Monday, October 31, 2016

New Poetry by Mohammad Ali Maleki

The Migrant Child 

I say hello to all the world's children. 
I kiss your hands from far away. 
I have something buried in my heart to tell you. 

It's stuck like a rock in my throat. 
My poem is wrecked, like myself. 
It's hard to tell the world these words, again. 

Migrant child,
how did you come to be drowned in the stormy ocean? 
What was your sin? Tell me, what was your fault? 
I knew you were innocent  
when I saw your corpse lying beside the sea, 
sleeping, like God's angel, on the sand. 
Your image left such deep sorrow in my mind! 
It set my soul on fire, burnt my heart. 

I understand you, sweetheart. 
You died so I can stay alive. 
You see, I am a migrant, like you. 
I fled from home, like you. 
I chose to come this way
but you had no choice — 
You were just scared and ran. 

God, why did you show no pity or mercy? 
It seems you have no relationship with this child! 
Again, you discriminate between the world's children. 
You have no wife, so perhaps you don't understand 
what having a child means. 
You didn't spend your life as a father, to really know.  

I have seen many die in the ocean, 
but those kids weren't recognisable. 
The waves of the stormy and wild sea
severed their heads from their little bodies
and they died in terrible silence beside each other. 
There were many kid’s heads floating in the water
and many bodies with no heads at all.
No one knew which belonged to which. 

That day, the sea had the colour of blood. 
My dear, drowned children, 
where are your bags and notebooks now? 
Have you given them to the ocean as gifts
so the sea may read them to the next wave of children? 
Ocean, aren't you sick of these repetitious scenes?
Or are you happy, to have caught these little ones so easily? 

My dear, innocent children, 
what did you feel when this happened to you? 
Tell us — the world's mothers will listen. 
They have children too, and understand. 

A child answers, softly —
The ocean was fearful that day. 
I saw all its angers.
It was an ogre, an animal, an executor —
it swallowed everyone down with its cruelty. 
My parents and friends were eaten by sharks, 
we died with pain and fear. 
We died so submissively! 
We were hoping our parents might rescue us. 
At the last moment, as I struggled, twitching and dying
I saw a hand stretching out to me —
I was so happy in that moment! 
It was my mother's hand, I recognised it. 
I took her hand happily
but then I realised it was severed! 

The ocean wasn't blue anymore —
Everywhere had the colour of hell fire. 
Still, she was my mother
and it was mother-love that stretched her hand to me —
Though it was severed, she was thinking of me
even in her dying moment! 
But I was hopeless and afraid
and released her hand to be eaten by the ocean...

Parents, who have heard my story, 
don't say, it doesn’t matter that you died. 
For I would like to play, just like your children! 
I wish to become a politician
so I can let migrant children into this country, 
not leave them to be devoured by the sharks!

But death didn't give me a chance. 
I was buried in exile, in this strange land. 
I saw many people looking for their lost limbs 
so they could be laid to rest in peace,  
but they buried us all together, jumbled up...

I wish I could lie in my mother's arms —
That might calm my spirit.
I wish I could see my mum laughing, even just once! 
I don't know where I will go now — heaven or hell? 
But I do know I've already seen hell, in this cruel world, 
with my own eyes.

 Mohammad Ali Maleki 2016

Translated by Mansour Shoustari
Edited by Michele Seminara

Mohammad Ali Maleki is currently detained on Manus Island.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bluepepper feels neglected. There is nothing in the inbox and kids keep knocking on the door dressed like Eddie Kruger begging for sweets. So put your poetry caps on people because Bluepepper is


As always, refer to the submission guidelines for details.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New Poetry by Kristian Kuhn

My Soul Has the Munchies

Lately I’ve been noticing that most of us
don’t even bother to paddle between
the distances of where we don’t want to be
and where we don’t want to go.

With this flight I’m on I thought
I had the window seat
but I’m in the middle of crowded clouds
and invisible murmurs.

Most things that dog us are hidden beneath
layers and layers of surface,
old men and their secrets and their groans,
things that don’t have voice or form,
things that are a kind of self-apology
that take years to make.

I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I saw you 
waving to me from the other side of the bridge.

I thought about all the things that make things
too late and too early all at the same time.

Maybe there are no coincidences.

Maybe it’s all God’s handiwork 
stringing up this orchestral hum,
these strings of puppetry.

Maybe when we saw each other years ago
the only choice was to not notice 
the lower angels.

I recognized that smile.

I knew the perfume.

It was spring and the river argued with itself.

There are certain rules concerning first dates.

You’re not supposed to let your eyes become sky
or your honesty form the whole of your mouth.

I thought you might kiss me.

I drowned beneath ice and forgot 
to walk you to your car.

And then later that night you called my name.

I believed in us without any proof.

Incrementally time added up
what I’d come to know long ago.

You were my Sabine.

And I had finally found you.

- Kristian Kuhn 2016

Kristian Kuhn lives in Fairport, New York.  He is a graduate of Brown University and has been teaching for several years in the SUNY system.  The Long Shadow of the Coming Wise will be his seventh full-length publication and will be out in early April.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Poetry by Michele Seminara


Love suffers 
but gains nothing. 
Bearer of flames, mysteries, 
mountains, it rejoices 
not in that which is perfect 
but clangs its tongue of truth 
to speak of a faith 
which fruitlessly abides. 

Love fails. It fails! 
Seeing itself mirrored 
in a childish face it is provoked 
to offer its body to be burned
and — always — it is burned. 

Love endures rudeness but longs
to be known as kindly as it knows. 
And when the gift of its hope 
is extinguished love seeks 
cessation in the fathoms
of iniquity. 

*A found poem sourced from the King James Bible, 1 Corinthians 13

- Michele Seminara 2016

Michele Seminara is a Sydney poet and editor of the seminal on-line arts magazine, Verity La.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

New Poetry by Saloni Kaul



Sound like a breathing spiral moves both ways
Has its all-highs and has its lows.
Tight-ribbed spine and bone curled clays,
At either end when you’d imagine it would come to blows
The ear has had its fill and reels under silence’s sway.



Sounds blaring loud as in pretence,
Sounds soft as muttered oath ,
Coaxed into a coil tense !
For us who’ve had enough of both
Breath lithe and bone dense ,
Someone coined Silence.

- Saloni Kaul 2016

Saloni Kaul, author and poet, was first published at the age of ten and has been in print since. As critic and columnist Saloni has enjoyed thirty eight years of being published. Saloni Kaul's first volume, a fifty poem collection was published in the USA in 2009. Subsequent volumes include Universal One and Essentials All. Saloni Kaul has been published recently in Poetry Quarterly, The Horrorzine, Tipton Poetry Journal, Eye On Life Magazine, Inwood Indiana , Misty Mountain Review, Poetry And Paint Anthology, Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum, FIVE Poetry Magazine, The Voices Project and The Penwood Review and The Mantid Magazine and Haikuniverse. Upcoming poetry shall appear in Sentinel Quarterly and in AJI Magazine as well as in The Voices Project , The Penwood Review and River Poets Journal.

Monday, October 03, 2016

New Poetry by Emma Lee

A Flag in Sonoma Square

A flag is held aloft by a man standing on a rock,
cast in bronze and shadowed by trees on a sunny day 
in Sonoma. All republics need a solid foundation 
and who’d argue with William Ide’s proclamation 
for civil and religious liberty, encouraging literature,
industry, the solving and punishment of crime,
to make the people guardians of the government 
whose officers are their servants? Some may not be so keen 
on the unshackling of commerce and agriculture.
He had urged people to remain peaceful.
The flag was raised: a standing grizzly bear, 
a red stripe of desert and a red star for a new republic.
The star in tribute to the Texan stand for independence.

This republic lasted for twenty-six days. The last 
Californian grizzly was shot in the eighteen-nineties.
The flag was destroyed in the 1906 San Franciscan 
earthquake, leaving a story tidied away in a museum
and a bronze Cuffy aloft in a public park on a statue 
which an eight-year-old boy in sports tee, shorts and ball cap 
is trying to scale; his manifesto as yet unknown.

- Emma Lee 2016

The Egret Plate

The curved part-extended wing of an egret
follows the shape of a plate.
The egret is preparing to land,
feet drawn up in readiness, looking for food. 
Gold on one wing tip suggests an old repair.
The wings could still offer shelter.
This plate is too decorative for its primary
function as something to eat food from.
Nurture is incompatible with the egret's solitude,
its purity reflected in the plate's white gloss
representing all those holy qualities
closed to mothers for whom the next meal
takes priority over aesthetic decoration.

- 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

Saturday, October 01, 2016

New Poetry by Susan Sleepwriter

Today I am the lolly jar
that last one
not my favourite
rattling around


taunt my dreams
learning to tie my shoelaces 


I may be the author of my own life
but that book isn’t even in the
bottom drawer yet
I am a blank page 
with trivia and necessity
and the plot
is lost.


I cried five minutes ago
tears pooled
slipped beneath bedrock
for all you know
we are still in drought.
Inspired by found graffiti: “I cried five minutes ago”


A strange tongue has
hijacked all my whisperings
beneath your distracted gaze.


I told the currawong
not to eat the dove's eggs.
Its eye yolk yellow
the unblinking stare
breaking my gaze.


bird-wings dip and rise
tracing short magnificent stories
while my fingers
scratch convolutions
under the long arm of the clock.

- Susan Sleepwriter 2016

Susan Waddell writes micropoetry on Twitter and reads at spoken word and poetry events around Sydney (Australia) as Susan Sleepwriter. She also writes short stories and longer poems. Her poems have appeared in The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry (Interactive Press), The Disappearing (Red Room Company) and Guide to Sydney Rivers (Meuse press).

@sleepwriter on Twitter