Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Poem by Richard Schnap

Winter's Debut

He first felt its touch
In the arctic of his home
When his father cried out
How he wanted to kill himself

Then when he discovered
His mother's hidden vodka
He often caught her drinking
As tears froze on her cheeks

Next when his sister
Introduced him to drugs
That eventually caused his mind
To transform into ice

Now he looks out
At the snow shrouded world
And wonders how many others
Still wait for it to melt

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen

with grey, metallic indifference, the highway
bridge spans homestead foundations, dry
creeks, rotting walnut, oak and apple stumps
as I whisper to no one but myself
grandpa                  grandma and grandpa

ayaz daryl nielsen, husband, father, veteran, x-roughneck (as on oil rigs)/hospice nurse, editor of bear creek haiku (25+ years/120+ issues), homes include Lilliput Review, Jellyfish Whispers, Boston Literary Magazine, High Coupe, Shamrock, and! (translates as joie de vivre)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Two Poems by David Fraser

He Has Often Wondered About The Little Ones

Is he maybe at a bus stop,
Kapuskasing, or Laredo
or with a thumb out on a road
that stretches straight forever
with a line of boreal, on the Trans-Canada,
or along a dry stretch of gulch grass and Prickle Pear
on the US interstate, driving, radio cutting in and out
or the same CD looping through miles and miles?
Is he passing churches, with names like,
Holy Mother of Lost Children's Tears.
Mosques stoic in their contempt for infidels.
Synagogues with their plain lines of suffering--
the big tree houses of worship that he has shunned,
despite his appreciation of their beauty, and his
sadness for the sheer slave labour to make them be?

He passes all the houses that could be anywhere
so non-descript, so unremarkable, with
a wheelbarrow tilted full of weeds
caught in the snow, below a light at a window,
an opening to someone's woe or joy or both,
and he wanders across this landscape and
worries what to make of all this witnessing,
this sediment that drifts in the current of a river
that he's dipped his whole life's body in
while searching for something more nomadic
where there is a god, where truth is not tangled
with the cries of little ones before they go to sleep.

There is a Time for All of Us to Come to Rest

I'm putting on my socks beside the bed.
The old dog comes to rub his face against my knees,
feels my hand upon his head and ears.
He cycles back for more until the socks are on.
Something is akin, here, as he grows older in his days
to mine for this morning the junco stories come,
bathing in the shallow stream,
how they reach your eye with patient watching,
and there too something is akin.
Once in some lives there is a thumb of feathers against glass,
sudden, final, while doing other things.
I recall how one junco lay on the deck,
its body built into a mound of snow,
how its mate beside him sat
until his features disappeared.
And the other day another junco, dead
beside the sliding door and how
later in the afternoon a raven came,
and took his body into the trees.

David Fraser lives in Nanoose Bay, BC, on Vancouver Island.  His poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Rocksalt, An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry, and in Tesseracts 18 (forthcoming).  He has published five collections of poetry and is a member of the League of Canadian Poets.  His next collection, After All the Scissor Work is Done, is forthcoming in the fall of 2015, published by Leaf Press.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Poem by Aidan Clarke

For the Macbeths

I suppose by now you know
the dark and violent sea
the two of you are crossing
has no far shore.
Come back to the beach old man.
All great Neptune's ocean
will not wash that blood clean from your hand
but a thimble of tears is enough.
Tell your weeping lady wife
all the perfume of Arabia
will not sweeten her little hand
but a petal of love will suffice.

Aidan Clarke has been a writer for more than 3 decades during most of which he has lived, worked and walked around in Newcastle Upon Tyne.  He has been performing his poetry at Spoken Word events for 4 years.  His USP is a menu of around 140 poems each of which he can perform off by heart on request.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Poem by Abigail Wyatt

On the Anniversary of the Death of Edgar Allan Poe, 7th October, 1849

     Almost a suicide, a suicide prepared for a long time
                                              -- Charles Baudelaire

Your sadness, my friend, takes little guessing at;
it has settled like a vagrant in those eyes:
restless, hopeless, too long weary of the road
but still too much enamoured of the night;
and anguish, perhaps, was the price you paid
for the jewelled toad you carried to the graveyard.
Your losses, after all, were too green and too many,
too precocious a burden to bear well.  Now
that high, square brow, the hair line receding,
though it pleads with me to treat you tenderly,
speaks to me, also, of the kind of handsome rogue
on whom I spilled the salt tears of my youth.
I fear that you are like them:  pleading forgiveness,
a frail and insubstantial hero.  A mother's love,
a child's love:  these are things you needed too much.

Abigail Wyatt was born in Essex but now lives in Redruth in Cornwall.  Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in more than a hundred magazines and journals including, most recently, Wave Hub:  New Poetry of Cornwall (ed. Dr. Alan Kent).  She is a Pushcart nominee and the author of Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories.  In 2012, she was the winner of the Lisa Thomas Poetry Prize.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

Sadly, We Die

Sadly, we die in little black suitcase boxes,
cave into our fears and the top falls down.
Save the laughter, celebration, thunder clapping,
rats experimentally test shed light at end of life's tunnel.
Death is a midnight stoker, everyone living goes home.
All windows bolted, all smiles switched off.
Sad on examination tables,
in little rooms, red, with lightening we die,
move on.

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era:  now known as the Illinois poet, from Itasca, IL.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 27 countries, he edits 8 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 pages book), several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 70 poetry videos on YouTube.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

A Poem by Mark J. Mitchell

A Version of an Arabic Poem

     After the Arabic of Abdullah Ibn al-Mu'tazz 861-908 C.E.

A quick girl
comes to me tonight
fleeing her innocence.

Her body tells the breeze:
If you were serious
this is how
you'd shove the branches.

Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz.  His work has appeared in the anthologies Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, Line Drives, and In Gilded Frame.  He is the author of a chapbook, Three Visitors, and a novel, Knight Prisoner, (both available on Amazon).  A full length collection, Lent 1999, is due from Leaf Garden Press.  He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian, Joan Juster.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Poem by Sharon Fedor

Catholic School Mother

I loved her most
when she came home from school,
her backpack hanging from her shoulders,
plaid jumper stained with finger-paint
and smelling of crayons, Elmer's Glue,
and the school cafeteria.  I'd go to where she sat
on the edge of the bed, her forehead
anointed with ashes, her small hands
wet with the memory of holy
water, unlace the black and
white saddle shoes, and squeeze her toes.
Then I'd open up her backpack and take
the whole day inside me--the uniformed
girls and their bow-tied brothers,
the voice of the teacher singing out
her welcome song.  Neat rows of
upright torsos.  The statues, the garden, exhausted
nuns still smiling in their street clothes, the church bells
clanging, and the long drive home.

Sharon Fedor has spent her professional career as teacher and mentor in Special Education, engaging students who are fascinating and unique while promoting the joy of discovery.  She writes poetry and fiction.  Her work has been published in Napalm and Novocain, Halfway Down the Stairs, Spellbound, The Camel Saloon, and The Moon Magazine (online), in Point Mass, Legends, Conversation with a Christmas Bulb, and in the 2013 Best of Anthology, Storm Cycle.  She is the second place winner of the 2014 Zero Bone Poetry Prize (Port Yonder Press).

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Poem by Kushal Poddar

Confessional Poem

Excellent work, Mr. P.
No longer alive, no
longer dead, you are.

So easy to live or
unlive as you, I
recede from any

other self.  My life,
a jackknife.  The holder
and the blade.  And I snap

as often as I slash
my hand searching for
the elusive original vein.

A native of Kolkata, India, Kushal Poddar writes poetry, scripts and prose and is published world wide.  He authored "All Our Fictional Dreams," published in several anthologies in the Continent and in America.  He authored "The Circus Came to My Island."  The forthcoming book is "A Place for Your Ghost Animals." Find more at

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Two Poems by Sheikha A.


The palanquin's embellished
and the hour is saturated with
bigotry.  I have castigated
this inchoate night with the vein
of a valiant, contrariwise to
my writing of these lines:
desultory of ink/dissipated of sin;
we are far beyond exhuming
deaths.  The bones are rank
with freshness of life, flesh seizures
under the evolution after burial
and the hour awaits its master.
A few strands, a photo, needle,
blood from the juiciest rose
and a single stitch.  The hour is


herald the fragrance of wood and pulp,

the crinkling, colourful, glossy spread of rustling
sheets smoothed out on a wooden table musty
under the damp, humid breeze of the rickety
fan set in a ceiling of mouldy realities; exquisite
art of generations living past covert rebounds
become sedimentary trinkets of salvaged luck
as vendors objectifying the meagre to grand

by scissors sharp sliding through in crisp delight,
deft hands expertly inventing snip, fold and flip
creating intrique or costly poetry from ordinary
stories ancestral, refined in new age sanguinity
over dulled philosophies; unwinding emotions
now huddled, closing with the night; stemmed to
perfection, decorated and propped for survival

to be sold tomorrow.

Sheikha A. has authored a poetry ebook, available on, titled "Spaced," published by Hammer and Anvil Books.  Writing from a young age, she believes in empathy and its dominant influence on writing as a whole.  Being always disinclined to speaking about herself, she prefers her poetry fill that space instead.  Published in several magazines and anthologies, she intends to see her poetry put into books to be read and discussed widely.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Poem by Inna Dulchevsky

Dialog with Thomas Aquinas

You said,
the words are "straw" . . .

No wonder
I hear
Only the gust
Of the wind

Inna Dulchevsky spent her early school years in Belarus.  She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.  She was awarded First Prize in the 2014 David B. Silver Poetry Competition.  Her poems have appeared in both journals and books including Pyrokinection, Lavender, and Antheon.  Inna's literary influences include Pushkin, Lermontov, Yesenin, Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Block, Bunin, Turgenev, Chekhov, Gogol, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, Nabokov, and Dostoevsky.  Her interests include metaphysics, philosophy, literature, and practice in meditation and yoga.  Inna's musical education in violin and classical singing, as well as her discovery of Vermeer's light and expansion of consciousness through the connection with inner-self and nature, are essential in the writing of her poetry.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Two Poems by BZ Niditch

In the Attic

In the embracing attic
of dream and songbird
those days of sunshine
when leaves turn a blush red
after a night music of love
when letters arrive
from foreign bodies
from an unknown city
saying my poems
about the sea
have moved you
here it is snowing out
my riffs
line by line
voice by voice
by a now known name
and picture
from a first kinetic light.

Stopped in Manhattan

Stopped to play sax
with riffs to old loves
in the Red Apple gig
still at the old red light district
by dusty basement apartments
of a brownstone
full of my city's young graffiti
over a bygone cinema
featuring Spanish films
while halfway up the steps
losing my night music
of my memory's smooth jazz
where once I began
my first composing
on a Mondrian like printed carpet
the air translating my shadows
by rubbed out nick names
on a hundred year old evergreen.

BZ Niditch is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher.  His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including:  Columbia:  A Magazine of Poetry and Art, The Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Hawaii Review, Le Guepard (France), Kadmos (France), Prism International, Jejune (Czech Republic), Leopold Bloom (Budapest), Antioch Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others.  He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Poem by Sy Roth

Join Hermes in a Sad Song

Like a busy street--
cars dash by
unaffected by you,
a blur,
walking shade
trapped in a moment
a captured malaise,
snapshot--a nose pressed to a window
Bill Haley and the Comets play
in the background
taking them to a non-place
and you to underworld palaces
where creeping darkness
lurks in shadows.

Like a busy riverway
where Hermes dons a captain's hat
readies for another midnight cruise
in a leaky boat,
you sit pressed to the window
of the wheelhouse
imagining the third ring
where Olympic heroes fell.

Like a wrecking ball
smashing the side of your building,
it crumbles into bits of dust;
the shadow of yourself sits
by the tenth-floor window
nose pressed to the leaden glass
gut-ready to plummet
burrow beneath the earth.

Like Hermes who hums an ancient tune--
you hum along with him in Coldplay harmony,
you breathe a foggy inscription on the window,
eyes stare back sadly
undone by the mysteries
hidden in the song.

Sy Roth comes riding in and then canters out.  Oftentimes, head is bowed by reality; other times, he proud to have said something noteworthy.  Retired after forty-two years as teacher/school administrator, he now resides in Mount Sinai, far from Moses and the tablets.  This has led him to find words for solace.  He spends his time writing and playing his guitar.  He has published in Visceral Uterus, Amulet, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, Barefoot Review, Haggard and Halloo, Misfits Miscellany, Larks Fiction Magazine, Danse Macabre, Bitchin' Kitsch, Bong is Bard, Humber Pie, Poetry Super Highway, Penwood Review, Masque Publications, Foliate Oak, Miller's Pond Poetry, The Artistic Muse, Word Riot, Samizdat Literary Journal, Right Hand Pointing, The Screech Owl, Epiphany, Red Poppy Review, Big River, Poehemians, Nostrovia Poetry's Milk and Honey, Siren, Palimpset, Dead Snakes, Euphemism, Humanimalz Literary Journal, Ascent Aspirations, Fowl Feathered Review, Vayavya, Wilderness House Journal, Aberration Labyrinth, Mind[less] Muse, Em Dash and Kerouac's Dog.