While my inbox remains empty, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Bluepepper readers and contributors a safe and happy Yuletide.
Friday, December 09, 2016
Tonight the Moon
is shining, solemn in shades of blue,
and my head is a balloon, longing
to be a wheel of cheese. I cannot think.
The fog is sinking through the holes
in my mind. I howl my despair
at a night that refuses to holler back.
Silence is my echo, my reflection.
I am stagnant and barren
as the pallid globe that has swallowed
my shadow and my mood.
We are a matched set
of misfits, twin migrant insomniacs, doomed
to haunt the shallows of the other side
- A.J. Huffman 2016
A.J. Huffman has published thirteen full-length poetry collections, thirteen solo poetry chapbooks and one joint poetry chapbook through various small presses. Her most recent releases, The Pyre On Which Tomorrow Burns (Scars Publications), Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink), A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press), and Familiar Illusions (Flutter Press) are now available from their respective publishers. She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2600 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, The Bookends Review, Bone Orchard, Corvus Review, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She was also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. www.kindofahurricanepress.com.
Thursday, December 08, 2016
For everything my parents taught me
Weekdays are detonated
On a Monday. Little anticipation for them at
Heart. A sisterhood
Of a garden of weekdays.
We weather soap operas.
The spine of the unchanging
Wedding ring of the
Sun. A young galaxy of
Confetti with unusual
Fused and acute angles.
The borrower is attractive and faithful.
The sun so political. So
With personal velocity.
Mum is that faithful borrower.
She has the trustworthy
Soul of a nurturer. The
Invisible-like cats cling
To me. Love me until
Death. The experience
Of a lifetime. Starlight exhibited at peak
Intervals on the shadow
Of the earth. Mum’s fingers
Have their own calling,
Seed-thief, hollow ways
Of indifference like a
Thief that comes in the
Night or during the day
(Not on my watch). There is a volcanic
Adjustment to be made
Underground. The pull
Of gravity. Of love. Of
Life. Father gave mother
Love. In return she gave me life.
The smell of gloom, of
The history of past mistakes invades
This landscape of the mother
And daughter relationship.
I know the courage of
A father. His quiet. His melancholia.
His yearning is mine and
So is his restlessness. He is
A leaf floating in history.
He is stunned with honour
And blooming power while
My mother is the cold.
She’s the Pacific Ocean.
- Abigail George 2016
Abigail George is a South African poet.
Posted by Justin Lowe at 8:50 am
Thursday, December 01, 2016
Calgary still talks about the 1988 Winter Olympics
The pen was too good to acquire.
A cheap ballpoint might have fallen
into my bag or got left in a notebook.
But this one wrote smoothly, didn't blotch
and was comfortable to hold in a hotel
stuck between sky-scrapers,
a meshed screen over the windows,
bland meadow prints, neutral bedding,
muffled noises from lines of identical
corridors, half peach wallpaper,
half wood-effect protective veneer,
that lead to more rooms exactly like this
with blank notepaper to doodle dreams on
and a pen I almost didn't leave.
- Emma Lee 2016
Emma Lee's most recent collection is "Ghosts in the Desert" (IDP, UK, 2015). She co-edited "Over Land Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge" (Five Leaves, UK, 2015) and "Welcome to Leicester" (Dahlia Publishing,UK, 2016). She reviews for The High Window Journal, The Journal, London Grip and Sabotage Reviews and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com
Posted by Justin Lowe at 8:39 am
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
I envy your talent for slipping
into the sleeve of sleep; one moment
your oceanic eyes are wide, the next,
silky with dreams. I lie next to you
on our liquid berth, an old salt shipwrecked,
clinging to the last spars of wakefulness,
mistrusting the stormy waves that threaten me‑‑
that may not be buoyant enough to lift me,
carry me, take me safely to the beachhead
of morning. So I grasp awareness
as you snore, cradled in ripples beside me,
as even the dog dreams on the floor,
wild golden eyes subdued in passionate rest.
In a vision I see myself walking beside you
on that far shore, a sea‑oat setting.
Gathering shells, I am telling a story
to you and all who will hear me: how I
survived the wreck, how I lived. With that
promise before me, I succumb at last,
still graceless, still stubborn‑‑a drowning
Ishmael as the Pequod sinks into black,
perilous waters. I cling to the casket
of your faith, knowing I must escape
to tell the tale.
- Karen Pape 2016
Karen Bingham Pape is a teacher and writer. Her poems have appeared in small press publications such as Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and Maverick Press and in on-line journals such as Big River Review, Red River Review, Words-Myth and Perigee as well as under the bluepepper. She has read her work at conferences such as Southwestern ACA/PCA Pop Culture, ASU Annual Writers Conferences in Honor of Elmer Kelton, and Fort Concho Literary Festival.
Monday, November 28, 2016
The first thing I ever heard
last night the wind had something to say
I stayed awake listening
he whispered through my keyhole
I eavesdropped from my bed
his words were foreign to me
their meaning beyond my reach
though I pretended he spoke of love
roared of boundless love
I told myself he reflected on a glorious life
or an adventurous affair
I believe it brought him to his knees
a man who saw the light
I could think of nothing better
than to listen to the old man’s wail
- Neal Heron 2016
Neal Heron is a young, unpublished Austrian writer of music and poetry. For two years he lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the appreciation for art and the exposure to striking individuals, such as Henry David Thoreau and Charles Bukowski, intensified his interest in American literature. After his return to Austria, he resumed the small town life. He currently works in a furniture store to save up for studying music abroad.
Posted by Justin Lowe at 10:38 am
Friday, November 25, 2016
those desolate pastures
the wind secures the dancing wattles
unshaped and rusting,
bark fraying from their trunks,
a lack of coloration is no irregularity,
stuck in the line of fire
as it electrifies the buried voices
of ancestors who create captives,
binding the collar from the body to the neck,
beneath the continual storm, all being fixed to chains
out at Woodstock the smoke descends,
the doused air dives into itself
becomes a spire of ash rising—
the light peers through cloud
where human flesh seeds the inferno.
- Robbie Coburn 2016
the body an inferno;
buried ancestors' voices rising
through the spire of the neck—
flesh into fire.
captive in those human pastures
being dives into itself—
descends through binding seed
becomes the light.
- Michele Seminara 2016
These two poems are from a collaborative chapbook, Scar to Scar, just released through PressPress. Scar to Scar
Posted by Justin Lowe at 10:14 am
Sunday, November 20, 2016
We, Of the Bleeding Hearts
We, of the bleeding hearts,
tend our little fires in the encroaching dark
as we have always done,
as we will always do,
even as we recognize less and less in the world,
even as the wolves circle closer
baring their teeth, snarling.
We cannot help ourselves,
we sing the songs within us,
the prayers, the incantations,
we whisper our hopes,
the dreams we will not relinquish,
our hands reaching out to touch
their beautiful pelts.
- David Ades 2016
David Ades is a Sydney poet returned to the fold after a long stint in that troubled federation north of the line. He has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Pushcart Poetry Prize and the inaugural 2014 University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor's International Poetry Prize.
Posted by Justin Lowe at 10:01 am
Friday, November 18, 2016
I will not pretend to have been hardcore fan as so many will now do on their social media pages, using an instance which will be forgotten by them in a few weeks as another jump on the band wagon-look at me moment.
I liked some of his work and had privilege of seeing him play tiny venues several times before his rediscovery. Like anyone else who has picked up a pen and knows how to use it, a nod in his direction must be given regardless of how differently one's ink splashed from his.
Had he only written a handful of songs, and not decades worth, his place in history would have been secured. Much like Bob Dylan, his vast catalog is a mixed bag, with different artistic phases resonating with people.
Before his rediscovery by the public, to be a fan of his was akin to some sort of secret club. After a certain point he managed to have the dichotomy of being both an institution while also maintaining the veneer of being an artists' artist. Last decade or so, to be into him was not the admittance to the club but rather not citing Hallelujah as favorite song. (This song has been sucked dry of all its beauty and tension by all the over earnest covers and serving to facilitate the American-Idolization of singing. Perhaps if we can get a decade or so of silence we can take this piece back). To share jubilance or a bit of poetic melancholy is to salute him in the way he would most approve. Nov 10, 2016
- Wayne H.W Wolfson 2016
Posted by Justin Lowe at 8:42 am
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Harry the Biting Dog
She locked it in the bedroom
so I knew there’d be no sex
as I listened to it
snarl and claw at the door
“He just needs to smell you,” she said
“No, please!” I said
Harry the Biting Dog
had a mouth like a crocodile
and in the short time she owned him
bit two bicyclists, a lawyer
and the 8 year old son
of a Russian immigrant named Morris
I couldn’t figure it out, no one sued
not even the lawyer
maybe it was her eyes
same as Harry’s
tired of being beaten
and ready to bite.
- Jon Bennett 2016
Jon Bennett is a writer and musician living in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. You can find more of his stuff on iTunes, Pandora, and other music sites, or by connecting with him on Facehole at https://www.facebook.com/jon.bennett.967.
Posted by Justin Lowe at 12:44 pm
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
A sugar-shouldered woman on TV strides towards me
smirking at our national anthem, humming numbers, holding back
I hear knuckles, leather bound, knock against a diner mug-a-joe,
now reaching for his Nokia, the ding of his red-lipped lady
Godammit, my upstairs neighbor moans rising on his bad ankle
He chants to himself as he dresses, already sweating
Olivia Benson’s buh-buh intro, hour of healing wakes, prods me
to switch the laundry, turn the kettle on, wash my morning face
7-11 sustenance, four gatorades in one arm
Campbell’s in the other, I return home to bathe
The night breaks in half, backbends into Tuesday, slathers its coral hands
against my back like Calamine: a pep talk, mail that’s not an ad, a laugh
- Sarah May 2016
Sarah May is an unpublished, but eager poet from the not-as-hick-as-you’d-imagine city of Dallas, Texas. She currently acts as a poetry editor of Marathon Literary Magazine and is a low-residency MFA student at Arcadia University.
Posted by Justin Lowe at 10:19 am