Friday, June 23, 2017

New Poems by Allison Grayhurst










Another Station

I raced to the perimeter,
stopping at the dot and
found the sun half-gone
like a kiss that never was.
I touched the tree and the tree
did not know I was there.
I peeled the skin from my fingers
to feel a deeper sensation.
The line and the ledge and the no-space in-between.
The devil is bitter and hard. I spoke to the devil
and held time with his eyes. But breaking free,
leaping from the circle - these aspirations
are growing up, taking long and slow breaths,
all the while, becoming
more formidable.


- Allison Grayhurst 2017


Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three times nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, she has over 1050 poems published in over 425 international journals. She has sixteen published books of poetry, seven collections and nine chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com   

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Poetry by Richard Manly Heiman










Andromache at Pergamon

When you wake from a mid-day nap to bees droning through orchids and gerberas by the sluggish fountain, or you're cane-walking slow through ancient Boğazkere vines and cherry groves, raw as a

slashed throat clogged with gurgling clots it all comes raging back. The sudden fall, the tumbling high-pitched shriek cut off mid-flight by limestone ramparts. Florid smears in horse-shit dust, the phantom pain in your uterus. But such a tiny

sacrifice. No more night terrors to console, a baby's dreams of bronze-skulled monsters. Still you replay gallops round  and round, the bloody bare crown thumping along, splitting over and over again, sanity fracturing, oozing hope like yolk, gelatin eyes squeezed tight to block

absurdly calm extinction. Now each morning he stares back with mead-rimmed eyes. One who looks just like the one who murdered and then loved you. He stares, and death is trite, and no strong-built heart walls can keep the wailing in.


- Richard Manly Heiman 2017


Richard Manly Heiman lives in the pines on the slope of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California. He works as a substitute teacher and writes when the kids are at recess or playing on their cell phones. Richard's work has appeared or will in Rattle, Into the Void, Bop Dead City and elsewhere. He is a two time 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee. His URL is poetrick.com.

Monday, June 19, 2017



Call for Submissions 

The June Open Reading Period 

Black Lawrence Press seeks innovative, electrifying, and thoroughly intoxicating manuscripts that ensnare themselves in our hearts and minds and won’t let go. During our June and November Open Reading Periods, we accept submissions in the following categories: novel, novella, short story collection (full-length and chapbook), poetry (full-length and chapbook), biography & cultural studies, translation (from the German), and creative nonfiction. 

 Black Lawrence Press accepts submissions exclusively through our online submission manager, Submittable. We are not able to accept submissions via email or postal mail.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

New Poetry by Jim Conwell










Envy

They were a haphazard collection,
several soldiers
and some Indians
and a knight or two.
And some of the cereal packet Indians
were only the colour of the plastic they were made from.
But I know what they felt like in my hand.
The distinct characters of each of them.
And I remember their vivid colours.
The red and blue of the warrior’s tiny shield.
And the living grey of the desert soldiers’ uniforms.

We shared adventures, deadly ambushes, bombardments
with stones and missiles.
And even though I already knew the advice,
I built castles in the sand and other fortifications for them
and they defended them
even against overwhelming force.
They had died many times
as I dug them out of collapsed tunnels
And ruined walls.
Always finding them ready to fight again.

But when I looked across the garden fence
and saw Eddy’s military convoys –
the khaki might of his
tank carriers, mobile missile launchers, armoured cars,
the helmeted and goggled outriders of his professional army,

my small force of international mercenaries
faded sullenly into the long grass.


- Jim Conwell 2017


With an original background in Fine Art, Jim Conwell has worked in mental health for over thirty years. He has had poems published in magazines in the UK, Ireland, Australia and North America and had two poems shortlisted in the Bridport Poetry Prize 2015. He lives in London, England.


Monday, June 12, 2017

New Poetry by Kathryn Guelcher










Not Sleeping

Actually, I have many hearts
in circulation.
You have the only whole one.
New ones grow...
for song, guitar,
the beginning of each summer,
trips planned, taken.
These hearts sprout small
from very little:
platelets, plasma, 
longing, time, rain.
Tenderly, they grow and expect little,
and later fracture under loyalties.
But the large old heart you’ve got
has roots like the Yucca,
stretching for ground water
in the heat of the desert,
though here, definite seasons 
have blurry edges.
And like the Yucca, this heart of mine,
that is yours,
blooms certainly and silently,
if unpredictably,
and won’t be dug up.
The stems are phallic,
like so much else--
lightening bolts, this pen,
the imagined line between
your fingers
and the space bar you strike
between words
pulsing worlds, 
ideas...
of youth fading
of love lasting
of children, impossibly ours,
showing us, again and again, 
joy’s endless capacity for laughter.


- Kathryn Guelcher 2017



Kathryn Guelcher teaches English in the suburbs of Chicago at Carl Sandburg High School where she received a grant in 2013 and co-founded a Visiting Writer Series for students. Since first appearing in Bluepepper in 2012, her poetry has appeared in Lost Coast Review, Memoir Journal, Brev Spread, George Bilgere's Word Play, Orange Room Review, Fat City Review, yourdailypoem.com and more. Her husband and three children keep her laughing and are her favorite travel companions, Their cat, Big, is treated like a celebrity in the house-- and still manages to complain about it. Follow her on Twitter @KathrynGuelcher 

Friday, June 09, 2017

New Poetry by Louise McKenna










Racehorses 

Traffic slows in this 50k zone
as if hard held by a jockey.

The racehorses are being walked at dawn:
the same horses I see each morning

at this junction between night and day,
their breath recorded on the cold sheet of air,

steam from their backs in the thin light, rising.
And the same men

like dockers in fluorescent coats,
are pulling them along,

as if they were hauling
freight or lumber.

Each car and bus
seems to make the horses flinch and stagger;

a black light in the quicks of their eyes 
that I have seen before

in those of a wounded bird
I once nursed in my hand,

the rapid timer of its heart
palpable beneath egg-thin bones—

or those of the colt filmed after the race
tottering on a snapped radius

as women in fascinators sat
knocking back flutes of Moët et Chandon.


- Louise McKenna 2017


Louise McKenna’s work has been published in a number of Australian and overseas journals.  Her chapbook, The Martyrdom of Bees was published last year by Garron Publishing.  In 2013, Louise was shortlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize. She lives in Adelaide and is currently working on a full-length book of poetry.

Monday, June 05, 2017

New Poetry by JD DeHart










Stone Ballerina

How strange, in shapes
of granite or marble,
the thin leg rises, the toe
refuses to curl, standing
the entire being on one small
fragment of space, while
a cardinal settles on her 
outstretched finger, threatening
to upend the ensemble,
bringing the dancer down
in a series of pebbles.


The Power of an Edit

Take your acumen and point
it somewhere else.
I've got no use for parsing
each verb that comes out of
my mouth.  Do not question
my absence of comma, my
floating appreciation of apostrophes.
Life is just a series of nouns
and other words.
Is that a prepositional phrase
in line three?  No manner
or matter.  I'll not reduce my utterance
to a series of critical marks.


- JD DeHart 2017


JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  His work has recent appeared at Strange Poetry and Cacti Fur.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

New Poetry by Abigail George










Because a ghost was in my blood

I can feel the rain even
 when I close my eyes.
Taste it in my mouth. Here’s the fabulous
ambitious sun. A warning to
all who dream of living
and making it good in
the big city. The land is
black at night. It haunts.
It haunts. Filled with shadows
 and light and despair. I
face beating fears in the
moonlight’s rural country.
The haunting abandonment of
touch scores my personality in
some indefinable way. The
discipline and source of silence
  marks me like death.

Faith can break you.
  Transform the fire in your heart.
The compass that I
  hold in my hand helps
me navigate my passage
  north. The constant heat
of the day shining for
  all of its worth in all its
silken slumber. Liberty
  is master. Proof is mistress.
I find pleasure in my
  mother’s garden. The sun glides
across my spirit. Winged sphere
  and harmless burn. The sports of
earth. My grief is published here on the page.
  Grief, I don’t want to
forget you. Your triumph fierce. The sea is made up of
  the vibrations of a
purple light. Tide and current washed
   up on the shore.
You’re a shadow of a
telephone pole. All things lovely beating down my door.
The foam blooms a white kind of spray.
Mankind’s soul is a faithful progress.
She has a starling mouth. The lips of a mermaid.

   I can still taste the rain in my mouth.


- Abigail George 2017


Abigail George fiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She briefly studied film and television production at Newtown Film and Television School opposite the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. She is the writer of Africa Where Art Thou (2011), Feeding the Beasts (2012), All About My Mother (2012), Winter in Johannesburg (2014), Brother Wolf and Sister Wren (2015), and Sleeping Under the Kitchen Tables in the Northern Areas (2016). Her poetry has been widely published in anthologies, in print in South Africa, and in zines from Nigeria to Finland, and New Delhi, India to Istanbul, Turkey. She lives, works, and is inspired by the people of the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

New Poetry by Jonathan Beale










Birth of the bridging epoch

1960’s

‘Everything is purged from this painting but art; no ideas have entered this work’, 1966 – 68, John Baldessari

This sprinkled form Jacques de la Villeglé
‘Angers’ 59 the shell was about to break and burst….
Within this conscience manipulation

This footprint to forge a path.

The ever decreasing decade – it speeds - on –
Crashing down as a pinball

Perceptions – dimensions from God to Giving Birth*
To the Arena.** To a new ethic another morality –
The politics grow evermore malleable identical to the core

Spaces grow into forms and naming becomes necessity…
by necessity. As the images grows into the fabric of society
from the whole sequence of Fibonacci one boby, one head,

two arms, Plica semilunaris***, five fingers….

In this strange mirror – the stress crack –
as it creates – reforms and cracks again –

as the artist becomes a philosopher breeding questions
from the title-less, strange, peculiar, abstract, obtuse.

as originality bred by gin and other elixirs. As too many
seeing to find take the wager ‘drugs are a bet with your mind.’°
Win. Lose what remains

Miles Davis’ discography II an effigy from Jean-Michel Basquiat
Stuns a bemused world a door opens.

All the things I know but of which I am not at the moment thinking 1.36P.M; June 15 1969, 1969 °°

*Monica Sjoo ‘God giving birth 1968
**Frank Moore Arena 1992
***Third eyelid
° Jim Morrison
°° Robert Barry


- Jonathan Beale 2017


Jonathan Beale has numerous poems published over 50 journals around the world. His work can be found in such books as ‘Drowning’ and ‘The Poet as Sociopath’ (Scar publications). His first collection of poetry ‘The Destinations of Raxiera’ is published by Hammer & Anvil. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Destinations-Raxiera-Jonathan-Beale-ebook/dp/B018F6GWQ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1452199641&sr=1-1&keywords=jonathan+beale

His second volume is looking for a publisher and he is currently working on his third volume. And is included in Macabristas d'Honneur 

His work has recently been published in Anti Heroin Chic, Dissident Voices, Red Fez, Sheepshead Review, Aphelion, Linnets Wing, aaduna, Horror Sleaze Trash, et al. He studied Philosophy and lives in Surrey.



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Poetry by Michele Seminara










Second Coming

It seems I am the problem child, again.
Father speaking on Mother’s behalf
that nitrogen cold gaze.

I bathe in it; it burns —
it always burned.
But now my skin is bound
in bitter scales.

How forlorn, to be the black one;
I don't show it.
Let them beat their breasts
and rail — I won't.

Instead, I involute, secrete this note: 
beware the coming of the twice-born child.


- Michele Seminara 2017


Michele Seminara is a poet, editor and yoga teacher from Sydney. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Cordite, Mascara, and Tincture. She has published Engraft (Island Press, 2016) and a collaborative chapbook, Scar to Scar, with Robbie Coburn (PressPress, 2016). Michele is also Managing Editor of online creative arts journal Verity La. She blogs at https://micheleseminara.wordpress.com/. 

'Second Coming' is from Michele's forthcoming chapbook, HUSH, to be published by Blank Rune Press on 1 June. 

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

New Poetry by Natalie Crick










Swan

I scrub mouse blood from the floorboards
Imagining ice,
Imagining throats.
The dead stay dead.

A necked Swan
Sits disgraced,
The pale bone poking through, a
Sword rising from a lake
Sharp and still sheathed.
The bone is so white
I could have carved
It from wax,
Soft as bees,
A candle without a flame.

Forever Winter, the sky
Looks cold, pink as a clot
In the mouth
When the lights go out.


- Natalie Crick 2017


Natalie Crick, from the UK, has poetry published or forthcoming in a range of journals and magazines including Interpreters House, The Chiron Review, Rust and Moth, Ink in Thirds and The Penwood Review. This year her poem, 'Sunday School' was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

From the Eye of the Storm

Colin Dodds
Brooklyn, NY 2017


Regular readers of Bluepepper will likely be familiar with the name Colin Dodds, but as a poet rather than a novelist. Judging by his bibiography, however, it would be fair to judge Dodds as a novelist first and a poet second. Such distinctions are, of course, a personal matter, but any writer with six novels already under his belt, three collections of poetry, as well as two screenplays, has a fair claim to call himself anything he wants. On top of a string of awards, Dodds has won what many may regard as the ultimate accolade from no lesser a light than the great Norman Mailer himself, who said of Dodds’ novel, The Last Bad Job, that it showed “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” Having raced through Dodds’ latest offering, Watershed, in only a handful of sittings, I have to agree with Mailer (not something I am in the habit of doing). The style is simple, uncluttered, but the writer has a gift for magical turns of phrase as well as a natural ear for rhythm. Francis Bacon’s famous quip about “the burden of the conveyance” springs to mind: there is none of it here.

From the opening line I defy any reader worth the name not to feel themselves hooked:

Raquel figured if they were going to kill her, Tyra probably wouldn’t have taken so much time explaining the parachute.

And so the roller-coaster ride begins.

Raquel is, ironically, one of the least interesting characters in this admittedly crowded novel, even though she is the narrative pivot. Actually, more like the eye of the storm, the still point. The storm was already raging well before she found herself strapped to a parachute thousands of feet above the earth., which is why Raquel found herself in this situation in the first place. It’s not that she’s exactly dull. The woman is far from dull, but she is a facilitator-by-proxy around whom others act, or react to forces acting against her. She is beautiful and smart to the point of being cursed  rather than blessed. 

Like the start to any great novel, the reader feels as though they have opened a door onto another world, in this case onto a mystopia (my term for a mild dystopia), a recognisable enough world just knocked a little off kilter. In a world of Brexits, Syrias and President Trumps, this mystopic movement in literature is fast becoming a crowded market place. But Dodds writes with restraint, not forcing either the pace or the tone of the novel. Perhaps the closest he comes to testing the reader’s credulity is in a bizarre re-enactment of the September 11 attacks in which convicted criminals are forced to fly planes into replica Twin Towers, but the whole spectacle is portrayed so convincingly, complete with the voluntary martyrdom of an alt-cult “Ludlite” inside one of the buildings in a futile protest against the anaesthetising effects of the digital age, that even this jaded reader had no trouble buying it. The “Ludlites” are a seemingly spontaneous movement of young people against the digital “Web” in all its ubiquitous manifestations. They decry leaders or any form of manipulation or compulsion, but as is the way with such well-meaning attempts to “correct” the course of history, leaders emerge armed with pretty words and nefarious motives. In this case it is a mysterious figure known as “The Geometress”, although she is far from the only shadowy figure in a novel which is in large part an exploration of people’s motives in a world whose moral compass appears all but broken. Sound familiar? Welcome to mystopia.

In fact, perhaps the only character in this novel whose motives remain clear and honest throughout is Norwood, into whose arms Raquel literally lands in the most bizarre of circumstances at the very start of the novel. The most opaque character of all, and the real driving force of the novel, is the millionaire Rudolf, nee Hurley, nee Ostanze, a corrupt ex-senator who appears to be inhabited by some mysterious entity that has allowed him to live for a very very long time, the hints are for millenia. I would say more about him, but any review of such a frantic narrative requires so many spoiler alerts as to render any overview almost unreadable. And unnreadable is something this novel most definitely is NOT.

If our review copy is anything to go by, Dodds appears to be putting this novel out under his own imprint. It begs the question why some major publishing house hasn’t taken this title on. But more and more writers at the moment appear to prefer the autonomy of self-publishing. I can think of at least half-a-dozen publishers, however, who would give this novel a great deal of consideration. Any publishers out there who happen to follow Bluepepper, and who may be interested, can purchase an advance copy by clicking on the novel's title at the top of this review. The only slight reservation Bluepepper had with the novel was with the rather fiery denouement, but on a second reading it sat better, reminding this reader that it is beholden on us as much as the author to hold all the threads together.

- Justin Lowe
Bluepepper 2017


New Poetry by Jim Zola










My Two Cents of Reasoning is Spent

The world rides on top of a butterfly, 
a ladder leans into nowhere. My shadow 

plays a shadow song. Inside the piano, 
keys caw. The night is bright green between 

black branches. A mouth opening wide 
enough for death. Here comes the train. Wider. 

Stars pop and salt the air. This is to say 
sadness stands outside me, a stranger

in a monkey mask. I wait for him 
to ring the buzzer. He lifts one arm. Then the other.


- Jim Zola 2017



Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children's librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook -- The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press) -- and a full length poetry collection -- What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

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

CALLING ALL POETS


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.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

New Poetry by Gerald Bosacker










The Almost Horse

Nothing more stubborn or more a fool,
than the genuine Arkansas mule,
that hill folks consider a farming tool.

Why would some obstinate half wit
fit his dumb mule with bridle and bit
then hope to steer this hybrid misfit?

Yes, they can out-pull a normal horse,
yet what they do with all that force
is stubbornly pick their own way of course.

Making a stopped mule to get up and go,
perversely just holler out whoa,
then what makes them stop, I do not know.

Male donkeys functioned as the mules dad,
and compliant mares turn quite sad
seeing the strange offspring they then had.

Hybrids might help the corn grow so tall 
but cross-breeding did not help at all
farmers to put mules in a horse's stall!


- Gerald Bosacker 2017


Originally destined to become a crusading journalist or witty editorialist, Gerald Bosacker was forced by family responsibilities to abandon his part-time jobs and night school classes at the University of Minnesota, to work fulltime in the graphic arts salesman. There, his love of the well chosen word enabled him to become a successful graphic arts supply salesman who migrated upward, propelled by serendipity coupled with his tolerance and empathy for faulted people, to become senior vice president of sales for a large international printing chemical company.   

Promoted much beyond his ambition and capability, he jumped at early retirement at his first opportunity. Gerald Bosacker now lives in Montanas, awaiting discovery of his social commentary skills. He has resumed his first love, weaving words into prize-winning poetry and surprising short tales that borrow heavily from the fascinating people he met in his world-wide travels.

Monday, April 17, 2017

New Poetry by Abigail George










Must travel

(for my sister)

The day has
a moth like quality to it. I make a cup of tea (always for one). 
Boil the
water in the
microwave oven while

old poems
make way for new poems. Once, I lived in grassroots country. Rural
countryside.
Mbabane, Swaziland.

(Boarding school). Slowly
my flesh is emptying out. Winter making way for spring’s milky sweetness,
summer’s pleasure and
waves of heat, autumn’s gift.

Slowly, I climb back
into their world. Standing in the sun sipping my cup of tea for one.
I sit and watch the
afternoon warming the page in front of me.


- Abigail George 2017


Pushcart Prize nominee, Abigail George, is a South African poet and writer, aspirant playwright and young adult novelist.She is a regular contributor to the webpages of Africanwriter.com, Bluepepper, Hackwriters.com, Itch, LitNet, Modern Diplomacy, Ovi Magazine: Finland’s English Online Magazine, Piker Press, Praxis Magazine Arts and Literature, Sentinel Literary Quarterly and Vigil Pub Mag. She has lived in Port Elizabeth, Swaziland, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Her lit work has been published in various anthologies, numerous times in print in South Africa, and online in zines. She blogs at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5174716.Abigail_George/blog

Friday, April 14, 2017

New poetry by Linda Stevenson










Another Beat

How to escape the old rhythm,
because
it plays around, perpetual,
weaving classrooms out of nursery,
found bookends, bound songs,
the modelling of phrases,
inclusive
of current tongues, media,
the gymnasia
of dead classics.

Heritage of inland, shore, cliff,
bluestone and tent city; heritage
of Atlantic;
drownings and wailing starvation
up against the bardic, keening.

Read me bedtime,
rolling me over into soothed,
the merry beats recounting
in long cadence.

I listen to my own reading,
walk away from it glutted,
unsatisfied;
because
there was another way I wanted to speak,
not rolling off my tongue, not glib,
not generationally easy
with inheritance of poem...

but gaunt, under-stressed, built
on rough syllables
and guttural noise,
with bare rhyme,
a murderous tsunami,
not the plangent, bleating sea,
not civilized,
but
the gutted voice
of human.


- Linda Stevenson 2017


A founding member of Melbourne Poets Union, facilitator of poetry groups in gaols and community centres, contributor to anthologies. Chapbook “The Tipping Point” published in 2015, feature guest poet on Radio 3CR “Spoken Word”. Active as a poet within the online poetry sector, hosts regular Salons at her home in Frankston, Victoria.



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Poetry by Lynn White











On Our Watch

If it had been on his watch,
he would have seen,
he would have given the alarm,
would have been heard
and catastrophe would have been avoided.
She also was alert,
but it was not her watch
and no one heard her warnings.
On their watch we would have heard
the warnings.

But it happened on our watch
and we were sleeping.


- Lynn White 2017



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 is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Her poem 'A Rose For Gaza' was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition 2014. This and many other poems, have been widely published, in recent anthologies such as - ‘Alice In Wonderland’ by Silver Birch Press, ‘The Border Crossed Us’ from Vagabond Press and ‘Selfhood’ from Trancendence Zero - and journals such as Apogee, Firewords Quarterly, Guide To Kulchur, Indie Soleil, Midnight Circus and Snapdragon as well as many other online and print publications.

Find Lynn at: lynnwhitepoetry


Sunday, April 09, 2017

New Poetry by Michael Keshigian










Conception

Barefoot in white slacks
and her outdated sweater,
she plays the piano most intensely,
bungling Schubert with a scowl
then a smile,
the lamplight
flickered unnoticed upon her fingers.

The pasture from where her progeny
once thrived has withered,
mature voices and opinions
have fled the confines of the arena
where music,
like a tranquilized tiger,
twirls again.

Her foot presses pedals,
fingernails carelessly flit keys,
and in her womb
a musician is conceived.
The house is no longer empty,
half full with sound,
she nourishes herself.


- Michael Keshigian 2017


Michael Keshigian from New Hampshire, USA had his twelfth poetry collection, Into The Light, released in April, 2017 by Flutter Press (http://flutterpress2009.blogspot.com.) He has been published in numerous national and international journals recently including The California Quarterly, Red River Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Aji Magazine and has appeared as feature writer in over a twenty publications with 6 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (michaelkeshigian.com)






Thursday, April 06, 2017

New Poetry by James Walton










A Tale of the Christ

Not Spiderman afterall
these stigmata wrists won’t produce
any miracle to save me

a door knocker suspended here
an unwatered arrangement
of a messiah’s floral failure

in suffocation wise men gasp
because the misguided love
was to offer up a carpenter

on the irony of a cross
to secure this dry sacrifice
brought about the dissolution

in laboratory experiments
when the crown of thorns
seemed ridiculous to the point

of independent cinema releases
but word of mouth
gathered them to the sermon

on the mount of rebellion
if only there was time again
to utter unbound forgiveness.


- James Walton 2017


James Walton is an award winning poet published in many 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.  

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

New Poetry by Michele Seminara









Diminuendo

I'm learning to tread circumspectly;
my belly, soft from children,
divining the way.

Beside me the cat, utterly at ease,
and the dog's inner ears and underbelly
faithfully offered up.

I've just said prayers!
Fed flame's wrathful maul
white seed instead of black —
unprepared for this familiar, devotional urge.

The world is in tumult but in this moment
mind is still.

Do you see that cloud in the sky?
No, nor do I.


- Michele Seminara 2017


Michele Seminara is a Sydney poet and editor-in-chief of Verity La.

Monday, April 03, 2017

New Poetry by John Rock










Getting Old


April calls me Old Man

      in Anishanabee: “Akwaenzee”

I remember Kateri whose last name is Akwaenzee

      said it really means: “bending toward the earth”

The beauty of age

The sensuousness of age

      like the head of a hydrangea

And a woman who said: “The skin of our faces become like the Black Hills”

At 43

     being complimented

          all the way down

                 to my toes


- John Rock 2017


John Rock grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan in North America and spent many years on the shores of Lake Superior, gardening, hunting, cutting wood and working on poems…and listening to moonlight!  More poems and writings at johnrockpoetry.com






Sunday, April 02, 2017

New Poetry by JD DeHart










Welcome to the Cottage

or should I say, welcome back?
These are the wooden slatted floors
where you first learned
about the predilection of old ladies
in the woods to be villains, to have
ovens, to possess poison apples,
to woo children away from breadcrumb
trails; the same spot where you
learned about the flash and dash
of princes, how often beautiful maidens
fall asleep and must be rescued,
the tender-hearted fair ladies whose
ruddy cheeks decorated so many
late night reads before bed,
and I couldn't help but notice you 
striking a match, preparing to burn down
the cottage, and build your own version
of the world's story now you are grown.


- JD DeHart 2017


JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  He blogs at jddehartpoetry.blogspot.com, and has recently been published at Duane's PoeTree and The Literary Yard.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Poetry by Donal Mahoney










Signs in Windows

In 1920 he came on a boat 
from Ireland and found
his way through Ellis Island.

He found a room 
in a boarding house
catering to his kind and

went looking for a job
but found instead signs
in windows saying 

“No Irish Need Apply.”
A cemetery asked him to
dig graves and lower the dead.

In America today
there are no signs like that.
Black and brown 

apply and whites 
sometimes hire them.
My father was white.

But in 1920 his brogue
was a long rope that
almost lynched him. 



- Donal Mahoney 2017


Donal Mahoney, a product of Chicago, lives in exile now in St. Louis, Missouri. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Chicago Tribune and Commonweal.




Sunday, March 12, 2017

New Story by Abigail George

Linger

My dad is one of the lucky ones. His voice merges alongside mine like beautiful scraps of material. This is a story about a man but not about any man. It is a story about my father. Fathers are special people. Mostly they encourage you. You tell them about your list of goals and in return, they inspire you to fulfill them. They are the ones standing on the side lines. They are the ones who give you that standing ovation. They are the ones who mouth the words ‘I love you’ and ‘I think that you are brilliant’ when you feel like you did not do as brilliantly as you should have. They are the first ones you go to when you feel sad or when you are happy. All my life that is what my father did. He was not all of those things all of the time. Sometimes he was sad and as a child, it made me feel very angry and confused when daddy cried or was upset. Now, I imagine him as a young adult as a hunter. A lonely warrior whose head was bursting out of his skull, his brain cells tormented by the Periodic Table, smashed up against elegant words like bilateral symmetry, biology, anatomy, dissect, zoology and mitochondria surrounded by a mountain of books, hills and green valleys of physics and chemistry textbooks. My father was like a beautiful shadow, my beautiful shadow that always lingered in my presence. We will talk for hours on everything and nothing at the same time. I do think that I am a poet because of him, because are not all writers poets at some stage in their lives or at least have the potential to become poets within them? He is a writer and a teacher who wanted to become a medical doctor but life had other plans for him. He has been writing all his life to get to this point in time and even now, he is always in pursuit of something or other. He believes in many things and most of all his spirituality, the nature of his soul is like that constellation beyond the trees. Primitive, ancestral, universal and that of a dream catcher. My father is a funny and sweet man. Understanding my love for this funny and sweet man who in his own words has had a curious relationship with his hair on different continents and with the pencil test, whose life story reads like a book of secrets, claustrophobia, vertigo, therapy and it has set my life journey on a trajectory that is (simply put) out of my hands. Human beings do not know as children whether they are truly destined for great things. Whether or not they will be the follower or the leader but all children have the potential for greatness. What unlocked my dad’s greatness? I really do not have an answer for that question. Maybe that surprises you. Maybe you expected me to say that perhaps it was his depression or the fact that he had a mental illness. Most of all, I want your life to be changed by this man’s life and the people who came to love him when he was at the crossroads of the depths of despair, isolation and rejection (and don’t we all fear rejection?) and the edge of hypomania. I think that every person who suffers from a mental illness has a hidden life. When you are depressed, it is another habitat. You are closed off from the rest of the world. Shut off from the rest of normal (what is normal anyway humanity?). You are in that void, that black hole separated from the people who love you the most and there is nothing, nothing that can bring you back from that brink. People tend to think that people who suffer from a mental illness cannot recover completely from it (I think people who think like this think that recovery is the furthest thing from their mind).  Depression damages people and that is a fact. The ego has a mind of its mind here when it comes to chronic illness and the road to recovery. I have seen my funny, sweet, generous and forgiving father happy and unhappy. Seen lucky him, my best friend, through laughter, tears, and the grim winter of depression.


After her bath Anita hung her underwear and stockings up in the bathroom pausing for a minute to study her reflection in the mirror. She smiled to herself. I am a likable person, she thought to herself. Lovable. I am lucky too. I have everything going for me. I am a beautiful person inside and out. Any man would be lucky in his boots to have me. I have a wonderful heart. I am giving, and gracious. Don’t you remember, Kwame? Those are the reasons that you left me. I was too wonderful. I was too giving. You left me because of your wandering eye. Your wandering hands that could leave me feeling hot and cold all at the same time. I could read you inside and out. You could cry in my arms at night but you’re not here anymore, and I don’t have to pick up your wet towels on our bedroom floor anymore. I don’t have to listen to your rock music pumping out of your car stereo as we went to visit my father at the frail aged home. I knew you then as I know you now. That you are a very unforgettable creature, you, you psychiatrist. You could read your patients at the government hospital so well. There was a pill to medicate this and that. You were full of fatherly concern and advice, you baby. I remember how you lit your Camel cigarettes. You called yourself ‘the ultimate Camel man’. Puffed your cheeks up and blew the pale smoke out. You said, I can’t see you anymore. It’s not right. There are boundaries.

Doctor. Patient.


- Abigail George 2017


Pushcart Prize nominee Abigail George is a South African writer of short stories, flash, plays and a poet. She briefly studied film at the Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. She is the recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council, one from the Centre for the Book and another from ECPACC. She blogs at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5174716.Abigail_George/blog