Tuesday 5 August 2014

1 Poem by Nabeela Altaf


I once met a girl
on my way to school
She had a jar wrapped in red paper
I asked her
Is it a money jar?
She chuckled. "I'm collecting smiles."

She went her way and I on mine
But curious I was, I followed her.
She came across an old rich man
She snatched away his smile and put it in the jar

A lovely lady met her way
adorned in glitters and gold
Her smile too went into the tell tale jar
And the girl bound for home.

She lived in a shallow place
Cockroaches were her inmates
She distributed the smiles all around
To the lame man
To the poor woman
To the kid who could not stop crying.

I had then thought of the wicked girl's heart
How thoughtlessly she snatched!
But unto the scene before my eyes
Caring and generous she hatched.


Nabeela Altaf is a 3rd year medical student from Pakistan who dabbles in poetry and art. She has an enthusiasm for spoken word poetry and is currently affiliated with Spoken Stage, an organization that encourages spoken word. Besides poetry, Nabeela has a talent for art and draws comics in her leisure time. She loves animals and hopes to become a vet after she completes her bachelors. Nowadays Nabeela is working on her book which she hopes to publish in the years to come. E-MAIL: nabeelaaltaf932011@hotmail.com



[Summer Issue 2014]

Summer Stanzas at Zhangjiajie: Photo by Changming Yuan

Editorial Notes

dear PP Friends,

as previously planned and announced, we meant to have a special section devoted to Poetry Canteen in this issue, but unfortunately because we have not received enough poetry submissions from canadian teenagers or high school students, we have to postpone this project indefinitely.

another less exciting thing to mention is that our Poetry Pacific has gradually become a one-man show now: as Allen is too busy with his school studies and other pursuits to spend any more time on poetry writing and publishing, Changming is the only one working behind the whole scene, and even he has to keep his computer time minimum as a result of his deteriorating health, especially his hurting eyes.

nevertheless, we do have some good news. for one thing, we are planning to produce a print anthology sometime next year. more importantly perhaps, we are finally ready here at PP Press to take manuscript submissions of any length from anyone all year round. while we charge no reading fee, we welcome submissions via email - please send your poetry manuscript to us at editors.pp@gmail.com (our revised guidelines can be found at :: http://poetrypacificpress.blogspot.ca/2014/08/pps-open-call-for-ms-submissions.html).

in this issue, we are honoured to showcase 1 poetry editor, 2 visual artists and 53 poetry writers.

thanks for your continuing support, and happy reading!

until then...

-PP editorial team




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,
to editors.pp@gmail.com, 
or visual artworks as individually separate attachments. 
Before acceptance, 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!


 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, 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 do 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;

* Royalty and/or support plan will be discussed and agreed upon on an individual basis;

* Neither inquiry nor proposal is necessary - please send your manuscript together with your literary cv (or professional bionote) to this email address:: editors.pp@gmail.com

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

Interview with Alan Botsford

Alan Botsford is author of mamaist: learning a new language (Minato No Hito, 2002);  A Book of Shadows (Katydid Books, 2003); and Walt Whitman of Cosmic Folklore (Sage Hill Press, 2010) a hybrid collection which, as the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review wrote, “combines […] poetry, criticism, dialogues, myths and folktales, hip-hop rhymes and postmodern surfaces interwoven with the wit and wisdom of Whitman’s visionary embrace of the reader”. He was educated at Wesleyan University and Columbia University, and has lived the past quarter century in Japan. A featured guest-editor of Japanese Poems in Translation in June 2012 of Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Botsford serves as editor of Poetry Kanto, Japan's longest running annual bi-lingual international poetry journal (poetrykanto.com). His poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, River Styx, Yemassee Literary Journal, Mickle Street Review, Confrontation, and American Writing, among other places, and in poetry anthologies in the U.S. and Japan. He teaches English at Kanto Gakuin University in Yokohama, Japan and lives with his wife, the illustrator Minako Saitoh and their son in Kamakura.

Seven Important Questions for Poetry Editor Alan Botsford

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

.   What is poetry? Unresponsive dust, or Life: you choose. Or it’s the gift predecessors have given you, and that you would pass on to all those in need of reading it. Or it’s one of those gifts you don’t look for, it finds you.

  Yet why you, you wonder? Prayerfully inside outside, hopefully over under, actually 
  there here, definitely before after, is all you’ll get by way of an answer. (Yes, down the 
  path of its pulverization, the dust sings…but as bad as it gets, it gets better when the best 
  of you, as poet, is at play.)

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

  Poetry—it’s true, there’s no future in it. Annihilating the self is dangerous. Poetry knows
  this. But when it’s your destiny, it’s what makes the present worth living. That’s why you 
  keep the perception of the real and the imagined separate. Poetry won’t cerebrate what it

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

   Before a real poet, living or dead, I’d bow and say: Your potential is paralyzing to someone like me! Your promise is perpetual and perceptual! And O I’ve never seen how one sees the world like you, let alone imagined feeling how it feels if in your shoes I’ve stepped (I’d be the universe and who could mistake it?). Climbing aboard such trains of associations as yours leaves me dizzied. Unto me I receive the dazzle mercifully unfinished. You’re like a god of the beautiful whose fragrances make me swoon! O beautiful expression! You’re the boon without the mooning! You’re as deep a commerce at a sale that I can set sail for, and as mystical a cellar as a cosmic cell locked by the key that energizes every door one walks through, as ever I’ve known! O thank you for your view, for all the things that you see, that you offer and proffer profiting you not, but for free.

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

  A poet who comes to poetry not to chase fame but to make a purchase of the world’s 
  newest names understands that when we sleep, the earth embeds us in its nocturnal arms
  and rhythms, its underworld music. Here a poet can make a stand in the yawning earth
  where poems originate from utterances ancestral as kin. and where what he dives into,
  divides him like knives flaying the skin from the bones. Here, nobody knows who you
  are save by your true voice, summoning you back into your life where spiritual
  revolution-inducing poetry is poetry taking you back to the source to bathe and be reborn

  Dante, Dante, Dante.

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

  Among lyric poets I’m familiar with I’d include Michael S. Collins, William Heyen,
  Mari L’Esperance, and Rigoberto Gonzalez.

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?

  Poetry as energy work, as spiritual journey, is something that can be better understood
  and promoted in the future.

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

  Writing poetry is not for the faint of heart. You do it only if you have to. Poem-writing
  offers a way of integrating and balancing those irrational energies of darkness with the
  daytime, rational mind of light. Indeed, poems are as necessary to waking, as dreams are
  to sleep. But the poet beholding the boundaries toes no line, betrothes himself to none
  but the line he’s sentenced to writing To the un-belonged he or she would belong-- the
  poet, the dreamer, the flash artist.. We are all here, the poet would remind us, as native
  speakers of Poetry, our first language.

4 Poems by Alan Botsford

the other shoe

There’s a concrete
Slab with a
Seedling sprouting through:
That’s you.
There’s a pair
Of pals in their
Natural habitat:
That’s laughter.
There’s a runner
Racing by you
To the finish line:
That’s fine.
There’s a peace
You’ll never see
The full measure of:
That’s love.
There’s a feeling
That the other
Shoe never fits:
That fits.
Don’t worry.
There’s a change
In the air
That’ll soon be read:
Enough said.

The Mermaid

The mermaid captured mute
Tells her story of silence.
We build a cathedral of listening
To catch the echoes of what
She says. Buried cathedrals deep
In the sea under the sea. It’s
Twice as meaningful at half
The price, for hers is a currency
Of absence that embraces silence
And waits for the perspective to change.
We haven’t the means to understand
Her only mirroring her.
I swim the length of incomprehension
To see her reflection in my words.

drug of choice
what word for you hits
a nerve
what word for you opens
a vein
what word for you is
a rush
what word for you blows
your mind
what word for you slows
it down
to get
and around
what word for you before
getting heard
a lesson learned
what word for you, hard-
earned, hits
what word for you is
your “holy shit!”
what word for you cases
the joint before
making its point
what word for you holds
itself back
while you know it
has your back
what word for you is
before after


There’s a concrete
Slab with a
Seedling sprouting through:
That’s you.
There’s a pair
Of pals in their
Natural habitat:
That’s laughter.
There’s a runner
Racing by you
To the finish line:
That’s fine.
There’s a peace
You’ll never see
The full measure of:
That’s love.
There’s a feeling
That the other
Shoe never fits:
That fits.
Don’t worry.
There’s a change
In the heir
That’ll soon be read:
Enough said.

5 Photos by Zhijian Tao

Water Melody


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 Anthony Ward

Autumn Winds

I like to smell the autumnal air when winter threatens violence.
When lace has given way to beards
Thrown like gossamer to veil decay.

With whispery willowherb on the verge of conversation
Cut short by broom splitting like gunshot across fields,
Perpetuating the silence while the garden exhales.

And vetch stretches to an upward gasp while crocosmia licks at the air
In a flamenco of flames beneath the brooding maples-
Those arborous beacons calling in the night.

As the sun follows the horizon,
Up lighting leaves into their seminal colours,
Before a sanguine moon makes alto cumulous waves that break across the sky,

After stampeding winds leave summer in its wake
And the robin ripens its breast amongst the apples.


Soon we’ll be shot through a tube in vessels
Like blood through an artery
Spurting out onto the platform in a froth.
Accelerated particles bumping into one another
Through the labyrinthine abdomen of the city.
A thronging ache spangling for exits
Passing vitreous enamel posters,
With mercurial escalators haemorrhaging bodies,
Surfacing like ants from mounds squinting into the light
Before our flight to bees busying ourselves in skyward hives.


These moving images beguile me,
Mesmerise, hypnotise me
Into believing in another world
Where I don’t exist.

Merely an observer
Feeling emotion surging with sound,
Build inside me like a cathedral-
All space reverberating with fulfilment.


Anthony tends to fidget with his thoughts in the hope of laying them to rest. He has managed to lay them in a number of literary magazines including Jellyfish Whispers, Poetry Pacific, Shot Glass Journal, Turbulence, The Autumn Sound Review, Torrid Literature Journal and Crack the Spine, amongst others.

3 Poems by Laurie Barton


I felt thy green love
in the tickle of grasses--

night crickets ticking
a creaky praise.

Savior, come searching
for me--

Thy precious pot-bellied
Thy worthy depressed

Thy sinful mall stalker
of sticky bun frosting--

pecans in a soft bed
of cinnamon dough

froth in the latte
of lonely strolls

heat in the temple
of backslidden hands.


Gnats dotted the tropical
pasta, as I walked round
the villa where you drank
rum, not waiting in vain
for your dinner

your lotion
your hand

Who knew
I’d be clenching a mouse
in the dial-up creak
of connection?

The newfangled curtness
of e-mail:

when you would file
how I had failed
why nothing was owed
what never to think:

        you’d pound me a bird
        or mix me your hot spice



        for Dennis Wilson

You beat the drum like you’d beat
a cult killer and pound the soft sons
on your block.

How to explain your planed face?
        Your cheekbones and
        muscular frame.

You married five times, with roses
and sparkling snow. Lost a big boat
to the bank.

Drank yourself calm
with the hobos—
dark-bearded otter,
diving for lost picture frames.

Kelp, gently waving as vodka
        released  y o u

bubbles, and silt on the floor.


Laurie Barton lives in southern California, where she completed an MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in juked, Glass, Word Riot, Prick of the Spindle, and Jabberwock Review. She is a Best of the Net finalist and winner of the New Southerner Literary Prize in Poetry.

3 Poems by Michael Caylo-Baradi


Midnights crowd on steps unmoored,
where heels and shadows clump or merge.

Egos pose like fragile glass, before
they shatter empty streets with nerves.

Alleys speed the hush of dawn, and
narrow eyes to blind their skies.

It’s all about the slope of necks, the
way they love entangled curves.

Don’t trust their versions before noon, when
gods are naked stones in squares.

But watch the light that slice their tales, and
how they bloat the shape of moons.


Storms are drowning
days with prayers.

Their angels hold
on winds and clouds.

Flowers bind
the rooms we house,

filled with plastic
gods we cross.

Tender flames
burn days of fear;

we pour their
ashes on our eyes.

We polish twilight’s
whispered songs,

to silence doors
that shut our moons.

Lights fall slowly
on nameless streets,

and scatter steps
that cities raise.

Our seasons sweat
the sun with stars,

where shorelines hide
in borrowed gales.

Where Shadows Swerve

We chase butterflies for angels without wings.
They land on flowers that shade the sky.

We forge clouds that miss the dawn.
They tower cities that gleam with dread.

We stand where echoes blend in roads.
They fall on streets immersed in codes.

We hang objects on walls that clash.
They shatter windows breathing sighs.

We hold on curtains that veil the night.
They feel like touch in muted shores.


Michael Caylo-Baradi lives in California. His work has appeared in BlazeVOX, Eclectica, Galatea Resurrects, Metazen, MiPOesias, Prick of the Spindle, The Common, and elsewhere. He has also reviewed for Latin American Review of Books (UK) and NewPages.

3 Poems by Tim Cremin

Welcome to My Igloo

Sorry – there’s not a lot to do
in here except huddle under
covers, keep the circuits working
till the thaw, if it ever comes.
Those who skate across the surface
never know the wonders of
these drowning depths.

 Toy Story

First I bought a toy,
then I bought the toy store,
then I built a factory to make the toys,
make myself a toymaker.
Made too many toys, though –
more than all the kids
could possibly play with.

Fruit Fool

Birdsong berry sweet found
tangled up with chain-linked
drainage ditch, fruit fool
spreading seed near the exit:
abandoned tunnel runs
under, cuts through
the guts of the city.


Tim Cremin is a member of the Grey Court Poets (a community poetry group based in Methuen, Massachusetts) and several of his poems are included in their 2013 anthology, Songs from the Castle’s Remains.  Tim’s poetry has appeared in many publications, including Crack the Spine, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and Albatross.  Video versions of some of Tim’s poems can be found on the Grey Court Poets channel on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/GreyCourtPoets).

2 Poems by Charlie Baylis

A life in dreams

¿Dónde está, … dónde está tu niña amarga?
Federico Garcia Lorca- Romance Somnámbulo

Somewhere the soft wind slows, somewhere the soft wind stops
Where an old man sits under the light of the stars

And remembers the frogs singing of the apple births,
Or the virgins sequinning their backs with nettles

The copper bells are dreaming up her footsteps, still

Though the railings she caressed are not the green
Of flakes peeling away with the wane of the moon

If the sun tumbles from the tangles of his hair
To an open book of poetry, who will answer?

Who else has polished the trunk of the dying oak?
Who else has straightened the bodies of the seabed?
And kept a flame lit in the wax of her candle?

He is crying, the flesh of the watermelon
Tastes no sweeter than the blood of an extinct rose
That pours through the love in her mother’s name

Now he sleeps on a couch of cold steel, where her arms
Are torn linen streaming from an opal staircase

And a black butterfly floats from the bannister
Offering its residue of petrol and flames

Under gravestones she is calling, she is dancing
The oleanders sprout wild through her eyes

When a thief taps the window of the old man’s dreams
And slits the throat of the dawn

A poem in protest against the war on terror

Today twelve green jets dropped stars on Pakistan
Each one garlanded with blue eyes and emptiness
The flags of the west dined on the flags of the east

Still no one sang of the height of the mountains
No one strapped a tear to the back of a snowflake
And timed an exploding igloo with fists of sand

So the pretty boys must cube the Captain’s sugar
And stir the lime into his tea, before the pale night
Assaults them with his whip, with sieves and bandages

Because no one is chanting the rights of the mouth
No one is protecting acres of wild pomegranate
Or shall shepherd away the heads of dead donkeys

The millionaires will lunch on parades of waves
And stuff mint into the babies’ bottoms, happy
As the carousel rounds the gold in their pockets

No one is hunting the victims of polar bears
Or raising an ivory chapel laced with pearl
Because the drones don’t scream for the end of the drones
Because the one eyed man can’t see.


Charlie Baylis covers the lessons of absent teachers in Nottingham, England. His poetry and short stories have most recently appeared in SAW magazine and The Delinquent. He spends most of his spare time slightly adrift of reality He blogs, sporadically, here:theimportanceofbeingaloof.tumblr.com

2 Poems by Neil Ellman

The Conjurer 
(after the painting by Leonora Carrington)

What magic comes from a creature
--imagined itself—
imagining creatures no more like itself
than insects are to men
copper is to gold

What wizardry turns the phantoms of its mind
--itself a phantom of the mind—
to a flame-tongued dragon or a beast
with the devil’s horns and tail
as if its own tail were the devil’s wand

What sleight of hand can pull a unicorn
from an empty hat
what alchemy creates the universe
from infinities of empty space
turn stars to fish, fowl and men
then itself into a man’s tormented dream.

Found While Digging a Trench 
(after the etching from The War by Otto Dix)

imagining my life
in a shovelful of dirt
brittle, ossified
my future’s shape
once trembling in the hand
its wings torn off
by a spiteful child
now buried in the shallow earth
as I shall be
along with my patriotic songs
I dig my grave
Imagining my death
In a shovelful of dirt
too far away from home.


Neil Ellman, a poet from New Jersey, has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and Rhysling Award.  More than 950 of his poems, many of which are ekphrastic and written in response to works of modern and contemporary art, appear in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world.

3 Poems by Tim Kahl

Night Invitation

the invitation to the night
arrives purple and orange
egg drop above the horizon
a puzzle to figure and piece
together with words
no one says anything
except stare
the vigil allows the eyes
to wander out again
into the shape of darkness
that mislaid gift for
the man who sleeps beneath
the mango tree in the park
expecting his cough
to impersonate the morning
shore bird's call as it comes
to investigate the pools
there is a rhythm to the sea's
attitude and interests
the long line of its breaths
that forever welcome
the dispossessed of words.


Everyone keeps telling me my self is socially constructed.
I am that barnacle clung to an other. When I raise my eyes,
my genes realize they are peopled. I squat and this makes me think
my species will arise in me at random. I muddle through. So much language
to sort out and see what will follow. I purse my lips and granules attach, swallow
and they dissolve. Then, someone is there to tell what part of me is missing.


The rising tide brings in
mixed blessings—both life
and the flotsam from
the far side of the world
where the forecasts start.
Suddenly, there is a
vague indication that
danger is present,
that anything
might happen.
And now here is a skunk
with a plastic yogurt container
caught on its head.
It will suffocate before
anyone with kitchen scissors
can cut off the container.
The haruspex will be called in
to open the abdomen and
see what the future
will bring to the chosen few
gathered at
the campfire pit on the beach,
waiting to see what will
wash up on shore
for all of them to collect.


Tim Kahl [http://www.timkahl.com] is the author of Possessing Yourself (CW Books, 2009) and The Century of Travel (CW Books, 2012). His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, Notre Dame Review, The Journal, Parthenon West Review, and many other journals in the U.S. He appears as Victor Schnickelfritz at the poetry and poetics blog The Great American Pinup (http://greatamericanpinup.wordpress.com/) and the poetry video blog Linebreak Studios [http://linebreakstudios.blogspot.com/]. He is also editor of Bald Trickster Press and Clade Song [http://www.cladesong.com]. He is the vice president and events coordinator of The Sacramento Poetry Center. He currently teaches at The University of the Pacific. He currently houses his father's literary estate—one volume: Robert Gerstmann's book of photos of Chile, 1932)

2 Poems by Jonathan Doughty

Looking Toward Future Archaeologies

Paleontologists of morality --
Philosophers --
In fifty-five millennia
Will see us now as zoologists see now
Field beasts
Our systems of thought
State of nature
Unless Invisible Man
Decides finally to show up


Pious scruples beamed
To channels of sacred sets
Inattention won’t

Pulling out plugs won’t
Reset the cast narrower
Or break it in bits
You still penetrate its envelopment

Straining deeply, in silence,
Will detect quantum misgivings


Jonathan Doughty is a graduate of UNC-Charlotte and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of Toronto.  His work in historical studies and literary criticism has appeared in Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism and Asian American Literature:  Discourses and Pedagogies.  A selection of his poetry is forthcoming in the second volume of Contraposition.

1 Poem by Precious McDonald

My Mother

My mother is a haunted city –
A fallen realm
Utopia – lost to the war of tendencies
A wasteland roamed by ghosts and vagabond demons
Now, everyone who walks by, stops by the ocean
And weep; they wail, eyes glistening with elegies;
Strangers and neighbors shake heads in apathy
Dragging to mind montage of robust memories

Chetanne was an island surrounded by an ocean of bliss;
littered with coconut and sweet pomegranate.
Her economy blossomed – beauty and bound
My Negress; a chocolate diamond; her eyes were tidy stars
She had teeth of gold and tusk for a nose
Her smile ushered seasons, and her laughter echoed eternal
Here, love grew on trees, and bamboo rustled her melodies
My father was a sailor, a pirate - the epic rebel
And long she had dreamed of an enigma rising from the ocean – she loved him
And things fell apart

My mother is wreckage: scattered to the waves, and
buried in ageless tides. She lays waste and waning
The pirate fell to his past, as many others like him; and
She shaved her head bald till they shone like full moon
Her children eloped to distant colonies, ashamed of her
They live in caves and castles and dungeons and bucolic tents
She reminds us of the ugliest, most repulsive truths we dreaded
The new world is shiny and urbane, and mama didn’t fit in
No one wears sackcloth to a feast or burial-garb to a wedding
Mama is the darling nightmare we glimpse to remember who we are

My mother is a haunted city; she lays here, a wasteland
Imploring dawn, when night undoes the gothic tethers of desolation

2 Poems by Melda Koparan

I Am Lost

The hours pass as if they are nothing
Merely fleeting kisses upon a lover’s
Tear stained cheek;
Cascading in the light,
They are the dew of the waterfall
Glistening upon its rocks.

Whispers on the wind
Float into the dusk

The moon beams
A full smile upon his
Aging complexion

A hopeless visage impaled upon
Lycurgus’ spear.

The world is dark.

I am lost.

No stars can be my compass.
No stars can help me
Navigate these dire straits.
I am lost.


Bitter tears that make
Bitter hands write
Bitter words,

As melancholy subdues them,
In ossuaries and sepulchres
That bear the laid to rest, and malnourished carcasses of
What were once exuberant and electric hopes;
Ornately strewn like the rattling bones of the Paris catacombs,
Their spectres loom large.
Haunting sleepless dreamers
Causing ceaseless inner catastrophes.

Turmoil is not curable
It is merely treatable
Its symptoms are cyclical.

In the Hour Before Dreaming and its Aftermath

Listerine breath in soiled sheets.
A cool damp that surrounds me
As all life is sapped,
My lungs perplexed, and
My mind afloat with chatter.
In a mould that multiplies and
Fills the air with a dusty decaying vacuum.
Reason, finally leaves, but only for a little while.
Dreams unravel, and reveal an unspoken, yet
Favourable reality. Wispy mists of exuberant feelings
I attempt to preserve, like butterflies in a killing jar.
But all in vain. But all in vain.
Because, as morning kisses night,
Morning brings with it a new fright.


Melda Koparan is twenty-two years old and she resides in New South Wales, Australia. She is a secondary school English and History teacher. Melda's work has been recently published, or is forthcoming in The Tenement Block Review, Stepping Stones Magazine, Eunoia Review, 94 Creations Literary Journal, and ZineWest 2013. Melda enjoys exploring the possibilities offered by creativity, the imagination, and human experiences and emotions.

2 Poems by Donal Mahoney

Midnight in the Garden of Envy

It's hot in our bedroom this midnight in June.
The air conditioner died but my wife sleeps on.
She spent the day weeding the garden.
I finally decide to open a window
and pray for a breeze.

No breeze but I hear roses and lilies
arguing about which is the prettier,
which of them deserves more space
in the garden to unfurl their beauty,
petal by petal, like Gypsy Rose Lee.

The peonies mock the roses and lilies,
claiming peonies are the prettiest of all.
The petunias along the borders yell
not to ignore them because they're not tall.
Suddenly there's a ruckus among the hibiscus.
They, too, claim they're the most beautiful.
They want more space, as do the hydrangeas.

The roses decide to offer a compromise.
Tomorrow they promise to count
which flower in the garden attracts
the most butterflies and honeybees.
The flower that attracts the most
will be named the most beautiful
and be given more space in the garden
and won't lose a bloom to bouquets.

The other flowers discuss in a whisper
the compromise offered by the roses.
They take a vote and agree to comply.
Finally, silence returns to the garden.

I tell my wife in the morning to hide out
in the yard with a clipboard to confirm
which flower attracts the most
butterflies and honeybees.
We can't trust the roses, I tell her.
They'll cheat on the final results.

I ask her to keep an eye on the sunflowers
since they didn't join the furor at midnight
over which flower's the most beautiful.
I tell her more butterflies and bees
will visit the sunflowers tomorrow
than any of the others because
sunflowers at noon leap in the air
and kiss every cloud in the sky.

America in 4013

Is that lava or simply mud
dripping from the cheeks
of this old woman asking me
why this library has no books.
I ask her where she's been
for the last 2000 years.
Under a rock? In some cave?
After all, the year is 4013

and now the only book extant
is the Bible and the only copy
of the Bible is in Rome where
a few monks older than she is
sit in catacombs all day
copying pages of it

onto yellow foolscap, hoping
to create another Bible
no one will read, as was the case,
I'm told, when dusty Bibles
were in almost every home
and computers were a luxury.

But then I soften up because
I can see this woman was born
without a cell phone in her ear.
I tell her if she wants to read
something wonderful online,
as soon as a computer comes free

I'll call her even though she has
no cell phone in her ear.
First, however, she must show
a number, not a name,
tattooed above her navel,
the only form of identification
accepted in America in 4013.


Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in a variety of print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.  Some of his earliest work can be found at http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/.

3 Poems by David Leo


when he visited, he asked
if a plant in the garden
were a banana tree.

Twice, "no" was all I said
and he never asked thrice.

Perhaps I should have offered
some suggestions
what it might be -
maybe then we might discuss
not just the banana tree
but him, me and us.

(from One Journey, Many Rivers, Ethos Books)

(Remembering my father)

eternity is an annual moment
defined by the past -
remembrance, pleasure or torment
renewed, that's how it will last
like an unending life story
buried beneath a mound of earth
the pages like blades of grass
in death are given new birth
all because in good times
the story was never told,
atonement for neglect
the worst of regrets
    that begins to unfold
of lost times, uncompensated
by the after years that haunt,
quiet images forever fresh
that never cease to taunt
as we become aware, that
more in soul than body
                                 do we live,
all that has returned to dust
is not the reason
          that today we shall give
what we never did, never can
that for the inheritance of pain
we cannot hope to heal, but
know at Qing Ming
             it seldom fails to rain

(from iDENTiTY, Ethos Books)


We break tradition
on a hot afternoon, when in bridled passion
you defy the meaning of time, in stillness
we wallow in mindless helplessness
somewhere we don't know where
but for the lack of air
              you lift the shutters
and see the workers in a different heat
dripping the same beads of sweat
- indeed, you cannot be one of them
a return to a garden of Eden
              that never was,
a stained white sheet and I
who can no longer deny
that when we make love
we breed as much hate
if you have to leave because
              it's getting late.

(from One Journey, Many Rivers, Ethos Books)


Among the titles that David Leo has published are four books of poetry: Somewhere A Tiny Voice; One Journey, Many Rivers; iDENTiTY; and, Ubin Dreaming (You've Been Dreaming). Other works include short stories.

1 Poem by Wade Bentley


bittersweet vine
winds the old
oak, roots first,
gyres up, girdled
tight, choke-
holds her beloved
limb by limb, grim
green lust for light


Wade lives, teaches, and writes in Salt Lake City.  For a good time, he enjoys wandering the Wasatch Mountains and playing with his four grandsons.  His poems have appeared or will soon be published in Cimarron Review, Best New Poets, Western Humanities Review, Subtropics, Rattle, Oberon, ARDOR, Clapboard House, Chicago Quarterly Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and Raleigh Review, among others.  A chapbook of his poems, Askew, was recently published by Red Ochre Press.

1 Poem by Bob Brill


As I hiked a mountain trail in Brazil
beneath the boughs of mighty trees
hung with vines as thick as my arm,
I saw a jetliner far overhead.

So glad to be walking the earth,
my favorite mode of transport,
stopping from time to time
to gaze into the bosom of a flower.

So glad not to be sitting in that plane,
gripping a drink, unable to look
thru my 10-power lens and see
the exquisite vein pattern of an unfamiliar leaf.

Of course, to reach this trail
I had to take a plane
and another
to get back home.


Bob Brill is a retired computer programmer and digital artist. He is now devoting his energies to writing fiction and poetry. His novellas, short stories and more than 100 poems have appeared in over two dozen online magazines, print journals, and anthologies.

2 Poems by Alyssa Black


My rival will vanish without a trace—
Not a sinew left to decompose, rot.
The one who I hate, I vow to erase
from the world of living. Plucked plant. Kumquat.
A solid, dead anchor, brushing some reed
under the deep sea. Like fish food. Plop. Drop.
Swell chest, blank eye. The consequence frenzied
in my brain. What about jail? Could I swop
cigarettes and gay sex for freedom? Work
it would be! Bow-legged stride. Question
nothing, impulse tells me. A poison smirk
crosses my demented psyche. Bleed crimson!
I will hate you as long as I’m able.
I don’t mean it. This is anger-ramble.

Seasons (A Cinquain)

sunshine on snow.
The white ice mirrors the sun.
Mom baking fudge, the warm kitchen

green life returns.
Ice morning dew chills toes.
Early morning bike rides, breathing
new strength

red hot humid
city skyline, crowded
by three-day music festivals.

thesis papers.
Bleak fluorescent lighting,
who knows what it looks like outside?


Alyssa Black is a student at IU Northwest in Gary, Indiana where she is the editor of the school's art and lit journal, Spirits Magazine. She hopes to one day become a teacher who inspires students to love writing.

2 Poems by JoyAnne O'Donnell

Autumn Leaves

Colors of many
take us to poetic paintings
Little stories
of blazing glories
I paint the day
for life to stay.

The River

To swim is tender
Quiet splendor
revives our inner true
blue so blue
genuine waterfall
Living so tall.


I love to write poems, also I paint pictures. I love nature and being outside writing poems about nature.

3 Poems by Wendy Sue Gist

The Stirring

Girls nosh mangoes
sold on sticks
in plain air.
They relish the dance before them:
red & yellow in a row,
skirts spinning
allergic swirl of pollen mesquite.
They watch mariachi from concrete
bleachers, arid breeze echoes
clapping applause,
unaware of dirt
devils, dust devils, the dirt
stirring behind them.

Iron Creek, New Mexico

forlorn stream
dry, dry,
full of cow pies.
black moo drips
upon a cairn
    down in

A Gila Haunting

el lobo
howls nocturnal
        tune blown by
mockingbird man
real bird chimes
         then whines


Wendy Sue Gist was born in California, raised in Northern Arizona. Her poems and flash fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Burningword Literary Journal, Crack the Spine, Dark Matter Journal, New Plains Review, Oyez Review, Pif Magazine, Rio Grande Review, RipRap, The Chaffey Review, The Fourth River,  The Voices Project, Tulane Review, Yellow Medicine Review and other fine journals.

2 Poems by Jerry Beale

On an ordinary day

On an ordinary day nothing
extraordinary happens
it’s just a day
like yesterday
Breakfast happens
an hour after the alarm
and thoughts trundle like
bored penguins
politely queuing for a spot
on the to-do list
lunch arrives
and leaves
and later on – rain showers willing
dinner, TV and bed
Even sleep is ordinary
The brushing of teeth
perfunctory sex
and even breakfast wishes
the bowl was enlivened by
a precocious insect
or perhaps the discovery of an unknown
Rembrandt hidden beneath cornflakes
and milk

But in the Sudan where earth is seared
the colour of rusty tin
and death by hunger is more ordinary
than a newspaper
or the torrent of annoyance loosed
by the parking of a small family sedan
exactly thirty-three centimetres beyond
a faded yellow line
a Dinka man sits beside the bodies
of his wife
his two children
He sees me
and smiles sadly
There is no word in his
language for ‘future’
but he says
‘at least today
there is no war’


my son surprised me
when he asked
dad, why do you wear
that mask?

I know your hair;
your hands that hold me;
your voice rumbling softly

but why do you hide deep inside?

your laughter like rain
waters me
your eyes are bedrooms
behind that

they are more

like disused land

a place where things go
when they have nothing
left to say
and no happy place
to go


Jerry Beale is a New Zealand-based writer and performance poet. Originally growing up in Northern Ireland and England then finding his way to NZ via the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia, he's managed to progress through a baffling number of guises including Royal Marine Commando, bodyguard, professional martial arts fighter and advertising creative director.  Along with a love of travel to dodgy third world countries, these have all provided plenty of material for an ongoing poetic output. Jerry's motto...It's our defiance that redeems us'.

1 Poem by George K. Karos

In the Circles of Progress 

In the circles of progress
there exist communities of weakness
silent enough to vanquish
collective blood and namesakes
of markets too beastly for a human price-tag
and too serpentine for demonic reparations
as disparate acts of hope and salvation
continuously promise to repair what has never been broken.


George K. Karos was raised in Martinsburg,West Virginia, where he attended public schools until the completion of seventh grade. He then attended and graduated from Saint James School located in Washington County, Maryland. He received his Bachelor of Arts from West Virginia University in 1991, and his Master of Arts from American University in 1999. For over two decades, George has studied, performed, and worked with numerous arts projects, musical collaborations, and arts-related organizations facilitating various art-mediums and expression as an artist, a magazine columnist and poetry editor, lead singer for rock bands, performance artist, and folk singer. As a solo artist/acoustic guitarist and songwriter, he has toured and performed in musical venues throughout America with an emphasis on the regions of his Mid-Atlantic roots. Over the last 20 years, he has had three books of poetry published by Red Dragon Press and also performed solo performance art works in improvisational settings in regional art spaces with nationally known artists and music groups. He currently lives in Central Florida and works as a communications director of an international boarding school where he continues to write, record, tour, and perform his acoustic music infused with poetry.

1 Poem by Peter Victor


Hues of deep blues
Blending with the reds
On the clean white sheets
Of the old wooden bed

Shadows hovering high
Waiting and watching
While spirits meet and greet
Indifferent to the heat

Of the two bodies
Bathed in sweat
Cloaked in emotion
They lay face to face

Heart to heart
And crazed
By each other

Bodies intertwined
Their thoughts mixed
Their fingers locked
Together now

They are
And they know
They will stay

Today, tomorrow
And thereafter
Heart to heart
Face to face

Hands, hearts and lives
Will remain always
Spirits together


Peter Victor is a writer, photographer and poet living in Ellsworth, Maine. He traveled abroad extensively with the United States Merchant Marine from 1979 to 1994. Upon retiring from the Merchant Marine he entered the University of Maine in Orono, Maine where he completed a B.S. in Aquaculture and a B.A. in English. His passions are fly-fishing and wilderness canoe trips. Several times a year he can be found on one of Maine’s remote white water rivers with his camera, fly rod and two sons. His poetry has been published in the United States and South Africa. Published poems of note include Raven, Letting Go and Love ‘n Time.

1 Poem by Amit Parmessur

The Elements and I

My mother says the sweet sun
belongs only to the one
who smiles at the first ray;
I am African, addicted to virgin light
yet I have to face the blackness
of jealous and evil people.

My mother says the fresh rain
belongs only to the one
who loves the sound of water;
I am African, adoring even
the flow of dirty rivers.
Yet, I have to live in the drought
of man-made politeness.

My mother says the rich soil
belongs only to the one
who smells the poetry of flowers;
I am African, so down-to-earth,
understanding even the notorious
yet I am still waiting in
deserts of thorny and dusty phalli.

Father says the silky clouds
belong only to those
who dream to fly, like himself.
I have always felt I am a butterfly,
(or some valiant phoenix) yet
I have to sob in cheap, broken planes.


Amit Parmessur’s poetry has appeared in more than 120 literary magazines, including Ann Arbor Review, Salt, Black-Listed Magazine, Kalkion and Red Fez. He is nominated for the Pushcart Award and Best of the Web. Hailing from Mauritius, with Indian roots, he currently edits The Rainbow Journal and also writes in Creole. Sometimes he just wants to give it up all and become a billionaire.

1 Poem by Cherise Wyneken

Night Blindness

Yellow leaves
chase yellow leaves
in somersaulting tumble
down the street.
Are they someone’s dreams
loosed and laughing,
free from frozen stalemate
of a trapped and game-ruled mind?
Their playful patter
calls me out to listen.
Don’t let your dreams escape.


Cherise Wyneken’s prose and poetry have appeared in a variety of publications, two collections of poetry, two poetry chapbooks, two memoirs, a novel, a children’s book, and a children’s audiocassette.  She has been writing a poetry column for the Oakland Examiner’s online issue at:  www.examiner.com/poetry-in-oakland/cherise-wyneken and was nominated for the 2013 Poetry Pushcart Prize.  See also http://www.authorsden.com/cherisewyneken.

2 Poems by Jennifer Lagier

Ebb Tide

The Pacific holds its breath. Waves shrink.
Currents still, brown kelp in stasis.

Harbor seals snooze upon submerged rocks,
drying pelts turned to silver.

At Lover’s Point, ground squirrels report
for duty, emerge from their burrows.

There is no wind. Sun burns away mist.
Fog banks retreat, sulk in the distance.

Sea birds glide and splash down, industriously
forage among glassy tide pools.

Misty Perspective

Ocean thrift perseveres despite a crumbling coastline,
pink explosion of fluff-ball blooms within grass quotations.

Light mist skids across muted sky, collects and rests
against rolling greens, the Pebble Beach golf course.

Bright sand curves, gives way to a dark fringe of cypress.
Brown kelp ribbons sway with incoming tide surge.

Dolphins leap, dorsal fins circling around one another.
Strings of pelicans strafe the waves, disappear in a fog bank.

Surfers paddle, make the short ride to shore
on a moving pipeline of muscular water.


Jennifer Lagier’s seven books are: Coyote Dream Cantos, Where We Grew Up, Second-Class Citizen, The Mangia Syndrome, Fishing for Portents, Agent Provocateur, and Hookup With Chinaski.  She is a retired college librarian/instructor, member of the Italian American Writers Association, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Rockford Writers Guild and helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings.

2 Poems by Nishant Saurabh

Deja Vu

They walked,
In woods and yonder,
Unaware of the other,
Yet again, to disappear.


I long for the walk,
For the beautiful small talk,
For your lovely curved eye,
For the curls of your kind nomadic smile.
I long for the tales,
I would spin, and you would think,
If the lies were true or was the truth a lie,
Or of a place where it matters not.

I long for the long which held the arms,
The eyes, dried of a single view,
Glancing, playing and leaving someone in a simple disarray,
Dancing on the same stage when worlds were alike.

The lights are heavy, and eyes tired,
Years and years have they tried, to long for you.


Nishant Saurabh, 23, Indian currently living in Bangalore, Working as an Marketing Analyst, a bachelor in Mechanical Engineering. I have a personal blog (http://silvercrusader.wordpress.com/)

2 Poems by Anshumaan Goel

Lunatic Stardom

Stars seem to be snobbish.
They stay away, far far away from us.
Perhaps to keep intact their dignity and status.
Though they are bright and flashy,
like diamond studded golden jewellery,
they hardly exude warm generosity.
What’s the use of all this light and energy,
if night continues to be dark and gloomy?
Learn from the moon-“Oh star will you?”
Not having anything of its own,
It borrows some light from another star.
Rather, it steals some of the light,
to help anyone in plight.
It shows the way to an aimless vagabond,
who lurks in darkness sans a friendly bond.
As it lights up the trees and the nests,
trying to dispel the darkness from here and there,
It gives us hope and lots of hope
that life is worth living every moment,
 that there are many paths and many choices,
that there is always some light at the end of the dark tunnel.....

Rain Rain Come Again

Rain rain come again,
for rice, and wheat, and sugarcane.
It’s your home, so don’t be too late,
else many of your friends will perish if it’s too long a wait.

Our land is parched, forlorn and dry.
Tillers and peasants can’t do much, no matter how hard they try!
Hence come back soon and in plenty,
to save us from the fireball’s unrelenting fury

You are the Messiah, you are the saviour;
You are the most indispensible life giver-
-sprouting new seeds and rejuvenating dormant life,
-enlivening and cheering every object of life

Your arrival itself marks the celebration of the new festival -
A festival in which all are happy and gay
with greener pastures, vivacious trees and a more beautiful bay.
A festival in which everyone feels blessed and richer
with positively pleasant thoughts that are bright and bigger.
A festival in which nature itself is embellished with benedictions like-
The pure and sweet smell of rain in balmy air,
The fruits with myriad hues dancing delightfully on humble trees,
The precious echoing sounds of lovable laughter from all around.

It seems as if God is playing a game of rains,
enjoying as much as his other creations while decorating his tree of life.


Anshumaan is an engineering student at Delhi Technological University, New Delhi. He loves to write short stories and poems. Traveling and adventure sports interest him. He is also a nature and wildlife enthusiast. He lives in New Delhi, India.

1 Poem by Bobbi Sinha-Morey

The Quiet Path

Before yellow light stabs
through the pewter canopy
I prepare for the morning
sun, deep in the center of
nowhere, and I walk the
quiet path with choked
lungs. If death is contagious
I don't care; my dreams
have become sterile, drab,
and unsure. Deep shadows
keep folding around my
soul and spirit, and I feel
the pain of a falling leaf.
In the silence of this short
day my life moves with the
dark earth. I am the stem
that breaks in the storm
and all I have left inside
my home is the heavy
scent of roses that I breathe.


I am a poet living in Colusa, California, and my poetry can be seen in places such as Pirene's Fountain, Bellowing Ark, Open Window Review, and Taproot Literary Review, among others. My books of poetry are available at www.writewordsinc.com, and my website is located at http://bobbisinhamorey.wordpress.com.

1 Poem by Jermy Gadd

 The Pedestrian

                                    With eyes fixed straight ahead
                                    like a soulless zombie of the living dead,
                                    the pedestrian strode through the sun saturated park,
                                    but it might as well have been after dark.

                                    Birds chorused and flew erratically overhead;
                                    flowers nodded at the breeze from their fertile beds
                                    but the pedestrian would not look up and see
                                    the beauty present in the ordinary.

                                    While wind whispered through the trees
                                    like old men’s contented sighs,
                                    and willing wilting blossom reminded all
                                    life is shorter than it is broad,

                                    the pedestrian ignored the blue sky bedecked
                                    with wisps of ivory cloud filigree
                                    and the possum watching from a tree,
                                    and failed to notice the pair of rosellas

                                    foraging in the grass near her feet;
                                    bright blue and red and waddling like sailors
                                    just stepped ashore from a ship on the unsteadying sea.
                                    What a shame the pedestrian doesn’t see.      


Jeremy Gadd has published articles, 200 poems in newspapers, periodicals, literary magazines and anthologies in Australia, the USA, UK, New Zealand, Germany and India and 50 short stories, including Country, a selection of eight previously published short stories by Ginninderra Press, Canberra & Adelaide, 2008.