Saturday 5 November 2016



[autumn issue 2016]

Cover Art: Allen Forrest

Editor's Notes

dear PP Enthusiasts/Friends,

hope the past few months have been treating you all well!

two things new to start with::
1/ here at poetry pacific press, we are to release around the christmas time 6 sino-foreign editions of create abundance 《创造丰盛》authored by zhang xinyu; for each edition,  there will be 10,000 copies available, which are being printed right now in shenzhen, china. the six editions are: chinese-german, chinese-russia, chinese-portuguese, chinese-arabic, and chinese-hindi.
2/ several pageviewers have in recent months posted their personal or even commercial messages in the 'comment' area of our blogsite, but as a rule we never publish such non-poetic 'comments'.

some statistic facts that might be intriguing to share (and record)::
1/ as of the cutting time of 4 november, our total pageviews are 207,411.
2/ the top 10 country sources of audience are:
United States
United Kingdom
for a biannual, basically one-man started whimsically four years ago as an irregular blog-based poetry outlet (in which we have invested no money and extremely limited computer time and technology), this is unquestionably a truly remarkable achievement, which has surely outperformed many literary e.publications, including some hosted or funded even by well-established institutions;
3/ the top 5 most pageviewed posts are:

Entry                                                           Pageviews
3 Poems by Robert Sheppard                     2665
    4 Mar 2013, 1 comment      
2 Poems by Gershon Ben-Avraham          1059
    5 Nov 2014, 1 comment      
3 Poems by JoyAnne O'Donnell                 679
    20 Apr 2016                        
3 Poems by Ai Qing                                       539
    5 Aug 2014                          
2 Poems by JoyAnne O'Donnell                529
    5 Aug 2014                          

4/ the top 3 most pageviewed months are:
July 2016 (10,218 pageviews, with over 7,000 noticeably from russia alone between 19 and 29),
October 2016 (8,447 pageviews), and
May 2015 (8,120 pageviews).
this shows our monthly e.circulation has been increasing steadily, despite our switch from a quarterly publication to a biannual one last year.

two old points to call attention to again::
to submitters in particular: there are two important changes we have introduced to our revised submission guidelines:
1/ when submitting to PP, please paste up to 5 poems together with a brief 3rd person bio note in the body of an email to us - this will help reduce our computer time;
2/ for those who have work accepted, please wait at least one year after publication in PP to submit new work again - this will allow us to feature more authors.
in addition, please be reminded: we prefer shorter truly lyrical poems...

in this issue, we are honoured to showcase 3 visual artists and 69 poetry composers. 

thanks so very much, dear PP readers and contributors, for your continuing support of our Magazine, and happy reading/writing!

with warmest regards from vancouver for a pleasant wintertime ahead,

-PP editorial team

PP's Annual Nominations

based primarily on the pageviews each author receives, we made our nominations for the 2016 Best of the Net Anthology on 20 july (for the first time), although we do not do so on a regular basis. here are the authors/poems we nominated::

1/ Restless Daisy
            By JoyAnne
[First published by Poetry Pacific (5.1) on 20 April 2016]

2/ The little nothings,
             By rob mclennan
[First published by Poetry Pacific (5.1) on 20 April 2016]

3/ Faint Wet Finger
            By Ziggy Edwards
[First published by Poetry Pacific (5.1) on 20 April 2016]

4/ Fading, Fading to Black
            By Allen Qing Yuan
[First published by Poetry Pacific (4.2) on 5 November 2015]

5/ Washed up Parts of Something
            By Brentley Frazer
[First published by Poetry Pacific (4.2) on 5 November 2015]

6/ About the light
            By Doug Mathewson
[First published by Poetry Pacific (4.2) on 5 November 2015]


as for the Pushcart Prize 2016, we are to make our regular nominations based primarily on the statistics of pageviews of those published in our spring (20 april) and autumn (5 november) issues, as before. however, rather than notifying each individual nominee, we will post the news on our facebook on novermber 11 at


4 Artworks by Duane Locke

Artistic Statement

I feel with Nietzsche, all our learning and beliefs need transformation.  Agree with Deleuze and Guattari, we need a new mode, and entirely different approach to thinking about values and beliefs than what is traditional.. I follow Foucault that In visual arts we should seek what has never been rather what is. I feel our past social construction of what is called life are obsolete. In my non-representational and non-mimetic images I seek to unconceal that the reality that by our mistaken knowledge has been concealed from us.


Duane Locke lives hermetically alone in Tampa by ponds with alligators, gallinules, anhingas, ibis, egret, heron, etc.  As a visual artists has had 671 magazine publications, 2 books.  He is a both a nature photographer  and abstract--He introducted his visual arts inventions called sur-objects in May 1916, and since then has had 38 publications. Also, a poet.  Has had 7060 different poems published, 33 books.

5 Poems by Bradley R. Strahan


Failing reason

we succumb
to the heavenly
insurance man
Who else
can guarantee
           that high
           the lie
we tell ourselves
when we eye
the cracked
in the mirror.



i charge you to remember
          these words
the code to my memory
my face
when bone has ground to dust
you would
not notice in a crowd
brown eyes
gray hair all unremarkable
my photo
long faded is here mind alone
no more
distractions you know me when
          i speak


Light dapples on tent walls,
patterns of leaf and cloud.

The wind touches us;
it plays in your soft hair.

Passing through oak boughs
it strokes a harp of leaves.

The clean smell of your body
blends with woodsmoke and flowers.

Behind your eyes you ripple
like a windblown fire.


Yes, in that moment,
         it is
all those lullabies
and love songs you ever wrote,

And, in those moments,
         it was
neon colors, lips, lights,
several seas we crossed.

So, in this moment,
         It goes
with falling rain,
with falling hair -
    just a moment


(a Victorian device that made pictures
 appear to be in motion, Name derived
 from the Greek words for life & turning)

What a contrivance.
The world as it turns
makes it all appear real.
We must believe this
as though belief
were a screen on which
we could project our lives
over and over, and say:
so true, so fine, so alive.


Bradley R. Strahan, Taught poetry at Georgetown Univ. for 12 years. From  2002-4 was Fulbright Professor of Poetry & American Culture in the Balkans. He has 6 books of poetry & over 600 poems in: America, Confrontation, Christian Century, The Hollins Critic, Poet Lore, etc. etc.& many anthologies. His recent book, This Art of Losing, has been translated into French. His latest poetry book, about his year in Ireland is   “A Parting Glass”, also translated into French at the Univ. of Leige, Belgium.

4 Poems by Koon Woon

De La Mancha

Paper was invented when a tree fell into the pond
Ink was invented when a berry dropped onto the ground

Don Quixote was born when Miguel Cervantes held the pen
But for four hundred years we still have not learn from this great man

What we invent that don’t kill us we have no utility
We double-down on the most monstrous lethality

The practical thing is still to amass great wealth
Never mind the environmental damage to our health

When the drones will roll out from local police headquarters
We must stay home and watch the knightly news

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza the pair from La Mancha
We count on you!

The Last Chess Game

Susana my love imagine every time I move a pawn,
You fill the grocery cart with ham and yams, peas and corn.

Every time I move a bishop or a knight,
The radio changes music, tunes, and new stars span

Other galaxies, and when I move a castle,
Half of the real estate in this town are transferred to Asians.

And if I move my Queen, honey, you’d nudge me in my arm,
And the other guy will not get a check or a mate,

But he would fumble for his cancer sticks, swallow too much espresso,
And drop dead in his gigolo shoes.

Because of the way I am, the way I had to live, and the way I play, honey,
Every game is my last, and all my life, honey,

I have avoided creams and starches, sugars and gods, honey,
All my life I try to do just this –

To make a feeling with you last –
So that each time I befriend, oppose, unfold, or behead an opponent,

It is for you, my dearest. I have played so many “my last” games, honey,
I am as dangerous but as secure as a nuclear arsenal.

Now you are firmly at my side, I will pawn the chess board for a cup of tea,
And turn to an infinite better study – you and poetry!

Here it Is All Quiet on the Western Front

It is quiet as if wind is blown by flutes
And water-pipe smoke curling heavenward.
He enters her tent at the appointed hour,
Disrobing, fingers jump from nipple to nipple.

The tent breathing with ardor as
Water rolls down hillsides, while
Birds flit from branch to branch.

Quiet here with wind blown by flutes, and
Mice scamper among the rocks.
She mouths her lover’s succulent fruits,
Brought as gifts to scent her tent.

Breathing with ardor is the tent, as
Water rolls down hillsides, and
Birds flit from branch to branch.

To the east diamonds are drilled.
To the north villages are being shelled.
To the south they kill to bury a mouth.
But here in the West is a love-occupied house.

Lovers lay side by side in sweat and perfume.
And looking at his sleeping face she beams and beams.

I’ve told you the fragility of my love…

I’ve told you of the fragility of my love,
and yet how it endures like a leaf pressed into a book,

how the pain and how inappropriately the hate,
like the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombs

left a silence whereof no man can speak…
It is this that is the fragility of my love,

Knowing my awareness is pain; I leave you in my mind
the many times I think of the silence

wherein my mother’s voice should drone, but
the gentle hands released me to bed where the smell of kerosene

from the village lamp burnt past the hour of moths
when we shut the window to village crickets,

when the tender bamboo shoots, their new fragile leaves bud
in the fragility of my love for you,

as I want to travel blind with you as far into the night
until the sun rises in Japan, and I will sail my junk

into phantom waters. Yet my love endures
like cloth flapping in the wind…


Koon Woon is the author of two award-winning books of poems from Kaya Press: The Truth in Rented Rooms, winner of the Pen Oakland Award and a finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America; and Water Chasing Water, a winner of the American Book Award. Recently Koon has self-published a memoir with his own Goldfish Press titled Paper-son Poet with a grant from the City of Seattle's Office of Arts & Culture.

Koon has been in the Seattle poetry scene since 1985 with his appearance on the Bumbershoot literary stage after taking poetry workshops from Nelson Bentley. He edited the print journal Chrysanthemum from 1990 until 2006 and currently hosts the online journal Five Willows Literary Review. He is the editor and publisher of Goldfish Press since 2003 and has published over a dozen titles of all genres of work from local and national poets/writers/playwrights.

Koon's poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 3 times and two of his poems have been nominated as the best of the Internet.. He has appeared in dozens of journals, print and online, and have been internationally-anthologized as well as nationally-anthologized and most recently in Quixotica, an anthology celebrating the life and work of Miguel Cervantes, published in Hong Kong.

5 Poems by Allen Qing Yuan

Full Reception

One bar
We don’t have anything to say
Yet we want to

Two bars
We can’t hear over static
So make the call at home

Three bars
We can message whoever, whenever
But wait for an unknown reply

Four bars
We don’t have anything to say
Yet we want to

Five bars
Full reception, fully connected
Yet we don’t need to talk

Criteria for Respect

Does he go to a big building with a big name regularly?
            +10 points
Does he accumulate over a million pieces of paper a year?
            +10 points
Does he work in downtown and wear a suit?
            +10 points

Does he do what he wants?
            +20 points
Does he love what he does?
            +20 points
Is he good at what he does?
            +20 points

Marked out of 30 points, no bonus marks.

Sure to Be Missed 

Your presence will fall upon me

Like the first rain
      Of spring, and
Everywhere I go
             Is mushroomed
    With its song

Werther's Sorrows Reviewed

1/ 14 Februry 2016

Today, half of the world
Is stained with drops
Of blood coughed
Out of love’s heart

While the other half
Is covered with withered
Leaves of roses
Thrown aside last year    

2/ Growing Skeleton

When all my blood is shed
And my heart fades, my skeleton
Will remain to glisten
In clear darkness

As new flesh and blood grow
And fill in every space in my body
Will you still remember I used to
Have a quite yellowish skin?

Seasonal Entertainment 

i-padding, smartphoning
internetting, key-pressing
listening to heavy metal sounds
rock-n-rolling, taijiing
yogaing, yelling or meditating
mostly living in virtual reality
people have long since stopped
reading poetry or even any books
what kind of poem
could you make out of that?

as people prefer living in virtual reality, they are
tired of poetry, and even the printed word


Allen Qing Yuan (born in Vancouver in 1995), author of Traffic Light, is a 2-time Pushcart nominee and one-time Best of the Net nominee. A former co-editor of Poetry Pacific, Allen currently is attending Tsinghua University with Amy as an exchange business student from the University of British Columbia. Since grade 10, Allen has had poetry appear in more than 70 literary publications across 16 countries, which include Cordite Poetry Review, Literary Review of Canada, Poetry Scotland, Shampoo and Spillway.

Allen is also the co-founder of a popular clothing brand Above the Movement. for more, please visit his websites:: ; ; Twitter: @ATMovement

5 Poems by Dic Edwards

(after Faulkner)

Your wife is dying and you want to bury
Her in the place of her birth
You may need to ferry
Her across rivers in flood, move earth
To route her coffined corpse
And fight off the prejudice
Of those who deny their dimview to gawp
At this hated cargo from Colchis.

Your children are stern in their duty
To bring their mother from hell to heaven;
One builds the coffin while in vanaspati
Another pounds cake dough leavened
With grief’s sweat for the wake’s feast;
The youngest will find the theatre
In the trip, the games to play; the least
Concerned, the amateur.

Your wife, fading, watches as her son
Puts plank to plank and in the smell
Of baking times her end: the child wants the fun
To start. You, new-trousered, put hotel
Details in the back pocket and the fall
Upon which angels rise
And preparation squeezes out her last call
For air comes and now you improvise.

But the journey is harder than you expected
More biblical in its parts, so extreme
They become metaphors and the soon neglected
Corpse an abstraction to express a morpheme:
It cannot be further simplified –
It is a burden and through the many days’ flood
As your children suffer you are less justified
By the rising stink of her rotting blood.

You reach the place for the grave
You borrow spades and even the girl digs
You wonder whether she forgave
You for wearing the new trousers on the various rigs
You made to effect her portage. You pause: portage
You wanted to use that word: my wife’s
Portage, and in that expression you raise the stage
On which to clap the summing couplet for her life.


In the street sleet falls, harsh glassy
Rills carry the cab in which Chekov rides
There is something so precise
About him but not icy, something beside
The elegant beard which brings out his eyes
It’s that in his smile words loiter
in a disciplined way so that you may surmise
That here the words themselves reconoitre
For ideas.
And then in the restaurant
His slight frame and deference seem almost demeaning
As though the virtue in expression is to taunt,
Like Hamlet, silence, never winning
A moment with princely assertion –
Like his plays, shy rather than coercing.


Out of the plantations and the steaming afro
marshes where flies of every culture sting
And pit the skin with their own songs of joy and grief

And the stirred up with nothing but god to
Answer with and the brass bands of the Crescent
City who at the weddings and the picnics

And the funerals breath in the
Cadences of Moses and Ezra with
The prophets’ unclassifiable blast

Came Ragtime in the fin do siecle
Anarchy – breathing for the sake of bringing
In the air – that time of music beyond order

Maisie at the Mardi Gras fattening time
At Lent’s end heard behind the spilling
Riffs in the back street of Storyville, the creole –

More white than black – refraining Fur Elise
And then in the silence of the dog-shuffling morning
The creole fed his music into the blues and

Ragtime and Maisie, with her ass aswing loved
This hot music and declared when one scat
Ragmaster asked her: hey Maisie, what that

Scent yo wearin with yo ass all sassy there
To that hot music and she said: why iss nothing
but sweet ole jasmine but you may call that whole ting



Outside my window the forty tonners
Tunnel through the gloom; I glimpse
Their lights like fire flies. I imagine
I am on pack ice in an ice hut
Chewing on fish fat when outside
Through the thick air past my ice house
Passes a forty ton truck all lit like Christmas
To take food to a people in the North
People who will come back like primitives
Who will bash on my hut driven by a sense of
Justice until it sinks into the cold sea.


Helena, that unknown capital city
Of the wild world, symbol of the abandon
We in our stern age are weathered with.

Montana whose name breathed life into
A fern leafed poem stilled as earth
Emptied of force before the ultimate

Force of the full torrent of nature’s
Rage. A child goes forth and bleeds
Before a tree stubbed by the master’s greed.


Dic Edwards lives in West Wales. His plays have been produced in London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Australia, Edinburgh, Glasgow. His poems have been published in Poetry Wales and The Lampeter Review. His plays are published by Oberon Books Ltd., London and New York. His collection Walt Whitman and other poems appeared in 2008 (Oberon Books Ltd). He teaches Creative Writing at University of Wales, Trinity St. David, Lampeter.

4 Poems by Gershon Ben-Avraham

A Phantom Limb

Deep wounds do not heal.
They lie concealed.
The wounded moves,
always aware of their being.
In time, the wounded becomes the wound,
learns to live, even yearns to live,
in the wound’s dark damaged world.

Asked to return, to go again to
where once he had been whole,
and walked not with this limping gait,
the wounded baulks.
There is no place to go.
He and the wound are one.

Nothing now needs healing.
The former self achieves non-being --
becomes a vagueness, a strangeness,
a severed, decaying part -
a phantom limb.

Come to Me not this Winter

Come to me not this winter.
This one’s been hard.
My hands are cut,
my forearms bruised,
from holding up the walls of my life,
from fighting the cold that
constantly comes to claim me.
It slips beneath my door at night,
sits silently in a corner of my room,
departs slowly with morning light,
like a lover leaving a lover’s tomb.
No. Though much I long to see you,
more still to hold you,
do not come.
Come to me not this winter.

More than a Leash Binds Us

...he made him a coat of many colors.
-- Genesis 37.3

Every morning, before the world wakes up,
we walk, my dog and I.
Our pace is slow;
mine because of age,
his because of joy.

He lingers over late night scents,
flowers newly bent,
strange tufts of grass.
Later, he is patient as I stand,
eyes closed, in a copse of trees,
listening to the wind moving leaves.

There is a field the way we go.
Unleashed, his heart runs his legs in circles,
the sun shining off his coat --
more glorious than Joseph’s.
Finished, he lies panting at my feet,
looking up as if to say,
“Wasn’t that neat what I did.”

He finds a stick and gently picks it up,
waves it like a drum major’s baton
as we continue our way home.

More than a leash binds us
as we walk, my dog and I.
More than a leash binds us.

The Memory of Your Caress

Last night you came to me,
riding lightly upon the breeze
that entered my bedroom window.

I breathed you in, tasted you,
felt the earth upon my tongue.

I turned on my side,
and gazing through the open window
vainly sought to see you there.

There, was only darkness;
there, only emptiness.

You are to me now as the wind,
felt, sometimes heard,
not seen.

Yet, in your leaving,
curtains parting as you left,
my body perceived in memory
the memory of your caress.


Gershon Ben-Avraham lives with his wife Beth and the family’s collie Kulfi in Be’er Sheva, Israel. He holds an MA in Philosophy (Aesthetics) from Temple University in Philadelphia. His poem “The Kabbalist” earned Honorable Mention in the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. His poem “The Obituary” published by Poetry Pacific was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His poetry has appeared in both online and print journals including: Ancient Paths, Bolts of Silk, Chantarelle's Notebook, Jewish Literary Journal, Numinous: Spiritual Poetry, Poetica, Poetry Pacific, The Deronda Review, and WestWard Quarterly.

5 Poems by Guy Farmer

Of Course

Of course we didn’t talk about it.
We never do, never have, never will,
Never mind.

A giant question mark that keeps
You from running, jumping, dreaming
Out loud.

Open your precious gilded box,
The one with all the secrets in it;
Carefully arranged, excommunicated.

Look around furtively, someone might
See who you are when you’re not
Ready for visitors.

Sadness of the Gatekeeper

Sadness surrounds
The gatekeeper.
So many precious hours
Spent making things
More convoluted,
Blocked, obstructed,
Rather than helping.
Pathological need to
Control driving base lust
For petty power.
Things are more difficult
Around here,
Thanks to me,
That’s how I matter.

His Act

I wonder if he
Realizes how
Tightly wound –
Unhappy –
Harsh he looks;
Whether he has
Any understanding
Of how he comes
Across to others,
But I doubt
He does –
Self-awareness not
Being very important
To his sort.
His forced laugh –
A rough interjection,
His brow a knot of
Unresolved pain,
His words permeated
With simmering fear,
I’m sure people who
Are like him will
Readily buy
His act,
But I don’t.

I Turned My Back

I turned my back
On art and she,
Knowing more than me,
Waited patiently while
I sorted things out,
Struggling day to day,
Existing as another
Until I finally
Saw her as she
Had always been.

Extra Effort

Unending flow of information –
Neurons firing chaotically,
Entertainment blather,
The superficial supersedes.

Like the easy stuff,
Eschew deeper meaning
Requiring extra effort –
Critical thinking,

The odd child,
It languishes alone,
Brushed aside, unstudied,
Ignored, but no less
Important, valuable.


I’m lucky enough to wake up each day and be able to create new poems that reflect my vision and hopefully make the world a better place.

My poetry examines the frailties, foibles, and triumphs of human beings. I especially enjoy looking at hurt and brokenness, not because I dwell in it, but rather because I believe people can heal and become more whole.

I run several poetry blogs where I publish my work, including Poems and Poetry

2 Poems by James Robert Rudolph

Winter Solstice, Northern Latitude

December is an ice cave,
earth gouge recessed to
a cold core, lost light
turns back to a sunny
mouth leaving white
amphibians softly padding
on spatulate feet.

Time loses its precision
in a dark place its
stasis drapes heavily
around me and I cannot
count the hours cold time
will not budge.

A Big View: On Being a Part of It All

Tumbling in the blue vault
I circle round and round
one of the planetary many.
I can see the green ball of earth
its mossy humps and spiny backs.

My head fills with cosmic fresh air
blowing out tired views
and I ease into myself
like a soul settling.

My heart pulses slowly
matching the silent swirl of planets
and my beginning is my ending,
and my ending is my beginning.


James Robert Rudolph is a retired psychologist and teacher having returned to old haunts in northern New Mexico after a busy career in Minneapolis.  He is attempting a resurrection of poetry and playwriting interests and finds Santa Fe a rich, if not always willing, muse.  Creatively he aspires to the crafting of work that expresses honest experience in beautiful language, complex or simple, as serves the work’s purpose.  Recent poems have appeared in The Artistic Muse, Mad Swirl, and Bewildering Stories, among others.

3 Poems by Patricia Wllingham-Jones

Life’s Evening  

The book she reads grows ever darker,
the light surrounding blinks and fades.
She counts her blessings, heeds the birdsong
as the book in her hands grows ever darker.
She decides to set it aside, for living,
breathes scents of violets, lilacs and roses,
closes the book she was reading. Growing darker,
the light surrounding blinks and fades.

Bone Flute  

A flute lies
tucked among decaying oak leaves
in the lee of a rotten log
Carved from bone
weather-stains brown
around each breath hole
You cradle it in warm hands
wipe the debris on your jeans
Lift the flute to soft lips
Fill the woodland
with living sound


The barn owls screech good-night
just before dawn.
The outdoor cat flings himself
at my window,
hits the wall instead with a thud.
I jolt awake
as I do so many mornings.
The indoor cat
curled behind my bent knees
murmurs complaint.
In those first few minutes,
world far away,
I lie nested under the blue blanket,
my mind rests on you.
I wonder about your journey,
feel a heart-stab,
a prickle in the eye.
In those first soft moments
before the woman
who can handle everything
and likes her life
rises into the demanding day
I remember
being your bride.


Patricia Wellingham-Jones is widely published with a special interest in healing writing. Poetry chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, and Voices on the Land.

3 Poems by Mardelle Fortier

The Color of Roses--Skated by Yuka Sato

Small and oriental
bending like a flower

She floats in air
granted wings by a fairy godmother

When she turns
white petals whisper of symmetry
of play and reverie

She spins
her dress the color of things
weightless and vanishing

Only the 5-petaled fragrance of love
on ice holding peace like a wild rose

Music the hue of a prism
drifting in mist

Only the body keeps time

Soul flies
in a piano-splash of leaps
and gleams

Only the ones who believe
ever see what they dream


I am music
I am a diamond over diamonds
I am fire

Like shadows on snow
I glide   I spiral
while violins dance with me
Flying, quicksilver as in my dreams
then the slide into a death-drop spin
Ice glitters, giving me power
if it does not destroy me
does not break me
Ice lends me elegant fire
Quickly in blue mirrors
ice carries me
toward my desire

THE BLAZE: Yuka Sato and Jason Dongeon

They skate together,
each flame liquid enough
to blend with another flame.
Flaring, dancing, flowing,
flinging, mingling
they slide so close
on ice of rose and ruby glaze.

Two flames cannot destroy each other;
one makes the other bigger.
Burning away distances between them
burning away logs of discord or doubt,
they fly;
golden, yielding to bliss,
rising to the urge to trust,
they curl together
more fragile than satin or a violin
as fragile as magic.


author of poetry book WHITE FIRE; published 100 poems and won many contests; past president of Illinois State Poetry Society; editor of poetry at DuPage Valley Review.

3 Poems by John H. Sime


Fog chokes the river
Which freezes at bitter cold Midnight--
So dramatic is the water's agony,
In the act of freezing,
That half the valley must be
Filled with fog, as by sobs in a church.


Meditate upon one piece
Of soothing blue sky
Where graceful buzzards
Wheel, spiral, and fly.
Watch them carefully
Shift their artful dance
Back and forth, up and down
Like a Turkish dervish trance.


Birds composing notes
On power lines above
Square dance off at gunshot.


John H. Sime: born 1952, Viroqua, Wis.; graduated in Comparative Literature BA/MA from University of Wisconsin-Madison 74/76; served U.S. Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa 76-78; funeral director in Western Wisconsin; published in Kickapoo Free Press, Wisconsin Poets Calendar, Verse Wisconsin,  Howling Mantra, Hummingbird, Lake City Lights,  Poetry Motel, American Funeral Director, Ocooch Mountain News, Les cacahuètes de Bamako .

1 Poem by Paul Sohar


Yes, of course, there was a map
only a few fickle years ago,
sprawling flat in front of me,
full of blue snakes sucking on the seas
and spider-cities clinging to each other
by their wire legs...

Every night I used to kneel
in front of the unfolded sheet,
reciting all the places where I
was yet to get someday,
calculating miles and years and costs;
night after night.

But crumpled hangs the map now
from my blind fingertips,
at the frayed folds its roads are severed,
coffee stains flood its mountains;
I don’t consult it any more but can’t
toss it in the waste basket yet.
If a gust of wind runs off with it,
I’ll let it go.


Paul Sohar ended his higher education with a BA in philosophy and took a day job in a research lab while writing in every genre, publishing thirteen volumes of translations, including "Silver Pirouettes" (TheWriteDeal 2012) and “In Contemporary Tense” (Iniquity Press, 2013). His own poetry: “Homing Poems” (Iniquity, 2006) and “The Wayward Orchard”, a Wordrunner Prize winner (2011). Other awards: first prize in the 2012 Lincoln Poets Society Contest, second prize in RI Writers Circle 2014 Contest. Prose work: “True Tales of a Fictitious Spy” (Synergebooks, 2006) and a collection of three plays from One Act Depot (Canada, 2015). Magazine credits: Agni, Gargoyle, Kenyon Review, Rattle, Poetry Salzburg Review, Seneca Review, etc. Theater experience: “G-d Is Something Gorgeous”, musical (Scranton 2007) wrote the lyrics and collaborated on the book.

5 Poems by Changming Yuan

Arboreal Thinking 

No two trees share
The same shape; each
Keeps trying hard to
Restore its unique
Figure. That’s growing
Out of a trunk, similar
Almost exactly
As thick as all the
Branches combined

This is the secrete of nature
About the beautiful
About the sublime

Natural Ironies (1) 

1/ Snagging

You have long since died
But you will never fall

Standing deadly among leafy growths
Your body embodies a rebirth
Greening close to your rotten cycles

2/ Moonbow

Few humans look up
At you, but you reflect
And refract just as many colors
As much beauty as a sunbow

With little warmth of the day
But countless secrets about darkness

3/ Whale

You hope to make a loud last call that

Far beyond yourself, on yourself, yourself reachable; an

Vociferous spirit in the Pacific, cruising
Under night currents, yelling

As if for an echo, but too loud to be heard
By the un-whale like

The Englishness: A  Map of Languacultural Genetics



Among the mixtures of
Seven primary colors, the painting
Gives rise to a swirl
Turning fast enough
To send you up to a little cloud
Like the Zhuangzian Peng gliding through
The serenity of autumn sky

Neither the bird nor you cast
Any shadow down as the earth
Keeps rotating as leisurely
As any other day beyond the black hole

When you return and stand on a
Hilltop, the painting is still
Unfolding itself, but the bird has
Vanished high up into another universe

Prenatal Gifts for Hyunjung and Kate*

Bamboo nature premium baby diapers [from an aunt
The daughter is the art of freedom 

Love to dream swaddle UP lite [from an uncle
Every princess is a girl, but not every queen 

My Best frind pillow from [Uncle Sam
To be or not to be a single flower 

Grey dahlia nursing cover [from Grandparents
If you want a woman, have something done

Dr. Brown’s bottle warmer [from Aunt Angel
Women, thy name is frailty 

Tammee tippee electric steam sterilizer [from Uncle Chase
Only women are easy to get along with, Confucius hoped 

Stork craft custom hoop glider and ottoman [from Grandpa Michael
One of the two running rabbits must be female, according to Mulan

Infant optics dxr-8 video baby monitor [from Grandma Helen
Flowers, why not bloom all together right now? asked Empress Wu 

Ju-ju-be b.f.f.convertible diaper bag [from uncle Allen, etc., etc.
A baby shower not for a basic bitch, but for blahblahblah, blahblah 

* Our first grandchild Kate is expected to come to this world on november 11, 2016.


Changming Yuan, 9-time Pushcart nominee and author of 7 chapbooks, grew up in a remote village, started to learn the English alphabet in Shanghai at age 19, and published monographs on translation before moving out of China. Currently, Changming edits Poetry Pacific in Vancouver, and has poetry appearing in Best Canadian Poetry (2009,12,14), BestNewPoemsOnline, Cincinnati Review, Poetry in Voice, Threepenny Review and 1239 others. Recently Yuan has a poem nominated for the first time for the Best of the Net (2016) .

6 Artworks by Allen Forrest

Artist Statement

Painting is a cross between a crap shoot, finding your way out of the woods, and performing a magic
act. Each time I begin to paint I feel like I am walking a tightrope—sometimes scary, sometimes exciting, sometimes very quiet, and always, always surprising; leading me where I never expected to go. Doing art makes me lose all sense of time and place and go inside one long moment of creating.
Whenever I feel a painting in my gut, I know this is why I paint. The colors are the message, I feel them before my mind has a chance to get involved. Color is the most agile and dynamic medium to create joy. And if you can find joy in your art, then you’ve found something worth holding on to.


Graphic artist and painter Allen Forrest was born in Canada and bred in the U.S. He has created cover art and illustrations for literary publications and books. He is the winner of the Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art at San Jose State University's Reed Magazine and his Bel Red painting series is part of the Bellevue College Foundation's permanent art collection. Forrest's expressive drawing and painting style is a mix of avant-garde expressionism and post-Impressionist elements reminiscent of van Gogh, creating emotion on canvas.

Artist Interviews/Articles

Art website (paintings for sale):

Twitter account:


Portfolio: published works

2 Poems by A. D. Winans


Back from an MRI
Brain Scan
I listen to a Miles Davis album
Black Hawk San Francisco 1962
Where a young Latina and I
Grooved on the vibes

Here at home
Jazz in my head jazz in my bed
Jazz waking up the dead
Miles, Charlie Parker, and Lester Young
Serenade an army of poets
Sitting on my bookshelf

T.S. Eliot playing the banker
Walt Whitman walking the battlefields
Williams Carlos Williams suturing wounds

Kaufman walking the streets of New York
Juggling a “Golden Sardine”
Sings a duet with Billie Holiday

Blake playing cards with God
Lorca playing Russian Roulette
Micheline dancing with Mingus
Gary Snyder building word bridges
And suddenly I’m not alone anymore
The words falling like soft rain
In a winter green garden


I told you not to take a snapshot
I don’t photograph well
But you did nevertheless
And sent it to me by means of attachment
And there it was on the screen
In black and white
The only colors that matter
And it split into two parts on the screen
Neither of them doing me justice
An injustice I am sure not intended
This faceless face staring back at me
Smashed into a thousand lines
This snapshot like an empty face
Stuffed away in a shoebox
In the far corner of a closet
Like a series of quick winks lost
In cyber space


A.D. Winans is an award winning native San Francisco poet and writer.  In 2006 he won a PEN Josephine Miles award for excellence in literature.  In 2009 PEN Oakland presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  In 2015 he received a Kathy Acker award in poetry and publishing.

2 Poems by Georgia Knapp

Marshland Tenant

I don’t wear flip-flops because
there are snapping turtles
in between the sawgrass
I fill my lungs with
the salted rotten egg scent
spit and burped from
the gator colored mud with
each slop of a boot
I paint my face with
the burgundy foundation of
the prickly pear’s juice
and eat the bitter flesh
to the croon of the cicada’s tune
I sleep at night to
the lullaby of the mating frog
croaks deep and guttural
that my mother mistook
for ducks
I kayak my brackish waters
slow paddle strokes
unnoticed by the drifting sea cow pup
I meet the watchful eyes
of the sunning prehistoric beast
I ask her –
the landlord of the wetlands –
to watch her tenants
and protect her land
from the developers that will come

Sand Dollar

Convex body
touch of felt
little five points star
petal-like and guiding into
nutritious sand
hundreds of tiny spines
on your belly waving
leaving yellow and green residue
like the cordgrass
of your wetland home

Bleached and dried
polished and strung through with ribbon
hung neatly
from the storefront window
sold for less
than your dollar’s worth
priceless symbol of
your home’s demise


Georgia Knapp is an avid traveler and storyteller. In her previous life she was a National Park Ranger and spent the past several years working for Chicago’s nonprofit theatre scene. She currently lives and writes in the land of Flannery O’Connor. Her works can be found in Wraparound South, The Huffington Post, The Purple Fig, Kaaterskills Basin Literary Journal, ink&coda, and forthcoming in the Georgia Writers Association's Exit 271.

2 Poems by Robert Walton


Flickering, flaring
Between black pines'
Sawtooth shadows
Drew me.
Always brightest
After midnight,
Filled an empty circle,
For no faces
Leaned in,
No smiles shimmered
Like glass ornaments.
Not eyes,
Gleamed upon a last
Sapphire breath
Of embers.
Only silence,
Deep as mountains,
Huddled close.

Published on “Little Eagle’s RE/VERSE in 2013 and in Song of the San Joaquin Journal before that. It also won a 2nd place prize in The Georgia Poetry Society’s 2010 contest.

Dawn Snow,

A long gown falling
From ridgeline shoulders,
Brushes branches
Jeweled with ice.
Deer steps beneath pines
At the edge of silence.
Light blooms
On cliffs above,
Not orange,
Not gold,
But offering a new day,
More than the sum
Of its parts.

Published in “Avocet” in 2011 and on “Your Daily Poem” in 2013


Robert Walton is an experienced writer with several dozen poems published.  His novel Dawn Drums was awarded first place in the 2014 Arizona Authors Association’s literary contest and also won the 2014 Tony Hillerman Best Fiction Award.  He is a retired teacher and a life-long rock climber.

2 Poems by Mike McClelland

Spring Snow

The slow snowfall comes
suddenly, slamming the spring landscape
silently. Rabbits, brown for spring, try to return
to white.

Daffodils melt like butter into icy ground
and snowdrops are killed by their namesake.
Candy colored crocuses pinch up tight,
closing their gates against the onslaught.

Geese halt their 'V,"
flying back to Bermuda, Jamaica, wherever
it is that they disappear to.
The early escape, those too late roost in spiky trees.

On the sidewalks, elderly hips
snap like icicles and cars
fall into soft, cold coffins, while children
delight in their snowy games.

Seasonal Depression

A summer curtain cuts across fields
burning dandelions and children's skin
sending cows into mud, making the sky
a boiling broth.

Sun falls on skeletons,
birds seek shelter from
nature's hot fury, and church fans
ruffle hats on sweaty scalp.

The broth scalds and all of us
wish for darkness.
Ghosts rise from asphalt, burning us from
our feet to our eyes.

The sky bites our naked
necks and leaves its brand.
Each year the heat increases and we are forced
to retreat further into ourselves.


Mike McClelland has lived on five different continents but now resides in Georgia with his husband and a menagerie of rescue dogs. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Permafrost, ink&coda, Cactus Heart, The Daily Maverick, Campaign Magazine, The Flash Fiction Press, and has been anthologized by JMS Press and Beautiful Dreamer Press. He is the co-founder and co-editor of On the Veranda Literary Journal and serves on the staff of Arts & Letters and the Flannery O'Connor Review.  Keep up with him at

2 Poems by Mary McKeel

Lesser Light

I am a dimmer star,
A lesser light.
Not a part
Of any constellation.  

No one picks me out
At night,
In the summer
When they lie back
On the grass.

Am I not made
Of the same stuff
As brighter objects in the sky?


The shoes are too big
For me to fill.

The weight of my dreams
Is too heavy
For my little strength to carry.

They cost more
Than I can pay.

I have had to abandon them
On the trail
The way a Buddhist monk
Sheds his supplies
One by one
As he searches in the mountains.


Mary McKeel graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her poems have appeared in several print and online journals.

3 Poems by Cynthia Linville


Here I am
in this dark morning
sinking into the noiseless sky

sinking into
the black-blue
that is you

that is
nothing to do
with me

Mistaken Dramas

There is no cat
no hot tin roof

no spot of blood
no dagger

The ice cube trays
don’t hold our tears

and Hamlet
never knew Yorick

Contrary to the Mad Hatter’s claim –
we are not insane.


Hardly anything holds us up
in these haunting winds.
The man with black-night eyes
is too ready
to pry open
this crate of hardcover remnants:
pages flapping loosely
in our exhausted yesterdays.


Cynthia Linville, a 2012 Pushcart nominee, has taught writing in the English Department at California State University, Sacramento since 2000 and has served as Managing Editor of Convergence: an online journal of poetry and art since 2008. Her work has appeared in many publications and several anthologies, and her two poetry collections, The Lost Thing (2012) and Out of Reach (2014), are available from Cold River Press. Also a photographer and performer, Linville occasionally appears with musicians, including Victor Krummencher of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. She invented a poetic form dubbed the Linvillanelle which is profiled here:

2 Poems by Ksuhal Poddar

Summer Exams

I bend and squint,
fail to see my mind.
How low may it sink?

My shadow,
already baled,
I drag and haul all the way
across the concrete.

Summer examines
soft skill of the birds.
Throwing back one's head
and up the chin
is in vogue.

I bend and see
my face looking up
from a puddle on the street.

In Monochrome 

When I turn black
all you have to do
to find me
is whiten everything.


Kushal Poddar, widely published in several countries, presently lives at Kolkata and is editor of the online magazine Words Surfacing. He authored ‘The Circus Came To My Island’ (Spare Change Press, Ohio), “A Place For Your Ghost Animals” (Ripple Effect Publishing, Colorado Springs), and “Understanding The Neighborhood” (BRP, Australia). His forthcoming venture is "Scratches Within".

1 Poem by Mark Danowsky


9pm, Friday, Sept 12
in darkness
a stranger went by
without a word
pushing a wheelbarrow
contents unknown
along the narrow path
a small corn field
behind my building
I watched him go
glad for my dog
who did not bark


Mark Danowsky’s poetry has appeared in Burningword, Cordite, Grey Sparrow, The Lake, Mobius, Shot Glass Journal, Third Wednesday and elsewhere. Mark is originally from the Philadelphia area, but currently resides in North-Central West Virginia. He works for a private detective agency and is Managing Editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.

1 Poem by Lawrence William Bergoetz


There is a bitterness that leaves the mouth sweet…that turns a song into a calling.

There is a seeing beyond discovery, where deep silence is only entered into lyrically.

Each night, the sky becomes a desert of stars, yet each sojourn begins at the moon.

A child only learns to talk when it has swallowed enough dust to begin its own dying; until then, it only visits here when lost in its dreamworld.

Somewhere there is a viper who kills nothing. He is made of bronze and is traded amongst religions.

A wise man left the village, heading for the mountain saying he only wanted to forget all oaths.

The body breathes innately, easily; it is difficult to teach the mind how to breathe.

Between my words there is a voice that travels through archaic languages and enters my throat as a broken master fallen from the monastery, living out a vow of silence.

Only by the stories we do not quite understand are we carried through darkness into morning.


Lawrence William Berggoetz has had poetry published in journals such as The Bitter Oleander, Futures Trading, Blue Heron, Moria, and Skidrow Penthouse. A graduate of Purdue University, he is the author of Under One Sun, and he lives in Dallas.

1 Poem by Steven Hartung


Self-defeat is a bloodied owl
Calling down the moon to reckon the sun

This owl perches on Minerva's conscience
Stirring ashes from Methuselah's closet
Spreading a silent salient doom

Fine grey dust crutched by moonbeams
Buried sunshine beneath the ocean
Hidden accounts, quagmires of consciousness

Causing sleep to blacken this pillowcase
As she brings the dreams
Of swimming less and less and less


Steven Hartung received a creative writing degree from Michigan State University.  He lives outside Richmond, Virginia.

1 Poem by Ken Allan Dronsfield

Tranquility Point

Walk into the sand;
of a dune avalanche.
Grasses swaying to
hot steamy winds;
sounds of waves
crashing to shore;
seagulls bartering
for tidbits in rocks
along the stagnant
shallow festering,
marshy salt pools
near the open sea.
Hot feet begging
for the touch and
soothing sensation
of chilled waters
racing from depths
to chase the shore
birds and children
all along the beach.
Egrets hunt minnows
as twilight greets the
coolish sea breeze.
Another day gone;
Tranquility Point is
once again, at ease.


Ken Allan Dronsfield is a Published Poet and Author originally from New Hampshire, now residing in Oklahoma. He enjoys the outdoors, playing guitar and spending time with his cats Merlin and Willa. He is the Co-Editor of the new Poetry Anthology titled, "Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze" available at His published work can be found in Journals, Magazines and Blogs throughout the Web and Print venues including: Indiana Voice Journal, Belle Reve Journal, Peeking Cat Magazine, Dead Snakes, Bewildering Stories and many others.

2 Poems by John Sweet

against the hours

the city in decay
and then the ragged edges

a small room in a quiet house
as i watch you get dressed
and that we are losing these moments
as quickly as they happen

we are remembering
our pasts imperfectly

i am sorry but never
for anything more than myself

my bleeding heart and its crown of thorns

grey frost on grey lawns but still
hope for the future which
has nothing to do with belief in
                             anyone’s god

dirt-smeared sky seen through
                               bitter glass

a dead man’s dying factory on
the edge of some upstate town

the idea of motion
which becomes important
only after you’ve been
nailed to the ground

took me 30 years to figure this out,
and by then i was
too crippled with fear to care


John Sweet, b. 1968, a huge believer in writing as catharsis.  Opposed to all political parties and dogmatic thought of every ilk.  lives in the wastelands of upstate NY.  latest collection is APPROXIMATE WILDERNESS (2016 Flutter Press).

2 Poems by Cristina DeSouza


What is this word I can’t find?

It has no syllable, no accent,
except for the blue of your eyes.

It is nowhere.
It is a lone pleonasm in my
solitude made of atoms, of bodies
that don’t touch, of souls that
don’t feel and don’t hold each
other in the hopeless night.

Extinct word of my vocabulary:

Subject of a passive verb, making
me into the direct object, confused
and lost in an adverb of time of
this meaningless sentence of mine.


I hide for endless hours
while I search for myself
in the mirror, whose eyes
stare at me.

I hibernate for days
in skin that is not mine,
in bones that fracture
slowly and I don’t feel it.

I retire to a dark cave
called bedroom, in which
there is a white bed
where I die alone every day
and lie sleepless every night.

I cross my name from
my identity card, I lose
my photo, I erase my face
with the sleeve of an old coat.

I forget myself
in a drawer.


Cristina DeSouza is a physician and poet living in Phoenix, AZ. Originally born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she writes poems both in English and Portuguese.  Nowadays she is finishing her Masters of Fine Arts at Vermont College of Fine Arts, VCFA.  She has poetry published both in Brazil and in the US and a book of poems published in Portuguese, released in November 2011. She can be reached at

3 Poems by Cleo Griffith

Adagios in Red

My kite flies arrogant and red against the sky.
I’m tempted to let it go, to rise, to fall at its own will,
this tethered sprite with which I can identify.

With whimsy I could loosen it, let it try    
to find its way to burly woods and dank green hill,        
this kite, so arrogant against the brilliant sky,

or I could rudely pull it down and show it: why              
it is, after all, made but of paper, string, this cheap thrill,  
this tethered sprite with which I can identify

but that would feel too much an unnecessarily-hard reply.  
What clever wit have I to claim some spirit could instill
my kite with arrogance? It sweeps against the brilliant sky,

my hands are aching, should I not, should I, untie?
Fate lies in my hands, my heart can feel the chill.
My tethered sprite, indeed, I identify.

I hold a slender string, my hands are damp, my mouth is dry.
I can’t decide, to let it go, to hold it here, until, until…?
My kite flies arrogant against the brilliant sky,
this tethered sprite with which I can identify.

Autumn Pleasures

Night, in his velvet cloak, stays.
Sunrise comes so late.
Raindrops tap, tiny dancers.
Circles form within brown dust.
Ivy leaves gleam against stone.
Sun sets before six.
Deep stars seem closer tonight --
crickets think so, too

Slow Walk

The long dark fence along the path
glistens with moisture from the fog,
no bird sings.
In my slow walk I am gray,
blended into the morning gloom
in my own low sky of solitude.

I hear it-- the whooshing of breath --
before I see the lightly speckled horse,
that sound never forgotten.
Childhood rushes through me now
in unwinding memory:
coarse hair of the horse’s mane,
feel of my feet in stirrups, reins in hand;
along the pathway the feathery beauty
of wild asparagus long gone to seed,
sticking up through January snow.

I have forgotten my grayness,
the fog will give way also.


Cleo Griffith was Chair of the Editorial Board of Song of the San Joaquin for twelve years, and remains on the Board. She has been published in Homestead Review, Cider Press Review, Iodine, Main Street Rag, Miller’s Pond, More Than Soil, More Than Sky: The Modesto Poets, POEM, the Aurorean, The Furnace Review, The Lyric, Tiger’s Eye, Time of Singing and others.  She is a member of the Modesto CA Branch of the National League of American Pen Women. She lives in Salida, CA with her husband Tom and their aptly-named cat, Tank.