while we hope spring is treating every one of you well, there are several house items to note here:
beginning from this spring issue, we will change our e.journal from a quarterly publication to a biannual one; that is, after each spring issue, we will have an autumn issue only for the rest of every year. the launch dates for the two issues remain the same, one on 5 may; the other on 5 november. as always, we welcome and enjoy reading poetry submissions all year round on a rolling basis.
also, from now on, we will have an isbn number assigned to each issue: the isbn number for Poetry Pacific (4.1) is 978-0-9919298-4-9.
as of this moment, our Site has had 110020 hits. statistically, this means that our Poetry Pacific has, since the release of its first quarterly issue exactly two years ago (on 5 may 2013), outperformed most of other literary outlets of its standing in terms of pageviews. more interestingly perhaps, while our pageviewers come from everywhere on earth, the top 10 source countries/territories of audience are as follows:
in this issue, we are honoured to feature 2 visual artists and 73 poetry writers.
many thanks for your continuing interest, and happy reading!
with warmest regards from vancouver -- the earthly paradise,
When I dream of Paris, the sky is filled with expatriate desires.
Desires that meld like Dali landscapes across the horizon.
I walk briskly along the Champ Elysees,
stopping only to drink coffee at a small café near the river’s edge.
Yet, I must drink quickly because expatriate desires don’t linger long
when you live in small-town, North Carolina.
A place where Dali is better known
as the name of the melancholy schoolgirl,
who lived fast and died young.
Ah, but when I dream of Paris,
my nostrils fill with transporting fragrances.
Smells, which lures and enchant like the City of Light itself.
I inhale the beauty of La Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, and Montparnasse
and sniff delicately the flowers in Les Jardin du Luxembourg.
Yet, I must exhale slowly because transporting fragrances don’t linger long
when they are bundled up in the sacks of dirty clothes
that your mama washes for neighboring white families,
and it’s your turn to sort through them.
Ah, but when I dream of Paris,
the night is filled with the music of Josephine Baker.
I eavesdrop as her siren song carves the twilight with “J’ai Deux Amours.”
Yet, I must listen intently because the voice that I hear is not that of la femme Josephine.
No, it is the gentle hum of Miss Mary Alice Grayson,
an old woman that my family visits each Sunday at the Greater Peace Nursing Home.
In her room, in her private world, she sways and shimmies all day
to the rhythm of the music she alone hears as she smiles and curtsies
to the men she knew when she knew no loss or pain.
Breathless from antiquated memories,
she clutches her tattered purse and fingers the red silk rose that is still pinned to her dress.
Ah, but when I dream of Paris . . .
Eleusis: Birthplace of Aeschylus
My life has fallen apart
grief comforts me as I lay amongst the pieces
and gently cleave to the remains of my existence
now like forgotten ruins, they rest beside me
too fragile to reassure me of my worth.
I suffer the coldness in the air
No warm coffin to serve as my blanket.
It was an inauspicious day
when he decided to unloosen life’s leash.
His leash had become too tight;
collaring his neck with no regard for feelings
or words bottled up in his throat.
He couldn’t scream or ask for release
to romp, to play or run free.
He couldn't pull and lunge at everything
or heaven forbid speak to Miss June Jackson,
the beaten down young woman
who often blushed in his presence.
So he packed up belongings
in a brown paper stained bag,
opened his unguarded gate
and ran away.
Dr. Michael Anthony Ingram is the Executive Director of the DC Poetry Project (http://www.meetup.com/DC- Poetry-Project ). He is committed to raising awareness about issues related to equity, power relations, and/or institutionalized oppression through the art and craft of poetry. Dr. Ingram, also known as the counseling poet ( www.thecounselingpoet.com ) has gained an international reputation as a performance poet. His interest in poetry has led him to research this art form as a viable means of therapeutic self-expression. He travels extensively reciting his works and conducting workshops on building cultural competency and empathy skills through imagery, symbolism, and metaphor.
I’ve told you of the fragility of my love,
and yet how it endures like a leaf pressed into a book,
how the pain and inappropriately the hate,
like the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombs
left a silence where no man can speak…
It is this that is the fragility of my love,
knowing my awareness is pain; I leave you in my mind
the many times I think of the silence
wherein my mother’s voice should drone, but
the gentle hands released me to bed where the smell of kerosene
from the village lamp burnt past the hour of moths
when we shut the window to village crickets,
when the tender bamboo shoots, their new fragile leaves bud
in the fragility of my love for you,
as I want to travel blind with you as far into the night
until the sun rises in Japan, and I will sail my junk
into phantom waters. Yet, my love endures
like cloth flapping in the wind…
The Months Peel Away
There’s a woman, a cream color of light brown
In a faint smile, in a light gaze casts down;
She overlooks my simple room in chilly January,
And yet warmly lifts me above my penury.
There is a different woman in February, wee older,
Well-versed in the coming and going of marketplace;
Good with chores and stretching the ends to meet,
With the snow retreating, she makes me complete.
In March with winder gone, a young thing shows
Up spritely, when through the sun-cleared window,
Pink and white cherry blossoms light up the hills,
How necessary being here to see and write this Thrill!
On and on the months would progress, a pretty girl
Appears monthly to light my room; how I love the world!
But month after month I feel the ice when I rip them down –
Faint smiles, light gazes, and cream color of light brown…
In your free heart, the bird builds a nest
Home is where your heart is, my dear.
My countertop’s disarray, the cups and saucers
are conspiring with you,
plotting a coup, simply because
they don’t like a lone man’s furnishings.
Each time you grace my room, my dear,
you say, “Buy more steak and butter
and less typing paper.”
The sponges and dish soap you bring,
Bring order into my life!
Whereas, just yesterday,
I left the living to others, because
as I write, the four walls are a comfort,
and on each wall, I screwed in a hook,
a hook to hang my hat or coat,
my identity as a writer.
Now it is more or less real, my dear,
that I am a writer, because the revolution
you’ve engineered is complete!
My meaning now lies in the familiar.
The dishes are on the rack.
And I feel my feet, I walk my feet.
And I know the path, I walk the path.
To you, my dear, to you!
Koon Woon, born in China, grew up in the US, recently won an 2014 American Book Award for his second volume of poetry from Kaya Press, Water Chasing Water. Koon hosts the online journal Five Willows Literary Review http://fivewillowsliterarysociety.blogspot.com and he operates the literary press Goldfish Press in Seattle http://chrysanthemumupublicationinc.blogspot.com/ and you can reach him at email@example.com
Staring menacingly at all observers
You being the greatest observer of all
Claws scraping the loose earth
Scaly tail weaving through the sky
Rocky exterior grinding rock
Squinty eyes seeing all
And you wonder
What more is beyond this glass?
Chasing the Pacific Star
Air gyres crowd into the boy
As he dashes through the clouds of hope
Surfing on a wish
He descends to the touchy ocean
A salty breeze gushes from underneath
A spring of refreshing motivation
The flaring sun eagerly follows him like a bright shadow
Intimidating mountains forcibly rise, but are capped
From the serene, misty horizon
Where a bleached bird loudly flaps its wings away
Upgrading his life board,
With exhilarating dreams
As he dashes through the clouds of hope
Waltz of the Cherry Blossoms
Two rebels break from the formation during the finale,
Desiring to demonstrate their own worth
The other performers swirls and spins together,
But the couple twirls all over
Up & down a graceful, invisible roller-coaster
Rising as high as divine entertainers
Their pinkness is not utter embarrassment;
But rather pure passion and devotion
The pack would be proud
If not for the ferocious metallic monster
Who displayed the most
Overwhelming performance of all
Every Youthful Moment
Paving his own
Road, never backing
He does what he wants,
How he wants,
When he wants,
Making the light shine.
He has faith
He’s facing towards.
Enjoying the golden age,
Remembering every page,
Of his life,
Written or unwritten,
He gives it his all, hoping he will not
Every youthful moment.
Full of the promising young, and the promised old
This kaleidoscope-like urban cityscape
Stuttering in broken circles of light
Across the geared, cyan skyline
No being cynical
Until all sides are hypotenuses
But it’s your life, don’t make it a brutal brawl
The clash of (common) creeds,
Is all I need to make sure that
There is not only me
Everyone’s values are today’s splendid, Splenda society
Making life sweet
It’s so wonderful--
To be you and me
Allen Qing Yuan , born in Vancouver in 1995, is a two time Pushcart nominee and the author of Traffic Light (2013). Co-editing Poetry Pacific, Allen currently attends the University of British Columbia as a business major. Since grade 10, Allen has had poetry appearing in more than 70 literary publications across 16 countries, which include Cordite Poetry Review, Literary Review of Canada, Shampoo and Spillway.
Allen is also the co-founder of a popular clothing brand Above the Movement. for more, please visit his websites::
- Twitter: @ATMovement
- Instagram: @abovethemovement
Joseph Lisowski was Professor of English at the University of the Virgin Islands and at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina.. Some poetry chapbooks include Stashu Kapinski Strikes Out (Rank Stranger Press), Fatherhood at Fifty (Tamafyhr Mountain Poetry), Sketches of an Island Life (dpi press), Art Lessons (Tamafyhr Mountain Poetry), Letters to Wang Wei (Pudding House Press), and Stashu Kapinski Looks for Love (erbacce-press, UK).
After growing up under the shadow of Heppenstall Steel Mill in Pittsburgh, Pa., Joseph Lisowski has spent much of his life near the sea, including 10 years in St. Thomas, VI., which serves as the setting for his three published mystery novels, FULL BODY RUB, LOOKING FOR LISA, and LOOKING FOR LAUREN.
He won the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Teacher of the Year Award (2013-2014). His most recent full length book is STASHU KAPINSKI DREAMS OF GLORY (Sweatshoppe Publications, 2013).
When death is no longer mysterious, when we realize
it’s a one way ticket heading west to a destination
that will be free of forethought, then we’ll find our-
selves ready to lie down on a grassy bank to watch
the creek’s still water, the cinnamon ant balancing
on the tip of a blade of grass, reaching with delight.
It’s a sermon we rarely hear, but in spring, it sounds
like sun & wind, recalling relationships forgotten
in winter. Listen closely, we have put off too many
things— our minds, full of messages not sent because
we’re too busy doing as we please, which is more
puzzling than death, don’t you think?
M.J. Iuppa lives on Red Rooster Farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Most recent poems, lyric essays and fictions have appeared in the following journals: Poppy Road Review Black Poppy Review,Digging to the Roots, 2015 Calendar, Ealain, Poetry Pacific Review, Grey Sparrow Press: Snow Jewel Anthology, 100 Word Story, Avocet, Eunoia Review, Festival Writer, Silver Birch Press: Where I Live Anthology,Turtle Island Quarterly, Wild Quarterly, Boyne Berries Magazine (Ireland), The Lake, (U.K.), Punchnel’s; forthcoming in Camroc Review, Tar River Poetry, Corvus Review, Clementine Poetry, Postcard Poetry & Prose, among others. She is the Writer-in-Residence and Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College. You can follow her musings on art, writing, and sustainability on mjiuppa.blogspot.
Last time, the dog drowned, so I crawled into the reservoir and pulled his body free. He wasn’t my dog, but he was a good dog, I could tell. I pet his dead dog head, as if that might offer even more relief than being dead already does.
(from Robert Gluck)
I find Ed’s helpless corpse in bed, his jaw slack of human nature. I prepare my eulogy of cached collections: how I told him at our first meeting that the morning was the most appalling time of day; the babble language only we could understand, but not always; that time I cried because the day was no longer mine to give away; the unique imprint of his handwriting, how I would turn over the paper and feel the language blindly. I touch Ed’s face, the slow slope of his arm, his smooth immobile organs—mourning in my mother’s voice—calming, distancing.
(from Casey Gray)
The mother presses closer to the boy. He wipes his palm against his sweaty scalp. It’s too hot, he says, and she says, Do you want to see hot? She shows him videos of weather patterns on her iPhone until he stops pushing her away.
The Proper Utensil
(from Rebecca Hazelton)
Spooned contingencies and forked openings, she stands in the susceptible forest. This is not a place for little girls. Air spears at her skin, so she must decide on her route. Even little girls must choose the proper utensil for danger. She hesitates, spins a bottle, removes from her petticoat one knife after another, as small as a spindle needle, as broad as sound. She is a girl: prepared.
The Trial – I
(from Cathy Park Hong)
Hellswelt, he keels to a ground already cramped with the buried. His fingers wave through the soil, looking for radishes like looking for bones. But instead of the dead, he came back with the living, that limp girl who died seven years back, drowned in the nearly dry river. Brother, we put him on trial and decided he was guilty.
The Trial – II
(with Wendy Rawlings)
We, the bad and the raised, smite and suffocate the Prince. Because he did not kiss her; instead, he killed her. None of it made sense. We shower the Prince with fake fame and then when he is sleeping like a beauty, we put rope around his neck until all his blood stops its movement and he is a disconnected ghost, without body, without harps and angels, but terribly famous: stories will be written about him, about him and his trials against vines and shadowy magic, but they will all be occult lies, ones where he remains the pure hero, loving her truly. But she dies, do you hear us? He kills her and we do not need a trial for him. We know already. And so we pass his judgment into the splinters jutting into his pearl neck.
Lily Hoang is the author of four books, including Changing , recipient of a PEN Open Books Award. With Joshua Marie Wilkinson, she edited the anthology The Force of What's Possible: Writers on the Avant-Garde and Accessibility. She teaches in the MFA program at New Mexico State University, where she is Associate Department Head. She serves as Prose Editor at Puerto del Sol and CNF Editor at Drunken Boat.
Born and raised in Portland Oregon, Susan Sweetland Garay received a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Brigham Young University, spent some years in the Ohio Appalachians and currently lives in the Willamette Valley with her husband and daughter where she works in the vineyard industry.
She enjoys finding beauty and meaning in the everyday. She has had poetry and photography published in a variety of journals, online and in print. Her first full length poetry collection, Approximate Tuesday, was published in 2013.
She is a founding editor of The Blue Hour Literary Magazine and Press and relishes the work that she does there.
More of her work can be found at susansweetlandgaray.wordpress.com.
Outside my door and windows
Fury of wind sweeping by
Shadowing the sun
Whispering beneath the door
Great gusts dominating the street
Not a soul testing their strength
Aiming my back against the wind
Holding my own in the middle of the avenue
Only a few spying from behind their curtains
Deciding to take a chance
Deflating my ego and letting go
Fate having its way
Windswept to an unknown destination
Refilling me with a life of meaning.
Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to write in the middle of the night with a grin and grimace and flame in his heart. He's been published here and there and in-between at Chronogram Magazine, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Hawaii Review, Poesia, and others. He is the editor of Dead Snakes Poetry Magazine.
When life sighs
Its multifarious surface,
Latent for the moment
Unscathed by the worlds-all,
Not from exhaustion or despair
But sighs from a selfless plunge
Into a solitary timeless concavity
Steep without thoughts weighty pull
A concavity where sensations,
Uniquely alive and sumptuous,
Relieved of the orchestrated forces
Of worldly relationships,
Appear Godly in their calm purity.
Celestial, harmonious seconds
Drift in mindless absence
Until, with unexpected suddenness
Inner lurking blistering beats
Of a boastful heathen heart
With cacophonous force
Jar the concave daze flat
And life’s outer gaze,
Where irrelevancies vast plunder
Spreads its chaos through space and time,
Inoculates the diminutive mind
Against the rhythmic elasticity
Of the expansive self
Recomposing this serene state
With improvised distrust,
Distrust of life’s strident chords
Whose symphonic atonalism
Rends harmony into dizzying
If a cause
Is the because
Of what is,
If I am not more man
Because of my suffering,
Hardened as iron
By tyrannous pain
Growing colossal and mythic,
If I live a coward’s life
Drinking down the day’s cheap win,
If with my suffering
I still suffer more
Piling pain upon pain,
If the cause of my pain in diffractive,
Neither this nor that,
No what no why,
If I hurdle vain questions to the void
As it echoes back bleak nothing,
Silent streaks of sickly blue
Too vast for my imaginings,
If I say if
There is a cause,
If a God knows why,
I wish his death with every tear I cry.
DEATH TO ALL KNOWING GODS!
Old menacing anguish
Has laid upon me HIS solemn fingers,
Has clasped in the dark
My turning shoulder,
Has held tight my shoulder joint
As I, with all my might,
Cold to the marrow
(Sickened by his grief)
Have sought that relief
Vacuous terror inspires:
To escape, flee this dark
Before the probing thinking starts.
But as I turn with rueful mind,
Swiftly coming from behind,
Feral fingers icy tongs
Scapula-clavicle grip with fear
Forbidding me to leave from here.
Richard Shelton is a painter, whose writings include poems and commentary on art history. His writing appears in publications such as Willard & Maple, The Chaffin Journal, and The Eclectic Muse. His artwork appears in the Smithsonian Art Institute’s Hirshhorn Museum, as well as other museums in the U.S.
Where did you hide the music of weeping
pea trees? How many slipping memories
are carried by the dead? The master keeps
her mind always ungraspable. Is that
blood on the flower path by the cottage?
For weeks the wolf ate from wooden dishes.
Who soaked the rags in coyote urine?
A good traveler does no fixed planning.
Say mango. Say dark basement. Say when
did you go missing? Governing is like frying
small fish. What is the name of the Cuckoo
Flower? Lady’s Smock, cousin of the Water
Forget-Me-Not, cousin of the Meadowsweet –
neither can contain the music of a pea tree.
We Five (you were on my mind)
Cuando oído, laundress, when I heard
the pattern of your sandals on the hard
wood floors of heaven above, I nearly
soared to the window. Begging the same
as nails bending away from the rusty
hammer claw for five more minutes in bed.
Alone under covers, muñeca, in the fog
of Beverly Bivens’ low tenor escaping
duct-taped speakers. Obsessed, I went
quickly to the corner to ease my brain &
threw pennies at the bus as it drove past
which I thought would help but instead
it sounded like the time I left my belt
in the dryer of your kinder heart.
JUAN PAJARO studied at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Harold Washington College in Chicago. He lives in Humboldt Park, where he writes poetry and works at the United Center. He has published under pennames with Prensa Mexicana, Chicago Reader, Frontera, Wisconsin Review, and elsewhere. When the Bulls are not playing, you can find Juan reading Nelson Algren, Alfonso Reyes, and Saul Bellow with a cup of coffee and comfortable shoes.
CONTENT can’t conceive
Poetry all by herself,
Being a maiden.
She therefore must marry FORM
To beget POEM offspring.
LET WORLD PEACE OUR MOTTO BE - A KIRIELLE
(Note: A single rhyme ‘bbbb’, has been used for alternate stanzas)
Before it takes the tag ‘extinct’,-
Dissolving like a peppermint,-
To salvage PEACE let’s all agree:
Let ‘World-Peace’ our motto be.
Let’s form a single family, -
Spreading like a banyan tree, -
To safeguard this commodity:
Let ‘World-Peace’ our motto be.
Wherever we live, - east or west,
North or south, - let’s do our best
To make our earth terror-free:
Let ‘World-Peace’ our motto be.
With focused eyes let us see,
For taking aim accurately
To shoot out Violence completely:
Let ‘World-Peace’ our motto be.
Let PEACE be our poesy’s theme;
Let PEACE be our life-long dream;
Let PEACE create new history;
Let ‘World-Peace’ our motto be.
Let’s attune Technology
To Peace, for our prosperity,
As well as, of posterity:
Let ‘World-Peace’ our motto be.O SCIENTIST!
(RONDEAU IN TETRAMETER)
O Scientist, no more arms invent:
To heal, not harm, your skill is meant.
Old war’s ruins await repair:
For new ones wherefor, then, prepare?
Widows’ wails and loud laments
Of those whose homes are razed or rent,
The orphaned, maimed, don’t make you repent?
From throes of woes your brethren spare,
Armour, instead of arms, invent,
To even Nature’s raids prevent.
Construct a case with cautious care
For housing Peace and all That’s fair.
Then will be your time well-spent,
NEVER SAY DIE
(RONDEAU IN PENTAMETRE)
Never say die though hardships hound your head:
They come not singly, has it not been said?
These troubles are like social beasts and birds:
They always come and go in flocks and herds,
By no apparent leader being led.
So cower not but challenge them instead:
They all will flee if only some have fled.
To foil fear, Bravery’s belt who gird
Never say die.
Yes, triumphed they, profusely who had bled
And yet, with Courage, conquered demon Dread.
Of such heroic persons haven’t you heard,
For whom Victory was the main watchword?
So though you bleed, as long as you’re not dead,
Never say die.
TO A COCKROACH
(Burns Stanza Sequence)
The most detested pest you are!
The way one’s hearth and home you mar,
Not even mice can stand on par!
You are, in truth,
Of vermin all, the super-star!
You have no ruth.
At times you glide, at times you crawl,
At times you fly and, like a ball
Buffeted hard, you headlong fall
On our faces!
You spawn on floor, on roof, on wall,
And all places!
To drive you out, we’ve found a way:
Many a brand of lethal spray
Is being sold in shops today,
Which can kill yoYou poor thing, ere you fall its prey,
Bid us ‘adieu’!
TO THE NEW MILLENNIUM
O Time’s titanic offspring come to earth,
A marvel is your own stupendous womb
Wherefrom a thousand sons shall take their birth
To raise, on Hade’s immigrants here a tomb?
Are you the premier proxy of our Lord
Sent to rid, through your children’s aid, the world
Of all the countless apples of discord -
By Satan being relentlessly hurled?
May your first-born be a War-exporter,
Exporting War to Hell by fastest planes!
May the next one be a Peace-importer,
Importing Peace from Heaven by dove-trains!
This wondrous ware could be our magic wand
To exorcise all evils from our land.
Dr. Tulsi happens to be the Editor-Publisher of the world acclaimed international poetry journal Metverse Muse, which was launched in January 1996 with the specific purpose of reviving the past glory of classical / metrical poetry.
The academic aspect of Dr. Tulsi's life had to ply a path strewn not exactly with roses. Due to several circumstances, her formal education ceased with the Sixth Standard in School. She had thenceforth to adopt the roles of both the 'teacher' and the 'taught' for completing, privately, her Matriculation, Intermediate and B.A. (Eng. Litt.). The conferment of Ph.D. on her was on the basis of her first three self-authored poetry collections. Ten such works of hers have been published till date. Over a score of Awards / Honours / Medals have so far come her way (from institutions both in India and abroad), most of them for her journal Metverse Muse, and the others for her own poetry (and Music).
Several poems of hers have been tanslated into a dozen other languages, including five Indian ones.
Dr. Tulsi was earlier in the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat service at Hyderabad for over a decade, having bagged the State First rank in the Andhra Pradesh Service Commission Examination for Stenographers. Ten years later, a Notification calling for applications for the post of 'Reporter' (single vacancy), issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat (Lower House of Parliament), was brought to her
notice, and she forwarded her application through proper channel. She again stood FIRST in the Test (for Reporters) held by the Lok Sabha Secretariat at the ALL INDIA level - for which around three hundred candidates had appeared. She thus not only secured the only post then vacant, but created a new record of being the first woman Reporter in the Indian Parliament. (There were no women Reporters even in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament).
Apart from dabbling in fabric painting, origamy etc., Dr. Tulsi was a practitioner of South Indian instrumental Classical Music (Veena). She participated in half a dozen public performances, in addition to four on Doordarshan (National T.V.), while still in New Delhi. She had however to bid farewell to Veena over twenty five years ago, due to arthritis of the knees. (She has recently started practising on the Veena again, sitting on a sofa, since she cannot sit on the floor- as is traditionally required).
She presently spends a major part of her time producing consecutive issues of her magazine Metverse Muse, while bringing out her own poetical works off and on.
Mooring my barge in the little port of Black Water
I start walking the sloping cobblestone streets
and I find a charming place
where people with almond eyes
decent and sober men of olden days
gather by the statue of the poet
among the flowering trees.
They are free of the world's troubles
and there is no other sound in the air
once the lute has begun to play their beloved song
born of the magical Persian breath
to show me that I'm welcome and they care for me.
There’s a moist dream in the breeze of the spring
from the apple blossom fragrance
and a mysterious whisper in the soul
from the call of the muezzin.
A Night in May
Oh, ethereal is the heaven and jeweled the sky,
divine is the harmonious ode of the thrush nightingale
that has sung all night in the sweet smelling Persian lilac shrub.
Yet, like any transient songbird, this philomel may never come back…
On a Night Without Dew
My grandfather’s horse snorts and goes by the smell
in the peaceful late summer night without dew
filled with the sweetest fragrance of second-cut hay
freshly mowed by the light of the moon.
The wheels squeak and the chains jingle
as I face the shadow of three royal barrow tombs
where a chorus of chirping cicadas and crickets
tirelessly cling to brome and timothy stems,
hand sickles, scythes and pitchforks.
Oh, insouciant insects with prominent eyes,
into the strings of the wind harp
you indifferently mingle courting songs
with no thought of a missing magnificent kingdom.
It is a comfortable September day in autumnal colors.
The grapes are ripe, taste sweet, it's time to harvest.
The warm white waves are gleaming across the sea,
over the foamy crests a seagull cries.
But where is the chirp of the dark swallows
that were perching on the beam of the pavilion
facing the garden choked with weeds?
Will somebody tell me?
Sailing Around the Turquoise Island
Every island rock clearly reflected in the water
And Swallow’s Nest castle steeped in the gloomy history.
Vultures in the oblique sun hovering over mythical cave-towns,
No fog on the waterfalls, no waves in the Fountain of Tears.
Chatyr-Dag Mountain halving the horizon of ages,
Bakhchisaray’s minarets supporting the heaven.
The whispering waves of the sea have never known such marvel
Not even the Dniester or the old Danube reputed to be an eager wanderer.
[Editor's note: the above poems are translated from Romanian from the author's upcoming collection “Suwlî boya káátte” (“Watercolor on Paper”)]
Taner Murat is a Crimean Tatar writer and translator from Romania where he is best known for his Romanian-Crimean Tatar dictionaries.
Taner was born in 1959 in Constanţa , Romania . He received his BS in 1985 in mechanical engineering from Lucian Blaga University , Sibiu . After working as an engineer, he later worked in tourism, and from 2009 he served as a teacher.
Since childhood he showed interest in his mother tongue. He did his first linguistic study attending the Turkish language course of poet Emin Emel in the late 80s.
In 1990, when the editors of Renkler Journal in Bucharest led by historian Tahsin Gemil created the Tatar movement based on ideas of cultural and linguistic uniformity, the one who opposed this project was Septar Mehmet Yakub, the old Mufti of Romania, and Taner joined his cultural diversity conservation view activating under the motto: Tek niyet, mútenevviyet (“Unity in diversity"). For a short period, he served as the representative of the cultural interests of the ethnic groups in Constanta County .
In 2006 he debuted as a novelist with Kókten sesler (“Voices of Celestial Roots”) and in 2010 he launched his first poetry collection Ótken bír ș aklayga sewdam (“My Love for a Singing Seagull”).
Murat loves and is always happy to serve the community. From 2009 to 2012 he joined as a volunteer editor Gúner Akmolla’s Emel literary journal, and in December 2010 he founded in Constanta the English-Crimean Tatar bilingual journal Nazar Look where he serves as volunteer editor.
He believs in both modern and religious education. Since 2012 he shows interest and campaignes for the establishment of Shewkiy Bektore Tatar University at the Black Sea .
The sky is a blurred canvas
Like a painting left out in the rain
By an artist with a clear vision
Who then lost his inspiration
Many things go like this
Romances as glorious as roses
That over time wither into
A pile of dead petals collecting dust
But sometimes things work out
Despite the fates conspiring against them
A child born into poverty
Becoming famous for his philanthropy
And the sky with the grey pallor
May tomorrow regain its clarity
As the artist who considered it a failure
Remembers what he thought was gone
ROSES AND THORNS
What is a star
If it has no worlds
For it to illuminate
Like an old widow
Who still sleeps facing
An empty space
Or a name that’s carved
In the sand of a shore
Erased by the tide
While a bird’s song
Is drowned by the roar
Of an overpowering wind
For we have no control
Over whatever fate
Will decide our fortune
All we can do
Is leave a clear trail
Hoping someone will find it
I don’t remember
Her name but I
Remember her face
A stained glass angel
Rescued from the wreckage
Of an abandoned church
Whose touch was tenuous
As if from a burn
That never quite healed
That permeated her heart
So that her answer to love
Was neither yes nor no
So as the candles waned
And her eyelids closed
Like a curtain coming down
I let her sleep
As I kissed her goodbye
And silently left
Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.
response: a product of assimilation a recognition of loss
our responses are elegies
palpitations are paraphrases
coun ter me lo dies
unconstrained: delayed supreme and intimate
deformed as you
the nothing variants renovate us
we work vantages
Elio Lomas is a poet, musician and short fiction writer. His work has been published by erbacce and has featured on Robert Sheppard's poetry blog Pages. He is currently working on a collection of poetry.
She has cold hands. You do not
consider that strange.
This is the first time that a girl
has let you hold her hands.
That is not her pulse quickening
underneath the pale skin of her wrist.
It is the anticipation hammering
in your head. You imagine your future
with her. You imagine a lot of things.
A blowfly slips inside her mouth.
You see it as the black meniscus of her smile.
(first appeared in Bayou Magazine #59, Spring 2013)
Loverman slits his throat
The solitary people meet their doubles,
howling as they decide on new names.
That is how it’s supposed to be.
The girl you love—she has no hands.
She cannot hold whatever it is that
you offer her. But she takes it anyway.
You mistake that for love, that she has
finally reciprocated. Look again.
She is empty-handed. See?
(first appeared in South Dakota Review Vol. 50, Fall/Winter/Spring 2012 & 2013)
not, do not
let us in.
Here is a tree
that only thrives
We drop pebbles
in the broth,
wait for the thaw.
Someone sings, plays
the piano inside
the lighted houses.
Did the children
finally grow fingers
while we were away?
(An early version of "Little Selves" was published in Momoware #3, Autumn/Winter 2010.)
Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of three books, We Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012), Grim Series (Popcorn Press, 2012), and A Roomful of Machines (ELJ Publications, 2015). Her poems and short stories were published in the likes of Bayou Magazine, Contrary Magazine, Sou’wester, Southword, and The State. She lives in a small farming town in southern Philippines. Website: http://kristinemuslim.weebly.com/
Nowhere to stop
Except the cigar bar of the universe
Where the waitress scoots over an ashtray
More ice and whiskey
—And I drink only that one drink and smoke
An Arturo Fuente cigar,
Until it’s gone, before strolling
Along the Mississippi River
With crescent moon
And starry sky. The monkeys fly above me
On their way back
To Culver City, where I once read about
The Munchkins of Oz, who took over
The hotel, reveling in numerous orgies.
I laughed all the way home, then.
But I am not there right now,
Nor am I at the cigar bar
Of the universe, where I once sat and smoked
An Arturo Fuente cigar,
Meeting no one along the way.
Each man drags himself
Across the executioner’s table
As he sharpens the blade.
The table is full of stars,
The executioner has no name.
Last night's dream was of the Principal
Taking over another school, as a dictator might
Take over a neighboring country.
I sidled up to the Principal
And suggested another school to take further down the road.
There were downed trees. A bulldozer lifted
Children’s bodies like multicolored scraps of wool.
Alejandro Escudé is the winner of the 2013 Sacramento Poetry Center Award. His first collection, "My Earthbound Eye," is now available. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro is an English teacher lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two kids. Interested readers can go to alejandroescude.com for more information.
An apple a day and a penny saved
Neither borrower nor lender and always check for ticks
I knew all the famous rules
But chaos was my guide
I waited many important years
For my heart to explain itself
In the meantime I mastered
The origami of longing
I once saw the Buddha's ineffable eyebrows up close --
Nothing but tiny little hairs --
And lived tumultuously
In the urgent and insistent now
But that was then
The saffron-robed banana slug
Inching ever-closer to emptiness
When a pair of heavy-booted
Demons of dualism
Come lumbering along the trail
Nearly squashing the shiny little seeker
Picking it up then
And moving it off the path
Back to the world of down and up
Miles from nirvana
Buff Whitman-Bradley has had poems published in many print and online journals. He is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently "The Next Small Thing," and four nonfiction books. He lives in northern California with his wife Cynthia.
Michael Spring is the author of three poetry collections and five chapbooks. His latest book, Root of Lightning, was awarded an honorable mention for the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Award. His latest chapbook, Blue Wolf, won the 2013 Turtle Island Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Atlanta Review, Blue Lyra, Flyway, Gargoyle, The Midwest Quarterly, NEO, Spillway, and West Wind Review. Michael lives in O’Brien, Oregon. He is a natural builder, martial art instructor, and a poetry editor for The Pedestal Magazine.
Storm winds on a sunny day,
a house empty, round lids from
trash cans tossed across the road.
There’s an angry cat, its gray-
blue fur on end twice over.
I almost hear him hiss
at God. The sky has grown
more sky-blue. No rain-waves
cover the cream-tea creek.
Water has cleared, made room
for the unseen in its limited
depths. No place to go,
no finish for the present:
a pause to reflect on scars
where once were wounds.
Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). He is an ex-con, ex-husband, ex-reporter and completely exhausted by all the things he isn't anymore. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Atlanta Review, RATTLE, River Styx, Southern Humanities Review and many other journals, with recent fiction in Coe Review and Nebo. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.
Unacquainted -, they'll take
From your mouth -;
From the lectern.
That the patrol
Is not aware
Of the pebble
In your Shoe
- The 'theism'
Of the rhyme -,
The reason -,
That book by Aleksander Wat
Housed the stone echo
Of a rose-water fountain
And the unrefined epithet
Of a tutelary
Sparrow. As well
- It held the orchestrated
Where all is no more than
In my back o' Bourke's
Back-pack's Dusty pocket I carry
The wild call of
One crow's peck
... From despair.
Stefanie Bennett has published eighteen books of poetry, a libretto, and a novel. Over 40 years she has acted as a publishing editor, tutored in The Institute of Modern Languages at James Cook University and worked with Arts Action for Peace. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee], she was born in Townsville, Queensland, Australia in 1945. Stefanie’s latest poetry title ‘The Vanishing’ is due at year’s end. Publisher: Walleah Press.
We always meet at the same time
every day when
I’m heading home
She’s heading inside the dance
I imagine her bending her
Body on the balance
As if she could bend herself
Into a twin
I don’t care that she's older
I just picture her pirouetting
On the ball of her foot
Or bending her body
Like a sunflower in the breeze
Ever so elegantly
As if to wrap it around me
I can’t tell if her hair is
Brown or red
I want some classical or jazz music
To frame this moment
Next time I see her
Instead of just
Passing her by and saying
I’ll follow her in
erren geraud kelly's work currently appears in mouth and mouth, the magnolia quarterly, crab fat, van goghs ear, ceremony, time of singing and over 150 publications in print and online; mr. kelly is the author of the chapbook, " disturbing the peace," on night ballet press. erren recieved a b.a. in english--creative writing from louisiana state university in baton rouge. mr. kelly lives in portland, oregon
with rounded edges
as if designed by an ancient Greek sculptor
They selectively inhibit the reuptake of
the substance in my brain
that, if depleted,
makes me consider which of the many ways
of killing myself I should pursue
even in my deepest misery
that none of them is foolproof
and then I revere those skillful bastards
who have succeeded
But if the re-uptake is blocked
and my brain is rich with that
I can be nearly giddy with the love of life
and find pleasure
in something as simple
as driving my old car or drinking
a bottle of water
I love the way the holes in the muffler
collectively give voice to the engine
make the car seem more than it is
and the plastic bottle of spring water
refrigerated in my GE
is almost a pure distillate of ozone
a remnant of the pure world
we have sullied so badly
The muscle of my brain is pumped
as if I’d been doing bench presses with it
Humankind rushes toward annihilation
but in my heart I’m not overly concerned
because while placebo may be just as good
in mild to moderate cases
in really severe cases of depression
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
really kick ass
Their effectiveness is beyond question
I am giddy with equanimity
I am whole
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over six hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for work published in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver.
Customary for us to see the moth
As a departed loved one, contrast
To the wall. It has found a shade
In our All Saints’ Day sense
As if not happenstance to find one
The day we pilgrim to the cemetery.
I recall seeing one next to papa’s
Picture framed in the wall.
I prayed for his forgiveness
For stepping on marble to wipe glass.
It remained. Father, my first English instructor
Who threatened my iron head
With the leather belt coiled round his hand.
Mine was a restless childhood,
Play my only wall, study the flame
I loathed, so my parents would say
It was grandpa come to visit.
But this one adding more brown hues
To afternoon’s white silence
When the poem moves
With what it teaches.
The day quickly piles minutes like dominoes
Squaring in the arena crowded with discards.
No one wants balls this round. The dice dealt me
Three chows of Chinese characters numbered
1-2-3, 4-5-6, 7-8-9. Twin red dragons eye
The hemp bird whose wispy melody tingles
Three bamboo sticks like vertebrae waiting
For the two that completes the hand.
The fourth east wind finds my three in a kong.
Heart thumping, I draw from the flower wall.
My ethnic Chinese grandmother said break
A block and blood oozes. Stamping a thumbprint
On tile and feeling the etched calligraphy of
Another victory, I pray to her to be luckier.
First published in Anak Sastra: Stories of Southeast Asia
Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Windhover, Dark Matter, Poetry Quarterly, Star*Line, Fox Chase Review and Burning Word, recently in Pedestal Magazine and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and forthcoming in Anglican Theological Review and Mystic Nebula. His chapbook, Pictures of the Floating World, has been published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. He is working on his first full-length collection, Multiverse.
She, the blue-born
grazes the contours of snow peaks for too long.
She, the adopted child, the alienated twin
drifts to her foster home. She bequeaths her girlhood
to the gorges. The reluctant bride
breaks, collects herself, courses ahead.
No looking back
like, the valley had never been her home
like, she never was a little girl by the gorges
like, she was born with the swollen breasts.
She, the unfinished script of her own cortege
writes the rest on the backs of dancing waves.
Her stories- blue veins on blue body.
I am hollow and you are mystery
What’s our confluence like?
Together we make music
I drum, you hum.
We don’t quite fill our empty spaces.
I, hollow yet and you, mystery yet
follow the Buddha.
He looks as veiled as you
you understand him---you look like you do.
I thirst, I crave, and I spread my arms for alms.
Breaking free from the silver spoon
I hold the tin bowl to my lips.
My tongue tastes the nectar of Buddha.
All the music we had made comes back
and I know you are hearing it too.
A Maiden of 29 is Daya Bhat’s first poetry collection published by Writers Workshop (India). Her new poems have featured in New Asian Writing and The Criterion: An International Journal in English. Her short stories are published by New Asian Writing, The Bangalore Review, eFiction India, Earthen Lamp Journal, Creativica and Indian Short fiction. She has translated a book from Kannada (a regional Indian language) into English which is forthcoming shortly.
need not come
just at night
before eyes close
and dreams bathe
the pain of
of my flattened heart
taking the shape
of sinister scare crows
The Scare Crow started a fire
Smoke clings to the
cold Autumn air
and to my wind blown lashes
I am distressed
because I cannot find the scare crow
who started the fire
Ashlie Allen writes fiction and poetry. Her work has been published in The East Coast Literary Review, The Squawk Back, The Burningword Literary Journal, The Crab Fat Literary magazine, The Screech Owl and Conclave: A Journal of Character. Besides writing, she plans to get in to photography. Her favorite animal is an owl.
Glass expanse of lake, unrippled, stretches to edge
of world, meets cloud-kissed sky.
Reflection is born.
When two unmeasurable depths echo, empty
becomes tangible. Wind holds its disruptive breath
as death’s finger falls. Crippled bark, breaks,
throws final tendrils of green into focus. Lone crack,
lightning, to frame the scene.
A Forest of Words
haunts me. I am lost
inside their density, cannot see
a path through brambles and branches.
Briars cling, hold me
with fragile barbs. I pluck them off
only to find them re-attached
at another end. I am their prisoner,
writing my own cell, dipping my pen
in an inking river I have never seen,
but know flows backwards and uphill,
hoping I will follow. I am ill-
equipped to traverse such treacherous
angles. I turn leaves into wings, fly
for a moment before realizing
foliage is just as flammable
as mythical wax.
Between Rocks Pretending to Be Cliffs
The crevice was consumed by shadows,
echoing the negative
reflection of the blazing mid-day sun.
Heat burning the back
of my skin fought against my fear to move
downward into this miniature abyss.
Arms shaking, I pressed myself
inside these stone lips, felt them smile
as I disappeared into the gray of temporary
maw. Strange, how easy I found it
to breathe in so much dark.
A.J. Huffman has published eleven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. Her new full-length poetry collection, Another Blood Jet, is now available from Eldritch Press. She has another full-length poetry collection, A Few Bullets Short of Home, scheduled for release in Summer 2015, from mgv2>publishing. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and has published over 2000 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. www.kindofahurricanepress.com
at the dinner party I
was the sparrow who called
outside the window come forth
beloved of sky and dirt briefly
while the line blurred
breathing blurs the line
all along the tree
reaching forth with tree
hands held element of sky
as though the dancer
were the same
through its primeval glow
star and horseshoe
temple and temple spawn
wonder and inevitable gaze
while the squirrel
acorn love pats the earth
redeem with your palmprints
redeem from all the fibers
we are sentient tendril stretched
Michelle Villanueva is a student finishing up an MFA in Creative Writing - Poetry at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is the author of one chapbook, Postscript: Lions (forthcoming 2015, Etched Press), and her work has appeared in The Tower Journal, The Red Rock Review, Foothill Poetry Journal, and other print and online publications.
a new born in hat
from a Mexico suburb
an inlet drawn by Orozco
you in red
a half mile away
by a hay loft horse
me on a bicycle ride
from a half truth story
in a luxury cab;
a drunkard leaf
then a hurricane
a tropical storm
Rates of statistics
not listened to;
upon the mountain
a mother and child
under shadows of trees;
only drops of rain.
AT GOOD HARBOR
The lobster cargo now
bound for another port
here in Gloucester
by Good Harbor
seeking spoken support
in prayer that sings out
from fisher kings
tiny statues now broken
over the ringed floor
from the Northeaster
on their knees,
their strong wives
once behind shades
of their cottage house windows
listening to echoes on radio waves
of their rough sounding lives
during the pelting snow storm
turning to rain which melts
and parks its shadows on earth
pounding with a northeast wind
on frozen mornings like this
icicles form as silhouettes
across these jetties
waiting with curiosity
for any possibility of rescue
in these dark green seas
with sea birds disappearing
and you hearing the breath
of the volcano type hail,
four stories high, staring at
the hump backed whales
expecting a picture with tales
from your ship, the Quarto
once on a striped star shipping lines
by the heavy drawn locks
and you now sitting by the docks
sipping Portuguese wines.
IN A WINTER FLASH
In a chaos color
of a mural
in a winter flash
through Pacific light
of a city traveler
full of pronouns
wounds the hot earth
near the warmest body
when even the sleepless
will rise on canvas
to blanket the earth
with pantomime green
innumerable as half- moons
on a brackish shore line
B.Z. NIDITCH is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher.
His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including:Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Art; The Literary Review; Denver Quarterly; HawaiiReview; LeGuepard (France); Kadmos (France); Prism International; Jejune (Czech Republic); Leopold Bloom (Budapest); Antioch Review; and Prairie Schooner, among others. His latest poetry collections are “Lorca at Sevilla”,”Captive Cities.”
He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
While she struggles to emerge,
I weave my own cocoon, retreat,
and as she's forced upon our world,
stare into her blurry gray eyes
through tubes and tape
through her own plastic chrysalis:
Come out. Together you and I will come out butterflies.
No cocoon can hold her.
She escapes, flies free,
leaves even her wings behind.
Now I struggle to resurface,
my cocoon, useless, falling away.
But nothing emerges.
Digging My Own Grave
Working in moonlight
I hold cold shovel
My breath a smoky wreathe
Dig until metal clicks immovable stone
Pull warm wet earth
Over me like a comforter.
I leave no marker to fade under caress of wind and rain
Erasing names and dates from stone
Smell the earth
for worry to lift
for hurt to rise
to feel differently in the morning.
I usually do.
night should have been at least twenty
shades of black, so inspiration stayed
and insomniacs strained
for the silver
without a lining, each shade
spoiling away an hour
while ravens fluttered like flies
afore a distant moon.
There is nothing philosophical about the sky
for its hunger has been mindless, but then
everything about the sky is a thing of faith;
the stars have sundered from a timid earth
and returned to aluminium foils from which
they were made, the sand has splintered from
mountains promising structure, leaves fallen
from ranks, limbs broken off trunks, roots
withered in wombs; the letters fall off
their charts, images vacate canvases,
man unlearns to speak,
Summer’s here in full bloom,
the sky carries a ball of yellow,
as does the earth, frayed
buds of uprooted floral, once
a thing of grandeur in recent past,
now wilted of hydration;
was it the callous heat?
Or, a self-absorbed nobility
gloating over an acquisition?
The soil stands its ground,
with nowhere to go, lays strewn
obediently, waiting for the next
turn of season; a coronation
of advocacy – liberty,
banishing the need to survive
(if) to exist, breathing nothing
but a flawless truth.
Sheikha A. hails from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates and is the author of a short poetry collection titled Spaced [Hammer and Anvil Books, 2013] available on kindle. Her work appears in over 40 literary zines/journals/magazines such as Red Fez, The Muse, Ygdrasil, A New Ulster, Pyrokinection, Mad Swirl, Carcinogenic Poetry, ken*again, American Diversity Report to name a few, and several anthologies by Silver Birch Press. Her recent publications have been in Switch [the Difference] anthology by Kind of a Hurricane Press and Twenty Seven Signs – Poetry Anthology by Lady Chaos Press.