Wednesday 5 February 2014



[Winter Issue 2014]

Cover Photo: Zhijian Tao

Editor's Notes: PP Press

On the Remembrance Day of 2013, exactly one year
 after the establishment of Poetry Pacific,
we launched our official (temporary) site for our publishing house called PP Press. 
Here is our logo as well as the web address:

On January 16, 2014, we released our first collection for this year, titled
A Seashell in the Centuries by the internationally recognized Macedonian poet
Risto Lazarov, which is available at

here is our open call for manuscript submissions



By submitting to Poetry Pacific Press (PP Press),
the submitter warrants that s/he alone 
has created the work s/he is submitting and
 that s/he owns all rights to it. The submitter will indemnify 
and hold PP Press and its staff harmless from and 
against any and all loss, damage, costs and other expenses
arising out of claims, whatever their nature, resulting directly
 or indirectly from breach of this warranty. 
At the same time, the submitter/contributor agrees that 
PP Press can use part or all of his/her accepted material, 
including responses to PP's interview questions, on its Facebook 
and/or other similar social networking vehicles for promotional purposes.

* We read poetry manuscripts year round on a rolling basis;

* Simultaneous submissions are welcome insofar as you give us notification
when your manuscript is accepted elsewhere;

* For full-length collections, we normally print 80 - 120 pages of poetry;
for short collections, 50 - 79 pages of poetry;
for chapbooks, 30 - 49 pages of poetry;

*  Once accepted, it is the author's responsibility to solicit blurbs,
artwork for both the cover and back cover pages, proofread/copy-edit
the manuscript, and make it print-ready,
with the coverart, the 'Table of Contents,' the 'Acknowledgment,'
and/or the 'Introduction,' if any, although we may try to help in the process;

* Our response-time is 3 - 6 months: since we never give anyone
any 'rejection notice,' please feel free to do whatever you want to
with your submission if you do not get any response/acceptance
from PP Press within 6 months after you send it over to us.
In other words: only those accepted will get a reply;

* By publishing your work, we buy certain rights;

* Neither inquiry nor proposal is necessary - please send your manuscript together
with your literary cv to the following address:

8033 Osler Street
Vancouver, BC
Canada  V6P 4E3

* We charge no reading fee as a rule; however, if you choose to send
your manuscript via email (to, we require you
to pay a manuscript handling fee of
$25 CAD/USD, payable to Mike Yuan or via paypal (to;

[please note that we charge no reading fee
for any poetry submissions to our e.journal Poetry Pacific,
which can be made via email to year round] 

* Many thanks for your interest in and support of PP Press & Gooooodluuuuck!




In our upcoming summer issue, 
we will feature a group of poems written by Canadian teens 
to promote interest in poetry among Canadian teenagers or high school students.
In addition to those listed under our normal guidelines,
here are a few more things to note: 
Title: Canateen Poetry: A Special Collection 
Date of Release: August 5, 2014.
Deadline for Submissions: July 31, 2014.

Qualification: Any teenager studying or living in Canada



By submitting to PP, the submitter warrants that 
s/he alone has created the work s/he is submitting and that 
s/he owns all rights to it. The submitter will indemnify and 
hold PP and its staff harmless from and against any and all loss,
 damage, costs and other expenses arising out of claims, 
whatever their nature, resulting directly or indirectly 
from breach of this warranty. At the same time, 
the submitter/contributor agrees that PP can use 
part or all of his/her accepted material, including responses 
to PP's interview questions, on its Facebook and/or 
other similar social networking vehicles for promotional purposes.

* All poetic and photographic works are carefully read/viewed 
year round on a rolling basis for PP's spring, summer, autumn or winter issue, 
to be released respectively on 5 May, August, November and February;

* No author information in your submission please, except your name, 
and email address (which we will include in your bionote 
upon acceptance/posting unless you tell us not to do so)  
- we follow a blind submission policy, 
and will ask you for a brief 3rd-person bionote upon acceptance;

* Multiple and simultaneous submissions, as well as previously published work, 
are all equally welcome insofar as you still hold the copy/publishing rights;

* Although we wish to pay our poets and buy certain rights from them,
 there is no money exchange involved, at least not for now, 
except a genuine shared love for art and wisdom;

* Please send up to 5 of your best shorter poems each time 
by pasting them all within the body of your email,
or visual artworks as individually separate attachments. 
Before acceptence, we will NOT open any attachments/files
 for virus/spam-related concerns, but we may ask you 
to send the accepted work as an attachment;

*  Please feel welcome to send us a query if, for instance, 
your accepted work does not appear as scheduled;

* All submitted poems or responses to interviews may be posted on our facebook 
or other networking vehicles for promotional purposes;

* Our response-time is 6-8 weeks at latest, usually shorter than 3 weeks: 
since we never give anyone any 'rejection notice,' please feel free 
to do whatever you want to with your submission
 if you do not get any response/acceptance from PP within 60 days
 after you send it over to us. In other words: 
only those accepted will get a reply. 
- Many thanks for your kind support of PP & Gooooodluuuuck!


2 Poems by Niall O'Connor


My uncle's brain
weighs fifteen-hundred grams
the pathologist says.

grams of childhood laughter,
of being a baby brother,
of other sacred lives,
listened to and remembered,
grams of prayer and solitude.

grams kicked around by a polished shoe,
before being dropped into a silver tray
and weighed.

grams on the only scales of justice,
either he, or we,
would ever know


I can only see your eyes
if you look into mine

As my heart beats alone
trembling in its cage,
my fingertips want to reach out
past the meniscus of my soul


Rest you now
in  my arms . . .


Niall O'Connor is a published poet and blogger, in print and electronic, and reads regularly at the Writer's Centre and other popular Dublin venues. O'Connor's poems have been published in The Examiner and most recently in The Stoney Thursday Book, thefirstcut#, A handful of Stones, Carty’s Poetry Journal, Madrush, Outburst, Corvus, God’s and Monsters, A Blackbird Sings, Connotation Press, and others. He was a featured poet at the inaugural Fermoy Poetry Festival 2012. He blogs at the very popular

3 Poems by Allen Qing Yuan


to defeat monsters, he has long since sacrificed his humanity

his heightened sense of vengeance bloats into a colossal skeleton
thick sinews and muscle strands of his frustration intertwine
outreaching like twilight as the sun sets behind great walls

his black hair flowing like crows flocking for food
his eyes glowing green of what was once the foolish innocence of adolescence
his derailed teeth expelling furious vapours between the cracks
his devilish ears pointing towards some secret in the western sky
his narrow brutish tongue spitting nothing but whims and revenge

and as he stomps and stomps, pounds and pounds
all his limbs into this entity he hates
with steam gushing out of the areas of contact
with disintegrating parts of his body blindly slamming into structures

his giant shape finally stumbles down, wondering
whether evil sheds tears inwardly

Reality Recreated

A transcending wheel of regrets
Sprouts forth wisps of choices.

Which world shall you conquer?

A directory of multiple screens,
Different routes, the same ending,
Where everything is really fake
But the enjoyment is surreally real.

An unhappy fairytale, an enchanted traveler
Bestowed with the gears of the mind.
A clockwork so extensive,
It has gone digital

Like a boy at the toy store,
He plays with what isn’t his,
A remote controller browsing fake realities.

Films of futuristic memories
Resurface on calm waters.
A beautiful portrayal distorted by the ripples of time.

One-time routines, impossible horrors, desired fantasies
Forged in the darkness of Helios
Shattered by glows of the god.

A current future passing,
A thought remaining unexplored

What could tonight’s dreams hold?

Blue, Beyond the Blues

Head rested on his hand, mimicking a comfort he once had
He spent every evening looking out the window

The girl had long departed, like a tugboat leaving no trace
On the water, except for the anchor pit under the waves

And he could hear the foamy sounds across the season
That resonated of the relationship between see and sky

Memories frolicking on the keys of black and white
Though with a harsh tune, it led to a harmonious epiphany

That nostalgia could be more dangerous than heartbreak
That he had always loved her; and that was his heartache

Spring echoed of the finest chords with all his unsung songs
Her reply was a slow wave pushed back to the summer’s beach

There blows another yet familiar salty breeze, once more
He reaches out his inner arms high to embrace the horizon


Allen Qing Yuan, a Pushcart nominee and author of Traffic Light (2013), is an 18-year-old freshman currently attending the University of British Columbia. Most recently interviewed by World Poetry Cafe Radio Show (CFRO100.5FM), Allen has since grade 10  had poetry appearing in Cordite Poetry Review, Istanbul Literary Review, Literary Review of Canada, MOBIUS, Paris/Atlantic, Poetry Kanto, Poetry Scotland, Shampoo, Spillway, Taj Mahal Review, Two Thirds North and more than 70 other literary journals/anthologies across 16 countries. Allen is also the co-founder of a popular clothing brand Above the Movement. please visit his websites::
- Twitter: @ATMovement
- Instagram: @abovethemovement

4 Poems by Joseph Farley

Arrest These Words
Arrest these words before their noise
disturbs the world from its slumber.

Arrest these words before they pollute
the minds of the weary and broken.

Arrest these words before power can be seen
as the naked beast that claws its way through our dreams.

Arrest these words that they may sound
louder through the prison walls

amplified by stone and conscience.

Politics and Prophecy

Two politicians campaigning for office
stand at opposite ends of the railroad station
pressing the flesh and shouting loudly
how wonderful they are and what they will do
given an opportunity to rob taxpayers blind.

Meanwhile, closer to where passengers board,
an old man in disheveled clothes
is ranting about Jesus and the end of the world,
and passing out hand printed tracts
describing in bad grammar his personal theology.

Liars and mad men. Take your pick.
Who knows who to follow or where each will lead?
Just board a random train and let it pull out
taking you to parts unknown,
because in the end who really knows
where we are heading anyway.


We shall sing the songs our fathers taught us.
We shall speak the words drunk down with mother's milk.
We shall become learned in the ways of the elders,
and rejoice in what we were and what we are still,
and we shall raise painted shields and spears
and rage against sea and sky and all those who would dare
to take from us our souls' patrimony.

Crushed and Broken

Some days you feel like a beer can crushed under the feet of God,
or a grappling dummy pummeled, twisted and thrown,
lacking the skill of Jacob and the patience of Job.

All you can do is catch your simple breathe,
deep as you can,
and exude the inner calm you wish you had.


Joseph Farley edited Axe Factory from 1986 to 2010. His books and chapbooks include Suckers, For the Birds, Longing for the Mother Tongue, Waltz of the Meatballs, Her Eyes and Crow of night.

3 Poems by Mary Harwell Sayler

Blood Thinners

He never wanted a tattoo, never
wanted to disobey the command in
Leviticus 19 that says not to pierce
the flesh on account of the dead
or tattoo any marks upon you or
turn to mediums or wizards or sell
your daughters into slavery. Too
much ownership does not wear well
on anyone.

Ever since the surgeon inserted three
stints around his heart to pierce the
pallor of his skin and release
tiny clots from captivity
in the veins,
the medications made
his skin thin along with less
coagulated blood.

Now if you rub him the wrong way
or the dog plays too roughly or he
bumps into almost any medium
of harshness,
his skin tears like tissue paper
or leaves a dark red mark like
a rusty rose tattoo.

Circling The Sixties

Nineteen-forties–fifties cool, you nail her to
the wall with “why” about those “white” and
“colored” signs of times down South where she
came from, and when she can’t explain, except
to say, “I was a child,” you snap some platitude
on doing right, which means, at least in public
restrooms, “How could you pee?” Would you
feel better knowing she went only in emergency?
You try again with questions like, “Why did you
live like that?” And she inquires, “Like how?”

At home with what she’s known about respect,
no matter where the finger pointed, dare she point
to a time when Native Americans lived inside a
concrete block or ask why blacks do not attend
your all-white church, still barren of Hispanics,
or why her son so nicely dressed was barred by a
pair of sandals from a place where the hostess was
too ignorant to know the cost of Birkenstock’s?

Oh, who knows what prices other people pay?

Resting Place

The relatives hang over my head,
frames ranging from painted gold
to distressed walnut. I’m not one to
talk with or about them, except to
wonder what they did to make you
seem wary and restrained, disdaining
final rest in this black plastic frame.


Mary Harwell Sayler began writing poems as a child but, as an adult, wrote almost everything except poetry. Her credits include 24 traditionally published books of fiction and nonfiction, over 200 poems in anthologies, journals, or e-zines, and two Kindle e-books on poetry. In 2012 Hiraeth Press published her book Living in the Nature Poem and, later that year, she began the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook. She also blogs, offer poetry critiques through her website, and enjoys bike riding on the sand roads around her home in rural Florida.

2 Poems by Alinda Wasner

Life on Harding and Kercheval Streets

Though our parents thought it was a nice enough place and we were happy exploding water balloons on the back lawn then came gasoline in 7-up bottles

finding their way through the neighbor’s window and their house blackened its eyes and teeth missing though over time we sometimes forgot about it there was

always an undercurrent a darkness on the brightest day little stresses and inlets of worry we could read in the grownups’ faces despite the happiness we

allowed ourselves making chalk flowers on the driveway pretending we didn't see the gangs of boys sauntering through the alley, cutting through our side yard

to the street as if they owned it which they pretty much did but sometimes we went to their parties knowing they weren't allowed to carry their guns into the

house so hiding them in the bushes by the front porch would have to suffice our mother standing nervously on the sidewalk the whole time keeping her eye on

so many situations and sewing yellow curtains for the dark kitchen so there wouldbe a thin slant of light in addition to the ceiling fixture with its hoard of dead

flies and mosquitoes and we scoffed at her over our soup because we figured she so often worried unnecessarily and the guys with Saturday Night Specials

usually shot themselves in the foot anyway and I loved James Freeman and he loved me back so I tried my very bestnot to ask too many questions though there

was always the outline of something heavy in his jacket but I promised myself I wouldn’t turn into my mother.

Say What You Want

I didn't know he wasn't Hungarian,
called him Hunkie because
I thought it endearing
the way he smiled over his shoulder
almost shyly as he teased Becky Hipsher  about her "sure hips"
and the alley between houses
where the teacher worked her garden
but always looked up as we passed,
smiled as if it never occurred to her
or to me!
that she thought I might have meant myself
the time I told her
others were cheating when she left the room during tests
but I'd only just figured out
the importance of getting out of there myself
before being trapped
another whole lifetime
though I'd miss
the way we trusted the dark,
the first sun on the raspberries
and the train whistle as the cattle cars
barreled through town.


Alinda’s work has appeared in Fresh Water: Women Writing About the Great Lakes (a Michigan Best Book), Avatar Review, New Millenium Poets, Passages North, Wayne Review, Wittenberg Review, Corridors, Blue Lake Review,  Comstock Review, UpStreet, Paint Creek Press, Outsider Writers, Inkwell, InSpirit, The MacGuffin, Up the Staircase, The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit Metro Times and Michigan Natural Resources, and Southward, (Cork Ireland Review) among others.

Winner of the Tompkins Prize for Poetry, Fiction and Essay, Alinda has also won an Amelia Press Award, The Wittenberg Poetry Award, a Mr. Cogito Press Award, and Archives Bookstore Poetry prize, a Port Aransas Poetry Slam prize, a Chicago Poetry Center juried award, a 2007 Prague Writer’s scholarship, and was semi finalist in the 2010 Paumonok Poetry Prize, a finalist in the 2010 Atlanta Review International Poetry Award and has been nominated for the 2011 Best of the Net Award.

Out of 1700 entrants, she placed second  in the 2010 Cork, Ireland Munster Poetry Center International Poetry Prize.

A collection, Kissing the Ikons, has been published by Finishing Line Press, and

When You Don’t Know Who You Are by Cleveland’s Crisis Chronicle Press, and

Extraneous by Poet’s Haven Press will be published in 2013.

2 Poems By Cheryl A.Van Beek

Sacred Land Outside My Window

Strips of green, blue and white
a world striped
by synthetic edges
of open blinds,
closely mowed grass
the last affront before
landscaping yields
to a pond
green with reflection.

Nymphs born in slow ripples
whisper still.
Four turtles bask on its bank,
the same spot each day.
They remember.

Shrubs of lemon trumpets
breathe bees, sing birds.
Roots tiptoe
below moist earth.
Bald Cypress press their heads
into whipped pearls
that laze across turquoise sky.

Dragonflies hear the song
that clutches the wind
from deep in the earth,
the buried flute
that holds our breath.

The Tree of Lost Ideas

Branches sway out of reach
Kites of green break free
Leaves brush shoulders,
somersault the breeze
Angle past my outstretched arms
They parachute down
Trail their fingers
in the stream
Leave their trace
in ripples
sailing down the river


Cheryl A. Van Beek has had poems published in Sandhill Review and is a member of the Saint Leo Writers’ Circle. She has also written for a local newspaper. She is a caregiver for her mother and lives with her husband and their two cats in Florida, the “Land of Flowers,” where she tends an ever expanding garden of diverse wildlife including alligators and the occasional cow.

2 Poems by Mel Waldman


I search for Aleph,
the holy point where all points
meet in unity.

Aleph is oneness,
the mystical point of the
sacred universe.

The holy Aleph
is multiplicity too,
1 and 1000

and numberless in
the incomprehensible
universe of G-d.

The first letter of
the Hebrew alphabet, it
is the first letter

of some of G-d’s names,
and the sacred symbol that
G-d is one.  It points

to Hashem.  Without
making a sound, it moves us
closer to our G-d,

toward the Ein Sof, the
Without End, the Ultimate
Nothingness, the Void

from which all life comes.


The little man, shriveled up and still,
lay in the wooden coffin, his gold
tooth glittering in the vast silence.

Once a furious sphere of dark energy
that whirled and swirled around me,
and inside my head, forever inside,
he was Father, a wolf that devoured
my spirit, my unforgiving cannibalistic
Father whom I loved and loathed.

He lay in the wooden coffin, his dark
brown eyes vacant and far away.  I
bent over the coffin and whispered,
“Fire and ice, ice and fire.”

Inside my brain, a boiling, seething
heat overflowed, a waterfall of fire
cascading down and flooding my
psyche.  Yet a cold chill replaced
the heat.

I can’t recall how long my emotions
were wrapped in ice.  I took a deep
breath that spanned decades of despair,
exhaled my rage, and spoke through
the eerie silence to his empty dark
brown eyes.

I whispered, “Father, I forgive you!”


Dr. Mel Waldman, a psychologist, is also a poet, writer, and artist. His stories have appeared in dozens of magazines including HARDBOILED DETECTIVE, ESPIONAGE, THE SAINT, and AUDIENCE. He is a past winner of the literary GRADIVA AWARD in Psychoanalysis and was nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE in literature.  He is the author of 10 books. I AM A JEW, his most recent book published by World Audience Publishers, is a collection of essays, memoir, short stories, poems, and plays about his exploration of his Jewish identity.   He is currently working on a novel inspired by Freud’s case studies.  His email address is

3 Poems by Lark Beltran

Collective Consciousness

There is a pool, a well, a thought-born sea -
archived visions of millennia
steeped in ethereal reservoir beyond
Earth´s tumult, waiting to re-kindle
mind in meditation probing for truth
like searchlight, drawn to its abode.
It holds the best of us:
our love-spun dreams and dramas,
Utopian aims, art´s classic symmetries,
democracy and brotherhood and agape.
It holds the worst of us:
the hate-spun offal-sludge
of hurtful actions, all that has oppressed
and bloodied history.  Let us cast
the dross aside, fix on the harmony,
collect the scattered pearls
within the pool, the well, that thought-born sea.

Distant Music in the Dead of Night

Distant music in the dead of night
summons the misty tendrils of regret:
the pang of words ill-spoken, goals unmet,
a hollowness which reason cannot fight.
The power of parental scorn to smite
wields pain across the decades´parapet;
age and its emblems are no amulet.
Though long years in the grave that parent´splight,
I feel the timbre of his reprimand,
ghostly, still rigid in its point of view,
drawing the chastened child from shadowland
to cringe at paltry errors in review.
Philosophy may hold the upper hand;
a whisper of Mancini will undo!

Hide and Seek

Natural as the outcome of the acorn is the oak
is gist of life from Grand Idea, shrouded as by smoke.
Man´s puzzled minds mull over messages from hall of mirrors.
Values vary with perception; virtues bind with errors.

Philosophers and poets vie with poets in the game:
seeking encapsulation of The Truth as precious gem.
Should spirit riddle every ripple of that cosmic pool,
one´s safest course of action is to live the Golden Rule.


Lark Beltran, originally from northern California, has lived in Peru for many years, along with her Peruvian husband, as an ESL teacher.  They alternate between the capital and their little house in the central jungle without electricity.  Lark´s poems have appeared in quite a few online and offline journals.

2 Poems by Joneve McCormick


They hold the secrets of our past and future,
revealing how we create our worlds
from memories made long ago
like those of a clam and its surf;

shell and surf, as if by magic
becoming bony jaws and foam-topped milk
irritations becoming pearly teeth,
on to a mercedes with a roaring motor
we've quieted down, opening its hood…

we catch ourselves in our dramas.

I am

In the leaves
and  between
I flicker across trunks
weave ribbons of light
slither up bark
swing branch to branch
flatten and fade
gleam, upright
nothing and everything.


Joneve McCormick is a writer, editor, translator and photographer living in Santa Barbara, California. Her poems have been widely published online and on paper. Her most recent work is published in an ebook, Three Poets: Voices from the West Coast, which includes the work of Koon Kau Woon and Changming Yuan and is available on and Lulu.

2 Poems by Joseph Goosey


Because war is eminent
I could say that war is eminent
but as you know
“war is eminent” is a stupid thing to say
especially when literal war
is literally eminent.

What isn’t eminent?

I didn’t get trampled by a prize winning horse today
but at 10:30AM tomorrow
getting trampled by a prize winning horse
may well be eminent.

The ceiling light in my bathroom is out
when even before the ceiling light in my bathroom went out
I believed bathroom murder
to be eminent.

Light all the candles,
dance in the mirror.

At work I stare at numbers and names while thinking of inheritance.

A tragedy so surprising you cough your kidney is eminent.

Without notice I’ve disappeared from your cadre.

Spill all the candles,
dance in the fire.


Sometimes I
others I

Am I going river enough for your taste?

A leg or two here and then there wraps around my neck; Nearly choking,
nearly suffocating, watching
every episode of the X-Files, thinking
Scully and I would be great friends
and I do the same during 60 Minutes
most Sundays. Me and Lara Logan
could easily overdraft on bison together.

If I hear “although” and “Syria” in the same sentence
in the next twenty four minutes
I am going to drive to Weymouth Woods and choke out the nearest red fox.

Barely even drank a thang and this is the swill which flows.


Supposedly I’m allergic and eat the allergies with a soldier’s grin.

The Pulitzer prize.

An instructor once questioned
my ability to go on in such a manner
I answered
as long as conditions remain conducive.


Joseph Goosey dropped out of the MFA program at George Mason University. His most recent chapbook is called STUPID ACHE and is available from Greybook Press.

3 Poems by Rodger Martin

Poetry at Shu Yu’s Café

This hotel bathrobe isn’t much—
simple, white terry cloth, the zen
of The Lake embroidered in blue
stitching just above my heart.
But each time its crenulated cotton
brushes the breath of my skin
I sit again, late at night, on a hassock,
looking up from a window in Shu Yu’s Café,
at a smog-obscured moon over the Great Canal
and its arched stone, centuries-old bridge
where chugging barges boil the water brown,
where factories puff their endless cigarettes.
Again and again I listen to the concerts of words
in a language I do not know and hear over and over
their music as they weave a thousand millennia song.

Sunset at West Lake, Hangzhou

 The sun, a glowing copper disk,
Slips behind the silhouette of western peaks.
The city does not notice its loss.
The lake prepares its table for evening guests.
Platters circle before them: tongue, thigh, and breast.
For as long as memory can remember,
No one has refused to taste.

A poem written in opposition to: Amida Waterfall Remotely Beyond Kisokaido,
unknown painter Worcester Art Musuem

The water falls, no oxygen, no clarity.
Buddha sits fouled and soiled in sewage.
Fumes scorch the shrubbery, leaves brittle
and harsh.  Cataracts cloud The Eye
of Limitless Light.  Children cry
when they see the strangeness of blue sky.


Rodger Martin’s third poetry volume, The Battlefield Guide, uses locations on battlefields of the Civil War to reflect upon America today. Small Press Review selected The Blue Moon Series, as its bi-monthly pick of the year.    He received an Appalachia poetry award, a N.H. Council on the Arts Fiction Fellowship, and fellowships from The National Endowment for the Humanities.  In 2012 he was chosen as poet to represent the U.S. at Hangzhou, China’s annual international cultural festival.  He serves as co-editor for The Granite state Poetry Series and teaches journalism at Keene State College.

3 Poems by Rhonda Denise Johnson

Go Figure

Her life was a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle
And she dumped it all at his feet
"Put it all together
Because you're the expert;
Because you're happy;
Because you've got life all figured out.
You've got fifteen minutes"

Respect Must Be Earned
"Jump, Girl! Jump!" They held
The biscuit over my head
I just walked away


There's a poem in me somewhere
There's got to be
How could I ride a cresting wave
And exhaust my ability to express
I am waiting for the sneeze
Nose poised in titillation
Its coming is a tease
I am waiting for the image
The sound of this pain
The sight of this love
The smell of last night
The taste of tomorrow
The touch of your lips on mine
I am waiting for the poem
That will tell me I am alive
Whatever else I may think
I am alive


Rhonda Denise Johnson writes with passion, thinking and feeling with her characters. Her readers invariably remark on how she is able to express these thoughts and feelings in a way that turns the printed page into a canvas and her words into a paintbrush. She is now working on her third book (second novel), tentatively titled Where in the Whirl, a sequel to her first novel, The Crossroads of Time.  For more information about The Crossroads of time and her first book, Speaking for the Child: An Autobiography and a Challenge, please visit

Ms. Johnson has an MA degree in English (literature emphasis) from California State University, Los Angeles, where she taught basic writing to undergraduates in the Teaching Associate program. She is winner of the Henri Coulette Memorial Poetry Award, a university based award of the Academy of American Poets.

2 Poems by Peter Rimmer.

A Prayer for America
(A Prayer for peace.)

Home of the brave,
Defenders of the free.
Who do you serve?
What do you believe?

A fragile flower,
Can't be propogated by force,
Nor power.

Not the right road.

We want to believe,
In the American dream,
We want to believe.

Forgiveness is divine,
Humanity profane.

Lady liberty,
Bruised and bloodied,
Man did she bleed.

She bled spleen,

Holy war,
War on jihad!
Everything to hell in a hand-cart,
Madness reigns supreme,
Cancerous weed,

Lady liberty,
Hold your head high,
Shine a light.

Dark days ahead,
If we can't find peace,
Turn a cheek,
Fuck realpolitik,
Fuck the industrial military machine.

A prayer for America,
A prayer for Afghanistan,
A prayer for Iraq,
The levant.
Mostly a prayer,
For sanity,
A prayer for peace.

Revolution on the wind

We lionise the mega-wealthy,
Put them on a plinth,
Behold the new gods,
This is Mammon.

We marginalize the poor,
At our peril,
Lay the ills of the world,
At their door.

Rise up,
A new order,
Rise up,
There's revolution on the wind.

When the burden of debt,
Stretches to cosmic numbers,
When ordinary folk,
Are burdened,
With blame,
And shamed with forclosure,
Cursed with unemployment.
When everyone but the new gods,
Can be termed the new poor.

People are polarized,
Free trade ecconomics,
Which held so much promise,
Turns sour in our bellies.

Trickle down wealth,
Is just that,
A mere trickle down.
There's revolution in the wind.
The Arab spring,
London burns,
Europe shivers,
Washington sits,
Nonchalantly smoking,
On a powder keg.

In the east,
The Dragon coils,
About it's harvest of debt.
And no one,
Is imune to the contagion,
There's revolution on the wind.

2 Poems by Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois


The art museum is an art deco fortress
The curator’s explanations are small poems

At home
those poems
ooze from my pores
and I wipe myself down
and spread the sweat
on my laptop screen

I am in a foreign country
I am always in a foreign country
The curator pretends to be a librarian
but when unleashed
she is a sexual tiger

The curator
is really a Xurator


Silence is perfect accuracy
there are no mistakes in it
no ego
no ambition
no attempts to subvert or dominate
no desire to extinguish the lives
of others
The pounding of the surf is also accurate

From the deck of a cruise ship
an old man sees a school of rays swimming
and believes he’s seen a vision from God
He is ready to die now

The cruise company
keeps six caskets in its hold
for just this exigency


Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois was born in the Bronx and now splits his time between Denver and a one-hundred-and-twenty-year-old, one room schoolhouse in Riverton Township, Michigan. His short fiction and poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and internationally. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. Grabois’s novel, Two-Headed Dog, is available for all e-readers for 99 cents. Click for Kindle. Click for Nook. Click for the print edition.

2 Poems by Gerald Yelle

There Doesn’t seem to Be a Way to Feel Better

While my father was still around
for me to wrap my arms around
I held myself back. I didn’t
want to ruffle the feathers of his
breastbone or listen to his heart’s
sweet murmur. The feeling
would’ve been wrong. I wouldn’t
want him feeling smothered.
I wouldn’t want my sons doing it
to me if it felt the least bit
insincere. As if kangaroo aphids
were propped in the corners
of our grimaces. I’d thrash out
with war plans. A father can only
stand so much. The same goes
for sons. Their last best hope
is the spirit of the walking stick.


What makes people scream the most are the weird discoveries. Suddenly we can regenerate body
parts –well, not exactly suddenly: it takes 10 years to grow a new finger –but just a few years ago
no one had ever heard of growing a new finger. We think whole arms and legs would grow back
–but you’d have to live about 1,000 years for it to happen. It would take that long.

Other things freak us out: How easy it is to graft parts of other people’s bodies –it’s like we have
the same DNA –our immune systems no longer attack organs and limbs from even the most
distant donors. And body parts don’t decay as fast as they used to, so an arm transplant or even a
heart transplant can be done without fear of losing tissue viability –or whatever it’s called.

I’ll tell you what really freaks me out though: It’s the people who decide to merge two heads on
one body. Talk about BFFs for life! A marriage of two minds –forget about it. And they act like
it’s funny. Wait till they get sick of each other. We’ll see how funny it is then.

They say people eat their own fingers in some places –just for the heck of it –some sick fashion
fad. In a couple of years when they’re half grown out it’ll look like they have baby fingers.


Gerald Yelle  teaches English, journalism and creative writing at Greenfield (MA) High School.  He has recently published poems in The Naugatuck River Review, Lyre Lyre and Electric Windmill and has poems forthcoming in The Bicycle Review and Third Wednesday . He is a member of the Florence (MA) Poets Society.  Notes, comments and links can be found at  <> wrote:

3 Poems by David Sermersheim


wind sings
in the strings
of an open window

so still a rock
tumbles silently
down hill

night feels like blue silk
running through
open fingers

we are alone
silhouetted against
the circle of the moon

drawn into the
arc of distant


so much hinges
on “if”
and/or “but”
perhaps “maybe”

mention “no”
and the proposition
collapses into a
heap of best
intentions denied

“here” is not “there”
“where” cannot be “”when”
“then” is not
“now” and
never could be “ever”

“maybe” is where
I’ll be found
after the proud
get their round

nothing more
is due
but  if you
have to ask
to get a clue
you’ll never know

Let Us Go

let us go
you and I
to where the
water meets the sky
and be one again
before all is done
and winter’s dim dark chill
draws down hard and fast
and we cower
from each sullen blast
of rancor hurled
in hostile fling
against what endures
through tentative hour
while waning dreams
fade faster than
feeble ambition
can sustain
abiding the angular course
to quiet realms
of solemn darkness
in peace


David Sermersheim is a poet and musician, living in southern Connecticut. He taught at The Hotchkiss School for thirty-three years. His poems have appeared in many journals and quarterlies, and his three poetry blogs are listed on his Facebook page.

3 Poems by Lyn Lifshin


even lying down, a sea
of pine, red
birds, crickets

and your hands, the feel of
waking up in the

bursting with haves


night in
my blood,
brown berries

I should make
myself a
man of snow

these holidays
seem like
someone else's


a sudden change
of climate

please don't
go the blue
air's full of
poisoned wings

wind's blown
bees into your
old love's

whatever you
do there

you'll get stung


Lyn Lifshin’s Another Woman Who Looks Like Me was published by Black Sparrow at David Godine October, 2006.. (Also out in 2006 is her prize winning book about the famous, short lived beautiful race horse, Ruffian: The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian from Texas Review Press. Lifshin’s other recent books include Before it’s Light published winter 1999-2000 by Black Sparrow press, following their publication of Cold Comfort in 1997 and 92 Rapple from Coatism.: Lost in the Fog and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenesss and Light at the End, the Jesus Poems, Katrina, Ballet Madonnas. For other books, bio, photographs see her web site:: Persephone was published by Red Hen and Texas Review published Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Most recent books: Ballroom, All the Poets (Mostly) Who Have Touched me, Living and Dead. All True, Especially the Lies. And just out, Knife Edge & Absinthe: The Tango Poems. In  July 2013,  NYQ books will publish A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also  just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. Forthcoming books include Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle.  And Tangled as the Alphabet-- The Istanbul Poems from NightBallet Press Just released, the dvd of Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass.

2 Poems by Colin Dodds


A string of trucks forms my only company out here tonight
A string of stars forms the leg, belt, dick of a hunter
and sinks into the horizon, crossing the sky, crossing the mind

Imperishable Ursa Major prowls all night
around the pole star, which is just the haunch of another bear
Crossing the sky, crossing the mind

But the sky is orderly, the mind thrashes,
murders a brother, murders a family of bears
and spends its life with the corpses,
burying or resurrecting them

Each bear becomes a spoonful of darkness,
a medicine prescribed by a doctor and administered by a mother

Big and little dippers, unacknowledged asterisms,
offer the night sky in tolerable doses
after our appetites have fled to places harder to explain

Trucks are not stars, but trucks cross the mind
and the mind becomes trucks
And when the trucks vanish, the mind gives
a finish and a sense to their existence

The encounter with the trucks and the traffic,
the stars, spoons and night bears is difficult to deny
It is as perfect and incomplete as any
in the treacherous procession of nature

The Night Is a Kind of Crucible

The night is a crucible
Glowing in the streetlight was a bubble of phlegm
It makes a man inscrutable
Moving among fates that aren’t choosable
You say no I’m alright, crying by the ATM
The night is a kind of crucible

You may be great, but you’ll never be irrefutable
Wandering the windows of midnight, a pauper among gems
It makes a man inscrutable

You say life is a game lost, and thus unlosable,
And we all get depressed, on the climb inside the rose’s stem
The night is a kind of crucible

You search the carnival for something immutable
And try to divine jetsam from flotsam
It makes a man inscrutable

And in the morning, struggle to describe a vision suitable
To either the dearest or the strangest of them
The night is a kind of crucible
It makes a man inscrutable


Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education in New York City. He’s the author of several novels, including The Last Bad Job, which the late Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” Dodds’ screenplay, Refreshment – A Tragedy, was named a semi-finalist in 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. His poetry has appeared in more than sixty publications, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Samantha.  <>

2 Poems by Jason Constantine

Thoughts Following a Storm
After the raging storm has calmed unto a state
Where I am standing safe, secure, away from harm,
The waves are tamed with gentleness which I equate
With soothing scent of nard and feel of healing balm.

Although the waves no longer crash against the shore
With power that exceeds the strength of many hands,
Fragments of intellect of mine remain unsure
Concerning matters that I fail to understand.

Shall raging storm return as coming back to life
And spread a trail of fear among a people blind?
Am I a dreamer who attempts to think of strife
Which only seems to breath inside my mind?

Death in the Woods

The taste of many brittle years already spread
Across paddocks without a drop of rain
Is bitterness profound as Death begins to tread
Upon the graves of names which still remain.
Death is slowly passing through the woods alone
With many kinds of trees becoming prone
To loss of grip among the ageing leaves
Succumbing to the might which Death receives.

The air surrounding Death becomes so strong
As winds impose a sense of might upon each tree.
The branches shaking left and right, belong
To the dance of Death declaring how all things should be.
The curse which came upon the ones who died
With wounds inflicted by the sword of pride
Is kept beneath the ground until the day
Death decides to spread to other forms of prey.


Jason Constantine Ford is from East Perth in Western Australia. His major influences poetry and fiction are Edgar Alan Poe, William Blake and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Most of his poetry is rhyming poetry as he is dedicated to the cause of poetry that rhymes. He also writes fiction. His main influences for fiction are Edgar Alan Poe and Phillip K. Dick.

1 Poem by G David Schwartz

My Mother Knew Sylvia Plath

My mother knew Sylvia Plath
But did not know  Ted Hughes
She told me that one day
I rejoiced in the news
I asked what was Ms Plath's
favorite subject in school
And favorite color
Did she have a sister or a mule
Or did she have a brother
Oh said my mother,
You silly silly boy
What are you talking about?
I just knew her work
Well that was a lesson
And here I will mention
I knew William Shakespeare
When I was a boy


G. David Schwartz - the former president of Seedhouse, the online interfaith committee. Schwartz is the author of A Jewish Appraisal of Dialogue and Midrash: Working Out Of The Book. Currently a volunteer at the Cincinnati J in Cincinnati, Schwartz continues to write. His new book, Shards and Stanzas is now able to be ordered:

2 Poems by James Babbs

The Pretty Lights

the pretty lights on
the other side of town
belong to the big trucks
waiting in line at the elevator
rain this morning
it’s not cold enough to freeze
but later on they say
it might switch over to snow
and I’m drinking coffee
leftover from yesterday
it’s not very good
but I don’t care
I drink it anyway
the taste in my mouth
energizing my heart and
it feels the same today
the same way it always does
I wish it could be different
sometimes I wish I had
something better
to look forward to
turning from the window
and scanning the living room
checking the clock on the wall
making sure I have enough time

I Didn’t Want to Dream About Her

I didn’t want to dream about her
but last night there she was
sitting right there next to me
on a black and white striped couch
out in the middle of a pasture
with cows grazing in the distance
and she kept touching me with her body
she kept laughing at everything I did
acting like nothing had happened between us
and when I told her
I didn’t want her here
she leaned over and kissed me
and she looked so fucking beautiful
better than I remembered
but goddamnit
I never wanted this to happen
she wasn’t supposed to be here
she must have slipped through a crack
when I wasn‘t looking
I never wanted to dream about her
I only wanted to let her go
after she told me
she didn’t want to see me anymore
but I guess it didn’t work
and I’m going to have to
try and do
something else about it


James Babbs has published hundreds of poems over the last several years in print journals and online.  He lives in the same small town where he grew up.  James works for the government but doesn’t like to talk about it.  James Babbs is the author of Dictionary of Chaos(2002), Another Beautiful Night(2010), Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible Things(2013). <>

2 Poems by Davide Trame


Sip by sip
life drips on.
The glass of wine
that needs be
While the piano
plays its tumbling
It rains outside,
time’s shafts
and the roar
of life’s lines.
In front, a pageant
of window-panes.
Panes, pains.
In the end it seems
all we can do
is gaze.
Vast rain
on the world’s strand.
What’s more
to understand?
Play, dear piano, play.


Inevitable shiver in the voice.
Levity of layers that break through,
every word you could say
when you take a breath during a pause
sounds superfluous, you can only
keep breathing, keep reading,
indulging in this present
from eternity.


Davide Trame is an Italian teacher of English living in Venice-Italy. His poems started appearing in magazines in December 1999. His poetry collection "Make It Last" was published in January 2013 by Lapwing Publications, Belfast, UK. <>

3 Poems by William Doreski

Gone North

Canoeing in the Arctic frightens
and thrills me. Big floes nod past
within reach of my paddle.
Polar bears squat like ottomans.
Their breath stinks of fish and rotten

explorer meat. I want to claim
some plot of bare earth and name it
for the collective noun for lovers,
but the fragrance of the neon chop
distracts so I forget the word.

Impoverished by living too long
past my emotional sell-by date,
I took to the canoe to settle
debts I’ll surely incur later,
when I’ve accounted for my sunsets.

Delirious with strain of paddling
from Greenland to Baffin Island
before turning north, I envision
shades of green too delicate
to survive a climate of gristle.

If I could land on that bare earth
and bend and touch my toes I’d blame
no president, congress, or monarch
for the dereliction of duty
imposed by the cadaverous view.

Floe after floe, seal-capped, grinning.
The map doesn’t pertain. I yawn
widely enough to swallow a berg,
but if I slept I’d topple and drown
in my bulky goose-down parka.

I hope someone reads this postcard
and realizes I’ve gone north
for everyone’s sake, my wake
rippling through the thickest water
like a shark-fin through a dream.

Hot Water Return

After serving a long sentence
in the Concord Women’s Prison
you rejoin me in the clawfoot
painted iron bathtub you love.

You lower your pansy-pink self
into the heat and steam and sizzle
as we entwine. Almost as if
thirty years ago you hadn’t killed

your saucy black-clad lover
by shoving him in front of a bus.
So many grizzled witnesses
sobbing like so much bacon fat.

Why didn’t you plead a sudden
attack of sanity? Prison bars
enameled the hue of your blush
braced you against the religion

your family impressed on you one
book of the bible at a time.
The place reeked like a stone bouquet.
The guards cowered like turnips.

The intonation of voices caught
in that steel and concrete maze
suggested that the human race
had disinherited everyone.

Although you were proud of yourself
and the mess you’d made of your boyfriend
your hack lawyer failed you in shades
of gloom no mere pornographer

could assay. Now the hot water
absorbs us, resolves the gap
between body and soul, and seals
our mutual text with kisses.                                

Now the vapor rises around us
to eradicate those sordid years
and burnish the flesh we’ve bared
with a slippery athletic sheen.

A Politician’s Daylight Ghost

In a roadhouse in midsummer
a politician’s daylight ghost
arrives to intimidate me
with exaggerated height and depth.
He demands I carry his trunk

of state papers to his grave
and leave them to suppurate,
then meet him at the girder bridge
where he hanged himself a year ago
rather than fight corruption charges.

Outside in the glare the ghost
becomes so transparent I doubt
that he could wrestle me underground,
as he threatens. But I heft
the trunk, stash it in my car,

drive to the graveyard. I place
the trunk on his grave and both
trunk and gravestone disappear
in a blush of fog. A phoebe squawks
its two-note objection to the world.

The sun casts huge corrugations
I can’t cross without cutting off
my feet at the ankle. My car,
like the trunk and grave, has gone
in fog. Without thinking about it,

I’m standing on the bridge where
the shadow of a hanged man
has burned into the pressed steel deck.
The politician’s ghost regards
this shadow with dramatic gloom.

I’m to look and look and look;
and when I’ve looked myself away
the fog will lift, the shadow fade,
and the crimes that made him famous
will have become my deepest secrets.


William Doreski teaches at Keene State College in New Hampshire. His most recent books of poetry are City of Palms and June Snow Dance, both 2012. He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors.  His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Atlanta Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Worcester Review, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, and  Natural Bridge.  <>

1 Poem by David Francis


The camel's back broken,
I climbed down and went
off on the hot sand.
I tossed my rucksack
into a dried well.
I felt lighter
with fresh regret.

Some hours later,
the winds blearing my eyes,
I thought I wanted to
turn back--but to where?
I sank, plodded
doggedly forward.

That poor animal
surrounded by flies...
my companion now
a sole vulture
high above the heat,
gray in the yellowness,

hanging aloof
from that one swirling
nauseating thought--

amazing how cold
the desert gets at night.


David Francis has produced three albums of songs, one of poems, ALWAYS/FAR, a chapbook of lyrics and drawings, and the film "Village Folksinger."  His poems and stories have appeared in a number of US and UK magazines. <>

3 Poems by Miriam Sagan

Equinox on Wednesday

inside the koan of snow
    pouring down
shadow's calligraphy
across whiteness
    expanse past midnight

a gray hawk
and these flakes
fall through branches

and even later
an old man
comes with his plow

my dream has no horses
no hope of rescue
no successful
crossing of borders

I called out in the mist
wait! it's me!

I was sick in a bed
with white pillows
unable to speak

I painted this scroll
all vertical

and took your arm
in the street
my skinny girl
now that we were speaking again
after all these years.


when I dreamed at 14
of a red bird
little did I know
I was dreaming of you

dreamed of a blue ball
of watered shattered out of my hands
and a red bird
flying into a white tree

little did I know
about giving the body
without the heart
or the heart
without the body

little did I know
till  you told me
at 60

now often
you dreamed
of red birds
flying this far north
in the snow.


At the neon boneyard
a heap of
disconnected letters
a pile of As
THE SAHARA and fake "Roman" E
from Caesar's. Deaf,
I might spell into
your palm, blind
take your hand, and speechless
run a tongue along the sentence of your lips.

A silver slipper
the size of my car
lifted on a pole above the strip--
as for the Lady, with her globe and obelisk
her ship in the desert
sails full of fortunate wind.

I'll count myself lucky
to have as my first language
one with vowels.


Miriam Sagan is the author of over 25 books, including SEVEN PLACES IN AMERICA: A Poetic Sojourn (Sherman Asher, 2012). She founded and runs the creartive writing program at Santa Fe Community College.

1 Poem by Carolyn Martin

In the made and raw

… since the lake was so murky … when the hotel was to be shutdown,
all the non-reclaimable furnishings … were taken out on the lake …
where they sank … as the ice melted.
            —Bruce Rickets, “The Brass Bathtubs of Emerald Lake”

Dig deep-down earth and nothing
approximates the greenish blue streaming
through the staid tree lines of Yoho’s peaks.
Glacial grind stirs rock flour in,
raising colors, dimming heights
of orchids, daisies, columbine.

Rent a red canoe and glide across
lake-bedded rooms where thaws arrange
abandoned furnishings. Newlyweds cuddle
on loveseats submerged beside
the flayed settees where lawyers puff cigars
in wait for mistresses to strip
silky sheets beneath the glacial green. 

Stoke up a night when fires blaze
against the snow and bourbon from Ontario
entangles rail tycoons with dealers
in the made and raw. And down the hall,
beyond the smoke and braggadocio,
a banker’s wife slips wrinkled limbs
into a tub, displacing rainbow trout
with prairie dust scrubbed out of pinless hair.

Before you paddle on, evening stars recline
above moraines and cedar, fir, and spruce.
Travelers yawn, then melt into a dream
of tables, chairs, and brass bathtubs cracking
through the softening. Waking in dismay,
they can’t quite relocate the library
or sitting room or hints of steam
that rise above the bluish green.


Carolyn Martin is happily retired in Clackamas, OR where she gardens, writes, and participates in communities of creative colleagues. Currently, she is president of the board of directors of VoiceCatcher (, a nonprofit community that connects women writers and artists in greater Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA.

3 Poems by Fahredin Shehu

Moon & Stars
I                                                                                                                      II

Moon                                                                                                              Stars
As                                                                                                                   sparkling
Unveiled                                                                                                         are
Beauty                                                                                                             tonight
Bright                                                                                                              are to be
Echoes                                                                                                             remembered
The songs                                                                                                        beyond
Of the King                                                                                                     Men
Inspiration                                                                                                       capacity
Comes                                                                                                             we’ve
In a blast                                                                                                         forgotten
When                                                                                                               one
She wears                                                                                                        truth
The silken                                                                                                        we are
Tunic                                                                                                               here
As for                                                                                                               then
Shining                                                                                                             they
As neon                                                                                                            only
Nowadays                                                                                                        shows
Nobles                                                                                                              and remind
Reside                                                                                                               the mutual
Hastily                                                                                                              existence
The web                                                                                                            as we
Is too                                                                                                                 do see
Complicated                                                                                                     nearly
To be                                                                                                                what
Unknotted                                                                                                        we chose to…
We tie                                                                                                               do feel
Our tongues                                                                                                      randomly
Nine times                                                                                                        what
We utter                                                                                                            we love to…
The screams                                                                                                      the rest
Only                                                                                                                   remains

Obsidian heart

On Time debris’ of a mere walk throughout
The continental part of the Soul lies
Heart’s sharp edges cutting the flesh
Of evil dispersed hastily- a lonesome
Pinfeather is flying around with the tough
Message- some might say a Revelation
She longs for unveiling the Mystery
Beyond Men understanding- through Aeons
Meandering in the rainbow side of the Shade
A rooster announces a new day while
The Redemption seems far away
Sharp is the heart as dark as the darkest night
When no star sparkles to show the road to the seeker

The fifth finger

I red books
four of them
they seem to me as four fingers
each kept its own secret
that led me in for ways

the fifth finger was of heart
as Sun was painting others
and kept the frozen secret
ice like the heart of Sun

1 Poem by Greg Kosmicki

At the Computer

and a miller
crawled around on the light.
They love the light.
They are drawn to it.

The miller was upside-
down on the fluorescent bulb
about five inches
away from me.

When I was a boy
in wheat country
we’d get thousands.

They are the moth
that grows from the larvae
called the cutworm

that attacks the roots of wheat.
We hated the millers.
And made traps for them
beneath lights

like this one
by placing a bowl
filled with soapy water
close beneath the light
so the millers
would hit the soapy water

and it would kill them.
My mother said

it’s because they are so filthy.
They are brown
and give off a lot of dust

which is what moths do
but that all fit in
beautifully with mom’s

world view too—
brown equals dirty
Indians equal brown
et cetera.

Anyway I look up tonight
from my computer
to look that upside-down
miller right
in its eye.

It moves
its antenna
as if it senses something.


Greg Kosmicki is the founding editor and publisher of The Backwaters Press. He is the author of 3 books and 7 chapbooks of poems. His most recent chapbook is "New Route in the Dream" from Puddinghouse Publications, and he has a book forthcoming from Stephen F. Austin University Press, "Sheep can recognize individual human faces." He and his wife both work in human services in Omaha, Nebraska. <>