Wednesday, 20 April 2016



[spring issue 2015]

Cover Photo: Rowan Blair Colver

Editorial Notes

dear PP Friends,

before leaving for beijing on a medical trip, we hope the earlier-than-usual release of this issue finds you all well and happy!

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

in this issue, we are honoured to feature 2 visual artists and 73 poetry creators. 

happy reading!

-PP editorial team

Cover photo by Rowan Blair Colver


I am an English writer and creative artist, author of many varied books and contributor to several blogs and magazines. Having established a back catalogue of written material already, my focus now is upon encouraging others to try art for themselves. This has taken form of my company, Alternative Fruit Creative Arts which aims to provide inspiration and resource to the international creative arts community. This is a new project for me and so far I am very happy with progress. My poetry continues and I write most days, either poetic stories, small ditties, or versed escapism. My work mostly touches on the emotive side of life, exploring feeling, philosophy, psychology and the human condition as a whole. Creative arts is yet another doorway to this landscape of my work, and I hope many walk through it to discover their own passion along the way.

5 poems by rob mclennan

The little nothings, 

                   The words are already there, you just have to read them
                   Lesley Yalen, the beginnings in 

Numerically, thin. A coral silence. We spring up, formidable. Snow-fell, fall. Equilibrium. Love, a poison. Daffodil. Landscape, postures. Light slants, disappoints the stones. Geometry was fashioned to be lonely. Lacunae, swish. Such analytical capacity. A mark of stairwells, kings. The rains came. I work hard at this. All likeness disappears. Depreciates. My tongue grew pebble-strength. The neighbour skunks: made for the underside, foundations. 

Our endless, numbered days 

                   what touches in what language
                   Rob Budde, Dreamland Theatre 

About to go broke, home. Faint circles through our head. At birth, the sacred brain. To summarize a platitude. Cut off from the world. An echo, beauty. Winter, spring: unwinds. An autumn purge. Laughter. Sings, blue. Demands, unbroken sentence. Bordering the colours, wind. Enticements. You would not be neutral. A legend in youth. This ghost on fire. Seven dwarves. Carved out from a future time. Clouds flex muscles, take a head count. The car ice-coating. Frozen down to asphalt. Fractured. An authority we can’t justify. Fear of falling, opens. Empties into lungs. 

Acceptance Speech: 

                   I love the ology of clouds
                   Mary Ruefle, Trances of the Blast 

Disorient, a shape. Cohere. What matters would be, antibodies. Truth. I want this, ambivalence. Branches: allusions wrestle, wing. Says one: forbid, thoroughly. What would have been excluded. Coiled, hammer, anvil. Reluctant patterns, boundary. Says one: we dismantle, endlessly thorough. Biopsy: linguistic. I am not ambition: all my roads repeat, interior, repeat. Winning. Snow-branch weight a study, low to ground. This brutal, excessive heat. 

The opposite of harm, 

                  Pain’s absence, like a footprint in snow
                  but the iron had eaten into my flesh 
                  there was nothing, nothing to record
                  Hillary Gravendyck, Harm 

Choraled, breathless. Bleach, and honey. Mirror-flat, unspooled. Or simply, pulses. Last. What worries me is this. If you could breathe. Medicinal. The underside, of linen coolness. Bright lights. Blade, a scalpel. Thorned. Reenergize, the empty cells. A stuttered brightness, braille. What sky of onion skin. Bedazzled. Soup. I want what, she. This lettered calm. A perilous scene of contact, right this second. Listen, wind. If you could breathe. Words cut excess, list. Into the lungs, absorbed. A cradle. Deep exhale, rust-red. If you could breathe. Grey-crumpled ash, a smear. Estrange. This bandaged, battered montage. 

A study in silver

Here I saw blue. Accordingly, sank. Like a hole in the ground. A tremendous intention. Through what sparks can’t penetrate. Determined, and framed. A lifetime might pass. I moved very quickly. Showered prose into interior. Walls shored up to buttress. Declared, and pushed back. How shallow the dead breathe; how quickly. The light caught the furrows. Protected. The beauty of style, and braids. Plural. Rearranged, into. We knew not what. Meaning was short lived, slick, and without fixed dimensions. Of absolute discretion. Pure. Devoured on the spot. Intermittent. We are of the present. Abandoned, by years. Skeletal, the story matters. Follow scattered directions. Step forth, and create. From this day, the firmament. 


Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa. The author of nearly thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, the Council for the Arts in Ottawa Mid-Career Award in 2014, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. His most recent titles include notes and dispatches: essays (Insomniac press, 2014) and The Uncertainty Principle: stories, (Chaudiere Books, 2014), as well as the forthcoming poetry collection If suppose we are a fragment (BuschekBooks, 2014). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books, The Garneau Review ( ), seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics ( ), Touch the Donkey ( ) and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater ( ). He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at 

3 Poems by Allen Qing Yuan


Astronauts say their dreams are like earth dreams
Where they drift soundlessly in a fifth dimension
Where our love vacuums time

The great pioneers of our people want
To find where these fertile figments fit in the starscape
Good men raging into the good night

Our Blue Marble is only our birthplace
Born from stardust, we are simply searching for our origin
In the Cimmerian shades circling the celestial lights,
We continue our decade-old interstellar Odyssey

Into the night, we go as earthlings
In nocte, we go as Übermensch


I admire the way your soul shines through your midnight nail polish,
adore the way your hair has cozily settled into a messy fist,
don’t mind how your black turtleneck is neck to neck with you,
laugh at how new distressed stonewash jeans de-stress you,
get entranced by that one black earring amidst the sparkling ones,
love the gentleness of your voice that seizes my everything,
love the way your smile cracks me as if I were pavement,
As I crumble into pieces mumbling something so flagrant.

We on an ultralight beam, a sunbeam from a starstream
I knit my dreams night-to-night, seam by seam
And even though I coded my spirit in C plus plus
You found my faith, and lit up my trail in trust
My ice keeps me frozen, I’m never going to hell
Chance follows Kanye West, he’s never going to fail
This part is His, nobody else speak
No one can judge
Glory be to God
This is a God dream
This is everything
If he don’t trust you, I’m gon shoot you
I wanna sleep with you in my arms
Your silence is also a charm
I wanna wake up with you in my eyes
You liberate me of my lies
I just wanna feel liberated
Don’t get too loud
I been
about my
I been
my soul
in layers I cannot unfold
They don’t wanna see me love you
I guess I get what I deserve don’t I?


Allen Qing Yuan , born in Vancouver in 1995, is a 2-time Pushcart nominee and the author of Traffic Light (2013). Co-editing Poetry Pacific, Allen currently attends the University of British Columbia as a business major. 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, Shampoo and Spillway.

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

- Instagram: @abovethemovement

2 Poems by Allison Thorpe

The Vote Enters the Kingdom

For the women of Saudi Arabia
Swaddled in her robes
my dawning cry
celebrates this breath
I am a check mark
a chad
a box finally filled
a spell
a veiled glance
a hook's earthy meat—
cast me


Somewhere in Kentucky a forsythia
offers its yellow echo to the sun.
A long-haired woman haunts a window,
wonders what to do with an hour,
how to outlast the day,
follows a jet's silver glint in the dull sky.
She opens the curtain to more light,
but only questions wash the room.
How often do we look up
for warmth, beauty, answers?
Do we ache the bird's easy wing,
the chic of god's tongue
as we propel ourselves
into the star-blind wild,
dreaming that vast
and oh so incredible blue?


Allison Thorpe is a writer from Lexington, KY. Recent chapbooks include Dorothy's Glasses (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and What She Sees: Poems for Georgia O'Keefe (White Knuckle Press, 2015). A Pushcart nominee, she has appeared in such journals as The Citron Review, South 85 Journal, Appalachian Heritage, Misfit Magazine, Two Hawks Quarterly, Gingerbread House, Big River Poetry Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, The Meadow, and Meat for Tea: The Valley Review. 

6 Drawings by Denny E. Marshall

2020 vision


the electric side

three walls to hide behind

barely there


Denny E. Marshall has had art, poetry, and fiction published. Some recent credits include artwork at Front Porch Review , poetry at Decades Review , and fiction at Postcard Shorts . Denny does have a personal website with previously published works. The web address is 

3 Poems by Randall Karlen Rogers

It Might Be True (but I beg to differ)

I walked out of Nowhere
last night
and went to that Somewhere
I've never really been
comfortable in,
by myself.
I left the wind
with the rain,
I sought out the thunder
of sunny days.
I learned that
tragedy, at length,
is no prelude
to unhappiness. 

The Way 

And massive venous 

of electricity,
escaped me.
I searched for
the "Nohawk",
on bald men,
men with only fringes
for hair. I
capsized a few
floating Chinese lanterns,
and fast losing
confidence, I wondered
suddenly, as if dumbstruck,
how could I have done
anything, so correct,
and for so long!
I splayed confidence.
I fit in,
and this time I
could eat,
and chewing in
public didn't
bother me. 

It Might Be True (but I beg to differ) II

I walked out of Nowhere
last evening
into a better state
than I had yesterday.
At times I've been
to the best state
which should not
be engaged in too
long, before moral
rot outmaneuvers
lingering lack of
desire, and flagging


I am Randall Karlen Rogers, fifty-four, I live in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA. Wild Bill Hickock was killed near here, in the historic city of Deadwood, South Dakota. From 2000 to 2013 I lived in Thailand and Cambodia, running a cool small property hotel and bar. Now I'm here, cowboy-ed and countrified in South Dakota! I do hope all goes well. I cook, I read, I write, I play guitar. Other than that, I really don't do a lot of nothing. 

3 Poems by Erren Geraud Kelly

Twentynine Palms, California

ruby slippers lie
in the desert like
quarter notes
maybe a little girl
was here
a lovely desert
if no one hears the
is it still music? 

59th Street Bridge, New York City 

a girl I know lives not far
from the bridge
she makes me take my shoes
every time I come over
and I love coming over
to watch the breeze in
her walk
her body is a soprano
I hear the islands when
she talks
she tells stories with
her camera
but she is still a mystery
the best stories are
the ones yet to be
even after all these years
I think of walking hand in
hand with her over that
taking her in my arms
and loving her till the
tears flow
I wonder does she know
if it wasn't for her
I might jump off
the bridge
to see if I could
but the thought of
her face
and the music of
wil always keep me high
and so I walk over the
a saxophone song like a
that always leads me to

A Kiss

It was a kiss
But nothing to stop
The presses
Even if the tide stopped
And the lights over the
Paled next to your
It was no big deal
Though i admit
For a moment i thought
Through your lips
Destiny revealed itself
To me 


I am a pushcart nominated poet based in Los Angeles. I have been writing for 25 years and have over 100 publications in print and online in such publications as Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine(online), Ceremony, Cactus Heart,Similar Peaks, Gloom Cupboard, Poetry Salzburg and other publications. My most recent publication was in " In Our Own Words," a Generation X poetry anthology; I was also published in other anthologies such as " Fertile Ground," Beyond The Frontier " and other anthologies. My Work can also been seen on Youtube under the " Gallery Cabaret," links. I am also the author of the chapbook, " Disturbing The Peace," on Night Ballet Press. I recieved my B.A. in English-Creative Writing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. I also love to read and I love to travel, having visited 45 states and Canada and Europe. The themes in my writings vary, but i have always had a soft spot for subjects and people who are not in the mainstream. But i never limit myself to anything, i always try to keep an open mind. 

5 Poems by Michael Bartholomew-Biggs


This morning is clear as its conscience. 

Spring-loaded lambs have much to do:
they nibble, suckle, chew an itching limb
and waste no curiosity
on random darts by phantom mice,
wind-startled in the longest grass.
The mother-sheep, attentive but unfussy,
make secret husky-toned announcements,
repeated bleats of mutual reassurance
familiar as a nursery rhyme. 

Somewhere else a shotgun kicks the air.
A low slow magpie flaps across the field
in sorrow for a promise to be broken. 


Spring bluebells over wooded slopes
celebrate retaking of the ground
with flourishes of colour and assertive song
birds declare possession of all trees. 

Look, you say, and listen, you exclaim.
This green world only shines for you
to mirror back at me with joy
and hope to strike and glimpse a glint
that answers you from underneath
the tarnish that’s attached itself
to my too-long neglected senses. 

Woodland blossoms spreading sudden fragrance
persuades you to believe the summer’s promise
is arriving with the wheeling swallows. 

Perhaps you think this year they will not leave us. 


He has to learn to handle anger
he’s been trying to deflect
with grievance-words that don’t reflect
how puppets dangled into danger
feel when cheated of the chance
to influence their own advance.
He holds no ground he can defend. 

He’s lost the freedom to pretend
the rules that put him in this place
include exceptions for his case.
He’s isolated in a crowd
and misinterprets all the signs
which others read between their lines;
and any move he tries is disallowed. 


If Jonah had been keen to visit
Nineveh in any case –
to marvel at its architecture
or to try the local spices –
he’d have had more ground for doubting
it was God Who’d sent him there. 

And then he might have been content
to fit a bit of casual preaching
on the side. Just making contact ,
I can almost hear him say,
but nothing over-obvious.
No need of scaring anyone 

least of all myself.
It’s not
enough for two to have the same
itinerary. Both must know
the other knows beforehand why
the journey’s really necessary. 


Where can we meet him?
We’ll pick out some distant point of light
and walk away from ourselves
towards an “X” that marks the spot –
assuming neither stamina nor compass
will betray us. 

We’re leaving rough shelters
and provisions by the path in case
we must fall back on ourselves.
Starting on a risky journey
is no no time to lose our common sense
of self-importance. 

We’ve grown good at folding
maps we’ve often read and cannot change.
Now we must plot for ourselves
the landscape’s lie the way we please;
there we can tell whoever lets us do so
Be god without us


Michael Bartholomew-Biggs is a retired mathematician living in London. He is poetry editor for London Grip ( ) and also co-organiser for the reading venue Poetry in the Crypt. His latest collections are Fred & Blossom (Shoestring Press, 2013) and Pictures from a Postponed Exhibition (with artwork by David Walsh) published by Lapwing Press (2014). 

5 Poems by Neil Ellman

Look at the Heart of the World 
(Roberto Matta Echaurren, etching and aquatint) 

It is there
not at the center
but just below the surface
of the world
the heart that beats
to the rhythm
of an ancient drum
first heard
then seen
as pulsing seas
and the motion of wind
through trees 

Watch how it creates
a world
from the insistence
of its blood
and how it persists
in rippling dunes
and the urge
of throbbing flesh. 

Look at the heart
of the world
and count its days. 

EnergÍa atomica 
(Joaquín Torres-García, painting) 

The fishes of the sea
the birds that soar
beyond the clouds
the stars themselves
in the dimness of the night
the houses inhabited
by shadow-ghosts
of who we were
where we once lived
everything we touch
and sometimes see
get their energy
from the infinitesimal
we barely know
and cannot see—
such enormity from
the smallest of things
that dance on the waves
of a never-ending sea. 

Fish Magic 
(Paul Klee, painting) 

Beneath the waves
to light
tiny fish perform
their magic show;
their sleight of hand
defies the hook
and net;
their illusions
make them invisible
to the fisherman’s
keen eye;
they survive
by trickery
and artifice. 

(Helen Frankenthaler, painting) 

From entrance to exit
from this to another
a portal between
this world and others
as tangible as a reflection
in the back of the eye
or prophesies delivered in flame
as if they were real
a door swings on hinges
of opposites
opening, closing
going somewhere
then returning
to where it began. 

The Birth of the World 
(Joan Miró, painting) 

Out of the disorder of tea leaves
in a porcelain cup
an alphabet of things to come
a word, a world, then many,
repeated as infinite phrases
in the unremitting babble of stars
a world divined
from dregs of tea
as if there were a meaning 


Neil Ellman, a poet from New Jersey, has published more than 1,200 poems in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world. His latest chapbook, Mind Over Matta (Flutter Press, 2015) is based on the works of the Chilean abstract-surrealist, Robert Matta Echaurren. 

4 Poems by John Murphy


He loves the way when her hair is up
wispy strands float out from her neck
and the velvet contours of her upper
arms mould into the shoulders
and she rests the side of her head
on her palm and says yes,
I’d like a cup of tea and throws
the cushion at him when he says
I would too. He loves the way when
late for work she pecks his cheek
and he sees the day’s challenge
in her eyes and he fades into
her background the sound of
scraping toast and meowing cat
as she hikes her jacket over
her shoulders and slams the door.
He loves the way when she returns
she flops on the sofa, pinches her nose
and gives him the news, who’s
screwing who and the idiot
in the BMW, such arsehole drivers
and the cat brings her back gently
into the house as it kneads her chest
and the kids drag her up to
help stick luminous stars
on their bedroom ceiling, lying
with them on the floor in the dark
looking up at the universe expanding
through transience into days, weeks, years. 


Apart from the pen, the hand holding it,
the nerves, tendons and muscles
moving with ancient electricity trickling
words that slip and slide, drop 

to the next line, survive crossings out
and hasty scribblings.
The pen’s imperfections chasing
images of sunlight through raindrops, 

exploding into colours on drooped
flower heads and glistening lawns,
giving words to life like perfume
drifting across a candle-lit table 

on a warm Mediterranean terrace.
Pictures waft up from the page
capturing the essence of love and hate
and the small leavings behind them: 

daubs and shadows, suggestions of sepia
and quiet, dusty gazebos of the mind
bursting with exotica.
I give them to this page, 

flowers bellowing colour, the smell of love
settling at last from slippery meanings.
Look carefully and you’ll see my child wavering
like a tightrope walker across the wet grass... 


It slicks through the air faster
than morality or forgiveness,
rents the keen slice of flesh
and bone in an instant
to a shatter of blood and shards.
Forehead, chest, shoulder, shoulder,
signed on the body, the holy trinity
that cannot stop that furrowing
of borders or the sharp eye
of the refugee looking for peace
along the hill’s silhouette.
They enclose with shade and spillage.
Flesh and bone, he wobbles like jelly
on the end of a shovel. 

Tuesday was a yellow flash,
Sunday, white smoke flowers
blossomed on the hillside.
The woman with the smiling
eyes a kaleidoscope of red
tumbling flesh and skin.
Grey clouds spread
shadows over flowers
in graveyards,
a child who held a buttercup
under her best friend’s chin
became a casualty.
The earth is still flat.
We will all fall off the edge. 


Was it the blue paper she said he should buy
or was it the yellow? He squinted, focussed
on the squashed fly stain on the wall above his desk.
She seemed upset about something.
He leaned back in his chair, tapped his pen
along his teeth, moving his jaw,
making a popping sound. The door opened,
a woman walked in and sat on the chair opposite.
She placed her bag on the floor
next to the chair and unbuttoned
her blouse which she removed, folded
and placed on top of her bag.
She reached behind her and unclasped
her bra, shrugged it off and placed it on top
of the blouse. She sat back, looked at him.
What are you doing? he said. You are the doctor?
she said, her voice bland, unhurried. No, he said.
She leant forward, picked up her bra,
blouse, bag and stood. He stood.
They looked at each other, eye to eye.
Two rooms down, a light bulb fizzed,
flickered and popped into darkness. 


Surveying the crack in the wall
he steps back, confused, unsettled.
He’d plastered over a smaller crack
just yesterday and now it had spread.
He had noticed a slight rumble,
a momentary and faint alteration in
his daily background vibrations,
a slight attenuation of air over his skin.
He thought about the two men
sitting in the car outside since yesterday.
He wondered if they were still alive.
He could see, through the binoculars,
that they don’t move, hadn’t moved.
He knew it was all arranged,
things were in motion,
it’s now or never.
He stares at the crack.
His heart beats and beats. 


John Murphy is a retired lecturer and musician living in Surrey, UK. He has been published in many journals and magazines and is editor of The Lake , His book, The Thing Is... was published in 2009. 

4 Poems by Jerry McGinley


Cold December night,
the soft white belly of the moon
bounces light against my window. 

A ghost taps my shivering shoulder,
startles me from dreams of an emerald river,
asks, Do you remember who I am? 

I’m the fiend who stole your dove,
the one with golden gossamer wings,
that perched in your dogwood tree. 

I’m the brute makes you quaver in your sleep,
who makes you scream at icy stars,
and makes you cower at your own shadow. 

I just stopped by to remind you
that your dove still coos for you, alone,
in her cage of iron chains in my dank lair. 

Orange moon teeters
above the horizon
like a ripe peach,
its bronze craters
home to writhing witches. 

Soon the rising moon
will pale its ginger hue
like a bent old man
scaling celestial steps,
searching for immortality. 

Fox tracks in the snow
leading toward or from
something immortal. 


Summer moon 
so still, voices calling
from the other side—
on the still water
a canoe glides without
disturbing the glassy lake. 


Former publisher of Lake City Lights Magazine and Yahara Prairie Review, Jerry McGinley has recently published in Camel Saloon, Foliate Oak Literary, and Burningword Literary Journal. His latest books are LAKE REDEMPTION and THIS OMINOUS BIRD

5 Poems by Jackson

Please wait to be seated 

Please wait to be seated.
You will be shown to good seats
but you will have to surrender. 

Stand there and wait.
You may be given a public place,
in the centre of the faces and voices,
or a private booth:
a watching space, a listening hush.
You will be ushered by good-looking attendants
but you will have to surrender. 

Observe the rituals.
Listen carefully, ask
clearly and quietly,
behave with respect. 

And let a hungrier person go before you
and let a weaker person hold onto you.
Then wait in silence.
You will be shown. 

From Coracle 

When you dance 

When you dance it’s as if
you gather the music
into yourself,
into the softness
of your diaphragm and belly,
and smear it through your body,
along the long cords of you —
tendons, neurons, axons, veins
spine, lungs, bowels, hips —
and extrude it down the pipes of your lean limbs. 

When you dance you keep your arms
straight by your sides, point and wag
and jerk your hands,
quiver your body like a zephyred leaf,
and stare at your feet, which you shuffle. 

When you dance it’s as if your legs
and arms
and eyes
are pulled toward ground
by the music’s grand
unified force. In all my life 

you’re the only one
I’ve ever met
who dances
like that. 

From lemon oil ; First published in the author's chapbook q finger (PressPress 2011) 

If the rain

If the rain works away our concrete
and steel, to reach and feel
original stone and earth 

If it wears away the metal
rings and brick boxes around street trees
so greenfleshed lives can sway, scented,
in their shelter 

If it knocks out the electric
lines and stops
our train, traps
it for vines and mudwalls 

If it slops the style
out of our hair and the makeup
off our faces, hoses off
our lowrise jeans and highrise boots,
our ghoulgear and bling,
our multitoned helpnessness and hope 

If it grows on our backs
fur and homespun and moss 

From Coracle 

The fisherwoman 

The fisherwoman
in her boat
under the sky,
deep blue above,
deep blue below,
salty, skin
the fisherwoman
A soft song
o my love, o my lord,
carry me, float me, rock me, rescue me
a soft song for the fish and the sky
and the broad ocean and all the things on islands
that call to her.
Buildings, streets, people, suits
on green islands
across the ancient ocean,
the endless sleeping sea.
Through the light she sees the islands
and the fish watch
and wait.
From Coracle ; First published in Pixel Papers 

haiku sequence August 2013 

the haiku poet
broad feet
in delicate shoes 

small white feather
facing the stratus sky
a beggar's hand 

spring in the Cultural Centre
lavender tangles
with banksia 

in the city
no-one notices
the ten-metre wall 

a spring seedling
three tiny leaves meet
an enormous shoe 

wind blows out my candle
but not the one
on the banksia bush 

at last a bird
comes close enough
to write about


Jackson, based in Western Australia, seeks poems that work whether declaimed loudly or whispered in the mind. She has published two full-length collections and recorded an album . Her poems have appeared in many magazines and will appear in The Western Australian Poetry Anthology forthcoming from Fremantle Press . Jackson is the founding editor of Uneven Floor poetry magazine, . She is a doctoral candidate at Edith Cowan University. She offers poets a low-cost help service, Tactful Online Poetry Feedback . Visit Jackson and read more of her poems at . 

3 Poems by Stephen Collis

your purists are where we are going

I cannot
the mechanism
some clouds
new wind
all the change
we’d enable
comes out
carnage too
often abrupt
like shellshock
the hope of
no hope
in a file called
No File
we cannot open
or close 

loose regulators

When we
slow the crickets
tromp l’oeil
nuance of
as real as a
flash of lightning
image at a standstill
stormy or quill-bright
now and then
leaping forth or
dynamically holding
each other in the
wind a minute
sleet and the cropped
state of the world
wobbling reflection
in the pitcher we draw
valets to no powers 

placed a long time in the future

Seems like
furor now
off the temps
inside of us or
against half of us
such as no doc
or sans papier
what representation is
is a winter of
spent enclosures
unspecified seams
a firth or
gorge broken
open I give it
spatial egress
to walk into
there’s all of us
now grow 


Stephen Collis is a poet, editor and professor. His many books of poetry include The Commons (Talon Books 2008; second edition 2014), On the Material (Talon Books 2010—awarded the BC Book Prize for Poetry), To the Barricades (Talon Books 2013), and (with Jordan Scott) DECOMP (Coach House 2013). He has also written two books of literary criticism, a book of essays on the Occupy Movement, and a novel. In 2014 he was sued for $5.6 million by US energy giant Kinder Morgan, whose lawyers read his writing in court as “evidence,” and in 2015 he was awarded the Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy. His forthcoming book is Once in Blockadia ; he lives near Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territory, and teaches poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University. 

3 Poems by William Bernhardt


For those who thirst
        there’s a waterfall
For those who ache
        there’s tender embrace
For those who think they’re alone
        angels beckon
For those who doubt
        a compass points the way

Where the Poet and the Bride say Come 


The sky was still, the air was brisk
I held the ice within my fist.
So sure that I had reached the end
my travels slowed before the bend
but as I reached this new plateau
the ground gave way, as did the snow
I felt a shuddering in the earth
it shed its skin, the ground gave birth.
A crocus called, with purple voice
its dappled petals, soft and moist.
The freeze would melt and in its puddle
clues to what before befuddled.
I felt the fear and doubt subside
while joy within would coincide
with love, and promise. When there’s room
and time enough, the crocus blooms. 

Song of Lara 

I celebrate the way your eyebrows
      do backbends over hazel eyes
      on the pedestal of your cheekbones
      and the parabola of your smile. 

I delight in your voice, so soothing
      when you whisper, rumbling
      as you sleep, growling when you pull up
      your pants, rapture in the shower. 

I revel in your walk, your defiant
      stride, determined gait, saucy
      buttocks distracting, the grace
      of calf and thigh in delicious syncopation
      kinetic art, music in motion. 

But most of all, I love your hand, soft
      smooth sultan’s satin, I will curl up
      beside you, able to sleep but
      unwilling, because I would rather be


William Bernhardt is the bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the blockbuster Ben Kincaid series of novels, the historical novel Nemesis: The Final Case of Eliot Ness , currently being adapted into an NBC miniseries, a book of poetry ( The White Bird ), and a series of books on fiction writing. In addition, Bernhardt founded the Red Sneaker Writing Center in 2005, hosting writing workshops and small-group seminars and becoming one of the most in-demand writing instructors in the nation. His monthly eBlast, The Red Sneaker Writers Newsletter, reaches over twenty thousand people. He is the only writer to have received the Southern Writers Guild’s Gold Medal Award, the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award (University of Pennsylvania) and the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award (Oklahoma State), which is given "in recognition of an outstanding body of work that has profoundly influenced the way in which we understand ourselves and American society at large." In addition to his novels, he has written plays, a musical (book and music), humor, nonfiction, children books, biography, poetry, and puzzles. OSU named him “Oklahoma’s Renaissance Man,” noting that in addition to writing novels, he can “write a sonnet, play a sonata, plant a garden, try a lawsuit, teach a class, cook a gourmet meal, prepare homemade ice cream, beat you at Scrabble, and work the New York Times crossword in under five minutes.” 

3 Poems by Olivia Lewis


In the kitchen, the ramequin
Sits and in its white angelic
Placidity, holds forth and
Sings, and its insufflation
Makes the soufflé rise
Drenched in unswept notes. 

The ceramic is secretive
Unperturbed and silent.
We do not hear it meloving
To the dough as it rises,
So softly we cannot hear,
When we are dead asleep. 

It sings of the air, warm
And real, of the kitchen,
And the fireplace, of seals and surf
Owls that fly too high and clatter against the moon.
And of coral, morning,
Orange juice, and sand witches. 

But mostly it warns of
The sooterlings that creep
Down the chimney
At midnight to
Flavor the dough with the
Zesty relish of life, and
The sweet tangy wallop of
Forgotten dreams. 

The Old Cowboy 

He ate a plucked peach
By the sycamore tree, with
Its soft texture,
Like armadillo fur
And the peach fuzz fizzled
In the sweet spring breeze
That was plumper and fuller
Than the peach could ever be
Swollen torrents in the cleft
Canyon cruel as a spider’s weft
All these things in the round
World, in the bite of a fruit
By the Mississippi. 

If You and I Lived Above the Sky 

The refraction of ice skitteringly swooned
Like the knife that shattered the moon 

In time to the twang of a Grecian lyre
And the lofty orange of the tambourine 

The moon swayed, a precarious dance
Among the fragments, it dipped and caroused 

Darkness swooped down on charcoal wings
And light rose up on simple things. 

Spotlights gleamed on the dark orcas in the midnight sea
In the night, the glint of the waves cast fairy keys 

And you and me, the sharks soared by
Underneath the surface, 

And the swimmer curled by
while the world was high.


Olivia Lewis is a writer and student of biological sciences in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is chief editor of Aleola Journal of Poetry and Art, a print publication in its third y ear. 

1 Poem by Tim Staley

Stalled Ink 

At the grocery store Lois searches
in her wallet, her pockets, her planner,
her purse, her phone…
The girl at the register
eats Flammin' hot Cheetos.
Her fingertips are stained bright red. 

What Lois searches for
bleeds through the paper and the paper
has faded away. 


Tim Staley was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1975. He completed a Poetry MFA from New Mexico State University in 2004. His first full-length volume of poetry is forthcoming from Pski’s Porch Publishing. His chapbooks are available for purchase at the Grandma Moses Press online store. Journal publications include Border Senses, Cacti Fur, Canary, Chiron Review, Circumference, Coe Review, Malpais Review, Magnapoets, RHINO: The Poetry Forum, and Sin Fronteras . His hobbies include thinking, taquitos, and waiting. Actually, just taquitos. He lives with his wife and daughter in Las Cruces, New Mexico. 

3 Poems by Jennifer Hoffmann


I notice a small branch
on Fairlawn Avenue.
Tiny, bare, like a Tai Chi pose,
it lies vulnerable
in the busy road.
I bring it home and place it
in my favourite single bud vase.
Pour the water in slowly,
I watch over this offering.
For just a few moments each day
I merely witness as the end of each
tiny offshoot transforms
into buds,
and then, remarkably,
into blossoms.
It is a little like being a spiritual companion
to this small branch;
as Galway Kinnell might suggest
my reverent daily attention is teaching
the thing its loveliness
until it flowers from within. 

One Line

I want to write
one line
of poetry
for this moment, 

sanctifying the pen
sanctifying the paper
sanctifying the moment. 

I want to write
one line
of poetry
as a bough of Forsythia 

pirouetting, Ikebana-like,
in a slender, silver beaker. 

all that stutters
from my sorry pen 

is chicken soup and matzo balls. 

A Poem 

A poem is a hand, a hook, a prayer.
It is soul in action.
Poets compose in a frenzy of ecstatic intuition. Edward Hirsch 

Your hand, Your hook.
My prayer. 

Help me recall
what my heart already knows
but has forgotten
as the rocks on the river-bed
rattle me, as my words are muted
by the miracle of morning light. 

Help me reach
for my shield and my staff,
the pen and the paper
which are the voice of soul. 

The words are the thread
to the invisible heart.
Who is the author? 

Reveal to me
once more
the thin place inside time
where talking and listening become One, 

as, in a blaze
of intuition, 

I remember 

my first tongue,
the language I spoke
before I was born. 

Help me re-discover
as Rainer Maria Rilke offers,
that You are the Other
in my solitude,
a silent center
for my conversations with
myself . 


Jennifer ( Jinks) Hoffmann was born in 1943 and was raised in South Africa. She and her husband Alan immigrated to Canada in 1966, where they have lived since. Jinks is a Spiritual Director. She trained in the Lev Shomea program, which means “listening heart” in Hebrew. She is the poetry editor of Presence: an International Journal of Spiritual Direction. She has three adult sons, and is blessed with eighteen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Jinks loves to write poetry, and to work daily with her dreams. These are two of her most loved ways of listening for life's Mystery. Jinks has had numerous poetry and prose publications both in print and on-line journals. Jinks may be reached at 

5 Poems by Erin Slaughter

Five Haikus for the Fall of Icarus 

Pan to the mountains
cut to the writhing city
slow fade out on spring 

The tip of his tongue
flicking at molten sunlight
cypress blossom sweet 

Listen to this fact:
Icarus was just a man
falling out of frame 

Hopeless descending;
the herder was the only
soul who noticed him 

Like breath. Acceptance.
On ships, children closed their eyes.
The sea kept churning. 

L’appel du vide

Tell me how the dust motes that glitter in the light 

want to gnaw on our bones. Tell me about how stars are just rips in the black skin of the sky, and most of them are already dead, anyway. Tell me how God lives in trees, and in books, and that He won’t be mad if we re-gift the raggedy sweaters He gives us, 

that we’ll all live to see this town go up in flames. Tell me how a grave isn’t a hundred miles an hour into a brick wall, it’s more like the forests I’m always climbing through in my dreams, 

and really, Death is the lover you’ve been waiting for all your Life. 

Fear and Love in Three Movements 

Once he sat and looked
from one face to the next, his eyes
like pieces of a broken plate.
“Good morning. Were
you looking for me?” 

I heard him talking
over his shoulder, those eyes
hard and pale and reckless
quizzical and maybe contemptuous
even then. He turned,
looked at them again, not knowing
what to do exactly. 

And it might have
been a good thing that they could not
watch him sleep. 

Ocean Eyes 

It’s always raining
            in your ocean eyes, and your face
takes on the weather. 

                             As the gray mist stirs and rocks collide,
                             some versions of us
                             breathe still, unsure breaths 

under wintery skies.
             I watch the waves crash
from iris to shore. 

Sunday, Thick Noon 

Sunday, thick noon creeps
down the windowless hallway
like molasses, sugary sick
like a cough syrup punch
in the gut. Like nuclear waste 

seeping under field-lounging
barn floorboards,
or whatever—yeah, yeah;
a teenager’s tongue clicks out
bubblegum splatter onto the sidewalk. 

Sunday, quarter-til-three
your veins are lead, concrete, asphalt
blazing. People in other countries go home
or to the pub, their evening a shuffle
of goodhearted indeterminate noises,
stumbling towards
“half-past”, “half-till”; The hourglass
half full or empty. It depends 

on who you are, the color of the room,
what you take to drink. Most things
do, you know: wind and dance around
themselves and put themselves to bed
like dutiful children.
Whispers under floral-smelling sheets.
Lullaby stories and freshly shampooed
hair. Everything eating everything
in the end. 


Erin Slaughter has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of North Texas. After a brief rendezvous with publishing in the Pacific Northwest, she is currently an MFA student at Western Kentucky University, and works as the graduate assistant for Steel Toe Books. She is the head editor of Lavender Bluegrass: LGBT Writers on the South , an anthology forthcoming from KY Story in 2016. Her fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction has been published in The Harpoon Review , Drunk in a Midnight Choir , GRAVEL , and 101 Words , among others. She lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky with her two monochrome cats, Amelia and Cecil.