Tuesday 5 May 2020


[2020 edition]

Cover Photo by Yuan Changming: Wooden Shoe Tulips 

PP(9.1): Editor's Note

dear All PP Patrons, 

this is our first annual edition, in which we are honoured to present 65 poets and 3 artists. 

from now on, we will try to showcase more poems in each upcoming edition to make up for the loss after we switch into a yearly publication. 

just a brief note for all submitters: while we are deeply grateful for your (continuing) support, please wait a six month period between two submissions, and at least two issues after appearance in PP. 

happy reading/viewing, and stay safe & well in these hard times!

- eds. at PP

PP(9.1): 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 
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 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;

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

* sorry, this is not a paying market, but a site for
true lovers of words 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
to editors.pp@gmail.com
or visual artworks as individual separate attachments;

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

Our response-time is four months though often much shorter than that, 
only those accepted will get a reply;

* we never require you to mention us as the first publisher of your work;

Once accepted by PP, please allow at least two years
before submitting new work to us

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


book/chapbook manuscript submissions 
are closed until further notice

1 Poem by Ray Greenblatt


The dense groves of trees
have been stored in the wings,
they’ll be pushed onstage
again tomorrow.

The ocean fretful
all day churning huge teeth
somehow quiets under
cover of darkness.

Late arriving ship
nudges into harbor
ts bright spotlight eye
glaring into all bedrooms

then snaps off for the night.
The actors are now at home
their roles in another dimension,
music filed in memory.

It is time to sleep
to think about today’s events,
let dreams expand our lives
into Romance or Tall Tale

or even—who knows—Myth


Ray Greenblatt is an editor on the Schuylkill Valley Journal and teaches a “Joy of Poetry” course at Temple-OLLI University in Philadelphia. He has recently been published in International Poetry Review, Ibbetson Street, Comstock Review, and Midwest Quarterly. His most recent book of poetry is NOCTURNES & AUBADES (Parnilis Press, 2018).

1 Poem by Gary Duehr

Quick Vacation

And here’s a couple who’s unhappy

Arguing in a crappy

Airport lounge. She’s listening and she’s not.

He’s trying to explain, not out

Of urgency but as a way of killing time—

Which is already dead. Their crime?

The neurons in his brain are firing at their full capacity

While hers are barely flickering on, thanks to the rapacity

Of his interrogation.

Between them, an absence is evoked, a quick vacation

Of the senses. Colleagues, lovers, friends?

Maybe all of the above. It ends

With a whimper as she pushes back her hair

Behind one ear. There.

And on his lap is spread the daily paper

With a headline and a date, the way a kidnapper

Proves the victim isn’t dead.

Beside them is a vacant chair, a shiny red

That’s like an ad for emptiness.

In front of it a briefcase. No one’s? Hers? Guess.

Like in a movie, it could contain a bomb

Or stacks of hundred dollar bills. Take your pick. Stay calm.


Gary Duehr has taught poetry and writing for institutions including Boston University, Lesley University, and Tufts University. His MFA is from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. In 2001 he received an NEA Poetry Fellowship, and he has also received grants and fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the LEF Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Journals in which his poems have appeared include Agni, American Literary Review, Chiron Review, Cottonwood, Hawaii Review, Hotel Amerika, Iowa Review, North American Review, and Southern Poetry Review. His books of poetry include In Passing (Grisaille Press, 2011), THE BIG BOOK OF WHY (Cobble Hill Books, 2008), Winter Light (Four Way Books, 1999) and Where Everyone Is Going To (St. Andrews College Press, 1999).

5 Poems by John L. Stanizzi


7.17 a.m.
45 degrees

Philosophical about my dream; the pond swarming with ducks,
overreaching the banks, packed in wing to wing.  I know better, of course, but there is a
neighborly pair here, wary, who swim around a moment considering my presence, and then
draw their wings in, then out, take to the sky, and disturb the pond’s stillness for one lovely moment.


7.46 a.m.
61 degrees

Paradox this breeze, cool, yet mixed with the sun there’s a warmth,
overdubbed with the whoosh through the leaves that are left.  And this morning small
knurls of frogs peep and at my approach, having made their way a good
distance from the pond, leap now into the stream, and vanish under the mud.


11.07 a.m.
54 degrees

Peau-de-soie of the pond’s surface caught between sunlight and
overextended cloud cover, two places at once; the pond glistens and is absolutely still.
Neurasthenic little breeze courses across the pond at its best, and
doorsills of simple waves lead us to what is right in the breeze, perfect in the stasis.


1.29 p.m.
54 degrees

Protégé of the sheerest, most delicate lace, this air is mist,
oracular, hardly there at all, and these past few days a
noblesse of battered and leftover leaves and twigs has left the landscape
divided, caught between the bite of winter and the grace autumn falling away.


11.54 a.m.
58 degrees

Proceeds from last night’s storm still jewel the early afternoon grass.
Observable wetness on the spare leaves, trees, the road; today, the harbinger of tomorrow’s storm.
Noontide and the stream is active; a male cardinal drinks, a sparrow swoops and observes,
doves, wings squeaking, fly into the brown grass that was green, to what was here but is now gone.

Note: They are from a one-year-long project called POND -- The poems are acrostics.


John L. Stanizzi is author of the collections – Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, Four Bits, and Chants.  His newest collection, Sundowning, will be out this year with Main Street Rag.  John’s poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, Blue Mountain Review, The Cortland Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, Rust & Moth, Connecticut River Review, Hawk & Handsaw, and many others.  His work has been translated into Italian and appeared in many journals in Italy.  His translator is Angela D’Ambra.  John has read and venues all over New England, including the Mystic Arts Café, the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, Hartford Stage, and many others.  For many years, John coordinated the Fresh Voices Poetry Competition for Young Poets at Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, CT.  He is also a teaching artist for the national recitation contest, Poetry Out Loud.  A former New England Poet of the Year, John teaches literature at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT and he lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry.

5 Poems by Jonathan Minton

from *letters*

This letter begins with a blinded god, his golden mask.
Someone is drowning in the dark. Someone is speaking as a ghost.
When the language is private, I recover an image: wet rock, a red canyon.
When spoken, you appear as the girl with her bare, white shoulders.

This letter begins as a sound from a king's mouth or his globe.
You stand before another cave and listen for the echo.
A heart of string hangs from a map on the wall.
It marks the spot where you will enter. It marks this new kingdom.

This letter begins with locusts and wild honey.
It feeds the mouth of the hermit. He is clothed
in a thousand little words like this. It is a murmur. It is a state.
But it will fade as you fade. It is not the same as pain.

This letter begins as something once held as belief
like water or the fossilized bones of a fish.
This letter begins not as a fathom but a gate that swings open or shut.
There was never a horse, its head bending low to drink.

from *letters*

Dear reader, our stories might keep us satisfied,
but we must pause at each sacred, categorical vow.
I would never break your heart or say anything
to embarrass you. We will listen to each other
because we must cooperate with the news of the world.
We could gather in public squares and sing this as an anthem.

Dear reader, we were lonely, and became characters
in the dark, like flowers crawling up a wall.
We’re more than our sentence. We’re more
than this mouthful of air. If you’re telling me
there are rivers moving between us, I will believe you.
We fill the gaps with what we think should happen.

from *letters*

You spoke of uncertainty as if it were a nest. You gave me
its singular unguarded beauty. It was a gold cup. It was a lake
that I could drink or drown in. You caught me as I was looking,

as if I were looking at a crowd gathering on our shores.
They were speaking your name. I stuttered, and it startled
your sense of home. When we left, the scene darkened.

Is it enough to sing about this? Enough to say what we kept?
In another sentence, a machine replaces the word green for darling,
but this is the story of the lake and cup. I am in it as someone speaking.

You are like the green curtains that open or close.

from *letters*

I've written this letter before. The first time
nothing was moving. You were waiting in another house.
It was made of stone, you said. The yard was dark.

In the other letter, I circled every word for home,
and then rewrote it as directions to another neighborhood.
I described laughter from across the harbor.

This time there are no imaginary cities of wire and ash.
This time it will unsettle at the bottom as if it were a river,
and I were of water and you were on the shore.

This will be the ghost of a ship. It will carry only air, like a bubble.
Your hands will never trace its wreck. You will think
of what to say but will never say it. You will shrink into a sentence.

This will be a wellspring filled with lungs. The walls
around them will crumble, and dust motes will gather above.
This will mean something like sunlight, or moths flickering.

from *letters*

You said our days were like keen eyes watching a small, brittle yard.

This was not an omen, but there are other words for "keep."
Think of all those books of ancient weather, illustrated with characters
and their little red caps, hawks on their arms, and all the gestures
we can only take as private, like a girl leaning against a fence, a boy
tugging at someone’s sleeve.

                           You said this with your head in your hands.
Someone else would give you a cup for salt or water.
When you say goodbye, you should leave these things behind.


Jonathan Minton lives in central West Virginia, where he is an Associate Professor of English at Glenville State College. His books include *Technical Notes for Bird Government* (Telemetry Press, 2018), *In Gesture* (Dyad Press, 2009), and *Lost Languages* (Long Leaf Press, 1999). His poetry has appeared in the journals *Ecolinguistics*, *Conotation Press*, *Asheville Poetry Review*,
*Coconut*, *Eratio*, *Columbia Poetry Review*, *Reconfigurations*, *Free Verse*, *Trillium*, and elsewhere. His poetry has also appeared in the anthologies *Oh One Arrow* (Flim Forum Press), *Poems for Peace* (Dyad Press), and *Crazed by the Sun* (Cyberwit Press). He edits the journal *Word For/Word* (www.wordforword.info).

3 Poems & 13 Photos by Keith Moul

Spring Purple

Crocuses shoot up
and I look for a way into myself.

The soil is mush,
still in the sun, too full
to suck down the last puddles,
and the wind will not help.

Over on the island, I walked
through dead brush, kicked
small rocks, and found no key
to my head lodged in the season.

That was winter.  That
was fat corpses of maple leaves
dying into the earth, hugging it
wet with love
while the air clung, a heavy cloak.

These flowers spring purple,
yellow and white.  These flowers
sweeten the ground, some tree,
a mountain, this sun.

I could eat these flowers.
At least they
would get into my head.

"Dogsoldier 3," "Five Poems," 1975, p.63.
Reprinted in Red Ochre Lit, March, 2012


strings attached

eleven boys
fly orange kites

no strings at all


Riverside Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 3, August, 1972, p.236.

Spring, 2012

Forecasters predict deepening snow later tonight.
Spring by calendar, winter still by the cat’s full fur:
wet unreliability for which the season is known.

I recall so clearly a halcyon day forty-six years back
when we lay contentedly, luxuriating in sweet grass
of a Missouri spring, recommitting our pastoral love.

A force flushed us; thrust through unwrapping buds;
propelled puckish nuthatches to birthing tender chicks;
mixed dormant chemicals in us; urged caressing summer.

Rapt, we felt our mouths might suck the moistening blooms;
felt easeful body heat uncurling straight the sticky loops;
felt only pleasure, not heeding scratchings by blanched sod.

Winter winds re-encircled us, our exposed skin goose fleshed.
Privately I begged that Spring assure my love in its making,
that love’s spell not be sacrificed to planetary recalcitrance.

But, under blackening clouds, our desire did not retard the ice.
We pushed, winter smothered us, back and forth. We rode passion
until our ardor persevered and peevish winter assumed irrelevance.




Keith Moul is a poet of place, a photographer of the distinction light adds to place. Both his poems and photos are published widely. His photos are digital, striving for high contrast and saturation, which makes his vision colorful (or weak, requiring enhancement).

2 Poems by Louis Gallo


What happened to those happy hours
And where is the sweet bouquet of flowers?
                        --The Shirelles

We oiled ourselves with Sloe Gin

And Bloody Mary’s as the calliope

Of the U.S.S. President blasted out

“You Are My Sunshine” before leaving dock.

Later on the upper deck we could faintly hear

Fats Domino at the piano in the ballroom—

“Blueberry Hill,” my favorite.

How we spooned in a cloud of moonlight,

How we stumbled when trying to dance

As we watched a trio of pelicans swoop

Across the river en route to Algiers.

What do I remember aside from these

Poignant images?  Not much, just a feeling

Of perfection and fulfillment and

The scent of magnolia.

I don’t quite remember who you were,

What you wore, though it must have been fancy,

I in a white tuxedo.

The occasion has slipped into the crevices

Of memory, the year, the destination

And return, the anchoring, the drive home.

Who were you?  Who was I?


Wheat fields may be beautiful in their way

Though one could mistake them for weird grass

Run amuck, yet some primitive genius thought,

Hmmm, I can make bread out of this stuff.

He was probably a nerd, outcasted by his

Mighty, manly fellow hunters—couldn’t hunt

Worth a damn—but the bread caught on and

Issued in civilization and usurped the hunters

Who soon caved in to the farmers.

No one knows that genius’s name or when

His eureka happened—not as with Guttenberg’s

Printing press or Edison’s light bulb or Eli Whitney

Or Henry Ford.  He remains an anonymous

Visionary, long gone, though the bread lives on.

I like to think also that he sang poems (no writing

Then) to his children about bread, lyrics, maybe odes,

Since the process alchemizes one thing into another

The way mere words transmute into beautiful artifacts

About love and death and time and every now and then


              So I celebrate that lone failed hunter here, that

Anonym who first separated the wheat from the chaff.


Two volumes of Louis Gallo’s poetry, Crash and Clearing the Attic, will be published by Adelaide in the near future.  A third, Archaeology, has been published by Kelsay Books; Kelsay will also publish a fourth volume, Scherzo Furiant, in the near future.  His work has appeared or will shortly appear in Wide Awake in the Pelican State (LSU anthology), Southern Literary Review, Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic,, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth,  Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review, and many others.  Chapbooks include The Truth Change, The Abomination of Fascination, Status Updates and The Ten Most Important Questions. He is the founding editor of the now defunct journals, The Barataria Review and Books:  A New Orleans Review.  His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize several times. He is the recipient of an NEA grant for fiction.  He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.

3 Poems by John McKernan


The old man lifted himself from the chrome wheel chair and stood bravely before the audience. He waved a red bandana in the air, spun around three times, and slid into a pair of hiking boots. We could hear his leather belt mooing beside the scuff marks on the rubber soles.  Slowly his wool slacks floated to the floor covering a herd of tiny sheep hooves. We watched the fibers of his white shirt flow like sunlight through the window out onto the cotton fields across the highway.  Buttons rolled to the corners of the stage.

“He must have been a nudist” we said as we left the auditorium applauding wildly.

Outside, a dirty parking lot kept ejecting sports cars into the speeding highway

Some of us peered in through the side windows and noticed the magician’s watch dangling from a bird’s nest

It was still ticking and a few light rays kept bouncing off a jumbled pile of medals lying on a practice putting green


A single silver spoon lay untouched

On a coffee table in South Omaha

At my grandmother’s house

Stolen – she claimed –  from Edmund Spenser’s

Irish castle before it was torched

Wrapped in flannel

Carried aboard a ship

Bound for Nebraska

Via the Brooklyn Bridge

The ice cream & cookies & cake

Were great at Birthday Parties

But what made her think

We wanted oat meal & old bananas

Which would always taste

Like a rotting potato from Ireland


In her orange & green cheer leader outfit

Out on the side of the highway



Fearless in the onrush

Of  million dollar RV’s


Unmarked ambulances

& motorcycles

She enjoyed the wind rush

Of a Harley zipping by at 80

I received a phone call

From her in the ER last night

I don't know what I'm going to do

Me Neither   I whispered


John McKernan is now a retired comma herder / Phonics Coach after teaching 42 years at Marshall University. He lives – mostly – in Florida.  His most recent book is a selected poems Resurrection of the Dust.  He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Journal, Antioch Review, Guernica, Field and many other magazines

2 Poems by Beate Sigriddaughtr

A Prayer for the Swans

My dear one,
many troubled years ago
I had a dream
in which you killed
six flying swans.
I was so angry
that I told you of my dream
and you were deeply hurt.
Now I will come to you again.
Let my swans live.

"A Prayer for the Swans" was previously published in the anthology Old Friends (Celadon Press 1979) under the author's prior name Beate Goldman.

Snapshot: City Night

pink satin high heels

with a bow at the ankle

the owner smoking

a cigarette

with her peach mouth

so much depends

on hours she spent

getting ready for this

puffing with her

girlfriends in the rain

"Snapshot: City Nights" was previously published in Mad Swirl (2018)


Beate Sigriddaughter, www.sigriddaughter.net, is poet laureate of Silver City, New Mexico (Land of Enchantment), USA. Her work has received several Pushcart Prize nominations and poetry awards. New books out in 2018 were Xanthippe and Her Friends (FutureCycle Press) and Postcards to a Young Unicorn (Salador Press).

5 Poems by Heath Brougher

Lost Cause 

Looking out the trapezium-shaped window
I notice the postman going from house to house,
so heavily steeped in the abstraction
of Humanity's tar pit of false realities.
The predetermined societal trappings
have consumed him. He knows nothing
of actual Truth. He is just another lost cause
among the masses' massive disregard
of the plain as day Universal Truth abound.

Thought Poisoning 

There they are again; no one
alone in the vicinity, all in hordes.
Indiscernible as blood
in tomato soup.
They worship and follow,
coining tradition along the way.

Their paths commingle throughout
the guts of centuries; flesh burns off,
war ripples like a California fault-line;
that Thought beckoning in the back of minds
for what seems to be forever the question
of integrity and myth—

This is nothing new.
It is the usual.

Sometimes doves come,
but usually it's the vultures.


You stuck your hand out the window
just as the storm was fading away
saying you wanted to catch
the last drop of rain.

Silent Parade

Never allow
your life
to become
a silent movie—

even if
you go
completely deaf!

Uncommonly Cold

She comes in from the tulips,
frowning in a downtrodden shade
of stained glass wine bottles.
Another one died, she says,
for the tenth day in a row,
holding me, then raveling
my unthorny head and neck
around her slimmest of writs.


Heath Brougher is the poetry editor of Into the Void, winner of the 2017 and 2018 Saboteur Awards for Best Magazine. He is a multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee as well as winner of the 2018 Poet of the Year Award from Taj Mahal Review. He has published 6 books, the newest of which are To Burn in Torturous Algorithms (Weasel Press, 2018) and The Ethnnosphere's Duality.(Cyberwit, 2018).

5 Poems by Allen Qing Yuan

Red Letter

a patch of red intentions
with seemingly ordinary shape and size
about to slip out of my sweaty desires

in my bleak twisted fantasy
the dots of doves
are swaying in a fall of crimson
rain unloved

slackly sealed with a zebra depiction,
a Bengal tiger colourway,
a messenger of the actuality that I couldn't have rode the other way
as if it could be for anyone, replaceable

your writing is the most flavorful painting
but blasphemy to my tastes

how much i yearned for those brief but weighty words
that 3 word statement
that 8 character declaration
but the end was just like
the end of a favour

“thank you, and good bye”



           Fiction hit
The fact hard, and ran

     With truth per se
Being the only witness

All That Is Solid   Melts into Air

All that is liquid flows into data. All
That  is conceptual   evaporates into     cybospace. All that
Is genetic/   scientific condenses into an algorithm
All that is artistic /spiritual/cultural disperses   into
Digital being. All that is human evolves    into story


let it
be the predetermined constant
in human algebra, or simply

(or wisdom?)

the ratio of a lifetime’s length L
to its spiritual growth S is then:

π = L/S

that is, if happiness is something fated, fixed
the more spiritual growth you attain
the longer you would live


Like the Confucian principle
Of the Golden Mean
The ideal (optimisation)
Times this magic number
      Yields the best
& most practical solution

Just a bit above the average
You can enjoy the benefits
Of all the possible best
While avoiding their pitfalls


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 works 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.

5 Poems/Postcards by Will Schmitz


Will Schmitz: novelist, short story, screenwriter, poet, co-translator with Mary-Susan Iosue of Cocteau's Opera and The Cape of Good Hope, graphic artist. Likes what he does and tries to do it most every day.  Living in Waimanalo, Hawaii close to family and friends.  

1 Poem by Anna Banasiak

Mother's Hands

You baked for me the world
smelling of bread
of childhood
still warm
from words and emotions
Your hands full of memories
stopped time for me
run out from my poems
I will hide you in dreams.


I'm a poet and occupational therapist. My poems have been published in New York, London, Surrey, Australia, Canada, India, Africa, Japan, China, Israel. I'm the winner of poetry competitions in London,Berlin,Bratislava. I'm the winner of poetry competitions on Poems and Quotes. I'm the winner of gold,silver,bronze medal on All Poetry. I’m the winner in All about Love Challenge. I published a book for children, book of poems "Duet of Waves" in English and Japanese co-authored with Yoshimasa Kanou and "Duet of Tears" co-authored with Noriko Nagaoka. I'm interested in art and psychology. I belong to Japan Universal Poets Association and Kamena Literary Foundation.

5 Poems by P. C. Vandall

Waste Not, Want Not

(For Sherin Mathews who was found dead in a culvert
after her adopted father force-fed her milk)

Consider everything —the small spaces

between bones and teeth, cracks of light, hollows

of darkness, calcium and cartilage.

Contemplate whether the clouded glass

was half-full or half-empty. Should we weep

if milk spills like moonlit rivers across

cold granite tables? Somewhere a stove pot

is frothing at the lip and boils over,

and somewhere it’s soothing a wee one’s cry.

Perhaps, if the cup had been brimming

with twilight then the stars could flitter

like fireflies and burn holes through the blackness.

Maybe someone thought the milk was spoiled

and poured it down the drain, not knowing

it might get caught in the pipes and clog.

If the milk had been left to stand awhile,

it might've grown skin. Even something

seemingly sour can be turned sweet again.

In the dead of night, I hear coyotes

taking nips at the moon and the details

film over like a half-digested dream.

It wasn’t so long ago that missing

children could be found on milk cartons

and folks knew better than to dispose of them.

 (Previously published in Prism)


You were a good dancer, knew all the steps

until we ended up in the back seat

of your father’s Fairlane and I forgot

who I was and became the huntress,

forging ahead through the velvet brush

down the fuzziness of your soft navel

to the golden warm undercarriage

of your body. I could smell the sharpness

of leather mixing in with the mustiness.

It was hot that night like the summer

the air was thick with flies and manure.

I had gone to the cellar to cool off

among the jars of peaches and apple sauce.

The peaches were sweet and firm, delicious

and cold. The cellar was ripe and heady

in the sweet-sickly scent of nectar.

Peaches bruise easily when plucked like that.

With you, it was more like applesauce.

  (Previously published in Prism)

Salmon Run

I never told you but I left you once.

It was September, and I packed the kids

in the car, caught a boat to Nanaimo,

and checked into the Coast Bastion hotel.

It was there I pondered leaving for good.

No one stays here for long. Even Salmon

know when it’s a good time to run, to take

that leap up freshwater streams to migrate

to their ritual spawning grounds. They`ll risk

life and fin for their unborn children

before rotting into ocherish dust.

All night the fog horns wailed in the harbour

like women in mourning and I felt numb

as I sank into the soft-red ashes,

the sweat and dander, the microscopic

bits of love left on the pleated sheets.

There’s an emptiness that will reel you in

like a riptide, a vacuum sucking you

inside while the blue-silvery light swims

out into the tapering darkness.

In the half-light, I bundled up the kids,

followed the long-narrow halls past vending

machines and ice and then crossed the lobby,

vast as an ocean with no ships in sight.

 (Previously published in 3rd Wednesday)

Three Minutes

The time it takes to make the bed, grab

a hot shower, boil an egg, or fold

a paper airplane. Three minutes. The time

it took my mother to make up her mind

to leave my father. I can still hear

the cap popping off of her Final-

net hairspray, the spurts of air hissing

out and freezing her blond curls into place.

Sometimes winter scars the land, conceals

the lesions and diseased tissue below.

Everything appears so spotless and clean,

almost beautiful in its rebirth

but If you pull the snow back like a scab

it will bleed. I wonder if the earth aches

when it thaws. Three minutes. The time it took

the doctor to uncross my legs, grab

the cryoprobe and shoot a steady stream

of arctic-blue liquid nitrogen

against my cervix. Three minutes

before a glacier unearthed my body,

once beautiful as unbroken black ice.

 (Previously published in 3rd Wednesday)

Ode to a Poem

I wrote a poem Neruda would blush at,

Blake would find innocent and Ginsberg

would howl at. The poem was bathed in the plum

shade of a Georgia O’Keeffe flower.

Imagine, blooming a poem like that,

words perfuming the body in one sweet scent-

ence after another. I wrote the poem

last winter before the snow or perhaps

it was September, ripe and red as the wood

stove pushing heat up the smoke stack to pant

hot spurts into the starry sky. The poem

had no heart, soul, or glass to shatter it.

There were no carnal apples or oranges

sliced but it quivered like a grove of aspens.

No poem --not even the sallow sunflower

dripping seeds from its black eye or the weight

of a song could compare. The poem –not

this one, was the best poem ever written,

and when I read its sublime words out loud,

there was a silence that was unheard of.

I wish you could have heard it. The poem

fractured time and space and each word splintered

the bone white page. The poem rose like a ghost-

ship out of water, breaching the surface

like a whale caught in a bohemian fog.

I wanted to share that poem with you

today, but the poem had a previous

engagement and sent me in its place.

Great poems can do that. Poets can’t.

(Previously published in The Stinging Fly)


Pamela is the mother of two children and the author of three collections of poetry, all of which she considers her babies. She has babies forthcoming from Oolichan Books and Porcupine’s Quill.

1 Poem by Tom Ball



Everyone has them. But MRT (mind reading technology) smashes your illusions and leaves you with stark reality

But you say without your dreams you don’t want to live


You have to know what reality is

By traveling and meeting lots of people

You need to compare different places to know your own country

Some people just lie to each other

And call it reality enough for them



People see reality differently

Some say reality is all an illusion

We all surround ourselves

In a bubble/illusion

Pretend we have the best

Of all possible worlds

But future people will laugh

About how obsessed we are with non-imaginable “reality”

A big joke


In the fantasy video game cyber worlds of the future

They will claim they are living in reality

Layers and layers of depth to these “worlds”

One needs illusions to survive, can’t live without them

Reality is just a big joke


Ball has published extensively with PBW, Down in the Dirt and, Magazine Conceit. He has also published a number of works for Gargoyle, Spillwords. And has also appeared in Lone Star Magazine and Postcardshorts.ca.

2 Poems by Roger Sippl

The Sweater

The doctors tell me the main tumor

in my chest is the size of a softball.

She uses a double strand of yarn

and thin knitting needles so the arms and walls

to cover my chest and back will be thick.

There are more in my bronchial system,

my neck, below my diaphragm, and maybe

in my spleen. The sweater will warm me

even in the wind. She had to do Catholic

Penance, a mother’s labor, she repeats

non-stop clicks with yarn, mostly acrylic,

so it can’t be eaten and

will never decay. She says it is her

fault. She should have stopped me from

sneaking onto that stupid golf course at night, swimming

with mosquitoes, diving the black lake for lost balls

through industrial fertilizer and green dyes, as if

she knows what caused my lymph node cancer

when no one else does. She tries to cure me, feels

my forehead, clicks the needles together again

and again until her fingers hurt and wrists ache

and she can hardly stand up from sitting so long.

So I tell her that leaves on trees blow left

then right, some rattle and flip,

some move hardly at all, yet some are first to fall

to the ground. I tell her the sweater

is coming along great as she watches me lose

weight lying in bed. The needles click as she approaches

another threshold of pain that relieves her.


All through each long day

our nightgowns hug each other

on the bedroom hook.

The Sweater was first published in the Ocean State Review in 2016.
 “Everyday” was first published in Smeuse Poetry, a print anthology, in 2017.


Roger Sippl studied creative writing at UC Irvine, UC Berkeley and Stanford Continuing Studies. He’s been published in a few dozen literary journals and anthologies, including the Ocean State Review and the Bacopa Literary Review. Before that he was a pre-med who survived Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which changed everything.

5 Poems by Charles Pinch

All for Frances


Joe, when I say I want

to get lost in the green

what I mean is to climb

into the experience…

To grow not up, older,

Sideways but into—

like you grow into a body.

Like Daphne grew into a tree.


Why should the fox be?

A slip of flash and mud.

Existentially charged


Landing with a



My body’s grown a tumor.

I’ve given it a name.

One day Bob will kill me.

Isn’t it a shame?


Moment to moment

Over and over

Time after time

Again and again


On a hill with Blackie

The universe spins around me

In perfect pitch.

The music of the spheres is

Is the sound of

Exploding atoms.

So silent. So still.

Even if I reach for it

My arms are





Canadian Charles Pinch hold degrees in Art History and Philosophy from McMaster University. Many of his short stories have been published both in print and online. He is co-founder and senior editor of the literary journal Fleas on the Dog. He lives with his boyfriend, writer Nick North in a place that shall remain nameless.

3 Poems by Marie-Andree Auclair

Blue Iris

It blossoms on her cheek
morning bright, for all to see
writes a tale her shame
cannot articulate.

Night flower arising
from underground vessels
unable to contain their blue ink
leaking sorrow.

Mouth used to wordlessness,
her face blurts out an itinerary
she wants to refuse and she prays
not just her mirror would read.


out of oneiric
best when

Silence Number 1, Begetting

silence is stone
polished smooth
by decades of words
the teeth of which
silence itself wore down.


Marie-Andree Auclair’s poems have appeared in a variety of print and online publications in the United States, Canada, Ireland and in the United Kingdom. Her chapbook, Contrails was released by In/Words Magazine and Press/Ottawa. She lives in Canada.

5 Poems by Koon Woon


Nostalgia – my most ready and dispensable currency, rain

Trickling down the windowpane and

The useless clock failing

To stop time as forty years came and went,

In this underheated room that

Always had been underheated.

I stare into deep translucent green not

Believing much of what I did


Like a priest confronting nature

For the first time.

And things could have happened


Though I won’t say water running uphill.

But the heart does pump blood to

The zenith of the head.

And let all hurts revert

To their primeval virgin


I met you then-

We were both swimming a

Turbulent river.

We barely had the strength

To say “hello,”

But there we were

Spending several Springs until Autumn fell

On us, and we parted before snow could

Pile on our heads.

We reached for the sky as

All young people do.

But the sky is always up there for

Aspirations and not for one’s


So we waited until

Memory graced us

Like second-hand clothing from

Salvation Army counters. And whatever

Slight inflictions we suffered

Had healed beyond the point of memory.

Now like a hologram you still

Come alive

Before me as my memory dives again

Into lost summers. Yes, living was dizzy then

As bees in a frenzy before honey-potent

Flowers. Life was indeed for our taking.

Now, however, between shaves, I grow

In years that bear witness to your absent

Hand stroking as you would a pale

Fire on its glow on the chin of your pet.

Between shaves, I have lost you

To the grottoes and grovels of the underground

Upon which the city was built

By nameless women and men,

As I ponder what to give you were you

In the flesh before me as I know myself now

By the repetition of meals.

In this underheated room with water running down

The windowpane, I conjure you again

In far fields when you were a spring blossom and we

Had danced to receive the sun.

And I had given you something three-leafed that was

Not a clover and it had startled you into magic.

Magic now is my defense against loss and memory.

It is the shield that I protect the memories

No currency can purchase, for they were

What you had given me to ease

Me through this temporal tunnel

That some call time itself.


Within the mist of the world,

my own mist of being,

as rain drops cling

to tips of branches.

Reluctant to let go

that ill-defined resignation,

as far hills chill my limbs,

that reluctance again!

This time inside my bones,

the knowledge I was never

the man I thought I was,

merely slate, I was,

and now, erased.


I am glad to be empty –

to hold nothing,

and to have nothing,


20 paces from the bus stop

I have lived in many rooms 20

paces from the bus stop,

where two men

stand back to back,

walk 10 paces, turn,

and shoot.

Pigeons disperse,

much insane laughter,

pigeons again flock

together the instant after,

in this neighborhood

of many dwellings

each with its own story.

I was merry a boy,

respectful of the law,

and in awe of higher education

that lead men to destinations

as the bus pulls up,

I realize I left my lunch.


What human business is best done at night,

when it costs candles to provide light?

And what military posture straight in the day

is best executed in the simplest way?

The heart without convolutions

will unthinkingly answer a midnight knock,

while, a heart coiled in the dark

is apprehensive of barking dogs.

“In a dark time the eye begins to see”

all the foul hearts on the ceiling above,

blacker than black, espousing brotherly love,

like adding white sugar to saccharine tea.

But brothers, all I need is a simple love,

as delivered by the feather of a single dove.

Then, I can turn the corner past midnight,

winning the war without a fight…

Apologies to Lorca

I am in a city without time

while the three friends ascend the green balustrade

to view from the balcony the changeless sea.

I am in a house without a number

where food & sex are being squeezed out of tubes

and sleep and meals come at unpredictable hours,

as deep beneath the green water

lie, fathoms deep, sunken Greek ships full of

corroding treasures.

Maria hides behind the purple curtains when

the three friends descend the balustrade

talking of white horses with black manes,

comparing the saddle to the mantle piece.

By & by came Lorca himself,

speaking sadly to his friends:

“Mocitoes, if I am able, this house is your house,

and your horse is my horse,

but I am no longer I & my house is no longer my house.”

The three friends bid the old man adios

and vanished in the Andalusian air.

Sadly from Maria's green, green eyes,

silver tears begin to flow

when the moon climbs further with the night.

I am now in a city without name,

as the three friends gallop from the high mountain pass,

headng to the water, where silvery streaks

in the moonlight tell again of sorrows, where on the beach

there is a note in a bottle

with the script of the Chinese Empress no one can read.

Leaving the bottle on the sand,

the three friends gallop now to another city,

another city without time,

as the waves undulant, undulant roll in,

and beneath these fathoms of green, green water,

lie sunken ships with useless corroding treasures.


Born in a village near Canton, China, Koon Woon immigrated to Washington State in 1960. He earned a BA from Antioch University Seattle and studied at Fort Hays State University. He is the author of The Truth in Rented Rooms (Kaya, 1998), winner of a Josephine Miles Award from PEN Oakland, and Water Chasing Water (Kaya, 2013), winner of the 2014 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. His poetry appears in Premonitions: The Kaya Anthology of New Asian North American Poetry (1995), among others. Woon is the publisher of Goldfish Press and the literary magazine Chrysanthemum. He lives in Seattle.

5 Poems by Yuan Changming

I am a cage, in search of a bird. -- Kafka

Wherever my mind flies, it’s still
Confined tightly
To this world, this very cage of
      Sensory & imaginative cells

In other words, I is the cage, while the whole
Universe am a bird

All Voiced Equal

Given the Top Four Most Common English Verbs

To be [or not to be
Whatever or whoever you are]
To have [or not to have]
Whoever or whatever you may wish]
To do [or not to do]
Anything or nothing you would prefer, &]
To say [or not to say]
Nothing or anything you may intend to]
We are all rendered equal as we cross
Every borderline, filling in every gap
In action as in thought
                                     [Or otherwise]

Crows Are Being Born Again

                           It is an undeniable fact now:
They have arisen from the bare ground

Like the phoenix flapping its wings out of its
Legendary ashes, where are they going?
Nowhere but high up into a virtual space, a world
That, like history book, is full of black headlines

Big names, & bold details. All transmitted
Into numb numbers. Even the most unidentifiable
Has become a comet shooting above its dark caws.
Taken for an angel winged with the rainbows
Of tomorrow, while all cranes and swans are lost
                  In their dances to the tune of death

East Etymology: Introduction to Chinese Characters 

臭:stinking results from just one bit of too much self-conceit

黨:party in politics means to uphold the principle of darkness

认:knowing someone involves paying attention to whatever s/he says

值:worth is determined by how straight a person stands

债:debt must be paid because it’s a human responsibility

武:military forces are used only to stop war and maintain peace

吻:kiss is an act of not only the mouth but also the heart


When I was a dream child, I dreamed of all that was dreamable, including a remarkable ancestor in particular, whom I could brag about to my playmates. However, as I grew older, I learned that my grandfather had left us nothing but an unknown family name, while my father was no more outstanding than any other in the street. So, I began to dream about attaining enough fame, wealth and/or power to become someone in my own right.

Alas, despite a thousand weeks of psychological and physiological hardships in the past, I have come only to prove myself as ordinary as my father and grandfather, whom I have been striving so hard to emulate and, to my greater dismay, that my sons are even lesser.

Now I still dream from time to time. In the most memorable one, I come to good terms with my mediocrity. After all, being no body is a standard form of human being, perhaps no less than a form of nirvana.


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, Jodi Stutz Poetry Award, Semifinal Judgeship for 2020 Canadian Poetry Recitation Contest (Poetry in Voice), eight chapbooks (most recently East Idioms [cyberwit, 2020]), Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-2017), BestNewPoemsOnline and publications in 1,676 other literary outlets across 45 countries.

2 Poems by Buff Whitman-Bradley

Neighborhood poet

All alone atop a light pole

Above the busy thoroughfare

A smokey gray pigeon is doing its best

To strike an eagle pose

Meaning to convince itself

I suppose

And those of us speeding by below

That it is no mere plebian scavenger

But a knight of the air

A fierce and intrepid raptor

Of aristocratc lineage

Standing guard over the wide world

As evening comes on.

Nice try.

And when we were young

Didn’t many of us do something

Very similar

Emulating the bearing

And the manner of speech

The style and the attitudes

Of celebrated ones

Hoping by some sort of sympathetic magic

I suppose

To become as brilliant and profound

As acclaimed and admired

As our idols?

I know I did.

I did my best to imitate the way

Certain revered poets

Famously carried on,

Which involved a good deal

Of tumultuous behavior,

While I maintained a fervent belief

In my own talent

And waited with confident anticipation

For the heavens to rain greatness

Down upon me

And deathless verse

To begin erupting from my pen.

Didn’t happen.

And now I am seventy-five,

Long past my days of drama and heat,

An enthusiastic observer

Of local comings and goings,

A happy collecter of bits of daily news

From up and down the block,

Alert for little flickers of wild vitality

In the commonplace and everyday,

A neighborhood poet,

Content among the pigeons.

Heron and turtle

The heron walks ever so daintily

Along the half-submerged fallen tree

Being careful not to intrude

Upon the several turtles

Sunning themselves thereon.

But perhaps from being overly cautious

The bird makes a misstep

And bumps one of the lazing amphibians

Off the waterlogged trunk

And into the drink.

Realizing at once the consequence

Of its errant footfall

The heron launches itself up and away

Into the azure afternoon

Far from the opprobrium

Of the dislodged snapper,

While the turtle so rudely evicted

Hauls itself up out of the cold pond

Back to its spot in the sunlight

Sighing and muttering about the travails

A turtle’s life entails

But so very happy to be warm again.

Lakeside afternoon

Standing near the tip of the branch

Extending several feet out from its nest

In the dead treetop

The juvenile osprey is in a panic

Crying out urgently and ceaselessly

From its uncertain perch

High above the lake,

Will somebody please do something!

But no parent osprey appears

To offer direction or advice

Or even an encouraging word or two

About this monumental and transformative moment

When a young bird will step into thin air

For the first time

And must master aerodynamics

In a matter of only a few seconds

Before it plunges head first

Into the dark green waters below.

The frantic young osprey does not realize

That this absence of a backup crew

Is the ancient wild’s way of saying

You can do this on your own now, little sister,

No need for further assistance.

But after more long minutes of plaintive pleading

An instant arrives

As it does in all our lives

When there is nothing else to do

But to obey the primeval instructions encoded within

Step lightly off the spindly branch

Into the invisible embrace of sky

And just fly.


Buff Whitman-Bradley’s poetry has been widely published in print and online journals.  His latest book is “Crows with Bad Writing.”  His podcast, “Poems for the Third Act” (thirdactpoems.podbean.com) features his poems reflecting on aging, memory, and mortality.  He lives in northern California with his wife Cynthia.

5 Poems by Brian Sheffield

and your teeth were floating up there

among the long winding

sutures of the sky.

a few looked up as people do

and saw themselves there


with outstretched arms

and grins that demanded

“come over here and

drown with us.”

This small turnout just south of Carmel Highlands

holds more of the Holy than I am able

to capture here. I am sitting in the bed

of my mom’s Ford something, which she selflessly

lends to me any time I come back here

and I am thinking of impulse, foolishness,

and self-exile, though in the scope of

all history, I’m sure this is pretty dumb.

All I know now is that god’s land has been long

occupied, and though the waves crash wildly

against patient rocks and the wind hisses an

eternally drumming note, this place feels

domesticated; it’s displayed like a wicked

petting zoo. A few free things make their home

in the sky, though even they depend on

the will of people to preserve something

fundamental here. Only the deep fault lines

waiting to rise and stretch their stiff bones remain

unmanageable. There are always other

powers that will refuse to bend under the

pressure of human desire--unseen, still,

a cold and unfeeling creature which will

carelessly bring to dust a whole world of

convenience that invites millions to forget:

The only ones telling the stories are us.

L O V E / / R O O M

Though I love
Though I am inclined to sin(g)
Though Pontevin’s Spirit still
                      dances ( inside of me )
Though my words hang above my
                                              head like a halo or
                                       a                                        crane
I am still confined to the three rooms I have made.

 There is a room with - out
           windows / or / lights
and I can only go in when
                   t h e d o o r o p e n s
but I can never see what’s inside.

There is a room of
            stolen gold that is
locked so nobody else might
            steal it/backfromme.

There is a room I
       tried to burn away once (
                                                           look how it only
            dulls the bright of my
                  eyes / look
   how the ashes settle
      in the spaces under my eyes

there is nothing sad about broken.

each of us is a

patchwork car job

held together with

duct-tape & bailing wire

and the world is an

invisible factory floor

chopping together

chunks of body & heart

with a ricocheting clash

like armies and storm clouds

in the dark.      memory might

be lain upon the flesh

as a thin layer of whatever paint;

and the back fender that was

never readjusted, slapped

                        as if to say

“there is nothing else to do here.”

a portion of some wall rises

letting the light of reality

ooze in like water or sludge

and another broken thing is

released, playing on a limping

tire like a skip      and finding

in the junkyard of the soul

the immortal scraps of each other.

you are not dead

you are dying, but

you are not dead

your dying is of the dead

and you’re dead are never dying

still, you are not dead

my dead asked me about the dying

the dead always seem to forget the dying

while the dying always remember the dead

until they are also dead

my dead asked me about the dying

as the dying became a part of the dead

the dead opened and the dying went in

and the dead always seem to forget the dying

i am not dead but I sometimes forget the dying

the dying come to me and remind me of the dead

for the dead exists in all the dying

and the dying is absent of all the dead

the dying sometimes imagine the dead are singing to them

the dying build vessels for the dead

but the dead never inhabit them

the dead are always forgetting the dying

still, you are not dead.


Brian Sheffield is a performance poet living and working in New York. He is Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of Mad Gleam Press, which publishes POST(blank), a French-American Word Art journal. He has been published internationally through small and independent journals and anthologies.

3 Poems by Melyssa G. Sprott


Dusk blossoming

from lonely seeds,

through gentle moonlight,

wandering roots thrive.

Stone-weighted soul,

withering at the bottom of the river—

the surface looks so calm.


You love my petals and my stem,

but can’t see my roots or dark within.

My stretching leaves and twisting vine,

shielding me from what’s outside.

I hide my pain and petals torn—

I’ve been destroyed by my own thorns.

My pallor gives way to deeper hues,

like my thoughts turning to you.

I will stay here, as I will be—

growing wildly, but never free.

The Lot

Each leaf on the tree
every branch a trusted friend
I know this lot well

Every little squirrel
chipper morning companions
frolicking joyful

All of the creatures,
the trees, the leaves, the branches—
I belong right here


Melyssa G. Sprott was in born Pittsburgh and lives in Ashtabula Harbor of Northeastern Ohio, United States; she is a writer, artist, and award-winning photographer, using many different means and mediums of self-expression.

Melyssa had an early desire for writing, having begun composing poems and songs and spinning tales from before she was old enough to hold a pencil. Her mother would transcribe her words for her. This young love for poetry would grow into a burning wild fire. Poetry became a survival skill to get her through hardships and a reminder that when the world—or even home, wasn’t a safe place—she could escape to the comfort of her pens and notebooks.

Though known as a “dark poet,” or one whose subjects are generally more morose topics, her works should be viewed as more of a survival guide—if she can make it through the hard times, so can you. Creativity is catharsis.

She has written and published over 10,000 poems so far over the course of her life, in thirteen poetry collections and eleven children’s books in thirteen years, and has contributed to numerous collaborative short horror collections, and countless poetry anthologies.

She spent several years as senior moderator at one of the world’s largest online poetry forums as well as teaching poetry forms. She found it quite a privilege to help instruct others on some of the many forms of poetry, whether they had been novice or experienced poets, English speaking or from outside the United States. Other credits included: Co-Managing Editor and Staff Writer of the VoicesNet.com Literary Journal, Poet-in-Residence, and the VoicesNet Hall of Fame.

Physical art, cutting and manipulating paper and texture is a current favorite activity—especially regarding paper roses, woven paper art, and children’s book illustrating. When acting as photographer, she enjoys capturing flora, fauna, insects, architecture, nature, and anything else that might be of interest at that moment.

She is employed as an Administrative Assistant and the entire Art Department at a small non-profit. She and her family volunteer at a local food pantry every week and very much enjoy helping others.

2 Poems by James K. Beach


"A film from the '60s. Set in the Arctic in an igloo. In the igloo lived an Eskimo. The Eskimo went out to work every day by digging a fresh hole in the ice for catching fish to feed him -- his family of a wife and a toddler. After he caught his per diem of fish he would hike back on snowshoes, to his igloo, to feed himself and his wife and a baby with the daily fish. Before supper, you know the wife, do you know what she did? She took off her furs and warmed his feet under her breasts. Yeah, and that was their life!"


My carbon footprint is small because I use public transportation and buy used clothes sometimes. Yet there are those who wanna erase my every imprint on this planet-- even the harmless internet stamps I leave from time to time. My cleaners carefully dust or sponge off any dirt on my prose, pocket those most poetic lines, then claim them as their own... All the while I keep trying to get a word in edgewise. Pity those fools for dirtying their hands! My life is witnessed and known despite the audible shushings and covert collusion of their jealous and or snobby group. My carbon-based life is getting erased character by character (double-meaning intended) whilst the ones with filthy mitts look squeaky clean despite the mess they create in their loud, expensive, materialistic plane of existence; my poor plane is a private jet of the mind next to their public first class bourgeois charter to wherever I've wanted to go or ever been... My footprints are their bane and their glory.


JAMES K BEACH opted to overindulge in poetry and lit before discovering that bohemian professions are a bit more challenging and dangerous than they appear... But anyway. Taking risks is a risk, as anyone knows. Since 2002, he's used his Bachelor's in Writing to amass 150+ journalism bylines in 20 venues, be managing editor at AWAREing Press, and do related tasks in publishing. Currently he's working various temp jobs in the USA, looking at graduate schools, and considering the significance of mating young. CREATIVE WRITING CREDITS: Antique Children Journal, Blue Monday Review, Danse Macabre Online, The Exhibit Literary, Jivin' Ladybug Journal, Mad Hatters' Review, Paraphilia Magazine, Poetry Pacific, Smokebox Commentary, Warhol Stars UK, Wood Coin Magazine, and others.

2 Poems by Milton P. Ehrlich


He’s intrigued

by the many shades of skin,

having published papers

forecasting the future

of a world population

with coffee-colored skin.

He’s well aware of how

institutionalized racism

makes people of color

sometimes want to be

whiter than white,

even with a hue of blue.

He himself prefers light

dark skin, like Lena Horne.

When 2 young women

pass by with his preferred

skin color, he fantasies

about how much they

might want to spend

a night in bed with him.


When she spreads her legs,

he wanders in.

It’s a safe place to call home,

somewhere he hasn’t been

since his life began.

Like the music of his youth,

Pack up your troubles

in your old kit-bag

and smile, smile, smile.

Ontogeny recapitulates



Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 87- year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published many poems in periodicals such as the London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.

1 Poem by Anthony Watkins

Arbortorturaium vidas migratius

Upon leaving the garden of eden

They moved into cheap mortal

Off sunset

Low slung window

Set against the pavement

Gondola chandeliers

Sailed across the yellowed

Plaster sky

And the lord rested

And said, this is a good day


Anthony Watkins has been writing poetry about the south for over 50 years. He lives in South Florida and publishes Better Than Starbucks: betterthanstarbucks.org

5 Poems by Truth Thomas

Born in the City of Lakes

Purple made the Richter dance,

drummed through gates

of every ear’s resistance,

triggered high heel boot tsunamis,

heck-a-slammed godly,

the body of all guitars, the only one

to make them come, running —

Purple, crumble-cracked walls

of MTV's segregated keep,

swallowed up record label masters

over masters —

crushed them mofos whole,

in Paisley jaws

of sequined tectonic plates —

this Purple, our Purple.

And God said it was good,

as doves cried happy tears at the news,

and Sheila played timbales into glee,

and Mayte dressed up smiles

to dance upon their graves.

And God said it was funky —

damn funky, the epicenter of this quake:

the sound of a train approaching —

a "Slave" shaking out of his name.

At Motel 6

Bedbugs worship every mattress concert — suckers










Every worshiping bedbug, mattress concerts suck —

The Bloody Red Wheelbarrow
(after WCW)

so much is built


a black mother’s


pooling blood in


shot by the white


In Chicago

his badge of blues, made Rekia blood fruit








Ammunition —


his badge of blues, made Rekia bleeding fruit.

What Officer Weekley Said After Shooting

Seven-Year-Old Aiyanna Jones

“It fired. The bullet hit a child, ” like his gun








possessed —


like a child, his gun — It. The bullet fired. Hit.