Monday 5 May 2014



[Spring Issue 2014]

Cover Photo by Changming Yuan

Editorial Notes

At the 2014 annual national finals of Poetry Recitation Contest to be held in Vancouver on the evening of May 9 by one of our most honourable Partners Poetry In Voice ( ), a Canadian national non-profit organization that encourages students to engage with poetry, the organizer will be announcing to their students that they can submit their English poems and their French poems with English translations for consideration to Pacific Poetry. They will also promote this opportunity on Facebook and Twitter after our National Finals event. To further promote interest in poetry among Canadian teenagers or students, we are hereby making another open call for poetry submission to our SPECIAL COLLECTION: POETRY CANATEEN:: 


In our upcoming summer issue,
we will feature a group of poems written by Canadian teens
to promote interest in poetry 
among Canadian teenagers/ 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.

[sorry, no monetary payment for publication]
Qualification: Any teenager studying or living in Canada

for more detail or guidelines, please see our

Another important thing: beginning from now, we will follow it as a new rule that once accepted or published in our e.Journal, a poem or artwork will be un-cancelable or un-removable, as it is to be archived permanently on our Site. The reason is simple: for the past few issues, there have been an increasing number of cases where the author requested us to cancel or remove an accepted or published piece (supposedly for other uses). Thus far we have been ready and glad to accommodate such requests, for we are happy to serve as a step stone for authors to achieve more fame by getting their work published in other more prestigious magazines or anthologies; however, because Allen is now too busy with his studies at UBC to spend time on PP while Changming's health condition is forcing him to minimize his time with a computer, our limiting human resources simply do not allow us to continue this unnecessary service. After all, what's done cannot be undone.

In this issue, we are honoured to spotlight 2 poetry editors and feature 57 poets. 

Thanks much for your continuing support!


With all very best for a special spring,

- PP Editorial Team

Interview with Stewart Donovan


Stewart Donovan was born in Ingonish, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He studied Modern Literature at St. Francis Xavier University where he received his B.A.  He received an M.A. from the University of Ottawa and his Ph.D. in Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama from University College Dublin where he studied with John McGahern, Seamus Deane, Denis Donoghue, Roger McHugh and Augustine Martin. For the past 25 years Donovan has taught Modern literature, drama, film and cultural studies at St. Thomas University. Professor Donovan is the founder of the university’s Irish Studies Program (he facilitated an Honourary Degree for Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume in 2007), its Film and Media Program and of The Nashwaak Review, a literary, arts, historical and cultural magazine, which he continues to edit. His biography of R. J. MacSween, The Forgotten World (2007), was short listed for both of Atlantic Canada’s non-fiction awards in 2008. He has published three volumes of poetry and his second novel, Wake of the Aspy came out to high praise in 2013. He has published widely on Canadian, American and Irish Modernism with essays on Louis Dudek, Hugh Kenner and Marshall McLuhan among others. He is now completing a book on film studies entitled Movies and North Atlantic Life and a collection of poems on the First World War, In the Shadow of Vimy. He is also collaborating with Trevor Sawler on a hypertext project on High Modernism. He is a member of CAIS and the International Ezra Pound Society. For further information see

10 Fundamental Questions for Poetry Editor Stewart Donovan

1.Given the ways contemporary authors have been trying to compose all kinds of poetry, how would you define ‘poetry’?

I still believe in and stand by Ezra Pound’s idea (reprinted in the ABC of Reading) that poetry is essentially prose condensed: condensed in music, image and thought.  In some respects the general public has not forgiven us for giving up rhyme— for free verse in fact— but the greatest modern and contemporary expression is there. It’s true that there are many prose writers with poetic expression— Joyce in Ulysses not least among them, Ondaatje in The English Patient, the late great Garcia Marquez, the list goes on. This has made it difficult for traditional notions of poetry but it is a moveable feast.

2. Many people say poetry is dying. Do you agree or disagree with this statement, and why?

In 1954 Gore Vidal in “A Note on the Novel” talked about the death of the long narrative form. He said (I’m paraphrasing from memory here) that the novelists must now join  their old enemies— the poets— long since lashed to the mast of exile but still sailing on. We cannot die because we were never alive in the sense that they mean. Shakespeare was a dramatist first, poet second. Alexander Pope made a million dollars by translating the Iliad and Odyssey but they were read as novels not as poetry; and they were bought in the age of the novel. No, I think that the novel, like painting and to a lesser extent sculpture, is no longer socially relevant so it is considered dead or dying. This of course like most things is subject to debate but I acknowledge that it has been replaced by film and tv or video or you tube or  Netflicks whatever moving image you wish to choose. This I believe to be true. They, the public, never let us— the poets— into the game, so they can’t apply that language to us now. It doesn’t work and it doesn’t fit. The solitary art, in Louis Dudek’s phrase, remains just that.

3. What defining features do you think ‘best’ poetry should possess? In other words, what is your personal or working definition of ‘best’ poetry?

This takes us back to first principles again, i.e. poetry as prose condensed. I like the shock value, the unexpected but also a certain musicality. Poetry should take risks whenever possible. The Irish poet Michael Hartnett once wrote that the act of poetry was a rebel act. I like this. I understand performance poetry but I associate it more with theatre— the spoken word performed rather than simply read. It has its place but it is different form the solitary art and why not.

4. What are the most important makings of a ‘great’ poet? – please name 3 greatest poets the world has produced thus far.

This is a tough one and must be personal and parochial at the same time: I will go with Dante, Shakespeare and Ezra Pound from our own time.

5. Who are the 3 most important or noteworthy contemporary poets according to your personal/working criteria?

This again is tough but I like the Irish poet Paul Durcan, the American Billy Collins, and the English poet Tony Harrison.

6. Considering the contemporary poetry writing/publishing reality, what are the most important changes that you think should be made to promote poetry as a worthy cause?

We must continue to promote the local, to get attention for those who need it. Every one sees the great cranes when they fly high, the eagles and the  falcons we must look among the undergrowth for the small but perfect…I don’t know what form this will take as print migrates to digital, how we have valued, how we value is connected with how we promote and recognize and speak for. These are big questions and the culture is moving so fast that it is impossible to be precise let alone clairvoyant.

7. Which 3 poetry editors or magazines would you like to recommend to all poetry lovers? Or, which 3 are your most favourite poetry editors/journals?

Peter Sanger at The Antigonish Review has always been a stalwart. I always liked the London Magazine and I’ll send out a toast to Karen Mulhallen and her long years of service at Descant.

8. What are the most important or interesting things that you have learned about poetry writing/publishing as a poetry editor?

The sheer variety of poems always surprises and inspires me.

9. What is the most or least enjoyable part of being a poetry editor?

Discovering a new talent. Having to reject young writers who have not yet arrived.

10. Given your rich experience as editor of the Nashwaak Review, what advice would like to offer to those who actively participate in various kinds of literary contests and those who seldom do so?

I understand the purpose of the contests especially in tough economic times. Having said this however I have never entered one and believe Pound was right when he said they should be avoided. But this may be simply a wish for cultural respect and high seriousness for poetry and art in the age of media,  advertising and neglectful governments. Orson Welles said he did commercials because artists in the old days drew posters for a living when they weren’t working on a masterpiece. Still, it would be good to get attention for poets without the constant contests. The question is how?

3 Poems by Stewart Donovan

In Memory of Seamus Heaney, 1939-2013

He disappeared when children were returning
  to school, waiting with patience in the chariot
we all must ride. The heart gave out sending rich
ancestral blood to four corners of a temple,
self–fashioned Grianán of Aileach. Was there a Polish
nurse nearby? She would have shown ease with
this patient poet.  He was never shy of strangers.
The day of his death was a warm Irish day.

The harvest has begun here in the Maritimes.
Now each of us, for whom poetry matters,
reflect on who he was. Pulling slim, dog-eared
volumes from knapsacks and shelves, digging
words and phrases shaped from Greeks, Saxons,
Mad Sweeny amid his trees. The boy who
won the Latin prize happiest in fields and soggy fens,
true archeologist, rain and fog companions
and friends: time traveler in a teileafón Tardis he
should have been a Dublin Dr Who.
The day of his death was a warm Irish day.

He lived in the south but his true measure came
from the north. Knew his songs would
have to be sung amid suffering. Out of the muck
of bigotry, bog oak as hard as briar, reclaimed,
refashioned into heirlooms and  keepsakes worthy
of Ard Rí, Donegal Drontheim builders,
 buskers at the Guildhall. Lights along the Foyle
shine out for a long-boat to take him in
the wake of Colm Cille to Islay, the twin peaks
of Jura, blue, purple in the far from Greencastle
on a clear Inishowen day. Perhaps. Better maybe
to see him in Derry, in Badger’s below
the wall, nursing a pint before last call.

Ingonish to Ypres 

                   i.m. Michael (Mick) Doyle 
                  25th Battlion Canadian Infantry 

At war for weeks till their grandmother threw it out.
        No peace possible since grandpa brought it home.
Mick and Harry’s Punch and Judy Show: who could
        keep Titanic on their wall. Then three years gone,
Mick transported from boyhood to Britain and Belgium;
        half a village aboard unconscripted, uninformed,
giddy and grinning at their Irish Acadian luck: uniformed
        grand tour, expenses paid, pocket cash to boot.
If Titanic were here she would have been a troop ship too!
        Bells in St. Peter’s towers bring down leave-taking
tears, lift up in patriotic promise men who march away.
        A puff of High Mass altar incense to return them safe:
Boer War memorials and Catholic Belloc’s catechistic lines
        are memorized and misunderstood as William Blood
declares “Whatever happens we have got/ the Maxim Gun,
        and they have not.” Only his anti-Semitic slurs fall
understood on their unstopped ears.

18 at Ypres fighting with the twenty-fifth in soft Belgian rain.
        Did you pray for Westerlies on the crossing, anti-trades
shorten the voyage. It’s no Sou’Wester, Mick, you uncrumple
        from your kit but a gas mask—the one we found as
children in Pearl MacGeen’s old attic. We knew no history,
        so ran round the mulberry-bush-yard in high summer
heat suffocating in khaki canvas with fish-glass eyes and pig-
        metal snout. Grinning, you said Herb and you were the
lucky ones but Jack Doucette almost drowned in the chlorine sea
        and when he surfaced never breathed fresh air again
without a smoker’s hack and cough. Later we learned of battles:
        St. Julien, Kitchener’s Wood and Paschendale and later
still in college of Fritz Harber— the man who made the gas:
        German Nobel Laureate who gave the gift of fertilizer to a
starving planet then proudly pushed his mustard mix from dawn to
        dusk at you Mick until seven thousand men and boys lay
twisted and writhing upon those fetid Elysian fields. His hero’s
        welcome home cut short by the first German woman Ph.D,
Dr. Clara Immerwahr, his wife, a Brechtian voice out of Mother
        Courage via Galileo who shot herself to expose a husband,
his genius and science in the service of slaughter. .

Demobbed in 19, who was left from the 25th the first
        Nova Scotia Battalion to fight upon the front?
A handful including you and Herb only survivors of a lost
        patrol. These stories you told into your eighties but
we saw Farwell to Arms on the box, watched All Quiet (twice)
        saw Snoopy dogfight the Barron on Halloween then
laughed at Hogan hiding Klink’s Kaiser helmet. This was not
        the Nazi war, no Captain America leapt from comics
to liberate council and console. And when we grew we learned
        from priest-professors how your generation (not just
your patrol) was lost: like some Newfoundland sealers adrift
        on ice, settlers in a winter mountain pass or leaderless
boy scouts forsaken on the Laurentian Sheild. It’s true you
        didn’t have to hide like Vietnam vets but a shame
began at 19 and spread to everything, brought on by those
        over-dogs of time who finally faced the legion of
aboriginal ghost warriors who lost their lives, limbs and status
        in no-man’s-land, returning home like some Arizona
Latino to statelessness, exile, urban ghettos and alcohol.
        Then empire and evil became conjoined with mercenary,
capital, colonial angst and the cultural cringe saluted as a flag
        of independence.

None of this mattered much Mick for you or the volunteers.
        Returning, the village was as it had been: fishing boats
sailed off Middle Head, clothes were strung on the line, children
        paraded in black and white for Confirmation, Caribou
roamed the barrens. But death and wounds haunted the kitchens
        and parlours waiting for posterity to pass on its neglect.

The Sea Air at Middlehead

                                          i.m. John James (Jack )Doucette 1889-1956
                                         Gassed and wounded at the  Battle of Arras, Vimy,
                                        1917, with the 85th Battalion, Nova Scotia Highlanders

                After the battle of Arras you wore rags round your eyes,
                        Jack, marching blindfolded from Vimy as if to
                execution, not in Singer Sargent’s Gassed, those are Brits
                        and Johnny-come-lately-Yanks, for the endgame of 18.
                Canadians fought long before, forever in the shadows now,
                        forever frozen in  time with wounds and froth corrupted
                lungs. In countless cenotaphs they hitch up their bronze capes,                                  
                       steady their frightened horses, roll their great guns.        
                Did you romance Mary Helen with your days in France?                                                
                       Deracinated Acadian Catholic, unlike the Irish and the                                 
                Mik’maq you could imagine fighting pour les ancêtres,
                        pour les vieilles cousines qui sont mortes depuis longtemps.
                The fairytale land of Longfellow, Borden and bronzed Evangeline.
                          The Road to the Keltic Lodge of Julia Corson, Rubber Baroness,                         
                sometime patient of faraway spas, recovered consumptive, Akron,                                 
                       Ohio, come from away nurtured in the air of Ingonish. Her                         
               delicate compromised lungs in complete remission, survivor
                        watching her loving Henry’s final breaths, and those old                                 
               friends who sent her North of Smokey—legendary Bells of Baddeck,
                        Alexander the great: his phones, planes and hydrofoils                                 
               mothballed now for museum shelves, school children, tourists.
                         Unlike Gatsby (that other great) his dominion over land, sea,
                and air outlasted  life, but labour leader MacLachlan (fellow Scot)                                 
                        would see the science as non-enlightened, corrupted in
                service of capital: machines for the military state of what is                                         
                        present, passing and to come.
                 None of this mattered to you, Jack, as you and your schoolteacher                                 
                       bride boarded the Aspy for Boston only to return in a year
                to work the gypsum mine in our baby badlands but that closed in
                        28 and then in a few short breaths consumption sent you                         
                packing as an inmate of old Point Edward, TB stigmata on your
                        battered lungs of Arras long since beyond the reach of the
                air of  Ingonish, the peace of Greencove.

5 Poems by Koon Woon

From "Three Quarks"  online magazine
January 11, 2013
Friday Poem

However Deep the Night I Expect Morning

Fog rolls into the valley, rolls
Where my mind goes into the evening,
As the rhythm of city syncopates my walk,
The roar of jets, the whisper of beggars,
Parks have their statues

In this city I know
Know where to find the best soup,
Where often the bands play the pigeons flock
Above heads of idols and unknown heroes
Not far from my tenement above Stockton and Vallejo;
I play Go from a book.

Rinds of light and rain fall silently
Equally on door knobs of silver or copper
This town dreams are altered by Andy and Val
Fight domestic while mice noisily cum
They do not expect morning

I think of crimson electric when morning sun rises
Arriving like a Chagall painting
A man floats up to kiss a woman from the Bolshoi Ballet

I am writing to you as I do, ever so remorseful
The window sill announces there is rain outside
But your purring has begun here in pulses of 8 to 80
As you break night once more and again
I write to you as I do and writing as you yourself do

On onion skin the lightest of verse
The lightest of verse, the lightest of verse
[Posted by Jim Culleny at 06:29 AM | Permalink]

face-to-face as in the back of a dream

so many years the sun blazed
and how could it not blaze?
as grass is parched in summer months –
fifty years have passed
a heart is torn from the chest every decade
still and green the grass of children do not fade

the flowers and thorns of childhood remain inarticulate
as the small woods lead me farther and farther away
when the years in quiet moments flash again in my view
everything genuine escaped the discarded
as I detached hearts to snag the coastal highway
turning in the wind they sing, oh, still they sing!

[may 4, 2011]

The Way I Had to Feel

Tree, darkness envelopes, dead but still stands
Center of forest a foreign life stirs, like “lilacs out of the dead land.”

A field of cigarette butts manifests as a Westward-bound on the streets of San Francisco
With that Parisian air of City Lights Bookstore spanning Columbus Street

I come home but the house is no longer existing; a light rain assails my face; I begin to feel
I miss you and this feeling is not optional

I carry a camel on my back as I walk from one poetry rejection to another
From one frown to the next

Even with coins I lift from a dead man’s eyelids
My actions are still explainable

That is, however tenuous is our link, I love you, pretty woman,
Though you might not believe my sincerity or that you are pretty

And so it is your perfumed handkerchief as T.S. Eliot would say that makes him digress
In my case it is buffoonery that makes my ambition to go way up

To infinity almost that my love is climbing for you!

This is exactly how I want to feel
And to hear tender words whispered into your ear as a very exquisite earring I am dangling therefrom

So please do not let me dangle anymore as a hanged man
For even in death I can feel with my right side and the obverse

And I can take the pain – your pain, and let’s roll them into the River Ganges

A cousin of mine swims to escape the August heat
She says to me, “Your speech is dense as bees, but your writing is cursive as chicken intestines.”

And if there is any truth to what she says, in my country I love you
For it is the way I feel because it is the only way to feel…

[February 14, 2014]

The thunderous applause of oceans
(from the collection, The Way I Had To Live)

We do not say our destination is near
Or that our journey is far,
But we do know our intent wins the applause
Of oceans.
We do not say our love melts butter
Or dissolves gold,
But we know its core is the white flame
Of fire.
We do not say our companionship is for
What hours,
Nor do we say we agree or disagree,
But we know that it has been a quarter of a century.
We have to live.
We have to live this way.
We have blemishes
And so are we to blame?
You have circled the city in your car,
Looking for a place to get good cucumbers,
But the loneliness drives you on,
Of this club you are a member.
I have rattled the typewriter and the sound
Bounces and rebound in my sparse
Rented room.
I seldom see a friend or even a foe.
Now we say we have to live
Simply because
We have to live the way we do, as victims
Of secret and nameless wars.
And we live like we do,
Until we can stroll along the seashore
And to hear the thunderous roars
Of ocean and ocean waves,
Until the oceans do not begrudge us anymore.
They give us their shores
As we embrace on the sand and the waves forever applaud.

Between Shaves

Between shaves, I grow in years
That bears a witness to your absent hand
Stroking as you would a pale fire
On the chin of your pet
Between shaves, I have lost you
To the grottoes and grovels of the underground
Where upon which the city was built
And nameless indeed the men and women
Who powdered their cheeks after each mining accident
Should life be as complicated as this?
Kowtowing to ships that bring tissue paper
For immaculating nostrils,
Lenses of stupefied clerks, the fat cheeks of children
Between shaves, I have looked into my coffee
And known myself for the repetition of meals
And I wonder, what can I give you,
That is three-leaved and not a clover,
And will startle you into magic!
The magic of a palm and a vulnerable face between shaves
An endless stream of bills and invoices
Telling me what I should be and to live
If only to satisfy those obligations
As I flee from pillow to pillow
With clasping hands but no supporting arms
With feet sinking into sand
Touching the rims of sand dollars
And you, the daughter I did not have
And you have a mother
She never has left you
She stayed and walked these sands of the Oregon coast
The prints are gone, but it was, it was in Oregon.

[Sunday, November 24, 2013]


Koon Woon now hosts the online journal Five Willows Literary Review
Submissions welcome!
Koon is also an internationally-anthologized poet with two full-length books of poetry from Kaya Press. When he is not lost in cyberspace he is tutoring math and philosophy and acting as a literary consultant in Seattle. Like Changming Yuan, he is a village boy from China. His great-grandfather is buried in Seattle's Mount Pleasant Cemetery. They were the first wave of Chinese to come to America. Despite all his rhetoric and pyrotechnics, he is a peaceful and peace-loving man.

[editor's note: Koon Woon has been one of the most popular poets featured in Poetry Pacific thus far, and as a result was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by our e.Journal in 2013.]

3 Poems by Duane Locke


So much
Depends on
A concealed inward event of no thought,

When an externalization defies the usual representation and
As when a wind uplifts a rose feather of a Roseate Spoonbill
And turns
A colorless segment of unknown wind
Into an intimate opaque rose space that emanates love.


Screen sags, lacks
The tightness.  The inept worker

Neglected the stretch demanded in his textbook.
His sloppiness thrills.

The screen looseness quivers, sends out a luminous silver,

Seen through a sliver of silver an emerald thin speckled snake,
Silvered spiral shaped in front of silvered frangi-pangi flowers.


Hoots, insults, miscellaneous imprecations
Came from those who stood on the river banks.
The cause of the commotion, that caused the “I-theys,”
To neglect their backyard barbeque,

Let their burgers burn to ashes was my raft,
Made from the side of a fallen barn on a foreclosed farm.

The hooters, these slave-mentalities, called my raft,
“An eyesore on their river,” their river of expensive speed boats.

My dog was not disturbed.  Her attention was elsewhere.
She was fully occupied with her reading of Franz Kafka.


Duane Locke lives in Tampa, Florida near anhingas, gallinules, raccoons, alligators, etc. He has published 6,766 poems, includes 31 books of poems. His two latest book publications. 2012, Are DUANE LOCKE, THE FIRST DECADE, 1968-1978, BITTER OLEANDER PRESS.  This book is a republication of his first eleven books, contains 333 pages.  Order from, or Amazon; and TERRESTRIAL ILLUMINATIONS, FIRST SELECTION, 40 pages, from Fowlpox Press.
He is also a photographer of Surphotos and Nature.  Has had 417 Surphotos published in e zines and many were used for magazine and book covers.  A book of 40 of his Surphotos has been published by Blaze box—POETIC IMPRINTS, RESPONSES TO THE ART OF DUANE LOCKE. Some of his nature photos are recently in the e zine TRUCK,  selected by Alan Britt, 5 of his surphotos. With poems by Felino Soraino are in booklet OF Zoos, Singapore. [for more information on Duane Locke,  search Google by clicking on Duane Locke, or Duane Locke, books, or Duane Locke, arts—circa 2 million entries.] <>

3 Poems by Susie Sweetland Garay


Often lately I find myself pulling over
ever so suddenly to the side of the road,
leaping from my still running vehicle
to take a photograph
of a thing that is too beautiful to pass by.

We are all more charming
and interesting because
our imperfections,
our mistakes.

A rare coin with a flaw is worth so much more
than one of so many perfect versions.

I receive odd looks from passersby,
but most hurry quickly back
to their daily migration.

So many gifts
dropped in our paths.
I try to pay attention,
to notice,
and place them one by one
carefully into my pocket.


My mother,
after listening
to me yell
at a taxi driver
in another
language which
I barely speak,
tells me that
she has now
seen a side of me
which she had
heard of, but
never seen.

being a bitch
is the only
way to get
things done.

A plastered smile,
filth for the sake of filth,
or meanness with no
reason at all.

I want my anger
to be productive

I want a reminder
of the life that
beneath the cold
frozen ground.


learning to share
In the woods
I came across a
coyote feeding
ground strewn
with bones.
They had found
a deer carcass and,
I can only assume,
shared it – all
feasting together.

But the bones
they left for me.

Sharing is much
harder for those
on two legs.


Born and raised in Portland Oregon, Susie 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 cat where she works in the Vineyard industry. She spends her free time writing, growing plants and making art. She has been published in a variety of journals, on line and in print, and co edits The Blue Hour Literary Magazine and Press, <>

3 Photos by Zhijian Tao

Unfolding Spring


Zhijian Tao, regular photographic art contributor to Poetry Pacific, and member of the Chinese Writers Association in Quebec, Canada, is a scholar and translator, with a doctorate form McGill University. His published works include Drawing the Dragon: Western European Reinvention of China (monograph), Bibliography Complex (translation from Chinese to English). He has also translated, from Chinese to English, two poetry collections entitled respectively The Fortuities of a Shoe and A Line at Dawn. He has also published prose writings, poems, etc, written in the Chinese language.

3 Poems by Wanda Morrow Clevenger


observe the swollen dame swarmed
by her pets given pet names;
perfected duplicity

observe how is readily rendered
an endless supply of royal jelly


this one is for
the boys
with names
dead in the water

beer bloated
cock & bull

truer lie

abandoned memory
brushed under the elegant oriental
is the truer lie; flawed disguise


Wanda Morrow Clevenger lives in Hettick, IL– population 200, give or take.  Published widely in print and electronic literary journals and anthologies, she is the author of This Same Small Town in Each of Us [2011], a collection of largely pre-published essays, poetry and flash fiction.  Please visit her website:  <> :

5 Poems Recommended by Misfit Magazine

The Drawer
            by Mercedes Lawry

The terrible winter you could not be reached.
Blue ice and no reflection in frost.
I grew weary and slept, pondering
the contingencies of forever.
I was shivering under four blankets.
Heat was money. I was less sure of anything
but the jays on the roof. Tears were only memory
and I could not abide music.
Downstairs, a drawer with all of your knives:
the pearl-handled, the fillets, one etched with a bear.
They’re still in the drawer, those knives,
still in the dark aside.


Mercedes Lawry has published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Nimrod, Poetry East, Salamander and Saint Ann’s Review, as well as two chapbooks.  She’s also published fiction, humor and essays, and stories and poems for children. She lives in Seattle.

Country Highway
          by David Chorlton

I’m tired, the woman shouts
into her cell phone, she’s my sister
for God’s sake and I’m tired
of goin’ to court and all you want
to fuckin’ do is . . . while she pumps
a few more miles into the tank
of her car that looks
as tired as she does, setting out
along the country western highway
where four datura flowers
are open on a strip
left as earth when the asphalt was laid down,
and a vulture floats
above the broom-yellowed hills
spreading east and west, as she follows
portable homes and a van
displaying the wish to
Secure Our Borders Now. She
isn’t stopping at any checkpoints,
just tunes the radio to the old songs
that match the high elevation landscape
where distractions are few
and the lyrics go like this:
Something he said
left me wanting him dead,
so I just had to cut him down.


David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in England, and spent several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in1978. He pursued his visual art and had several shows as well as writing and publishing his poetry in magazines and collections, the latest of which is The Devil’s Sonata from FutureCycle Press. Although he became ever more interested in the desert and its wildlife, the shadow side of Vienna emerges in his fiction and The Taste of Fog, which was published by Rain Mountain Press

Adirondack Chairs
for Jessica
          by Domenic Scopa

“We drowned in Eden….there’s no hand to take me home now.”
                                                                    -- Robert Lowell

Low tide odor
drifts up the knobby hill
from Portland harbor.
At the top,
they’re there,
two of them
Adirondack chairs in beds of pebbles,
and they rise like wooden thrones to overlook the pier,
their legs rotten & stubborn,
their seats faded.
I would have liked to bring you there
to sit with me again,
to watch the lobster boats
bronzed by sunset motor into port
with stuffed hulls,
and how the sun roughened fishermen
hose down their decks,
watching not to slip on grime.
Remember summer?  Manic raindrops pattered mud,
while we recited Dante.
We almost drowned in paradise,
and foghorns blared their dirge.
Sometimes I touched your hand across the chairs
and our fingers clasped,
but there’s no hand to take me home, now-
except my own.
I would have liked you to remember
that I was, and am, unwell.
in memoriam Robert Lowell


Domenic Scopa is a student at Suffolk University and will be graduating in April. He was recently accepted into the number one low residency MFA program in the country, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and will attend there in June to attain an MFA in Poetry and Translation. He has worked closely with a number of accomplished poets including National Book Award Winner David Ferry and Washington Book Prize recipient Fred Marchant. He is currently the assistant poetry editor of Venture Literary Magazine.

Friday Night
          by Tim Suermondt

He’s drunk.
She’s drunk.
I’m not.
To them the world
is perfect.
To me the world
still spikes with trepidation.
He staggers, slowly.
She tries to tip toe
along the curb.
I watch them in case
they need help.
I do know what a perfect
world is capable of.


Tim Suermondt has poems coming out in Plume Poetry Journal, december magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, The White Stag Journal. Mad Hat Lit and Red Fez. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

in the liquor business
          by Allison Thorpe

My father worked hard
At running up a bar tab.
Always on the job.

See his corner bar stool,
The one without a window
Or sun-starved ivy.

He skipped lunch,
Put in the long hours,
Worked overtime.
Fierce at taking inventory—
Beer, scotch, bourbon—
He stored the liquid assets
Faithfully in his liver.
It was not an occupation
My mother would have chosen.
She worked two jobs to cover
The bills and his corporate
Raids on her purse.
My father resented
The limited partnership,
The family who took no joy
In his staggering success.


A widely published author, Allison Thorpe lives and writes in a stone house in the backwoods of Kentucky where she dreams of becoming an international poker player

5 Poems by Changming Yuan


As the morning fog
Stalks away on ethereal feet
All boughs
Unanimously agree
To take action
By bursting themselves
With dripping green buds
Little dimples
In myriads
Across the widely smiling face
Of spring

Marpole, Vancouver West

1/ 8033 Osler Street

somewhere down my neighborhood
as if the sun and moon were melting
all the cherry twigs tinged with spring
like morning glows fallen in the wood

beside the freshly mown lawns I jog
both my steps and breaths in keeping
with every little bare cluster humming
such a sweet tune in the silvery fog

is my residence here but a day dream
or is the day dream my residence here?

2/ Open Opera


this solo performance
of sweet cherry trees

white clusters of vowels
pink chorus of assonance

there is no accompany
of leafy consonance

except bold internal rhymes
between heartbeats and footsteps

Quit It Tonight, Jesus

Come on, jesus
I know you are always busy
Writing your program for
All the lives in the universe

Admit it that you
Simply hate
This code monkey
Business of yours; why

Not quit it tonight, but
Let each fate write its own
Why not come out of your little castle
Walled with biblical pages?

Bored as you are, jesus
Why not just quit it tonight?

What If…

God is nobody but a little lucky survivor of
The last generation of earthlings, or a lost
Envoy dispatched by another civilization; man
Is actually a chimpanzee in frame, a hog
In tissue, and a frog in heart; the whole
Universe is no larger than a concept being
Formed in the brain of a mouse, whereas money
Is no other than a null number, fame a fading
Name, power a petty tower, and love a lust
In glove; indeed, what if there is a parallel
World where your other self is stalking you like
Your shadow, where you can become a god
In your own right; most important of all
What if you are it; what if now is then?

Shakespeare’s Definition of Man Recalled 

Thou subtle, perjur’d, false, disloyal man!
Thou art like a toad; ugly and venemous.
Thou art a flesh-monger, a fool and a coward.
Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.

You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian!
Go, prick thy face, and over-red thy fear, Thou lily-liver’d boy.
Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch!
You starvelling, you eel-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, you bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish–O for breath to utter what is like thee!-you tailor’s-yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck!

There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.
Thou poisonous bunch-back’d toad!
Thou art unfit for any place but hell.
Thou are pigeon-liver’d and lack gall.
Your virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese.
Thine face is not worth sunburning.
Your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage.
You are as a candle, the better burnt out.
Thy sin’s not accidental, but a trade.

A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly
                                                   promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality.


Changming Yuan, 8-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping (2013), grew up in rural China, holds a PhD in English, and currently tutors in Vancouver, where he co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan and operates PP Press. Most recently interviewed by World Poetry (cfro100.5fm), Yuan's poetry has appeared in 839 literary publications across 28 countries, including Asia Literary Review, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, London Magazine and Threepenny Review.

2 Poems by Jerrold Yam


Peeling it off
in half-slumber,
my fingers
aroused by the scent
of pliant tissue, such are
the ways the body
destroys itself: angiogenesis,
fibroblasts, granulation,
how Grandma nurses
her fear of sleep before
waking to her surprise.


The first time I sit on a breathing animal,
his reins in my palms
like something I am tasked to protect,
I can almost be running with equal purpose,
not bothered by the moving on
or the leaving behind. Placing my cheek
on his carpet of worn furs, it is like
resting on Grandma’s hands,
at the hospital where she prepares us
for the journey she must forge
alone. Already my palms hurt
from the labour of resisting
what no one understands
as grace. When the time comes
I shall know whom to believe.


Born in 1991, Jerrold Yam is a law undergraduate at University College London and the author of two poetry collections by Math Paper Press, Scattered Vertebrae (2013) and Chasing Curtained Suns (2012). His poems have been published in more than sixty literary journals worldwide, including Antiphon, Counterexample Poetics, Mascara Literary Review, Prick of the Spindle, The New Poet, Third Coast and Washington Square Review. He is the winner of the National University of Singapore’s Creative Writing Competition 2011, and the youngest Singaporean to be nominated for the Pushcart Prize. (

2 Poems by Kelley Jean White

Sinking House Tanka

woman in a bright
yellow sweater standing in
the doorway of a
house that’s about to be knocked
down a cell phone at her ear


            I told him the truth.
            God bless you, he said, come back tomorrow.

The hands on this clock
move slower than time
It is all face--white-faced platter, banded teacup, nose
with three whiskers, no unwinding, no pendulum,
no spring. Just some little motor spinning in the dark.
Take away its hands and it’d be nothing but a hum.
I don’t care if it’s set right.
Or wrong. It’s right at least twice a day.
It tells the truth then. God bless it.
It comes back
            I look at a carrot cake
            And I see a woman.


Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner-city Philadelphia and now works in rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in journals including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA.  Her most recent books are TOXIC ENVIRONMENT (Boston Poet Press) and TWO BIRDS IN FLAME (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 PCA grant.

2 Poems by Elizabeth P. Glixman


In the where we are world
intangible and tangled
a space of movies in holy time
without intermission
there is no waiting to rewrite the script.
It is happening as the popcorn crunches
in our mouths
as gunshots and diplomats talk
pulverizing the seeds of the living.

I am the seed they are trying to kill
created from an inner space of infinity
from musical strings a universe Einstein
could not imagine but longed for.
The Theory of Everything is in the oscillating ringing
the waves of unified motion
the tender inquisitiveness of time.

Vibration is all there is and time knows this.
Chords of sounds sunbathing on legs, arms,
lips, eyes, and inward in to ecstacy
grandiose and microscopic.
Wide open sounds that tenderize sunburns
and dance as the black holes pop open
when the journey is over
and we are sucked back into the beginning of time
where we see ourselves
in silence.
The seed they try to kill
waving undulating holding an infinite space
where fear is not found is the dream maker
of this dream time.
It will never be destroyed

Earth light beams into waters
that are in touch with feeling.
Waters that rush still
intoxicating inlets
with a happiness our human minds
would dance on the head of a pin to find.
Minted green foliage grows
light bound untangled
with all, lives in peace birthing choruses
with the bark of its neighbor.
Earth light is the director of sprouting seed souls
creator of the trunk and the roots.
It digs down
humming to earth.

In this where we are world change
sits in each quark of non linear time
rejoicing in the
of a creative mind.
Whirlpools of possibilities swim
as seed in little husks and kernels that
go dance or slide or ride
in the earth's decay, in it rise
in the soul's ability to multiple
and divide
with help from the chorus master who lives
sleeps and breaths
in each of us.
harmonizing all in creative reverie.

 [Published in 3 A.M. Magazine]

Cupid in a Red Cape Quivers

You're on the bridge alone-
cars whizzing by-
about to put lipstick on your pearly lips
Cupid is your name
You are not man or woman
You are above it all
Your wings flutter
hoping for human happiness

The waters below the bridge are
indigo reminding you of heaven
You've learned in your years as an archer
heaven is in the heart
Eros in the mind

You hear George Burns whisper
get busy
You smear/ put inciting fire engine red
on your burning lips
put on a red dress from that infamous poem
check your bow and arrow
stop the Pat Benetar tape in your head
Love is a Battleground-
Then shoot two mortals up with eros happiness
like it is heroin high and you are the dealer.


Elizabeth P. Glixman is a poet, writer and artist. Her author interviews, articles, book reviews and creative non-fiction pieces have appeared in many publications including The Pedestal Magazine, Whole Life Times, Journey Poetry Anthology and the anthology Chocolate for A Woman's Soul II. Elizabeth's short story "Mother's Bony Behind" was chosen one of the notable online stories of 2006 by storySouth's Million Writers Award.

She is the author of the poetry chapbooks: A White Girl Lynching, 2008 and Cowboy Writes a Letter & Other Love Poems, 2010, both published by Pudding House Publications, OH; The Wonder of It All, 2011, published by Propaganda Press, CA; and I Am the Flame,2012, published by Finishing Line Press, Ky.

Elizabeth's poems reflect the experience of her own life, her sense of humor and the world of peoples' relationships with each other, society and animals. Elizabeth's work shows the richness and joy of life with all its injustices, absurdities and heartache.

3 Poems by Robert Wexelblatt

Pacific Poem

Homer was right: there’s only one Ocean.
Yet it isn’t wrong to name its parts, to make
the limitless less vast, more intimate,
our own.  In one sense, to feel the Aegean
is to touch the Coral, to gawk at the
Barents is to gape at the Banda.  As
a child I waded into the Atlantic
unafraid, clacking syllables that scanned
like three safe waves, swathed in the Arctic
and the Celebes too. Yet, in another
sense, in all these years, I’ve never once touched,
been touched by, the most boundless sea of all.

My private sea is gouged by its own trench,
broad basins, several sunken volcanoes.
I navigate its straits, ply gulfs christened with
my own name.  So I easily forget
the way deep flows into deep, Andaman
to Indian, Tasman into our measureless,
unanimous, known, unknown Pacific.


A woman is not a cello
nor a peacock a Frenchman;
nevertheless, faces may be infinite
and ribbons solacing to scratch.

One apple orchard Sunday began
saturated in cadmium yellow air,
then dusk, a pillowy Prussian blue,
night like an iced blanc-de-blancs;
bouncy duckling children 
gathered waxen impressions
that were both theirs and not.

A woman is not a cello
nor life a penitentiary;
all the same, all the same,
hair falls down like Vesuvius cinders
jowls thicken like crab bisque
memory plays grifter tricks
musical chairs between synapses
whose bosons are next to nothing.

Still, I insist, one woman was like a cello.


The mayfly, alive less than two hours,
Frantic for a mate not flowers,
Must copulate before she dies.
Immortality = more mayflies.

Indite by day, revise by night. 
Ephemera are all I write,
Craft unseaworthy, bound to sink
Beneath black billows of spilt ink.


Robert Wexelblatt is professor of humanities at Boston University’s College of General Studies.  He has published essays, stories, and poems in a wide variety of journals, two story collections, Life in the Temperate Zone and The Decline of Our Neighborhood, a book of essays, Professors at Play; his novel, Zublinka Among Women, won the Indie Book Awards First Prize for Fiction.  His most recent book is a short novel, Losses. <>

2 Poems by Felino A. Soriano

this sidewalk’s crack has 

and the nuances of enjoyment jump in cadence
with walkers and their rewalking or their pluralized
plummeting (habit) of the achromatic architecture;
perhaps a decadence involves ________, then when
waiting isn’t a supposed reality beyond justified
frequency of hope, time or the hands of the moving
alteration will, devolve, involving space and the
varied voices of asking to delineate species and
rest in the fallacy of fixated demonstrations

in tribute
                         —for my daughter

my silence believes in your trust

            the eyeing of your favorite hand                                            its
leaning specialized fervor

explanatory exploration


these pluralized spectrums of learning

                        color or the clarity of jazz

and your improvisation impresses
                                                                                                as my

altered becoming from your fundamental burgeon

examines these collections of harmonies                    and

with your progression                         my positional watching
wears the range of your

bouquets’ elated transformations

specialized hanker

advice eclipses nouns or their corporeal
lined with marginalized meanings their
definitional fragrance
fixates toward north
and the misery of now’s
elongated trajectory

Personal website: Felino A. Soriano
Founder/publisher: Counterexample Poetics and Differentia Press
Find me on Twitter and Facebook
Contributing editor, Sugar Mule

2 Poems by Christine Haverington

The Undancing of the Torpedo Shape, 1984

The undancing of the torpedo shape
Museum purchase 33.58.2
painted wood, wire and sheet metal
When did you accomplish this
this plexiglass-angled space?
How did you get him in there
lure him with an afterlife?
He hardly fits.
You've taken away his sky and given
invisible flat air--
Calder taps against the roof, hard.

Vast Self-crippling Sea

Vast self-crippling sea
refusing coalescence
Invents its own forbidding shore, and hobbles on
in its helpless wash
bumping drop against another:
Lip coils from lip
foams, spews saliva, folds in on itself like some
oceanic omelet
convulses, and dies.


Christine Haverington has a bachelor’s degree in English from Williams College and a doctorate in English literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She holds a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the University of Toronto. She teaches ancient and contemporary literature, writing, and academic and social ESL. She has published books and articles and delivered papers on a variety of topics including Chaucerian Tragedy; Post-Jungian feminist archetypal theory; medieval mystics; radical naturalist literary theory; Sophoclean irony; environmental college writing; and medievalist Fantasy and Science Fiction. She has also published poetry and a book of local history. Her current teaching practice is grounded in non-violent communication and transcultural pedagogical theory. Christine, her partner, sculptor Stephen Federico, and their spaniel Charlie reside on Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island.

4 Poems by Damian Ward Hey


I seek

grow into








in the heft
of everyday things
there are cathedrals

Spring Poem

after zazen
while the finger
is still pointing at the moon
and I cannot yet feel my feet
I hear the ice-cream truck’s song
in the street
for the first time
and am reminded
all the more so
of Spring’s insistence


Damian Ward Hey is co-founder and editor in chief of and/or, an international print journal of experimental writing and graphic art (  He is the executive editor of Ars Omnia Press (  His work has been published, most recently, in Truck, Danse Macabre, and Blaze Vox.  A poem, “Tongue,” will also appear in the next issue of Cricket Online Review, Vol. IX, No. I.       

3 Poems by Reid Mitchell


The clouds cry ink
in drops
I cup my hands
and catch
a catfish chiaroscuro
flopping like
a woman's hips in love.

Rush her to Su Dong Po,
in every China cook-shed
famous for losing track.
A man who fried his words
drunk red as his heart.

The catfish chides the poet.

“Why turn yourself
servant to a ghost?

“Warm your bed
with red, clean sheets.

“One time, before you die,
permit yourself
the feast.”


White bottomed wooden clouds float
Princess Moon shows sharp canine teeth,
cunning tip of tongue.

She sends her kisses waterbound.
The stream's surface freezes white.
I stay warm in my riverbed.

I danced with Princess Moon more times than one
before I tried to drown that goddess, partner
to every poet in China, in White Monkey.

The world may announce
I died besotted
but I'm a mudcat learning to breathe muck,

A river raccoon swallowing trash.
I am not the tide to rise
at the whim of Princess Moon.

I am the bewhiskered
monster of the craft of song,
one hundred hooks jutting my jaw.


Between her shoulders
she sports the Tree of Life,

Black ink reveals her spine,
nerve and vertebrae,
traced from buttocks to nape
of neck almost to reptilian brain.

My future is no banzai
to balance on the palm
of my hand.

And I cannot be bothered
to explain myself
to every ravenous fool
from whom I must walk away,

The Tree of Life, Half-Withered,
branches of nerve and arteries,
bearing no ruby apple
but blooming black
and holy.


REID MITCHELL is a New Orleanian currently teaching at Tsinghua Daxue in Beijing.  He has contributed poems to various journals including ASIA LITERARY REVIEW, CHA, IN POSSE, and PEDESTAL.  He is CHA's consulting editor.  He is also the author of one novel, A MAN UNDER AUTHORITY.

2 Poems by Byron Beynon


The sound of doors
shutting inside
anonymous rooms
during the quiet
hours when there is still
light rusting
in a remote sky;
the atmosphere clears
like a table
after a meal,
the long distance of yesterday
creeps in
faded like a memory
caught in a yellow beam,
untouchable like a silent
photograph developed
in the mind,
retention breathing
inside a native ground
patient as discovery.


For long hours the horses have stood
in the rain,
in landscapes washed
by a stained canvas of sky,
quenched grass, a bruised green,
they occupy a torso of field
knowing the squall of the day will pass,
the focus of their stare
beyond hedges shaped by the wind;
from the Bucephalus of history
they sense ancestors at wars,
loaded carts and carriages pulled
through mud,
a focus within art,
the racing-reelers of cinema,
each eye haunted by echoes of arid plains
as the jewelled water exudes over them.


Byron Beynon lives in Swansea, Wales. His work has appeared in several publications including
Agenda, Quadrant (Australia), Muddy River Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, The Warwick review,
and The Worcester Review
(USA). Recent collections include Cuffs (Rack Press) and Human Shores (Lapwing Publications). A Pushcart Prize nominee.  <>

2 Poems by David Ratcliffe

Bitterest Love

Between what is adored
and in what is perceived
to be right at the time
for a peace to be found
taking hold of one’s nerve
to display what is felt
In a moment of hurting
where blessings are sought

Underlying emotion
spills out at the sides
leaving disguised contortions
behind the facade
though redemption alludes
and returns to the crypt
where the corpse of a soul
has eroded through time

Desperation brings action
though nothing can halt
the controlling of fate
that the ages have cast
by the actions and words
from the closest of kin
that set fire to the wagons
where loved ones exist

In the ashes the truth
burns away into dust
taking with it the bitterest
loss of all time
and the memory of what
was once love so pure
that it caused all who touched it
to perish therein


When ambition exceeds ability
and the twilight beacons call
amid the depths of fretful waters
where the nets of torment trawl

And aspirations float like algae
carried far by natures whim
to a chastened rugged coastline
where your troubles learned to swim

Only ghosts of who you were
are giving clues to what remains
in reflections on the water
since the coming of the rains

Until the deluge loses sight
within the crystals in the air
so all there’s left is the reminder
of someone who chose to care


My name is David Ratcliffe and I live in Fareham, Hampshire on the South coast of England, though I am originally from the North. I have been writing since childhood and my imagination was inspired by the lyrics of ‘Catch the Wind’ by folk singer Donovan, when I was around nine years old I have subsequently written around 70 songs over the years, ‘mainly for my Daughter to sing’ she is a professional actress named Stevie Rose Blake. This musical introduction into poetic verse, lead me to write many poems in my youth, but in later life the music took over a little inspired by my Daughters singing voice. However, I returned to poetry around six years ago after I had found an old book of mine ‘Ariel by Sylvia Plath.’ I was hugely influenced by Sylvia and Ted Hughes while in my teens and finding the book in the attic, I was fired up once more to write poetry. My work uses many structures and topics, but the human condition gets a workout quite a lot.
I have also been inspired and influenced by; Dylan Thomas, William Blake, Edgar Allen Poe, Leonard Cohen and many others. I also enjoy writing short stories and I have included them in my two self-published books of poetry, Scratching the Page and Bonded in Fusion. My work is scrutinised by a fine group of poets who have come together on face book in A Poets Learning Society, which includes Editor Michael Dobson.
Through reading huge amounts of differing styles and structure in writing, I have found my place and confidence and I have much to thank him for. email address;

3 Poems by Stacy Gardner

Open as the sky
for those willing to look, thoughts adrift
amidst a ripple and swift the continental drift
exchanges life
How swift

True marmoreal
for things do not stick, a gliding grace
that filled the chip with Thracian beauty
Eyes upon retrace with a detailed embrace
the Thracian beauty

And a bridge was born
built from the very bricks that built the walls
enriching design, trust was the muse in essence falls
Trussed the interlocking dome
for the muse in essence falls

The  Blush

So fresh a blush unfolds under batted lashes
and untold nuances ship north
from butterflies to the heart
trailing tenderness flashes
and from the fluttering of the heart
to the matrix of the brain

I can look only moments
into the purity of the soul and unmould naivety
as the talesman shall never take the stand
the wiseman shall never judge
His eyes to guide me to the promised land
intimate, the infinite nudge
and I purr into my pillow
for I can only look moments
into the purity of his soul and unmould naivety


the dear old friend I long for, I crave
the startling noise of a pin drop, I beg
for a tuneless harmony
of an empty echo

I yearn to mute senses
and pluck whispering feathers
from their source

I ache for the portal
of a soundproof vessel
and a cognizant
black hole

I pray for solace


4 Poems by Eric G. Müller

Dawn, Dusk, Night, Day

Dawn’s waking moment
lets fingers fondle locks
while dreams cling to hair –
weight of day’s work lies ahead
she sighs and furrows her face

Dusk looks down, knowing
too much work is left undone
which he’s learned to bear –
fatigue shows in his many trials
chiseled deep into his beard

Night in naked sleep
births an owl between her legs
ignores the fright mask
that lies empty to her left
while wisdom stares wide awake

Day twists like a snake
from the pain of his failures
and those still to come –
puzzled eyes pierce the distance


The first day I looked left
along the beach at sunset
I could see the mountains
rise up dark and clear
from the sea.

Each subsequent day
the haze thickened
and the sun’s red deepened
while the mountains
lost their might,

until they were utterly gone
and the sun looked like Jupiter.

It’s only a haze,
that alters things.

Figs, Oaks and Olives

Branches and leaves of
Figs, oaks and olives
Dip toward me,

Stirring vague old
Stories, while
Gusts of swallows

Swirl with the
Shade-swaying breeze
And the cicada chant,

Folding time
So that the tips of
An opaque past

And a sleepy new
Touch perfectly.

In the Way

We’re often in the way
of one another
blocking the flow
like rocks in a river

Often we’re in the way
of ourselves
caught in the current
smashing rocks in a flood

The way to the other
is often through
the flow of minds
across stepping stones

To make way
for others
and ourselves
is to be a rock
or a river
depending on
the need
of the moment


Eric G. Müller is a musician, teacher and writer living in upstate New York.  He has written two novels, Rites of Rock (Adonis Press 2005) and Meet Me at the Met (Plain View Press, 2010), as well as a collection of poetry, Coffee on the Piano for You (Adonis Press, 2008).  Articles, short stories and poetry have appeared in many journals and magazines.

2 Poems by Austin Alexis

In the Hospice Chamber

When we slip into Eternity
we do so alone.
The cosmos does not allow
anyone else to slither through
the same portal, simultaneously.

Three other persons
were stationed in the room
when you took leave of us.
Yet you, most social of beings,
existed there, solitary, 
a raindrop
sliding down
a stem
to rest
in earth.

Survivors of an Atrocity

When I think of their pain
I imagine a mist,
the drifting ammonia fumes of Venus's surface,
an atmosphere unable to settle,
unable to rise.

A purple-putrid fog
dragging itself across shadowed terrains.
The vapor meanders...gains force,
howls--a gale
no one will ever be able to hear.


Austin Alexis won the twentieth annual Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award for his first full-length manuscript: Privacy Issues.  It will be published in early 2014 by Lotus Press and distributed by Wayne State University Press.  He has recent work in (or forthcoming in) The Ledge Poetry and Fiction Magazine, Home Planet News and in the anthology Rabbit Ears: TV Poems, the first anthology of poetry about television.


1 Poem by Ian Mullins


This morning in a jewellery store
I saw a man
take a handful of diamonds
like a kid picking up snow
and throw them down
on the glass

and they sounded just like
the rain on your window;
but there’s as many bugs on the glass
as there are freckles on your breasts
so we count them one by one,
but each time we count
there is one more or one less

just like this morning in the store
when the man sweated diamonds
as he counted the shines
again and again

but missed the one
shining dirty rain on the bugs in your window
your freckles like fire ants
under my fingers;

I guess today was the day
I lit my first blaze.

Ian Mullins was born in Liverpool, England, and is grateful to the editors of The Camel Saloon, Right Hand Pointing, Off The Coast, Neon,and many other sites and magazines for allowing him to travel on-line without a passport.