble is,
for too long
swords are drawn
every day.

- © James B. Nicola 2022

James B. Nicola, a returning contributor, is the author of seven collections of poetry, the latest being Fires of Heaven (2021) and Turns & Twists (2022). His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award.

New Poetry by Mike Dillon

Adagio in April

Young, maybe thirty, 
dark-haired, pretty
as the memory of beauty,
she knelt in the public garden 
weeding between the tulips and blue bells
and looked up before I passed
to cast a dark-eyed smile 
soft as a butterfly wings.
And returned to her work.

Much older, but not all the way,
I saw the beauty of her face rise again,
sure as sunrise. Our eyes blinked 
for a breath-span before she
looked down.
And I went on my way — 
Bede’s sparrow in its brief dash
through the warmth of the mead hall
between two doors wide open
to winter and winter.

- © Mike Dillon 2022

Mike Dillon lives in a small town on Puget Sound northwest of Seattle. His most recent book is a chapbook, The Return, from Finishing Line Press (March 2021). He is a previous contributor to Blue Pepper.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

New Short Fiction by Nina Rubinstein Alonso

 Pages Ripped Out         

 He’s sitting, eyes closed, in the meditation hall at École Supérieure. She hasn’t seen Gerard since they met at a seminar in Munich two years ago, tentative kisses in a hotel hallway. Trim beard, dark hair and eyes, his English shaky, her French wobbly, a language muddle, until she understands he’s moved back to Paris from Algeria, is teaching biology, though university jobs are hard to find.
 The friend Leah’s traveling with shakes her head, but moves to another room leaving them alone. Gerard doesn’t seem embarrassed or apologetic, assumes lying is sometimes necessary for sexual courtesy.
 Back in Cambridge Miguel’s smoking hand-rolled cigarettes, charming, infuriating, stubbornly predicting pot’s climb toward quasi-legality, brushing off Leah’s fears that sooner or later one of his escapades might get him arrested or attacked by a dubious associate.
 She tells Gerard she’d consider a move to Paris if she could find a job teaching ballet, but he replies, “Pas pour moi,” sensing it’s puff-ball fantasy, as they don’t know each other well enough to be sure it’s something either of them might want. He tells sour stories of his childhood, a cold punitive mother who said she’d rather raise a goat than a boy, then reaches for her, attentive, sensual, playful.
 A week later she’s on the plane to Boston trying to meditate, writing journal notes about Gerard like a postcard sent only to herself, struggling to reframe things as if she’s learned something, though no idea what.                      
 Months pass, back to teaching ballet, arguing with Miguel about dealing pot while  holding him close, when a letter arrives from Gerard saying he’s on his way to the states, hopes to stay with her in Cambridge, maybe travel together. She replies that he can stay, but Miguel will be there, too.  
 Strange to see Gerard unrolling his green sleeping bag on the living room floor while chatting with Miguel who’s on the couch. Leah’s alone in a small room, a light sleeper easily disturbed, especially by snoring. In the morning they shower, chat over coffee in multiple languages, as Miguel’s first language is Spanish. 
 Leaving for work, Miguel whispers, “How’s your boyfriend enjoying his trip,” as if he smells it, feels it.
 Blurring truth and lie, she says, “Gerard’s from my meditation group, met him in Munich and Paris, a biology professor on a tight budget,” as if being a biology professor cancels sex.  
 Gerard’s curious about historical sites, the Bunker Hill monument, The State House, wants to see the USS Constitution in the harbor, the pond in the park, museums, Harvard yard, their chatter bilingual and ambivalent. She’s attracted, but their kisses are light, maintaining emotional distance. He says he’s leaving soon, “Et toi?” wanting her to join him. 
 She considers packing a bag, but it’s a non-starter as her ballet teaching schedule resumes in a few days, and she’s still entangled with Miguel. Though curious, she doesn’t ask Gerard about his girl friend probably waiting in France while he tastes what it’s like to be with someone else. He rolls up his sleeping bag, later sends a note which she answers just as briefly to his Paris address.
 Years later, in Denmark for another meditation gathering, she sees Gerard standing outside the cafeteria, smiling at her. She’s holding her three year old daughter’s hand, about to take her to the bathroom, no time for more than a few words. He’s not as lean as he used to be, looks tired, dark hair streaked gray. 
 She assumes he’s doing a similar time/age scan of her, not sure she’ll be able to tell him about Miguel’s illness, the misery of his death, how hard it was adopting her daughter or anything else. The man she’s been seeing is about loneliness, not love, making her feel off-balance, unsure where her foot will land next. Whatever might have been with Gerard, it’s probably too late, pages ripped out of the book. 

-  © Nina Rubinstein Alonso 2022

Nina Rubinstein Alonso’s work appeared in Ploughshares, The New Yorker, Ibbetson Street, Wilderness House Literary Review, BluePepper, Taj Mahal Review, Broadkill Review, U. Mass. Review, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, etc. Her book This Body was published by David Godine Press, her chapbook Riot Wake by Cervena Barva Press, and another poetry collection and story collection are in the works.  

New Poetry by Mark O'Flynn

Sea of Crises                                                              

Regarding the moon:
Turn on the news, take your pick.
No need to be literal here. No overdue
calamity, no whirling maelstrom in the shipping
lanes, simply what to cook for dinner. What
to talk about over canapés. Most days the queue
to the checkout is enough to shatter the singing crystal
spheres. In them a single planet stopped in its tracks
once conjured witches. These epicycles
forced us to question the centre. What centre?
There is no centre. Only a perpetual
outwardness leaving us recoiling from ourselves.
All this dust and nowhere to sweep it.

- © Mark O'Flynn 2022

Mark's most recent collection, "Undercoat" was released earlier this year. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in many Australian journals as well as overseas. His novels include Grassdogs and The Forgotten World. He has also published the comic memoir False Start and a collection of short fiction, White Light. He lives in the Blue Mountains.

Monday, June 13, 2022

New Poetry by Adrienne Pilon

First Season

It's all happened before: this sunshine, this renewal.
Tumbleweeds of pollen roll across the deck, the lawn
leaving a bile-colored dust. Heedless carpenter bees
coming out for their first look at spring bump against
the windows and siding of the house, over and over,
sometimes to the death. The robins are in a frenzy 
of overwork brought on by hatchling season, zooming
in and out of the blooming rhododendron; sometimes
on their high-speed returns they smash into the 
reflected bush of the glass.I shovel up their bodies,
toss them over the fence. The foxes will eat them,
and they'll eat the bees, too along with vegetable peelings
I've used to dress the corpses. The sun shines like a curse.
Termites crawl from the windowsills as I wash off the robins' blood.
From the rhododendron comes the endless peeping of fledglings.

- © Adrienne Pilon 2022

Adrienne Pilon is a teacher, writer, and editor. She lives in North Carolina and sometimes California. Recent work appears in Eclectica, Plum Tree Tavern, Uppagus and elsewhere. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

New Poetry by Nancy Machlis Rechtman

Mastication and Muzak

We sit across from each other
Under the glaring fluorescent light
At the glass-topped wrought-iron kitchen table
With the black, metal coils of the upright chair
Snaking into my back like a warning
If I make any attempt to lean back
And breathe.

After repositioning the ceramic bowl with the purple silk flowers
With their blotched, angry bruises
Onto the grey granite countertop behind the table
There is now a place for the handcrafted black walnut salad bowl
Filled with verdant leafiness
And incongruous bursts of juicy cherry tomatoes
Drizzled with earthy brown balsamic vinaigrette.

The cheerful palette is misleading
Since it suggests signs of life
And not the life support
That is more accurately represented
By this tableau
Especially by the plate across the table
With its barely cooked animal carcass
Masquerading as sustenance,
And I can barely swallow.

In the next room
Innocuous instrumentals fill the empty spaces
That words once inhabited
And I no longer wonder how it happened
Or when it happened
Because no timer was set
That signaled the end of it all.
But echoes of the fury
And pain
That once flooded the halls
And every room of the house
Like raging rivers
And the jolts of slamming doors
That were earthquakes
Still remain
But they have long been eroded
Into the numbing trickle of mastication
And Muzak.

- © Nancy Machlis Rechtman 2022

Nancy Machlis Rechtman has had poetry and short stories published in Paper Dragon, The Bluebird Word, Quail Bell, The Bluebird Word, Goat’s Milk, The Writing Disorder, Discretionary Love, and more. She wrote freelance Lifestyle stories for a local newspaper, and she was the copy editor for another paper She writes a blog called Inanities at

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

New Poetry by Matthew Spence


To a dog or cat, everything looks gray.
People, buildings, streets, etc.
They don’t see the world in black and white,
But more in monochrome.
They may not see colors, but they still see shades.
They see shades of people, shades of objects
Shades of things they know and don’t recognize.
To them, the world is subtle and suggestive.
This is why they sometimes act as if they see things that aren’t there.
They see more than we do, but in shades instead of bold colors.
The colors sometimes blind us to what’s really there.

- © Matthew Spence 2022

Matthew Spence was born in Cleveland, Ohio. His work has most recently appeared in Voice from the Void #1.