Friday, September 22, 2017

New words by Robert Verdon


… in some cases the birds fly upside-down and you can see their eyes shimmering like oil lenses on water. At other times, the goldfish cluster beneath the lily-pads and laugh at you. I have got used to it, unlike the others. I am drawn to magnets but only during sunshowers. It is like being a dowser. We have a Major-General here and an Archbishop. Breath hangs over us, grey, lazy breath. Poinsettias hunt for game. There is a baby under the strawberry bush, telling riddles.

She is sitting on a canvas swing that hangs from a grapegreen bough. The magpies are coloured here too, quince and persimmon. The baby tinkles like birdbath ice. A cat falls on its four feet. There are faces in the windows. A pendulum from a grandfather clock. A hair-spring. A cloud like an old straw hat. And restraints.

From the sun a chandelier dangles. We live in a surfeit of metaphors. Gravy. There is gravy today. We haven’t had gravy since …

She is on a swing, whistling. Vera. Vera. I know that tune … She is holding up the moon, a wet globe of moon that comes apart. Drawers full of washers and twisted pipe-cleaners are spread about her. It is like a picnic. Licorice bootlaces writhe like serpents all round the tree. I am waking up to my dreams. Salt sprinkled into a flame glows green. Soft, fat visitors. Wheelchairs in a distorted circle.

Do we die, here?

The stars in the evening are mauve and helical. A helix is not a spiral. A patch is not a square. A bit is not a jot. A couple is more countable than a few.

The doctors are not nurses.

Time to go, always time to go. Always back to the ward, the weird, wide ward, where they put you to sleep. I know that tune. Last time we had gravy when when when

The birds are stolen. I’m not going in yet. The birds are stolen! They must be returned to their cages! Hands grip my shoulders. I relax. The sun has gone too. They assure me it will return. Tomorrow is another day.

I sleep smiling. I have done it again.

It is the only way you can get them to touch you.

- Robert Verdon 2017

Robert Verdon is a Canberra writer who has published poetry and prose for many years. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

New Poetry by Martin Christmas

Primal Darkness

Skyping Melbourne,
ninety minutes.
‘5,4,3,2, . . .’
he cuts the link.
Then –
Then –
Then –


The whole suburb –

Stars blazing.


Dark menace.

Someone coughs.

Stars blazing. 

We wait –
for the lights to return.
in their own small

Is this what it was like when . . .?

- Martin Christmas 2017

Martin Christmas lives in South Australia; has a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies; and is a poet, photographer, and theatre director. He has been published in several Australian anthologies as well as Red River Review (USA) and VerseWrights (USA). He teaches presentation elements to young poets. His chapbook poetry collection Immediate Reflections was published at the end of 2016.

Friday, September 08, 2017

New Poetry by John Rock

Morning Wind

Vibrating with these brushstrokes of dawn

       in these winged Chicadee voices I’ve courted

            by tying deerfat to the corner of my tent

                  in this savanna of snow

                       the gods walk and fly in great caravans

                                    mask merchants

                         above and below the ground

                                       antler sages

                                       Bluejay measuring space with cacophony

       and fox mothers wrapping their tales and musk

                around children taught to play with the moment

                                         year after year

In their prosperous down

        the Chicadees dive

             and take turns eating as I talk to them

                  wearing sheep hair knitted around my head and body

                           like a house of smoke

Morning wind

        can you blow these selves to earth?

              like leaf after leaf

                   the sky has grown from a silver branch

                           in this snow-rising chant

- John Rock 2017

In love with waterfalls, crows, and ecstatic dance, John Rock lives in New Mexico.  More writings at

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

New Poetry by Felix Purat

Worn Herzlicher Coaster

One more beer mark
Upon its cardboard
Body, and

It will begin
Dissipation, the
Room spiraling

Into the maelstrom
From where all thought
First transpired.

- Felix Purat 2017

Felix Purat is a hinternationalist hailing from Berkeley, CA but living in Prague. He has been previously published in Two Thirds North, the Paris/Atlantic, Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink Sweat & Tears, Pulsar, Vox Poetica, Allegro Poetry Magazine and Orbis Int’l, among other places. His first collection of poetry, A Drinking Horn of Accumulated Expiries, will soon be released as part of the Poetry Will Be Made For All project, and he has recently completed a second collection, Mews For the Tarpans of the World.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Bluepepper marks the passing of John Ashbery (1927-2017)

Sunday, September 03, 2017

New Poetry by James Walton

I’ll lay down with dictionaries
(and you)

When we are too old
for the Crossword
and the swallow comes early
singing for a lost partner

when out of season
the whip bird’s tuning fork
calls the humble circle
out of a lasso’s embrace

sky writing your name
in that opened portal
vowels and consonants
placed inside the circumference

dangling missing letters
we have chanced for canvass
a wily clue you gave me
of secrets no one knows

lexicons hesitantly shelved
the answers between us
teased into definition
out of more solitary lives

then leave all pages open
make a cuneiform mattress
out of every alphabet
graft us to our own calligraphy

the words that seek homes
can pummel for new comfort
rub against us until found
here where our language formed

- James Walton 2017

James Walton is a Gippsland poet published in newspapers, journals and anthologies. Short listed twice for the ACU National Literature Prize, a double prize winner in the MPU International Poetry Prize, and Specially Commended in The Welsh Poetry Competition - his collection ‘The Leviathan’s Apprentice’ was published in 2015.  

Friday, September 01, 2017

Calling all Poets!

In case you hadn't noticed, dear reader, we live in interesting times. Alert but not alarmed is our running credo at Bluepepper, and in line with that policy we are currrently


Bluepepper believes that perhaps now more than ever this troubled rock needs the wisdom only poetry can distil, so get out your quills and parchment and submit per the guidelines at the top of the sidebar.

Friday, August 25, 2017

New Poetry by JD DeHart

I Dreamed

of a world that I thought
we had created.  This was
many nights ago.  Peace
and serenity.

Last night, I dreamed about
the world we might be creating.
Furtive glances, interrogation
rooms, hiding and tucking away.

I woke with a sense of being
undefeated even after finding
that civility has not completely
conquered our flaws.

- JD DeHart 2017

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  His work has recent appeared at Strange Poetry and Cacti Fur. He has recently launched a literary review and resources site

Sunday, August 06, 2017

New Poetry by Christine Burrows

Autumn pivot

March is endings
small sacrifices
no lollies for lent

May shucks you down
slim as a rock limpet
resisting coldening wind

April finds its fools, caught short
at daylight savings end, raking up
summer dreams amongst sodden leaves

- Christine Burrows 2017

Christine is a Melbourne poet, originally from New Zealand. Recent work has appeared in anthologies and journals, including Audacious, Cordite, Landfall, Westerly and Australian Poetry Anthology (2016). Her work explores diverse aspects and levels of human experience - trauma, loss and dislocation being regular themes. Poetry keeps her going.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

New Words and Images by Wayne H. W Wolfson

The Wig

Not just with me but in general, she had never observed all the rules of social etiquette which I found myself unable to disobey. Sending a RSVP to anything to which I was invited, being on time for an appointment, acknowledging holidays and birthdays via cards.

As a sort of experiment, I gave in, or more accurately, I gave up on all sense of formality with her.  It did not seem to faze her although my methods were faulty and the accuracy of my experiment were in question as we had never actually been that close.

Where I grabbing a drink after finishing a piece, I would linger far longer than had I just popped out for a break. If we ran into each other on one of these occasions, then we would spend some time together. There was something mercenary in her look when aroused which both appealed and repulsed me. I think the last time I saw her it had been the latter and so with only a faint echo of a warning klaxon in the back of my mind, I lost track of how long it had been.

I had achieved all kinds of things but when home I went to the same places as they offered me what I needed. The inspiration which they still gave me after these years of walking my streets, I am a sort of Antaeus of Midtown.

I had just come back from once again having been on the road. Now here I was in my favorite seat at my usual bar when she came in. Two years had gone by since our last encounter.

She had moved to Seattle. Instinctually my mind went towards reprimands for not having told me beforehand nor having been dropped a note once she had settled in. I saw the futility of uttering anything along those lines as it would not stick and it would waste my brief downtime on something neither of us would care to be part of. Instead my mouth twisted into a sort of grin which was not one hundred percent about mirth nor pleasure.

“So, what are you doing back?”

Her aunt had died and she was supposed to go through her house and see if there was anything she wanted before the rest was thrown out. I vaguely recalled an older witchy looking woman who drove a rusted-out Volkswagen that I had briefly met once in passing at a farmer’s market.

 “You should come, there is an overgrown garden which I bet you could do some amazing sketches of.”

It sounded jerkier than I had intended when I said yes but that I did not have all day.

I was surprised I had not seen her aunt out and about more often as her place was a quick walk from all my usual haunts. I stopped to tie my shoe but she had kept walking although at a slower pace. Looking at her from behind as I sought to catch up. The same jacket as ever. She had put on a few pounds but wore it well. What would she look like in a decade?

We let ourselves in but I could tell by how tentatively she walked over the threshold it was strange for her too. The place was not dirty but very cluttered. Piles of paperbacks, mismatched furniture, most of which had afghans thrown over their backs and arranged so that to walk to certain parts of the room one had to squeeze between two pieces set at odd angles.

“Do not worry, we are not going to be here all day. I am just going to check her bedroom as that is where her photo albums and anything which may interest me might be. Why don’t you go out back and sketch? You must leave something to hold the door open or it will lock behind you. Just use one of the paperbacks, don’t worry about it.”

The backyard garden was gloriously savage. At one point, great care must have been put into it as even with it having grown wild there was still loose bordered order to the groupings of herbs and vegetables.

Of course, I recognized the oregano and rosemary. Some of the others I used to know but had grown rusty in my identification. Looking at one cluster I found interesting I eventually snapped my fingers and said “Hyssop!” after which I looked around to see if anyone had seen me do so.

I became absorbed in my drawing until having grown thirsty. An hour had passed. I decided to go in and check on her. Squeezing by the piles of books that lined the hallway wall, I head towards the bedroom. The sound of her breath coming in sharp rhythmic patterns. I had avoided the potential drama of a fight by not having scolded her but would now have the even worse scene of having to provide comfort to her in her grief, something which I was terrible at in general.

Standing in the doorway, I was surprised to not immediately see her as in my mind’s eye I had pictured her, sitting on the end of the bed, perhaps with some trinket in her hand sobbing. My eyes scanned the room.

Wearing only underwear and a bra, she was on the floor with her back against the closed bathroom door. The way her bottom jaw jutted forward then back and her nostrils slightly flared. She was not crying. Her body shook for a moment and in that moment, I forgot what jerks we both could be. She opened her eyes and looked at me. The sun caught the beads of perspiration on her forehead in jewel like shimmering.

“Where did you get the wig?”

“It was my aunt’s.”


Wayne H.W Wolfson 2017