Monday 11 November 2019



[autumn issue 2019]

Autumn Grove: coloured papercutting by Li Baofeng

Editor's Notes

dear All PP Patrons, 

seven years ago, we started Poetry Pacific whimsically on the remembrance day. so, let us begin by saying:

Happy Anniversary to our PP!
Happy Remembrance Day to all PP patrons!
(& allow us to 'smuggle' a PP's family celebration - Happy Birthday to Kate Emily!)  

while highly satisfied with the way PP has been functioning as a project of love of labour, and has survived without any form of financial support since the very start, we feel deeply sorry that mainly due to personal/health concerns, we have to decide to change Poetry Pacific from a biannual to an annual publication, beginning from the year of 2020; that is, on may 5 every year until further notice we will release an yearly edition of the 'best' poetry we can find throughout the year. we believe this arrangement is much better for the continuation of our e.zine than putting it on hiatus from time to time as many other literary outlets do.

in this issue, we are honoured to present 56 poets and 4 artists. we believe this last autumn issue happens to be PP's strongest issue we have ever had!

enjoy reading/viewing!

love in poetry,

eds. at PP

PP(8.2): Call for Submissions


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 annual edition 
to be released on 5 May every year;

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

* We wish to pay our poets or buy certain rights from them,
 but there is no money exchange involved, 
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 together with a brief 3rd person bio note
within the body of your email
or 10 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 4 months from now on
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 4 months
 after you send it over to us. In other words: 
only those accepted will get a reply.

Once accepted by PP, please allow at least one year
before submitting new work to us

- Many thanks for your kind support of PP & Gooooodluuuuck!


book/chapbook manuscript submissions 
are closed until further notice

8 Papercuttings by Li Baofeng


Li Baofeng is a contemporary Chinese folk artist who invented 'coloured papercutting' on the basis of traditional papercutting.

1 Poem by Angela Porter

Woven Leaves

  Fluttering leaves,
  Wind spin weaves them
  Into earth brown.


Angela Porter has poetry published with Indigo Dreams Publishing since September 2004 (then Bluechrome publishers). Her works can be found in all three of their poetry magazines, and there is a booklet of her poems. She enjoys the work of the Chinese poet Wang Wei (6th Century) and of the host Changming Yuan, and Sappho. Her poetry is strong in voice, which is a collective of speech rhythm, metronomic pulse, phrasing, word elasticity, tone, emphasis and meaning, rather than "dropped in" words. The Than Bauk is a lovely medium in which to explore dimension.

2 Poems by Grace Cavalieri

Of Our Own Making

To be at peace, we’re told there is no other world

outside ourselves,

to water the seed  every day.

Let us think of Yeats,

“Things reveal themselves passing away,”

of Eliot, “A sudden piercing joy.”

We’ve learned to hold suffering like

the wind, the weather, the sound of the rain,

yet as I sit

writing with a borrowed pen

fireflies vanish in the sky,

and under the slivered moon

we begin to lose our loneliness

but should this pass away

into time’s web

we’ll touch with a hand of tenderness again,

remembering  the poet who wrote

“Do what you can with this.”


In the small grey hut of self-doubt where the ceilings are too low for you to stand,

by the road where your friend would only drive you half-way home,

next to the trench of holes filled with grief and wrong choices,

where it’s better not to know how you should do things a different way,

tulips droop from their vases,

and death has never had so many faces.

That’s the time to go out at dusk when even the deaf talk softly;

Don’t look at the hummingbird hovering

afraid of the bubbles rising in their nectar—

Bluebirds know of danger, their air made of smoke–

large wings of prey

never far distant—

Try to find the bluebirds in their church of air,

star seeds of sound that crystallize, then burst.


Grace Cavalieri is the author of 20 books and chapbooks of poetry. She’s had 26 plays produced on American stages, most recently “Anna Nicole: Blonde Glory,” NYC, 2011. She founded two small presses, still thriving, “The Washington Writer’s Publishing House” and “The Bunny and the Crocodile Press.” She founded, produces and hosts “The Poet and the Poem, for public radio, 20 years “live” on WPFW-FM, 21 years from the Library of Congress,” now celebrating her 42 years on-air. She’s the poetry columnist/reviewer for The Washington Independent Review of Books. Among honors Grace holds 2013 Associated Writer’s Program’s George Garrett Award, the Pen-Fiction Award, two Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, the Bordighera Poetry Award, two Paterson Poetry Awards, the inaugural Folger Library Columbia Award, The Washington Independent Review Lifetime Achievement Award, and The CPB Silver Medal.

5 Poems by JL Jacobs

On Wagner’s Die Walküre: Or Three Meditations on Love

Listening       tuned in
to that red radio box
that echoes
coughs in front rows
of the opera house.

Incest. Transcendence in love
through death.   Themes for today.

She longed for the book to read
since she could not see the opera.

She understood his  Tristan
running seaward       ripping
his bandages            last
hold       to earth       (both) lightly tethered

His aim ascension upon their union.

In all that darkness is more light
than we can bear witness
at this time.

On That Appalachian Wail

Two violins and a bass.  But we don’t call them violins.
We call them fiddles.  You might need a footnote for your refined reader on fiddle.

Like an instrument…like something you do in between other things….like fiddle around.

Tell me the key, Anna, is it a bright gold G?

Usher. She mean. The one who escorts the bare-shouldered ladies.

Like that young man Paul in Willa Cather’s story.  That’s you, Anna.

Another two tracked trestle
of love bridged
canyons thousands of feet
to ground.

“Leave him go, girl.”

On Cheerfulness and Forgiving in Advance

Sobered by her
words—packed down hard.
Belle Miriam Silverman
Brooklyn born      Diva    to become.

“I may not always be happy,
but I try to always be cheerful.”

Remember that day they would leave
off reading?
Paolo and Francesca I mean.
Caught whirling ever another around.
Winded. Tempested.

Spirits, drive on.

Test of her love and cheerfulness
yet to come.    Spread
under brilliant Finnish revontulet.

Stumbled when she saw “saw praise
is the gate” to enter in.

Emerald in her that green day spray.
Byron’s Aurora &
borealis quiet places
under an ever luminescent
sky.       These your humble dreams
of heaven. Christmas on earth,
as Rimbaud would say.

Live up. Love up. Fill up.

Anna, drive you on in.
Back you on in to that town
of reckoning.

Her disembarkment:   less
than theatrical.  No less

Slipped out the back
in Amsterdam fashion.
And Shakespeare’s in the alley
so the good poet says.


Everything is blowing
said Reneé Fleming that Saturday
to Plácido Domingo at the Met
live radio broadcast of Roméo et Juliette.

Sit round a spell. Fiddle. Pull up a chair.
I might tell you about a four year
to a full fathom five
whelmed, helmed over.

Might tell you
bout that second chair
stare    nailed to the floor.

Might tell you bout
breakin the glass door
on my ways outa there.

On Root Cellars
for my five year old nephew, Kade

Your Grandmother Lottie Marie,
she doctored with roots, baby.

Like sassafras, mandrake, snakeroot.

Remember that bag of asafetida
tied round her neck?

Could put’em on
if she wanted.
Work them roots
poulticed down
mirror boxed.

She could lift them too.

Gated all awake or Andante Festivo

There are hands around a small neck.

Climb in closer.
without line these your limbs, gills,
wrist a small cut on a mid-season day.

Now the squirrel arabesques
limb to limb
dropping      not falling.

Gated all awake. Eaten all your conflagrated hate.
Pulled down toward.    Pull down toward.
This your cord.
Wrapped round her neck.

Swallow contempt with a full glass of water—like your Thorazine, baby.

What would you have me tell you?    Do you want to peer in the window of anyone’s wreck?  Not just our good Lady Di.?   Just plain old anyone.  What you want to know?    You know it already.  We all dying of something.  Some just don’t know what.

“Feel it in the wind in the wind in the wind   and it’s upside down
feel it in the dust since I got off the bus…”
…yeah, she’d let them stand in good Rosemary
for her proxy.  She’d tuck the blessed handkerchief into her pillow.

 Swallow forgiveness.  Large gulps.  Stay with me now, Grandmother.  Help me for-give her sin. Un-remembered sin.

The surgeon would cut Anna’s throat.  Ring round rosey red.  Scar her pretty white neck.  Scar her pretty white neck.  It was called “playing the violin”.

The irony:  This was her neck job—performed by a neurosurgeon not a plastic one. This was because of her sin. Mistress-sin.  They often die young.  Young strung sin and all un-done.

The best hope:  To live long enough to make it to the convent.  “And give him up girl.  He is your own un-doing.  And don’t you even hold out hope that he get to Amesbury before you go.  Don’t hold out any hope on his becoming a hermit either.”

It’s time I be headin’ out.   Better get on down the road—they is some good folks up there I got to catch myself up to.  Anna better put her travelin shoes on now. We leaving Lafayette.

Originally published in Ploughshares, Winter 2008.

(* Andante Festivo composed by Jean Sibelius originally scored for string quartet in 1922, but re-scored for string orchestra and timpani in 1938.

(*Amesbury nunnery where Queen Guinevere retired after Arthur's death.)


JL Jacobs, MFA, Brown University, is the author of four volumes of poetry. Work has appeared in numerous journals including Ploughshares, New American Writing, and New Orleans Review. Representative work is anthologized in American Poetry: The Next Generation, Carnegie Mellon UP. She was a 2017 nominee for Poet Laureate of Oklahoma. She studied with C.D. Wright, John Yau, and Keith Waldrop. She serves as editor/art director for Abstract Magazine: Contemporary Expressions which was included in The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses Series XLIII, 2019. (

5 Poems by Allen Qing Yuan

Buddha Beads

17 spheres conceived by the flesh of earth and water
each one a wish,
to keep myself restrained by good faith

rich cocoa coconut shells, albeit grazes and nicks,
each one a wish
weathered and dropping

yet so creamy like euphony from the lips
each one a wish
unspoken but powerfully recited

inscribed with mini-mighty Buddhas
each one a wish
to be enshrined and embraced

the stretchy wire coiled through and up into delicate loops
each one a dying wish
heading towards where they're all tied up

the carvings of Asian depictions
each one a wish
for luck to somehow hang around my hands

Heartscaping: Three Chinese Characters  

思: thought takes place
      In the field of heart

闷: depressed when your heart is
      Shut behind a door

忍:tolerate with a knife
      Right above your heart

Matrix of Creation

Like water
Life flows along
                      Fiction rendered into fact

Like steam
Consciousness evaporates above
                                                        Evil turned into good

Like ice
Spirits crystallizes beyond
                                             Ugly made beautiful

Word Play

If you could
Which English word
Would you become? Which?

I would as lief
Be ‘life’:

 I may well turn out a ‘lie’
Without f--, but possessed in this word
My spelling contains many an ‘if’

    Yes, to live a life is to
Go through as many an if
As you might wish to wish

Last Prayer 

Jesus my dear Lord!

Were I
Really to have an afterlife
I hope to become a wolf, or
A fir, for instance

Just to be a bit more, or even less
    Than a human being


Allen Qing Yuan, author of Traffic Light, is a 2-time Pushcart and 2-time Best of the Net nominee. A co-editor of Poetry Pacific, Allen is just starting to work as a junior accountant in Vancouver. 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.

1 Poem by John Grey


The piece of cake is twelve months old,

hidden in the freezer.

According to local folk-lore,

it’s to be eaten on our anniversary,

to see how love’s appetite is holding up.

But should cake really be the deciding factor

in a relationship?

For all its time in cryo-temperatures,

it’s surely as stale as a grandparent’s jokes by his,

rock hard, unfitting for a memory

of that long-ago camera-snapping day.

That cake has served its time.

I vow we remove it from behind

the frozen steaks,

pretend to nibble on it,

then toss it in the trash.

We’ll have served tradition.

We just won’t have bitten

into that white and rose-red concrete frosting.

or tasted sugar in its dotage.

We can tell anyone who asks

that, after all this time,

the slice was still scrumptious.

The truth lies somewhere

in the touch, the feel of you,

the gentle salvos of your presence.

Meanwhile, lies can have their cake.

They can eat it to.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.  

1 Poem by Andrena Zawinski

ABZ Boy Shot in Lucky’s Lot 
in the Year of the Rat

His family turned the supermarket parking lot stall
into an altar, lavished it with stalks of quince buds
and peach blossoms inside a bird of paradise vase––
for growth and for luck, for love and for life.
In front of his high school graduation photo,
they plated mandarin oranges for wealth and longevity,
lit batches of incense in an auspicious red bowl

for the journey of the faithful.

Someone else had already turned the parking lot stall
into a shooting gallery. Someone else made his bones
doming this number one son and maybe running off
to tag tunnel walls, or maybe getting a Wah Ching
eagle claw tattoo, maybe doing donuts
in a highway sideshow––all his nunchucks and guns

aimed at the heavens and missing the mark.

—Appears in the book by the author, Landings.


Andrena Zawinski’s third and most recent poetry collection is Landings from Kelsay BooksHer poems have received accolades for free verse, form, lyricism, spirituality, social concern and have appeared in Progressive Magazine, Verse Daily, Rattle, Nimrod, Comstock Review, Aeolian Harp, and others. Veteran teacher of writing and feminist activist, she founded and runs the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and is Features Editor at  

3 Poems by Allan Kolski Horwitz


Eve was there
She had no need for another
She was full breasted

And she lay in the garden
Seeded herself
And her milk made her happy
Eve after Eve after Eve

But when the moon was full and red
A warring rod and whirling light
Disturbed her womb
So Eve made Adam
Till a hard-muscled child pulsed out

Made herself and unmade herself
Made a man to stand
Beside and against her

It is never quiet in the garden
There is always vibration
And still Eve lies alone
Bringing forth Adam after Adam after Adam


One point two billion crammed on the polluted banks of a caste-ridden Hindu ethno-nationalist river
Another one point three billion squatting under the glare of a Fong Kong Communist Confucian robot
Over six hundred million in the Cradle of Humankind crushed under the sagging belly of the Big Man and his sadistic cohorts
Over four hundred million crucified on the patios of sunglassesed colonials and Bolivarian generalissimos
Another three hundred and forty million dangling at the end of kryptonite missile heads emblazoned with the stars and stripes of puritanical slavers
And close by another two hundred odd million bored by Brussels and strangled with the toxic tape of snarling lily-white borders
Rivalled only by the one hundred million licking the KGB’s lips with their frozen sweat
Beside the seventy-four hundred million women forced to robe the rape fantasies of bearded children
And the five hundred and twenty-nine million depressives devoted to gurus who ride pope mobiles over a canonical cliff
And the thirteen million paedophiles porning their hormones while chanting the bitch names of their Heavenly Mother

And so this garden roasts under a witless sun

This i wrote after receiving yr

first letter
sithanda wami:

why should I adorn this feeling of you around me,
of me around you,
with these dangerous jewels of word-pictures?

one night I heard you say
‘hold me’

heavy water fell
into the pool prism of our embrace


ALLAN KOLSKI HORWITZ continues to be a writer in various genres as well as being an educator and activist. He is a member of the Botsotso Jesters poetry performance group, the Botsotso Publishing editorial board and is co-ordinator of the Botsotso Ensemble schools performing arts program. He has published four books of poetry (Call from the Free State, Saving Water, There are Two Birds at My Window, The Colours of Our Flag), written and directed five of his own plays and published three collections of short fiction.

2 Poems by Jeff Burt


The storm blew blue eucalyptus
leaves like coins spilling
from the slots of a one-armed bandit,

your dog a gambler
that didn’t know what to do
with the riches piling at her feet.

Thunder came and went but stayed
inside the head, a migraine,
vertigo, syncope.

All these rough isobars,
storm a raw pugilist
come to shake his fists

and drool from his maw,
who threatens to stay
until he is fought.

You’re afraid, hide indoors,
deking, bobbing, flinching,
hair on your arms tentacular.

You sleep in fits. By dawn
you find him on a different card
spouting in another city.


Notes fell from trees
as robins and woodpeckers
jostled for plums.
Below, I looked up
in a moment of bliss
as if gathering a song
years later I would sing
in the trials of loneliness,
a soldier who finds rapture
in the minute the guns
have gone quiet
before the killing begins


Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, with his wife. He works in mental health.

3 Poems by Andrea Moorhead


Mirrors are cold against the skin

a certain distance is required to let in the light

absorb and realign the rays

twist the skein of fire

around the head

tight compress or poultice

there isn’t any difference now

the bleeding has stopped

and eyes gleam out in the night.

Strange Interactions                                     

Black moons seed snow

wavering grain, flickering lights

a band of restless particles

whenever you turn the page

or try to open the door.

Other Cosmologies                                                  

Unstitching the roads, pulling out the long rose fibers dangling from trees, moving along quickly, the concrete soft grey today, the stream swiftly by the side of road, clatter of beer cans if the car swerves, heavy dew and fog, ears against the noise wall, the sound barrier, the whistle of a train in the distance, it is yellow gold, it has petals of smoke and sparkling flowers, but nobody believes there are gardens on the sun that sway and contract, expand and disappear into the emptiness, into the conjectural spaces behind today, unstitching the roads, pulling along the silken fleece of the air, the car hugs the road, trees arching overhead, moving along as we turn around the sun, planting the blackened seeds that survived the fall.


Andrea Moorhead is editor of Osiris and translator of contemporary Francophone poetry. Moorhead publishes in French and in English. Poetry collections include From a Grove of Aspen (University of Salzburg Press), The Carver’s Dream (Red Dragonfly Press 2018), and À l’ombre de ta voix (Le Noroît). Translations include Night Watch (Abderrahmane Djelfaoui, Red Dragonfly Press), and Dark Menagerie (Élise Turcotte, Guernica Editions, 2014). She is the featured poet in the autumn 2018 issue of The Bitter Oleander.

1 Poem by Richard D. Houff


Her shadow drifts

into a play of light leaving me quite alone

Near the river, a blue heron’s eye

scolds my presence

I move quietly away

distancing myself by way of apology


Richard D. Houff was the editor of Heeltap Magazine from 1986 to 2010. He has had poetry and prose published in Brooklyn Review, Chiron Review, Louisiana Review, Midwest Quarterly, Nixes Mate Review, North American Review, Rattle, and many other fine magazines.

5 Poems by Lee Gould

The Photographer of Empty Lots

Darkness masks what

moves around his walls,

the room, the unexpected


as though cut in rock

most of us avoid –

Is this where his Cyclops

sleeps, twisted

in that oversized sheet?

is that his cot?

there his empty food packets?

forks, spoons?

Suppose the photographer adjusted

the light?  Lifted the shades?

Would he find his old Leica,

his light meter, his keys?


I  feel             untied             tried

as in put upon

but     more                loosened from

        as though I were

only partly   

          invited in…                   

Or inverted:

            put upside down,

                        in the opposite position

back to front

as if I were

somewhere else

but not

                        firmly   so

when you talk to me


I’m working

I start        pulsing     

     as though    counting,

then a lurch –

it’s not my stop            but

a loop de loop,

a  trick             pilots in old days

prided themselves on

which must have caused


at least mentally;

how come

the co-pilot didn’t        fall out      which

at moments like these             feels 

exactly like that.

First published in  La Presa, Issue 2, April 2017

The Last Year

I can’t say I was hungry my mother said,

cackling lasciviously,

her little sandwiches—

appetite enhancers, the nurse confided

you couldn’t enter her room

without at least half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

If you stood in the doorway empty-handed,

she’d point hungrily:

What do you have for me in that pocket?

her new fleshiness

encircled her

as though she were sitting

in a lake of herself

I can’t tell you the emptiness I felt,

yet charmed by what her tongue could bring

she lived happily.


Touch Me Not

If it isn’t perfect, it’s nothing -

by it I mean he or she

although sometimes when, sometimes where.

A silencer comes with my weapon,

and when I unholster, line up my shot,

fire – I disappear just like that,

the lovely orange in the little Christmas house –

only I’m still there, but with something

up my sleeve which is Goodbye.


I clothe you in an airy sheath, adhere

to your glossy surfaces, shade you, cozy you

under the hot sun. At last, you think

you’re getting the hang of it,

the give and take

of life, but make no mistake, when you

look about, the you you see

in stretchy unfolding, the curves

you didn’t know you had: flexible, reaching – you

in all your agency is me, and I’m hungry.


The crevices you try to hide

I admire, nestle into, blossom.

How sturdy you are, how I flutter

in your shadow.  Is my attention flattering?

My leafy attractions? In moonlight you gleam;

I darken, wither, but each day, as you hold me,

I grow. My roots thicken in you. I become

your extremities, the fingers, the dancing feet

or more accurately your glittering fringes.

In time, I’ll spread myself over you:

your masonry, your ledges and openings,

even as you crumble, I’ll hold you.

                         Plants was first published in La Presa, Issue 1, January, 2017


I still taste those years:

wooden with bronze pulls, you

staring at my oversized cushions,

a script I didn’t plan to interpret.

I wandered in fog,

the impressionist painting of my cataract days.

Why does memory bathe itself?

Astounded, sated, spooked?

The old furniture, those broken drawers,

the put-one-over smile as you fingered the knobs,

sizing up the ersatz jade, the scrapped Formica.

You a nuisance who drank a little, me pouring.


Lee Gould, the editor of La Presa, a bilingual journal published three times annually is also a poet, translator and reviewer,.  Her poems and reviews have appeared in journals such as Quarterly West, the Berkshire REview, Magma, Passager and others as well as anthologies in the US, England and Canada. Her chapbook Weeds was published in 2010.  She lives in Guanajuato, MExico.

2 Poems by Ian Ganassi


Like a pigeon, the seagull gobbles the Wonder bread, then wanders away.
What a strange duplication, what a weird thing to say.

Then the homeless man whose bread it was
Walks through the tidal pools and drowns his sorrows in mud.

They were a match made in limbo
Or nowhere—heaven shining above, hell steaming below.

Are we being punished for our sins?
Whatever I did I’ll never do it again.

They wear their brains in their belly and their guts in their heads.
And now that their leader is king, it’s the end.

The end of time, the end of peace—
So much for the poor in spirit and the least of these.

But bereavement happens in any case;
Even more than taxes, death can’t be escaped.

“You’re a rough customer” she said,
Implying I should have been married or dead.

I was just waiting for the other shoe to fall,
Walking along, bouncing a green tennis ball.

The pregnant girl in the bake shop couldn’t stop eating the cornbread.
The whole idea gave me a terrible sense of dread.

I was just waiting for the heavy ax to fall,
Wondering what they had against a green tennis ball.


The triathlon only lasts until we die.

It was a strange story.

The endings we can no longer bear to look into.

The bridge of sighs,

The fountain of tears,

The bottomless pit of sleep.

He vomited forth the butterflies that were plaguing his stomach.
Someone said it was “magical realism.”

It “’becomes’ a catch-22.”

Blues figures on a harmonica.

“Don’t worry, you won’t get addicted.”

 “Thanks, Ralph.”

Painted figures and written figures.

Strange figures, weird figures.

It all figures.
You figure, we figure, I figure, go figure.
Plaster or porcelain figures,

My father’s grace on the ice,

And so on and so forth.

“I would avoid the plural.”
What good advice.

The world is a difficult place to live.

It partly depends on when.

But don’t let on we depend.

The latter. The former.


Ian Ganassi's poetry, prose and translations have appeared in more than 100 literary journals. Poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in New American Writing, The Yale Review, 2Bridges Review, American Journal of Poetry and Clockwise Cat, among many others. My poetry collection Mean Numbers was published in 2016, and is available on Amazon. His new collection of poems, True for the Moment, will be published in the fall of 2019 by MadHat Press. Selections from an ongoing collage collaboration with a painter can be found at

4 Poems by Nina Rubinstein Alonso

Cold April bleak dark and dirty as the outer halls of hell 
Ghost buildings used to be Brooks Brothers
Shreves and Bonwit Teller now closed down
moved around the block maybe wrecked
or bombed or burned or shoved across this or some
other city leaving bashed signs broken lumber cracked

bricks bent rebar detritus revised by catastrophe
why bother to memorize where anything is
though street names seem the same despite
arrows of misdirection pointing inexperienced
wandering or merely outdated eyes

that stone massif was an armory then a U. Mass.
library briefly beaming light on my poems
in a glass case with copies and revisions
joining thousands of other whispering pages
now flipped to a fancy restaurant

featuring valet service and posh platters
bedecked like somebody’s recycled wacky
parsley hat cute designer potatoes next to
clever spinach nestling slabs of morgue meat
I’ve trained myself to accept changes wear them

like time’s abundant decorations as what else to do
grateful branches survive though fiercely
trimmed back and squeezed for space
in this cold April bleak dark and dirty as the
outer halls of hell while I search buried fire

the ice and ache of it in daffodils and blue scylla
that row of magnolias along Beacon Street
pinched as they are in a city spilling throngs
of wild humans surging waste while buds push open
fragile and forgetful brief shocks of innocent bloom.


Somehow though dead three years which must be
exhausting my cousin Patti sent me a Facebook
message yesterday marked ‘private and personal’

distrust and suspicion are routine normal
trained to spot spies hit delete never open a hack
but curious to check obits as what if her husband

died and someone’s trying to tell me
peculiar finding many with the same name
Paul after Paul but the fourth photo is his face

his tenor voice sang at our wedding
but their kids don’t know me from anywhere
so it’s a hack of my dead cousin’s file

next day another ‘personal private’ Facebook
message this time from the daughter of a friend
worried she’s dead too I email though

this ‘message’ feels phony as last time
I saw this girl-- now a lawyer--she was in diapers
relief to get an email from New York saying

‘yes, it’s a hack’ assuring me Nahid’s fine
still writing stories momentarily alive what to say
about messy messages or whatever label

fits spidery threads of aesthetic disconnection
computer tech trolls digging into
what used to be more or less private life

not that I miss scratchy ink pens on paper
clumsy fingers clacking typewritten missives
it’s about one soul stretching to another in

conversation call it what you like feel free
to throw sentimental or nostalgic labels at me
I don’t care as it’s about connection closer to real.

Ibbetson #44 publication, fall/winter 2018

Chicken Camp 

Two chicks my brother named
Bobby and Bobby after ball players
stop being cute when they grow into
roosters pecking each other

but one day they disappear and
I’m too young to understand
keep asking where did they go
and hear my mother say

they’ve gone to chicken camp
puzzling my baby mind as
I’m barely tall enough to see
what’s on the table but can recognize

animal legs identify whitish meat
I’m told are from entirely different
chickens not members of our family
this isn’t my first refusal of what’s

presented as food though the cat
eagerly devours what I spit out
as my small mouth hates the taste
can’t swallow flesh pulled from bones

the only skin I peel happily
is from a baked potato also pods of
of little green things I like to eat
one by one called peas.

Meeting Isaac Asimov at Mensa

Rick invites me to dinner at a Mensa meeting
everyone but me passed a test showing brilliance in mathematics
pleasure in puzzles ability to project shapes
mid air in three dimensions the sort of thing they do for fun
my safety is smiling silence the food routine Chinese take-out
and I’m excellent with chopsticks no humiliation
Rick introduces me to the man on my right
Isaac Asimov MIT professor resident genius wearing
glasses--sweet-faced--I tell him I’m a writer
and dancer love butterflies swirling
above flowers love leaping to music that sort of thing
I’ll never touch Rick or let him touch me
he’s not pretty just tall and craggy talking in clumsy puns
though he can spin tetrahedrons in his head though he’s
pathologically nice maybe guesses I’m here tonight
because I had nothing better to do maybe keeps hoping

Somehow Isaac guesses my heart story sends me flutters
of  playful conversation pulls his chair close smiles
and starts to sing ‘Venezuela’ in a half-whisper unmistakable
breath of silken desire soft melody of sex
I melt listening easily flattered easily seduced wishing people
would disappear and the table full of left over food
and fortune cookies turn into a bed as Isaac’s song kisses my ear
Too soon it’s over Rick’s bristling blue fangs
dragon forefinger tapping my shoulder
people stirring in their chairs when Isaac squeezes my hand
says he has to go to a meeting and I’m paralyzed not sure
what to do what to say so keep smiling until my face aches
The love bubble swirling luminous floating toward the ceiling
reflecting colors of the perfect moment which
as I stand up--pops--but for years I wonder
even today was I an idiot not to say or do something more
it was long ago and I was newly divorced horribly young
dreams my only defense just an egg with no shell.

Published November 7, 2018, The Somerville Times, Lyrical Somerville, on line & paper


My work has appeared in U. Mass. Review, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Ibbetson Street, Muddy River Poetry Review, New Boston Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Sumac, Southern Women’s Review, Tears and Laughter, etc.  My poem Gender Veils received the 12th Annual Moon Prize from Writing in a Women’s Voice, and my chapbook Riot Wake will be published by Cervena Barva Press.  My book This Body was published by David Godine Press. I'm also
a ballet teacher with a small school, director of Fresh Pond Ballet, , taught
at Boston Ballet for eleven years, and have always had double interests, which seems to be more
acceptable these days than it used to be.

5 Poems by Yuan Changming


Having nothing better to do, I kill
Time by looking at a traditional
Chinese painting on my iPad

Much enlarged, it appears like
A plain sheet of rice paper
Smeared with ink. I view it

In the presence of bonsai; I
Drop several thick strokes to the floor
Of history, leaving a few fine lines

Behind the sofa, & failing
To catch a colorless corner
Between black and white

It is a landscape newly relocated
Into my heart’s backyard. Then I sit
On my legs, meditating about

No light in the picture, no
      Shadow of anything, no perspective
As in hell. Isn’t this the art of seeing?

If ever at all, if only once
If you were
     To have such a chance

Just keep driving
    Drive forward
With no need to take a shoulder check

Despite so many beside you
Despite so much ahead & behind –

Along this new broadway, your car
(Like your body or thought)
Will adapt its shape like a stream
Of water running its own course
From past to future, amidst
Programmed sapiens, through
The flow of data

Until at the meeting point
Between yin & yang
                      Between 0 & 1
Between time & space

Loss, Lost, Losing

            Last month it was my cellphone
Last night, my back head, where was
Implanted a wrong chip. & last
Moment I found my mind missing

Going back along the way, I tried
To retrieve it from my rage against
A rude fellow driver. Then in a fit
Of joy about the first child I had.
Followed by a deep regret… until
I got confused between memory &
Imagination, the former stored in
The left chamber of my heart, the latter
In the right.

           When it was over-
Whelmed with joy or bitterness, I
Cannot tell which is my true past
(Or my possible future) as it over-
                   Flows from memory to
Imagination; perhaps, with my protobeing

The two might be somewhat identical, or
                  Other (than) wise (?)

Hocus Pocus

This [bread] is no other than
                                               Jesus’ flesh
This [horse’s open mouth] is
This [word] has
                            A magic power
This [fish head] brings
                                      Courage & posterity
This [fluid] cures
                             All diseases
This [sequence of syllables] drives away
                                                                   All evils & devils
This [ritual] ensures
                                     Good weather & good harvest
This [hat/hood] guarantees
                                             Purity, loyalty
This [flag] leads right
                     To paradise
This [man] is
                       A living god
This [statue, foiled or not] is
This [chip] will transform us
                                                 Into superbeings

So long as man is in his story
All is well that believes well


O yeah! There are still sapiens on Earth. Often do we remember & feel more than proud that only we SuperSapiens exist, we the most sophisticated & most exquisite human-robot compounds. It is true that from time to time we cannot help recalling one or two of them, like Shakespeare & Einstein, but that’s when they pop up unexpectedly from the back of a chip as a couple of forgotten algorithms. Their story tells them they are much more developed physically & intellectually than chimpanzees, while in the heart of history the latter is at least spiritually far more respectable. Since sapiens have proven good for nobody, nothing but a sub species of waste wasting endless earthly resources, how can we rid our planet of them in such gargantuan crowds? -- To genocide them once & for all, or just to wait for their total self-destruction?


Yuan Changming started to learn the English alphabet at age 19 and published several monographs on translation before leaving his native country. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently lives in Vancouver, where he edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. Writing credits include ten Pushcart nominations, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-2017), BestNewPoemsOnline and publications in 1,596 other literary outlets across 44 countries.

12 Photos by Tao Zhijian

Autumn Photos: In this land of maple trees...

5 Poems by Mendes Biondo

Slow Sunny Death

have mercy on me

this sunday the sun is hot

the wind is cool

birds are singing in love

and all is fine

have mercy on me

if I want to sleep

if I don’t want to get worried

if I decided to die slowly

in this sun-

day full of life

have mercy on me

because I have a strange way

to worship my gods

Closing The Curtain

at the end of the day

when all city lights

are off

when snoring of people

is the only blues

you can hear

and when the passing

of a car is similar

to a placid wave

ending its path on the sand


I can hear the noise

of all the things

never happened during the day

the pressure of tomorrow

the ecstasy of projects

that have not find an

obstacle yet

plato is sitting near to me

and his hyperuranic world

seems so real

I can catch an idea

and hide it under

my pillow

at the end of the day

with a job

with a woman

with a humanity

to find

the coming of the sandman

is your best blessing and


Hammond Organ Solo In An Empty Church

oh god

let her know

I was in love with her mouth

that time we danced

naked near the lake

one night like spirits

this is the

anima mundi

and I know I will

drink her again

‘cause she’s a fresh font

she baptized me

my god

and there were no blasphemies

I felt the trees

and the mountains

and the wind

they were calling

our names that night

I collapsed in her

worshipped her

I sang the sermons

as David did

but the people dancing with us

had naked ankles and

black curly hair

oh god if you can

hear me staying up there

‘cause here is a great mass

of naked bodies and lust

it’s a good place where to be

after all

and orgasms are our prayers

oh god

there is a place for you

and all your folks here

in the pub

a last dinner to say


and leave here your son

he do not want to die


for a rolling calendar

Last Night I Had A Dream On The Seaside


you’re a sacred fire

you’re like a guitar solo

I feel the vibes of the skin

dancing like the waves

powerful as the tide running

on oceanic beaches


you're a purple sun

falling in the sea


night is high now

and your body is moonshine

in this darkness made of sand

sweat and moans

A Room Made of Purple Petals

we chased each other that afternoon

little runs of love

then you said yes to me

with your bare hands

spring was all around

the grass was shining

the little lake was nipped by water drops

a blooming wisteria sheltered us

it was raining

on our hungry bodies

but we were kissing

and we just don’t care


Mendes Biondo is an Italian journalist and author. His works appeared on Visual Verse, I Am Not A Silent Poet, Literary Yard, Angela Topping Hygge Feature,  Indigent A La Carte, The BeZine, Scrittura Magazine, The Song Is, Poetry Pasta and other magazines. He is one of the editors of The Ramingo's Porch along with Marc Pietrzykowski and Catfish McDaris. His first book of poems "Spaghetti & Meatballs - Poems for Hot Organs" is published by Pski's Porch Publishing.

3 Poems by Judith A. Lawrence

the smell of bacon
drifts from the adjoining flat
blends with my coffee
a walk on the beach
sadness soon evaporates
the sky azure blue

walking on the path
a silver dollar shines bright
the day bears promise


Judith A. Lawrence is the editor/publisher of River Poets Journal. She is currently final editing a memoir, “What Fruit She Bears,” and a second book of short stories, “Uncharted Territories.” She has published several chapbooks of her poetry. Her poetry/fiction/memoir has been published in various anthologies, chapbooks, online and in print literary journals.

2 Poems by Frances Koziar

Darkness and Dreams

I dreamed that my painting was about to fall

and I woke with a gasp, but when I dream

of being your prisoner again—back in that house—or of

the nameless murderers who hunt me when you

grow bored I wake silently, slipping my eyes open as subtly

as the tendrils of darkness that crept into my mind—they

are your shadows, stretching their bony fingers across the years

toward me, as if somewhere, far beyond us both

is the sun

Phantoms and Relics

Sometimes when I go to bed

it feels like I am walking into battle;

I know what waits for me, there in the gathering

dark, I feel the eyes, patient and ready. Throughout the day

the Fears come, the Hurts cluster, the Memories are triggered

and they all settle into the dusty corners of my room, pushed aside

by the light, they inch closer when silence falls, given form

by the ethereal glow of the stars, they come ready

for their chance to sing


FRANCES KOZIAR has publications in 10+ literary magazines, and is seeking an agent for a diverse NA/YA fantasy novel. Her poetry has appeared in the Voice of Eve, Breath and Shadow, and an anthology by the Poetry Institute of Canada. She lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Author website:

5 Poems by ayaz daryl nielsen

Lichen on dreams
by weathered
Yet, still, and so,
the comfort
of closeness
within these,
our hours,

the ripe plumpness
of existence
perpetual motion
or without

places like this,
out of place,
cast us out and
call us home
without our
knowing it
intimacy made mystical,
endless reserves
of storytelling
entwined with
sooner and later,
anything happens

Poem of Hearts

Two who meet and touch,
melt and endow, taking
their worlds in hand
Forgetting and forgiving
while embellishing
their own poem
with the salt-
of love.

mailbox dharma      emptiness


ayaz daryl nielsen, veteran and former hospice nurse, lives in Longmont, Colorado, USA.  Editor of bear creek haiku (30+ years/145+ issues) with poetry published worldwide (and deeply appreciated), he is online at:  bear creek haiku   poetry, poems and info

5 Poems by G. F. Boyer

A Toast to My Body

Here’s to this old suit of clothes,

sodden booze sponge, heavy house

of ill repute. Three cheers

for this aging carcass hung with meat:

fat giblets and muscle ropes,

spacious brainpan and addled homunculus.

Bravo for the bony framework, blood network,

relentless busywork of organs and cells:

the pump engine, the corpuscle abacus—

that sensible valentine of muscle and gristle.

Let’s hear it for the commodious belly,

its endless appetites and mindless devouring,

the dumb and driven animal of me.


One can falter

descending the stairs—

nude or otherwise.

One can be awk-

ward, be conquered,


One can fall. One can

risk it all, then


balustrades of balance,

palisades of pain.

One can hear

thoughts arise

from the base of the mind.

One can malign

or praise.

Living Color

Because you have more rods or cones than I,

somewhere over a stranger rainbow, might

a teal and cyan skunk waddle across a maroon lawn,

while your eerie cerise eyes are closed in sleep?

Worse, in some future universe, will my new be old

to you, and my white-hot your bone-cold?

My Last Failure

At Forest Park, a nurse

brings meds in pudding,

wields a pressure cuff

amid the blather of TVs.

Now that Mom doesn’t know

me, I think she might love me.

I don’t forget the set of her mouth

when I displeased her—

her eyes’ gray flash.

I remember her poised

to strike at my first failure.

Like the scraped plates

of poverty, I am empty.

Like a scorpion, I am barbed.


Mom thinks I’m her sister.

Of course I am. These days,

I’ll be anyone she needs.

Her lunch tray's abandoned—

bread drying to shells,

yellowed mashed potatoes.

Let us sit and read

Good Housekeeping, or watch

The Waltons on TV, while

she spoons vanilla pudding

into her hairbrush, intent

as if she were diapering a baby.


G. F. Boyer earned an MFA from the University of Washington. She is a retired teacher and editor of poetry and fiction. Her 2018 book, Missile Hymnal Amulet, is available from Amazon via FutureCycle Press:

3 Poems by Patricia Robertson


nothing. Knows better. Watches the dog and me,
             licking her paws.

Keeps her own counsel. Lives inside snow, inside forest,
             inside darkening sky.

Pities us, tied together like captives. That lighted cage
           from which we emerged

blinds the stars. What do we navigate by? Baffled,
           we must stumble and grope.

Listen, fox says with her taut body. Smell. Notice
           silence and not-silence. Quiver and leaf.

Somewhere inside you a warm furred body
           is waiting to get out.


That each word can be sold. Each fox. Each blade of grass
as soon as a price is decided on.

Is a fox worth more than a word? It depends
on whether it’s the last fox.

The longest words are the cheapest.
Stone tastes better in the mouth than infinity.

Our shrewd neighbour bought all the words for blue.
Since then the sky has changed colour.

Open the gridded air with the can opener.
Lift out each heart.

What we didn’t notice has vanished.
The shape of a baby’s earlobe. Snow at sunset.


In the corner a star
from which the painting unravels:
the woman who sits on a blue chair,
the man who kneels at the foot of a ladder,
the dog at a window, gazing out.

Released from the brush, they must have something to tell us,
having come all that way.


Patricia Robertson’s third short fiction collection, Hour of the Crab, is forthcoming from Goose Lane in 2020. She won the international Aesthetica Creative Writing Award for Poetry in 2018.

2 Poems by Amelia Walker

A recipe for teardrops

As a child, I wanted

a recipe for teardrops

because I liked their taste

and how they could wash so much


As I grew, I discovered

the recipe lurked in countless places

and had many variations,

each with its own unique tang.

I swallowed so many

they made me sick

like cheap liquor, and yet

in moments I still thirst

for their salt,

the sweetness they throw

in relief


Why is it, the older I grow,

the less certain I feel

of all that I am meant, by now,

to be, and know?

Only one certain thing:

when you touch my arm

like that, and smile, I hope

we are both playing the same game

by the same rules, and even

if it is all make believe, let's stay

beneath these sheets a little longer,

keep dreaming, keep believing

in these shadow shapes

of shifting limbs

and creasing skins


Amelia Walker is a South Australian writer. She has published four poetry collections, most recently Dreamday, and currently lectures at the University of South Australia.

5 Poems by Catfish McDaris


Eight years after it reported stolen an

impressionist painting by Edgar Degas

was found by French customs officers

It was discovered inside a suitcase in

Marne-la-Vallee on a bus, none of the

passengers claimed it, the painting

Depicts a scene from Mozart’s opera,

Don Giovanni, called Les Choristes,

The Chorus Singers, it was shadowed

With grays, yellows, ochres, red caps

a man with an upraised sword, dancing

beautiful ladies, Paris’ Musee d’Orsay

were delighted to recover the masterpiece.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Honeymoon

The virgin

canvas lies

beneath me

in blinding

white ready

for love

It sighs

in anticipation



my thrust

Our Mona

Lisa soon

to be


for the


The Secret to Life is Keep Sucking Air Until You Can’t

I’ve been playing the piano hard

It’s bleeding all over the floor

There are cracks in the ceiling

All the clocks in the galaxy have stopped

Your love is a giant termite

Turning my wooden leg into sawdust

Bring me a hummingbird, pretty mama

We’ll ditch all your granny panties.

The Fizz Is a Fading Bruise

I’m confiscating your

love tonight, we’ll feel

no sorrows for the to-

morrows, they may never

arrive dead or alive and

we’ll saddle our palominos

and disappear into the co-

balt lapis lazuli sunset.


Painted hyacinth and saffron with
brushstrokes of scarlet sulfur

peacocks in a raspberry sky,

green sleeping ducks by the
cattail forest and melodic stream

Rainbow cutthroat trout leaping
for the gnat hatch, fat frogs burping,
loons and cranes on stilts hunting

Vincent thought about the dancer
at the Crazy Horse and how she’d
asked him to steal a Van Gogh,
he painted her one instead.


Catfish McDaris won the Thelonius Monk Award in 2015. He’s been active in the small press world for 25 years. He’s recently been translated into Spanish, Italian, French, Polish, Swedish, Arabic, Bengali, Mandarin, Yoruba, Tagalog, Italian, and Esperanto.

2 Poems by Kevin Cowdall

The Spectral Wolf

Like a spectre in the shadows,
it glides between the trees
on rapid padded paws;
breath curling like a strand
of early morning mist
on the freezing winter air.

The forest holds its breath.

It has roamed far from its lair,
driven on by growing hunger,
straying ever further afield and
foraging longer in search of prey.
Now it halts to scent the breeze,
raises its head, and rends a howl.

The forest holds its breath.

The Skittish Seahorse (Tanka)

It is the oddest
of Nature’s menagerie;
a nervous chess-piece
riding the currents of its
Natural Inclinations.


Kevin Cowdall was born in Liverpool, England. He has had over 200 poems published in magazines, journals and anthologies in the UK and across Europe, Australia, India, Canada, and the USA, and broadcast on BBC Radio. He has previously released three collections; ‘The Reflective Image’, ‘Monochrome Leaves’ and ‘A Walk in the Park’. His 2016 retrospective collection, ‘Assorted Bric-a-brac’ (bringing together the best from these collections with a selection of more recent poems), has had excellent reviews and is available in paperback and as an e-book on Amazon. Kevin’s novella, ‘Paper Gods and Iron Men’, is also available in paperback and as an e-book on Amazon.

1 Poem by Wendy Gist


Radiant pomegranate

busted open on a limb:                                                 

A dove ducks in,

plucks a pip, in sun’s ray--

Beak bleeds

the hot gem:

Divinely humid.

Not a sound of what is to come.


Wendy Gist’s poetry, fiction and essays have been featured or are forthcoming in Amsterdam Quarterly, Empty Mirror Arts and Literary Magazine, Foliate Oak, Fourth River, Grey Sparrow Journal, New Plains Review, Rio Grande Review, RipRap, Soundings Review, St. Austin Review, The Lake (UK), and many other fine journals. Gist co-edits Red Savina Review. She’s the author of the chapbook “Moods of the Dream Fog” from Finishing Line Press. Gist is a Pushcart Prize nominee and semifinalist for Best Small Fictions 2017.  She Co-Edits Red Savina Review Journal.

1 Poem by Alan Britt


Flax seed, one worthy of Jupiter’s

carpenter blue light.

Nickel coin, hole drilled thru copper skull.

Dehydrated verbs & adjectives like

onions dying to be caramelized.

Groundhog bloodies its teeth

against 14 gauge galvanized steel,

blueberry blue, positive there

is no afterlife.

Nonprofit, the latest ruse, Fidel posing

as cottonmouth along the Intracoastal,

Ft. Myers, nestled between the overthrow

of Guatemala circa Eisenhower & circa

who gives a flying fuck, circa who gives

one, anyway?


Preferring to "lean and loafe at his ease," Alan Britt is troubled by the corruption and ambivalence that permeates the Great Experiment, so politically speaking he has started the Commonsense Party, which ironically to some sounds radical. He believes the US should stop invading other countries to relieve them of their natural resources including tin, copper, bananas, diamonds, and oil, also that it’s time to eliminate corporate entitlements and reduce military spending in order to properly educate its citizenry, thereby reducing crime and strengthening the populace in the manner that the Constitution envisioned. He is quite fond of animals both wild and domestic and supports prosecuting animal abusers. As a member of PETA, he is disgusted by factory farming and decorative fur. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars he now teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.

1 Poem by g emil reutter

Of Consequence

And so it is

      we find ourselves

          in this place


Controlled tic of the clock

    unwavering in its pursuit

        of the next minute, hour

             day, month, year.

Yet, in this era

     of speed of communication

         we slow it down

             each tic of the clock

                  of consequence

Savour each drop of rain

     every fallen leaf

           each blush of flower

                every bird stopover

Relish each touch of hand

        every brush of flesh of lip

             each word exchanged

                  every unruffled second     


g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories. Nine collections of his poetry and fiction have been published. A Matter of Time is forthcoming in 2019 from Concrete Meat Press. He is the Book Review Editor at North of Oxford.